Tag Archives: Recovery Forums

Tight Ships Do Sink – New PF Screenshots

Through the kindness of someone who has emailed screenshots of a recent internal debacle at PF, former members who still return to this blog can see the their practices questioned and discussed, and of course justified (quite poorly, I might add).

It appears that a number of long-term members are openly challenging the team’s treatment of them, the response being that they have formed a mutinous clique and there can be no other clique than the one in charge. The sycophancy of some, who accept this authority of PF over their life decisions, is fairly disturbing.

The dispute involved a long term member, admonished for the apparently inexcusable crime of having invited her ex to a conversation… last year. And having maintained a business-related channel for him to contact her, which obviously is related to her livelihood. Arguably, a normal group of friends would not attempt to get this person to overdramatise the presumed danger she has put herself in by simply contacting said ex, let alone chastise her for it. That’s not what emotional support is about. But then again, this is no normal group of friends, but Fahrenheit 451 with a twist of sour lemons.

On the PF mother ship, one is no longer allowed to be human. Being human is a sign of imperfection; a transgression of ideological purity. They cannot see how their attitude of excluding people for normal human interaction with “undesirables” renders them as bigoted as fundamentalist Mormons, who mandate that remaining with a partner/ spouse is an absolute, regardless of other factors. It comes from a need to control what others do, to regulate the details of other people’s lives.

When someone is truly empathetic, they listen. They take your life experience into account and seek to learn from it just as you might learn from them. Throwing the book at people on a constant basis is reserved for preachers and hypocritical moralists; it indicates distance and superficiality, not friendship.

Apologies for the size; when enlarged the text becomes blurred and impossible to read. Saving them makes them readable. I will extract some relevant quotes and comment on them below.

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“She received an email and came here to get help and reinforcement to not respond, which was the right thing to do. After several days of pages and feedback form other members, it appeared she was going to ignore the hoover. What happened next though is she popped up in here a couple of weeks later with this dramatic, attention-grabbing thread written in ALL CAPS, as if it were breaking news, bragging about 1000% validation for doing everything she was told NOT to do. (…)

But the arrogance and false bravado with which she bragged about it and took offence with certain members and administrators who didn’t “congratulate” her for her supposed “closure” and breaking NC was a big part of the issue. It was only when she received some feedback from seasoned veterans that she didn’t want to hear, that she wanted her thread taken down. But then she started another thread, thanking members for their support in this thread and passive-aggressively complaining about the members who did not express unwavering support. That thread was taken down.” (Smitten Kitten)

Quick recap here, in more realistic terms. The member sought their advice but did not follow it, as, lo and behold, it was, ultimately, her life. Her choice turned out to work better for her than theirs. Instead of being happy that she was in a better place, they were outraged that she dared to break the community rules. Because in the end, it was all about them, not her, though they wouldn’t benefit or suffer whatsoever as a result of her choice. Them or anyone else on this planet. It was such a terrible affront that they never stopped to contemplate that she was, in fact, feeling better about her situation. You’d think they were trying to dissuade this woman from joining ISIS.

If you read through this admin’s entire account of matters, it’s rather bemusing.

“Honestly I am sick of PF becoming a place where the admins are accused of wrongdoing for reacting in an adult way to non-adult situations.” (Peace)

I recall the numerous cases, on this blog alone (not to mention other platforms), of members banned out of the blue, without an explanation, even after requesting one. An adult would at least dignify a supposed friend of a few years with a quick response. Is that so emotionally straining? What about the way they treated Thomas Sheridan, with a hysterical and vicious smear campaign? Is that an adult way to do things?

“While folks may say or do things out of pain, that doesn’t erase the hurtful effects that those words & actions have on their recipients. Yes, we are all human. That doesn’t make it okay to blame a website or friend for one’s internal discomfort.” (Peace)

How about applying not blaming a friend for one’s internal discomfort when thinking of those “hurtful effects” then? Do some people have more of a right to be hurt by others and act on it? How is it so unbearable to be questioned that you have to exclude this person from the communal entourage, cutting them off from everyone else?

“People here declare abuse or judgement or censorship because they aren’t validated 100% for everything they do.” (Peace)

When you react with such effervescence to common actions they take, and declare them potentially unfit for your group of straight-thinkers, excuse people for taking offence. I’d say a mirror is required here. It’s them who don’t validate you through what they choose to do with their lives in the end, and you find that unacceptable. You find them unworthy of speaking to unless they adhere to your exact guidance. Because you couldn’t possibly find valuable insight in someone else’s experience. You’re way above learning about life.

