Doubt is like the rude uninvited guest that keeps showing up to your party. It’s the rain on your parade. It has the power to completely overhaul your plans, what actions you take and to keep you stuck replaying the same tapes over and over again.
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
Addiction: a persistent, compulsive dependence on, or commitment to, a habit or practice, on a thing or substance, to the extent that its cessation causes trauma.
There are many definitions of addiction, but bottom line, it’s a dependence on something that causes one to have compulsive thoughts and behaviors, which they cannot control or stop.
Individuals can be addicted to many things such as, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, food, gambling, sex, but when we are talking about an addiction to a person, we usually use the word obsession. When researches study addiction they often refer to certain neurotransmitters being present in the brain, or certain areas of the brain lighting up, or becoming visible on tests. At present there are no known studies to determine if the same brain patterns exist for an addiction to a person.
I was recently doing some research on addiction, for another publication, when I stumbled across something that fascinated me.
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.”
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.
I hate myself. I am flawed. I am unworthy. No one will ever love me and I will never be good enough. These were the beliefs that I carried around with me for most of my life. This cloak of self-loathing was fastened so tightly around my neck, that I could never get it off. It was always with me as far back as I can remember, so wearing it felt quite normal. It was a gift, or more like a curse, that was passed down from generation to generation in my family.
When I was a newborn I was good enough. When I was a toddler I was good enough, but somewhere around the time that I had learned to speak and form sentences, I kept getting the message that I was not good enough. It was with me in adolescence. It became more than apparent as I started dating and when I reached adulthood, every time I pulled up to life’s feast, I would take a few crumbs from the table and pretend that I was full. Everyone around me had plates piled high with delicious delicacies, but never me. Other people were worthy of such things, I was not. So I accepted the crumbs I got in my relationships and I pretended that that was enough. I accepted the crumbs from my employer and I pretended that that was enough. All I ever got or expected were crumbs and I was starving for something more.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve received a lot of queries lately from people asking how they can get revenge against their Narcissist that left them. When people are angry and hurting and they realize that they’ve been duped, lied to and manipulated, it’s normal to want the person responsible to feel what you’re feeling.
One of the most difficult things to cope with is watching the one that hurt you, trot off unscathed, while you are left writhing in agony. While it may look rosy from where he’s standing, keep in mind that while you have the ability to grow and become a better person, your Narcissist does not. So before you start plotting out a method of revenge there are a few things you should consider.
“Know thine enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.” Chinese General Sun Tzu.
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.
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
Think of a Narcissist like a hoarder. In the same way that a hoarder finds comfort collecting objects a Narcissist gains comfort collecting people. They don’t trouble themselves with mundane things, like right or wrong, or other people’s feelings. To him, people are objects. To a Narcissist you are either Narcissistic Supply, Potential Supply or you’re nothing.
A Narcissist requires excessive amounts of attention and admiration. Consequently, he accumulates an assortment of people (Narcissistic Supply) he can turn to whenever he has a need for them. These people, also
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.
I get a lot of emails asking the same question, “It’s all well and good to say we determine our own worth and we are responsible for our own self-esteem, but _____happened to me. How does somebody just snap out of it and start to feel good about themselves after so much bad has happened?”
People are always looking for a quick, magical solution, that will instantly make them better. As I grow and I acquire more and more experiences, I’ve come to learn that like most other things in life – learning to love yourself is a process. For me, I had reached a point where I didn’t like how I was feeling every day. I wanted to feel happy all the time. I wanted peace all
Breaking up hurts. Rejection on any level sucks, no matter how you slice it.
Most people recognize that relationships end for all sorts of reasons. Some are nasty, some are amicable and some are mutual. But they generally follow the same pattern – relationship ends, one or both parties grieve and then move on.
Getting over a relationship with a Narcissist is a much different kettle of fish. Depending upon the duration, the impact of such a union could have profound emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical and even financial effects on its victims.