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Divorcing The Dark Triad; Proving Narcissistic & Emotional Abuse

Mark Scroggins  

Hey folks, Mark Scroggins with another edition of the reclamation transformation. And today, I have Cindy Hyde with me Cindy, how are you? I’m good. How are you? 

Cindy Hyde  

I am good. Thank you. 

Mark Scroggins  

So Cindy, is a therapist who I send a number of my clients to that are dealing with all of these hot button issues today of so and so’s a narcissist, or it’s part of the dark triad or any one of a number of things. So all these these not just scary terminology, but really scary situation. Right. So why don’t you describe your practice a little bit for everybody who’s out there? Okay. 

Cindy Hyde  

Well, I’m Cindy Hyde. I am living strong counseling here in North Dallas. And who I predominantly work with are mostly women, but women who have gone through what they most people call a toxic relationship, or a narcissistically abusive relationship. But in actuality, what they’re called is pathological love relationships. And so that’s my, my core client. But I also work a lot of times because a lot of times in these relationships, there’s infidelity. And so I also work with, with spouses or partners that have been betrayed in their relationships, while also enduring the toxicity that can come with being in a pathological love relationship. So that’s predominantly what I do. 

So and that is, as you know, something that is prevalent in my practice as a divorce lawyer and narcissism has been one of those things that that is the you know, the $50 word right now, everybody in their dog thinks that the other person is a narcissist. And I love it when they can, you know, he or she is a textbook narcissist lately, and it’s like, you know, holy shit, can we use the Google aspect of this a little bit and start talking about, you know, what, what we’re really dealing with, because this is something that is super difficult for courts to identify. And even if the courts do identify it, I think a lot of time, they’re not really they’re not really geared to deal with it. Right? You know, so as we’ve talked about, you know, in divorce cases, the more money there is, the closer to a 5050 division, there’s going to be regardless of fault, right? And so when we’re talking about stuff like this, and we get into things like gaslighting, and, you know, other behaviors, someone who one of my favorite terms of crisis junkie, yeah, you know, courts want to, I think, kind of default to he or she is crazy, or he or she is just a major pain in the ass good thing or bad behavior, right? But let’s jump into what you termed as pathological love relationships, and talk about what those are specifically.

Okay. Well, and you’re you’re absolutely correct, Mark, the word narcissist is grossly overused. And it’s in pretty much it applies to everybody today, I can’t tell you how many calls I get that, that the first thing they say is, I think I’ve been involved with a narcissist. And and it’s possible it is possible. However, sometimes it’s worse than that. Sometimes they’re actually with a psychopath or a sociopath, or, or somebody that could have all three, right. And so, you know, the unfortunate part is I can’t diagnose the person they’re telling me about because I’ve never met them. However, I can work with the client to try to figure out, you know, by using some DSM checklists to find out and when you say DSM is the diagnostic manual that I use to diagnose or that most therapists or psychologists psychiatrists use to diagnose, and so I can help them come to their own conclusion of what is possible that they’ve been dealing with. But the probability you know, a lot of times the high manipulation that egocentricity, which is the all about me, the pathological lying all of that isn’t necessarily narcissism, it can be psychopathy, or psychopath, right. The the irrational explosive behavior can actually be borderline personality disorder, or sociopath and not narcissists. So it’s really important. So what the so I follow the Institute of relational harm reduction, which is where I’ve gotten all of my training, and they’ve done 30 years of research, they did studies with Purdue University. And what they termed what most people call a narcissistic abusive relationship is actual is actually a pathological love relationship, which means they have been in a relationship with somebody that has pathology so pathology meaning what’s hermit in the DSM as the dark triad is antisocial or sociopath, psychopath, or narcissistic personality disorder?

Mark Scroggins  

How do those differ? And one thing I want to do is I want to talk a little bit about some of the differences between those three. But additionally, borderline personality disorder wanted to talk about that, because in my experience, those have been the hardest ones for me to deal with, whether I’m representing that person, or whether I’ve got that person on the other side of a case, because it seems like they’ve got their own little world, right? And if it doesn’t, I don’t mean that in a, in a funny, funny fashion, really, although it can be. But it’s like if it doesn’t fit into what their perceived reality is, holy shit. I mean, just, you know, watch out because there’s some big coming.

Cindy Hyde  

Exactly. Yeah. And so borderlines specifically can be those really high emotions. Right? Right. And so their biggest fear is abandonment or rejection. And so if that gets triggered, you’re gonna see a really high emotion come from that, whether it’s rage or a meltdown. And so sometimes it’s really difficult to get them back to center if they feel that trigger or they feel they’re not being supported by people. But but really the difference between what’s considered the dark triad which is sociopath, psychopath, or narcissistic personality disorder, is I like I often tell them tell my clients like sociopath is that, you know, they’re the ones getting in fight physical fights, they’re the ones that a really explosive also, they also, they’re, they’re really deceitful. So they’re, they kind of fly just under the letter of the law. So like, if you had a restraining order that said, you can’t be within 500 feet of me, they would be at 501. And they would be like, I wasn’t at 500 feet, right? And they’re the ones that might like, you know, set your trashcan on fire or do something, you know, somewhat criminal. a psychopath is kind of a sociopath on steroids. So what they what what they can have criminal versatility, so they’re the ones that they make go to jail and still blame the victim that it’s their fault for whatever bad behavior they had. They’re not always criminal, though, you know, there’s about 25 possibilities that can be checkmarks. On whether they’re a psychopath or not in the DSM only requires that 10 be checked. And so they may or may not be criminal, but they could still have a lot of really bad behavior, like the pathological lying, the manipulative, pneus, all of those things, where the narcissist and the true narcissist, the narcissistic personality disorder is actually the one that’s more grandiose, they’re the ones that are very image conscious. They just like the psychopath and a sociopath, they don’t have the ability to have empathy for the amount of harm they’re doing. And so they’re a little different in that way. They, they’re not always they can be manipulative, and they can definitely lie to you. But are they pathological? And they’re lying? Right? So, you know, you asked me a question once before about, well, how do you know, if they’re not just, you know, a jerk or in a hole or something like that? Right? How do you know, right? Well, the way you know is if there’s enduring patterns over time, so if you know the pathological lying, the cheating, the manipulation, the gaslighting, all of those, if they’re happening over the course of time, then that makes them an enduring pattern. And so that means that they’re lasting. And so that’s how you tell the difference. 

Mark Scroggins  

So let me ask you this, if you know, let’s say that I thought that I had a case that the other side was, you know, one, one of these folks in the in the dark triad. And so what would, what would you think would be the best way for me as a divorce lawyer to really show the court that this person is not just an asshole with his spouse? Okay, and I’m using traditional gender roles because I think they it falls that way more sure. Isn’t that correct? 

Cindy Hyde  

Yeah, it is more predominantly men. However, it’s not uncommon at all. Nowadays for it to actually be a female that has pathology. It’s it’s a smaller range, but it does happen.

Mark Scroggins  

I’d heard that borderline you see more with women. It’s the other sets that are more male. Yeah, that’s correct. Okay. So if You were if you were assisting me if I brought you in as a consulting expert on a case, and I’m telling you, Okay, help me teach this judge what we’re looking at, and what is really important for this judge to understand, to really identify with just the hell that our collective client has had to deal with and being married to this guy. What would you say that, you know, here’s what we really want to get across to the, to the core,

Cindy Hyde  

Well, one would be history, have there been patterns over time?

Mark Scroggins  

This could be through multiple relationships? 

Cindy Hyde  


Mark Scroggins  


Cindy Hyde  

In addition to that, hopefully, you know, your client would have had very good documentation and kept factual information recorded. I know, they can’t always recordings aren’t always admissible in court. But at least you know, you as the attorney wouldn’t be able to hear the abuse for yourself so that you would know how to present it to the judge. But it is all about enduring patterns. It’s have they been presenting this way over a period of time, you could you could court order, you know, a psychological eval to, but the problem with that is, is they they lie. So you don’t know if you’re getting accurate information. And it’s not uncommon for them to be incredibly smart, right. And so because of that, they can, you know, manipulate the test, because they are master manipulators. And so it really, it really comes down to what documentation does the client have? Or can she prove that happens? So you know, if it is, yeah, so if there’s an explosive rage, don’t be afraid to call the authorities and have it documented that way, you know, if they, if they’ve been abusive to your child, don’t be afraid to you know, I mean, it’s hard, it’s hard to say don’t be afraid, because they’re terrified and inside the relationship, but But you know, if they’re looking at an exit plan, you know, to have any kind of documentation they can have would be, you know, the way to go. And also to be seeing their own therapist. So the therapist can be documenting their trauma from from being in a cycle in a pathological love relationship.

Mark Scroggins  

Is that something that if you were treating someone who had been subjected to all this, is it a situation where you might invite the other person into the therapy at all?

