A few years back, I went through a major life crisis. My mother was fatally injured in a car accident and within a few short weeks of that, I had lost everything. I had no parents, no partner, no home, no car, no job and no friends. All of the things that make a person feel safe and secure were gone and I was in no man’s land. It felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under me and I sank into a deep depression.
During my struggle I travelled alone to South America and I stayed there for a long time. I learned to speak Spanish, I climbed the Andes and I tried to do anything and everything to make the pain bearable. Upon my return I immediately left for an Orthodox Monastery in Michigan and spent a few days with the most holy men I have ever met. Depression was new to me. I’ve always been a happy-go-lucky kind of person, but this experience, as horrific as it was, started me on a path of deep soul searching. I needed answers to how my life got so far off track and why I was so miserably unhappy.
“Life gives you the carrot method or the stick method. If you miss the carrots, you get the stick.” Buddhist author Pema Chodron
Oprah often says that, “Your life is always speaking to you.” I have come to realize the truth in that statement. My problem was – I wasn’t listening and I was missing all the little carrots dangling in front of me, meant to lead me this way or that way and as a result I got the big, heavy stick.
It started to dawn on me that I caused this crisis in my life. I was responsible for all of it. It was the accumulation of all the self-hatred, all the bad choices I’d made, my negative attitude and my resistance to do anything about them, manifesting in one huge purge. The Universe kept saying to me, “You’re doing the wrong thing, thinking the wrong thoughts and with the wrong person, if you only knew who you really are, you wouldn’t do these things, you wouldn’t feel or think this way, you have to make a change,” and I completely and utterly refused, so the Universe pulled the chair out from under me and forced me to stand up and look at things from a new perspective.
I had been asleep in my life and now I was fully awake for the very first time. I was so unsure of everything and out of my mind with fear. I had to move forward and I started taking stock of everything in my life and at all the poor choices I’d made. One of the areas I looked at was my relationships with men.
There had been three major relationships in my life and a slew of other less significant ones. They were all very similar in appearance. I’m sure at the time I would have told myself that they were my ‘type.’ Another thing they all had in common was that they were always angry, dark, distant and brooding. You could never really get close to them – they were emotionally unreachable. They all had broken wings in need of mending. They had all come from horrific childhoods, full of neglect and abuse, which resulted in at best, emotionally unavailable men, Narcissists and at worst, Psychopaths.
The relationships all started and ended the same way. They pursued me hard and once they got me they reverted to their true selves. None of them treated me with love, kindness or respect. Everything was always on their terms and all about them. And there I was little miss fixer-upper always trying to fix them at the expense of myself. They all cheated and the relationships never seemed to end (except the last one) as they kept popping in and out of my life like nothing ever happened.
Each relationship took from me, my time, my energy, my self-esteem and gave me pain and feelings of worthlessness in return. I believed that I was unworthy of love, that I was flawed and broken and that I didn’t deserve better treatment. I thought if only I was taller, thinner….. then they would love me. I internalized their rejection. I took the blame when it wasn’t mine to take.
All these feelings I carried with me from childhood. My overly critical mother was the first to teach me that I wasn’t good enough, that I was different and that there was something wrong with me. And as I grew up and started dating, I looked for men that would bring out these feelings in me. It was what I knew, where I felt most comfortable.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot out perform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” Iyanla Vanzant
There were nice men in the mix too, guys that were emotionally healthy, that wanted to give me the relationship I thought I wanted. But I ran like hell from those guys. They went against the grain of what I believed about myself. Somewhere inside of me I’d be thinking, “Are you crazy? Why would you want to be with me? Don’t you know I have flaws? There must be something very wrong with you if you want to be with someone like me.” And I would rationalize running away, by saying to myself that they just weren’t my ‘type.’
Like Attracts Like
When I was in University I remember the class having a debate on relationships in one of my Psychology courses. It was about whether opposites attract or if like attracts like. There were many arguments made on either side, but in the end, the professor illustrated that the research supported that like attracts like.
This Law of Attraction notion was just starting to be hurled out there for public consumption, I started to wonder if just maybe they were really onto something.
So what this meant then, was that if we believed that we were unworthy of love, that we weren’t good enough, then we would draw to us people and experiences that mirrored that belief and if somehow, a guy who thought we were amazing and really wanted an honest to God relationship with us, was thrown into our lives it would never materialize, because their beliefs were so different from ours we would repel those types of connections.
