some insightful excerpts from this great article - to read the whole thing click here A great guideline for starting to 'understand' your cyberpath. (Edited out are statements that are not applicable to online relationships; but if you are in a possibly harmful relationship in real life? Please click on the link and read the entire article! -- EOPC)
by Natalie P.
Most people have had it happen: at some point in our lives we find ourselves manipulated or "guilted" into doing something we didn't want to do. We end up angry at ourselves for caving in, and resenting the other person for pressuring us.
The thing is, while [we] would NEVER tolerate physical abuse, they can get blindsided by emotional abuse, and not even realize it's happening - especially if it is coming from someone they trust and love. Like physical abuse, emotional abuse becomes a vicious circle that chips away at your self-confidence, making it harder and harder to leave. If you are in a relationship where you have a sick sense that SOMETHING is wrong, but somehow it's always YOUR fault, and you find yourself always tring to "fix" things, this article may be for you. (this is a good description of the VICTIMS of Cyberpaths!)
Emotional abusers are very insidious - some of them are much harder to spot than others, because they mingle their abuse in between acts of generosity, and often employ emotionally manipulative tactics, and passive-aggressive behavior. Not all emotional abusers overtly belittle and verbally harangue their partners - some are much more perfidious and as such, their partners may not realize that the source of their distress and an unease over the relationship has been coming from abuse for quite some time.
It is the abuser's goal to make her believe that she deserves his cruelty and that only through her actions can she make it stop. It is his intent to get her to feel that she is the cause of any relationship problems, and that his (abusive) behavior is simply a response to her, and therefore acceptable. (sounds like Beckstead!)
[Cyberpaths] have to be willing to recognize and actually work on their own issues before they can stop inflicting cruelty on the people who love them. In many cases, they don't even love their partners, because they can't even love themselves, and don't feel that they deserve love, even though they crave it. [Cyberpaths] may genuinely feel bad that they committed another act of abuse, not because they have any real compassion for the person they hurt, but because they get angry at themselves for "screwing up" again. (or when they get caught!)
It is common for men who are "called" on their abusive behavior to blame the woman, and claim SHE was the abuser. (See Beckstead, Rodger, Dunetz, Capers, Jacoby)
While someone may be emotionally blindsided by major episodes of emotional cruelty, and may even recognize it as abuse, abused partners often "overlook" the subtle everyday criticisms, "chain yanking", sarcasm and emotional blackmail that are woven into the fabric of their relationship, accepting (or denying) it as just part of a "relationship". (Cyberpath Dunetz's Target #1 said as much! That she kept getting 'reeled back in' by her belief he was her friend and she could 'help' him! Hicks & Beckstead did this to their victims too)
However, it is important to note that though women can become abusers, MOST OFTEN (because of the way we are socialized and the power setups in society), if there has been no *successful* theraputic intervention, MEN from abusive families become "ABUSERS", and WOMEN who grew up in abusive families become "Abuse VICTIMS". [this is why most, not all, cyberpaths - are men - and a large percentage are in relationships -- married, with a partner, serial monogamy]
Unfortunately, not all therapy works, and not all people who go into therapy are ready or willing to do the personal work necessary to get better and eliminate their destructive patterns. It can take years and years of therapy to unravel and undo the damage and self-hate that has driven someone to abuse. During that time, the abuser may actually get worse before his behavior improves, if it changes at all. It is quite common for deeply disturbed people who enter therapy to initially use the therapy to project their problems on everyone else and point out the character flaws of those around them, rather than face their own internal demons.
For a person who has spent a lifetime of lying and hating themselves, honesty does not come easily.
More disturbingly, some abusers can and DO go into therapy as a ploy - to make it LOOK like they are actually working on their own behavior, and accepting responsibility for their actions, when, in fact, the real motive is to arm themselves with distortions of the therapist's words and tools, in an effort to heighten and increase the psychological warfare.
The more subtle forms of emotional abuse can be the hardest to escape from, because the gaps between the loving, caring behavior and the emotional cruelty can span several weeks or months. (Cyberpathic relationships!) However, someone who is nice and caring, and helpful for 2 or 3 months at a time, but then deliberately does or says something very emotionally devastating and cruel to a partner is no better than someone who does the same nice things but then PUNCHES his partner once every few months.
When he distorts the past and blames you for the relationship problems, you may even feel like you are going crazy, and he will certainly do everything he can to imply that you ARE. (Sounds like Campbell, Beckstead, Capers)
What are the signs and symptoms of Emotional Abuse?
Other forms of emotional abuse, can however, be just as damaging, and far less overt. They can include being disrespectful, discourteous, rude, condescending, patronizing, critical, judgemental, "joking" insults, lying, repeatedly "forgetting" promises, sarcasm and agreements, betrayal of trust, "setting you up", and "revising" history. (Cyberpaths are especially good at the last one)
To outsiders, abusers often appear as decent, successful, sensitive, calm and nondescript.
