Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Scene From the Ambient Abuse Betty Laluna

I had a talk with a friend today.  She was involved in a relationship with someone many years ago.  This person did not beat her, he was more of an ambient abuser.  When he was done with his deed, he took off with someone else.  This woman has intermittently tried to make sense of the behavior for the past 20 years.  I'm not even sure if she is aware that what she was subjected to was abuse.  Covert abuse is tricky like that, it causes you to second guess yourself, especially if someone was an expert at pushing buttons and making you look like the irrational one in the situation, labeled as the one always angry and fighting.  Ambient abusers are "Never wrong" and they're pretty good at getting everyone else on their side with their tales of 'self proclaimed' victim hood making you look like the crazy.

I happened upon a video on You Tube which demonstrates
how easily people can confuse who the true victims are...

For those of you who can't see it...let me break it down for you...he's messing with her head...

FIRST...we don't know what buttons he pushed because he only started recording once she began to 'react'. It is clear he has been gaslighting her and doling out intermittent reinforcement. He knows this script, he knew exactly how she would react and he banked on it. This is probably a pattern for him. More than likely she hasn't always melted down like this or else we'd have to question did he not know she was 'crazy' before he married her as he alleges to begin with? Sources report they have only been married since 2012. If I had a dollar for every time a victim has entered 'the forum' with the words: "He called me crazy" or "He said his ex was crazy" I'd be a millionaire.

The video above is a prime example of the end results of AMBIENT abuse. It's covert and it's oftentimes missed by the average person because there is a lack of awareness in the domestic violence community. Oftentimes victims are misdiagnosed as bi-polar when in fact they are in trauma, their minds shredded in tatters because the victim cannot even identify what has been done to them.  Sometimes they've never been physically harmed and so it is that much harder to articulate or identify what has occurred. This is often why victims stay in dysfunctional relationships for so long. They can't see it's dysfunctional, or the effects of the abuse causes them to believe that they really are the crazy ones.  Sometimes victims even assume the blame for being the abuser in the relationship. In simple terms, this type of abuse is crazy making.

The average person might not see the dynamics. Lets go through the script:

The scene opens at what I surmise is the precise moment following the 'trigger' or his button pushing.
We hear her in frustration scream:

"I do ALL my shit to have a Saturday to hang out with my husband and yet ALL your shit (unintelligible)."

He responds with:

"All I want to do is get my tires rotated"

Now it's clear this has to have been a longstanding problem between them. Most victims I have dealt with as well as myself have reported covert abusers do nothing but follow their own agenda. They make promises and plans and break them...they leave you waiting, anything and everything that is important to you must wait.  Everything is passive aggressive, last-minute, chaos, and revolves around them and their self-centered plans. If you want steak for dinner, they take you to a seafood restaurant. If you want to spend a day at the beach, they plan a 'romantic' day in the woods in 105 degree weather sans mosquito repellent. This type of activity with a covert abuser goes on constantly and it's not because they're dunces, it's because it's all about them and their need for control. Over time, this becomes a challenge. They book all their time and when there is five minutes for some semblance of 'quality time' they make sure to book that up too with something that "MUST BE DONE" for THEM. If you dare to protest, you are labeled unreasonable or I dare say they might even project and call YOU selfish. This is what I believe is at work here. I'm gathering her meltdown is not so much because this ONE time she could not go to the lake, but rather they probably discussed this, she's probably been the one BEGGING for some bonding time and of course he probably 'Yessed' her all week. She probably knocked herself out making sure things were done on her end so they could be free and enjoy the day and in true passive aggressive fashion, he never had plans to go to the lake in the first place, he just did not feel she needed to know he was getting his tires changed until SHE was in the car. Are you seeing the pattern here? Over time, this type of behavior gets to you.

She is by her reactions displaying evidence that a pattern of covert abuse by him has more than likely occurred for some time. These types of emotional reactions don't happen right away, it is triggered via a slow campaign by the abuser. He is pinning it on her, and I suspect for the first time the whole week while they had these plans, he decided while they were allegedly en route to the "lake trip" (which turned into the tire trip she wasn't advised of), ON THE ROAD for perhaps the FIRST TIME she's hearing it he asks: "But how do we have enough MONEY to go to the lake?" AS if that is the reason why they are not going to the lake and AS IF by magic somehow TIRES are the new priority.

