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Abuse and love are combinations you’ll never find in healthy relationships – Never. Healthy and mature partners instinctively know the line that should not be crossed. They don’t cross it because they love you and care about your feelings – even when they are angry or disappointed in you. Arguments and disagreements cannot erase the extremely deep bond a healthy person has for their partner. They love you, even if they may not like your actions at the moment.
With shallow relationships everyone is disposable. And everyone is just as easily retrieved. Without feeling responsible for causing others pain, they have no shame regarding attempts to rekindle a relationship or expect a friendship with the person they emotionally tore apart.
When emotions are on such a surface level narcissists and psychopaths can slide back and forth between a relationship and no-relationship. They may even be bewildered why you are “acting” hurt by their betrayal. They may be shocked that you are STILL wanting to discuss your pain. ‘That was last week, what is wrong with you carrying that around!’ They cannot understand, because they have never felt, the deep pain ignited by violations from the person you love. They understand the addictive components of relationships (i.e., attraction, lust) … but not the bond.
And this is why many survivors struggle with frustration when they have partners like this.
Know this — you will never be able to explain deep emotions, compassion, regret, guilt for hurting someone, and all the emotional states that are closely tied with morality, responsibility, and empathy. Those emotions cannot be transferred into words. They would have to feel those uncomfortable, painful feelings when you are feeling them – Empathy. Without that, your relationship is shallow.
Everybody loves me; I’m not Abusive!
You may have tried to explain to your partner that they have a dark side to them. You may have explained that this dark side exposes you to rages, silent treatments, lectures, rudeness, disrespect, and silent treatments.
For the pathological narcissist with the gift of charm, they may cite that they have many friends who love them. “No one has ever said I have a mean side!” They have a fragile, created false self to protect and they’re certainly not going allow you to disparage it. In fact, they will likely remind you how good they are to others and how much others love them. Interpretation – you’re the problem. This is particularly true of the charming narcissists/psychopaths who do tasks and give presents to the people in their life conning them into believing his friendly mask.
Behind closed doors, they will continue to gaslight, manipulate, taunt, keep secrets, lie, cheat, and look out for their own best interest.
If you are of benefit to them, they will try to convince you to accept the abuse. “That’s just the way I argue. When I get mad, I get intense. But I’d never hit you or anything!”
If someone has the capacity of deep bonding (the foundation of love) they would never try to convince you to accept abuse. There would never be abuse. And there would never be any form of discussion manipulating you into accepting abuse.
The impact this type of relationship has on the mind is profound. You love someone who tells you they love you, yet their behavior has you feeling tense, anxious, paranoid, self-conscious, insecure, and doubtful.
Little by little you lose yourself and function from a place of survival. This is not love. No matter how much they attempt to convince you this is a ‘different’ kind of love (e.g., “It’s the way I show love.” | “I was just angry … everybody gets angry; even YOU yell sometimes!”)
Love does not send the brain into a negatively stressed state coupled with pain. Love is safe, a place of comfort, and initiates an entirely different set of chemistry from the brain in comparison to abuse. One set of chemistry is healing, while the other set is damaging over time. When you are with someone who loves you, you can be your authentic self. And that authentic self will show automatically.
But he didn’t hit me? | She didn’t strike me?
Abuse comes in many forms, physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological. All have a negative impact on the brain. After gaining your trust and love, abusers tend to morph within their relationships and display patterns of control, disrespect, and danger toward their mates.
Even if there is no physical harm toward their mate, these relationships can cause tremendous damage.
Rhonda Freeman, PhD
Updated 2020 (© 2013 NeuroInstincts)
• Want the basics of psychopathy? You might find this article helpful Go
Humphreys, J., Cooper, B., Miaskowski C. (2010). Differences in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and lifetime trauma exposure in formerly abused women with mild versus moderate to severe chronic pain. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2010 Dec;25(12):2316-38.
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