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Empathy- It’s fundamental, or is it?

ski fall

Mankind is noted for having three differing types of empathy: cognitive, emotional and compassionate. But there are significant problems that take place when a person has too much or too little of any specific kind.

Best selling author, Dr. Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships points out the downfalls in his informative post, Three Kinds of Empathy.

Cognitive Empathy- Sensing what’s going on with the people around us

Cognitive empathy enables us to perceive what’s going on with the next person. But just because you know what they are experiencing, and what motivates them, does not mean you’ll exhibit caring or be able to put yourself in their shoes. In fact, it may do just the opposite.

Strong cognitive empathy is the tool that torturers rely on to shake a prisoner down for information. They can detach completely from any sense of pathos toward their victim. People who have high levels of cognitive empathy make great politicians and sales people. When cognitive empathy is accompanied by emotional empathy, it’s a good thing.

Sociopaths that conduct emotional harm are intuitive about the needs and wants of their target. They’ll use cognitive clues to position themselves for acceptance, just like a chameleon changes colors. The problem is, they lack the emotional empathy that reigns-in their self-interest. Most people who recover from relationships with sociopaths think back on them as “reptilians” for good reason. There is a distinct cold-bloodiness in the way they operate.

Brooklyn BridgeHaving cognitive empathy and no conscience enables swindlers to come up with asset grabs. Bernie Madoff pops to mind as a good example. We often think of con artists as people who try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to an unsuspecting victim.

Emotional Empathy- The knee-jerk reaction to the perils that others experience

Emotional empathy enables us to embrace the feelings of others as if we were sharing their experience. When your heart pops into your mouth as someone falls off their chair, you are experiencing emotional empathy. People with appropriate levels of emotional empathy go through life thinking that everyone has it…. until they crash headfirst into the path of someone who does not. Their efforts to try to convey their experience to others is often met with disbelief, which makes the victim feel even more violated and isolated.

A person with high levels of emotional empathy could be hamstrung from benefiting the person with a problem because they may get too emotional to react in a positive way. That’s where compassionate empathy kicks in.

Compassionate Empathy- How we make a difference in the lives of others

Through compassionate empathy, we can use our emotional empathy to produce a meaningful result. A person with a well balanced level of compassionate empathy would come to the aid of the individual who fell, calling 911 if needed, or problem solving to determine what the situation warrants. People with compassionate empathy will appear outwardly cool in a pinch, even while feeling significant concern for the person who’s in danger. While they might fall apart after the crisis ends, they remain sufficiently detached to provide help when it’s needed.

The risk of compassionate empathy in dating

Having compassionate empathy puts people at risk for becoming victims, particularly in internet dating scams. The actor grooms their target with an overabundance of loving gestures to fuel their sense of belonging and build trust. The offender will jiggle the hook with a small bait-like request for a token “favor.” They may even provide reciprocal favors in return, grooming the victim further.

Ultimately, when they believe the victim is sufficiently snagged, they’ll spring a mega-request, and it’s usually about money, sex, or immigration related. It’s often couched in language that makes the request seem like an emergency. Targets that fail to produce the desired result get hit with a scathing attack aimed at crushing their self esteem. They are often too embarrassed and devastated to immediately seek help. They are stunned by the cessation of love they had counted on. Before they regain their equilibrium, the predator is long gone. and probably bad mouthing them to their next victim.

How empathy factors in our relationships

Emotional empathy is absolutely necessary in sustaining a loving relationship. Without it, a person is only capable of engaging with others on a “What’s in it for me?” basis. While they may pretend to be caring, because they know it’s socially acceptable to do so, their self-centered way of looking at the universe will ultimately surface. There will be no “agreeing to disagree” in order to make peace, a negotiation skill that is vital in order to sustain a relationship when acrimony occurs, as it does in any human interaction.

A mate with no emotional empathy cannot and will not put themselves in your shoes. They simply lack the ability to do so. And without this ability, they cannot develop a conscience. The only limits to their behavior stem from fear of being “outed,” and fear of loss or consequences.

No amount of bargaining, acquiescing, pleading, explaining, or cajoling will change their mindset. It is the way they are wired. Once a person advances past the life stage in which their moral code of conduct forms, they are who they are, and YOU will not change them.

How do you know if you’re dating a sociopath?

