Attraction by the Pearl of Purity
The mythical ‘law of attraction’ is deeply ingrained in our society. But you are not responsible for who approaches you, only who you seek and keep in your life.
The creation and growth of the Pearl of Purity starts with a proper view of responsibilities, moves on to optimal speech and actions and is completed with mindfulness. In the previous article I explained what slime does to us and how a proper view on personal responsibilities protects and cleans us from it. Still, I have to address one specific belief about the ‘law of attraction’ that is deeply ingrained in our modern society. This myth holds innocent people responsible instead of the culprits. It is imbedded in our language grammatically, stemming from a perception that perverted society for thousands of years. Once you recognize the falsehood of this particular belief, your Pearl of Purity becomes a mighty tool to expose psychopaths in plain view without you ever needing to lift a finger or open your mouth.
THE MANTRA OF “WHAT YOU ATTRACT…”
After I discovered that my ex was a psychopath, after I learned about this disorder and the implications of certain behaviour, arguments and reasoning, several small incidents occurred in its aftermath. For example a man interrupted my best female friend and I while we were talking in a pub. He introduced himself by praising my best friend for her naughty and dangerous appearance, while putting me down for looking like a bleeding heart, the sweet girl next door. Not only was it a red flag how he tried to triangulate two female friends to compete for his ‘approval’, it was also disturbing that he treated admirable traits – an idealistic profession and friendly appearance – as something to be ashamed about. But instead of feeling slimed, I recognized the red flags and stared at him as if he was a curiosity. The meeting ended with my friend demanding him to apologize to me. And after he had and I acknowledged it with a nod, I turned my back to him for I did not approve of him.
This man was not the sole freak or stranger who tried to devalue or demean me without provocation and out of the blue since D-Day. I am even quite sure that you too have noticed how many toxic people approach you. They seem to be everywhere in multitudes and keep on coming. You do not like them. You do not want them in your life. You do not even know some of these people. And you wonder, “What the heck is wrong with me that I attract these people?” You are sure that deep down you think not well enough of yourself; that some hidden negative self-belief within is visible to others.
You are just about to accept the slime from the mantra of “We attract what we believe we deserve”. This mantra is touted since the 20th century as the law of attraction. It tells us that whatever happens to us and whomever appears into our lives is something that we caused mentally; that if we but validate ourselves, think positive, only good people will knock on our doors; and that if abusive people try a shot at us, we are somehow magically responsible for that. More, it claims we have control over who and what happens in our life with our thoughts and beliefs.*
We cannot control nor are responsible for the behaviour, actions, words and choices of the psychopath we had a relationship with. Then how could we be responsible for a total stranger trying his luck with any of us? How could we control strangers and coincidence? Our beliefs and feelings do not function like invisible strings pulling in a multitude of strangers like puppets from all over the world. You do not consider yourself a puppet on a string of beliefs and feelings of someone else either. So, do not consider your self-belief as an immensely powerful puppet-master.
The mantra is wrong and turns responsibilities 180° around. We have no control over who crosses our lifepath. Toxic people may try us out when we are whole, confident and self-validating as much as when we are not. It is not our fault, nor our shame, nor our responsibility.
“But,” I hear you argue, “what about all those bad relationships I had in the past? Surely, there is something I must learn about the fact that I serially picked awful partners.”
And I wholeheartedly agree with that remark. There is much to learn about our vulnerabilities, mistakes and responsibilities in this regard. But it is an entirely different situation. While we have control over who we seek out or choose to keep in our lives, we cannot control a stranger’s choice to try us out. It is exactly the latter the new age mantra tries to slime you with.
THE ORIGIN OF THE MANTRA
Desiring a person can feel as if we are bewitched, as Frank Sinatra so eloquently sang. Most of us had a crush once on someone who never noticed or heard of us. Or someone claimed to be attracted to us, while we never invited or returned the feeling. A coincidental glance had meaning or was imagined to be purposeful. In the worst case, a stalker blames the target for leading them on, even though the opposite is true. So, though it feels different, the admirer (who is attracted) is the active participant responsible for his or her feelings. Whereas the one being admired (who attracts) is passive and innocent. This seems confusing since grammatically ‘to attract’ is an active form, and ‘to be attracted’ is a passive form. The real active individual of the two is not the linguistic active person. This perpetuates confusion on who is responsible and who is blameless. No doubt it was the bewitching sensation that created the linguistic mess in the first place. Perhaps it helps to use the verb ‘to admire’ instead. At least the grammatical activity aligns to that of the reality.
This wrongly ascribing responsibility with the attraction dynamics surely must lie at the root of how society has treated and viewed women – often regarded as more attractive than men – for thousands of years. They were witches, sorceresses, nymphs, or Sirens who used spells to make a man mad for her and lead him on the path of war, destruction and rape. Not even a queen (e.g. Anne Boleyn) was safe from such accusations. Greek epics were written over one woman’s fatal attraction (the Ilias and the Odysee). Women are obliged to stay indoors or be covered from head to toe. When raped they are ostracized by their husband, neighbors and family, or forced to marry their rapist or stoned to death. Even in the West her dress, make-up, alcohol intoxication and flirting behaviour is still put under the microscope, while the media pushes for the sales of perfume, make-up, wonderbras, surgery and dress. And though victims are blamed less, on some subconscious, magical, karmic level they are still blamed for it with the mantra.
It was slick guru-like salesmen in the 80s and 90s, trying to get rich on the sales of books and life coaching sessions on how to acquire the life you dreamed about, that heavily promoted this mantra. What are the odds that these men proclaiming to possess the ‘secret’ key to success were high in psychopathic traits? At the very least it fits the psychopathic projection patterns, blaming and pushing responsibility on those who are in fact innocent. Be very critical of this mantra and recognize it for what it is: a psychopathic slime tactic that makes no sense at all. You are as little responsible of a psychopath coming up to talk to you, as you are for another Jack In The Box starting its business around your corner.
