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Nov 022015
 

The discussions here on Family Arrested about dissociation and how we cope with trauma and stress got me to thinking about the things I have observed in others and also observed in myself.

My first memory of discussion occurred when I was working in Africa as a wild life photographer and we were in a game reserve where they had some captive raised cheetah that they were trying to teach to kill prey. The area was fenced off, maybe 5 or so acres, and the captive cheetah were enclosed within this area.

At night the game rangers would go out and use a spot light to catch live antelope, which the next day they would drug up so that they were sort of wobbly, and the cats would chase and capture the antelope Much the way a mama cat brings nearly dead rats for her babies to learn to kill. Then as the cats got better at killing the rangers would give the antelope less and less drugs until the cats had learned to capture the animals.

Because the cats were not very adept at capturing with a throat kill, many times they would bring the antelope down by grabbing it’s haunches and then starting to eat the living animal from the back end. I observed that the antelope would “freeze” (actually disociation though I didn’t know the concept or the word then.)

Since the cats were very tame and I could approach the antelope while the cat was eating it from the back end, I realized that the antelope was “not there” mentally. Later, in working with animals who are “prey” animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, etc. I saw that same behavior. In fact, Dr. Temple Grandin who developed modern facilities for holding cattle designed a chute that would capture and HOLD a cow so that it could be given shots or other medical care without it fighting and hurting either itself or the handler. I bought one of these for my own cattle and it was “amazing” to me how well it worked. As soon as the chute “squeezed” in on the cow she would stop struggling, kicking and would remain that way while any procedure was done to her, even if that procedure was painful. It was almost as if she didn’t actually feel the pain.

Later, as I became more educated in psychology during my education as an advanced practice nurse, and worked with patients who dissociated, I realized (eventually) that I too would dissociate in times of stress. I would FREEZE in an emergency situation like a car wreck or other traumatic events. I looked back and saw several instances of me “freezing” when suddenly scared. I also learned that this is not an uncommon or rare event. It is a defense mechanism employed when reality is more than we can bear. It is sort of like denial on steroids!

Wiki has a very good article on dissociation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation_%28psychology%29

Looking back on my own life, and even the lives of others I have known, I’ve seen discussion on one level or another, some so severe that I believe now that they had the full monte of “multiple personality disorder” from an abusive home situation with a hyper controlling father. Dissociation was the only way they knew to cope.

Learning not to freeze in a traumatic situation may actually save a person’s life or the lives of others. If we tend to dissociate, becoming aware of this coping mechanism which, at times, is counter productive to survival and many times leads us to deny what is going on in our lives, and therefore fail to find a more productive way to cope.

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  19 Responses to “DISSOCIATION”

  1. Article up

  2. Joyce, thank you for bringing this term into discussion. “Dissociation” is often used and most people get a general gist, but they don’t necessarily understand that this can apply to themselves, as well. I surely didn’t know this.

    On a primal level, I imagine that it adapted into a “coping mechanism,” which explains why the racehorse, Ruffian, kept trying to run on a shattered leg and was eventually euthanized as a result of that dreadful injury.

    I know that I’ve dissociated myself from traumatic events throughout my lifetime – this is one of the reasons that I was awarded “Employee Of The Month” at a place where I was a manager, once. Some metal worker sustained a VERY bad head injury and everyone in the entire building was simply running around asking each other what to do. My “emotional Self” disappeared to a happy place, and the “practical Self” kicked in to delegate things for people to do and attend to the injured man. I don’t remember ANYTHING that I did other than trying to keep the man awake so that he didn’t go into shock.

    So………at the time, everyone was astounded by my “cool head” and ability to address what needed to be done when they were all so horrified that they couldn’t even speak a straight sentence. Now, thinking back, the ability to “function” under such dreadful duress is probably a leftover mechanism on how I coped with the traumas that I sustained as a child. I have absolutely no doubt that this is how that mechanism developed for me. In fact, long, long ago, I had enrolled in an EMS course that I had intended to take to EMT because (bold, underlined, italic) of what I believed to be an “ability” to do what needed to be done to help save lives. What I now realize (thanks to this discussion, specifically!) is that it wasn’t any amazing or magical “ability,” but a trauma-induced coping mechanism.

