Codependency is a disease of the self. It’s our own misinterpretation of who we really are and of our significance in the world.
It’s a generational disease handed down from one to the next. It’s what happens when caregivers, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, deliver unhealthy messages and beliefs to
I’m always on the lookout for something that inspires me and moves me into deep thought or action. A lot of things caught my attention this week, so forgive me if this post seems to be lacking a single theme or direction.
Growing up I learned to see the world through a very critical lens. I came by it honestly. It was one of the many gifts my mother had given to me. I thought of myself as a happy person, yet I was skeptical and always expecting the worst. That was the universe that I was creating for myself. One where people and things weren’t to be trusted and that nothing good ever happened to me.
When you have one half of a couple, that takes responsibility for nothing and liberally distributes blame to the other and the other half, that feels responsible for everything and willingly accepts blame, you have a match made in dysfunctional paradise.
For a codependent in a relationship, there comes that inevitable moment where you realize that you have done too much, cared too much and sacrificed too much time, energy, money and emotion. All of it, just to be loved and appreciated, but instead what you’re left feeling is disrespected, foolish, taken advantage of and used.
“If I have seen further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
A mentor is generally someone who gives advice or demonstrates know-how to a younger or less experienced person. They model behaviors that others would like to learn and develop. Our parents are our first mentors. We learn how to do things through their example, be it good or bad.
For those of you who follow Numerology, 2016 was the last year on the current cycle. It was a 9 year, a year of endings and letting go, while 2017 is a 1 year, the start of a new cycle. It’s a year of change and new beginnings. Whether or not you care about Numerology or just have a passing interest, one thing is for certain – the start of a new year gives everyone 365 blank pages in which to write their story.
Christmas day, in my family, consists of the three siblings (me and two of my brothers), a few family friends and our various partners and offspring. With our parents both deceased, we take turns hosting the big day and everyone contributes something to the meal.
T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a narcissist was stirring, not even a text.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that he’d show up – he said he’d be there.
Abusers don’t like boundaries. They hinder their progress in getting what they want. Consequently, they choose their targets very carefully. Children make excellent targets because they don’t have many options, they’re eager to please and require the love and attention of their caregivers. Children of abusers grow up not understanding their worth, or the concept of boundaries in relationships.
“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that are important to you.” – Carl Jung
As a species we need to know that we matter. That we are seen, heard and understood. We want people around us that get us, that make us feel like there is a place where we are welcome and where we fit. We need connection. When these things are absent from our lives we tend to feel disconnected, hollow, uncomfortable, sad, insecure – lonely.
Back in the early days of my journey, every day was painful to get through. I was in a constant state of heartache. Depression had become my best friend and I’d never before known fear that could completely cripple you like that which I was experiencing.
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.
When you’re used to having to work for love you tend to be someone who doesn’t give up too easily. You’ve been trained to believe that just being yourself isn’t good enough, so you get really good at going that extra mile to get people to like you.
Codependency has been described as a dysfunctional relationship with the self. What that means is that the view that we have of ourselves is skewed, both internally and in our interpersonal relationships, because of our early childhood experiences.
“The essence of beauty doesn’t stem from the label on your clothes, the shape of your body, or the color of your skin. It comes from the way you carry yourself and the amount of respect with which you treat yourself. “
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.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt last week. While I am saddened that six children are in the midst of turmoil, I must admit that a small part of me is perversely pleased by this news.
Losing one’s self in a relationship means willfully shedding your own identity, desires and personal goals and instead becoming consumed with the relationship and the needs and desires of the other person in that relationship. This is a common practice for most Codependents.
“A belief is just a thought we keep thinking.” – Esther Hicks
Have you ever gotten into your car and started driving and you fall into, what seems to be a type of trance, then suddenly you arrive at your destination, but you have very little memory of how you actually got there?
My relationship with my long-term Narcissist was awful. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, while he was allowed to frolic around, without a care in the world. Our friends used to joke about how selfish he was. It was so obvious to everyone that everything was always all about him and when he acted like a selfish bastard they would literally
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.
