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Evan Rachel Wood Talks ‘Phoenix Rising,’ Alleged Abuser Marilyn Manson: ‘I Don’t Believe That He Will Stop Until He Is Stopped’

The first part of the two-part documentary mini-series directed by Amy Berg debuts on HBO Max on Tuesday night.

Billboard/March 15, 2022

By Gil Kaufman

Evan Rachel Wood appeared on The Daily Show on Monday night (March 14) to talk about the 16-year journey she took to confronting her alleged abuser and the reason she hopes her new two-part documentary, Phoenix Rising, could help other people who feel trapped in a cycle of abuse come forward and speak their truth.

“I don’t believe that he will stop until he is stopped,” she said of Marilyn Manson, her former fiancé, who she claims in the film methodically groomed her when she 18 and isolated her before allegedly subjecting the Westworld star to ritualistic abuse. “And sometimes the greatest act of love is stopping that person from hurting themselves or hurting anybody else.”

The nearly three-hour mini-series, directed and produced by acclaimed Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg (best known for her Catholic church sex abuse film Deliver Us From Evil and the sex abuse in Hollywood doc An Open Secret), premieres on HBO Max tonight (March 15). The first part chronicles Wood’s rise in Hollywood as a 13-year-old star-in-the-making and her chance meeting with Manson (born Brian Warner) at a party when she was 18. In the film she describes how that evening turned into a years-long relationship and engagement with the decades-older rocker that she claims included vicious sexual, physical and emotional abuse, including alleged anti-Semitic taunts and threats against the actress, who is Jewish; Manson has repeatedly denied the allegations and earlier this month sued Wood for defamation over the accusations, which the suit claimed is part of an “organized attack.”

Wood explained why she thinks it took 16 years for her to open up about her alleged abuse at the hands of Manson, who has also been accused of similar acts by a number of other women, which he has also denied. “You’re running, you’re trying to forget it happened, and then, of course, it catches up with you and I couldn’t run from it,” Wood said, explaining that she threw herself into therapy after years of vowing to “take it to my grave” over her fears about making her experience public. “I was that afraid of retaliation, I just did not feel safe and I felt very alone. I thought I was the only one.”

The latter sentiment is one she’s said is common among survivors of abuse, another reason she decided to share her story. After testifying in front of Congress for the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights in 2018, Wood said she thought she had said all there was to say, though at the time she did not publicly reveal her alleged abuser. But when people began emerging online with similar stories, with “very specific details,” she said she recognized as things you could not know unless you’d stood toe-to-toe with your abuser, she knew she had to break her silence.

“I knew it was real, and that’s when it changed,” she told Noah, adding that the film also tackles Manson’s own self-reported history of childhood trauma because, “I do believe in accountability and healing and reform and I think there is a time and a space for that.” Without going to the root of violence in the home, Wood said, we cannot see that “violence begets violence.”

“There are people who can stop the cycle and there are people, like Brian,” she said, naming Manson for the first and only time using his birth name more than half-way into the interview. “That don’t want help. And he’s had every opportunity. He’s had so many people try. And he has refused it every time.”

Wood also noted that the statute of limitations on sexual abuse was one-to-three years when she started advocating for the Phoenix Act in California — though she said it often takes 7-10 years to “process, understand and heal” from trauma — a time frame she described as “nothing” to a survivor still trying to come to terms with the physical, mental and emotional impact of abuse.

She pointed out that she spent a total of four years with “him” (presumably Manson), someone she called expert at “brainwashing” and isolation, comparing that time to being in a cult. “When you’re in it, you can’t see the forest through the trees, up is down, down is up. It’s you two against the world and it is a secret that nobody will ever be able to understand,” she said. “And you gotta to break free of that illusion, and it takes time.”

Former Playmate says Hugh Hefner’s mansion had ‘cult-like’ atmosphere: ‘He believed he owned these women’

Miki Garcia was a Playmate and head of promotions from 1973 to 1982

Independent, UK/January 25, 2022

By Clémence Michallon

A former Playmate has denounced the “cult-like atmosphere” she says Hugh Hefner cultivated around him.

Miki Garcia was a Playmate and head of promotions from 1973 to 1982. She’s one of the participants in Secrets of Playboy, a new documentary about Hefner and Playboy set to start airing on A&E.

The documentary series features several former members of Hefner’s entourage, reflecting and sharing their accounts of the culture they say Hefner created at the Playboy mansion starting in the Seventies.

“It was cult-like,” Garcia says at one point. “The women had been groomed and led to believe they were part of this family. And he really did believe he owned these women.”

She adds: “We had Playmates that overdosed. There were Playmates that committed suicide.”

Garcia says she thought about writing a book, because she thought “maybe all of this stuff would go away” if she did.

“Hefner even sent someone to buy me off,” she says. “When you get someone that powerful to be that fearful, anything could happen. Anything. I had a bodyguard. I was that afraid.”

