Tag Archives: behaviors

Beware The Men Or Women Behaving Badly

Beware The Men or Women Behaving Badly

You can’t fix a Psychopath.

You can’t fix a Sociopath.

You can’t fix a Narcissist.

But you can fix yourself.

-K. Masters

 

Let me start this by saying that I am not a doctor. Nothing I am about to say has anything to do with actual clinical diagnoses. I can only tell my story (and of course just my side) and let you decide for yourself and gain whatever insight you can.

I dated this guy. We will call him S. He was someone from my past who I needed to date in order to either live happily ever after with or move on from. I could not seriously consider dating someone else having the “what if” question always swirling around in my brain. I knew it would not be fair to that other person. I fancied S as the love of my life, the one who got away. And supposedly he felt the same way.

I reached out to him when I was very angry with my ex-husband, about a month before my divorce was final. S had been divorced twice and I felt that he had probably gone through the deep anger I was feeling. So one night, a couple of glasses of wine in, I texted him. I had not spoken to him in a long time. I remember he had called me in March (I did not answer or return the call) and I was reaching out in December. He texted me back and was supportive and kind, if not somewhat standoffish.

He did not remain standoffish for long. Soon we were texting regularly. That lasted for probably a month and then we started talking on the phone. That lasted for another month until my divorce was final. Then we made plans to see each other. He lived within driving distance, but not every day driving distance. One thing to point out is that I am and have always been close to his family. Over the years, I have tried to avoid being at his parents’ when he was there, but our paths crossed a few times. So, my children know his mom and sister and nephews, though they had never met him.

I will admit that I liked the distance a little. I had been single less than a year and a half. I was still finding my bearings. I was still establishing a routine with my kids, and my daughter was going through issues with her father, so I was trying to be her rock. My ex and I share 50/50 custody, so that proved to be difficult at times. But S turned into my rock, the person I turned to when I needed someone. And he liked it that way. He needed to be needed. In fact, in the beginning, he would lament that I was too independent. I remember him pouting when I told him it was important to me to be able to stand on my own without a man. I know now that he did not like that because independence hinders control. The distance was not a positive to me because I was trying to date anyone else, I was not. In fact, we broke up in April and I have not had another boyfriend.

Besides the distance, my job required me to travel for work quite a bit. Often on the weeks I did not have the kids, I was on the road. At first, that was fine. He liked my schedule and flexibility, but soon he wanted me to stay in my hotel room in the evenings. He did not want me to go out with coworkers for dinner or drinks. He was particularly leery of one of my male coworkers who had been a good friend of mine for a long time. The truth of the matter for me is that if I wanted to be with someone else, I would have been. I wanted to be with only him. But he got in my head. I tried to be respectful of his wishes. I isolated myself even more than I already did naturally. And I should not have. The more I gave in, the less it was enough. I told him I would stop speaking to my friend, and unless it was work related, I did. I really jeopardized my friendship, but this man was supposed to be the one, so I thought I was protecting my relationship. I wanted him to be comfortable.

I ignored red flags, or explained them away:

  1. Every woman he has ever been with was at fault somehow for their breakup. And there were some nasty breakups in there.
  2. He projected his behavior onto me. Because he would cheat, he accused me of doing it.
  3. He had a drug problem. But that was not his fault either.
  4. He was very charming, very charming. But he could turn ice cold.
  5. And when he did turn ice cold it was always somehow my fault.
  6. When I was with him, I found myself vying for his time. I always went to him.
  7. He was very sexually depraved.
  8. He was intensely focused on his looks and attention from others.
  9. He was loved by acquaintances, and avoided by those closest to him.

The funny thing is that he eventually broke up with me. But he didn’t end it cleanly. He wanted me to chase after him. He accused me of cheating on him with the friend I had cut out of my life. He told me to find evidence that I didn’t or it was over. He called me names, belittled me, screamed and yelled, and made me feel very small. Outwardly, I did not run to him, but I texted him. I wrote him letters, and I took his calls. I let him keep me on the hook, when in reality I did nothing to deserve that.

He eventually killed my feelings for him when I lost my job. I reached out to him, I missed having a rock, and he chose that time to tell me he was seeing someone new. It was designed to kick me while I was down, but if you asked him if it was, he would turn that around to his somehow being the victim.

