Friday, November 6, 2009

What's the Problem With Problem Partners?

By Sandra L. Brown

Problem partners create problems which manifest as problem relationships. These relationships are often referred to as 'bad relationships,''drama,' 'dysfunctional' even 'abusive' when in fact, often the dynamic at play is a result of what I have coined 'Pathological Love Relationships.' People wrongly assume that even abusive relationships can be 'fixed.' All abusers are not created equal. Some are permanently disordered.

These problem relationships are related to permanent personality structures and disorders.
Mislabeled, undiagnosed, or misunderstood, these relationships churn out the problems for the partners, their children, their families, and the therapists who try to help them. Behaviors associated with problem partners can include: repeat violence, chronic infidelity, addiction relapsing, unstabilized mental illness, parasitic lifestyle, abandoning the family/children, chronic use of court and lawsuits, stalking and cyber-stalking, attempted homicides.

Neuroscience has helped us understand some of the brain processes and problems involved in problem partners which have disorders referred to as the 'Erratic and Dramatic' disorders.

The partners who are challenged by faulty brain processing and negative behaviors often associated with narcissism and anti-social personality disorders and the group of no conscience disorders of sociopathy and psychopathy which make for some pretty lousy
relational material. 

This lousy relationship quality I refer to as 'Inevitable Harm' because when someone's brain processes are hard-wired and they lack the ability to sustain positive changes through therapy or develop insight about how their negative behavior hurts others--there's only one way this relationship is going to be---harmful. Even the court system now labels these relationships uniquely as 'High Conflict Cases.'

My contribution to Times Up! blog is going to look at Inevitable Harm related to partners who have problems bigger than what psychology can do for them. We help others identify if they are in PROBLEM RELATIONSHIPS.

We will look at:

* The traits of those with chronic personality problems that wreak havoc in the relationship
* Look at the unusual pathological love relationship dynamics specific to these disorders
* Take a peek at the neuroscience about what is wrong with their brain
* Learn the elevated temperament or 'super' traits of those who have gotten in relationships with this kind of disorder
* Marvel at the affected language, communication and meaning in these relationships and how it drives the other partner crazy
* Understand why these relationships feel more intense than others
* Realize why break ups are hard to do and fraught with 'Boomerang' attraction

Along the way we will review the characteristics in the disorders related to impulsivity, sexual acting out, interpersonal exploitation, low/no empathy, excitement seeking, and conning.

And of course, we'll look at the physical, sexual, and financial harm of these emotionally lethal predators and parasites. Stay tuned. I look forward to opening your eyes about Pathological Love Relationships!

Sandra Brown

The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction &
Public Psychopathy Education

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  1. I tried so hard, for so long. I finally get it. I kept going back, over and over again, thinking if I loved him enough, and showed him the way, he would get it. I would always end up being devastated.

    Thanks for the work all of you do.

  2. I went down the same road as the above comment. It took some time to figure out exactly what happened to me and how I allowed it to be a one way street, that was never my nature.

    Seeking answers from sites like Sandra's, I finally recognized the situation and the person for what it was and figured out a way to move past the devastation and not to look back.

    It's hard work!

  3. Read all you can I spent 21 yrs in a relationship that was harmfull emotionally many lies many affairs and no help around the house it was All MY fault. cold hard staring eyes that everyone else found creepy. Listen to your red flags I did not!

  4. When you first decide to "escape" your bad relationship by stopping contact with your pathological partner, it seems like there will never be a day when you don't miss your partner, don't love your partner, don't want the fantasy version of your partner back. But if you give it some time, those feelings subside. You can and will become the person you were before you got into this devastating, pathological relationship. I have been following the No Contact rule for four months now and every day I feel better and less inclined to want my narcissistic husband back in my life. In fact, I now realize I am far happier without him around. I am starting to see glimpses of the person I used to be and I like her a lot...she is much more interesting than the person who catered to the whims of a narcissist.

  5. It took me 1 year of marriage to figure out something was terribly wrong, it took me another 10 to get the guts to leave the marriage, or make him leave. My ex is in the psychaitric profession he not only manipulated and mentally abused me but he also did it to some patients.
    He had me bamboozled into thinking that if I interfered in his "personal life" I would be hindering his "patients" progress, wow.... You can not have your personal and professional life interweaved in that profession!
    Now that I am away from it and the fog is starting to lift I see you just can not reason with insanity. My struggle now is we share custody of our son and he lives with a patient.
    Dealing with the court system can be so frustrating. I fell for the fake sentiments when he thought he was going to be caught, and a boat load of the other crap he dished out.
    Sandra helped me put a finger on it, I just could not find anyone that could really help me figure things out. My first counselor encouraged me to try and work things out, and that is not the kind of help I needed!
    This site really helped me get out of that wishy washy state and pull up my boot straps and make a new life for myself. Thanks for guiding me in the right direction.

  6. I identify with all said above but wanted to comment that it took me years to know that there was something wrong with him & not me--While that sounds crazy it became the cycle only a person who lived it could understand- The main reason I am commenting is that I did not figure out nor realize many things clearly until I was away from the abusive cycle. My abuser was so insidious & the manipulation so covert it was difficult to identfy or label. Two & 1/2 years later I realize that had I left at any time prior I would have saved myself years of abuse-20 years.


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