Narcissists are Never Going to Apologize: Escaping Purgatory

freedom1Narcissists are often angry and intimidating as well as charming, sexy, and exciting.  They can be cruel, critical, and insulting on a moment’s notice.  They have a sinister power to make partners (people) feel small, inadequate, and off-balance.  They insist on being in control of everything.  Many partners hang on for years waiting to hear remorse for the merciless behavior.  Hoping a heartless narcissist will change and admit they have been terrible to you and will never hurt you again is not going to happen.  The truth is there is nothing that is going to happen to make it all better. The narcissist refuses to take any responsibility for how their attacks make you feel.  If you have children witnessing the mistreatment they will probably learn to abuse or that they are of little value.  The soul is traumatized and lives are destroyed by narcissistic sadism.

Overtime a partner’s individual autonomy gradually erodes as self-esteem and the capacity to make independent decisions are affected.  Fear of making it on your own is reinforced by the narcissist’s brutally coercive message in words and/or actions that you are worthless.  The psychological abuse degrades and humiliates facilitating helplessness as a survival response.  The narcissist treats you as the guilty partner believing you deserve the punishment and that you secretly must enjoy the mistreatment.  They despise your inability to leave purgatory and relish in the sadistic power they have over you.  Leaving an abusive relationship requires admitting what you know about your partners character, that you are being manipulated, not living your dreams, and are capable of thinking for yourself.  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.

The relationships breaking point usually occurs over a series of unresolved fights many times before the real separation.  The decision to end a narcissistic attachment is significant and painful, leaving deep scars that can also become the source of wisdom and change.  Relationships are tied to places, events, and histories making it difficult to let go.   Often there is sadness and fear with the decision to escape and for most it is not made quickly or easily.  Financial insecurity and having children keep many trapped.  People pleasers (codependents) have an especially difficult time separating.  They are reluctant to give up denial, 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.  They are the perfect hostage for evil control.

Escaping an abusive relationship requires acceptance of reality and changing how you relate to your inner and outer world.  It involves creating a new identity and new interests.  When you enter the final stage of anger, rage, and sadness you stop explaining away behavior that is unacceptable.   You admit that your partner’s sickness is destroying any chance for joy and find the courage to leave.  The repetitive endless arguments in your mind against abandoning the nightmare will end followed by immense release and relief.   You then begin owning your power.  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 it was the best thing ever to walk away.  Most important of all is developing a compassionate relationship with yourself; you must take care of “you” now and always.  Staying out of a new relationship is imperative until you recover and create an independent manageable life.   You cannot be victimized and happy at the same time.  The demoralization from psychological battering is devastating.  Eventually you learn to stop fighting evil, simply because you cannot win.  The more you focus on changing the narcissist, the more unmanageable life becomes.  So stop the insanity and focus on loving yourself.

 

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Narcissistic Abandonment: Find, Feel, F……., Forget

220px-Manananggal_of_Philippine_Mythology_Commons“I used my desires for sex, alcohol and pleasure to get my basic instincts met to dominate and control.  “Find, Feel, F…k, Forget” (Secrets of a Narcissist).

Narcissists are people who have no capacity to empathize and cannot feel your pain.  They don’t care about the damage inflicted by their ruthless negligence and are clearly sadistic in their emotional abandonment of partners.  Narcissists break hearts and humiliate partners to feel all powerful or punish for not getting the attention he or she craves.  Uninterested in experiencing an intimate connection, many narcissists lead hidden sexual lives compulsively watching pornography, masturbating, having affairs and/or visiting prostitutes.

Narcissists draw hostages to them that are fearful of rejection and suffer with unhealed pain in childhood.  A certain vulnerability or “woundedness” is appealing to them. Particularly vulnerable are those with absent fathers, angry mothers, or a history of abusive partners.  Narcissists are selective vampires with a psychic knowing of what emotional vulnerabilities to prey on, exploit, devour or destroy.  They look for naïve people and will present themselves as a person of honor and virtue.

