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Showing posts with label narcissism and codependency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label narcissism and codependency. Show all posts

You Know Them by Their Fruit


One of the biggest problems in codependency is the repetitive failure to see things as they are and "know people" by the fruit they bear. Hope for change, denial, and unrealistic expectations are often at the heart of that particular dysfunction. People who are caught up in codependency often put themselves in emotionally harmful situations multiple times because they foolishly believe that "maybe it will be different this time." 

It's not that they like abuse. It's that they hope the situation will change if they're good enough/nice enough/loving enough/helpful enough/committed enough/compliant enough. Such people take unnecessary responsibility for other people's actions, thoughts, opinions, assumptions, behaviors, etc. 

They often feel that the abuse or mistreatment is somehow their fault. It gets even deeper if they've done something wrong in the past. Then shame kicks in and makes it worse. They foolishly believe that they should put up with mistreatment simply because they didn't live a perfect past. This is false. No one lived a perfect life, and past mistakes or wrongdoings do not make continuous disrespect okay.

How do I know all this? Because I lived the lifestyle and the patterns. I was that person who refused to see that some of my relationships (all kinds) weren't what I wanted them to be. I was the person who kept giving second and subsequent "chances" to people who were bearing the fruits of nothing but disrespect, underappreciation, and sometimes even hatred and contempt. I was the one who would keep running back to an unhealthy job, "friendship," or relationship, hoping that the situation or people would change. I was also the person who beat myself up over past mistakes and allowed other people to beat me up over them as well. 

Recognizing the Fruit and Acting Accordingly

A wise minister said a long time ago that some of us need to recognize the fruit and then start acting accordingly. I found that to be very true. 

The truth is that you know people by their (repetitive) fruit as it relates to your relationship or situation. You also know a situation by its fruit. If you work in a toxic environment, it's not likely that it will change because toxicity might be a part of the culture there. 

I can say that I've had a good number of jobs in my lifetime. I don't have negative words to say about all of them, and I don't believe they were all toxic, either. There were two toxic jobs I had, though. I stayed on them long-term hoping for change, and I actually wasted years of my life because of it. The same with relationships. I was unwilling to stay with anyone for 10 or 20 years if he treated me unkindly, but I still stayed in some situations for two to five years. That was long enough for me. Again, I was hoping for change. I kept doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result, and they say that's the definition of insanity. 

When we slowly come out of codependency, we start to see things more realistically. We look at relationships and situations as what they are instead of what we want them to be or what we think they're supposed to be (family is supposed to stick by family, etc.). We self-reflect and think about the kinds of relationships and situations we want to be in, and we no longer entertain unfruitful ones. We act according to the way things really are instead of exhausting ourselves trying to change them. We accept everyone and everything exactly as they are and then decide whether we want them as a part of our lives moving forward. It's not a hateful change, a resentful change, or a manipulative change. It's a change we need to make if we want to be healthy and happy. 

It Is What It Is. You Can't Make It Anything Else

If someone is always condescending toward you, that's the way they feel about you. Plain and simple. It's not someone you want to keep as a friend and certainly not as a romantic partner. 

If someone always makes fun of you or your struggles and pains, they bear hateful and sadistic fruit. Leave them to their own devices. 

If someone constantly ignores you, they do not value you or your company. You'll have to value yourself and not spend time or energy on someone who doesn't.  

If someone always brings up your past, that person wants to keep you in a low place. They're intentionally refusing to acknowledge your growth or any positive deeds or qualities about you (everyone has some). Let them be, and let them live in the past.  

If someone always fails to support you (emotionally), they do not want to support you. Stop asking for support from them and find supportive people. 

If someone treats you like a piece of meat and believes you're a hoe, they don't want a meaningful relationship with you. That's fine, but you're not going to keep compromising your values and hoping that they'll change their mind about you. You'll have to show them who you really are and that you're not the person of their imagination. Shut down the meat cutter permanently and stop settling for less. Move on.   

If a job doesn't value you, protect you, respect you, or help you grow, it's just a job and not a career. Take from it what you can and move on ASAP.

If someone assassinates your character and sows discord into your most precious relationships, they are most likely a narcissist or a wicked puppetmaster at the very least. Leave them and all of their followers to their own devices. There's nothing more you can do. 

The Blame Game: And Then There's the Truth


*An excerpt from an author's musings*

The biggest problem with dysfunction is that everyone wants to blame someone else, and no one wants to look at his or her own behavior and the pain it might have caused other people. The main reason is that it's just too painful sometimes. We all want to be wonderful people who everyone loves and likes. We all want to have a positive reputation and image and so forth. Some of us will go way farther than others to maintain it. 

