Listen In: Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Abuse

I don’t think we will end domestic abuse or rape or trafficking in this country until the culture starts to change; and I think each and every one of us has an obligation to speak up, to get involved and there’s lots of ways to do that in our communities, and you just have to take that step.

And we shouldn’t be waiting ’til a horrible tragedy happens, when you read something in the newspaper about a woman being killed or just the statistics that are so haunting about all of these young girls being trafficked in all of our cities, that that it really is up to us, our institutions, our communities, and the culture to change the belief and attitudes. And when that happens, I think we’ll start to see some fundamental changes…” ~ Michael Paymar

Following a recent show on Battered Women, Psych Up takes on the crucial issue of helping men end domestic violence.  Our guest, Representative Michael Paymar brings tremendous knowledge and experience to this issue. His career has spanned from his direct work with batterers and his co-founding the nationally recognized Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project to combating gender violence and related issues as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

As the author of “Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Violence”, and the co-producer of the award winning documentary film, With Impunity: Men and Gender Violence, Michael Paymar discusses with host, Suzanne Phillips, the success and challenges in ending domestic violence. He describes the power of a group model that requires men to take responsibility and offers hope. He considers the need for a change in the personal, familial and cultural attitudes that allow domination of women with impunity.

In the back and forth he considers the messages that boys and girls are given and offers examples of how a father, mother, coach, or college co-ed can shift the attitudes that perpetuate gender violence. This show makes domestic violence a personal and painful reality that we need the courage to face.

For Help: 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/hard of hearing)

Learn more about More about Michael Paymar’s work:

Education for Critical Thinking

Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Violence by Michael Paymar

Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (Home of the Duluth Model)



Tips for Practitioners Working with Families Experiencing Parental Alienation.

Insights on what an Alienated Child is experiencing, and how their perception of reality, and themselves, has been damaged by alienation.

When the mirrors reflect not your own self but that of the alienating parent and when the words which are spoken jar horribly with the language that the body of the alienating parent is speaking, the brain and the mind becomes used to responding to the ‘truth’ and not the lie which is heard. Of course the ‘truth’ is the lie and the lie is the truth in this world and keeping that firmly in the foreground of the mind as a practitioner is a critical element of successful practice.

Article by Karen Woodall

Karen Woodall

This week I have been working on several projects concerned with increasing parental awareness of what is happening to their children when alienation strikes.  All this alongside working with parents whose children are alienated and children who think that the parent they have rejected is quite simply horrible. I have also been working with parents who are so indignantly determined that their version of why a child no longer sees a parent is correct, that they will go to any lengths to ‘prove’ it.  The world of children’s rejection of a parent is indeed a world in which everyone is concerned about what they know. And of course,  everyone believes that what they know is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Working in the midst of this can feel a little bit like being down the rabbit hole with Alice, I half expect the mad hatter…

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This is a very interesting concept.. I would also add that I believe Domestic Violence and Stalking should be eligible for “repeat offense” penalties under the law. And if a person repeatdely commits domestic violence or stalking acts against another, they should face stiffer penalties earlier on to try to prevent abuse, and keep that person off the streets–and in jail._

Gwenyth makes a good point that with Abusers, “the central focus of the behavioral symptoms are targeted at specifically ones romantic partner and the behavioral patterns are not consistent in other situations..”

What are your thoughts on this article, and including “Abusive Personality Disorder” in the DSM-IV? Plz post your comments below.


Title: “Why not adopt an Abusive Personality Disorder diagnosis?”
Author: Gwenyth, 11/27/2012. She is an “anti-domestic violence activist”.

Like many anti-domestic violence activists I too believe that domestic violence is not an individual problem but a community problem that requires the support of the whole community to bring to an end. What I propose as a new solution to this problem it the adoption for Abusive Personality Disorder to be accepted by the mental health/social work profession, feminist scholars, anti-dating violence activists, and into the public discourse of dating violence. This would help concerned persons identify and make sense of the abuser’s patterns of behavior and help others learn how to hold the abusive person accountable for their actions.

Despite the changes over the years dating violence continues to be a major problem in US. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, dating violence is not just restricted to physical violence or single incidences of behavior but rather “the pervasive and methodical use of threats, intimidation, manipulation, and physical violence by someone who seeks power and control over their intimate partner.”

Many myths and misconceptions about the nature of domestic violence contribute to the confusion many victims, friends, family, and communities feel about how best react to the situations when they arise. However there is considerable amount of research and information that is known about the common patterns of abusive persons. If this information was more commonly known would help promote safety for victims and potential victims as well as increase accountability for abusers.

Being able to recognize the patterns of abusive persons can help persons not involved, such as police, judges, friends, and family better identify who is the abusive party and who is the victim. This is an important distinction to make as many abusive persons claim to be real victims themselves to avoid negative consequences and discredit and cast doubts on their victim’s accusations.