I would go from one guy to the next and it would always be the same story. I was dating the same guy over and over again he just had a different face.
And I couldn’t help but think, “I’m a good person. I’m kind. I think about other people’s feelings. I like to help people. I’m not selfish or mean. What on earth am I putting out there that is attracting Narcissists, Psychopaths and Emotionally Unavailable men that want to hurt me and make me feel bad?
Our attraction to certain people really is like the attraction of two magnets. If the same atoms are aligned and pointed in the same direction they will attract, if they’re not, they will repel. I used to think my ‘type’ was tall, dark haired, dark eyes, athletic body, but in reality my ‘type’ really had nothing to do with physical appearance at all. My type was actually someone who had the same thought patterns I did, who shared the same beliefs about themselves as I did.
For instance, I had a lot of self-loathing going on, I felt unlovable and flawed, uncomfortable in my own skin. Consequently, I believed that life was painful, it was hard and I was so unhappy with every aspect of it. When I looked at the men I had dated, wasn’t this the same kind of inner conflict they were experiencing? Didn’t they hate themselves? Didn’t they believe that life was difficult? Didn’t they feel detached from who they really were?
When I finally understood that the type of men that I was attracting had nothing to do with them, but everything to do with me and how I felt about me I stopped dating all together. Had I continued to date, it would have just evolved into a carbon copy of the exact same relationships I’d always had. I really grasped the idea that if I really wanted a happy, healthy relationship with a man – I had to change how I felt about me and what I was putting out there and to do that I needed to be single and put the focus on where it should have always been – on me.
In my blog Self-Esteem: It really is a Choice I state that “Once you make that decision to be and think differently about yourself, you just do it. You make the changes in how you think and feel about you and you back them up every day, by consistently making the choice to think and act differently until your new thoughts have become your new habitual way of thinking and being. You take it one day at a time, knowing that some days are going to be harder than others. It’s exercising that self-esteem muscle. The more we practice treating ourselves with love, kindness and respect the easier it will be. We set the standard on how we expect to be treated. We silence that inner voice that tells us that we aren’t good enough and we start giving ourselves a new script. One that feels good, that only speaks to us with love and kindness.
“A belief is just a thought we keep thinking.” Esther Hicks
So I made the choice to change my beliefs about me, simply by thinking new thoughts. Now my thoughts and beliefs are:
1. I am worthy of all of the love and happiness this world has to offer
2. I set the bar on how I expect to be treated and I teach people how to treat me.
3. I have firm boundaries on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not and if my boundaries are repeatedly crossed, I’m not afraid to walk away.
4. I’m perfectly imperfect and uniquely me. There is only one of me, so I must be authentically true to myself at all times.
5. I am completely self-sufficient. I don’t need anyone financially or emotionally. I don’t need the validation of others to show me my worth or who I am.
6. If I choose to allow you into my life, it’s because you add value to it, you don’t detract from it.
7. The most important thing to me is my inner peace. I eliminate all people and all things that attempt to rock my balance and harmony.
8. I’m responsible for all of the thoughts, actions and choices I make and all of those decisions start at the place of self-love and self-respect.
9. I love me and I love my life.
10. I live my life without fear.
Once I understood that I choose these thoughts and beliefs about myself and I started to implement them I was no longer in vibrational alignment with Narcissists or men that would treat me poorly. Now I needed a new ‘type.’ So, to be a vibrational match to my new beliefs about myself, my new type of man needed to be someone that:
1. Was attached to their emotions not disconnected
2. Was kind, generous and thoughtful
3. Was family oriented and had normal healthy relationship bonds to other people
4. Wanted to be in a relationship with me
5. Was confident and had a good level of self-respect and self-esteem
6. Treated me with respect
7. Was self-sufficient
8. Was responsible and had their act together
9. Cared about my needs and wants
10. Was in love with me
“Everything is energy. That’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not Philosophy – it’s Physics.” Bashar
Once you change what you are putting out there, you will no longer be attracted to emotionally unhealthy men and they will no longer be attracted to you. You decide – the choice is always yours. If the patterns of all, or most of your relationships always seem to be the same, stop dating now – flat out, because if you continue, all you will get is more of the same. Put your efforts and focus on changing how you feel about you and you will stop attracting the same man with a different face and you will start attracting a totally different ‘type.’