No and that’s because you would be putting the abuser in the same room with the victim, okay. And so my, the first order of business for me when I work with someone like that is to assess the level of trauma that I’m dealing with, because it shows up, they can, it absolutely affects their executive functioning. So a lot of times you’ll hear it in a lot of times, the interesting part is they’re very successful women, right? You know, but yet they’ve gotten they found themselves in these relationships, these PLR relationships, and all of a sudden, their executive functioning isn’t working anymore, they can’t, there aren’t going to work like they were, you know, they can’t think straight. And so there’s all these little indicators from a trauma standpoint, that will show that these women have been traumatized. And so and it shows up too with PTSD. 

So let’s talk about that in a little bit more detail, because one of the things I’m so here’s where my thought process is going, if I’ve got to kind of educate the judiciary on this, because I think that is something that I don’t think they have been educated on it and but helping them to understand how it actually shows up and what behavior of the victim would, would tend to show that they are going through all of this, you know, and then when you couple it with testimony or documentary evidence, or as you said, recordings and stuff, which you know, luckily Texas is a one recorder state, right? So I couldn’t sit here and put something under the table and walk out and record you and that would be a no, no, that’d be a wiretapping violation. But if I wanted to sit here and record it, whether you know about it or not, I’m in the clear of doing that. So, so document document document. So make sure you are writing stuff down. One other thing that I wanted to mention is people forget. So a lot of everybody’s heard this on TV or in movies of assault and battery. Okay, Texas didn’t have battery. Texas has a salt. All right. And so it’s got a salt has two different pieces. Assault is one where somebody gets their ass whipped. All right, that’s an assault, right? But if I tell her over you for a second and I’m yelling and screaming and you are in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury, that’s an assault. And people forget that. Oh, well. He never did that to me. He did. Well, did you feel like you were about to get hit? Yeah, well, yes, that’s an assault, okay. And those are game changers. When you get down to child custody matters. When you get down to division of the marital state, it even gets into opening up the door for getting spousal maintenance, which is, you know, it’s presumed you shouldn’t get it in Texas, right. So, but being able, I think, to explain this to a judge of look, here’s how she is presenting. And then here is this documented history, not just through, not just through the spouse right now, but additionally, these these previous relationships. And this judge is why this is important. Because I mean, frankly, you know, I think we were we were just hearing before the UK has got some stuff with coercive control. And Hawaii just put something in place. And I think New York is trying to put something in place, correct? Yeah, hopefully we can. We can get some other states put something in place, although I see a lot of pushback coming from that, because it’s kind of a slippery slope, you know, how do you tell what is real and what is not. 

Cindy Hyde  

Well, I always use, I like to use the power and control wheel, which is what a lot of domestic violence centers use. And by using that you’re not just looking at whether or not there was physical or sexual assault, you’re also looking at the emotional and psychological abuse as well. And so a lot of times what happens to these victims is their eye. And where the word course of control comes in, is they’re isolated away from friends and family very early in the love bombing stage in the grooming stage.

Mark Scroggins  

So what I want to try to do, because there’s so much great information here is if we can kind of try to create a verbal checklist for people. So we’ve talked about document, document, document, don’t be afraid to document anything, whether it’s in, you know, your own personal diary, whether it’s calling the police reporting stuff, and then what you were just what you were just saying here, right, and so if you can go through that again.

Cindy Hyde  

Yeah. And so a lot of times, what a pathological person will do is they operate very much like a cult leader does. And so though, they’ll do an early grooming, and they almost test their victim to see if the victim will be agreeable to some bad behavior. And that’s one of the things they look for is agreeableness. And so they’ll look, they’ll do something a little shady or bad. And they’ll see if the victim actually agrees to it, or gives them a pass for that bad behavior. And then they’re just like, Oh, check, got them. And so then, like, the fun to be bad, it’s fun to be bad, right? And so yeah, so that’s kind of what they do as they do an early grooming that and they start isolating them away from friends and family. So they may start telling you, they don’t like how your mother treats you or they don’t like how your friend’s husband behaves, or they don’t like certain things about the people that you’re associating with. And they’re looking again, to see if you’ll be agreeable enough to start alienating yourself away from those people. And so what they’re trying to do is get you where you’re, you’re only dependent on them. And so and so they look for people with very high empathy. So no matter how successful you are, if you have high empathy, you’re a target. And so and so they look for that very early to see if you’ll, you know, basically by their reality that your friends and family are bad, and then you become totally dependent on them. So want that’s one of the red flags to look for. And I tell a lot of my single clients, if they’re trying to isolate you, you need to run Yeah, don’t fail me now. Exactly. Exactly. And so, but that’s how but they very much use tactics like a cult leader would. Yeah,

Mark Scroggins  

That’s so incredibly scary. It is. So now now the question that that I have, I mean, so trying to think of all of this empirical evidence that we can put out there so that a court can connect the dots how do we get past the supposition if I’m on the other side of that, okay, I’m gonna say look, you know, my clients an asshole, right? Just because he’s an asshole doesn’t mean that he’s actually doing X, Y or Z. He’s not really gaslighting look, Judge, you can tell she’s crazy. Right? You know, or this, that or the other. So how do we overcome that?

Cindy Hyde  

Yeah, because a lot of times the victims do look crazy in court because, you know, there’s little things that can be said that the victim knows what’s being said to her but nobody else in the courtroom does. Since and so he’s actually provoking her right there in the courtroom causing her to melt down or get get enraged. And so she looks like the crazy one, when in actuality he and he’s standing there looking smooth as silk. Right, right. And so that becomes a problem because then the judge looks at her and goes, well, maybe you are the one right? And it comes out. He Said, She Said, right, and who’s telling the truth here. So it really does, again, come down to enduring patterns, what has happened over time, that can be documented and proved. And so you know, I always tell my clients, make sure it’s factual, don’t ad lib or add assumptions. Just be sure it’s factual and keep really good notes of what’s happening. But most of the time, you know, the goal is to get them out of those relationships. And one way to also, you know, to tell if PTSD is present, is if if the partner keeps going back, because oftentimes, like, and I was telling you what you and I were talking about this at one point that in typical PTSD, like if you had gone to war mark, and you came back all of your trauma, your flashbacks, you know, your rumination, all of it would be on the negative event that happened with with a partner that’s been in a pathological love relationship. Her trauma is a typical PTSD, meaning that not only does she have negative memories and flashbacks, she has positive ones. And so her brain goes into cognitive dissonance and wants to believe the good like, maybe this time, maybe the love bombing is true. And maybe this time, he’s telling the truth, and he’s gonna really change. But her brain forgets that litany of bad behavior that’s been present. And so it’s actually a PTSD response, where a lot of therapists over the course of history have been labeled at codependency, when in actuality, it’s not it’s it’s PTSD. 

Mark Scroggins  

You know, codependency is another one of those taglines right now. Which is, it’s incredible it’s much farther reaching than I really understood. You know, before, I’d been coached up quite quite, quite a bit on it. But it’s interesting. So how do we, how do we discern between it being codependency and being someone who’s actually suffering from PTSD because, you know, this, this particular pathological love relationship that they’re involved in, right. 

Cindy Hyde  

And so, so it’s really a difference between codependency and a trauma bond, right, which is another buzzword nowadays, right. And so codependency usually get started in an adverse childhood. And so they learn to become dependent on other people. And so people are kind of their obsession like the they, they want to either overhand up or over control, or all just all just people plays in that way, they’ll do what it is I’m wanting, or I won’t get that reaction, where a trauma Bond gets created because of a high intensity relationship. Right. But the, you know, we’re codependency kind of gets overused even in the therapeutic world, is because if they’ve been in a pathological relationship, the research shows about 60% of the victims in a pathological relationship have what’s called Super traits, and not codependency super traits, meaning being highly agreeable, meaning over trusting over loyal right? It could mean that they’re very successful and driven called conscientiousness, but they don’t have boundaries with that conscientiousness. And so they can get targeted, meaning they they’re, if they have conscientiousness, they’re not going to give up easily, right? Where if they’re codependent they had an adverse childhood, a lot of the population that become victims didn’t necessarily have an adverse childhood, right. And so that’s new research that’s out there now. And so that’s kind of where a lot of therapists that have been trained now, in these pathological relation, love relationships are learning that not all clients are going to come in codependent. They may come in with just super traits that got them targeted.

Mark Scroggins  

Let me ask you some questions about a trauma bond because that that’s really interesting. me just kind of provokes some thought on my head. As you know, I’ve been sober for quite a while. But there was some time when, when I was not that let’s say my behavior was not quite as good as it is today. And so, I mean, but would that be a situation where you can see a trauma bond created in a situation like that, but it doesn’t necessarily give rise to what we’re talking about with the pathological love relationship, but it’s somebody that suffering from, you know, drug or Alcohol abuse, and they’re trying, or maybe they’re not trying. But because of that they find themselves in I’m talking about the couple, the couple finds themselves in these bad situation, it’s just you and me against the world, we’re gonna get through this yatta yatta yatta. And so you’ve got a trauma bond that actually can be created.