Why can’t I get over this?
Why do I get sucked in every time?
Why do I feel so powerless?
These are the million dollar questions when we’re dealing with abusive relationships. When well-meaning friends or loved ones ask us, “Why don’t you just leave?” Or, “Why can’t you just move on?” We’re kind of stumped ourselves, because we don’t really have an answer that would sound even remotely plausible. We might even reply, “Because I’m a glutton for punishment.” And you wouldn’t be that far off.
When we’re children our quest begins to look for clues and examples of how we fit into our environment and how we match up against others. Even though our ability to correctly interpret the data coming in is immature, we still make our assessment about ourselves based on what we believe we are perceiving. To very small children their parents can seem infallible and if these higher beings find fault with us – well then there must be something wrong with us.
“My biggest pet peeve?” She was asked. “It’s people who create their own problems and then complain about the outcome, while expecting everyone else to fix it.” – Unknown
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.
A big part of how I help others tackle their codependency is by identifying the behaviors that lead to self-sabotage and the fallacies of our early programming. Most of my clients have heard me use the infamous phrase, “That’s your disease talking.” It usually follows a client’s illustration of behaviors where they weren’t loving and respecting themselves, where they were accepting of poor treatment, where they tried to make everything their fault and when they were full of confusion and doubt.
“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
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.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt so emotionally vulnerable that anything that triggered one of your tender spots was going to result in some kind of crazy outburst?
It’s a distinctly different reaction than the common every day passive reaction of most codependents. The inappropriate freak out is a state that I’ve come to think of as somewhere in between a severe codependent reaction
To put yourself first, to actually consider your needs above all else is inconceivable to a lot of people. Take a look at any mom and you’ll see someone who is a martyr, self-sacrificing and the giver of unconditional love.
Watching my friends, who are now mothers, as well as my sister in law, I see very tired women, whose priorities quickly
To have a strategy is to have a plan. A map that clearly indicates how one gets from point A to point B. The majority of people don’t have a strategy for their lives. They go about their business and take each day as it comes.
We know that codependents develop the tendency to put others ahead of themselves. When they are faced with the prospect of having to focus on themselves it becomes a very daunting task, first and foremost because they have little practice doing it. It’s something they avoid and it’s a big part of why they stay in abusive relationships.
For a big part of my life, I hung out on the sidelines, waiting and hoping for that one moment where I would be good enough to actually participate in my own life. I was so full of shame that I couldn’t bear the thought of people looking at me and judging me, even when it came to the most mundane of tasks. It was drummed into me from the moment I could speak that I was imperfect – that there was something wrong with me – that I wasn’t good enough. Other people
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.
For months I had been trying to get my long-term Narcissist to come back to me. After almost 10 years together I was mystified. Nothing I was doing was working. Nothing moved him. Nothing touched him.
I got home really late on Friday. When I pulled into my driveway, at about 1:00am, I noticed a familiar vehicle in front of my neighbor’s house. It belonged to her ex-Narcissist. The same ex-Narcissist that lied, cheated and used her, the same
“Be impeccable with your word,” it’s one of Miguel Ruiz’s principles to creating a happy and balanced life, which he illustrates in his best-selling book, the Four Agreements. I had a number of incidents happen over the last little while that really got me thinking about the importance of keeping your word and why some people don’t.
We’re all guilty of it, we make plans and bow out last minute, giving the lamest of excuses. We’ve said yes when we really wanted to say no. My worst offence, I remember vividly,
A lot of people want to change. They want their lives to get better. They want to leave their bad situation, but they can’t. They come up with myriad of reasons why and what it is that’s stopping them. These reasons seem inconsequential to others, but for the individual they are there, they are real and they can be debilitating.
