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Why we get hooked on unpredictable romance

Many Lovefraud readers have experienced the phenomenon of knowing that a romantic partner is unreliable and even bad for them, but they keep taking the person back. A psychiatrist explains why this happens. Blame your brain.

I heart unpredictable love, on NYTimes.com.

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.


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29 Comments on "Why we get hooked on unpredictable romance"

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The article explains in more depth what I already knew about dopamine. Addiction. I hadn’t had “feel good” for a long time. That is why after 4 years of enormous hurt I still want him back in a way. He was about the only feel good I had. Now…how do I get over it. It’s been 6 months and it is still very painful.

Kmillercats,

My big addiction was nicotine….and I have not had a cigarette in 4 years or so but every once in a while when I think about it, I crave one.

Most of the time though I don’t even think about it. I do know that it takes TIME to get through the worst of the cravings for addictive stuff, be it dopamine or nicotine or alcohol or crack cocaine. Whatever is what you crave has a hook on you.

But we are stronger than our cravings. We are stronger than our addictions.

Read up on the Stockholm Syndrome, this will give you some idea about it. Also Patrick carnes’ book “The Betrayal Bond” explains this push/pull bonding.

Just keep on reading and learning, it will get better. (((hugs))))

kmillercats:

I pretty much felt the same way you describe. For whatever reason, when I was with him, it was euphoric. I had never felt that before. And it was extremely addicting. You ask how to get over it. Some advice given to me has been to find someone else, but I don’t want that. It does make sense that finding someone else would fill that void, but in my opinion, it would also just introduce all kinds of drama or “stuff” again. At that point, it doesn’t become a mode for healing. It just becomes more hurt. No one needs that.

Very interesting article, Sky, I would like to know more about that 30 or so men who could not make intimate relationships. Psychopaths?

The data from that study might be of interest to those studying Ps.

of course, how is “success” measured? By income? What other status?

I’m glad for the old man whose only medication at 86 was viagra and who died at 96. LOL

Yes: like an addiction.
And as they ‘step up’ their abuse,
the addiction only gets deeper and deeper.
That is how abuse perpetuates itself, on that
euphoric addiction of being accepted and mirrored.

It is soon to be 7 months NC from me. For the
sixth time around. Sixth time must be the trick!
With an intrusion no less than a couple weeks ago .
I don’t understand the OBSESSION, I guess. I suppose I
never will. It is very HIDEOUS to me, especially after all
the death threats and attempts on my life already. I find
NOTHING ‘romantic’ or ‘flattering’ about the stalking.

One thing about this whole experience is that it has
forced me to push myself to my limits. NOW I KNOW
how strong I REALLY am. NOW I KNOW. If I can make
it back from the very edge of HELL ITSELF, I can stand
tall and KNOW I am stronger than it.

I will scoop my guts back inside myself and continue on.
My life is more important to me than the addicting abuse
cycle. Even after they are long gone, the abuse lingers.

Another relationship won’t make that go away….
the only person that CAN make it go away is ourselves…

I have chosen to LOCK that door, technically and
philosophically. It’s like opening a can of worms
that was marked ‘beef stew’.

Dealing with and getting solid with OURSELVES MUST
come first now. Let them fall into the past as we rebuild
ourselves and become the people we have a right to be
proud of.

I figure we all deserve that.
We survived.

Dupey

But just how Strong can we be, sometimes I feel so Hard because of my “strength” other times I feel like the biggest sissy!!!!

Oxy,
It seems they were measuring success by self-reported measure of contentment with where they were in life. The guy who became the president of his nursing home, was in the nursing home, so I don’t know if we can consider that “successful”. Yet, in a sense, just surviving is considered a success because they said that only 4 of the non-emotional guys were still alive.

I guess it’s a book now:
http://www.amazon.com/Triumphs-Experience-Harvard-Grant-Study/dp/0674059824

Watching my father age, I can see exactly this change. He is still very self-absorbed but he has changed and is no longer the angry man he used to be. Life has dealt him some blows and he has accepted them with humility, just as he has accepted his successes (with a little less humility though).

