Should I React This Way?

Partners of pathologicals face chronic confusion about their reactions to his pathology. She feels the incongruency in the Jekyll and Hyde personalities, reacts to it, and then gets labeled by him as being hysterical.

The fact is, pathologicals project their traits and behaviors on everyone else and say it’s ‘them’ instead of ‘him.’ That IS part of pathology. In fact, several different personality disorders DO that in relationships because it is a feature and a trait of pathology. So just maybe those are HIS traits and not yours! Maybe what you are seeing is a glimmer of his pathological self view and world view and how he thrusts that upon others and labels them with his own disorder.

Many of you wonder if what you DO feel in the relationship is the ‘correct’ or ‘normal’ way to react. SHOULD you have certain reactions to certain disorders or behaviors? The answer is a resounding ‘YES.’

Normal people have very strong reactions when exposed short OR long term to pathological persons. In fact, it is normal to have these kinds of reactions and non-pathological persons SHOULD have strong reactions to abnormal behavior. I have the same types of reactions to pathologicals–I have just had to learn over the years to contain my reactions for professional reasons.

These types of reactions in you can be: confusion, frustration, anxiety, wanting to hurt them (slap them, verbally assault them and fantasies of REALLY hurting them). Some women have reactions of ‘trying to help him understand himself better so she can alter his behaviors.’ Others believe what he says about her and start to judge her own behavior, character, and history. She truly begins to think SHE is the one who is sick and not him. She begins to doubt her own perceptions (well I guess black IS white and bad IS good). Her whole world view becomes distorted like looking into a carnival mirror where the world becomes wavy and crazy looking.

Others shut down completely and stop communicating because every word is turned back on her by the pathological. Some become paranoid knowing he is doing something and not able to prove it.

Long term effects are a complete emotional shut down, physical exhaustion with resulting medical issues, chronic depression and/or anxiety, and an altered sense of self worth. Much like the elephant who only needs to be chained for a short time before it thinks it can never escape and it never tries to—women do the same thing. The emotional operant conditioning by pathologicals renders normally strong and independent women into lobotimized rag dolls that don’t move or respond as they have been trained ‘not to.’

Outsiders who are around the pathological also have their own normal reactions to his abnormal behavior. If he has children, they too have adversive reactions as does his boss, any normal family members he might have, the neighbors or anyone he has to deal with. It is normal to have BIG reactions to pathologicals. Even animals often don’t like them! Come on now—if a dog avoids him—we should too!

Then there are those of you who not only have had your training at the hands of intimate pathological relationships, but you have been trained in your youth by pathological parents. By now abnormal behavior must look and feel totally normal to you. The effects of pathological parenting are huge and set up reactions, behaviors and world views that need intense treatment in order to set straight.

Reactions to pathology are expected and to a large degree, normal.

We will be offering an Adult Children of Pathological Parenting Support Group exactly for this issue. Contact us for more information.

(**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 info.)