Through a mix of interviews and archival footage, Secrets of Playboy , a 10-hour documentary series, will explore “how the Playboy machine was a powerful force that, at its worst, manipulated women in a toxic environment, silencing their voices, pitting them against one another, and opening the door to sexual predators”, according to A&E.

Ahead of the documentary’s release, the PLBY Group, the company behind the magazine and its related properties, issued an open letter seeking to separate the current Playboy magazine from Hefner, who died in 2017 aged 91.

“We want to reach out to you in light of the forthcoming A&E docuseries that we understand will recount allegations of abhorrent actions by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and others,” the statement reads in part.

“First and foremost, we want to say: we trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences. As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable.”

It adds: “As you know, the Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy, and today’s Playboy is not Hugh Hefner’s Playboy.”

“Please join us in doing the most important thing we can do right now — listen,” the statement goes on. “It is critically important that we listen as these women share their stories and that we continue to fight harassment and discrimination in all its forms, support healing and education, redefine tired and sexist definitions of beauty and advocate for inclusivity across gender, sexuality, race, age, ability, and zip codes.”

Secrets of Playboy started airing with a two-hour premiere on A&E on Monday (24 January) at 9pm ET/PT. The programme will also be available on demand and to stream on aetv.com and on the A&E app. New episodes will keep airing on Mondays until the finale on 21 March.

52 Ways to Identify a Covert Narcissist

52 Ways to Identify a Covert Narcissist

How to take a closer look.

Psychology Today/July 7, 2020

By Julie Hall, reviewed by Kaja Perina

Key Points:

  • The covert narcissist fails to develop emotional empathy, self-awareness, or a stable sense of identity and self-esteem in childhood.
  • Covert narcissists avoid the spotlight and prefer passive-aggressive means of controlling others due to their fear being exposed and humiliated.
  • Tactics of a covert narcissist might include belittling, triangulation, and avoiding direct responsibility.

The flamboyance of overt narcissists can make them pretty easy to identify, but what about the covert narcissist in your life?

Recognizing covert personality traits requires looking beyond obvious appearances, past common assumptions and expectations. For this reason, covert narcissism is more difficult to spot, and it can take years to recognize it in someone you think you know well. But the good news is that once you become aware of the patterns and signs of covert narcissism, you aren’t likely to miss them again.

Covert Narcissism Checklist

The more covert form of pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is not expressed the same way in every individual, but there are typical patterns that are very common. If you see many or most of these attitudes and behaviors in a person you know, you’re probably dealing with someone who suffers—and makes others suffer—with covert narcissism.Is passive-aggressiveCriticizes and judges from the sidelines

1. Is passive-aggressive
2. Criticizes and judges from the sidelines
3. Is condescending and superior
4. Is threatened by honesty and directness
5. Swings between idealizing and devaluing him-/herself and others
6. Denies and dismisses others’ feelings
7. Cultivates a public image sharply different from his/her private behavior
8. Identifies as a victim
9. Is cynical and sarcastic
10. Makes unreasonable demands
11. Turns your problems into his/her dramas
12. Belittles and blames
13. Exploits and/or attacks others’ vulnerability
14. Is reactive to questioning or criticism
15. Plays on sympathies
16. Fakes or exaggerates illness/injury for attention
17. Withholds and stonewalls
18. Gaslights
19. Avoids introspection and lacks self-awareness
20. Uses platitudes in place of genuine insight
21. Denies own anger
22. Focuses on unfairness
23. Is envious and vengeful
24. Prefers to remain behind the scenes
25. Gossips
26. Triangulates
27. Holds a grudge
28. Needs reassurance
29. Is inattentive or annoyed when others talk
30. Has double standards
31. Hates to lose
32. Fixates on others’ problems and misfortunes
33. Flatters and fawns to win favor
34. Displays rage and contempt in private
35. Resists decision-making
36. Does not sincerely apologize
37. Avoids direct responsibility
38. Has an exaggerated sense of entitlement
39 Is impressed by the overt narcissist’s appearance of confidence
40. Lacks emotional empathy
41. Focuses on appearance over substance
42. Rushes to (false) intimacy
43. Is anxious and hypervigilant
44. Displays false humility and humblebrags
45. Is prone to paranoia and conspiracy theories
46. Crosses normative boundaries and codes of conduct
47. Pokes, prods, and pries
48. Feels special through association
49. Feels above the rules
50. Uses guilt and shame to control and punish
51. Expects caretaking
52. Conducts smear campaigns

The Overt Versus the Covert Narcissist

Like the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist fails to develop emotional empathy, self-awareness, or a stable sense of identity and self-esteem in childhood. Both feel defective and cope with underlying insecurity and shame by repressing those feelings and adopting a grandiose persona, a delusion of superiority and entitlement that they constantly assert at the expense of those around them.

Although covert narcissists avoid the spotlight and prefer passive-aggressive means of controlling others, this is not necessarily because they are introverted as is often stated. Rather, they lack the brash confidence of overt narcissists and fear being exposed and humiliated if they draw public attention to themselves. Often this is because they have been conditioned not to compete with a domineering overt narcissist parent.