WHAT MAKES US IRRESISTIBLY ATTRACTED TO THE WRONG PEOPLE?
Many of you may have discovered a pattern of being attracted to abusive or unavailable people. The root of this attraction to the wrong people often took hold in our youth. Ken Page says in a blog article that “Even though we may be adults, all of us have unresolved childhood hurts due to betrayal, anger, manipulation or abuse. Unconsciously, we seek healing through our partner. And we try to achieve this healing by bonding with someone who we sense might hurt us in similar ways to how we were hurt as children, in the hope that we can convince him or her to finally love and accept us. Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which remind us of how we were wounded the most.”* He continues to explain that those people we feel almost instant chemistry with are exactly these individuals we instinctively recognize to be able to harm us the most. It is as if we are trauma-bonded not just to an individual, but to a certain type of personality within a population. We are already trauma-bonded to certain persons, before we ever met them.
I know that I was trauma bonded to the wrong people since my 7th year. Though I had a loving home, I was scapegoated by my peers and elementary teacher. This teacher had created two classes, each with a different label – ‘favorites, intelligent, middle class’ versus ‘leftover, dumb and poor’. To cover up his selection method from criticism by parents, he sacrificed some bright children to join the ‘leftover’ group. I was one of those sacrificial lambs. The next school year the two groups were joined to be one again, and I learned I had an invisible stamp on my forehead that read ‘dumb and poor’. Meanwhile, the teacher disliked evidence of my intelligence and subtly belittled me: he expressed surprise on my academic results, blocked me from certain books though I had top reading levels, and ridiculed my career aspirations as weird for a girl. I was excluded and ignored by my peers. I could not comprehend why I was not worthy to be anyone’s special friend or why it was ridiculous to even have a thing for the alpha boy in class.
As a result I have felt compelled to prove the opposite is true far into my adult life: that I was bright, a worthy friend to shallow, popular girls, and a worthy choice of a woman by the side of the cool, ‘bad boy’ alpha male. That I admired and sought exactly the people that were forbidden to me, whether for friendship or romance was a perverse dynamic that only perpetuated the trauma. I made the first steps in the right social direction when I was a sophomore. I started to choose my friends based on how truly fascinating they were in a meaningful way, and shallow popularity status became irrelevant. Still it took me a decade to realize that, instead of socially awkward and an ugly duckling, I was a socialite, the glue between people, a natural group leader and a swan. Unfortunately I still believed that only if I could make an unattainable man choose me, I proved myself worthy of love. The psychopath was the stereotypical bad boy and represented that lifelong dream of a 10 year old. Only at the end of it, did my inner child realize that the alpha boy from elementary school – like the popular girls – was not worthy of me. These men were unattractive and abhorrent to me now. And perhaps for the first time, alpha status of a man is irrelevant to me.
WHAT MAKES US ATTRACT (WRONG) PEOPLE?
When I Googled this question, I encountered answers such as ‘taking care of yourself’ and ‘confidence’. But it goes even further than that. Sure, men and women approached me when I was “confident and single”. But they did even more when I was “confident and in love”. Then it was as if I was a magnet, an irresistible pot of honey, even though nobody knew I was taken. The answer is that the most attractive people are exactly those people who are not occupied with whether they are attractive or not. Likewise, the people who put in the most energy and focus on it, are the least attractive. When we validate ourselves, build our Pearl of Purity, we cease to care about validation through attraction, and our attractiveness rises with it.
Statistically, 1 to 4% of the people you meet on the street, at work, in the gym, at work, or in the pub are psychopaths, and plenty more are toxic. They are predators and opportunists and regard everyone, including other psychopaths, as possible prey and opportunity. It is a statistical certainty, that no matter how well or low you think of yourself, that a psychopath will appear in the periphery of your life. It is nothing personal. It is just who they are and how they behave. So, please stop taking it personal.
You can grey-rock people you already know to be toxic or strangers, but you cannot cloak yourself everywhere, all the time, especially when you are in the company of good friends. There will be moments, when you are your natural relaxed self and your Pearl will shine. You smile and laugh. People in the environment will notice. Some may come to you, intrude and behave obnoxiously. More, the less you care about being noticed, the more likely that you are noticed.
So, face it, toxic people may attempt to approach you regularly. In the end, it does not matter whether all the psychopaths, Machiavellists and toxic people of the world come knocking on your door. All that matters is that you are not attracted to them yourself, that you can discover them for who they are, say ‘no’ and just close the door on every one of them without thinking twice about it, let alone feel slimed over it.
THE PEARL OF PURITY EXPOSES TOXICS
So, what is truly happening then, when we seem to detect a rise of psychopaths approaching us? Why does it seem as if all the muck of the world surfaces and tries to stick to us like slimy glue?
First of all, there is the ‘blue car phenomenon’. This phenomenon explains how you notice certain objects, subjects or people more because of a shifted focus. Certainly after the discovery we are hyper vigilant. We learned about red flags, and so we notice them more than we would have in the past. We also accept their implications more readily. Before, we missed its significance, especially when we were love-bombed and flattered.
Secondly, our response to red flag behaviour has also changed. Aware of the lovebombs meaning, and being more self-validating, we become immune and less responsive to flattery and slime tactics. Not a month after that rude stranger in the bar, I met a long ago acquaintance again at a private party of one of my friends. He was always a touchy-feely flatterer. I was never particularly attracted to him, but I never minded him either. This time though, I did not respond to his flattery. Before long, he ended up crawling on the dance floor to look under my skirt and entered the bathroom (that had no key to lock it) while I was seated on the toilet. He refused to leave it and blamed me for not locking it.