The truth is that those of us who lived in dysfunction, whether as a narcissist or codependent, did things that hurt other people. Other people also hurt us, and all of our pain is valid. Part of the recovery process is learning to accept that our behaviors caused harm to other people, too. Codependents aren't just victims. They're also participants in a deadly dance and vicious cycle that never ends until they seek recovery.

The truth is that these behaviors are indeed learned and developed in childhood, and when we don't tend to our own recovery, we end up passing on incomplete "toolsets" to our children. If they don't seek recovery, they may do the same. 

Common Myths About Dysfunction

Some people believe that growing up poor or having a parent who struggles financially causes dysfunction. Such people also believe that changing residences causes dysfunction. Others say that single-parent upbringing itself causes dysfunction. 

While those things can contribute to someone developing dysfunction, I'm here to tell you that the same dysfunction can show up in an adult who seemingly "had everything" growing up: two cars in the driveway, two parents in the home, a beautiful several-bedroom home in the best neighborhood, private schooling, presents on all the popular American holidays, same residence for nearly 20 years, etc. 

It's not what you have or don't have materialistically that causes dysfunction. It's not the type of housing you live in. It's not whether you had more than one residence growing up. It's the way you were or weren't cared for. That's why there are as many rich narcissists, codependents, and addicts as there are poor ones. 

You can have everything under the sun that costs money but receive zero emotional support, guidance, or understanding of healthy boundaries. You can have loads of material things but be told you're worthless every day. That can cause you to develop narcissism or codependency. 

You can also have everything handed to you on a silver platter and have a parent who praises, coddles, and enables you, even when you've done something severely wrong. That usually causes narcissism. 

You can have an overly controlling parent or parents who always try to run your affairs, even when you're a grown man or woman. These things can cause narcissism or codependency.

You can have one parent who selects one of the children as the "golden child" and the other child as the one who just isn't good enough. And you can have another parent in the same household who equally berates both children and is never there when they need help of any kind. You could have a parent who hurts you, undermines you, and fails to protect you just to impress some strangers at your expense. 

All the above things can happen within a family system that seems "normal" just because of the two-parent status and/or material wealth. All of those things can birth narcissism and codependency. 

But it's not just one person's fault. It's usually a generational thing that goes on to be replicated in the following generations if no one recognizes it and seeks recovery. People work with the tools they have until they recognize that they're missing some and visit the hardware store. 

Everybody makes mistakes in these situations and systems. Everybody hurts somebody. Everybody's been hurt. But the entire system is maladaptive, not just one person. Sometimes, it's easier for others to scapegoat and ostracize one person than it is to admit that the entire system is flawed.

I will say this about myself:

I believe I grew up to be severely codependent. I've been a caretaker at times, a surrogate mommy for a man-child at times, a physical and emotional punching bag, an enabler, and a controller. But even a codependent can display narcissistic traits and behaviors, especially when that person is pushed, stressed, experiencing extreme emotional abuse, or spending a lot of time around a sadistic narcissist. It happens.

I believe I have way too much empathy, compassion, self-awareness, and self-reflection to be a narcissist. But if it makes other people feel better about themselves to call me a narcissist, go for it. Whatever I was, I am no longer that person anymore. I'm a growing and evolving person who is learning new things and practicing new behaviors every day. I may have started late in life, but it's better to be late to the bus than to never catch it at all

Done With Dirty John: Justice Only Comes in Movies


I got done with "Dirty John" last night. I only watched the first season. The second season was a different story that had Christian Slater in it. I like Christian Slater, but my mind was tired after watching the other Dirty John person. I mean, wow. 

The first "Dirty John" was more of a sociopath than a narcissist, but sometimes only a fine line exists between the two. The main characteristic of these people is that they lack empathy. Therefore, neither type of person is incapable of killing someone or at least watching someone die. Without empathy, they don't care enough not to put someone else's life at risk to serve their own cause. They don't care enough to know that they're supposed to help if someone they say they "love" is dying. They don't care enough not to harm such a person when she says she wants to leave the relationship. 

My experience is unfortunately extensive, but the individuals varied in degrees of narcissism. I would say maybe one of them was a "teddy bear narcissist," while the worst one may have been a socio-narc like the first Dirty John. 

The problem with watching movies and TV shows about narcissists is that they usually end the shows with some sort of "justice." They know it's what the viewers want to see. They want to see the person who did all the evil "get what they deserve," whether it be legal consequences such as divorce and jail time, or the very appropriate fate that came to the first Dirty John. Real life doesn't work that way, though. The majority of narcissists get away with everything they do, and there's no actual justice for the victims. The real sly ones with tons of enablers and flying monkeys get away with the children, the "good reputation," and everything else. We don't get a TV show ending, and that's probably why we enjoy watching justice get dealt out in make-believe world. 