Recognizing the covert narcissist in your life is the first step to overcoming your self-defeating cycles of confusion, guilt, anger, self-blame, and emotional and physical trauma.

9 Ways Many Narcissists Behave Like Cult Leaders

How to recognize narcissists’ manipulative and cult-like tactics.

Psychology Today/March 17, 2021

By Dan Neuharth Ph.D., MFT

Key Points:

  • Individuals high in narcissism, like cult leaders, often inflate their own sense of importance and behave in ways that are destructive to others.
  • Similarities between narcissists and cult leaders include a tendency to lie and turn others against each other for their own ends, along with little tolerance for dissent.
  • To escape the negative influence of a narcissist, be mindful of what you share with them and set firm boundaries about how you will and won’t be treated.

The strategies many narcissists instinctively use to get their way in personal relationships can be strikingly similar to the coercive tactics used by destructive cult leaders to indoctrinate and control followers.

If you have a spouse, family member, friend, or boss who is narcissistic, ask yourself whether any of the following nine characteristics of destructive cults and cult leaders sound familiar.

1. Cult leaders act larger than life.

They claim to be innately good, possessing special wisdom, answerable to no one, with no one above them.

2. Cult members are expected to subjugate their own needs for the “good” of the leader or cause.

Members are told that what the cult wants them to do is for their own good, even if it is self-destructive.

3. An “us versus them” attitude prevails.

Outsiders are viewed as dangerous or as potential enemies. This turns members’ focus outward, distracting from problems within the cult. Viewing others as enemies can be used to justify extreme actions because of the “dangers” that outsiders pose.

4. Feelings are devalued, minimized, or manipulated.

Shame, guilt, coercion, and fear appeals keep members in line. Members are taught to discount their own intuition and healthy instincts in favor of the leader or cult’s teachings. Over time, members can lose touch with their healthy habits and innate values.

5. Questioning and dissent are not tolerated.

Having doubts about the leader or cult is considered shameful or sinful. Members are told that doubting or dissenting indicates that there is something wrong or bad with the member.

6. The ends justify the means.

The “rightness” of the leader and cult justifies behavior that violates most people’s standards for ethics and honesty. In the zealotry of the cult, anything goes.

7. Closeness to the cult and leader is rewarded, while independence is punished.

Temporary ostracism is used to punish behavior that doesn’t conform to group rules. Members fear being estranged from the group and losing the promised protection and benefits offered by the leader and group.

8. Lies are repeated so often they seem true.

The cult leader cannot be wrong and never needs to apologize.

9. Communication is coercive or deceptive.

Things are not always what they seem. This fosters confusion, leaving members vulnerable. When confused, members seek solace in the aura of certainty the leader seems to possess.

If you notice similarities between such cult-like techniques and your relationship with a narcissistic person, keep in mind:

  • Cults and narcissists use powerful forms of manipulation, but there is nothing magical about what they do. Understanding their methods can allow you to avoid being taken in.
  • If someone is narcissistic, be mindful of sharing personal information with that person, as it may be used against you.
  • In any adult relationship, you have the right to confront, prevent, or remove yourself from manipulation or coercive control at any time. You do not need to give a reason, and you do not need the other person’s permission.
  • In any adult relationship, you have the right to ask questions, make your own decisions, and honor your values and goals.
  • Nobody has the right to tell you what to think or how to feel.

Landmark coercive control sentence a warning to all abusers – charity

Irish Examiner/January 22, 2021

By Liz Dunphy and Brion Hoban

A landmark sentencing, in a case tried under relatively new domestic abuse legislation, is “a shot across the bows to all abusers,” a leading domestic abuse charity has said.

Daniel Kane, 52, was convicted of coercively controlling and repeatedly assaulting his former partner during a domestic reign of terror in which he sliced her skin with a pizza cutter, fractured multiple bones, attacked her after surgery, burned her foot and stamped on her head.

Kane was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison, with two years suspended.

He is the first person to be convicted of coercive control by a jury following a trial.

The successive attacks and demeaning verbal and psychological abuse “sucked the life and soul of confidence” out of his victim and shattered her sense of self-worth.

She became “meek and submissive” and said in her victim impact statement that she “might be dead or in a vegetative state” if doctors and gardaí had not intervened to get her away from Kane.

But Kane’s sentence tells abusers “very clearly that they can no longer control, stalk, assault, isolate or degrade a woman with impunity,” Mary McDermott, CEO of domestic abuse charity, Safe Ireland, said.

“What was once secret and privatised, is now public. In Ireland, the coercion and assault of any human being is a crime.

“Living in a ‘lockdown time’ we are gaining ever greater understandings of these household traumas and imprisonment.

Women’s Aid, a frontline organisation that supported the victim in this case, also welcomed the sentencing.

Sarah Benson, chief executive of Women’s Aid said:

“It is a pattern of multiple manipulative behaviours used by one party to wear down, isolate and completely control another.

