Monday, September 15, 2014

BETRAYAL BOND PHENOMENON Did the Rice's marry for love or something else?

Ray Rice was charged with 3rd degree Aggravated Assault against his fiancee, Janay Palmer, on May 27th. According to Jim McClain, Atlantic City Prosecutor, first offense cases of this nature would rarely result in jail time in Atlantic County, NJ, where the offense took place, but it could result in a criminal record. It was likely that Rice, a star NFL player for the Ravens, would have been placed on probation. Ray Rice and Janay married the following day, and Janay declined to press charges.

The new Mrs. Rice's behavior resembles so many victims of domestic assault and abuse in which the offender charms the victim with promises of rehabilitation and pledges their sincere and undying love and fidelity. While others standby and scratch their heads incredulously, thinking, "Can't she see she's being conned by someone who can't control their aggression?" the victim may be blinded by a Betrayal Bond.

Betrayal Bonds are like toxic glue in the brain. Assault is a form of betrayal which triggers an immediate trauma to the condition of being "loved" by the offender. Domestic violence upsets the normal flow of oxytocin, the brain's "love" molecule as well as creating a surge of adrenaline. A marriage conducted subsequent to such trauma could be taking place while the victim is undergoing an adrenaline related "mis-attribution affect."

Couples often feel the result of mis-attribution by experiencing exhilaration-producing circumstances together, such as riding roller coasters, parachuting, or engaging in activities where there's an element of danger. They will often walk away from the activity holding hands or with their arms around each other. How many romantic relationships have been sparked by the county fair?

Betrayal bonds are a heightened sense of attachment that lie in the inner recesses of a person's unconscious brain. While they motivate conscious behavior, they lay completely obscured from view by the victim. Often it takes considerable negative interaction with the perpetrator for the victim to come to grips with reality and break free. Some, like Reeva Steenkamp, the victim of Oscar Pistorius's violent shooting, don't live long enough to walk away.

Those of us who survived the betrayals of disordered loved ones, and either walked away or were discarded by them, are the lucky ones. Although the pain of separation seemed unendurable at the time, and our losses seemed unfathomable, we were freed from the betrayal bond to live our lives in reality, and hopefully, in peace.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Two current cases of abuse- Are they the results of psychopathy?

I watched the final decision on the case against Oscar Pistorius at the ungodly hour of 3:30 this morning. The trial took place in South Africa, so I found my eyes closing and my head bobbing  as I struggled to be awake enough to deal with the timezone difference between Capetown and NYC. To me, this case's importance was just too relevant to miss! 

The Judge, Thokozile Matilda Masipa, had already decided Pistorius was not guilty of the two most serious murder offenses he was charged with. There's no jury trial for murder in South Africa. It's all up to the Judge and her two advisers. Her determination was based on intent, one of the most difficult characteristics to prove in a crime. Doing so requires getting into the mindset of the offender, something that no one can accomplish with exact certainty. 

But surely, the story from Pistorius was riddled with unbelievability. For one thing, he claimed he thought he was shooting at an intruder who hid behind the closed bathroom door. If he truly felt an intruder was there, he would have turned to the person lying next to him in bed to say something like, "Did you hear that?" The brief encounter, that would be normal for any reasonable person, would have made him notice that Reeva was not tucked in beside him, and would have caused him to consider whether the noise was from Reeva, herself, rather than an intruder. 

A reasonable person would have thought first about what action would protect his loved one. Instead, he wants us to believe that his lack of consideration for her unknown whereabouts, before he fired into a closed door, was an effort to create protection for them both.

Fifteen years is the maximum sentence he could receive for the reckless endangerment that the court acknowledged cost Reeva her life. Can't think of a solitary reason why Pistorius should receive any less than the maximum sentence.

And why shoot without warning? Why four bullets through a closed door? Wouldn't the evident moaning of a female voice have caused him some concern? Did he really expect his home invader was female?

Court cases hinge on proof, not accuracy or even truth. Although we can contemplate that what likely happened was a contentious argument in which Reeva threatened to leave, common sense would suggest that Pistorius became so enraged, he picked up the gun and showed her that she could only leave on his power-crazed terms. The Judge found that the Prosecutor's case was simply not compelling enough which does not mean the events did not unfold the way logic dictates; but simply that proof was insufficient. 

We all know that world class athletes produce world class testosterone levels. It's what propels them into soaring achievements and bolsters their competitive drive. According to Dr. Paul Zak in his book, The Moral Molecule, heightened testosterone can also have the deleterious affect of counteracting the level of oxytocin, that would provide humanity, love, trust and caring. Not all athletes have this imbalance, but it's not an unusual phenomenon. 

Without appropriate oxytocin levels and oxytocin responses, a person develops without affective empathy and conscience. Those of us who have fallen victim to psychopaths all know the impact of lack of conscience. Reeva Steenkamp paid the ultimate price for not knowing. 

Janay Rice, the wife of Ravens football star, Ray Rice, was knocked out cold by a fist in the face from her husband, who proceeded to callously drag her limp, unconscious body from the hotel elevator where the incident took place. Instead of being overwhelmed with remorse when he saw her go down, dropping to the floor alongside her with concern, gathering her in his arms and hollering for help, he expects us to think that callously and calmly dragging her out of the elevator was a more appropriate response. 

Rice has been fired from the Ravens, and the media is full of debate as to whether or not losing one's job over a domestic violence issue is an appropriate consequence. Many say that if Rice were an Accountant or held a job that didn't put him on the world stage, he would still be employed. But isn't that the point of being on the world stage? Doesn't his hefty pay-check and notoriety carry some public responsibility with it? Do we want our children's morality compromised by ignoring publicly distributed footage of outright domestic abuse from a role model?

Does Janay's subsequent denial that things are woefully wrong in their household smack of a "Betrayal Bond?" Weren't all survivors of psychopathic abuse once at the point where they justified heinous acts by loved ones in order to attempt to salvage being "loved" by them? Let's hope Janay's avoidance does not provoke another Reeva Steenkamp-like incident from a testosterone laced, world class athlete, who can't keep his rage in check.