What should love be

and is that supposed to be love?


This book is written by women for women, but of course also interesting for their partners. Because it's about narcissistic exploitative relationships and the dynamics that develop between partners over time.

Using her own story, Anna Maria tells how she met her Frank, how they fell in love and floated in 7th heaven and how the relationship gradually took on destructive traits. For 8 years she suffered from his accusations, devaluations and attacks, until she was able to free herself from this man on her own and start a new and self-determined life.

Like Anna Maria, it is with many women who get involved with a man who seems to show them love and affection, but who then turns into the exact opposite. Despite everything, they hold onto the relationship, often for years or even decades, until they almost perish. The threats that the partner utters should they leave him are too binding, but also the hope that everything will be as good as it was at the beginning.

I am commenting on the story of Anna Maria and Frank to make it understandable how it comes about that a woman endures so much torment in a partnership. We will see that it is not necessarily naivety, as she was often accused of, but has a lot to do with her life story, because relationship experiences in the family determine the nature of our love relationships and our choice of partner. Those who have little identity and self-esteem are usually looking for a companion who fills this void. Those who feel inferior need a self-confident partner, those who consider themselves the best look for a submissive woman.

In narcissistic relationships, the man is usually the grandiose narcissist and the woman the depressive narcissistic counterpart. Frank and Anna Maria also represent this form: He, a man who seems to be completely convinced of himself, tries to subjugate the woman. It goes without saying that this is associated with many injuries and therefore cannot go well. Of course there is also the other combination: the man submits to the dominant woman and enhances his low self-esteem through her strength, attractiveness and professional competence. But these relationships are less common, even if the dynamics are basically the same.

The story of Anna Maria stands for many stories of other affected women. We want to open their eyes to react earlier and more consistently instead of denying the negative signs for too long. The sooner a woman realizes that her partner is hiding a Mister Hyde behind the charming facade, the sooner she can draw conclusions. Once the self-esteem has been weakened by years of devaluation and lies, the decision to break up becomes more and more difficult. With this book we want to encourage women to look and say goodbye to a dream that turns out to be a nightmare. Better to end with horror than horror without end.

The narcissistic ideal of relationships
Who doesn't want a partner who carries you on their hands, reads every wish in their eyes and is always there for you? Who loves you and who you never want to give back? And in whose presence you feel feminine and attractive and your self-esteem increases? The longing for such a partner slumbers in most women and the hope for great love does not die out. Dating ads are booming because almost everyone who has become single is looking for a new partner. That is quite understandable, because we humans need other people to live. Alone and in isolation, we become depressed and unhappy. But so-called great love is often associated with illusions that cannot be implemented in reality. For example, a woman who was repeatedly abandoned by her partners wanted a relationship “where we love each other so that everything is very simple and we solve all problems”. The idea that you just have to love yourself enough, then everything would fall into place by itself, is just as widespread as the disappointment when it doesn't work out. Because a relationship is more than romantic love and a prince on the white horse who rides with you into the sunset. Relationship work begins in everyday life at the point where fairy tales end. And it's not always romantic.

The narcissistic ideal of a relationship consists of the dream of a merging togetherness in which both feel, think, experience and want the same thing. It is complete harmony that is experienced as love and that should weld the partners together forever. But what is experienced like love is more the desire for control over the partner. The relationship can only exist if the loved one behaves and is the way you want them to be.

The prerequisite for reaching such a state is the abandonment of personal idiosyncrasies, as it disturbs the harmony. A person is made out of two people, a clone of oneself, so to speak. Just as milk and coffee are turned into white coffee. This confluence, this confluence, leads to the fact that in the end there is neither the milk nor the coffee. Applied to humans, it means that there is not much left of the individual persons. Women experience it as losing themselves in the other, giving themselves up and no longer being with themselves.

The trap of these confluent relationships is that they don't really work unless one of them determines what the other should adapt to. After all, people are far too different to always be able to live in harmony. This can only be achieved if one of you backs off and subordinates your thinking, feeling and needs to the other. Usually it is the woman who adapts and the man leads the way, as was the case with Sylvia. Actually she is a smart woman who has so far mastered her life independently, but in the love relationship she mutates into a dependent, adapted and "selfless" woman, without self-confidence.

Confluence is always at the expense of the partner and the relationship. What is fantasized as harmony and happiness, namely the lack of friction due to difference, turns out to be the source of many problems. Because confluence prevents relationships instead of promoting them.

Relationship means relating to the other and that includes interest and curiosity in and concern for the other. Relationship does not mean adapting and subordinating oneself to the other at the expense of one's own individuality. A lively and nourishing relationship thrives on the otherness of the partners, on the discussion and the search for common ground. This includes an activating tension, a getting involved with the other without giving up. Love is not confluence and confluence is not love. Love needs air to breathe and space to expand. Love depends on the empathy of the partner, but also on their independence. Otherwise one always carries the other around with him. A relationship is successful when both partners appreciate themselves and the other. So if you have a stable sense of self-worth that enables you to live your strengths as well as your weaknesses and you have room for both in the relationship.

Narcissistic relationships lack all of this, because they are encounters between two people whose self-esteem is injured and who therefore seek in the other the appreciation that they cannot give themselves.

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