After my long-term Narcissist and I broke up, I spent about a year and a half on self-improvement. I was looking and feeling pretty good and I decided that it was time to get back up on the ole dating horse. I learned a lot in that year about myself and particularly about my dating habits. It seemed that I kept attracting the same type of guy over and over again and I couldn’t help but wonder, what was going on and if this was a coincidence.
That year my dating history looked like this:
Guy #1 – The date was a total disaster. I talked about my ex the whole time. Relationship duration: 1 date.
Guy #2 – The guy was totally buff, 6’3, muscles everywhere, nice clothes, nice car, good job. He swept me off of my feet and I was hooked. He started to blow hot and cold. I didn’t hear from him one weekend, then the next he was fixing his car…. I broke up with him. He went into a rage and scared the crap out of me. (Narcissism was not in my everyday vernacular then) We got back together and broke up 3 times. Relationship duration: 2.5 months.
Guy #3 – He was attractive but still in love with his ex. He was emotionally unavailable and talked about her the whole time. Date duration: 1 date.
Guy#4 – He was funny, cute and charming. He blew hot and cold. He was very clingy when I seemed not interested and very distant when I was interested. He was always on the hunt for other girls, showed no empathy when he hurt me, very sexually aggressive, cared only about his needs. Relationship duration: 4 months with a lot of hook ups after that.
Guy#5 – A total loser and I didn’t even care what his issues were. Relationship duration: 1 date.
Guy#6 – We had instant chemistry and were making out over dinner on our first date. One night stand and I never heard from him again, until of course about a year later. Date Duration: 1 date.
Guy #7 – Super sweet, super nice. He had all his shit together and seemed to really like me. I was terrified and really uncomfortable around men that were actually interested in me, so I made up an excuse to break up with him. Relationship duration 4 weeks.
Guy#8 – Gorgeous, buff, 6’4 – swept me off my feet. I fell hard, really hard. He blew hot and cold. Was dating other women behind my back. Told me everything I wanted to hear, future faked. Used the I love you and I miss you phrases constantly. Took everything, gave nothing. Totally devastated me again and again. A total Narcissist. Relationship duration: On and off for 3 years.
So to recap: After ending a long, torturous relationship with a cerebral narcissist, I began dating again and met 8 men in the first year. Five of which were potentially Narcissists (3 definitely), 1 emotionally available man and 1 nice guy.
While I had put in a tremendous amount of time improving my exterior, my interior remained relatively the same. I was still walking around with the belief that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t worthy of love and consequently 7/8ths of the men I dated treated me as such and all of the ones I chose to have a relationship with, left me in pain, feeling used and bad about myself. This couldn’t be a coincidence, something else was going on, but what?
Neural Connections and Pathways
Our brain is truly a miraculous machine. In previous blogs we’ve discussed how our brain makes connections and forms neural pathways. As we use them, these neural pathways get stronger and stronger. When we stop using a neural pathway, it becomes weak, disconnects and makes a new connection.
Our brain likes to form connections. It does it effortlessly and without our conscious awareness. For instance, if I say the word breast – if you’re a woman and you hate your breasts, your brain may be thinking words like, ugly, saggy, too big, or too small. Or if I say hips, thighs, upper arms, tummy… what is your brain thinking? Is it thinking fat, flabby, I hate that, gross, too big,…..whatever it’s thinking, that is the connection that your brain has associated with your body.
What if I say the word work? If you don’t like your job, the connection you’ve made might be, dull, boring, I hate that, unfulfilling, torture… and with all these words/thoughts, comes feelings. It’s the thoughts, plus the feelings you associate with them, that makes the connection.
Let’s say you are minding your own business and Suzy from accounting comes up to you and says, “Nice sweater.” By itself it’s a pretty benign statement, but if last week Suzy made fun of you in front of everyone and really upset and embarrassed you, you might be thinking, “What did she mean by that? Was she mocking me?” And feeling, ‘ Oh I hate that Suzy’ – even if her comment had no connotations attached to it, your brain has already made the, Suzy mocks me and isn’t to be trusted, connection and you will view all future interactions with her with caution.
These connections we make are powerful. They are our thoughts, they are feelings and they are energy. They are these invisible magnetic tentacles that we all walk around with, that are looking for just the right fit. It’s how the Sadist finds the Masochist and how the predator finds its prey. How we think and feel about something is what we continually seek out and what continually seeks us out.
When I was a teenager, my brother had a friend named Vince. Vince was really smart and full of confidence. His dad was a judge and much was expected of him and he expected a lot from himself. He was in law school and was always the life of the party. One day, we all went bowling. He and I were on opposite teams and we were both pretty competitive. He stood in the lane opposite me, bowling ball in hand and said if I make this I am the greatest of all time and you have to bow to me. He steps up, throws the ball and gets a strike – he raises his arms in victory. Then it’s my turn. I said, oh yeah, “this is for all womankind.” I step up and the ball goes straight from my fingertips – right into the gutter.