“Today’s sentencing sends out a strong signal to domestic abusers. Coercive control is a serious crime and it will be treated as such by the gardaí and the courts.”

Coercive control, gaslighting and love bombing – pupils urged to identify toxic relationships during lockdown

January 19, 2021

By Louise McEvoy

Lockdown provides the perfect opportunity for young people to re-evaluate their relationships and take potentially life-changing steps to cut toxic ties with people.

This is according to Stevenage mum Marilyn Hawes, the founder of Freedom of Abuse, who is dedicated to protecting children from abuse in all its forms, through outreach work which includes visiting schools to give talks.

Marilyn is encouraging teenagers to use the space and distance from their friends, girlfriends or boyfriends during lockdown to think carefully about whether those relationships are healthy or not.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Marilyn trialled a course at two Stevenage secondary schools – Nobel and Marriotts – called Beauty or the Beast, which compared toxic relationships with healthy ones.

She said: “There is so much emphasis in schools about healthy relationships, but young people need to understand a toxic relationship so they can make an informed decision. They don’t understand coercive control, gaslighting or love bombing, for instance.”

Coercive control is an act – or a pattern of acts – of assault, threats, humiliation or intimidation that is used to harm, punish or frighten. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. Love bombing is the practice of showering a person with excessive affection and attention in order to gain control or significantly influence their behaviour.

Marilyn said: “It need not be a romantic relationship – some friendships can be toxic. It’s not about gender or sexuality.
“Our evaluations showed young people felt their PSHE – personal, social, health and economic – education was too focused on healthy relationships. If a youngster is living in a domestic abuse situation, the toxicity becomes normal and is the most repeated abuse later in life. Contrary to this, if a child lives in a happy, balanced home environment, how can they compare a toxic one?

“Following the course, we received many disclosures of teens experiencing issues, and also those who were alerted and made aware of peers they could support.

“We also explain that anyone who is a domestic abuser needs help. Fundamentally, there are deep-seated issues, many of which will go back to their own childhood trauma.”

Steve Morley, assistant headteacher and head of safeguarding at Nobel, said a number of parents, as well as students, made disclosures about domestic abuse as a result of Marilyn’s course.

Lesley Tether, assistant headteacher and head of safeguarding at Marriotts, added: “We have worked closely with Marilyn to educate our students regarding important safeguarding issues. With Years 10 to 13, Marilyn has covered controlling relationships, dating violence and, importantly, the red flags to be aware of. We had a number of disclosures following these talks, and the course has helped open the discussion to an otherwise taboo subject. Marilyn also has extensive knowledge on grooming, the dark web and criminal exploitation. In the current climate these talks are essential to any school.”

Marilyn said: “What is concerning is young people’s lack of knowledge regarding coercive control. It is easy to confuse possessiveness and jealousy with caring and being protective. During lockdown is a great opportunity – giving personal space – to review who is in your life and whether they should be.

“Are you with someone who makes you feel you are wrong? Someone who easily sulks and keeps it up for days? Someone possessive and jealous?

“Leaving it in the hope things will settle down gives a message you are OK with it, and in reality things will just become worse, so you feel trapped. Discuss it with the person and watch their reaction. If they refuse to hear what you are saying then just walk away – amputate them from your life rather than let them drag you down.”

Gaslighting:

Gaslighting: The Narcissist’s favorite tool of Manipulation – How to avoid the Gaslight Effect and Recovery from Emotional and Narcissistic Abuse J. Covert, Dr. Theresa (Independently published July 24, 2019)Order

A Glossary of Narcissistic Slang Terms

A basic guide to gaslighting, love bombing, hoovering, and flying monkeys.

Psychology Today/September 2, 2019

By Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D.

When I first entered the online conversation about narcissistic personality disorder, I discovered that a number of slang terms were being used to describe narcissistic behaviors that I had never encountered in academic writing. Eventually, I deciphered their meanings.

Some of these terms are actually quite clever and capture important aspects of the experience of loving someone with narcissistic personality disorder—such as gaslighting, hoovering, and flying monkeys. However, many of these terms are being misused in much the same way that uninformed people casually label people as narcissists without any real understanding of what mental health professionals mean by that diagnosis.

So, in the interests of clarity, I have started to assemble a glossary in which I define the most frequently encountered narcissistic slang terms in ways that are consistent with both my professional knowledge of narcissistic personality disorder and also with how these terms are currently being used in blogs and online articles by non-mental health professionals. I also try, where possible, to provide the source for these terms because knowing the original context often clarifies the meaning.

Note: In this article, I am using the terms “narcissist” and “narcissistic” as shorthand ways to describe someone who qualifies for a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.

Gaslighting

Source: This term comes from a 1938 play called “Gaslight” and the two later 1940’s movie remakes of the play. The play and the movies are set during the late 19th century when gas lights were used for indoor lighting. The basic plot concerns a husband Gregory who is trying to convince his new wife Paula that she is going insane so he can have her committed and get her power of attorney.  Unbeknownst to Paula, Gregory is also covertly searching their house for the valuable jewels that he believes are hidden there.

