What is wrong with my thinking?
How did I get this way?
How should I be reacting?
These are among the most common questions I get asked by my clients concerning their Codependency. The thing to remember is that a Codependent suffers from a form of arrested development. The six year old, abused or neglected child learned coping mechanisms to help
It was the wee hours of the night, a lot of laughs and several bottles of Chardonnay later, I found myself at the home of my neighbor, surrounded by the ladies of my street. I like my neighbors, they’re fun and we always have a good time together. Especially these impromptu gatherings that just seem to happen, spur of the moment, where everyone ends up laughing so much that no one wants to leave.
I had made of list of all the things I wanted in a man. It was great advice given to me by a close friend. “If you know what you’re looking for, you’re more apt to spot it when you see it,” she told me. I was online dating, a place where people were as interchangeable as clothing, when I met him.
Wayne Dyer accurately quipped that, “Some people are always looking for a reason to be offended,” and most of us don’t have to look too far to see evidence of that.
We will all find ourselves, at one time or another, interacting with people whose behavior seems to be way over the top.
Sometimes when I hear someone tell their story I can’t help but cringe and think in my head, “Oh boy, this isn’t going to end well.” It happens a lot when people are looking to get something, from someone who treated them very badly, that something being, an apology, or some acknowledgement of wrong doing.
When we talk about starving we’re usually referring to food. Imagine if you will, that you are stranded on a deserted island and this island is barren of anything edible. You are ravenous and you start to wonder what sand tastes like. Suddenly, you’re rescued and the only thing on your mind is food. A meal is placed in front of you, do you grab a knife and fork and daintily cut your food into tiny bite size pieces, or do you just start shoveling it in? You probably would want more and more until you’re ready to throw up and you’d probably even lick the plate too.
What would you do if your 11 year old daughter didn’t come home for a couple of weeks? What if she said nothing to you, you had no idea where she was, or if she was ever coming back?
There is conflicting science on whether or not happy memories are easier to recall than sad ones. Ask anyone who’s trying to get over a Narcissist and they’ll tell you they wish they could hang on to the bad, but always seem to recall the good.
“Every time I step onto the court there’s a new challenge. Each opponent is different and represents a different challenge. Every surface represents a new challenge. The game within the game is the toughest though. It’s the mental challenge and the physical challenge that’s the real battle. To succeed you have to be ready to deal with anything, because anything is going to happen. It’s just about how well you adapt to it.” – #1 ranked tennis player in the world – Novak Djokovic
It is the nature of the Narcissistic beast to gain at the expense of others. They are generally attracted to partners that have resources or something they admire, be it beauty, wealth, their career, connections, or intelligence. If a Narcissist can’t benefit from you in some way they will not invest any of their time or energy into knowing you and will likely dismiss you and hold you in contempt.
It seemed like a good idea. You’ve been pining over someone who has, in the blink of an eye, replaced you with someone else. You are heartbroken and you can’t believe that they are so over you, that you could drop dead and they wouldn’t even notice. So you decide, two can play at this game. I’m not going to sit around here mooning anymore. I’m going to go out with someone else too. You pull up your old profile from that dating
When people talk about those that help, or put others needs ahead of their own, they use words like nurturer, kind hearted, altruistic, selfless, or giver. They might say that he or she has the ‘caring gene’ and that giving just comes naturally to some people. While there might be some truth to this, I would argue that the real reason behind why some people over-give isn’t so divine and is in fact, quite disturbing.
It’s that time of year when I like to look back, on the year that was, and reflect on some of the major lessons we’ve discussed here on this site. So without further ado here are nine major statements we made this year:
So there I was many, many moons ago, out Christmas shopping, for the love in my life. I was in a long distance relationship at the time and I use the term relationship very loosely. It had moments of bliss, followed by moments of absolute agony. He kept coming and going from my life and I kept taking him back.
Tina was really mad at herself. She let Mark sweet talk his way back into her heart and now he was gone again, two short weeks later. She felt like such a fool. “Never again,” she said to herself. “I am so done.”
Earlier this week I received a copy of the magazine that an article of mine appeared in. As I was flipping though it I noticed an article written by Eckhart Tolle, the best-selling author of The Power of Now. One of the main themes of Tolle’s work is that when you are in the present moment, ‘in the now,’ you cannot be harmed by the past and you aren’t anxious about the future. You are fully absorbed with what is happening around you at that very moment.
It defies reason, logic and common sense, to want to hang on to someone, who treated you so appallingly. It’s almost addict-like behavior, complete with withdrawal symptoms, cravings and an inability to focus on anything else.
We’ve all heard the phrase, you’re making mountains out of molehills, which of course means, you’re making something out to be bigger than it really is. When you’re a codependent, or have low self-esteem, you have a tendency to do the opposite and dismiss big, important issues as unimportant or insignificant.
You’ve done all the right things. You’ve broken up with your Narcissist, you’ve gone no contact and you’ve done your very best to put your focus back on you. But much to your chagrin, your Narcissist is pulling out all the stops, throwing everything at you to try and illicit some type of response.
We’ve all experienced a break up or two at some point in our lives. They’re usually unpleasant, but eventually we move on and begin a new relationship with someone else. Some relationships however, seem to never end and leave us feeling like we’ll never get over them.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle
The body is a miraculous thing. When it’s sick it develops symptoms that tell us that something is wrong. When our spirit is sick our bodies also provide us with symptoms, which manifest as feelings of anxiety, deep emotional sorrow, panic attacks, depression, heart ache, hopelessness, helplessness, frustration, and despair.