Affordability for the lake might be a reasonable concern, but not one anyone sane asks about when you are to the best of your knowledge (because it was discussed) en-route on a trip to said lake (that was pre-planned) that instantly turns into a tire rotating trip.  I can imagine there is probably a cooler she packed in there, a lil blanket for the grass, maybe she even splurged on some wine...she probably spent a nice amount of time trying to plan around some quality time, making sure the chores were done, and it means not a thing to him because he's decided at perhaps mile marker five on the highway ten minutes from the house, they're going to the tire shop! POOF! Just like that...and of course her 'anger' is unreasonable to him because well, he needs TIRES! He needs them NOW!'s about HIM!

Next, she brings up the budget. I suspect from this teeny bit of evidence, they've probably spoken about the budget and they probably have a lot of issues with the budget, because well, covert abusers have many tools in their toolbox and financial abuse is just one of many tools.  Passive aggressive types are really crappy when it comes to the budget and there is never any money unless it's for THEM. Financial abuse is a very common complaint in these types of relationships and she is probably even more frustrated because she probably made some sacrifice in order for them to enjoy this trip that is now last-minute becoming a trip to the tire place...she gets upset and now needs a smoke and if you're a smoker you can appreciate how when in the midst of a meltdown you need that smoke (it's an addiction) and now he's going to enjoy watching her beg and squirm before he stops off at a store so she can cop some cigs...IF he even does that. The point has nothing to do with whether smoking is bad or not...he knows she smokes and she is an adult. He's denying her 'pleasure' which is subjective, pleasure can be anything but what he's doing is subtle torture. This is not about arguing whether cigarettes are necessary. Any smoker will tell you when we need a cigarette we need one. When we don't have one, we crave it the same way a junkie would need a hit of heroin, so right now, in a way she's being put into further distress. The time to quit smoking is not in the midst of psychological abuse and knowing she is a smoker, and marrying her under those conditions further validates that in fact this is a method by which he is controlling, abusing and torturing her. He is getting pleasure out of it, listen to his condescending tone.

The victim then begins to cry and begs "PLEASE"...he continues denying, pushing buttons, and responds: "I haven't done shit." The average individual might think that he hasn't done anything to cause such an extreme reaction because we don't see him punch her in the face, kick her, bite her, slap her...what he's done is much worse, he's destroyed her mind with intermittent reinforcement, passive aggression, button pushing, gaslighting and other forms of covert hostility and abuse. Her crime? She wanted to spend time with him on the lake.  His response: Humiliate her and post the video on You Tube.

The abuser in this scenario then twists the story and blames this outburst when he says (her reaction) is "All over a pack of cigarettes?" He knows he's recording her and he also knows most won't see what he's doing and he knows very well why she's reacting that way, he throws cigarettes in the mix when she's upset over the disappointment of perhaps the 1000th time not getting her needs met, which in this case was an afternoon by the lake WITH HIM.  Normal couples share things and do things together, but he's making her out to be a nutcase for getting upset that it's not happening, and I'll go as far as to say by her reactions probably hasn't happened EVER!  As he baits her, her emotions rise...that is how button pushing works. At no time during this interaction does he show any empathy, consideration, care or concern for what she wanted. He knows why she's pissed, he doesn't care and that is probably what has her even more distressed because it is hard when you don't understand covert abuse or any of the common traits on the AXIS II Cluster B disorder spectrum how someone who 'appears' loving and considerate can be so indifferent, callous, cold and not really give a crap at all about you.  It's even scarier when you can see they are enjoying watching you squirm because they also get a lil glint in the eye that can be quite unnerving. 

The abuser engages in more psychological control...He then in asks: "Now Really? AND you want me to take you to the lake?" Which is translation for: Now You're punished!

She finally seeks a lifeline...she goes for her phone, some kind of connection...she is reaching out...she can't articulate what is wrong but she's showing she has the trait of a survivor, she's not just sitting there, yes she probably feels crazy but she has that drive to reach out...She's hysterical...I NEVER GET MY WAY!!! I NEVER GET MY WAY!!! I JUST WANT ONE DAY!!!! She has probably been emotionally neglected by him for a time and the cork has finally popped. Many tout 'Independence' but to have expectations of sharing and bonding is actually emotional INTERDEPENDENCE which is crucial in any relationship.  Many confuse the term co-dependence.  Personally I think codependence is rubbish when we're discussing domestic violence, no one enables abuse willingly.  Healthy people bond.  If we're going the route of complete independence then why seek a companion? YOU!  Those who elect to engage in a relationship do so with the understanding that there has to be some kind of give and take, otherwise it's called being roommates and the upside to being a roommate is you don't have to screw them.  That is the distinction in case anyone is wondering.  You can be rejected but for so many times before you snap.

