How Codependents Leave Abusive Narcissistic Relationships

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Courtesy Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikipedia

You may be feeling crazy because you love a narcissist and are afraid to leave the abusive relationship.  It will be easier to help yourself leave the more you know about codependency and narcissistic personality disorder.   Abusive narcissists require someone who is willing to cater to their needs and to give up their own desires.  Narcissists are self-destructive people with concealed low self-esteem and insatiable needs for attention and nothing to give. They parasitically attach to a giving, supportive person who avoids center stage and thrives on taking care of others.

Expecting something from an abusive narcissist who has nothing to give can make a codependent feel crazy.  Trying to pretend that the narcissist is someone he or she is not can drive you wild.  So what is codependency?  Codependents are people who have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from their past and present.  Codependents spend years trying to get mom or dad to love them in a certain way, when that parent cannot or will not.

The development of codependence has its roots in dysfunctional family systems and occurs over a fairly long period of time.  Overly rigid, dogmatic, or authoritarian types of families where there may or may not be alcohol abuse or dependence appears to produce codependency.  These families tend to emphasize discipline and control where rewards are given for compliance with strict and often illogical rules.  Children learn that any positive feelings about self are dependant on the mood of someone else.  These families may appear to be perfect to neighbors, but there is a great deal of pain and secrecy behind closed doors.  Children learn early to not express their thoughts or feelings and to ignore family behavioral problems.   This family survival response effectively raises the child’s tolerance for emotionally abusive and inappropriate behavior in others.

As adults, these children have a greater tendency to get involved in abusive painful relationships with people who are unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy.  Lacking entitlement to their feelings, these adult children tend to be indirect about their needs, deny feelings, and distrust intimacy.  They start with the belief that love is sacrificing for my partner and putting up with what ever my partner wants to dish out.  This is a set up for making the abusive relationship more important than you are to yourself.  Generally, codependents feel consistently unfulfilled in relationships and are the ones who tend to get deeply stuck in purgatory with an abusive narcissist.

If you are a codependent in a relationship with an abusive narcissist and are asking yourself, “Why am I feeling so crazy?”  It’s time to let the narcissist go.  It is time to let him or her off the hook.  Like your caretakers, the abusive narcissist is constitutionally incapable of loving you. That doesn’t mean you can’t love that person anymore.  It means that you are ready to feel the immense relief that comes when you begin accepting the truth and stop denying reality.  You release the narcissist to be who he or she actually is.  You stop trying to make that person be someone he or she is not.  You deal with your feelings and walk away from the abusive relationship. You stop letting what you are not getting from the narcissist control you and you take responsibility for your life.  You then begin the process of healing and loving yourself.

Get angry, feel hurt, and land in a place of self forgiveness.  Your life in purgatory will end.  You will no longer be a victim of abuse.  You will recognize that you have been mistreated and allowed yourself to be mistreated.  You will no longer create, seek out, or re-create situations that victimized you.  You stand in your power and no longer live in quiet desperation.

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my  experience.  In the past, I’ve sacrificed my emotional and spiritual well-being for perfectionism and looked to others for approval at the cost of trusting my intuition and developing my self-worth.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about relationship abuse and what it takes to put an end to the self-judgment.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

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Uncovering, Detachment, and Recovery from Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

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Courtesy Wikipedia

Narcissistic abuse is behavior that feels like evil.  For narcissists the compulsion to emotionally destroy is so strong they’re unable to resist the urge no matter how grave the consequences.  The victim’s feelings are denied, avoided, discounted, and held in contempt. 

In the beginning you thought you had met your soul mate, a real life version of a gentleman or princess, charming, and somewhat mysterious.  You instantly fell for him or her.  Within a few months you were married or living together.  The nightmare then began…

You misread some very important character clues.  You saw a superior person who was exciting, outgoing, and entertaining.  Unable to see past the charm, you ignored warning signs about the inner person, didn’t evaluate your inner needs or question what your life together might look like.  As time went on you realized your partner had to be the center of attention and was totally self-involved.  Your admiration became unchallenging and he needed a bigger audience.  He got bored with being nice.  You became more focused on recapturing attention as your newly aloof and withdrawn partner barely acknowledged your presence.  Quiet desperation set in.  Your identity developed into an extension of his; you gave up aspirations and outside activities to meet insatiable needs.  You were isolated from loved ones and the road narrowed.  You were in constant emotional pain; feelings of loneliness and abandonment were part of daily life.

Your friends grew to be impatient because you stayed in a relationship that was clearly damaging your self-esteem.  The thought of having to face alone the emotional pain of a breakup terrified you.  Focusing on your partner allowed you to avoid dealing with your true emotional state.  In the beginning you felt euphoric.  Then the negative experiences became more frequent, but the emotional price was not significant enough yet.  You worked hard at being to your partner what you thought he wanted you to be, losing sight of your identity. In a fog of denial you became lost.  The denial impeded the possibility of real change.  When you thought about leaving fears and anxiety blocked your way.  Eventually the emotional pain was so great you surrendered.

You accepted things as they really were.  You admitted “I am powerless over this relationship and my life has become unmanageable” (1st Step of 12-Step Codependent Anonymous).  Even though scared, you began trusting in yourself; trusting that you would be fine without an intimate relationship.  Finally, you cut off all means of communication with the narcissist and detached yourself; minute by minute, day after day, you walk into your new life.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse is an ongoing, uncovering, and self-forgiving process towards wholeness with self and others.  The abuser must be released forever, the desire for revenge extinguished to begin developing self-awareness and love for who you are.  You must give up the obsessive thoughts to hurt your abuser for what has happened to free yourself.  You must eventually stop telling your story of abuse.  If you don’t give up the victim identity you are likely to repeat the experience in another relationship or go back to your abuser for more pain.

Often emotional work needs to be completed with a critical and/or narcissistically abusive parent.  Many adult victims of relationship abuse were used as children for emotional support and the release of anger and tension.  You may have been treated kindly one minute and abused or shamed the next, which resulted in a confusing mixture of love and abuse.  Your happiness might have been dependent on the mood of a caregiver.

Recovery from narcissistic victim syndrome requires the willingness to accept temporary discomforts of change once you commit to being true to yourself.  Anxiety and panic can arise when you risk finding out what it’s like to be unattached and allow maybe for the first time in your life to feel a range of conflicting emotions.  Healing requires you to look at the life lesson of getting caught in a destructive relationship and being victimized.  Detachment from an abuser does not mean disconnection or aloofness it means seeing reality as it is, not as your illusions would like it to be.  It means separating your personal boundaries from your abuser, getting a clearer sense of where your limits are or need to be.  The initial uncovering, the gradual detachment and awakening to reality, the intense grief, the slow process of recovery, and forgiveness must take place to end the abuse. Giving yourself emotional space to make sense of the past, to learn about what happen to you, and grieving dreams lost is important for future loves.  By building endurance to withstand the grief process you may avoid repeating the same mistakes in your next relationship.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a healthy relationship with self.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

 

Why are Narcissists so Angry?

Courtesy Photo Stock

Courtesy Photo Stock

At the beginning of the relationship a narcissist is in need of constant attention, admiration, and approval.  Much like a child he or she is dependent; any sign of disapproval transforms the charming angel into a sadist.  As children, most narcissists grew up in families where explosive behavior and verbal and physical abuse were common.  Many experienced a consistent sense of dread that things would go badly and they would not survive.  To avoid feelings of failure and inadequacy they learned at an early age to control others with rage.  The narcissist tends to be anxious by temperament.  Self-hatred, feelings of powerlessness, fear of abandonment, and emotional deprivation are sources that fuel their rigid, systemic pattern of abuse.  Eventually attempts to control these feelings fail because the anxiety is within them, not in their environment.  The narcissist resents dependence on others for attention.  The frustration between an all-pervasive dependence on adulation and any perceived lack of subservience makes him or her prone to outbursts.