Someone who lies to you, in order to seduce you, has little or no emotional empathy. They do not put themselves in your shoes. They see you as a prize, an entitlement, a piece of property, but not as the living, breathing, caring human being that you are. If they were dishonest in their on-line dating description, or other information they initially fed you, they have no conscience. They are self indulgent.

The derisive manipulation of a person without emotional empathy will undermine your well-being. Even if the relationship remains intact, the victim’s self esteem will be shredded. So if you are experiencing loss of worth or other abuse, get help, today!

If you are with someone who displays a lack of emotional empathy toward others, it’s a sign of their real, underlying nature.

But, isn’t there a cure? Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? I felt so loved!

Sociopaths are people who lack emotional empathy. That is how their brain works. They are not sick. They are disordered. They know the difference between right and wrong. They just don’t care. They will not get better, but the longer you endure their behavior, the worse your situation will become.

They played with your brain chemistry to hook you. Find someone who loves you for you, not for your assets or other services you provide for them. Get out before giving birth to their child or financial complications get in the way.

A lucky example of collective compassionate empathy! 

ski fal fallingAll of you with emotional empathy will be happy to know that the group of onlookers in the title photo rushed to the aid of the little boy who dangled from his fathers hands. He plunged 25 feet into their waiting arms, and skied the rest of the day. Thanks to Matt Roeser who had his camera at the ready to snap this awesome testament to compassionate empathy at Hidden Valley in Wisconsin.

 

PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Rape by Fraud

Why victims suffer this disabling anxiety condition

Army

PTSD is normally associated with warfare

My father fought in the Philippines during World War II. One hot, dark, buggy night, he woke up to find a Japanese soldier squatting over him, about to thrust a bayonet into his neck.  I knew better than to ever ask him the fate of that soldier. The fact that he came home to our family was all we needed to know.

Whenever my dad was aroused from sleep, he’d awaken with a start. I’m sure that was only a small example of how PTSD affected him. But it was visible to me, even as a small child.Today, society readily understands that combat soldiers can suffer from PTSD. It was a far less public discussion in my father’s time.

I never expected that I would encounter any type of danger that could create the disorder for me, but I was wrong.

The emotional causes of PTSD

Modern day health professionals have concluded that emotionally shattering experiences undermine our sense of invulnerability and cause PTSD. People naturally assume that life is both benevolent and meaningful. And we consider ourselves to be worthy beings. An encounter with rape by fraud can shred every vestige of our beliefs about both life and our place in it. It undermines our value system.

If this happened to you, depending on the length of time the hoax took place, you built expectations that were predictable. Learning that everything you valued was nothing more than a house of cards crushed your sense of safety and well-being. And the notion that you were used as an instrument of your own demise was especially crushing. It is why Socrates said that “sex by persuasion” as he called rape by fraud, is particularly compelling because it undermines the character of the victim. Recognition of the heinous nature of this behavior spans centuries. It’s nothing new.

While rape by fraud victims do not undergo the brutal torment of violence, the blow to their emotional makeup can be devastating. Their injuries are far more severe than the trifling stupidities that people hurl their way…. “Just get over it,” “So what,”  “Find a decent guy.” And even worse, “You just misunderstood.” In many ways, the lack of validation people hurl at victims serves to deepen their despair. They not only have to deal with the betrayal that affects them at their core, but also with the abandoning mindset of the very people they count on for support.

Some symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Memories that are triggered by daily events, making you tremendously sad.
  • Sleeplessness, the inability to turn off the record running through your brain
  • Loss of interest in your daily life.
  • Hermit behavior, unwillingness to go out and face possible reminders
  • Irritability and anger over small incidents.

Victims who experience rape by fraud should seek professional help to recover. Just as a soldier needs therapy to improve, no one should try to tackle PTSD on their own. If you can’t afford a private therapist, contact your local hospital and find out if they have a low cost mental health clinic that can help you. Reach out to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, for information and support.

Rumination- the broken record of our emotions

Broken Record

I remember all too clearly what it felt like to hear a vinyl record skip on my old stereo. I’d play it loud so I could listen to music throughout the house. If I were in another room, repetition over the distance increased my discomfort. I’d dash back and dive at the needle to stop the offending sound.

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are tortured with repeated loud music. It’s intended to derail their thought processes and break them emotionally.

So why do victims of relationship abuse do the emotional equivalent of compulsively replaying bad music in their brain? The simply answer is grief.

