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How Perpetrator's 'groom' Victims To Make Them Feel Like Its Their Fault

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by Thnowflea, Oct 2, 2011.

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  1. Thnowflea

    Thnowflea Member

    I have some educational info about grooming: how molesters and abusers groom their victims to accept their behaviour. This leads into the question of who's responsible for who's behaviour.

    I watched a clip this week that taught me alot about Sociopathic thinking and grooming. It was an interview on Oprah's website. I found it in a search of her website under video interviews with Child Molesters. Oprah interviewed these four molesters/Peadophiles about how they groomed their victims and the guys basically explain their process of grooming and traumatic seduction full out.

    I should say its a very confronting clip, they describe everything, yes I really do mean everything so if you choose to check it out have a think first about getting triggered and whether you'd actually be self harming or in some traumatic reenactment by exposing yourself to the discussion (There is a psychologist present and the molesters have been in treatment for at least four years so its based on them taking responsibilty and trying to attempt to remotely repay some of their debt, they do apologise whole heartedly and some of them cry and confess their own cycles of abuse and decision to perpetuate that cycle etc then Oprah talks to them about her sexual abuse). I watched it grounding myself and using a witnessing self to observe them in a detached way that watched it as a kind of 'recoursing'. But heads up people, its...grim.

    Anyway I brought it up because I found it so educational about how grooming works and it enlightened me about the way I was groomed. Oprah talks about how if an abuser is doing their 'job' well (vomit) the victim should think the whole thing is their fault and that they are responsible for the perp's behaviour. The perps explain this kind of brainwashing process graphically and how they identify people that are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. The perps identify these as people who trust easily (give it straight away rather than someone earning it - like a small child does naturally/healthily) and people who have had questionable models of 'to what extent an individual is responsible for their own behaviour'.

    Note the words: their own behaviour.

    The molesters talk about recognising as molesters that kids who are in a family where denial is a central approach to issues display the type of neglect that makes the child especially vulnerable to abuse. The abusers/molesters talk about being able to tap into the child's starvation for attention and how they could slowly twist that into 'you asked for it'. Its a huge leap, especially for a child but many molesters manage it. They see this as being a succesful or master molester.

    Also the Molesters say grooming is very important to their molesting process because thats how they make sure their victim won't tell on them. They talk about taking that very seriously because they don't want to go to jail.

    I was just checking out Dr Alice Miller's website too where she has heaps of articles to read about why kids try to take responsibilty for their perp or parent's behaviour. It made me think about how good a sociopath or perp is at making their choice to action certain behaviour feel like its your fault. Alice Miller talks about how society would react if a complete stranger did some of the things to a child that one's perp had done in a random act. Why do we take these acts any less seriously in a different context? She talks about it in terms of discipline: spanking. If your parents beat the hell out of a small screaming child for spilling coke on the carpet (my Father) its called 'discipline', for some reason we think thats somehow ok, to beat a small child as though they have no feelings or won't remember something that horrific. But if a visitor had done that or random stranger on the street it would have been considered child abuse - someone driving past would call the police. So the child goes 'well, Im getting beaten by my carer/parent/authority figure so the problem must be me'.

    Because how else does a child make sense of such gross social denial of abuse?

    My ex (sociopath) told me he had been raped when we met. That was the beginning of my grooming. The woman part of me said to myself internally 'OMG this poor guy, Im gonna do whatever it takes to support him'. That was him setting up his disclaimer. Then any future abuse could be explained away as 'he was feeling traumatic because of the trauma (which he was taking out on me) so if I leave then his abuser (fictional abuser) has somehow won by making him unlovable.I thought 'oh I better do whatever it takes not to abandon this guy no matter what '.

    The molesters on that Oprah clip outright explain and detail using exactly these kinds of stories to manipulate or brainwash their victims.

    The thing to remember or realise is here we all are doing the work and trying to get well, taking responsibilty for our mental health regardless of our pasts, of how hard it is. Look at how we choose to respond to an awful past compared to the person they have chosen to be! My point: Not everyone whos had a shocking life chooses to victimize other people. Because we know we have a choice not to be that kind of person. Just like every abuser, every sociopath, every psychopath has a choice. If you choose to relinquish your freedom to choose how you respond, who you become as a result youve still made a choice. Every time you come on this site to talk about this you make a decision to deal with it head on. Even in captivity one always has a universal freedom to choose: the freedom to choose one's attitude to one's situation/ how one will respond to it/who you will become as a result.