Cindy Hyde  

The relationship can be somewhat addictive, right. So like, in your case, you could have been addicted to alcohol and your spouse could have been addicted to you. Right. Right. And so had you split up, then she may have been trauma bonded to you because of the intensity that was created in that relationship. And so she could have either had codependency meaning she was she became dependent on you. And or if you had been, you know, a pathological person, and thank God, you’re not But had you been? She could have had, if she didn’t have an adverse childhood, she could have just had the super traits that you saw early on. But a trauma bond is created from the high intensity in a relationship, the the constant push pull, you know, are you in this? Or are you not in this, and so it creates in the victim almost an addiction to longing for that person. 

Mark Scroggins  

And that’s not specific to it, it happened to be a sexual relationship. 

Cindy Hyde  

So not necessarily. 

Mark Scroggins  

So I had a case not long ago, where there were sisters that had a trauma bond from I mean, their childhood was just abhorrent, right. And, you know, we’ve represented some, some other family members, but you look at that, and I was just amazed, because it’s something that doesn’t logically make sense. It’s like, why would you be putting that person ahead of your own child? And yeah, so just very interesting to me.

Cindy Hyde  

Yeah. Which shows the addictive quality of it, right? And it’s not uncommon, like in an actual marital relationship, or partnership, if there’s infidelity, there can be trauma bonds created because there’s so much intensity around the affairs or affair or affairs. Yeah.

Mark Scroggins  

So that’s interesting. So something else I want to talk about here, where we talked a little bit about or I brought up the term, a crisis junkie, and you told me about, you know, it’s somebody who’s always, you know, stirring the pot, there’s always some shit happening. Yeah. So let’s, let’s talk about a little bit what that looks like. Because I want to continue this, this idea of a verbal checklist, ladies, if you’re running into these, you know, Feet Don’t Fail Me Now. You want to hurry up and haul ass.

Cindy Hyde  

Sure, yeah. So what the institute or relational harm reduction says is this, that a normal person like you and I, we see a problem, we assess a problem, we solve the problem, right? Yep, somebody that has pathology. So either psychopath, antisocial sociopath, or narcissistic personality disorder, which is considered the dark triad. In the DSM, it used to be called the erratic and dramatic personality disorders or character disorder. And so what a personality disordered person will do is they will create the problem, they’ll stir in some erotic and dramatic, and then when that starts to fizzle out, they’ll create a new problem. So there’s always a new problem. And when I explain this to clients, they’re just like, yeah, there’s always a new problem. And so that’s another thing to to, you know, if you’re dating someone, and there’s always a new problem, that should be a red flag for you, you know, to move on, because that’s not going to change that it’s very likely going to stay the same. And so and so too, you know, a lot of clients asked me, will it ever get better? Do they have the ability to change? And the truth is, is that the chances are so tiny, because 97% of the people that are on the dark triad, so the pathological people on the dark triad, 97% of that population were born that way, they don’t have the ability to change 3% of that population. They, they’re the reason they became that was environmental. So maybe they really did have a horrific childhood, right. But what happens is, is the neuro pathways change, and when the neuro pathways change, their brain is changed, right? And so the way that the the Institute of relational harm reduction talks about it is to look at it like this. If if someone was born with autism, right, at the end of the day, they’re going to die and still have autism, right? Yeah. It’s the same with the dark triad. And so many so much of the research now points to that and but so many people don’t know know that, that if they’re born on the dark, dark triad, they’re going to die on the dark triad, which means there is no though no hope for change.

Mark Scroggins  

Let me ask this as when you’re saying no hope for change, because there’s been so much that has gone on recently with my use of psychedelics in treatment, because specifically because of the rewiring of the brain that goes on, have there been any studies, with with anybody that is suffering from the dark triad and the use of psychedelics. In any type of treatment protocol.

Cindy Hyde  

psychedelics are used predominantly for trauma and PTSD. So that would probably be more something geared towards the victim versus the person with pathology. Although I think I might reach out to more Mati and ask him to do that study. But But anyway, no, not that I’m aware of. But I think it would be an excellent study to do it. The problem is, is if you can get somebody that identifies as being pathological, because a lot of times they don’t think anything’s wrong with them. Well, in fact, the majority of the time, it’s, it’s everybody else that has the problem. It’s not them. And so a lot of times they won’t go to therapy, they won’t even you know, they won’t even admit there is a problem. 

Mark Scroggins  

What do their personal relationships look like?

Cindy Hyde  

Sometimes they can be married a very long time, but most of the time, they’re not there. They’re not in a monogamous situation. Most of the time there is infidelity, infidelity involved, especially if they fall in psychopathy, because they have that high sexual impulsivity, right? But, but normally, there’s a string of relationships along the way.

Mark Scroggins  

And with that, that would carry over to non sexual relationships as well. You’ve got somebody that they immediately bond with, it’s their, their best friend ever. And they just are so alike. And then, right, you know, somebody pisses them off, and they’re just discarded, out of hand. 

Cindy Hyde  

Yeah. And I have a friend that was actually stalked by a female, what she thought was a best friend. When she started realizing how crazy it was becoming, and she tried to in the, the friendship, the other person actually stopped her. And that can happen too, because, you know, they don’t like to lose. If they’re, if they have pathology, they don’t like to lose. So they can, they’re, you know, they’re the ones that will stalk someone. And  so Yeah, that happens all the time. 

Mark Scroggins  

So a couple of other areas. I want to I want to hit on a little bit. And, and folks, we’re going to have Cindy coming back as a recurring guest, because there’s so much to talk about on all of this. But you’ve got the power and control wheel. And I wanted to talk a little bit more about that. And I also wanted to talk about this list the survivor tool that you have partner related traits of Pathak metry. Checklist. Yep. And so that we can start looking at if someone, I guess my first thing would, would be to say, trust yourself. And so if you’re feeling a certain way, it probably makes sense to talk to someone like you, or somebody else to say, you know, holy shit, I’m feeling a little crazy here, you know, is this really happening, but to understand kind of how these people present?

Cindy Hyde  

Yep. And so what happens a lot of times, like I was telling you earlier, a lot of times, they’ll they’ll groom just like a cult leader does. And so their goal is to learn everything they can about you. And so a lot of people don’t know, and especially in the single world today, they’ll go out and vomit their story to somebody they don’t know at all. And that person sitting there going, Oh, good, I’m gonna use that, you know. And so you don’t want to tell people you don’t know personal details about yourself. Because it could get used against you later. And so you know, trust is earned. It’s not one of those things that you just blanketly hand out. And that happens a lot. And so what somebody with pathology will do, like if they if they find out that your father abandoned you or something like that, then later on down the road, they may say, Well, I can see why your father left you, right? And so and so that can be very harmful to a victim, because it’s taking their deepest wound and it’s being turned into a knife and they’re being stabbed with it, right? And so that’s called devaluing. And they start devaluing usually about mid relationship. And so they’ll start finding ways to break them down. And so they’re hitting on points that the victim already feels while already feel like I was the reason my father left me. And so maybe he’s right. And so that’s how they get leverage is because the victim starts believing the things that they’re being told that from a devaluing standpoint. And so, the Institute or relational harm reduction, developed what’s called the pet biometry checklist that I use with clients because I can’t diagnose a pathological partner because I don’t know them, right. And then a lot of times too, like I said before, even if they’re they were given some sort of evaluation, there’s no way to know if it’s truthful or not. But the path on metry checklist, what it does is it allows the traumatized person, the victim, or ultimately, they become a survivor, actually, but, but it allows the survivor to look for themselves and based on what the DSM says, are pathological characteristics. So so it breaks down what exactly a sociopath or an antisocial personality disorder person does. It breaks out what a psychopath does, it breaks out what a borderline person does, and it breaks out what a narcissistic personality disordered person does. And it’s really validating for the clients to see that, that this was not them. This was they were in a pathological love relationship with somebody that was personality disorder very plausibly.

Mark Scroggins  

Well, and so this is the list that we are talking about here. And it’s fantastic. And so if anybody out there wants a copy on it, reach out to us, you can always send something to info at Scroggins Law Group, and we’ll, we’ll get that to you. But one other thing I wanted to talk about real briefly is if we can identify a little bit of the differences between the antisocial or sociopath, a psychopath and the narcissist narcissistic personality disorder.

Cindy Hyde  

Yeah, and so a lot of times a sociopath, the rules don’t apply to them. Right? And so that they have a failure to conform to social lawful norms. Right. So for I always tell clients, like, you know, if if your city has a no fireworks code, they’ll shoot off fireworks anyway, because the rules don’t apply to them. Right, right. And so there’s a high deceitfulness there. They also have, they’re usually the ones that are in fistfights in the local bar. They have and they oftentimes have an inconsistent work behavior. So you’ll hear victims say, yeah, he kept changing jobs, or he hasn’t worked in however long and they don’t necessarily honor their financial obligations. So that’s kind of one way that you can also tell if it’s a somebody that’s a sociopath,

Mark Scroggins  

is it fair to say that they’re, they’re the ones generally that are the more physically dangerous.

