Category Archives: My Miscellany

My Miscellany: Are You Compatible?

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Online dating is one of the fastest growing industries, and many websites now include some sort of profiling tool for predicting romantic compatibility. However, few of these websites (and that is also true for most researchers working in this area) have taken the time to consider the intricate issue of predicting compatibility, namely that there is no simple way of defining relationship success.

Indeed, how you judge the success of a relationship depends on several psychological and cultural factors, not to mention age and gender. In the Western world, most people—at least those aged 25-40 (who represent the main target of most online dating sites)—equate success to a happy relationship, a memorable wedding, and healthy children. Yet marriages are at an all-time-low, and if divorce rates continue to increase the way the have for the past 20 years, then only a minority of couples can expect to be together for over 15 years… let alone “forever”. Furthermore, what people prioritize (among the common criteria) depends on who they are, what their values are, and where they live. For example, some people may prefer a long lasting relationship with no children to a short lasting one with children; others, a short passionate relationship to a long, dispassionate one; and some may prefer a relationship that is compatible with their career plans (and financially advantageous) to one that is not, even if the latter is based on love.

The question, then, is not how to predict compatibility, but how best to define it—and the first step to answer this question is to look at whether the two people in a relationship share compatible views on what a successful relationship should be. Clearly, if they disagree on what they need, they will only be happy by accident.

In the event that two potential daters are “in sync” about what they expect to get from the relationship – assuming they share the same goals (e.g., longevity, children, financial success, passion, adventure, etc.)—there are five basic ways of being incompatible, and personality plays a role in all of them.

First, they may differ in ambition: If one of the two people is insanely driven and the other one totally laid-back, the relationship wont work. One would regard the other one as “type A” and too intense, and the other would regard him or her as too lazy and a even a freeloader. Thus career focus and achievement motivation should be fairly balanced among daters (even if they have different careers, they should be equally ambitious)

Second, daters may differ in openness: if one of them has a “hungry mind” but the other one has no interests in culture or knowledge, they will struggle. Indeed, highly open people are constantly trying out new things: they love travelling to new places, trying out new foods, and doing unusual things. Conversely, people with low openness are conservative, risk-averse, and will end up seeming boring to their more curious partners.

Third, daters may differ in emotional intelligence: if this difference is minor, it will be tolerated. However big differences will cause one of the partners (the less emotionally stable one) to use the other one as a shrink! Indeed, stable people are the perfect target for neurotic partners, because they have sedative effects on them! So, if you are highly emotionally stable and single, beware of needy, neurotic, people!

Fourth, daters may differ in sociability: again, reasonable differences may be tolerated—and most couples, even successful ones, have partners with different levels of extraversion. However if one of the two is much more sociable than the other, s/he will be much more interested in meeting new people, going out to bars and parties, and spending a great deal of time advertising his/her private life on Facebook – in contrast, the other person will want a private, quiet and personal relationship (which will bore the extraverted partner to death!)

Last, but not, least, partners may differ in altruism or agreeableness: indeed, if one of them has high interpersonal sensitivity but the other one has low empathy levels, they will end up behaving in very different ways—and, especially the more sensitive partner, will find the selfish behavior of his/her partner borderline rather immoral: whether its recycling or cycling, giving to charity or donating blood, partners should be equally predisposed to helping others… or they will experience cognitive dissonance. The above list of traits is by no means comprehensive; and even when combined personality may only explain a relatively small percentage of variance in romantic compatibility. Yet, just like businesses pay attention to personality when selecting employees, you should pay attention to personality (yours and that of your potential partner) before investing on romantic relationships.

My Miscellany: The Stalking Narcissist

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I was renewing my subscription to this blog, when I noticed an incredible surge in activity.

Curious, I went to my Admin Panel and was stunned to see a pattern reminiscent of how a stalker might behave.

Then I checked the origin of where the stalker-or stalkers-location was. And then I knew: My blog had become fodder for a lunatic NARCISSIST, BULLY, and EMOTIONAL VAMPIRE.