So, what had happened? What was different? The psychopathic process starts with the lovebombing, becomes devaluing and ends in discarding, always in that order. When someone flatters me nowadays, it does not make me glow, nor does it make me bashful. This non-response is not what a psychopath expects. So, he or she moves on to the next step in the hope to elicit a response. They switch to the devaluation tactics. So, one moment they showered us with flattery, the next they insult us and behave obnoxiously. Instead of it happening over weeks or years, it happens within five minutes to an hour.
The most interesting of these disturbing encounters is the actual outcome, the discard phase. While the Pearl inherently attracts many people, including toxic people, it makes us immune to toxic tactics, beginning with the lovebomb as well as the devaluation behaviour. And not used to this, the toxics end up exposing themselves too quickly, not just to us, but our friends as well. As a result, it is not the psychopath who discards us, but our friends that discard him or her. It was my friend who told the intruder in the bar that he was wrong and ordered him to apologize to me. As for the floor crawler – another man came to my rescue and pulled him out of the bathroom and he has never been invited to my friend’s private parties again.
This is the hidden and true power of the Pearl of Purity. The iridescent mother-of-pearl makes us seem transparent, and yet we are beyond the reach of the psychopath’s influence. They grasp for us, but fail. In a senseless and grotesque dramatic gesture, they then try to stomp on the Pearl, but end up removing their mask with everybody looking. And if onlookers have to choose between a Pearl of Purity and a Toxic Swine, the conclusion is readily made for them: they stand up against the swine.
So, what really is happening is not you attracting wrong people because you do not believe in yourself, but you are exposing wrong people with little or no effort by shining your iridescent light on them.
You can find fault within for admiring and choosing the wrong people, but not for attracting the wrong people. The mantra that ‘we attract what we believe of ourselves’ is a myth to slime the pure as well as the innocent. In fact it works the absolute opposite: the less you care about attracting attention and admiration, the more attractive you will become. You cannot avoid being noticed by psychopaths, nor that they throw themselves onto your path. If they cannot lovebomb you, they will turn 180° and devalue you. But when their slime slides off your Pearl like water off a duck’s back, they only end up exposing themselves in the light you reflect to you, and bystanders, without you saying or doing anything for it. All that is required to expose a psychopath is to be immune to the lovebomb and slime with the Pearl of Purity, and the onlookers end up discarding the psychopath.
MORE ON THE LAW OF ATTRACTION
(Addition from 4/3/2014)
From the start I knew my arguments and this article would be met with some form of opposition. Even before I wrote the article and simply discussed the growing idea that the ‘law of attraction’ is a delusion and just totally inaccurate, in my personal environment, I met some level of resistance (less and more) against the idea. It is this automatic resistance that makes me claim this is a ‘deeply ingrained meme’. If it was not so deeply ingrained, it would not be so hard for most people to regard it sceptically. Even when people agree that it is wrong to blame a victim by saying they attracted evil, they cling to the meme in two ways:
(1) They argue I build a straw man argument, that the ‘law of attraction’ does not mean what I claim it to mean in this article. Apparently the ‘law of attraction’ is only meant to be empowering, and only supposed to work in the positive direction. So it then follows that if my interpretation of the ‘law of attraction’ is wrong, the ‘law of attraction’ still stands.
(2) Because the law of attraction is abused by people it does not make the law of attraction itself a delusion. The law of attraction is similar to the gun argument – guns do not kill people, people kill people. It is thereby assumed that the ‘law of attraction’ is a material, physical entity of item, and that ‘law of attraction’ can be used responsibly and for the better of humanity.
So, what does the ‘law of attraction’ actually say? It depends on the authors, but several of the founding authors of this metaphysical ‘law’ stipulate that our thoughts precede the materialization of it, and that this includes negative experiences. For example there is Wallace Wattles’ book The Science of Getting Rich (1910). He states that believing in the object of your desire and focusing on it will lead to the realization of it on the material plane and that negative thinking will manifest negative results. Lisa Nichols, a proponent of this law, gives the example that our mind decides whether we have a bill in our mail or a cheque (which sounds like an extrapolation of Schrodinger’s quantum cat). Agreed there are LOA proponents who disagree with the ‘negative attracts negative’ and the ‘get rich’ popularisation of it, but it has been an integral part of the LOA movement since the start of the 20th century and still is. Visit general media, encyclopedia (such as Wiki) and many many googled proponent blogs and in the majority of them it is claimed that people who have a lot of bad things happen to them and meet a lot of bad people are attracting it because they are not positive thinkers or do not believe in themselves and their own mind power enough. While people are free to believe whatever they wish, the path of the Pearl of Purity is about shedding all assumptions and beliefs we cling to in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, especially those that are used to slime people. My arguments therefore are not invalid, nor a straw man argument.
But it is not just the ‘blame the victim’ part of the LOA that resembles psychopathic thinking so much. The ‘positive’ part of the LOA, that we can control matter and other people and their lives with our mind is very reminiscent on how psychopaths approach life and events. Psychopaths are pathological liars. Around them you find yourself wondering often whether they themselves believe their own lies. They act as if reality is fluid, consequences can be avoided and causes are non-existent. If I use the envelope example from LOA proponent Lisa Nichols, a psychopath can repeatedly act as if they truly believe that if they just say there is a cheque in an envelope, all atoms in the world will alter and whatever was in there will alter and become a cheque. Anyone who lived with a psychopath will also know that despite all hope, all focus and all belief, that envelope will still contain a bill – and most likely a very steep one on something completely useless and irrelevant that they used up or broke already. The whole concept of LOA, positive and negative, sounds like something a psychopath would invent. You might wonder: “So? Maybe we can learn something from them, because they often succeed in life with this tactic?” It is true that they usually get away with it, but not because their mind actually altered atoms in the physical world and causes and consequences, or because the universe loves them so much. It is just that they manage to find others to pay the bill and consequences for them, through scapegoating, through pity-playing a kind hearted soul, by lying, by denying how they are the cause of it all, by manipulating and treating people as if they are but mere puppets on a mind string. If you wish to succeed in life borrowing from a psychopath’s mindset, it means you’ll have to lie, deny, manipulate and regard other beings as mere puppets without their own desires, will and emotions. At its most basic form, the LOA, even the so called positive side of it, attempts to make you believe it is normal, doable and ok to regard other people as controllable, as puppets at the end of your mind strings. It is like a devil’s temptation: you can wish for anything you want this way, for free! But what you did not know was how it would bring you over to the dark side unwittingly.