The world is getting much better at understanding narcissistic abuse and all the emotional and psychological elements it involves, but it still has a long way to go. Unfortunately, many people still need to see those broken bones, cuts, and bruises before they believe abuse existed. They still don't understand that the verbal and emotional and psychological attacks are the biggest crimes against the souls of the targets. 

I thought Dirty John's fate was very appropriate, considering what he was trying to do when it happened. If he had not been trying to do that, then I'd have felt differently about his fate. In most cases, I don't believe that narcissistic people should receive such absolute forms of justice. You can click on the link above if you'd like to watch the series. 

Dirty John Season 1: The Makings of Narcissists and Codependents


I got as far as episode five of the first season of Dirty John before I had to leave. All I can say is wow. John was doing too much, lol. He said many hurtful and inappropriate things to his wife's closest family members and basically alienated them all. A few of them tried to tell her that "Something's wrong with him," or they tried to shed light on his abusiveness, but she wouldn't see it. Her mother just loved John to death, so she didn't see it either. 

We (viewers) moved along in the story to find out that John told a bunch of lies about himself and had a ton of skeletons in his closet. First of all, he never fought in Iraq. He was actually living in a trailer park at the time when he told his wife and her family that he was "fighting in a war." Yes, perhaps the Double-Wide War, but certainly not any notable American war. SMH.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with living in a trailer or a trailer park if that's what you can afford, and you don't have a problem with what other people consider as substandard housing. There IS something wrong with telling fallacies about your past, such as being an ex-vet and a doctor. 

We also found out that John used to have a medical license, but he lost it for robbing patients of their anesthetics and narcotics. You see, John had a severe drug problem as well, which is a co-existing issue of many narcissists. 

John also cheated on his first wife and had zero empathy for her when she found out. The things he said to her were so damaging it was unreal. She left him, and he threatened to kill her, which is also very common among narcissistic individuals. They had two kids, so she got a restraining order that protected all of them. 

That's not it, though. John also had a pretty long criminal record. He did not have an isolated incident or incidents that happened when he was a kid/young adult, but a slew of crimes he had committed JUST THAT YEAR. In fact, he had just gotten out of prison when he met Debra, wife number two. 

Debra was the one who figured most of this stuff out once she started investigating her husband. She didn't know him AT ALL. Part of the reason is that she didn't give herself a chance to get to know him before she married him. Don't think that only happens when you let relationships move quickly, though. Sometimes you can know someone for 10 entire years before you marry them and still not know who they really are. But yes, in this case, Debra allowed the relationship to advance way too quickly. They married eight weeks into their relationship. 

Anyway, Debra decided that she would leave the marriage and get an annulment based on John's falsehoods and coercion. Unfortunately, John had a (valid) medical emergency right before she got her annulment, and that caused her to have sympathy, empathy, and compassion for him. He also threw a lie in there about having muscular dystrophy, lol, and that added to her guilt. 

She grilled him about all his lies and deception, and he seemed so convincing and remorseful that she ended up taking him back again. First, she literally nursed him and helped him through detox from the drugs (been there) because he promised to stop. Then she took him back after he finished detox. But yeah, detox didn't last long. He was doing the drugs behind her back in no time.

At that point, her family members cut her off because they didn't want John to be able to hurt them or their kids.

The next few episodes really took us into a look at John and Debra's childhoods. We saw exactly how John developed into a narcissist. He could have easily developed into a codependent instead, but he didn't. He went the other way. 

John's father was a narcissist himself and a con artist. He used John in a series of scams so that he could get lawsuit money. For example, he made John eat a piece of GLASS at a restaurant so that he could try to sue the restaurant. He had John jump in front of a car and get HIT by it to sue the other driver. Is this not terrible???? John was just a kid, and he went through so much pain in those accidents his father made him do. I mean, the moment we saw those things, we realized exactly why John turned into what he became. We felt compassion for childhood John. We wanted to feel compassion for the adult John as well because he never really understood how he was supposed to interact with people. 

But that's where we mess up at. Even when narcissists tell us about their childhood abuse, or we exchange stories with them, they don't do it to truly bond with us. They do it to play on our sense of compassion and empathy and use them to their advantage. They do it to find out our vulnerabilities so they can use them as well. They don't feel compassion and empathy for us because they chose to detach from those parts of themselves a long time ago and create a false self who would never feel close to anyone ever again. 