The narcissist cannot feel others pain and will never put a partner’s needs above theirs.  Anger and jealousy are the only authentic emotions they ever experience.  They are incapable of acknowledging how their cruelty hurts others and erupt compulsively without regard to the negative consequences.  The most devastating part of being involved in a narcissistic relationship is you love them and they don’t care.  Brief periods of stopping fury may occur out of concern for losing a mate or until a replacement can be found, but eventually the narcissist will be off again on another tantrum.  Control over anger is lost as a relationship progresses, much like the progression of drug addiction.  The narcissist is addicted to the rush of negative excitement and the look of pain on the face of a victim.  They sometimes pick fights for the high.  A partner’s trapped desperation makes the emotional sadist feel self-important and all-powerful.    The abuse becomes increasingly cruel as the partners self-esteem is no longer under their control.  Anger, revenge and vengefulness destroy any chance for happiness.  This power over people provides pleasure as they pull you into their shadow.

Narcissists are frequently preoccupied with resentment and fantasies of retaliation which continually leads to uncontrollable outbursts.  Most are professional martyrs who dramatize their lives to manipulate, deflect responsibility, and feel special.  The academy award-winning displays of emotion is not caring or empathy, it’s a trap.

“Stonewalling” or resounding silence are a favorite sadistic weapon meant to punish you for disagreeing with him or her.  The person is left feeling abandoned, unheard, undesirable, and insignificant.  The emotional abuse tends to happen every day and the effects are insidious and cumulative.  Living in an emotional combat zone, partners lose dignity and become unable to think, feel or act autonomously.  The narcissist’s voice becomes so well internalized in his prey that he no longer needs to say anything to control their submission. The heartless infliction of pain and suffering contributes to a partner’s hyper-vigilant stress response and frequent mood swings.   The sadistic narcissist delights in cruelty and is vindicated in anger.  Anything short of obedience is not tolerated.  Why are narcissists so angry?  Because narcissists are true cowards with dead souls driven to suck the joy out those they take hostage to feel alive.

Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 

Roberta

 

The Codependent’s Struggle with Substance Use in Abusive Relationships

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Codependents often struggle with drug and/or alcohol use in abusive relationships.  Denial about living in or with a nightmare is a coping strategy that perpetuates self-destructive behavior.   It is extremely painful, and extremely lonely.  A codependent suppresses dreams and desires to fulfill the wants of another.  Compulsive behavior is more common when a person cannot live their life without being subservient to the needs of another.  Suppressing needs and lack of emotional fulfillment begins the search for an escape.  Substance use can be the by-product of a codependent relationship.  Relationship neediness may be so extreme that the person believes they can’t live without an abusive partner. This keeps the door open to being treated poorly and excessive dependency on substances.

Codependency develops in families when problems are not discussed, abusive behavior is ignored, secrets are kept, and substance abuse and denial are common.  As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. This learned behavior affects a person’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. The emotional and behavioral conditioning contributes to “relationship addiction” with people who are emotionally destructive and/or abusive.  Codependent substance abusers give to others from fear rather than love.

The codependent creates an illusory world by using denial, delusion, and dissociation to decrease the pain that would be experienced if reality were accepted.  The unacknowledged feelings trigger a need for relief.  They may use eating, gambling, indiscriminate sexual activities, and/or relationships to escape emotional pain.  The codependent resorts to substance abuse and other compulsive behaviors to relieve anxiety and handle building pressures.  They find it hard to be themselves.  Self-worth is determined by the happiness of a partner and they will attempt to control a relationship by being needed.  Any perceived unhappiness in others around them feeds feelings of inadequacy and fear of abandonment.  Self-esteem is derived by their ability to control situations and please others.

Abusers want a lot of control and are afraid of being controlled.  They are resistant to doing what their partners want them to.  They resist with denial, irresponsibility, indifference, withdrawal and rage.  The codependent’s compulsive caretaking renders them feeling powerless in an abusive relationship unable to stop the cycle of behavior that causes it.  As relationship conflict increases all too often the codependent turns to substances. They identify as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in abusers and friendships.   Walking on eggshells, emotionally battered codependents second guess themselves and feel lost in a deep hole.  The emotional abuse inflicted by a partner can be subtle by way of implying or saying that you are stupid, ugly, not worth attention or that no one could love an addict. The codependent believes they can’t live life or stay in purgatory without drinking or using drugs and this behavior increases the likelihood that they will blame the mistreatment on themselves.

Generally unsatisfied with their intimate relationships, they feel constantly unappreciated, and are preoccupied with their partner.  This way of intimate relating combined with substance use becomes the backdrop for living in quiet desperation.  Codependents take drugs or drink alcohol for mood change, excitement, relaxation, distraction, stimulation, or sedation.  They stay in abusive relationships and deny or make excuses for their partners due to a high (insane) tolerance for emotional pain and inappropriate behavior developed in childhood.  The codependent gradually loses touch with who they really are and their sense of self.  They become numbed out unable to feel or express true feelings.  This loss of self results in low self-esteem.  Denial of feelings and pretending nothing is wrong fuels substance use.  They start feeling out of control and repeat self-destructive behavior to feel better which often leads to symptoms of demoralization and depression.  The painful existence progresses as the person forgoes interests because they are worried about what the abuser is or isn’t doing.  They often drink or drug more, feel scared, alone, hurt and angry.  Trying to fix their partner and staying means they will continue to be hurt.  The cruelty often becomes more severe and frequent over time.  The codependent doesn’t trust in their capacity to deal with life as it comes, so they are in a perpetual state of fear.

Fortunately, treatment for codependency and substance abuse can be highly successful in restoring a healthy sense of self.  The codependent can learn to set personal boundaries to protect themselves from victimization.  Many find the support of the 12-step program Codependents or Alcoholics Anonymous effective in uncovering the underlying cause of self-destructive behavior.  Intensive outpatient treatment programs or individual therapy can help begin the process of caring for oneself rather than trying to fix someone else.  Ending an abusive relationship or discontinuing drug use will not stop the learned behavior or protect against harm.  The heavy emotional burden inside the codependent must come out to be healed.

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a healthy relationship with self.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

 

 

 

 

 

Stopping Our Pain: Ending Destructive Relationships

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A relationships breaking point usually occurs over a series of unresolved fights many times before the real separation.   The decision to leave can be significant and painful, leaving deep scars that can also become the source of wisdom and change.  Relationships are tied to places, events, and histories.   Often there is regret with the decision to end a relationship and for most it is not made lightly or easily.  People pleasers (codependents) have an especially difficult time knowing when to leave.  They are reluctant to explore their emotions and scared of the anger that drives their caretaking behavior.  People pleasers in the extreme have an undeveloped identity based on a false self and built on rules defined by others.

Leaving a painful relationship requires acknowledging what we know about our partners character, our hurt feelings, that we are being mistreated, not living our dreams and are capable of thinking for ourselves.  Accepting things as they are and doing nothing may seem easier and feel less threatening.  Doing nothing means you are subject to control and putting up with whatever your partner wants to dish out.   It can also be a dangerous game to play because it is impossible not to disturb an abusive person and their behaviors are more likely to get worse than better. Hoping a heartless partner will change and admit they have been terrible to you and will never hurt you again is not going to happen. If you have children they will probably learn to abuse or that they are of little value.  Identifying what a good relationship is will help you to set the goal to go.   Most important of all is developing a compassionate relationship with yourself; you must take care of “you” now and always.