I went out to dinner with my neighbor recently and the topic of conversation always seems to gravitate to Narcissism and Codependency. I’ve known her for quite some time, she is a lovely person – thoughtful, cheery, considerate and we have great conversations, which to me, is pure gold. A few months back she asked me my opinion of her relationship. It was a typical Narcissistic/Codependent relationship. This was their 4th trip on the merry-go-round. Each time he would end up leaving her for
I used to hold an image of a woman in my mind. She was me, but not me. She was actually, everything that I was not. She was tall and I am not, she was model thin and I was not, stunningly beautiful and I was not, she was talented and everybody loved her and I was unlovable. She was rich and famous and on top of the world
So there I was sitting in my therapist’s office. It was more than a handful of years ago, therapy was something that I would never have considered on my own, but it was a benefit of my post-accident, car insurance plan.
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.
One of the greatest fears victims of Narcissistic abuse have is the fear that their Narcissist will trot off into the sunset with someone else and live happily, ever after. It is, by far, the most common theme in my inbox. I’ve written about this subject before, but the anxiety and fear surrounding this topic makes it one that needs to be revisited.
I love sports. I love them because they are the epitome of human endurance. They exemplify mental toughness and the struggle to overcome our inner battles. Athletes are warriors. They’re battlers and I really dig people that develop their inner fighter. They have something to prove. They have the eye of the tiger, that, I’ll show you, chip on their shoulder. To me those people are more capable of greatness than any other.
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.
I get downright giddy when I see something that I strongly believe in manifest in real life. I never want to wish ill will on someone, but what I witnessed this week reminded me, yet again, of the importance of our emotional energy.
In the initial stages of a break up, it’s incredibly difficult to focus on anything but the pain. So early on, our defense mechanisms will likely be, finding a way to distract, or numb ourselves, from such intense feelings. But once the shock has subsided somewhat, and we’re seeing things a little more clearly, it’s important to heal ourselves from the grief energy that we’ve been holding onto.
A couple weeks back I had dinner with one of my cousins. She recently became aware of my blog and really wanted to talk about it. She and I have a lot in common, the largest being that we both had one emotionally abusive parent. Her father‘s behavior was so outrageous at times, that even as a little girl, I was able to understand that there
“I never would have left.” That’s what I said to my long-term Narcissist, during one of my futile attempts to get him to stay. “I never would have done this.” The scary part is – that was the truth. It didn’t matter how much pain he caused me. It didn’t matter that nothing was about me, or that I had no idea who I was anymore. None of that mattered.
I went to the grocery store last week and as I was loading my food onto the conveyor belt, at the cashier, I felt a very familiar feeling. I made some pretty good food choices that day. I had lots of fruits and vegetables, some protein and I permitted myself to buy something sweet. Just a small one-time snack that would be done in one sitting.
Inside every codependent is a child, who has been mistreated, ignored, hurt, humiliated, frightened, shamed, or abused by parents, who were themselves mistreated, ignored, shamed and abused by their parents. When we were children we did what we knew how to do, in order to survive and to get our needs met. It is this same child that created how we cope, how we react and how we feel about ourselves. It is this child that has been running our lives as adults.
For much of my life I lived in a state of denial. Much of it was created by the Narcissists in my life, but a lot of it was self-induced.
Sometimes denial is just not knowing any better. It’s the state of having doubt, but not having the tools, or the experience to be more discerning.
There are different types of denial. Narcissist Induced Denial, Self-Induced Denial and a Lack of Experience type of Denial.
You can’t help but notice how charming the guy, 5 cubicles down from you, happens to be. He’s been flirting with you for a while now, brought you the muffin that you liked from the coffee place downstairs. He’s sweet, good looking, and smart, why shouldn’t I go out with him? You ask yourself.
Savannah here, many months ago I got an urgent email from a reader, who desperately needed to talk to someone. It was late at night and she was severely distraught. She had been used and abused by someone she loved deeply and was having a really hard time dealing with it. He went through all of her resources. He isolated her from her loved ones, he would disappear for days and weeks on end. But worse, he always made her feel like she was worthless. She was trapped in a cycle of abuse. She didn’t know what to do, or where to turn.
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.”
I remember thinking that there was a secret that everyone else knew except me. I thought once I figured out this secret, then my life would be okay. I would be okay, but despite my best efforts, the answers I was seeking always seemed to elude me.