Someone reading this might ask: Well why doesn't she just leave!?  To the average viewer, she might appear to be over reacting; however, the problem is she's been brainwashed and she cannot see what he's doing. The intermittent reinforcement screws up the radar and so an abuser trains a victim to keep waiting. It's like Pavlov and the dogs.  It's conditioning.  They dole out a little here a little there and in good times you think maybe you are being too demanding, they give you just enough of a crumb to think they are trying and so you begin to have hope again, then they drop you but you get trained to wait for the good times to come around again...and you buy their excuses for why they can't meet you half way...because there is always some drama or chaos or pressing reason why they can't but they make sure to tell you how much they love you and need you even though every day you are dying a little death...and you really believe them because they don't seem blatantly cruel. It's like Chinese emotional water torture, it's doled out in drops - the hemorrhage comes slowly...

She finally screams: "Goddamn! Why can't you just do it for me? Why is it so hard???" and he's Mr. Smooth and unmoved by her distress. HIS reaction is the one that is ABNORMAL...he's enjoying it.

To gain pleasure in another's suffering is a key trait of pathological behavior. He continues to bait her...and drive her completely insane just by pushing her buttons...

She then tells him: "I'm having an anxiety attack"...he replies..."It's not my fault" (projecting blame)...he knows darn well what he's doing and he's taping it too because these types of abusers know exactly how to play the game and come off smelling like a rose. For the camera he 'confirms' for his audience..."I haven't done anything Whitney." He minimizes her anguish and distorts the picture and suggests "This is all because I gotta get shit done to my truck." (First he blamed her reaction on cigarettes and now it's his truck - not once did he even care to register the issue was the lake even though she's in tears over the LAKE!). When she counters that is not the case, he retorts: "This is my day to get shit done too." Then projects "You're acting like an 11 year old that didn't get the toy from Walmart."  I suspect that is the age where his disorder started and it might have been triggered by some scene where HE didn't get the toy from Walmart, but I'll reserve the right to be wrong on that one small insight. A lot of things can be revealed by what these nut jobs say, you just have to know how to listen and that only comes with educating oneself on how this disorder works. He's literally laughing at her pain, he's gaining great pleasure out of it. This is ABUSE.

The video continues and it seems that there are some other maintenance issues with her car and the house, she says something about "I have to get somebody to get the floors done" (or something like that). These types also abuse by neglecting to do things around the home, important things when it comes to maintenance and they let them go. Leaving a home in tatters to where that too becomes a form of abuse when it is in disrepair, especially since for most women a decent home is a woman's pride.  Perhaps not all men are handy, but then the solution is to make a way, to either pay someone to do it, or figure out how to get it done, but for these types, it's another level of control, abuse and's hatred. It's not love.  They get off on whatever makes their victim MISERABLE.

She shares: "Everybody at work makes comments about you!" and he responds: "When they see this video they'll understand"

And yes sir, we do understand...You sir are an abuser of the worst kind.  You are officially a viral mascot for pathologicals.

Learn the signs, if you're here and this strikes a nerve with you, you're not crazy...there is help available.  You don't have to suffer in silence.  You can access resources for help [HERE]

Background to this video can also be found at: THE BLAZE

Post Script:

In the article featured in The Blaze about this video, it is disclosed that the victim was the recipient of a DUI. That does not negate the fact that she is a victim of abuse and it is quite possible she turned to drinking as a result of the abuse. Finally, let's play "Devil's Advocate" let's say she really is 'crazy'...she's obviously in some very obvious distress. Does HIS reaction seem normal even within that context? Does he show ANY empathy?...or does he seem rather entertained?...

Finally...Sometimes we doubt ourselves and what we deserve...sometimes we're ashamed because to desire a certain level of affection in some dysfunctional circles has been labeled as "needy"...if you're in that camp tell the committee in your head and all you have been brainwashed with to go fly!  Hear it straight from the Men's mouth [HERE].