“Well, he wasn’t happy,” our mutual friend said with a shrug, like it made perfect sense. In my head I kept thinking, ‘I’ve put up with his cruelty, his selfishness and all of his issues for seven years and HE’S not happy? ’
There is a beauty bias in our culture. People, who possess beauty, get more advantages and more opportunities than the esthetically challenged. Being the beautiful one in a relationship also has clear benefits, but what is it about a
There were two things that kept me stuck in the relationship with my boomerang Narcissist. One was the feelings it evoked in me. I would be so confused, why he would pull away, when being together felt so good. The other was that when he wasn’t being a jerk, he was really a great guy.
“When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.” – Pema Chodron
For most of my life I’ve kept people at an emotional distance. Not so much friends, but romantic partners. Subconsciously, I believed that if I didn’t let myself get too close to someone then it wouldn’t hurt me when they left. If I didn’t let them get too close to me then they would never really know me, so when they did reject me, it wasn’t really
I get a lot of emails asking a lot of the same types of questions and so this week I thought it might be a good idea to post some of the most common themes.
Question: I’ve been dating someone for almost a year and he will make plans with me and then he doesn’t show up. He doesn’t call me to cancel and I can’t reach him when I call. It makes me crazy, but he’s always got an excuse and then he is so nice to me after that it makes me overlook what he’s done. Why can’t he
Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association….characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. – Wikipedia
How many people have had this happen to them: You get involved with someone you like, you’re intimate,
What is normal? What does healthy look like? We talk a lot about being healthy on this site, but If you’ve never seen it, or had anyone demonstrate it to you, how do you know what it looks like?
I’ve spent years trying to figure out what healthy is, because I knew I wasn’t. I always felt that there was some hidden mystery I had to figure out, a secret that other people knew that I didn’t. While I was in the midst of
We’ve all had cringe-worthy moments that we can shelve in the ‘not my finest hour’ section of our memory banks. These are the moments where we acted in a manner that was beneath us, where we didn’t stand up for ourselves, where we let ourselves be used.
A Narcissist’s greatest advantage is that their behavior is often contradictory, inconsistent and inexplicable to those closest to them. People remain stuck in these toxic relationships, because of the mixed messages they receive and the web of deceit and confusion they’re caught up in.
“And pity – people who inspire it in you are actually very powerful people. To get someone else to take care of you, to feel sorry for you – that takes a lot of strength, smarts, manipulation. Very powerful people.” ― Deb Caletti
I stared at the face on my computer screen for a long time. I recognized the eyes and the mouth, but not much else. A longtime friend had come across a recent picture of my first love and thought I would be amused by
“I can’t do it. I just can’t walk away.”
“I’m not strong enough. I’m so weak.”
“As soon as he contacts me I know I’ll cave.”
These are some pretty common statements I hear from people trying to wean themselves off of a Narcissist. I get it. Battling all these volatile emotions is really hard. Been there-done-that, got-a-blog-about-it.
The issue is that your life has become all about someone else and you’re so wrapped up in them that you’ve twisted
The very first Valentine’s Day I spent with my Long-Term Narcissist, many, many years ago, started with him going off on one of his rants about how stupid Valentine’s Day was, that people were just lemmings and he was so above all the stupid, mouth breathing humans. I remember feeling sad and hurt and as we drove back to my city, I remember saying, “So we’re really not going to do anything for Valentine’s Day?” He let out a frustrated sigh and pulled into the first drug store that was open.
We all have an innate need to love and be loved, to belong to something, a family, a circle of friends, or even admired by colleagues. When we feel connected to others, it brings us a sense of security, joy and belongingness.
Twentieth century psychologist, Abraham Maslow, listed the need for love and belongingness in his famous hierarchy of needs. This theory is a scale of what drives human motivation. On the bottom of the pyramid, thus being the most important, are physiological needs, such as oxygen, food, water ect. Following that on the pyramid is the need for
Fixer: Someone who engages in relationships with dysfunctional partners, with an uncontrollable need to help, give, rescue, and recreate that person into the image that they desire.
If you see yourself in the above definition, raise your hand if you have ever tried to fix someone and it actually worked? I’m not talking about two relatively healthy people, who make each other better. I’m talking about two unhealthy, broken people, with one giving and one taking, one responsible for everything and one responsible for nothing, and with one trying to change the other into something they are not.
The new year brings with it new challenges, new chapters and new beginnings. But before we look ahead I think it’s important to look back, to make sure that we’ve taken care of all of our childhood baggage. This is important, because if you refuse to do this work, these unresolved issues will continue to manifest in your life, and you will have a never ending battle, trying to manage symptoms, rather than eliminating the problem at its source.
Many people eat, drink, or do drugs to counteract the painful feelings from childhood neglect, or abuse, these are clearly inappropriate coping mechanisms – bandages, that only mask the problem. When you’ve been brought up to feel not good enough, you really do feel a void. You feel incomplete and you believe that if you could only figure
Gabriella had planned it all so perfectly. She had decorated her new condo beautifully for the holidays. All her presents were bought, wrapped and under the tree and she was looking forward to hosting her family for Christmas dinner.
She had been dating Tony on and off for about 2 years and he had assured her that everything would go smoothly this year. She described him as irresponsible and selfish, but she looked past his bad behavior, because she was in love with him, and felt unable to walk away. She described the relationship as tumultuous and said that it always had her soaring and crashing.
Most of us want to have the ‘typical’ family holiday. We want the tree, the presents, a delicious Christmas dinner and to be happy and surrounded by loved ones. We want the occasion to look like it does in the commercials and movies on TV, but quite often it doesn’t.