Healthy partnerships are built slowly and based on mutual respect and a fair balance of power.  Both people have the ability to give and receive affection, there is zero cruelty, lack of self-destruction, control problems, over-functioning, or denial of responsibility for ones actions.  The couple attends to the needs and well-being of the bond through good deeds, looks, and words.  Healthy relationships are manageable, satisfying, and fulfilling to the soul.  There is no need to deny feelings or disguise thoughts and beliefs.   A solid relationship begins, grows, and matures in reality.   Satisfying relationships are based on mutual caring, not on need.  Each partner enters the commitment content without holding another person or anything responsible for making them happy.  The truth is no one can make anyone happy.  If you are somebody who feels that happiness is the responsibility of your partner or anything else, chances are you will spend a lot of time being disappointed.

Leaving an abusive relationship depends on your self-respect and how you relate to your inner and outer world. How will I know when to leave?  When you enter the final stage of anger, rage, and sadness, followed by release and relief; later comes owning your power.   You will know when you stop explaining away behavior that is unacceptable.   When you accept that your partner’s behavior is destroying any chance for joy you will find the power to leave.  Repetitive endless arguments in your mind against leaving the painful relationship will end.  Experiencing fear and resistance as you do this is normal.   You may feel empty and lost for a time.  Keep telling yourself that you want to stop denying reality.  One day you will wake up and know you can walk away.

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a healthy relationship.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Moving On After an Abusive Relationship

man-running-i6nThe things I have come to recognize I want are not material but emotional.  Now that I have awakened, my abusive relationships take on new significance.  I now have the opportunity to learn new behaviors and new feelings.  I will wait no longer for the help I need.

Completing ourselves is the way we heal from relationship abuse and stop future victimization.  Getting comfortable being alone is something that everyone has to face to have a decent, fulfilling, and manageable life.   As you end your denial of partner abuse, your experience of pain increases until it is accepted.  Denial is used to defend against a loss of love, a loss of self, or the loss of another.  No other person will ever make it unnecessary for you to be complete.  It is always up to you to help yourself.  How do you complete yourself?  You make a commitment to stay out of intimate relationships until you think about and identify what you want.  You find direction and purpose in life by setting goals.  Emotionally you don’t tolerate blame for the abuse only your reaction to it.  You are stuck only by the parts of your relationship for which you’re unwilling to heal and must, because you have been made sick.  Only by accepting the necessity to change, can you move on.  In order to succeed, you have to give up your excuses for failing.  If you sincerely admit you were at least partly responsible for choices made, you can be in greater control of your life.  Someone who expects to lose acts helpless, fails to take action, becomes resentful and holds others responsible for keeping them back.  This person ends up always looking to get even and tends to repeat past mistakes.  Keeping old pain alive is also another way to manipulate others.  When you are filled with resentments, you tend to diminish good feelings to justify staying angry.  You also hold on to your pain because you are afraid to express anger and want to avoid rejection or looking bad. Some hold on to their emotional pain because they are afraid to let go of a victim identity.

Loving yourself is a choice and series of actions based on that choice.  You begin to act accordingly even before you feel lovable.  You choose to behave as if you do anyway.  You don’t forfeit the right to create your own life.  The truth is you can choose to be happy and self-fulfilled regardless of what happen in your relationship.  You will then make healthy decisions that honor and attract and maintain real love, safety and happiness.

I believe the purpose in all our relationships is to discover our true identity and find out who we really are.  When you have an abuse history you need to make loving yourself a mission.  You must be willing to be responsible for completing your emotional work without focusing on anything or any relationship to escape yourself.  Until you heal your self other people, situations and life will inevitably hurt you.  After an abusive relationship many feel they have lost the sense of self as capable and wise, instead see only their problems.  We tend to not trust ourselves when all we recognize is what’s wrong with us.  In abusive relationships we have someone who tries to define who we should be, how we should feel, and how we should live.  This can lead to an increased incapacity to deal with life.  When we complete ourselves, we can better navigate challenging emotional times, feel loss or grieving, fear, or anger  knowing in our heart and soul that we will make it, even if we’re not sure how or when.  We learn we are safe in our own care.  We treat ourselves well, kindly, and as a self-compassionate person does.

Actions to Move On and Complete Yourself

I speak kindly to myself.

I take care of my body and feed it well.

I am compassionate with my crazy thinking.

I take time to be in nature.

I take time for exercise.

I meditate every day.

I forgive as a discipline.

I tell myself often, “I love you very much.”

I date myself and I enjoy my company.

I give myself permission to make mistakes.

I am self-compassionate with my fears.

I am learning to be patience with myself.

I protect my soul and energy.

I spend time with like-minded people.

I am willing to be wrong.

I avoid a victim mentality.

I contribute the best I can.

I show up for life.

Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

 

Addicted to Abusive Love

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Obsessing over an abuser is an all-consuming and compulsive preoccupation.  The emotion is often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety and a resistance to alternative viewpoints. The abusers hook is usually a whirlwind courtship where excitement is in the air as romance moves swiftly.  The thrill of the unexpected is mood altering.  It’s fast, it’s stimulating, and it feels alive.  When sexual intimacy is added the speed and intensity of the emotions become greater.  The relationship passion provides a false intimacy which is then mistaken for genuine closeness.  The swift and strong emotions overwhelm an intended victims perceptions. Anything that interferes with the picture of the new love as “ideal” is denied.  The relationship focus is on how the other person is making one feel and not on who the other person really is.  The thinking goes:  “Since he makes me feel wonderful, he must be wonderful.”  The partner’s pleasing characteristics are amplified and overemphasized.  Any hint of trouble gets ignored.  When the person makes you feel terrific it’s easy not to see the red flags about someone’s past relationships, emotional problems, or character.

The codependent personality is the perfect match for an abuser.  Codependent people tend to have an anxious attachment style due to emotionally unavailable, dismissing, and rejecting caregivers growing up. The need for a love attachment can be so extreme that the person believes they can’t live without an abusive partner.  This opens the door to being treated poorly and excessive dependency.  Attachment style with our parent serves as a model for adult experiences in intimate relationships.  Children that are rejected by a caregiver fear abandonment more than others.  When unmet dependency needs arise the person can become extremely clingy and unable to contain anxiety.  This anxiety becomes the foundation for people pleasing to get attention from others and to quiet the excessive worry about rejection.  Rejected adult children often experience pervasive feelings of sadness.  Some therapists call it the “Smiling depression.”   Generally unsatisfied with their intimate relationships, they feel constantly unappreciated, and become preoccupied with their abusive partners.  This way of intimate relating becomes the backdrop for attracting a sick partner.

Where the person with an anxious attachment style cares obsessively, the abusive person doesn’t seem to care as much.  This behavior triggers fear of abandonment for the codependent. The rejecting partner wavers between being distant and cut-off emotionally, to being critical and controlling.  They are reluctant to disclose, have a negative view of others, and are mistrustful of their partners.  They are less invested in partnerships and feel less grief or distress when a relationship ends.  They just don’t seem to care as much and tend to get tired of being nice shortly into a courtship.  Suddenly the end of the honeymoon begins usually over an insignificant incident.  Charm turns to rage and the partner is subjected to an unreasonable attack on his or her character.   Withdrawal symptoms begin when getting the “fix” or desired relationship satisfaction is denied.   The anxious and abusive match find each other to complete unresolved dependency needs from childhood.   Each is attracted to the other because of familiar painful traits.