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.
For many, practicing self-care is a life style change. It means giving up self-destructive habits. It’s a shift in perspective about how you view yourself and it’s adopting a pattern of positive behavior that reflects those perceptions.
Sometimes our hearts haven’t quite caught up to our heads and when you throw a little physiology into the mix, getting over a Narcissist can seem like you’re trapped in a maze, unable to find your way out.
As we mentioned last week, the first thing we have to do to extricate ourselves from our dysfunctional relationship, is to become aware that this relationship is toxic and damaging to our sense of self-worth. That’s the easy part, because for the most part, we know when we’re being disrespected and generally treated poorly. The next few steps have to deal with driving an emotional wedge between our addiction to our Narcissist and ourselves, which will allow us to gain distance and some perspective.
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.
Imagine that you were in a relationship with someone you didn’t love. Imagine that you found this person to be flawed, worthless and just not good enough for you. Now imagine that you couldn’t leave the relationship. You were stuck in it. What kind of relationship would that be? How would it affect your thoughts, your behavior and your everyday life?
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.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” -Iyanla Vanzant
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? ’
I loved my best friend. I still do. I hope that she is happy and thriving in her life. I’m not just saying that to sound evolved, or advanced in some way. I really mean it. I remember fondly the days where we would have long and deep conversations over dinner. I lived for those days. We would talk about
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
I felt stuck and uncomfortable for much of my life and as much as I tried, I couldn’t figure out a way to get unstuck. In many ways the tragic events that happened on the day my mother was killed seem to have been prophetic. It was a culmination of all of my angst that had built up inside of me. The events
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.
Motivation, drive, desire, passion, whatever you want to call it, people have been trying to figure out how to get it and how to harness it for centuries. What makes LeBron so much better than everyone else? What made Payton Manning stay and practice harder and longer to perfect his arm? What made Sidney Crosby shoot pucks into his mother’s clothes dryer all night, while all of his friends were watching TV and playing video games? What makes people work harder to achieve their dreams, while others continue to dwell in mediocrity?
Anxiety is a debilitating disease. It’s those oppressive thoughts and feelings that become so overwhelming that you can barely function, let alone breathe. It is the persistent over examining of every little detail, analyzing then overanalyzing all incoming data, while constantly checking it for slights or wrongs. It’s that tightness in your chest or gut that makes you feel all twisted up inside. It’s the cause of your heart palpitations and your irritability. It’s the voice in your head
“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
We all want to be liked, it’s part of the human condition, but that need can become excessive and unhealthy when it becomes our primary focus. Codependents often have a very strong impulse to please others, especially those that reject them. It’s a unique dynamic where the more someone pulls away from them, the stronger the lure is for the codependent.
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,
“When it comes to relationships I just have two different people inside fighting for supremacy.” – Narcissist
One of the most difficult aspects of recovering from Narcissistic abuse, is having to watch the one that hurt you walk away completely unscathed. Many move on and behave like you and your relationship never even existed, while you are still deeply affected by the trauma. What I try to tell people,
If you don’t initially wish your cheating Narcissist ill will after they’ve left you for another, you are probably among the minority. A lot of us struggle with the betrayal and the hurt. Persistent images of the two of them together are normal and so too, is the fear that they will be happy together and that you will be the one, who is left all alone, wallowing in misery and despair.
“When your eye is always searching for the negative you can’t help but miss much of life’s beauty.” – S. Grey
My mother was the daughter of a Narcissistic father, which meant that she was insulted, humiliated, shamed, blamed and belittled on a daily basis. A habitual need to judge and criticize others became her normal, hearing it and seeing it turned into doing it. This is how she was taught to view the world. She believed that
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.
Tanya and her siblings were taken from their home when she was just three. Her mother had tried to kill them by starting a fire in the family home and leaving them alone inside. Tanya was later adopted by kind, but deeply devout Jehovah’s Witness parents. Her adoptive parents moved from the UK to North America and she moved across the pond, leaving her siblings behind. She rebelled against such strict religious doctrines as she got older and was rebuked by the church community and her parents for her teenage angst.