He may intersperse episodes of abuse with words of love, telling her that she is "the best thing that has ever happened" to him, and that he wants to start treating her that way, confusing her further. She keeps hoping that if she does enough, if she gives enough, he will stop hurting her and the loving, caring side of him will prevail. ... the REALLY successful abusers are highly intelligent and hide their abuse incredibly well. They may have shelves of filled with psychology books; many are well-read and very well spoken. They know how to twist and manipulate language and people. They present an exterior of calm, rational self-control, when in reality, they have no internal control of their own pain and chaotic self-hate, so they try to control others, and drive others to LOSE control.If a [cyberpath] causes YOU to lose control, it proves how healthy HE is, so he can say, explicitly, or implicitly (it's amazing how sighs, and rolling of the eyes can accomplish as much as words), "There you go again, losing it, crying and yelling. I'm not the one who needs therapy, *you* are." Unfortunately, if an outsider sees the abuse at all, all they see is an outburst from you, NOT the abuse that triggered it. It may make you feel as if you have had all your lifelines withdrawn, as if you are going crazy, because nobody believes you that this charming, "nice", helpful, successful man could be so incredibly psychologically cruel and deliberately hurtful.
Cyberpaths play the pushme-pull-you game threatening to withdraw their affections, dropping statements out of the blue intended to destabilize. This has the effect of making their partners insecure and uncertain, but that plays right into the abuser's hand as he then can accuse the partner of being "too needy". (Dorsky, YIdwithlid, Beckstead all did this)
An emotional abuser may make fun of his partner, or make subtle or not-so-subtle disparaging remarks about her while with other friends, and encourage the friends to make disparaging remarks.
Emotional abusers overcompensate for their self-hate with a warped kind of narcissism. He lives by the "if you really loved me" (didn't Dorsky, Jacoby and Dunetz use this EXACT phrase when devaluing their targets?)...
Emotional abusers will remind you of your flaws under the guise of trying to be "helpful" or sensitive.
Emotional abusers will try to isolate you from family and friends. There are several tactics that may be employed. If he can't manipulate your friends, he will either find reasons to denigrate them or will be "uninterested" in doing things with you AND your friends. (Cyberpaths tell their targets NOT to talk to each other and keep them in the dark about each other!)
Instead of "lying" to a partner, an emotional abuser may "forget" significant promises he made to his partner - especially if forgetting that promise will hurt her. (was your Cyberpath busy on your birthday? Or no contact when you were sick or having problems and needed the support?)
Emotional abusers expect to be forgiven for their "mistakes" (otherwise known as abuse) but are unable to forgive their partners for legitimate mistakes - and will continue to "punish" their partners for those mistakes, long after apologies and restitution have been made. (This includes narcissistic rage at being exposed)
Emotional abusers expect their partners to change for them. Unfortunately, the changes the partner makes will never be enough - the abuser will always want more.
The abuser says it's not completely his fault, or she pushes his buttons, or that something she did triggered him to do or say something hurtful or damaging to her.
Another emotional abuse tactic is to reject activities that she suggests and then do them with other people - letting her know that he is doing them with other people - establishing control and implying that she is not worthy of doing the activities with him, but other people are. (Dunetz did this with Target #1, doing everything he promised her with Target #2! So she would find out!)
Emotional reactions in self-defense to an abusive situation do NOT make YOU an "abuser".
As part of this tactic he may pay lip-service to personal responsibility by saying he "takes responsibility" for his actions, but then make no offer to do anything about the resulting emotional pain, or say that there is nothing he can do to repair the damage or make restitution. If she tries to get him to do anything to make restitution he will use the word "blame" as if it is a dirty word, and accuse her of trying to lay "blame" on him for his actions. ("I will NEVER talk to her (the victim again) because she.... [insert what you supposedly did as a response to the way the Cyberpath treated you here - such as exposing them, telling their spouse, reporting them to police - as if YOU did the bad thing]) Non-abusers who genuinely ACCIDENTALLY hurt a loved one's feelings, do not refuse to nurture those feelings - they help repair the emotional damage, and they don't repeatedly make the same "mistakes" over and over...