Personally I think you will not be anymore successful in getting what you want by believing in the LOA than not. Of course positive attitude, focus, dedication and self-confidence go a long way into accomplishing something. Strong, positive people are likeable. I like such people. And a great meany people like me for similar reasons. This is not so surprising, let alone magical, considering that we are a social animal. But it will also attract the attention from the envious who either want to ride along and profit from it for their own gain or who wish to rain on our parade. There are limitations to our powerful minds, amongst it the commanding atoms and people, consciously or subconsciously. The sole thing you buy by following and believing the LOA is that you are a puppet master and everyone else but mere puppets.
* Law of Attraction (Wikipedia)
** How to develop sexual and romantic attraction with people who are good for you (Psychology Today, Ken Page)
Responsibility Assumption (Wikipedia)
2) Psychopaths are Opportunists
3) Idealize, Devalue and Discard
Whether the “law of attraction” works or not is not really the question, in my mind. I think the real question is how psychopaths use our beliefs or disbeliefs — in anything — against us.
Just as Jacklyn says, if you believe in something you are going to work that much harder and consequently are more likely to achieve it, if it’s possible. Also, a positive attitude in which you feel that the universe is benevolent is going to allow you to see the positive aspect in everything that happens.
Psychopaths know that the human experience is about perceptions and beliefs. Spaths use this to convince us to chase MacGuffins. On the flip side, they use the “law of attraction” to blame the victim for his or her fatal flaw which attracted the spath that victimized them in the first place. In the end, it’s a no win situation where the victim is responsible for their own victimization. As my ex-uberspath said, “If someone with money is conned out of it, they deserved it for being weak.” In his mind, even his parasitical behavior is someone else’s fault.
And as Jacklyn says, people want to believe in the law of attraction because they want to believe that they are in control of their lives. If we are not responsible for the bad things that happen to us, then perhaps we have little control of the good things either.
Ultimately, we have to admit that our perceptions are limited and the best we can do is to at least, try not to lie to ourselves and make the spaths’ job easy for them!
For me the key reason people believe wrongly in the LOA is in the article below.
,,Regina Sullivan is a research professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the NYU Langone School of Medicine who studies emotional attachment in rats. In experiments with rats raised by mothers who neglect or physically hurt their pups, Sullivan has teased out that, when in the presence of the caregiver, the infant brain’s fear and avoidance circuits are suppressed.”
When the normal fear and avoidance circuits of the brain are suppressed in infancy or childhood by some kind of abuse your ability to run away from toxic people or psychopaths is stolen from you. Hence the recurrence of getting into wrong relationships. We do not know when to run away. Not the LOA.
thank you for linking that article. I could relate to so much of what Emily wrote. Also fascinating was the study she cited and linked.
It never ceases to amaze me that I only felt fear around my ex-spath in the first moment that I met him, but after that, I always felt safe and secure. When we met, I was paralyzed with fear even though he only stopped by to give me a flower. Yet during the next 25 years, I never felt fear with him even when I should have, for example when we were flying a helicopter in the mountains, being buffeted by wind shear that propelled us 100’s of feet up or down in just a few seconds. He was perfectly calm, therefore so was I. Maybe he was like my surrogate mother. (Ironically, he wanted to kill me because I reminded him of his mother, but that’s another topic altogether).
Both pages of the slate article are worth reading. There is a lot of information to chew on, I’ll have to re-read it a few times.
I agree the article is worth reading more then once. As I have a narcissistic mother I read a lot about narcissism as well as psychopaths. I find that the information overlaps in many occasions and gives me answers to questions like ,,why on earth did I end up with two husbands like that?”
It’s all in the grooming in our youth. I have come to understand that I never had a chance of healthy relationship as a young woman. But maybe with healing as a middle aged one 😉
Thank you Dorcas for the link to that article!
What I found so recognizable and interesting in it was this quote:
“[F]orgiveness is in danger of being debased into a kind of cheap grace, a waiving of standards of justice without which such transactions have no meaning.” Jean Bethke Elshtain, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School writes that, “There is a watered-down but widespread form of ‘forgiveness’ best tagged preemptory or exculpatory forgiveness. That is, without any indication of regret or remorse from perpetrators of even the most heinous crimes, we are enjoined by many not to harden our hearts but rather to ‘forgive.’ ”
It reminds me of the “Forgive them” passage of Jesus on the cross, and how victims seem to seek resolution and harmony within by forgiving people who harmed them almost instantly, in order to avoid feeling the pain and anger the harm caused or is causing them.
You are correct, Skylar, that the LOA is mostly important to highlight how psychopaths try to manipulate us into self-blaming thoughts and beliefs,and how it reveals how our perception craves for some secret to control our environment – the good and the bad – a hope that psychopaths aim to trigger. But ultimately we have very little to no control, except how we choose to respond and deal with whatever happens to us. Sadly enough control is confused with power. For me the secret is that the realization how limited our control actually is can make us also very powerful in an unexpected way. When we let go of the need and belief to control a situation, we find the power of detachment and choose more objectively what is best.
