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7 Limiting Beliefs That Attract Negative Men Into Your Life

Photo: Unsplash: JoelValve
What Is Trauma Bonding? Why Some Women Attract Men With Narcissistic Personality Traits
Heartbreak

Trauma bonding is sneaky ... and brutal.

While being the victim of emotional and psychological abuse in relationships with people who have narcissistic personality traits is never your fault, there are certain toxic and limiting beliefs many women cling to which make them they ideal prey for men with a predatory nature.

These false beliefs not only allow these women to forgive and overlook abusive behavior as they fall in love, but they also deepen the impact and affects of trauma bonding — the phenomenon that "occurs as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change" — keeping them stuck in the role of victim for longer than they might otherwise.

I know this firsthand, because after my own experiences in toxic, emotionally abusive relationships, I have finally come to accept that I am not the problem.

And while I am sick and tired of blaming myself for other people's bad behavior, I do accept that there are some clear reasons I attracted narcissistic, selfish people into my life, and then allowed them to stay there for far too long.

RELATED: What Is Trauma Bonding? The Scientific Reason So Many Women Stay Stuck In Emotionally Abusive Relationships

I used to think it was all about me. I loved being the center of attention when someone did me wrong, and I would bask in the role of the victim. So, once I decided I would no longer tolerate being treated as less than human by cruel and mean people, I needed to address the core issue by asking myself, "Why am I attracting people with narcissistic personality traits in the first place?"

I took a long, hard look at myself and my past relationships in order to find some reason or explanation. That's not an easy thing to do and it takes a lot of strength and awareness to go deep, but once you do, I promise you will feel better and embrace the changes you need to make in order to surround yourself with positive influences and shut out those that are negative.

After a good deal of self-reflection, here are 7 toxic, false, and limiting beliefs I now realize make women like me vulnerable to trauma bonding with men who have narcissistic personality traits.

1. "Others define your self-worth"

For too long, I allowed people to define my worth by how they treated me. I never fully defined what I was worth and what I am worthy of in terms of relationships and life in general for myself.

2. "You have less to offer than others do"

If I’m not confident about myself and my abilities, why would that attract someone who is confident in themselves? It wouldn’t and it doesn’t. Take it from me.

I may not be God’s gift to earth, but I sure as hell don’t have to be in order to know that I have so much to offer and give. And I need to believe that if I am going to attract someone who knows that and feels the same way.

3. "Being mistreated in the past means being mistreated always"

I think this applies to many of us, as our past experiences tend to influence our lives, but we do have a say in how much they influence our future and how.

I’ve allowed my previous relationship failures to carry over into relationships, and they always fail. Hmm ... I wonder why!

If I allow the carryover effects from previous relationships into current relationships, they’re destined to fail, but if I use previous relationships as a lesson and tool for guidance, I’ll be more likely to have successful and meaningful relationships in life.

RELATED: Trauma Bonds ~ Understanding Exploitive Relationships

4. "All people are capable of change"

Once they are adults, people rarely change their behavior, especially negative behaviors such as lying. And lying behaviors are often associated with more problematic personality traits, such as narcissism or addiction.

Until someone decides or becomes aware that their behavior is wrong, rather than trying to excuse and justify lying or other behaviors, the cycle will continue.

If I continue thinking people will change on my account, I’ll never have a successful relationship in any aspect of my life. People don’t change for other people. It takes a level of self-awareness that, unfortunately, many people find hard to achieve.

5. "Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt"

Yes, most people should be given the benefit of the doubt — once. But giving someone the benefit of the doubt repeatedly is problematic, because obviously there’s something wrong with someone if you find yourself needing to give them the benefit of the doubt over and over again.

I didn’t learn that until recently, and now that I have, it’s a one-and-done kind of allowance.

6. "You don't deserve any better"

Even as a child, I didn’t feel like I was deserving of much. I felt like I was completely out of what society considered the “norm”, because I was a tomboy who played and watched sports more than many of the guys I knew.

Because I felt different than most everyone around me, I felt less deserving.

If you believe you deserve to be treated badly, people will treat you badly. If you believe you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect and honesty, that’s what you'll attract.

7. "Everything in your life is negative"

People have told me throughout my life that you attract people by the energy and vibe you put off. If I am feeling negative for some reason, or not feeling positive about myself, I am going to attract people who feel similarly to me — or worse.

Now that I’ve become aware of my own role in past relationships, I can now embrace the changes I need to make in order to have a more healthy and positive life.

It’s not easy to face your faults in situations where you were the victim, but try not to think of them as faults.

Rather, they are weaknesses that can be changed into strengths using courage to find where you could improve in your life.

RELATED: The Truth About The Effects Of Emotional Abuse On Your Brain

Brittney Lindstrom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

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