Love Multiplied

I had an interesting conversation with my son recently. He always asks such profound questions and he really wants answers. He asked me if  I got jealous when our beautiful little chihuahua got more excited to see our family friend–Lisa in this case (but there are a whole host of family friends that he loves) than he did to see me when we recently returned from an outing? I responded by saying absolutely not. In fact,  I love watching him get excited by our company and watching him get loved on by our friends. It was an easy answer and we moved on.

But my mind kept returning to that conversation over and over again. It was a simple question–but profound and deep. The answer was easy and quick to come by. BUT still, it nagged at me to examine it further. Why did he ask me that question? What was his ‘take away’ from my answer? Did I even answer it thoroughly enough? Why do we, as imperfect people, sometimes get jealous of attention paid to others? This kind of thinking/behavior–being jealous– leads to desires to control, bully, and monopolize. It does harm not only to those who are being controlled but to the person who feels it necessary to control or dominate. It makes us unhappy on the inside and insecure. Those feelings, in turn, drive our behavior and ultimately our lives.

I think the answer is to know that love divided is really love multiplied (cliche I know!). How my dog feels about someone else shouldn’t have any impact on how he feels about me or how I feel about how he feels about me!!!  My joy is multiplied by watching him be joyful and get love from many sources. My love is deepened for him when I  see how he relates so beautifully to others. I love that he can receive love and attention from from many sources. And my love for my friends is deepened when they love what I love too. I didn’t just learn this from my dog of course– I also learned it from having children. When people do nice things for my children and my children respond–it fills me with such abundant joy. It is never something that takes away joy–but only adds to it. 

There is something so wonderful about watching people you love all share love with each other.  I believe it is the way things are suppose to be. BUT I know that there are many human factors that block this in many people. That is not the focus of this post though. The focus is just to get people thinking on a different plane. Focus on life from a different angle. Or to just accentuate something that you may already know and feel. 

We have a finite time to be here and figure all this out. It is easy to get distracted and pulled down alleys that lead to dead ends. We can and do become focused on the wrong things. Inside we may know something is missing. Some of us just feel the emptiness while others work in earnest to fill that void: They eat too much, drink to much, use drugs or have affairs. They watch too much t.v. or stay on line constantly. They don’t dare to venture out of their one relationship or they can’t seem to be committed to anyone. They may use ‘love’ as a means to control. Children see all of this and it can define their understanding of love. 

So why did my son ask me this? It is a sophisticated question–and very elemental at the same time.  I sit and think about this–my conversation with my son. I feel proud because  I can see the wheels turning inside of him.  I can see a desire to know. I can see a desire to understand. I can see that ‘the searching’ is there and I can see that even at this early age–he has a drive to transcend. He has questions and he is seeking answers. He is not oblivious to this undercurrent of life. That makes me smile.

My children help me to see things and look at things that I may not take the time to focus on or explore. They make me a better person than I can be alone.  When love is around you–you gain from it. It seeps in and fills the spaces in you that you don’t even know about. Love is strange in that giving it away doesn’t lessen how much we have left to give and in many ways when we give it away–we only add to our supply! And when those you love are loved by others too–it doesn’t change your gift of love to them. 

This question hits me as I realize that my little boy is now a young man. I did not have to share his attention when he was a baby and he didn’t have to share mine. A mother is the center of a babies world and the baby is the primary focus of the mom too. Then children develop friendships and get love and attention from other places. At the age my son is, he is on the cusp of moving forward and becoming even more independent. That means more people in his life. More love. More joy. Not a division of love–but a multiplication of love. 

Is he wondering about this? Is he cognizant of this experience? His world is growing and maybe he has questions–or fears. While I may not be perfect– I know he feels unconditional love from me. I hope he learns not only from my words but from my actions too.  And not just from me–but from everyone around him–good and bad. That time is coming for him to find his own way and–like getting love from multiple sources–getting knowledge from multiple sources can only make your world bigger too.

So we try to understand love and life. Is it easy? Not really. Do we get it wrong? Yes. Do we fail? Many times. We don’t have to be perfect because we are all just works in progress. Our mission is helping each other find the way and hopefully doing it with abundant love. How will it turn out for my son? I only have to observe him to find out. So far– I see it is turning out just fine!

Bullying

Bullying is happening all around us. It is happening right now. It is happening to some child who is struggling to function under all the weight of being bullied. A child who was previously happy is now being forced to put on a “thick skin” in order to survive. What effects does this have on children? How can they cope?

When a child is bullied, they are in pain. When they are physically bullied, the bullying can be seen and maybe stopped. But what of the emotional or verbal bully? What about bullying through exclusion? What about the child that battles with the pain and loneliness of these invisible methods of  bullying??

