Monday, September 28, 2015

The Most Remarkable Thing About the Pope’s Visit

Addressing a crowd of 50,000 gathered outside of the U.S. Capitol, Pope Francis made his usual request to the crowd: “Pray for me.” What he said next, though, was truly remarkable. “And if there are among you any who do not believe, or cannot pray, I ask you please to send good wishes my way.”
When he mentioned nonbelievers, I was sure he was going to say next that he hoped nonbelievers would be inspired—that they would reconsider. But he didn’t—he simply asked those who do not believe to wish him well. Even the most cynical agnostic can see the beauty in that.
Though still wedded to Catholic doctrine, Pope Francis has become known as a modern Pope. In an individualistic culture that encourages people to be who they are and not just what their society asks them to be, that means being inclusive. “Who am I to judge?” he has said of Catholic gays and lesbians. He’s said that the church doesn’t need to be talking about the “same issues” of homosexuality and abortion all the time.
But this most recent statement of inclusivity is the most stunning and the most modern yet. Pope Francis is including not just religious believers who have done things or lived their lives in ways the church has historically condemned. He is now including—or at least reaching out to—those who don’t believe at all.
It’s a sign of how tuned in he is to the reality of the modern world. The Pope began his speech by blessing the children, and in the U.S. those children are increasingly growing up without religion. In our analysis of four large studies of adolescents (link is external), my co-authors and I found that 1 out of 5 high school students never attends religious services, up from 1 out of 10 in the early 1980s. Teens have less respect for religious institutions, are less likely to want to donate to religious organizations, and are less likely to say that religion is important in their lives. Young adults are even more disconnected, with a third not affiliating with religion. The Millennials—whom I call Generation Me (link is external)—are the least religious generation in American history.
In 2009, President Obama was the first President to mention “nonbelievers” in an inaugural address. But politicians have to be inclusive—they want votes, and nonbelievers are an increasing number of American voters. The Pope has no such mandate.
Jean M Twenge Ph.D.
The Pope’s words speak to his incredible generosity and inclusivity. But they also point toward the decline of religion’s influence. If the trends continue, future Popes might be out of a job.

Jean M Twenge Ph.D

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Macho Macho Men

 James M Sherlock

The science of why masculine men are sexy.