The truth about responsibility for one's feelings is that if you love and trust someone - if you open your heart to the love and caring, you also open it to the potential for hurt. Yes, in the strictest sense of the word, no one can make you feel anything - you choose to let them affect you for good or bad. But very few people, (except perhaps those with borderline personality disorder), can be completely "unfeeling" when dealing with someone they care deeply for. ...To disconnect yourself from feeling hurt and pain is to disconnect yourself from feeling love and joy. When you open your heart to someone, you are granting them your trust as well as your love. You are trusting them to respect and honor your love. If someone abuses you by violating your trust, you are not wrong for trusting - THEY are wrong for breaking that trust and using it to hurt you. ... according to the abuser, it is up to the woman not to provide him with the temptation... (Dunetz & Beckstead accuse their Targets of being temptations! when THEY initiated the relationships)
If caught in a lie or exposed in a situation where he can't immediately manipulate his partner into taking the rap, he may try to go for the sympathy ploy, in an attempt deflect the situation away from his bad behavior. For example, one abuser caught in the middle of a lie, blamed his lie on "bad memory", almost started crying, and began bemoaning what he would do if his memory was going, because his whole job depended on being able to remember lots of details. (other excuses: illness in family, death in family, getting fired, moving, sick - see Beckstead, Rodger, Dunetz, Jacoby, Hicks, etc etc)
-to bring up stories of childhood/parental abuse (watch these, they are the same old stories each time, and if you listen closely, you may see that his behaviors closely match those childhood abuse patterns...)
-to bring up troubles and things bothering him at work (Hicks, Dunetz... so far all did this!)
-to bring up his hurt and "pain" over something YOU did ages ago, and have long-since paid for.
-his wife/parent/child/friend is ill and he's under a lot of stress and YOU are making it worse. (Ed Hicks did this!)
-"missing" a grown child who has left the home, or children he abandoned and his former partner "won't let him" visit (big wonder why...). (Ed Hicks AGAIN!)
If you DO manage to get an abuser to a relationship counsellor, (something many abusers will insist you two don't need - he'll insist that you "can work things out yourselves..."), the abuser will work to ensure that the counsellor sees HIM as the mistreated partner, or at the very least, that his behaviors are one-time incidents rooted in just cause.
Beware. Sometimes counsellors buy into that stuff, and you end up getting a double-whammy. Another destabilizing tactic that the abuser may use is to reneg on a committment, or on a stated belief, catching you off-guard, possibly even putting you in a position where he can accuse you of "hurting" him because you didn't know his beliefs/principles/goals had changed. He will use the excuse that he "changed his mind" as a tool for keeping you off-balance. If you question his about-face, he will accuse you of not allowing him the right to change his mind. (example: Dunetz mentioned to his Targets - what they were doing was 'wrong and immoral' while still seeing hookers on his lunch hours and he was leading them on at night that saying he couldn't "control" his "feelings" for them)
Emotional abusers often display different personalities to other people in their lives - watch for a completely changed demeanor, behavior, body language and even tone of voice, when they are at work, or with a circle of friends. (this is VERY easy to do on online!!)
The abuser may claim that this is just different "facets" of his personality, but in fact, it is a warning sign that he puts on different personnas to suit the situation, and you will never know which one is the REAL person. It belies huge insecurities - the way children try to act like the crowd they are with in order to be accepted - and is an indication of the emotional immaturity of the typical abuser.
Emotional abusers, like physical abusers, can be exceedingly charming -that's why it's so hard for the victim of abuse - their friends only see the charming side, and don't see the discourtesy, lies, meanness, condescension and rudeness that happens inside the relationship. (just a quick read of Dunetz's blog will show you this)
Because abuse is about power and control, the abuser will often try to become "buddies" or friends with his partner's closest friends. (Check the exposes, many of our cyberpaths did this EXACT thing)
If the victim's female friends are attracted to him at all, he may even try to prey on that, so that if she has a conflict or a problem with him, she doesn't have a close supportive friend to turn to. (Dunetz & Jacoby to a tee, readers!)
Abusers will use things like stories of childhood abuse or trauma, lost friends or the death of relatives to get her friends to feel sorry for him. He will play up the "sensitive guy" role. If he can cozy up to her best friend, the friend will feel caught in the middle - which is exactly what the abuser wants - to cut off his partner from external support. If he can, he may even flirt heavily with her friends, have an affair with one of her friends, or become pals with one or more of her former friends as another way to hurt and attempt to shame her. (Capers, Dunetz, Clive, Thomas did this and Lissa Daly used a form of this to hurt their victims!! Re-read their stories completely to see how this was accomplished!)
The emotional abuser often plays pushme-pullyou. He will indicate that his interest in his partner is waning, and when she begins to start separating from him, he will become attentive and interested again. He may even use sex as a weapon against her - by telling her that she isn't paying enough attention to him, spending enough time with him, or isn't initiating sex enough, but then will reject her advances when she tries to initiate. (Did your cyberpath tell you this about their wife/partner too??)
Abusers are completely self-centered. They blame other people and seldom take responsibility for their own actions. Abusers are self-righteous. They find ways to justify their behavior.