I was thinking about you today Jill and I have a theory. When you were 7 in school as you describe you were abused by your teacher, a person of authority that was supposed to nurture and protect you. If you had the inclination to fight or flight, which would be a normal reaction in your position, you would not have been able to act upon it as social protocol and the authority of the teacher would have prevented both. So your reaction would have been the same as with the rats in the experiment I sited above to suppress the brain’s fear and avoidance circuits. Thereby your teacher ,,groomed” you to not run away when you later became acquainted with a psychopath. Needless to say, I do not like your teacher or my teacher that treated me similarly. 🙁
I believe that in a couple of years research will show that all form of abuse suppresses the brain’s of victims fear and avoidance circuits when the victims can’t defend themselves or flee for some reason or another.
Dorcas. thank you for posting the link.
There are, in fact, a number of ongoing research endeavors that directly relate to the “interruption” of a truly nurturing environment, as a child. As most professionals that specialize in trauma already know, childhood experiences (whether within family dynamics or in classrooms) SPECIFICALLY determine behaviors, reactions, triggers, and possible disorders that develop into adulthood.
Avoidance Disorder typically presents in those individuals who experienced child abuse, neglect, abandonment, and/or trauma. It’s almost a given. And, it’s very insidious in its manifestations.
The GOOD news is that these behaviors can be rewired with “proper” attention. It takes time, effort, and patience………….and, a complete willingness to do the hard work. But, it can be accomplished. 🙂
My hope is that the theory that women in an abusive relationship ,,seek out” abusive men (which is just another way of saying they were asking for it and therefore deserved the abuse) will be abandoned and people will see that the root is the inability to run away when you should.
And I also picked up on the good news in the article I sited. 😀 It gives us hope.
Dorcas, it depends upon whom you talk to with regard to the basis of the “theory.”
What I have noted (and, read) is that women who were raised in an environment of dysfunction (ANY type) experience self-esteem issues, etc., and they attribute the abusive behaviors from men and women as being within “normal” boundaries. Now, that makes absolute sense to me simply because anyone who was raised within a dysfunctional family had no concept of what “normal” might be, or where the boundaries might lay.
Nobody “deserves” abuse………nobody. How I chose 2 equally-but-vastly-different types of abusers comes down to my own understanding of my self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and every other healthy “Self-ism” that I never developed during important formative years. So, I’m rewiring my brain, today, and it’s one heck of a challenge, but it most certainly can be done with plenty of time, patience, and guidance.
Dorcas, saying that women who have been raised in an abusive home and then seek out abusive men is NOT saying that they “deserve it” at all. It is NOT victim blaming, it is simply an observation. And too many times if she breaks free of one abusive man she will allow another one into her life. Of course he doesn’t START OUT abusive, he “love bombs” her then goes on to start the abuse and pushes her boundaries.
It is ONLY when we (and I count myself there and so does Truthy) LEARN from the experiences we’ve had and LEARN TO SET BOUNDARIES. It took me decades to learn that I didn’t have to allow abuse and I stopped allowing it, now I am on the healing road, but as long as I tried to “reason” with the abusers I was DOOMED. I did not deserve the abuse, but I ALLOWED it for a long time. So I OWN my own part in allowing others to REPEATEDLY abuse me and I STOPPED that behavior and now, no one abuses me more than ONCE. It is ONE AND DONE! with abusive people.
I disagree oxdrover. I think it is as cruel to say to someone from an abusive childhood that they seek out abusive relationships as it is to blame someone with no feet for not step dancing. It is blame shifting, and nobody that has been in an abusive relationship deserves that. Especially if dysfunction in the brain is to blame.
Healthy people run away from abuse. The unhealthy stay still and take it. There is nothing natural about that. It is the repercussions of mishandling and has nothing to do with selected behavior or unlearned skills. It is a glitch in the human computer.
However everyone is responsible to strive for health and revers that glitch. And it is doable. But first you have to realize what the problem is before you can tackle it. Being held responsible is so unfair. In my case I am held responsible for who I am, how I am and what subsequently became by the ones that made me malfunction. THAT is EVIL!
Ironically, shifting responsibility and assuming responsibility are 2 of the core elements in this dysfunction.The abuser, like an infant, won’t or can’t assume responsibility for his own behavior. His emotions are infantile but his mental capacities are not. So he is able to assess and manipulate his environment looking to recreate relationships which remind him of his mother, who always took responsibility for changing his diaper.
Commonly, the psychopath will use a prop, like a crutch or some other disability to lure compassionate people into accepting responsibility for his well being.
Their ultimate goal is not only to get us to assume responsibility for them. That alone would not be so detrimental. Ultimately they intend to BETRAY us, they intend to pay kindness with evil. By punishing us for doing a good deed, their goal is to make us afraid of being compassionate in the future. The betrayal doesn’t just teach us boundaries, it teaches us to wall ourselves off completely from relationships that could hurt us. This is what the psychopaths want. They want to teach us that we can’t trust, so that we can feel how they feel and be like they are.
But I always say, that the psychopath serves one purpose: to teach us how NOT to be.
We can still be compassionate, and even trust (to some extent) as long as we are ready to back away as soon as we see the red flags of an abusive person.
I understand what you mean when you said, “women in an abusive relationship ,,seek out” abusive men (which is just another way of saying they were asking for it and therefore deserved the abuse)”. Sometimes, when we look for the reason that something happens, we are only trying to make sense of what happened and WHY it happened. So it does SOUND like it’s the same as saying that the person “deserved” it. And I’m sure that is how the psychopaths want us to interpret it. Again, it’s about assigning responsibility. But you know, in science they say, correlation is not causation. Spaths will tailor their attack specifically to their victim. If you are a strong person, they will get you to rely excessively on your strengths until you have nothing left. If you have a weakness, they will find it and shame you for it.