  It’s no secret that men and women differ from each other physiologically; in fact it’s rather obvious. However, why these differences exist in the first place is often less clear. One aspect of these physiological differences that I study is the evolution of male facial shape. In contrast to females, males tend to have physically larger heads, with exaggerated jaw lines, thicker brows and heavier set features. It’s not only the case that male faces differ from females, but also that male faces show tremendous variation. This continuum, broadly speaking, spans highly masculine and feminine features with some males sporting enormous lantern jaws, with thick, rugged brows while others have soft, plump lips, high cheek bones and large, neotenous eyes [1]. A great deal of this variation is presumed to have arisen as a result of female preferences acting via sexual selection [2].
'Tony Fischer/Flickr Creative Commons'
Source: 'Tony Fischer/Flickr Creative Commons'
Females show nearly as much variation in their preference for facial masculinity as males do in actually displaying masculinity and this is thought to reflect an evolutionary trade-off. Sexy, lumberjack types, with their heavy-set features, are thought to be genetically superior as their larger facial features are a by-product of testosterone. Far from being good for you though, testosterone actually hampers the immune system and as a result is considered a handicap. In evolutionary theory, displaying handicaps and costly traits (i.e. testosterone dependent facial features) can be a signal of underlying quality that only healthy individuals are capable of producing. The classic example of this system is the peacock's tail, full of bright, lurid colours which can have the downside of attracting predators and make negotiating the environment quite difficult [3]. Under this logic, highly masculine males are signalling how strong their immune system is by basically announcing how much of a burden they are capable of shouldering while still functioning. This might sound counterintuitive but there is some evidence to suggest that high testosterone males may have better health than others with some studies finding that masculinity is associated with health benefits including a lower incidence of self-reported illness [4, 5].
'Peacock/Brendan Spragg'
Source: 'Brendan Spragg/Flickr Creative Commons'.
High testosterone isn’t all positive, however, and more masculine males are perceived as being more aggressive and poorer long-term partners [6], who might be more likely to cheat or become violent. Neither of these traits is particularly desirable in a partner and as a result feminine males, who have been exposed to less pubertal testosterone, tend to be perceived as superior parents. In line with predictions about masculinity and genetic quality, female preferences for more masculine faces tend to align with mating opportunities that offer the greatest genetic benefit. For instance, females show less of a preference for feminine faces during ovulation when the chances of conception are greatest [7, 8]. Manly men are also preferred when women are asked to rate faces for a short-term, sexual relationship [8-11] such as a one-night stand. Finally, when women have been cued with the presence of diseases they also tend to prefer masculine faces [12-14]. On the other hand, feminine faces are preferred when women are cued to resource scarcity [15] and by women who consider themselves to be from a lower socioeconomic background [16].
Ebner, Riediger, & Lindenberger, 2010
Masculinized (left) vs. feminized (right) facial stimulus used in Zietsch et al., 2015
Source: Ebner, Riediger, & Lindenberger, 2010
Taken together, these studies do seem to suggest that women prefer masculine men when genetic benefits are likely, and conversely prefer feminine men when they’re unlikely or when less aggressive, more stable partners would be beneficial. However, the evidence is far from conclusive. For instance, two competing meta-analyses (i.e. large scale statistical reviews of the results from previous studies) have found conflicting support for the idea that women’s menstrual cycles influences facial preferences at all [17, 18]. Additionally, some studies have failed to find any associations with preferences for healthy faces and preferences for masculine faces [1, 19], which undermine the idea that females are selecting male faces based on perceptions of health. One possibility that had been neglected until recently is that female facial preferences are being shaped by genetic influences. A number of previous studies of preferences for multiple different traits have identified genetic influences that can account for as much as 50 percent of the variation in an individual’s desire for certain characteristics in potential mates [20, 21].
In a recent study published in Psychological Science (link is external), my colleagues and I investigated whether such genetic influences might underlie female preferences for masculine faces. By measuring these influences, we would also be able to compare their magnitude against the impact of the context-dependent factors suggested by the good-genes hypothesis such as ovulatory cycle and pathogen sensitivity. To do this, we used data collected from thousands of identical and non-identical twins. Because identical twins share all of the same genes while non-identical twins only share half, we can use statistical modeling to estimate genetic effects on many different traits.
We found that the combined effect of contextual factors accounted for less than 1 percent of variation in women’s preferences for facial masculinity. On the other hand, genetic effects accounted for nearly 40 percent of the variation. This means that any differences between two women’s preferences for masculine males is more likely to be due to their genes than any of the previously proposed evolutionary contextual factors.
This doesn’t mean that contextual factors are unimportant or that genes determine whom we’re attracted to though. The majority of variation in facial preferences (around 60 percent) was still unexplained in our study, leaving ample room for alternative explanations and other environmental influences.
What we have shown here is the relative importance of genetic variation in influencing romantic preferences, and more generally, highly complex traits. It’s currently unknown whether these preferences actually push us towards partners who carry these traits. Choice of romantic partner is one of the most important decisions we will ever make in our lifetime, and the idea that our genes could influence this process has enormous ramifications. The next challenge will be explaining how this genetic variation fits into the broader story of our evolution, including how it influences actual partner choice.
1.         Enlow, D.H., R.E. Moyers, and W.W. Merow, Handbook of facial growth. 1982, Philadelphia: Saunders.
2.         Little, A.C., B.C. Jones, and L.M. DeBruine, Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 2011. 366(1571): p. 1638-1659.
3.         Zahavi, A., Mate selection: A selection for handicap. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1975. 53(1): p. 205-214.
4.         Rhodes, G., et al., Does sexual dimorphism in human faces signal health? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 2003. 270(Suppl 1): p. S93-S95.
5.         Thornhill, R. and S.W. Gangestad, Facial sexual dimorphism, developmental stability, and susceptibility to disease in men and women. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2006. 27(2): p. 131-144.
6.         Boothroyd, L.G., et al., Partner characteristics associated with masculinity, health and maturity in male faces. Personality and Individual Differences, 2007. 43(5): p. 1161-1173.
7.         Penton-Voak, I.S. and D.I. Perrett, Female preference for male faces changes cyclically: Further evidence. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2000. 21(1): p. 39-48.
8.         Penton-Voak, I.S., et al., Menstrual cycle alters face preference. Nature, 1999. 399(6738): p. 741-742.
9.         Burt, D.M., et al., Q-cgi: New techniques to assess variation in perception applied to facial attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2007. 274(1627): p. 2779-2784.
10.       Little, A.C., et al., Partnership status and the temporal context of relationships influence human female preferences for sexual dimorphism in male face shape. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.Series B: Biological Sciences, 2002. 269(1496): p. 1095-1100.
11.       Waynforth, D., S. Delwadia, and M. Camm, The influence of women's mating strategies on preference for masculine facial architecture. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2005. 26(5): p. 409-416.
12.       DeBruine, L.M., et al., The health of a nation predicts their mate preferences: cross-cultural variation in women's preferences for masculinized male faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 2010. 277(1692): p. 2405-2410.
13.       Little, A.C., L.M. DeBruine, and B.C. Jones, Exposure to visual cues of pathogen contagion changes preferences for masculinity and symmetry in opposite-sex faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.Series B: Biological Sciences, 2011. 278(1714): p. 2032-2039.
14.       DeBruine, L.M., et al., Women's preferences for masculinity in male faces are predicted by pathogen disgust, but not by moral or sexual disgust. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2010. 31(1): p. 69-74.
15.       Little, A.C., et al., Human preferences for facial masculinity change with relationship type and environmental harshness. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2007. 61(6): p. 967-973.
16.       Lee, A.J., et al., Human facial attributes, but not perceived intelligence, are used as cues of health and resource provision potential. Behavioral Ecology, 2013. 24(3): p. 779-787.
17.       Gildersleeve, K., M.G. Haselton, and M.R. Fales, Do women's preferences change across the ovulatory cycle? A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 2014. 140(5): p. 1205-1259.
18.       Wood, W., et al., Meta-analysis of menstrual effects on women's mate preferences. Emotion Review, 2014. 6(3): p. 229-249.
19.       Boothroyd, L.G., et al., Facial masculinity is related to perceived age but not perceived health. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2005. 26(5): p. 417-431.
20.       Verweij, K.J.H., A.V. Burri, and B.P. Zietsch, Evidence for genetic variation in human mate preferences for sexually dimorphic physical traits. PLoS ONE, 2012. 7(11): p. e49294.
21.       Zietsch, B.P., K.J.H. Verweij, and A.V. Burri, Heritability of preferences for multiple cues of mate quality in humans. Evolution, 2012. 66: p. 1762-1772.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

BPD Distortion Campaigns

One of the classic behaviors of a person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder is the vilification campaign. The target is the person against whom the perpetrator Borderline conducts the vilification.  The intent is to destroy the target’s reputation and thereby destroy the target’s relationships with family and friends, employers, co-workers, doctors, teachers, therapists, and others. The intent may even be to force the target to leave the community, put the target in prison, or even kill the target.  As with so many things involving Borderlines and their typical inability to understand or respect boundaries, there really are no limits. They will use basically any means available to them to cause damage to their target, including denigration, endless disparaging remarks, fabrication, false accusations, and even teaching others (including their children!) to lie on their behalf as part of their vilification campaign.

