Relationship Counseling

How to Safely Exit From a Difficult Relationship

Do you sense that your marital partner used cunning and deception to lure you into a destructive marriage? Were you courted, promised the world, offered a mirage and then duped into a world of hurt? Does your partner show the world a side that makes him or her look very attractive, kind, lovable, easy going, moral, charming, but behind closed doors behaves abusively? Does your partner feign empathy and compassion for others, but in reality shows little or no compassion for anyone? Do you feel trapped?

If some or all of these questions seem to match your experience you are not alone. Many people in our culture face the wrenching decision of whether to stay in an abusive relationship or leave it. If you seem caught in a web of deception with a partner who lacks the most basic expressions of human compassion, getting quality professional help that provides wisdom and guidance at this crucial juncture can make all the difference to your future mental health and happiness.

Relationship Counseling Can Help You Gain Clarity

There are several phases to helping someone when they are stuck in a frightening situation: The first stage involves relationship counseling to explore if change might be possible. Most people can be helped, if we choose to commit to doing hard work. Some people cannot be helped either because of their character make-up or their unwillingness to do the hard work.

Part of the process must be to help make a distinction about how extreme the character traits are for the person who is perpetrating the abuse. The work of Dr. Kent Kiehl, with his extensive work in using brain-imaging techniques, has shown that certain segments of the human population do not use parts of their brains as most people do, resulting in extreme forms of emotional detachment or lack of empathy. Some people are born this way, like a child born with autism; much of how or this occurs remains a mystery.

In recent decades research has shown that in otherwise healthy families a child can be born who is uncaring, destructive and manipulative by nature. While siblings may display a normal emotional life—with the capacity to love and feel empathy—one child may be born with a cold, mean-spirited, ruthless, predatory nature. The emotionally rogue child can be prone to stealing, lying, cheating, bizarre behaviors and dark verbal expressions, for no apparent reason, from the very beginning.

A second and more common version of this personality type may manifest when an otherwise emotionally healthy person suffers a deep and profound trauma or set of traumas. This set of traumas turns their inner worlds dark. Once this compassionless, predatory style has become their principle operating style in the world, it is unlikely, though not impossible, that these people will right their emotional life.

Approximately one percent of the human population is born with this ruthless, predator character style. Another three percent or so end up this way after a sequence of traumatic events consume their worldview.

If it is determined that change is not wanted or possible in the marriage, a second process can be explored. This process involves helping the emotionally abused partner create safe, and healthy conditions to move out of this relationship.

Once the decision is made to exit the marriage with this type of uncaring person extreme care must be taken to protect the health and well-being of all involved. A careful, methodical, well-thought out, meticulously executed plan must be put in place so as to minimize the damage and maximize the upside. If there are children involved the process must be handled with even more care and expert navigational expertise.

An expansive understanding of this character type becomes an essential part of the process. This allows for a thorough understanding of the boundaries, parameters, limitations of this type so as to avoid missteps in the process.

Enlisting a strong team of personal and professional consultants is another important step in the process. Here the therapist has the special skill set, knowledge, connections, authority and position to help someone move through this painful and frightening process with safety and care.

This process can take some time and needs to be handled with the utmost sensitivity so as to protect the abused partner, their children and their assets to the greatest degree possible. Over time a person ensnared in this kind of complex web of parasitic attachment may be able to break free.

Relationship Counseling Can Liberate You

Once liberated, the next step in the process will involve getting help for the trauma from having suffered the experience of being in target of this kind of predator. Here the focus would be about recovery and learning from past mistakes to ensure that this never happens again—neither to the original victim of the abuse, nor to their children (if there are kids involved).

I have found over the course of my career that I am very well-suited to helping people navigate their way through and out of these kind of nightmare scenarios. If you think that you are ensnared or tangled up with an abusive, predatory character of this type described above, I can help you.

When you feel ready to break free please reach out to at (202) 421-3366. Or schedule a time to meet me at my Bethesda office or at my Annapolis office.