    I think there has to be a balance in between freezing and going into auto-mode, and I haven’t experienced that, yet. But, this is a VERY important topic of discussion, and I appreciate you writing about this, Joyce.

  3. Keeping your head in an emergency can depend on several things…when we are “living” as prey animals, living under tremendous stress, when confronted with an unexpected traumatic or frightening situation we may FREEZE, or we may focus on the event and how to fix whatever is going on that is frightening or dangerous.

    Looking back over my life, I can recall times when I actually dissociated and “went dark” Once I was in a car wreck that I could see coming, and there was no way in my mind to stop my V-W Bug hitting a bridge abutment at 70 miles an hour head on, and this was in the days BEFORE seat belts. I was about 4 months preg with my oldest son, and I saw the bridge coming, and CALMLY thought to myself “I am so sorry the baby is going to die with me.” then I “turned off” my consciousness like you would turn off a TV and “went dark” the next thing I knew I was in the vehicle upside down in the back seat. I actually had a broken neck bone, but no spinal cord damage so did not suffer lasting injuries from it.

    I realized later what I had done but of course had no name for it or any understanding of it, on several occasions I have dissociated but never to THAT extent like the car wreck…I can recall several instances where I was “surprised” by something to the point I got a big shot of adrenaline and froze, other times, like the plane crash that killed my husband, for about 2 days I was able to “function” somewhat, even at the crash site I knew I had to call 911, get the other three ambulatory burn victims (who were going into shock) to sit down. My youngest son, even though badly burned kept his head and helped me. My husband had kept his head when he saw the crash coming, and actually saved the lives of the other 3 people in the plane by keeping it upright. The man who caused the crash by panicking on take off (he was flying it) FROZE and did not turn off the electrical switches, therefore causing the fire on impact. If he hadn’t frozen no one would have been hurt at all.

    So sometimes, dissociation and “freezing” can cost us or others their lives. I am fortunate that my husband who was a passenger in the car and had been sleeping woke up and grabbed the wheel, the car did hit the bridge but spun around and hit it backwards, then rolled over 3 times. He was not injured at all. It still amazes me just how “calm” I felt as I saw what I thought was my own UNAVOIDABLE death coming right at me.

    Looking at the situation with the man and the dog as we were discussing on another thread, I was blindsided suddenly to some extent, but I did not “freeze” and just watch the disaster but did what was necessary to keep a real disaster from happening.

    The only thing I can get out of looking at all the very sudden and/or traumatic events where I either functioned or froze, it seems that if the danger I perceived was to MYSELF I froze, but if the danger was to someone else I kept functioning. But denial and dissociation have been “dysfunctional tools” in my emotional survival kit I guess for my entire life to one extent or another.

    I no longer intend to be prey though, and I think awareness of these dysfunctional coping mechanisms is important as a first step toward healing our dysfunctional thinking as well as how we cope with stress and/or trauma. In the instance of the dog-drama, I was surely filled with adrenaline, which after it was all over turned to anger at the man’s stupidity and apparent uncaring. I think mostly it was stupidity and ignorance combined. The anger is gone now, and so is the adrenaline. It is now just a learning experience.

  4. First off there’s a couple of instances in the OP where the word ‘discussion’ was used instead of ‘dissociation’ Two completely different things and I hope nobody got confused by it. “My first memory of discussion occurred” and ” I’ve seen discussion on one level or another”

    I recently figured out that when I dissociate, I withdraw. I back away and shut out the ‘offender’. How long is determined by what happened. I have been known to shut people out for days, even weeks if it was extremely bad. I don’t give them a chance to even try to fix things, I just shut them out completely, walk away and that’s it.

    When I’ve licked my wounds and I’m ready to come back around, then we’ll talk. Hopefully the other person will give me my space. If they don’t, I quickly turn into someone they really don’t want to be around for a while and I get my space.

    Sometimes it was something that was said and came out ALL WRONG…… The person didn’t mean it that way, but in the moment? I find myself thinking, “WOW! WTF!?!?!? and I’m out.”

    Recently a really good, long time friend of mine who is bipolar turned on me. I don’t know what was going on in his mind at the moment, but I have since shut down to them. It’s been about two weeks since we spoke last, but I just can’t bring myself to call him right now. There’s so much going on there and I know he wasn’t in his ‘right mind’, but I’m just not there yet. One day… maybe soon, but just not yet.