Distortion Campaigns Not Limited to BPD Victims

People without BPD may practice vilification campaigns, also, but they are often tied to BPD or similar personality disorders, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The classic BPD book Stop Walking on Eggshells refers to these as distortion campaigns.  This choice of words emphasizes that the campaign employs lies, exaggerations, fictions, partial truths, and other reality distortion techiques.  As it is unusual for a Borderline engaging in a vilification campaign to not use distortions, we shall refer to these as distortion campaigns just as the authors of Stop Walking on Eggshells have done.
It’s a myth that only women have BPD. Older research suggested that about 75% of BPD cases occur in women and that about 2% of the population is affected. Newer research shows that the ratio is probably closer still, possibly nearly evenly split, and that as much as 6% of the population may suffer from it.
It can be very difficult to distinguish BPD from similar personality disorders, particular from NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) as both tend to involve a lot of emotional abuse. Many believe that males are more likely to have NPD and females BPD. Other disagree. Psychology is a very subjective science. Gender bias in therapists and researchers often makes it even more subjective.
Please don’t assume if I use a gender-specific pronoun such as “he” or “she” that I mean the statement only applies to men or women. Writing in a gender-neutral manner in English can be awkward at times because the language lacks a truly gender-neutral third person pronoun for people that could replace the use of “he” and “she”. “It” just doesn’t sound right, and repetitively using “he or she” makes for some annoying reading.
Most of what I write here about distortion campaigns applies equally to men and women suffering from BPD or NPD or even a combination of the two as. Recent research shows that BPD and NPD are often present at the same time.

Distortion Campaign Does Not Intend to Help the Target

It’s critical to differentiate between a real distortion campaign and something that may look like one but is not.  For instance, Borderlines often have drug and substance abuse problems.  If a family member or friend of a Borderline tries to get help for the Borderline by discussing the problems with other family members and friends, this is not a distortion campaign.  It is based upon caring about the person and trying to discuss what is going wrong in order to get help. There is not intent to harm.  But a Borderline may have a very hard time distinguishing the intent of helping and lack of intent to harm.  Such a friend or family member may be accused by the Borderline of conducting a distortion campaign, even though this is not accurate.

Not All Borderlines Practice Distortion Campaigns

It’s important to note that not all Borderlines practice distortion campaigns. Some exhibit more “acting in” behaviors in which they hurt themselves, such as self-mutilation (often cutting), suicide attempts, and primarily self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse or binge eating. The Borderlines who practice distortion campaigns tend to exhibit “acting out” behaviors. They go after others with the intent of hurting them.

Typical Targets: Current or Former Family Members

Distortion campaigns are often done behind the scenes against people who are or were related or emotionally close to the perpetrator.  They may start months or years before the target is even aware of the campaign.  For instance, the breakup of a relationship is often connected to a distortion campaign against a former partner.  The campaign may have started a long time before the breakup, to give the Borderline “justification” regarding what she or he has done or is about to do to the target, be it having an affairs(s), kicking them out of a home, filing false domestic violence charges, running away with the children, stealing large quantities of joint money and property, or some other hostile actions. By the time the target is aware of the distortions, people around the Borderline may have been hearing for a long time that the target is some evil, horrible, cruel person as part of the distortion campaign.

Borderline Recruits Others to Lie and Distort

The BP (short for “Borderline Personality” or “Borderline Person”) is likely to make extreme false allegations, distortions, and varied lies to defame and harm her or his former partner and other targets. The BP is also likely to involve many other people in the distortion campaign. Many are passive participants who will listen and believe the BP’s lies. Others become actively involved in spreading them further. The target may find that there are dozens of people, many whom have never met him or her, who believe and repeat the lies of the BP.

Common Lies and Distortions

What lies do BPs tell? Often they revolve around false claims of partner abuse, child abuse, perverse sexual behaviors, drug and substance abuse, mental illness, and criminal conduct. BPs tend to pick false accusations that are difficult to disprove. Although we supposedly live in a society in which people are “innocent until proven guilty”, the reality is, that is not how people are treated. This is especially the case when accusations of sexual abuse, child abuse, and spousal abuse are involved. The victims of the distortion campaign often are treated as pariahs or even criminals, assumed to be guilty without any evidence whatsoever.
The perhaps surprising aspect of many of these defamatory statements is that they are not about the target at all. Often BPs are aware at some level that they themselves are doing these bad behaviors. So instead of taking responsibility for their own problems, they blame them on others. This behavior is known as “projection.”  (See Wikipedia: Psychological Projection)
For example, an emotionally and physically abusive BP female will falsely accuse her male partner of abuse. A typical example might be a distortion such as blaming him for an incident of physical abuse. She may tell others that her husband got mad at her, started yelling and screaming at her, and then slammed the door on her hand to break her finger. This might even be part of the truth. She’ll get a lot of sympathy, people will think bad things about her husband, and she gains allies. That is, so long as nobody hears the full truth before they’ve been effectively brainwashed by her.
The full truth might be that she was very angry at her husband.  She came at her husband with a knife while berating him loudly. (Reputable studies indicate that females use weapons to commit domestic violence more than males do.)  She might have been drunk, or maybe was just irate. (Borderlines often have substance abuse problems and nearly always have trouble controlling their emotions — it is sometimes called “Emotional Intensity Disorder.”)  He may have then yelled “Stay away from me!”, fled the room, and slammed the door behind him as he tried to get away. He was acting in self-defense trying to escape a bad situation the BP wife created. But she will reliably tell everybody that he screamed at her, slammed the door on her hand and broke her finger. She will portray it as a pattern of abuse by him, even though the real abuser is her. This is lying by partial truth and distortion. BPs excel at this. They are believed and seldom questioned because of their emotional intensity and conviction they exhibit while they repeat their lies.
Related to projections is the behavior known as “gaslighting” in which the Borderline tries to confuse a person into believing things that are not true. Often this is to create self-doubt in the victim. The target for this abuse can end up questioning his or her own sanity as the Borderline matter-of-factly relates “events” or “things said” that the target does not recall because they never occurred. You can read more about this behavior in our article Borderlines Can Make You Feel Insane Via “Gaslighting”. If you realize that the Borderline in your life is engaging in gaslighting against you, this is often a good clue that he or she is probably also capable of running a distortion campaign. After all, if they have you confused about your own experiences, they will likely have a much easier time misleading others to believe inaccurate negative misinformation about you.

