Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Intense Attachments

photo by Robin Monroe 

By Sandra L. Brown, MA

Women in these relationships and their family members who watch her relationship dynamics all wonder **why** this dangerous guy is so hard to leave. While people around her have easy and rational answers about how and why she should leave, the disengagement and detachment process is harder with pathological persons than with anyone else.

No one knows this better than her. At the heart of the attachment is the intensity of bonding produced in a relationship that has an 'emotional vortex' pull. Much like magnets pointed towards each other, the draw and pull and staying power of pathologicals is not like other relationship dynamics. As we study these particular attachments we see that there are unusual qualities to the relationships that even the women can't define or adequately describe. These qualities includes the dichotomous thinking often seen in 'mind control,' the hypnotic engagement often seen in trauma, and the betrayal bonding often seen in sexual addiction. Combined, this power cocktail renders her not only entranced, but paralyzed from action.

Normal motivations do not motivate her:
·         not her current roller-coaster mental health
·         not her other family relationships
·         not her declining health
·         not her children
·         not her job
·         not any other force that would usually rally her to her own self care.

No wonder people who care about her are baffled that a high-functioning, bright, proactive woman has been reduced to a catatonic/hypnotized/brain washed version of her former self.

An hour a week at the counselor's office has done little to un-wedge her from this super-glued relationship. The sessions haven't recognized the hypnotic entrancement, the growing PTSD symptoms, or the cognitive loops and entrenched dichotomous thinking. They also haven't unveiled the death grip pathologicals can have on a squirming victim, or the mind control that sucks the willpower and brain function from her.

Physically and emotionally exhausted from too many 'go-rounds' with him, there isn't enough left of her to fight her way out or even think her way out. Many women now suffer from Chronic Fatigue from being worn down by the pathological. Without emotional resources and physical strength, her lethargy just 'allows' the relationship to roll like waves washing over the top of her. As the waves continue, her strength erodes away further. Without help or intervention, she is likely to have a complete physical breakdown including severe medical problems, sleep disruptions, mental confusion, panic attacks, anxiety, depression and more. Women have developed auto immune disease and cardiac problems in the middle of these acutely stressful relationships.

With all of their resources sapped and their concentration at a near-record low, many women have had to quit their jobs, have been fired, have been in car accidents or sporting injuries because of their inability to concentrate. Often the first step toward education is to have her inventory what her relationship with a pathological has cost her.

The disengagement process is a supported function often by counselors or The Institute in which education, acceptance of his diagnosis, self care re-initiation, symptom management and then the full recovery process is necessary. Some need short term programs that help them kick start their own recovery such as our retreats or intensives with Sandra.

Many of the women have PTSD now from the exposure to the pathological. PTSD worsens without treatment, with added stress, and with time. Somewhere she has to find the counseling resources in order to return her to a life she use to know before the pathological. This includes finding support people, support groups, counseling, specific focused books and audios on the subject, and if needed, retreat or residential programs. If this describes your current situation, get what you need to heal now--to minimize the effects of the growing PTSD and the intrusive and ping ponging thoughts. Most of all, you must first understand the intensity of attachment in order to break it. Our Healing the Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationships retreat is a great tool for loosening the pathologicals emotional death grip.

Why is this dangerous guy so hard to leave?

For more information about Sandra L. Brown, MA and the services of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education, refer to their website:  http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com


  1. The mere description of these women leaves me drained! Talk about mind control! Intelligence, family support and outside interests all seem to take a back seat to these pathological attachments. Let's hope we all have the fortitude to recognize these people ... in the beginning (with help from Sandra) so that our quality of life ans sanity isn't flushed down the toilet!

  2. When I was in a marriage like this I believe I developed PTSD, but when asked at mental health they poo pood it saying it had to be rape or some extreme violent event. These people need to get with the program.


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