Women Controlling Men - Abusive Women -

Christina Neumeyer, Duluth Certified in Domestic Violence. An under-represented group of folks exist; men being controlled by women. Men who fall into this category are often too embarrassed to share it with others, and they rarely seek outside counseling to emotionally navigate their predicament (as the nature of being controlled, and sometimes abused as well) prohibits autonomy and independent decision making.
Men that I have counseled in this type of extremely unhealthy relationship often have these factors in common:
Young children, and the fear that they will be removed from his life - Men with young children in an abusive relationship worry that the courts will discriminate against him, and that he will not be believed in a court procedure. Controlling and abusive women often threaten to "go underground" or make false accusations of sexual abuse. This is usually at the heart of why a man stays in this kind of relationship, hoping that the role he plays as father will benefit the children more than the suffering he is currently experiencing. Parental alienation is alive and well, a real concern that cannot be denied. 
Financial restrictions 
Geographical restrictions - being tracked and monitored by vehicle and mobile cell
Cutoffs from friends and family  - a controlling female partner will eliminate his friends and family when she perceives them as threatening to her dominant position. This is always a red flag.
Extreme jealousy and distrust - suspicious, insecure, falsely accusing the male partner of cheating
Physical aggression by the female - not the classic domestic violent beating that one sees on tv, but, equally harmful (slapping, scratching, hitting, pinching). Abused men may not physically fear the intimate partner, but he fears her emotionally.
Property destruction to their car, clothing, and personal belongings.

A counselor can provide a listening ear as an outlet and a form of stress management. However, these male clients are reluctant to seek counseling, fearing the discovery, and will usually make a one-time visit, only to retreat again. Leaving the relationship will be financially devastating, with the verbal threat and fear of extensive litigation and costly court proceedings. In some cases, the female partner is more financially secure and able to sustain a lengthy legal battle.
It is very hard to prove the facts of toxic behavior - while he may feel like a hostage, he cannot really prove that his partner is in charge of his life. And much of it is not illegal.
Men may ultimately try to make that phone call to a shelter, the police station or an attorney, only to have it backfire and find the tables turned on him.While California courts strive for gender-blindness and biological fairness, judges, mediators, and guardian ad litems can be unpredictable.
To be clear, these are not men in denial: They see quite clearly the unhealthy state of affairs.
Attempting to persuade him to leave is useless; instead, I recommend honoring the incredible warrior commitment he is making to his children, or whatever decision making that he has on board. 
Find areas that HE DOES have control (eg, walking outside on a work break, eating well, reading books that further education). Perhaps it is an exit plan further down the road; perhaps it is building a secret support group of trusted friends. 
It is equally useless to diagnose the female with a specific psychiatric disorder; that is rarely helpful.
Additionally, the stigma associated with shame and humiliation around this type of female-to-male emotional and psychological abuse is enormous, as we usually think of women "breaking free" from a violent man. How courageous to admit this to someone and seek support and assistance.

National Domestic Hotline
If anything you read here makes you want to talk to someone, call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), available 24/7.


A grief-struck friend of mine was looking for some beautiful thoughts or writings to share at the memorial of young man last week.
This was my best suggestion...


Great Listens/Audio - Esther Perel, John Arden

John Arden: SEEDSApplied Neuroscience 

Essential elements for a healthy life

Ester Perel on Tim Ferriss Podcast: Intimacy and baggage


Healthy Communication Skills & Tools

Communication Tools for the Whole Family 

(discuss in a family meeting then print and leave on the kitchen table!)

Communication Skills for Healthy Relationships

Great Listen on Practical Well-Being: SEEDS, by John Arden 


Modern-Day Cults Among Us

I continue to research and observe modern-day cults. They are not a thing of the past, and in fact, experts argue that they are on the rise. If you are interested in my prior posts on cults, you will find several here on this blog, including a local group in my own back yard. The epicenter of a thriving cult community is a narcissist (Jim Jones) or a sociopath (Charles Manson). 
Here are four very recent exposes. 

Atlah Church/School - Pastor of Hate Group
One of the comments I often hear is, "All religions are cults." This is not true and further erodes the identification and criminalization of actual cults; we have established specific and essential criteria to meet the definition of a cult. 
*Cult families always include child abuse - sexual violations, severe corporal punishment, or neglect. *Gender roles are inflexible. *Finances are pooled and relinquished. *"Us" vs "Them" identity. *Family of origin relationships are cut-off. 
Visit world-expert cult expert, Steven Hassan on FB.


Apps That Strengthen Relationships // Bereavement Camp // Book Rec

I have downloaded several of these Apps and think they are great.

7 Relationship Apps

Book Rec: Better Sex Through Mindfulness 

Telling Parents to "Just Relax" - Op Ed


Enduring Vulnerabilities

Enduring Vulnerabilities crop up throughout our lifetime, so the sooner that we can identify them, the better we are able to handle their residual effects, which can catch us off guard and detract from anything occurring in real time.

Physical enduring vulnerabilities are the easiest to conceptualize. I broke my radius as a teenager in a bicycle accident; to this day, that wrist is skinnier than the other. Once we have had a break, a fracture, or injury to a body part, it's always a bit hinky,

My personal recent example: A neighbors house recently had a terrible garage fire, resulting in complete structural damage and county-wide news attention. (Five houses down from mine).
Our neighborhood came together and felt badly for this family experiencing such a devastating loss. As I drove by their charred home the first few days, I would see the homeowners out front dealing with insurance adjusters, hauling trash away, and close family and friends gathering. About the fifth day after the incident, things had quieted down so I walked over to speak directly to the homeowner as he was packing up his car with what little was left. I walked onto their front lawn, and greeted Bill with a big hug and condolences. I began to tell him that I had also suffered a fire as a small child - my few childhood photos still bear the burned edges.
Standing there, hugging him, taking in the acrid smokiness and seeing the burned out vehicle in the driveway, kids bikes toasted, my voice caught, and I suddenly felt overcome with a memory of my childhood fire, and the ensuing loss we had felt.

It was a memory, viscerally triggered by all of my senses flooding simultaneously, that frankly, completely surprised me. I have told that "my house burned as a young child" story many times. I would have sworn that I had no hangover, no residual grief, from it...but I was wrong. And, that's probably a good thing.
My husband has an enduring vulnerability that came to light once we had our first child. As our son became older and played more wildly outside, my husband was noticeably nervous about swings and ropes, to the point of silliness (in my eyes). Finally, he told me that he lost a friend as a young boy in an accidental backyard hanging. His enduring vulnerability was that boys can easily be harmed by ropes so one must be extra careful. He sees danger where I do not, perhaps making him anxious and irritable, a low-level fight or flight sensation that he may or may not be able to recognize, that can impact the whole family system unless we can call it out and discuss.

  • Smells can powerfully remind us of a prior incident (good and bad!). 
  • Weather often speaks to us in a subtle way.
  • Seasons, holidays, music, and events are reminders as well. 


The Science of Well-Being

Experiential vs Talk Therapy

The Science of Well-Being

The Art of Lying

Jahori Window

The Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995) in 1955, and is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.