    This is where the wonderful Dr Viktor Frankl comes in (read Man's search for Meaning). All his work is about his experiences in Auschwitz and the role's people chose in Concentration camps in the Holocaust. Some people chose to give scraps of bread to those less fortunate and protect others, others chose to beg for jobs administering torture to other prisoners as their means of a kind of survival. His thesis is: The freedom to choose one's attitude, one's way even in the face of Holocaust atrocities remains. Frankl talks about one of the head guards at Auschwitz who never lifted a hand to a prisoner and paid for medical supplies out of his own pocket - which given his situation as a Nazi was an incredible acheivement in a sense, he was actually protected and celebrated by his Jewish prisoners for it after their release. Then there were the guards who were Sadists. It didnt matter what these guys childhoods were like. Torture is torture, rape is rape, abuse is abuse. They'd lived in the world so they knew the difference. But they made a decision when they chose their attitude to their situation. That was their free choice. It was their perogative to become guilty. No one else is responsible for that choice but them. Alot of Nazi's did commit suicide after the war so they wouldnt be charged for their crimes - they administered their own death penalty because they knew it was probably due.

    My Father threatens the same thing, suicide. Its terrifying. But, The truth is it was his perogative to become guilty, to sacrifice his integrity. He made his decision and I mourn his decision, all of them. But thats his story, thats was/ is his choice. I wish he had the integrity to face his behaviour and do the work. But he's always chosen the easy way out, and I refuse to be the scape goat any longer. Because its not ok.

    Sorry about the long post. I got fired up. Strength in anger! Yes!
     
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  2. ClairBear226

    ClairBear226 Irony Consultant and Director of Chocolate Premium Member

    Flea.... gotta tell ya, I'm not a big Oprah fan. I haven't seen anything she's done in years, and really not now, since she recently retired. But your post was something really worthwhile for me to read. I guess guilt is something a lot of us struggle with, but I happen to be pretty deaply entreanched in it these days. The part about "grooming a victim" was particularly helpful. Thank you.
     
  3. maddog

    maddog I'm a VIP

    This was a keeper of a post, thanks so much.

    MD
     
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  4. Thnowflea

    Thnowflea Member

    Thanks guys! Im glad! I was a bit worried cause I went on such a rant : ) lol.

    Its useful to hear abusers talk about their process openly in a way. It makes you realise how some people are so unrecourseful, so small, that all they think they can live up to is to aspire to 'achieve in the negative'.

    They look for chinks and loopholes in society just like burglars do so they can steal something for themself. Interestingly if you think you have to steal something to get it, you don't beleive you could ever be enough to actually earn it as you are. In that way, abusers have worse self esteem issues than their victims. At least most victims beleive they are entitled to ask for help, instead of just resorting to stealing and abusing. I think thats what people mean when they say a snake is more afraid of you than you are of it. Yes they bite, but they bite because they feel threatened, they feel small, they're terrified. So they try to dominate.

    I read an article recently about psychopaths, 'Living Strangely in Time, Emotions, Masks and Morals in Psychopathically Inclined People by Dr Doris Mcilwain. Interestingly, this study actually found that Psychopathy is largely based on shame. Even though a psychopath fully beleives they are the sum total of what they present as to the person they're with ; abusing one person one minute, then later with another, 'I would never do that!' (what I just did an hour ago elsewhere), which is called a 'nested sense of self', they are shown to have this underarching, all pervasive sense of shame.

    What did Jeffrey Dahmer's opinion of himself have to be to assume that the only intimacy he was going to get was to hoard the body parts of his victims? On one hand its like ' wow thats horrifying!', but on the other, when you think about it its like 'wow, you think your soooo small! Thats as entitled as you get is it? Body parts! Who never gave you a cuddle!'. You can see an abuser's opinion of themself in the grooming. On one hand they're like, 'yeah your nothing and I'm the Boss just enjoying you flailing about in your humanity while I do horrible stuff', and on the other they have identified you as something they'd like to dominate, they've seen you as higher in your humanity; a humanity they will never have because of that pervasive shame that says they're That small, That unentitled; so if they can just convince someone else with great values to take responsibilty for their behaviour for them its like a little holiday from the shame.

    Behind every sociopath, every abuser, every psychopath is a tiny little child wimpering in a corner whos bad bad bad. Once I figured that out, I stopped being afraid of my ex. I saw him in the street and looked right through him and saw this little child he is, this tiny little boy who's so scared and so small that he just wants to dominate and destroy to steal some tiny, remote sense of significance. He knew I knew then too. He went all white and I saw that child in his eyes. I felt so strong I gave him nothing on my face at all and continued on my way.