“That’s not how growth works.” (Peace)

Perpetually failing to address concerns or criticism, by blocking people and running away, is not how growth works either. You might as well cover your ears and start humming. Unless of course, you think in your case growth is no longer required, because you’ve already achieved the status of an all-knowing being.

“PF is not an echo chamber to validate and say “yes you’re right” to everyone all the time.” (Peace)

That’s exactly what it is, only in reverse. Admins and mods have an imperious need to be validated by other people living their lives by each letter in their program. If you fail to comply, you are of no use to them anymore.

“If anyone else would like to leave, they are welcome to do so. Please just contact us privately, instead of these dramatic public exits.” (Peace)

Quite a leap from seeing members off, or even their fellow admins and mods, with a rotten tomato fair-well party, accusing them of being disordered. I assume those were not dramatic exists.

“I 1000% agree with what you all have written here and especially in connection with what I have recently been astonished and confused by in witnessing in connection to the arrogance with regard to PF where some members feel that its theirs and theirs alone so, it might be perceived as “anything goes”. The statement of, “US against the admins” reminded me of a line from Lord of the Flies. REALLY????” (Phoenix)

I don’t know about entitlement to speak your mind on a forum of so-called unconditional friends – I’d worry more about the entitlement of someone else’s life being yours to manage, and the idea that not following your directives and contradicting your perspective is offensive. This person realised she didn’t have to do what they dictated. That she could choose for herself and surprisingly, it could have better results.

“On reflection, and simply put, a moment of strait talking and the resultant shock, can save years of unnecessary emotional abuse after taking a step back and properly “digesting” and evaluating. In my view, PF has always been about “the greater good, for the greater number”, never the reverse.” (Phoenix)

Explain to me how this is different than a fundamentalist religious group. Preemptive saving of the congregation. Do not speak to this person even once because he’ll end up convincing you to go back and you will suffer for years. Do not look at that Playboy as you will end up having orgies and getting HIV. These people don’t know where they themselves will be in five years’ time, let alone someone else.

The crux of the matter is their quest is not to help individuals – otherwise they would at least take a moment to be happy for them when their lives improve. Individuals don’t matter; the cult mentality does.

“We thought closing registrations would help calm things down and make it easier to keep the peace without an influx of new trolls, but of course that doesn’t solve the problem of existing trolls who are already here.” (Smitten Kitten)

She is referring to someone who had been there for years, not a “troll”. Regardless of how well you think these people know you, trusting they would never class you as such, surprise.

“Instead, there seems to be some new kind of arrogance that’s developed in some of the membership, where they act like they’re part of an exclusive club now and they act like that gives them the right to complain about us whenever they feel like it.” (Smitten Kitten)

Pure lese-majeste, which is French for an affront to royalty, or authority, by association. Subversion, no less.

Perhaps said members are connecting privately and starting to realise what really goes on. There should be little doubt with regards to what admins think they’re running there. It has nothing to do with friendship or even consideration towards others, let alone helping vulnerable people, and everything to do with control and self-aggrandisement.

 

New Evidence Of Disturbing Extremism On Psychopath Free

(Sorry about the size of the images; I simply copied the text on each one.)

It seems the assumption that behind closed doors PF would become even more deranged in terms of its treatment of members (and cult-ish behaviour in general) was spot on.

Someone who still has access to their account was kind enough to take screen shots and send them; they reveal what seems to be a complete lack of sanity.

First off, as seen below, a member wishing to leave and have their account deleted is immediately labelled an impostor and a narcissist/ sociopath/ psychopath, for merely stating they didn’t need the forum anymore.

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Being myself is all I need to believe in. Please delete my account here at PF

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I think you need to contact one of the administrators, @SmittenKitten or @Victoria or @Indie917.

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Joined in July of 2013 and never posted until October of this year. Most of the posts don’t make sense.

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Ah, secret nsp in our midst just looking for a reason to start shit to devalue our forum?

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We’ve had a few of those, what I call “Sleeper Cells”, suddenly become active since we shut the doors.

Seriously, what kind of group outright accuses you of being the worst kind of person imaginable, just for saying you want to leave them? What kind of “sense” does that make? It’s obvious that these people are a joke, as a community anyway, and that they always have been.

If that is their methodology in recognising personality disorders, one that they were very keen on peddling to schools and psychology practices, allow me to assume they wouldn’t have been taken seriously.

Such is their conviction of unchallenged expertise that they aspired to spread it all over the world, only a few months ago.

And if you want to see something even sicker, look no further.