A person who was physically or emotionally abandoned by a parent or caregiver may struggle with loss throughout life and not develop healthy self-esteem.  Experiences of abandonment growing up often contribute to feelings of worthlessness as well as a distorted view of how to care appropriately for one self in relationships.  Children who experience chronic loss without parental protection internalize incredible fear and believe they are not important or of little value. As adults with low self-esteem they often seek narcissistically unavailable partners and friends.  Additionally, rejection fears can impair a person’s ability to trust others and may cause anxiety, depression, and codependency.  Codependency is the inability to leave a chronically abusive relationship behind, whether that relationship is ongoing or past.  The codependent is a perfect match for the narcissistic relationship.

Abandonment, physical or mental, is very cruel and a plain act of insensitivity.  A narcissist can be physically present during conflict yet emotionally disappear in front of your eyes.  They will not talk about problems and will isolate themselves. Refusing to acknowledge the emotional distance with resounding silence can drive you crazy. Narcissistic vampires will continue to stick around aloof and cold until they suck the life out of you.  The emotional and mental violence is excruciating.  They perceive confrontation, disagreements, needs, respect for your boundaries, or being ignored as threats.  This pattern of emotional neglect destroys any chance of happiness and is traumatic.  As you get to know him better and begin to withdraw sexually and emotionally for protection the psychic vampire senses this change.  He disengages abruptly to maintain control of the abandonment and might start looking for a replacement relationship. The interpretation of events becomes a mixture of lies, distortions, half-truths, and bizarre accusations to make him look like the mistreated.  He becomes a saintly hero and his partner the abuser.  The narcissist controls the whole show and becomes defensive and resistant.  He is at risk of becoming enraged and suicidally despondent when you finally walk away from the insanity. No contact or ignoring a narcissist is the final torture.

Healing from abandonment takes time as you go toward it in stages of denial, anger, negotiating, and sadness.  The only way to get through your pain is to go through it.  Getting support from a healing professional is a good choice.  You can choose the direction of your new life.  By pursuing direction and happiness you begin the healing process.  Above all, choose to be kind to yourself; leave behind crisis and chaos.  Develop self-compassion; it is a necessary step towards removing yourself as a victim.

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

 

 

 

Psychic Vampires: 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 often 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 emotional pain 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 hate themselves and are true cowards with empty souls.   They are forced 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

 

Overcoming Fatal Narcissistic Attractions

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Courtesy of Wikipedia- Solitude

The 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 narcissistic abuse and stop future victimization.  Getting comfortable being alone is something that everyone has to face to overcome fatal narcissistic attractions.   When you end your denial of partner abuse, your experience of pain increases until it is finally accepted.  Denial is used to defend against a loss of love, a loss of self, or the loss of another.  No other person or relationship will ever make it unnecessary for you to be complete.  It is always up to you to help yourself.  How do you complete yourself?  How do you overcome narcissistic abuse?  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 abuse 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 Overcome Fatal Attractions and Complete Yourself

Speak kindly to yourself

Take care of your body and feed it well

Be compassionate with your painful thoughts

Take time to be outdoors in nature

Take time for exercise

Meditate, be still, and listen every day

Forgive as a discipline

Tell yourself often, “I love you very much”

Date yourself and take pleasure in your own company

Give yourself permission to make mistakes

Be self-compassionate with your fears

Learn to be patient with life

Protect your soul and energy

Spend time with like-minded people

Be willing to be wrong

Avoid a victim mentality

Refuse to listen to the tormentor in your head

Contribute the best you can

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

 

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

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, 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

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

Telling Family Secrets about Abuse

The_Hero_Illustration

The Hero Illustration

Be quiet, don’t tell anyone ever.  Suck it up.  The child raised this way is a very special person.   The denial required of children in their effort to protect family secrets creates feelings of helplessness.   This is the legacy of family secrets from the loyalty of children who do not wish to speak out against their parents.   Children involved in keeping family secrets have a high potential for participating in an abusive relationship as an adult.  Keeping secrets, as a family illness, parallels emotional and compulsive disorders.  There is a strong association between compulsive behavior (alcoholism, gambling, physical abuse, and/or sexual abuse, etc.) consistently identified in families with a “don’t tell” rule.  Regardless of the disorder, family members are often unaware of their own pain when the family does not even acknowledge there is a problem.   This makes it impossible to heal what we don’t allow ourselves to feel.  No one speaks of his or her loneliness and loss of sense of self.  Abuse is abandonment because when children are abused no one is there for them.   Toxic secrets lower self-esteem, increase shame/guilt, and block a child’s ability to grieve losses and hurts.

