Sunday, April 25, 2010

Am I Still Hooked?

Why is that once we have identified our family member or friend as a hurtful person, we still go back for more? Maybe not right away. Perhaps we let some time go by and things to cool off, but at the first call for help, or that we are needed, wanted, desired, and we go right back.

There are many explanations for why we remain hooked on those that hurt. There is never one clear cut answer for anything in life. Life is complicated consisting of one interacting confounding variable after another. In other words, one reason piled up on top of another to explain why we do the things we do. I believe it is a combination of things, Nurture AND Nature, biological influences/birth order/role assignment/learned behavior from our Family of Origins in the Land of Narcissism, Abuse, and Dysfunction. I was the oldest raised by a Malignant Narcissistic single parent, so my focus became entirely on the needs of others and lost myself. Then there is the biological influence that Women by design are the Care Takers where Men by design are the Protectors & Defenders.

I chose the field of Psychology to build my career which you all know is the study of behavior & focuses on helping the needs of others. Psychology (lit. "study of the soul" or "study of the mind"). I don't know which desire was stronger that led me to select careers in Psychology, the need to make sense of a senseless nightmare that I endured & survived, or the need to help others. Surely if I learned my trade well, then I could help my Narcissistic Mother change her hurtful ways, and I could help heal the wounds of abuse that my Siblings and I sustained. There is a reason that they say professionals should not work on family & friends, but I thought that because FOO (Family of Origin) refused to seek help I would bring the help to them. HUGE Mistake! It is interesting, you can spend less than an hour with a complete stranger and help them gain insight and change their life significantly, but people who you know your entire life, hours upon hours, years upon years of tilling the rock-solid ground of stubbornness, providing nourishing soil of knowledge, planting seeds of wisdom, and pulling weeds of lies yield a fruitless harvest. It is only until recently that I fully realized & most importantly accepted that my Family of Origin mustwork the land themselves. Each one must do their part. I can not do it for them. Like the Holy Handbook says, a man who does not work, does not eat. You can not force feed change.

Another large hook in my life was suffering for the Savior or Save Her complex. This is a huge mistake many Christians and other Believers and even Non-Believers make. We keep running into the burning building of Abuse and coming out empty handed with lots of 7th degree burns. The 7th degree burn is the one that attacks so deeply that it affects one's very soul. Like the bones in a 6th degree burn, the soul is charred beyond salvation. The wounds from the 7th degree burn, unlike the ones from the previous six leave no visible damage, but left undetected & untreated will destroy lives for generations to come. When the fire of Dysfunction, Narcissism, and Abuse are raging out of control, the only thing that can extinguish it is the Living Water of Jesus. The life saving Living Water of Jesus brings abundant life to a Graveyard of Abuse. Only Christ can raise something this dead, butI can not. I have got to stop getting in God's way and stop what is not working and get out of God's way. It is a very hard thing to do. However, it is the right thing to do. It is the necessary thing to do. And it is the loving thing to do. When the damage from the Land of Narcissism, Abuse, and Dysfunction is so severe, you can not only take a sip or two, you have got to drink the entire glass of Living Water. You have got to take a dive, head first, into the Living Water.

By Susan Anderson

Why is it that the more they hurt you, the deeper in goes the hook?

When pain is introduced when you’re forming an attachment, it strengthens the attachment. I mentioned that when the researcher accidentally stepped on the toe of the duck, the duck imprinted him stronger than the other ducks. I also mentioned that fraternities inflict pain in their “hazing” to make the new “pledges” more loyal and bonded to the fraternity.

Here’s a little more explanation. The Zagarnic effect shows that the more problematic a situation is, the more enduring its impact upon your motivation. The study gave problem-solving tests to two groups. The control group had an easy-to-solve problem; the other group was given a problem that couldn’t be solved within the time-limit. Researchers went back to the two groups many years later. The ones who couldn’t solve the problem still remembered what it was about, but the control group had forgotten all about it.

When someone causes you to feel pain, the mammalian part of the brain (it is unconscious) creates an impression of that person so that it can warn you (with stress signals) to proceed with extreme caution during your next contact with him. This extra arousal from your autonomic nervous system gets confused with “being excited.” It arouses your “fight or flight” response, which gears you up for “competitive mode,” and the challenge holds your interest.

Also, someone who arouses those old familiar insecurity feelings reminds your mammalian brain of old feelings you had as a child when you were trying to gain your parent’s attention or acceptance, and this creates a kind of special arousal that hooks you in – and you find yourself “groveling.”
Regardless of the reason, if you find yourself in this position, first know that you are not alone. The best among us have probably been in this position. The key is to learn take back control of your life.

You are not your mammalian brain – it’s just a powerful part of your biological being. The antidote is to take 100% responsibility for your emotional needs, stop looking to your partner to take away the pain that he or she caused in the first place. It’s your job to set your life right.

Just don’t underestimate the strength it takes. And don’t judge anyone who is caught up in this. This is all about being human and learning not to be ruled by your addictive emotions – by your primitive brain.

Another explanation for, The more They hurt you the more They hook you is Partial Reenforcement. The toxic, dysfunctional Narcissistic family or friends are like a slot machines: very often you loose, every now and again you win the jackpot -- or at least you think you win the jackpot. Problem is the jackpot is just a deceptive illusion, a fake, a fraud, a Counterfeit.

Think of the Counterfeit person as an Evil Scientist who uses behavior modification to his/her wicked advantage. The Evil Scientist uses the power of positive and negative reinforcement to keep us hooked.

  • Positive reinforcement is an increase in the future frequency of a behavior due to the addition of a stimulus immediately following a response. Giving (or adding) food to a dog contingent on its sitting is an example of positive reinforcement (if this results in an increase in the future behavior of the dog sitting). How does this look in a healthy relationship? Every time your spouse does something nice & unexpected you reward him/her with sign of affection, praise, hugs & kisses. How this looks in the Land of Narcissism, Abuse, and Dysfunction is every time you ignore the warnings of your friends & family who have your best interest at heart and side w/the Counterfeit/Evil Scientist s/he rewards you with praise, hugs & kisses. The goal for the Evil Scientist is toseparate/alienate you from the feedback of others, so that you rely & trust only him/her.

  • Negative reinforcement is an increase in the future frequency of a behavior when the consequence is the removal of an aversive stimulus. An example is if a mouse presses a button to avoid shock. Do not confuse this concept with punishment. There are two variations of negative reinforcement:
    • Avoidance conditioning occurs when a behavior prevents an aversive stimulus from starting or being applied.
    • Escape conditioning occurs when behavior removes an aversive stimulus that has already started.

Counterfeit People/Evil Scientists primarily use negative reinforcement. In an toxic relationship, we constantly find ourselves how do I avoid another negative out come from the Counterfeit Person (any where from a silent treatment to verbal & physical assaults)? What do I have to do to make him/her happy? -- they have trained us well haven't they? Then if we had an independent thought or behavior that the Counterfeit didn't approve of the negative outcome occurs. Now it is what do I have to do, how great of a compromise or sacrifice to I have to offer to escape this negative outcome and bring it to an end? With couples it often occurs with "Make Up Sex" after a fight which further reinforces the abusers that it is okay to attack, because there will be a great pay-off afterwards. The Evil Scientist and his/her subject become one another's reinforcers of dysfunction. Some abusers have honestly convinced themselves that their spouse/subject likes it rough, because the sex immediately follows the attack. He mistakenly believes that it is her willingness/eagerness to have sex after a fight that she is enjoying this dysfunctional interaction when in reality she is trying to avoid & escape further escalation from her abuser. The successful avoidance & escape of an escalated dangerous situation is a great physical relief to the victim and s/he can confuse her/his own relief as romantically turned on.

People in abusive & dysfunctional toxic relationships are hooked on the pay-off. I like what Susy from Web of Narcissism has said recently, "To further explain to Repetitive Compulsion Disorder: scientists have conducted experiments with lab rats proving this condition. A rat is given a button sequence to extract pellets and quickly works out how many times he needs to nose push to receive a meal. The number of pushes may be altered daily and the rat will work out the number required.If, however, the button is changed to random the rat becomes agitated and frenzied. He will repetitively push and push the button scattering pellets all over the floor, and ignore all other distractions in his cage. Why? Because his sense of stability is threatened. The same occurs in narcissistic relationships. Love partners become hooked to the narcissist because emotional stability is unobtainable. Women go in harder trying to create a ‘set result.’ This is why poker machines hook people. Women become severely addicted to narcissists, ‘pushing the button’ all the way to their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual bankruptcy. Morbidly and dangerously they become so empty and powerless that they can barely perceive a life without the narcissist, and spiral into a deep dark pit. In essence the victim feels and becomes the annihilating depression that the narcissist avoids by feeding off her energy. He has taken your light and you have become his darkness."

The bottom line for me is, that my self-worth is too high of a sacrifice to pay for a lousy sticky piece of cheese. Does it really matter how the hook got there, how deep the hook is, or even why it has remained there for as long as it did? I know for myself, I can get so caught up in the how's & the why's of it all that I lose sight of the Where & the When. Where is the damage located, Where can I get help to remove it, and When can I get rid of it. I believe what matters most is to find out where the hook is so we can remove it & throw the hook away immediately! I initially said, throw the hook back, but I don't want the Counterfeit to use this hook on anyone else!

Oh one last thought, as Counterfeits age the mask is to heavy and they no longer put it on, and after all every time they showed their true self, their world did not come to an end -- they just got rid of the Truth teller (us) or we left on our own. Everyone else just puts up and shuts up and has "just accepted them as they are" and has not asked them to change in the past and now it is just too late.


  1. This is a tough thing for people to accept when their hearts yearn for intimacy with family members. We can see what the relationship could BE (especially when life was tough as kids and we bonded to our siblings), but unless they are equally committed to the relationship, we just keep getting disappointed over and over and over again.

    This quote comforts me a little bit when I'm wishing things could be different than what they are:

    "Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; wait for it to grow in their heart. But if it does not, be content it grew in yours."

    This is comforting to me because it says so much about our resiliency and willingness to risk vulnerability. The hook is that we KNOW how amazing love can be, the great healer to our wounds.

    WE want to share it with people we care about.

    We want them to find peace in their lives by connecting with siblings who love them and KNOW them intimately.

    As they say, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink."

    I try to take the Long View. In other words, I cannot possibly know how my own life will turn out, much less someone else's.

    The relationship may not be TODAY what it might be TOMORROW so getting my own boundaries in a healthy place and 'hoping' without 'helping' might be the key to a sibling taking personal responsibility for their circumstances.


  2. CZ, I love the quote you gave.
    "Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; wait for it to grow in their heart. But if it does not, be content it grew in yours."

    Yes, I will be content that the love grew in my heart for my nS. I will still have hope that she will get rid of her Nh & Nm and the N traits of D&D people who are of no use to her anymore -- until she needs something.

    Hoping w/out helping is the key that I will put to good use when that unavoidable "call for help" comes again.

    God bless you & everyone who contributes to