For many of us, the holidays mean being around people that we don’t necessarily like, or those who make us feel uncomfortable. That could include – your overbearing Narcissistic father, your hyper critical mother, your spiteful, passive-aggressive sister, or that Narcissist you thought you had gotten rid of ages ago.
Many of us have been on the road to healing for some time now, healing from childhood traumas and from our adult relationships. Most of us have gone no contact with our last abusive partner and we’ve distanced ourselves from the toxic people in our lives. Everything is going great, but along comes the holidays and this is when we are at our most vulnerable and when our resolve is severely tested.
Einstein said that, ‘imagination is more important than knowledge,’ and that’s true, except when it comes to our relationships. When I was young I use to write my name and the name of my crush du jour on a piece of paper and surround it with a big heart. When I closed my eyes at night I was and did so many incredible things, things that never seemed possible in reality. I had a rich fantasy life. And I carried that ability to fantasize with me into adulthood.
As I traveled from relationship to relationship, early on I would create a vision of how I wanted the relationship to be – I’d insert the specifics of the person I was dating, but the reality was always vastly different than what I pretended it was.
In 1977 Colleen Stan left her home in California, to attend the birthday party of one of her friends. She was an experienced hitchhiker and felt comfortable getting into the van of Cameron Hooker, who was with his wife and baby.
Hooker soon left the main highway and traveled down an isolated road where he put a knife to her throat. When they reached his home, he took her out of the van and into his basement. He then put a blindfold on her, stripped off her clothes, and strung her up by her bound hands, and proceeded to severely beat her. After the beating, Hooker and his wife proceeded to have sex underneath her stung up body.
After that first night, Hooker kept Stan locked in a wooden box under his bed, for 23 hours a day.
When your eyes first open in the morning, it’s usually because your alarm clock is making that awful aaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaa noise. At that moment, you have to decide – do I get up, or do I hit the snooze button? Have you ever wished that life gave us the same kind of signal – some sign that would alert us that we were off course and that we needed to wake up?
The good news is, that life does provide us with a wakeup call, except the alarm isn’t a sound, it’s a feeling. It’s our emotions. When we waltz through life continuing to play out the same dysfunctional scripts from our childhood and we keep making poor choice after poor choice – then we are going to, at some point, find ourselves in the grips of emotional turmoil.
Many people go through life continuing to ignore the obvious signs that something is seriously wrong. Whether you’re going to get up and do something about it, or continue to snooze is entirely within your control.
How well do you know your partner? Your best friend? Neighbor? Brother or sister-in-law? How well do we really know anyone? How many times have you heard yourself say, “Oh no, he/she would never do anything like that?“ And what degree of certainty would you place on your assumption? We all think we are pretty good judges of character. We would all know if someone in our circle was kinda ‘off,’ right?
I love those real crime shows like 48 Hours, Dateline, Forensic Files and 20/20. I love the way they lay out the evidence, so one minute you think the perpetrator is this person, but the next minute, it could be someone else. For all of us amateur detectives we’re able to use logic and reason and our gut instincts to come to our own conclusions. Most of us watch these kind of shows because we want, better yet, we need to understand what drives a person to commit such heinous acts.
The most common theme for murder on these shows is a spouse murdering their partner for money, a new lover, or both. It’s unfathomable to us how someone could justify killing the one person, they should love the most, for selfish gain. It’s like they perceive this person as their personal object, a toy that they no longer want to play with, that they are free to discard at any time, and in any manner they see fit. Another common theme is, the jilted lover, who comes back to exact his/her revenge by murdering the object of their fury. In this scenario it’s your life for my wounded pride.
Human beings are a lot less complicated than you might think . The great motivators for most people, are the desire for survival, sex and love, and power and money. There are other motivators too, like revenge, but usually when you find change, it’s being driven by one of these.
Introspection is the ability to look deep inside and examine your own feelings, thoughts and motives. It’s necessary for growth and change. Surprisingly, not everyone can do introspection. Many either lack the ability, or the desire.
When we don’t look inside at what drives us and others, you’ll feel a sense of disconnect and a separateness that makes us feel alone. Not being in touch with ourselves, can keep us stuck and in a state of denial.
For most of my life I didn’t do introspection. I walked around believing that I was a normal girl, from a normal family, doing normal things and I believed that in my relationships, I was the normal one, I just always seemed to pick the wrong men. I even remember throwing around
“It does give you an extra bit of a thrill. It’s forbidden, so it feels a bit more naughty and erotic, which makes it so much harder to resist.” – Chantelle The Other Woman (TOW)
In our minds, the other woman is a mysterious femme fatal, who uses her whiles to manipulate and connive. The other woman is a thief and when she seduces your man, she has stolen so much more than your partner. She’s taken your self-esteem, your future and your sense of security, peace and justice and in return, she’s given you gut wrenching heartache, humiliation, jealousy, rage and crippling fear.
We love to hate the other woman. It’s easy to hate her. What is surprising is how we are able to brush aside our mate’s indiscretion and make her the focus of our malcontent. We do that because a part of us expects it from men, the other part wants to believe that he is a victim too, that he wouldn’t purposely betray us. She must have done something, promised him something or seduced him somehow. She has cast a spell or some kind of a web, that he just couldn’t free himself from. She used her sexuality to coerce him into doing things he wouldn’t normally do. She should know better and she’s broken the sister code, so it’s all her fault. She knows the vulnerability of his biology, and for all these reasons we save most of our outrage for her.