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.
“For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love.” Geneen Roth
Self-destruction seems to be a ubiquitous part of the human experience. It happens at the very core of us, when we don’t love and value ourselves. It’s what happens when we live with unresolved feelings of pain and
“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’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me.” – Stuart Smalley
When someone mentions affirmations, the first thing I think about is Al Franken’s emotionally fragile character Stuart Smalley, on Saturday Night Live. Although Franken’s character is hilarious, the stigma it helped perpetuate towards those who use affirmations, has not been very positive. Not because affirmations don’t work, but because people associate it with being – well….emotionally fragile. These days, with authors
“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
The obesity/self-esteem dynamic is a topic that doesn’t get enough attention. Sure, there have been countless studies on how obesity affects self-esteem, but duh – that’s kind of like a study of the obvious, like telling us that water turns into ice when it freezes. We have started the dialogue on other important issues like bullying, but not specifically on how being overweight affects us from an emotional and a psychological perspective.
You can’t hide from being overweight. It’s always there and it’s all encompassing. It’s there when you put on your
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.
I get a lot of emails from people that are suffering. They are going through so much emotional anguish and they don’t know what to do. Sometimes they’re fine, but they’ll get a text message from their ex-Narcissist and it will send them into an emotional spiral. They need a healthy solution to alleviate the pain they’re experiencing and they need it now. I came across something a couple of years ago and was reminded of it this week, as I came across some writing by Gabrielle Bernstein.
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.
There are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis. Many people believe that they are supposed to be completely unconscious and have no memory of what’s going on and if they don’t get there, it’s not working and they come to the conclusion that they can’t be hypnotized. The truth is that hypnosis is really the place between awake and asleep. It’s a trance like state where individuals are highly suggestable and highly relaxed. If you’ve ever been driving your car and you are just hyper focused on the road and nothing else and it seems as though your conscious mind has shut down and your subconscious mind is steering the wheel and you don’t remember just how you got to your destination, then you’ve experienced a trance like state.
Many people fear that a hypnotist will make you do foolish things. I’ve been asked on many occasions, “You aren’t going to make me cluck like a chicken are you?” I always say, ‘You aren’t going to do anything you don’t want to do, or wouldn’t normally do.’ You never hear a legal defense for murder as, not criminally responsible, because the defendant was under hypnosis. If you wouldn’t kill someone when you’re awake, you won’t do it under hypnosis.
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.
Willpower, determination, stick-to-itiveness, resolve, whatever you want to call it – discipline is the difference between success and giving in. For me, discipline is self–accountability. It’s an internal standards meter that propels you forward, when your body, mind, or emotions are all signaling, it’s time to give up.
By far, the question I get asked the most is, ‘How do I let go? How do I walk away? I know this is killing me, but I can’t stop.’ My answer is always the same.
There has to be a breaking point – that point where you say, ‘I deserve more than this.’ It’s a cup of pride and 8 cups of discipline. If you’re not used to delaying immediate gratification then this may be very difficult for you, but it is something you can learn.
We’ve all been in relationships and given in dozens of times – it feels good for a short while, but then it fe
Several weeks ago a picture of a Muslim woman, wearing a niqab, was floating around social media with the caption, ‘How does this make you feel?’ More recently, Kim Kardashian’s nude photo shoot with Paper Magazine has been making the rounds and the comments about each were two sides of the same coin.
While the objectification of women is nothing new, Kardashian is setting a dangerous new standard, not just for women, but for media. Ironically, Paper Magazine is an arts publication. It’s a magazine about and for artists, musicians, poets and the nightlife. It’s not a nudy mag, like Playboy or Penthouse, which have age requirements and are relegated to the back of the rack. It’s a mainstream magazine, which has set a precedent for other mainstream magazines to follow suit, or be left behind.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude. I think nudity can be art. I believe the photographer Jean-Paul Goude wanted to create an artful piece of work, but the subject – a seemingly, self-centered, arrogant, talentless, constantly-in-your-face-for nothing, spotlight seeking, self-important, starlet, evokes a lot of negative criticism and this latest work, is seen as nothing more than a feeble attemp
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.