Regurgitating, negative, non-productive thought

Rumination will plague us during the “bargaining” stage of grief recovery. And everyone who loses a relationship needs to grieve that loss as surely as one needs to mourn the death of a loved one.

In bargaining, we tend to ask ourselves what we could or should have done to produce a different outcome. In reality, when we’ve been embroiled in a relationship hoax, nothing, other than not getting involved in the first place could have kept the bond from collapsing. Engaging with a liar builds a house of cards. Discovering that nothing you valued was real, is a devastating loss.

Typically, women ruminate over sadness, while men are more inclined to do so when angry. But both can get stuck in a wallowing cycle that puts off supporters and isolates us in our pain. Family members and friends often don’t relate to the impact of our emotional loss, as they would if someone close to us died. But the grief and mourning we experience is very similar.

depression-small

Why relieve yourself of rumination?

It robs you of problem solving and creates a vicious cycle of depression. While you perseverate to make sense of things, you dwell on the unsolvable issues….. how you got there, what you could have done differently. Instead, you need to focus on how you will reclaim your life.

We are more likely to ruminate over unfinished business….. the circumstances that occur in our lives without closure. We want validation. We need to accept that it will not come in a relationship with a predator, and move on.  Our memory rehearsals keep us connected to the source of our pain, when we truly need to let go.

How to get past rumination

In The Truth About Grief, Ruth Davis Konigsburg tells us, “Loss is forever, but acute grief is not.” If someone close to you died, you’d be encouraged to get exercise. Your friends would try to distract you by engaging you in activities you enjoy. You need to be your best friend and provide yourself with that same encouragement.

Here are some recommendations that can help you get past rumination:

  1. Don’t be bullied to change the way you feel. Allow yourself to feel your loss, the anger the disappointment. Everyone grieves at different speeds. There is no right or wrong way.
  2. Get exercise. You need to pump up your endorphins so you have a deeper emotional well to draw from.
  3. Distract yourself with activities that get you away from your constant memories. Begin to make new, positive memories for yourself.
  4. Box it up. Write your story so you can put it on the shelf. Doing so will enable you to let go of the need to hang onto it in your mind.
  5. Volunteer for an effort that makes you feel good about yourself. There is nothing more gratifying than to help someone in need. Doing so will give you a strong sense of self-reliance and can aid you in seeing that no one goes through life without a struggle, including you. It will enable you to create better perspective about your painful condition.
  6. Join a grief support group or engage in counseling. Mourning a loss is difficult. Seeking help can get you past the thoughts that keep you stuck.

The loss of a loved one throws us for a loop, whether the person deserved our caring or not. People who experience sexual misconduct and relationship abuse, resulting from being embroiled in a hoax, are no less in need of grieving than anyone else. Rumination can be a debilitating part of that process but you can heal and bring joy back into your life.

“50 Brave Women” Campaign for change!

woman w flag

It’s not OK to exploit people for sex!

You can make a meaningful difference in the laws in your state! We need one person to step forward who’s been harmed by a romance scam in every jurisdiction.

Are you up for the challenge?

If so, please complete the simple form below, (which will not be published or seen on the blog,) with the following information:

  1. Write a short description of what happened to you, (please keep it under 5 paragraphs.)
  2. Send your contact information: name, phone, email, city and state (None of this information is made public.)
  3. Let me know if you’re acquainted with any of the legislators in your area, and if so, who.

 

Hooray for Alabama!

OMG! When you cross the state line into Alabama, the sign should read, “Now Entering Alabama, The State of Enlightenment!”

Alabama
scores.espn.go.com

Alabama’s not just noteworthy for the successes of The Crimson Tide. The Code of Alabama punishes the unspecified use of fraud in sexual intercourse as “Sexual Misconduct,” a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or up to two years in jail. The statute applies to both male and female offenders.

Here is the law:

Section 13A-6-65

Sexual misconduct.

(a) A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct if:

(1) Being a male, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female without her consent, under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-61 and 13A-6-62; or with her consent where consent was obtained by the use of any fraud or artifice; or

(2) Being a female, she engages in sexual intercourse with a male without his consent; or

(3) He or she engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-63 and 13A-6-64. Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.

(b) Sexual misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor.

(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §2318.)

Don’t defraud someone of sex in Alabama! What more can I say other than thank you, Alabama!