They can be? Yeah, between them and psychopaths. Psychopaths can be very physically dangerous too. But they also just like the rest of them, they lack remorse if they hurt you, they they don’t feel they they’re they don’t have the ability to feel your pain because they don’t have empathy or compassion. That’s not emotions, they can feel a psychopath is more manipulative. They’re they’re very insecure, they pathologically lie. They also have grandiosity like the narcissist. So you know, I always say it’s narcissist, plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, right when you’re looking at a psychopath, but they have a constant need for stimulation, they’re the ones that usually have the very high sexual impulsivity and can also be into sex addiction as well. They have no remorse whatsoever. So you know, they could murder you and somehow that was your fault, right? And so they’re the ones that can have the criminal versatility, but not always. I mean, they, they can have everything but the criminal versatility and still be considered a psychopath. And so they can also have that parasitic lifestyle on a lot of clients who say, what does that mean? And I’ll say, Well, did they suck the life out of you? Right? And so, but they can suck the life out of you financially, too. So it’s not just emotionally and sometimes to a way to tell us if they had early behavioral problems. So for instance, if if they had been in juvie, you know, or their mom told you, like, you know, they were always in trouble. They used to throw these big fits all the time. So, there was early behavioral history there. Sometimes the animals Yeah, yeah. Things like that. Yeah. And so, now borderline is we’ve kind of talked about that already. That’s that high emotionality. But narcissism this is where people get really confused and where it gets overused because really, a lot of times the things that they’re describing are actually psychopathy, and not necessarily narcissism, although they can all overlap. So narcissism is that grandiose sense of importance. A lot of times they’ll attach to high status people, because that makes them look more important. They’re all about image. They believe that they’re special and unique. Can they require excessive admiration, they have a very big sense of entitlement. And so they usually expect like favorable treatment, when they haven’t really done anything to earn that. They can be very inner exploitive in relationships, so they don’t mind exploiting their lawyer girlfriend, to help them in court with their most recent ex, right. So, you know, they’ll do things like that. So they’ll exploit the person they’re with. So if they see a person that maybe makes a lot of money, they’ll attach to them, you know, and try to drain them dry and exploit that person. And it’ll always be a sob story of how they need help financially or, or whatever, but they lack empathy. And they’re incredibly arrogant. 

It’s so interesting, because, you know, everybody knows about the people, I refer to him as soul suckers. Yeah, you know, we’re just like, Oh, my God, give me a break for just a little bit. Yeah, I’ve got absolutely nothing left. Well, let’s talk a little bit about the power and control before we get finished up today, because those are really, really interesting to me. And I think it’s important to, to understand these of using coercion and threats and intimidation and emotional abuse and isolation. And then just how, so how does all of this work together? And what do you use this for, in your treatment of others.

Cindy Hyde  

So normally, this is one of the first things I do, and I’ll read through this with the client to see if she’s experienced any of these things. So, you know, just for people that don’t know, it’s what domestic violence centers use to determine abuse, whether it has physical elements or sexual elements to it or not, it determines abuse, and said, the majority of it is psychological or emotional. So it’s like, you know, you’ve had, they’ve used intimidation with you to intimidate you into doing what you want them to do, or that they want you to do. They use emotional abuse, calling you names or devaluing you, they use isolation getting you away from friends and family. They minimize, deny and blame and blame shift their behavior back on to you. So if you have an issue, the issue never gets solved, and they minimize it, they’ll use their, your children against you, well, your mother’s not letting me do whatever it is. And when in actuality, they’re the ones that have created the problem, they created that problem we talked about, they also use what’s called male privilege, which is becoming the God of the house, they’re the only one that has a say, so in the house. And then using economic abuse, oftentimes, they won’t let their partners have any access to money. Or they’ll use all of their money, they’ll they’ll have them the partner working when they’re not working, and they’ll be taking their money and not letting the partner have any of the money. So and then of course, course of threats. You know, they’ll use fear and threats to you know, I’m going to hurt your family, right? Or I’m going to tell your mother that you had an abortion, you know, or they’ll do things to keep the partner in fear.

Mark Scroggins  

So one other thing that I wanted to ask along those lines, is it well, you know, what, dammit, I think I just forgot what I was gonna ask you there. But now, I do know what it was. So you know, we hear we hear these questions about why did it take her so long delay, you know, why did she keep going back? When in all actuality, it should be, you know, why is this guy doing what he’s doing or whoever the abuser is, because it can be on the other side, as well. But I’d like for you to explain kind of what happens when a person is subjected to this type of behavior. And so why you keep seeing the repetitiveness of someone going back 567 times before they can get the hell out of the relationship. Finally, 

Cindy Hyde  

Well, because in the early grooming stage, what’s happening is what is cognitive dissonance is getting set. And so that’s also where a typical trauma PTSD comes in. So the victims brain attaches to the good memories, and they hope and believe that it’s going to change or be different when they get loved bombed yet again, and they’re being told that there’s going to be change and that they’re going to get help. And so typically, though, what happens the second the victim goes back there right back to bad behavior. They only use the love bombing, but they play on the cognitive dissonance that’s been set from the very beginning when the fantasy got created that this person was the soulmate, right? And so it’s So that happens and then the PTSD has set in by this time. And so the victim has those positive memories that she goes back to and thinks, Well, you know, he was good that time. So maybe he really will change. And so it’s all about the hope that things will be different and things will change. But that’s where the enduring patterns come in. Because oftentimes, I’ll have them recount back like 5-10 years ago, of what was different than Well, nothing was different. He was exactly the same, right. And that’s because those enduring patterns don’t ever change. And they last over time. And so but their brain is trying to recall the good memories. And so it’s very much what’s called cognitive dissonance, and it keeps them going back.

Mark Scroggins  

Oh, my gosh. Well, thank you for joining me today. And I will look forward to continuing our discussion because one, there’s one other wheel talking about, you know, the abuse that you can see happening, you know, after they’ve actually separated so, there’s a lot more for us to discuss here. So folks, please come back. Thank you very much for joining us today for the reclamation transformation and don’t forget change begins with you. So leave your mark.

Divorcing The Dark Triad; Proving Narcissistic & Emotional Abuse

Listen to Reclamation Transformation with Dallas Family Law Attorney Mark Scroggins for inspirational and candid discussions on topics relating to family law from the perspective of real people. And without any overwhelming lawyer-speak so you can remember that change starts with you and remember to make your mark.



Hey everybody, Mark Scroggins back for another edition of the Reclamation Transformation and today I’ve got a special guest; Courtney Hemsley has joined me. How are you today?


I am fantastic.


I am really excited about this. We had a really nice discussion prior to and the similarities are frankly a little scary.



To me it sounds like we are kind of cut from the same cloth on a lot of stuff but I wanted to introduce you and let everybody get to know you a little bit.


Can you just talk about what you do professionally and then we’ll get to talk about some of the good stuff as well?


Yeah, exactly.


Professionally, Empire Development Solutions were the one-stop solution for any of your construction project needs.


Everything starts with the land acquisitions, what looks right for land,


What can be built there, single family, multi-family, commercial retail, then I go from there, my company does infrastructure and development. Therefore we are doing on your streets, curbs, gutters and roads for sites to be ready to go vertical. So if anyone knows that word on all of the stuff before vertical coming in, you are building up. In addition to that, I have the lending aspect of it which has been a big part of my business providing construction loans. Land acquisition,



What’s the best way to do it?


Construction loans. Construction loans which are really, really hard for a lot of these developers to get into place.


And from there also being an investor resource.


It sounds like a lot of crazy things going on but all lines up. You have to start with the land, you have to have infrastructure and development done, you, a lot of people have to have that financing in place for construction and then on the investor side, at the end of the day find ways to put your money to work.


I can walk into a room and talk to investors and go, hey, have you ever invested in a business?



I have to be in real estate, let me show you creative ways to invest in real estate.


Nothing is guaranteed.


Of course.


But put your money to work and just get awareness about what is going on in that space.


The only way to get aware or to be aware is to being in those rooms and being around those resources.


So are you doing stuff both with, you mentioned a developer.



But let’s say if I wanted to build a house and so I’m trying to figure out, hey, Courtney, I want to build this real modern house.


There’s an area generally that I want to build in.


Is that something that I would get?


I don’t do anything owner occupied.


So it wouldn’t be like a primary residence.


Anything I’m going to do or going to lend on or be a part of is going to be anything what they would consider in the commercial space.



Even though it may have a residential component, but it wouldn’t be anything owner occupied that would be your typical mortgages like Fannie or Freddie.


Mine’s going to be more of we’re building a single family development or, you know, I’m an investor.



I have some land.


I want to buy this land.


I want to build two townhomes on it.


I’ll connect them with the builder.



If they don’t know how to build and they bring in the money, if they need lending, I’ll bring in the lending.


So just kind of connecting all those pieces together, building multifamily units.


Right now I have three of those going on, doing the financing for that.

And then again, there’s again, investors.


