Stop Abusive Calls

harassing-phone-calls

Stop Abusive Calls

Sometimes love turns sour. Either you dated the wrong person, or they seemed okay but turned on you. Either way, you are receiving awful phone calls from them. You want them stopped. But getting them to stop making abusive phone calls is easier said than done. The first thing you want to do is, when you receive an abusive call, don’t yell back or respond in any way. This is what the caller is looking for. He or she will feed off of it. Don’t hang up automatically either. You’ll just enrage them more and they’ll call back in a fury. Instead, just leave the phone unattended for a while. Then hang it up. They will get tired of this and the calls will stop.

If they don’t, start keeping a log of what time and day each call occurred. Is there a pattern? This will give you information to pass along when you contact the police. Remember you can dial *69 and report the abuse. Remember to explain the entire situation and ask for what the options are. Should you follow up? You may need to fill out a restraining order, or go to the precinct. Abusive calls are a criminal offense. Perhaps mention your intentions to the caller in an effort to get them to stop. But if they don’t, be prepared to follow through.

Another place to call is your phone service provider. They may have a policy for dealing with such calls. They may be able to identify the number this person is calling from in order to block it. Or they may give you instructions on how to block it yourself. You may be able to block the number yourself too by dialing *77 if it’s a private number. If you call back but can’t get through or don’t get an answer, it’s likely the person has blocked their own number to avoid being identified. Never give out any personal information over the phone. The person who is calling and harassing you may have some plot, or could have elicited the help of a friend. In any event, unless you are sure of the person on the other line or they have somehow identified that they are who they say they are, or represent who they say they do, don’t give out your social security number, banking information, home address or any information that can be used to hack accounts, steal your identity or the like.

You may want to change your number, or make your number unlisted which means it won’t end up on whitepages.com or any other sites, and won’t show up in the phone book. Even if when they are caught they make it look like just a prank or no big deal, go through with pressing charges. Otherwise, they are likely to do it again. But if they feel the full bite of punishment they are unlikely to do it again, and it will send a message to others not to mess with you. Protect yourself. Abusive calls can be really obnoxious, even scary. But if you take these steps they’ll soon be a thing of the past. For more advice read, Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD and Randi Kreger.

Convincing a Relative to Leave an Abusive Spouse

men-talking

Convincing a Relative to Leave an Abusive Spouse

It’s horrible when you find out a relative of yours is in an abusive marriage or relationship. You can feel so helpless. On the one hand, you want to say something so badly. On the other, you are afraid that they will resent you for trying to break them up, or merely swear nothing is wrong and distance themselves from you. This is a delicate matter which must be approached correctly, and with finesse. One way to handle it is to get them alone. Talk to them about your own relationship. If you are single, talk about your parents, a sibling, anyone else’s relationship. Talk about positive things that their spouse or significant other did for that person, or how they handle fights by communicating so well.

Get them to open up about their relationship. With enough details they should start to compare and come to the conclusion that something isn’t right. Don’t push and don’t expect that they will come to this conclusion the first time. Instead, keep trying to drop subtle hints without coming right out and saying it. If this doesn’t work, you may have to have an intervention. The problem with this kind of relationship is that the spouse is so manipulative they make them think that the spouse needs them and eventually that they cannot live without the spouse.

Be careful as his or her behavior may not be counted on. They may lash out at you at times, get depressed, even miss the spouse who is abusing them. Be patient with your relative. Remind them why this is happening. Get them away from it all to a place where they can relax and have fun. Give them chances to show what they know and help them to build self-esteem. In many abusive relationships, one spouse beats down the other for so long, that they can feel worthless. Give them little goals and celebrate it when they reach them. Give them space if they need it. But let them know that you will be there for them, no matter what.

In terms of safety, get your relative to a safe place like a battered woman’s shelter, or to live with you or another relative without contact with the abusive spouse. If need be, have them contact the authorities. Make sure that they get the help that they need. Your relative should start therapy if and when they are ready. The town or city can direct you to free services in your area.  Take heart, your relative will get through this. They will thank you and will be so grateful that they had you and other good people to get them through this difficult time. And someday they will meet someone who treats them right. If you’re trapped in an abusive relationship read, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel.

