Out of the FOG Banner
Home About Us Disorders Traits Toolbox Books Links Glossary Acronyms In An Emergency
Support Forum Private Messages Guidelines Disclaimer Members Support Out of the FOG

Author Topic: Proxy Recruitment  (Read 1724 times)

cantcope

  • Guest
Proxy Recruitment
« on: September 17, 2010, 02:41:07 PM »
Hi all:
In an effort to analyze the latest chaos and conflict my stbxBPDh is putting me through, I've copied and pasted this section from the toolbox, and I'm slotting in my experiences.  My goal is to try to deal with this and find a way to release it and not allow it to cause me the current pain, anxiety, and fear I'm feeling right now.  I'm literally shaking I'm so upset.

Maybe others can see where their PD others are using this tactic against them too.  Today I've asked my lawyer to look into having my h removed from the house till our divorce is final.  Absolute No Contact is I believe the only way I can be unaffected by his machinations.  I feel like the victim of psychological terrorism. (I've added the bolded bits that struck me as key points to remember)

"Proxy Recruitment is a way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing you up, speaking for you or "doing your dirty work" for you.

"The goal in proxy recruitment is to gain the upper hand in a relationship or in a conflict by getting other people involved. This often takes the form of false accusations, smear campaigns or distortion campaigns in which the victim is portrayed as an abuser.

                  Some examples of Proxy Recruitment (edited the list to those relevant to my situation)

 :|      A woman asks a marriage therapist to talk to her husband about his "problems with infidelity".  

         My stbx is seeing a T to manage his "anger" problems.  According to him and her (!) he has "changed" after a few weeks of seeing her  :roll: and now he sees her about his problem with "his drepressed--no wait, demon possessed--ADHD--no wait--NPD/BPD wife--no wait, maybe there's something else" wife.  

        Also, in sessions with our last FOUR marriage counsellors, his agenda was only one thing:  fix my wife--her behaviour is the problem. Every single time he refused to see our relationship as in need of help, just me, and he sabotaged every effort for reconciliation.  

        Do I blame him for it?  Absolutely.  It has been without question his fault that we have been unable to engage in marriage therapy. This led to only one option: DIVORCE.  Now that we have been separated 4 months, and in the process of settling a divorce agreement, he is STILL spinning wheels, trying to control me, this sham of a marriage, and other people's views of it!)

 :|    A mother (husband) seeks support from siblings, her spouse, friends and neighbors over her daughter's "behavior problems"

       The latest tactic my stbxBPDh is employing--he started meeting weekly in another city with  my estranged sister and her husband.  My sister cut herself off from our family more than 20 years ago.  She hurt all of us with what I believe are her PD traits, especially me.  I confided this in my husband early in our relationship revealing my heart.  

       He is now using it as part of his control strategy knowing how betrayed I felt when he first contacted her to form an alliance to criticize and judge me, and say "see, I was right about you!  You do have ______ (disorder du jour) and I'm right. So take a pill, get better and our marriage will be fine".  

      Now he drives 3 hours to visit her and her husband to, I assume recruit them into his web of gaslighting and deception.  He couldn't control the thoughts of the sister I am close to, so he goes after the one I'm in NC with.)

"Proxy recruitment can be an extremely powerful way of establishing control over another person. It forces the victim into a defensive posture - justifying or denying their own behaviors to friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances and authority figures. It often attempts to reverse roles in the eyes of others - casting the abuser as the victim and portraying the victim as the real abuser. It deflects attention away from the abuser and provides cover or justification for further abuse to occur.

"Proxy Recruitment is much easier if the abuser assumes a position of authority. ...."

        My stbxBPH often presents himself first as an experienced senior medic and firefighter who has responded to many situations, and that uniquely qualifies him to speak about mental illness and any and every medical problem with authority--you ever question his authority in these areas, because he knows everything.  

       If he's fooled anyone with this, he'd be very effective in convincing, say, my estranged sister, to join in him in plot to label me as mentally ill, that he's the poor victim (she'd commiserate on that one)--but to what end???  

       I want him the hell out of my life!  Shouldn't he be thrilled to get as far away from someone like me as possible since I have at least a half dozen "severe mental illnesses"???  Is this really about him trying to keep me playing his sick game?

"Proxy recruitment isn't just the domain of people with personality disorders. It is a universal reaction to recruit allies when engaged in a conflict situation. However, it becomes abusive when the truth is misrepresented or the recipient is being hurt."

