Women who are in relationships with pathologicals test very high in the trait of 'fantasy.' Fantasy is not just merely wishful thinking. Fantasy has other components in it that affects your here and now life.
Fantasy is often associated with the future and in some ways the past. Here's how... women often stay in pathological relationships because they feel panic or fear of abandonment when she or the pathological tries to end the relationship. She ends up re-contacting or allowing re-contact because of these feelings of fear/panic/abandonment.
Abandonment is an early childhood feeling. As adults we are not technically capable of being abandoned (unless you are for instance medically dependent.) The reason we aren't capable of being abandoned as adults is that as mentally healthy adults, we really can't be abandoned in the childhood sense. That feeling is an early childhood feeling usually associated with a time of adult or parental abandonment. It is an age-regression feeling—something that pulls you back to your childhood or a very young emotional state.
The feeling of 'ending' a male relationship often subconsciously sets off childhood feelings of abandonment. These are past associations and it taps into fantasy that it is happening all over again when it really isn't. The previous male in your life who did abandon you as a child (for instance) is not the same thing as a pathological leaving your adult life.
But inside, internally, the child feeling is so strong that it feels like a 'hole in the soul.' The fantasy of THIS being the same as THAT takes hold and your panic makes you go back or allow him back in.
Fantasy is also future oriented. Fairy tales are fantasy and are based on "Once upon a time....and happily ever after" which is all the good stuff that 'might' happen in the future. Women stay in relationships with pathologicals based on a lot of 'fantasy future betting'—that is:
• he might stop acting pathological
• he might marry me
• he might stop cheating
• he might tell the truth
Fantasy betting is alot like gambling...betting on a future that is not likely to happen with a pathological.
Why? Because pathology is the inability to change and sustain change, grow in any meaningful way, and the inability to for him to see how his behavior negatively affects others.
But women also stay in pathological relationships based on 'projected fantasies' that is, she fantasizes he will be happy with the next woman and she will get all his good traits and none of his bad. This too is fantasy....that his pathology somehow will not affect her the way it affects you. (You can't turn pathology on and off like a light switch!)
Here's some info: Pathology affects everyone the same! (Unless she's pathological as well—then who cares if he goes on to have a relationship worthy of a Jerry Springer Show?).
• Women fantasize that this 'abandonment' feeling will affect her the way the childhood abandonment did. (And it will not—just as an FYI for you).
• Women fantasize that he will be different with them. If he is truly pathological he is hard-wired. This is his DNA.
• Women fantasize that he will be happy in the future and she is missing out on something. If he is truly pathological, his patterns don't change.
Fantasy is not the here and now. It's not being present in the real life that is happening around you in this moment. It's 'out there somewhere' kind of thinking. Come back to what's real right now. List the five most real points about him.
Now stand back, step out of the childhood feelings, and look at the list with adult eyes. You can't be abandoned as an adult because where ever you go, there you are and you are all you need as an adult. You don't have dependency needs as an adult like you did as a child. To be abandoned is to be dependent on the one who is abandoning. Adults are not dependent.
Your real life is going on right NOW while you are in your head about his drama and the pathological intrigue. You are MISSING your real life that is happening right now! Drama, obsession and intrusive thoughts are usually about fantasy--the past or the future. It sure isn't about this present moment and what's happening right now. Such as, you might be ignoring:
• your own health
• your own self-care and happiness
• maybe that of your children and friends
...because of how much time you spend in fantasy. Fantasy is telling you 'just a little longer and he'll get it and then I'll have the life I really want.'
Your life is right now—not back there and not up there in the future.
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Gender Disclaimer: The issues The Institute writes about are mental health issues. They are not gender issues. Both females and males have the types of Cluster B disorders we often refer to in our articles. Our readership is approximately 90% female therefore we write for those most likely to seek out our materials. We highly support male victims and encourage others who want to provide support to male victims to encompass the issues we discuss only from a female perpetrator/male-victim standpoint. Cluster B Education is a mental health issue applicable to both genders.
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