Many people who have survived dysfunctional and chaotic childhoods share a common doubt and they question, "What does 'normal' look like?"
Many injured adults become involved in intimate relationships that they are not prepared for, didn't ask to be involved in or know if they are suited to the other person. They do not know how to choose a suitable partner and many injured people decide that anybody is better than being alone - which is not true.
Some people listen to supposedly 'wise' sayings and proverbs and make their choices based on those idioms. 'Like attracts like,' but then again, as in the world of magnets, 'opposites attract.' 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' but 'out of sight, out of mind.' For every positive saying, there is one that negates it.
So, should we choose a partner who is very much like ourself or should we choose a partner who is the opposite to us, so that my extroversion will be tempered by my partner's introversion etc and make for a supposedly stronger relationship.
Reality is we aren't magnets. We are drawn to those of a similar background, similar culture, similar moral principles, similar spirits. The more we are alike in our most fundamental moral principles, the more likely we are going to be comfortable with those who hold the same values to us. There is value in the admonition of not being 'unequally yoked' together.
Dr Ramani Durvasula offers advice on how to identify and distinguish if a relationship is healthy or unhealthy, with particular attention shown to the signs of a dysfunctional dating relationship with a narcissist.
Narcissists & People Pleasers
Narcissists and People Pleasers both lack the security of believing they have personal value just for existing. Both personalities therefore try to attract expressions of value from others. It was external influences (parents, peers, institutions) that convinced the young person that they had no value originally, so these wounded children become adults who search for evidence from others that they are worthy now.
Narcissists develop manipulative strategies to urge or force others to express admiration for them. They create a mask to portray a successful, confident persona in order to attract admiration. They over-maintain their own boundaries at the first hint of what they consider to be disrespect. They quickly defend themselves and retaliate with aggressive responses to perceived criticism. Under the bravado though is a person who doesn't like themselves very much at all. People Pleasers prompt and persuade expressions of value from others by trying to meet the other person's needs. They do so without demanding or requesting any reciprocal relationship, making no demands on the other person. They often accept being disrespected and abused. While they don't expressing their own needs or maintain their own protective boundaries, they do hold expecations that their partner will value them for being such a seemingly unselfish, serving person.
Neither of these personality types are normal or capable of forming healthy, secure, mutually rewarding personal relationships. People Pleasers are less damaging to other people than are narcissists, however, the ultimate goal of relationships is to be equally 'yoked' together, not joined in dysfunction and misery.
1. What are some of your deepest hurts? (They blame others but don't admit being hurt. They don't admit weakness and they can't access their interior self) 2. Why is it so difficult to the point of impossible for you admit flaws or mistakes? (Thick wall of defensiveness). 3. Why do you feel the need to impress strangers? (Fishing for admiration) 4. Why do my differences threaten you so much? (No empathy, see life from another person's perspective). 5. Do you honestly believe that your opinions cancel out the validity of others' opinions? (I don't want to know your opinion as mine is the only opinion that counts). 6. In what ways do you need to grow and change? (If they need to change, it implies that they are not a complete person, means you don't have it all together, illustrates that they live with hidden shame) 7. If I make you feel so frustrated, why do you keep coming back? (Conflict and tension makes them feel superior) 8. Why do you go silent? (Fear shown by their passive aggressive anger)
Normal 1. I like being personal. 2. I like being accountable. 3. I don't want to ever stop learning and growing. 4. I want to be free and don't have to hide behind pretenses. 5. Love me, love my dog - When you get me, you get what comes with me. 6. Coming to terms with your mistakes and failures is part of the growth process. I embrace that. 7. If we love each other it means we love all of each other. Life is simpler when we are not conniving and looking for an angle. 8. We each are a combination of pluses and minuses.
As we enter into our relationships, there is 'knowing' which means we might accumulate certain facts and impressions about each other and then there's 'knowing,' which means that we share who we are at the heart level. Narcissists don't have it in them to share at the heart level.
Giving Brings Joy
A person who cares about their partner will naturally enjoy giving their partner joy. They look for ways to make their partner feel special, but they are not toxic people pleasers. People who are in love, don't need to preach 'submission sermons' to their partner or use threats, guilt trips and other forceful strategies. And if a forceful strategy was applied, a well adjusted spouse would not submit to such disrespectful demands. Healthy, loving relationships are shared by partners who guard well the line of respect between them.
