When abuse results in a person becoming isolated from their support network, including friends and family.
Sometimes, people with personality disorders use a technique of "Divide and Conquer" to retain control over the people closest to them. One of the most effective ways to maintain an abusive cycle is to ensure that the abuse victim does not have access to outside support. People who represent social rivals or who have a close relationship with Non-PD's are often criticized, split black, and made unwelcome and the Non-PD is warned to stay away.
Often, those who are victims of abuse participate willingly in the isolation because they are afraid of what might happen if they reach out to others:
- Other's might not believe them
- Other's might spread embarrassing gossip about them.
- Others might try to intervene in a counter-productive way.
- The abuser may find out and punish them.
Examples of Isolation
A woman is afraid to spend an evening with her friends because she knows her husband is jealous of the relationship she has with them and is afraid of how he will react when she comes home.
A man is afraid to call his parents long-distance because he knows his wife is jealous of them and will complain about the cost.
A young girl is afraid to spend time with peers because she is ashamed of her family abuse and does not want others to find out what goes on in her home.
A mother of a girl who has attempted suicide does not attend social gatherings because she is afraid people might ask how her daughter is doing.
A man will not speak to others about his wife's abuse of him because he is afraid he will look weak.
What NOT to Do:
- Don't assume you are the only person in the world who is going through what you are.
- Don't be ashamed of your situation.
- Don't blame yourself for someone else's bad behavior.
- Don't let yourself become Isolated.
What TO Do:
- Remember there are millions of people going through the same thing.
- Find people who understand Personality Disorders and who understand what you are going through.
- Find A friend, therapist, coach or mentor who you can trust and visit with them regularly.
- Pick the lesser of two evils - it is hard to break the silence but it is even harder to struggle alone.