       So this is my vent today.  I've missed my last 2 therapy appts, and he is unceasing in his obsession to encircle and control me as I struggle to pull away and get my life back.  And I do feel like I'm going crazy.  Sorry it's such a long "therapy session" :pissed:


Alicia398

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
Proxy Recruitment
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 03:17:39 PM »
Quote from: "cantcope"
        My stbx is seeing a T to manage his "anger" problems.  According to him and her (!) he has "changed" after a few weeks of seeing her  :roll: and now he sees her about his problem with "his drepressed--no wait, demon possessed--ADHD--no wait--NPD/BPD wife--no wait, maybe there's something else" wife.  

        Also, in sessions with our last FOUR marriage counsellors, his agenda was only one thing:  fix my wife--her behaviour is the problem. Every single time he refused to see our relationship as in need of help, just me, and he sabotaged every effort for reconciliation.  

...

        My stbxBPH often presents himself first as an experienced senior medic and firefighter who has responded to many situations, and that uniquely qualifies him to speak about mental illness and any and every medical problem with authority--you ever question his authority in these areas, because he knows everything.  

...
       I want him the hell out of my life!  Shouldn't he be thrilled to get as far away from someone like me as possible since I have at least a half dozen "severe mental illnesses"???  Is this really about him trying to keep me playing his sick game?
OK, these bits I quoted from your post just made me :rofl: because of the scary similarity between our stbxH's...

First, I cannot tell you how much time stbxH spent "diagnosing" me -- and yes, his agenda with our marriage counselor was the same as your stbxH's.  And yes, after we split he told me he went to another therapist (he didn't like our marriage counselor any more because I had turned her against him  :roll: )... to find out 'why he keeps choosing women like this'  :barfy:   He even forwarded BPD-related articles to my T months after we split, to help educate her, as he was SURE that that was my problem and this silly PhD psychologist who had been seeing me weekly for a year just couldn't see it  :stars:   (He tried hoovering me at one point saying he'd be willing to try marriage counseling again if we found a new therapist, but fortunately I had found the beginnings of my spine by then and rejected that idea despite his misc guilt-trips about it  :yep: )

"Reality check" question for you: did his T tell YOU that he has changed, or has he merely reported this exciting new 'fact' to you? I'm guessing it's the latter...  :bigwink:   And even if it's the former, if I were you I'd carefully consider the notion that what's "changed" is his skill at snowing therapists -- I mean, come on, who actually "gets better" after a few weeks of therapy?!?!

Second, my stbxH worked for a while doing facilities management for a chain of psychiatric hospitals... the way he talked about that experience, you would have thought he was the friggin' director of medicine!!

And finally, yes, IMO it is about getting you to continue to play his game, in a couple of ways:

1) My stbxH would try to push any button he could, just to get me to respond, and from what I've seen in others' posts both here and in other forums, it's a common approach... Kind of like a small child will act out any way they can, because they need the attention and they'll take 'bad' attention if that's the only kind they can get.

2) More broadly, you are shattering his delusional world by daring to contradict him and not 'behave' according to the rules he believes in, and for a PD'ed individual they are so wrapped up in that delusion that I can only imagine how terrifying it is for them... like standing in the middle of an icy lake and feeling the ice start to crack beneath your feet.

Final question for you: why have you missed your last two sessions with your T, and can you get back in soon? Mine was a lifeline for me as I was coming Out of the FOG and dealing with stbxH's nonsense... Obviously I'm sure all of us here are happy that you're coming to vent with us, but I can't imagine going through this with the support of a T as well (I love that whole "objective reality check" thing they provide :-))

Hang in there!!!! :bighug:

cantcope

  • Guest
Proxy Recruitment
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 08:38:36 PM »
Quote
"Reality check" question for you: did his T tell YOU that he has changed, or has he merely reported this exciting new 'fact' to you?
His T tells me the same thing, as in "he feels you're blaming him for all the problems...can't you see he's changed?"  That's why he's sticking with her.  If she so much as suggested he needs to see what HIS behaviours are (accountability), and have done to destroy this marriage (and me), he'd be out of there, and maybe on to T #6, if at all.  He is undiagnosed and has successfully mesmerized her and others with his circular reasoning and never getting to the point, except "my wife has severe mental problems...", and she buys it.  This in spite of the fact that when we had our last joint meeting and I read from his letters and a journal I keep, and she agreed that our marriage was toxic, she still doesn't see what's going on.  He shows her a side that he wants her to see, and is very good at distorting, lying and concealing his true self--if he even knows what that is.