Dealing with feelings from the past can stir up anger over old hurts and grief for the child that had to endure them.  Acknowledging and dealing with these feelings is essential to diminishing their control over your love life and resolving abusive relationship addiction.  When we don’t feel worthy of love we look to relationships to “fix” us and the addictive cycle of looking for relief in others begins.  With self-compassion we choose to be happy and learn to build healthy relationships.  Seeing your happiness as dependent upon another person is where many enter the world of relationship addiction. Long-term happy partnerships begin with people who are already happy before they meet.

Tips for Resolving Abusive Relationship Addiction

  1. Invest in your well-being by learning about attachment styles in addictive codependent relationships.
  2. Give yourself a break from intimate relationships until you are comfortable being alone.
  3. Commit on deep levels to practice loving actions towards yourself. Trust that the change taking place is good.
  4. Give yourself permission to seek help with a therapist when you are ready to change.
  5. Build endurance to fully grieve your lost childhood, so you can feel joy and happiness.
  6. Show up for yourself. Repeat over and over: “I am worthy,” “Sad feelings won’t last forever,” “I will make it out of this,” “I’m doing the best I can do.”
  7. Stop blaming yourself for family problems over which you do not have control.
  8. Take responsibility for your relationship history. Accept the lessons and learn from relationship pain so you don’t repeat it. Ask yourself, “What is the gift” from this relationship?
  9. Spend time each morning focused on forgiving your partners/parents for not being able to love you.  Let go of resentments so you can be free from the desire to hurt them. Move on to a new freedom and happiness.

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a decent relationship.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Tips for Online Dating and Screening for Personality Disorders

Courtesy Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikipedia

The world of internet romance is a playground for the personality disordered.  You do not know who is really behind a profile.  The narcissist, antisocial, and/or sociopath (mostly males) are particularly good at pretending to be someone else to have fun.  The personality disordered has never had an easier time preying on gullible or desperate people.  For the online predator sexual relations are thrilling conquests and nothing more.  Charming and resourceful they are incapable of sincere emotion, shame, guilt, or love.  The narcissist, sociopath, and antisocial person crave stimulation and excitement, live in the present moment unconcerned with the consequences of their behavior.   All personality disordered individuals have character traits that are ingrained, enduring patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, and perceiving. These enduring patterns are life-long, chronic, and highly incurable.

The female personality disordered tends to be histrionic, dependent, or borderline with smaller percentages who are narcissists.  The histrionic is overly dramatic (extreme drama queen), lively, seductive, and always calling attention to themselves.  They quickly become bored with normal routines and display irrational outbursts or temper tantrums.  They initially come across as charming and outgoing.  Once a relationship is established they become controlling, demanding, and inconsiderate.  The borderline is tricky to spot at first because they present much better than they are but underneath the façade are chronic feelings of emptiness, problems with being alone, emotional instability, intense anger, and identity confusion.  They display impulsivity, self-destructive acts, and suicidal gestures like cutting.  The essential features of dependent personality disorder are a constant demand for attention, lack of self-confidence or the ability to function independently.  The dependent personality dreads making decisions, acting autonomously, and lacks follow through on goals.   They look to others for an identity.  The dependent will do anything to avoid responsibility for his or her self.

With a radar for people’s vulnerability’s the personality disordered can easily manipulate, exploit, control and deceive.  Unfortunately the desperate or naive person’s online profile is easy for them to spot.   A perpetrator can guess a lot about a person’s character through written words and even photographs.   The personality disordered person is superficially charming, likable, and good at starting a relationship.  They have no capacity for empathy and never develop the caring part of a healthy partnership.  In other words, he or she has no real feelings other than rage.  When you ask a tough question, they will change the subject or give a vague response.

Keep in mind that we all share some neuroses.  People can have self-involved narcissistic personality features or a highly dramatic presentation.  The difference is that the person is capable of feeling remorse for being insensitive or mean.  The behavior is uncharacteristic and different from their usual self.  In contrast, the pathological behavior in people with personality disorders is in character and routine for them.  Neuroses may develop at any time; personality disorders are life-long.

If you have decided to give online dating a try it is wise to be aware of your vulnerabilities and appropriate boundaries.  Educating yourself about red flags avoids potential hardship and damage to well-being. You must carefully protect your identity and not disclose personal information quickly.  If you have a history of picking abusive partners it is necessary to ask questions and listen for emotional problems.

Codependents are particularly vulnerable to the breath taking pursuit and initial charm of the pathological.  What is a codependent?  Codependents are people who attempt to keep balance in an abusive relationship and will distort reality in response to the mistreatment.  They try endlessly to please an abusive person.  Codependents deny feelings, dismiss intuition, and feel responsible for other people’s actions.  For example, “If only I had been better sexually, he or she would not have to cheat.  They distort reality to preserve the relationship and avoid the emotional pain admitting the truth would bring.  The high tolerance for inappropriate behavior is often established in childhood with caregivers that are emotionally unavailable and/or abusive.  A typical approach of the pathological is to overwhelm a codependent date with intensity and attention, so the person ignores red flags.  Remember if someone appears too good to be true, your observation is probably right.  A match with genuine intent and healthy boundaries knows true love takes time to discover.

People coming out of a relationship can be vulnerable to the pathological because they need to heal.  It takes time to get over someone you truly love.  Bypassing the grief process stops discovery of the core issues that inhibited a satisfying partnership.  Focusing on a new relationship avoids painful feelings of loss.  It can also make you vulnerable to jump into a new relationship that feels wrong to end loneliness.   Happy long-term relationships are formed by people who are already happy.  Hooking up with the pathological will cause more pain and problems.

So how do you protect yourself from poor choices?  First, know what qualities you are looking for in a partner.  Make a list of these qualities and look at it when considering a meet-up.  You must take your time screening a potential match before jumping into a relationship.  Do not be desperate; stop yourself from acting impulsively.  Temper your longing for emotional fulfillment and love.  If you are using a dating site that offers get to know you questions take advantage of them.  Especially questions about family and past relationships.  See if a potential match answers your questions directly and with some detail.  Have they taken the time to read your profile?  When you receive communication evaluate the persons profile carefully for values and character.  If you are interested, have someone you trust give their opinion of the person.  Is the profile grandiose or shallow?  Is the profile self-serving and irrelevant? Do they describe realistic character traits about themselves and those they want in a partner?   What is important to them in a relationship?  What does their picture(s) say about them?  Are there an excessive amount of vain pictures?  Is there a picture to go along with the person’s profile?

Speak on the telephone before you meet and be discerning, you can tell a lot from hearing someone speak.  Chatting with a potential match is wise and a good safety measure.  If you feel uncomfortable or get a bad vibe just hang up.  Once you know the person’s name, and before you meet, complete an online search.  Verify as much as you can about their integrity.  Be cautious and open minded.  Find out where they work and look at the company’s website to see if they are listed.   Remember to always meet in a public place, drive yourself, and let someone know where you’re going.  Tell a friend or family member who you are meeting, when you plan to return, and the person’s phone number.  If something feels wrong, trust your instincts, and get out.

Screening Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Does he or she blame their mistakes or failures on others or the world at large?  Listen closely to their relationship, family and work history.
  2. Do they acknowledge their part in the ending of past relationships or problems with their partners, children, siblings, or parents?
  3. Do they push for intimacy, start making future plans, and immediately place you in the role of the love of their life? Run….
  4. Do they talk endlessly about themselves
  5. Have they had police contact/arrests for domestic violence, fighting, or criminal behavior?
  6. Do they look for reasons to be insulted?  Do they rant excessively?
  7. Are they easily insulted by people when you are out in public?
  8. Do they express negative or aggressive statements about friends, poor people, and the mentally challenged, needy or loving person?
  9. Are they verbally violent in their communication with putdowns, brutal honesty, threats, or hostility?
  10. Is the person overly dramatic, and always calling attention to themselves?
  11. Do they quickly become bored with normal routines?
  12. Do they use their physical appearance to draw attention to self?
  13. Are they arrogant or superior in behaviors and attitudes?
  14. Do they disregard or diminish your feelings?
  15. Does he or she call or text you constantly?
  16. Are they demanding, but don’t come through for you in return?

