Pat McClendon's Clinical Social Work

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Medicare and Your Mental Health Benefits for people with Original Medicare
Call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to request a booklet containing a list of
participating physicians and other healthcare professionals in your area who provide mental health services.

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Psychological Violence or Psychological Abuse or Ambient (Stealth) Abuse (including "Gaslighting") and Bullying

Most of these articles are written with men as the abusers, but certainly women are abusers, too!

Also see: Violence: "Domestic", Elder, Workplace, & School especially "Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships" at

Why do the victims stay?

I'd guess that they have fallen in love with their victimizers before they knew what hit them or the abuse has been so slow and methodically that the victims believe what their abusers are telling them: "That no one else will have you!" And, perhaps they have made a commitment to someone who has a medical or mental health problem, so running away to save themselves would feel like they are abandoning an ill person. I am sure that there are other reasons that on the surface that seem to defy logic in context of the severe abuse but, if done cleverly, the abusers can take almost any sane person and make a "basket case" out of them. So, please be kind to their victims and support them as they struggle to get free of their abusers and become survivors. Victims may self-medicate their broken hearts with alcohol, drugs, etc. See: Addictions: Alcohol/Drug Abuse, Internet/Web (?), etc.

The Narcissistic Catalyst 12/14/2010 - Dispelling the Myths Internet Radio Blog Talk Radio


Host Name: Dispelling the Myths with Kaleah LaRoche & Anah Maa
Show Name: The Narcissistic Catalyst
Date / Length: 12/14/2010 1:00 PM - 1 hr 16 min
Length: 1 hr 16 min

Going through narcissistic abuse can be one of the most painful, crazy making and debilitating experiences in one’s life. At the same time going through the experience of narcissistic abuse can be the catalyst for ones greatest awakening. In this episode Kaleah and Anah explore the common lessons, experiences and takeaways that can come from your dance with the narcissist. Find out the powerful things that can happen when we learn to focus within ourselves rather than focusing our energy and attention outward on the narcissist.

March 2, 2011: Meredith Baxter discusses her life the abuse that she suffered at the hands of ex-husband David Birney, in her new memoir, Untied. Baxter came out as a lesbian on NBC "Today" program in 2009. The number of women in the lesbian community has sky-rocketed in recent years with the number of ex-married (to a man) women now seeming to outnumber the lesbian who consider themselves always a lesbian. Why? Has it been abusive men pushing normally "straight" women into the arms of lesbians or is it that many of these women were lesbian all along? I'd love for someone to do a study or a survey of this ... may NBC or CNN?

"The Silent Victims" - Karin's World - Blog (Saturday, 24 July 2010)

" ... There is a lot of prejudice when it comes to infidelity and emotional abuse. There seems to be the common belief (at least until the Sandra Bullock "case") that women are cheated on if they are unattractive and/or not interested in sex. Likewise, there seems to be a general opinion that women in abusive relationships are to blame for the continuous abuse, because "…they could just get up and leave". I hope to help spread the understanding that it is far from being that simple. ..."

Gaslighting: The extremes of emotional abuse by Jeanne Sparks-Carreker

page 2: " ... When no sympathy or support for the hurt feelings are available, more times than not it is due to the Gaslighting abuser not wanting to empathize with their spouse/girlfriend because he would then have to take responsibility as having been the one who caused the hurt. Gaslighting methods offer no solution to the problems between couples because only genuine love can comfort and understand, an intimacy that is a must in a relationship. ...."

page 6-7: " ... Eventually a Gaslighting abuser wins the ultimate war, the final argument, when she begins to collapse mentally and emotionally. The worst Gaslighting abusers will then mock her, humiliate her by sharing her "wrongdoings" (of searching for a solution) with their mutual friends, hoping to get a response of "I wouldn't listen to all that nagging, Man," from them. Perhaps it better eases his conscious to have others tell him it is all her, or that she's just a bitch, or just a nag. Hell, she's not worth the effort it takes him to keep on living with her! ..."

What Is Gaslighting? (Excerpted from The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life) By Robin Stern, Ph.D.

Abuse Facts: Understanding Abuse and Control - Abuse Types: There are three important categories of abuse: Overt, Covert, and Ambient


The fostering, propagation and enhancement of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability and irritation. There are no acts of traceable explicit abuse, nor any manipulative settings of control. Yet, the irksome feeling remains, a disagreeable foreboding, a premonition, a bad omen. This is sometimes called "gaslighting".

In the long term, such an environment erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Self-confidence is shaken badly. Often, the victims adopts a paranoid or schizoid stance and thus renders himself or herself exposed even more to criticism and judgment. The roles are thus reversed: the victim is considered mentally deranged and the abuser - the suffering soul.


Run! Get away! Ambient abuse often develops to overt and violent abuse.