Quote
I cannot tell you how much time stbxH spent "diagnosing" me
In my case and probably yours--OBSESSIVELY.  He sits at his computer for hours on end every day when he gets home from work.  I know he does the same thing while he's at work, and every phone call to a "friend" (he doesn't have any at least none that he spends social time with), my sister, his T, he tries to contact my T, my friends--it's all the same thing.  He tries to elicit sympathy for himself, blames me as the abuser, and claims that I'm mentally ill.  He rewrites facts and history at his whim, and makes them up where it suits his narrative.

Quote
why have you missed your last two sessions with your T, and can you get back in soon?
We are only on a 2 week schedule, so I've actually not seen her in a month.  Two weeks ago, I lost track of my schedule and missed the appointment thinking it was on the next day.  And today I went like a thirsty man in the desert needing someone to talk to, and she was sick and will be calling me to rebook.  I feel somehow it's a test to see how much I can take before I break!  Luckily I have an endlessly patient sister, though long distance for now, and some good friends that I can always call when I'm at the end of my tether.

And this just in...my stbx (and how I wish I could use another term for him :angry: ) did exactly what I suspected him of--going to see my NC sister to recruit her, and further playing "divide and conquer" by reporting it to my close sister and adding that I forced my mom to cut NC Sis out of her will!! OMG!   :jawdrop: I thought I left all this crap behind when we "grew up"!  I just wish our family weren't so scarred by our own dysfunction that we could have a united front and not allow this troubled man any foothold.  I guess we shall see if NC Sis has matured through the years and can see this for what it is.


2bad

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4058
Proxy Recruitment
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 09:25:36 PM »
I used to really worry about all of this because no one wants people saying bad things about them.  It creates a ridiculous amount of stress.  I know that my ex tried his hardest to use those tactics, expecially with our kids.  I heard all kinds of things I supposedly did because the kids would come back and tell me.  (I especially loved the part about how I broke up our family because I had THREE boyfriends.  I guess one just wasn't enough. Never mind the fact that there were NONE.)

But I realized something along the way.  Most people really don't believe them anyway.  And if they do, they aren't people I want or need in my life.  With the kids, I would ask them if they really thought that was true.  I asked them if they had ever seen me with anyone or even go out anywhere alone, other than to buy groceries.  I wasn't going to call him a liar, but point out the obvious instead.  Anyone who really knows you will see through it.  anyone else...well, does their opinion really matter in the long run?

Try to just let it go.  Take care of you, ignore his BS, and hold your head up high. It's all part of his game.  You don't have to play along.
I'm not hyper, I'm enthusiastic!

lyndee6445

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Proxy Recruitment
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 07:53:03 PM »
Way late, a few years, but had to respond. Yes, yes, and again yes, it does matter!!! The process is to alienate you, and over time, maybe even years, the base of support can erode!!! Then, you are alone, surrounded by his proxy supporters. Think psychological creation of Stepford Wives. I know from experience, and had it happen!!!! My kids, his family, his work friends, his community, psych's, etc. Got out alive, left to be 1000's of miles away, and over three years of NC, to recover physical and mental health. I lost my family, career, etc., and had to start all over again. Never be complacent with character assassination!!!! Recruitment by proxy spreads from those closest (kids), to immediate family (his), to work friends, to community, to "helpers" (wait until someone approaches you on the street with offers to pray with you to save you from your gambling problem - surprise!), to official community helpers (schools, social workers, etc.), to the psych. assigned to help you (excuse - Why would he do this? He seems so nice. Are you sure your not in denial/paranoid???) A year and a half into working me through "my denial," some genius ran an evaluation of him - two geniuses, in fact. Hysteronic (sp?) BPD times two!! Kind of too late for me, because after almost two years of official crazy-making, I was crazy, and totally dependent. Took two more years to leave. I used to think like you, and never did I think anyone would buy his slander. I was wrong!!! Protect yourself, publicly state that anyone who slanders you will face a lawsuit, and be sure that you tell others the things he tells you about them - that is to alienate you, too. Proxy by recruitment is a declaration of open warfare, and treat it as such. Protect yourself!!! This is critical. Best wishes.