No! A loving wife will DESIRE to submit to her loving husband to make him happy. And a loving husband will DESIRE to submit to his loving wife. This is because both partners in a loving, compatible marriage will enjoy making the other happy. Submission is mutually voluntary and desired. Submission is an act whereby we try to please our partner. Each partner of the relationship has this desire in a normal, happy marriage.
Things get lopsided when only one partner is exptected to submit continually, repeatedly. Remember what narcissism looks like? One person is continually 'right' and one person is continually having to submit to the 'perfect' person's will. Furthermore, when things become lopsided and one partner is valued more than the other, the submission is no longer genuine, but becomes faked and resentment grows because of the unfairness.
Many people from religious backgrounds believe that wives MUST submit - in all things - to their husbands. Even if the wife resents being forced by God to submit, she must do so anyway. She must pretend to submit to him and fake her submission. She must induce a disassociative state in her mind. She must disassociate her true feelings and cause her mind and body to accept some situation that she is opposed to - either doing, speaking or accepting. Further, if a wife refuses to submit to her husband, some religious people believe a husband is ENTITLED to FORCE his wife to 'submit' to him. Such religious people usually also believe that God is bossy too and that God is entitled to beat sinners into submission. In actual fact, in the Bible, the apostle Paul advises women to submit to their husbands, but also for husbands to submit to their wives. He further states that husbands should submit to Christ and to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Christians believe that Christ loved the church and died to save the church. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." A husband has been given the responsiblity by God to love his wife and to 'take the bullet for his wife.' He has not been given authority from God to bully and boss his wife or to demand her submission to him. He is to win her voluntary submission by loving her, wooing her, romancing her and offering her the security of his love - as Christ wins the submision of the church - through Love.
How is this belief that a wife must submit to her husband different from the main theme of porn? Shared Principles of Religious Submission & Female Submission in Porn
a woman's role is to submit to a man's demands;
a woman is evil/needs punishment if they resist the man's demands;
a man is entitled to force a woman to submit to his demands;
love is not part of the submission process
a woman must mentally disassociate in order to show an outward submission
We need to detect the tentacles of porn in our everyday lives including in our religious beliefs. So what happens when we realise we are being 'bullied' or bossed into accepting disrespectful behaviour?
We certainly have a problem when unloving, incompatible spouses try to force us to behave in ways which are not acceptable, or when they try to force us to accept their poor behaviour.
Much trouble arises when unhappy spouses try to force the other partner to 'submit' through cruel strategies. They are coerced, criticised, disrespected, shamed, humiliated or abused. Under those conditions a partner is not being respected. If a partner does not show respect, then a man or woman might do well to disengage from the conversation and calmly state, "What you just said is not acceptable. I will only talk to you about this if you stay calm show respect for my opinion." Healthy people, when they recognise that they are being disrespected, will politely disengage from the conversation and wait for the apology that should be forthcoming. If no apology is offered, then they recognise that there is a serious issue, an abusive issue, that needs to be sorted out before the relationship can develop further.
Look for normal. When you recognise normal, you'll be able to avoid the pitfalls of being connected in a relationship with those who are wounded and who will cause further injury to your soul.
Look for signs of love.
What is Love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Love is normal. Love will always be normal, but it is becoming very uncommon to see it demonstrated today.
Pornified society is a breeding ground for Narcissists and People Pleasers. Porn's customers are trained to be Narcissists while the commodities are trained to be People Pleasers, however People Pleasers can switch to become Narcissists! Narcissists don't seem to become People Pleasers though.
As our society becomes more pornified, we need to be aware of the danger involved in connecting our lives with Narcissists and People Pleasers. Narcissists are usually more damaging in a relationship.
A knowledge that we are loved and valuable just because we exist is normal.
Love in our hearts - for ourselves and for every other human being, makes us normal. We love others not as doormats, but in a way that was described by Jesus 'as we would like to be loved ourselves.' In other words, do what is best for that other person, just as you should do for yourself.
We believe that a Source of Love created us and implanted in our hearts, a need to be loved and valued. We believe that the Source of Love also values us.
We can't prove to you that such a supernatural being exists, but we can certainly see the consequences of believing we are loved and valued compared to the consequences of believing we are unloved and unvalued.