I’m sorry that your parents didn’t provide the safe and nurturing infancy that you deserved. Please remember that your natural response was a survival instinct and it was the right response at the time. At this point, your parents will maneuver to continue the abuse. No matter what your response, they will try to make their abusive behavior, your fault. They will not express compassion or express a desire for reconciliation. They will only seek to shame you, no matter HOW you respond to them. If you take responsibility, then it’s your fault, if you don’t take responsibility then it’s your fault.
Nothing in the past was your fault because you didn’t know what you were dealing with. It’s only when we understand how the dysfunctional game works, that we can knowingly take responsibility for walking away from the toxic shame that spaths try to slime us with.
This is one of the more difficult aspects of recovery and healing from any trauma – the compulsion to have all answers fit neatly into what I would prefer to believe, hear, or accept.
***NOTE: my use of CAPS is strictly for purposes of emphasis, only, and are not to be interpreted as “online yelling,” under any circumstances.***
LOA is simply another viewpoint on how people move through their lives. Just like religious doctrines, this theory can be used to cause people to “feel” something that is false. There were several individuals who were insisting that, if I just threw positive and “good” thoughts out into the Universe, then positive and “good” things would return to me. The only sense that I can finally see any truth in this is that, taking the negativity away, allows for ME – me, alone, and by myself – to replace the broken and burned out “bad wiring (childhood brainwashing, etc.)” with healthy truths, facts, affirmations, and reasoning processes.
Suggesting that “seeking out” abusive individuals is the same thing as saying that they “deserve it” simply isn’t true. What IS true is that abused women AND men gravitate towards what THEY interpret as “normal.”
Example: As a child, Alastair saw his mother drink on a daily basis – his father stayed out of the house as much as possible to avoid dealing with a drunken wife. While she was drunk, Alastair’s mother would be physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. As he grew older, all of these behaviors were INGRAINED in his thinking and reasoning processes as “typical” and “normal” behaviors. And, since he never became involved in a support group and/or trauma therapy, he chose a partner that drank to excess, was abusive, and so forth.
No……..Alastair did not “deserve” to be abused, on any level. Yes………he had a part in CHOOSING a partner that fit into what he had learned to be “normal.”
I don’t like this fact, one iota. I do not………..not……….NOT “like” the fact that my personal childhood traumas set me up to choose to be surrounded by a multitude of unhealthy and abusive individuals. I do not “like” this, at all. But, I’ve come to the point of acceptance that my childhood traumas were precisely what set me up to do just that. Now that I have come to “acceptance,” I can separate the emotions FROM the facts and examine what alterations will help ME protect myself FROM myself. I hope that makes some sort of sense………my own beliefs about myself as being unworthy, undeserving, un-loveable, useless, “bad,” a “problem,” etc., caused me to SEEK OUT those that would continue to “play the game” of dysfunction with me. They would give me attention, and then take it away when they wanted to harm me. Oh, and the rest of the abuse fell into place, but that’s how it happened with me.
There is a book that I strongly and highly recommend for ANYONE who was raised in any type of dysfunction titled, “Healing The Shame That Binds You.” The truths that were explored in this book were precisely what finally turned on the proverbial light bulb for me, personally. I finally “got it” with regard to that NEED to please everyone – to tolerate the worst behaviors from other people. And, I realized that I didn’t ever HAVE to tolerate anything, ever again, even from family. There’s far more to it than that, but it was a phenomenal and pivotal point in my recovery.
NO…………..none of us ever “deserved” what was done to us. But, that’s not the same thing as being programmed to accept abuse as “normal.” It’s semantics, I realize, but even something as simple as semantics can taint and warp our beliefs to accept that all things are black, or white. They aren’t. And, it’s okay that they aren’t.
I liked that quote too. The notion of forgiveness has too many definitions. Spaths like to preempt words and change their meanings, so I’m wary of that.
A spath once said to me, “you HAVE to forgive me because you’re a Christian.” Yeah, right. Actually, I had already forgiven him because he was so comical in his attempts to do evil. 🙂 The comedy wasn’t his intent, he is just an ineffectual kind of person. That’s why I could never take his attempts at evil, personally.
And I think that’s the key to forgiveness. Forgiveness happens for me, when I no longer feel the sting because I stopped taking the offense personally. Though I can’t imagine being crucified and not taking it personally, because that’s definitely a boundary violation. I really hope that people don’t try to emulate Jesus to that extent!
I’ve come to accept that I won’t be able to change all of the things that were programmed into my emotions as a child.It seems to me that my brain has been wired not to fear dangerous people and I don’t see that changing.
But that doesn’t leave me helpless. I’ve learned to recognize the red flags and to be able to distinguish abusers no matter how benevolent they might appear at first. They ALL test boundaries and that’s when they show their cards.
I wish that I had learned the red flags earlier in life. They should teach it in grade school so that little kids aren’t left defenseless.
Sky, revisiting that idea that I “HAVE to forgive because it’s the Christian thing to do…” by nearly every sociopath that I’ve encountered has been forever erased from my system of beliefs. I can choose to forgive or not, but I don’t HAVE to do anything.
There are only two things in this lifetime that I HAVE to do – I cannot escape them. #1: pay taxes. #2: die. Those are the only two things that I HAVE to do in my lifetime. Everything else is a series of options and choices, and I have learned over the past 3 years that, often, the options that we have to choose from aren’t going to be comfortable, desirable, easy, simple, or warm-and-fuzzy. Most of the time, it’s a matter of choosing the option that is practical for myself, rather than “easy.” I don’t “like” that, either! ROTFLMAO!!! But, I’m no longer wallowing in self-pity and anxiety about making choices – I can choose to the best of my ability. And, that’s the best I can ask of myself.
