Posts Tagged: User

Users and Abusers: Understanding Exploitive Relationships Part 1

Ever been in a relationship where you end up feeling used? Maybe it was that girl in high school that befriended you just to get to know your quarterback older brother. Or maybe it was more recently at work when your competitive coworker took credit for your project’s success even though she contributed very little.

Unfortunately, there are people in the world that exploit others for their own gain. Dealing with this type of person is bad enough when they pretend to be your friend. It’s all together intolerable if you are bonded to this type of person by marriage or blood. Trying to have a voice, to state an opinion, or to ask for an apology become insurmountable tasks that seem to cause more trouble than they are worth in the short term.

If you are feeling dismayed by how you are treated in your relationship, you may be with an exploitive person. Exploitation is the mistreatment of others in order to benefit from their work. Exploitative relationships consist of one party taking advantage of another, using an imbalance of power to control of another, or to unrightfully benefit from another’s vulnerabilities.

How to Recognize the Signs you are with a User

People who use others for personal gain usually have these things in common.

• experiences great difficulty taking responsibility or blame
• lacks sincere empathy for the hurt he’s caused another
• is defensive, blame shifting, passionately aggressive about protecting his ego and/or reputation
• has a strong sense of entitlement to special privileges, honors, favors, and compliance
• has an inflated sense of self-importance and superiority
• is largely unable to identify with others needs if in conflict with his own needs
• is exploitative in nature, willing to take advantage of other people to achieve own goals
• is hypersensitive to criticism or the appearance of failure
• has a bottomless need for admiration, approval or praise
• discusses his own life, desires, concerns at length while giving little or no time to listen to others
• has a low tolerance for perceived failure, weakness, or ignorance and will lie in order to avoid being seen as such
• expects to be given whatever he wants or feels he needs, no matter the cost to others

If you wonder if you are with an exploitive person, take the Relationship Quiz here. Even though the person you are with may disguise his exploitive actions as benign, it is important for you to see and know the truth of your relationship. Only then, will you have the power to take necessary steps toward health and happiness.


The Real Reason We are Attracted to Bad Boys, Narcissistic Users and Sociopathic Abusers

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to bad boys? The narcissistic, emotionally unavailable guys your mother warned you about? Or the charming man who turns out to be a certified sociopath? If you dig a little deeper into the Bad Boy persona, you may very well find a narcissistic user, a sociopathic abuser, or a psychologically manipulative woman eater. Feeling attracted to a bad boy isn’t a bad thing, but falling in love with one expecting to get love back will leave you very disappointed.

Some say that women’s caretaking nature is piqued when they encounter someone “hard to love.” Perhaps the nurturing nature in women needs to reach the unreachable or love the unlovable. Others say that the Bad Boy represents a challenge to women and “fixing” him is a great ego boost. Here are the real reasons why you are attracted to Bad Boys.

1. Because Sociopathic Snakes are Sneaky

Remember the man-cub Mowgli in the Disney classic, “The Jungle Book?” Mowgli was a sweet, innocent boy all alone in the world and down on his luck when Kaa the snake just “happened along”. Disguising himself as a helpful friend, Kaa lured Mowgli into an unconscious slumber with the hypnotic power of his alluring gaze. The same thing happens to women everywhere.  Although your inner alarm systems warn you that things seem a little “off,” you decide to trust anyway. The promises are a direct hit, the sales pitch pitch-perfect, and the lies taste so sweet, you just want more.

The Snake has uncanny ability to hide his true self and intentions, making him seem like something he is not. All the while, you are being hunted, stalked and groomed by a predator. This process may feel like being romantically pursued, but make no mistake; he sees you as prey to be controlled and ultimately consumed.

He is unable to connect, to feel, or to have intimacy because reptiles don’t have the brain capacity to do that. Reptiles don’t stay in pods, or flocks, or herds. They live cold-blooded, slithering, loner lives hunting and consuming prey. They are great for insect and rodent population control but not for tenderhearted relationships. The trouble is you may not know he is a Snake until you get too close. You don’t know he is poised to strike, until he strikes you.


2. Because Your Inner Cave Woman is Really (REALLY) Enticed.

The Bad Boy is a symbol of all that your inner primitive cave-woman would find attractive: strength, virility, self-reliance, competitiveness, and confidence. All these characteristics make him a good catch to your inner cave woman. With all that machismo to protect, provide, and carry on the species- all the bells and whistles go off in the primitive part of your brain, and well, you’re turned on.

If the Bad Boy sets his attentions on you, you may find it difficult to resist. It feels flattering, ego-boosting, and sexually stimulating. The sex appeal can be astonishingly strong. He’ll say and do things that “respectable” boys won’t.  There is something thrilling about getting the manliest, macho-est (is that a word ?), smartest, or richest man in the room to take notice of “little-ole-you.” There is nothing wrong, sick, or misplaced about being attracted to a Bad Boy. However, to pursue him with hopes of making him truly love you is just north of crazy. He does not love. He possesses.

