abuse, abusive men, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

PTSD from Mental Emotional Abuse

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All people have needs to survive. We need to have proper shelter, food and health care. People need to feel safe and that their needs will be met.

 

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Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs theory in 1943. He stated that people have needs that must be met before other ones. The basic needs for shelter and safety must be met for all people.

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There is no room for fun, learning, socializing or self-actualizing without the basic needs being met first.

The person fails to thrive. All the things other people do are just not the priority. The safety is the priority and dominates the person’s thoughts and emotions.

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When someone is in a living situation where these needs are not met, they are left feeling vulnerable and afraid. The situation is unsafe and potentially life threatening.

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There are different types of domestic abuse. All of them involve the person being stripped of their self-esteem and being denied basic needs that every human has.

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There are men and women who experience violence against them in their own home. There are episodes of violence and there is a constant threat of violence.

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This threat forces the brain to be on alert and suspicious all the time. Your brain learns that it needs to be on high alert at all times, to search the environment for danger. 

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The brain is not designed to be in this state for a prolonged periods of time and damage can occur to the way the brain assesses the possibility and level of potential threats for years to come.

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There are domestic abuse situations which involve financial abuse. People are controlled financially and cannot take care of their own needs. This kind of abuse can keep the victim feeling trapped into the relationship, because they have no means to support themselves on their own. 

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I lived in an abuse situation years ago in which I had to go without heat for most of a very cold winter.

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My money was controlled and I was not “allowed” to purchase heating oil. I still fear the cold and fee post traumatic stress reaction when the winter season begins to make its way into my state.

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When a person is not taken care of and not permitted to take care of themselves, it causes a trauma.

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It is terrifying to feel that you are in danger of freezing, going hungry, going without medical care and any other basic needs. When someone denies you basic human needs it is frightening and creates a horrible feeling of vulnerability.

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Living in these types of abusing situations also causes severe damage to a person’s self-esteem. They may doubt their own ability to provide for their own basic needs for years after the original trauma.

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The feeling of being vulnerable and in danger is carried in the brain and in the nervous system.

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Any situation which is a reminder of the original traumatic abusive situation can trigger a post traumatic stress attack. The person will collapse under the weight of the fear and not be able to function normally.

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In addition to traumatic attacks (like severe panic attacks), the person can have a constant feeling of being unsafe. They feel that any minute something could happen to put them in a place of fear and danger.

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Most people have never been in a dangerous situation of violence of of being in danger of starving or freezing to death. They have never been in a situation where someone threatened to cause them to lose their job unless they were compliant.

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We have lived through an on-going situation of terror and physical and mental abuse. Being forced to go without basic needs is mentally abusive as well as physically abusive.

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It is also emotionally abuse to be shunned and made to feel like an outcast in your own home.  We need to be loved. You need to be accepted and supported by others. It is a survival instinct to be part of a family or tribe of some kind.

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How could the person we trusted and loved, allow us to suffer like that? They made us feel that we were at fault or that we did not deserve to be taken care of?  We did not deserve to be able to take care of ourselves.

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It is difficult for people to understand the post traumatic stress that can result from living in a domestic abuse situation. It can take years to feel safe again or the person may never feel truly safe

 

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..A person who survived domestic abuse trusted someone who violated them in the worst possible way. They treated them like they were not human. It is very hard to truly trust anyone again after that happens to you.

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It is a terrible thing to live with post traumatic stress disorder. It is sad that so many people do not understand how we feel. 

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We have lived through situations where there was a very real threat. In our minds, what is to keep it from happening again. Our good judgement?

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We feel like our judgement let us down already. How can we trust ourselves? With time you can re-wire the neural pathways that have been affected by the abuse.

 

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One of the things to understand is that it is not your judgement that let you down. You probably had a gut feeling that something was wrong, early in the relationship. But you were conditioned during your lifetime to ignore that intuition, especially if the evidence you perceive tells you that your gut reaction is not warranted.