The impressions and feelings caused by keeping family secrets remain with those children and tend to be carried into adulthood.   Adult children often continue to experience problems related to talking about relationship abuse.  They have learned to tolerate whatever abuse is being handed out in intimate partnerships. To heal adult children must come out of hiding.  As long as your secrets are hidden, there is nothing you can do about it.  Sometimes secrets may have been repressed because they are emotionally charged or threatening to you.  It’s possible to have secrets you are unaware of or may minimize to protect yourself.

The best way to come out of hiding is to find a supportive intimate social network.   Choosing a safe person or group needs to be done carefully and over a length of time.  True love heals and affects personal growth.   To heal you have to risk exposing yourself to someone else.   You have a right to talk about problems and you have a right to feel.  You don’t have to pretend that keeping secrets isn’t making you feel crazy, lonely or confused.  You don’t have to analyze or justify your feelings.   What is most healing is to acknowledge secrets and sharing secrets that may be damaging you.  Telling what happen can increase self-esteem, decrease shame, allow you to grieve, to feel love and be loved.  You may find feelings associated with the secrets and repetitive self-destructive behavior or choosing abusive relationships end.  You will then choose relationships that grow out of awareness and sensitivity to your innermost needs.

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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.  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

Damage from Toxic Parents is not a Life Sentence

Unchain-My-Heart Courtesy of Wikipedia

Unchain-My-Heart Courtesy of Wikipedia

The adult behavior modeled in our family deeply affects the core beliefs we hold about ourselves and has long-lasting impacts on trust, self-esteem, and the ability to form or maintain healthy relationships. Our caregivers teach us what it means to be a male or female, how to believe in ourselves, how to love others, complete goals, grow up and compete in the world. What is a toxic parent? A toxic parent is often personality disordered, constitutionally incapable of changing, and a professional victim. They wreak havoc in the emotional lives of their children and teach self-hatred among other things. Some adult children of abuse externalize their rage. They fill our prison systems, rehab facilities, abuse our children, and inflict violence in our society. I have worked most of my professional life intervening with the externalized rage in male and female domestic violence offenders from toxic families. Self-hatred and depression are a driving force in their contempt and violence. The child that internalizes their toxic caregivers rage tends to partner with this “familiar” abusive person. Internalized rage can present as depression, anxiety, self-blame, shame, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and people pleasing behaviors.

CLUSTER B PERSONALITY DISORDERS DSM-IV
Personality disorders are associated with significant disturbances in personal and social functioning. The disorders are characterized with inflexible and pervasive destructive behavior patterns in most situations. The person perceives their behavior to be appropriate. Personality disorders are chronic, life long, and highly incurable.

Antisocial– Characterized by a lack of empathy, violation of social norms, and a pattern of criminal activity.
Borderline– Instability of mood, relationships and self-image, history of self-harm (e.g. cutting) and impulsivity. Extreme “black and white” thinking.
Histrionic– Person displays shallow or exaggerated emotions (drama queen or king), excessive attention-seeking, and inappropriately seductive behavior.
Narcissistic– Characterized by a lack of empathy or remorse, pervasive pattern of grandiosity and excessive need for admiration. Person feels a sense of entitlement, displays arrogance, and extreme levels of jealousy. Person is preoccupied with fantasies of idealized love, fame, and self-importance.

When a child’s early developmental needs are not met by supportive positive role models it can lead to core beliefs that make healthy friendships and adult relationships nearly impossible. Lacking self-worth and not feeling loved or a sense of belonging can make children more vulnerable to emotional and physical abuse, and general feelings of discontent. Fear of losing control of emotions tends to result in coping strategies such as denial or suppression. I believe one of the early childhood traumatic suppressions is profound sadness. Recent research evidence (Terrence Real, 1997) points to suppression of sadness (depression) as a link to violent behavior. Especially vulnerable are boys and men that learn to control by using force, fueled by denying feelings of depression, not trusting feelings, or talking about feelings. Maintaining control of emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships is a way to survive in emotionally impoverished chaotic environments. Showing feelings in toxic environments is often met with disapproval, rejection, criticism, and belittlement. This mistreatment makes trust of our caregiver(s) difficult as is the development of self-reliance on our own perceptions and feelings. As adults this makes expression of true emotions in relationships a challenge.