“I liked the feeling of being chosen over someone else. I really wasn’t thinking about his wife, or her feelings. I was just thinking about how I felt and when he wanted me, I felt really good.” – Jessie -The Other Woman (TOW)
We all want our relationships to workout. We’ve all grown up with the adages that relationships require work, compromise and sacrifice. The problem many of us have is knowing when to keep fighting and knowing when it’s time to let go and move on.
De-coupling can be complicated and scary. Certainly there is a great deal of fear and uncertainty involved, but staying together when you are both deliriously unhappy has equally negative repercussions.
Staying with someone, for reasons other than love, commitment and happiness, stops you from living a full authentic life. For one, it means that you’ve accepted that the romantic aspect of your life will remain unfulfilled and that there will be an absence of intimacy for the rest of your days.
Your home is supposed to be your castle – the one place where you feel safe and comfortable. It’s supposed to be the place where you want to be – your sanctuary but, if you live in a hostile environment, you won’t get through without battle scars.
When the person closest to you treats you like an enemy – what does that do to your self-esteem?
When the one person that should love you the most doesn’t – how do we explain it to ourselves or others?
Imagine for a moment, that you were an emotional predator and that, in order for you to just feel normal, you needed people to like you and to want you. You’ve got to con your way into your target’s life, heart and/or bed, in order to obtain this objective, and you need to do so quickly and with the least amount of effort. What would you do? Where would you go to achieve this?
Online dating sites are ripe with emotional manipulators. At the touch of a button, you can sort through a myriad of profiles, just like you would leaf through a catalogue. And at the same time, you can create your own profile, whose sole purpose is to attract as many prey as possible. In this imaginary online world, you can lie about your age, your profession, your income, your education, your likes and dislikes and if you’re a somatic Narcissist you can even post muscled body pics, or highly provocative cleavage shots, for just the right effect.
“I typed in the nickname he uses on his Xbox and social media accounts. This search led me to his profile on the free dating site, Plenty of Fish…his profile was filled with so many
The whole concept of forgiveness sounds like a huge cliché doesn’t it? Somehow, by some stroke of magic, forgiving someone, who has done you a terrible wrong, is supposed to make you feel better. That sentiment has always sounded a little ridiculous to me.
We’re probably all familiar with Buddha’s famous quote, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
That sounds logical in principal, but the reality of giving someone a free pass after they hurt you, just doesn’t sit well with a lot of us. It’s like saying, “You know what – it’s all good. Don’t worry about it. It’s just my feelings, my life, my self-esteem and my heart that you crushed – but hey – no biggie.” I would equate that with the doormat-like behavior I’ve fought so hard to get away from.
Forgiveness just doesn’t seem to give a sense of empowerment. The whole idea of it makes a lot of people mad, because you know what? Hurting me – is a big deal – it’s not all good – and there should be some sort of universal justice that holds people accountable.
“Are you sitting down?”
“Yes,” I said. “What’s up?”
“I logged into Pete’s Ipad and I found all these email addresses that I didn’t know he had.”
“Ohhhhh. I don’t like where this is going.” I replied.
“The emails are linked to all these dating websites. He was not only talking to other women online, but he was meeting up with them. There are emails making plans to hook up and then emails afterwards, saying how hot it was. And they go back to before we got married. He’s been cheating the whole time.”
This was the phone call I got this week from a dear friend of mine, pretty much verbatim. I felt sick after I hung up. Sick at the feelings that I knew my friend was going through and sick at the fact that her partner Pete, had fooled us all.
After my break-up many, many years ago, I accidently-on-purpose, came across the Facebook profile of my ex’s new woman. I remember at that moment turning into Joan Rivers, “What a hideous troll beast- oh gag me with a spoon- what is he thinking – how on God’s green earth did he choose her over me? Can we talk?”
Then I saw pictures of them together. They were both smiling and they looked really happy and in love. There were pictures of them hugging, you know the ones where their foreheads are touching – the ones that look so sweet and deeply intimate. There were even pictures of her hugging his mother – his mother….the same woman, who months earlier, thought of me as her daughter-in-law. I was beyond consolable. All I kept thinking about was how easy it was for him to replace me and ho
I love the metamorphic dance of the butterfly. From slow, awkward, unattractive, caterpillar to elegant, graceful, beautiful, butterfly. This dance is symbolic, illustrating our deep desire to shed the things that hold us back, spread our wings and take flight. It’s our collective hope, that we can start from where we are, and transform into our true potential. It can also represent a type of awakening, after a long slumber, or even a rebirth.
Many people walk through life asleep, never questioning what is, never aspiring to be more, or to grow. These people go through the motions and just accept what is. They are the walking dead. I know they exist, because I was one of them.
My deep slumber was the time that I had abandoned myself, when my life became all about someone else. I had forgotten about the little joys in life, the things that gave me pleasure and I had completely forgotten about all of the things my soul craved for its own growth and happiness. Those were dark times, when I lived in a fog, almost like something else had taken over my body. It felt foreign and unnatural, but little by little it was who I became.
The post-date analysis was one of my favorite pastimes. It was a special time, when my girlfriends and I would get together, usually over a meal, or coffee and we’d laugh about what colossal dating faux pas Savannah made this time. Throughout my various stages of emotional health, I have blundered my way through oodles of men, chalking up one epic dating failure after another, enough to supply RomCom writers with copious amounts of material for decades.
