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Overcoming barriers to moving on with adult development

A relationship with a sociopath occurs within the context of a person’s life. People do not stop growing and developing after adolescence. In fact, adult development is lifelong. Developmental psychologists say that early adulthood is the time that people come to grips with their needs for intimacy, love and friendship.

Once this developmental dilemma of “intimacy versus isolation” is addressed, mid life adults move on to the “generativity versus stagnation” phase. Mid life is the time when people build their lives and contribute meaningfully to society. In this phase, adults seek satisfaction through productivity in career, family, and civic interests. Generative adults create a path to meaning and purpose in their lives especially if their intimacy needs are also met.

The reference at the bottom of the page says “Generativity is an extension of love into the future. It is a concern for the next generation and all future generations. As such, it is considerably less “selfish” than the intimacy of the previous stage.”

Older adults grapple with the notion of “integrity versus despair.” Older adults often look back on their lives and assess their accomplishments in the realms of relationships and productivity. Each of us hopes to have a balance sheet that favors “integrity” and a sense of pride in a job well done.

Sociopaths derail the development of other adults in their lives. Furthermore, these developmental phases do not exist for sociopaths. Sociopaths do not care about real intimacy, productivity and integrity. They only care that their momentary needs for power and control are met. Thus they want the appearance of intimacy, the appearance of productivity and the appearance of integrity.

When you consider the impact on you, of victimization by a sociopath you have to consider how your adult development has been affected.

Were you left isolated without intimacy? Was your trust in others so destroyed that intimacy is difficult for you? Was your productivity affected? Did you lose the reputation you took much of your adult life to build? How can you still maintain a sense of integrity?

In my encounter with a sociopath, I lost much of what I had attempted to generate with my life. As a result, when I at times, ruminate and lament, my thoughts are that I wasted my talents, and allowed myself to be used to victimize others. I do not ruminate about lost love.

The impact of the lost generativity for me, was reduced by my continuing to pursue discovering a sense of purpose for my life. Although I lost many important relationships, those that remained became even more important and I resolved to work at them, especially my relationships with my children. Parental relationships are important for adults because they are intimate and productive as we nurture and mentor the next generation.

I have observed that most victims ruminate about lost love as opposed to lost productivity. It is good to remember that while intimacy and love are very important, generativity is also important. I spoke with a new friend this week, a woman in her 40s who was victimized by a con artist. During our discussion, she said that she had a hard time letting go of the sociopath because he represented the love relationship she always dreamed she would have.

My guess is that he specifically chose to victimize her because she told him of her dream of a solid intimate relationship. He knew he could “hook her” with her dream.

In mourning the loss of her dream and her present lack of intimacy, my new friend had neglected to work on the middle adult task of generativity. She has a good job but does not really feel fulfilled in that job. She has the desire for something more. Furthermore her teenagers are off to college and her parent role is changing.

I challenged her to work on generativity and consider building a greater sense of purpose and meaning in her life. She is clearly very talented and did have some good ideas for community service that would benefit both herself and her community. It is also critical to note that my new friend does work hard at keeping an exercise program and eating right.

She challenged me to think about the meaning of life. I do still hope that I will one day share life with someone special. I believe that although walking hand in hand on the beach with that special someone, enjoying the moment is important, there is more to life than that special relationship. If we find ourselves in a circumstance where romantic love is not available, we have to get satisfaction from other intimate relationships and from our life’s purpose.

My new friend gave me a valuable gift that I share with you. That is the knowledge that victims have the most time letting go when the sociopath has blocked or set back their journey toward adult development.