I could give a care as to how my recovery blog has likely been regurgitated to innocent friends and family, who have been swindled for years by this manipulative, and insecure bully.

Nor do I put any stock whatsoever in the interpretations of an individual, who I am certain is a borderline sociopath, and in need of immediate Psychiatric Treatment.

As well, I could care less how my blog is “received” by individuals who prefer to gossip behind closed doors about my “past”, as my most dedicated readers know.

Not convinced I have this (or these) stalkers dead to rights?

Read on my devoted readers, as I elucidate the nasty traits of an individual who clearly suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

See if this sounds like someone you know. If it does, I wouldn’t hesitate to force them, and the ones they continue to con, to accept that the only person with the problem is SHE (or him, or they).

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs.

People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder centers around talk therapy (psychotherapy).

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation
When to see a doctor

People with narcissistic personality disorder may not want to think that anything could be wrong, so they may be unlikely to seek treatment.

If they do seek treatment, it’s more likely to be for symptoms of depression, drug or alcohol use, or another mental health problem. But perceived insults to self-esteem may make it difficult to accept and follow through with treatment.

If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider.

Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.

Get treatment!

You’ve got serious issues.

Your opinions mean nothing.

You are shallow.

You are a nasty person.

You are a stalker.

You are a liar.

You are spiritually bankrupt.

You are seriously ill.

You are a drama queen.

You need help.

You are vain.

You are hurtful.

You are a fake.

Until you get help:

You will not matter to me.

You will not matter period.

You will remain irrelevant.

You will remain despicable.

My Miscellany: 6/10/19 1 Year Anniversary

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(this post is from 3/2017) When I wrote Men and Women Can Be Friends?  WTF, I never imagined in a million years that we would fall in love.  That’s right, Bec and I have fallen in love and since that post on March 30th we are now at the point that she is coming to visit me at the end of August!  Who could have imagined that a just sober homeless man, and a completely isolated adventure woman, could find love via their blogs?  Who could have imagined love could bloom and flourish between two lost souls 3,623 miles apart?

And what an amazing journey it has been with this woman.  Talk about the best friend I ever had.  Talk about the purest soul I ever knew.  Talk about the sexiest body, eyes, smile I’ve ever seen.  From the early days of flirting with her on her Wilderness Life Blog in early December, through the days of following her incredible journey of self-discovery on Faces of Life, and straight into video talks every single evening, we have developed an incredibly deep and profound relationship.

She has been the only person who has ever seen me behind all of my portrayals.  She stood by me while I stripped away the layers and facades and finally showed her who I really was.  She stood by me and showed me how to be a friend.  She supported me through my recovery and never flinched when she learned every dark and dirty truth about me and my life.  She has never judged me.  She has never moved an inch from my side.  All she did was give me the room to finally be who I was supposed to be all along.  If you’ve never had yourself beaten, molested, isolated, tormented from yourself, then very little of what I am saying is going to make much sense to you.

At the same time I’d like to believe I helped her to come out of herself and see just how beautiful she really is.  I think I have been there for her during some difficult times and decisions.  She has been able to lean on me.  I am proud that ours is a relationship built on pure and genuine honesty and trust.  I know everything about her and she knows everything about me.  And I do mean everything.

We have shared over 136,000 texts, 275 hours on the phone, nearly 100 emails, 80 hours of video.  We have taken every relationship quiz known to the internet.  We have shared deeply passionate and loving experiences.  Oh, and we even played two games of Trouble, she one.  Games using just phones for reference are NOT as fun as they describe online.  All you have is words when you are 3,623 miles apart.  And believe me, you find out EVERYTHING about your partner and yourself in a hurry!

That all being said, she wrote a poem of love and longing the other day.  I have never posted one poem about her online.  I decided that the poetry I write for her is going to remain deeply personal and intimate.  Should she decide I should post something for her, only then will I do that.  However, I did give her an answer to her poem that was asking for many different forms of love and support.  I told her I would most definately share the poems; they might help someone else know the depths of love and support that two people who wish to be there for one another forever will go.

My Miscellany: Closing The Circle

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This is a follow up to my post about my friend turned lifelong love!  7 days ago I left her and my heart at the Security Checkpoint at Bradley International Airport.  And so, once again, she is over 3,665 miles away!

This girl who quietly began her blog of personal growth, journey, and discovery last February.  This girl who I happened upon one chance December day.  This girl who captivated me with her zest for nature and life.  This girl who I read and quietly, somewhere in the universe, we were nudged closer and closer together.

I’m not going to sully this profound experience with my words.  I am not going to carry on about love and soulmates and destiny and past lives and fate.  I am not going to try to even begin to describe emotions, feelings.  I sometimes get frustrated when I attempt to write her poems; they seem so bitterly inadequate.  That is why there are only a few poems about her on my blog, and they are only ones written when I thought I had lost her.

No, I am not going to do any of that.  I did want to post about our visit.  She blessed me with a visit from August 28th-last Sunday.  Put it this way, I define my nearly 54 years on this planet this way now:  Life before Bec and after Bec.

Here’s the greatest joy I have experienced in my life:

we crunched froot loops together while making fun of the guy who couldn’t keep the breakfast nook stocked because he kept going back and forth with just one item at a time and we ate lots of pizza and chocolate and chips and Cheetos!

we visited a thrift store and took our first selfie–which she swore she would never take–in an overstuffed chair.

we fished for over 6 hours together.  And she stayed because she loved it too, not just because she knew I love fishing.

we were on our way to Walmart and in-between the hotel and the road was a small section of nature.  We stopped to take pictures and ended up spending over 2 hours there.  Ironically, out of over 50 pics, when we shared what we thought our favorite pic of each other was, we selected the one of each other we took simultaneously on that day!

we watched What Dreams May Come and Excalibur her favorite movie and one of my very favorite movies…because we said that was what we wanted to do months before.

we learned our loving…slowly, quickly, subtly, obviously, kissed so passionately we banged teeth and lips like junior high kids

we went to my aunts which was epic for Bec to meet my most important person in my life…and I took my mother’s ashes back in a ziploc bag…where they remain on my nightstand.

we held hands, hugged, held, touched, kissed, slept together, woke together

we made peanut butter and nutella sandwiches and ate lunch at a pond behind Bass Pro Outlets and took pictures of nature and each other

we found out we both snore…she a lot less and a lot more quietly than me!

we ate pizza, and wendy’s and cumberland farms sandwiches that terrorized me for almost a day

we had candles lit all over two different hotel rooms and explored our sexuality, and kept the keycards

we talked and whispered and laughed and smiled and grinned and smiled some more

we drove–well she did all the driving, and she was almost a great driver except for a few minor brushes with disaster–through four different states!

we explored the Boston aquarium and I saw through her eyes the beauty of a place I had long ago dismissed, and both took WAAAAAAY too many pictures of fish trapped in glass, then I introduced her to Mike’s Pastry in the North End and we took pictures in the Old North Church where they did not actually place a lantern in to warn the British Are Coming!

we laid around in bed, took naps, lay in each other’s arms and passed the time doing nothing

we laid on a stretch of grass between two fast food restaurants–after she completely missed the turn into the restaurant–because we remembered we wanted to lie on the grass and look at the clouds together

we visited my astonished Probation Officer because I told him we would and visited the VA where I fought for over two months–and 4 disapproval’s before I got the Director of the VA to approve the extra time to spend with her–a legendary battle between man and the system, and visited Chris, the Patient Advocate who helped me win the battle

she bought me and her an angel coin, which I carry in my pocket with my other recovery coins, and she bought us matching rings that reminds me every time of the purity of what we share and the magnitude of the gift that is her and US

I cooked burgers and chicken kabobs for her and snuck into my room and took pictures and I finally got to give her all the cards I bought for her and almost made the flower-pot bald outside the hotel room and got her coffee and cold water and ice

So, yeah, it’s hard for me to write about our emotions and how I feel about her in a typical way.  And you know what sucks?  I’m leaving a million things out, but I think you know.  If you don’t, your heart is made of brick lol.

PS:  we are missing the exact same tooth!

Thank you Bec…because you made everything possible.  I thought I was so smart, thought I knew what love was.  I didn’t know a damn thing until you showed me exactly what it feels like, what it is, to really love.

They need to put your picture in every dictionary in every language of YOU next to the word love…Ya, the circle is closed for sure…and I just thought of a name for our rings:  they are our “Galaxy Rings” whatcha think?

16 months of sobriety and loving life that is life with BEC!

NEXT UP:  Trip to Belgium

Ours Is From In And Of Galaxies

 

My Miscellany: Avoiding Unrealistic Expectations

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So we’ve been talking in the last few posts about unrealistic expectations.  I talked about what they are, why they happen, and I created a great 30 question quiz you and your partner can have fun answering.  The main reason I have been posting on this is that I have been unfairly using unrealistic expectations with my girl, and I wanted to learn how to stop before I pushed her completely away.

I’d like to get into how to manage expectations and ways to openly express realistic expectations and how to make those expectations agreements.  Here are the links to the previous 3 posts:

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (1)

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (2)

30 Great Relationship Questions

Steps in Identifying and Handling Expectations

1.  Identify Faulty Assumptions–For some reason, when we get close to a person, we start to demand that this person act in a certain way.  We reason that “if you loved me, you would…”  This type of reasoning is based on two faulty assumptions

  1. That love can be defined in a certain way
  2. That the other person agrees with this definition

Neither assumption is reasonable, and once you accept that your way of thinking is not the only right way, you’ll find it easy to reject the assumption and therefore adjust or even completely drop your expectations.

2.  Seek To Understand–People show love in different ways, as explained by Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages”:  words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch.  Someone else may speak a love language that you do not understand because your love language is different.

When someone tries to love you in their own way, it is you who may not understand.  This does not mean that they are not trying.  It is not their actions that you need to change, it is your understanding.

3.  Observe Carefully–When you stop expecting a certain behavior from others, you free yourself to see more clearly.  You will start to observe what they actually do, instead of constantly seeing the gap between what they do and what you want them to do.

4.  Recognize The Consequences–You would probably be upset if somebody loved you only when you behaved a certain way.  Spouses or partners who feel they are not good enough for their partners may seek acceptance somewhere else.

Relationships are not transactions.  If you’re in a relationship because of what you get out of it, it is a transaction.  We all have needs that have to be met, but it is futile to expect the other person to meet these needs.   It is easy to let go of expectations once we accept responsibility to meet our needs ourselves, and are in a relationship not for what we can get but for who we can be.

5.  Ask For Agreement–If an expectation you have is important because it touches on non-negotiable values or morality, seek to convert that expectation into an agreement.  Agreements are not expectations.  Expectations exist in your own mind, often without the knowledge of the other person.  Agreements are explicit verbal commitments by both parties on a set of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

Decide on what is non-negotiable to you.  Highlight these to the other person and explain why it is so important.  I’ve found that calm discussions work much better in this case than yelling matches.  IF you cannot convert a non-negotiable expectation to an agreement, you’ll have to make a tough choice.  You have to decide whether to let go of the expectation or the person.

Let go of your expectations.  With one simple change of thinking, you free two people at one time.  The other person is free from having to behave in a certain way, and you are free to love better.  Letting go is hard, but definitely worth it.

6.  Talk Openly About Your Unrealistic Expectations–Telling your loved one that you realize, for example, that it is unreasonable for her to always be available for texting, and explaining you will no longer have such an expectation, will surely relieve her that the burden of your unrealistic expectation has been lifted from her back.  And yes, that is an example of an unrealistic expectation I have had for my own partner.

Three Keys To Managing Relationship Expectations

  1.  Identifying Relationship Expectations–It may be near impossible to identify every expectation we have of every relationship in our lives.  Still, we can try to identify as many as we can for the most important relationships.  This is especially important for relationships that are already under strain.  This happens when one or both parties are not living up to the other’s expectations, or quarreling about whether these expectations are reasonable.

Make a list of all the expectations you have of your partner relationship.  It helps to start each sentence with “I expect…”  This reinforces the fact that expectations don’t exist out there, but only in our minds.  It also helps us take responsibility for our relationship expectations.

Making this list can be quite a wake up call, as we usually don’t realize how many expectations we have of a person.  Seeing our list in writing can also help us to get rid of the unrealistic expectations, so that we can focus on dealing with those that are most important.  Once you make your list, cross off all the ones YOU YOURSELF do not do 100% of the times.  Then, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and honestly ask yourself if what you are expecting is reasonable or not.  That should pare your list down pretty significantly.

2.  Communicating Relationship Expectations–There are two things to bear in mind when communicating relationship expectations.  Firstly, focus only on the most important so we don’t overwhelm the other person.  Secondly, choose the right time.  Ideally we should communicate only the single most important expectation we have and deal with that.  However, it may be tiresome to have this conversation about relationship expectations several times, so focusing on the most important three at one time is a good compromise.

Whenever possible choose the right time.  Communicate the expectation BEFORE there is a chance to fail to meet it.

3.  Seeking Agreement on Relationship Expectations–An expectation that is not identified nor communicated remains an expectation.  Once an expectation is communicated, however, there is a chance of reaching agreements.  It is crucial that in seeking agreement, we respect the other person’s right not to agree.

If the other person is aware of your relationship expectations and accepts these are reasonable, there is a high chance of reaching agreement.  Present your expectation in as reasonable a way as possible.

The other person may not agree to our relationship expectations for two reasons:

  1.  They find the expectation unreasonable.
  2. They cannot commit to meeting it.

When there is no agreement, your expectation remains an expectation.  You will then have to decide what to do about it.  It’s very difficult to let go of expectations you have of the future and of your partner.  Still, it’s the one thing that can improve your relationship dramatically.

Allowing our happiness to depend on someone else will make us miserable since we can’t control another’s actions.  It also places a huge burden on the other person to make us happy, a burden that is not fair because no single person can fulfill all our needs.

Final Tips

 1.   Live In The Moment–Not everyone has the blessing of being with a person who loves them.  Whenever you find your mind wandering into the future, bring it back into the moment and enjoy it, whether you’re with her or doing something else in your life. This moment will never come again.  Live it to the fullest.

2.  Be Grateful–It’s very human to desire certain outcomes.  Only those who learn to be grateful can escape the never-ending spiral of wanting more rather than being happy with what we have.  And we have so much, if only we had eyes to see.  Whenever you find yourself wishing for more in the relationship, shift your focus instead to what you already have, and count your blessings.

Final Thought

I have learned quite a lot over the last day or so about my shortcomings in my relationship.  I have certainly come to appreciate not only why I have been doing this, but also what to avoid and how.  I do plan on one other post regarding using CBT and Emotion Regulation when you might find your emotions getting caught up–usually because of an unrealistic expectation–and how to keep yourself centered and avoid further harm to your partner and yourself.

Having realistic expectations for others involves realizing that all of us are less than perfect.  Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, we must take responsibility for our own life and make necessary changes that are in our best interest.  We must leave our self-blame behind and find ways to untwist our thinking and behavior to make our lives more fulfilling and manageable.  It is important to value and accept our partners and friends for who they are.  It is in our best interest not to spend our energy trying to change them to fit an image of what we believe we need and what they can provide for us!

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