A developmental task that tends to be stifled by toxic parenting is the ability to be spontaneous, have fun, and stay flexible with change. Often a child feels blame and shame for the family chaos believing that they are the cause of a parent’s cruelty. The first-born and or the sensitive child may become overly responsible for the family pain in trying to control the dysfunction. If efforts to make family life better continuously fail, he or she may give up on being responsible and become irresponsible in completing goals in adulthood. This sets the pattern for ignoring emotional needs and not setting psychological boundaries in intimate relationships.

For an adult child’s well-being foregoing a relationship with a parent(s) sometimes is necessary, at least for the short-term while changing the negative feelings and thoughts about oneself. You do this to protect “you” from further psychological harm. This self-care can be difficult because even the most abusive parents can sometimes be loving and makes severing the bond harder. Basically any behavior that shames the child or makes them feel guilty contributes to a lack of entitlement to feelings. This is an emotional trap!

Damage from growing up with toxic parents is not a life sentence of doom and gloom. Repair of self-esteem begins with a commitment to re-parent ourselves. You must go through the process of growing up again. You will need to uncover the core messages you believe about yourself. For example, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m weak,” “I’m stupid,” “I’m a bad person,” “I deserved the abuse,” “Nobody will ever love me,” etc. One way of discovering your core beliefs is to write a relationship inventory. Sit down and list all the behaviors that have hurt and you feel resentment about from your current/past relationships with friends and partners. Evaluating the list of painful behaviors, ask yourself what a person would have to think about themselves to stay in the relationship. This exercise is not about reinforcing self-blame. It’s a process done to revisit your childhood and recover your true self. Have your partners been unloving, demeaning, disrespectful, cold-hearted, cruel, or physically violent? Your core beliefs might look like the list in the example above.

Look at the inventory list of behaviors again and see if what you described matches the abusive treatment from a caregiver, difficult relative, or a sibling. This is an opportunity to understand and address unresolved issues within yourself and family of origin. Changing your core messages requires the practice of listening to how you talk to yourself and correcting demeaning thoughts and put-downs. Practice being aware of your core belief triggers, especially when a parent is abusing you. For example, when your mother is making critical statements, you are thinking, “This where I tell myself I’m not good enough.” Change the negative belief by repeating silently to yourself, “I am a worthy person” while looking your mother in the eye. Eventually you will get good at observing your thoughts and changing them. You will learn to witness your mind in conversation with another person. I suggest keeping a journal to affirm the reality of your life and give voice to expression of feelings.

Re-parenting yourself requires correcting negative core beliefs and acknowledging the abuse you received from your caregivers. This isn’t about blaming your parents for why your adult life is not working. The truth is no matter how pathetic their behavior has been it’s the best they can do with the emotional maturity they have. Acknowledging who is responsible for whatever type of abuse occurred is a process of understanding what happen to you. You will then be clear about the resentments you are letting go. I don’t believe you can just get over toxic parenting by putting it in the past without examination. You cannot live in your past or blame others for your conflicts and problems if you really want to live your life and be a healthy parent and partner. You deserve a life that is manageable and full of love. Commit to investing in yourself and possibilities for living well will be unlimited. Remain a victim and your life will be predictable.
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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. 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

Partners Who Are Incapable of Feeling Love

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Each person who enters your life has a unique lesson to teach you

What if your partner is incapable of feeling love? Chances are they have a deep-seated fear that if they love you (or anyone) that will give you the power to hurt them, deprive them, and to abandon them. What he or she is feeling and thinking is what causes extreme fears, not what a you are saying or doing. To ease these fears this person will strip you of self-confidence to make you weak so that you are afraid to leave the relationship. To calm fears of being abandoned they will make you a focus of their rage, panic, fears, and inevitably their hatred. These behaviors effectively sabotage the relationship. Your partner controls the relationship abandonment through abuse because they are terrified of your ability to leave them. The partner incapable of love sets-up their own abandonment. The fear of rejection runs profoundly deep.

