Time and again women allude to the mystical aspects of the pathological with whom they are involved. They describe them as “being under his spell,” “entranced with him” or “hypnotized by him,” even “spellbound” or “mind-controlled”.
Women aren’t exactly able to define what they are experiencing or even to accurately describe what they think is occurring, but they do unanimously conclude that something is happening that feels like it’s hypnotic. Beyond the ‘hocus-pocus’ of hypnosis lies real truth about what IS probably happening in those relationships.
Trance happens to every person every day. It is a natural lull in the body when many of its systems are resting, or a state we enter when tired. Blood sugar levels, metabolism and other natural body functions can affect the sleepy states of trance that we enter all day long.
You’ve probably heard of ‘highway hypnosis’. This occurs when you have been driving and are so concentrated on the driving or, when you are getting sleepy while driving and watching those yellow lines, that you forget about the last few miles, and—all of a sudden—you’re aware that you’re almost at your destination. Highway hypnosis is a trance or light form of self-hypnosis. No one put you in that state of hypnosis—you went into it on your own. Check in with most people around 2 p.m. and you’ll see lots of people in sleepy trances.
But pathology can cause people to enter trance states frequently. Pathological Love Relationships are exhausting and take their toll on your body through stress, diet, loss of sleep, and worry. While you are worn down and fatigued, you are more suggestible to the kinds of things that are said to you while you are in that state of mind during which these words, feelings and concepts sink in at a deeper level than other ideas and statements said to you when you are NOT in a trance state.
If he is telling you that you are crazy, or gaslighting you by telling you that you really didn’t see him do what you think he did, or that the problems of the relationship are because of you… those statements said to you when you are suggestible stay filed in your subconscious and are replayed over and over again, creating intrusive thoughts and obsessive thinking.
If he tells you positives when you are in trance states, such as “I need you” and “please don’t ever leave me”, those phrases, too, are stored in a subconscious location, working you over without your knowledge. When it’s time to redirect your beliefs about him, disengage, or break up, women feel like ‘old tapes’ are running in their heads. It’s very hard for them to get these messages to stop activating their thinking, feeling, and behavior.
Women who have strong personality traits in suggestibility and fatigability are more at risk of trance-like states in which words, meanings, and symbols are more concretely stored in the subconscious. Women feel relieved to find out that they really aren’t crazy—it really DOES feel like you are under his spell, because, in many ways, you are.
More information on trance states in Pathological Love Relationships is covered in detail in my book, Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists.
In our next newsletter, we’ll talk about other ways that trance states can be affected in the Pathological Love Relationship.
(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know. The Institute is the largest provider of recovery-based services for survivors of pathological love relationships. Information about pathological love relationships is in our award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions. See the website for more information.)