Archives for 2010

The Gift of Fear/The Curse of Anxiety – Part II

Is it Fear Or Is it Anxiety?

Last week we began talking about the difference between fear and anxiety. Real fear draws on your animalistic instincts and causes a sincere fight/flight reaction. Anxiety causes you to worry about the situation but you aren’t likely to bolt.

Anxiety can develop as a counterfeit trait to the true fear you never reacted to.

Gavin DeBecker in the classic book ‘The Gift of Fear’ is a Danger Analyst and has much to say about the preventability of most bad outcomes. He says there is Always Always Always a Pre-incident Indicator (a PIN) that women ignore. In my book, I call them Red Flags–the wisdom of your body that recognizes primitive fear and sends a signal to your body to react. In that split second, you can run or you can rename it. Renaming it causes your body to react less and less to the messages it does send. Not one woman in the 20+ years I’ve been doing this said there wasn’t an initial red flag that she CONSCIOUSLY ignored. Almost 100% of the time, the early red flags end up being exactly why the relationship ended. You could have saved yourself 3, 5, 15, 20 years of a dangerous relationship by listening to your body instead of your head!

Let’s go back to more stories by Gavin….

Dorothy says her ex-boyfriend Kevan was a fun guy with a Master’s degree and a CPA. “He was charming, and it never let up,” Dorothy says. “He was willing to do whatever I wanted to do.”

Eventually, Dorothy began to feel that something wasn’t right. “He would buy me a present or buy me a beautiful bouquet of roses and have it sitting on the table–and that was very nice, but that night or the next day he wanted me to be with him all the time.”

As Dorothy shares her story, Gavin points out some of the warning signs–starting with Kevan’s charm. “A great thing is to think of charm as a verb. It’s something you do. ‘I will charm [Dorothy] now.’ It’s not a feature of [one’s] personality,” Gavin says.

What happened next stunned Dorothy. “I was out visiting my sister in California, and he was calling me, calling me, and he asked me to marry him over the cell phone,” she says.

“I thought, you’re kidding. I’ve always said I would never get married again. And I said,

‘That’s the last time I’m going to talk about it.'”

After rejecting Kevan and coming home, Dorothy says he remained persistent. He showed Dorothy the picture of a diamond ring he wanted to buy and told her he wanted to buy a house. “And he had it all mapped out, how it was going to work for us,” she says.

When Kevan refused to listen when Dorothy repeatedly told him no, Gavin says it should have raised serious red flags. “Anytime someone doesn’t hear no, it means they’re trying to control you,” Gavin says. “When a man says no in this culture, it’s the end of the discussion. When a woman says no, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.”

After four and a half years and many red flags, Dorothy finally broke off her relationship with Kevan. But that wasn’t the end. “He kept calling me, calling me with repeated questions. What am I doing now? ‘What are you going to do tonight?'” Dorothy says.

“And that’s when I realized I am in trouble here.”

On the urging of her son, Dorothy got a restraining order on Kevan, which she says gave her peace of mind. “And that was a huge mistake,” she says.

One night, Dorothy was asleep in her bed when she woke up to the sound of her name being shouted. “I turned to my left shoulder, and I saw a knife about [10 inches long]. I could see the reflection of my TV in the blade. Then I saw that he had cut off surgical gloves, and that was scary,” Dorothy says. “I put the covers right over my head and curled into a fetal position and started praying. He said to me, ‘Are you scared?'”

Rather than panicking, Dorothy says she got out of bed, stood up and told Kevan he was leaving. As she walked calmly out the door, he followed her to the parking lot.

“So I said, ‘You’re leaving now,'” she says. “He turned, went down the street, and I didn’t see him again.” Dorothy immediately called 911, and police later arrested Kevan. He was convicted and is serving a four-year prison sentence.

Gavin says when Dorothy stood up, spoke firmly to Kevan and walked out; she was accepting a gift of power by acting on her instincts. “Fetal position is not a position of power, but you came out of it with a great position of power. And the pure power to say to him, ‘You’re leaving now,’ is fantastic,” he says. “Of all the details in that story, the one that stayed with me the most is that you saw the reflection of your little television set on the bedside table in the knife. And what that told me was you are on–you are in the on position…. You were seeing every single detail and acting on it.”

Just like ignoring your intuition, Gavin says the way women are conditioned to be nice all the time can lead them into dangerous situations. “The fact is that men, at core, are afraid that women will laugh at them. And women, at core, are afraid that men will kill them.”