Like here’s opportunities to invest in multifamily.


That’s probably your long play on money.



So like if I wanted to do something like with one of the things that I’m intrigued by right now is the whole inland port.


Things so like, you know, going down 45 where we’ve got the, the inland port right there and let’s say that I wanted to put together some – build some multifamily down there. And to service the people that are actually going to be working at the inland port.


That’s something that’s right up my alley.




All right.


You come up with the idea.



I can do anything to help partner it, you know, find the land to get that entitled for that specific use.


Obviously, if you’re not about going out and swinging a hammer, there are plenty of resources that build single-family townhome, multifamily.


That’s their space.


Having the construction background, which kind of still leads me down this niche.


My career started in construction, like on a job site all day, every day, and develop with multifamily.


I think I went home crying every single day.



I didn’t understand it.


There was no HR.




No, I was like, Oh, my God, what did I get myself into?


But it gave me just tough skin and, you know, that’s so unique to have, you know, frankly, to have a female that is involved in that space on the ground floor.





You’re talking about being on a job site because I remember working some construction summers when I was in high school and it was not a, it was not a PC environment.


Definitely not.


But I will say, you know, it’s interesting because being the different person has made the difference in my career.


There’s not a room that I walk in.


I actually want to walk in a room and be the oddball out.





Because your first thing is not about attention as I’m like, Oh, look at me, but intention.




What is she doing here?


First off, it’s like that.


What is she doing here?


Or secondly, you know, if you’re opposite in a room that you’re in, you get that attention.



Then you, what you’re talking about makes sense.




You just, they’re not going to forget you.


No, that’s exactly right.


So that’s my biggest thing.


I encourage everyone, you know, like, man, walk in those rooms, especially.



Well, you’re the oddball out of the different one, but just make sure you know what you’re talking about.


And, you know, people won’t forget you.


You’ll make those connections.


You’ll have the resources and you’ll make a big difference.


That’s truly been being different has made the difference 100% in my career as a woman in construction.


I can, I can absolutely understand that.



And it sounds like one of the things that you also just mentioned is something that I mentioned to people all the time that knowledge is power.


Oh, you know, so like when I have somebody asking me, you know, what should I be looking for in a family law attorney?


It’s like, well, you know, start with looking for someone who’s board certified because it’s a higher level of understanding.


It’s, you know, and you have to meet all these criteria.




But it’s about knowledge.



You know, if you’re kind of a jack of all trades in the.


You do family law.


You do personal injury.


You do criminal and all this shit.


You know, it’s like you’re, you’re a jack of all trades, but master of none.


So you don’t know what you don’t know.





So you better make sure you get someone who knows what they know, which I can’t imagine.


You know, you hear all the terrible stories about, you know, contractors that have taken deposits and they run or they do an absolute shotty job.


And then you find out, oh, well, they’re not numbers of their business.


You know, all these different complaints and stuff like that.


So, yeah, it’s important to.



And a key to that is I think I don’t market anything about myself.


Everything comes from referrals or resources that I’ve worked with before.



Just like you.


I think that I think people look over that sometimes people want to look on Google or look on however you find people these days social media.


And I just want to see what somebody’s talking about in the moment.





I think the real way that you get people that are legit and their business and then we’ll do their best for you is to check the resources or apps.


Somebody, who did you use them?


I mean, if you problem is, most of us don’t want to ask because we’re too embarrassed to say what we don’t know.




But if you would me, I’m going to ask everybody.





This is what I mean.


I don’t know crap about it.


But who has not who’s dealt with the best person in this?


Who’s dealt with it?


And how did they treat you?



How did it turn out?


I think that’s what we tend to overlook is to instead of not asking or being embarrassed that we don’t think we don’t know is to really just ask people.


Who did you use for who was your best law attorney?


Who was I think that’s probably the key?


Well, and I think most of those for sure.


I completely agree with you.



I think that is you know, it’s amazing though.


You also hit on something that I think is really important that you mentioned that sometimes we’re too embarrassed to ask, which I think is we get in our own ways.


And I shouldn’t I shouldn’t say that like we like third person.


I get in my own way.


All right.

Because it is difficult.



I think one of the hardest things at the end of the day is just being an authentic human being all the time.




Because I think most people it’s easy for me to get caught up in what the idea of a certain role is.




So I have people thinking, you know, that, wow, I should be dressed in a suit all the time.


And you know, this stuff sure kind of kind of deal and it’s like, man, that ain’t me.





You know, so and they, you know, hear me drop some interesting terminology on things.


And, you know, I cuss like a sailor.




You know, but that’s just me.


And it’s more of an authentic thing.



So understanding, getting to that point of, you know, I don’t give a shit.


What people think to a certain degree.



I mean, you’ve got, you know, a healthy amount.


You have to have a healthy amount of you to be able to survive.


But to keep that from turning into an unhealthy narcissist and being a people pleaser or being being concerned about, you know, God forbid you get codependent on stuff.


And I’m so worried about what everybody else thinks that I can’t, you know, do my freaking job.



And that’s not what it’s about.




And when I say do my job, I’m not just talking about being a divorce lawyer.

I’m talking about being a friend, being a husband, being a father, you know, being a son.


All of these different things are different roles where they’re all I look at it like I want to be there to support or to help. 100%.



But if I’m worried about what everybody thinks, I also can’t protect myself by setting proper boundaries.





You’re right.


I think you touched face on something really important there.


Roles can be deceiving.






And they can cause, they can cause a lot of pain whenever or heartache or disappointment.


I’ve experienced myself.


We all get these roles and titles.


Mother, father, husband, boyfriend, daughter.




And somewhere along the way, we’re taught that this role means we have to be this way.





And that’s it.


And when we set ourselves up to go along these roles that everyone else is trying to make us be or that we see or that we think or that we read.


And then that doesn’t happen.


That’s where that disappointment comes in or that for others and even for yourself.


I think that’s when you touch on that and that really, really, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back in life, not today, but back in life and then been disappointed by myself thinking I wasn’t doing the role right, a role.



Disappointed in others when really now what I’ve learned is you just have to, we spoke on this earlier before, you just have to be here now and you have to love people for who they are and what they are in your life now.


Love yourself for who you are and what you are in your life right now.


And just be here in that moment.


There’s no past.


There’s no future.


But those roles, man, they can you really, you know, had a good one with that one because they can really, really cause us to go all different directions emotionally and mentally.



You know, and the interesting thing to me is that when we talk about, you know, those roles, so the definition of those roles, well, who created the definition?




It is the generation previous.




The generation prior.


So like, I’m generation X. Yeah.



You know, and so you had the baby boomers for us that were defining certain roles.


And so, you know, I look at the way my dad was, the way my mom is, you know, different things of what their expectations are of those roles.


So at that time, it was very gender specific, right?


You know, dad’s going to be the big earner and mom’s going to be home with the kids and, and all of these things.


And, you know, for generation X, that was those definitions are still in play to a certain degree, but less so, you know, so understanding how certain things work and you can be your own individual, I think is difficult a lot of the time for the baby boomers to really understand.


And yet, you know, my daughter, who is now 25, you know, looks at me with some of my thoughts and what makes sense for me and thinks you are out of your damn mind.



Live life a little, honey.




That’s right.


You know, so, but I don’t, I don’t, I can only see it in my perspective.


I can be very open to listening to what she says and what the way they think and think, you know, one of my dad saying said I love and now I understand it was, you know, you’re entitled to your own opinion, no matter how screwed up it is.





You know, so, so I think about that now.


And so, but it’s funny based on what the perspective is.


And so getting comfortable enough in your own skin to be able to say, well, that’s fine.


You can think I’m absolutely out of my mind.




And that, you know, you’re entitled to that opinion.



But I don’t have to live my life.




Based on what you or society in general, you’re right.




I’ve got to figure out what absolutely works for me.









So it’s like one of the things we were talking about before we began the podcast is you’ve really seen an acceleration in your business just going to new fights.


Based on exactly what we’re talking about, being the authentic you and being able to be present right here right now.




So 100%.



So how did you, you know, we all have our own, our own journeys for sure that we have to go down.


You know, mine is kind of mine is steeped in recovery.




And that has allowed me to obtain a certain level of spirituality and some people, you know, that don’t know me well would probably hear that and go, you’re full of shit. Because I’ve seen you in the courtroom and you do not appear to be the most spiritual person in that particular moment.


And that might be true at that moment.



But it’s like, you know, if we’re going to have a street fight, you know, I’m not going into it without.






So, but how did you, what got you to the point, what has worked for you to be able to really be the, the authentic Courtney and be true to who you are and live life the way it makes sense for you instead of worrying about whatever other people see.


And that’s a good question.


I would say that my entire life I’ve been in survival mode from childhood to adulthood as a wife when I was a wife as a parent.



I’ve been in that survival mode and being in that survival mode, you know, we all talk about, yo, I’ve got to be strong up, got to be tough.


But in those modes, I mean, I lost myself 100%.


I was so focused on how to career a great beautiful daughter.