Borderlines Have Trouble Knowing the Truth

BPs have trouble knowing what the truth is. This is due to a combination of problems. Sometimes they may experience cognitive dissociations in which they temporarily break from reality and may honestly experience reality completely differently from any observers, even video cameras will not agree with their version of reality.
Other times, it may simply be from their extensive pathological lying and avoidance of the truth. As a result, they may repeat their vilifying lies in varying inconsistent versions. The inconsistencies won’t be simply of opinions, they will be of even basic facts. They may have such trouble keeping their lies straight that they will come up with multiple versions of events, often growing in severity, over repeated tellings of their lies. Version one might be that somebody raised a hand to strike them, version two might be that somebody pushed them to the ground, version three might be that somebody tried to strangle them, and so forth. The reality might be that they slipped, fell and hurt themselves . But reality does not matter to Borderlines, what matters is the ability to convince other people to take their sides and to protect themselves from “threats” such as being alone or being held accountable for their actions.

Trouble Recognizing Borderline Liars

Why don’t people see the BPs who conduct distortion campaigns as the liars they are? The reasons are many. Often BPs tell varying lies to different people who don’t “compare notes” and so don’t see what should be really obvious deception. Often the BP’s emotional intensity and ability to play on people’s emotions makes them master manipulators. People tend to “just believe” because the BP can come across as very charming, warm and friendly. Untrained, uncritical listeners are particularly susceptible at being duped by their lies. Eventually, they may believe the lies so completely that even when confronted with evidence such as writings, photographs, recordings, 3rd party versions of events, and other evidence, they will refuse to accept that they were duped into believing lies.
Even many mental health care professionals will fall for the distortion campaign for a while. They get sucked into false sympathy and emotional alignment with the BP rapidly. They fall for false stereotypes, such as “all men are abusers”, that BPs use to their advantage.
Many mental health care providers have not kept up to date on reliable psychological research that amply documents that “men are abusers, women are victims” is not the truth.  (See Women commit more than 70% of single-partner DV)  They may tend to be empathetic and take the statements of their patients at face value. Many of them also lack specialized training in recognizing and treating personality disorders. With the necessary training and skils, many of them can be easily suckered into believing the Borderline lies.

Adverse Impact on the Targets

What happens to people who are victims of BPD distortion campaigns? Here are some of the examples of the results:
  1. They are alienated from their family and friends.
  2. They lose contact with their children for months or even years.
  3. They lose their jobs.
  4. They spend tens of thousands of dollars or more fighting false accusations of the BP attacking them.
  5. They have restraining orders placed upon them based upon false accusations.
  6. They end up in jail or prison due to false accusations.
  7. They develop severe mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
  8. Some commit suicide.
Distortion campaigns can destroy people’s lives, even becoming lethal. This is particularly the case when the people around the BP’s victim do not understand how Borderline Personality Disorder works. The victims of distortion campaigns need extensive support from others in order to survive such an experience without life-altering damage. Although an estimated 6% of the US population suffers from BPD, most people do not end up being targeted with a BPD distortion campaign. As a result, they have trouble understanding how severe, damaging, unrelenting, and widespread these campaigns can be. And many of the victims of distortion campaigns consequently are left without effective support systems and suffer far worse damage than might have been the case if their friends and family understood they are being victimized by a Borderline.
The distortion campaign also tends to damage many people around the BP.  Divorce situations in which the children are taught by a Borderline parent to hate the other parent based upon lies is very common.  This is also known as “parental alienation”.  (See Wikipedia: Parental Alienation)  Parental alienation can be so severe that it may permanently damage the relationship between the target parent and the children.  It is important to keep in mind that parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse.  Borderlines or others who do this to children are child abusers.
The damage does not stop with the immediate family.  It tends to spill over into all relationships around the target as the target is accused of crimes, immoral and unethical behaviors, embarassing incidents, and so forth.  The siblings, parents, new spouse, friends, and employers of the target may all suffer serious damage from the distortion campaign.  The target may be unable to function normally, have insomnia and other sleep disorders, not be able to work normal hours or focus on work, and even feel afraid to been seen in public. This may be a time during which those around the target have to band together to help the target in safe settings.  However, by doing so, the target’s support system itself may become a new target for the BP.  It is not unusual for the BP to proceed to attack people the BP sees as helping the target.  They may endure distortion campaigns.  As a way to protect everybody, it may be useful to minimize knowledge that the BP obtains about the people around the target.  The target and those who support him or her may need to become very secretive about their lives in order to protect themselves from ever-widening and intensifying attack by the BP.

Borderlines Must Be Held Accountable

Borderlines did not chose to be mentally ill, but they must be held accountable for their actions. We must educate ourselves and others about Borderline Personality Disorder and act to keep people who suffer from BPD and similar mental health problems from harming others. It is in the best interests of everybody, victims of BPs, the BPs themselves, and all the people around them, for these people to be identified. Once identified, others can be protected from them and attempts can be made at getting them into effective treatment. Although today’s treatments may not cure many of them, they may learn to curb their destructive behaviors, hurt others less, and lead happier lives themselves. But that is not going to happen without awareness, identification, and willingness to tackle the problems posed by this mental illness.

Monday, September 14, 2015

10 Signs Your Wife is an Emotional Bully

 The animation below is a typical example of what it’s like to talk with a loved one who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Does your girlfriend or wife yell, scream, and swear at you? Do you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about your relationship because they just wouldn’t understand? Is your relationship making you feel like you’re slowly going crazy?