Through it all I have laughed, I have cried, but most importantly I learned. I’ve learned how to discern what certain behaviors and patterns mean, what to watch out for, when to proceed and when to climb out the bathroom window. I know many of you are absolutely terrified at the prospect of dating and you’ve asked for a few tips, so I’ve compiled a few of my many hard learned lessons, to hopefully prepare you better and alleviate some of your anxiety. My first suggestion though, is to grab a pen and paper and write down exactly what you’re looking for in a partner. When you’ve got it out there – it means you’ve given it some thought, it’s in your conscious mind and you are more apt to notice it when it comes waltzing past you. So, without further ado:
Dating is tough, even at the best of times, but when you’re trying to get back out there, after an abusive relationship with a Narcissist, it can seem like a daunting task. Through various emails and comments I’ve received, it seems that many of us are sharing the same, post Narcissist dating experiences and the process is leaving many, feeling upset, frustrated and fearful.
Many months after my relationship ended with a boomerang Narcissist, I decided that I was ready to date again. I had read a ton of books, was seeing a therapist and I looked and felt great. I met a wonderful guy. He was attractive, had his own house, good job, seemed emotionally healthy and treated me better than anyone had ever treated me. I should have been on cloud nine, but I wasn’t. I remember sitting at home crying, missing my Narcissist and I kept wondering, why he couldn’t treat me that way and why I didn’t have the same feelings for my new Mr Wonderful.
My cousin is the type of woman that always has a man, or it’s probably better to say, she’s the type of woman that always ‘needs ‘ to have a man and unfortunately for her, each man, seems to be worse, than the man before.
When we were younger, she used to ‘woohoo’ out the car window at men on the street and sometimes she would even yell out where we were going to perfect strangers. I would always duck out of sight, in sheer embarrassment, to me it reeked of desperation and crudeness, but she could pick up a guy on a dime. She was that um…. ‘talented.’ But the problem was that the guys she would hook up with were always a different brand of broken down. They would move way too fast and would even be living together before I saw her next.
Alisa Valdes was living the dream. She did her undergrad at Berkley and received her Masters of Journalism at Columbia. She landed columns writing for The Boston Globe and later The Los Angeles Times. Her first novel The Dirty Girls Social Club was a huge success and landed her on the New York Times Best Sellers List. She was voted one of the top feminist writers under 30, by Ms Magazine and was even highly touted by feminist icon, Gloria Steinem. By all accounts Valdes’s career had taken off and the future was looking pretty bright…that is of course until she met him.
In 2013 Valdes released a memoir entitled The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story.
This memoir depicts the real life romance between Valdes and a rancher named Steve Lane. In it, she discusses the joy she found submitting to this alpha-male, which caused this feminist to make statements such as:
“Never expect anything; instead win him over ‘by giving and giving and giving until it hurts.”
“If an alpha-male cheats, let him. I would share him if I had to.”
We’ve all had break-up moments that we aren’t particularly proud of. You know, those scenes where we left the house, but forgot to take our dignity with us, those cringe-worthy moments where our behavior was, well….less than stellar.
Getting dumped hurts and if you’ve been unceremoniously tossed out on your backside, without a how do you do, and the person that ripped your heart out, trots off with someone else, it can stir up a lot of emotions.
You’re dealing with heartbreak, fear, abandonment, jealousy, betrayal, anger, outrage, indignation and all of these feelings are causing the ‘I’m not good enough monster’ to tear up your town in a Godzilla like fashion.
Dating is like investing in the stock market. We want to get the best possible return on our investment, so we want to be informed and make the right decisions.
We can do some insider trading, by getting info from previous partners and we can do our due diligence and research the product, so that you can make the most educated decisions possible, but the bottom line is, every time you invest your emotional currency in a relationship, there is an element of chance and it is always going to be a gamble. What most people should be doing is learning how to minimize risk.
After my long-term Narcissist and I broke up, I spent about a year and a half on self-improvement. I was looking and feeling pretty good and I decided that it was time to get back up on the ole dating horse. I learned a lot in that year about myself and particularly about my dating habits. It seemed that I kept attracting the same type of guy over and over again and I couldn’t help but wonder, what was going on and if this was a coincidence.
That year my dating history looked like this:
Guy #1 – The date was a total disaster. I talked about my ex the whole time. Relationship duration: 1 date.
Guy #2 – The guy was totally buff, 6’3, muscles everywhere, nice clothes, nice car, good job. He swept me off of my feet and I was hooked. He started to blow hot and cold. I didn’t hear from him one weekend, then the next he was fixing his c
Your behavior, the days and weeks following a breakup with a Narcissist, sets the tone for the rest of your life. It is at this stage that you make the choice, whether or not, you will treat yourself with respect, or send your dignity down the river. If you were the one that initiated the break up, you will ride the feelings of empowerment for a while, but like most emotions they are fleeting and eventually unwanted thoughts begin to creep in.
It’s here that you are faced with a giant truth, that the object of your obsession will no longer be a part of your life. The sorrow, remorse, fear, panic and doubt become overwhelming, because for so long the Narcissist in your life has been the center of your Universe and now there is an enormous, gaping void where they once stood.
When I choose a blog topic I usually get my ideas from reader emails, research, books that I’ve read, or experiences that I’ve had. This week something interesting happened and I got to kill two birds with one stone.
It was cold and damp on Thursday evening and I decided to make my way to the local coffee house. I had a ton of reading to do and I had been stuck indoors all day, so I decided that I needed a change of scenery and a delicious, warm frothy beverage.
So, as I’m waiting in line for my Caramel Macchiato I spotted him. Sitting in a big comfy chair there he was, Max
Not long ago, an acquaintance of mine ended a ten year relationship. The union was toxic and unhealthy and she had been exhibiting co-dependent behaviors for some time. She took on all of the responsibility, while he contributed almost nothing emotionally and financially. So after much thought, she decided to end it.