Debra was groomed to be a codependent. Her mother was one who always encouraged her daughters to stay with men who treated them poorly. In fact, Debra's sister was killed by her husband for requesting a divorce. Her mother was trying to talk her into staying with him a few nights before she died, but she wanted to be free and not be controlled by her husband. 

One thing I don't like about the series is that it sheds a bad light on faith and religion. Debra's mother used religion to justify generational doormatting. Our Savior said we have to forgive others, yes. He didn't say that we have to stay in their lives and allow them to abuse us. He didn't say we have to stay in marriages with serial cheaters or people who threaten our lives constantly. Yeah, no.  Staying with someone who is actively participating in sin is a sin in itself. 

Dirty John: The Perfect Lesson on Narcissism and Codependency

I started watching the "Dirty John" movie/series (2018) after it was suggested to a group of us by a minister who is well educated in the narcissism realm. She said there would be things we'd pick up on and recognize right away, as John is a narcissist and Debra is codependent. I just got finished with the first episode, and I know I'm definitely going to finish this series. 

The female in the story is an established businesswoman who had a series of bad marriages, four to be exact. That part of it struck a chord because I noticed how her own daughter put her down for that. I, too, experienced ridicule because I had more than one marital rodeo. In fact, I was ridiculed in the courthouse by my last fiance as we were completing paperwork for the marriage license. Nice, huh? Um, and why exactly would he proceed to marry someone he felt wasn't good enough because of her previous marriages? That was total narcsense.

Others don't understand that we just want to be loved. We're not horrible people or insatiable ***s or anything. All we want is a loving relationship... a long-lasting relationship... a happy family like the one we always dreamed of. When I was a little girl, my dream wasn't to have multiple marriages or several long-term abusive or unfulfilling relationships. I wanted to be loved and have a family. That is all.

 Unfortunately, some of us have "bad pickers" and maladaptive patterns of behavior. We allow treatment we shouldn't allow. We accept breadcrumbs of affection because we're used to living off of breadcrumbs of affection. Thus, we often make bad partner choices, or we give our all to people who don't even give us 25 percent of themselves, lol. Eventually, though, we realize that we're being horribly mistreated, and we leave. That marriage or relationship ends, but we still desire to be loved. 

Should we never marry again or never have children again or never love again because we made a bad choice? Or perhaps we're considered "better people" if we stay with the same harmful person for 20 or 40 years of our lives. Who says so? Who says we don't deserve to try to be happy? And who has the right to ridicule us over our failed relationships? 

Unfortunately, if we don't get the appropriate healing, which involves building our self-esteem and diffusing the negative images and words about ourselves that were programmed into us, we keep making the same mistakes. Such was the problem of the woman in the story.

Debra didn't need a damn thing. She was independent, self-sufficient, well off, successful, and had everything she could possibly need. But deep, down she still had the same self-esteem problems and bad image of herself because of what she'd endured. But she still wanted be loved by a man.

She met a man named John who was attractive, charming, and a successful "doctor." We find out later that he's not a doctor, but that's a whole other story. She and John hit it off on the first date and went back to her place and started kissing. Way too early for kissing or home visits! But more important was the way John handled himself when Debra declined to have relations that night and asked if they could just watch some TV in the other room instead. 

He literally threw a tantrum and walked out of her home and slammed the door. As an observer, I could see that John was an abuser from that moment. Debra was disappointed and confused, but she just shrugged it off as, "Oh well. I guess he wasn't the one." Then, John called her back several days later with a long "apology speech" and charmed her into dating him again. Once that happened, she got caught up in "the cycle." It should have been a wrap after the first horrible behavior. 

By the end of the first episode, these two had moved in together and gone through all sorts of abuser isolation drama with Debra's family members. That should have been the end of it, too, but Debra proceeded with the relationship and went on to marry John at the end of the episode. I know it's going to be all downhill for Debra now. She done said, "I do." Awe, Lord. John is about to show his entire behind now.  

*Picture is from the Los Angeles Times website and is not the property of Timiarah S*

The Cruel Dynamic of Non-Support


*an excerpt from an author's musings*

"One of the worst things in the world for an abuse target to experience is a lack of support. It not only causes the person to feel isolated and shunned by others, but it also causes her to experience shame and beat herself up. There's a huge difference between "tough love" and additional emotional abuse

Emotional Abuse Often Comes in Mobs

Unfortunately, some people who experience abuse in their adult lives also have longstanding circles of unsupportive "friends" and "family members" with whom they go through similar cycles. These people sometimes leave them out in the cold when they plead for help in dangerous situations, form alliances with their abusers, blame them, or stop talking to them because they've taken an abuser back one too many times. In some cases, other people are so cruel that they laugh at a victim's pain. I know all of those experiences first hand. 
I even had someone laugh at my pain just a few years ago, and I never saw the person the same way again. 

Anyone who says cruel things or laughs at someone when she is hurting is not a friend at all. That individual enjoys kicking her when she's down, or they are jealous and controlling and want to hurt her because she tried to move on without them. Either way, it's additional emotional abuse, and it's not something that any survivor needs in her life.  

Targets Already Feel Bad

Individuals who experience narcissistic abuse already beat themselves up enough for the whole world.
They don't need so-called "tough love" when they go through pain. They don't need sadistic bursts of laughter. They don't need to hear from an ex/'friend' the unsolicited "blunt truth" about why someone else used them and threw them away. Most of the time, they already know that, and they just need comfort. They just need support and understanding, but they err by going to people who had hidden contempt for them all along. The contempt is much more apparent now because such people no longer need them. Thus, they no longer have to feign empathy and are now free to be their true sadistic selves. 

Recovery Takes Time

It can take a lifetime for someone to truly understand why she interacts with people in this manner and then take steps to see her way out of it for good.
The experts say it takes up to seven times for a person to leave an abusive relationship before she succeeds. This is especially true in a marriage, but it can also happen in a relationship or situationship. 

Unfortunately, just leaving one abusive relationship doesn't resolve the problem. Many survivors enter subsequent relationships that have the same dynamic because they are still trying to resolve a past hurt. They are still subconsciously gravitating toward someone who matches the personality and dynamic of the person or people who shattered them originally. 

Clarity Comes Eventually

Self-awareness might not come until later in life. A survivor will then attempt to change her lifestyle and undo unhealthy patterns once the awareness hits. That person might experience a wave of additional abuse as the above-mentioned "friends" and "family members" try to hold that person in her "position" as the emotional kick-around or scapegoat girl. A harsh, emotionally crushing "punishment" may be dealt out as a parting gift from the entire group as well.

The only solution to this problem is for the survivor to change her circle and press forward through the pain. The individual must walk away from the unhealthy dynamic and not worry about whether the other people will change their behaviors. She must stop tap dancing for the same audience and go to a venue where tap dancing isn't necessary. The new audience will cheer her just for having the courage to come to the show, not throw trash at her when she tries to take healthier steps.

Supportive people are out there. Compassionate and understanding people are out there. People who have similar stories are out there. Such people understand the importance of having a good support system, and they will handle newcomers with care. They won't laugh. They won't berate. They won't shame. They will simply offer understanding."

The Peace and Power in Forgiveness


Forgiveness is something that you give to another person for yourself in many cases. Not everyone who wrongs you is going to ask for forgiveness. In fact, many people won't care enough about hurting you to request such a thing. Still, it's something that needs to be done for your sake, not the other person's sake. Letting go of the resentment you have in your heart is liberating. It unties you not only from the other person, but from the bondage of anger, hurt, rumination, and regret. You don't have to forgive them to their face or give them a dramatic speech about it. You can do it at any time and in any place, without saying a single word to the other person. 

It's understandable that you might want to hold onto the negative feelings, though. Sometimes, it can feel quite good to allow resentment and anger to boil in your blood over something someone took from you or the way someone betrayed you. Perhaps you feel that your anger will somehow torch your enemies from afar and cause them to burst into flames. You might feel like, "Hell, they don't deserve any forgiveness from me." 

Maybe not, but you deserve forgiveness. You deserve to be set free from the situation, whatever it is. Nine times out of 10, the other person isn't giving you or your wellness a second thought, but you're still hurting and boiling over something that happened a week, month, year, or decade(s) ago. Even worse, some people might be getting a sick pleasure from your inner turmoil. Do you want to let a sicko win? 

When you forgive somebody, you take that big plate of destruction, devastation, and defeat, and you throw it right back at whoever served it to you. You didn't order that dish, and you're not going to eat or digest it. Hurl it from your table and toss it back their way. "I forgive you." That plate is now on them. Enjoy. 

You can now leave the restaurant and let them pay for the meal. 

The Resentment of Unmet Expectations

*an excerpt from some author's musings*

"The main cause of our resentment toward other people is that such people fail to meet our expectations. Sometimes, we harbor preconceived expectations and then become crushed if someone doesn't meet them. Sometimes, we then attempt to control our environments or situations to have those expectations met. And again, we become crushed if it doesn't work out.