When I look back at young me, teenage me, 20 something me, I can’t help thinking, ‘man that little girl didn’t have a clue what she was doing.’ I was a bit of a paradox, because I had an innately, happy disposition, but I was always negative, always critical, never satisfied and always focused on what I didn’t have.
I was lucky enough to have my life completely torn apart by my Narcissist, and yes, I did say lucky. I was lucky, because I had been given a wake-up call. Rather than live out the rest of my days unhappy and slowly dying inside, the universe saw to it, that I take a look at my life and all of the poor choices I was making. I get a lot of emails expressing the deep, emotional pain people
When I first approached Max about doing another interview, he sounded pretty excited about it. I could tell this experience was pushing his need to be ‘special and unique,’ buttons. But when I met up with him, it was quite a different story. His mood was dark and his energy was very odd. I felt uncomfortable, so I decided to jump right into it and get it over and done with, as quickly as possible.
Sav: So Max, my readers want to know if you are still with the same girlfriend?
Max: I have no girlfriend, my heart is empty. I’ve grown even more distant recently and I’ve realized this, so I’m taking a step back and just trying to be alone until I come out of this.
Sav: Come out of what? Are you depressed?
Max: Yeah I’m depressed. I’m not bummed out or sad. I’m just angry. My thoughts are horrible lately.
Sav: What kind of thoughts are you having?
Max: When I hear about people in Syria, or Afghanistan, or wherever, getting shot and killed – I like it. It makes me happy.
The best blogs I have written have been ones where I’ve written straight from the heart. What I mean by that, are articles that have been a true reflection of my experiences and lessons that I have learned. To me, the only way that you can really write about something and have it be truly authentic, is to have lived it.
I get a lot of emails from people, who have been reading about codependency, and they are freaking out, because they see themselves and their behavior in the descriptions. They ask me what do I do? How do I fix this? I have, in bits and snippets, written about battling codependency, but I’ve never compiled a comprehensive list all in one place. Due to it’s length, I was going to do it in two separate blogs, but I thought it important to keep it all together.
What I have compiled below are the steps that I have taken to beat codependency. It’s important to understand that this healing is a journey and a process – with many, many twists and turns along the way. Some parts are difficult, some are easy and some flow right into the other. Without further ado, here are the steps of my journey:
Awareness: The first step is recognizing that you have been the victim of emotional abuse in childhood. Last week I wrote about the effects of emotional child abuse in adults. This isn’t about being beaten, or locked in closets. This is about growing up in an unhealthy, shame based environment, with an emotional manipulator, where there was little c
When I was 14 years old I met my first love. He was 18 and he was big, strong, smart and beautiful. When I turned 15 he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was smitten and for a couple of months it was pure bliss. Within that year, he slept with my best friend, my cousin, and many others. I stuck around for months, hoping he’d come back and he would throw me a few crumbs from time to time and then off he’d go again. I gave him my heart and my innocence and in return he gave me heartache and sorrow. My very first relationship left me feeling broken, unwanted, unlovable, flawed and not good enough. It was a feeling I was very used to, a feeling that I had carried around with me my whole life.
Looking at my life backwards, it makes perfect sense that my first relationship was really a reproduction of the dysfunctional dynamic that had developed between my mother and I. All of the pain and hurt was a manifestation of what I had been taught, as a child, to feel about myself.
When I was studying Psychology we read and watched many experiments with monkeys. In some experiments these poor little monkeys were taken from birth and kept all alone with no contact with other animals or people for 6 months. The experiment placed the isolated monkey
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?
I went to my brother’s cottage this weekend and I got to spend some quality time with my nephews and niece. We swam and played volleyball and badminton and ran around like children. As we played another game of badminton, my five year old nephew Jacob, who isn’t as agile or coordinated as the rest of us, looked at me and shouted, “Let me win one Auntie.”
“What do I always say?” I asked.
“You gotta earn it.” He answered ritualistically, while rolling his eyes.
