This. Is. Not. Normal. Healthy adults don’t ping pong between love and hate rapidly and regularly. Feelings of love and deep attachments grow over time, not on your first Tinder date.
This is an example of emotional intensity, not emotional depth. When feelings run deep they don’t change on a dime because your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse is having an adult temper tantrum, or because you weren’t able to magically read their mind.
Clients often struggle with how their partners do and say cruel and selfish things to them, but “Then she says she loves me. I’m the most important man in the world to her and the best in bed.” These men and women tolerate egregious abuse because the narcissist or borderline says they love them.
Yes, many emotional predators use words like love easily and cheaply. However, it’s meaningless. To quote Lily Tomlin’s character in Grace and Frankie, “It’s just shit they say.” If you’re struggling to know what’s real, pay attention to what they do, not what they say. The occasional sweet or grand gesture doesn’t count. What matters is CONSISTENCY.
Is she or he consistently kind, honest and supportive? If not, what are you doing with them?
This is likely codependency and trauma bonding writ large. Just like my clients did in childhood with dysfunctional parents, they seek love form people who hurt them, reject them, lie to them, ignore them and mistreat them. If this is similar to your experience. Stop lying to yourself.
This isn’t love. And you’re not doing something “noble” or “selfless” by emotionally and financially supporting your abuser. You’re not helping them or loving them well. You’re recreating the abuse you experienced in childhood and enabling it as an adult.
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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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