    • Phoenix, I don’t know how to describe my dissociation. I just became someone else, I think. I became completely separated from my Self and either took a vociferously aggressive posture, or I withdrew to find a “happy place” inside my head. Towards the end of the first abusive marriage, it was the latter form that I remember most. I just “wasn’t there,” so to speak.

      With regard to getting space after certain episodes, I mentioned a former friend on this post about a year ago, frequently. I believe that she is disordered in some way, but I couldn’t be bothered with sorting her out. What I did know was that she had been raised in a very, VERY emotionally environment and that physical abuse was secondary. She displayed all of the hallmark behaviors that I exhibited, and she would “go off” on me, occasionally, and I finally had enough of it.

      The final episode was during one of her cycles – it went from euphoric to depression to rage, and I was finally able to recognize the pattern. I don’t believe that she was BiPolar because these weren’t accompanied by the more recognized patterns of behaviors, but she DID spend money on things like very expensive foundation makeup to cover a skin discoloration, which I couldn’t understand, personally. If it’s a choice between getting the makeup or paying a bill, the bill comes out on top.

      ANYHOW……….she had been calling me up for a couple of weeks in a dreadful state complete with ranting and sobbing for hours. Her focus then switched to anger which she vented against me. “You don’t have a degree in psychology!” whenever I would make a suggestion that she had begged for during her sobbing rants. Well, she said a few more very unsavory and untrue things like, “You don’t know what it’s like to lose everything!!!” I held the receiver back from my face and just stared at it. Of course, I knew what it was like because I HAD lost everything from house to transportation to health to employment to my personal investments. I knew exactly how fearful and hopeless it felt, and I became quite resentful. How DARE she ridicule and dismiss me after demanding my “help” and “advice?!” Well, to put it plainly, she is toxic and she WAS toxic to me. And, that was it. I wrote her a brief message about the words that had come out of her mouth, and that I wasn’t going to entertain a friendship with her, anymore.

      I was “sad” because she was loads of fun when she wasn’t in these cycles. But, she was also one of the most neediest people that I had known aside from myself, and I couldn’t give her what she needed. She was the only person who could facilitate her own recovery and healing, and she was NOT engaged in that, at that point. I didn’t wish her any ill-will because I had been in precisely the same place that she had been, but I had to make the decision to cut her loose for my own safety and well-being. And, I still wonder how she made out and if she ever really got into some serious recovery and healing for herself. I hope that she did and I’ve often been tempted to write to her to let her know that I still think of her, but I let that idea float by and get on with MY life because I don’t need to know.

      • To clarify………….the friend was mentioned in other threads, not this specific post and had been raised in an emotionally abusive environment. LOL!!! I just type away, sometimes, without paying any attention to what I’m typing!

      • Zenmy BFF of 30 years used to “go off on” me at times, and I loved this woman like a sister and we had “been there” for each other, but every so often she would just scream at me. Once I had gone down to her house to spend a month at her invitation, to help her clean out her kitchen cabinets. She is a hoarder and had so many dishes in the small kitcfhen that you could not see any flat surface that was not filled with dishes piled high. We were going to take EVERYTHING out of the kitchen and clean the cabinets etc and then put back ONLY what would fit.

        In the cleaning we discovered a dead, dried up rat under her stove. Now this is not an unusual thing in ANY house, no matter how clean it is, rodents get into houses. I just had a rash of mice in mine and I finally got rid of them but I know that there WILL be more get in again.

        But when we saw the rat, she SCREAMED at me “NOW YOU ARE GOING TO TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW I HAD A DEAD RAT IN MY KITCHEN” Which was COMPLETELY the LAST thing I would have done. I didn’t say a word.Just turned and walked away.

        So I went into the bedroom where I was sleeping and started packing my clothes into my suitcase.

        She came in the bedroom a little while later and asked me what I was doing. I told her “I am going home. I came down here to help you clean your kitchen out, I didn’t come down here to have you scream at me and accuse me of something I had no intention of doing.”

        At that point she apologized and we hugged and cried and I stayed. Well, fast forward about 3 years and there were NO INCIDENTS of her going off on me. But then…BINGO another incident and I came home and we have not spoken since, and it’s been about 3 years.