“And why does Auntie always say that?”
“Cuz nobody gives you anything in life, you have to stand on your own two feet and do it yourself.”
I explained to him that if I let him win, then his victory wouldn’t mean anything. That there would come a day, that he will beat Auntie at everything and when he does earn his victory, it won’t be a hollow one – it will mean something.
I often pull my brother’s little ones aside and give them Auntie’s words of wisdom. They probably don’t grasp what I’m really trying to tell them, with their young, immature minds, but it’s my hope that they will all grow up feeling valued and loved and that they will grow into good, kind people and live their lives with integrity.
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
Have you ever come across a definition or a list of symptoms, and by the time you got to the end of it, your eyes were completely bugged out and your jaw was resting comfortably on the floor? And as the shock of recognition sank in, all you kept saying was, “Oh-My-God, Oh-My-God – this is me. I could be the poster child for this.”
That was me many years ago, after reading Melanie Beattie’s book, Co-Dependent No More. Before I understood the term co-dependent I blamed my Narcissist for everything. And why shouldn’t I? He deserved the blame and my animosity for everything that he had done. But as I looked into this co-dependency business, I realized more and more, that I played an equal roll in this sad excuse of a relationship. I was equally responsible, equally at fault, and I was totally and solely to blame, for the sorry state I was in. Sure, he was a Narcissist and sure, his list of issues and relationship crimes could circle the globe, but I had a thing too and it had a name. My label was worse than his, because…well…it was mine. I was co-dependent. I could relate to every bit of it. It was a pretty tough pill to swallow, because now on top of the hurt and everything else I was dealing with, I had to deal with this too.
Parasite: “An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on, or in a different organism, while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.” – answers.com
It has been said that the inverted narcissist leads a parasitic lifestyle, but what does that really mean? While the above definition holds true for many organisms, when we apply it to human beings we can modify it a little and define it as:
A deliberately, manipulative and exploitative financial and emotional dependence of one person on another. Where one person, consistently takes advantage of the kindness and resources of another, without any desire to reciprocate, or contribute in any meaningful way. This exploitation is fueled by a sense of entitlement, a lack of responsibility, motivation and self-control.
I had a reader discuss her frustration with having to deal with the parasitic behavior of her former Narcissist, she writes,
“There are many, many aspects of narcissists and their behavior that are just mind boggling and literally insane. What kills me the most about my Narcissist, all Narcissists, really, is how he CANNOT possibly understand, or care, that I do NOT want to hear from him. These people have selective amnesia about what they’ve done. They seem to NOT be able to grasp this very basic concept: That the people they’ve hurt DO NOT want to hear from them! When someone says “DON’T contact me, ever again,” DON’T!”
I got invited to a local restaurant, to celebrate an ex-coworker’s birthday, last weekend. I didn’t know anyone else there, aside from my friend, and I was late, so I was relegated to the end of the table. What could have been an uncomfortable and awkward evening, turned into dinner theater – or at least some really good people watching, for one massively, psychoanalytic, nerdy girl.
Across from me sat an early 30-something couple, we’ll call Brian and Gwen. After about two hours I witnessed the following behavior:
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
At some point, everyone that has been involved with a Narcissist has wondered these same thoughts. That someone, promised you the moon and the stars and delivered nothing, and then discarded you like a bad habit, is so hard to come to terms with. A Narcissist’s behavior defies reason. It doesn’t make sense, because it’s not logical. Instead, it’s cruel, harmful and unnecessary. It causes us so much turmoil, because we never saw it coming (at least not the first time). It wasn’t even on our radar, because that kind of thinking and behavior is so foreign to the rest of us.
There are thousands and thousands of stories from victims of Narcissistic abuse that are absolutely horrific and heart wrenching and it leaves us shaking our heads, wondering, ‘How could somebody do that?’ Many, when they discover that their partner has a problem, become expert detectives and scientists to try and learn all they can about it. They want to keep their mate so badly that they will go to any lengths to do so.
