Loving Hard or Hardly Loving? Dealing with Avoidant Attachment Styles

Loving Hard or Hardly Loving? Dealing with Avoidant Attachment Styles

New York and Avoidant Attachment

Every culture is marked by their differences in cuisine, wine, traditions, and dating. So naturally, when I moved from my simple, no- drama Indian dating style to the flaky, avoidant dating styles of New York City, I was met with my biggest culture shock. While I could spice up the bland pizzas and ham and cheeses with some hot sauce here and there, I could not figure out the magic ingredients to having a stable relationship. Back home, it was all cut out for you and served on  a silver platter before you- you met someone through mutual friend circles, ended up at a party where you would sneak off for a quick make out session, and that would eventually lead to at least a year’s worth of making out and I love you’s. However, the city that never sleeps makes sure you’re up all night, ridden with anxiety, wondering why the guy from last night’s “best date of my life” never got back to you after all?

What is Attachment?

When we are attracted to a number of people with similar characteristics, we label them as our “types.” These types can differ for each one of us on the basis of gender, physical appearance, etc. Recently, I discovered that I have a type after al l- the Avoidant New Yorker (and Tauruses too). Here’s a little theory for you attachment beginners: In the attachment world, the concept of different attachment styles has been tested through many different studies and observations. Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby researched it by observing the child’s tie to its mother and eventually formulated classes of attachment styles- the anxious, the secure, and the avoidant child. This research was then furthered over the years and applied to adults in their relationships with their romantic partners. Attachment science was studied in a lot of detail in order to ensure the proper development of children, such as those deprived of appropriate maternal care in the orphanages of Romania. Today, bloggers use it as an excuse to justify the multiple horrible dates, ghostings, and failed relationships they have had to endure in their lives. That’s okay, but it’s not fixing the problem.

The Avoidant personality has been described as the “lonesome travelers on the journey of life and relationships.” So my type, the Avoidant man, shrugs and quivers when someone drops the word “dependency.” It will take him six months to admit that he has emotions, another two to decide he wants to be with me and only me, and perhaps, a lifetime to call me his girlfriend. Yet, he is my type. Mine and everyone who holds an anxious attachment style’s type. So what’s wrong with me? Or you? Or him? Or the planets?

Over the years, relationship science and moreover, our personal experiences have forced us to think of relationships and “love” in a very black or white manner. A lot of my friends go on one single date and come back to tell me their jurisdiction on whether or not their date gets a second chance- more often than not I hear “I can’t be with him, I don’t see a future with him”, or some put it more blatantly “he/ she is not marriage material.” Well, they don’t have to be- not yet at least! (You’re 22 and their dollar pizza order does not really give you a good idea about what’s to come next) 

Similarly, avoidant people have been pathologized by science, literature and their own friends for being too unavailable. The “it was all him/ her, not me” becomes a persistent phrase used by their ex- lovers. I, myself, have gorged pints of ice cream with my friends and had them reassure me that it wasn’t my fault after all. While I tried to think of the million times he never told me he loved me back each time I said it and blame him for it, and the thousand times he didn’t leave his bed to come have dinner with my mother and me- over time, it became hard to ignore the fact that the anxiety over losing him was enough to ensure that I showed up, mentally, emotionally, physically, everytime he called and even at the times he didn’t. 

What About the Anxious?

So what’s better? Loving harder or hardly loving? Neither! Disproportionate amounts of emotions in any relationship scream commitment issues. Commitment issues have been notoriously used to describe the ways in which one partner (usually men) takes five steps back soon after taking one step forward, or, in other words, avoidant personalities. However, commitment phobia is also a very common theme for anxious individuals who use the planets, their big hearts and their zodiac signs as a pretext for loving too much or falling in love with the wrong people each time. After all, it does take two to tango. Even if your avoidant partner is stepping on your toes and slowly pinching the corners of your heart, you’re still dancing. You’re both attached- just in very different, toxic and insecure ways. I distinctly recall one of my ex’s asking me where the “non- avoidant unicorns” that I have been searching for actually dwell. “In therapy rooms”, I said within seconds of having read that. As I look back now, I probably should have added “where I should be too… whoops!” 