A personality disorder is not a biological mental illness that can be treated with medication or has on organic basis but rather it is a collection of personality traits that common happen together in personality and cause difficulty in interacting with the world or the world interacting with them. For instance, Antisocial Personality Disorder is defined by a striking lack of conscience and scary lack of empathy and indifference toward the suffering of others. Many known serial killers have been diagnosed Antisocial Personality Disorder and this has helped professionals determine who is dangerous and what prisoners are likely to reoffend.

As detailed in oft-used Power and Control Wheel of Domestic Violence which DV advocates and use to describe the common patterns of behavior employed by abusive persons and to help victims make sense of their abusers behavior. The power and control wheel is so comprehensive and accurate that is it is a great start toward agreed-upon diagnostic criteria for abusive personality disorder.

Although there are a variety of other disorders and behaviors that persons tend to try and conflate with abusive behavior, such as narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, addictive personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and others, none of them truly encapsulates the phenomena. Many of these disorders often mimic the symptoms of abusive personality, but none of them truly account for the fact that the central focus of the behavioral symptoms are targeted at specifically ones romantic partner and the behavioral patterns are not consistent in other situations.

Critics of this approach are most commonly from the Dating Violence Community as they are afraid that the acceptance of abusive personality disorder as an actual mental health diagnosis would lead to abusers using it as an excuse, legally and otherwise, that they are not responsible for their behaviors. Although it is likely that abusers will use any excuse they can to avoid responsibility for their actions, just because it is a diagnosis doesn’t mean it is will make the legal system more lenient on them and that it will arouse much sympathy for them. Serial killers who are diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder are not given much sympathy for their condition and few consider it as justification for their actions.

The institution of an Abusive Personality Disorder diagnosis would help dispel myths about DV making abusers more easily identifiable to the public therefore leading to more accountability for abusers. It would also legitimize what domestic violence workers already know and would make these persons with abusive personalities easier to study for prevention or intervention purposes. Also, many anti-DV laws and approachs are often labeled by critics as anti-male or biased towards males, the legitimization of Abusive Personality Disorder Diagnosis simply have the abuser identified by their symptomology

Mothers who escape violent relationships then come forward with allegations of the abuse in Family Court, while fighting for custody of their children, face a new battle–Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).

Dr. Richard Gardner (deceased) developed PAS to counter abuse allegations, and create avenues for abusive fathers to gain custody by inventing a bogus syndrome that discredits abuse allegations by stating the mother is suffering from a severe mental condition called “parental alienation syndrome”…and the cure is limit, reduce or take away her custodial rights. PAS states the mother invents abuse allegations to turn children against the father, and her motivation is that she has an obsessive sexual desire for her ex partner and is angry that he spurned her. The Mother then begins a campaign of denigration against the father and enlists the child as an unwilling ally—brainwashing the child to believe abuse has occurred. Dr. Gardner developed this theory exclusively for mothers—he worked as a paid court witness, and expert speaker; gaining credibility through self promotion and not through any substantial education or experience.

Other controversial beliefs held by Dr. Gardner include that incest is “not necessarily” harmful to children, babies enjoy sexual experiences and orgasm, and that court judges themselves get a sick thrill out of sitting on the bench. Gardner died a grisly death by suicide; his legacy lives on with devastating results.

This article is based on a transcript of an interview with Jane Shields, reporter, and a panel of guest speakers who have experience working in Family Court, and have knowledge of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), it’s use in the courts and it’s effects on families. I want to extend a special thank you to Richard Ducote for posting this informative transcript, and for your tireless efforts to eradicate PAS from the courts.

This is a very informative article based on inside knowledge of the court system and from experienced professionals who have access to places unobtainable to the public. I highly recommend! Some of what is reveal includes:

* Richard Ducote, Louisiana attorney, and expert on PAS, leading a movement to remove the use of PAS in the courts has been involved in the Court system for over 22 years. Ducote believes attorneys use PAS because it is an easy–and devastating defense–to counter child abuse allegations. Further, most family court attorneys are not ”true litigators   they do not challenge evidence, they do not challenge witnesses, they don’t like to make waves, they like to mediate and they like to compromise…”

The results are tragic for children, who when placed in the custody of an unsafe parent, are  usually abused & traumatized with no one to help.

*Ducote on Dr. Richard Gardner- “When I cross-examined him shortly before he committed suicide, he acknowledged that he had not spoken to the Dean of the Medical School at Columbia for over 15 years, and that he had not had hospital admitting privileges at any hospital for approximately 25 years, so he really was out there on his own. ”

*Gardner’s ideas are widely discredited by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association for having no scientific validity. Yet many Courts, attorneys and court officers still use PAS, and embrace it as scientific truth–or accept it blindly and rely on the word of a guardian ad litem, mediator, attorney or evaluator to verify it’s validity. PAS has spread to courts all over the world.