As for forgiveness? That’s entirely personal for each individual, and I hold NO judgment against ANYONE who cannot forgive. I’m not IN their skin…….I’m only in my own skin. If I could “fix” it for everyone to feel better about life and themselves, that would be grand. But, I don’t have that kind of power – no human being SHOULD. It’s all very, very personal.
definitely, forgiveness is an individual’s path to choose or not to choose. People seem to think that it’s a Christian mandate, because they take a few passages from the bible to mean that we are required to forgive. There are other passages that shed a different light.
In my experience, the spath personality is one of resentment and the need for vengeance. They imagine that they were wronged even when they are the ones doing the wronging. That’s so they can justify the hurt they cause others. In fact, they say that the victim “deserved it”.
The victim, in turn, ends up feeling unjustly treated and wanting retribution. That is how the spath gets us to trade places with them. It was always about getting us to mirror them and becoming like them. That’s why forgiveness can be used to interrupt their plans. Since they can never forgive, we save ourselves from being like them when we forgive them.
But forgiving a spath works best from afar. Up close, it’s best to hold close the memories of what they did in the past so that we don’t give them a chance to do it again.
The poor little spath who insisted that I had to forgive him didn’t understand that I was scolding him because his behavior was harmful to HIM. He had tried to humiliate me and only succeeded in humiliating himself. Most likely his statement was part of a denial mechanism.
Jill, “forgiveness” is something that I have a personal issue with because of the deeply rooted religious connotations that I perceive – this is MY issue, and nobody else’s. But, having typed that, I totally agree that there are too many nuances with regard to forgiveness to simply say a “yes,” or, “no,” to. It’s a personal thing and becomes a personal option, at some point during the recovery/healing processes. For some, “forgiveness” simply is an impossible expectation, and those people should NEVER be made to feel ashamed because they are unable to forgive. It very well may be that those people desperately WANT to forgive, but the hurt and pain run so deeply that it would be a false exercise and only superficial – it wouldn’t be of any true benefit to them, and placing that unreasonable burden upon anyone’s shoulders is not necessary.
Sky, I wish everyone had learned about the “Red Flags” before they were used, abused, and discarded. For me, it’s been a matter of taking things one tiny step at a time. Each time I rewire one concept or belief into something that is far more healthy, it’s a “good day” for me! LOL!!! And, I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life…….and, that’s okay. I’m okay. 🙂 We’re ALL okay. 😀
I just learned FINALLY to get the bitterness out of my own heart, and that does not mean I am allowing them to continue to abuse me, I get the bitterness out of my own heart (forgive) for ME not them.
I think from research studies I have read that we already know that psychopathy is a COMBINATION of DNA and environment, and I think also that the tendency to be a VICTIM is also a COMBINATION of both DNA and environment.
In lookinig at families which contain BOTH abusers and victims (families like mine) and combining that observation with some research done in the 1970-80s here in Arkansas I can see that what holds true for the abusers also holds true for the victims.
A researcher here took one litter of pups, and bred the most timid too the most timid and the most aggressive to the most aggressive and in a few generations he had two separate groups of dogs, one VERY timid and one very aggressive so aggression to some extent is built in to the DNA and I think also the timidity as well. Plus, we know that early environment (abuse, neglect or nurturing) also has PROFOUND influence on the hard wiring of the brain. And so I believe that the DNA plus the environment makes us what we are.
And you are right, we can’t UNDO all of the hard wiring we have inside our heads but we CAN learn and change to some extent and stop ourselves from CONTINUING as victims. The hard wiring of the psychopath, however, and their thought processes of “liking the way they are” is not so easily changed. WE must educate ourselves and observe ourselves and the conosequences of our thinking and our behaviors and if we don’t like those consequences then we must alter the way we think and the way we behave. I think it is going to be a life long struggle but it does get easier as we progress.
Here’s a good article on how to deal with narcissists.
I like the author’s descriptions on what makes them tick.
Dorcas, what I meant, so let me explain it further. Women and men who have suffered abuse as children view abuse as “normal” and when they seek a mate, they naturally gravitate to someone who is abusive because that seems “normal” and of course the abusive person isn’t abusive AT FIRST but love bombs them, and when they are hooked the abuse starts up slowly and gets worse, but the person who was abused as a child doesn’t know how to disconnect. NO they are NOT “ASKING FOR IT” and I am NOT, REPEAT NOT, blaming the victim, only saying why children who are abused frequently grow up to be adult victims. Or, the flip side is they grow up to be abusers themselves.
Those of us who ALLOWED abuse to continue for some period of time are NOT TO BLAME but we are responsible for staying. WHY we stayed (childhood abuse etc) is beside the point. We must accept that we were party to the abuse by allowing it to continue. That’s why it takes many of us, me included, decades to finally break free of the abuse and to NC the abuser. Some people never break free and that’s a shame.
Just like a dog that is abused yet comes up to the abusive person just wanting to be loved, to plaicate the abuser and make them “nice” to them, not understanding why they are being abused…I went back and went back because I thought that DNA required me to be loyal to those that shared it no matter what they did.
I am not and have never blamed the victim, because they are not responsible for the abuse, the abuser is, but we are responsible for staying once it starts. But I understand the TRAUMA BOND that keeps us there…I suggest that you read Dr. Patrick Carnes book of that name that explains WHY the abused still stays. The mental and emotional tie that is formed to the abuser by the chemical and psychological trauma that violence does to the human brain.