    The idea that a sociopath can take away your humanity is an illusion. They don't even remember what it is. I think the fact that I got ptsd was really magnificently human of me, a sacred part, a humanity thats central to who I am, what I am, that can't be lost or taken, its just me, I know right and wrong, I just know, thats me. Inside, somewhere, I always knew how wrong his behaviour was, his and my Fathers. My body knew. Thats why I got sick, because the wonderful human-me knew the difference.

    Thats a strength of character, conscience and moral fibre neither of them will ever have. I can see why they wanted to dominate me in their 'poverty', because I am so rich in my heart, I have such high values that really bad behaviour makes me this sick. I can see why they found that threatening, humanity is lovely, all they have is shame. Gosh! My father, my ex, they're so small.

    <Inserted Paragraph Breaks>
     
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  5. ClairBear226

    ClairBear226 Irony Consultant and Director of Chocolate Premium Member

    Flea, it's not that you went on a rant, but it's hard for a lot of people with PTSD to read something very long, especially like the post above with minimal paragraph breaks. Anthony has a wiki thing about it here somewhere, I think. There's good info there, and it's definitely helpful, and I read your post above as well - though it's hard to focus on. You might have more responses if you keep that in mind. Brevity and paragraph breaks will get you more feedback in PTSD land. ;)

    Thats a strength of character, conscience and moral fibre neither of them will ever have.

    Yes. I agree.
     
  6. Thnowflea

    Thnowflea Member

    Thanks ClairBear226 I'll check that out. In that case people have been so great with feedback. Thank you lovely people : )
     
  7. Deaf Global Nomad

    Deaf Global Nomad Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Thank you very much for posting this information, Thnowflea! This is especially interesting for someone with a research background like mine. I have worked in a researcher's lab on studying the thinking of the perpetrators of sexual abuse of children in the social work department during my senior year of college. I could not continue because I became overwhelmed by the material. However, getting to that information and how they're thinking works is important to eventually stop them or even better prevent them from acting out.

    I find it hard to understand how society adapts so quickly to new research and new ideas and incorporates them into the various fields to help people. Until about five years ago I was always frustrated with media showing or reporting discriminatory ideas. Since becoming involved with Disability Studies, I have learned to look at portrayals of people over time. The same goes with abuse and molestation. Now that I have lived in one place long enough I can identify the changes. Watching how sexual abuse is portrayed has really changed in this century. In the 1990's the knowledge of science for evidence made it difficult to prosecute someone. No way would certain professionals be able to just ignore someone who comes forward with an accusation.

    I'm not sure if I am successful in explaining what I really mean. To sum it up, I just really hope that knowledge and society's openness to accept advances in knowledge and awareness will help decrease the long-term abuse that used to go on behind "closed doors." So thank you in raising this video!
     
  8. Emilie

    Emilie Active Member

    Thanks for this. I've been particularly interested in psychopathy recently as my new psychiatrist thinks my mom is a genuine psychopath. I've been looking for some links between heredity of psychopathy and PTSD in particular but I came across ka-put. I did find one article that speculated that in war a lack of PTSD suggests varying degrees of psychopathy. I like to think psychopathy is in fact curable but I heard it's due to a thinning of tissue in the frontal lobe. I wonder if in fact PTSD is the healthy response to trauma, rather than feeling okay or recovering quickly after a horrible trauma. Part of me also wonders if untreated severe PTSD can turn into psychopathy or something like that. Think of how many people out there who are successful psychopaths. Sometimes you have to be crazy to be successful. There also was some guy on the Colbert Report who mentioned how bi-polar individuals would make a better president because they feel more empathy. (The great deal and social security was cited for it's insanity) It's weird how society praises good psychopathic behavior but shuns the bad psychopathic qualities.



    Anyway, there's my weird rant in response. I'm no expert so It's all just speculation from me, the wiki-google-amazon book graduate... lol.
     
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  9. maddog

    maddog I'm a VIP

    Wow Emilie, lots of interesting food for thought there, some time when my appetite is a little healthier. So, is PTSD in fact the healthy adaptive response to experiencing or exposure to extreme trauma? Is it natural and biologically appropriate for us to take on board the experience and impact of such unhealthy destructive stimuli to such an extent that it causes long-term psychological/neurological disturbance in our brains? It certainly casts PTSD in a very different light if you choose to accept this notion, which seems far from unreasonable.

    And there is a similarly compelling argument to suggest that the degree of ruthless, nonempathic self interest required to be ultra successful, is synonymous with many of the characteristics of psychopathy. i think i like this...

    Maddog
     
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  10. Mad Hatter

    Mad Hatter New Member


    I was also repetitively dehumanized by a psychopath (and am now PTSD with flashbacks and anxiety); he was (is?) impotent (quite literally), and when I remember this, he doesn't seem so powerful afterall.