Let go of the belief that you always have to have a man. Let go of your fears and embrace the idea of being completely financially and emotionally independent. I read a great quote the other day, it said, “I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn fantastic to change that.” Make that your new motto on your journey to a newer healthier you.
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“I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn fantastic to change that.” I am so thrilled with that line! About a year ago I entered therapy and was dating someone. It had been three years since I broke with my Narc so I thought I was ready. He was a nice enough guy and I felt confirmed in changing my vibration so that a nice man was actually attracted to me. But he didn’t feel emotionally present so I did a bold thing: I decided to quit dating. It has now been a year since that decision and I am amazed how deep the inner work is going. I really needed to be alone to get to bedrock. I don’t feel truly “rewired” yet because it takes a lot of time and repetition for me to think and act differently. My ex narc is showing interest and I consider that a sign that my self esteem is visibly going up. AND, I have managed to stay away and not “go there.” What a great article. I am reading back into your archives today and this one is so rich and nourishing. I love the list of what a man will now have to be and I am going to adopt it. I am not ready for anyone though. Still have a me to become.
Thank you Savannah! Never have I ever posted a comment on any blog but you are telling my story about the men I’ve attracted. Interesting that I’ve used the tools and continually listen to Esther (Abraham) except in this one all important area! I’ve always wanted to use the manifesting writing exercise for a relationship (knowing that it works) but always get stuck at I don’t know EXACTLY what I want; I only know what I don’t want. When I read your “I’m single and youre going to have to be pretty damn fantastic to change that”, I remembered hearing that from Esther and thankful to be reminded of it. At 52 I’ve done what seems like a lot of work in the self empowerment arenas. Now after three years of being with the same guy with a different face (which is the phrase I searched and it brought me here) and continually making excuses for his behavior or lack of it; I feel like I’m back to square one and wonder when will the need to work on myself end. Honestly I’ve never really done the work to attract someone different so no surprise I got the same result. My self worth must be in the toilet because I still want to engage in the amazing sex we had. Honestly that’s probably what kept me coming back even though I knew deep down and was continually reminded in non verbal communication that all it was ever going to be was dinner and great sex. Thank you for doing this Savannah. I have a renewed attitude that anything is possible.
Great advice – thank u
Another invaluable article. I’m out from under my N but i have a long way to go. I typed out both lists. I’ll use one to read faily. The other will be for the future, after i have done the work and am emotionally ready to date again. For now I’m very self sufficient and do not need or want a man in my life.
A very well written and insightful piece into the mind of a N, thank you Savannah. It could not have come at a better time as I have just come out a friendship with a N. I am concentrating on healing myself with exercise, being in nature, the love of good friends and family and remaining true to myself.
Going forward, I will be setting boundaries and have realised that people have to earn my niceness and respect. I wish all those who have suffered or are suffering peace, love and happiness. X
I do see myself in this, to the point that now, 7 months of No Contact later, I am very afraid of fancying or getting involved with anyone. I believe they’ll be nice till they get their feet under the table, then their fangs come out. So I have to live with being lonely and missing him.
I don’t believe he was ever consciously predatory. I think we just meshed: I adored him, he wanted adoration. I am drawn to men who do not want to be with me. This is a massive thing in my life. Again: I think if I showed interest in anyone, he’d just turn his back in response.
Sociopath, narcissist, psychopath… what it boils down to is that someone who feels you are inferior will treat you as such. Someone who doesn’t love you won’t care about hurting you. The thing is to walk away from that. however much it tears the heart. You can’t reason or beg someone into loving you. A clumsier, but more accurate term would be: “A person I love but who doesn’t care about me, and whom I have allowed to take advantage of me.” It breaks the heart again to feel someone I loved could do that.
And never try to tell the person concerned about this. If they cared, they wouldn’t have done it. And since they don’t care, they’ll jeer at or dismiss you.
I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn fantastic to change that. << i love this!
now..i just have to make this a reality. time to make changes, starting from within.