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:
“With it, you can take on the world, without it, you live stuck at the starting block of your potential.” – Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, authors of The Confidence Code
There are certain traits and behaviors that are essential to living a healthy and fulfilled life. For me, one of those must haves, is confidence.
Confidence is kind of a big deal. It’s like that little black dress that goes with everything. You can be intelligent, hardworking and you can be competent and all of these things are great, but when you lack confidence, all of these wonderful skills don’t amount to much.
Confidence is the meat in your sandwich, the berry in your jam. When you lack confidence, you have less opportunities, life seems scary, watered down, less fulfilling and without substance.
Confidence is a silent knowing. It’s a resolute belief in your value and your abilities. According to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman; confidence is about taking risks, taking action, making decisions, leaving your comfort zone, embracing failure, being resilient, mastering skills and hard work.
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.
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.
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.”
“I would hate to have friends over, especially around dinner time. Before every meal my father would preach to us. This wasn’t simply the saying of Grace. He would go on a tirade for ten minutes and this ranting would always include a request for God to show my mother the error of her ways.”- D. Muniz
This ‘religious’ theme in Narcissism comes up a lot. I am often surprised by the copious amounts of messages I receive on the subject. While they may seem like opposite ends of the spectrum, it does seem that religion and Narcissism really are a perfect match, but why is that?
I read a quote from Anthony Robbins a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I suppose when you hear something and it rings true for you, your entire being stops and takes notice. The quote was:
This says basically that the quality of our lives is determined by our choices – our consistent choices – not the family we’re born into, not the body we have, or even how much money is in our bank accounts. It’s the tiny little decisions we make each and every moment, throughout our day that is responsible for the state of our lives.
“If you struggle with being present in the now, you will struggle with life.” – Eckhart Tolle
We all know one or two people that are genuinely happy and love their lives. It’s not that they have everything all figured out, but they always seem to be fully present in whatever they are doing and always thoroughly enjoying themselves.
It’s common for most of us to find ourselves out at certain events and be thinking about other things. We think about what else we should be doing, where else we should be. We think about the past. We get anxious about things that haven’t happened yet, but so often we are never where we should be, which is where we are at that moment.
Everyone’s life is a work in progress and we all struggle at different stages of our journey. Being present is one of my biggest hurdles. My mind is always in 10 different places all at once. Even when I was a little girl, my report cards would
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
Imagine growing up in an environment where rather than being loved and nurtured, you’re treated like an adversary and an unwanted burden.
Our parents are our first teachers and the messages we receive from them, shape our views and our beliefs about ourselves. If it is demonstrated to us, repeatedly, that we don’t matter, that we are unwanted, we will become adults that believe that we are worthless and damaged, we will have massive trust issues and difficulties in our adult relationships.
To be a Narcissistic parent is to be an abusive parent. Because to a Narcissist you are either a form of Narcissistic Supply, or you are nothing. The typical parent/child bond never forms, as Narci
There tends to be some confusion amongst readers on the basic template of a narcissist. I write a lot about a certain type, mainly the Somatic boomerang Narcissist, because it is the type you will most commonly run into in the dating world. But it raises a lot of confusion and questions for people who are involved with other types of Narcissists. There are certain types and subtypes of Narcissists and I thought a little clarification might be in order.
Cerebral and Somatic
I think most people have a firm grasp on the difference between the two, but for those that don’t, here is a short definition of the two main types:
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.
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.
I get a lot of emails every day and I read every single one of them. This week I received an email from a reader that literally brought me to tears. The author so eloquently described her depression, her pain, her suffering and her desire to end her own life. The pain had become so unbearable, that suicide seemed like the best option for her.
I went for a walk after reading her email, to clear my head and get some perspective. As I walked I asked the universe, ‘what can I say to this poor woman that could possibly ease her suffering? How can I help these people get past their pain and see their true potential?’
I’ve been where most of you are now. When I started this little blog 11 months ago, I believed that I had something to offer and I wanted to be a beacon for those that were hurting like I was. At the beginning, I was lucky if I got a couple hundred page views a month. Now almost a year int
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.