  • We expect our caretakers to nurture and protect us.
  • We expect our family members to support us in our endeavors, achievements, failures, battles, victories, losses, etc. because they're family.
  • We expect other people to love us because we love them.
  • We expect people to love us equally.
  • We expect others to be kind to us just because we're kind to them.
  • We expect people to like us because we're hella likable. 
  • We expect people not to hurt us.
  • We expect people not to take advantage of us just because it isn't nice to do so.
  • We expect people to be honest with us if we're honest with them. 
  • We expect loyalty, commitment, and dedication if we give it. 
  • We expect fair treatment.

The list goes on and on.

Four major flaws exist in this way of thinking and the patterns of behavior that follow it:

  • We can't control anything or anyone except ourselves.
  • We can't expect other people to be us.
  • We can't enter relationships with an ROI (Return on Investment) mindset.
  • Life ain't always fair. 

Possible Solutions:

Never Say Yes When You Mean Hell No

Doing things we don't want to do with the expectation of receiving something in return is hazardous to our health. It's best only to do things we really want to do and not expect anything in particular in return. It's best to do what we want to do in moderation, as well. For example, we should learn to regulate our "emotional generosity" and not give our entire hearts to those who haven't even shown us that they deserve them. Why commit to someone who hasn't committed? Why give loyalty when loyalty isn't given or requested? It doesn't make sense. 

Respect Other People's Free Will 

Everyone in this world has free will. Thus, they have the right to choose how they behave and interact with other people. We can't expect other people to use their free will the same way we choose to use ours, and we can't expect reflections of ourselves to come to us as relationship partners. People are who they are, and we must allow them to be themselves. 

The better choice might be to date ourselves for a while. We can love ourselves and be dedicated and committed to our own wellness. We can invest in ourselves and get the wonderful ROI of abundant happiness. We can meet our own expectations until the right person comes along. Furthermore, we have a loving Creator who will give us all the comfort, love, companionship, dedication, loyalty, care, and assistance we need. We might want to see Him for some of that TLC we're missing. We also might want to see Him about having some of our character defects removed.

Don't Be Afraid to GTFO

We can always choose to step away from those who treat us in unhealthy ways, for we also have free will. We can choose not to go along with unacceptable behaviors, mistreatment, or one-sided relationships. No one can make us stay or put up with any such things."   

6 Balloons Movie: Great Codependency Flick

There aren't too many movies out there with a codependency theme, but "6 Balloons" is one such movie. Interested persons can only view it on Netflix. 

It's themed around the relationship between a codependent sister and a heroin-addicted brother, but it can apply to any type of relationship where one person has an addiction or abusive behaviors, and the other person tries desperately to "save" that person or change that person's behavior. The codependent individual often unknowingly neglects her loved ones, job, children, and even herself because she focuses so much on "changing the other person." She may also exhibit destructive behaviors if things don't go her way. That's why codependency is its own addiction.

The first thing we see in the movie is the main character, Katie, planning a huge birthday celebration for her boyfriend. We then see a glimpse of the dynamics between Katie and her parents, but they don't give us a whole bunch. We see Katie's mother insulting her looks and telling her what she should and shouldn't wear to the party. At one point, the mother says to her, "You look good," after Katie conforms to her makeup "suggestions." Katie smiles, and then the mother immediately reneges on her compliment by saying, "Well... better." So many messages came through in that scene: "You're still ugly but a little better looking now that you've done what I told you," and "What you did still wasn't good enough" came to mind. That had to hurt. Katie tries to laugh it off and handle it passively as if it doesn't bother her, but we know better. 

The father is an unemotional person who tells everyone to "suck it up" when they're in pain. He has no other solutions and doesn't really console anyone. He doesn't do emotions. So there's that. 

So the movie starts with a little glimpse of the family dynamics and Katie running around to get everything done for the party. Throughout the movie, we hear an inspirational tape playing and telling Katie which part of her codependent cycle she's in.

Katie's father was supposed to pick up the brother, Seth, and his daughter for the party. However, he dumps the responsibility onto Katie and asks her to grab him instead. Katie complies and goes to pick him up on the way to get the cake for the party.

When Katie gets to Seth's house, she finds that Seth has started using heroin for the umpteenth time, and his daughter is a bit unkempt. She then wants to "help him" by forcing him to go to detox. He agrees to go to detox but insists that she keep everything a secret.

A few minutes later, we see Seth insult Katie by calling her "incompetent" and then teaching his two-year-old daughter to say the same thing about her. Are we seeing some more of the family dynamics here? Katie again laughs it off like it's no big deal that her brother taught his daughter to say that she's incompetent. 