People who choose to blame the victim forget the fact that the spath works very hard at grooming, seducing and deceiving the victim. They also don’t take into account that some victims are innocent of the circumstances: There are many people who simply can’t imagine that anyone could be so duplicitous — especially for as long as some spaths will carry out their con. I mean 25 YEARS?!! Who can keep it up that long? I can barely keep a secret for one day.
So it’s not like the victim is victimizing themselves in a vacuum. There are forces of evil out there working diligently toward our downfall. NOBODY is safe from spaths, no matter how safe all their victim-blaming might make them feel.
I’ve been thinking about the study in Dorcus’ link ever since I read it. It explains why children who have been hurt will cry for their mommy. Even grown adults have been known to call for their mothers when they’re hurt.
But then it occurred to me that this might partially explain why spaths hate their mothers. Since they feel the opposite of what normal people feel, their mother’s presence would inspire fear when other people would feel comfort.
Sky, I believe that many people engage in “victim-blame” because they simply cannot imagine that another human being would predate another. I mean, I used to believe that sociopaths and psychopaths were all behind bars. And, this belief was bolstered by the dysfunctional dynamics of my family – don’t speak the TRUTH, don’t FEEL, and don’t THINK.
My feeling is that I stopped being a “victim” when I determined that I needed to make serious changes in myself to avoid being an easy target for another sociopath. I’ve dropped people out of my life at an alarming rate – I mentioned this to my therapist, and it’s a “good” thing, apparently, because I’m weeding out the toxic and dangerous and working on filling the newly emptied spaces (where the lies and trauma once lived) with new, exciting, and positive stuff. And, we’ve touched on this many, many times: it begins with “What S/He did to me….” and evolves into, “What I need to do to protect myself.” Continuing to BE A VICTIM isn’t the same thing as HAVING BEEN A VICTIM – note that the caps are for emphasis, only, and not to be construed as “online yelling,” under any circumstances. Once I realized that I could repair ME, then I began to experience a greater sense of calm and self-confidence. And, I’m not talking about the false bravado that I presented throughout my lifetime: the-I-am-impervious-to-everything-bravado. I’m talking about the-I’m-okay-and-I-don’t-need-anyone-else’s-approval confidence. 😀
According to everything that I’ve read about extreme BDS&M and necrophilia, the hatred of the mother fits in to describe the exspath to a “T!” He held his entire family in such deep contempt that I never understood it until I discovered what he really was. He truly hates his mother, but he also wants to #### her – it’s so dreadfully sick that it actually makes my gorge heave.
And, these people are so messed up that there is NO coming “back” to this Universe for them. They’re gone. They’re living in a dark, dark, cold, and empty place, and I never want to even catch a glimpse of where they are. Eugh….
Truthy, and Sky, I can look at my past life and see a PATTERN in that many people abused me, and I ALLOWED THEM to continue to do it. I cried and felt bad that some how I HAD FAILED THEM and that was the reason for teh abuse. LOL
I look back in my relationship with my own mother, and I see a pattern there. In the past I had actually gone NC with her, for years at a time, and then got sucked back into feeling that we had “grown close” again. LOL Again? we had never been “close” I only had the ILLUSION that we were “close.” It only lasted as long as I was living my life to SUIT HER.
Years ago when she took my son Patrick into her home AGAINST MY will, because I was having problems with him, I was NC with her for about ayear and a half while he was there. He was getting into trouble there though, and had decided to come home to get away from the cops who were “on to” him but didn’t yet have enough evidence to arrest him or convict him. At that point, we started talking again, and he came home. Of course he stayed in trouble after he got back living with us again. And by that time I was sucked back into my enabling and trying to “fix” Patrick….and she was too. We UNITED in this goal of getting him out of prison, even after the murder.
SHE is still in this enabling loop…but I am OUT of it and trying my best to eliminate ALL the toxic people from my life…and like Truthy said, that was a bunch of folks that I felt “Very close ” to.
At first it hurt VERY MUCH to admit that these people were toxic, and I tried to make excuses to myself about their behavior…but ultimately I eliminated them one by one…and focused more on the friends I had who were NOT toxic, who gave as well as took. Even my “BEST friend” for 30 years I realized was toxic. She isn’t a psychopath, though her husband is, and she can’t function in reality and I can’t accept verbal abuse at her hands. I sure as heck couldn’t accept verbal abuse from her husband, so since that day 3 years ago I have not spoken to her, or heard a word from her, and that’s OK…I didn’t collapse or die because that relationship ended, and looking back it was only an ILLUSION of a close relationship.
I try to be more realistic in my relationships now and WHEN PEOPLE SHOW ME WHAT THEY ARE, I BELIEVE THEM….and I try to do that the FIRST time they show me. LOL Not the 110th time which was my responses in the past.
I’ve learned to set boundaries on how I ALLOW people to treat me. And believe me, I no longer accept abuse no matter where it comes from. It took me a long time to become comfortable with setting boundaries and sticking to them. It doesn’t have to be a psychopathic attack, just a DISHONEST or hateful act.
Of course we all meet people in our lives in clubs, groups, at work, who are less than the kind of people we want to deal with, and sometimes it isn’t possible to go NC with them, but by being aware of what and who they are we can still manage around these people.
In the past I have changed jobs to get away from an abusive co worker or boss…I had no problem doing that, but with people who were “close” (relatives or “friends”) I had more difficulty. In fact, I had a reputation for being a stand up, strong woman who took no carp, but in fact, it was a mask I wore because the “real” Oxy felt that she had to make everyone in her “inner circle” happy and no matter what humiliation or abuse it too to do so, I HAD to do it. NO MORE.
A friend of mine recently went to a car dealership and they had tried the old “bait and switch” routine, advertizing a “real deal” but when she got there it had “already been sold, but we have this other car…” and she STOOD UP to them and told them that she realized what they were doing. I am SO proud of her for doing this and not falling for the scam.