Connections: September 2004
© 2004 Hermes' Web Marketing Company
All Rights Reserved. Published in the USA.
Ed. Sarah Techau

Connections was originally published electronically
and distributed to members of the Hermes' Web
Community. We have included the majority of this
publication here, for your enjoyment. The Call For
Submissions email, which solicits members' input
on a specific topic for the upcoming issue, is also
included below.
Call For Submissions
For the September issue, the Connections staff is
opening the floor for any and all questions related to
the use of Hermes’ Web. Whether you are already
using Hermes’ Web in your work or have not yet
begun, we welcome your submissions...

Read the full Call For Submissions for this issue
In This Issue
The Q & A Forum:
Addicts and the flip
Victim and offender perspectives of a sex offense

The Victim, Survivor, and Avenger Identities in Sex Offenders
(the first in a series of articles on this topic by Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP)

Hermes’ Web at the St. Louis County HHS Conference in Duluth, MN
The Q & A Forum
In the Call for Submissions for this month’s issue, we opened the floor for any and all questions related to the use of Hermes’ Web.
Below, you’ll find questions submitted by Community members. Each question is followed by a response from our founder.

“My question is really more of a confirmation of my understanding in how Hermes' Web illustrates addiction. The difference between
someone who uses drugs and never acts out violently during 'the flip' and someone who uses and becomes a monster, to whatever
degree, lies in the stability of the connection between the ego and the core, whether or not the addict is aware of what's in the core
when he is sober. Is that correct?"

— Minnesota

Response From Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP
Yes, essentially. When there is no connection between ego and core, the flip is much more likely, especially when fueled by a
disinhibitor like drugs. When there is a good connection between ego and core, it's far less likely you'll even see a flip.

A flip allows the core the take center stage. A relationship with the core means the core is in play, its needs and perspectives are
considered in one's behaviors. The estrangement between ego and core and the lack of relationship magnifies the core's need to get
airtime. Also, estrangement means it is more likely the core will remain contaminated and thus, during a flip, things would be messy.
The flip would carry riders such as anger, rage, and vengeance.

Those who have done more work tend to open like the
Hoberman Sphere, except more slowly, without the jailbreak. They tend not to
flip to the other side. Also, an addict may actually be in the core much of the time and be comfortable there, especially when intoxicated
or altered. All in all, the more work a person has done to decontaminate his or her core, the less likely the flip will be violent, should it

"Victim and offender perspectives after an offense are so vastly different. How can I use Hermes’ Web to show an offender how he has
affected his victims without stirring all his defenses?"

— Washington, D.C.

Response From Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP
Use Hermes' Web and the Hoberman Sphere to explain the difference in these two perspectives. The Hoberman is an enlargement of
the center of Hermes’ Web — the core. Opening the Hoberman represents the offense. The victim is drawn into the center of the
Hoberman — the perpetrator's core, where the offense takes place.

Once the offense is over, and the perpetrator's personality flips back to its normal state, the offender abandons his core (the Hoberman
closes) and often leaves victim trapped inside.

The victim, trapped in the perpetrator's core, is now burdened with the garbage in there —  the parts of the offender doesn’t want,
doesn’t own, and won’t take responsibility for. The victim blames him or herself and feels at fault, because now, they have inherited the
perpetrator’s garbage. They are contaminated. It may take many years before a victim even recognizes the garbage belongs to the
perpetrator, not them.

The perpetrator easily minimizes the offense because he doesn’t identify with what’s in his core. He's never met the hungry vampire
part of him willing to offend, nor does he recognize how horrifying it might be for someone to come face-to-face with that vampire.

So a perpetrator could molest his daughter, and then sit down to dinner with the whole family and be surprised that she is upset. Many
perpetrators are only in touch with their core when offending and disown it otherwise, ignoring and denying all the needs, pathologies,
and emotions that drive the offense. They might say, “I’m not like that” or “The victim is exaggerating. It just wasn’t that bad. Look at me.
I'm a nice guy. I wouldn’t do that.” Given that most offenses are ego-dystonic (for those who aren't psychopaths), most offenders do not
identify with the parts of them that do the offending.
*Editor’s Note:
The following article is the first in a series of articles on sex offender personas by Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP. This series will continue in
subsequent issues of Connections.