For more on the phases of adult development see Eric Ericson



215 Comments on "Overcoming barriers to moving on with adult development"

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  1. inthebreach57 says:

    OxDrover,
    I wonder that you probably feel sick in the pit of your stomach from knowing this man. He is a horror story come to life. You are my hero for going after that creep in your living history class and for not letting up on him! Your good character and courage of convictions have probably saved many children from being wounded in the soul and walking victims. I have Anna Salter’s name written down and will get her book on children- thank you. The lawmakers in our country have made it as close to legal as possible for children to be abused sexually, physically (=sexually), emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. What are their rights outside of what the adults in their lives are in control of? They are treated as chattel in life and then in the legal system if they land there. They are bullied, manipulated, shamed, accused of being liars by attorneys defending the predator when they get them in a courtroom. Which in turn further abuses them and puts the blame on them and then suspends reality by publicly denying to the child that the incident ever occurred. It is crazy wicked!!! Before my husband did strictly bankruptcy he took all kinds of cases. I remember him telling me about doing periodic guardian ad litum work over a span of about 7 years
    ( probably 3 years in reality because he likes to fudge numbers). He said there was a case of 6 or 7 children, both boys and girls who had been brutally sexually abused by their father. He said the kids missed and loved their father and wanted to go back home and that is exactly what he and the judge recommended because its what the kids wanted and there was no fixing them. That made me sick. I should check out statistics and Illinois laws on child abuse cases. I just wonder if this state is lenient on child sex offenders compared to other states.

    Then, when I was taking classes for foster parenting years ago I remember there was a couple who couldn’t ask enough questions about how they could specifically “punish”the children who would eventually be placed in their home. There was a female couple that sat next to me during these parenting classes and we exchanged a lot of eye rolling over this couple obssessed with punishing. I finally had enough at one of the meetings and stood up and said, “Look, structure, a secure loving environment and discipline are the most important things we need to know to address the needs of these children, but if all you are interested in are clever ways to punish and subdue them, then why are you here?” Listening to these people made me wonder why the instructor didn’t send them out the door. I have often wondered if the children placed with them didn’t come out of a bad situation into a worse one. I was very upset by these people and you could see the meaness in their eyes and on their faces. As far as I believe the system has low expectations of who qualifies as caretakers. This is another area I strongly believe they should have mandatory laws for psychological screening before any child is handed over to someone. Maybe that is the doorway and starting point for you , Donna, Dr. Leedom and so many others to get some laws changed in family court. Go right to the starting point through the State who holds the power over so many childrens lives and these law changes will benefit the general public and spill out into the courts.



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  2. OxDrover says:

    Dear Breach,

    I am no “hero” by any stretch of the imagination, I am just a stubborn old woman who is willing to get into a dog fight if I have to if it is a question of any kind of abuse—of children, animals or elderly. I have fought the “Adult protective services” in my county because unless you could show the social worker that the family was setting fire to the bed of the invalid AT THE TIME SHE WAS THERE, they would not do jack squat. I have also fought judges as well, and sometimes I won, sometimes not.

    Life isn’t fair, there are plenty of mean selfish people out there who will take advantage of the young, the helpless and the elderly. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes you can help, and sometimes not. I sort of have a “thing” about child abusers, and also drunk drivers…I think crucifiction and leaving their bodies to hang for the crows to eat is the proper sentence for FIRST OFFENSE. Second offense, you get TOUGH! I am a big proponent of “3 strikes you are out” laws that put repeat serious criminals behind bars for life…No Parole.

    Arkansas just passed a law that single people who are living together and not married can’t adopt chldren or be foster parents, and gays can’t adopt or be foster parents. There is a big foster care crisis here now, as in most places.

    “Family Services” in most states is a JOKE. It depresses me to think about all the kids in need of services, the molesters and the child abusers and the just plain “poor parents” who verbally abuse their kids or crush their spirits.

    I wish you and your son Breach all the luckk and blessings of God in your situation. (((hugs))))



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  3. inthebreach57 says:

    OxDrover,
    Thank you for the prayers and encouragement. I feel like I am having better days and getting stronger in spirit, so those prayers are helping.