50 Shades of Your Relationship

SPANKING

50 Shades of Your Relationship

At one time bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM) was considered abhorrent, frightening, freakish or extreme. But today, in the wake of the Sexual Revolution and the advent of the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey, many people are more interested and open to the lifestyle. What’s more, it may have benefits such as rekindling the spark in your relationship, getting you out of a sexless marriage and even improving on communication—something all couples struggle with from time to time. The New York Times and other newspapers have run articles about BDSM, Cosmopolitan has been giving kinkier advice and Harvard University now teaches a class on S&M, all in preparation for the 50 Shades of Grey movie that just hit theaters.

So how common are these types of activities? Researchers say somewhere between 2-62% of couples practice BDSM. This is kinky sex we are talking about. There isn’t a clear picture exactly. People are most likely apprehensive about opening up about it. One 2008 Australian poll found that 2.2% of men and 1.3% of women said they engaged in S&M within the last month. But a study that just came out asking 1,500 American men and women about their fantasies, found that 53.3% of men and 64.6% of women had dreamt of being dominated sexually. Meanwhile 59.6% of men and 46.7% of women fanaticized about dominating someone else.

So is it normal or sick to engage in such behavior? Those who participate in BDSM are surprisingly well-adjusted according to a 2006 study. Here researchers tested those in the kink community for psychological disorders. They found that BDSM practitioners had lower levels of PTSD, anxiety, depression, borderline pathology, psychological masochism and paranoia. They were found just as prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder, narcissism and dissociation as their “vanilla sex” counterparts. Those who enjoyed BDSM had positive personality traits, according to a 2013 study. They were more conscientious, extraverted, open to new experiences and had a higher sense of wellbeing. Kink lovers were also less sensitive to rejection and were less neurotic than the straight laced. There was one negative. Those who engaged in BDSM were found less agreeable than their non-practicing counterparts. Certainly, normal healthy people engage in BDSM with no short-term or permanent damage. In fact, it can be an enjoyable, zesty enterprise if you are open to it. One of the central themes is non-judgment which many people find freeing. Others say it gets you out of your head, which leaves worries and cares behind, relaxing you. There has even been talk about parallels between BDSM and tantric sexual practices.

So what do BDSM practitioners actually do? Effects are more psychological than physical. One person is generally the dominant character or the “top” and the other plays the submissive role or the “bottom.” This can fit the person’s natural assertive or submissive nature, or express their latent desire to be assertive or submissive. There is also the rare switch, the person who can play both roles. Practitioners take part in elaborate role plays which include elements that both parties are interested in. Bondage can include tying someone up with rope, chains or handcuffs. Sadism can include whipping, caning, spanking, using nipple clamps and much more. Humiliation is also a part of it, things such as name calling, blindfolding and gagging. Couples have to be very comfortable with one another and communicate well to engage in this kind of play. They should also have a safety word which if either one utters, stops play immediately. This is when one party feels uncomfortable and the level of play is getting close to crossing their boundaries. Be sure to study up and learn more before engaging. Bondage rope for instance should be tied loosely as not to cut off circulation. And believe it or not, there is a proper way to spank someone. If you are interested in learning more, check out the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), look for community organizations in your area, or pick up a copy of Jay Wiseman’s SM 101: A Realistic Introduction.

How Women can Protect Themselves in Bars

happy-hour

How Women can Protect Themselves in Bars

Bars can be great places to relax, have fun, hang loose and meet new friends, or even someone special. But as much as harmless or friendly flirting occurs in bars they are also the venues of unwanted sexual aggression and advances. A new study out of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health entitled Blurred Lines?” Sexual Aggression and Barroom Culture found that 50% of women who attend bars are victims of sexual aggression. 90% of the time males initiated this aggression and females were the victims. Though this is quite common, women don’t have to be mere victims. So how can women protect themselves in bars? First, be extra vigilant when interacting with strangers. The atmosphere in a bar is often charged sexually. The sexual aggression that occurs in bars generally takes place between strangers, so says the senior research scientist of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute of the University of Washington Jeanette Norris. In fact, it is the unfamiliarity that could create a perfect environment for sexual aggression. According to Dr. Norris, there are two psychological phenomenon that occur, “First, perpetrators might be more likely to depersonalize and dehumanize the targeted woman, and second, it might lead them to believe they are less likely to suffer any consequences for their actions.”

