Codependents, Dating, Mating, Growing, and Assessing for Partner Abuse

heart-jg8nCodependents with a history of relationship abuse need to enter romantic relationships with awareness and respect for their neediness and unmet childhood dependency needs.   Codependents are some of the most loving people and find it difficult to leave abusive relationships.  They have a tough time accepting that abusive partners will not change over time no matter how much they want them to.  Learning to recognize personality disordered character traits is imperative in protecting your vulnerabilities as you complete your own emotional work.

Character traits are patterns of behaving, feeling, perceiving, and thinking, which are evident in our personal and social relationships.  Although our character can be changed, it typically remains the same and affects us all of our lives.  Personality traits turn into personality disorders when they become inflexible, do not adjust to relationship needs, and significantly damage social and job functioning or cause considerable misery.   Often, the people who live and work with the personality disordered are more distressed.  People with personality disorders often fail at work and love.

People who are acting neurotic see their behavior as uncharacteristic and different from their usual self.  In contrast, the pathological behavior in people with personality disorders is in character and routine for them.  Neuroses may develop at any time; personality disorders are life-long. Personality disorders first become evident during adolescence or earlier and are highly incurable.

Codependents need to spend more time building a new relationship and going slowly. Take the time to learn how conflicts were managed in a person’s family.  Find out how a new partner shows his or her love to others.   Be aware of what you want for yourself and what you want in a relationship.  Know how you need to be treated and listen closely for emotional issues.  We all have emotional challenges and need to assess if a person’s immaturity is likely to sabotage a healthy relationship.  Respect your vulnerabilities and don’t hook into a being a relationship martyr.  Remember your relationship history of choosing partners that end up resembling a caretaker.  You might have felt in the beginning of a past relationship that you knew your partner even though you had just met.  Chances are on an unconscious level they reminded you of a caretaker that this time was going to cherish you.  You felt your needs were going to be satisfied and you would no longer feel alone.  Denial is strongest at the beginning of romantic relationships.

Some questions to answer when assessing for problem behavior:

  1. Does he or she blame their mistakes or failures on others or the world at large?  Listen closely to their relationship, family and work history.
  2. Do they acknowledge their part in the ending of past relationships or problems with their partners, children, siblings, or parents?
  3. Have they had police contact/arrests for domestic violence, fighting, or criminal behavior?
  4. Do they look for reasons to be insulted?  Do they rant excessively? Are they easily insulted by people when you are out in public?
  5. Do they express negative or aggressive statements about friends, poor people, and the mentally challenged, needy or loving person?
  6. Are they verbally violent in their communication with put-downs, brutal honesty, threats, or hostility?
  7. Do they push for intimacy, start making future plans, and immediately place you in the role of the love of their life? Run….
  8. Does he or she call or text you constantly?
  9. Is the person overly dramatic, and always calling attention to themselves?
  10. Do they quickly become bored with normal routines?
  11. Do they use their physical appearance to draw attention to self?
  12. Are they arrogant or superior in behaviors and attitudes?

Evaluating character traits without illusion avoids the horrifying moment where you are shocked that your partner is not the person you thought they were.  You deceived yourself all along about his or her character.  The loneliness and sadness of childhood wounds ends up coming to the surface unhealed.  A codependent can become trapped, sticking it out beyond the anger stage and begin bargaining with despair.  Finding a way to resolve this problem and creating a satisfying relationship is not possible with the personality disordered person.  Owning your relationship history and denial will help you see emotional issues in others more clearly. You must invest in your self-acceptance, protection, and emotional growth.  Your investment in repairing the emotional damage of childhood is what allows you to become complete and attract a loving partner capable of nurturing you.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

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Trusting Ourselves to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart – Wikipedia

Trusting yourself is the key to living well and being capable of trusting others.  You learn to trust yourself to leave any abusive relationship by listening and following through on your inner wisdom.  This is the start of practicing self-care and self-respect by doing what is true and right and what is best for you.   Falling for partners who deceived, abused, manipulated, and otherwise exploited you is not trusting your instincts.  Chances are there was a small voice that said, “Something doesn’t feel right” or maybe you didn’t feel uncomfortable and are shocked about your choice.   How could someone who felt so right be a total mistake?  Belief in yourself may be shaken.  There are times when we are challenged with change in relationships and fear we can’t take care of ourselves.  Listening to self-talk that says I don’t deserve to love or be loved keeps you stuck.   Believing you deserve a manageable relationship and acting on your intuition ends the abuse.