Gregory is a master manipulator and he heartlessly does whatever he can to make Paula doubt herself.  He searches the attic causing the gas lights in the rest of the house to dim, but when Paula comments on the dimming lights, Gregory denies that it is happening and tells her that she is imagining things.  He takes things, like Paula’s brooch, and then tries to convince Paula that she is losing things and that her memory is not to be trusted. Similarly, when she says that she has heard footsteps the attic, instead of Gregory admitting that he has been up there, he claims that these, like the gaslights and the missing brooch, are all figments of Paula’s disordered imagination and proof that she is going crazy.

NPD Meaning: Narcissistic gaslighting occurs when people with narcissistic personality disorder refuse to admit that they are wrong or have done something bad to their mate. Even when they are caught in the act, they will often try to convince the other person that he or she is paranoid and is imagining the whole thing.

Example—Betty and the Texts

Betty has long suspected that her husband Dan might be having an affair, but she had no real proof. He had started staying late at work and a few times had come home drunk with his clothing rumpled. One day when Dan was in the shower, she glanced at his phone and saw a series of sexy text messages from some woman.

Betty confronted Dan with the texts and asked him point-blank who this woman was and told him about her suspicions that he is having an affair.  Instead of telling his wife the truth, Dan gaslights her and says: “You must be crazy. Why are you so paranoid all of a sudden? I have no idea who that woman is who texted me. She must have the wrong number.”

Dan refuses to admit that he is seeing another woman and keeps telling Betty that she is paranoid.  He continues denying everything even when Betty tells him that two of her friends saw him out to dinner with a sexy blond in a short red dress. This is a classic example of narcissistic gaslighting.

Flying Monkeys

Source: This term comes from the children’s book The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum and the very popular 1939 movie based on it.  The movie starred Judy Garland as Dorothy, the young heroine of the story. Dorothy and her little dog Toto are swept up by a tornado in Kansas and end up in the magical land of Oz. Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East killing her. Her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, blames Dorothy for her sister’s death and seeks revenge. The Wicked Witch has a very scary troop of flying monkeys who do her bidding. She sends them after Dorothy.

NPD Meaning: Flying monkeys are the slang term for any group of people that the narcissist enlists as allies to persecute someone that the narcissist hates.  To gain their support, the narcissist makes up lies that portray the other person as evil and the narcissist as the real victim.

Example—Jon and the Lies

Jon’s wife Lisa has the exhibitionist form of narcissistic personality disorder. She is a very dramatic person and loves to be the center of attention.  When she is angry with Jon, she makes up stories about how he secretly abuses her. She then calls all their friends to complain about the alleged abuse. Lisa cries on the phone and is very convincing.  Many of the people she speaks with believe her. They reason: “ Who really knows what goes on behind closed doors in a marriage?”

Jon has no idea what Lisa is saying about him behind his back until he runs into some of their mutual friends and they are barely civil to him. The rumors get worse, stoked by exaggerated stories about Jon’s supposed nasty temper. Lisa’s group of flying monkeys now feel entitled to insult Jon whenever they see him. Jon tries to defend himself, but Lisa’s flying monkeys discount everything he says. He finds himself increasingly isolated as the rumors spread and he is portrayed as an abusive husband.

Going “Gray Rock”

Source: The term gray rock appears to have been first used by a blogger Skyler in her article “The Gray Rock Method of Dealing with Psychopaths.”  Unfortunately, Skyler misuses the term psychopath to describe anyone that she sees as dramatic, unpleasant, attention-seeking, and malevolent.  She includes narcissists in this group.

NPD Meaning: If you are involved with a narcissist whom you cannot avoid, many people advise going gray rock.  This means that your manner during your interactions with the narcissist is as boring, unemotional, and neutral as you can manage.  Essentially, you become as uninteresting as a gray rock.

Example: Anna and her Abusive Ex Richard

Anna divorced her narcissistic husband Richard after he started to verbally and physically abuse her.  If it were just her, she might not have left, because she idealized Richard and they had a passionate and very satisfying sex life.  But after their son Jake was born, Anna watched him with the baby and became afraid that one day Richard would lose his temper and hurt Jake. Richard was awarded some visitation rights as part of the divorce agreement.

Every time Richard came to pick up Jake, he tried to start a fight with Anna.  He hated the idea that he could no longer control her. Getting her upset and making her cry felt like good revenge, and he knew exactly what to say to provoke her.

Anna turned to her best friend Christine for advice.  Christine had gone through something similar in her divorce.  Christine said that Anna was giving Richard too much satisfaction by reacting to his jibes and attempts to upset her.  She needed to go gray rock.  From now on, whenever she was in Richard’s presence, she should say as little as possible, ignore his insults, and be neutral, unemotional, and boring.  She would literally bore him into leaving her alone.