Everything changes once Seth gets to the detox facility and starts having withdrawal symptoms. He calls Katie and asks her to leave the party and "rescue him" from the facility. He then asks her to involve herself in getting him "just a little bit" of drugs to ease his pain. The cycle continues from there. 

Pretty soon, Katie is absent from the party, not answering her phone, and enmeshing herself in Seth's issues and problems, all because she thinks she can save him, and things will be different this time.

I won't give away the ending, but I'll say that this was an excellent flick of a certain niche. There aren't enough of these movies around, in my opinion. 

Toxic Relationships: Blame and Labels Don't Matter Much

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter whose fault it is, what happened in the relationship, who's a narcissist, who's a codependent, or who's any other label. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the mechanics because we're such analytical people, that we forget the most basic principles:

Toxic = BAD



Toxic = DEADLY 

If interactions with another person always end up with you feeling bad about yourself, low in self-esteem, gutted, jabbed, chopped down, confused, or otherwise emotionally or psychologically screwed, then the relationship is TOXIC for you. 

It doesn't matter who that person is or what type of relationship you have with them, whether it be romantic, familial, or friendly. If your interactions always end up with you feeling like you got served a plate of emotional kick-ass, it... is... toxic. It really doesn't matter what your malfunction or their malfunction is. A relationship that constantly hurts is not a good one. 

It doesn't matter whether it's toxic because they're toxic or toxic because you're toxic or toxic because you're both toxic. It's just toxic, and you'll need to separate yourself from it before any healing can begin.

An Addict of Unhealthy Love

*An excerpt from an author's musings*

"Sometimes, the saddest part of ending a narcissistic relationship is not that you have to be completely alone. It's not that you'll no longer get those skimpy breadcrumbs of attention or affection. It's not even that your dreams and ideals have been crushed. Nope.

The saddest part of it all is when it finally hits you that you really were dealing with a narcissist. It's when you think back and remember how close you allowed a sociopath to get to you and your home, heart, head, history, etc.

I was in denial about the last narc relationshit. My intuition told me what that person was right away, but like an idiot, I ignored the red flags and the still small voice from above. I ended up getting crushed pretty badly by this person, but I knew I'd survive. I'm a survivor. It's what I do. I can't say the pain didn't kick my ass for a while, though. 

I knew I could never allow myself to be with the person again, but I was still in denial about him being an actual narcissist. I thought I'd come way too far in my recovery to ever deal with such type of person again. 

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The individual proved himself a narcissist by doing a classic maneuver that only narcissists do. Non-narcissistic people are not arrogant enough or non-empathetic enough to ever do anything like that to someone. 

The whole time I was in the discard box, I hoped that he'd never come back to retrieve me for puppet games. It wasn't because I didn't care. Of course, I cared, because my nature is to care for people. But I knew what it would mean if he ever showed up again, so I didn't want it to happen.

Most survivors look forward to the hoover because it gives them some kind of small temporary self-esteem boost or consolation prize after weeks/months/years of being discarded like trash. For me, it was sad because it told me that I was right all along. I could no longer deny who this person really was. This was one time in my life when I didn't actually want to be right. 

The good part about the experience is that it put me more in tune with where I was in my own recovery. You see, I had been struggling with such relationships for a lifetime, and I thought that a self-prescribed six years of celibacy and prayer was going to be my cure-all. Unfortunately, recovering from such extreme trauma requires a lot more work than just isolating oneself and swearing off relations. Abuse has less to do with relations and more to do with predators feeding off our vulnerabilities. Thus, I ended up falling into the traps of narcissism again.   

Recovery requires a lot of inner work. It requires us to be completely honest with ourselves about our own shortcomings. It requires us to take steps to resolve issues that have been present sometimes for decades. It also requires us to have a good human support system in addition to that strong relationship with our Savior. It's my personal belief that only other survivors of these types of traumas can support us sufficiently and effectively. No one else really understands. Thus, I chose to roll with my own community on this.

I have been blogging about the topics of narcissism and codependency for more than two decades. Most people don't know that because I also had severe problems with guilt and shame in the past. I'd build entire websites, gain large followings, interact, and be doing well with my projects. But then, I'd get sucked back into some unhealthy relationship, and I'd feel like I was no longer worthy enough to discuss such topics. I'd let my guilt and shame overwhelm me and cause me to erase all my work and disconnect from all those people who actually took the time to read what I had to say. I didn't know how to deal with my shame back then. I didn't know it was okay to try to support other people, even if I was still a work-in-progress. I thought I was worthless if I wasn't perfect. I know better now. 