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a decent relationship.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Dealing with the Emotional Hangover from Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship

Unchain-My-Heart Courtesy of Wikipedia

Unchain-My-Heart Courtesy of Wikipedia

The emotional hangover when we’re undergoing recovery from a narcissistic relationship is typically profound sadness and secondary to this feeling is rage.  Rage that someone who professed to love you could suddenly turn around and treat you so entirely without empathy.  The rage quite often is disguised as depression.  The grief heals slowly and leaves scars.  When the numbness has worn off there is deep pain and then there are attacks of emotional distress.  Feeling desperate for the pain to stop, panic about never ending loneliness and doubt about leaving are common.  You might find yourself caught in the compulsive mental replay of the injustice you endured.  The grief stages can last for several weeks gradually becoming less frequent for up to a year or more.  The pain and fear that has been bottled up inside from a restrictive, growth-inhibiting relationship comes to the surface.  Anger, blame, and helplessness, feels unmanageable and depressing.   You might be asking yourself. “Where do I go from here?”  “Will I ever find real love?”  Confronting the pain and fear from two, ten, twenty years or more can tempt you to run for cover, withdraw into darkness, jump into a new relationship (unwise choice) or decide to do the serious emotional work of completing yourself.

It is important that you mourn the ending of your relationship because grieving is essential to healing.  No matter how intense the painful emotions become you can endure them.  You have to break away in as healthy a manner as possible so that you are no longer emotionally available.   If you don’t make a clean emotional break you are likely to go back for more abuse.  This can happen because codependent love has an addictive emotional character which results in withdrawal symptoms.  The withdrawal is similar to symptoms from stopping substance abuse. After the break-up, people will experience an obsessive longing for their abusive partner (drug), debilitating emotional pain, and often engage in self-destructive behavior. This emotional response is why some people feel incapacitated by the hurt and obsess about hooking up with an ex-partner for more abuse. In order to accept years of rejection the “victim” develops an insane tolerance for emotional pain. The high tolerance for abusive behavior is a coping strategy to protect the psyche and is often learned in childhood. This obsession can be changed when we learn to love ourselves. When you accept that the way you treat yourself is the problem, the temptation to go back to purgatory will end.

Staying in a destructive relationship is more painful than the temporary pain of healing from the abuse. The emotional hangover will end and you will feel the immense relief of no longer walking on egg shells, needing to justify, explain, or apologize to anyone.  An abusive partner sucks the energy and joy out of your life.  The tension and conflict is exhausting.  Making a commitment to be kind to yourself through this process is life affirming and energizing.  It is also protection against tolerating abuse in future relationships.  Your grief will change when you understand your needs and how to get them met while learning to have fun without an intimate relationship.

Research tells us that long-term happy marriages/partnerships are formed by people that were already happy before the relationship started. When you complete the grieving process and learn to love yourself you will find a new partner who is capable of love.

Tips for healing the emotional hangover from Narcissistic Abuse

● Show up for yourself by repeating over and over: “I am worthy,” “Sad feelings won’t last forever,” “I will make it out of this,” “I’m doing the best I can do”

● Feel good about your decision to leave

● Invest in yourself by learning about narcissistic abuse and codependency

● Give yourself a break from intimate relationships until you have healed and are comfortable being alone

● Invest in your self-acceptance, protection, and emotional growth

● Know you will survive the abuse, learn from the experience, and have deeper self-knowledge

● Force yourself to develop new interests and social outlets

● Give yourself permission to seek the help of a therapist familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

● Acknowledge the anger that you feel so you don’t accept behaviors that hurt you

● If you are feeling depressed ask yourself what you might be angry about

● Examine your fears and insecurity with compassion, not terrorizing yourself with shame

● Make a commitment to take care of yourself even though you may fear in your ability to do so

● Believe in the ability to competently deal with feelings, solve problems, and take responsibility for your life

● Be open to what you are doing to create your life situation instead of being a victim

● Spend time each morning focused on forgiving your partner for not being able to love

● Let go of resentments so you can be free from obsessive thoughts

● Learn to trust yourself by finding out what is right for you

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Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

The Punishing Sexuality of the Narcissist

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Foot Fetish Courtesy of Wikipedia

The narcissist is threatened by a partner’s sexual and emotional needs and believes they are out to trap them and suck them dry.  This is the narcissist’s classic projection of their true inner self.  Because of this projection he or she tortures and abuses.  They can be ruthless in their pursuit of prey and create misery in their wake. To calm irrational fears they pathologize intimate others to maintain power and control.  They are constitutionally incapable of feeling empathy or remorse for their actions.

Most narcissists prefer pornography and masturbation to emotionally attached, mature, adult sex.  Some are into sadomasochistic sexual relationships; some use pornography to become aroused; others become addicted to it.  The psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the sadistic narcissist.  Witnessing his or her pain is what the sadist finds arousing.  Their sexuality is not a connected and balanced part of life.  The sexual act is a performance-oriented genital experience focused on the hunt and momentary high of orgasm.  Sometimes they are latent homosexuals or secretly bisexual.  Many have fetishes which involve the use of nonliving objects.  Spandex, lingerie, cross dressing, boas, high heels, leather restraints, etc. may be used for sexual stimulation.  It can start to take increasingly more violence or the use of fetish objects to become sexually aroused enough to orgasm.  Boredom in the bedroom comes quickly and ejaculation may be impossible without toys or inflicting pain.

After the pyrotechnic beginnings, sex is likely to become an impersonal and emotionally distant experience.  Most heterosexual male and female narcissists hate their opposite gender.  Punishment by emotional withdrawing and abstaining from sex is inflicted on loving partners to maintain control.  The narcissist sadistically frustrates for pleasure and can become celibate within a relationship.  Sex then is only performed to keep their partner from leaving or for the demonstration of physical and psychological domination.  They are incapable of true emotional intimacy and dread the needs of a lover.  Unable to love or feel empathy, the relationship becomes chaotic, lacking any measure of authentic intimacy.  The life force is sucked out of the partner leaving them hollow.  They are notorious for cheating and/or using the services of prostitutes.  Partners are wise to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Narcissists rarely seek help for their soulless, emotionless, genital only sex and destructive mistreatment of others.  Their need to have sexual power is directly proportional to the hatred and rage they feel within.  If you are reading this post you probably have suffered to hang on to this type of painful relationship and long to find real love.  You must start with learning to nurture yourself and seeking to understand the intense longing that led to your choice of a narcissistic partner.  The truth is, their numbers are great and odds are many of us will encounter this personality disorder in our search for a healthy partner.  Find something you love to do and do it!  Warm relationships and fulfilling sexual experiences flow from a person who feels good about his or her life and is on a path to self-fulfillment.  Take your focus off finding a relationship and begin to find your own source of love and power. You will then tend to attract genuine people who want to love you.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to express needs and put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Time to get Angry: Ending the Narcissistic Relationship

Raiva-Ager-IconRelationships with narcissists are about blame: “I feel bad, and it’s your fault.”  What is a narcissist?  Narcissistic partners are self-centered with an excessive need for attention and admiration. They control with anger, violence, criticism, irritation, righteousness, invasive energy, and emotional drama. They use both blatant and concealed control to get the attention he or she wants and hold others responsible for their feelings of pain and joy.  It is your job to make sure that their needs are met.  All forms of narcissistic abuse results from failure to feel compassion.  They don’t care about how you feel.  Failure of compassion is abuse.  Trying to prevent outbursts, the victims of narcissists “walk on egg shells” to keep the peace.