She’s wonderful.


But who was I?


What was I doing?



And I was just what I learned was we, we often, we don’t do it on purpose.


We get stuck in these modes of survival.


And when you’re trying to survive, you’re really not living.


And that’s where there was four years ago, I went through always, like I said, struggled, you know, and just been in that fight, fight mode, not where I’m fighting everything, but just like, man, you just got to make things happen.


You know, I can’t fail.


I can’t do this.



Four years ago, I went through a divorce, really, really bad divorce.


And I was 30, me and my daughter kicked out of our home right at the beginning of COVID.


All of my business was shut down, you know, construction.


There was nothing going on kicked out of our home.


And in that moment, everything that I knew was gone.


And from my home to being a wife, my daughter, we lived in a hotel for several months.



She went to college.


I mean, even my dog died for 15 years.


So a girl was like stripped down to nothing.


I had nowhere else to go.


And I really, and in that time, you know, we can’t get away from ourselves.


A lot of times we do things to distract ourselves.



We do things, you know, as a husband, a wife, as a mother, because we don’t want to stop and work on ourselves.


We don’t want to stop and look what’s really going on inside of us.


But when God puts you through these things so you can get to your purpose, you have to allow that stripping of everything down.


I mean, you don’t want to build back up with the same shit on the bottom.


I mean, eventually, eventually resurfaces.


So I took that time, that time of, instead of feeling sorry for myself, instead of going back in that fight mode and survival mode.



I had to, who is Courtney?


What is she about?


What excites her?


What motivates her?


What keeps her going when all of these things that I’ve lived for when they’re gone?


Because they were gone.





So trying the typical, what everybody does, okay, I’m God, love God, believe in God 100%, but not everything looks the same as what everything looks.


You know, I’m going to go to the church.


I’m going to go to counseling.


I went through all these steps to become my best me because I knew that’s what I needed.


And it wasn’t until I went on this journey, an awakening journey, I call it awakening of the soul, practicing Ayahuasca, that it really allowed me to go deep and address what had me in that survival mode for my entire life.



And not until I was able to address that and really see it and understand that the past is dark, it’s deep.


I don’t necessarily have to keep reliving that or reminding myself of that to be who I am today.




And not allowing what’s going to happen tomorrow or what am I going to do tomorrow?


What’s going on?


Not allowing that.



I’m really focused on, you’ll hear me all the time now.


When moments come up, be here now, be here now, be here now, because that’s all I can do is control what’s going on now.




So I think my biggest turning point was quieting all the noise outside of me.


What people think, what people say, you know, you’re divorced or you have nothing, you’re starting over and everybody wants to.


And really just digging into myself, my faith and God and what worked for me, not being worried about what worked for other people was my big turning point for me to be the best and to be where I am today and to learn and know my purpose.



And in that, it has allowed my business to grow tremendously.


It’s allowed me.


At this age, this point in my life, I feel the freest, most fulfilled that I’ve ever felt in my life.


And it’s all just because I stripped it all down, allowed it to be stripped down.


And I took that time, really took that time to build myself back up.


You know, that is, I think that is something, I will just talk about me again.



But that is something that I struggle with is, nobody enjoys the pruning.






I mean, that’s when you really get your ass kicked.


For sure.


You know, there’s a, there’s a prayer called the Prayer of J. Bess.



And so back in the day, when I actually went to church, instead of just relied more on spirituality, I remember we had a, had a book study about this book.


Called the Prayer of J. Bess.


And it talked about the necessity for the pruning so that the future blooms could be better than they’ve ever had.


But nobody wants to go through that process or understanding that that is just part of the process.




You know, that there are times when I’ve got to learn certain lessons.



So I made big believer in karma and, you know, so what you put out there, you’re going to get that.


And, and so part of that is like doing things.


Charitably, whether it is time or money or whatever where, you know, nobody else knows about that.




And it’s nobody else’s business.





And if I turn it around and make it a look-at-me kind of thing, well, that does – does away with, you know, what it’s about.


That’s exactly right.


But it’s the same thing with other things, you know, I think it’s, it’s very easy to get caught up in those roles or get caught up in certain trappings, you know, whether it’s, you know, people get derailed by different things, whether it’s, you know, booze or money or sex or whatever shining


glibly, you know, and exactly.


And I like sparkly.





You know, so I like it.


But it can’t be what I am all about because if it does, then it’s hollow.


There’s nothing for sure.


There is nothing left inside.


If that is what it is truly about.





And so it’s super easy to get caught up in that instead of focusing, you know, how can I truly serve my fellow man, but within the parameters of healthy bound.




That’s exactly.




That’s 100%.





So there’s, there is a, you know, there’s a saying in the recovery community.


You know, we carry the message.


We don’t carry the alcoholic.






You know, so you can’t do it for someone.



And it’s the same thing.


And I mean, that’s just an extreme example that applies to me.


But that is an example, I think that carries over into every aspect of life.


You know, you can see somebody struggling like hell, you know, and really suffering.


But you can’t make them take the steps that you believe they need to take.


You know, you’re right.



And I think you, you, you really setting those boundaries.




That’s a hard thing.


I mean, I’ve dealt with that in the past setting those boundaries where.


And those come from where you learn how to, for me, they came from learning how to, like I said, going back.


They were somewhere along the way where I saw myself as less than.





We all do it.


At some point.


We feel like we don’t fit in where they were not qualified or not.


And somewhere along that way, when I found myself as less than that’s when I allowed boundaries to be broken in those things.


I think when we’re going through these things as they always come up, someone’s always going to try to, you know, go past the boundary or you allow it.



Not really people sometimes, such as who they are and what they are.


You know, they said they don’t know any better, but maybe they don’t.


But it’s also up to us.


But, you know, we can’t, we can’t play victim to people that have crossed our boundaries.


We have to be responsible for those boundaries and the way, a way to get those is to, it comes with confidence, self love, awareness, awakening to be able to protect that and not in a bitter or have a wall up or, you know, no emotion type of way.


But just what’s wrong with selling someone, my biggest thing.



Now I’ll tell anyone business personally.


Hey, I just don’t think we’re aligned.


Those are probably thinking, what is she talking about?


It’s my easiest way to say is like, “You’re not for me and I’m not for you.”


And that’s cool.


I respect you in your space.



But I’m going to respect myself as well.


But it didn’t come until I was able to break myself down and realize what was allowing me to allow those boundaries to be crossed.


And now to set them and stand by them.


And like I said, love myself and be aware of what works for me.


That may not work for other people.


You know, and that’s, that’s, I think that is so important and difficult because I can be lonely.





And well, and as I sit here though, when I look at, when I’ve allowed my boundaries to be violated.



One, I’ve allowed it to happen.




But the whole reason that I am allowing it to happen is because I want someone to think better of me.




If I do this, which goes against my core values.




And it might be helping this person who says that they need help or doing whatever that is for the benefit of someone else.


But I’m like, this isn’t right.




I should not be doing this for them.



This is stressing me out.


It’s not even my deal.





You know, a perfect, perfect example is, you know, loaning money to those that are closest to you.





You know, don’t do it unless you can view it as a gift.


And you don’t.




And you’re not going to see it as a result.




For sure.



Because then all you’re doing is you’re harming the relationship.




And someone might be pissed at you in the process of you saying no.




But actually what you’re doing is you’re, you know, you’re harming the relationship by saying yes. 100%. For sure.





Because you’re resentful.













It’s just amazing to me how those kind of lessons continue to pop up until I have learned the lesson of don’t do that.




It’s like, you know, I have what I, what I refer to as white knight syndrome.




You know, I want to ride in on my white horse and save the day.





You know, and, and most of the time, that is not my job.


And most of the time, the people that you do that for have absolutely no appreciation for it.


I am 100% convinced.


And then you’re like, what?


I did all that.


I did this.



That’s right.




I am convinced that is where the saying of no good deed goes unfinished.


For sure.


Originates from.





You know, because I’ll see that.


And I will, I will do that.


I’ll do, for example, I’ll do that on a pro bono situation where I’m going to go in and oh, I know I shouldn’t do this.


But I’m going to help this person.


And they are the most ungrateful individuals.


Think that the world owes them everything and has absolutely no self awareness about.



You’re not a victim in everything that happens.


Or if you really think that you are, then what’s the common denominator?


It’s you.


The Bob brings the whole yes.


You know, I mean, it’s amazing.





You know, I will have people that walk in and will do that.


And, and it’s like, yeah, do you take responsibility for anything?


Right. 100%.


But that’s what I meant when I said setting these boundaries off.


I’ve felt it’s been lonely in a good way.





Because it really, when you.


Like, I don’t mind saying no now.




So, I mean, that means that they’re probably going to be pissed that I said no, but okay, well, they’re probably not going to call.


They’re probably.


But that’s what I mean by you have to be comfortable, which I think we both kind of.



Learned how to set those parameters because it can be very lonely, feebling.




Because a lot of times these boundaries, we let them down because we want to be accepted or because we want to save the day or we want to be loved or there’s something missing.