Love Bombing

Source: According to Wikipedia.org, the term love bombing was coined by members of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church of the United States in the 1970s.  New members of the group were showered with displays of warmth and attention.  The church members say that love bombing was intended to be an expression of genuine friendship and concern.  Critics of the practice saw it as a form of psychological manipulation used by cults in order to solidify the new member’s devotion to the group.

NPD Meaning: The term love bombing is now used to describe narcissists’ over-the-top courtship tactics when they are chasing someone that they are trying to seduce or make fall in love with them. It is wildly romantic behavior that includes constant praise, promises of undying love, thoughtful little gifts, late-night texts, and anything and everything that the narcissist thinks will secure the love of the person he or she has chosen.  This intense positive attention is often accompanied by pressure for a quick commitment.  Unfortunately, once the narcissist actually secures the person’s love, the love-bombing generally stops and is eventually replaced by devaluation or indifference.

Example—Patrick and Chad

Patrick, an exhibitionist narcissist, met Chad at a friend’s party. He invited Chad to join him for brunch the next day.  Chad turned him down with some vague excuse that made it obvious that he was not really interested in pursuing a relationship with Patrick.

Instead of giving up, Patrick started love-bombing Chad.  He started sending Chad little late-night texts saying how much he had enjoyed Chad’s company at the party and how special Chad was. When Chad sent him a brief polite text back, Patrick redoubled his efforts. His texts became increasingly flirty and sexual.  He also started forwarding Chad emails about topics that he thought would interest him. Finally, after a couple of weeks of texting, Chad agreed to meet Patrick for a drink.

Over drinks, Patrick showered Chad with attention and asked to be given a chance to prove that they would make a great couple.  Chad was not won over and decided to avoid Patrick in the future.  When Patrick realized that Chad was backing off, he increased his love bombing.

He knew Chad loved the theater, but that his budget did not allow him to go very often.  Patrick splurged and bought great seats to a show that he knew Chad wanted to see.  Patrick then called Chad and said: “I know you are not really interested in me, but we both love the theater and I was just given two great tickets to that show you mentioned.  How about if we just go as friends?  No expectations.” (Notice the lies).

This continued.  Patrick showered Chad with praise and presents and made lots of promises about their future together: “I can’t wait to take you to the beach house I rent every summer.  I know you will love it there.”

Eventually, Chad weakened and started spending more and more time with Patrick.  Chad reasoned, “Maybe I should really give this relationship a chance.  Nobody has ever treated me this well or wanted me this much.” Unfortunately, once Patrick realized that he had hooked Chad, he started to lose interest in him.  For Patrick, love was about the chase, not the person.

Hoovering

Source: The term hoovering is derived from the name of the Hoover vacuum cleaner.  In Ireland and the UK, “to hoover” became synonymous with using a vacuum cleaner to suck up dirt.

NPD Meaning:  The term hoovering has now been extended to refer to a narcissist’s attempts to suck a discarded mate back into a relationship by saying and doing things that the ex would find irresistible.

Example: William and Betty

When narcissistic William first met Betty, he saw her as the special woman that he had been looking for his entire adult life.  Betty was beautiful, educated, and from a higher social class than William.  When their relationship started, he treated her like a queen.  William moved fast, asked Betty to give up her job, marry him, and move with him to another state where she knew no one.

After they had lived together for a while, William got bored and lost interest in Betty.  There was no more talk of marriage.  William started devaluing her and picking fights.  After one particularly vicious fight in which he blamed Betty’s supposed selfishness for the death of their relationship, William packed his things, moved out, and left Betty heartbroken in a strange town with a new expensive apartment that she could not afford to keep.

Betty was stunned, deeply depressed, and had no idea what had happened to their once wonderful relationship. She cried on and off for a year, tried to contact William to get closure, but he never answered her texts, phone calls or emails.  Eventually, Betty asked her family for help and went into therapy.

A year goes by.

All of a sudden Betty gets a sweet text on her birthday from William, “Thinking of you.  Hope you are having a lovely day.”  Betty is stunned to hear from him but decides that her best course of action is to ignore him completely.

William is determined to hoover Betty back into a relationship with him.  In addition to sending her cute flirty texts every day, he has a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers delivered to her house. When Betty still refuses to speak to him, William’s next move is a classic hoover technique:  he sends her a letter apologizing for all he has put her through.

I love you madly. I know you must hate me.  I deserve every bad thing that you think about me.  I was crazy to treat you the way I did.  I realize now that I made the biggest mistake of my life when I let you go. (Notice how he just re-characterized his running out on her as “letting her go”).  You are the only woman that I have ever loved.  Please give me one more chance to prove that I have changed.  I will do anything you ask to prove how much I love you.  You won’t regret it. I promise.

Narcissistic Supplies

Source: According to Wikipedia.org, the term narcissistic supply is a concept that was introduced in 1938 by the psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel to describe the various ways that we use other people to prop up our self-esteem.

