It’s Over: Detoxing the Narcissist

freedomThe journey to a healed life after narcissistic abuse is not a quick and easy one. Reminders of past conflicts continue to hurt and create new pain.  It is common to lose contact with you own needs, desires and sense of self when you have survived purgatory.  Recovery from relationship abuse is a lifelong commitment of dedication and hard work that is well worth the effort.  You will find freedom, love and serenity if you keep showing up. It is inevitable that there will be times of sadness, tension or outright anger.

I believe there is a psychic enslavement of the person when a narcissist captures codependent supply.  Breaking the chords of entrapment requires the body to detox itself of unhealthy hazardous emotional waste.  The detox symptoms produce anxiety, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, headaches, poor concentration, depression, obsessions, and social isolation.   Detoxing symptoms are similar to post-acute withdrawal from drugs.  Among the signs of addiction are compulsion, obsession, and denial, craving, mood swings, and unpredictable behavior.  As the relationship or addiction progresses control over thoughts and behavior are lost.  Your life is no longer under your control and the losses became increasingly profound.  Like alcoholism or drug use, withdrawal from the narcissistic relationship shares many of the same benchmarks, as does the process of relapse.  In the beginning, your emotions will change minute to minute and hour to hour.  As you continue to heal the good stretches will get longer and longer.  Detoxing the loss is necessary but not a steady progress; rather it will be two steps forward and one step back.  You are likely to experience periods of emotional instability.  Grieving is important and so is knowing what it is you are grieving for.  I recommend that you list your losses on paper as a preventive measure against relapse. Crying in front of other people as you process your grief is understandable.  Grief isn’t always predictable, not always controllable.  Cutting off all contact with your abuser is necessary for your own mental health and the only way you will guarantee not going back.  If you have children a mediator or attorney will need to communicate for you.

Many partners hang on for years hoping the narcissist will own up to what they have done and admit to their cruelty.  The withheld admission of wrong doing becomes “unfinished business.”  The lack of closure when you leave can contribute to obsessive thoughts about getting revenge.  The spiritual challenge becomes one of letting go of the desire for retribution. Hurtful behavior is in the past; remember your freedom involves giving up the urge to punish.  You need to accept that the narcissist is incapable of caring about your feelings or loving you.  Narcissistic entitlement is a self-serving, one-way street attitude that creates bitterness and resentment in the abuser who feels entitled and in the people around them who don’t like being treated that way.  If you don’t accept “what is” the narcissist gets to continue to destroy your life.  You become a volunteer martyr when you refuse to heal and give up a victim mentality.

Treatment for the survivors includes education, individual therapy, changing unhealthy behavior, and courageous exploration through which you rediscover yourself and identify self-defeating patterns. You pull through the dark night of the soul by creating a new life.  If you don’t create a new life, the factors that brought you to your victimization will eventually be repeated.  You can set goals and direction for your life and place value on yourself.  You can love and encourage yourself.  You stop the abuse by sitting on your hands and doing nothing when you feel the urge to contact your abuser.  After a while you will develop confidence to change your life.  Peace will become more important than chaos and drama.  You will own your power and life will be manageable.

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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Fatal Narcissistic Attractions

200px-Jean_Jacques_Henner_-_Solitude

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

 

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

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 The Dark Side of Dependency

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

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

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.

Codependents Learning to Communicate Needs in Relationships

Communication

Part of having successful relationships is learning to communicate clearly, directly, and assertively. Effective communication is the key to getting what we need and want and to having satisfying relationships with others. This is especially important when acknowledging feelings such as disappointment or anger directly, as what we need and want can be very important in our love relationship. Also, having positive relationships  and addressing codependency issues are important in keeping stress down, reducing tension, and increasing positive experiences.  What is codependency in relationships?

Codependents are people who find it difficult to ask for what they need or to stand up for themselves and often let other people push them around or take advantage. They are unable to make up their mind and may evade an issue in conversation.  This communication style can make a codependent attractive to an abuser.  Signs of an abusive person is someone who talks over people, expresses feelings in a way that violates boundaries, and who makes inappropriate demands.  During an argument this person intimidates with piercing eye contact, takes an overbearing posture, makes “you” statements in a loud voice with demanding tones, and interrupts often.  And you do not have to allow their coercive demands to control the course of your life. You have the power to live your own life by not letting the demands of others control you.

Effective communication involves acknowledging feelings directly, instead of making others guess at your feelings or having your feelings come out in other ways. In most situations direct communication is the appropriate choice. However, if you are communicating with someone who is yelling, you might be more reactive by indirectly expressing angry feelings instead of openly addressing them. This creates a disconnect between what you say and what you do. Your true feelings end up being demonstrated through actions, not words.  Many codependents protect themselves from seeing things that are too painful in addictions, (alcoholism, food, sex, gambling) compulsive caretaking, feeling miserable, guilty or ashamed.  It is okay to say no to people when that is what you want. Denying feelings does not stop pain or compulsive behavior.

Being vulnerable can be frightening, especially if we have lived with people who abused, mistreated, manipulated, or did not appreciate us. By recognizing that our rights and needs are just as important as others, we learn to be direct and clear in our statements and behaviors. We use words to forge a closer connection. We disclose how we feel in a way that reflects self-responsibility, directness, and honesty. Repressing thoughts and feelings does not turn us into the person we want to be.  Give yourself permission to say what you want and stop when you are done. Codependents are usually good at respecting other people’s opinions and needs, but do not have respect for their own. You can learn new behaviors and break demeaning beliefs about yourself that can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Following are suggestions for assertive communication and how to resolve conflict in relationships:

Describe issues clearly and concisely. Let the other person know your concerns. Don’t beat around the bush. Take responsibility for what you want or don’t want and ask for it directly.

Take the initiative in bringing a topic up and show the other person that you respect your own needs.

Keep your focus on the matter at hand without getting diverted onto other issues.

Make good eye contact and face the person you’re speaking with, but don’t invade their personal space.

Speak firmly, positively and loudly enough to be heard.

Match your words with your true needs.

Bring up the issue with confidence.

Avoid attacking, threatening, or judgmental statements.

Be fair, truthful, and stick to your values.

Maintain a posture and attitude of equality.

Don’t apologize for your needs. Don’t expect people to apologize for their needs.

Use “I” statements: When you yelled at me, I felt disrespected. I need you to express  your feelings without yelling.

Talk ABOUT feelings, rather than act them out.

Edit unnecessary negative content.

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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