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts missed the boat on defending women!

Massachusetts

While the pilgrims suffered countless obstacles to navigate uncharted waters, their descendants surely failed to rise above the sea of legal rhetoric on rape by fraud back in 2008. It was a tragically lost opportunity.

In Suliveres v. Commonwealth, 449 Mass. 112 (2007), the court deemed the defendant not guilty in a case in which he disguised himself as his brother to have sex with the brother’s girlfriend. Another MA case of rape by fraud was similarly dismissed when a lab technician passed himself off as a doctor.

Then Representative, Peter J. Koutoujian, currently the Sheriff of Middlesex County, proposed a law to make rape by fraud a crime. The law was considered “too broad,” and was voted down. The principle behind what defines “too broad” is that the law could be carried out if a man poses as single when, in fact, he’s married.

The following is a quote from CBS News at the time:

Rape by deception is just as damaging and illegal as rape by force, said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone. If the law passes here, a common concern is that the legislation’s vague language regarding deception will result in women who have been seduced by men posing as someone else or claiming to be unmarried filing rape charges.

So let’s examine the concept by which the law was rejected….

Joe Hitched, (sorry guys but this occurs far more frequently with men fooling women than women fooling men,) is on his own for a week. His wife is out of town to care for her father who just had heart surgery. Joe’s feeling bored and decides to go hang out at the neighborhood watering hole, the one with the loud music, pool table, and pretty women.

As Joe approaches the door, he takes off his wedding band, surveying his hand to see if he can detect a faint line where the ring normally sits. Content that his deception won’t be noticed, he finds a seat at the crowded bar and orders a beer.

Susie Single, fresh from a recent breakup with her boyfriend, is standing next to him. He offers to buy her a drink and they begin a chatting, friendly banter. He challenges her to a game of pool and before you know it, they’re kicking it up on the dance floor. When the beat turns to a slow simmer, he puts an arm around her waist and they sway seductively to the music.

Susie’s impressed with his good looks. She’s an intelligent woman, a nurse. He’s well spoken, seems like an educated guy, and he has a fun loving disposition. She’s not one to succumb to the flirting of the moment, but she gives him her number. When she gets home, she “Googles” him. He works where he said he did. Nothing negative appears on the internet.

Joe calls the very next day. “What a catch,” Susie thinks, “someone who’s not a game player!” She accepts his invitation for dinner. He makes a reservation for a romantic dinner cruise, and he tells her all about his divorce and the two kids he’s estranged from, since his terrible ex is giving him a hard time.

Susie’s heart melts. She feels an instant chemistry with Joe. He seems like the perfect guy… interested in his children, easy to talk to, hard-working. When he walks her to the door, and kisses her good-night, she’s caught up in the passion and invites him in. They have totally consensual, so she thinks, sex, that night, the next, and the next.

When his wife returns, Joe covers up his marriage by saying he needs to travel for business. Susie understands that his job takes him away, until she runs into him shopping with his wife at the local mall.

So, was their sex consensual? She agreed to it, right?  Or was she defrauded into it?

Susie was raised by her mother after her father made off with his secretary. She was adamant that she would never do to a family what her father had done to hers. Had she known Joe was married, she would not have gotten involved with him. Joe not only broke his marriage vows, he embroiled Susie in adultery and sexually assaulted her by fraud.

Why do our laws insist in protecting offenders who do this to women all the time? Why would a state deliberately turn its back on protecting a woman against assault by someone pretending to be her boyfriend or her doctor, in order to give Joe Hitched carte blanche to defile Susie Single? Is it because so many people do this that our Legislators are concerned they won’t get re-elected if they stand for the right thing?

Divorce is rampart in our country. Often, marriages crumble because it’s so easy to step out and hook up in another relationship. While people will argue that our courts will be inundated with charges against offenders, I’d argue that the volume of divorce is likely to diminish when offenders realize there are real and meaningful consequences to this behavior.

And the very simple response to the concept that our courts will be overrun with rape by fraud claims is: people should stop taking off their rings to defraud others of sex. But even if they don’t, cases of “he said, she said,” are unlikely to meet the burden of proof required for prosecution. Prosecuting a “rape by fraud” case would take “proofs” that will hold up in a courtroom, not the unsupported lies that are common in hook-ups. For that reason, even though Joe committed what we can see, generically, as “rape by fraud,” will he be prosecuted? Probably no.