Don’t drink so much when you are in the bar. Women who get drunk are seen as sexually more promiscuous or worthy of blame according to lead researcher on the Toronto study Dr. Kathyrn Graham.   Dr. Norris states, “Other research has shown that women who drink are often seen as more sexually available than women who do not drink. They may also be seen in generally negative or derogatory ways – as sluts, unfeminine, or generally not worthy of respect – which may provide an excuse for attacking women sexually.” Next, consider the reputation of the place you are going to. If it is a seedy place, somewhere that isn’t well lit or that has a poor reputation, head someplace else. If a man is being sexually inappropriate in an establishment with a good reputation, reach out the restaurant manager or even the bartender and they will put a stop to this inappropriate behavior, or perhaps eject the man entirely. If a man is coming on to you aggressively, don’t give him an inch. Shun him and let him know immediately that you aren’t interested. If it causes a scene, so what? It will be him that’s embarrassed and he’s more likely to back off. Fear of creating a scene or embarrassing him protects the perpetrator. Let your aggressor know straight out that you aren’t interested and shun him and he’s more likely to back off. If he continues to be aggressive let the bartender know or leave immediately before the incident escalates. Don’t go to bars by yourself. A group is safer than being alone or just with one other friend. Sit near the middle of the bar if you can. Predators go for easy targets usually off in the corners. Lastly, use the belly button rule. Point your belly button toward people you want to talk to and away from those you don’t. To learn more about sexual aggression read, Examining the Context of Sexual Aggression by Tim Hoyt.

Are you in a Real Relationship or is it just a Fantasy Bond?

Happy Couple Cuddling

Are you in a Real Relationship or is it just a Fantasy Bond?

Many people fear intimacy. This is a self-preservation mechanism. But at the same time they also fear being single. So these two fears are at odds. To solve this dilemma many people form what is known as a fantasy bond. They can then keep distance emotionally while imagining that they are in a warm, loving and satisfying relationship. Fantasy bonds can be destructive to a relationship however as it becomes a major obstacle for the couple when they try to achieve real intimacy in their life together. Developed during childhood, those who would partake in fantasy bonds form relationships that are fantastical in order to replay acts that occurred to them or that they witnessed when they were children. These patterns and the illusion behind them become a barrier to experiencing equality, compassion and a real, true bond. Instead of trusting their lover, they always have their guard up and don’t allow their partner to get past their defenses. Since this person has been hurt before, they find that they cannot lower these defenses. But this inability to bond hurts their relationship and family relations as well.

When men and women first start forming serious relationships, it is at a time in their lives when they are first tasting independence and separateness from their families. At this time they look for someone who is most like them. They share with that person, become vulnerable and open even in the relationship’s earliest stages. This can be as frightening as it can be exhilarating. Some people feel overwhelmed by the rush of positive emotions. Others are stricken by a sense of abandonment. It may be too much for some, especially if they were neglected or felt unloved earlier in their lifetime. So instead of suffering from the intensity of this relationship, they form a fantasy bond to shield themselves from it. Personal relationships are considered healthy when both parties feel free to express themselves freely, their feelings, wants, needs and desires. It is a dangerous move therefore to give up who you are for the illusion of safety. To break a fantasy bond and supplant it with a healthy, satisfying relationship is not easy. First the person must admit that they have formed a fantasy bond, rather than loving their actual partner. Next they have to talk about the feelings they’ve been holding deep down inside and not letting out. They have to talk openly about their fear, decide to become independent from it and begin forming a proper, healthy bond with their mate. For more on this topic read The Fantasy Bond by Robert Firestone, Ph.D.