This is the part where I may lose you, but bear with me. A couple of months after we broke up, I watched that Netflix movie about Ted Bundy, you know the one with that cutie Zac Efron. It was so eerie watching it. So many of the behaviors S exhibited I saw staring back at me on the screen. At that point I reached out to one of his ex-wives and learned some very disturbing things. I will not write them here, but suffice it to say the reason for that is because they are very very serious allegations. However, she gave me details that I know to be true. And I know them to be true, because he exhibited the same behaviors with me.

Let me tell you what I had to do to fix me, as the quote suggests.

  1. I had to block all avenues of communication.
  2. I had to remind myself daily of the bad things, and maybe more than daily.
  3. I had to seek counseling.
  4. I had to remember who I was, not who he said I was.
  5. I had to remember what I deserved.
  6. I had to take my power back.
  7. And lastly, I had to remember that I was not alone. I read somewhere that 1 in 10 people have a personality disorder as classified by the quote at the beginning. That is significant.

Be careful, be confident. Do not let someone get inside your head unless you know they have your best interest at heart.

Stronger Than Yesterday,

Alice

Building A Strong Foundation Through Wisdom

I have been pondering two words over the past couple days…foundation and wisdom.  Webster’s New World defines Foundation as ‘the base on which something rests’…this leads me to consider how many of us, myself included, live our lives resting on a solid foundation.  When you build a structure it has to start with a solid and strong foundation, if it doesn’t the structure won’t hold up.  In order to have a successful life you must also start with a solid and strong foundation, otherwise you will have nothing to ground you when the going gets tough…and there are times when the going will get tough.

What makes a solid and strong foundation?  Is it integrity, a belief in God, ethics, treating others as you want to be treated, a forgiving heart, an open mind, perseverance, willpower or a combination of all these and more?  I say a combination of the aforementioned and more…a solid and strong foundation comes from a belief that you have power in your own life and that you have the ability to change even the direst of circumstances as long as you can keep your wits about you.  If you are a constant reaction in the middle of your life you will be incessantly pinging off the walls and in essence will be powerless to change anything.  Change can only come from being able to choose your response to a person or situation and this ability is born from having a strong foundation.

If I come from a place of understanding that my life is based on principle and based upon something more than my own pathetic self-concerns then I am able to hold myself in place when life hits me with something unexpected.  I am able to observe what is happening and then wisely choose my reaction.  If I come from a place of uncertainty, then when life throws a curve ball I have no choice but to scramble and react, react, react.

As far as my life experience shows being a complete reaction has never solved anything, it usually just brings more trouble.

Seems like it would be prudent for us all to give a little thought to what kind of a foundation we have created for ourselves and then to consider if we wake up every morning resting on that foundation…or do we wake up every morning and base our day on the reactions of the moment?

Wisdom is defined by Webster’s as ‘the power of judging rightly’…my definition of wisdom is something like ‘the conclusions you finally arrive at after life has knocked you around enough’…

Wisdom is something that comes over time and thankfully it is something that keeps expanding as we get older.  Wisdom is when it finally dawns on you that when you keep behaving the same way and doing the same things, you will get the same result.   The opposite of wisdom is insanity which Albert Einstein defines this way, “the definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

How many times have we followed the same path over and over again expecting to end up at a different place?  How many of us mirror that mouse running down the same path and still finding no cheese, yet we keep running with the same anticipation and zeal and then we are distraught when the outcome doesn’t change.  Funny thing is– we KNOW better… on some level we all know better, yet we let our inner wisdom sit it out while we continue to behave like fools.

Let’s be interested in exercising our wisdom muscle, it is almost a new year and it seems like a good time to clear out behavioral insanity…what will you change today? xoxo

 

Change the Way You Look at Things…

I have been thinking lately about the things that shape us, the events in our lives that have molded our behaviors and responses. My mother always says that when we reconstruct the way we hold the past then we bring alive the possibility for a new future. New futures are a good thing they allow us to be free from the same old song and they change us…change is good, it is enlivening.

When you look back on the string of events that makes up your life, do you see certain things that caused a crack in you along the way? Once you locate the ‘cracks’ you can see how everything else was colored by them in a certain sense…the first heartbreak colored every relationship after that, the first death of someone you loved, the first job experience etc, etc.