The Victim, Survivor, and Avenger Identities in Sex Offenders
— Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP

Many sex offenders have been abused or victimized physically, sexually, psychologically, or spiritually. Others have been subject to
neglect, abandonment, and poor parenting. When an individual is impacted by violence, abuse, or neglect of a significant degree, it has
a fragmenting impact on the personality structure. It also leaves a “charge” of energy that will eventually have to be dealt with. The
individual essentially becomes split into three pieces — the victim, the survivor, and the avenger — and typically ends up identifying
with one of those characters and suppressing or repressing the other two.

The purpose of therapy, then, becomes to determine which of the three characters the client identifies with on his or her ego level,
above the barrier, and locate where in the unconscious the other two are hiding out. Once that is done, one can work toward finding the
middle ground where the split gets reconnected and healed.

Few clients will identify with the avenger on their ego level, unless they are psychopaths or sociopaths. Most clients identify consciously
with the victim or survivor. The victim identity helps them justify their offense without having to notice the avenger part of themselves.
The survivor identity keeps their nose to the grindstone and ignores all of the building pressures that eventually release the avenger
and become a sex offense. Then, once the offense is over, it’s back to the grindstone again. The survivor prefers to feel nothing. In
treatment, clients who identify with the survivor just want to put the offense behind them and go on from there.

When clients identify strongly with the victim, therapists can easily get taken in. The victim identity pretends to get well, and this makes
us feel better. But, this is really compliance by the victim identity, who has learned how to survive. Other therapists dismiss a client from
treatment who is even partially identified with the avenger, because it’s scary. They forget that the victim and survivor identities have to
be around also.

Many sex offenders are passive-aggressive, a state in which the victim and avenger identities combine. The victim identity is ultra-
sensitive to everything, but the avenger comes in to get revenge for perceived and actual slights, insults, and aspersions. But because
these two identities aren’t fully owned by the offender, no responsibility is taken for their vengeful actions — overt or covert, subtle or

It should be noted that none of these characters ever disappears. This is not evolution. The uncomfortable characters will always
remain in the fold, but power relationships and alliances can change. It takes a lot of work to develop a functional inner community with
all its diversity and widely differing perspectives on life. When a client identifies solely with one character, even serially, he or she will be
open to attack, terrorism, and sabotage by the other two neglected characters. It’s not enough to do good work with one of the
characters. Therapists need to keep them in perspective at all times.

Clients have responded well to a diagram showing how these multiple parts come in to existence. Having a therapy group work with
the idea of the three identities is usually very fruitful, too, and it also gives clients a new way to frame their own experience.

In next month’s issue, we’ll continue this discussion of sex offender personas by diving into more detail about each of the characters,
as well as the challenges and pitfalls of dealing with each of them in treatment.
Hermes’ Web at the St. Louis County HHS Conference in Duluth, MN
— Connections staff

Jerry Fjerkenstad, MA, LP will present the Hermes’ Web Skills Training Seminar on Monday, October 4th from 1:00 – 4:30 pm at the St.
Louis County Health and Human Services (HHS) Conference in Duluth, MN. The seminar will provide participants with the skills,
knowledge, and confidence to use Hermes’ Web to increase responsivity and successfully communicate with difficult clients and
students. The seminar addresses this year’s conference theme: “Courageous Conversation — Bridging the Divide” by introducing
participants to Hermes’ Web and helping them to incorporate a “new language” into their work.

Hermes’ Web Marketing Company will also host a tradeshow booth at the conference. Stop by to learn more about Hermes’ Web and
to receive discounts on products and training materials. We hope to see you there!

MN Board of Social Work CEHs have been approved for the Hermes’ Web seminar.
Connections: September 2004
Browse 2004 issues of
Connections by selecting a link
below or
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Community page.

September — Open forum!

August  — Stories, films, and
cultural examples enhance
Hermes' Web use

July — The challenge female
professionals face in
communicating with well-
defended males in treatment

June  — Hermes' Web and
compulsive online sexual behavior

May  — Hermes' Web and
learning-disabled clients
Building Community. Changing Lives.