Falling for someone incapable of love locks you into whatever false image the person is projecting. You fall in love with an illusion. During the honeymoon phase of the courtship you see a person who seems to want and needs love.  Once you commit they begin to ignore your emotional needs and sometimes are unfaithful. Suddenly the partner begins to withdraw and provoke arguments. You wonder how could your partner who seemed to love you change so totally toward you. The relationship becomes too close for comfort for the person who is incapable of love. You as a person are not seen as a separate self with needs and a separate identity. This means you end up taking part in the relationship at the cost of not being yourself.

Why do you stay with someone incapable of loving you? Usually something in your history has led you to this place and what keeps you in a loveless relationship. Being loved is what most of us really want and often we are afraid of love without consciously knowing it. This is especially true if you have a history of over functioning and avoid worrying about your own personal goals and problems by focusing on others. This caretaking becomes a way of managing anxiety in relationships under stress. Developing a clear and authentic self means you can be pretty much be who you are. When you are not able to leave an emotionally painful relationship the tendency is to construct an explanation to make sense of your experience, “He just can’t deal with intimacy” or “She had a bad childhood.” The cost of not leaving may include chronic anger, resentments, feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or even self-blame (i.e., “I am such a loser for not leaving”). When you sacrifice your well-being you might also experience sexual problems, physical complaints, or compulsive behaviors. This leaves you angry at how badly you are being treated and with an overwhelming need to hold on to your relationship no matter how it is hurting you.

Acknowledging that your partnership is destructive and deciding to leave is not easy. Often there is regret, disappointed dreams, and damaged self-esteem. You may feel leaving is wrong and a sign of failure, especially if children are involved. In truth, what is wrong is to accept cruelty, abuse, and unhappiness. The abuse is a deal breaker.  The relationship will be more painful in the long run than the temporary pain of leaving. If you don’t take responsibility for your life, you aren’t really living. Establishing a good relationship with yourself allows you to find love with others. If you are afraid to leave the relationship, please give yourself permission to ask for help.

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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

Why Do I Feel So Crazy? Recovering From a Narcissistic Relationship

Narcissus Courtesy of Wikipedia

Narcissus Courtesy of Wikipedia

“Am I crazy?”  Is a burning question for the partner of a narcissist.  Many victims suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome (PTNS).  PTNS is a condition in which the affected person’s memory, emotional, and physical systems have been traumatized.  PTNS is an experience not a diagnosis.  For sufferers, certain flashbacks of the abuse turn up repeatedly with endless variations.  Victims tend to remain in large part controlled by the abuser, their mind and emotions in bondage.  This elicits a terrible and terrifying combination of helplessness and rage; unbearable feelings that had to be suppressed for the victim to stay in the relationship.  Following are symptoms of PTNS.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome:

● Flashbacks of the cruel behavior and trauma

Hyperarousal (i.e., extreme fear of personal safety)

Hypervigilance (i.e., scanning your environs for constant threats, stalking, violence)

● Irritability

● Depression & Guilt

● Multiple physical complaints

● Numbing

● Impaired concentration and memory

● Disturbed sleep & distressing dreams

What is a narcissist? A narcissist is a person who deprives their partners of the ability to feel joy and love as a separate person in relationships.  They deliberately attempt to destroy or compromise the separate identity of another.  The longer the relationship continues, the narcissist not only becomes less considerate, but actively cruel.  Many victims end up feeling hollow because the narcissist squeezes them empty.  The emotional deprivation, physical and mental torture can result in a type of soul murder.  Brainwashing their partners into believing they are the problem keeps the emotional bondage going.  This leaves survivors not knowing what they want and what they feel, or what they have done and what has been done to them.

A victim might question whether abuse really did happen.  Acknowledging victimization is crucially important to the person’s ability to control obsessive thoughts of the past and recover. The survivor can then begin to separate and achieve independence from the narcissist. It is important that you do not turn this new awareness against yourself.  For example, “I may be angry at him, but I’m even angrier at myself for putting up with it.”  Using self-compassion, the trauma can contribute to the strengths and talents of the injured as they reclaim self-confidence.  Be alert to self-blaming and change the negative thoughts when you hear them.  You might say, Stop! Get out of my head.