    Power is relational, and if you play the psychopath's game, they win. If you rewrite the rules, and recontextualize the situation, it becomes less threatening.
     
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  11. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for telling us about this interview!

    At first I was impressed that those four guys managed to get their thinking straight. But then I was appalled that they understand what they have done and still do not kill themselves in the most horrible, slow, painful way imaginable. I mean, no one could survive the amount of emotional suffering that you'd have to experience as a result of truly understanding just how absolutely destructive their crime of child rape is.

    EDIT:
    Oh, most definitely. I'm very low on empathy. If I were a bit less afraid and a bit less intelligent, I'd sit in some prison now, and for a lot more than just aggravated assault or a single murder.
     
  12. Emilie

    Emilie Active Member

    I just came across some great quotes and articles for you guys.


    http://health.msn.com/health-topics/mental-health/why-do-some-people-become-psychopaths
    http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=237.0
    http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/3/9/8/7/2/p398721_index.html

    Hmm, but in hindsight to my statement, I suppose a lack of empathy on your part may just be for a different reason. Psychopaths have no empathy because they have no capacity for it, and someone who is traumatized may have no empathy because they never learned it(but have a capacity for it), or deep down feels like others do not deserve their empathy (that's my case I think) and maybe a few other reasons too as stated in those articles I linked.


    I find it rather refreshing to think that I am the opposite of a psychopath(my mom). Who'd have thought that having ptsd could be so rewarding in any kind of way. I can't watch a murder scene on a cartoon or a baby's birth without bawling my eyes out, I'm far from psychopath atm, but I think there was a time where I was so dissociated from empathy you could've thought I was a psychopath. I used to be able to stomach masters of horror and everything. Not anymore for sure.
     
  13. Srain

    Srain "Please don't tell me not to cry." Premium Member

    I watched part of this and I do have respect for Oprah and the information that she brings to the table, knowing she, herself is a Survivor of childhood abuse; however I admit I could not watch it all. So yes, I'm underinformed.

    My feeling, they SHOULD apologize, they SHOULD cry, they have ruined countless lives of children! Generations of lives. I don't feel anything close to empathy for them. I don't care what their background is. I don't.

    My father was a pedaphile, he was a family therapist, a professor who went on to "groom" other therapists in his inner circle, God knows how many victims before he was stopped. I have no doubt my father has a horrid story to tell, his brother murdered, my grandmother a cold woman, etc.

    I get that I'm reacting, I do, but I don't for one second believe that these monster, once they have felt that power, can ever be around children again, EVER. They have no way of repaying their debt to society.
     
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  14. freakofnurture

    freakofnurture Well-Known Member

    I agree that it's not worth the risk to ever let a pedophile - no matter if they have acted out or not - in the company of children. However, I feel strongly that we have to remove the taboo from the illness itself, so that it becomes possible to talk about pedophilia to kids and teens. Most pedophiles start molesting when they're between 10 and 20 years old! We have to reach them und put them in therapy while they're still kids themselves, and hopefully before they hurt someone.

    EDIT: There's this rather definitive study that looks at three different populations of child molesters and the development of their pedophilia; it's pretty interesting: Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study.
     
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  15. Srain

    Srain "Please don't tell me not to cry." Premium Member

    Great point!
     
  16. Meadowsweet

    Meadowsweet I'm a VIP Premium Member

    This is very interesting post.

    I find this part particularly helpful. Ive excused others abuse of me for years, and much of my attitude and thinking remains there. I get very maternal and very protective over children, but when I'm with people who are abusive to me, I almost see them like hurt children and want to protect them. Its messed up and I think it makes me a danger to myself.
     
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  17. Phoenix_Rising

    Phoenix_Rising Well-Known Member

    This is more on the off-shoots of your post, than the main part... But my ex also used the "it's ok, you don't have to be scared, it happened to me too..." bit. I tend to believe of his many lies that that part was true, (certainly I would rather that was the case) even though he did use it to get access to me, and worked hard at that. But because of how he was, I just think it was consistent with a history of CSA. And how there is a difference between "us" and "them".

    I was shown this quite distinctly at one point in our relationship, when he asked me to spit on him during s**. I tried, for his sake, because he insisted, and I just could not bring myself to do it. I COULDN'T. Him? The other way around? Not that particular behaviour, and definitely cannot go into it, but suffice to say he enjoyed it and found it exciting. He had similar experiences, I believe, but something got twisted in there at some point, something that no matter how twisted I was, how messed up I was, never got twisted in me. I took it out on myself... He took it out on others. (And that right there says volumes about our relationship.)