According to a group of devout PF members, a woman can be labelled a “narcissistic mother” for dying one day after her daughter, apparently, to … get attention. The posts below refer to the sad recent passing of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, both of natural causes, though it is quite clear that Debbie Reynolds’ death was accelerated by her daughter’s, which is not uncommon within families.

The high calibre humanists and sensitive snowflakes on PF somehow ended up seeing a grief-stricken mother as a “narc” who wanted to “steal her daughter’s moment of fame” by none other than dying.

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Yeah, shoot me. Tell me I will burn in hell. Go ahead.

But I cannot help but be triggered by the outpouring of grief for the Hollywood star, Debbie Reynolds.

Sorry Carrie. You had your five minutes.

Sorry PF members. I’m feeling bitter.

(7 members like this)

 

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Do you see that Debbie Reynolds was a Narc Mother Charlie??

That’s what I think you mean. I must do some research.

It does seem odd she died only a day later taking all the attention of the headlines, so soon after Carrie.

(4 members like this)

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I actually thought the same thing. Deb just couldn’t let the spotlight be off of herself!

( 3 members like this)

 

I’m not sure further comments are even needed…

A big thank you to the member who sent this, as it is a very revealing “inside glimpse”. And though posting these screen shots here might be perceived as intrusive, we can’t forget that these people are playing with the personal details and even sanity of those they have lured.

Later edit: PF banning members for… liking another author, possibly seen as “competition”

Melanie Tonia Evans, also referred to as MTE for short (on their forum anyway) is an author exploring roughly the same topics as they do, from a personal perspective, apparently introducing too many nuances for their liking, versus the black and white view of human interaction they propose. Although her motivation is at least partially financial – which appears to be par for the course in this field – it seems extreme for PF to take such a strong stance that she can’t even be mentioned. After all, what are they selling, if not made-up solutions to the problems of those in need?

The following quotes are from a thread about her (sorry for posting them so late after they were sent), after having previously referred to one of her books as a resource, in 2011.

 

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(…) So when I  looked at Melanie Tonia Evans’ website I was already feeling skeptical about paying for reading materials. After all, there is a wealth of information here, on the internet, and also in Peace’s book, which I have read 3 times now.

I think that this site is the most helpful, the most supportive, and certainly understands what it means to be empathetic. I am so grateful for its existence.

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I am amazed how many threads exist in this forum…!! I decided to do a search on Melanie Tonia Evans and see if anyone here has used her Narcissistic Recovery Program. I too was skeptical; after all, she was a victim who asked for a miracle, and had an epiphany. This is something ALL of us can ask for and receive in our own individual way, (free of charge).

I have a problem with receiving something FREE and then SELLING it (“buy the Truth and sell it not”)

(…) I may purchase it, and if I do, I will let everyone know how it worked.

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For the newer members: MTE and SLC are not recommended by PF. There are some threads in the Meta sub-forum about them. Stick with the resources listed here.

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MTE is Melanie Tonia Evans, who has a website charging victims of narcissistic abuse lots of money for taking her modules and online courses. Her approach also includes a lot victim-blaming and co-dependency claims along with what we call perpetrator-sympathisning in feeling pity for the abusers.

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We don’t support MTE here and that’s why I referred to her regarding the link to the other site that was posted that has a similar style and approach o hers.

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Of course… didn’t get anyone to take the bait and get into an argument, so threw this link in out of nowhere. This one couldn’t WAIT to get banned and is probably pissing himself while he ramps up another already-existing sockpuppet account.

Three of these posts stand out in my opinion – one claiming not to need other resources but PF, another mandating that members stick to the resources listed on the site and of course, the admin’s power trip display in the end, while banning someone suspected of trolling (I presume) for linking to MTE.

Also notice the language, the venom and contemplate being on the wrong side of PF staff, ever, even through a misunderstanding. Then contemplate having given them your most intimate details beforehand.

 

My diary was once private. So was yours.

Disclaimer: This post does not refer to people who are distraught after suffering abuse and use the internet as a last source of comfort. It refers to the far more numerous who have incrementally been trained by our culture to bring every detail of their lives into the public arena, exposing small grievances as important and almost annihilating the notion of privacy, to their own detriment. It is, first of all, self-criticism, for having repeatedly fallen into that pattern, although the details themselves are fictitious.

Sometimes  I wrote in codes. Other times in foreign languages, unhindered by poor grammar or spelling. Most days my diary traveled with me, away from the prying eyes of parents or siblings; I was secretly proud of developing my individuality in ways no one could scrutinise,  judge or mock. The thought of a stranger entering that sacred space was unconscionable.