If so, you’re probably involved with a woman who is an emotionally abusive bully. Most men don’t want to admit that they’re in an abusive relationship. They describe the relationship and their girlfriend/wife using other terms like crazy, emotional, controlling, bossy, domineering, constant conflict, or volatile. If you use words like this to describe your relationship, odds are you’re being emotionally abused.
Do you recognize any of the following behaviors?

1) Bullying. If she doesn’t get her way, there’s hell to pay. She wants to control you and resorts to emotional intimidation to do it. She uses verbal assaults and threats in order to get you to do what she wants. It makes her feel powerful to make you feel bad. People with a Narcissistic personality are often bullies.
Result: You lose your self-respect and feel outnumbered, sad, and alone. You develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome, in which you identify with the aggressor and actually defend her behavior to others.
2) Unreasonable expectations. No matter how hard you try and how much you give, it’s never enough. She expects you to drop whatever you’re doing and attend to her needs. No matter the inconvenience, she comes first. She has an endless list of demands that no one mere mortal could ever fulfill.
Common complaints include: You’re not romantic enough, you don’t spend enough time with me, you’re not sensitive enough, you’re not smart enough to figure out my needs, you’re not making enough money, you’re not FILL IN THE BLANK enough. Basically, you’re not enough, because there’s no pleasing this woman. No one will ever be enough for her, so don’t take it to heart.
Result: You’re constantly criticized because you’re not able to meet her needs and experience a sense of learned helplessness. You feel powerless and defeated because she puts you in no-win situations.
3) Verbal attacks.This is self-explanatory. She employs schoolyard name calling, pathologizing (e.g., armed with a superficial knowledge of psychology she uses diagnostic terms like labile, paranoid, narcissistic, etc. for a 50-cent version of name calling), criticizing, threatening, screaming, yelling, swearing, sarcasm, humiliation, exaggerating your flaws, and making fun of you in front of others, including your children and other people she’s not intimidated by. Verbal assault is another form of bullying, and bullies only act like this in front of those whom they don’t fear or people who let them get away with their bad behavior.
Result: Your self-confidence and sense of self-worth all but disappear. You may even begin to believe the horrible things she says to you.
4) Gaslighting. “I didn’t do that. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t that bad. You’re imagining things. Stop making things up.” If the woman you’re involved with is prone to Borderline or Narcissistic rage episodes, in which she spirals into outer orbit, she may very well not remember things she’s said and done. However, don’t doubt your perception and memory of events. They happened and they are that bad.
Result: Her gaslighting behavior may cause you to doubt your own sanity. It’s crazy-making behavior that leaves you feeling confused, bewildered, and helpless.
5) Unpredictable responses. Round and round and round she goes. Where she’ll stop, nobody knows. She reacts differently to you on different days or at different times. For example, on Monday, it’s ok for you to Blackberry work email in front of her. On Wednesday, the same behavior is “disrespectful, insensitive, you don’t love me, you’re a self-important jerk, you’re a workaholic.” By Friday, it could be okay for you to Blackberry again.
Telling you one day that something’s alright and the next day that it’s not is emotionally abusive behavior. It’s like walking through a landmine in which the mines shift location.
Result: You’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You’re being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can’t predict her responses, you become hypervigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear. It’s a healthy sign to be afraid of this behavior. It’s scary. Don’t feel ashamed to admit it.
6) Constant Chaos. She’s addicted to conflict. She gets a charge from the adrenaline and drama. She may deliberately start arguments and conflict as a way to avoid intimacy, to avoid being called on her bullshit, to avoid feeling inferior or, bewilderingly, as an attempt to avoid being abandoned. She may also pick fights to keep you engaged or as a way to get you to react to her with hostility, so that she can accuse you of being abusive and she can play the victim. This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification.
Result: You become emotionally punch drunk. You’re left feeling dazed and confused, not knowing which end is up. This is highly stressful because it also requires you to be hypervigilant and in a constant state of defense for incoming attacks.

7) Emotional Blackmail. She threatens to abandon you, to end the relationship, or give you the cold shoulder if you don’t play by her rules. She plays on your fears, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, shame, values, sympathy, compassion, and other “buttons” to control you and get what she wants.
Result: You feel manipulated, used, and controlled.
8 Rejection. She ignores you, won’t look at you when you’re in the same room, gives you the cold shoulder, withholds affection, withholds sex, declines or puts down your ideas, invitations, suggestions, and pushes you away when you try to be close. After she pushes you as hard and as far away as she can, she’ll try to be affectionate with you. You’re still hurting from her previous rebuff or attack and don’t respond. Then she accuses you of being cold and rejecting, which she’ll use as an excuse to push you away again in the future.
Result: You feel undesirable, unwanted, and unlovable. You believe no one else would want you and cling to this abusive woman, grateful for whatever scraps of infrequent affection she shows you.
9) Withholding affection and sex. This is another form of rejection and emotional blackmail. It’s not just about sex, it’s about withholding physical, psychological, and emotional nurturing. It includes a lack of interest in what’s important to you–your job, family, friends, hobbies, activities–and being uninvolved, emotionally detached or shut down with you.
Result: You have a transactional relationship in which you have to perform tasks, buy her things, “be nice to her,” or give into her demands in order to receive love and affection from her. You don’t feel loved and appreciated for who you are, but for what you do for her or buy her.
10) Isolating. She demands or acts in ways that cause you to distance yourself from your family, friends, or anyone that would be concerned for your well-being or a source of support. This typically involves verbally trashing your friends and family, being overtly hostile to your family and friends, or acting out and starting arguments in front of others to make it as unpleasant as possible for them to be around the two of you.
Result: This makes you completely dependent upon her. She takes away your outside sources of support and/or controls the amount of interaction you have with them. You’re left feeling trapped and alone, afraid to tell anyone what really goes on in your relationship because you don’t think they’ll believe you.
You don’t have to accept emotional abuse in your relationship. You can get help or you can end it. Most emotionally abusive women don’t want help. They don’t think they need it. They are the professional victims, bullies, narcissists, and borderlines. They’re abusive personality types and don’t know any other way to act in relationships.
Life is too short to spend one more second in this kind of relationship. If your partner won’t admit she has a problem and agree to get help, real help, then it’s in your best interest to get support, get out, and stay out.
by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Relationships and Divorces with Someone Who Suffers Borderline Personality Disorder