So “to all the men I’ve loved before” and the other avoidants out there, it is time to acknowledge that you didn’t leave your ex-partner because their apartment or their resume wasn’t long enough. You weren’t unfaithful because there were no remnants of sugar and spice left in your bedroom. You didn’t quit your relationship because of whatever reason you may have given your last four partners. Your friends that have seen your relationship patterns and have read “Attached” have told you that you had commitment issues or that you were avoidant (and they have probably been right). Sucks to suck- unless, of course, you hit your therapist’s line soon enough. 

Words of Wisdom for Anxious Types

And for you mini-me’s and other anxious babies, join the dance of love, twirl and spin around a little, and if it hurts your feet too much, choose another dancing partner. Stop trying to play games of truth or dare to cement your relationship with security. Be secure in yourself and love hard, but love yourself harder. Know when you need to walk away and if you can’t, call the therapist you had cut off when you entered your “stable” but not- so- stable relationship. I know you want to be the first drop of water for his desert heart or his “breath of fresh air” but are you your own savior yet?

Resources to Deal with Avoidant Attachment

Attached: The New Science of Dating

The Gift of When your Date Pulls Away

Women are NOT Crazy. You Have Work To Do

Dating Advice from an Attachment Perspective

Women are NOT Crazy. You Have Work to Do.

Over the past two week alone, I’ve had multiple conversations with men about the “crazy” women they have dated and want to run away from. Each time I hear a story, I want to laugh. It is so readily apparent that there is such fear of emotions in our culture that even the slightest difficulty in making a decision sends non-emotional or emotionally avoidant men running for the hills. Emotionally secure people simply do not have trouble handling the emotions of others but emotionally insecure people often do not realize that their reaction to someone else is a sign that personal growth work is needed (and yes, even if you are an empath. Sensitivity is not an excuse!)

This type of language also indicates a complete lack of education around how someone’s relationship history, stressful conversations and their physiological responses can morph into a really unpleasant and toxic experiences.

The Conversation Has Started

The good news is that men are asking for help to better understand why emotional people act the way they do.  It has started a conversation, at the very least, which is a breath of fresh air. As a deeply emotional woman myself, I cannot tell you how painful it is to be completely misunderstood simply because I’m having a bad day. At this point in my life, I’ve learned to have more compassion and patience with myself and recognize my emotions as the superpower they are, but unfortunately, other people, especially men have not learned to see the strength in the perceived weakness.  We live in a culture that often sees the negatives first, rather than the beauty in difficult behavior. We do not realize how much an emotional person has suffered in his or her past and simply assume that something is “wrong with them” rather than they are healing from something bad that happened to them.

One young man reported to me that he broke things off with a woman he had been seeing on and off for many years.  He wanted to know why she kept extending the conversation and brought up his family issues when he wanted to simply be done with the relationship.  I was the first one to tell him that women often need to understand the situation and the WHY before moving on. You can’t walk in, state your truth after almost a decade and expect someone to say, “Sounds good. See you never.”  Except that IS what he expected and he didn’t think to plan the conversation around what she may need to hear. To this woman’s credit, she called him out on his inability to process emotions that likely stemmed back to his broken relationship with a female family member who has a history of profound difficulties managing her emotions.  She suggested individual therapy and a delay in decision making, he thought she was crazy and projecting onto him. He stormed out of the conversation.

If I could speak to this young woman, I would say bravo.  It is unfortunate that he is not ready to see that his past is affecting his present but you never know if your bravery in sharing your thoughts and feelings during a difficult situation is the catalyst to get someone who is not in touch with his emotions into therapy or other personal growth pursuits.  She is not crazy, she simply put the burden of responsibility back to where it belonged.

A friend of mine also recounted a trip with a woman he was thinking of rekindling a relationship with.  She showed up on this trip as incredibly difficult, having trouble making decisions and seemed to be trying to control everything. She would ask to taste five different wines after asking for a recommendation.  She wouldn’t accept his opinions. She invited other people to join them without asking him first. I agreed that she was being a pain in the ass but it also sounded like she was about to go through a major life change.  The behavior was out of character for her. Rather than get to the bottom of what was REALLY going on, he literally left her in the middle of the trip unable to recognize that he also has control issues he needs to let go of!

When men run from “crazy” it is because they have a deep inability to deal with their own emotions.  When I suggested he call her in a few weeks to check in and see how she was doing (since they have an almost two decade history together), he asked why he would check in with someone having “issues.”  I simply said that when you have risen high enough in your own life and energy, extending compassion should not feel scary or like work. It is simply what emotionally secure people do with friends who are important to them.  He hadn’t thought about it that way and asked for a referral so he can figure out what he needed to do to improve in this area in his life.

