When you are in a relationship with someone who does not have the capacity to grow, change, or develop awareness about their behaviors and the impact they have on you or others, you are in deep trouble. Someone who cannot feel the depth or variety of emotions that most do, or one who has no conscious about their actions or the pain they cause someone else, can wreck your life.
One trick of knowing who is abusive and who to avoid is to figure out who can change, but this is not always so easy early on, it takes time, and the ones we most need to avoid are masters of trickery and deceit. They appear normal and fool many, but it is their intimate partner who will eventually feel the truth. Many of these deceivers are very high functioning charmers, and although spotting them is a skill that can be learned, it isn't foolproof, and even when you know what to look out for, or have already been burned by one, they can still manage to get you again if you aren't mindful of them every second. More powerful and reliable than using a wing and prayer to know who you should invest your time in or who you should avoid, is understanding what attracts destructive men to certain women, and knowing what deflects them.
There are almost 60 million American's involved with partners who are disordered on some level, according to Sandra Brown of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education, and the creator of SafeRelationshipsMagazine.com. The destruction in women's lives crosses all aspects of their existence~it is not only physical devastation that women suffer, and that may be far less frequent than how often women are being negatively damaged and impacted verbally, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, professionally, or financially on a regular basis.
The characteristics of women who involve themselves with pathological men, by nature, are unusually strong and the finding so common amongst them, that Sandra Brown coined the term "hyper-traits" when describing women who fall for or love pathological men. These women tested over 80% higher in certain traits than other women who did not fall victim to destructive men. These elevated traits can get women noticed by, and trapped, in toxic, destructive, harmful relationships; clearly, women knowing they have these traits would serve them well.
Here is a partial list of the traits that might get a woman pursued or snagged by a bad guy~if you have them in excess, seems you might as well wear a target on your forehead, because the most undesirable guys are looking for you!
OVERTLY COMPASSIONATE BY NATURE IN DEFAULT MODE, SHE WILL AUTOMATICALLY GIVE MORE CHANCES THAN ANOTHER, NATURALLY LESS, COMPASSIONATE PERSON WOULD
BUFFERS FOR OTHER PEOPLE THEY WANT TO SHIELD OTHERS FROM FEELING PAIN OR EMBARRASSMENT (i.e.-they are ultra nurturing and sympathetic)
HIGHLY TRUSTING THEY BELIEVE THE INTENTIONS OF OTHERS MATCH THEIR OWN INTENTIONS, AND THAT OTHERS ARE ALWAYS HONORABLE, SO THEY ARE NATURALLY OFF-GUARD WITH PEOPLE AND UNSUSPECTING
HIGHLY TOLERANT OF CHALLENGE, INTRUSION, DIFFICULTY, AND EVEN PAIN. THIS ALLOWS THEM TO RETURN WHERE OTHERS COULD NOT TAKE IT.
HIGHLY HOPEFUL ALSO ALLOWS THEM TO RETURN IN THE BELIEF THAT IT CAN GET BETTER OR THAT HE WILL CHANGE. HE PLAYS ON THIS KNOWINGLY.
HIGHLY FORGIVING THEY SEE OTHERS AS HAVING EQUAL CHARACTERISTICS AS THEIR OWN, SO THEY GIVE MANY CHANCES WITHOUT JUDGMENT BECAUSE THEY SEE THIS AS FAIR, CHANGE AS POSSIBLE, AND THEY BELIEVE HE IS APPROACHING LIFE WITH THE SAME CHARACTERISTICS.
STRONG BELIEVERS IN POTENTIAL/POSSIBILITY THEY BELIEVE EVERYONE HAS THE ABILITY TO CHANGE BECAUSE THEY HAVE SUCH A GREAT CAPACITY TO CHANGE, GROWN AND TO BE FORGIVING THEMSELVES
HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS THEY EXPECT THAT EVERYONE SEES CHALLENGE THE SAME WAY THEY DO AND THAT HE HAS THE SAME POTENTIAL, SO THEY CONSISTENTLY GIVE OPPORTUNITIES, TRUST WHERE OTHERS WOULD NOT.
HIGHLY COMPETITIVE THESE WOMEN DON'T WANT TO FAIL. THEY STAY TOO LONG TRYING TO FIX SOMETHING THAT OFTEN CAN'T BE FIXED. SIMPLY PUT, THEY DON'T GIVE UP EASILY WHEN IT SEEMS THE FIXING IS DIFFICULT, THEY STICK IT OUT, INSTEAD, STAY LOYAL AND DEVOTED IN THE HOPES AND BELIEF THAT IT (HE/THEY) CAN IMPROVE.
TELL TOO MUCH TOO SOON (providing what I call "Silver Platter Disclosure"): DISCLOSING TOO MUCH INFORMATION TOO SOON, MAKING IT EASY FOR SOMEONE TO GET TO KNOW HER. THIS SETS HER UP IN A TRAP~ALLOWING HIM TO MIRROR HER LIKES, DISLIKES, AND SUPPORT HER GOALS IMMEDIATELY, TO FAKE A CONNECTION. SHE THINKS SHE FOUND A SOUL-MATE.
This last one is critical~if the only one you remember is the last one, it can save you from the pursuit of a destructive charmer. These are just some traits that abusive, destructive, or pathological men seek out when searching for a partner~and it should comes as no surprise that these kind of men will be lacking in the area where the women are strong, creating a magnetic pull towards each other by default. UGH. That's why it is must-know information for women; our traits won't change, and our attraction-factors will typically remain the same, so we must be equipped with information that helps us avoid harm, and this is it.
Women who have an excess of these traits and don't know it will automatically underestimate toxic men and miss the signs, so they must be aware of how they function when meeting a new man, dating, and then investing in a relationship by paying attention to how they are leading into the relationship. That takes practice and often, it takes someone pointing out exactly where and how it shows up, as it can be subtle.
If you've been in a destructive or pathological relationship, you will know they are very tough to break free from. There is a cycle of subtle control and dominance that most likely escalated through skilled and calm manipulation over time. It's the sneak-up-on-you kind of manipulation that makes you doubt you have actually been involved with an abusive kind. You may have experienced him throwing mini tantrums, giving you the silent treatment, or outright ignoring you and what you do or say/think. Physical threats or actual violence may have happened sporadically and/or inconsistently. Don't underestimate the situation. Unawareness is deadly. Spot the patterns and how they repeat, and you may start to see your traits revealing themselves to you. If you can spot that, you can stop the destruction in your life and start again from a new awareness and a profound ability to avoid relational harm. That's powerful.