Life, Health, Career Coaching

Why Did I Get Involved with a Jerk and What Can I Do About It?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Reprinted from September 15, 2013

I have been puzzled for many years with the answers to these questions:

“Why would any decent person get involved with a jerk, Why do bullies target certain people?” And “What do you do to prevent getting hooked up with these idiots in the future?” After researching for over 20 years, I have summarized the answers below: You can get much more detailed information in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors.

The Jerks Find You – You Did Not Find Them

  1. Accept that you did not intentionally get hooked up with these monsters or deserve it and you did nothing wrong or provoked them in ANY way. Read more here.
  2. They hunted for and found you because they perceive you as a threat or you have something they want and they know they cannot acquire on their own and simply do not want to work for it. You did not find them and they stalked you as their prey. They interpret your kindness and differences as weaknesses and are jealous and envious of your successes. After you, they will go on to their next victim.
  3. You were victimized as you were as a child. If you do not think you were a victim as a
    child, you are in denial. So think again because you would not be in this situation.
  4. They are masters of charm and manipulation, lack compassion, are eaten alive by jealousy and envy, and feel they are entitled to whatever they WANT AND NEED as Ted Bundy, Hitler and Mao Tsetung were without working for and earning it. They will steal your soul in front of an audience of 10,000, while eating a ham sandwich, deny it, and convince everyone that you are crazy and made it up and they were eating lasagna.
  5. You believe (falsely) this is what you deserve and you do not deserve better.
  6. You do not know what better is because you had and have no good role models or examples of healthy harmonious personal or family relationships (see list of characteristics of healthy harmonious relationships below). You lived in a family that consistently violated your and each other’s emotional, physical and personal boundaries.
  7. Growing up as a defenseless child in critical stages of emotional development, you had no choice but to learn how to love in a manner that was defined by another narcissistic abusive jerk’s reality and denial where he/she/they forced you to fit into a role he/she/they CHOSE for you so they could feed off of your soul and energy to fill the gaps in theirs. If you wonder why they targeted you, see Number 2 above.
  8. Your core truths about who you really are were damaged from growing up in the narcissist’s reality described in Number 7 above. This treatment and betrayal damaged your core beliefs and sense of self-worth and your sense of lovability since you were victimized by those you trusted with your heart to love you and keep you safe unconditionally.
  9. Your damaged invisible core belief (that you desperately and immediately need to challenge and change) is that you have to feel pain and suffer to be lovable and to be good.

Distorted Thinking Patterns Make Us Vulnerable to Jerks

Remember, folks, we move in the direction of, create in reality, and do what we believe to be true EVEN IF it is a lie. Your filters for screening out narcissistic jerks were damaged in the process. The problem being, that if you meet someone who is really a good person and you are not feeling pain, you are at risk of feeling unloved and unworthy and then sabotage the “good” relationship. Relationships with jerks bring you pain that you associate with being lovable and a good person and believe you are powerless to and you do not believe you deserve better. You also most likely are an empath with codependent tendencies, self-sacrifice for other people, and believe you must fix their problems before you take care of yourself.

What You Can Do About It

To heal and recover from a relationship with a jerk and not get hooked up with one again, you need to break these distorted thinking patterns. Truly understand 1 through 9 above and bring them into your conscious awareness and challenge and change these ridiculous false core beliefs, lies you were taught to believe. Reprogram your thinking and redefine your self-worth to understand who you truly are through untainted filters. To accomplish this:

  1. Bring the broken core beliefs (I deserve to feel pain to be lovable and to be a good person and I am powerless to my emotional pain) into your consciousness and change them by using self-talk. You can help to do this by repeating the following to yourself several times a day: Add to this list as you see fit.
    • I have the personal power, right and authority to regulate my emotions including my pain-based ones which exist to protect me, not harm me.
    • I deserve and have a right to be treated with dignity and respect in any relationship.
    • I deserve and have a right to be happy and pain-free in any relationship.
    • I was born lovable and am lovable ALL the time and anytime.
    • I deserve and have a right to be in a healthy harmonious relationship (see characteristics of one below)
    • I deserve all my personal, emotional, and physical boundaries to be respected and needs to be met first. Take assertive classes to learn how to say “no” in constructive ways to help you protect and manage your personal, emotional, and physical boundaries.
  2. Surround yourself with only positive loving supportive people and preferably those who have survived similar personal and family relationships who will listen, care, understand where you are coming from and provide constructive feedback in a safe environment. Join a support group, blog, or Facebook page of survivors of narcissistic abuse or any type of abuse. Seek counseling only from competent professionals who are experienced in narcissistic personality disorder, trauma bonding, post traumatic stress, and addictive behaviors. Many say they are but are not so get recommendations from reputable sources.
  3. Practice self-care, self-compassion, and assertiveness. Learn how to not say yes when you mean no. Most of us were punished for even taking care of our basic needs so this will be a tough one to learn but is CRITICAL to your healing AND rebuilding your self-worth and honoring your personal rights, authorities, and boundaries.
  4. Learn about narcissistic personality disorder and the manipulation tactics of covert aggressive personalities. This is the worst of the personality disorders and once you educate yourself, you can tell right away if the one you were or are with is one and can recognize another one from a mile away.
  5. Eliminate toxic people from your life and ALL contact with the jerks or learn how to maintain your self-preservation when dealing with them. 
  6. Stay by yourself until you come into your own truth and fully heal and recover. Read more on how living alone can support emotional health.
  7. Learn the characteristics of healthy relationships and families. Gauge your interactions and feelings using these traits and set these as targets and what to aspire to in your relationships. If you are in a relationship or even a job and you answer no to one or more in the following list, then you better reconsider or run for the hills. Why would you settle for anything less than what is healthy and harmonious and that you are deserving of? The opposite is unhealthy, toxic, and chaotic! Life is too short, folks. For example, I deserve and want personal, family, and professional relationships where:
    • Individual human rights are valued and encouraged and empathy and compassion are shown in all dealings.
    • Tolerance and acceptance of everyone’s differences are encouraged and are the norm.
    • Unity, loyalty, respect, and consideration are communicated routinely as taking precedence over ANY individual’s narcissistic self-serving concerns. There are no favorites or golden ones, including children, spouses, siblings, parents, partners, co-workers, bosses, etc.
    • There are no scapegoats or self-serving rules, lies, labels, or myths about anyone!
    • Feelings and dissenting views are tolerated and others do what they can to sooth, validate, and understand each other’s pain, feelings, and opinions.
    • Members do not make fun of each other or use others at their expense.
    • Warmth, generosity, and affection are the norm and coldness and iciness and greed are discouraged and frowned upon.
    • Independence is fostered and members are encouraged to develop their own codes of conduct and governance and interests and to validate each other’s thoughts and decisions.
    • Independence of thought and action is permitted and members feel free to make their own decisions without undue fear of punishment, criticism and withdrawal of love or affection.
    • Distinctiveness and uniqueness are valued and accepted as a human right and are not criticized or frowned upon.
    • Members are not scapegoated or bullied or verbally, physically or emotionally abused or neglected for any reason.
    • Communications and open discussions are valued and differing opinions are accepted and tolerated.
    • Other’s feelings are regarded as important and are heard, validated, and valued.
    • Members are treated respectfully and politely and say please, thank you, and excuse me and apologize openly.
    • Members respect others’ personal, physical, and emotional boundaries.
    • Members support each other in times of STRUGGLE and TRIUMPH and are not jealous or envious of each other or a chosen targeted few.
    • Special occasions are acknowledged equally for and by all.
    • Tolerance is shown for growth, mistakes and development.
    • Members are supported in the achievement of their personal and if at work, their professional goals.

For more healing lessons, tips and tools, I invite you to learn more in my book Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors