It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Your Relationship Destiny

My life has become easier, more graceful, more loving, depth of companionship, depth of intimacy like never before. Here is why: When it’s your destiny, and when you are supposed to be somewhere or go through something and have the experience, the right person shows up in your life. The secret my wife Jan and I have figured out a long time ago is that we didn’t need each other to love one another, we needed to love ourselves. 

You are the source of your love. You are the source of your happiness. You. 

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When Love Feels Like An Addiction

Love is an essential component of any relationship. Unfortunately, for those in relationships with addicts or narcissists, love can begin to feel like an addiction itself. Individuals in these types of relationships must develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that mimic the behaviors commonly associated with addiction. 

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The Ripple Effect of LOVE

Seeking more love in your life?

A fast, easy way to make it happen is to put your attention on all the love that is already around you (family, friends, pets, etc.) and then actively engage in making love happen and spread by creating a “ripple effect.”

Everything we do and think affects the people in our lives and the choices we make have far-reaching consequences. Like an incredibly interwoven and complicated tapestry, the Ripple Effect, creates connections that we are all a part of. Thoughts and actions are like stones dropped in a pond and they create ripples that travel outward.

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5 Simple Ways To Show Your Love for Humanity

Love comes in various shapes, forms, and varying degrees but it is an essential part of humanity. The greatest kind of love is not the love of yourself. Rather, it is the love towards your fellow humans, even for those you don’t know and that are not part of your family. It is often hard to love humanity when you see certain things people are capable of doing, but there are still billions of others who deserve love and kindness. If you would love to work on yourself and your love towards humanity and seek ways to show that, here are simple ways to do it. 

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Flirting 101 – Come On, Have Some Fun!

Flirting is a time-honored way of signaling interest and attraction in another person. It’s an essential aspect of human interaction and can be an open portal for intimate relationships between two people.

While most people think of flirting as an overt sexual act, it doesn’t have to be.

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Traits of Successful Women Who Manifested Their Conscious Partner

You’ve heard the cliché, “success leaves a trail of breadcrumbs,” and having met and interviewed tons of smart, super-successful women who went from alone and dateless to happily married to their conscious soulmate, I have compiled a list (in no particular order) of the qualities they brought forward in themselves to make it happen.

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See the Good in Others

What do you notice in people?

The Practice:
See the good in others.

Why?

Many interactions these days have a kind of bumper-car quality to them. At work, at home, on the telephone, via email: we sort of bounce off of each other while we exchange information, smile or frown, and move on. How often do we actually take the extra few seconds to get a sense of what’s inside other people – especially their good qualities?

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Resolving Conflict Without Talking About Problems

In the last few decades, partners have spent countless hours trying to "work out problems." Yet frequently they come up against a major roadblock: they just don't see things the same way. No matter how long they talk and how hard they try, neither ends up feeling heard and understood.

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Recognizing The Difference Between Real Love And Love Bombing

Everyone dreams of their ideal partner. In these dreams, the ideal partner comes into their life and becomes the answer to all of their problems and the person to fill their life with love, happiness, and joy at being together. 

Being in true love is a fantastic experience. Science now understands more of those initial feelings of instant connection and attraction to potential partners as the release of dopamine in parts of the brain that create wellness and feel-good experiences. At the same time, oxytocin and vasopressin levels increase, which increases the sensation of attachment and need for physical presence, as well as the sense of trust and empathy with the other person.
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Top Reasons We Ignore Red Flags When Dating A Narcissist

The early stages of any new relationship are always the most intense. This is the time when the exhilaration of meeting the right person is the most pronounced, and we feel immediately close and may even become focused on thinking about them frequently or on an ongoing basis.

This is typically a period of time when all of our emotional energy is on the relationship. Hormonal changes in the body, including higher levels of adrenaline, create a high level of emotional awareness. The levels of serotonin, which naturally calm and relax a person, are low, leading to a heightened sense of every interaction with the person who is the object of your focus.

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Texting as a Love Language

Several years ago, the New York Times quoted an online dater as saying:

“Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.”

Yes. This is true.

AND, now there is a way to break the code.

I’ve just finished reading a game changing book about love and texting.

Speaking in Thumbs, A Psychiatrist Decode Your Relationship Texts So You Don’t Have To is written by psychiatrist, Mimi Winsberg. (She is the former resident shrink for Facebook).

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The Impact Of Betrayal Trauma Caused By A Narcissist

People in relationships come to trust and believe in the other person in the relationship. Narcissists use this trust in a destructive way when they feel that the partner is doing anything that may potentially be harmful to them. However, given that the narcissist sees everything from a very distorted lens, even helpful behavior from the partner can trigger the narcissist to betray the partner in many different ways.

The Cycle Continues
Often adults who are narcissists had a very dysfunctional relationship with their own loved ones. This is often a parent caregiver, typically a mother, who was not there to support the child and who caused damage and harm in that mother-child relationship. The child may experience his or her betrayal trauma in the dysfunctional relationship. Over time, the child may decide that the best way to protect themselves is to leave immediately, attack, distance themselves, or stay emotionally unavailable.

The new adult partner does not realize this dynamic is in play. Instead, they often see a confident, loving, and almost doting partner, at least in the first stages of the relationship. Then, slowly, the exploitive nature of the narcissist begins to come to the surface, often through controlling, verbally, mentally, and emotionally abusive behaviors. In some cases, physical abuse may also be present.

The Power of Intermittent Reinforcement 
To avoid the partner leaving, the narcissist often uses a process known as intermittent reinforcement. It is a process that uses random, unpredictable rewards and positive experiences to motivate people to stay through negative experiences. A prime example of the power of intermittent rewards is gambling, particularly for those with gambling addictions. Even though gamblers only win randomly and infrequently, the positive feelings associated with that win keep them at the tables against all odds.

The same is true for many people in relationships with narcissists. Although there is more negative than positive, when the positives occur, they draw the partner back into the relationship. Unfortunately, this sets up the risk of another betrayal trauma as the narcissist reverts to ghosting, abuse, or a combination of damaging behaviors. In this way, the narcissist becomes both the source of the pain (emotional or other) and the solution (brief moments of intense connection).

Typical Signs of Trauma Bonding and Betrayal Trauma
The following signs are indicators of trauma bonding in the relationship or betrayal trauma after the relationship:

• A sense of connection exists – you continue to feel a strong connection to the narcissist despite the overwhelming negativity, control, and abuse.

• Need their validation – not only is there a sense of wanting to connect, but you may also want their approval or that brief period of time when you have hope there has been a real change.

• Accepting the unacceptable – you may find you accept the bad behavior and even minimize it or attempt to rationalize why it occurred, often blaming yourself for their issues.

• You feel sorry for them – the narcissist often creates a sense of being the victim and playing upon your sympathy and empathy.

• Defending the indefensible – you defend his or her behaviors to friends and family, even after they have betrayed and emotionally wounded you over and over again.

Most people find that betrayal trauma is made worse by accepting the narcissist back after being discarded. Often the narcissist comes back with a grand gesture, including stating he or she will go to counseling, only to set you up for another betrayal when they revert to their typical bad behavior.

Tips For Healing  
It is essential to recognize that betrayal trauma is likely to occur in a relationship with a narcissist. They create a trauma bond and make themselves vital to your life, and then they leave.

To begin healing from betrayal trauma, it is important to:

• Seek therapy – a trained therapist can help you to process the betrayal and reduce the impact of trauma on your life. As a licensed psychotherapist, I help clients through somatic experiencing, poly vagal exercises, tapping and other trauma modalities to heal the attachment trauma that occurs after a narcissistic relationship.

• Talk about the truth – it is essential to talk about your reality and experiences in the relationship in an honest way. Do not gloss over, rationalize, or make excuses for their bad behavior.

• Set goals – setting personal goals and working to be the best you is one of the most effective ways to work through trauma.

• Joining a support group such as my online group coaching program Wake Up Recovery.  There is nothing more powerful that not feeling alone after a toxic relationship.

Betrayal can damage your trust in others. Working through the thoughts and emotions around betrayal by a narcissist helps you to process these issues and move forward in your life.

Resources Reviewed 
 

How to Create Harmonious Relationships

Our relationships with one another are often a source of distress. In general, the principal form of conflict we experience with others has to do with some form of consideration that we feel they are not giving to us. We often suffer from thoughts like these: “She is not being respectful enough.” “He is not as kind as I want him to be.” “They just don’t care as deeply as I do.”

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Pick a Partner That Has Your Back

For better or worse.

Through thick and thin.

Will take a bullet for you.

Is solid as a rock.

Always has your back and is your biggest cheerleader and safe place to land.

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Do You Believe You Have to Prove Your Love?

Melanie grew up with a narcissistic mother who demanded that Melanie conform to her mother’s concept of how a child should behave. To protect herself from her mother's anger, blame and disapproval, Melanie tried to be the "perfect child". She got excellent grades in school, was obedient at home, and never did anything to cause her parents to worry about her. She would listen for hours to her mother's complaints, becoming a mother to her mother by the time she was twelve years old. Melanie was parentified and learned to be a caretaker, always trying to prove to her mother that she loved her.

Yet no matter what Melanie did to please her mother, it was never enough.

Her mother would always find something to scream at her about, something to blame her for, something which, in her mother's mind, justified her intense disapproval. Not only did her mother not feel loved by Melanie, but her mother would also accuse Melanie of being selfish. This crazy-making situation created much confusion for Melanie, and she absorbed the belief that there was something wrong with her.

In Melanie's mind, the only way she could feel like she was a good person was to prove to others who were important to her that she loved them. This pattern continued in her marriage. Melanie married a man much like her mother - a narcissist who constantly demanded her time and attention. Again, no matter how much time and attention she gave to her husband, and no matter how much sex she had with him, it was never enough. Like her mother, her husband was never happy with her and was frequently angry, blaming and disapproving of her.

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How to Foster Emotional Intelligence in Your Relationship

Everyone needs something a bit different in their romantic relationships. You might want something long-term or need a low-key relationship that takes it slow. No matter what your priorities are, everyone aligns when it comes to emotional intelligence. It makes every partnership thrive, so learn how to foster emotional intelligence in your relationship with these tips.

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Top Reasons Narcissists Don’t Allow Closure

Most people have had at least one bad relationship. Often these toxic relationships end badly, with one person storming off and never being heard from or seen again by the other. In fact, in many of these types of difficult relationships, neither person wants to see the other.

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How To be the BEST Grandparent

On Saturday I organized a Celebration of Life for my mother with more than 70 family and close friends in attendance at the Catamaran resort overlooking the water.

We had a decadent buffet, face-painters, temporary tattoos, and butterfly wings for the kids, a musical performance by our dear friends Ron Bohmer and Sandra Joseph (they starred in Phantom of the Opera for 10 years as the Phantom and Christine) along with many heart opening and funny tributes.

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The Art of Listening

"Real listening is about seeing who someone is and loving them."

There’s a lot of people talking, but the question is, are we really listening to each other? In today’s episode, we will dive into the Art of Listening. With so much division and polarization in today’s society, it’s important that we understand how much listening can impact our daily lives. Learn how listening can improve your relationships and so much more.

Some Questions I Ask:

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Understanding The Love Avoidant And The Narcissist: Similarities And Differences

The terms love avoidant and narcissist are often used interchangeably, but these two types of individuals are not always the same. They do have similarities, but there are also differences that have an impact on the relationship. As a general statement, all narcissists are love avoidant, but people can be love avoidant and not be narcissists.

This can be confusing. Taking a closer look at each type of person will clarify the signs to watch for in any relationship. Understanding if the new partner is a love avoidant or a narcissist will help you determine if it is time to end the relationship or consider working with a therapist to restructure the relationship and stay together.

The Common Background Issues 
Everyone has a different background, particularly their relationship with their earliest caregivers. Caregivers are typically biological parents, but for some children, this could be grandparents, legal guardians, or adoptive parents.

Both the narcissist and the love avoidant usually have a history of abandonment by caregivers. This can be abandonment that is emotional, where the caregivers are physically present but neglect to care for the child’s emotional wellbeing. These parents may fawn over the child one minute, only to ignore the child the next. The child learns early in life that there is no one to rely on for this emotional support, so they turn inwards. The child sees others as untrustworthy and looks to his or herself for love and a sense of who they are in the world.

As this child grows, he or she learns that others are a source of emotional pain. To protect themselves, these children and adults put up walls to seal out the risk of emotional pain. They avoid emotional connections and remain distant and aloof in social interactions and in intimate relationships.

Signs of Narcissists and Love Avoidants
The following are signs of love avoidance and narcissism. Look for patterns and consistent behavior and not just one particular behavior that can include:
•  A lack of true intimacy on an emotional level
•  Putting more emphasis on things rather than people
•  Showing a lack of emotional range
•  Signs of perfectionism
•   Lacking close friends or group of friends

At the same time, there are also differences between the two. Some of these include:
•  The love avoidant is distant to protect self, the narcissist sees him or herself as superior to others and above having a relationship with an inferior person
•  The love avoidant attempts to isolate from others, the narcissist feels a sense of entitlement to control others
•  The love avoidant may be dismissive of others to keep them away, the narcissist is dismissive of others because they are not his or her equals
•  The love avoidant moves away from relationships, the narcissist rushes the partner into relationships using love bombing and other techniques
•  Love avoidants have low self-esteem and typically have some level of difficulty in social situations, the narcissist appears highly self-confident and seeks out ways to highlight their superiority in social settings. In reality, both struggle with self-esteem issues.
•  The love avoidant blames self for all things, the narcissist blames everyone else for things, even those they are fully responsible for creating.
•   Love avoidants

Tips for Relationships with Love Avoidants and Narcissists 
In general, both narcissists and love avoidants can make changes with therapy and support. However, as with most change, they must want to do the work to make the change. Both of these individuals can have very different personalities in public and in private, and they may see the positive public side as an accurate representation of their reality. They often dismiss the distress of the partner, and it is not uncommon for the love avoidant to have some of the traits and behaviors of the narcissist, particularly in the relationship.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist or a love avoidant, it is essential to:
•   Seek therapeutic support or a support group such as Wake Up Recovery for healing love addiction and toxic relationships  for yourself to avoid emotional pain and damage
•    Set boundaries to protect your wellbeing and establish the ground rules for the relationship if it is to continue
•   Stop making excuses and justifying the behavior of the partner
•   Learn how to communicate your needs in the relationship
•   Develop healthy self-care routines

It will also be critical to make a decision as to the changes you need to see to continue working on the relationship. Many people find that ending the relationship is an essential part of their own wellbeing if the narcissist or love avoidant is unwilling or unable to change.

Websites reviewed:

Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM. 

30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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