So when you set up these boundaries until someone knows and then they don’t ring your phone again.


Well, first off, that tells you their motives were off.





And, but it feels lonely in the beginning.




When you start setting these boundaries in your eye, how all these things we do to improve ourself feel horrible.






Well, and you get for, I get a warning about it.





Because I am a big believer in what my get.


Oh, yes.




And that’s the way I am a big believer that God talks to me in that way.


And every time I go against what my God is telling me, it’s a shit show.



Why didn’t I?




And it’s like, I knew.


I knew.


You had a ton of warning there.





You know, I was sitting there telling you don’t do it.


Don’t do it.


No, no, no.


I can make it work.


I can do it.


I can fit.



That’s ego.


We are ego.


Man, it can get the best of us.


Well, you know, I think anybody who thought God didn’t have a sense of humor.


I mean, who wants the happiest you can be is when you were living in God’s will.





But I’m going to give you free will.




So you got to give it back to you.


It’s like, wait a second.


How do I get it?





It’s a trick.




It’s like that doesn’t logically make a lot of sense.




But that’s when I met my most comfortable is when I feel like I am aligned.


And for me, that is where, you know, I am in concert with what my gut tells me on stuff.



When I go against it, I have more turmoil.


I feel more disjointed, disconnected.


I am not as nice to be around.


Things are coming out sideways.


And it’s always coming out at those that are closest to us.




Because who you’re really pissed off at or who I am really pissed off at is me.




You know, but who I’m taking it out on is, you know, where’s my next victim?


Who’s the next person that’s walking in here?


You know, that it’s going to come out that way.





So, you know, I know an area that I constantly have to wrestle with is perfectionism.


You know, and it’s hard for me from a professional standpoint because I want things done a certain way.


I want to make sure that we represent people in a certain way.


But one of the things that I’ve had to learn and I continue to learn over and over again is just because it’s not my way.




It doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.





It just means that it’s different.




You know, now sometimes it’s not right.




I’m not going to go along with that.





But a lot of the time, different is just different.


Yeah, you saw this.


And I think it’s about stopping and listening for a minute, looking.


And then from that point, seeing if it does a line or doesn’t align with what you’re doing or what your purpose is or what you’re serving or what you want to represent.





That’s who you are, who your business is for sure.


Well, and that’s, you know, that’s one of the things.


So I started Scroggins Law Group six, a little over six years ago on February 1st, which was also my parents anniversary before my dad died and it’s my anniversary.




Now, so there’s a lot of meaning to that date for me, but it was to create a law firm or family law boutique that is different in that.





I don’t want to say yes to everybody.




You know, I don’t want to represent everybody.


We’re not for everybody.

And when you do that, you have, just like people want to pick us to serve them in business.





I’ve realized I want to pick who I work with and who my clients are as well.


And when I’ve started doing that, it’s kind of so much more peaceful.


I’m not frantic.


I’m not feeling anxious, anxiety.


It’s – I choose who I want to work with.


And if it aligns with me, and it’s it’s so crazy that I can turn around because we all we feel like a lot of times in business that we have to serve everyone that calls us or everyone that wants our services or everyone that says they need us.





But if you just stop for a minute, listen to them, listen to who they are as a person, what they’re doing in their business, how they do handle their business, how they handle other people.


It tells you how they’re going to handle you, how they’re going to handle their transactions with you.


Do they pay you?


Do they talk to you crazy?


All types of things like that.



And with what you’re saying, I think it also comes with all of this, you know, setting boundaries, not just personally, but in business to choose those that we want to surround ourselves with and work with.


And, you know, that makes a big difference anyways.




You know, who you’re working with.


Well, and I think.


Who you are as a person.





I mean, because one of, you know, I will tell people watch their feet.






Everybody’s got this or not everybody, but a lot of people have this.





The gift of gab, right?




They can talk a good game.




But do the feet match up with the game that they are talking and what my experience has been is that for most people, that’s a no.











So, you know, I picked the people who I choose to have as mentors in different areas of my life.




And they allowed me to choose them with it wasn’t where I set up the parameters of exactly what this relationship was going to be or how we were going to do things because I’m coming to them for a reason.







So, it’s basically, if you want what I’ve got, are you willing to do what I did?




You know, so it’s kind of the same thing for me professionally in a lawsuit where I can say, I can help you get from point A to point B. Yeah.


If you are willing to do X, Y and Z, are you willing to do that?





Well, when you see somebody that deviates from that, that’s when you get your real answer.


It’s easy to say yes.




You know, but when they’re not and they continue to do it over and over, you know, that’s where you’re left with a difficult choice.


For sure. 100%.



And especially in, you know, in personal relationships.


Oh, yeah.


You know, so if, you know, if you’ve got someone that is in your life that is a soul sucker, you know, I think we’ve all had them or probably been one.


Yeah, exactly.


And some of that is, you know, I’m not talking about somebody just in a dip going through a difficult time.





That’s, you know, I think that’s one of the areas that we really get the opportunity to be a good friend.


Oh, for sure.


Or a good partner or whatever.


But it’s when, you know, that person who you only hear from them when they need something.




Mm hmm.



And it’s always when, you know, everything is a disaster.






You know, oh, now I’m really willing.


But then you take the time to help, but then they still don’t.


And then they disappear.



That’s called.


You know what those are called?


What’s that?


Ask holes.


I’m gonna, I’m just telling you I’m stealing that.


They are called.



Ask holes.


Ask holes.


Call you.


Ask all the questions.


Yeah, yeah, I’m going to do it.


I got it.



I got it.


And you’ve told them 15 times and they turn right around and do the same shit.


They’ve always done to get themselves in a situation.


That’s, you know, and I stay away from those because like you said, they will drain you.


So like, I don’t have time to repeat myself 20 times.





So if it didn’t work for you the first time or if you didn’t take my advice, I’m saying it’s right.


Or it’s the perfect thing for you.


But then stop asking me the same question.


And again, it’s me going, I’ve already told them that listen, I’m not picking up the sun.


You know.


So that’s, I think that’s something else that’s really important is understanding that that’s a boundary that you are setting for yourself.





For self preservation.


And that’s okay.





Because there’s something unhealthy in society that gives this idea that it’s almost like you shouldn’t have any boundaries.



People are now boundaries have become a buzzword.




In the last few years and setting healthy boundaries.


And, but what does that actually mean?


And when people understand it’s, I can only do so much.


I’m here up to a point.





But that’s all I can do.


That’s all I have to give.


And there’s a societal piece.


I think that tells us, no, no, no, you’ve got to give more.


You’ve got to do.



And it’s like they’re calling me because they need, they need you.


I mean, but there are days, man.


You just need yourself.


There are days when I have nothing else to give someone.


And when ask hole rings my phone, I’m not answering, you know, because you’ve all right.


I mean, you’ve sucked 15 other times that we’ve had that.



So I think, like what you said, boundaries are an individual thing and they have to be.


We can’t think our boundaries have to match everyone else’s and they can come across sometimes as like what you said as, or your cold or you don’t show any motions.


You don’t like I’ve learned right now.


I have to through all of these other past experiences and lessons.


I have to put myself first.


And if I don’t do that, I’m no good to anyone else.





So that is really I stand by that now.


And more than I’ve never done that in my life.


Let’s talk about that a little bit because I think that something like I was talking about just a minute ago that societally we talk about those boundaries and taking care of yourself.


But then you get that same message that, well, don’t pay attention to what I just said over here.


I’m not taking care of yourself.



You need to be there to help everybody else.


And you do need to be there.


I think you do need to be there to help people and to serve your fellow mayor.


But how do you figure out where that line of demarcation is because that’s a struggle for me anyway.


You know, that’s hard.


And you know, and I feel like a complete jackass when I say no.



So no, right.




You know, so how do you go about figuring that out?


It’s hard.


And I think every situation is going to be different because sometimes it’s someone in business.


Sometimes it’s a loved one.



Someone I mean, sometimes it’s a long time friend.


And I’ll just keep going back to once we have really sat down and aligned ourselves first.


That’s when we can.


It’s not going to say we’re not going to have moments where we feel like a butthole, but we can really follow through with what our boundaries are and what our wants are first.


And that often comes across selfish and uncaring and all these other words that people want to use.


But when you go back to anyone, if they’re not okay with themselves, they’re literally destroying themselves trying to fit into this mold of what everybody else needs or wants at that time.



So you’ve got to learn how to say no for the benefit of yourself.


And it’s you have to.


There’s a re at the end of the day, there’s a reason you’re not able to set boundaries.


And that’s what you have to look at.


There’s a reason that you can’t say no to people.


Those are there’s something underlying there that is causing you to not have boundaries or to not take up for yourself or not to stand up for yourself or not to say, Hey, I need me time right now.



There’s something that is underlying right there.


And I think we all are responsible for going back and looking at that and figuring out what that is so that we can be our best selves and be confident enough to tell other people.


Listen, I just I’m sorry.