We may have a partner that tells us we cannot believe in ourselves; we are off base and nuts.  They benefit from mistrust because it keeps the cycle of abuse going.  Fear, panic, and doubt are an enemy to leaving an abusive situation and feelings you do not want to entertain.  You can stand in your truth and trust your own gut.  Accepting your mistakes when you thought you were making a good decision and trusting yourself anyway is important.  The rigid rules and demands for perfect decision-making are self-punishing.  You have the power to make healthy choices.  Are you wondering how you can count on your relationship choices when things went so wrong?   Each person that comes into your life has unique lessons to teach you.  You have no control over anyone’s actions or emotions.  Protect yourself by listening to your heart and no longer placing faith in partners that are destructive.  As you attract healthy partners with your intimate self, you will trust your thoughts and your own emotions. Letting your past interfere with self-trust keeps you trapped in fear and abuse.  You can learn, grow, and improve from your mistakes.  You can make better choices and leave situations with abusive partners.  By accepting your mistakes and being grateful for the lessons, you don’t have to repeat them.   You can make decisions based on what you know now.  Trust your decision to leave and do the best you can.  From your past unwise relationship decisions you experience growth.  Feel good about your decision to change and about your mistakes. Acknowledge your newly acquired awareness and treat yourself kindly when you wonder how you could have been so naïve or blind.  Realize that you were not as aware then as you are now.  Accept your inner knowing and listen attentively.  Know you will survive the abuse, learn from the experience and have deeper self-knowledge.  Begin once more; it is never too late to begin again.  The way to heal a broken heart is to keep on loving.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Partners Who Are Incapable of Feeling Love

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Each person who enters your life has a unique lesson to teach you

What if your partner is incapable of feeling love? Chances are they have a deep-seated fear that if they love you (or anyone) that will give you the power to hurt them, deprive them, and to abandon them. What he or she is feeling and thinking is what causes extreme fears, not what a you are saying or doing. To ease these fears this person will strip you of self-confidence to make you weak so that you are afraid to leave the relationship. To calm fears of being abandoned they will make you a focus of their rage, panic, fears, and inevitably their hatred. These behaviors effectively sabotage the relationship. Your partner controls the relationship abandonment through abuse because they are terrified of your ability to leave them. The partner incapable of love sets-up their own abandonment. The fear of rejection runs profoundly deep.

Falling for someone incapable of love locks you into whatever false image the person is projecting. You fall in love with an illusion. During the honeymoon phase of the courtship you see a person who seems to want and needs love.  Once you commit they begin to ignore your emotional needs and sometimes are unfaithful. Suddenly the partner begins to withdraw and provoke arguments. You wonder how could your partner who seemed to love you change so totally toward you. The relationship becomes too close for comfort for the person who is incapable of love. You as a person are not seen as a separate self with needs and a separate identity. This means you end up taking part in the relationship at the cost of not being yourself.

Why do you stay with someone incapable of loving you? Usually something in your history has led you to this place and what keeps you in a loveless relationship. Being loved is what most of us really want and often we are afraid of love without consciously knowing it. This is especially true if you have a history of over functioning and avoid worrying about your own personal goals and problems by focusing on others. This caretaking becomes a way of managing anxiety in relationships under stress. Developing a clear and authentic self means you can be pretty much be who you are. When you are not able to leave an emotionally painful relationship the tendency is to construct an explanation to make sense of your experience, “He just can’t deal with intimacy” or “She had a bad childhood.” The cost of not leaving may include chronic anger, resentments, feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or even self-blame (i.e., “I am such a loser for not leaving”). When you sacrifice your well-being you might also experience sexual problems, physical complaints, or compulsive behaviors. This leaves you angry at how badly you are being treated and with an overwhelming need to hold on to your relationship no matter how it is hurting you.