Yea, and I would like to read it, but even “prime” with free shipping it is nearly 19 bucks so I don’t think I want it that bad. LOL

I’ll wait til it goes on sale for $5 or 6 bucks and free shipping. LOL I’m a cheapie.

Just being in a nursing home I don’t think is a failure at all. There are nursing homes that are not rat traps or just for people in wheel chairs or unable to feed or toilet themselves. Florida is filled with nice assisted living places and nursing homes that are great. Plus you get to live where the storms come. LOL

Yes, I can’t afford that book either.

The study is also interesting because the researchers THEMSELVES changed what they were looking for. It stated that initially, relationships were not even on their radar. So society is changing as to what we value.

It also goes to show that a researcher’s bias does determine the results of his research.

Edit:
it appears George wrote another book in 1977 about the first part of the study and that book is even MORE expensive. So maybe the price isn’t going to come down.

http://www.amazon.com/Adaptation-Life-George-Vaillant/dp/0674004140

Well, then I may not be able to read either of them. LOL I’ve got so many shelf space already on psychology and psychopathy that I need to thin out some of them and I have been.

Gpt lots of other stuff to take up my time now that I am more able to get around physically with my leg. Winter is coming on and have to get prepared for it!

I just attended a conference quite recently where David Brooks spoke. I thought he was a very authentic guy. He was speaking to a crowd of a couple thousand, I sat right in front of him (less than 8 feet away) and watched him curl his feet around the bottom of the chair – a nervous, authentic gesture. I smiled.

I do think there is this whole new sort of thinking happening around emotional intelligence. I posted that on this site just recently. Here is a link:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/keldjensen/2012/04/12/intelligence-is-overrated-what-you-really-need-to-succeed/

It’s about being OTHER focused. Recent thinking says people have

IQ
EQ (emotional intelligence)
MQ (moral intelligence)
BQ (body intelligence)

I think this is really very interesting and intersects our knowledge of spaths. A spath can have very high IQ, EQ, BQ, and have absolutely zero MQ.

I am not an expert, I am learning on this too, but BQ is about body intelligence, meaning, body language, etc. I watched a woman today walk like a horse. Glump glump. Not at all aware of the image she was projecting. My spath would not do that. He was quite aware of “BQ” and projected himself carefully.

We all know spaths can also have a a high IQ, and mine could read my EQ very well.

Any way, I sure would love to have an expert in THIS space comment on SPATHS!

Athena

Athena,

IQ, EQ, MQ, and BQ—yep, they may ave it all except MQ.The thing about their version of EQ though is that they can’t FEEL the emotions, just some how “read” them in us and know that is how to manipulate us. Odd, that.

One thing about my son Patrick though is that he thinks that others are either prey (like me) or are LIKE HIM (manipulative) and it is a “get them before they get him” situation.

There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it. I want to know it all. LOL

did somebody say BBQ?

LOL!

Yep, It is that time of year again (hog killing time) and time for the BBQ! Weather has been so darned warm though that we’re going to have to take the piglets to the slaughter plant to get them done, can’t butcher when it is 70 degrees! The pigs have made HOGS of themselves so they are huge…and Arkansas may be “Razorback Nation” but these fat hogs ain’t no razorbacks they is gonna be some finnnnne fat porkers!

The EQ is what has me confuddled too.
My frienemy, K, gave me the book about Emotional intelligence. It was a tell. He was telling me that I had none and that the spath had it, and he believes that he has it too.

But I disagree. A person with a high EQ could not live the lives that spaths live. You need to have empathy to have EQ.

Some people think that Asperger’s means a lack empathy but it’s not. What they lack is “Theory of Mind”, they just have a hard time figuring out what other people are thinking or feeling. They can’t “read” others. But if you tell them you are sad and are crying, they do feel bad for you —unless, they are also spaths and have no empathy. It can happen that someone lacks both ToM and empathy.

When it comes to spaths, they basically render us all into aspergers peeps because (without prior knowledge of spaths) we can’t possibly imagine what they are thinking. Only a person who is also a spath, could assume such evil intent, because they can RELATE to it.