If we’d like to live in a moral society, our laws must conform with morality. Sexually assaulting someone by fraud is both morally reprehensible and a crime. Just because Joe Hitched won’t be charged, does not make it less so.

Sadly, the Sheriff’s efforts, from the town where I was born, failed to acknowledge that duplicity invalidates consent in all things, including sex. I take this one personally.

Florida- protects their wildlife better than their women!

Using false personation to obtain a seaport security ID can get you a five year stint in Florida State Prison. The Sunshine State’s statuteFloridas on fraudulent practices is so huge, it’s divided into four separate parts. Making false statements to merchants, on real estate transactions, and in communications are just a few of the many defrauding acts that are covered.

Florida identifies the following as their legislative intent regarding using communications systems to carry out false personation:

Schemes to defraud have proliferated in the US in recent years and many operators of schemes to defraud use communications technology to solicit victims and thereby conceal their identities and overcome a victim’s normal resistance to sales pressure by delivering a personalized sales message.

Hmmm…. sounds just like what happens on e-dating sites, but it’s directed at advertisers who are selling products, not at sexual predators trolling for new victims. Seems false advertisements about hair products are far more important in Florida than defrauding you to undermine your sexual sanctity!

Florida identifies what most states call rape or sexual assault as sexual battery. One of the most important determinations in all such cases is the concept of consent. Their definition of consent is contained in 794.011 (a):

“Consent” means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.

According to this definition, a rape by fraud victim should be able to press charges based on the fact that their consent was neither intelligent nor knowing.  Other positive signs for the possibility of a rape by fraud charge are conveyed by the following:

794.011 (c): “Mentally incapacitated” means temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling a person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance administered without his or her consent or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.

So, how about lying? Doesn’t that qualify as “any other act” committed without his or her consent? Sure should be!

Other than the ambiguous language quoted, there is no specific law in Florida’s statutes that prohibits rape by fraud: neither in the factum, nor in the inducement. But the literal interpretation of their language supports a victim bringing a case to the authorities, and if they fail to act, turning to their legislators to enact such a law.

LOUISIANA- Weak Code for Rape by Fraud Down on the Bayou!

Seems like an over abundance of swamp water drowns out the need to protect victims in Louisiana. The Bayou State has several statutes on rape, but none measure up on rape by fraud! There is aggravated rape, forcible rape, and simple rape. The construct that comes closest to rape by fraud, in Louisiana’s negligent criminal code, is simple rape, 43(a)(1).

In statute 43(a)(1), one example of simple rape is defined as sexual intercourse without the lawful consent of the victim when the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.

The argument that could support a rape by fraud claim under this statute is that the victim was as unaware of the nature of the act as an intoxicated or drugged victim would be. Their consent, in any of the related cases, would not be freely given and knowing consent, because the offender duped them, (any cause,) into the act, and knew they were doing so at the time.

The ambiguity of this law could be cleared up by simply inserting the words “or duplicity” after “intoxicating agent.”

Protecting Wives Against Rape by Fraud

Louisiana’s statutes do contain one specific act of rape by fraud; (in the inducement,) that of impersonating the husband of the victim.

§43.3  When the female victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is her husband and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender.

By having implemented this law, Louisiana clearly shows that the use of fraud in seduction breaches knowing consent, but reserves their remedy solely for married women. This concept comes from the notion that a wife is a husband’s property. Defiling her is punishable because it is an offense against the husband. Unmarried women, therefore, are unprotected.
Idaho case tested the practice for single women
If a man posed as a boyfriend or fiancee, the charge would not apply. In a 2011 case in Idaho, against Zachary McGraw, the case was in fact dismissed because the victim was unmarried. The Judge on the case, the Hon. Cheri Copsey, found the disparity in the law “despicable”, but never-the-less, it still stands in Idaho and Louisiana.  (Refer to pg. 184 of Carnal Abuse by Deceit.) 

Louisiana’s statute on fraud as it relates to Theft, is crystal clear!

Theft is the misappropriation or taking of anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations.

The degrees of damage under this statute vary according to the monetary value of the loss. It appears that losing your most precious asset, your sexual sanctity, does not measure up to consideration since it has no quantifiable monetary value. Take a man’s money, off to jail you go. Defile a woman, (or anybody for that matter,) no problem!