This kind of bullying really alters a child’s way of being in the world. It is significant. The child can become sad, depressed, angry, hurt and disillusioned. This disillusionment can have severe effects on the child and on that child’s future. When a child is hurt, they can generally heal. But what about chronic hurt? What about the child that is bullied by a personality disorder parent? Invisible! What about the child who is verbally and emotionally bullied every day at school? Invisible.

The anti-bully programs are a good start. But let’s be honest, they do NOT stop bullying. Many times, the bullying is just covered up better by the person who bullies. Children who suffer through this are affected in many ways. They harden their hearts in an effort to survive this. They isolate themselves. They become bullies themselves toward a weaker person. They turn to drugs and alcohol to deaden their pain. And sometimes, they kill themselves.

What happens inside of those children? They hurt. They cry. They want help but when bullying is invisible–such as verbal, emotional, or by exclusion, often times it goes unrecognized. Or it may be recognized and the victim may be told that it isn’t “that bad” or it is “no big deal” or even to “just ignore it”.  But the effects are not easy for the victim to ignore. When the bullying is ignored or minimized–the child loses hope and faith. They are victims who lose their sense of safety. Not only are they being assaulted—but it is being minimized to them. When parents and institutions minimize this–it sets the victim up for a cascade of problems. Not only dealing with the victimization–but carrying the heavy load alone.

“Meta-analyses1,2 have clearly demonstrated the negative relationship between peer victimization and mental health as well as physical health. Common elements in definitions of peer victimization include the repeated nature of harassment, an imbalance in power between bully and victim, and the intention to cause harm on the part of the perpetrator” according to the study done by Jama  Relationship Between Peer Victimization, Cyberbullying, and Suicide in Children and Adolescents . The outcome showed “Peer victimization is a risk factor for child and adolescent suicidal ideation and attempts. Schools should use evidence-based practices to reduce bullying.”

But what to do to help the victim in the mean time? First, LISTEN to your child. Do not minimize the threat or the emotions involved. Make sure they know that the bullying isn’t their fault but it is the person who is bullying who is at fault. Work with your child to find ways to stop the bullying by modeling responses; by contacting the school; and by strengthening their coping skills. Remember that children may have a difficult time talking about this so be sensitive to your child’s moods; ask questions; and listen to your child when they talk to you. They may be reaching out for help but not know how to do it. Being bullied carries a stigma that children instinctively know. Approach your child with love and acceptance.

Never underestimate the pain your child is in when they are bullied. Know that it is serious and can leads to serious problems for your child. Be smart. Be open. Be loving and supportive. And don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help. Your child’s life may depend on it. Get input from your child as to what they think might help stop the bullying. Then do what you can to make this happen for your child. Talk to the school and get a plan in place to stop the bullying. And finally, seek counseling support if necessary to give your child an outlet for his feelings in a safe and accepting environment.

(Be sure to first interview the therapist and be sure they are a good fit for your child and for your circumstances. Working with a therapist who specializes in working specifically with children is a good place to start)

Trying To Understand The Personality Disordered Individual–Narcissism, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy.

O.K. I have written several long posts about narcissistic people/relationships. This is a short one. I realize that since the narcissist, antisocial personality disordered person or the psychopath is multifaceted, one post will not give much insight into them. So…there will be multiple posts to educate and explain and expose!

One of the very frustrating things about these types of people is that they want so badly to project to the world everything they wish they were but know are not. However, they will not try to actually develop the qualities they covet–like loyalty, honesty, empathy, loving, caring–they would seemingly rather spend their time creating false situations where they display these qualities.

They seem to be trapped between admiring or coveting these qualities and hating and being repulsed by them. They would rather spend time and energy tricking people into believing they possess these qualities as opposed to actually working on developing these qualities. It seems like they enjoy the game of tricking people even while their own pathology tugs away at them inside to want to have, possess, or “own” these qualities.

They hate those possessing the qualities they covet but they are drawn to them nonetheless. For the individual with the coveted qualities–this is a death sentence. Once the personality disordered individual gets their hooks into you–they will make you pay for having the very qualities that attracted them to you in the first place. They will try to crush those qualities out of you while claiming them for themselves. It makes no sense and that is why most, if not all, victims of a personality disordered individual suffers from confusion, stress, and anxiety.

Our minds want to make sense of a senseless circumstance. We try to understand something that is pathological and not understandable but our minds keep trying and trying–often times this is an involuntary response. We begin to lose control of our thinking as our mind hunts and hunts for a reason,  an answer, or a cause.

Once you catch on to what is happening to you–you try to escape. That is a topic for another day. But when you try to escape or you do escape–you will find that the personality disordered individual has co-opted your personality. They have become you–or a very twisted and transparent version of you. Although this will feel like soul-rape, it is actually the closest thing you will get to a complement from the disordered person. They hate you, they are repulsed by you, they covet you, and they are jealous of you–all at once!