*PAS allegations can be made, and Court can render a decision without actually using the words“parental alienation” or calling a mother an “alienator”. This is because PAS has become so accepted in a broken legal system that it is not questioned–nor is it’s truth, and scientific basis, examined. Other labels that may be used against mothers include: crazy, mentally ill, malicious mom syndrome, unwilling to communicate, and uncooperative.

*Mothers will lose in court because a court personnel that accept PAS will be suspicious and mistrustful of the mother; and readily excuse abusive or red flag actions of the father.

*According to Gardner, the cure for PAS is almost always taking away the rights of the “alienator” and awarding full or a majority of custody to the alleged abuser.

*Thea Brown, Professor of Social Work, with Melbourne’s Monash University (AU) believes the court is promoting PAS through it’s staff: the psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers who prepare reports for the Family Court.. AND “..we found that usually, that is in 70% of cases, the judge would follow the recommendations of the court-appointed expert.”

*Cases that involve documentation, evidence, witness statements and medical evidence should not be considered to be a “false allegation” or evidence of PAS but need to be taken seriously by the Courts as substantial allegations of abuse

*According to Dr. David Wood, Director of Paediatric Health Services and Chairman of the Abused Child Trust in Queensland, and Chairman of Kids, AU) the Court is part of an “adversarial system” that is not designed to heal or resolve family issues but instead to take a side, and pick a winner and a loser. A legal culture exists within the Courts that thrives on conflict and sets aside the best interests of the children, and families involved. The Court is innately biased because this culture exists, and does not have the tools or framework to find meaningful resolution, or to protect families from abuse.

Source: “ABC Radio National – Parental  Alienation Syndrome January 14, 2012” by Richard Ducote.

“So You Support Dr. Gardner & PAS?” Quotes by Dr. Richard Gardner, and Examples of Legal Abuse by Judges Using PAS in Court:

Stop Family Violence Resources Page on Parental Alienation Syndrome:

Psychopaths are true predators- they con, manipulate and take advantage of other people without any guilt or remorse. Their victims are left heart broken, emotionally devastated, financially ruined, abused and sometimes murdered. Psychopaths act for self gratification alone. According to author and researcher Rober D. Hare, “If we can´t spot them, we are doomed to be their victims, both as individuals and as a society.”


A new study, using computer analysis to detect patterns, reveals that certain speech patterns, and emotional expressions, can indicate psychopathic tendencies. Researchers at Cornell University report that ” Psychopathic murderers use words that reveal selfishness, detachment, and emotional flatness“. The study used computer analysis to detect speech patterns which could lead to new diagnosis treatment of psychopathy, as well as uses in law enforcement. Perhaps, by understanding these communication cues, we could also be aware of warning signs, and better be able to protect ourselves from dangerous psychopaths or abusers.


The ground-breaking research was conducted among convicted killers, who were asked to talk about their crimes. Those diagnosed as psychopaths were compared to those who were not, their stories were taped and transcribed then underwent thorough computer analysis.


The findings reveal:

*Psychopaths use other people for personal gain or benefit, they manipulate, fake emotion and gain sympathy to do so. Their crimes and objects meet a personal need or goal, “They used twice as many words relating to physical needs, such as food, sex, or money, while non-psychopaths used more words about social needs, including family, religion, and spirituality.”

*Psychopaths focus almost exclusively on personal needs and exclude social or familial needs

* Psychopaths are predators, their stories often include details of what they ate on the day they committed the crime

*Psychopaths are emotionally detached, they often use past tense words or use “ums” and “uhs”, Researchers also speculate this could indicate that psychopaths are trying harder to make a positive impression or con the victim, so they exert more mental effort and it takes more work to invent a convincing story/facade.

*Psychopaths have trouble describing emotional events to other people indicating they have shallow emotions

*Psychopaths view the world as theirs for the taking.

Example: My abuser’s step-father said of this son, a gambling addict, “He sees life as one big poker game. He’s plays everyone, and you never know what is going on with him.” The step-father is now enabling and supporting the abuser, suggesting his own abusive and/or anti-social tendencies.

* The psychopath views their crime as a logical outcome or as part of a plan–it needed to be done to achieve or gain something. While their victims are hurt, offended or even killed, for the psychopath this makes perfect sense, and is a reasonable action.


This study is new, and will require further research and analysis, “The researchers caution that their analysis applies only to murderers relating the story of their own crimes, and suggest further studies of speech patterns in more neutral situations, such as telling a neutral story from the subjects’ past or describing an incident shown to them on video.” The Researchers would like to take the study onto social media at some time in the future.