All the cracks woven in and out of everything causes a shift in behaviors and responses, so that one day when you are older and wiser you look down the road you have traveled and you can see how events of the past may still be influencing your present behaviors. You can change this, you DO NOT have to be a victim of your past hurts and defeats and disappointments. YOU can choose to reframe what happened back there and hold it as a learning experience instead of as a ‘horrible event’…it doesn’t mean that you forget it, it means that you stop allowing it to color your future. It means that you take your power back and that you decide to stop reacting to the present based on the past.

This shift in perspective has the ability to change your life in a moment.

Making REAL Change is Like Picking Up Blueberries…one at a time…

making change one blueberry at a time…

An addiction is when you continue to let things damage you even though you know the destructive nature of what you are doing…Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Insane behavior supports an addiction or addictive behavior because it helps you tell yourself that things will turn out differently this time, it helps you mask the obvious and live in the hope that ‘this’ is different than the time before.  Insane behavior is just that– INSANE.  If you are stuck in a pattern or a circumstance that isn’t changing, as long as you STAY STUCK THERE it WILL NOT CHANGE.  You will see the same wheel turn round and round and you will keep telling yourself that the result will be different….it won’t.

In order to change the turn of the wheel we need to change ourselves and our circumstances.  We lose hope when we feel like we have lost the power to enact change, the truth is we never lose the power to enact change…the God-part of our nature is always lying there waiting to be called upon…if we give power to that and ask God for help we can enact whatever changes we wish.  Consequently, if we give power to the darker sides of our nature we will continue down the road of insane behavior. 

There is never a convenient time to push ourselves to give up a behavior that no longer serves us; these behaviors wear all kinds of names: drug addiction, alcohol addiction, food addictions, being overweight, staying in relationships that have long been over, guilt, gambling, sex addictions, over-spending, involving ourselves in relationships with unavailable people, etc etc.  Whatever costume your behavior wears it is stealing your aliveness and it has you in such a state of reactivity that you cannot even see your REAL life because all you are doing is riding the crazy train. 

Some of us have been riding for so long now that we actually think we are making progress…REALITY CHECK- you only make progress when you get OFF the train and realize that you have been riding on it, at this point you get to choose a different course.  A fish that lives in a fishbowl has no idea that he lives in there as all he knows is the limited conditions of the bowl.  A human being stuck in a behavior shares the same limited understanding of their life, they think what they are living in is all there is…

Enacting change starts with recognizing that we have something that needs to be changed, the 12 step programs call it admitting that we have a problem and that works too.  Use whatever method or program you need to use to recognize the behavior that doesn’t work.  The important thing is to recognize it because of course you cannot change something that you cannot even SEE.

Making major behavioral shifts is like picking up blueberries that have fallen on the floor.  If you have ever dropped a container of blueberries on the floor you will fully appreciate this comparison. 

When you drop a container of blueberries they roll EVERYWHERE…first you swear and become angry that you were stupid enough to drop the container in the first place and then you quickly resolve yourself to the fact that you have to pick them up.  You can’t pick them up in handfuls because you will crush them, so you have to pick them up one by one and as you do that some of them roll away under things and you have to peer under there and roll them out.  The blueberries also NEVER fit back into the container the way that they were before you dropped them, so you have to artfully maneuver them back into the container to try and get it to close again.  When you are picking up the blueberries they sometimes fall out of your hands again and you end up grabbing the same blueberry several times…all in all, a tedious process that causes one to gasp in horror when a container is dropped…

A shift in behavior is like this as it is one small change at a time and sometimes you drop another blueberry and you have to pick it up again and again.  You can’t scoop all the blueberries back into the container at once or you will crush them, you can’t change a behavior in a day or it won’t stick.  REAL change, REAL behavioral shifts come over time, in stages, one blueberry at a time and eventually you have them all and you can reclose the container.  Eventually your small changes become a big shift and one day along the way you wake up and realize that you are free from your insanity and that you have clarity you never had before.

Important to remember that when you drop a blueberry in the ‘picking up’ process all is not lost, just reach down and pick it up again.  When you are making changes and you go back and repeat a behavior that doesn’t work, it’s okay…just remember that you are shifting and next time make a different choice…change can be embodied one blueberry at a time…