Some of the most emotionally abusive relationships and traumatic divorces involve the mentally ill. One of the most difficult of these mental illnesses is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) because it is not easily diagnosed. Behaviors can range from extreme violence to subtle patterns of emotional blackmail and projection. On top of that, many Borderlines tend to live in denial, constantly avoiding their own feelings of emptiness, insecurity, anger, disappointment and fear that more often than not stems from an abusive childhood. It is hard to treat and help someone if they don’t want to face their own abuse — abuse that they themselves suffered or the abuse that they themselves do.

Classifying Borderlines as “Acting In” or “Acting Out”

Not all borderlines are focused on harming others. Some are so busy with their own inner demons that they are trapped in a realm of substance abuse, suicide attempts, and self-hate that for most can be traced back to child abuse or neglect. They are often known as the “acting in” type. If this is the kind of Borderline in your life, count yourself lucky. That’s because they are both more likely to recognize their own problems and work on them and less likely to focus on destroying other people in a desperate attempt to portray themselves as worthy people who are victims in need of assistance.
The other group of Borderlines, sometimes called the “acting out” group, are narcissistic sociopaths with little sense of guilt or remorse. They often have little limit to what they will do to make themselves “win” and you “lose” and don’t care who else they hurt in the process. If you have been in a relationship with a person suffering Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), be aware that much of what is written about “acting out” Borderlines applies equally to Narcissists.

Blaming and Projection

A relationship with someone who suffers from BPD can leave the one being abused feeling confused and hopeless as they are often blamed for all the problems in the relationships, even including things they didn’t do. Often, such blaming for fictional behaviors is a form of projection used to distract from the Borderline doing the exact thing she or he is accusing the partner of doing. For instance, your Borderline significant other may be having affairs, but you can be sure you will be accused of having affairs (even if you have never had one) long before he or she will admit to one. You may find that many of your friends and family will have heard about your fictional affairs long before you even realize your significant other has been lying about you far and wide. When you try to explain what is really happening, many will refuse to believe the truth because they have heard so many lies about you they cannot imagine they are all false.
The Borderline’s excessive tendency to project or transfer their own negative feelings, behaviors, or perceived negative traits onto others usually arises from their own feelings of self-hatred and self-criticism. In order to deny and escape the truth about their own private hell (usually rooted in an abusive childhood), they instead project their own feelings of self-hatred and inadequacy outside themselves onto others. This is why Borderlines will constantly criticize you, accuse you of saying or doing something you haven’t done or said, and blame you for their problems and unhappiness.
Borderline projections can be very destructive and because most borderlines do not have healthy boundaries, situations can escalate and cause more unnecessary hurt and damage all the way to very serious false criminal allegations that can cost innocent people their jobs, children, and even their lives. For more on this, read up on BPD Distortion Campaigns.
Related to projections is the behavior known as “gaslighting” in which the Borderline tries to confuse another person into believing things that are not true. Often this is to create self-doubt. The target for this abuse can end up questioning his or her own sanity as the Borderline matter-of-factly relates “events” or “what was said” that the target does not recall because they never occurred. You can read more about this behavior in our article Borderlines Make You Feel Insane Via “Gaslighting”.

Divorce Can Intensify the Emotional Abuse

When you divorce someone who suffers from BPD, the emotional abuse does not necessarily end there. It can result in a high-conflict divorce costing you more than you bargained for, not just in terms of wasted money and time, but in very deep psychological wounds. The borderline ex is prone to litigate over everything and to refuse to cooperate with court orders, reasonable requests, and common sense. She or he will likely make even straightforward property settlement issues costly, dragging out the legal process by refusing or avoiding to comply with court decrees to return property, split retirement accounts, repay money owed, and more. He or she may manipulate others by crying poor, telling others that you have lots of money stashed away and have always been mean with money, when in reality they themselves have a much higher income and have more savings than you. Again, this kind of behavior is projection and also a way to humiliate and dominate you.
Another way Borderlines can mess with your mind and emotions is to try and suck you back into the marriage if it is the early stages of your divorce or separation. Be sure to set your limits and be prepared to stand your ground and stick to your boundaries. Borderline behavior will swing unpredictably, one week they may call and want to talk for hours, the next week they may block off any and all communication from you.
No doubt this will be very frustrating so it will be important that you have good legal representation – preferably an attorney who is familiar and understands what drives high-conflict divorces – and a supportive network of family and friends that you can trust. Most importantly, do your best to disengage from the situation. If you have tried every avenue to reasonably communicate with your Borderline and they continue to be unresponsive, do not persist by sending more communication thinking that they might not have received the others you sent. Otherwise the Borderline may distort the truth and accuse you of stalking and harassment.