I don’t have any more of me to give right now.


There’s nothing wrong with.


I mean, that’s normal.



How many times have you ran yourself to death for everyone else?


And everyone else told the great, but you feel like shit.


I mean, that happens constantly.


You do it in your relationships.


You do it in business.


And if you were to pick up the phone and call those people, they wouldn’t answer or wouldn’t be there to do crap for you.



And it’s not a thing where it’s a tit for tat, but we get so caught up in that underlying thing that’s causing us to do that.




That we really need to.


I advise anyone.


You know, you have to stop and become aware of yourself, which is really, really hard and lonely and painful.


It can be painful.





But you have to do that in order to be the best you feel the best and fulfill your purpose.


Otherwise, you’re just you’re just going along through the motion.


You’re surviving.


You’re not living for sure.


I completely agree with that.



And it’s it’s hard now with, you know, one of the areas that really hits me a lot and thank God I’m the age I am because I am not prey to it like, like, I’m not.


Like others are, but the duality of social media.






You’ve got now.


There are more and more studies that have gone on that show that, you know, Gen Z specifically and.



Oh, God.


What was the millennials to have an issue with depression related to that and an inability to truly establish relationships because everything is right here.


And then the problem is, you know, you’ve got an aspect of social media, which is, look at me.


Look at me.


Look at me.





And all that is is a snapshot in time.




You know, of an event.




You know, and 100%.


And a lot of it is created for a specific purpose where people, you know, have the ability once you have enough following that you can monetize it.





So boy, I better look good and I better do this.


Oh, look at me on the swing in Valley.


You know, you don’t know Jack should about what their life is and how they feel and what makes them tick.


I mean, do they have a hollow existence?


Or are they really pleased with who they are as a person?



Are they spending six hours a day taking pictures of themselves all day every day?




You know, and then you’ve got everybody else that’s looking at those that is, you know, oh, I better heart that.


I better like this.


I better do do that.


And then these people that are sucked at, well, why isn’t my life like that?



My life isn’t as good.


And it’s like, you know, anything about what their life is.




So you’re comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.


You’re right.


And, you know, I don’t know how we get past the duality of it because right now, I mean, you know, it’s just, you know, cranky old man, curmudgeon.





Kind of shit.


Get off my lawn.


You know, kind of stuff.


If I say something about that, but it scares me to death with the comparison like that.


And it’s like, you don’t know what makes that person tick.



You don’t know if they are happy or not.


You know, I’ve been really poor and I’ve been pretty well off.


I like pretty well off better.


For sure.




But it doesn’t solve your problems.



You know, if you are just an asshole, you know, you can just be exactly.


That’s exactly right.


I mean, you know, I loved one of the, one of the sayings that Robin Williams had, which was that cocaine is God’s way of telling you you’re making too much money.




You know, and, you know, I have represented plenty of trust babies.





I can tell you that their problems are not any different than anybody else.


And the problem is, is that they’ve got the resources to be able to fund whatever kind of debauchery they want to get into trying to fix themselves at the moment.


If I’ve got to feel good now, right?


You know, and that’s great.


You feel good now.





What do you feel like in half an hour?




What you’re coming down from that.


You feel like when you lay your head on at night.


That’s right.


Can you look in the mirror?



Can you look in the mirror? 100%.






You know, I think identity is a big struggle at some point in anyone’s life.


As a child that may be, you know, how do I fit in at school?





Both of the same parents that look the same.


Do I have a mom and a dad?


Do my parents do what they do?


My hair is frizzy, crazy.


What, you know, there’s always, even as adults, you know, people are always trying to find out where do I fit in.





And that comes with, I think, social media.


Like you said, it stems around a lot of putting this stigma out there.


It’s like, oh, look at me.


Do you want to be like me?


Do you want to be like this?


But when you’re not loving yourself, when you haven’t aligned with yourself, when you’re, when you’re truly not living your purpose, those that identity ego is what I call it.



Oh, it’s always going to get in the way.


It’s always going to have you second guessing yourself.


It’s always going to have you allowing people to run over you because you think that that’s going to get you where you need to get.


I’ll say, and I’ll say it a thousand times over, being confident in who you are, knowing your purpose, and doing what is best to be you.


It can be lonely, and that’s what most people fear.



It’s being alone and not identifying with other people.



But in these last, probably three to four years where I’ve been alone, lost everything, felt like I did not identify with anyone.


I felt that way, growing up, same in business.


I don’t mesh well with everyone.


I don’t look your typical person in construction.




But when I started loving myself and being confident in who I was, which takes work, that’s when I don’t care, but I don’t care.


And that takes all of us going through things and being willing to continue to grow through them as you go and stop and going, okay, what is this trying to teach me?


What am I going to take from this?


How am I going to become better?


What am I going to learn not to do again in this situation?


So I’m not making repeat mistakes and going like that, but it really, anything, identity, self love, setting in rollboxes, all of that comes from that pressure of society, social media, making us think or us allowing it to make us think we have to be this way, and that’s the only way to be.


That’s a hard deal to get your hands around, because talking about the 20-something that’s swinging on a beautiful swing over the ocean in Valley.



Hell, I’ve never been to Valley yet.


I am dying to go to Valley.


I hope they have a swing that will hold me.


But a lot of people, it’s like, I want that.


Are you willing to walk the journey that it takes to get that?


Because it’s almost not almost.



I’m going to take that out.


It is a sense of entitlement.


And a lot of people think, “I need to quit doing that.”


I need to just say, what I thought for a long time was that I had these expectations.


I would set goals and then I’d achieve them, and then it’d be like, okay, this isn’t what I thought it was.


If I do this, then I’ve made it.



And then I achieved that, and it’s like, well, that wasn’t an idea.


So I better do this.


So all of those things are hollow unless you can really be in the moment, I think, to enjoy it.


So it seems to me that everything is, the one constant we have is change.


You’re correct.


And that you can fight it all you want, but it’s going to happen regardless.



So you better learn to get comfortable with it.


But for me to truly get comfortable with who I am, it’s figuring out what’s really important to me.


Is it working four days a week?


Is it that I want to retire at the age of 58?


It’s not.


I couldn’t imagine what I’d be doing.



It’s like figuring out what really makes me tick and what’s important to me.


But you have to know your, in order to answer those questions, what makes me tick, what you have to know yourself.


And truly stand by who you know and who you’ve become and who you want to be.


And that’s what you said.

In order to make those things tick, you have to start with that, which is putting in a word, knowing yourself, standing by protecting it and then staying aligned with that.





Well, and I think there’s also a big piece of, you know, that changes too.


As we get older, everything, your perspective changes.


It’s like the old saying of, you know, youth is wasted on the young.




You know, because you don’t have the, you don’t have the life experience there.


It’s like, so after I got divorced, I didn’t start dating a bunch of, you know, really young girls.



Because my experience with dating someone that was a whole lot younger than I, they didn’t have the life experience.


And so it’s like, what are we going to talk about?




You know, I remember a number of years ago, we had a, had a young associate and, and I was telling her, I was so excited.


I was going out to Vegas and we were going to see Billie Idol and concert and House of Blues out there.


And she just looked at me, dear in the headlights, like, I’m like, you have no idea who I’m talking about.







And she goes, no.


I know we’re Vegas.







Can you not know Billie Idol?


You know, but I mean, that’s the whole thing is everything changes as we get older.


So understanding that my perspective on things is going to change too.




And that I have to be willing to walk the journey to obtain whatever it is I’m seeking to obtain, you know, whether that is, you know, greater self awareness, whether it’s to be able to do ex philanthropically, whether it’s able to do this for family, whatever it is.





And your journey is not going to, your journey will never match anyone else’s.


And if you’re trying to align your journey to be a certain way of what you see someone else doing or whatever, it will never, there’s no way for you to stay on that path.




You know, I mean, it’s just really, it’s really hard to maintain that.




You know, because it’s not really who you are.



It’s not the road you want to be taking.


Well, and things are things are not always as they appear.




You know, there there’s been something that I’ve actually liked seeing on social media a little lately.


There was one showing of a shot towards the pyramids.


And then just you turn away from that.



And most people don’t realize how close the pyramids are to actually downtown Cairo.




And that, oh, there’s a McDonald’s and a pizza hut.


And, you know, and that kind of crap.


But that’s not the vision that you see, or that’s portrayed.


You know, so understanding it’s all about figuring out who I am, what works for me.



And just because that’s what works for me doesn’t mean that that’s what works for anybody else.


And being okay with that.


That’s right.




That’s right.


Well, Courtney, thank you so much for today.



Yeah, this has been a great evening.


Thank you.


You’re sharing your journey.


I mean, it’s beautiful.


I really appreciate that.


Thank you.



And ditto here.


I mean, we’ll become the mutual admiration society here.






Everybody go see Courtney because different and willing to speak to all these stories.


Isn’t that something new?



So, so thank you again.




And thank you all for joining us on another episode of the Reclamation Transformation.


And remember, change starts with you.


So leave your mark.

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