Compassion Matters

Extending compassion is what leaders do.  Yet, too many of our men don’t realize that by not stepping into their true masculine energy (where emotions are dealt with in a healthy way), they actually can trigger deeply emotional people to become anxious and unhinged. Emotional people know when you are unavailable long before you have a clue and while it is on the emotional person to do his or her work to earn their emotional security, you also have to move away from avoidance to being open to dealing with emotions in a healthier manner.  

People show up in our lives to be our mirrors of our own thoughts, feelings and emotional states.  I’ve long learned to stay home when I’m feeling off as I know my emotions have a great impact on other people.  Yet, when I feel like I’m on the top of the world, it is an energy to share with others, especially men, in order to help them learn how to ride the wave of emotions.  Emotions are nothing to be scared of. They are simply data and information – some of us just have more access to this data than others. For example, when angry people started showing up in my life, I realized I probably had to process some anger related to the men in my family that I was repressing.  When I took charge of my own development and healed my emotions, these people stopped showing up.

Next Steps

So the next time your brother, guy friend or co-worker tells you of yet another “crazy” woman in his dating life, listen with the ear of trying to help him. Be a teacher. Don’t criticize. He hasn’t learned that these women are showing up to teach him to let go of the control, to embrace his own emotions, and to harness their superpowers.  They, do however, show up as a sign to deal with your own insecurity! When the day comes and he is ready to do that personal growth work, you can send him my way – he’ll never call an emotionally centered person “crazy” ever again – he’ll want to know where he has to grow in his security and will be willing to do the work to get to that place of peace.

 

 

Photo credit: @mikatapani

 

Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a dating coach and seduction expert.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  She a dating coach based in NYC and a frequently sought out media expert on the topics of seduction, dating, divorce, and relationships.

From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Crystal Talk on Getting Past a Breakup

After recently exiting a short but “it’s complicated” relationship, I had too much time on my hands and a busy mind that needed to heal. Trying to understand what happened in an “it’s complicated” relationship is, after all, totally normal. My solution? I scrolled endlessly through my several zodiac and astrology apps. Co- Star  became my best friend, The Pattern became my guru, and my $9.99 a month Tarot+ app gave me a chance to do more readings than I could ever dream of! I was told, “Today, you will break down”, “That little void is going to lie empty for another 2 months and it will all be okay”, etc. The stars shone light on what I was missing out on but they also told me that my partner wasn’t my sun and my moon after all. (Yeah right- easy for you to say Co- Star!) These daily motivational quotes did get me out of bed but they didn’t exactly have a plan to recover from a bad breakup. I still had to figure out how to avoid that pint of ice cream!

While this may seem like an angry hate letter to the man I thought was the center of my Universe for a hot second, it really is a note of hope and guidance to everyone looking to recover from these types of relationships. Yes, Mercury, Venus, Neptune and Jupiter can take our love lives with them into retrograde, our pasts can cause us to accrue a load of self- doubt, and anxiety always making us spiral. Yet, in the midst of all the tears, ice- cream eating, self- loathing and trash- talking, we can remember to take care of ourselves.  So I’m going to bring in some crystal talk and help you take the right steps to find the real answers to healing those karmic relationships you thought were your life long soulmates. Because, in reality, these relationships really suck, drain the life out of you, and leave you feeling like WTF just happened!

Peel the Past, Heal the Present, Seal the Future

Every website, every guide, every friend will CHANT the same old mantra: “Move on! Move on!” I’m not going to deny the power of “moving on”, but I will ask you to process it before you move on. “Getting over it”, does not, like a lot of people say, mean getting under someone else- it means getting a hold of the situation and making sense of everything you shared with your partner. It may take you a while to acknowledge the good, but once you do, you will remember the good that YOU did. Meditate over all the things you did super right before you try to forget all the things they did right. Get a hold of it, get over it, heal yourself, say “thank you, next”, and repeat. And when you feel strong enough, send them some loving kindness to wish them the very best in their future.  

Don’t Mull Until You Are Dull – A Breakup is Not the End, Just a New Beginning

You’re not in an episode of Gossip Girl, nor are you a character from The Notebook. Our first loves, no matter what age, drain all of us – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. With age, however, we have a lot more resources at our disposal. Besides the cognitive skills I have accumulated over the 22 years, I have also gained access to wine, gym memberships, yoga mats, and makeup. So after you have meditated over your past, wake up one morning and start with the first step- bathe in the sun on your yoga mat and develop a practice that makes you feel better. Go for a great workout session (look around- you might find someone that can carry not only 120 pound weights but also a little more attachment security!) Look good, feel good and enjoy a great glass of wine at the end of the day! 