Now Vince may have had better physical coordination than I. He bowled about as much as I did, which was pretty much never. What made his shot successful was the connection that his brain made with his abilities. It was probably something like this: His beliefs about his abilities = success, victory, the best, confidence, competitive, winner, I can do anything….
Mine on the other hand went like this: My abilities = I can’t do anything right, I’m useless, no one loves me, I am always judged and found lacking….
Vince and I both created that reality by how we thought and how we felt. The lesson here is that seemingly subtle, unimportant, unconscious thoughts and feelings matter. If your brain detects a connection and you are feeling something about it – it’s sending that feeling out there hurdling into space. Esther Hicks calls these rockets of desire. What we think matters and how we feel about what we think matters even more.
The good news is that we can change what we think and what we feel. These changes will make an immediate and powerful difference in the way that our neural net makes connections and forms associations and this in turn will change the vibes we are putting out there into the world.
The key here is that we are making a new neural connection about how we think and feel about ourselves. The more you use a connection, the more travelled and stronger it becomes. So we are making a new highway in your brain. The I90 that used to run from Me City to I’m Not Good Enoughtown is being demolished. We are going to use the I68 now and it goes from Me City to I am Amazingville.
So, in every situation you find yourself being self-deprecating, or feeling bad about yourself, stop immediately. We aren’t using that highway anymore. If someone else tries to make you feel bad about you, stop the car, kick them out and do a U-turn back to I am Amazingville. The goal is to change that instant, unconscious connection and we do that through usage. Once we have successfully changed the connection, what we put out there into the universe will cause ripples of change in the type of people we attract – not just relationships, but also friends, co-workers, even neighbors.
Creating the New Pathway
Take a look in the mirror and say to yourself, “You are so beautiful. I love your eyes, your hair, your skin and everything about you. This body has carried me through my entire life and I love every part of it. I am a good person. I am kind person. I am loving and generous and anyone that is lucky enough to have me in their life, is truly fortunate, because I am a wonderful and loyal friend. I am worthy and I am so deserving of happiness and all of life’s blessings.” Look at yourself and send yourself love and compassion.
As awkward as this may seem, it’s important that you do it every day. Do it in the morning and do it before you go to bed. Constantly give yourself positive messages and feelings. If you ever find yourself being self-deprecating stop – even if you’re only joking, and saying it with a smile. Words create feelings and feelings create the connection.
This methodology works for everything, not just your self-perception. If you are financially strapped and your home, apartment or car reflect poverty and a lack of money, think for a minute about how you feel when you come home to your ugly, crumby apartment, or when you get in your old broken down car. What are you subconsciously telling yourself? How do you feel about it? And what are you putting out there?
You probably feel pretty bad – nobody wants to be broke. And what are you subconsciously saying to yourself? I can’t have what I want. This is cheap and ugly. This is disorganized, cluttered and overwhelming. This is what I deserve. I can’t do any better. I am poor. This makes me unhappy and sad…. The connection we are making here is pretty powerful and it’s bringing to us more things that make us feel this way – an unexpected bill, fewer hours at work, a weekend that was way more than you could afford…
Even if you are poor there are a few things you can do:
Clean your house and car from top to bottom. Unclutter your living area. Buy some nice, soft inexpensive towels for your bathroom. Buy some nice, bright throw cushions for your living room sofa. Bring home some fragrant candles and just enjoy their aroma. Surround yourself with a few simple pleasures, buy yourself the best coffee or tea and as you relax and enjoy it think thoughts like, ‘this is the best, I deserve the best, this is cozy, this make me happy.’
The more we create positive connections, the more positive vibes we send out to the universe. Even these simple changes will vastly improve the type of people and situations that come into your life. When you change your frequency, you will only be in harmony with people that match your new vibration, so give these exercises a try and you will find that your dates will look and feel a lot differently.
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I am currently successful with NC but it’s difficult !!! Your blogs are incredibly powerful for me . Thank you so much for the light !
Thank you, Savannah; you’re a beautiful writer and a gift to all women who have been emotionally abused.
You are the best Savannah! I am preparing to write a book about my narcissistic relationship including growing up with a narcissistic abusive alcoholic mother. I have learned that I am what is called a “sensitive personality”, apparently narcissists can see me coming a mile away. I don’t wish to write to complain about my life but to hopefully teach others to be aware of this personality disorder and how it can affect so many lives in so many ways. The man that I left behind has full custody of his two children (their birth mother is also a narcissist). The poor children had accepted me as their mom and I loved them just as much. The day “he” went into a rage and I became afraid for my safety and left was the last day I had, and probably will ever see them. My heart breaks for these innocent children. I see the issues that they face currently (the 8 year old son already shows signs of narcissism) and certainly in the future being raised by disordered parents. I showed them real love and acceptance. Something that I could easily see they weren’t getting from their parents. I have heard that the children are devastated of my leaving and not doing well without me. I would love to be able to some day make this a part of school teachings, to let children know and be aware of these personalities. We now have teenage narcissists that are going into schools and shooting people, just because their girlfriend leaves them or they lose their “supply”. Maybe if we are all properly informed, we can be better prepared to see the signs and protect ourselves from these predators.
