When Self-Help Tactics Become Self-Terroristic

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In a Facebook group I started for women only called “Goodbye Codependency and Love Addiction, Hello Warrior Hearts!” we have been discussing SELF-CRITICISM. We just started addressing this in-depth.

One of the tenants of self-criticism occurs for many women in the group who are seeking “recovery” or trying to figure out how to stop loving unavailable, addicted, abusive, assclown partners and also find their own fire again. We typically have the sense that there is something wrong with us, sometimes that we are broken, when we look around and see everyone else thriving in happy, healthy relationships, when we keep getting burned over and over by not nice, narcissistic people.

If I had a nickel for every time I have heard a woman tell me and I have thought to myself, my “picker is broken,” I would be truly wealthy.

So many women I have met don’t even know what’s happening to them, only that they are in agony and also in love with their current or last partner and can’t find a way to move forward.

Super simplified - here is a typical scenario:

He is super charming, treats her very well, makes her feel uber special.

She falls. Hard.

He begins to show his true colors, a blurry shade of muddy gray with streaks of oxblood red.

She is super confused, working ever harder to return to what once was. In fact she is bending herself inside out often times because she believes what he is serving up which is through very subtle (genius actually) manipulation that the changes she is seeing and him distancing himself is all her fault.

Slowly, ever so intentionally, he begins to devalue her (or make it known she is no longer respected.). Maybe lie to her. Doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do. Starts creates issues where there were no issues before. Starts including her less, perhaps criticizing her more. It feels like rejection over and over.

This dance can go on for years and years. Add in physical and/or verbal abuse, addiction, cheating, whatever you can think of plus the kitchen sink. But she LOVES him. She is already hopelessly hooked. This is all by design. Dr. Phil calls them “baiters,” psychology might call them narcissists or people with narcissistic traits.

No matter how or if it ever ends, she is by now completely lost to herself. She is beaten down. She has zero confidence or trust in her ability to make decisions. She cannot figure out how to live with him or how to live without him. She has given her EVERYTHING to the relationship only to be discarded or pushed away or made to feel like the scum on the bottom of his shoe. Her self-doubt and self-criticism has hit the level of terroristic threat. Daily.

Any move she makes, anywhere she turns, most of her friends (unknowingly), any information (however helpful or unhelpful) ALSO becomes a source of self-criticism. Another way to prove to her that she is broken like she suspected from the start. That she will never get through this 50 shades-of-hell-on-earth.

This blog post is about putting down the books, a small source of self-criticism.

I’m here to suggest to you, with all of the balls that I have, all the gall I can muster, PUT DOWN THE SELF HELP BOOKS LADIES. You are not broken. They add to the confusion.

I studied and analyzed myself and my family so hard, I literally got a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. I could actually be a psychiatrist for all of the research I have done on them, on me, on him, on that one, on dynamics, on personality disorders, on codependency, on highly sensitive people.

In a nutshell, here is what I learned after thousands and thousands of hours of striving, and driving, and learning, and reading and researching and analyzing and studying my ass off.

All that we need to do is:

Learn how to have compassion for ourselves, as we are, right now, today, in this moment.

I don’t mean for that to sound like I’m minimizing the torturous hell that these types of relationships become. It is actually very simple though. It requires several things that have probably been systematically beaten out of you:

1. A willingness to put yourself above EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in your life, as if your life IS THE OXYGEN YOU NEED TO BREATHE.

2. A willingness to keep the focus on yourself no matter what the monkeys are doing in the circus all around you.

3. I do recommend coaching. Click here for a free Get Free and Heal From Relationship Hell Consultation Call. I got you on this Boo! As I said I could be a licensed MD Psychiatrist with all that I have learned.

4. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is a wonderful resource, especially coupled with coaching.

5. A die-hard-hearty-fire about you that you will never stop on your quest for self-love. And the quickest way to self-love, which will get you self-trust, self-confidence and self-assurance again, is self-compassion.

6. Mindfulness.

7. A gentle heart. A warrior’s heart.

8. A Support group, if you’d like to join our facebook group please click here Goodbye Codependency and Love Addiction, Hello Warrior Hearts!

If you want to get better, stop analyzing everything. And start finding a gentle way to love on yourself. Every day. Without fail.

I promise you, the answers are not in any book or any exercise in any book (that you are probably skipping over anyway.) You will not miss anything. You will pass 90% of your sisters seeking recovery to the safety zone, if you do this.  

If you DO choose to read self-help books, please be mindful of how you might be comparing yourself or measuring yourself to the book. Are you using the material to learn and implement something useful? Or are you using it to prove to yourself that you fall short. Again? That there is yet another thing you have to learn to do better or more of?

Just be. Just BE. JUST be.

If you have been involved in a painful unavailable relationships, like the one described above, we already know you are a super special, sensitive, caring, giving, thoughtful, tenacious woman with endless hope (optimism). You have all of the qualities that aren’t serving your current or recent past UNhealthy relationships well but which WILL serve your healthy dream relationship in the future.


1)  Click here and ask to join. We welcome you with open arms in our FABULOUS and safe FB community of like minded women.

2) Click here for a free  Get Free and Heal from Relationship Hell Consultation call with me, you will leave with nothing less than clarity and the next best steps to take in your action plan to finding healthy love and freedom.

wendy holthaus2 Comments