I think that ToM can be taught. I’ve learned to understand the mindset of an evil spath, just like spaths learn to interpret our expressions to know what we are feeling.

I think EQ is more about how you respond to your own emotions, whether you can manage them, whether you ignore them and how reactive you are to them. I think EQ is about emotional boundaries. So even without a Theory of Mind for spaths, if we have a high EQ, we would listen to our gut instincts to run from evil. My EQ is still kinda low, I don’t always listen to the gut, but I’ve developed my ToS for spaths to the point where I can spot a spath anyway. Now I just have to remember to run.

Sky…you give spaths to much credit..i dont think they interpret as much as they mimic our expressions and emotions..they are like animals, if we give them a treat they keep doing the same thing,,if we dont give em a treat they go somewhere else but not with out biting us in the ass as they go..they have animal instincts survival is what motivates them..i dont think they have the compassion to interpret why we feel this or that they just mimic like a parot as long as things go their way…

Hens,
you’re right, I misspoke when I said they “know what we are feeling.” Yes, spath could tell I was despondent when I cried, but that doesn’t mean he could relate. He just got off on the power trip.

I remember my x looking at me so puzzled sometimes when i expresssed emotions good or bad, happy or sad. and soon he would say or do the same thing i had said or done word for word..
he was like a clone of me – at first..but soon he got bored and started playin with my head..
things got real ugly for awhile….he was a sic puppy.

Sky, I think they can “read” us the same way we “read” them, by learning not FEELING. I do not really FEEL what my son Patrick feels, but I can read what his INTENTIONS ARE by how he ACTS.

I think he learned to “read” me and use how I responded as a way to manipulate me, but he doesn’t know how I FEEL.

EQ I think has TWO components, knowing what someone else is feeling is not the same as FEELING what someone else is feeling. The EQ part has the empathy part to be complete and the EQ of the psychopaths is only half of the equation.

We can also become more aware of our own FEELINGS which increases our EQ. We can also learn to respond more to those emotional feelings.

Being able to recognize a “love bomb” and then realizing what it is and not being sucked in by it is increasing our EQ. I realize about myself that I get sucked into a “love bomb” easily, so I need to be AWARE of it when it happens and then PROTECT myself.

Being able to “spot” a psychopath “easily” isn’t as easy as I’d like to think it is and I realize that if Robert Hare STILL gets sucked in so can I…LOL

I think this is an interesting discussion.

OxD, I think that’s what I was getting at with your recent experience with the scammers – the “lovebombing” is probably one of the first weapons that the predator reaches for in his/her arsenal. Lovebombing and the pity-ploy are both such strong empathy motivators, aren’t they?

I truly appreciate your sharing the scam experience, OxD, because it is a fair warning to everyone who is in recovery that, regardless of how much we’ve learned, we will probably always be susceptible to the tactics and we have to be on guard at all times. For me, same-gender lovebombing is a danger in my recovery. I’ve sworn off of “meaningful relationshits” with a male partner, so I’ve got the man-thing down. But, the female bonding could present a true challenge for me, and your recent experience is a serious warning for me.

I’m sorry that you were scammed, OxD. But, sharing what you experienced is priceless for me, personally.

Brightest blessings

Ox Drover…thanks

Hens… I can sooo relate to the clone thing. He did that. I almost laughed. When I pointed out he was projecting, 20 minutes later he would say I was doing that. He really couldn’t understand why the women he had been with hated him. He cheated on the one with me and she outed him. After 2 years he still wants to get even with her because she ruined his audience. The definition of insanity is him and he really doesn’t get it.