Acknowledging that your partnership is destructive and deciding to leave is not easy. Often there is regret, disappointed dreams, and damaged self-esteem. You may feel leaving is wrong and a sign of failure, especially if children are involved. In truth, what is wrong is to accept cruelty, abuse, and unhappiness. The abuse is a deal breaker.  The relationship will be more painful in the long run than the temporary pain of leaving. If you don’t take responsibility for your life, you aren’t really living. Establishing a good relationship with yourself allows you to find love with others. If you are afraid to leave the relationship, please give yourself permission to ask for help.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Individuals Stuck in Abusive Relationships: Comments from Survivors of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome

narcissism???

narcissism??? (Photo credit: kk+)

Individuals stuck in abusive narcissistic relationships typically have a long history of tolerating partner abuse.  No matter what abuse is inflicted, they stay in the relationship.  They feel sorry for their partners and believe they can fix them.  Excuses are made for the abusive behavior while blaming themselves.  Survivors must learn how to set boundaries for what they will accept and what they won’t accept or they will never get the love they need and deserve.  Symptoms of PostTraumatic Narcissism Syndrome (PTNS) are common reactions to the intense fear and the emotional battering experienced by survivors of narcissistic personality disordered partners.  PTNS IS AN EXPERIENCE, NOT A DIAGNOSIS.  Symptom indicators are listed below.   Further down are blog comments and my responses to survivors learning to heal from people who won’t or can’t love them.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome

● Flashbacks of the cruel behavior and trauma

Hyperarousal (i.e., extreme fear for personal safety)

Hypervigilance (i.e., scanning environs for constant threats, stalking, violence)

● Irritability

● Depression & Guilt

● Multiple physical complaints

● Numbing

● Impaired concentration and memory

● Disturbed sleep & distressing dreams

Comments, Questions, and Answers from Survivors of Posttraumatic Narcissism Syndrome

Roberta,

I am a man who has been sucked dry by a woman narcissist. It is just as torturous for men as for woman, if not more so, since you are raised in a society where you are expected to be a caregiver and supporter to the “weaker sex”.

Finally, when you accept the horrible truth that you gave all your heart, mind, body, spirit  and soul to a mere confabulation of a cruel deranged mind; one unable to and that never had any intention of giving in return, and all you were led to believing in doesn’t even exist, you stop. You have escaped, barley, with nothing but your life. No less than a prisoner liberated from the Nazi concentration camps. Frail, exhausted, and traumatized but finally free you stop. Stop living in fear. Stop allowing yourself to be screamed at, spit on, lied to , stolen from, smacked, ignored, degraded… flat-out abused in all ways. You thank God for spots like this on the internet so the truth of your experience hits home that it was real and you do survive and you STOP.

It was a point long ago when I stopped being a victim and became a volunteer. Now, since I have the testimonies of others and the truth is self-evident, I stop. I am no longer a volunteer; I breathe that sigh of relief and STOP.

Thanks for your support

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Thank you for sharing the wreckage of living in purgatory with a narcissist.  My hope is that you use your intellect and the emotional pain to banish the trauma memories from your mind.  As I’ve said in other posts, “Renting space” in your head to the narcissist allows them to punish you conceivably for forever.  Recovering from the psychic damage is a process and it sounds like you are showing up for yourself.  More power to you!  Sending positive vibes for the immense relief that comes from taking your soul back.

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Roberta,

As a child I was an older sibling to a younger child with a disability.  The family focus was on helping this other child.  As a young adult I dated guys who were unreliable, emotionally unavailable or needy. I was married to a narcissist for over 30 years.  I did not know that he was having affairs from the time our children were preschoolers.  I found out after our children were about grown up and decided to divorce him. I had the papers served without discussion.    We are divorced now for about a year or two.  We still have a house to sell and recently he left town without telling me or our realtor.  This leaves me with the homeowner chores of selling the house: mowing grass, paying utilities, freshening interior, sweeping porches etc.  When he is in town I am miserable.  When he leaves town I am miserable.  I don’t know what to do with myself.  I spent my life waiting to see what he wanted and doing that.   I don’t know what I want or what to do with the rest of my life.  I feel anxiety and for a long time low level depression.  My young adult sons do not respect me.  I feel very alone and in a lot of pain.  The adult sons will be with their Dad over the holidays & I will be alone at the holidays for the first time in my life.