The break up was a long time coming, but what shocked me was that within a week, both of them were involved with other people. Infidelity was not the cause of the break up, but they were both behaving like being single was a disease and they needed a cure fast.
The late eighteenth century was ripe with Revolutions. There was an American Revolution and a French Revolution and even today, citizens of many Middle Eastern countries have banded together to topple oppressive governments. A revolt usually happens when people are forced to live in unjust, unfair and oppressive conditions, where their voices aren’t heard, their civil rights – non-existent and poverty and famine are often the norm. A revolt starts by one person standing up and saying, “I’m not going to live like this anymore.” They take a stand and leap into action.
In our own lives, in the21st century, many of us have grown up in and continue to live in unfair, unjust and oppressive conditions, where our needs and wants don’t matter, our voices go unheard and we are starving for approval, love, purpose and the knowledge that we are good enough and that we matter.
In relationships, intensity can be defined as a measure or degree of emotional excitement. High intensity relationships are formed when there is high risk and high drama. Also present is a high level of uncertainty and opportunity for either high reward, or high loss.
When we enter into relationships with Narcissists, Psychopaths and Emotionally Unavailable people, there is always an element of danger and unpredictability. These types are shrouded in mystery and cloaked in charisma.
Exploitation usually begins with a promise. This promise can be explicitly expressed, or it can be simply implied. Patrick Carnes, author of Betrayal Bonds tells us that, “Those who (exploit) read their victims well. They appeal to the emptiness and the wounds of others. “
The promise is a lure and its purpose is to provide the victim with all that is missing from their lives. If the victim feels unlovable, the abuser will use love bomb tactics, giving almost more attention and admiration than they feel comfortable with. Those victims that come from families where neglect was present and where emotions and affection was not frequently available are particularly susceptible to the attention and emotions that are evoked with such an onslaught.
In Stockholm Sweden, in 1973 a man entered a bank and took 4 bank employees hostage. He forced the employees into the vault at gun point and gave his demands to police. After a siege of about 6 days, police fired tear gas into the bank, which allowed them to free the hostages and arrest the bank robber. It is alleged that one of the hostages continued a relationship with the bank robber and after he served his ten year sentence they became engaged.
Janet met Jeff in 2005. After a world wind courtship, they quickly moved in together. Almost immediately afterword, Janet noticed a change in Jeff. The man, who had once been so free with his compliments and kindness, was now obsessively cruel and critical. According to Janet, Jeff started a reign of terror, flying into rages when things didn’t go his way. He continued to demean, humiliate and verbally assault her at almost every turn. His verbal assault soon escalated into physical abuse. He isolated her from family and friends and blamed her for all the misery in his life. When the physical abuse first started she left him, but after repeated reassurances from him that it wouldn’t happen again and grandiose displays of remorse, she relented and moved back in with him. The pattern of abuse, followed by periods of remorse continued and Janet now has 2 children and remains in the relationship.
Empowerment is a difficult concept to define. For me, empowerment means strength, courage, will, determination, confidence, autonomy and freedom, but mostly, empowerment is about control.
So many women enter into relationships and freely give away their power. For a Narcissist, power over another is what they covet most. Through well-honed techniques, a Narcissist has an uncanny ability, to slowly and methodically, siphon an individual’s personal power.
When one is powerless they become dependent, weak, fearful, self-loathing, lacking in confidence and self-respect. Powerless people are more likely to be victimized, feel trapped and catatonic.
The holidays are a great occasion to spend time with family, friends and loved ones, but they can also be a time of great loneliness, emotional despair and temptation.
Watching other couples bask in their festive glow, being merry and exchanging gifts, can be pretty heart wrenching, especially when you are all alone and nursing your emotional wounds.
It’s at this time, that what we want most of all, is to have someone that cares about us and someone to spend the holidays with. Everyone wants to be missed and have someone thinking about them.
A lot of people stay in unhealthy relationships because they have developed a belief that they can’t get another mate. They believe that being with someone is better than being alone, even if that someone mistreats them and adds nothing of value to their lives.
Back in the days of our great grandparents, couples generally tended to stay together. The morals, customs and religious beliefs of their era kept marriages intact. Many women feared having children out of wedlock, causing a scandal, or of being an old maid. Most were uneducated and unemployed, remaining at home to take care of the family. They did not have their own financial resources and quite literally didn’t have any other option. From a cultural and religious perspective when you made your choice of mate, you were stuck with it, whether or not it was a good one.
A lot of people drift in and out of relationships without any preexisting expectations. Our expectations are our standards and when our standards are low, or we set the bar knee high, then any Tom, Dick or Narcissist can waltz on over and create all kinds of emotional havoc in our lives.
In the biographies of many of the most successful people in the world, most of them talk about their humble beginnings. Some were homeless, or living in their cars and were living way below what they were capable of. It wasn’t until they flipped a switch, or they just said enough, that their lives began to change. What they say that changed for them, was that they began to expect more from themselves and more from others.
A few days ago I had one of those eerie ‘synchronicity’ experiences. I was contacted by a clinically diagnosed Psychopath and later that same day I turned on my TV and the movie American Psychopath was on. The next day, I went to the book store, to buy a book on recovery from emotional trauma, for research on an upcoming blog.