Love, love, LOVE this advice. I’m finally starting to put it into practice again.
I allowed my N to nearly wreck my finances. For the past year, I did not treat myself to any new clothes, shoes or accessories. My wardrobe suffered, all my shoes were starting to fall apart, how I looked and how I felt about myself started to get worse.
Now that my N is gone, I made a pledge today to buy myself two new things a month, whether it’s a new outfit, pair of shoes, bracelet, etc. I used to do this before I met my N and I abandoned it to cater to HIS needs.
I just got back from shopping, and I must say it feels AMAZING to spend my money on myself, on what I want.
This advice applies to men, as well, not just women. I urge everyone to take the advice here and TREAT yourself! Here’s some shopping tips — even when you’re on a budget or don’t have much to spend on yourself, you CAN find great the best stuff without breaking the bank, like the author mentioned.
Even though I’m a sucker for labels, I’ve found that DSW has an impressive clearance rack for shoes (for men and women), and you’ll find everything from Calvin Klein to Nike there, and it’s HEAVILY discounted. You can always get cheap but flashy accessories at H&M. Nordstrom Rack is great for clothes, and so is Ross if you’re wiling to make the effort to spend some time in the store and really go through all the racks. You’d also be surprised at how many department stores — like Macy’s — constantly have sales on men and womens’ clothing, now just to get foot traffic in the door (since online shopping has really hurt business for these anchor stores), and if there’s an outlet mall near you, GO. It is so worth it. If you’re not in an area that has these stores, signing up for ShoeDazzle online is a good investment — everything is reasonable and you create a profile based on your size and what styles you like. The prices are pretty good, and they always have sales.
I highly recommend JCPenney for new items for your home, especially lines. They constantly have sales and have revamped their inventory — several designers have launched exclusive lines just for the chain.
For me, wearing a new killer pair of shoes is making me feel like I’m getting myself back.
This is great advice. I especially agree 100% with cleaning out the clutter in your home and car. Growing up my mother used to say “Just because you’re poor does not mean you have to be dirty.”. I am 3 months out of my 6 yr, 1 yr engaged w/ my ex N. It is just another blow and dissapointment among many…my mind cannot really even comprehend such heinous behavior from one who “claims” he “will always love you…” BS!! He knows I have his #…and he ran like the coward he is. At this point, I look upon him as the weak one…he will never know true love or happiness. More power to the next sucker 🙂
I noticed a pattern here. A lot of the guys were described as “buff”, 6’3-6’4 tall, hot, charming. And you mentioned that things moved quickly and there was “instant chemistry”, “making out over dinner”…I think you know deep down that many of the guys you’re getting involved with are narcissists. Slowing down the dating process has, for me, helped identify and avoid narcissists. It’s always the fast-moving, charming ones that are dangerous. When I have told such a guy that I prefer to take relationships slow, the narcissists will not persevere – they disappear. They make a beeline for easier sex and narcissistic supply from another woman. Also, I am assuming you’re meeting the men you date online (as I mostly do). My experience has been similar, dating online, although I know there are gems out there amidst the rubble (and in fact my best friend just married her POF catch, believe it or not). But narcs thrive in online dating, so we have to be especially wary of men who want to proceed rapidly to advance their own agenda.
I am still on online sites, but I have decided to focus less on them, and focus more on clubs, sports and volunteering which will allow me to forge more organic friendships and connections.
LM this was many, many years ago before I understood what was going on. I mention my old dating habits because they are relevant to the topic of seeking out what seeks you out- because I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t deserve love I always seemed to end up with men that made me feel that way. And yes, ‘buff and tall’ were my type back then and also very typical of the Somatic Narcissist.
This column is so completely a blessing to all that are experiencing the endless loop of pain addiction. Break the chain! Do something different! love ourselves until we no longer act out our self distain. It has been a long, long, long life of pain addiction for me 40 years! and I am finally getting it and truly living in self love and my happy life that is attracting to me! God bless you for your fabulous insights and painfully revealed pathways to true satisfying loving relationships.
Another winner Savannah!
Love this “The more we create positive connections, the more positive vibes we send out to the universe. Even these simple changes will vastly improve the type of people and situations that come into your life. When you change your frequency, you will only be in harmony with people that match your new vibration, so give these exercises a try and you will find that your dates will look and feel a lot differently.”
Right-on as usual. Always something to help me. I am finally divorced from “my” narcissist of 25 years–and gone on vacation with family and friends. I have resisted the urge to text him–but that urge is stronger than I had expected!!! So quickly do I remember the few good times and the imagined better times–and it is so far from reality. No one deserved to be disparaged the way he disparaged me–and yet I long to tell him of my vacation??? Ok, I still have work to do. Thank you for the good suggestions. And thank you for the blog!