With pathology, there is no reason, answer, or cause that the victim can find to warrant such horrific treatment by someone who claimed that they loved you. The victims are left to ponder a whole new paradigm of thinking, living, and being. Once you have been touched by this particular evil–you are never the same again.

How Did I Get Here? Personality Disordered Partners–and “Lovebombing”

You think you have found the love of your life. Maybe you are just getting out of a difficult relationship or perhaps you have had some other life altering event happen to you. You are vulnerable and uncertain. That is when the “love bombing” starts. You are feeling like you are in a whirlwind. You think that your luck must have changed. Finally you have hit the jackpot.

Guess Again.

“Love bombing” is the name given for the time in a relationship when your partner-to-be initiates what will turn out to be the best part of your relationship/courtship. It is meant to overwhelm your senses . You are swept off your feet. Finally, you think, someone who really cares and who is really interested in me. You think you are buying into total and complete happiness and bliss for ever and ever. Nope. It isn’t like that at all–but it sure seems that way at first

What happens in a relationship with a cluster B personality* isn’t like anything you have experienced in your life. Somehow the connection with them happens quickly. If you haven’t fallen hard right away–they will gently nudge you and push you into the direction they want. A personality disordered person has a goal and they aim to achieve it. They have a much easier time than most doing this because they are not weighted down by those pesky things like a conscience or empathy or loyalty.

They begin by paying attention to you and only you. Generally it is to the point of being ‘too much’ at first. They whisper into the phone that they love you over and over and over. It feels strange that they do this especially since they have only known you a few weeks. But they seem so sure. They seem so involved. Now they are constantly texting and calling all day every day. They want to move in with you even though you just met or they are just getting out of a committed relationship.

While initially you may feel a bit squeamish, the need and desire to be connected wins out. Personality disordered individuals push for commitment right away. They push to move in together right away. They may want children right away or to buy a house together right away. This serves to hook you into the circumstance so you do not look for ways out. You are committed…..It seems a bit too much but you give in because they tell you that this is the only time they have ever felt this way. Oh, how many times they have whispered those words to others. Laughable if it didn’t hurt so much in the end.

All this ‘getting to know you’ is also necessary for the personality disordered individual to be able to create your soul mate for you. They have no souls of their own. They have no personality beyond being selfish and pretending. So what they do is to reflect back to you what they see in you. They become just like you. Again, WOW. How can it be that this partner loves to shop? How can it be that they love the same music? How can it be that they want to stay home or go to the bar or whatever it is YOU like. Well, it is because they are masters at creating a façade that you will fall in love with. Make no mistake–it is empty and hollow but you won’t know this for some time to come.

‘Love bombing’ is  is always the method they use to get you to believe that they are your SOUL MATE. You are the only one who understands them. The only one who “gets” their humor. The only one who sees life the way they do. YOU are so special they tell you. Like a flower that is blooming with many different petals. Or you are like the special picture that has been found painted under another picture–a treasure that has been hidden but is now being uncovered. You are the most amazing person they have ever known. You like that. You want to feel special. Believe me, they know that already.

Another telltale sign of a personality disordered person in a relationship is the amount of time they devote to listening to you talk about YOU. What you like, don’t like, your fears, disappointments, sensitive issues, childhood hurts, insecurities. WOW. You think this is great. They must care–and care alot. But in this type of relationship–this is not done out of loving and caring. It is done to size you up. This information is filed away to be used at will by the personality disordered person in the future. They now know what triggers you to feel happy, sad, embarrassed, ashamed….How convenient in the plan to manipulate you.

Another tactic that is almost universal is that they portray themselves as being victims of their previous relationships. They have been abused, taken advantage of, lied to, cheated on. They need you to be their advocate and take up their cause. If only for you to be angry and hate the previous partner with a passion. They will keep you from that partner with everything they have because they do not want you seeing the real partner–beaten down, abused, but good-hearted. If the new partner saw you–they would have to question what they were being told about you–so this works nicely for both the new partner and the personality disordered individual. Neither really want the truth known. This is a nice fit that keeps the previously victimized partner far from sight and allows the new victim to be oblivious to the truth.

You have been blown off your feet by this amazing person, listened to, spent time with and rushed into relationship bliss. It feels heady but a bit suffocating. You wonder if there is something wrong. You may see some of the above as a red flag–but it feels soooo good, right? It seems like you’ve waited you whole life for this one person.

You disregard the little “off” things like the fact that they have multiple marriages, kids that dislike them or want no contact with them. What about their complete lack of friends? No matter–they will insinuate their selves right into your life–because they have none of their own. You wonder a bit how they managed to find all the crazy partners before you. When they tell you all their other relationships ended badly because ALL the previous partners were crazy or wanted something else etc.–this is a clue. Often times personality disordered people will tell you things that should make you run BUT you will downplay it or disregard it because everything else is so good. Don’t ignore it.

