The M3ND Project can supply the full training in either 2 days (10 hours of training, excluding breaks) or over the course of 7 weeks, depending on the location of your training (1 1⁄2 hours of training each week). Coming soon, we will be offering the full training course online.
This training is critical to gain deeper knowledge of the various forms of abuse first responders are likely to encounter, understanding Double Abuse®, and learning how to prevent it, and gaining tools to respond effectively when a victim or abuser seeks help.
Through speaking, written presentation materials, curriculum, video, and interactive breakout sessions, attendees will learn:
The M3ND Project Video & Written Curriculum – Coming Soon
We are so proud of the excellent resource The M3ND Project Curriculum has turned out to be. The video and written curriculum will serve as a companion study guide for M3ND’s Full Training and can also be used independently within small groups. The overview:
Introduction: The M3ND Story
Session I Clarify: Identify & Stop Ignoring Abuse
Session II Educate: Understanding the Terms of Abuse
Session III Equip: Helping A Victim Find Their Voice & Contributing to Change
Session IV Restore: What Victims & Abusers Need The Most
Session V The Reason: The Relationship Between Abuse & Trauma
Session VI Next Steps: The Importance of Your Role
We will also be offering courses online soon.
Please sign up to be notified when the curriculum is ready for purchase and for upcoming trainings that you can attend.
Meet our Trainer and Founder, Annette Oltmans
Annette Oltmans, the founder of The M3ND Project, was a victim of emotional abuse. She experienced personal, spiritual and institutional abuse, as well as Double Abuse®. Annette’s experiences compelled her to conduct extensive research into all forms of abuse and treatment protocols for abuse. She also interviewed 100’s of survivors, faith-based leaders and therapists confirming that many first responders are ill-equipped to proactively help victims of covert emotional abuse. Out of Annette’s research and personal experiences, she created the materials The M3ND Project uses to educate and equip victims and first responders. She consulted with experts in abuse, trauma and healing to ensure the materials we provide meet professional standards.
Why The M3ND Project Trains First Responders
We at The M3ND Project have found that what is true and extremely damaging for most victims of Original Abuse is the Double Abuse® they experience, which occurs when a victim finally finds the courage to reach out and the responses, criticisms, or judgment they receive in response actually sustains and exacerbates the trauma from the Original Abuse. Double Abuse® causes further psychological and physical harm to those who are impacted by abuse. In fact, it can cause PTSD (often experienced by persons in sustained abusive environments) to transition into Complex PTSD. Double Abuse® not only harms victims, but also increases the liability institutions can incur when they do not respond to victims with proper protocols. Through its training and education, the M3ND Project aims to come alongside first responders and to end the devastating effects of Double Abuse®.
Our gift and responsibility, when we are aware that abuse is occurring, is to use our voices and words to confront the abuse, even if the abuser is a loved one or friend. Abuse is its own category and includes various protocols because the primary purpose of a professional or layperson counselor is to “Do No Harm” to the victim. In holding to this idea, the listener must first hear the victim’s words and experiences, maintaining their confidentiality. In contrast to that, when it comes to the abuser, you must transparently confront their faulty world view and thinking, both in the presence of the victim and privately, offering support to the abuser only in their tangible and long-standing actions of change. To do otherwise, you risk colluding with the abuser and significantly re-traumatizing the victim. There is no place for neutrality in abuse. If the couple is living together, we strongly suggest a controlled separation. A controlled separation allows time and space for the victim to be removed from the crossfire of abuse, allowing them to heal from the recurring trauma, while developing skills to hold firm and healthy boundaries.
If you are interacting with someone identified as the abuser in the relationship, then you are on the front line. You have a significantly better chance to help them recognize their abusive behaviors and attitudes than most anyone else, including their partner, therapist, abuser program, the courts, or on their own. When a loved one other than the victim, confronts the abusive behaviors, the abuser may experience uncertainty within for the first time, and perhaps be open to listening (Bancroft, 2002, p. 376).
Abuse expert, Dr. David Hawkins of The Marriage Recovery Center, says that abusers must experience a breakdown before they can experience a breakthrough.
For guidelines on how to help a victim, listen with a closed mouth and follow the Healing Model of Compassion. For guidelines on how to approach and help an abuser, follow our Accountability Model.
Listening means just that, you offer a listening ear. Do not retreat. Just listen without judgments, suggestions, or interpretations. This could be one of the first opportunities they have to freely verbalize their confusing reality. Listening first lays the foundation for a later intervention. Remember, the victim’s situation did not occur overnight. It may feel disturbingly normal to them. Or they may be so terrified that any thought of action is overwhelming. They are vulnerable and need empathy and compassion. Once that first step of listening opens a door with them, you can move to the next five steps.
Accepting means you believe what the victim/survivor says is true of their experience. This does not mean approval or blind acceptance of what they may or may not have done. It means that you accept that they are in a highly compromised position without knowing what to do, and they need you to accept their pain, fear, indecision, and confusion for what it is: the story of their suffering.