        I also realized something about her that I had not known before even though we had been close for over 30 years (she lives in another state) and that was that 1) she had been raised in a dysfunctional home 2) her husband that I had not been around much until he retired, because he traveled for a living, was ABUSIVE to her.

        While I have GREAT compassion for this woman who has been in an abusive marriage for 40+ years, and am sorry that things turned out like they did, but I have no desire to associate myself with ANYONE who LASHES OUT at me, accuses me of “going to do such and such” (mind reading) or takes their insecurities out on me in a hateful manner or tries to belittle me.

    • Sorry about the typo. LOL

    • Phoenix, dealing with a person with bi-polar disorder can be VERY difficult, and unfortunately the genetic “cause” (if you will) of Bi-polar is OFTEN LINKED to high traits of psychopathy and MAJOR DYSFUNCTION. The four things that are linked genetically, that I am referring to are 1)high p traits or outright psychopathy 2) ADHD, 3) bi-polar and 4) left handedness. Ken Hamilton had all 4 of these things (professionally diagnosed). My son patrick is left handed and a raging psychopath. My “Uncle Monster” was a full on psychopath I believe and looking back I see traits of BI-POLAR as well.

      Bi polar is difficult to diagnose because they will usually present to a clinician only when they are DEPRESSED, and giving a person with bi-polar ONLY antidepressants can throw them into a FULL ON MANIA.

      And as with any mental disorder Bi-polar has degrees of from a bit hypo-manic and somewhat depressed to suicidal depression and/or full on mania where they see thunder and hear lightening or voices and are completely psychotic and some cycle rapidly and some much slower.

      For me personally, unless a person who is bi-polar is WILLING AND ABLE to take medication AND seek therapy and STAY on the medication and continue the therapy, then I really don’t want to deal with them AT ALL. While I have great EMPATHY for the suffering that this disorder causes in the lives of those afflicted, I am not able to deal with the constant drama and or violence.

      Of course you can have ADHD withouit being a psychopath or left handed, or bi-polar or any combination of the 4 “marks” but research has shown that the 4 tend to go together genetically. Psychopathy is also genetic and while I have empathy and compassion for these individuals, it doesn’t mean that I am going to take them home and endure the behaviors that go with it.

      As for your friend who is bi-polar going off on you, and you “retreating” from them for some period of time, that is really not what dissociation is. Dissociation is more a shutting down of your mind to reality, or what is happening right now. Of course there are degrees of that too. Complete dissociation will cause “multiple personality disorder” and I have only known in my career and life ONE person, and until I actually SAW them “change” from one person to another right before my eyes, I couldn’t figure out what was “wrong” with this person. They had been under GREAT stress from a psychopathic overbearing cruel parent who tried to continue to run their life even into adulthood and the “split personality” was the only coping mechanism for this person. One personality was gay, and the other straight, and it all added up to a life time of misery for this person who could not reconcile themselves to what was really going on in their life.

      Withdrawing from someone who injures you is the appropriate response….deciding whether or not to EVER continue a relationship with this person is a “whole nuther ball of wax” as my grandmother would have said. In the past I have “withdrawn” from Patrick, but I always was LURED BACK or GUILTED back into contact.

      For ME, NO CONTACT with toxic people, reagardless of WHY they are “toxic” is the RULE in my life now and I don’t intend to change that. Anyone of my friends can hurt my feelings and one of them recently did, but she had NO INTENT to hurt me or be mean, and we talked, and hugged and cried and she apologized to me. I do not distrust this woman because of that incident, but when someone INTENTIONALLY hurts me…whether it is because they are bi-polar, or a psychopath, it doesn’t matter to me. I WILL NOT deal with that kind of caustic behavior.

      • Joyce, I’ve come to that point of “No Contact” with toxic people as well. It’s not a choice made out of vengeance, anger, resentment, or malice. It’s a choice made out of self-preservation. I’ve come too far and worked too hard and long to RISK one nano-meter of my recovery and healing for someone who is toxic to me.