    It is also why he will never, ever have a relationship with my daughter.
     
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  18. BloomInWinter

    BloomInWinter Getting Stronger Premium Member

    Very triggering thread for me.

    Because my dad was a psychopath, my response to sociopaths was always to work much harder at pleasing them. I always felt their lack of empathy as something wrong with me.

    My sisters and I all ended up in relationships with sociopaths. We were well-trained to be food for narcissists.
     
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  19. SydneyH

    SydneyH Active Member

    BloomIn is right. This is a triggering thread.

    I have such feelings of disgust, shame, and humiliation for the things I "agreed" to do as a child. Since then I have done so many self-destructive things to punish myself for the sexual abuse I suffered. And to re-enact the combination of disgust and arousal I felt back then.
     
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  20. jimmy-joe

    jimmy-joe Well-Known Member

    I keep getting the sense from the way people write that people view PTSD as a disease similar to say a bacterial infection, with possibilities of mutations and if you take the right meds, do the proper steps, you can rid yourself of the infection. Like it's a foreign contaminant physically eating away at your brain or something.

    PTSD invariably reflects the person's fear, shame, lack of self-worth, anger because of those, and invariably, they don't feel safe. This is a giant hint as to the nature of PTSD. The fact that most of the treatments deal with those things, another one.

    Predators are looking to satisfy their inner desire, the bad ones, this isn't stealing for survival, for whatever reason they have abandoned morals, and now, be it reliving their trauma from a position of control, enjoying the wide array of reactions that can be achieved from pain, the rather intoxicating power of control itself, because they think the world has no morals (which it doesn't lol) and that the "strong" deserve to control the weak, or that we are all animals, and as such, predators have a right to hunt their prey, any other myriad of decisions.

    Also, empathy, is largely dependent on whether the individual cares about whatever there is to empathize about.
    So if someone gets punished over and over and over again violently, they may take it into their head that since they had to go through it, why should another child be spared? What makes this child the predator wants to prey on any better than him/her??!?! Why should they be denied what they want when anybody else can just take it? Doesn't their pain mean anything?
    These are some thoughts a person could use to not care about the child to feel any empathy.

    You will notice that there's usually something they DO care about.

    (This does not include brain damage and autism, though still debatable to an extent, considering you can lose the entire left side of your brain and still be a functioning human being, and your mind can use other parts of the brain to fill the functions of the missing parts)

    Anyway, just opinions.

    P.S. the research I was looking at about the brain hemispheres also showed that people who lose the right half of their brain lose the perspective of Left. Like this subject would invariably eat all the food on the right side of her plate, and not touch the other side, or could recognize herself when shown the right side of her, but when shown the left side, she didn't. It was like the whole left side of her world is just gone, and the other subjects exhibited the same type of behavior
     
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  21. I too have a mother who is at the least has Narcissistic Personality disorder but perhaps is anti social as well. I always wonder if she knew what she was doing was wrong, immoral, destructive or illegal. The fact that she makes up excuses--tells me yes, she does know. I do know that had she been told that she would be arrested for conducting such behavior or if she thought she would be caught, she would not have done what she did. Don't know what difference it makes to me--the outcome is the same but for some reason, I am obsessed with this!

    Do parents really groom us or do they just slowly mold us to do whatever they say? After all, we are dependent on them for our lives.
     
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  22. jimmy-joe

    jimmy-joe Well-Known Member

    Grooming is a neutral term, I "groom" people to see if they will accept me, parents "groom" their kids as part of the learning process, to teach them the things they need to succeed in life, the school system is grooming, society grooms.

    A better word for this bad type of grooming imo is brainwashing. Brainwash the prey to make them subservient to you. That is the objective.

    Of course, on the other hand, you could argue that grooming makes sense because it's sorta like grooming a turkey, or a show pet, making them all pretty (in the predator's eyes) before they partake.
     
  23. Jawn

    Jawn I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Great post and it really hits home for me because a friend of mine is struggling with the guilt of it being her fault. This will reinforce what I have been telling her.
     
  24. jimmy-joe

    jimmy-joe Well-Known Member

    should have put a P.S. This is just my opinion*
     
  25. grey eyes

    grey eyes Member

    I have not seen it , but I will force myself, I confronted HIM ( by telephone ) he called me a liar , told me I was crazy and on drugs. None of which is/was true. But the important thing was that some where inside I had heard this before and when I broke down he laughed, I knew this was how he had made a small helpless child believe that I was wrong and no one would believe me. Its important for me as an adult to understand as much as my children believe in Santa , I believe in HIM .
     
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