Most days I would write at my school desk, in the grass, against walls and on benches, with my diary on my knees. I would breath in the seasonal breeze, watch the world go by with the corner of my eye and ask myself: what should I do about this? What do I think today? How do I feel today? What are my values? Have I changed since this summer? Have I changed since last year? Think before you speak and think before you act  were ingrained, which made my world safer and my behaviour more dignified.

Today, I am Nickname Avatar.

I no longer know what I think and how I feel. I no longer know how to handle the smallest conflicts or decisions and how to relate to those in my immediate environment.

I let others vote on that.

So please, vote. Did my husband wrong me by making that unflattering comment? Should I forgive him? Should I tell him what I told all of you last night, while he was sleeping? Hurry up now; he’s taking me out to lunch; we’re having a very important conversation, the result of which I will of course make public while he’s in the restroom.

Sometimes I think they should legalise polygamy. We’ve lived in a polygamous arrangement for years. There are three pillows on the marital bed: one for him, one for me and another for Public Consensus, which goes to bed with us every night, and as you might imagine, it sleeps in the middle. It keeps asking for official recognition; and why wouldn’t it? It’s been part of my life all this time; I invited it.

My parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles didn’t have perfect marriages. Perhaps because the mere concept is unrealistic, given that it’s human nature to clash in terms of opinions, plans and desires; no two human beings are ever the same. It’s human nature to argue, just as it’s human nature to get over it and move on. If this paragraph sounds naive, how is it that people today demand perfection, by making a mountain out of every cold look, every day of silence, every argument and every other slip-up past generations wouldn’t have bothered their minds with?

No, they didn’t have perfect lives, but at least they had dignity. Even while morose after prolonged arguments, if someone outside the family engaged in criticism or rumours, they would be firm. How dare you say that about my wife! I don’t believe a word of it! Who do you think you are…? What I witnessed would go both ways, as opposed to an abused person not speaking out for fear of repercussions. Personally, I think it’s a beautiful thing. They were aware life wouldn’t be a rose garden and that they’d have numerous clashes in the years to come, but when it came right down to it, they stood up for each other.

Dignity does not reside in proclaiming one’s emotional independence on the internet, shaming others by exposing shared intimacy and proclaiming one’s position of virtuous victim-hood. Not every mistake others make warrants such a response. If you’re active on a forum where people also discuss private matters, you often see members regretting having gone public with a transitory conflict. But it doesn’t keep them from doing it again, or anyone else for that matter.

We are so used to living life in the limelight, albeit an illusory one, down to exposing what we cook for supper on Facebook (though Facebook itself may cause supper to burn to a crisp in the oven, all forgotten). And every aspect of our lives, even said supper if not burnt to a crisp, is subjected to validation, criticism and advice.

Think about it: do we really need all the feedback? Why on God’s green Earth do people expose themselves down to the bone marrow and then complain about social anxiety and the constant fear of others judging them? It’s a paradox. 

The more you expose, the more reasons they have to pass judgement. Why think that on-line communities are somehow different from society in general? Because they proclaim to be so? You wouldn’t undress on a busy street corner, would you? Then why talk to a bunch of anonymous people about your favourite sexual positions? You wouldn’t bring a bottle of wine to work and expand on your worst childhood memories. Why do it on-line then?

A moment’s catharsis really isn’t worth the prospective gossip, mockery, unwanted feedback and criticism. People see the world through their own eyes; they are very likely to confuse your situation with theirs and push you towards a wrong decision.

Reserving a place for Public Consensus at the dinner table or in one’s bed will only cause distance between a person and those who supposedly trust them. Trust involves intimacy, discretion (or used to, to be more precise, as now these concepts are less real to people by the day).

Growing and learning together, supporting and defending each other against the adversities of the world leads to strong characters, to enduring relationships, as previous generations have proved. One has a different take on life when knowing at the end of the day there are people to always rely on, no matter what.

And what do we see today?

We see very lonely people, trying to figure out who they can trust, analysing others’ past transgressions down to small details. We see those who spend holidays with their cats, looking up disorders they can label their family members with for having ignored them or hurt them fifteen years before. And yes, in some situations that is logical, yet we can no longer deny this has become a trend, engulfing some who would otherwise live normal lives.

Paradoxically, in this age of befriending others so fast you can tell them anything about yourself within minutes, so many are utterly alone and aware of it.

Deep down, they know the on-line networks they have joined are volatile and that they won’t grow old still talking to their friends of conjuncture. On occasion, one finds a genuine friend, but that is a rare gem. It’s basically like going to a pub every night to meet strangers and share your stories with them, as all the lights at home are out.