        “WHY” someone is toxic doesn’t matter. My “understanding” what is causing their issues or where their issues were created will not help them. It won’t cure them. And, I can’t have a part in their recovery and healing processes OTHER than to cheer them on. But, even then, cheering someone’s progress on can become just as diseased as accepting or tolerating their behavioral swings. So……..yeah

  5. I wanted to bring this one back up since I have spoken to the bi-polar friend and although we have talked, I still sense that things are not back to good yet. At least not where they were before. My guard is up, I am still on edge when speaking to them and just the other day in text messages, he came close to crossing those lines again.

    I know it’s the bi-polar issue speaking, the new medication and it takes time for their body to adjust, but I also know I’m not up for being anybody’s verbal punching bag either. Not then and certainly not now.

    • Phoenix, your stance and remaining on guard are 100% appropriate, REGARDLESS of what kind of issues the friend has. He is responsible for managing his own issues, and this is one of the things that puts me out of the proverbial loop – when people excuse bad behavior on a disorder. If someone does something to hurt or offend me, their apology needs to be genuine instead of something along the lines of, “Well, I have PMSD and I can’t help it.” That’s bullshirt! Yes, absolutely, hormones can contribute to some really wacky behaviors! But, if a person knows that they have a hormonal disorder, it is then their responsibility to take steps (including COUNSELING THERAPY) to learn how to manage the spirals, etc. This goes forth with BiPolar Disorder, as well. ANYONE who is diagnosed BiPolar should not only be properly medicated and under a doctor’s care, but they should also be required to engage in counseling therapy. Often, BiPolar symptoms arise with a host of other possible disorders, and BiPolar is difficult to diagnose, even if it’s one of the most manageable disorders.

      So, you’re SPOT-ON by remaining on guard, and God Bless you for putting in the time to maintain the friendship.

  6. Phoenix, I realize that we may life or even love someone with a severe case of bi-polar disorder, and it is difficult to deal with them ….my son Michael has a friend from high school who is bi-polar and borderline disorder and her life is chaos. Her entire family seems to have the same problems and though they are successful in business, their lives are constant drama.

    A while back this young woman, who also has a son age 7 or 8 who has been kicked out of every school he’s been in for outbreaks of RAGE *(and he is in therapy) decided she wanted to marry my son…she had just kicked her live in BF out…so she started coming down here to visit my son *(she lives in another state) even looked for jobs in this area, but at the time she was mad at her family for something….then she decided she had to move back home to “take care of” her father….and she finally got the idea that my son was NOT going to marry her. He is still her friend but he is not up for a life time of DRAMA.

    Being friends with someone who is bi-polar can be okay if you realize that they are likely to “go off” from time to time, but I sure wouldn’t want to be married to one. Many Bi-polars have multiple marriages and relationships because of their disorder. Also, keep in mind that psychopaths are frequently bi-polar as well.

    Like many disorders there are LEVELS of dysfunction involved. Ken Hamilton was bi-polar, ADHD and Psychopathic…I dont’ know if Patrick is bi-polar or not because I haven’t been around him much since he was 17 and signs of bi-polar usually don’t emerge until the later teen years. But there is no doubt he is psychopathic.

    As for your friend Phoenix…I would continue to stand back and WATCH and prepare myself that things may not work out for a continued friendship. Bi polar is a difficult thing to treat at best, and many individuals do not consistently stay on their medication. Many also seem to ENJOY the “highs” I’ve had it described to me as almost like a cocaine high. And of course there are levels of that from a high where they see things and hear voices, outright psychotic, down to a hypo-mania (or low level mania) But anyooe who becomes aggressive verbally or physically when they are manic I don’t think bodes well for a “forever” friendship

  7. Thanks for your words of support and encouragement. I realize it is the disorder, the meds and all of that, but I guess the biggest thing that hurts the most is the timing of it all. We’ve been friends for roughly 10+ years and for a while we were ‘thick as thieves’. Although I know he has his ‘moments’ like we all do, there has never been a time when he’s turned on me like this. That’s what is so puzzling to me now.

    I’ve seen him thru some rough spots before, being hospitalized for care and speaking to him on the phone thru that, but this last time was a different go of it altogether. I was the one person he asked others to contact and reach out to, but yet speaking to him on the phone he acted as if he didn’t have time and I was such a bother. It should be no surprise that a lot of people have walked away from him and abandon the friendships. Which is sad when you think about it, but I understand why they did and don’t hold anything against them for it.