I found the book I was looking for, stepped over a few feet and propped my elbow up on a shelf, to leaf through it. As I did, I knocked a book onto the floor. I picked it up and looked at the title – The Wisdom of Psychopaths, by Kevin Dutton. I scoffed at the word wisdom and put it back on the shelf. I walked to another part of the bookstore, with my recovery book in hand and everywhere I seemed to look, I saw the word Psychopath. I looked at a few other books, but I couldn’t ignore this voice in my head that was now screaming – you need to read this book – what else do I have to do, hit you with it? So I bought it.
This past weekend I was driving home late at night. The moon was huge and bright. The streets were quiet and there was barely a car on the road. As I continued on my journey, I felt really good. Really, really good. In fact, I was beaming happiness. I felt like everything in my life was unfolding exactly as it should. I felt entirely stable, at peace, empowered and fully in control of my life.
I reminisced about my past relationships. I’ve been involved with a long term cerebral Narcissist, I’ve had a slew of boomerang somatic Narcissists and even a Psychopath. Never in any of my relationships did I ever feel as good as I feel now.
Around this time two years ago, was my very last Narcissist encounter. I was struggling to hang on to a boomerang Narcissist. I remember feeling so much heartache. I would wake up hurting. I would hurt throughout the day and I would go to sleep hurting and missing him. I was desperately hoping for a nugget of his attention, just something that showed me he cared. But as always I’d get a ton of mixed signals, into me one minute and gone the next.
We all have that little voice inside of us that feeds us thoughts about how we are lacking and not good enough. This voice has become an expertly skilled detective, that is always looking for clues to prove its case.
I get a lot of emails from readers describing how horrible their relationships were, but they are devastated now that their former partner is with someone else.
We always want to know – is he different with her? Does he treat her better than me? Is he happier with her?
We want to know the answers to these questions, because if the answer is yes, then our little detective can put that information in the evidence pile, that it was our fault thus proving that we aren’t good enough.
There is so much attention given to spotting a Narcissist and whether, or not, you might be involved with one. But there is a much more accurate barometer, and that is – our own behavior.
When you’re involved with a compulsively dishonest, egomaniac, their behavior sets off a chain reaction, which causes us to behave in equally unhealthy and neurotic ways.
Trying to maneuver through all the curves and road blocks of a Narcissistic relationship, puts us constantly on edge and in a perpetually confused and anxious mental state. This negative state clouds our judgment and hinders our ability to analyze situations properly and make logical decisions.
When we start behaving in a manner that is out of character for us, that is a huge glowing, flashing red flag that something is seriously wrong. The behavior we exhibit at any given time, is generally based on whatever emotional state we are in. When we are constantly off balance, how we react, our choices and decision making skills, will reflect that negative emotional state.
“Step into my parlor,” said the spider to the fly – is the opening line of a well-known poem by Mary Howett. The poem is a cautionary tale against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their true evil intentions.
This week I have received an all-time high amount of emails from people, who have expressed all of the horrendous experiences they’ve had with their Narcissist, but they all end it with either, “but he said he loves me,” or “but I still love him.”
But He Says He Loves Me
If I wanted to catch a mouse I wouldn’t use vinegar, I would probably use something that would attract the mouse, something it likes to consume. That’s a no-brainer right? So if I was a pathological, manipulating, egomaniac and I wanted to draw you in and keep you in, am I not going to say whatever I have to say, to get what I want?
Once upon a time you felt like Cinderella. Your Prince Charming made you feel special and so happy, that is until of course, you found out about Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and that trampy blonde Smurf down the street.
It seemed like one minute, you were both consumed and in the midst of a love for the ages, and now he stands you up, ignores your calls and texts and you’re starting to feel like you’re annoying him.
You’ve become an emotional basket case. You’re obsessed and you can’t get him out of your mind. You’re cyber stalking him for any tidbits of information and all you see is her. His new target.
Detachment is the process of letting go. It’s when we start to see things from a different perspective. When the fears and emotions that have paralyzed us, no longer have the same power and when we start to see things the way they really are and not the way we wish them to be.
If you’ve been involved with a Narcissist, you have likely been doubting what your senses have been telling you. You have invested so much and to walk away without a return on your investment seems unfathomable.
Our egos have an especially hard time processing the fact, that after everything we’ve said and done, all the hoops we’ve jumped through, all the sacrifices and all of the bad behavior that we have tolerated and still, we can’t get this person to love us and give us the relationship that we want.
It’s a lot simpler to accept the idea that there is something wrong with us, than to accept the idea that there are actually people out there that are incapable of love and intimacy.
A few years back, I went through a major life crisis. My mother was fatally injured in a car accident and within a few short weeks of that, I had lost everything. I had no parents, no partner, no home, no car, no job and no friends. All of the things that make a person feel safe and secure were gone and I was in no man’s land. It felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under me and I sank into a deep depression.
During my struggle I travelled alone to South America and I stayed there for a long time. I learned to speak Spanish, I climbed the Andes and I tried to do anything and everything to make the pain bearable. Upon my return I immediately left for an Orthodox Monastery in Michigan and spent a few days with the most holy men I have ever met. Depression was new to me. I’ve always been a happy-go-lucky kind of person, but this experience, as horrific as it was, started me on a path of deep soul searching. I needed answers to how my life got so far off track and why I was so miserably unhappy.
Being caught in the haze of a Narcissistic relationship is being in a state of denial. It’s relative obliviousness to the subtle manipulations of a seasoned predator.
It’s a slow and subtle form of brain washing, where you know that you are unhappy and that feeling in your gut is telling you something isn’t right, but it’s also your lack of willingness to acknowledge it, or do anything about it. This haze makes us catatonic, unable to move and it brings us feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness.