I read the article because I am seeing the same man with a different face. All these work around the clock just like me. They want attention and free sex they want me to offer my self like to respond to them, They have no respect for me as woman meaning they don’t feel that I am worth dating they just want to hop to third base right away and its ll on me. They have open relationships with women they are having sex with because they all have somebody, So its ok if they cheat on them. If I make demands on them after we have sex they will go back to the girl friend. ‘m striving to attain my dream and be rich and famous and my career demands a lot of my time and effort. I am not a civilian or ordinary woman I am dynamic. These guys are too settle for me I have money but my life is not stable. I’m friendly and outgoing and that could be it men think its free when you have my personality. I learned watch out for man that is begging you also for one that wants you to respond someone who is burin up the pager and texts to you right away. A man who is constantly demanding your attention. Someone you have to baby sit. I’m very competitive independent I’m the only one spending money they don’t spend any money for romance. two are in service positions and I spent money on and one is was one of my teachers I bought him a present and pizza for helping me in class and recommending me. I know they all are attracted to me. They don;t want to date me and that is what I am turned off about I am not sacrificing shit for them or offering them anything nor do I want any of them in my home or behind close doors with me. A normal woman would say oh they all have good jobs why don’t you jump on it. If they are that good of a catch why don’t these women they are sleeping with have them locked down. I’m very magnetic and I am attracting a lot of men know that I don’t fit into their life and they don’t fit into my scheme of things. Its too easy for me to jump in and take the responsibility it seems like a trap like they are taking away my freedom they seem like a burden to me. They seem like they won’t foot the romantic bill and they want me to sacrifice and be evolved which takes energy away from my career like i have to cut down to be with them or who gets what they want first. I am blocking them from coming into my home or personal life I don’t need them as a security they are not spending anything. They are hot shit they are a catch. You come to them. I want to go out and enjoy life not sit around having sex with some man because I feel sorry for him and I’m lonely and hurting romantically. I am going to live with my pain. I’m going out and meeting the men and I don’t want to meet them. I am going to the most expensive place I can find who just want to have fun and enjoy life like me when they get finished with taking care of their business just like I do. I’m not cooking cleaning or misdirecting my energy for any of these men. I am only the star in my life. I don’t want to connect on an emotional level until I really know a man and trust him. I don’t know these settle men they are trying to connect to fast with me emotionally I won’t get what I what I can see that they never ask me out on a date. Maybe they are slow too slow for me. I want wine dinners roses gifts good food good sex. I don’t want that no romantic stable senior citizen life. Like too old people sitting at home talking about how we feel. b Don’t ask me how I feel I will you I feel great do things to make me feel greater bring happing to me not your load and responsibilities. I’m not letting them go down under me and dump their responsibilities on me. I’m a responsible woman with responsibilities and I can pay people to do things for me if not i can do it myself. They hope skip and jump if I contact them they think I going to give them some pussy. I keep it professional I can’t deal with the mundane shit in their life. I got my own life to deal with I am generous but I don;t want to share that yours mine an our’s is the root of all evil. I got mine you get yours and we can decide down the line what’s ours I’m not tolerating power struggles over what is mine. I told one of them I was very busy he said it wasn’t good to be too busy. I am happy don’t tell me what is good for me. I just seen him two times in my life he’s already telling me what’s good for me. I’m single and I am happy I love being busy when I look up I really don’t like what I am seeing in the men in my life. It that way for a reason life is telling me to keep my noise to the grindstone and keep competing and blocking them from being in my life. I doubt if I see them at an expensive place they wouldn’t buy me a cup of coffee if they had to go into their pocket and pay for it. I’m not going dutch I understand they can’t pay for everything but they can’t foot the romantic bill I I am not playing for it. my mine is on the money and the booty is free thats the kind of girl they want that’s not me. I remember when I was making 7 and hour and spent more money on my kid as a single parent i don’t have no respect for cheap man or broke man. Maybe that is why they don’t have no respect for me they want me to feel sorry for them. You can have compassion without respect or love. Have been there and I have done that now I know not to do it. In the past I knew I wasn’t going to get what I wanted and sometimes I thought well maybe this time but the same results happened. I gave in too fast and wanted to soon. Now I know not to respond period and keep moving forward. Its knowing what you represent and want and stick to it. Pursuing a women and winning a women is too different things. Prove to me that you are the right man for me and I am happy with you. The first time they mistreat me they are out the door.
Empowering and insightful. I was with an n for 25 years. The most enlightening thing that happened to me was that I realised he was a narc and got him out. It ended three years ago. He tries to hurt me through our children but in many ways has made me closer to them.
