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 car…. I broke up with him. He went into a rage and scared the crap out of me. (Narcissism was not in my everyday vernacular then) We got back together and broke up 3 times. Relationship duration: 2.5 months.
Guy #3 – He was attractive but still in love with his ex. He was emotionally unavailable and talked about her the whole time. Date duration: 1 date.
Guy#4 – He was funny, cute and charming. He blew hot and cold. He was very clingy when I seemed not interested and very distant when I was interested. He was always on the hunt for other girls, showed no empathy when he hurt me, very sexually aggressive, cared only about his needs. Relationship duration: 4 months with a lot of hook ups after that.
Guy#5 – A total loser and I didn’t even care what his issues were. Relationship duration: 1 date.
Guy#6 – We had instant chemistry and were making out over dinner on our first date. One night stand and I never heard from him again, until of course about a year later. Date Duration: 1 date.
Guy #7 – Super sweet, super nice. He had all his shit together and seemed to really like me. I was terrified and really uncomfortable around men that were actually interested in me, so I made up an excuse to break up with him. Relationship duration 4 weeks.
Guy#8 – Gorgeous, buff, 6’4 – swept me off my feet. I fell hard, really hard. He blew hot and cold. Was dating other women behind my back. Told me everything I wanted to hear, future faked. Used the I love you and I miss you phrases constantly. Took everything, gave nothing. Totally devastated me again and again. A total Narcissist. Relationship duration: On and off for 3 years.
So to recap: After ending a long, torturous relationship with a cerebral narcissist, I began dating again and met 8 men in the first year. Five of which were potentially Narcissists (3 definitely), 1 emotionally available man and 1 nice guy.
While I had put in a tremendous amount of time improving my exterior, my interior remained relatively the same. I was still walking around with the belief that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t worthy of love and consequently 7/8ths of the men I dated treated me as such and all of the ones I chose to have a relationship with, left me in pain, feeling used and bad about myself. This couldn’t be a coincidence, something else was going on, but what?
Neural Connections and Pathways
Our brain is truly a miraculous machine. In previous blogs we’ve discussed how our brain makes connections and forms neural pathways. As we use them, these neural pathways get stronger and stronger. When we stop using a neural pathway, it becomes weak, disconnects and makes a new connection.
Our brain likes to form connections. It does it effortlessly and without our conscious awareness. For instance, if I say the word breast – if you’re a woman and you hate your breasts, your brain may be thinking words like, ugly, saggy, too big, or too small. Or if I say hips, thighs, upper arms, tummy… what is your brain thinking? Is it thinking fat, flabby, I hate that, gross, too big,…..whatever it’s thinking, that is the connection that your brain has associated with your body.
What if I say the word work? If you don’t like your job, the connection you’ve made might be, dull, boring, I hate that, unfulfilling, torture… and with all these words/thoughts, comes feelings. It’s the thoughts, plus the feelings you associate with them, that makes the connection.
Let’s say you are minding your own business and Suzy from accounting comes up to you and says, “Nice sweater.” By itself it’s a pretty benign statement, but if last week Suzy made fun of you in front of everyone and really upset and embarrassed you, you might be thinking, “What did she mean by that? Was she mocking me?” And feeling, ‘ Oh I hate that Suzy’ – even if her comment had no connotations attached to it, your brain has already made the, Suzy mocks me and isn’t to be trusted, connection and you will view all future interactions with her with caution.
These connections we make are powerful. They are our thoughts, they are feelings and they are energy. They are these invisible magnetic tentacles that we all walk around with, that are looking for just the right fit. It’s how the Sadist finds the Masochist and how the predator finds its prey. How we think and feel about something is what we continually seek out and what continually seeks us out.
When I was a teenager, my brother had a friend named Vince. Vince was really smart and full of confidence. His dad was a judge and much was expected of him and he expected a lot from himself. He was in law school and was always the life of the party. One day, we all went bowling. He and I were on opposite teams and we were both pretty competitive. He stood in the lane opposite me, bowling ball in hand and said if I make this I am the greatest of all time and you have to bow to me. He steps up, throws the ball and gets a strike – he raises his arms in victory. Then it’s my turn. I said, oh yeah, “this is for all womankind.” I step up and the ball goes straight from my fingertips – right into the gutter.