I felt compelled to write on this subject, as I’ve received several emails from women this past week, describing how the light of truth is just starting to dawn on their relationship, how they’ve been caught in this funk for years, decades even, but they’ve been unable to describe it or put a name to it, or even dare to escape from it.
A man with a hard luck story and a broken wing is irresistible to a lot of women. Perhaps, it’s because we are hard wired to be nurturers and caretakers, or perhaps, the broken wing we see in others is a mirror of our own pain and need for comforting.
Not too many people come out of childhood emotionally unscathed. We all have some issue or another that shapes our current perception and behaviours. Sometimes the dysfunction is overt and obvious and sometimes it takes a while to see it in another. But we can prepare ourselves by understanding what drives and motivates another’s behaviours so that we don’t fall victim to it.
Boundaries are more than just lines on a map. In relationships, they are mandatory codes of conduct that need to be respected. It’s where we draw the line on what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
It’s a fact that you teach people how to treat you and whether it’s with family, friends, co-workers, or lovers, everyone must have boundaries. They are necessary because, well let’s face it, not everyone is playing with the same moral deck. There are a lot of very unhealthy people out there, who make a habit of projecting their issue
For much of my life I believed that relationships hurt. I thought that love equaled pain, because when I was in love, it always ended up hurting. Somewhere, subconsciously, I believed that that’s how you knew you were in love – it hurt.
Not surprisingly, most if not all of my relationships, ended with me feeling that way, regardless of who did the leaving. Heartache was always my default setting and it went with me everywhere I went.
I had a reader tell me that a man she had dated had come back into her life. Years ago, this man moved into her home, never paid a dime in rent and never worked a day that they were together. He wasn’t kind to her two children so they left and moved in with her ex-husband. He wanted a new vehicle, but he had bad credit, so he got her to sign a 5 year lease on an SUV for him and within months, he cheated on her and left her for another woman. And now he’s back acting like nothing ever happened and she’s wondering why he’s back and what to do next.
The biggest mistake a lot of women make is they stick around way too long in their relationships. Many people absolutely dread the idea of breaking up and moving on, instead they prefer to hang on like the proverbial dog with a bone.
Often we get stuck thinking, no one else will want us, or we convince ourselves that we won’t feel the same way about someone else, or perhaps we are financially dependent, but the price we pay for being involved with someone who continually mistreats us, is our self-esteem.
If you have been involved with a Narcissist, an addict, someone with a compulsive disorder or anyone with emotional or psychological issues, you are about to have an Oprah Winfrey sized Ah-ha moment.
Many of you will see the word Co-Dependent and think, “I’m not an addict, this isn’t about me,” and you’d be wrong. If you are involved with these types of men, by the end of this post you will view things in a whole new light, you may just see yourself and your behavior. In the words that follow you will begin to have an understanding of yourself, your relationship and your life that has alluded you till now.
I get a lot of emails from people that are confused about the mixed signals they receive from men in relationships. The hot and cold behaviours usually leave them unsure as to whether or not they are actually involved with a Narcissist. We have to be careful not to paint everyone with the Narcissistic brush, as even healthy relationships do have their ups and downs, but there are some pretty easy telltale signs.
You know you’re involved with a Narcissist when they exhibit several of the following behaviours:
When we get rejected, treated poorly, or someone blows hot and cold in a relationship with us, we often become stuck and fixated on that person. We become convinced that we’re in love and we try over and over again to prove ourselves, to show the objects of our affection, that we are worthy of their love and attention.
We often don’t recognize that the reason someone isn’t interested in us may have absolutely nothing to do with us at all. We tend to internalize the rejection that it must be because we’ve been seen, evaluated and judged, as not good enough and that they are no longer interested.
There is nothing more tantalizing to a woman than the prospect of being the one who succeeds, where all others have failed. To reach the heart of an unreachable, reluctant man and have him fall madly in love with us, change his ways and give us the relationship we’ve always dreamed of. This is so enticing to so many of us because if we win, if we get to go where no other woman has gone before, then we get the validation that we all seek – that there must be something pretty special and irresistible about us.
Hollywood is full of such tales. Just about every Rom Com you watch begins with an Emotionally Unavailable, shady, or Narcissistic male, treating the woman in his life like garbage. Then, enter the heroine and you get two hours of how they stumble through various scenarios, until he eventually realizes that she’s the one, he gets his act together and they ride off into the sunset of wedded bliss.
Many women, while on a first date with a man, are often already picturing the wedding in their heads, before dessert even arrives. If they feel that illusive chemistry, they are so quick to open up before taking the much needed time to actually get to know someone.
You wouldn’t let a stranger into your house and give them carte blanche with all of your stuff and you wouldn’t give them total access to your bank account, just because you thought they were attractive. So why do so many of us not take the same precautions when it comes to dating and relationships?
You’ve just met someone and you are on top of the world. You’re being lavished with excessive amounts of attention and you’ve never been pursued quite like this before, so it must be love and you are hooked. But then something happens days or weeks into the chase. Your Prince Charming’s red hot pursuit has turned into an icy cold retreat and you are left wondering what the hell you did wrong.
After some time has passed your Prince resurfaces offering little or no explanation or apology. As you start to look back on your relationship, you realize that you were sped through the early stages of the dating process. The relationship is all on his terms, you’re not sure when you will hear from him again and you communicate and hook up only when he wants to. You’re starting to see all of his promises go unfulfilled and his words never match his actions. You are confused and can’t fathom why one day you were treated like a princess and the next day you’re gum on the bottom of his shoe, but you keep hoping the prince will show up again and give you the relationship that you want.