You might be asking yourself, “How could someone who felt so right in the beginning of the relationship be a total mistake?”  After the discovery of your partner’s true character, emotions are usually intense.  The hurt, bewilderment, and numbing shock are overwhelming.  Acceptance of anger is not pleasant, but it is necessary for ending the abuse.  Anger will guide you to decisions that are important to make.  You will find it difficult if not impossible to leave and get better until you get mad.  Denying anger eats away at your innermost spirit and feeds depression.   Hidden anger does not go away; it sits waiting for you to become strong enough to deal with the mistreatment.  It is very important to acknowledge the anger that you feel or you will continue to accept behaviors that hurt you.  Staying in denial, it is likely you will suffer from fear, emotional pain, or shame.  It is far more effective to assert yourself with anger to motivate an escape from purgatory.  By repressing emotions and disregarding needs you stay victimized and become stuck in the nightmare.  Some victims of narcissists stay in quiet desperation for years, secretly wanting out and then they die.  Their emotional work is left to their children to complete.  You have the right and responsibility to feel and learn from your anger.

It is important to understand that not all anger is unhealthy.  Anger can be used constructively or destructively.  It can be a warning signal to protect ourselves from being dominated or manipulated by others.  It’s a defense mechanism that protects.  Anger can give us strength and courage to stop abuse done against us or to others we
love.  However, when anger is unexpressed it becomes destructive taking control over the mind, body, and spirit.  Most people under the control of a narcissist cannot clearly comprehend the abuse or make good decisions.  The person acting codependently is unable to think rationally and emotions take control of their actions.  They make excuses for the abusers behavior, feel trapped and uncertain how to take care of themselves or their children.  Anger may be denied because the person feels too guilty about it or are afraid of it.  You may speak of being disappointed, frustrated, or let down, unaware that these expressions may indicate repressed anger.  Becoming angry at the abuse is an effective means of utilizing the emotion in overcoming fear.  Constructively used, anger can give strength both mentally and emotionally.  The open expression of anger towards the narcissist will not solve the problem and could be dangerous.  Anger and threats usually provoke further hostility and rage.  If you fear for your safety, please click the following link: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Safety Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/SafetyPlan.php

What do I do about feeling my anger?   Recognize that you are angry and admit it to yourself.  Awareness is much less harmful than unrecognized or unadmitted anger.  It is essential that you uncover the feelings first.  If you are feeling depressed, ask yourself what you might be angry about.  Are you afraid to face the situation?  Are you afraid to face your anger?  Understand why you are angry so you will figure out ways to handle it.  When you recognize the destructive behaviors of the narcissist, your frustration and discouragement, you will find the source of anger and what to do about it.  Dealing with anger is easy to describe, but less easy to carry out.  Life is complex.  Once you leave you must make a personal search to discover interests and what can be done to express them in your new life.  Remember you have to make changes because you are the one who has been made sick by the relationship.  If you don’t make changes you are likely to continue to be frustrated and depressed.

Ending a relationship with a narcissist means we need to make a choice to take care of ourselves even though we may fear in our ability to do so.  You cannot change a narcissist (anyone) or be responsible for their insatiable needs. It is time to feel your anger and release your partner to think, feel, solve problems, and take care of his or her self. Your work is to believe in the ability to competently deal with feelings, solve problems, and take responsibility for your life.

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Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to express needs and put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Codependents Facing Their Darker Side

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

 

All the pieces of me are coming together as I acknowledge my own healing ability.  My past is no longer in charge of me

Facing our darker side is a step in the right direction to rid ourselves of hiding for the rest of our lives. Our problem behaviors have something to teach us if we can get past the urge to pretend they don’t exist. A person’s darker side contains the shadow parts of the self that one rejects and find unacceptable. The shadow is all the actions that scare and disgusts us about ourselves and others. This is the side of us we deny and would rather not experience. Uncovering your denial relieves you of anxiety, stress, and self-deception; it removes blocks to joy and love. Nothing you do to remove the blocks will be effective when you deny your anger and resentment. Being honest with ourselves makes room for self-acceptance. Telling the truth is the first step and the second is admitting we are willing or not to change whatever the behavior is at the moment. Keep in mind you are examining your fears and shortcomings with compassion, not terrorizing yourself with shame. Remembering our own mistakes when we want to judge others moves us towards authenticity.Our darker side is always looking for expression and can slowly destroy relationships with family, friends, partners, ourselves, and other important people to us. When we keep our problems hidden or denied nothing changes. Problems brought out into the open diminish their control over our lives. Learning how to take responsibility for your own issues is one of the essential actions in removing blocks to joy and love. This means being open to what you are doing to create your life situation instead of being a victim and believing that others are causing your unhappiness. Your behavior comes from how you treat yourself and others. When you don’t acknowledge your issues, you will end up feeling angry, bitter, trapped, unappreciated, unloved, and misunderstood. These feelings arise from a wounded sense of self where we give ourselves permission to be self-punishing.

Codependents often feel anxious that unpleasant and frightening things are going to happen. Your anxious thinking gets you expecting that you won’t be able to cope with change. These emotions are your warning signal that things may require work and attention in your life. When we are brave enough to face ourselves and love ourselves, even in our most destructive behavior, we gain courage. In this way, we encourage confidence in our ability to cope.

Codependents know when something is wrong in a relationship and tend to blame themselves or a partner instead of facing their own needs to grow up. Admitting this tendency will help you to set better boundaries. Keeping your negative attitudes or fears unacknowledged takes control of your happiness and creates life-long pervasive feelings of dissatisfaction in your intimate relationships.

Compulsive behavior is especially important to admit for the person who abuses alcohol and/or drugs. Many codependents abuse substances to avoid the frustration and pain that occurs in relationships. The codependent keeps their anxiety hidden. They fear being found out and feel very alone because they don’t share their true pain. Substances allow for a false sense of intimacy in relationships and at the same time keep people away.

Many codependents grew up in homes where the emotional goods (love) were in shortage. Lack of abundance in love can become the shadow of jealousy. Jealousy is the belief that there is not enough love to go around and a destroyer of relationships. The truth is that jealousy is fear about losing someone’s love or not getting the love you want. When you are jealous, admitting to feeling insecure about your lovability helps to silence the dark shadow and its hold on you. As does calming the fear of abandonment by acknowledging there is always enough love to go around until you believe it. Jealousy usually produces tremendous inner pain and distress. Accepting and managing your jealousy becomes ever so important in removing blocks to joy and happiness because of its potential destructiveness.

Controlling by managing other people or events is a way of dealing with anxiety, especially in unhealthy relationships. The belief that things and people hold the solution to happiness and stopping our pain makes life unmanageable. Relationships are meant to teach us lessons about love, not reinforce our past. A more joyful and loving existence is possible when we make a conscious effort to talk directly about fears and hidden thoughts. As we grow in understanding and acceptance the blocks to joy and love are eliminated. Expanding your understanding with truth removes fear and insecurity.
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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a manageable life. And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Codependents, Dating, Mating, Growing, and Assessing for Partner Abuse

heart-jg8nCodependents with a history of relationship abuse need to enter romantic relationships with awareness and respect for their neediness and unmet childhood dependency needs.   Codependents are some of the most loving people and find it difficult to leave abusive relationships.  They have a tough time accepting that abusive partners will not change over time no matter how much they want them to.  Learning to recognize personality disordered character traits is imperative in protecting your vulnerabilities as you complete your own emotional work.