Now Vince may have had better physical coordination than I. He bowled about as much as I did, which was pretty much never. What made his shot successful was the connection that his brain made with his abilities. It was probably something like this: His beliefs about his abilities = success, victory, the best, confidence, competitive, winner, I can do anything….
Mine on the other hand went like this: My abilities = I can’t do anything right, I’m useless, no one loves me, I am always judged and found lacking….
Vince and I both created that reality by how we thought and how we felt. The lesson here is that seemingly subtle, unimportant, unconscious thoughts and feelings matter. If your brain detects a connection and you are feeling something about it – it’s sending that feeling out there hurdling into space. Esther Hicks calls these rockets of desire. What we think matters and how we feel about what we think matters even more.
The good news is that we can change what we think and what we feel. These changes will make an immediate and powerful difference in the way that our neural net makes connections and forms associations and this in turn will change the vibes we are putting out there into the world.
The key here is that we are making a new neural connection about how we think and feel about ourselves. The more you use a connection, the more travelled and stronger it becomes. So we are making a new highway in your brain. The I90 that used to run from Me City to I’m Not Good Enoughtown is being demolished. We are going to use the I68 now and it goes from Me City to I am Amazingville.
So, in every situation you find yourself being self-deprecating, or feeling bad about yourself, stop immediately. We aren’t using that highway anymore. If someone else tries to make you feel bad about you, stop the car, kick them out and do a U-turn back to I am Amazingville. The goal is to change that instant, unconscious connection and we do that through usage. Once we have successfully changed the connection, what we put out there into the universe will cause ripples of change in the type of people we attract – not just relationships, but also friends, co-workers, even neighbors.
Creating the New Pathway
Take a look in the mirror and say to yourself, “You are so beautiful. I love your eyes, your hair, your skin and everything about you. This body has carried me through my entire life and I love every part of it. I am a good person. I am kind person. I am loving and generous and anyone that is lucky enough to have me in their life, is truly fortunate, because I am a wonderful and loyal friend. I am worthy and I am so deserving of happiness and all of life’s blessings.” Look at yourself and send yourself love and compassion.
As awkward as this may seem, it’s important that you do it every day. Do it in the morning and do it before you go to bed. Constantly give yourself positive messages and feelings. If you ever find yourself being self-deprecating stop – even if you’re only joking, and saying it with a smile. Words create feelings and feelings create the connection.
This methodology works for everything, not just your self-perception. If you are financially strapped and your home, apartment or car reflect poverty and a lack of money, think for a minute about how you feel when you come home to your ugly, crumby apartment, or when you get in your old broken down car. What are you subconsciously telling yourself? How do you feel about it? And what are you putting out there?
You probably feel pretty bad – nobody wants to be broke. And what are you subconsciously saying to yourself? I can’t have what I want. This is cheap and ugly. This is disorganized, cluttered and overwhelming. This is what I deserve. I can’t do any better. I am poor. This makes me unhappy and sad…. The connection we are making here is pretty powerful and it’s bringing to us more things that make us feel this way – an unexpected bill, fewer hours at work, a weekend that was way more than you could afford…
Even if you are poor there are a few things you can do:
Clean your house and car from top to bottom. Unclutter your living area. Buy some nice, soft inexpensive towels for your bathroom. Buy some nice, bright throw cushions for your living room sofa. Bring home some fragrant candles and just enjoy their aroma. Surround yourself with a few simple pleasures, buy yourself the best coffee or tea and as you relax and enjoy it think thoughts like, ‘this is the best, I deserve the best, this is cozy, this make me happy.’
The more we create positive connections, the more positive vibes we send out to the universe. Even these simple changes will vastly improve the type of people and situations that come into your life. When you change your frequency, you will only be in harmony with people that match your new vibration, so give these exercises a try and you will find that your dates will look and feel a lot differently.
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