I have fallen for two since, but got out too. Now am learning to enjoy being single and putting energy into me. Incredibly rewarding.
Thank you for your article it really helped.
Thank you so much Savannah! Although I am over the Narc my fear was being single and why I put up with it for soooo long plus the fake them makes us believe we were wonderful! But you are so right as in single is great and they will have to be pretty fantastic in future. Love to all you girls x
“Keep your boundaries and don;t let them physically into your home or into your personal life within the first 2 weeks. They hate boundaries. By the end of the first two weeks, if the narc has not gotten through your boundaries, he will leave.”
This strikes a chord. I began dating a man I met online recently, who I quickly decided was a textbook narc. He took me out to a too-lavish dinner on the first date. He was in touch constantly after the first date, talking to me about what an attraction and connection he felt … etc. Lots of too-early talk about the future and other warning signs that should have caused me to have more caution about even accepting a second date. During our second date on a Friday evening, many of the N traits were becoming apparent as his conversations revolved around himself and he asked very little about me. He was pushy about me staying over with him (he just wanted to “hold each other”) and he wanted me to see him over the weekend (I had plans with friends). I told him I could see him in a few days, and he did not like that response. Once the boundary was set, he disappeared. It’s been all weekend after that second date and it’s radio silence (where he was previously texting/calling daily). I believe I dodged another Narc!
NO – You are not to blame for con men entering your life. Con men, or narcs, are looking for kind compassionate people who will believe that narcs can be fixed. It’s a lion preying upon a lamb. Kind people are not to blame – con men look for victims, and if these tolls find someone wiling to listen to their “game” then the listener is targeted and charmed in a manner that kind people have difficulty seeing as a con. They key to getting a con man to quit your life, is to place immediate boundaries around yourself. Do not let one bad behavior within the first week to be excused. If he complains about his ex, walk away. If he is late, or disrespectful, walk away. If he seeks your sympathy, walk away. Normal people do not seek sympathy, but criminals want your sympathy. Sympathy is their number one goal – once they have sympathy, they “have you.” Any complaints about anyone in their life, within the first few days of contact, equates to you needing to shut them out of your life. Boundaries – they despise boundaries. Alas, if the narc asks you to dinner and it is not 4 days in advance, red flag. If you call to change plans and they try to get you to stick to their plan – red flag. If they “need you” within the first two weeks – red flag. Keep your boundaries and don;t let them physically into your home or into your personal life within the first 2 weeks. They hate boundaries. By the end of the first two weeks, if the narc has not gotten through your boundaries, he will leave. And, most importantly, if he says you are a challenge, don’t even think of continuing contact. Listen to their words; narcs will tell you everything about themselves, and you must listen. You are NO different than his past victims, so don;t let him con you into believing you are different – you are no different, as I am no different, than prior targets. Yuck!
It’s a balance between changing what you believe about yourself and what you will accept from other people, and recognising the strategies of abusive people. I am at the stage where I am still recognising the harm that the relationship caused me. I am just about holding myself together now, 21 days after it ended. I think the “improving self-esteem” aspect is vital but you do also need to rage and grieve and let the poison of the relationship work through you too. I feel like you are saying, “It’s your fault this happened to you, not his, and unless you obey me, this will happen to you again.” This is the extent to which I have internalized the bullying I have suffered from since childhood, and which my ex also embodied. Compassion for the self is where I must start. Just one simple thing: Be nice to myself. There is so much to take on board right now. I have to keep pressing down on the “He Was Abusive” aspect simply to keep up No Contact till it’s a simple matter of routine for me.
You got that I said, ‘this is all your fault and obey me or else…’ – ummmm ok. I don’t even know how to respond to that. I talk a lot about healing in this blog – about sitting with the pain and not pushing it away, because I believe that is how you heal. I don’t like victim mentality, I don’t think it’s healthy, because no one can abuse us without our permission, so I always put the onus on me to say this is how I’m going to treat me – this is how I expect to be treated. If I treated myself with love and respect then I wouldn’t have stayed, so I had to own my part – I think that’s what I meant. I think it should be obvious by the tone of the site that the partners we are talking about unhealthy individuals.
Awesome post Savannah, I’m hoping you can reach a lot of young girls with this.