Leaving the family system: An honourable choice

As a therapist, I have worked with people who have been beaten, raped, psychologically tormented, severely neglected, and in many other ways profoundly betrayed by their parents or family members. Never, in my 15 years of working with people, have I heard of one of these abusers taking responsibility for what they did. Most of the time, my client is the one person in the family who is dealing with the abuse. The rest of the family and extended family refuse to talk about the incidents. Frequently, they belittle the truth teller, depict them as the one in the wrong, and even call them crazy. These clients over years of time, experience blame, shaming, walls of silence, verbal attacks, and are disowned if they continue to try and bring up the subject of past abuse. Many clients pretend the abuse never happened in order to stay close to family members while secretly suffering from the horrors of the damage. Most people don’t realize how common the pattern is- the one who remembers loses everything. The one who got hurt carries all the pain. The one who was a child victim is victimized again as an adult. It is wrong and it happens everyday.

A look at Stockholm Syndrome, child abuse and toxic relationships

The following guest blogger post was written by Erin Fado, a Professor of Sociology and lecturer at the University of Wollongong in Sydney, Australia. She shares an in depth look at the correlation between Stockholm Syndrome and Child Abuse, including Childhood Sexual Abuse, Toxic Relationships, and Cognitive Dissonance.

I came in contact with Erin when she reached out to me to guest blog on her site, YouWillBearWitness.com. I’m honored to say that her readers enjoyed my guest post and of course I was equally honored that she accepted my invitation to share on Surviving My Past. Thank you so much Erin for sharing your insight, and I look forward to collaborating with you in the future!

It’s crazy, my Mother and her friends abused me for fourteen years yet I still yearn for her love and defend her to my Therapist and family.

Narcissistic Victim Syndrome: What the heck is that?

When a man or woman suffers from a condition named Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they display patterns of deviant or abnormal behaviour that is so bad, that it creates carnage on those people who are unfortunate enough to have a close relationship with  them.

The dysfunctional behaviour involves such callous exploitation of their victims that it has given birth to a new condition known as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (or Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome).   While plenty has been written medically about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), little or nothing has been written about Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (NVD).  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, and it is considered the “bible” for all professionals,  covers NPD extensively. However DSM-IV has not written anything about the effects on those who live or work with the narcissist’s torturous behaviours, and the consequences of that behaviour on the mental health of the victim.  Thanks to the dedicated work of many psychotherapists, it has become clear that a set of detectable characteristics occur when working with victims of narcissistic abuse.


Deprogramming refers to measures that claim to assist[1] a person who holds a controversial belief system in changing those beliefs and abandon allegiance to the religious, political, economic, or social group associated with the belief system.[2][3] The dictionary definition of deprogramming is "to free" or "to retrain" someone from specific beliefs, [4]some controversial methods and practices of self-identified "deprogrammers" have involved kidnapping, false imprisonment, and coercion,[5] which have sometimes resulted in criminal convictions of the deprogrammers.[6][7] Some deprogramming regimens are designed for individuals taken against their will, which has led to controversies over freedom of religion, kidnapping, and civil rights, as well as the violence which is sometimes involved.[8]