Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone whose relationships are forever changed by the shootings in Santa Barbara.

Blame abounds. Who or what is responsible? Video games, lax gun laws, a seriously flawed mental health system, garbage movies and video games, the parents, a kid suffering from Affluenza and narcissism?

Apparently, the shooter was a lost, lonely kid who we believe was mentally ill, but do we know his diagnosis? Schizophrenia? Antisocial Personality Disorder? Who knows? But his self-admitted ‘pining for his mother’ speaks volumes about the ugly seed growing in him. This guy experienced a lot of loss in his formative years.

Loss 1 – Parents moved him from Europe to the U.S. at age 5 = Loss of culture, home and possibly extended family

Loss 2 – Parents divorced at age of 6 = Loss of family, safety, and stability

Loss 3 – Dad quickly brought new woman into his life = Loss of hope of family reunification, loss of time with Dad

Loss 4 – Mom moved back to Europe = Loss of primary relationship…and hope.

Most kids, depending on their temperament, could handle this.

Instead of pointing all fingers at the shooter, we could take a look at a narcissistic society that lacks emphasis on commitment to marriage and family. I’m not blaming the parents for doing what most have done. Sometimes dissolution is unavoidable but in many or maybe even most cases we could make it work. Maybe we ought not to rely on the common thinking that we shouldn’t stay together for the kids. Maybe we should.

Here are a few suggestions for help in dealing with building a strong marriage, or helping kids cope when divorce is the only answer.

An evidence-based online program for kids whose parents are going through divorce. Children of Divorce – Coping with Divorce. Kids who take this course during their parent’s divorce, or maybe even after, have a far better chance at sustaining good mental health both now and into their adult lives. Highly Recommended

A helpful book on building a strong marriage: Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart

Great gift for anyone having a baby:

Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

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FINAL_DSC_7171-819x1024Mediating divorce cases can be stressful and draining on the mediator. But what happens when a case shifts gears suddenly and becomes a classic “high-conflict” case in which tensions rise, and you quickly feel like you’ve lost control of the mediation and may not be able to rescue it.

What can you do?
Building structure within each basic mediation step
Step 1 : Signing the agreement to mediate
 spend more time bonding with clients during this stage
 establish that you will have tight control over the mediation process
 thoroughly explain the process and rules of communication
 let them know you’ll pay equal attention to their concerns and proposals
Step 2 : Making the agenda
 have clients raise the issues – not you
 emphasize that it is the parties’ dispute and decisions to be made, not the mediator
 encourage each party to look at and speak to the mediator instead of each other
Step 3 : Making Proposals
 begin the proposal process earlier than usual mediations, to keep highly intense emotions from taking over
 focus on understanding a proposal before allowing the other person to respond
 manage the process with a very direct approach, while not taking responsibility for the outcome
Step 4: Finalizing Your Agreements
 remain calm and remind yourself and the parties that you are responsible for the process, not the outcome
 remember that high-conflict cases may take twice as long to reach final agreement
solving and the other is focused on relationship defensiveness – this may cause them to go round and round several times before signing the agreement
It is possible to help parties in high-conflict cases reach agreement and develop solid parenting plans by using a highly-structured method like this new resource

New Ways for Mediation: More Structure, More Skills and Less Stress for Potentially High-Conflict Cases

Is Divorce Mediation for You?

 

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

BUDDING LITTLE NARCISSISTS

January 11, 2013

After watching two reports on NBC Nightly News and Fox News about the number of teenagers being described as narcissists, I thought it might be useful to talk about this as a new phenomenon that is causing problems with our children and the adults they grow into.

Listen to just about any parent talk about their children and you will hear a constant theme  — they want to give their kids everything they themselves did not have when they grew up. In the same conversation that same parent wrings his hands in despair and frustration wondering why his kids lack a good work ethic and why they think everything should be handed to them on a silver platter – oh, excuse me, make that a platinum American Express card.

