I have this reoccurring dream that my husband doesn't give a shit.
He's all chatting up some chick while ignoring me. Last night he was planning on going to the Venetian Islands, "to hang out by the water and get some space, dude."
Dream Steve is such a dick.
He would never talk like that. He hates surfing and surfing lingo (thank Gawd). He is lightyears better than who he is in my dreams.
But it doesn't matter.
In my dreams I always get this sick yearning feeling in my gut. I start to feel mega unsure of myself and when I wake up, I feel all weeeeiiiirrrrd. Overly attached girlfriend emerges, at your service! I feel ready to suffocate, cling, beg, and do all that other extremely sexy stuff that we do when we are with someone who doesn't want us back! Just because of a freaking DREAM.
This is the way that my brain GETS HER KICKS. I get to stir up an old pattern with people that puts me on my knees begging for more.
Get a load of this cray cray:
In the past nothing made me MORE obsessed than somebody who doesn't give a shit. Or even better: someone that is hot/cold/hot/cold. It triggers an old addictive brain pattern and I'm all butter at their disposal simply because I think it’s really hot to ignore me and never get back to me.
This is a real phenomenon.
Back when I needed to put my addictive dating patterns behind me, I researched the brain as it relates to this and found out something HUGE:
When we get sent mixed signals by someone like "OMG I LOVE YOU" to "CRICKETS!!" our brain reacts like it would on a drug. It lights up with dopamine when we are given attention and then the lights go off quicker than you can say: “OH FUCK MY LIFE” or the wonderful: “NO ONE LOVES ME.” When that person gives us attention again our reward centers light up like crazy and when that person is cool and unattainable our brain reacts and will do ANYTHING to get that hit of dopamine again.
Even if we look like idiots to ourselves and the entire world.
You know that person isn’t all that caring and really doesn’t have a great track record of being healthy for you, but you FREAKING DON’T CARE. They’re just so cool and probably really smart or really funny, and that can make up for a million of sins.
Not only can the hit of dopamine attract us to shitty behavior, but we naturally think there's something special about something we CAN’T HAVE.
It's the art of the tease, the chase, of using short sentences and no punctuation (sooo hawt right) There's something hidden and mysterious in it. There's an allure there.
If someone is coy or bored, our brains like to elevate this person and convince ourselves that they are something special because they are so SELECTIVE with their kindness and love. Often these types of people make us feel like we have to work for their attention or just no matter what we do, we are not good enough.
I was obsessed with a dating reality show years back when I was breaking free of my addictive dating patterns. In the show the dating guru revealed that the most seductive trick in the book to melt a woman's panties off, was to NEG HER. To give her a compliment that is really an insult. Apparently women eat this shit up (UM HELLO MY ENTIRE DATING LIFE!) and ignore more kind straightforward approaches from dudes.
Even if you know this pattern, it's not always easy to break it.
Only the rude, callous, and often hostile forms of relationships are addictive because they hit our brain like crack cocaine with all of their unpredictability and intensity.
Have you noticed that when someone is not good for you the sex becomes all that much hotter? Why in the shit?! One of the many reasons that happens is because our reward center gets a bigger hit of dopamine from someone who is inconsistent with their affection. Also the chemical that shoots through our brain when we have sex, oxytocin, hits us strong like a cocktail from HELL when we have sexual contact with that person. Oxytocin is what makes us crave connection, closeness, cuddles. It's what makes our bad girl persona be a big old fat joke. Our bodies empty of oxytocin quickly when the sex is not consistent thus making us ravenous and willing to settle for any scrap sent our way. Like: "OH MY GOD HE TEXTED ME! He really likes me!!!" We go and make the smallest gesture of kindness mean more than it really means, just because we need another hit of that crazy oxytocin/dopamine juice!
When it comes to the nice guy/girl, our brains are more stable and the chemicals don't give us such a head rush. That's why you will hear things like, "He's really nice, but kinda boring. I don't know why I don't like him."
When I first started dating my husband, I was in skeptical city. I had dated dudes who came on so hot and heavy in the beginning you would think I was made of video games and beer. Then they would switch off and be all bored/cold/tired/annoyed. I told my husband that his feelings for me early on were bullshit derived from the chemicals in his brain telling him that he liked me. I told him I wouldn't trust him or commit unless he wanted me after time went on.
And he wanted me MORE for that nerd talk, which of course ended up in marriage!
But it took me a LONG HAUL of being obsessed with people who were not obsessed with me to feel ready for healing, stable, gorgeous love.
One of my favorite writers and performers, Susan Werner, puts this weird attraction to pain into an awesome song called Misery. Enjoy it here and send it to all your misery-loving sisters! (It used to be my anthem!)
If you want to learn more about how the brain can make us do weird shit, check out Dr. Amen's books The Brain on Love and Sex on The Brain. I owe my love life to that man. Also check out the book The Rules. I read it when I started dating my husband and figured out he was the right one. I gave it to my girlfriends and they got engaged within a year because they all found the right one. That book will attract your love and will repel everything else.
This type of mentality doesn’t stop with someone we’re attracted to. No the crazy juice can flow into other places too! It can be seen in every area of our lives.
Do you ever find yourself missing that friend who just NEVER gives you the time of day?
That one who never showed up and didn’t call?
The one that often forgets you had plans?
The one who mysteriously disappeared from all of your social media accounts?
What about the one who stopped talking to you AGAIN and you have no idea why?
And why in the world do you spend ANY time texting that friend, hoping for some kind of apology or reconnection when you know there are other friends in your life who are really good to you? It’s because of that damn mechanism that can be attached to things that aren’t so attached to us. It's the same addiction wearing different pants.
Just the other day I was considering re-joining a group that really is not my group and my husband was all like, “Why are you going to give your time, energy, and money to people who are hostile towards you?”
That’s a damn good question.
Ask yourself: Where in your life are you pouring your energy, love, and time into a container that has no bottom? Watching all your efforts and kindness fall on deaf ears which makes you feel needy and uncool for caring?
It’s time to KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF.
Some people are just not going to like you nor be all that caring.
Some people are going to include everyone else, except you.
Some are going to SAY they like you while they pull some really gnarly shit.
Do your best to RESIST the temptation to have to talk that person into respecting you. If you have to explain that you deserve love, kindness, respect, it’s really not worth it.
Throw your whole heart and soul into the family, friends, awesome people in your network who dig you and want to get to know you.
I swear to God there are so many of us out there! And when you start focusing on US instead of what some asshat said or did not say, you’re going to get that you are really LOVED. You're going to get the fact that you care and that is really awesome and not a sign of weakness. Especially when you’re reaching out to the ones who are reaching right back.
To feeling oh so incredibly loved and learning to LOVE THAT!
Wait-- why is it hard to RECEIVE love? Why do we discredit or ignore really awesome kind lovey things and people? More on that next time!
I'm going to give you more tips on how to meet this need for shitty behavior in a sexy safe way while also figuring out the WHY behind why we discredit loyal, kind, down to earth people and drool over bastards.
Hit me with your own stories of chasing after the unattainable! Did you get your heart back yet? I’d love to hear!
Talk soon! :-)