Archives for February 2010

Are Feelings Facts?

Women don’t know whether to trust what they feel or not. Are you confused over whether feelings are factual or if they are fiction? You’re not alone. Women struggle where to draw the line between believing what they think and questioning it.

On one hand, feelings can be red flags in the beginning or in the midst of the relationship. Red flags can be emotional, physical, or spiritual warnings of what is happening or what is yet to be.

Emotional red flags are feelings you get while in the relationship–constant worry, dread, wondering, suspicion, anxiety, depression, or obsession. Often the emotional red flags are quickly noticed by other people in your lives who point out that you have changed since the relationship–and not for the good. Lots of times women don’t want to ‘hear’ about their emotional changes since being in the relationship. Other times, women already KNOW they are having emotional red flags about him or aspects of the relationship. In either case, it’s important to know that emotional red flags can be GOOD PREDICTORS OF THE POTENTIAL LONGEVITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP. Many women notice that the red flags they had at the beginning of the relationship ARE the reasons the relationship eventually end. Emotional red flags can be great tools and often accurate.

Waiting for feelings to become ‘facts’ before you act on them can be very dangerous. In the case of emotional red flags (and your intuition), responding NOW instead of later can help you exit the relationship quickly. By the time a feeling IS A FACT, many things could have happened. (For more info on red flags, see the first few chapters of the Dangerous Man book).

ON THE OTHER HAND (there’s always ‘another hand’ isn’t there?)–women wonder if the intense feelings they are having are an indicator of ‘true love’ or why would they be having them? Women often experience confusing emotions when trouble starts in the relationship. She either becomes confused when the relationship turns bad or she becomes confused when she has ended the relationship. This confusion takes the form of “if he was so mean to me, why do I still have feelings for him? I must still love him if I can’t stop thinking about him even if he did bad things. Do my feelings mean I should go back with him?”

In these cases ‘feelings’ are not facts. It is human nature to seek attachment and bonding. When that is ripped away there is an emptiness that happens. Women often think that ‘means’ that they were in love if they experience the aftermath of ‘loss.’ It just means you are feeling the loss.

Women often think that since they ‘miss the good times of the relationship’ they must miss him. What women actually often are missing is the ‘feelings’ that were generated in the relationship when it was good. Women miss feeling of being ‘in love’ or ‘attached’ or ‘wanted and desired’ or ‘safe and secure.’ When women can separate out what they really ‘miss’ they often can see that ‘he’ represented those feelings she was having. She misses the feelings of the illusion of being in a good relationship. Missing ‘him’ might not really be ‘missing him.’ Who is ‘him’ – the dangerous man/cheater/liar/or pathological? You miss that ‘him’? No. You miss the feelings of being in love.

Tell yourself — “What I am missing are the ‘feelings’ of being in a good relationship.” Remind yourself of that when you misinterpret those feelings as meaning you ‘want him back.’ Often that isn’t the case. Recognize that this very ‘feeling’ thing is what propels women right back out there seeking to ‘feel loved’ again and attach to those missing feelings. It places women very ‘at-risk’ of repeating the same mistake.

Here—try this. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side, list the feelings you miss having. On the other side, list the dangerous man traits/behaviors/incidents.

Now take a look. Which do you really miss?

Feelings can be accurate when we are getting red flags in the relationship. Feelings can be inaccurate when we are gauging whether to return to relationship because we think we ‘miss’ him when in fact, what we miss are the feelings that were generated in the relationship. Feelings can be inaccurate when we are gauging the intensity and equate that with love or something healthy in the relationship. Understanding the importance of ‘feelings’ in all stages of a relationship can help you recognize just ‘what’ your feelings are telling you and when to heed them and when to be a little suspicious of their messages to you!

Rebuilding Self-Esteem – Community Version – MP3

Rebuilding Self-Esteem – Community Version

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How to Break up with a Dangerous Man – Part 1 and 2 – MP3

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Dating Choices That Are Harmful – MP3

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Personality Disorders and Pathology – MP3

Personality Disorders and Pathology

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Understanding the Face of Dangerousness – MP3

Understanding the Face of Dangerousness

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Get a Great Life – MP3

Get a Great Life

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Assessing Your Danger – Quiz

Assessing Your Danger Risk

Includes Quizzes:

  • Are you in Danger?
  • Abuse Effects on Women
  • Women’s Vulnerabilities to Chronic Victimization
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What Kind of Abuser Are You With – Quiz

What Kind of Abuser Are You With?

