How does Mr Nasty do it? How does he worm his way into your heart, your bed, and your head – usually in exactly that order? Even if you’ve known him for a while, and found him thoroughly objectionable, the time comes when he dons his Prince Charming mask. He’s allergic to it, so he’s not planning on wearing it for long. But he’ll wear it for long enough to infiltrate your heart, your head, and your bed.
That’s who he is and what he does. But what about you?
What’s going on inside you that responds so powerfully to the Nasty pheromones?
What happens when you meet a man?
If you’re some who’s been in an abusive relationship, you can bet it will start a lot of loud mental chatter inside your own head. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear at least some of these voices:
- “This guy is not my type. He doesn’t look at all like my ex.”
- “He’s a nice guy. But there isn’t any chemistry.
- “He’s a X. I’m not sure I want to live the rest of my life with someone who’s an X.”
- “He seems to like me. He may be the last one along. Ever. So I guess I’d better do my best to make this work.”
With so much mental chatter going on, how can you possibly pay attention to what he’s saying? And what he’s saying could give you some real clues to who he is….
But you’re too busy with your “internal dialogue” – let’s grace it with the highfalutin sounding name – to really be present.
Besides, there’s more going on, isn’t there?
‘I’m guessing that decision-making doesn’t feel like your greatest strength.
In the course of your abusive relationship – or perhaps the course of your whole life – you’ve learnt that you aren’t too good at making decisions.
How does it work?
Well, when you’re faced with decision-making you go into Rabbit-in-Headlights mode: your startle pattern is kick-started, and you freeze, eyes wide open, terrified. Because you need to know that you can make a good decision – or more precisely, the perfect decision, and you haven’t a clue how to do it.
You know that you are bound to be judged and found wanting when you get it wrong, and that catapults you into Analysis Paralysis. Not a bad name is it? The reality feels a lot worse than that name. It feels more like falling into a pool of freezing water, and gradually losing all feeling in your limbs, so you witness yourself drowning in slow motion.
In other words, you’ve been left with a massive legacy of fear and paralysis by your abusive relationship.
Which is another thing that makes you very vulnerable to the next abuser along. (Sadly, there are a lot of them out there. And those that are out there are usually on the trawl for easy pickings.)
Picture it this way: there you are, acutely vulnerable to “Analysis Paralysis”. Someone comes along who ‘gets’ you, and who you ‘get’, straight off. There is a real sense of safety in familiarity.
You know that old saying: “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”?
Which moron thought that one up, I wonder?
Could it have been an abusive man?
It certainly serves the purposes of abusers better than it does most anyone else.
Inside your own head, you’re still living with that belief: “better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.”
So, when a similar kind of devil chances along your path, with his pitchfork neatly concealed under a great (designer label) coat, he looks to you like Love’s Not So Young Dream- – or Familiarity’s Not So Young Dream.
But you’re too busy dealing with Rabbit-in-Headlights syndrome to think clearly.
Before you know it, you can be back in hell with a new devil, who differs from the old devil, purely in the occasional behavioral detail, and the cut of his coat.
So, what really happened?
Just one thing: muddle-headed thinking.
You bought into the whole ‘devil’ thinking.
Why do you have to be with a devil, at all?
Why wouldn’t you want to join the angels?
After all, if you have a load of devils – metaphorically speaking – striding through the bars etc. of your town, chances are there are a bunch of angels gliding around also. But you have to wake up from your trance of unhappiness, and open your eyes, so you can see them.
Angels don’t go trumpeting their presence to the four corners of the earth. They are modest, retiring sorts.
That’s one part of it.
The other part of it is your “forever dreaming”.
If you don’t want to be honest with me, please, please, be honest with yourself. You let your imagination run away with you. You met some guy and you drifted into “forever thinking”. You saw the next few decades with him.
It wasn’t about liking him.
It was about sharing the next few decades. Avoiding the loneliness, feeling you’re worth something because you’re with someone. Finally feeling special because someone is saying they want to spend all their time with you.
All neatly sorted on Day 1.
Life’s not really like that.
And that takes me right back to where we started.
What better questions might you ask yourself when you meet a guy?
If dreaming of Prince Charming means you wake up next to Mr Nasty, what better way might there be to do it?
Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.
The 5 Simple Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
Over the next 5 days, I'll send you some lessons and tips that I've found have really helped women to heal from narcissistic abuse. Starting with the basics.