NPD Meaning: The term narcissistic supplies, or supply for short, describes anything and anyone that narcissists use to regulate their self-esteem.  The purpose of narcissistic supplies is to enhance the narcissist’s sense of being special.

Example: Edward the Philanthropist

Edward is what I call a “pro-social” exhibitionist narcissist. Edward is extremely wealthy and chooses to use his wealth to support his public image as someone who cares deeply about other people.  This is particularly ironic because Edward totally lacks emotional empathy. There is a huge difference between the face Edward shows the public and how he behaves towards those close to him. He is known for publicly humiliating anyone he dislikes.  At home, he is a tyrant and his wife and children fear him, as do the people who work for him.

Edward’s main source of narcissistic supplies is to give millions of dollars to high profile charitable causes that display his name and face.  He endowed a pediatric wing of a local hospital that is now named after him and he also supports a local library.  His favorite charity is public television.  He loves knowing that every time someone watches one of the television shows that he sponsors, his name and face are  prominently displayed on the screen in recognition of the money that he has given the show.

Narcissistic Word Salad

Source: The term word salad or its more formal name schizophasia refers to a form of disorganized and unintelligible speech that is characteristic of some forms of severe mental illness. Seemingly random phrases or words are linked together.  The term word salad is often associated with the psychotic disorder called schizophrenia.

NPD Meaning: The term narcissistic word salad is essentially a misuse of an important psychological term.  Instead of referring to an involuntary verbal sign of a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, it is being used as a slang term for a type of narcissistic speech that is purposefully confusing.  Listeners find narcissistic word salad extremely frustrating because the narcissist is using circular reasoning, outright lies, denial, or mischaracterizations of past events to avoid being wrong or having to take responsibility for something.

The Narcissistic Family System—The Golden Child & The Scapegoat
In families led by a powerful parent with a narcissistic personality disorder, the children in the family are sometimes assigned specific roles and are treated quite differently from each other. This is because people with narcissistic personality disorder lack whole object relations and cannot see their children realistically as having a blend of both good and bad traits. One child may become the recipient of the narcissistic parent’s all-good projections and is seen as perfect, while one or more of the other children may be seen as all-bad. In some families, these roles are reassigned according to whomever is the parent’s favorite that day.  This sometimes fosters competition among the children to please the parent and be seen as the good one.

The Golden Child: This is the term for the narcissistic parent’s favorite child. This child is idealized as perfect and special. The parent projects all the positive qualities of this golden child and brags about his or her wonderful accomplishments to anyone who will listen.

The Scapegoat: This child is the object of all the narcissistic parent’s negative projections. He or she is devalued and treated as an insignificant loser who is blamed for everything that goes wrong, including things that are clearly other people’s fault.

Example—Perry the Scapegoat

In Perry’s family, his brother David is the anointed golden child, while he is the perpetual scapegoat. When David hurt his hand while maliciously breaking one of Perry’s favorite toys, their narcissistic mother blamed Perry. “See what you did! It is your fault that your brother hurt his hand. What did you do to him?”

Punchline: A number of slang terms—gaslighting, golden child, flying monkeys, and so on—have been coined to describe people, coping mechanisms, and situations that relate to narcissistic personality disorder. Some of these terms have caught on and are now being used as catchy shorthand ways to describe narcissistic issues. However, many of the people using these terms are not very clear about what they actually mean.  In order to bring some clarity to the situation, I am suggesting that we start defining these terms, provide clear examples of what we mean by them, and not make the mistake of throwing them around with careless abandon.

Sleep Deprivation Can Be a Weapon in the Hands of an Abusive Partner

Unlike other types of physical abuse, sleep deprivation doesn’t leave a mark.

Vice/July 9, 2019

By Kimberly Lawson

Alice’s former husband often woke her up by slamming his hand down on the bed. He would keep her awake “until the wee hours of the morning,” she recalled. Sometimes, it didn’t matter who went to bed first; he would still find reasons to wake her in the middle of the night. “It could be because I was snoring. It could be because he [had woken up] and I was asleep and if he couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sleep. [Or] he’d had a dream and I’d done something in his dream and therefore he was really upset with me.”

Nights were terrifying, she said, though she often felt it was safer to go to sleep after her husband. “It became a really big deal for me,” she said. “If I was to fall asleep before he did, that’s usually when something would get out of hand.”

It’s been 10 years since Alice left her husband, but she remembers those experiences like they happened yesterday. To process her experience and help others understand the complexity of domestic violence, Alice (whose last name we’ve withheld to protect her children’s privacy) started a personal blog. One of her most viewed posts was the one published in 2012 detailing how her partner intentionally deprived her of sleep.

Victims of domestic violence often have trouble sleeping. But when a person intentionally weaponizes sleep deprivation—including not allowing their partner to go to bed, interrupting their sleep or punishing them for sleeping—experts say it becomes a form of physical abuse and torture, one that often goes unnoticed to the outside world. “I don’t know that anybody really would have told me it was abuse [back then],” Alice said. “I had a very good therapist at that time who pointed out that that wasn’t okay, but we didn’t spend a lot of time on it either.”

