I was talking with a friend recently at the Texas State Fair as we waited in line to ride the roller coaster. I asked a life-changing question..."How can someone truly love you and desire a future with you, but tell you consistently that you are a bad mate and pathetic parent and you need to change?" Answer: "They can't...that's why they should be banished from your life!". I responded with a big sigh, "You're so right…I think I've had enough roller coasters, I'll sit this one out".
As I sat and watched the roller coaster whiz by, I realized something...critique and manipulation are really destructive tactics to use in a love relationship; crazy-making behavior that makes your head spin. It's painful when the reality sets in that you've been on a roller-coaster ride that at times seemed thrilling and even addictive, but later left you nauseous---realizing you've partaken in a non-authentic, manipulative, and conditional love relationship and that you've likely been co-dependent. Katy Perry's song "Wide Awake" says it best when the realization hits you.
Those who are loving, giving, trusting, wounded, or fearful can be easily duped by a Narcissistic Manipulator and Controller, especially one who also has attractive characteristics. Good looks, passion, affection, charm, romance, humor and fun can be very alluring to someone during a low time in their life. But, don't get sucked in to another's selfish motives...appearances are deceiving and self-preservation is key. Love of SELF has to supersede love for another in these cases, especially when the other is in denial, won't look at themselves deeper and projects all their issues onto you as if you are crazy and not 'up to par' for them. It's important to have keen awareness and discernment in choosing important relationships - trust your instincts. Don't ignore the red flags that signal bigger issues. And don't ignore your friends and family...they aren't blinded by romantic love.