Phoenix Multisport’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Jacki Hillios, PhD, discusses the importance of connecting with others and being with others to help one to overcome any Addiction which they are suffering from. Jacki Hillios ideas go well with the results of the Rat Park Experiment.
This video and Rat Park videos in my opinion apply to those human beings who have suffered by being in Mentally and or Physically abusive relationships. In my opinion, they may have developed an “Addiction” to their Abuser. As with other forms, Addiction is very hard to overcome especially when the Victim of Abuse is all alone with no money and no support system. They are unable to leave their Abuser. Some call it Trauma Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome.
The key part of the approach mentioned by Jacki is to keep the Addicts involved doing things with other humans (whether the others are Addicts or not). The connections that they build stop the need to replace the lack of connection with a drug. Highly Addicted Rats became un-addicted when they were placed in a Rat Park Environment. They connected with others of their own kind. They had things to do together. Exactly the same core things which Jacki Hillios mentioned in her TEDx Talk.
Moving to a different city or country, the Victims in Abusive Relationships leave behind friends, family and even co-workers. They become isolated. The Abuser will instill the fear to not mention the abuse to others. They have no one to talk to. They have no one who cares enough to help them. They are alone and so could become stuck and unable to leave their abuser.
Video is courtesy of the TEDX Talks YouTube channel
Updated yet again on Apr 28 2017.
Stockholm Syndrome (Trauma Bonding) is said to keep those being abused, in the abusive relationship. They cannot leave their abuser.
I am posting this because I believe there is something to learn from the Rat Cage / Rat Park experiments.
I believe that victims of relationship abuse are stuck in the equivalent of an empty Rat Cage. They feel alone and not connected to anyone who cares about them. They may have been isolated from Family and Friends by physically moving to a different city. Abusers instinctively seem to know that if they can isolate someone, then they can control them and physically or mentally abuse them without outside interference. Again without a support structure, the victim is alone as in the isolated Rat Cage.
The drug in this scenario is the Abuser. Just as Rats isolated in a Rat Cage became addicted, so do the Abuse Victims. If the Victim does leave, then they could suffer from PTSD or worse. They will constantly think about the Abuser and often return to their Abuser, even after horrific physical abuse. In my opinion, this is highly similar to addiction.
Further proof of this concept comes from the same Rat Cage / Rat Park experiment. When the isolated and heavily addicted rats are moved out of an isolated environment into a Rat Park with lots of other rats and lots of stimulating things to do and play with, they lose their addiction.
Going further, Victims of abuse need to move into a Rat Park environment. They need to be among people who care. Friends and family who will morally support them. They need to also have fun. Being abused is “NOT FUN”. I suspect that once the victim is moved into a Rat Park type environment, then their addiction to the abuser could dissipate without symptoms of PTSD etc.
That brings up the lack of such a Rat Park environment for Abuse Victims. They should be surrounded by people who care, people who will try to help them. People who will talk to them. One common theme from Victims going thru forms of Therapy is that they cry their eyes out during the therapy sessions. They have no one to talk to. They feel that no one cares. Like the Rats in the isolated Rat cage. The Rats become addicted to the point of destroying themselves. Victims become addicted to their Abuser. For many victims this addiction destroys them. In my opinion, the Rat Park experiment shows the need to create a Human equivalent of a Rat Park for Victims of Abuse, so that victims can end their “Addiction” to their Abuser.
We have Women’s Shelters filled with women seeking help but percentage wise rather few “Helpers”. We have Therapy, which costs money that the abuse Victim may not have. No money, equals No Help. We have Public Housing, but with long waiting lists. We have legal aid for people convicted of a crime, but Victims of Relationship Abuse may not “qualify”. Society has a disorienting and disconnected patchwork of supposed help and so Victims cannot get away. It may not just be Trauma Bonding which is holding them back. As a society, we do not have an all inclusive support system, like a Rat Park human equivalent environment, to help Abuse Victims if they want to leave their Abuser, Heal and Recover. So they remain “stuck” in Abusive Relationships.
I have received email comments suggesting that it may be the Victim’s lack of confidence to express their feeling that could be at fault. A Victim’s typical inability to establish and enforce clear boundaries is in my opinion, a Learned Survival Mechanism. During early childhood, we learn how to survive in our home environment. Some kids are lucky and are born into loving and caring families. Other kids are not so lucky and have to adapt and learn behaviors to survive. That applies to Disordered Individuals also. One’s early childhood helps to form the future Adult. The work of the late Alice Miller readily comes to mind. I have referred to Abysmal Parenting or the lack of Parenting as being the primary cause of adult dysfunction. Many a Narcissist was not raised by their Birth Mother for example. On the other hand, when a Victim is physically being beaten Black and Blue, IMHO clearly the Abuser is at fault and “not” the Victim.
Video is courtesy of the Alice Miller YouTube channel
There was a video posted here of an English couple. The Husband gave his wife a couple of black eyes one night. The Police showed up and his attitude was as if nothing wrong happened. He called out to his wife and asked if she wanted to speak to the Police. Thankfully the Police had body video recorders running.
I have a friend who was isolated to a different country by a very Disordered Individual. Once isolated, the abuse became physical. One time she was beaten so badly that she ended up being hospitalized for months. It was not her inability to speak up for herself that is to blame. If you start to speak up for yourself to a very disordered individual, you could very well be beaten Black and Blue. IMHO the Abuser is at fault and they are totally responsible for their behavior. View the video in the link shown above. Getting two black eyes was not the Victim’s fault.
I believe that when one learns about the Red Flags and if one starts to see multiple Red Flags on a consistent basis then one is able to get a better idea of who one is interacting with. It has nothing to do with putting labels on people before they do anything wrong. If one does not take heed of those Red Flags and falls prey to an Abuser, then it’s too late. Yes, people are out there who abuse other people. Yes, there are people with Codependent Traits and lots of Empathy, who seem to be attracted to those who abuse. Those who will abuse others also seem to be rather attracted to those who have lots of Empathy and Codependent traits. People call someone an Abuser after they have abused someone. It is not a matter of innocent until proven guilty. They get called that label because they have abused their victim. All abuse is bad, but some abuse is horrific.
I’m posting this for everyone to think about it. The videos below give more details about Dr. Bruce Alexander and his Rat Park experiment. BTW that Rat Park experiment has been repeated many times, with the same results. So it has been scientifically proven.
Video is courtesy of the MinuteVideos YouTUbe channel
Video is courtesy of the Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell YouTube channel
Video is courtesy of The Agenda with Steve Paikin YouTube channel