Everyone needs sleep; it is a basic biological function that is critical for our health. And it’s only now that we’re realizing how powerful, and devastating, sleep deprivation can be.

A 2007 exploratory study in the journal Violence Against Women offered a glimpse into how sleep loss leaves survivors feeling vulnerable to violence. Researchers interviewed 17 women whose sleep was disturbed by an abusive partner; all reported adjusting their sleeping patterns to minimize the daily threat of violence they faced. Some said they were afraid to sleep “too deeply” and others said they avoided sleep altogether when their partner was home.

“You would pretend to be asleep, then you would have to pretend to wake up. Either way it would be better to be awake, trying to figure out what he wanted or what he was going to do next,” one woman said.

As the study’s authors write, these narratives “bring into sharp relief the connection between sleep deprivation and the establishment of a regime of power and control by one person over another—the hallmark of domestic violence.”

In a follow-up study, researchers determined: “Sleep deprivation was clearly a direct strategy of abuse used by perpetrators. It also indirectly undermined the mental and physical resilience of women.”

Unlike other types of physical abuse, sleep deprivation doesn’t leave a mark. “Unfortunately, I think the only thing that society recognizes as abuse is a black eye,” said Heather Frederick, a spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “A lot of people who are experiencing sleep deprivation as a part of abuse understand this isn’t healthy, it’s not sustainable…but they may not make the connection that it’s about their partner trying to control them or trying to strong-arm them or have power over them.”

At her organization, Frederick said sleep deprivation is classified as a form of physical abuse, though it easily falls under emotional abuse as well. Similar to stopping someone from taking medication they need, interrupting someone’s sleep has a significant impact on their bodies and minds.

Victims of sleep deprivation often experience drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, and eventually disorientation, hallucinations, and paranoia. Chronic sleep loss can lead to serious health problems, including risk of high blood pressure, depression, and heart attack.

According to data gathered by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, four in 10 women and four in 10 men have experienced at least one form of coercive control (which includes any behavior a person uses to dominate their significant other) in their lifetime. One example where sleep is a vehicle for manipulation, Frederick said, occurs in the context of a long-distance relationship: A partner may require the other person to videochat with them to prove that they’re home alone or ask them to leave their phone on their pillow all night to listen to them sleep.

In Alice’s case, her partner even justified the sleep deprivation with one of the messages in the sermon given during their wedding, which had to do with married couples never letting the sun go down on their anger. “He used that against me for a long time,” she said, referring to her former husband. If she begged for sleep, he accused her of loving sleep more than she loved him.

In these scenarios, abusers usually aren’t trying to reach any kind of compromise, Frederick explained. “Their goal is to wear their victim out so that they cave in and give in to whatever it is the abusive partner is wanting to happen or whatever they’re looking for.”

As recently as 2014, the United Nations’ committee against torture called on the United States to end its practice of using sleep deprivation on detainees, calling it “a form of ill-treatment.”

In 2016, Tania Tetlow, then a law professor at Tulane University and now president of Loyola University New Orleans, made a compelling argument for states to pass laws “banning torture by private actors” as well, primarily as a better way to address domestic violence. She included sleep deprivation among the techniques that should be outlawed.

Imposing sleep deprivation on someone isn’t a crime in and of itself, Tetlow said in an interview, but that’s why the analogy of torture and domestic violence works. Domestic violence generally is a pattern crime, similar to stalking. “Any one act in isolation will not seem that egregious. It is the context of the pattern of behaviors and the intent of those behaviors and their cumulative impact that really makes it terrible.”

Tetlow acknowledged that sleep deprivation is one of those abusive tactics that may not seem like that big of a deal on its own. But it is an effective way to render somebody unable to function and make good judgments. “The biggest risk of lethality with domestic violence is not measured by the level of violence; it’s about the level of control,” she said. “That is a bigger indicator of the chance that someone will murder their victim.”

As an example, Tetlow pointed to one 2010 case in Louisiana: Jennifer Muse, 31, was shot and killed by her 78-year-old husband. Two days earlier, he’d been acquitted of domestic violence battery, a charge stemming from a fight in the middle of the night when she was upset that he woke her. According to Muse’s testimony, he did so often.

Repositioning domestic violence in the law as torture—a legal argument that’s yet to gain any traction—would send both abusers and the people they hurt a powerful message, Tetlow said: “Describing domestic violence as torture focuses the criminal justice system and the public on the defendant’s clear premeditation and culpability. We see batterers as merely angry, whereas we acknowledge torturers as cruel.”

For Alice, the survivor who left her partner over a decade ago, the long-term pain caused by the abuse continues to disrupt her life. She still has trouble going to bed at times. “I do feel like I’ve come a long way. I’m in a much different spot than I was then, but I still have my triggers. I still have things that can upset me quite a bit.”