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If you grew up in an emotionally abusive house as a child, then your feelings were not given any priority. Your thoughts and feelings were shut down. So you learned to discount them as an adult. 

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You have to learn to listen to your intuition and know that your feelings are there to guide you, as well as to protect you. Your feelings will warn you about predators and people that are unhealthy for you to be with.

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My hope is for awareness that will generate some understanding. I also pray that all of the many people suffering PTSD from domestic abuse are able to one day find peace and a feeling of safety.

Namaste,
Annie

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abuse, abuse red flags, abusive relationships, emotional abuse, gaslighting, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

Abusive Partners “Bait and Switch” the Relationship

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One of the reasons I hear from my clients that makes it hard for certain people to to leave an abusive relationship, is that they are not fully sure in their own minds if the partner is abusive them intentionally. 

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Here’s the thing…It doesn’t really matter. 

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If someone is making you feel like you are crazy and interfering with your ability to live and thrive, then it is okay to leave them. 

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But what about the agreement? What about the commitment that I made to that person? 

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A commitment like  a marriage or a partner agreement had two sides to it. You are not the only one who should be accountable for your behaviors. You are not responsible for keeping up your end of a verbal or written contract, when the other person acts as if they have no obligation to that contract. 

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When you ask “What about my commitment?” …what you really should be asking is “What about the partner’s side to that agreement?”

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Have they made a “bait and switch” arrangement with you. You can look up the term bait and switch on google and you will find how it is used in the context of business deals.

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If you see an advertisement for a certain product at a price that you find fair, and then the sales person tries to get you to buy a different product (usually more expensive) , telling you that the original product is no longer available, then this might be a bait and switch.If they advertised the original product with no intention of giving you that product. and with the premeditated plan of talking you into the other one. then it is a bait and switch.

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How does the narcissist or psychopath pull of a bait and switch?

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Well, it is really the same thing as the way this tactic is used in business. Your partner pretended that a certain kind of relationship was available to you. They manufactured a personality that you would like, and then lured you with that persona.

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They had no intention of fulfilling any promises they made you. They had no intention of keeping up that personality during the relationship. They were aware that they had no desire to maintain a fair and balanced relationship.

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Now, we come back to the question of the partner’s behavior being intentional and whether or not the particular person is aware of their behavior being unfair and abusive. 

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Here’s the thing…

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If this is an adult that is unaware when they are being abusive to you, then you do not want to be with them. If this adult is incapable of understanding how adult relationships work, then you will never have a fulfilling relationship with them. 

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So, whether or not they are aware that their behavior is abusive….if this person is abusive to you, then you do not need to feel obligated to stay in the relationship, or to be “a good person” by putting up with a miserable relationship. 

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It is a bait and switch if the person has intentionally mislead you. If they have not intentionally mislead you…then why did their behavior dramatically change after a few months of being in the relationship?

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How could they be thoughtful and kind to you for a few months, and then suddenly change into a completely different person who is cruel and selfish?

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If they were able to maintain a certain persona during the idealization phase. then truly they are probably fully aware that they manipulated you into falling for them by pretending to be someone they are not. 

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But if they acted like a selfless, caring person until they entrapped you, and then changed their behavior in a dramatic way after that…and they are not aware that they did that…then this is a disordered person that you cannot change, and you will not be able to have a loving relationship with. 

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The issue of whether or not the person knows how abusive they are simply cannot be a factor in whether or not you have to feel obligated to continue to tolerate their abuse. You are not “a bad person” if you leave the relationship. 

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In fact, if they suddenly change back into that thoughtful person again, just when you mention wanting to eave them, then that should be your clue as to whether or not they are able to control their behavior. This should be a clue to you, as to whether or not the person is intentionally being selfish and abusive.

 

abuse, abusive relationships, emotional abuse, leaving an abuser, narcissist, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

Why do Codependents and Narcissists Attract

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.image from pinterest here 

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This is a video interview style conversation between Teal Swan and Ross Rosenberg. 

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They discuss the reasons why codependents and narcissists attract each other, and why they are attracted  to each other. The level of need …the level of the emotional wounds they carry…usually from childhood abuse and neglect…usually matches. 

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The worse the toxic loneliness the codependent has, the farther on the scale of narcissism the partner they are attracted to will be. If someone is very needy to the point of a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, then they are likely to end up with a narcissist who is a 7 on the scale of needing to dominate and control someone. 
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Both partners have old emotional wounds. The severity of the wounds usually  match, with couples that end up attracting and staying together. Although the relationship is very painful to the codependent, they stay because the pathological loneliness that occurs when they are alone feels worse than when they are with the abusive partner. 

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Teal and Rosenberg agree with each other on some points, including that most all narcissist and codependents come from a family with a narcissistic parent, or a psychopathic parent. The children in these families have to learn how to survive. 
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Codependents learn that they have to make their narcissist parent happy by taking care of their needs and worrying about their feelings all the time. It is a “conditional” kind of love. They learn that love is based on how much you sacrifice, care for, and comply with the needs of the other person. 
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It is an interesting chat between the two of them. There are some places where they present different views. I agree with a lot of things that are said here, with some exceptions. 
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I disagree with Ross Rosenberg when he says that the narcissist was the child that was not favored by the parents and that their level of trauma was worse than that of the codependent. He might be seeing things from his personal experience and assuming that it is the same for everyone. 
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From listening to my clients, I know that the narcissists were not all “more abused” than the codependents. I have heard stories of horrific abuse from the clients I have, and these clients came out to be very compassionate and kind people .
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So everyone that experienced terrible abuse does not come out to be a narcissist. People develop based on their own soul and their own natural personality traits , and how that interacted with the atmosphere in the home growing up. 
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Codependents tend to have trouble setting boundaries because they were conditioned to feel selfish when they would ask to be heard, or when they expressed their own needs. Even though the codependent can realize that the narcissist is demanding and overstepping their rights in the relationship…the codependent cannot always tell how to set boundaries for themselves in a way that feels like they deserve it. 

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There is a heavy conditioning in the home with a narcissistic parent. The parent is the focus of the universe in the home. They demand that everything revolves around them and their wants and needs. Children are often punished or shamed for expressing their feelings about anything.

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The narcissist needs to disassociate from the abuse while it is occurring. They create a false reality to endure the abuse. The codependent also may do this, but not in the same way the narcissist does. 
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The narcissist creates a false self that is able to endure the abuse. This false self continues into adulthood and become the mask they live behind. They become demanding and manipulative like their narcissistic parent. 
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The codependent is desensitized to the abuse, because they had to endure so much of it as a child. They often to not recognize abuse for what it is, when it begins in the relationship. By the time they do realize it, the time has passed for easily leaving the relationship, because the addiction is fully kicked in. 

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abuse, abuse red flags, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, narcissistic abuse, Narcissists, Uncategorized

Red Flags You are in an Abusive Relationship

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There are  red flags that may help you to identify early on that you are with an abusive personality. If you are seeing a few of these characteristics then you need to assert some boundaries with them and see how they react.

If they fight you about having simple personal boundaries then you need to realize that you may be in an abusive relationship. 

Tell them you have to go sleep early one night because you have a lot to do the next day. If they do not accept this, then there is a problem.

No one should give you guilt or shame you that you are not good to them, when you are doing simple basic things to take care of yourself.

It is not normal for someone to threaten to leave you or call you a bad girlfriend if you want to do things for yourself like take a class, do an extra assignment for school or work, or spend time with family or friends.

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You should never feel manipulated by guilt, shame or fear. People that love you do not inflict fear or threats in order to get you to comply.

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Here is a list that I have come up with from research and also from personal experience. There may be things that need to be added. Feel free to leave any ideas in the comments.

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Keep in mind that narcissists are on their best behavior at the very beginning of the relationship, called the idealization phase.

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Many of these red flags will not come up until the “honeymoon phase” is over in a couple of months. The best ones to look for early on are the ones that I put near to the top of this list.

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Love Bombing and Pushing to be in a Serious Relationship Right Away.

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Constant texting, calling, stopping over (calls you the second you get out from work or during work/ calls you while you are trying to get ready for work/ calls you first thing on your day off and wants to be on the phone, texting, or see you all day on every day off you have / calls while you are out with friends and you told them you would be busy with friends/  texts you when you said you would be at the gym….never ending constant contact)

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Angry or very upset when you do not respond to texts and voice mails right away.

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Never taking responsibility for their action – things are always someone else’s fault.

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Chameleon-like changeable personality – a different personality for different people and situations.

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They are always right and never make a mistake.

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They hate to be told they could have done something better or differently.

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Jealousy and Ownership of You.

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Isolating you from family and friends(discouraging you from spending time with them/  getting angry when you do/ saying that those people are interfering somehow in your relationship/ telling you that relatives that you have known for years are out to get you and you did not realize it).

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Need to control your schedule.

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Never apologizes or does so in a sarcastic,  fake way.

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Need to know where you are at all times.

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Telling you what to wear and how to look.

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Control of the money ( you need to check with them before you spend your own money/  they question how you spend your money/ shame you or make you feel guilty over spending your money on yourself)

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Criticism and disrespect  of women (this may not be directed at you at first  since they put on their mask and are on their best behavior during the idealization phase – observe how they treat other women who they have nothing to gain from)

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Making you account for your whereabouts.

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Making you ask permission or clear your activities with them.

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Name calling and demeaning.

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Complaining that the women at work do not treat him with respect.

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Excessive monitoring and making you check in all the time.

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Extreme sense of entitlement.

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Unrealistic, and unreasonable  demands.

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Lack of sympathy and empathy.

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Not interested in anyone else’s side of things.

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Accusing you of cheating when you are not.

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Blaming you for things that do not go his way.

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Excessive need for control in the house.

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Manipulating your friends and family to take their side in arguments.

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Getting angry if you have a different opinion than they do.

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Making you feel stupid and less intelligent than they are.

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Being disrespectful to you in front of your family and friends

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Visit my gentlekindness facebook page for narcissistic abuse and find out more about healing and overcoming narcissistic abuse

abusive relationships, devaluation, domestic abuse, mental abuse, narcissist, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

Hoovering

The loneliness after leaving an abusive relationship can be overwhelming. This feeling, combined with the chemical addiction to the relationship often drives people back to the partner.

Narcissists know this all too well. They have played the game many times before. They know just how long to ignore all of your texts and your calls.

Even if you are the one that chose to leave, the abuser is a master at hoovering you back in. They know the pain you will suffer from the withdrawal from them.

The hoovering usually occurs between 3 and 6 months after you have stopped hearing anything from them. They may even have paraded their new prey on facebook for you to see, but this new partner will not stop them from wanting one more go at you.

If you think they hurt you the first time, you are in for a higher level this time. If you left them, they will be sure to punish you fully, and then discard you in the cruelest possible way.

If they discarded you the first time, make no mistake that they will escalate the devaluation phase, before discarding you like the garbage they think you are.

The narcissist’s skill of cold empathy (cold reading), will enable them to woo you for a time. They will give you their honeymoon phase ( idealization phase) one more time…and make you think that they now appreciate the real you, more than ever.

Buy when that first glimmer of darkness crosses their expression, and their eyes glare at you…like predators do…your gut will tell you that you have made a mistake…you are in danger.

That feeling of danger will frighten you, and you may try to tell yourself it is in your imagination. After all…your view of reality hasn’t been that good lately. Has it?

You haven’t been remembering things quite the right way recently. Have you?

Who are you to question this person who was so gracious in taking you back?

This person who…changed their ways just for you….gave up the other women because you are the only one who understands them.

Or do you?

There is something dark surrounding you….pressing down on you….

It must be that you are mentally unstable. After all….he mentioned his concern about your mental health just the other day…