In isolation, we fill our time with so-called entertainment, flicking through crime stories, detective series on gruesome murders, documentaries on how to spot liars, cheaters & Co, shocking psychopaths, depressing news or dramas full of pain and dysfunctional families. The end result of this flood, I suspect, is a raised level of paranoia.

How will western societies hold together if people become evermore isolated in real life? Our elders keep saying that if the family is dismembered, society as a whole will follow. I believe we are living through those times now – within the family unit, people have become intolerant and intolerable at the same time.

Cooperation is a strange notion nowadays; meeting people halfway; assuming our biological gender roles and taking on adult responsibilities in adulthood – all these common sense aspects have been overrun by the sense of entitlement our culture feeds day in and day out. You deserve more! You’re worth more! You’re a winner; don’t let losers drag you down! You’re the best; don’t settle for less!  Again, I’m not talking about people in abusive situations here; they obviously deserve better. One can climb onto the rooftop and shout they are empowered by cutting ties left and right, for the whole world to hear; deep down there will still be a stifled cry of emptiness or regret.

The fact remains that every time we metaphorically undress for all to see, the world chews us into small bits and spits us out again; our image of ourselves is altered. Many times the responses we get induce more anxiety than we already had.

We cringe when watching film depictions of ancient trials for private ”crimes” (such as adultery ), where people’s intimacy is humiliatingly discussed before a gawking, finger-pointing crowd – and yet subject ourselves and our loved ones to the modern equivalent on the internet, under the false blanket of anonymity. And very often, it turns into another hindrance in the way of reconciliation; a guilt-inducing, needless one. 

“No Victim Blaming” Vs “Tough Love”

Everything generates trends nowadays – even recovery from abusive relationships.

Whereas logic tells us there could be numerous explanations for the way a relationship evolves, even when abuse (or aggression) is present, self-appointed experts in “healing” generally take two approaches – that of tearing the perpetrator apart or that of slapping the enabler around as a helpful wake up call.

Obviously, both are just as wrong and damaging, since they fail to consider human nature – that every individual is different and so is every relationship, regardless of common traits which make some of them comparable.

“Victim blaming”

Putting people down for being too credulous or hopeful is indeed a toxic attitude and those who routinely use other people’s mistakes to feel better about themselves are indeed pathetic. However, as with everything in life, extremes should always be avoided in order to preserve one’s sanity, especially if the person who is turning to such groups for help feels responsible as well for the relationship failing or for starting it in the first place.

Personally, I disagree with the idea of codependency, as people are so complex and evolve throughout life; they may be willing to accept abuse for some time and radically change later, without the need to brand themselves with lifelong personality issues. It has become a plight of our times to label ourselves with all sorts of abstract concepts which cannot be accurately identified and there are plenty shysters lurking to take advantage of our fear of being abnormal.

Then again I may be wrong and this approach may work for some people. It’s not for me to say what their approach should be and I find it totally ridiculous for them to be rejected by a peer support group as if they were “traitors to the cause”.

On Psychopath Free, one is expected to place all the blame on the person who was more aggressive and absolve oneself of it entirely. That cannot lead to realism or growth and can only help momentarily. Whilst not blaming others for their predicament is only fair, one should be given the chance to speak their mind about their own, otherwise support becomes a travesty.

Also, this article is great food for thought regarding one-sided views.

“Tough love”

Whereas persisting in a victim mentality doesn’t do people any favours, being bullied by overconfident (anonymous) “advisers” is just as toxic. This is known to happen especially on Lisa E Scott’s forum, not so much by the founder herself but by the two people who run the site, as seen here in numerous testimonies as well as on complaints.com.

You can read more about similar forums here and here.

A mixture of both

Another aspect I find odd is the refusal of Psychopath Free and The Path Forward alike to support those who cannot break away from the relationship in question (sometimes it’s simply impossible due to living arrangements, children etc., and other times members are understandably confused). These people are so self-righteous they reject anyone who deviates from the  sacred “procedure” they have established.

Of course, it becomes really twisted when they alternate the two approaches; Psychopath Free probably coined the unlikely combination. First they reassure the member to the back of beyond it was not their fault for persisting in the relationship and label those who accused them of being weak as cruel and superficial.

However, if that person refuses or fails to permanently break contact, they are swiftly booted out the back door. Hence someone can be considered normal while rejecting others’ warnings for years, but if God forbid, they do not apply the advice given on PF right away, they must be hopeless. Staff members will treat them with arrogance and disdain, as if they had failed to embrace the ultimate answer, the ultimate revelation. Beyond ridiculous, as usual.

While these two paths might keep a person above water for a while, in the long run they will lead to anything but sanity.