Borderline Behaviors Regarding Child Custody Disputes

If you have children together, the harm from the Borderline will almost certainly be far worse than you can imagine. Many Borderlines, particularly those who do not focus on self-harm, have difficulty acting appropriately in regard to the children. They will do far more damage as their distress overflows to severely affect the children’s lives. Your children will be put in the middle of the war and used as pawns for the Borderline to control and manipulate. The Borderline will likely engage in parental alienation against you and your children.
Don’t be surprised if your children are taught by the Borderline to lie to harm you, especially lies to paint you as an unfit and dangerous parent. Your children may be too young to understand the difference between a lie and a truth and merely imitate their sociopathic parent as ordered. In other cases, they may know they are lying and feel guilty doing so. But they do it because they are more afraid of upsetting the Borderline than they would ever be of you. You know what hell the Borderline can dish out and how hard it is to endure it as an adult. If you think about what it would be like as a child who cannot escape and is dependent upon such a sociopathic parent, you may gain an understanding of why your loving children may be willing to wrongly help destroy you.
Plan for the worst imaginable. You can be a good parent, hard worker, and honest person who has never done anything more seriously wrong than earn a parking ticket for an expired meter. But the Borderline may try to convince all coworkers, friends, and family (yours included) that you are a drunk, drug abuser, child sex offender, thief, spousal abuser, deadbeat, and more.
The efforts to inflict a distortion campaign on you will increase dramatically when there are children involved. Expect a stream of false and exaggerated reports to the police and CPS to try to get you arrested, imprisoned, and banned from seeing your children. Your workplace may become an intolerable viper’s nest of lies and rumors as the Borderline makes sure everybody knows how horrible you are. If you dare to defend yourself with the truth, she or he will convincingly attempt to portray you as the psychopath and most people, lacking complete information and having heard about your supposed horrible nature behind your back for years, will swallow up the lies like hungry fish snapping at worms on hooks.
All this maybe twisted to look like it is for the “best interests of the children” or “protecting the children”. The Borderline is desperate to keep them away from you to prove that she or he is a better person than you and also because of their own fears of abandonment and poor self-image.

Understanding Emotionally Abusive Relationships

There is help available for those being abused by Borderlines and those suffering similar conditions that drive them to emotionally abuse their loved ones. Identifying and understanding the emotionally abusive behaviors is the first step. In her book The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing, Beverly Engel points out that many couples can remain trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship without realizing how destructive and dysfunctional it really is.
Without intervention, the cycle of abuse continues, resulting in severe psychological damage and possibly another generation of emotionally abusive relationships. Engel’s book covers the gamut of emotional abuse from the less serious to the truly terrifying. She explains how even normally non-abusive people when treated abusively for long periods can eventually retaliate with emotional abuse of their own. This is a further scenario of how the cycle of abuse can turn adult abuse victims into abusers, much like happens to many abused children who become abusive partners and parents.
If you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship, Engel believes you must come to terms with abuse or neglect in your past. Her book helps readers identify their “original abuser” (often a parent), identify traits in partners that are related to that abuse, and how to overcome the emotional abuse. She suggests methods to work with a partner who is willing to make some changes as well as things to do when there is no chance of stopping the abuse without ending the relationship. In order to minimize the chance of establishing yet another emotionally abusive relationship, it is critical to understand the emotional abuse cycle and one’s involvement in it before proceeding to a new relationship. Engel’s book helps readers with this challenge, too.
Engel devotes particular attention to emotional abuse in the context of two personality disorders, BPD and NPD (Narcissitic Personality Disorder) as she has found in her experience as a therapist that these personality disorders are particularly likely to both originate from emotional abuse and to cause future emotional abuse:
I have also singled out BPD and BPD because they — more than any other personality disorders or mental illness — are thought to be primarily caused by emotional abuse or neglect in childhood.

Another reason for my focus is that BPD and NPD are considered by many to be the personality disorder of our time. The sheer numbers of people suffering from these disorders has caused a great deal of focus on them, including a great deal of research as to their cause.

Identifying The Emotionally Abusive Traits of a Borderline

Emotionally abusive relationships and common Borderline behaviors heavily overlap. The following questions have been adapted from Engel’s The Emotionally Abusive Relationship and Randi Kreger’s classic Stop Walking on Eggshells, another excellent book for people who know or suspect a family member may suffer from BPD. These questions can be used to both identify emotional abuse and hazard a guess that the abuser may suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Do you feel that anything you say or do will be twisted and used against you?
  • Do you feel that you can never seem to do anything right to please your partner because what he or she wants is constantly changing or their expectations are unrealistic?
  • Are you blamed and criticized for everything wrong in the relationship – even when it makes no logical sense and not even your fault?
  • Do you often feel like you are in a no-win situation when it comes to dealing with your partner?
  • Does your relationship with your partner feel like a constant emotional roller coaster, where there are periods of irrational and perhaps violent rages or the “silent treatment” alternating with periods of loving and normal moments?
  • Do you feel like the person you care about sees you as either all good or all bad, with nothing in between, and with no rational reason for the black and white perception of you?
  • Does your partner frequently criticize you, denigrate or deny your point of view?or accuse you of doing things you never did and saying things you never said?
  • Are you constantly being accused of doing things you never did and saying things you never said?
  • Do you often find yourself not being able to have an honest conversation with your partner because you are afraid of your partner’s reaction? As a result, do you find yourself concealing what you truly think and feel because it’s not worth the misunderstanding and horrible fight that will no doubt follow?
If you find yourself answering “yes” to most or all of these questions, you are being emotionally abused and your partner likely suffers from BPD or a similar personality disorder.

Diagnosing BPD

Please realize that diagnosing BPD is very difficult for a variety of reasons, so much so that even many professionals shy away from doing it. One experienced child custody evaluator says in a multi-decade career in which he’s evaluated many parents with personality disorders, he has only diagnosed one parent with BPD. As he explains, that was not because this parent was unusual — many of the parents behaved like Borderlines and such a diagnosis would be accurate. This instance was the only case in which he diagnosed a parent with BPD simply because the court ordered that diagnosis to be considered and either confirmed or rejected.
The evaluator stated that Borderlines often get very upset when they are labelled as such. Because of this, he and many of his colleagues conducting child custody and psychological evaluations refuse to use such labels as Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder even when they appear accurate. There was a suggestion that this also had to do with the likelihood that if he were to anger such a person with an accurate diagnosis, there may be some adverse consequences for him including licensing complaints and lawsuits. Further, most judges also lack training in psychology and don’t understand the diagnosis and therefore wouldn’t know what to do with it even if it were made.
One wonders what the point of a custody or psychological evaluation is when the accurate diagnosis will not be made for fear of the consequences. Given this sad state of affairs, if you do find yourself in a divorce or child custody battle with a suspected Borderline or Narcissist, you may be better off avoiding the huge expense of a custody or psychological evaluation. This is doubly so when you consider that many Borderlines and Narcissists are adept at making the more mentally healthy parent look crazy while appearing to be victims.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Medicines and Vaccines in Development to Treat Cancer