Live Science, “How to Spot Psychopaths: Their Speech Patterns Give Them Away” by Wynne Parry. 10/20/2011. Victim Support Community – Various Sources


Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us (Details on psychopathic behavior, real stories from victims) by Robert D. Hare. 1993.

Threats to Take Children are a Form of Abuse!

A Compilation of Quotes, Research

“Victims of abuse may experience… using children to manipulate a parent’s emotions.” “What is Battering?”, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,

“Forms of Emotional Battering”…Threats to Harm or Take Away Children: One of the most common reasons given for resuming an abusive relationship is the fear that the abuser will act on the threats of taking the children from the victim. Studies show that batterers have been able to convince authorities that the victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody in approximately 70% of challenged cases.” American Judges Association “Domestic Violence Publication” Educational booklet that provides judges with critical information about the Court’s responsibility to protect the safety and the rights of victims of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is a pattern of battering behavior used to establish power and control over an intimate partner or family member. It not only involves punching or hitting but also can include sexual, psychological, or emotional abuse. One can be a victim without exhibiting any obvious physical injuries. …Psychological Abuse can include threatening you, controlling the money, controlling how you spend your time with your friends, attempts to make you feel inferior and threats to harm or take away your children.” “Domestic Violence”, Justice System Solicitator General (Fayette County, Georgia),

Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be longer-lasting than physical ones. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically…. Examples: Threatening to take away the victim’s children Threatening Intimidating Dominating..”  “Verbal/Mental/Emotional/Psychological Abuse”, There is Life After Abuse:

“Many batterers’ motivation to intimidate and control their victims through the children actually increases after separation , due to the loss of other methods of exerting control.” Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman, The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (2002); Langford, Isaac & Kabat, Homicides Related to Intimate Partner Violence in Massachusetts 1991-1995, Peace at Home (1999)

“Domestic Violence is a pattern of assaultive, abusive, controlling, or coercive behavior including physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional, and psychological tactics, as well economic coercion that is used in effort to gain or maintain control or authority in an intimate relationship…Includes threats to take children, often these threats will make a partner stay the a relationship… Violence at home can have serious long-term effects on children and affect their emotional development and self-esteem. Children who grow up seeing domestic violence face a greater risk of becoming victims or abusers themselves when they grow up.” What is Domestic Violence?”, North County Family Violence Prevention Center:

“If your ex is simply controlling and manipulative, your goal is simply to protect your kids as best you can by pointing out the ways s/he may attempt to control or manipulate your children….Many manipulating and controlling people will use their own children to further their control needs, after a divorce occurs…The emotional abuse often extends to the (favored) child.” Krystal (WikiHow) “How to End a Controlling or Manipulative Relationship”:

“Domestic violence can also involve a pattern of emotional and verbal abuse. Underlying domestic violence is one person’s need to feel powerful and in control of another person’s behavior and actions. They may hurt their victims and maintain control over them by using insults, put-downs, public humiliation, name-calling, verbal threats, or social and economic isolation. They may be extremely jealous and keep the victim from seeing friends or relatives. They may use threats of violence, suicide, or of taking away the children.” – Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Spouse Buzz) –

“Real threats are oral or written statements promising harm to persons or possessions…Real threats are always obvious, for as they are made, specific acts are described that clearly state what the “Threatener” intends to do. A Real threat is exact and openly expressed through dialogue, a letter, fax or email…A psychological Real threat might be (A Legal threat) when your ex flatly states, “I’ll see you in court!” Real Threats also include “I’m taking the kids away from you.” Even if your ex has never engaged in physical violence in the past, or appears to have always been passive and non-reactionary to situations that might send others into a complete frenzy, do not overlook your gut feelings. We hear of many spurned spouses who kill exes, for instance, whose friends and neighbors describe them as the last person they thought would ever kill someone, burn down the house, or run away with the kids, etc. When you consider that you may know your ex more intimately than anyone else, your instincts can prove invaluable.”  “THREATS AND CONTROL: Real, Implied, and Imagined” By Stacy D. Phillips (DivorceMag):

Children are seriously harmed by observing the controlling and demeaning behaviors and words shown toward a parent. Such parental behaviors result in severe stress in the home which damages a child’s happiness, hopefulness, trust and confidence even if the child is not the recipient of these words and behaviors. The emotional pain in these children, which includes a great deal of anger, is often unconscious… Subsequently, many of these children develop cognitive difficulties.”  “Children and the Controlling Parent”, Richard P. Fitzgibbons (Institute for Marital Healing), WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE CONCERNED THAT YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE KIDNAPPED, Published: June 1994. Written by GERALD L. NISSENBAUM, J.D., LL.M. (TAX). Nissenbaum Law Offices 88 Broad Street, 4th Floor Boston, Massachusetts 02110 (617) 542-2220: