Could oxytocin – the brain’s love chemical – be the real ‘love potion #9’?

Editor’s note: Joyce M. Short is the author of a just released book, “Carnal Abuse by Deceit.” The book chronicles her life with a predator, the subsequent aftermath and her road to recovery. It also provides advice for victims and their supporters, and discusses the issues surrounding criminalization of rape-by-fraud. Joyce lives in New York City, where she’s a real estate broker, professional tennis instructor and a strong advocate for her community.

By Joyce M. Short

Does Love Potion #9 Really Exist?

The hit record written by Leiber & Stoller back in 1959, Love Potion #9, was originally recorded by The Clovers and published by the Aberbach brothers who owned Hill & Range Songs Inc. It’s been covered by over twenty five other artists since its original release. Although it’s a spoof on a chemical concoction that makes people fall in love, it’s not so far from the truth.

Romantic love has recently been shown to be a chemical addiction, similar to drugs and alcohol, but, when all goes well, it supports life instead of diminishing it. The chief chemical component in romantic love is oxytocin, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that creates a sense of trust and cleaves us to our love interests. When we are betrayed, although we may feel abused and defiled, we can continue clinging to the offender because of our need to replace that “loved” feeling. The immediate cessation of the chemicals we recognize as love, may cause us to long for the treacherous offender just like an alcoholic craves a drink.

“No Contact” is all about getting rid of the desire and longing that comes with separation. The victim must be able to gain perspective that enables them to see the forest, not just the trees. The bigger picture, the moral deprivation of the betraying party, is far too important to allow ourselves to camouflage their actions by attributing good feelings to them. It is too easy for a predator to misuse our brain chemistry to wangle their way back into our lives.

Interestingly, the Aberbach fortune existed in the backdrop of the harm I was dealt. They owned a 50% share of Elvis Presley, 10% of the Beatles, and 75% of the music coming out of Nashville. My ex was harbored by an Aberbach widow as he abandoned my child and defrauded me of child support. The irony of oxytocin being akin to Love Potion #9 is particularly poignant for me.


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42 Comments on "Could oxytocin – the brain’s love chemical – be the real ‘love potion #9’?"

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Dear Dave,

Taken from http://www.esteemology.com.

Having standards means not settling for less ”“ from yourself or from anyone else. It means setting the bar high and having preexisting expectations right out of the gate. When you have preexisting expectations it’s a lot easier to spot a Narcissist, or someone that means to do you harm early on, before you get emotionally attached.

Narcissists and other dysfunctional types seem to have an innate ability to erode the expectations of their partners. Sometimes it’s blatant and obvious, but often it’s slow and subtle, so much so, that we don’t realize that it’s even happening.

Whether or not this erosion happens, is based on our reactions to our partner’s bad behavior. If we are the type that takes responsibility for other people, makes excuses, rationalizes, or minimizes, then you are sending a message to your partner, that you are accepting of poor treatment. When bad behavior goes unchecked, I can guarantee you that it is going to happen again and again.

It’s a man’s prerogative to behave badly. There is nothing anyone can do to change that. But it’s your responsibility to make the choice of whether or not you will put up with it. This is an important component to your own mental health, because if you allow someone to mistreat you, then the price you pay is always your self-esteem.

The difficulty in new relationships is that during the get to know you phase most men are on their best behavior. It’s not until a Narcissist knows he’s got you, that he’s going to pull the old bait and switch. It’s your job to recognize poor treatment and react ”“ no matter what stage of the relationship you’re in. Like I said if you let it go unchecked it will continue and even get worse. So when you are faced with disrespect you must react. I’m not talking about a screaming match, or some big drama. I’m talking about calming stating this behavior is unacceptable and I’m going to leave.

If it happens once, maybe even twice fine, men are always testing boundaries, but if you’re on your tenth chance, you’ve got to recognize that this situation is dysfunctional and you have to extricate yourself from the relationship.

You have to look at your situation logically and without emotion. If someone is treating you badly and you voice your displeasure, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You will gage all you need to know by their reaction to your reaction:

•If they get even more mad at you, or even blame you ”“ leave.
•If they break up with you for speaking up for yourself ”“ I’d say you dodged a bullet. You don’t want anyone that isn’t interested in how you’re feeling or your boundaries.
•If they say they’re sorry, but continue to do it again and again ”“ leave.
The only reaction that you can accept is an apology, followed by not doing it again. Period.

A big part of this problem is that women with low self-esteem generally have a hard time speaking up for themselves. They’re avoiders and will do whatever they can to avoid confrontation. For a Narcissist this is the perfect target.

Low self-esteem and low standards generally go hand in hand. People that have a healthy self-esteem and a high level of confidence take care of themselves and when they find themselves in a relationship that has become unhealthy, they just end it. They don’t sit around pining about it or second guessing themselves.

I work in a male dominated industry and most of my colleagues are men, that have a tremendous amount of confidence. They’re driven, take good care of themselves and have high self-esteem. I hear them on a daily basis talking about their relationships and I’m amazed at the ease at which they can just end a relationship when a girl starts to act ’psycho’. They all have high standards and if a girl they are dating starts to show signs of being dysfunctional, they are not living in uncertaintyville or dispairville, they jump on the next train and start looking again immediately. They don’t internalize the problems of others. They look at the situation without emotion and logically come to the conclusion that this isn’t for them and they’re done just like that, with no drama, no flare and no afterthought.

When you don’t expect much and you settle for less ”“ that’s exactly what you’ll get. Great results come from great expectations. When are you going to raise yours? When is enough, enough? Only you know when you’ve reached your limit. But remember it’s your choice ”“ it always was.

Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. You may find that you don’t have as many dates, but the ones that are willing to attempt the jump are usually the ones that are worth it.

nice article sick,

I have a female friend of mine that knows the situation and she told me several years ago “you will leave when you have had enough, you haven’t had enough yet”

Anytime I was close to leaving and she knew it was more than me simply threatning it during a fight, her attitude would change. I don’t know if its abandonment issues on her part, or if it simply was not convenient at the time for me to be gone, but when she wants me out, there is no talking her down, she wants me out right then and will make my life hell until I leave.

I have soaked in a lot of useful info in the last 3 weeks that I had no clue about, and a lot of it is thanks to you all on here.

Need to know something if anybody has any knowledge on this.

I stated in a comment some time ago my ex was put in some institution by her parents somewhere around early teens. Far as I know she was in there for at least 6 months, and they put her there for either attempted suicide or threatening it. Ive been told that there is no way someone would spend that long in mental place just for suicide threat unless the doctor found something bad wrong with them. I was also told that while in there her parents were to come in once a week for counseling sessions, so obvious she was there longer than a week or two. I get the feeling she may have been diagnosed with something, and was probly put on medication and some things I looked up for bipolar meds it seems she may have gotten some of the side effects and she had severe acne as a teen, messed up menstrual cycles, and raised levels of testosterone, just wondering if anyone here knows about mental health places, cause im being told there is no way she spent more than a week in there unless a doctor found something bad wrong with her.

I have a friend whos wife had a complete psychotic breakdown and shes never been in one for longer than 3 months or so I think, she hears voices, sees things, thinks everything is a conspiracy, thinks she has conversations with God and demons, thinks she never married her husband that the whole thing was fake ect ect….Ive never seen that behavior in my ex, but still.

Dave – I can’t answer your question, but I have another question. Are you sure she was in the hospital that long? If she is the one who told you this, it could have been a lie.

Her stepmother is the only one who has confirmed to me that she was in an institution, she said she couldn’t remember exactly how long but that she was in there long enough that the parents were to come in weekly for counseling with their daughter, and that the mother only came to one session.

I have a feeling this family is attempting to keep something hush hush,,many families are like this, especially if something is wrong with one of them, they pretend like nothing ever happened.


What you”re describing sounds like a residential rehab for drugs or alcohol and is not uncommon, particularly for teen agers who could be suicidal. And parents would likely do their utmost to protect their child from exposure over private matters.


possible jm, but her and her stepmother never mentioned substance abuse, I believe she was around 13 at the time, and only suicide was mentioned, the state is not going to make someone stay in a mental ward for 6 months or more over suicide attempt or threat unless they find something bad wrong with you.

I can never get full stories, I know her father had to go to court over her once when she was a teen, when I found out I asked her about it, she said her dad went in a rage and kinda pushed her a bit and tore her room apart and she went to a family members house and they called the cops, I never found out what happened to him in court if anything at all, and she claims she cannot remember what even started the fight (not the first time she has made this claim) before I met her she got into it with him at a funeral and they didn’t talk for 2 years yet she claims she cant remember what started it.

Could have been some type of criminal or problematic behavior that the judge remanded her to rehab.

Depending on the circumstance, the courts have a great deal of leeway with youthful offenders. Their aim is to rehabilitate, not punish, to the extent possible. They’d be more likely to sentence her to a rehab facility rather than sending her to kiddie jail for a minor criminal charge. They could also insist on the cooperation of the parents.

And no, parents would not be readily forthcoming with this type of information, nor should they be. She’s an adult. What she shares with you is between you and her. They would be infringing on her privacy to divulge that sort of information to you.

What’s obvious is that your wife’s pattern of anti-social behavior did not begin with you. But right now, you’re in the process of trying to contend with it. And it sounds like there were some violent outbreaks that have taken place. When that occurs, it is best for everyone concerned that the level of tension be eliminated. Even if she is to be completely faulted for enraging you, the fact that you put yourself in a position to be enraged is problematic for your children.

The sooner you stop focusing on figuring her out and, instead, deal with your own separateness and your children’s issues, the better off you and they will be. It doesn’t really matter what got all of you to this point. What matters is how you all move forward.

Certainly, any attempt you make to make her wrong, will be met with hostility and defensiveness, no matter how wrong she is. For your children’s sake, don’t do so.



That’s possible too, thank you for the extra ideas, she told me flat out her parents had her put in there, then again that could easily be a lie.

As to enraging me, I agree with you, it doesn’t matter what she did, im a grown man, I should have more control of my emotions, as well as realize what she does and not continue to put myself in that position to be compromised.

And yes, any attempt no matter how nice or subtle that makes her look at fault, she will go on the attack in her defense, I am used to her doing this.


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