Creatures of Habit

comfort zone

I wish I had a video camera (my camera on my phone has quit again! grrrr) because I was going to do a demonstration, using Stella as my example. I don’t know why she does it, but i have a pair of needle nosed tweezers that i use to clean the keyboard on my laptop. I use them to pick the dog hair out from under the keys, it is amazing how much dog hair gets under there. Well, she can be in the bed room asleep, eating, whatever; certainly out of my sight and the minute I pick up those tweezers (and I have tested her and picked them up as quietly as I possibly can) she comes running, jumps up beside me and tries to climb on my lap. She gets really suckholey, insisting I hug her and give her loves, like she did something wrong or something. It is the strangest thing and I, for the life of me, do not remember anything happening with the tweezers to make her act like that. I have tested it many many times and there has not been one time I have been able to pick up those tweezers and she didn’t come running out and do exactly the same thing.

I doubt she knows why she does it. She is just so used to doing it that it is now a habit, she has gotten it into her brain that she is to suck hole every time I pick up the tweezers and the more times she does it the more in grained the belief that she has, gets.

Have you ever started a new job and are being trained and they tell you to do something a certain way? and you question them why you have to do it “that” way? and they tell you, “because it has always been done that way.” They don’t even know why it is done that way, they never questioned it, they were told to do it that way so they did. I come along and ask why and it throws everyone into a tizzy!! I suggest there might be a better way, a more production, efficient way and people start gasping and whispering; the nerve of me to suggest things be done a different way.

bad habits

I think that many of us do things just because we have always done them, we don’t think about it, we don’t ask why we do them, we just do and the more we do it the more we feel we must do it until it is almost a compulsion. If we don’t do it like we always have we start to panic, we need to do things the way we always have. We feel impending doom, our guts are in knots, if we don’t do things the way we always have; something bad will happen………… so we do it, and immediately feel relief. But then we get the same result as we always do (like when we forgive the narcissist and give him another 2nd chance) and history keeps repeating itself and we keep wondering why yet we keep doing the same thing over and over again. We end up on a treadmill going no where, a perpetual Ground Hog Day; with us saying, “I can’t go no contact, I can’t” or “I can’t help it, I know he is lying but I take him back.” or “He makes me feel guilty, i can’t help it.” So we give in to our bad habits instead of fighting them, and ever time we do we are embedding the belief that it is the way we are supposed to react, our brain tells us that is the way we should react because we keep reinforcing that it is. Understand?

I have told the story before about going out to the shop to talk to James because I had an epiphany; when he talked to me the way he did I was transported back to when I was a child and my daddy was angry at me and telling me to “get out of his face” he was pissed at me for something. Then I would have to apologize, grovel and suckhole in order to get back in his good graces and have him tell me he loved me. just typing it makes me stomach knot up. That is pretty powerful stuff, put in your head as a child and reinforced my whole life, mostly by myself!!! When you think about it, I was only a small child unable to discern when something was my fault and when it wasn’t for a very short time but by the time I was a teenager and able to intellectually tell myself he was full of shit and it wasn’t my fault my response to him was already firmly embedded in my brain and I spend the next 40+ years reinforcing that reaction even against my better judgement. I knew what was happening with James and that is why I went out to talk to him because I knew he really loved me and if he knew the reaction he activate inside me when he treated me that way, he would stop. Instead he turned to me and said, “You think your dad was bad; you haven’t seen anything yet, I am 100 times worse.” and he kept doing what he was doing. I stood there frozen as a chill went down my spine and all I wanted to do was go to him and have him hug me and tell me he still loved me. It didn’t matter what he had done, now I was groveling and suck holing to him to please still love me.

I can still have that knee jerk reaction when someone is angry with me, my gut flips, I have this overwhelming urge to do anything to make the person happy again and love me and to fight it brings on a feeling of impending doom, something awful is going to happen if I don’t make it all right immediately. I am able to fight it now, I make myself step back, not react, counsel myself that this is not reality, it is a learned response and not necessarily the correct response. I can take time to analyze what I am feeling, at first it would take me days before I had figured out exactly what my true feelings were about something and express my feelings calmly and honestly. Now most times I can process things within a few minutes but there are times I still have to take a day or two to work through feelings of guilt, and my deep seeded need to “make things ok”. I really have to talk to myself because my brain is screaming at me to do whatever it takes to make the person love and accept me. My brain doesn’t say to me, is this unhealthy for you, is this unfair for you? it just wants me to be loved. My intellectual part of my brain knows the truth and i end up literally arguing with myself in my head.

we are

I think it is imperative to healing from a narcissist and never getting sucked into another toxic relationship; to learn to argue with your inner demons and learned bad habits.  up until now we are acting like Stella, every time someone picks up those tweezers even if they are not in the same room, she has to go running and suck hole. The narcissist came home from work, we didn’t see them all day; but their bad mood is somehow our fault so we suck hole. he has an affair and blames us, we suck hole for his love. Same same. We don’t know why any more than Stella knows why but we have the brains to figure it out and stop it if we want to.

Something to think about.

Hugs to you all

4 thoughts on “Creatures of Habit

  1. kim

    carrie i had a bad day very depressed and memories but reading about stella i laughed after a day of crying i was doing quite well but when i hear from him so many texts tempting me to go out amongst his cruelty of course too much to go into i felt my independence was jolted dont worry though i didnt give in and wont i am now feeling better after coming here animals have such an unconditional love that you know is real stella is lovely i was thinking of getting a small pet i live in a top foor flat so has to be small maybe a hampster i loved them when i was younger also animals do funny things that make us laugh which we need to do my parents werent very strict easy going i got told off but never felt scared or like i had to please them or i wouldnt get love i didnt know was going to marry the scariest strict teacher at school thats how it felt for 30yrs trying to deactivate my brain is a challenge but i know its a slow process good and bad days we all feel we need to be loved but we should never have to live up to what someone else thinks we should be ive learnt that thankyou for this lovely post today really needed help today thankyou carrie xxx


  2. sara

    This is so true. As I am trying NC (mostly successfull) and the fog is lifting I am now shifting my attention to the healing process. I have discovered, as you have mentioned above, that a pattern with one of my parents most likely allowed me to feel comfortable, or accepting of life with the narc. I am now challenging that previous relationship and trying to change my reactions in order to alter the dynamic that has been in place for years. Tough to do – especially for the other person – but I hope that it will ultimately lead to full healing.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Sara, good for you to recognize things from the past that are affecting you now. once you are aware of it, you can stop yourself and not react immediately, take time to reflect on why you are responding the way you are and recognize it is a response from the past. it takes time and being diligent but once you do it for awhile it becomes quite natural and you do it without thinking. it just takes time.



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