This conditioning and fear, Gavin says, lead many women to try to be nice to people whose very presence makes them fearful and uncomfortable. They often believe that being mean increases risk, he says, when in fact the opposite is true.

“It’s when you’re nice that you open up and give information, that you engage with someone you don’t want to talk to,” he says. “I have not heard of one case in my entire career where someone was raped or murdered because they weren’t nice. In other words, that’s not the thing that motivates rape and murder. But I’ve heard of many, many cases where someone was victimized because they were open to the continued conversation with someone they didn’t feel good about talking to.”

In my own book ‘How to Spot a Dangerous Man’ I talked about cultural conditioning and how women feel they should be polite and at least go out with them once. If you’re saying yes to a psychopath, once is all he needs. Women also have HORRID and NON-EXISTANT break up skills. What in the world is more important than having good break up skills? You are likely to date a dozen men in your life time and not likely to marry but one of them. What are you going to do with the rest of them?

In this culture with all the books on ‘How to Attract Men’ very little is written about how to break up. Women spend more time on a Glamour Shots picture of themselves for a dating site then learning how strong boundaries can protect them. Women who are attracted to the bad boys don’t need the book ‘How to Attract’ — she’s already doing it. But how can she get rid of the predator she DID attract? (See our new book ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths).

Women buy our books, do phone coaching, and come to NC for 1:1’s, come to retreats all with a primary motive “Help me to never do this again.” While you definitely need insight about your own super-traits that have positioned you in the line of fire with a psychopath, you also need most the ability to reconnect with your internal safety signal. Everything in the world we can teach you will not keep you safe if you ignore your body. Our cognitive information can not save you the way your body can. That’s the bottom line. This is something you have to do for yourself.

This issue of real fear -vs.- mere anxiety is of utmost importance. It has really struck me this week that we may have missed something in our discussion about PTSD and its relationship to fight/flight reactions. Gavin helps us to see that fear happens in the moment–it’s an entire body sensation–the flash of fear followed by the intense adrenaline and fight or flight. The intensity of the body reactions usually COMPELS people into fight/flight.

With PTSD, I see how we have lumped more minor reactive reactions like ‘PTSD induced fight/flight’ with the real in-the-moment reactions of fear. I see them as different now. If women are THAT afraid of him and compelled by real fear (as opposed to worry ‘He might harm me in the future but he isn’t mad right now and not going to hurt me this second) she wouldn’t be with him because her animalistic reaction would be to flee.

Real fear IN THE MOMENT demands action. Our own ability to tolerate what he is doing suggests it’s not TRUE survival fear. This is the difference between animalistic/survival fear and our common day PTSD-reactionary fear.

Sometimes our body has reactions to evil, or pathology. Normal psychology should ALWAYS have a negative reaction to abnormal psychology. So your first meeting with him should have produced SOMETHING in you. It may not have been the true fear reaction that COMPELLED you to run away but you may have gotten other kinds of thoughts or bodily reactions to be in the presence of significant abnormality and sometimes, pure evil.

Listen. Your body is smarter than your brain.

The Gift of Fear/The Curse of Anxiety – Part I

Is it Fear Or Is it Anxiety?

Women who have been in pathological relationships come away from the relationships with problems associated with fear, worry, and anxiety. This is often related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or what we call ‘High Harm Avoidance’– being on high alert looking for ways she might get harmed now or in the future.

PTSD, by its own nature as a disorder, is an anxiety disorder that is preoccupied by both the past (flashbacks and intrusive thoughts of him or events) and by the future (worry about future events, trying to anticipate his behaviors, etc.). With long term exposure to PTSD, this anxiety and worry begins to mask itself, at least in her mind, as ‘fear.’ In fact, most women lump together the sensations of anxiety, worry, and fear into one feeling and don’t differientiate them.

Fear is helpful and safety-oriented whereas worry and anxiety are not helpful and related to phantom ‘possible’ events that often don’t happen. To that degree, worry and anxiety are distracting away from real fear signals that could help her.

In the book which is now a classic on predicting harmful behavior in others, Gavin deBecker in ‘The Gift of Fear’ delineates the difference between what we need fear FOR and what we DONT need anxiety and worry for. In some ways, the ability to use fear correctly while stopping the use of anxiety and worry may do much to curtail PTSD symptoms.

deBecker who is not a therapist but a Danger Anaylst has done what other therapists haven’t even done–nix PTSD symptoms of anxiety and worry by focusing on true fear and it’s necessity versus anxiety and it’s faux meaning to us.

The term fear was used by Freud (in contrast to anxiety), to refer to the reaction to real danger. Freud emphasized the difference between fear and anxiety in terms of their relation to danger:

~ Anxiety is a state characterized by the expectation and preparation for a danger–even if it’s unknown ~

~ While fear implies a specific object to be feared in the here/now. ~ (Anxiety is: ‘He MIGHT harm me’ where fear is: “He IS harming me with his fist, words, actions, etc.”)

If you heard there was a weapon proven to prevent most crimes (including picking a dangerous partner) before it happened, would you run out and buy it? World-renowned security expert Gavin deBecker says this weapon exists, but you already have it. He calls it “the gift of fear.”

The story of a woman named Kelly begins with a simple warning sign. A man offers to help carry her groceries into her apartment—and instantly, Kelly doesn’t like the sound of his voice. Kelly goes against her gut and lets him help her—and in doing so, she lets a rapist into her home.

“We get a signal prior to violence,” Gavin says. “There are preincident

indicators. Things that happen before violence occurs.”

Gavin says that unlike any other living creature, humans will sense

danger, yet still walk right into it.

“You’re in a hallway waiting for an elevator late at night. The elevator door opens, and there’s a guy inside, and he makes you afraid. You don’t know why, you don’t know what it is. And many women will stand there and look at that guy and say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to think like that. I don’t want to be the kind of person who lets the door close in his face. I’ve got to be nice. I don’t want him to think I’m not nice.’

And so human beings will get into a steel soundproof chamber with

someone they’re afraid of, and there’s not another animal in nature that would even consider it.”

Gavin says that “eerie feelings” is exactly what he wants women to pay attention to. “We’re trying to analyze the warning signs,” he says. “And what I really want to teach today and forever is the feeling of the warning sign. All the other stuff is our explanation for the feeling. Why it was this, why it was that. The feeling itself IS the warning sign.”

What happens over and over again is that women dismantle their OWN internal safety system by ignoring it. The longer she ignores it, the more ‘over rides’ it receives and retrains the brain to ignore the fear signal. Once rewired women are at tremendous risks of all kinds…risks of picking the wrong men, of squelching fear signals of impending violence, shutting off alarms about potential sexual assaults, shutting down red flags about financial rip offs, squeeking out hints about poor character in other people…and the list goes on. What is left after your whole entire safety system is dismantled? Not much….

Women, subconsciously sensing they need to have ‘something’ to fall back on, swap out true and profoundly accurate fear signals with the miserly counterfeit and highly unproductive feeling of worry/anxiety.


Then they end up in coaching for their 4th dangerous relationship and wonder if they have a target sign on their forehead. No they don’t. They have learned to dismantle, rename, minimize, justify, or deny the fear signals they get or got in the relationship. As if their ability to ‘take it’ or ‘not be afraid’ of very dangerous behavior is some sort of win for them. As if their ability to look danger in the face and STAY means they are as tough or competitive as he is…

No–it means they have a fear signal that no longer saves them. Their barely stuttering signal means it’s been over-ridden by her. She felt it, labeled it, and released it all the while staring eye-to-eye with what she should fear most.

Then later, or another day or week passes and she has mounting anxiety–over what she wonders? She has a chronic low grade worry, whisps of anxiety that waife thru her life. She can’t put 2+2 together to figure out that ignoring true fear will demand to be recognized by her subconscious in some way—an illegitimate way through worry and anxiety that does nothing to save her from real danger. Her real ally (her true fear) has been squelched and banished.

When coming to us for coaching she wants us to help her ‘feel safe’ again when actually, we can’t do any of that. It’s all in her internal system as it’s always been. Her safety is inside her and her future healing is too.

She will sit in the counselor’s office denying true fear and begging for relief from the mounting anxiety she is experiencing. She doesn’t trust herself, her intuition, her judgments–all she can feel is anxiety. And with good reason! True fear is her true intuition…not anxiety. But she’s already canned what can save her and now on some level she must know she has nothing left that can help her feel and react.

Animals instinctively react to the danger signal–the adrenaline, flash of fear, and flood of cortisol. They don’t have internal dialogue with themselves like “What did that mean? Why did he say that? I don’t like that behavior—I wonder if he was abused as a child.”

An animal is trained to have a natural reaction to the fear signal–they run. You don’t see animals ‘stuck’ in abusive mating environments! In nature, as in us, we are wired with the King of Comments which is the danger signal. When we respond to the flash of true fear, we aren’t left having a commentary with ourselves.

“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.” – John Schaar

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


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


(fill in what you normally say)



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




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