Character traits are patterns of behaving, feeling, perceiving, and thinking, which are evident in our personal and social relationships.  Although our character can be changed, it typically remains the same and affects us all of our lives.  Personality traits turn into personality disorders when they become inflexible, do not adjust to relationship needs, and significantly damage social and job functioning or cause considerable misery.   Often, the people who live and work with the personality disordered are more distressed.  People with personality disorders often fail at work and love.

People who are acting neurotic see their behavior as uncharacteristic and different from their usual self.  In contrast, the pathological behavior in people with personality disorders is in character and routine for them.  Neuroses may develop at any time; personality disorders are life-long. Personality disorders first become evident during adolescence or earlier and are highly incurable.

Codependents need to spend more time building a new relationship and going slowly. Take the time to learn how conflicts were managed in a person’s family.  Find out how a new partner shows his or her love to others.   Be aware of what you want for yourself and what you want in a relationship.  Know how you need to be treated and listen closely for emotional issues.  We all have emotional challenges and need to assess if a person’s immaturity is likely to sabotage a healthy relationship.  Respect your vulnerabilities and don’t hook into a being a relationship martyr.  Remember your relationship history of choosing partners that end up resembling a caretaker.  You might have felt in the beginning of a past relationship that you knew your partner even though you had just met.  Chances are on an unconscious level they reminded you of a caretaker that this time was going to cherish you.  You felt your needs were going to be satisfied and you would no longer feel alone.  Denial is strongest at the beginning of romantic relationships.

Some questions to answer when assessing for problem behavior:

  1. Does he or she blame their mistakes or failures on others or the world at large?  Listen closely to their relationship, family and work history.
  2. Do they acknowledge their part in the ending of past relationships or problems with their partners, children, siblings, or parents?
  3. Have they had police contact/arrests for domestic violence, fighting, or criminal behavior?
  4. Do they look for reasons to be insulted?  Do they rant excessively? Are they easily insulted by people when you are out in public?
  5. Do they express negative or aggressive statements about friends, poor people, and the mentally challenged, needy or loving person?
  6. Are they verbally violent in their communication with put-downs, brutal honesty, threats, or hostility?
  7. Do they push for intimacy, start making future plans, and immediately place you in the role of the love of their life? Run….
  8. Does he or she call or text you constantly?
  9. Is the person overly dramatic, and always calling attention to themselves?
  10. Do they quickly become bored with normal routines?
  11. Do they use their physical appearance to draw attention to self?
  12. Are they arrogant or superior in behaviors and attitudes?

Evaluating character traits without illusion avoids the horrifying moment where you are shocked that your partner is not the person you thought they were.  You deceived yourself all along about his or her character.  The loneliness and sadness of childhood wounds ends up coming to the surface unhealed.  A codependent can become trapped, sticking it out beyond the anger stage and begin bargaining with despair.  Finding a way to resolve this problem and creating a satisfying relationship is not possible with the personality disordered person.  Owning your relationship history and denial will help you see emotional issues in others more clearly. You must invest in your self-acceptance, protection, and emotional growth.  Your investment in repairing the emotional damage of childhood is what allows you to become complete and attract a loving partner capable of nurturing you.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Problem-Solving: The Work of Satisfying Relationships

Smiley_svgUnresolved problems and conflicts in your relationship contribute to stress and tension, which leads to relationship dissatisfaction. Ask yourself, “Is it okay in my partnership to identify, have, and talk about problems?” All people have problems to work through. To create healthy communication we must not deny problems as a way of dealing with them and we must be able to discuss them. When we deny our problems we can become depressed, overeat, drink, and otherwise act-out compulsively. In contrast, addressing problems as they occur contributes to feeling connected to our loved ones, which leads to lower levels of stress, spontaneous expressions of affection, and improved mood.  Keep in mind that the best time to resolve a conflict may not be immediately. It is not unusual for one or both partners to need some time to cool off.

Problems are part of life and the work of long-term relationships.  So are solutions. We may spend more time in the drama of a problem than solving it. We end up missing the point, the lesson, and the gift.  Successful partnerships involve a willingness to listen to and be influenced by the needs and opinions of one another.  It’s necessary to talk about and solve our problems if we want a decent manageable life together.  Starting a discussion with criticism or blame is a common way two people escalate to hurting each other.

During conflict a means of monitoring anger is to notice when your voice rises, this is a warning signal that you are getting closer to blaming or having an outburst. When you lash out you become the “problem” and the drama continues.  You step into the role of the persecutor, your partner becomes a victim to your ranting, and eventually someone will take the rescuer role to make things better.  The problem often does not get addressed.  Eventually intimacy and your sex life are ruined with this ongoing pattern of relating.  Problem-solving skills can be developed and used to cope with relationship disputes and can also be helpful in other areas of your life.

Problem-solving techniques are effective when applied to problems of conflict directly or to problems that might contribute to disagreements (e.g. work conditions, financial concerns, health problems, etc.). Good problem-solving is closely related to changing your thinking; it’s changing your belief that problems are overwhelming and impossible into a belief that they can be addressed successfully. You and your partner need to attack the problem and not each other.  Start discussions with a positive meaningful comment about your partner’s strengths before sharing the issue(s). End your communication with a positive statement about how you will do your part to making the connection stronger.  Be willing to discover and correct blind spots about your behavior.  Resolving problems requires clearly defining the issue to overcome obstacles and find solutions.

Example: Poorly defined problem:

“I’m unhappy and depressed in my relationship.”

Example: Well-defined problem:

“I feel unhappy with my relationship for most of the day, every day because my partner is not affectionate. When I’m unhappy, it’s hard for me to interact with my partner and I end up sitting by myself watching TV for hours or I call a friend to discuss the state of my unhappiness. This makes me feel unloved, lonely and frustrated. My friends are irritated with me for my constant complaining, and my partner is angry at me for my emotional distancing and isolation.”

Resolve your frustration by clearly stating what you need from the other person.  Describe your request in clear terms. For example, you might say, “I would like you to hold my hand more often” rather than, “I wish you were more caring.”  Wait for a response. Be a good listener and don’t interrupt, focus on what is being expressed and check out what you heard your partner say.  Edit unnecessary negative comments.

Next, how do you want to change? Set realistic, specific, concrete goals.

Example: 1) I would like critical thoughts about my partner to be less often and 2) less frequent 3) I would like to be able to spend time with my partner and share affection 4) I would like to communicate to my partner about what is making me angry.

Now for the fun part of solving problems, this is a time to loosen up thinking and to generate as many solutions as possible, even if they seem dumb or impractical.

Example:

1) Stop talking about my anger to friends and start talking to my partner.

2) Talk to my doctor about my depression and/or couples counseling.

3) Ask my friends to talk to me and urge me to think positively.

4) Practice taking deep breaths when I start to have critical thoughts.

5) Exercise when depressive and critical thoughts start.

6) Go on a weekend getaway to relax and connect with my partner.

7) Give to my partner what I need from him or her (e.g., affection, patience, acceptance, etc.).

Now go for the solution. Try out the top 2 or 3 solutions. Give 110% effort – it will only work if you really want to change.  Expect to be challenged, as it often takes some persistence before a problem is fully solved, but give yourself kudos for the effort.

Example: I will plan to talk about my feelings regularly, I will practice deep breathing when I start thinking critically, and I will show appreciation to my partner.

