Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Other Side of Prince (or Princess) Charming...

As I have worked to support individuals, couples, and groups of people navigate the challenges of relationships online, I have come to understand how much easier it is for narcissists and sociopaths to find willing "hosts" to feed their need for control and power ONLINE. The anonymity of online networking, makes it even more appealing for these individuals as anyone can pose as several different people at once, thus creating a steady stream of potential "victims". It is VERY common, and even given my background in mental health, it was difficult to admit that I have also fallen victim to the lures of the narcissist's charm. Being falsely guided by the fantasy, and unsure who is "playing a game" and who is "real" we can all be mislead when engaged in a virtual world. This is not isolated to romantic relationships and can certainly be the interplay between platonic friends with a "non reciprocated trusting giver" and his or her "self focused, chronic taker". The BDSM community is a breeding ground for this type of dynamic and as I've watched this lifestyle become popular in Second Life, I worry about the psychological aftermath of some of these relationships.

I hold no judgements and realize that for some, the D/s lifestyle is very healthy and productive. However, I have encountered far more abusive relationships created under the premise of "consenting exchange of power" that have left people who are very loving and giving in heartbreaking devastation.

I found the article "Grooming Is Not Always Idealization..."a great introduction to how to identify and protect yourself against people who might have their own best interest at heart when drawing you into their web. It is written in the context of a male as abuser, but do not misunderstand that women are just as capable of these behaviors and traits. Other very good posts are "30 Red Flags" and  "Catch Me If You Can: Avoiding Narcissists and Sociopaths" and are both equally full of insight.

I hope that some of you are able to catch yourselves before its too late... and that for those who have already felt the pain of leaving such a relationship, that it will validate the things you've experienced and assist in your healing.

 In Love and Light... <3


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