You don't owe anyone an explanation - but you owe yourself a life. Bail out. ..."

What Are Some Types Of Domestic Abuse? By Cathy Meyer, Guide

" ... Ambient Abuse:
Living in an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and unpredictability. By creating an atmosphere of abuse the abuser avoids direct acts of abuse such as striking their spouse. They can maintain control by manipulating the spouse with threats. Such an environment will erode the victim’s self – worth and self – confidence. In such situations, the abuser’s actions are often referred to as “crazy making” behavior. The victim feels as if they are going crazy but can’t quite put their finger on the reason.

Some examples of ambient abuse would be withholding affection or intimacy, rolling their eyes when you express an opinion or criticizing your actions, “for your own good. ...”

Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse (Site)!

Gaslighting vs RA, Relational Aggression by Julie Clark

" ... Most victims of gaslighters (psychological abusers) tend to be nice, sensitive, kind hearted, quick to forgive, and has a giving nature. Those are the very things that make her vulnerable to psychological abuse. Psychological abuse can leave life long emotional scars. The person targeted can be prone to clinical depression, drug and/or alcohol abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, thoughts of suicide, and, in some cases, suicide completion. Psychological abuse is very serious. Many victims say that they would prefer physical abuse over psychological abuse. Physical wounds usually heal completely, or nearly so. Emotional scars can last forever. ..."

Bullying: Half the population are bullied ... most people only realise it when they read this page. What is bullying, how to recognise bullying.

Who are the abusers and why do they abuse?

Well, that is a tough one! Some people are not intentionally abusers and can change their behavior when told how hurtful it is, but some may not. But, no doubt, anytime you hurt someone, you hurt yourself, too, though this may be lost on a few people! I don't believe that anyone is a pure psychopath, narcissist, borderline (BPD), bipolar, etc. but some certainly may have psychopathic, narcissistic, borderline, bipolar, etc. "parts." I believe in the multiplicity of people: "All of us operate at multiple levels of consciousness, which we acquire through socialization and we are microcosms of our families and our society." (Rivera, 1989) (See my Articles that I have written on this subject.) There are a plethora of personalities types that can become victimizers. The use of drugs and alcohol may lower the abusers inhibitions and lead to abuse that may not take place if not on drugs and alcohol. See my article: "Multiplicity and Victimization: What part of `No!' don't you understand? vs. What part of you doesn't understand `No!'?"

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) How to Recognize a Narcissist by Joanna M. Ashmun.

"Superficial charm" at Wikipedia ( has since been edited but I saved the earlier version because it made a lot of sense to me:

"Superficial charm, also called glibness, is a common manipulative technique using positive reinforcement. The charm is entirely insincere. It may manifest itself as flattery. It is an important attribute of psychopathic personalities.[1] It is often used by abusers early on in an abusive relationship to attract and groom the abused person. High pressure salesmen or conmen also maliciously use superficial charm.

Less malicious forms of superficial charm manifest themselves as spin, the sales pattern used by salesmen, politicians, advertising and glossy brochures.

According to Hotchkiss[2], the fantasy world of narcissists can have a seductive allure. Their superficial charm can be enchanting, and they often appear complicated, colourful and exciting as they draw their victims into their narcissistic web."

Psychopathy at Wikipedia - See: Characteristics; Diagnosis

querulous paranoia
Etymology: L, queri, to complain; Gk, para, beside, nous, mind
a form of paranoia characterized by extreme discontent and habitual complaining, usually about imagined slights by others. Also called paranoia querulans.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.

"The Hidden Suffering of the Psychopath" By Willem H.J. Martens, M.D., Ph.D. | December 31, 2001, UBM Medica Psychiatric Times

The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt to Clarify Some issues About the So-Called Psychopathic Personality by Hervey Cleckley, MD (Online book - 485 pages)

"Staging a Bipolar Disorder Intervention" By Candida Fink, MD (Be sure to read these 2 sections: "Adjust Your Own Attitude and Expectations" and "Preserve Your Own Health and Well Being"

“Bipolar Insights, Dr. Jay Style” An Evening with Dr. Jay Carter. Dr. Carter speaks to the damage that a bipolar can do to his or her personal relationships. "Bipolar Disorder is a medical problem, not a psychological problem, not a psychiatric illness. ..."

Bipolar Disorder at

Get Your ANGRIES Out - Anger Management

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First posted on January 13, 2011.

Last updated on March 05, 2013.

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This photo was taken just days shy of my 49th birthday. Copyright © 1995 - 2015 by "Pat," Patricia D. McClendon, MSSW

August 1999 photo by Jim Wilkinson, Courier-Journal photographer.



This page is designed and maintained by Pat McClendon.

This web site was first posted on August 20, 1995. Moved here on March 06, 1998.

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