Emotional abusers hate apologizing - and if they DO 'apologize', they will only do the same thing again.
This is called "projection" - abusers do it all the time. They project THEIR issues onto their partner, and try to make it their partner's problem. They make it sound like the partner's is somehow wrong or attempting to set them up for "blame", for wanting some sign of compassion and remorse, and an indication of willingness to work on the behavior problem.
Abusers may, early in the relationship, in a moment of "opening up", tell you of their abusive or manipulative nature. .... They may even go so far as to say, "I told you this is how I am." (did they say "I am sick" or "I need help" or "I need to work on ...." or "I have a problem with....")
Emotional abusers often grow OLD without growing UP. They are emotionally stunted and immature. Emotional abusers are self-preoccupied, and demonstrate a passive-aggressive interpersonal style. (see Cyberpaths & the Online Disinhibition Effect)
Emotional abusers deny that they have any problems and/or project their problems onto their partner, often accusing their partners of abuse - especially AFTER the partner has woken up and called the abuser on his behavior. At this point he will be sure to tell as many *mutual* friends as will listen, that she is controlling and abusive to him, in an attempt to further undermine any support she might get. (Cyberpaths say you and your friends are 'ganging up on them' when caught in their lies)
An emotional abuser demonstrates little capacity to appreciate the perspective of another person when his own interests are at stake. Emotional abusers often flip between being a martyr and a self-absorbed asshole - there is no middle ground, and they use the martyrdom as an excuse for their behavior when they are in self-absorbed a**hole mode.
...An emotional abuser sees himself as a blameless victim, and denies his own provocative behavior, even going so far as to bemoan the fact that a partner left him, or threw him out, ...
The emotional abuser will play up the "pathos" in an attempt to garner sympathy, all the while, continuing to (cyber)stalk his ex, making jokes about things he could do to upset her, and invading her personal space and boundaries ... (almost all the Cyberpaths we have exposed have gone to their target's personal sites, boards on which they post, etc. saying they were "just protecting THEMSELVES again their Target's relentless abuse. Turnabout!! and projection, readers. Prime Example: Campbell filing a frivolous lawsuit against his victim that was thrown out!)
Like physical abusers, emotional abusers will often stalk their former partners. The stalker's objective is often to control her through cultivating fear rather than making direct or specific threats, or confronting the her. This is a subtle form of terrorism, because abuse victims are often very emotionally (if not physically) afraid of their abusers once they wake up. (Look at the AfterThoughts of our victims - scrolling in right column)
Ex-partners of abusers will often express fear of their abuser, and will have no desire to be anywhere near the abuser. On the other hand, the abuser may try to appear as if he is calm, rational, and still supportive of his ex-partner, despite the fact that he will also express the opinion that he believes she is quite unstable. (are you on the same boards? visit the same sites? But its YOU that is stalking him? Because the cyberpath cannot and will not maintain a cordial distance! But that's YOUR fault. LOL... NOT)
He will make statements such as saying that he "bears her no ill-will", etc., but then will show no respect for her boundaries ... The abuser will still inquire with friends as to how she is doing, implying that his inquiry is because he cares about her - he does care - about retaining those last vestiges of control, even after the breakup. What he really wants to know is if she is suffering or doing badly, because that feeds his sick ego. He feels best when he puts other people in as much pain as he is in.
People in relationships have conflicts. But there is a right way and a wrong way to resolve them, and no matter what the other person does, no matter what a person's "issues" are, abuse is the wrong way. Emotional cruelty and abuse are choices.
Because the truth of the matter is, someone who can be emotionally cruel, malicious, and compassionless with people who have given him their love and their trust, is so absorbed in self-hate that he is incapable of loving himself, much less anyone else. What the abuser feels is obsession, not love.
People who are capable of maintaining and contributing to a loving, supportive, healthy relationship, DON'T need to constantly have the concepts of respect, compassion, and consideration explained to them.
Just because he admits his behavior (and WATCH - some abusers are VERY good at acknowledging they did something without apologizing, or admitting there was anything WRONG with the behavior.), does NOT mean he is willing to change it, that he will not repeat the behavior, nor that he even believes he did anything unacceptable, hurtful or wrong. DO NOT take admission of an act as a sign of integrity, acceptance of responsibility, a show of remorse, or an indication of genuine caring, unless you see EXPLICIT behavior that demonstrates it.
People who ARE capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, DON'T WANT TO HURT YOU, and do not DELIBERATELY DO THINGS TO HURT YOU. They don't play on your insecurities and they don't wage psychological warfare on you. They don't blame YOU for all the relationship problems, and they don't fabricate problems just so you can be the scapegoat.
Remember: Safe People are people who draw you closer to who you were meant to be spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. They encourage you to be your most loving, growing self.