If they tell you that everything was the crazy ex’s fault or if they have simply disregarded the ex, think about that. Who walks away from marriage after marriage? Who can throw away years of a devoted spouse without a second thought and rush head long into a new relationship with no time in between?  If they may say to you that they lie a lot and don’t want to do that anymore–listen to that admission. Often times they will tell you they never cheated before. You are the first. It happened only because the ex was horrible, crazy, mean, violent…..or they will tell you they only cheated because of how amazing YOU are.  Think really hard because if someone is willing to cheat on one spouse…or two spouses….what makes you believe they are not going to ultimately cheat on you. Facts are facts and those who cheat–especially serial cheaters–will ALWAYS cheat again.

They will also compartmentalize everything. They will seek to keep you away from all others from their past. The ex will be too crazy or dangerous to be around. You may wonder why the ex has so many friends and seems to be doing well. But you will listen to the lies of the personality disordered person because–well–it seems easier. You think how could this loving person be lying about the ex. Surely the ex was the bad one –even if it doesn’t quite seem to fit, we gloss over that in our minds.

BUT we believe that we are the exception to the rule. We are younger. Richer. Smarter. Funnier. It couldn’t happen to me, right? Well it could and it will. The personality disordered individual is what they are. They do not change much because it is a pervasive pattern of interaction. It IS how they see the world. It is how they ARE in the world. The don’t change. They are masters of deception. They are highly skilled at using and abusing. They are what they are and they give us clues. The problem is we refuse to see.

The personality disordered individual sees themselves as highly unique and special. However, the truth is they are fundamentally all the same and they do fundamentally the same things. They love bomb. They lie. They gaslight. They manipulate. They twist your words. They blame-shift. They project. They suck the life, love, and joy out of your life. They all use the same techniques but may apply them differently. They really are nothing special but they are very good at presenting that they are. IF you know the signs of a personality disordered individual–you can proactively protect your self and not fall prey to them.

They are hunters. They do seek out a particular kind of individual to control. They are insidious. They do their dirty deeds so slyly that you won’t know what is happening until it is far too late. Some personality disordered people can keep the mask on for literally years–but other let it slip right away. If you are not familiar with this façade–you will spend years trying to ‘get it right’. You will own the problems and troubles. YOU will think it is you.

But fear not. As we journey through this nightmare together–you will learn to identify the signs of a personality disordered person. You will learn what they do and how they do it. You will learn how we fall for this and why we fall for this. You will learn how to identify and protect your self from this kind of creature. If you discover that you have become a victim of this kind of person, there are special things that you can do to protect your self and get out as safely as possible.

They all do the same things at the beginning, middle and end of the relationship. It doesn’t matter who ends it–they do the same things. They exist in a predictable pattern of interaction with their environment. They seek to destroy your reputation, your credibility, and anything that you hold dear. They want to strip you of all that you have as punishment for the perceived danger that you are to them. You know what they really are behind the mask or façade so they must discredit you to protect themselves. They are dangerous and they seek to destroy you to avoid owning their abuses. Be prepared. And remember the beginning–the love bombing. Remember THAT is the best part of this nightmare. It only lasts for a short time and you will spend the remaining time in this nightmare trying to recapture those feelings, times, and behaviors.

Some stay for a few months and others stay for decades trying to figure out what the hell is happening. Once you see the signs (and they all follow this same pattern basically) you will be able to identify the pathology and make your move to safety.

We will be discussing in future blogs the love bombing in more detail. Also the tools they use to control and manipulate. How it affects you mentally and physically. There will be postings where victims/survivors tell their stories. There will be information on how they set you up long before the ending. What they do and how they do it. Stories that you think are too unbelievable are common place for those who have been victimized by the personality disordered individual.

They will forever get away with it if women don’t start talking to each other. If women are kept in the dark about the very obvious and telltale features of these devious people, they may fall prey to this pathological individual. Knowledge is the best tool that you can have. Just knowing this evil exists can help protect you from it.

This is becoming a very common phenomenon and yet how it actually unfolds is not really focused on much in school or in workshops. Most who know and understand it have been victimized by this type of personality disordered person. I have seen this take place personally and I have interacted with hundreds of people whose story is basically the same. Out of my own experience, I can teach and educate. Knowledge is your first step.

These posts will help you in identifying the patterns. Educating yourself to this process. Healing cannot begin until you see the true problem. This series of posts will help you see the problem and then help you to outline ways to fix it.

Remember–if someone seems too good to be true–they probably are! If you do not understand the process by which they seek to control and destroy–you will wake up one day and ask, “How did I get here“?

*(Cluster B’s include antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder). This article deals with those who suffer from antisocial and narcissistic issues.

“The process may seem strange and yet it is very true. I did not so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience I had of things.”
Plutarch