    Your mother has missed the point of what a blessing it is to have you as a daughter. Does she not know you are the daughter of a King (our Savior), and are therefore a Princess. As the children of a King we are all held to a higher standard in order to glorify and not shame our Father. Would she address a King, President or Dignitary the way she has spoken and treated you? Probably never! I think this is where our society has missed the mark. Our children. Why then should strangers and the world outside our doors ever get our best and the people who love us the most (usually our children) get the leftovers or anything contemptuous? That mask you describe so well will serve as nothing for them in the end. It is our loved ones we should always impress with open arms. Our best china, freshest linens, best cooked meals, our time, our wisdom and experiences…our LOVE is the riches we shower upon our children. I would rather snap at a stranger than my children. Strangers don’t care about us but our children love us and can be easily wounded by our words and actions. I don’t mean I am callously going out and being rude to people. It’s just that the most important people we are ever going to meet in our lives, for better or worse are our children. If you don’t have children it could be your mate, a parent or sibling. The pwerful bond of love and loyalty that can be created if people are only willing is unrivaled. Your mom has missed it all, your one son threw it away and can never get it back. It is overwhelming and tragic that they have lost you and they seem not to be the least bit aware of this monumental loss to their lives. Without you in their lives it will never be as good as it could have been and it appears they continue on blindly. We have these painful moments of awareness constantly about our shortcomings and weaknessess. Do these people ever stop and do personal inventory? If they do I wonder what could be their thought process other than finding justification for everything. It seems they derive great pleasure in pointing out our less than perfect lives usually in a cruel and swift manner. When is there going to come a time when they own and admit their shortcomings? Probably never. The bible speaks of the end days and the fierce generations who call evil good and good evil. Mother will turn against daughter, sons against fathers and vice versa. It is what we are witnessing here and now my friend. It is God calling His people to come out from amongst them. He is separating the wheat from the chaffe, the sheep from the goats and preparing us for the persecution. Damn it, it’s painful to love those whom hate you and to have to keep them at bay because they have proved time and again your destruction holds the key to their pleasure.

    Malachi Martin wrote the book:Hostage to the Devil: The possession and exorcism of 5 contemporary Americans. It is a book you can’t put down once you begin it, but he describes all the behaviors of Psychopathy without realizing it I believe because it is written from a spiritual perspective. I read this after reading M.Scott Peck’s;People of the Lie. Which, Peck knew they were psychopaths but thought it went into the spiritual aspect. Many of the people here that are of the Baby Boomer generation probably read Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the sixties. I think he was a mix of New Age Mysticism, Religion and Existensialism which is why he got censored from the church. He did make Sartre and de Beauvoir sound like babes in my opinion (weren’t they avowed athiest?), but there is one story in the Hostage book that strongly infers de Chardin’s teachings and core beliefs contributed to one Jesuit priests possession. It is strange to read the process of decline into the sifting and killing of ones conscience step by tiny step. If you haven’t read these I highly recommend them. I think Peck’s, People of the Lie is his best work and dealing with the cases of psychopathy is what lead him to begin exploring the spiritual side of this condition.

    I have to stop writing these windy posts. I am so used to journaling that I get carried away. Sorry, OxDrover I didn’t intend to write you a book!



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  4. shattered_sapphire says:

    OxDrover,
    It is a wonderful blessing all in one to have found someone with such a kind and caring heart and so obviously real. Your love of God stands out and shines in you. Some of the professional SP’s are obviously so much higher in intelligence than their victims as it shows in the length of time that they were able to manipulate and control her victims. It is truly sad that little children have to be put in the middle of adult chaos. They are the true victims of both parents. The SP who doesn’t have it in their heart to protect their children or the other who stays with the SP for whatever the reason and the child becomes damaged often beyond help. We see posts on here about these damaged children frequently. Often we have seen that leaving is the first step but from there the damage can grow worse unless dealt with by divine intervention. Maybe it takes an act of God to protect these little victims.
    ~Shattered



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  5. In the breach,

    The fact that your son came home talking about steriods and human growth hormone is very suspicious. The physical changes are suspicious. I hope you are documenting everything that happens. This could serve as evidence to make your husband only have supervised visitation, if he gets any visitation at all.



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  6. OxDrover says:

    Dear Breach,

    Your post brought tears to my eyes, and you are so right, we do need to use “our best china” and our “best manners” with those closest to us and so many times we don’t. Your eleoquent validation of my worth lifted me up. Thank you so much.

    Breach, I agree with Donna that you son even knowing the words about steroids and growth hormone at that age is very suspicious. Young men when their hormones start to change at puberty do sometimes develop “breasts” for a while, but this is usually in adolescence NOT PREPUBERTY. It is a condition that passes under normal conditions, but can be very emotionally damaging to children, especially if other children tease them about it in locker rooms or at phys-ed classes (as little boys will do).