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My heart goes out to you.  The emotional and psychic repair from a narcissistic relationship is a process.  Learning about what happen to you and the dynamics of the narcissistic personality will give you a language that will help you heal.  Emotional self-care needs to be your priority and planning ahead of time for the upcoming holiday season is important. Please think about participating in activities or being with people that nurture you.   I believe there are times in our lives when we are challenged with change and fear we can’t take care of ourselves.  Listening to the voices in our head that tell us we don’t deserve to love or be loved keeps us stuck in familiar pain.   So does renting space in our heads to abusive people by replaying thoughts of their cruelty.  The narcissistic personality feeds on this emotional vulnerability to keep his victim trapped (forever).  You have the strength to change and love yourself or you wouldn’t have written to me.   I am wishing you the best.

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Roberta,

I am struggling with a mother who is a passive aggressive narcissist in denial. My father is an alcoholic and a puppet that she controls (which most likely stimulates his drinking).   I am the age of 33 and have had unhealthy relationships my whole life, unknowingly attracted to narcissists. I have been through years of therapy and realized my role as a codependent in both my dysfunctional family and love relationships.  My awareness and perspective broadened and I found a man who compliments me, we married last year.

However, I still struggle with my mother as now that I am married feels neglected, as my time and attention to catering, pleasing and validating her self-worth has diminished. She plays the guilt trip with me, “I never want to bother you because you are always with your husband”, “I haven’t heard from you, and I would like to see my daughter once in a while.”

Also, she is always helping others, care taking and yet isn’t available to immediate family members that are in need. She enjoys feeling needed and being admired in the eyes of others. Everyone praising her how wonderful she is.

What do I do? How can I have a healthy daughter-mother relationship? How do I communicate myself so that she realizes the strain she has put on the relationship?

Any guidance is greatly appreciated!

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Thank you for writing to me. I feel for you in your life situation.  Giving ourselves permission to say “no” to what feels bad when it’s a parent is a sad situation to face.  Profound sadness begins early in children of alcoholics and narcissistic mothers.  Unresolved sadness from childhood can keep us stuck emotionally as adults.  Children of alcoholics/narcissist’s learn quickly to deny this sadness in order to survive.  This is how a high tolerance for emotional pain and inappropriate behavior begins to develop.  In adulthood the unresolved sadness can get expressed as clinical depression, compulsivity, or even physical violence. 

The rules in the alcoholic-narcissistic family systems typically are:  “Don’t talk,” “Don’t trust” and “Don’t feel” (John Bradshaw, 1988).   Don’t talk about the fact that you are scared, lonely, sad, angry, hurt and emotionally impoverished.  Don’t talk about dad’s alcoholism or mom’s cruelty.  Quite often these children grow up alone with the family secret while carrying the family pain.   Children learn early not to trust because the parent’s behavior is unpredictable and often combined with many broken promises.  To feel the profound sadness of abandonment is too much for a child to process.  The challenge as an adult is giving us permission to have our feelings, express them, and set boundaries.  The often unconscious buried fear of abandonment runs deep.  This is not a life sentence, you can learn new behaviors.  The healing from childhood wounds is a process and sometimes we need to take a break from our family of origin while we re-parent ourselves and learn entitlement to our feelings. 

It sounds like to be with your mom and dad you have to accept victimization.  You are probably the only one who can change and you deserve to be loved in a healthy way.  It starts with a commitment to be disciplined in your self-care.  Invest in yourself.  Learn a new language (read about alcoholic families and parents who try to get their unmet childhood dependency needs healed through their children) for what has happen to you, so you are clear on who is responsible for what and clear on what you are letting go.   This will allow you to release your resentments and be done with them.  Give yourself permission to learn what is right for you and develop endurance for sitting with the bad feelings that come up when you are breaking the family rules.   You might want to consider finding a mantra (i.e., “It’s not okay to hurt myself”) to repeat when the feelings of shame appear from setting a boundary.  Feelings of shame (Who I am is bad) for taking care of yourself are likely when you say “no more” to your mother or say, “Dad I will not be around you when you drink.”  I really believe that coming out of the family system you described requires mentors and people to support your courage to experience the love and life you deserve.  You will probably have to accept that your parents are incapable of loving you in a healthy way.  We are really not made to solve our life’s challenges alone.  As the saying goes, “It takes a village.”  Please leave yourself open to finding positive parent role models.  I am wishing you an abundance of love.

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Secrets of a Narcissist

Dissociated Personality States Courtesy Wikipedia

Dissociated Personality States Courtesy Wikipedia

Richard (not his real name) profiled me as his perfect victim on an online dating site rated as a top trusted relationship provider in the USA.  For many decades he had fooled friends, family, and colleagues while sexually abusing the clients that he was ethically bound to do no harm to.  Richard has a long trail of soul murdered women in his pursuit of ideal love and omnipotence.

He is a charming, seducing, angelic narcissist creating misery in his wake.  Narcissists tend to damage the lives of almost every person they encounter by lying, betraying, and manipulating.  For Richard’s ex-wives and child their life with him was purgatory.  For all he could keep hostage, it was misery, a nightmare.  For some partners it must have felt like evil.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with NPD:

● shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

● grandiose sense of self-importance

● preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

● belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

● need for excessive admiration

● sense of entitlement

● takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

● lacks empathy

● often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

Narcissist are compulsive in their pursuit of narcissistic supply (awe, admiration, attention, even being feared) and projecting a loving image that is compatible with his or her false self-image.  A narcissist’s projected image tends to be lovable until he or she gets tired of being nice.  No longer able to manufacture adoration in their partner; being feared then becomes narcissistic supply.  A victim’s emotional pain and destroyed self-esteem feeds the fantasy of being all-powerful and capable of anything.

The start of our relationship was a whirlwind romance.  The chemistry appeared to be instant for both of us.  We met outside a bookstore.  I was sitting on a bench, when I locked eyes with him, the sexual tension was immediate.  My whole body was vibrating with aliveness.  He mistook my loving nativity and longing for being gullible.  He underestimated my integrity and commitment for doing no harm to others.  He was too good to be true and I didn’t understand that meant a nightmare.  He came across as a confident, charming, attentive, professional in my field.  Shortly after we were dating he started making plans and began to tell me he loved me. I was the ideal reflection of true love for his preoccupation with projecting a lovable image.    He had no intention of following through on the promises he made.  He had picked me to better his status and save him from financial disaster.  My life had been so extraordinary as a result of my personal adversities that I believed this miracle man was possible.  His insidious ability to mirror my wish-fulfillment (delusion) for a perfect man was award-winning as was the lovability of his projected image.  My emotions of awe, respect, admiration, and attention were food for his narcissistic supply.  He catered to my needs and wishes because he craved my reflected love and admiration.  It was through my reactions that he felt an illusionary sense of self.  Richard was sadly divorced from his true self and married to his image.  He was an empty soul forced to use me in order to feel his existence.  If I had not caught his written admission of the crimes he committed over several decades I might have become his mere instrument for gratification.  He was never bothered by his history of unscrupulous behavior and the constant exploitation of his victims.  Indifferent to the consequences of his actions, the damage and pain he inflicted on his partners, son, friends, clients or family.  The written admission of the crimes he committed came as a result of a major life crisis which directly threatened his projected and perceived image.  Life crises are typically the only times a narcissist may seek help.  A girlfriend he had lived with for 10 years ended their relationship and at the same time his 16-year-old son from a previous marriage got a restraining order put in place, stating to the judge, “My father is too immature to be a parent.”  In a moment of desperation, two years before we met, he wrote about his secrets in a journal.  In his disorganized character style he left the journal in his library bookshelf.

Early in our relationship, after declarations of love, and before his proposal, he left his email page open on his computer.  I noticed emails coming from our on-line dating site.  I mentioned this to him asking if he was still looking for a match.  I saw irritation cross his face as he told me he was off the dating site, but they kept sending him email.  I took him at his word and let it go.  Later, when he asked for my hand in marriage, I accepted.  Weeks after the engagement the manipulation began for me to pay his bills.  My financial solution was to sell my home and move in to his house.  I reasoned that moving in was the right action to take because we were lifetime partners.  I was very fortunate because the beginning of grace was being manifested.  I was settled in his home when my lap top stop working and he allowed me to use his computer.  Again, one evening when he was attending a men’s support group, he left his email page open.  I saw communications with women from several dating sites.  I did not open the messages.  I was shocked, devastated, and numb.  I told him what I had discovered when he came home.  He exploded accusing me of bizarre intentions and accusations.  We later explored the cognitive distortions that allowed him to verbally attack my character.  We are both in the mental health field and empathy would have been the emotionally appropriate reaction to my discovery, especially since he professed innocence.  My red flags went up.  Several days later I opened the “Windows Media Center” program on his lap top to look at some pictures we had taken and the program opened his email site.  There I saw several communications with women from various dating sites.  One of the emails was dated after he had asked me to marry him and I opened the communication.  The truth of his betrayal was revealed to me.  I was so upset that I left our bed that night to sleep on the couch in his library loft.  I looked through the multitude of self-help books in the shelves to see if I could find one on sexual addiction.  It was then that I found a brown journal outlining his sex crimes against clients and the history of abusive treatment with women he married and partnered.  After reading his disclosures I wasn’t sure what kind of person I was dealing with and feared I might be in personal danger.  I decided the best action was to go back to bed and pretend I was okay.  Fortunately, his place of work was at a great distance from home.  He had a routine of staying overnight with friends or at work on Monday and Tuesday nights, coming home on Wednesday nights and then he was off from work on Thursdays.  Monday morning I consulted with a colleague on the discovery of his crimes and then took the evidence to the police.  I arranged to move all my belongings out of his house and went into hiding as the FBI Sex Crime Unit and local police evaluated the evidence.  In the meantime, he didn’t know I had left until he came home on Wednesday night.  The phone calls and emails began immediately.  Richard did not know he was under police investigation.  I did not respond to his attempts to contact me and have not spoken to him since this happen several years ago.  No contact is the only way to deal with a sociopathic narcissist when you leave.

Following is one of his emails to me after I left his house and below are a few excerpts from his journal.

Hi Baby,

Please don’t believe your mind!  You know about negative fear based thinking.  What you saw is what you saw, but like looking at the glass you can see it as half-full or half empty.  Listen to my heart.  Carlos Constenada says in, The Teaching of Don Juan, “when you are at the crossroads and both roads go nowhere choose the one with HEART IN IT.”  Please listen to my heart.  We were beginning to plan our lives and our wedding.  I want to marry you.  I want to give you your ring back.  I am sorry.  I know I let you down.  I don’t want “the ring” it’s yours, let me give it back.  I have been hurt and confused by this too.  Forgive me, I was wrong.  I am sorry I was wrong in not protecting your mind from the painful thoughts that I betrayed you.  If I would had destroyed those emails this would never have happened.  I DID NOT BETRAY YOU AND NEVER WOULD.  I am sorry you read those emails.  I pissed you off.  If you need more proof that I can be trusted, than I will give it to you.  Help me help us so I can help you.  You punished me enough, but let US work it out.  I will go to therapy with you.  I will go to groups.  I want a life with you, whatever it takes.  I never had the opportunity to have my hearts dream with a woman.  We have the juice to have a real beautiful romantic life.  Let your anger go.  Let us have each other back.”

Excerpts from his journal:

I have used woman as objects and manipulated them for my own purposes.  I used Linda (not her real name) as a sexual object to clean house and serve my needs, so I could read and do for myself for self serving purposes.  I married Sally (not her real name) because I thought I could use her to provide for my security.  We were compatible.  She had more competence in business and with finances.  She wanted to have a child.  She was someone who would take risks.

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I have been willing to use anyone.  For years I would do the beach patrol and use women’s bodies to relieve my sexual narcissism.  I hurt people with sex.  I used clients for my needs.  I used clients and I used my sexual instinct.  I wanted so many women.  I had sex with many clients to meet my own needs.  I have used women as sexual objects to control for my own joy.

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Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll.  I am a bad ass risk-taking tough guy.  I got my body in shape to protect myself.  I live in the basic instincts.  I have a persona of a hunk.  To be a man meant you could endure more pain and take more risk.  I was willing to challenge people and use force to get my way.

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I have had a strong lust for the touch of attractive women in my life.  I was not much interested in her character.  I am a sex hound, a cheat, someone who has stolen when given a chance.  I have an interest only in what I can get and at times I am desperate and have had to settle.  I settled with Linda, Sally, Karen, and Joyce because of what they could do for me.  Diane was someone I could use and she had a house.

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I used my desires for sex, alcohol and pleasure to get my basic instincts met to dominate and control.  “Find, Feel, F…k, Forget.”

None of Richards’s victims have come forward.  Due to confidentiality laws, information could not be obtained from the clinics and hospitals he worked at over the years.  Written admission of crimes is not enough to press charges or hold muster in a court of law.  My hope is that this experience has stopped him from abusing anymore victims.  He has been a great teacher for me and a gift to my work with violent clients.

Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.