    I know that sometimes we do things that hurt the ones we love the most. We are also harder or tougher on those we love because we expect more from them and really want them to succeed. But sometimes there just isn’t any more to give. If my best isn’t good enough, then it’s your issue not mine. I’ve walked away in situations like that before and have no qualms about doing it again.

    For now I will just wait it out and see where it goes. It’s the best I can do for the time being. I still care and will support his decisions, but if I need to move along, I will.

  8. Phoenix, the thing about people with mental or personality disorders is that no matter how much we love them we can not “fix” their problem. Bi-polar is one of those difficult to even make better with the BEST treatment and medication and therapy, and frequently it goes along with some traits of psychopathy and when they are in a manic state those psychopathic traits come out. Their lives are chaos to one degree or another.

    No one ever loved a son more than I loved Patrick, and God knows I TRIED to “fix” him, to get him to “see the light” and to behave in a “normal” manner, but there was no fixing it. I’ve known other people in my personal life that were bi-polar, borderline, etc. and the best I can do is to keep them somewhat at “arm’s length” because I can’t tolerate the drama, the going off on me or others.

    A couple of years ago I severed relationships with the woman who had been like a sister to me for 30 years because Ii finally realized what was going on with her. Her husband is abusive at least mentally and financially, and her anxiety level is through the roof. But I can’t fix that and she won’t so it finally rose to a level where I realized what was going on with her and why sometimes she would strike out blindly and suddenly with a verbal assault. She was always sorry afterwards but you know it is something I do not need from someone I care about. I had ignored, pretended they didn’t happen most of the time, but they HURT and were totally unjustified.

    5 or 6 years ago she screamed at me suddenly and unprovoked because she was ASHAMED that a dead rat had been found in her kitchen when we were cleaning it, she accused me of “going to tell everyone I had a dead rat in my kitchen”—I jsut turned and walked away and started repacking my suit case to come home. She followed me in the bedroom and asked what I was doing. I told her “I didn’t come down here to help you clean your kitchen to be screamed at and accused of being a gossip, I’m going home.”

    She cried and apologized and I realized she was ASHAMED and FEARFUL and didn’t want anyone to know about the rat (dead or otherwise) But after that she stopped the snarky and hateful comments when she was embarrassed for about 3 years until the final one. When I came home from her house that last time, I looked back over our friendship of 30+ years and realized her husband was abusing her, and I think she had grown up in a very dysfunctional household and her anxiety was through the roof (she was also a hoarder) and I realized I couldn’t fix it, and I couldn’t tolerate wondering when the next outburst would occur.

    I’ve had other relationships through the years that I severed because of what I call “rage events”—some of these people were bi-polar and had led chaotic lives with a large string of failed relationships because of their behavioral issues. When they were not manic or upset they were the “sweetest” people but when they were triggered by whatever problems they had they struck out verbally and/or physically on a fairly regular basis.

    I know that people can be pushed to the breaking point and strike out, but it isn’t a PATTERN of behavior.

    Once my mother frustrated me to the max back when I was trying to “save” her from Ken Hamilton living in her home and she would not believe the mug shot and list of his crimes I had in my hand. I was terrified because he was living in her house and she wouldn’t listen. So I told her as I stomped out the door “You are a senile old bat!” I got to the back porch and realized what I had said and went back inside and apologized to her (sincerely) then left, but she never accepted my apology because it “didn’t sound sincere” which it really was. I should NOT have said that, it was a hateful nasty thing to have said and I had struck out verbally because I was terrified and frustrated.

    Well, as it turned out my “rap sheet” on Hamilton was NOT made up on my handy dandy computer as he told her (and she believed) and Hamilton and my daughter in law stole from her and tried to kill my oldest son. But still she tells people I was after her money, which I have never taken a dime from her I did not repay back years ago when I was in college. Repaid with interest. I paddle my own financial canoe and have since I was 17. I have BORROWED money from her but always repaid every dime, and haven’t borrowed any for over 40 years. I’ve refused her offers of money as a gift. But truth doesn’t matter when someone is defensive or ashamed.