    I would also suggest that you get a referral to an physician that specializes in hormonal medicine. (Endocrinologist) I hope I got my spelling right on that. Tell them of your susispisions so that they can do whatever tests are necessary to see what is going on.

    It is possible that your son could also have some sort of pituitary problem or other glandular abnormality. What concerns me is the early signs of puberty and glandular abnormality. (BTW, if it is some sort of glandular abnormality instead of your X injecting him with drugs, it is most likely easily fixed).

    My own son C (the non-P one) was so traumatized by the “desertion” of his father after our divorce that he stopped growing entirely which is called “failure to thrive” syndrome in infants who are not properly cared for or loved and cuddled. Fortunately, he “grew out of it” eventually, but it was pretty trauatic for him. He actually didn’t hit puberty until age 21. He is now a reasonable height 5’7″ and very much matured, but there were some anxiety filled years in there for me, and I took him all over the country to various experts until we found what the problem was.

    The physicians offered to give him steroids to bring on puberty, but he was such a small stature at that time that it would have made him less than 5 ft tall as the hormones that produce puberty also close up the growth plates of the bones which makes further bone growth impossible, so we elected to let him wait it out, and though at age 18 he could still get into the movies for “half price” because he looked less than 12. When puberty fiinally started it went normally and rather quickly.

    There is also a WIDE variety of ages at which children start NORMAL puberty. In doing physical exams for various football teams I have seen children of the same age who were fully developed males with “all the equipment” and boys of the same age who were still “infants” in their sexual maturation.

    Given your X’s proclivities and the suspicious situation, I would have my son checked out thoroughly though. Child molesters have no bounds of any kind. I just hope and pray that your suspicious situation is an “over reaction” on your part and that you are entirely wrong!

    Oh, one more thing. Take weight and height measurements of your son, and document with photographs as well. You can I am sure do this without him being suspicious that something is going on. Just make it a “Wow, you are sure growing” thing and back him up to a door frame and mark the frame so he can “keep up with how fast you are growing.” Keep good dated records on this as well. If nothing else it will be helpful to a physician.

    I’m glad you are growing stronger and I will continue to pray for you and your son. (((hugs))))



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  7. Wini says:

    Oxy and Inthebreach57: You two forgot to mention the biggest catastrophe in our world … that of seperation of Church and State.

    Hey, most of the anti-socials are at the top of the institutions that govern everyone elses lives … and everyone wonders why the system doesn’t work?

    Give me a break here … in order to have the system work, you need to have compassionate, loving people, in touch with their emotions at the top!

    Not this ridiculous bullshit of pyschos at the top.

    And now these psycho whores want $700 + Trillion dollars as a payoff (I mean bailout). Give them a jail cell for 20-30 years and lets call it a day.

    How many more times do we have to see a psycho at the top of their game grinning at us with that smirk of their’s and stealing as much money as they can.\

    Get a grip folks! End of days … we’ve been in end of days for the last 40-50 years and no one is paying attention.

    I’d love to see Obama put all those whores, yes whores, you can call them all the names you want, anti-social, sociopaths, this that … but they are ruthless whores …who don’t care who they screw over to get their selfish way …. in prison the first day he takes office.

    Oh, and where’s my manners … good morning on this beautiful Sunday LF bloggers!

    Peace.



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  8. Wini says:

    Oh, did I mention that I am no longer forced, yes, forced and shoved down my throat that I have to be politically correct …

    The Bible tells us that God does not want us to:

    “Never call a decent man an indecent man” and
    “Never call a indecent man a decent man”. Being “political correct” is doing just that … doing what God asked us NOT to do.

    Again, separation of Church and State.

    Well, I think the Church should change rolls with the Government. Put the Church leaders in the rolls at the top of Government and let the politicians preach the Bible … that will get those folks to finally open up the good book. Besides, they like to talk … they are good at opening those lips and flapping the wind between their teeth… this would be a good arena for them to flap their mouths … just remember, it’s our responsibility to read the Bible on our own … then we can correct all the talkers as they talk every service just to keep them on track of what is really written versa their making things up. (LOL).

    Peace.



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