As I read more of these stories I realize that I too am hooked on a sociopath. I am a very strong independant woman. When it comes to standing up and saying enough is enough I simply look the other way and hate myself for going back every time. This man I speak about has nothing to offer me or anyone else, he has been very unpredictable since day one this was three years ago. He has a way of making me feel so worthless at times and not to mention the hurtful things he says. I promise myself over and over I will stop buying into his game. Once he makes that phone call and tells me how much he needs me and finally days later shows up at my door. I forget about all the verbal and physical pain he causes me. Once im in his arms I feel I just dont want it to end knowing once we make love and cuddle for a moment its all over, Immediately the abuse starts and he makes an excuse to leave. I feel so stupid and angry with myself because I know what to expect and only I can put an end to this horrible sociopath. So why cant I leave? I feel lost without him I know it sounds so sick but its the truth…

Hello everyone, I was just roaming the internet looking for some help and support because I am in a very unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship. He has always alternated between having very extreme crazy passionate love for me and then ignoring me and being heartlessly cruel for about 3 months. The courtship was extremely over the top, he went all out to ‘woo me’. Nothing was too much. I had given up on love and was not about to take that chance again. He made it his mission to change my mind. Now, five years later, I seem to be stuck. He treats me horribly but I cannot seem to break away. I do not know who has the bigger problem, him for being a sociopath or me for staying. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I already have the book “Betrayal Bonds” and am looking forward to “Love Fraud”. Thank you,

Millie, I am sorry that you’re feeling so desperate – I identify with that feeling, completely. But, when youre “in his arms,” what is it that you believe you’re getting from him? The “making love” is an act, plain and simple. To YOU, it “feels” like lovemaking. To HIM, it’s a sex act with no more meaning than masturbating in a bus station men’s room. It’s a hard, cold reality, but it is what it is. What you are so deeply in love with is the “illusion,” and I loved an illusion for 15 years. Was I addicted to the illusion? Hell, yes, I was! The illusion made me “feel” validated, sexy, important, valued, etc…..but, the cold, hard fact was that the illusion was a con and fraud. And, I hated (still hate) that fact.

Dewnberry, welcome to LoveFraud, and I’m so sorry that you’re feeling lost. You’ve found a good site that will not only help you to learn, but help you in your recovery.

Reading books is all well and good – it puts into words what we need to know. But, a supplement to absorbing knowledge is engaging in counseling therapy with a professional who “gets it” about abuse and sociopathy. Had I not found a good, strong counselor, I think that I may have allowed my life to end, either by my own action or by proxy.

Recovering from a sociopath is unlike ANY other process that a human experiences, bar none. The carnages run the entire spectrum of the human experience: financial, sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual……we are thoroughly dismantled, on every level. IMHO, human beings are not equipped to manage the damages of sociopathic entanglements. I can read until my eyes implode, but without that face-to-face and one-on-one hard work, I would have been utterly lost. Through counseling, I learned SO much about myself and how I was such a perfect target/victim, and I couldn’t have learned this, otherwise. I also learned a number of very valuable managing techniques that I read about, but had no idea how to facilitate.

Millie & Dwenberry, neither of you are alone in this journey. Sadly, none of us were the first to be used, abused, and discarded by a spath, and not one of us is going to be the last. You’re both in the right place at the right time.

Brightest healing and comforting blessings to you both

To clarify about recovering from a sociopath: it is unlike any other human tragedy because it isn’t random. It’s not a natural disaster or random act of violence or an auto accident that occurs at a street light. The damages that victims of sociopaths experience were caused with deliberate malice, aforethought. And, this is one of the truths that I had found so hard to process.

WE – the survivors in recovery – would never, ever choose someone and take away from that person their finances, sexual identity, emotional stability, careers, or self-esteem to entertain ourselves or support a lavish lifestyle. Therefore, because our system of beliefs hold that WE wouldn’t do that to others, it is a whole-self devastation when someone that we love and trust demonstrates that they do not maintain the same system of beliefs. Our entire perspective on life, ourselves, and our place within the world is in doubt.

The most difficult aspects of recovering from spath entanglements is shifting the focus from what he/she did to ourselves – our own issues that gave the spath the open door to ruin our lives. That moment begins the true and serious recovery: it’s all about ME, not about what he did.

Brightest blessings

Dewnberry and Millie,

Welcome to Love Fraud and yes, it is difficult to get away, and it only really starts when we go NO CONTACT. Just like with cocaine you can’t “taper off” you must QUIT it completely. NO CONTACT…and that is the hard part because when you set the boundary they will make every effort to break down your door. But you must stand firm.

Blogging and reading here will help. God bless.

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