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's biopharmaceutical research companies are currently working to develop 836 medicines and vaccines to treat a broad range of cancers, according to a new report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) that highlights the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual Cancer Progress Report.  
The robust pipeline of medicines in development reflects the continued need for innovative medicines to combat the many forms of cancer, which despite a growing number of survivors in the United States, still account for one of every four deaths.
In 2015 alone, it is estimated that more than 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and nearly 600,000 Americans will die from a form of the disease.
PhRMA Reports 836 Medicines and Vaccines in Development to Treat Cancer"The oncology research community has made significant advances in identifying new, more effective therapies to help people with cancer achieve positive treatment outcomes and transition from being cancer patients to cancer survivors," said John J. Castellani, president and chief executive officer, PhRMA. "However, the battle is far from over. This new report underscores the sustained commitment of biopharmaceutical companies to address the unmet medical needs of patients fighting these terrible diseases." 
As noted in the report, "Cancer Medicines in Development 2015," advances in cancer research have fostered an improved understanding of the complexities of the disease, which researchers now know is actually more than 200 unique cancer types that require a targeted, tailored treatment approach. Today, 836 medicines and vaccines are currently in development for cancer by U.S. biopharmaceutical companies, all of which are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The high volume of cancer treatments in development includes many that could potentially improve outcomes in key cancer areas with an especially high burden, including:
  • 123 for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with more than 158,000 deaths expected in 2015;
  • 106 for several types of leukemia, which account for 3 to 4 percent of all new cases of cancer;
  • 92 for lymphoma, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which accounts for nearly 9 percent of all new cancer diagnoses;
  • 82 for breast cancer, the leading cancer diagnosed in U.S. women, with 231,840 new cases expected in 2015;
  • 58 for brain tumors, including gliomas, which represent 80 percent of all malignant tumors; and,
  • 53 for skin cancer, including melanoma, which accounts for 2 percent of all skin cancer cases, but most of the skin cancer deaths.
"The scientific opportunities that exist today and our ability to translate this research into improved outcomes for cancer patients are simply astounding," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D, M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer, AACR. The AACR Cancer Progress Report, which is being released on September 16, echoes the promising findings of the Medicines in Development report and illustrates recent progress through the stories of 13 courageous individuals whose lives have been transformed by the incredible advances in research."
View the full report here:
View the medicine list here: 
About The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.2 billion in 2014 alone.
Connect with PhRMAFor information on how innovative medicines save lives, please visit: 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Talks with Mussolini

THE following conversations took place in the
Palazzo di Venezia at Rome, being held almost daily
for an hour at a time between March 23 and April
4, 1932, both dates inclusive. We talked Italian and
each conversation was recorded by me in German
as soon as it was finished. Only a few sentences from
earlier conversations have been introduced into this
book. The German manuscript was submitted to
Mussolini, who checked the passages in which his
own utterances were recorded.
No material other than the before-mentioned has
been incorporated, but I have to acknowledge my
indebtedness to Margherita Sarfatti for a good many
hints conveyed to me in her biography. I have made
no use of the numberless anecdotes current in
Rome; and I have ignored the reports of Mussolini's
collaborators, informative though these are. In a
word, the talks consist of what actually passed in
conversation between Mussolini and myself.

          Emil Ludwich

Sunday, September 6, 2015

U.S. Labor Market Tightens Further

Comment on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report Gad Levanon, Director, Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research The Conference Board 



NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2015  -- The report released today provides more evidence that the labor market is tightening rapidly. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in August, as a result of a large drop in the number of unemployed and a flat labor-force participation rate that has yet to recover. It is therefore not surprising to see average hourly earnings accelerate in recent months.
Job growth in August was somewhat disappointing at just 173,000, but the upward revisions to June and July suggest it is too early to conclude that the US economy is experiencing a moderation in job growth. Given that the labor force is barely growing at all, current job growth rates will continue to rapidly lower the unemployment rate to below 5 percent by year's end.
The job losses in oil-related industries are too small to impact the national unemployment rate, but most oil-producing states are experiencing rising unemployment rates this year. The modest decline in manufacturing jobs may reflect some headwinds from the global slowdown, but could also signal that productivity increases may finally be setting in.
About The Conference Board The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.
SOURCE The Conference Board
CONTACT: Jonathan Liu, (212) 339-0257 /



Friday, September 4, 2015

Immediate Action on Syria Crisis

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2015 /On Friday, September 4, representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will join leaders of other national Muslim organizations and of the Syrian-American community at a news conference in Washington, D.C., to call for immediate action by the Obama administration to help end the suffering of the Syrian people, which has reached levels of death and destruction not seen since World War II.

[MEDIA NOTE: The news conference will be streamed live on Periscope @CAIRNational.]
One of the key recommendations for administration action will be the establishment of a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from aerial attack.
WHAT: CAIR, Syrian-American and Muslim Groups to Call for Immediate Action on Syria Crisis
WHEN: Friday, September 4, 10 a.m. (EDT)
WHERE: CAIR Capitol Hill Headquarters, 453 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,
"The unimaginable suffering of the Syrian people must be stopped through immediate and effective actions by the United States and the international community," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "The world has for too long turned a blind eye to the destruction of Syria and the killing and displacement of its people."
Awad said participants in the Friday news conference will outline detailed actions the Obama administration should take immediately to help alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and to bring that destabilizing conflict to an end.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171,

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)