Includes Quizzes:

  • Are you Emotionally Abused?
  • Is He Pathological/Personality Disordered?
  • Are You Connected To Him By a Betrayal Bond?
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Real Love Not Just Real Attraction

So many people confuse the feeling of ‘attraction’ with the emotion of love. For some who are in chronic dangerous and pathological relationships, it’s obvious that you have gotten these two elements ‘mixed up.’ Not being able to untangle these understandings can keep people on the same path of unsafe relationship selection because they keep choosing the same way and getting the same people!

Attraction is largely not only unconscious but also physical. There is actually something called an ‘erotic imprint’ which is the unconscious part that guides our attraction. (I talked about this in the Dangerous Man book). Our erotic imprint is literally ‘imprinted’ in our psyches when we are young–at that age when you begin to notice and be attracted to the opposite sex. As I mentioned, this is largely an unconscious drive. For instance, I like stocky dark-haired men. When ever I see that type of image, I immediately find that man ‘attractive.’ I can ‘vary’ slightly on my attraction but I’m not going to find Brad Pitt attractive. I might forego the full ‘stocky’ appearance but I’m not going to let go of some of the other traits that make men appealing to me. We like what we like. For instance, I am attracted to Johnny Depp or George Clooney. I don’t like any of the blondes or overly tall and lanky body types.

If you think back to what your ‘attraction’ basis is, you may find some patterns there as well. Attraction, however, can also be behavioral or based on emotional characteristics. For instance, some women are attracted to guys with a great sense of humor. The attraction is based on that characteristic. Other women may be attracted to athletic guys–not because of what sports do to their bodies, but because of the behavioral qualities of athletes. Attraction can be subtle–like the unconscious erotic imprinting that makes us select men based on physical attributes OR attraction may lead us to choose relationships based on behaviors or emotional characteristics like displays of empathy, helpfulness or friendliness. (I discussed your own high traits of empathy, helpfulness and friendliness in Women Who Love Psychopaths.)

Although these traits might guide our relationships selection, this is not the foundation of love. It’s the foundation of selection.

Often, our relationship selection comes more from attraction than it does anything else. So knowing ‘who’ and ‘what types’ you are attracted to will help you understand your patterns of selection. Some people choose characteristics–helpfulness, humor, gentleness or another quality that they seem to be drawn to. Other people are more physical in their attraction and find the physicality of someone either a ‘go’ or a ‘no.’ Maybe you like blondes or blue eyes. This may also drive your pattern of selection.

Also in the area of attraction–sometimes it’s Traumatic Attraction that seems to drive our patterns of selection. People, who have been abused, especially as children, can have unusual and destructive patterns of selection. While this may seem the opposite of what you would expect, these patterns are largely driven by unresolved trauma. People who were raised in alcoholic, dysfunctional, or abusive homes are likely to repeat those exact patterns in their selection of a partner. They often select individuals who have similar ‘characteristics’ to the abusive/neglectful/addicted adult they grew up with or were exposed to. The characteristics could be physical (how they look) or behavioral (how they act) or emotional (how they abuse/neglect). In any event, the unresolved abuse issues drive them to keep selecting abusers for relationships. Today, they are mystified as to why they keep picking abusive/neglectful/addicted people for relationship partners. That which remains unresolved, revolves–around and around thru our lives until it is resolved.

So, when you have no idea that attraction (good, bad, or dysfunctional) is guiding your selections, you just keep picking the same way and getting the same thing. But because the world keeps using the word ‘love’ you use it, too. And you label your attraction-based-choices (that are largely dysfunctional) as ‘love’ and then become confused about the nature of this thing called ‘love.’ Your attraction is NOT love. It is merely attraction. What DOES or DOES NOT happen IN the relationship may be more reflective of ‘love’ than anything else.

Remember the Bible verse, “Love is patient, love is kind, love does not seek it’s own…”? it helps to reflect how love is ‘other centered’ not in a codependent and frantic needy way but in a way that helps others be interdependent in relationships. Love is often attributed to positive ‘attributes’ such as:

Joy – love smiling

Peace – love resting

Patience – love waiting

Kindness – love showing itself sensitive to others’ feelings

Goodness – love making allowances

Faithfulness – love proving constant

Gentleness – love yielding

Self-control – love triumphing over selfish inclinations

–Source Unknown

(Now, think about if ANY of those traits described the Pathological Love Relationship? I didn’t think so….)

“As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims” (From: Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls).

This Valentine’s Day be very clear with yourself about love and attraction. This is a time when you might be likely to want to recontact him. Let me remind you, NOTHING has changed. His pathology is still the same. And on February 15th you could hate yourself for recontacting him for one weak illusionary moment on Feb 14th–in which the world is focused on love but he is focused on manipulation, control or anything OTHER than love. If you open that door, then you will have weeks or months of trying to get him out and disconnect again.

Instead, plan ahead for your potential relapse by setting up an accountability partner AND something to do! Go to a movie with a friend; go out to dinner, so SOMETHING that takes responsibility and action for your own loneliness at this time of year. Whatever you do, don’t have a knee jerk reaction and contact him. One day on the calendar about love is just an ILLUSION!

Psych Reports in Child Custody Cases

Use of the MMPI-2 in Child Custody Evaluations Involving Battered Women: What Does Psychological Research Tell Us? by Nancy S. Erickson

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Will I Ever Find MINE?

February is Valentine’s Day month–a trigger month for many women who want to just ‘slip back into the fantasy’ of everything we associate as a culture with Valentine’s Day.

It’s one of those trigger months like Thanksgiving and Christmas where women want to ‘look the other way’ in order to have a nice day or time with him. Just for 24 hours she wants to pretend he really isn’t pathological. She wants the chocolates, a dinner out, dancing, a little romance–and 24 hours of normalcy. But at midnight, the Cinderella dress turns back to what it was; the carriage that carried the handsome prince is now a pumpkin with field mice.

Pink and red hearts does not make his pathology ‘turn off’ for the convenience of a lover’s holiday. Women get frustrated and want to know “Will I Ever Find MY Love? When Will It Be My Turn To Find Someone Worth Loving?”

I don’t know…can you:

~Stop focusing on him?

~Be willing to manage your intrusive thoughts of him?

~Redirect your obsessions from him to your own self care?

~Create a full life so you aren’t lonely?

~Build a foundation of support that doesn’t include ‘having to be’ in a relationship?

~ Learn to find fulfillment in activities that don’t only include intimate relationships?

~Treat your symptoms of anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

~Heal your sexuality?

~Embrace spirituality?

~Learn to be attracted to guys who aren’t proverbial bad boys?

~Dig deeply to see what all your relationships have in common so you don’t repeat the pattern?

~Memorize what pathology is and stop looking for loop holes?

~Take a year or maybe even two years OFF from dating to nurture all those places in you that are wounded and broken?

~Will you take time to learn what your trait proclivities are (read Women Who Love Psychopaths) so you know how to safe guard yourself in the next relationship?

~Seriously UNDERSTAND how your traits and his traits are a magnet to each other?

~ Realize YOU ARE ENOUGH FOR YOU! If another relationship DOESN’T come along…you will survive. If you’re really determined, you’ll even THRIVE.

~ Get grounded–sink your feet into the earth of your soul and declare you’ll never be uprooted again…no matter what–you’re grounded in you and reality–not fantasy.

~Be willing to challenge old belief systems, old assumptions, old patterns, old preferences.

~ Most of all…can you LOVE yourself?

This month is Valentines Day…you’ve fallen in love with all sorts of things and people…you’ve fallen in love with illusions, with dreams, hopes, and pathology.

It’s time to fall in love with you! I know who you are…you know why? Because after all that research we know EXACTLY who you are–you deeply attach and love, you are loving to the 9th degree, loyal, trusting, sensitive, and very invested in relationship happiness. You’re a TERRIFFIC woman that any NORMAL man would be blessed to have.

No one is alone during the month of Love. We stand hand in hand, bridging the gap for each other–connected and bonded by a sorority of shared experiences, pain, and yet hope. If you need a hug for Valentines Day, there are plenty of cyber hugs floating thru here.

Learn to love you. Nothing happens and no one else does until you do. Give to the world that part of your self that is so rich and deep. There are lots of ways to be loved–be loved by giving back, by reaching others. Valentines Day is for lovers. Be the lover of your own soul. We celebrate that with you…

Are You in a Pathological Relationship Quiz

Take the quizzes and see! If you are, find out what you can do to change your odds AND YOUR CHOICES!

People who are in dangerous relationships often have to manipulate reality in order to see their situation differently so they are able to stay in it. People who are repeatedly in dangerous relationships have an arsenal of “loopholes” they use to talk themselves into remaining in a go-nowhere dangerous relationship.

In order to change your patterns, it is important that you know what kind of loopholes you are using to avoid change, growth, and ending the relationship. These loopholes become a sort of “mantra” that people say over and over to themselves either consciously or subconsciously. It slowly reinforces their decision to stay despite the red flags they are having about these choices.

Some people have gathered sabotaging loopholes from what they think the culture expects of people in relationships. Some have learned these excuses from other people in their own family who have taught them to accept dangerous behavior in others.

8 Categories of Loopholes

  • Minimizing Loopholes
  • Generalizing Loopholes
  • Justifying Loopholes
  • Hyper-Hopefulness Loopholes
  • Messiah Complex Loopholes
  • Over-Crediting Loopholes
  • Renaming Loopholes
  • Future Avoidance Loopholes

TAKE THE MINIMIZING LOOPHOLE QUIZ BELOW

These loopholes take dangerous or unsatisfactory behaviors and make them less threatening by minimizing their true effects. This loophole is characterized by someone saying, “At least”

Check all that apply

AT LEAST they only drink beer/wine and not the hard stuff

AT LEAST they don’t hit me, they only yell, threaten, or degrade me

AT LEAST they work most of the time

AT LEAST they aren’t like my dad/brother/previous boyfriend/mom/sister/girlfriend

AT LEAST they come home at night/dates me/is still around

AT LEAST they pay the bills/help pay the bills

AT LEAST they don’t beat the children

AT LEAST they are someone to have around until someone better comes along

AT LEAST they

(fill in what you normally say)

 

ADD UP TOTAL NUMBER OF POINTS

**
People who use Minimizing Loopholes normally use many of the other categories of loopholes also. What OTHER categories do you use? Find out–order the book and workbook and take the tests–find out exactly
what you are telling yourself.


Am I In Danger of Dating * MORE * Pathologicals?

Give yourself 2 points for a “Yes” answer, 0 point for a “No” answer.

I have dated more than one person that others would have considered “dangerous”

**I have dated more than three dangerous/pathological persons

**I have dated five or more dangerous/pathological people

I have broken up and gone back with a pathological person

**A dangerous person I dated would have fallen in the “violent” category

**A pathological person I dated would have fallen in a combination of categories of violent, addicted, and mentally ill

A dangerous person I dated would have fallen in the mentally ill category

I have a pattern of ignoring my red flags

**Ignoring my red flags has put me at-risk with dangerous people

I don’t even know what my red flags are

Friends and family are upset over the types of dangerous relationships I pick

I don’t know what healthy relationship patterns are

I fluctuate between people who are emotionally unavailable and aloof to people who are dependent, needy and clingy

I don’t fluctuate in the type of people I date–I keep picking the same type of person, even though it hasn’t worked in the past

ADD UP THE TOTAL NUMBER OF POINTS

 

NOW ADD UP YOUR TOTAL NUMBER OF POINTS FROM BOTH SECTIONS

In considering your own personal risk factors for dating dangerous people you must also consider WHICH answer you checked on the scale which indicate a HIGHER risk and should raise greater concern if these were marked. Any of those with an “*” indicate higher risk factors.

The Pathological Relationship Risk Scale (Non-clinical scale)

0 – 8 points =
Lower Risk (unless you have marked those questions with an **.)

10 – 18 points =
Moderate Risk (unless you marked those questions with an **.)

20 – 32 points =
High Risk (exceptionally high risk if you also marked those questions
with an **.)

Now What?

If you indicated a “Moderate” to “High Risk” on this quiz, you owe it to yourself to get the How to Spot a Dangerous Man Workbook and/or services the Institute offers to give you the opportunity to decipher your own personal patterns of dangerous selection.

To learn more