Solving problems involves accountability for one’s actions and giving up the role of a victim.  The feeling of anger is normal and healthy in long-term relationships.  When anger is appropriately expressed it draws people closer to each other, increasing satisfaction.  Anger is always a secondary emotion to the feelings of hurt and/or fear.  Expressing anger aggressively is temporary relief from shame and feelings of powerlessness.  Everyone feels trapped from aggressive communication.  Aggression is fueled by rage not anger.  If aggression is a problem outside intervention will be necessary. Co-creating a satisfying relationship involves understanding each other’s perspective, not taking another’s communication as a personal attack, and sympathizing with feelings, especially when there is conflict.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Trusting Ourselves to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart – Wikipedia

Trusting yourself is the key to living well and being capable of trusting others.  You learn to trust yourself to leave any abusive relationship by listening and following through on your inner wisdom.  This is the start of practicing self-care and self-respect by doing what is true and right and what is best for you.   Falling for partners who deceived, abused, manipulated, and otherwise exploited you is not trusting your instincts.  Chances are there was a small voice that said, “Something doesn’t feel right” or maybe you didn’t feel uncomfortable and are shocked about your choice.   How could someone who felt so right be a total mistake?  Belief in yourself may be shaken.  There are times when we are challenged with change in relationships and fear we can’t take care of ourselves.  Listening to self-talk that says I don’t deserve to love or be loved keeps you stuck.   Believing you deserve a manageable relationship and acting on your intuition ends the abuse.

We may have a partner that tells us we cannot believe in ourselves; we are off base and nuts.  They benefit from mistrust because it keeps the cycle of abuse going.  Fear, panic, and doubt are an enemy to leaving an abusive situation and feelings you do not want to entertain.  You can stand in your truth and trust your own gut.  Accepting your mistakes when you thought you were making a good decision and trusting yourself anyway is important.  The rigid rules and demands for perfect decision-making are self-punishing.  You have the power to make healthy choices.  Are you wondering how you can count on your relationship choices when things went so wrong?   Each person that comes into your life has unique lessons to teach you.  You have no control over anyone’s actions or emotions.  Protect yourself by listening to your heart and no longer placing faith in partners that are destructive.  As you attract healthy partners with your intimate self, you will trust your thoughts and your own emotions. Letting your past interfere with self-trust keeps you trapped in fear and abuse.  You can learn, grow, and improve from your mistakes.  You can make better choices and leave situations with abusive partners.  By accepting your mistakes and being grateful for the lessons, you don’t have to repeat them.   You can make decisions based on what you know now.  Trust your decision to leave and do the best you can.  From your past unwise relationship decisions you experience growth.  Feel good about your decision to change and about your mistakes. Acknowledge your newly acquired awareness and treat yourself kindly when you wonder how you could have been so naïve or blind.  Realize that you were not as aware then as you are now.  Accept your inner knowing and listen attentively.  Know you will survive the abuse, learn from the experience and have deeper self-knowledge.  Begin once more; it is never too late to begin again.  The way to heal a broken heart is to keep on loving.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Energy Vampires: Emotional Sadism and the Narcissistic Relationship

master of mirrorsThe narcissist is clearly sadistic in his or her rejection of others and in feelings of superiority.  What is a narcissist? Narcissism is a condition in which a person feels pathological self-hatred and is preoccupied with projecting a lovable image.  They are obsessed with this false image and direct tremendous energy to other people’s impressions of them.  Because the projected image is so loveable they are effective in eliciting real love from others.  People’s impression of the false image feels like self-love to the narcissist.  They are incapable of loving themselves or others, but want to be loved.  The narcissist craves admiration and will manipulate the needs and wishes of everyone to obtain it.  When a partner falls for the “lovable” image the narcissist acquires a sense of self through the look of love reflected back in the eyes and actions of the person.  The narcissist needs for constant attention and caretaking takes center stage as desires of others are ignored and denied.  As a relationship progresses the narcissist will not celebrate a partner’s accomplishments, compliment them on anything, and will ignore you in social settings.  They genuinely don’t care about your needs and are experts at pretending they do until they have control. Than the self-involved energy vampire punishes you for having desires because they demand that all of your attention and energy be focused on them.  They suck the life force and joy out of everyone they can take hostage. They prefer your admiration and awe, but eventually their behavior destroys any feelings of love and they will then settle for negative attention. This makes the emotional sadist feel all-powerful and capable of any cruelty.

The narcissist slowly progresses from minimal emotional assaults to intentionally deliberate attacks.  Distancing and cold rejecting aloofness is a favorite weapon.  It doesn’t matter to him if you cry because he is not affected and doesn’t care.  He feels nothing and is not concerned about what you are feeling.  The energy vampire is not interested in your character.  The emotionally sadistic narcissist gets enjoyment from hurting someone.  They are experts at manipulating people’s emotions until they are hurt more than physical abuse.  He intimidates his partners to avoid expressing criticism and disapproval of his actions and decisions.  His partner or children learn that this triggers fits of temper and rage attacks and turns him into an argumentative and irritable person.  His extreme reactions are a punishment for perceived inconsiderateness and insensitivity of his true inner state.  The narcissist blames his partner for his behavior, accuses them of provoking his outbursts and believes that they should be punished for their misbehavior.  Apologies, unless accompanied by requests for forgiveness are not enough.  The fuel of the narcissist’s rage is expended mainly on bizarre verbal accusations directed at made-up and imaginary intentions of the victim.  If you question the appropriateness of the behavior, no longer mirroring admiration and submissiveness, this causes him or her to doubt their illusory self-esteem.  You are then subjected to a period of terror where they try to hurt you for not recognizing their entitlement to your unquestioned obedience.  You will be belittled and humiliated with displays of aggression and emotional violence in countless forms.  His or her behavior changes from putting you on a pedestal to a severe devaluing of you as a worthy person.  The narcissist is repulsed by people judged by him to be useless.  These extreme alterations between seeing you as flawless to complete unworthiness make long-term relationships with the narcissist all but impossible.  He will exploit you cruelly and severely.  He uses you to get confirmation of the accuracy of his superior false image.

The emotional sadist’s abuse is kept secret by conditioning his partners, children, and sometimes colleagues or employees to not tell.  People often find themselves involved emotionally in an intimate or employment relationship before they discover the narcissist true nature.  His victims typically come from family environments where there is abuse and a “don’t talk” rule.  This especially is the case in families with sexual abuse and alcoholism to hide.  So secrecy is a major weapon in keeping the mistreatment confidential.  They keep up a public façade appearing nonthreatening and even altruistic and in private are evil and aggressive.  The victims keep the secrets safe by constructing an explanation to make sense of the cruelty, “He just can’t deal with intimacy” or “She had a bad childhood.”  Some victims are raised to not “air dirty laundry” and keep silent about the abuse to family and friends. The victim is held in traumatic bondage by being convinced they are the problem and to be blamed for the misconduct.  By the time the victim discovers the truth they find it difficult to leave the relationship.  The emotional battering renders the wounded with feelings of helplessness and shame for not seeing through the angelic façade.

Dealing with a narcissists sadistic behavior is pretty dismal.  Their numbers in society are great and it is imperative that this personality disorder becomes readily recognizable.  I have worked with countless numbers of violent narcissistic men and women, many more I am sure that missed my clinical recognition.  If you have found yourself living in quiet desperation or working with an emotional and/or physically abusive narcissist, please educate yourself and others about the abuse.  I have written a post on “How Codependents Leave Abusive Narcissistic Relationships” and “How Codependents Leave Employment with Narcissistic Boss” that you might find helpful to read.

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Thank you for reading this post.  I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta