Perhaps the minute people fall in love, they become intoxicated by the Limbic structures’s influence over their decision making. Let’s take a look at more relationship scenarios:
Jenna is a svelte blond in her late twenties. Single and successful; athletic and driven. Jenna has had more dates than found under the letter J in the phone book. Most of these dates were sexually consummated. She doesn’t feel used by men; she feels she is doing the using.
Jenna can’t find Mr. Right.
Let’s take a look at her history: only child, dad an attorney, mother a model, parents divorced when she was eight, parents are still fighting, both parents know how to carry issues to extremes, and both parents have been verbally vicious to Jenna during her childhood. The parents did not evidence good control over their own Limbic system structures. There was only episodic monitoring of feeling and impulse by the frontal cortex. Jenna became familiar with extremes. Extremes were normalized. To be extreme is to be normal.
Jenna is attracted to a variety of men. There is no size, shape, smell, occupation, or activity they engage in that draws her in. Rather, she is drawn to certain things they say and do. She is behaviorally and verbally triggered. This is also what was stored for the future in her Limbic system as a developing child.
Jenna is drawn to a challenge: A challenge comes in many flavors, certainly more than 51. A guy can say, “I would never give in to a girl that did that to me.” or “I would never rob a store.” or anything that exists in the world of never or always. Jenna will show them just how powerful she can be to make them break their will, code of ethics, or position. And, she will succeed.
Jenna is drawn to a threat: A threat may present with one of her men saying that she better not be sexual with someone else, while they are dating. Or, it could be that he says he would leave a girl if she ever did one of these things. Jenna will wrap her guy around her so tightly and then she will take him up on his threat. She will engage his threat. Only now, since it is Jenna, he has become weak and without the same resolve. She will show him that he cannot hold his own power if she decides to break his will.
Jenna is drawn to weakness: Jenna is attracted to a shy guy who hasn’t experienced lots of success at relationships. She is also drawn to virgins. She likes to enter the picture, receive adoration, be special, and then just when the guy is hopelessly smitten she will drop him like a candy wrapper on the sidewalk. The guys aren’t weak; Jenna perceives innocence as weakness. She views innocence as sweet and exploitable. She wants to show her guy that she is in control even if he is just a nice guy. She can be vicious if she chooses.
Jenna is drawn to victims: Be wary if you are a guy with a sexual abuse history, child abuse history, or any other history of victimization. Jenna likes to be with people who have been abused. She can relate to the abuse. However, after a time of relating to it, it begins to make her upset, she needs to turn the upset into anger, she needs to become the victimizer so as to not feel the feelings of having been a victim.
Jenna is drawn to grandiosity: Guys with big ego displays or presentations of confidence beware. Jenna likes to take someone who feels inflated and insert a stiletto knife into their balloon.
Jenna is drawn to the guy in recovery from drugs, alcohol, or other maladies of mind, body, or spirit: This is related to the above victim category. If you are on the straight and narrow and finally minding your business, be careful. Jenna likes to topple recovery by way of showing you that you can be toppled with just the right amount of finesse.
Jenna sounds like a handful, doesn’t she? Why she hasn’t found Mr. Right is because she isn’t looking for him. She is looking for her parents and the past pain that she once lived. She re-creates the past in the present. Each of her men are meant to take her place as representations of her loss of power, will, control, safety, resolve, commitment, ethics, morality and peace. She isn’t looking for Mr. Right. She is torturing men the way she remembers being tortured as a child.
More on emotional crime scenes and finding your way through the relational maze in the next blog.
Take care and be well!
Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo, PhD
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Last reviewed: 5 Jul 2012