Empathizing is the act of putting yourself in the other’s shoes so you can feel what they feel. Empathizing in current time with the victim’s situation will help you to communicate a deeper understanding without negatively judging or evaluating them. It will also help you provide compassion and patience as they process to make a decision. Your empathy will provide them with emotional companionship along their journey to healing.
Validating consists of mirroring back to your loved ones what you are understanding about what they are saying, not in a parroting way, but so they hear you truly comprehend their what they have experienced beyond just the content of their words. You can help them in identifying. Identifying is the act of helping the abused name what they experienced. This interaction gives them a voice and words to finally explain what has previously been so confusing. It is a necessary step to their healing.
Identifying is the act of helping the abused person put to words what they have experienced. This process helps them clearly identify what has previously been so confusing. Identifying the abuse supports them in speaking their truth to those who can intervene and help them heal. Sometimes, it can also be illuminating for you to share with them your own parallel experiences as examples, remembering the primary focus remains on developing their own narrative and truth.
Encouraging is you communicating to the victim that you believe in them and will walk beside them. It is pouring words of affirmation and validation into them. It is reminding them that with the right support they will have the courage to work through this complicated and confusing situation.
Grieve with them for all they have lost. Don’t deny, avoid, or suppress the healing power of mourning. Grieving with someone is a shared experience of deep connection. Place yourself in the victim’s shoes. They are feeling immense pain as well as loss of connection from others. Victims have often been forced into isolation by their abuser, or they have pulled away on their own accord due to their unstable circumstances. Deeply connecting with a victim in your care by allowing them to grieve or even better, grieving with them, can have a profound and positive effect affirming that they are valued and loved.
It’s important to note that the victim is in a mindset of anticipatory fear as they share their story. They are monitoring your facial expressions and body language as they desperately seek to be accepted by a kind-hearted and supportive First Responder. They may be just coming to terms with the realization that they have been or are being emotionally, physically or sexually abused and their world is turning upside down. When you demonstrate a deep connection with those who are suffering it can have a powerful impact on their steps towards healing.
Facing is a courageous act of encouragement that involves you and your family member. Facing begins as a calm, thoughtful, and even-handed conversation addressing the abusive behaviors the abuser needs to recognize. It will likely involve challenging them, but in a strong, steady way. This does not involve overt action like an intervention. You are simply shining a light on the harm they are doing, helping them to become more aware and to face the reality of it.
Owning is where the abuser takes responsibility for their harmful actions and identifies the necessary changes they must make within to bring about repair. This kind of ownership is not easy; not for the person helping the abuser take responsibility, nor for the abuser admitting their faults. Owning, along with the act of repentance, requires the abuser stop their harmful behaviors. Otherwise, it is not true ownership and change is unlikely.
Accountability may be a difficult consequence for abusers to accept, but ultimately, it is the only thing that will lead to true change and healing. Genuine remorse and repentance are significant signals that abusers truly grasp the harm they have caused and are willing to make reparation. This means they do whatever is necessary for the victim to feel safe, protected, and satisfied with the repairs. If the victim’s reputation was damaged, efforts must be made to salvage it and ensure that is never repeated. If the abusers ignore or stall to avoid public humiliation because they work in a position of leadership either in their employment, community, church or volunteering, then repentance and repairs are not complete. These are not excuses to avoid reparation for the victim.
Resourcing means getting the abuser connected to help after they own their abusive behaviors. The help could be programs that work with abusers, individual therapy, a supportive church, an accountability partner, or family and friends to name a few. The purpose is to get the abuser the further support they need to maintain the needed work they must do for change.
Requirements must be made regarding the abuser. The amendments that must be made in their relationship are inseparable from their repair and success. As the abuser takes personal responsibility for the deep psychological, emotional, and cognitive reworking they must do to save their relationship, they also need to understand what is required of them to meet relational needs.
Determining is setting a new bar which includes goals for new standards of behavior, ways of communicating, sharing of information and responsibilities for child rearing, financial considerations, running a household, and supporting work efforts. The goals are bi-directional and include both partners in collaboration.
Confronting is again, the brave act of facing, but this time by either building on the successful outcomes, or by owning the initial failure to achieve the determined goals while committing to try again. Here, a structured program, individual therapy, accountability partner, or support group become a valuable resource of support in encouraging the abuser to again attempt change.
Altering or denying a shared reality so that victims feel they are wrong in their perceptions and experiences.
Getting rid of the other’s value and what they hold dear with a wave of the hand.
Believing the abuser’s problems will go away with apologies or promises alone when much more work is required from the abuser to change.
Making the victim the problem by inflating their expression of a problem, which is actually caused by the abuser in the first place.
Using language or defeatist posture, such as pouting, to avoid accountability and responsibility.
Unrealistic demands that one is deserving of preferential treatment or double standards.
Saying mean things, then acting as if you were joking when confronted with your behavior. “That was just a joke” can be the first sign of an abusive relationship.
A fundamental refusal to accept responsibility by living in a false reality.
Using black and white thinking to divert the focus off the abuser in order to disarm the victim.
Creating fear and negative dependence in the victim and blowing things out of proportion.
Telling false and grandiose stories to third parties in order to objectively undermine and manipulate the end result or outcome.
Belittling and devaluing of the importance of one’s abusive behavior.
Consciously or unconsciously withholding or altering the truth with blatant disregard.
Using any means necessary to make the other feel emotionally less deserving, impotent and powerless.
Stripping the other’s ideas, expressions, or actions of value, thus minimizing the abuser’s culpability.
Normalizing unhealthy behavior to make it artificially acceptable or good.
Justifying destructive behaviors or attitudes with supposed logical reasons or excuses. Goes hand in hand with Scapegoating and Reverse Blaming.
Inflating one’s value to diminish the other’s.
In blaming, issues are always one- sided or reversed with the problem being laid at the victim’s feet.
Stating an unexpected negative lie told to or about the partner. False accusations often lead to Scapegoating and Gaslighting.
Engaging in deliberate “payback” for imagined harm instead of problem solving. This can be expressed in aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviors.
Creating scenarios where facts are mischaracterized in order to confuse and turn consequences against another so the victim is viewed as guilty, or forced to bear the responsibility for the problem. The victim is victimized twice; first being made the brunt of the situation, and second, being made to bear the resulting shame or punishment.
Refusing to communicate, listen or rejoice in one’s good fortune. One of the most toxic forms of abuse.
Making promises to do certain things or change, then denying ever making those promises, refusing to keep them, or saying they forgot.
Defensively refusing to authentically communicate, changing the topic, or inventing false arguments.
Abusive belittling of the victim’s perspective with the intention to make the victim’s values unimportant, and therefore, kill their confidence, creativity, and individuality.
To distract or gain favor from the victim, an accountability partner, or social circle for the purpose of protecting oneself from actual consequences.
Negating responsibility for one’s actions by diverting accountability and avoiding the hard work of changing.
Undermining is a sneaky way to squelch joy, effort, creativity, or ideas that could bring positive attention to the victim.
Attempting to prevent people from discovering the truth about a person’s behavior or actions. For example, volunteering in the community or giving gifts to cover up destructive behavior done behind doors.
A form of manipulation where they appear confused or conveniently forget.
Intentional distortions of reality for the purpose of making the victim feel confused. A “cousin” of Gaslighting.
In June of 2019 we were honored to have Annette Oltmans speak at our workshop to therapists from around the Las Vegas Valley. The overall consensus was an outpouring of accolades and, “When can she come back?” The education, knowledge, research and personal experience Annette brought to the workshop has proven to be invaluable. Annette spoke on matters such as “double abuse” and “original abuse”,
“accountability model of courage” and “healing model of compassion. She gave us a new perspective, hope and excitement to take to clients in order to help them recover on a firm foundation.
The problem of domestic abuse in Santa Ana is wide-spread, in fact, it has the highest incidence of domestic violence calls in any major city in the state of California. Newsong Church is located in Santa Ana; it is the community that we love and where we seek to live out the hope of the Gospel message; it is where we focus many of our resources to address the real needs and hurts of people. When the opportunity was presented to us by the leadership of The Mend Project to gain a further understanding of the systemic issues surrounding domestic violence and to receive valuable training for our staff members and key leaders, we enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity.
Without a doubt, everybody that participated in the training event was changed as a result of what was learned. Perhaps the most sobering take-away for many of us was how well-intentioned people can unknowingly subject an abused person to even further abuse and emotional wounding. The Mend Project presentation was informative, practical and provided inspiration for us to move forward with a bit more confidence and some new tools to help us be more aware and effective in our ministry to the community we care so deeply about. It is without reservation that I recommend this training to anyone that shares the concern for the pervasive problem of domestic violence.
The MEND Project is boldly going where few are going. Their training has helped our organization enter conversations around gender equality and covert abuse. Each training module brings clarity to subtle and complex issues of covert and double abuse. The MEND Project’s training is invaluable to any organization attempting to pursue justice and mercy by addressing systemic structures of abuse.
Having seen Annette conduct training on Double Abuse, I believe that any church, university, school, or organization would benefit greatly from their curriculum. The MEND Project’s focus on naming hidden abusive tactics and Double Abuse will equip leaders and first responders to feel confident in responding to victims of abuse without doing further harm. This curriculum is critical to fully addressing and preventing abuse.
The MEND Project provided valuable and insightful training to our Licensed Clinical Social Workers. We are so grateful that The MEND Project is addressing the issue of abuse in our society. The training will be indoctrinated into our therapy practice and will be instrumental in breaking the cycle of abuse for our patients. We are hoping that their materials can be translated into Spanish for our Spanish-speaking patients.
If you’d like to learn how to use the tools on our website, please contact us. Provide the person in your care with helpful information.
*Note: We strongly recommend when you provide this to someone who you believe may be in an abusive relationship you do not use the word abuse. You may simply say, “I would like to give this to you to take home and note which of these you have experienced or are experiencing in your relationship.