One of the steps in recovering from the abuse is recognizing that you are angry and admitting it.  It is essential to uncover your feelings, so you can begin the process of healing. Know where anger is coming from inside you.  Emotions repressed are harmful and keep you trapped and powerless to face the situation or feel happiness.  Acknowledging anger, usually disguised as depression, allows you to decide what to do about it and deal with it.  Another step is to understand why you are so angry.  Are you angry because you have been hurt, physically, emotionally, financially, etc.?  Are you furious because of the way you have been treated and the emotional impoverishment you lived with?  Are you resentful because you are the only who can change?  Are you angry at being labled Bipolar?  The mood swings from the stress of living in a war zone while dodging the narcissist’s land mines can look like a mental health disorder.

Once your anger is out in the open it is less likely to cause problems for you.  It is necessary for you to change because you are the one who has been made sick by the existing situation. The ability to enjoy what you are doing, your daily living, and your recovery from PTNS are constantly influenced by emotions.  Nurturing yourself when you are hurting is imperative.  Devote time each day to doing things that make you feel good. Establishing a daily routine is essential to your mental health.  Get professional help if needed.  Invest in your well-being so that you can create what you need, deserve, and want in a relationship with yourself. Below are the criteria for the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

● Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

● Grandiose sense of self-importance

● Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

● Belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

● Need for excessive admiration

● Sense of entitlement

● Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

● Lacks empathy

● Often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to 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.

Curing Your Fear of Intimacy in Relationships

250px-Dramaten_mask_2008aMost everyone carries fears about intimacy and being vulnerable.  We are afraid of being hurt, abandoned, rejected, humiliated, or betrayed.   Some of us are more afraid than others because of experiences that shaped us growing up.  Attachment style with our parental relationship serves as a model for adult experiences, particularly in the most intimate of relationships.  When a parent is emotionally absent, dismissing, inattentive, constantly distracted or downright cruel and rejecting, the distress confuses the child and desperate behavior begins to intensify.  As adults these children fear the threat of rejection or abandonment more than others.  They can become extremely clingy and angry, overwhelmed by their unmet dependency needs and unable to contain anxiety.  Often, they become people pleasers to receive approval from others.

Adults that have a negative self-image are fearful and doubting in their ability to keep a partner interested and maintain a loved one’s attention.  They worry excessively about rejection.  They are emotionally dependent and constantly feel unappreciated.  In intimate relationships they are romantically obsessive and jealous.  They tend to take hostages and are preoccupied with their partners.

Some adult children are dismissing and come across as emotionally disconnected, cold, and uninterested in intimate relationships.  They can waver between being distant and cut-off emotionally, to being critical and controlling.  These people are cynical and have negative views of others.  They are particularly guarded, mistrustful, and reluctant to self-disclose in most intimate relationships.  They tend to have more break-ups and are less invested in partnerships.  They feel less grief or distress when they have break-ups than others experience.  They just don’t seem to care as much.

Those who don’t care at all and are emotionally shut down as a result of trauma are often incapable of human intimacy.   If their behavior is characterized by a lack of remorse, lack of empathy, manipulations, and emotional coldness they may be a psychopath.  True psychopaths are constitutionally incapable of normal human interaction.  If you are in a relationship with someone like this, run, get out.  You cannot experience genuine intimacy with someone who abuses power and control and deals with emotional discomfort by blaming and attacking.

Many of us have these problems because we are afraid of being hurt or betrayed.  We still want intimacy, but are afraid of depending on someone and then getting wounded again.  These experiences are a driving force in ambivalence about intimacy.  The more painful and unresolved our earlier experiences are the more we crave intimacy and the more we feel threatened by it.  This is demonstrated by “come close”, “go away” relationship behavior.  We get close, get afraid, find fault with our partner, feel hurt and sabotage the relationship.  We then find ourselves alone, crave closeness again, and the repetitive behavior starts all over.  So if you sabotage intimacy and see it as a negative behavior you want to change, focus on the fear that fuels your actions.  You can learn to be compassionate with your fears and with others.  When you can see your fears and needs more clearly you can stop the cycle.  Love is what we really want and often we are afraid of love without consciously knowing it.

If you love someone and want more intimacy, and a decent relationship, you can learn how to create intimacy better.  Find out what your partner needs and how to support those needs.  If you pay attention and care about your loved one’s feelings, you can learn to be a better (not perfect) partner.  And when you stay in a relationship over time you can build your capacity for intimacy.

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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.  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