Our kids are obsessed with celebrities, Facebook, Twitter and other all-about-me social media opportunities. We ask our kids what they want to eat, when they want to eat it, how they want it cooked. We put them in every sport, club, event and activity possible. We teach them to think first of litigation when wronged. Blaming others for everything.

We spend less time with them and more time making money to give them everything we didn’t have.

Most importantly, we don’t allow our kids to fail. 
We wire our kids to think that the world revolves around them.

Think back to the TV show, Little House on the Prairie. Ma and Pa made sure those kids knew they were loved and protected but they also made sure they took responsibility for their actions, worked hard by participating in household and outdoor chores, and ate what was placed before them.

I also think about my visits to Africa where I observed very young children sit still for hours waiting for parents. No crying, no fits. On a recent trip to Australia, I recalled a documentary about immigrant Africans whose families were falling apart after arriving in Australia. The fathers complained that in Africa, children know that the parents are in charge and the family works like a well-oiled machine. Since emigrating to Australia, the roles had reversed, throwing the entire family out of whack. Parents felt helpless and children felt powerful…budding little narcissists.

If you want to avoid raising a budding little narcissist, do the opposite of the list above.

About the Author

meganMegan Hunter is founder and CEO of Unhooked Books and Life Unhooked, a speaking, training and consulting company that provides a fresh perspective and approach to help companies and individuals identify and overcome the damaging behaviors of HCD’s – whether they are employees, customers, vendors, board members, or anyone in your life. Most importantly we help you ‘unhook’ from these peoples’ behaviors so that you can make the right, next decisions – cleanly and clearly. She is also the co-founder of the High Conflict Institute launched in 2007 with Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., an internationally renowned expert in High Conflict Personalities. She has been the recipient of several awards including the President’s Award by the Arizona Family Support Council (2005), the Friend of Psychology Award by the Arizona Psychology Association (2006) and the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (2010). She is a volunteer in several organizations including a member of Tanzania Project and Vice President of Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN). She holds a BA degree in business from Chadron State College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. To contact Megan about speaking engagements or to gather more information, email megan@lifeunhooked.com

With the Jerry Sandusky trial and sentencing finally over, we can breathe a sigh of relief that another offender is permanently behind bars. Tidy, right? Not so much. During the sentencing hearing, his words of denial surrounding the sexual abuse of at least 10 boys and view of himself as the victim were not entirely unexpected, but repulsive nonetheless.

Does he truly believe that he is innocent and wrongly convicted? Does he truly see himself as the victim?

We want him to confess and apologize to the boys, now grown men, who were abused by him. We want them to have that final piece of healing and closure that would only come from a confession and apology.

Are they likely to get it? Not a chance according to author, lawyer and therapist, Bill Eddy, in his book, It’s All Your Fault! in which he describes the personality traits of people who deflect blame, see themselves as victims, dominate others out of fear of being dominated, and show a strong disregard for the laws and rules of society. Eddy explains this as Antisocial Personality Disorder. The mental health bible, the DSM-IV further describes this type:

  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  • deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

His behaviors strongly suggest that he may be afflicted with Antisocial Personality Disorder. He knows what he did but his mental condition does not allow for insight into his behavior so he likely does see himself as the victim.

Sadly, the victims will not get the confession and apology they deserve, but hopefully they will have or already had the right treatment to understand their perpetrator’s actions and move beyond into their own healing. Read more about Antisocial Personality Disorder and how to identify and avoid them in It’s All Your Fault!

Unhooked Books

unHooked Books is an online bookstore specializing in personality disorders, high-conflict people, living healthy, eating healthy, and better managing life.
Megan Hunter and Life Unhooked

Megan Hunter is founder and CEO of and Life Unhooked, a speaking, training and consulting company that provides a fresh perspective and approach to help companies and individuals identify and overcome the damaging behaviors of HCD’s – whether they are employees, customers, vendors, board members, or anyone in your life. Most importantly we help you ‘unhook’ from these peoples’ behaviors so that you can make the right, next decisions – cleanly and clearly. She is also the co-founder of the High Conflict Institute launched in 2007 with Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., an internationally renowned expert in High Conflict Personalities. She has been the recipient of several awards including the President’s Award by the Arizona Family Support Council (2005), the Friend of Psychology Award by the Arizona Psychology Association (2006) and the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (2010). She is a volunteer in several organizations including a member of Tanzania Project and Vice President of Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN). She holds a BA degree in business from Chadron State College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. To contact Megan about speaking engagements or to gather more information, email megan@lifeunhooked.com

A new study released from Macquarie University in Australia indicates that psychopaths — people who have a severe personality disorder marked by “lack of empathy, antisocial behavior and callousness” — seem to have an impairment in smelling.

The trial studied 79 individuals, aged 19-21, who were not criminals and who lived in the community. They found that the participants had difficulty identifying particular smells such as coffee, orange, and leather, and also had trouble discriminating them against other smells.

Hmmm, interesting. Should we put the olfactory-challenged on the potential psychopath list?  Hardly. The list would be quite long I suspect as sense of smell can be present in people suffering with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

So, why is this important? Does it matter?

I believe it does and here’s why. Psychopaths have been shown to be so manipulative that they can even beat lie detector tests. According to this study, because performance expectancies are not clear in smell tests, they are less susceptible to manipulated responses. In other words, it’s difficult for a psychopath to beat a smell test.

This may have value in identifying psychopathic people. Equally important and a hoped-for outcome, in my opinion, is early detection of potential psychopaths. It’s been long and widely known that little to no effective treatment for adult psychopaths exists; however, a recent study I read in Scientific American Mind magazine indicated that given the right treatment, some improvement can be made with juvenile psychopaths. There is also a strong genetic factor in antisocial personality disorder.

Perhaps the smell test can be utilized on young offenders and young people with a known genetic link to a psychopath, and followed up with proven treatment. Psychopaths can be highly disruptive in families, communities and the workplace. Their high-conflict behavior is marked by a fear of being dominated, so they are driven by a need to dominate those around them. Developing empathy and reducing their dominating behavior would benefit everyone around them – at home, at work and around town.

About Unhooked Books and Megan Hunter

unHooked Books is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. We’re not just an online bookstore. I opened unHooked Books after seeing a need for one place for people to find the best and most current information available on personality disorders and borderline personality disorder in particular, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. After 15 years in divorce and child support law in a county prosecutor’s office and the Arizona Supreme Court, I co-founded High Conflict Institute which helps people in high-conflict disputes of any kind. This bookstore stemmed from the needs of the people who contacted us out of desperation. Our books are written by people who are experts in their fields. I’ve personally met and worked with most of them, and those who I haven’t met, come highly recommended by those whom I have met. Enjoy perusing our bookstore and contact us with questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by! Megan Hunter unHooked Books megan@unhookedbooks.com
Megan Hunter and Life Unhooked

As founder and CEO of Life Unhooked, we provide a fresh perspective and approach to help you identify and overcome the damaging behaviors of HCD’s – whether they are employees, customers, vendors, board members, or anyone in your life. Most importantly we help you ‘unhook’ from these peoples’ behaviors so that you can make the right, next decisions – cleanly and clearly. With over 10 years of consulting and training experience in the area of high conflict, she has developed programs that help you understand workplace disruptions, and make more informed and better decisions to bring your company into alignment with your mission, vision and goals. This information will catapult you ahead of competitors because they are dealing with these disruptive employees, too. In addition to being a speaker, trainer, consultant and CEO at Life Unhooked, Megan the CEO of Unhooked Books and HCI Press. She is also the co-founder of the High Conflict Institute launched in 2007 with Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., an internationally renowned expert in High Conflict Personalities. She has been the recipient of several awards including the President’s Award by the Arizona Family Support Council (2005), the Friend of Psychology Award by the Arizona Psychology Association (2006) and the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (2010). She is a volunteer in several organizations including a member of Tanzania Project and Vice President of Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN). She holds a BA degree in business from Chadron State College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. To contact Megan about speaking engagements or to gather more information, email megan@lifeunhooked.com

I’m Megan Hunter and I’m excited to announce Life Unhooked!

Life Unhooked is the culmination of over 10 years of working in the private sector that has led to a series of solutions for business leaders managers and employees to identify, manage and unhook from “High Conflict Disruptors”, or HCD’s.

We offer presentations, seminars and consulting on overcoming the challenges posed by HCD’s, to improve teamwork and productivity. We are a business improvement solution.

Life Unhooked provides a fresh perspective and approach to help you identify and overcome the damaging behaviors of HCD’s – whether they are employees, customers, vendors, board members, or anyone in your life.

Through speaking, seminars and consulting, I help you understand what to do next – informing and guiding your organization to a faster, better – and frankly healthier – path to success.

Please visit our website, watch our videos and reach out to me for more. I look forward to hearing from you!

Megan Hunter, Speaker/Consultant at Life Unhooked

Hi, I’m Megan Hunter, CEO/speaker at Life Unhooked, publisher at HCI Press and CEO/founder at Unhooked Books. I’m dedicated to being your resource for information on unhooking from high conflict people at work and in your personal life so that you can be happier and healthier.

Millions of you are in a “helping” profession, someone who helps other people. Firefighters, law enforcement, mental health professions, legal professions, medical professions, funeral home directors and many, many more. If this describes what you do, you’ve likely felt the effects of other people’s stress and trauma. In the mental health community, the stress and trauma is commonly referred to as compassion fatigue, burn-out, or just plain stress. Recognition of this condition in the helping professions has been acknowledged for many years but new research shows the level of devastation it can have on the helper. A new term that seems more accurate, descriptive and all-encompassing has come about – vicarious trauma.

Vicarious trauma is officially defined as the effect on you, the helper, from controlling your empathy while hearing other people’s trauma-content stories. Think about it, when you hear about a tragedy from a friend, you react with shock, surprise or some type of physical and/or emotional response. You express empathy. People in the helping professions are required to control their empathy while they hear trauma stories. The result over time is vicarious trauma.

So, what does vicarious trauma do? And why is it important for helpers to know about it and recognize it within themselves? Because if the helper doesn’t know about it, recognize it and acknowledge it, they are likely to end up with problems like depression, food and/or substance abuse or other addictions. Vicarious trauma takes away from life and helpers must know how to prevent it or treat it if they have it.

I published this book for two therapists, Vicki Carpel Miller BSN, RN, LMFT and Ellie Izzo, PhD, LPC, because I knew this was important for millions of people who probably make no connection between their sadness, depression, addiction and other problems and their chosen profession/vicarious trauma. Vicki and Ellie wrote Second-Hand Shock: Surviving & Overcoming Vicarious Trauma with the goal of helping anyone in the helping professions recognize and either seek treatment if necessary or follow the workbook portion of the book to alleviate vicarious trauma.

The authors begin with an understanding of how your brain and body react to trauma. Then with nineteen telling stories of vicarious trauma-in-progress, they lead you through a unique process that effectively addresses second-hand shock. The Second-Hand Shock Workbook, included in the book, is a straightforward guide to assist you in recovering from occupational trauma and restore you to a more balanced life.

If you are in the helping professions or know someone who is, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Helpers will be at their best personally and professionally when they become aware of this hidden danger and know how to alleviate it and prevent it.

About Unhooked Books
unHooked Books is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. We’re not just an online bookstore. I opened unHooked Books after seeing a need for one place for people to find the best and most current information available on personality disorders and borderline personality disorder in particular, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. After 15 years in divorce and child support law in a county prosecutor’s office and the Arizona Supreme Court, I co-founded High Conflict Institute which helps people in high-conflict disputes of any kind. This bookstore stemmed from the needs of the people who contacted us out of desperation. Our books are written by people who are experts in their fields. I’ve personally met and worked with most of them, and those who I haven’t met, come highly recommended by those whom I have met. Enjoy perusing our bookstore and contact us with questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by! Megan Hunter unHooked Books megan@unhookedbooks.com