3. Because Narcissists has Convincing Groupies

Often times, the bad boy or narcissistic user will keep other respectable-looking people around him lending to his credibility and trustworthiness. I call them Groupies. It can be difficult to see the true identity of the Narcissistic User and Sociopathic Abuser if he often keeps other seemingly “good” people around making him look good. He may be edgy, or rude, or hostile or temperamental, but if he has “good” people around him making him look good, you dismiss his bad character traits.

4. Because You Have a Dream of  Making the Bad Boy Love You

You want to look past the bad so you can keep the image of what he could become always in your mind. You overlook the bullying, badgering, threats, and domination in order to keep your dream alive that someday your bad boy will turn into the man he was destined to be. You are the only one who believes in him, the only one who can see past the jerk on the outside to see the hurting boy on the inside. You hold the dream for both of you, and you’d rather die than give it up. You carry the hope, the responsibility and the work load of the dream for the both of you, often letting him completely off the hook from his end of the deal.


5. Because No One Showed You What True Love Is

There is one thing you have in common with every woman who has ever loved the Bad Boy, the Narcissistic User or the Sociopathic Abuser:  you thought you could get something from him that you couldn’t get for yourself—whether it be love, affirmation, validation, promotion, acceptance, or to just feel special. You believed that he could fill the hole, meet the need, be the miracle you always wanted. But he can’t love or affirm you because he’s too busy doing those things for himself.

You may have experienced feeling minimized, forgotten, used or neglected in the past, and have since grown numb to red flags. Maybe you have difficulty recognizing abuse, because people made excuses for it in your past and you were forced to accept those excuses to survive. Original abuses from the past may have set you up for future abuse from the Bad Boy, the Narcissistic User and the Sociopathic Abuser.

6. Because You Overlooked your Red Flags

If you are used to judgmental criticisms, emotionally abusive manipulation, shame-filled accusations, or unapologetic arrogance from your family of origin, you may overlook those things in your current relationship with a Bad Boy. You may have witnessed him hurting others without apology, calling names, talking with vulgarity, lying to someone, acting possessively, or ranting and raving. You may have overlooked or excused these things because unconsciously, you’re familiar with this kind of “bad” behavior from your family of origin.

The hope and promise of getting the unloving person to love you, the abandoning person to stay , or the egomaniac to think you’re special is so alluring that it’s deafening compared to any weak danger signals going off.

If you had to excuse other’s bad behavior just to survive growing up, it is unbelievably easy to excuse the dark side of the Bad Boy, the Narcissistic User or the Sociopathic Abuser. Making excuses for him instead of being alarmed by his degrading behavior, unfortunately just comes natural.


7. Because Bad Boys Seem So Perfect at First

Women often tell me that they never saw it coming. They never suspected the man they loved would end up being abusive, unfaithful, or wholly self-centered. One reason why you don’t suspect the User or Abuser’s true intentions is because they are highly skilled at creating false personas. You may have experienced something like a “love bomb” in the beginning of the relationship. Maybe he wouldn’t stop calling or giving you gifts or saying flattering things or showing signs of possessiveness right away. He bombed you with “good” things so you would look past the bad.

They are master manipulators, often craftily mixing things you know to be true with things you’re unsure of, until you push past reason and logic in order to believe them. Pathological lying is a skill. They practice until it’s nearly impossible to tell the fraudulent from the real. Everything looks right and sounds right, even though it does not feel right. He simply looks too good to be true… until he’s got you hooked, utterly dependent on him, and scared to leave.

What to Do if You’re Attracted to the Bad Boy, Narcissistic User or Sociopathic Abuserdanger-sign

Traumas, childhood neglect or abuse, and punctured self-esteem set women up to fall in love with bad boys, narcissistic users and sociopathic abusers. If you have traumatic neglect or abuse from the past, his selfish nature can draw you to him like a polar magnet. Even though your head, your friends, and your family may be telling you, “He’s not good for you,” you can fall for him anyway. It can feel impossible to say “no,” to his pull.

Step 1). The first step is to be aware of your tendency to be attracted to unhealthy partners. You may be aware now of your longing to be loved from partners who don’t have the capacity or willingness to give you that love. It’s like trying to draw water from an empty well.  It is important to hear and to trust the uneasy, slimy feeling you get when something looks too good to be true. Once you’ve realized this painful pattern, you can do something about it.

Step 2). The second step is to get help. Habits, patterns and love attractions are not easy to break and require some concerted team effort. Since, the initial attraction, chemistry and romantic feelings wear off eventually, it’s important to put your time and energy into changing more permanent character traits with-in yourself. You can do this by healing past traumas, breaking free of ineffective self-talk, learning healthy self-respect, and asserting your needs. You are worthy of feeling loved and valued. Getting supportive counseling can help you recover from Bad Boy Attraction once and for all.

Step 3). Pray. Seriously. The bad boy, narcissistic user and sociopathic abuser carry a dark cloud around with them. That dark cloud is not easily chased away just because you break up. Ask your friends or family to pray with you for safety, strength and provision. Pray for protection as you begin your new life, and for courage to stand strong against any attempts at getting you back in his clutches.

Why Sex Appeal is Not a Sure Indicator for Love

“I never felt the way I felt with him.”

“The passion was so intense between us.”

“I knew from the beginning that he was wrong for me, but something about him just pulled me in deeper.”

“When it was good, it was like fireworks.”

These are classic words from someone struggling to love or leave a User, Narcissist or Scally Wag. Most often, you will intuitively know if a partner is going to be good for you or not. You can tell by the person’s patterns of behaviors, past relationships, job history or lack thereof, if the person is going to be a decent catch.  But sometimes people still fall for “bad eggs” even when they know the person is not healthy for them.


For example, if he has children, how often does he see them? If she has gobs of credit card debt, is it from Nordstrom? If he boasts about being a Christian, does he go to and give to his church regularly? If you just met, is she pressuring you for a commitment? If he says he respects you, do you feel pressured to go faster than you want to go? Is she critical and judgmental, talking about others behind their backs? Is he a real jerk to other people, but overly nice to you? Does she expect you to buy her things that are out of your budget? These are examples of character flaws that should alert you to keep watch.

Most people will be alerted to these warning signs, and will take precautions to find a better catch. But others will ignore them, make excuses for them, and pretend they are not a big deal just to keep the relationship. Why?


Why do some people ignore the red flags warning them against toxic relationships with Users, Narcissists and Scally Wags?

One reason, among many, is sex appeal. You may be unexplainably attracted to a User. The intense eye contact, the light touch of his hand, or her flirtatious smile sends your body over the top. Your body responds to his/her overtures with explosive excitement. The sexual attraction you feel may be unparalleled to anything else you’ve ever experienced. This keeps you hooked. It’s hard to deny or resist the attraction because it seems to have a pull all its own.

The issue of sex appeal points to a larger and deeper issue of Soul Holes. Each of us carry around wounded parts of ourselves called Soul Holes. These are original wounds from long ago when our personality, values and character were being formed. If we didn’t get what we needed in childhood, we grow into adulthood with holes that beg to be filled. Those desires can get sexualized in development and become sexual stimulus, attraction and drive.

Often this sexual intensity is a sign that your Soul Hole is talking. The vulnerable part of yourself is unreasonably and unconsciously drawn to the type of person that never could or would fill your Soul Hole as a child. Sometimes people may even recognize a User first not by anything the User does or doesn’t do, but by the sexual feelings that arise in themselves. Pretty cool alert system, right?


If you had a father who was either absent or emotionally unavailable because of work, addiction, abandonment or mental illness, your inner little girl longs to be seen, valued, and cherished. Since you didn’t receive those important gifts from a father to a daughter, you carry these Soul Holes into adult hood. The trouble starts when you unconsciously look for the same distant, addicted or depressed personality to fill those original holes. Users, Narcissists and Scally Wags smell your vulnerability like a wolf waiting to attack.

If you had a mother who verbally shamed you, put you down, or compared you to other children, you learned early on that you were not good enough. Without intervention, you’ll unconsciously try to get a rejecting type person to finally accept you. You’ll overlook glaring character flaws, pathological behaviors and toxic love in order to have that “crazy in love” feeling from the same type of person who originally rejected you. You’ll think, “Maybe this time, I’ll finally feel good enough.” But Users are incapable of doing anything else but using you.

The following are some ways to help you deal with the sometimes uncontainable feelings you may have for the User, Narcissist or Scally Wag in your life.


  • Be Aware: Pay attention to how you feel, and how your body responds to certain types of people. Your sexual feelings and attraction are just impulses in the body and brain. Sexual feelings do not care about your values or morals. They are just feelings that every human has. You have the power to do with them what is best for you in the long run.
  • Be Strong: Your sexual desires can inform you but do not have to rule you. Your body gives you signals that you can learn to read. Once you master reading your body’s signs, you gain in strength and are able to use those signals for your benefit.
  • Be Smart: Once you recognize you’ve got a thing for Users, you are 10 times further along than you were before. You are armed with information. You are now able to say to yourself, “Hey, I’m totally turned on by that guy. In the past I’ve been turned on to Users, Narcissists, and Bad Boys. My body is telling me that it feels good to flirt with them. But I’m so smart now, I can tell my body that being used doesn’t feel good in the long run. Peace Out!”
  • Be Cool: Hey, having sexual feelings isn’t the beginning or the end of the world. Don’t judge yourself about them. Don’t shame yourself for having them, even if they are misdirected. Your body is like every other body- it has involuntary responses that are normal and human. Sexual feelings are a good thing that tell you you’re body is working.
  • Be Alert: Wise people know themselves well enough to recognize when they are acting out of their Soul Holes. Attraction born out of insecurity, competition, celebrity worship, or imbalance of power never turns out well. Wisdom tells us that though we are free to do all things, not all things are good for us. Wise people stay alert to the desires, impulses and temptations that could pull us down farther than we ever intended to go.

Though simple, this advice is not always easy to carry out. Find some trustworthy people to support you along the way. Forgive yourself for not being perfect, and let God be strong where you are weak.

My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.

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