Innovate at Any Rate – Creativity Heals

Our emotions can get take many shapes and forms- drunk texts, petty unfollows, and sob emails (yes, these are all my emotional avatars). This time, I decided to change things up and it felt so good! So every time you want to listen to a heartbroken song- write one instead. If your arms and legs feel the need to punch a bag, break the dance floor at a local Tango club. If your fingers itch to open your message app, open your notes app and publish a groundbreaking article! (What do you think I’m doing?) Follow your deepest, darkest hidden passions and invest in a new hobby. Don’t be a cheapskate- innovate

Stop Stalking, Keep Walking 

It’s such a small world, right? Yes, so you will bump into them. You might even make sure you go to their favorite local evening bar to catch a glimpse of them. More so, if you see them with another date on their instagram story, you might google map straight off to that location. How’s that going to end? I’ve always envisioned bumping into my ex on the street, falling into his arms, and sharing the second best kiss of my entire life with him- BEEP! No. The steps mentioned above are keys to the answer- and the answer is most likely going to be- toxicity. Charge your crystals and carry them around and keep walking with your head held high. 

Karmic relationships come charged with passion, romance and lessons. They resemble the Hinge app- they are “designed to be deleted” and the only thing you take away from them are the lessons and perhaps, the memories. Swipe left on all the negativity, and super like yourself, the world, and the millions of opportunities that lie ahead of you. Your destiny is not tied to a relationship or a partner- carve out time to go on your own adventures and seek your own truth and meaning. Be the best version of yourselves before you search for better fish in the sea! 

Baruni Sharma, BA

Baruni Sharma, BA

Intuitive Date Coaching Trainee

Baruni graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in May 2019 with a major in Psychology. She is currently participating in the Intuitive Date Coaching training program under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes.

Staying In Line While Dating Online

Staying In Line While Dating Online

Ever since I was old enough to understand crushes and relationships, I have relied on any and every sign that could point me towards how my relationships were going to unfold. From Linda Goodman’s zodiac sagacity to the hundreds of Cosmopolitan quizzes, anything that I thought would calm my nerves was always scattered on my desktop. By the time I reached my twenties and started pursuing the men I had swiped right on, I was perplexed by how to quickly ascertain the data I needed to make the best decisions in my love life. Surely the actual stories of these men were deeper than the modest amounts of information on their dating profiles! I mean I’m not sure that the fish they held with heavy pride, quotes derived from popular/ rap music, and/ or links to their creative instagram pages were all that helpful? Several dates, many drinks and a few failed relationships later, I decided it was time to figure out how to  extract the information that I needed in less than ten dates. While I’m still trying to find my Mr. Perfect online, I thought I would share my step-by-step guide to tackling the real Tinder experience.

Eject the stigma.  Just because you’re on a date with a stranger from a dating app, it does not make you any less than your girlfriend who met her love in a cafe or amusement park. Congratulate yourself for expanding your horizons and for putting yourself out there. The judgement from society can wait! Enjoy that rush of adrenaline and wash it down with some wine.

Leave your rating scale behind.  You’re nervous, you’re excited, you’re scared. Don’t worry!  I guarantee he is too! It doesn’t matter what either of you are looking for- you’re doing it together- as absolute strangers! If he dropped a fry or spilled a cup of water, give him a chance to clean his mess before you bring out the judgement police within you. I, too, once tried to end a date as soon as he spilled his wine on himself.  Thank goodness I didn’t! After all, my patience was rewarded not only by a pity glass of wine from the waiter, but also a great conversation towards the end of my night with him.

Your past doesn’t predict your future and neither does his! Talking about all your missed connections will probably ensure you miss this one too. Moreover, asking him about his horrible Tinder experiences will not prevent him from using your date as an anecdote for his next one. Be present in the moment and focus on what he brings to the table. Discussing your pasts will only make room for biases and preconceived notions that will end up driving your date towards a dead end.

The sun and the moon can guide you but it isn’t a magical formula. Every date with a stranger has always brought up one very important question in my mind:“Is his sun sign vicious? Does his rising sign guard behaviors that I can’t see? Oh god- I hope he’s not a Gemini!” While all these factors can tell you the overall strengths and weaknesses of his character, we have to exert some patience.  Why are we so hasty to want to know the end point before we even begin the uncovering process? Where’s the chase? In the end, their zodiac can’t really prove if they’ll make you a mean steak on your next date! (Actually, their sun signs will never give you an accurate picture at all. You would need todo a full birth chart analysis and I’m not sure that’s really appropriate for a first date!)

They say there are many fish in the sea. Reeling in too tight will put you at risk of snapping your line, losing out on possibly the biggest catch of your life! Hook, line and sinker with all your heart! The only control you have over the process is the quality of bait you show up with on your date! Don’t worry about how they come off, just give them the best version of you!. Online dating, like all other kinds of dating, is a trial and error affair- you’ll find what you find as soon as you get out of your head and into the present moment! So go tinker with Tinder and socialize like the Bumble bee you are! You never know who you are going to meet!

Baruni Sharma

Baruni Sharma

Intern

Baruni Sharma is a Senior studying psychology at Sarah Lawrence College.  She has interests in clinical research, child development, and relationship science. You may follow her on Instagram @_baruni.

What I Learned About Love from Two Different Yoga Retreats

What I Learned About Love from Two Different Yoga Retreats

I was royally burnt out in August 2018.  My interns were witnessing me act like a crazy person and I was just feeling exhausted.  I knew that I needed to get away and just write but the timing did not allow me to take more time to travel outside of the country.  So while speaking with a colleague and a friend, she told me that I needed to find something close by that combined my two favorite things: Yoga and Wine.

I didn’t think I would be able to find anything but I gave it a try.

I sat up late on a Wednesday and googled “yoga and wine retreats.”  Next thing you know, I found the link to Yoga Wine Party with a retreat in the Catskills starting in two days.  I was floored.  It was like the weekend was designed for me! I emailed them hoping that I would hear quickly that they still had room.  Sure enough, I got two emails from Yoga Wine Party and Dina Ivas, the amazing yoga teacher running the retreat.  There was room and all I had to do was pay.  The process was so easy and I went to work completely excited Thursday morning that I was going to do something both fun and healthy (well at least partly).  It was another experience of the Universe providing the perfect opportunity for growth.

I had no idea what to expect and quite frankly I was so exhausted that I simply threw some clothes in a bag and left NYC Thursday afternoon to relax before showing up for a retreat.  I’m glad I took a day of self-care before arriving but even with a massage and some sleep, I quickly realized I was exhausted and forgetful. Part of the last minute disorganization was forgetting to bring my vitamins and some wine.

yoga wine party dr. jennifer rhodesFear not, I found the best wine store I’ve ever been in on my drive to Heathen Hill Yoga. I literally made a wrong turn and there it was – a super cute small boutique in the middle of a small town in the Catskills.  Wild Common Wine was opened in December 2017 by a creative formerly in the film industry who used to live in Brooklyn.  Not only was the owner warm and welcoming, she was highly knowledgeable and helpful in the bottle selection process.  She and her husband live in their vacation home full time and opening Wild Common was a return to her original roots in the wine industry.  Like so many of us, she didn’t imagine that she would be living in the Mountains but is glad to call the Catskills her home.

Armed with some wine (mostly so I didn’t feel like an idiot), I arrived at Heathen Hill Yoga and was immediately greeted with warmth and lots of hospitality by both Dina and her partner Liz Howng.  Wine tasting commenced before dinner and I immediately knew that I was in front of a real wine educator – I actually learned more in that one tasting than I’ve ever have hanging out with a sommelier friend of mine.   Liz is a Level 3 WSET wine educator and a phenomenal teacher.  It was so much fun to actually get a real wine education – an added bonus I did not anticipate.

The real magic of the weekend was not just three amazing yoga classes or three different proper wine tastings, it was in the community that Dina, Liz, and the owners of Heathen Hill cultivated without trying.  Meals were set at a long communal dining table that encouraged connection, the blossoming of friendships, and real intimacy. Around the dining room table we learned more of how we were alike than different.  We learned that some of us were happily married, divorced or single.  We learned that some of us were parents and some of us never wanted children.  We learned some of us were in our twenties and some of us had children in their 40s.  We learned that we all loved good food and wine.   Yet, the biggest lesson for me was to watch how incredibly generous, caring, and loving everyone was toward each other.  People shared their gifts of massage, listened with a compassionate ear, and told heartfelt stories.  They bought bottles of wine for everyone and truly connected. This was a group of 12 strangers and it was a privilege and an honor to be a part of such an amazing experience.  It fueled the beginning of my recovery and I am grateful to each and every one of the people who I had the pleasure of interacting with. I left the weekend on a high and wished it had been one more night longer.

Following this weekend, I went to visit my family and to sit and work on my book.  While it is always a good time to see them, I felt that I needed to take some time for myself over the labor day weekend to really focus.  I knew I needed complete quiet in natue.  Still on my high from Yoga Wine Party, I found another yoga retreat center and booked a yoga vacation. Well actually, it was more of an ashram and I figured the structure and focus on just yoga would be good for me.  I arrived and immediately felt like something was off with the energy of the people, not necessarily the center itself.  Little did I know, I arrived on the day of a major Hindu holiday and the evening meditation sessions were scheduled to be four hours of chanting. I’m not opposed to kirtan or spirituality but I realized that this would not be a yoga vacation – it was going to be me avoiding a cult-like atmosphere just to find some peace to do my work.

Despite my initial judgments, I encouraged myself to ride things out for a couple of days just to explore.  I made a deal with myself that if I could do work and write, I would stay.  During the days, that is exactly what I did but during the meals, the negativity of the people working at this ashram seeped into the experience.  Rather than being warm, welcoming and open, they were judgmental and closed off.  They fostered an “us” versus “them” climate and made several attempts to guilt trip people into helping them in the kitchen as “karma yoga”  when most of us were quietly doing karma yoga on our own.  For a center whose purpose is to promote love, kindness, and compassion, I found it completely devoid of all three. Connections need to be mindfully cultivated and they were not – a detriment to the entire community.

Yoga is as much fitness as it is a spiritual practice with a very long history.  Experiencing both of these retreats in such close proximity highlighted an immense learning lesson:  It will never just be the yoga that makes for an amazing experience alone.  It will be in the people your heart connects to during yoga that makes the difference.

I believe the founders of Yoga Wine Party have found a winning formula for making that possible for all of us.  They are amazing teachers and I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with them.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.

Why you Attract Toxic People

Why you Attract Toxic People

You’ve heard it before – you attract what you are.  Yet, sometimes you have been working so hard on yourself that you believe there is something wrong with someone else!

Many women attract narcissistic men for a reason (and vice versa).  These individuals have charming persistence, drive, ambition, and can be a lot of fun in the beginning.  We are often attracted to them because they make us feel whole.  Their “confidence” makes us feel stronger and safe.  As the process of disillusionment starts, however, the tables turn and you find yourself in front of a man who blames you for waking up in the morning.

Yes, these people lack empathy and are challenging.  Yes, they have their own work to do.  The problem is that if we simply judge and blame the narcissist or the toxic person, we miss the bigger picture.

The Universe has sent them to you as an opportunity for you to learn to say no, set proper boundaries or to stop giving too much of yourself.

But we often don’t see it that way.  Instead, we blame ourselves, call ourselves a failure, believe the abuse and can’t see how messed up the other person may be.  Yet, the toxic person knows, perhaps unconciously, that if you ever figure out what was really going on, you would leave and demand more for yourself.

So in the meantime, they will feed off of your energy.  They start showing up at work, in your personal life, and even walking down the street.  You try to get rid of them one at a time but a new one finds you!

WTF is going on?!  It’s a sign to dig deeper and do some serious self-growth work.  At our core, those of us who attract these types of personalities may feel empty, lonely, and abandoned.  We may have childhood wounds that were never fully healed or we are simply looking for distractions to keep going.

In these moments, it is best to take a step back and commit to your own self-care.  It may mean you need to go to therapy, find an energy healer, or make some lifestyle changes.  Whatever it is, there is probably things from your past that are making you vulnerable.

Doing your healing work is not easy.  The journey may be a long one but warriors never had it easy.  A journey means over-coming adversary to be stronger.  If we start thinking about these toxic personalities as simply opportunities for growth, their behavior is less personal.  We can let go of judgment of our self and surrender to the lessons that need to be learned.

And yes, narcissists love empathic people.  Empaths often run away from anger but anger on their part is often a sign to you that you are not being controlled by them.  Let them be angry and you step away to heal.

You are not alone.  So many of us have worked through these challenges.  If you need support, reach out!

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.