    I think my daughter in law qualifies for border line personality disorder and I sense from the first time I met her that something was “off” but just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    But my POINT in all this rambling is to LOOK AT THE PATTERNS in that person’s life. Is it a pattern of failed marriages/relationships, maybe even talk to some of the previous partners. Back when I dated the psychopath after my husband died, I gradually pieced together his past PATTERNS…and talked to his wife of 32 years about his serial affairs,, etc. and his cousin who I met and became friends with. I also observed unprovoked his outbursts toward me a time or two. And adding up all those “scores” I finally realized what I had in store for myself if I continued in a relationship with him. But by then I was deeply in love with him because when he was not cheating he was most of the time very CHARMING.

  9. Joyce- I completely understand about watching for patterns in people’s behavior. Believe me, I seen it in the spath once I knew what he was and things actually started to rather JUMP OUT AT ME.

    And that’s what makes this one so different. Again, I have seen things, heard things, watched things and this time none of it makes sense because it is so random, out of nature and off the beaten trail of what’s to be considered ‘normal’ for him. He’s still a friend, but it is a distanced friendship for the moment. Time will tell.

  10. Phoenix, I think the “randomness” of it is part of what makes it so frustrating to deal with. My former BFF would strike out at me randomly (she wasn’t bi-polar but the randomness was definitely there) and it would hurt. With bi-polar disorder the swing of from depression to mania doesn’t seem to have any “pattern” to it and part of the time as they swing from one extreme to the other they are in the “normal” range of emotions. It varies with different people, some are “rapid cyclers” and others are slower in their cycles and spend much of their time in the mid-range of normal emotional states.

    Bi-polar,. ADHD and psychopathy are all linked on the same genetic spot…but some people can h ave one and not the others, and some can have them all. Ken Hamilton the Trojan horse my son sent to kill me was professionally diagnosed as all 3 of those things. He was also a 3x convicted pedophile. I think my Uncle Monster was not only a psychopath and alcoholic I also think he was bi-polar, and my saying that is because he would go days without sleeping even when he was on a bender and alcohol didn’t bring him down, even with mass quantites of it.

    Thinking back years ago I had a male friend (just a friend not a boy friend) who seemed like the greatest of guys, but he would “go off” into a screaming fit for the “random” things and looking back now I think he might have been bi-polar as well. Also he had a history (pattern) of unsuccessful relationships and I have a feeling that his “going off” randomly contributed to that. I don’t see him any more but I will always be grateful to him as he made available a lot on a nearby lake for me to park my RV when I was hiding out from Hamilton.

    • Joyce & Phoenix, I agree with the “random factor.” BUT……….I noticed that contemplation and serious examination of behaviors always revealed a pattern. Not necessarily on a time-frame, but things that would occur in sequence.

      For instance, the gal that I wrote off after being targeted to be a whipping post for the third time. HER behaviors were absolutely predictable, even if they didn’t necessarily follow a particular timeline. Once she was “on her own” without ANY additional source of income, her behaviors became more erratic in time-frames only because different events would occur that, in a “normal” frame of behaviors, would not have caused the rabbit hole to open up. I understood this because of my own personal behaviors – the anxiety, catastrophic thinking, looking for escape, avoidance, etc….

      Same goes on with spaths – they may not have a specific time frame, but they do have overall patterns. First, it’s the love-bomb. If that doesn’t work, it’s the pity-ploy. If that doesn’t work, it’s the next step, and the next, etc. THEY want to appear and seem unpredictable, and they often do appear to be just that. But, in retrospect, they follow their own patterns of behaviors that have nothing to do with “normal.”

  11. Zen I get what you’re saying about patterns and time frames. They both make perfect sense. The spath tried to be unpredictable but there were several things that were so textbook with him! It was laughable at best, sad and pathetic at its usual.

    It was like you could tick off on your fingers, he will do this, next he will say that. Then he will throw a tantrum and swear a lot, followed by the mumbling and name calling. If you say anything, let alone call him out, it turns into the game of “Lie and Deny” combined with projecting and mirroring. Let’s not forget the pity ploy paired with sulking and pouting when he didn’t get his way…

    He is such a farking cry baby. Omigawd! All of this before 9 am some days…. It gets annoying as well as exhausting if you let it. I got to the point of rolling my eyes as I sigh and walk away. Whatev’s babe. I’m done.

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