Let me state a random fact before I get into describing what repetitive compulsive acts are.
Repeated exposure to any form of abuse (physical, emotional, psychological, mental, financial…) is dangerous to your health and wellbeing. Abuse is traumatizing to the brain. And with trauma comes stress. Stress leads to overproduction of cortisol (a stress hormone) in our brains and too much cortisol damages your immune system. Therefore, victims of abuse are more susceptible to illnesses like unexplained pains at specific parts of their bodies, asthma, anxieties, depression, sexual dysfunctions even high blood pressures. It is detrimental for anyone to be exposed to any treatment or condition that can cause them stress.
Alright, to today’s topic.
I will give an example given by Melanie Tonia Evans, an author and expert on narcissistic abuse.
Think of a rat in a cage. In this cage there is a button the rat has to press in order to receive some nuts to feed on. So the rat knows for it to feed it has to press on the button. But this button is reset every time. So today the rat may only need to press once and there is food. The next day maybe it has to press four times. The following day maybe two times. The rat can’t really predict how many times it has to press for food to appear. So it keeps pressing and pressing and eventually becomes addicted to the act of pressing the button.
Narcissists are extremely unpredictable. When they walk through the door, you can’t really predict what they have in store for you. Regardless of your good acts, you trying to please them, their response can be very unpredictable.
With narcissistic abuse, there are certain acts or behaviors that victims engage in in order to receive a certain positive outcome from the abuser. Maybe there is this one time you, the victim went out of your way and paid some bills for your partner. That act may have made them tell you they loved you even took you out for dinner for the first time in a long time. So you learned that for you to feel appreciated or loved you have to go out of your way to do something for your partner.
But here is the twist,
You realize that you going out of your way to act in a way that is supposed to make them treat you like they did the time you paid their bills doesn’t always elicit the same response from them. Sometimes your acts are met with a cold response of a mere “thanks”, sometimes met with abuse, sometimes ignored. They literally put you in a state of anxiety. You really don’t know how they will react. However, because this worked that one time, you keep on pressing, getting out of your way, trying so hard to please them for a random show of appreciation. When they eventually show you that appreciation you are so much looking for there is the huge relief you feel. There is a surge of chemicals in your brain giving you the feel good feeling.
So they put you in a state where you keep pushing, acting yourself out, trying to please them for that little, random moment of appreciation. With every moment they show you some kindness there is the surge of chemicals and this is what hooks you to them.
You find yourself somehow addicted to these repetitive actions meant to please them for a random act of kindness.
This is how many people find themselves having spent most of their lives CONSTATNTLY trying to please a partner whose appreciation comes once in a long while or randomly when it best benefits them. You get exhausted out of it. You get drained. But because you are “hooked” you find it very hard to let go.
Many people have died in unions where they lived to please a partner in ways that were never reciprocated or rarely appreciated.
We need to know, these bonds are worse for people that grew up in homes where they saw a parent they identify with maltreated or abused in whatever way. For them, this kind of a relationship, union, marriage is what defines normal.
And we wonder why we have a lot of people who die in unions where they barely experienced love?
How can you know what love is when the normal you know is basically abuse?
How can you know what to do when maltreated when the normal you know is your mother, for example, enduring abuse and being unable to do anything about it?
How do we expect our kids to know what love is if the unions we raise them in barely show love?
It is time we broke toxic cycles
It is time we embraced sanity more than we tolerate toxicity in our homes
Change starts with knowledge
And we are here to empower ourselves together with the knowledge that will be the savior for generations to come.
BY JACKIE WANGWE