I am one year and 22 days 'clean and sober from toxic relationships,' lol. I have recently been tempted through no fault of my own, but I have not 'relapsed.' I am 100 percent single and not in any relationship or relation of any sort. I am now doing everything I can to improve my own life, support other people, and gain the support I need, too. 

I have a YouTube channel that's still pretty young and lacks direction, but it's mine, and I'll keep putting material on it as long as there's someone in the world who finds it helpful. I still have fingers to write with, so I'll be contributing in that aspect, as well. Counseling and coaching? Maybe one day when I'm more mature in my recovery and have worked a program."

Boundaries: Knowing Where to Draw the Line


Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation posted an excellent blog about a year ago on boundaries, which got me thinking about mine and why I suffered so greatly in the past from having them crossed repeatedly. An honest self-assessment led me to this answer: I hardly ever established any.

Individuals had crossed my boundaries many times in life in various ways. I had an idea of what my boundaries were. In other words, I knew which kinds of behaviors I liked, disliked, wanted, and didn't want. However, I had a problem verbalizing those boundaries because I dealt with boundary guilt. Internally, I felt that:

  • This person won't like me or love me anymore if I set boundaries.
  • If I truly love this person, I won't set boundaries, or "true love" has no boundaries. 
  • I am selfish if I want or need anything or express my own desires.
  • A "good" wife/girlfriend stands by her partner no matter what. 
  • I am helpless, and there's nothing I can do about XYZ boundary being crossed. 

None of these beliefs is true, but we don't know that when we don't have a healthy concept of boundaries. Those of us who have an unhealthy sense of boundaries often end up in abusive relationships or situations where we dedicate ourselves to caretaking (and trying to control) someone with a dependency issue, such as alcoholism, substance abuse, gambling, etc. We feel responsible if our undying love doesn't "cure" them of their dependency or stop the abusive behavior.

The truth is that boundaries are a healthy part of any relationship. They must be established so that other people know how to treat and respect us. Not everyone has a healthy sense of boundaries. Just like us, they may not have had the opportunity to develop them. Therefore, other people may come into our lives with no idea of how to treat other people. We can't expect them not to step over a line if we don't draw one in the first place. On the other hand, once we clearly draw our line, we then have a duty to defend it. What may have been ignorance on the other person's part quickly turns into outright disrespect if he or she crosses it. At that point, we need not feel guilty about not tolerating the behavior.

Furthermore, we're not responsible for other people's behaviors, and there's nothing we can do, good or bad, to control how they choose to act. All we can do is focus on our boundaries and what we need to do to enrich our own lives. We cannot save or change anyone. Only "God" can do that. We can pray for other people and for ourselves, but that's about it. 

Establishing boundaries might require spending some time alone to familiarize ourselves with them. There's nothing wrong with grabbing an old-fashioned pen and paper and writing a simplistic list of what's acceptable and unacceptable. In fact, it might help to clarify them. It might help a boundary-deficient individual to get used to seeing and hearing his or her own voice. 

The Challenge of Change

Change is a difficult process, especially if you're older than 21. It's particularly hard if you've been conditioned for a roller-coaster-ish existence. You become set in your ways and so used to living and functioning in certain ways that true change becomes quite a challenge. It feels a lot like swimming upstream or trying to climb up a mountain while you're carrying a 50-pound backpack. You know the prizes of peaceful living and self-love are at the top of the mountain, but the climb is very tiresome. There's always opposition, too. There's always someone trying to pull you backward or add more weight to your backpack so that you'll lose the motivation to climb. Your own mind will sometimes participate in trying to demotivate you, as well. "It would be so much easier to turn around and just run down the mountain."

Good things are never easy. Bad things always are.

Sometimes, to facilitate change, you might have to let go of unhealthy friendships/relationships/acquaintances, even if those persons were all you had. You might have to work a job that you're not very passionate about to avoid being compelled to tapdance for excellence and recognition. You may have to stay self-aware at all times and moderate your own behaviors and actions. You may also have to change the type of people you allow yourself to associate with. Those people might not seem "exciting," but they might be genuine and stable. You won't have to wonder if they care about you or whether they're going to be there for you because their actions will tell you. You won't have to work so hard for things that healthy individuals give freely. 

Change is exhausting but not impossible. It's uncomfortable but not undoable. It's foreign but also very healthy. It feels weird because it's different, but long-term repetition will most likely undo the awkwardness. It definitely deserves a 30-day challenge at the very least.

It's Emotional Suicide

I said in my last video that "narcissists are not all bad." In no way does that mean that anyone should stay with one, get involved with one, or try to "help them find their empathy." Hell no. Quite honestly, you will drive yourself crazy trying to do so, or you'll be left so emotionally damaged or drained in the process that there will hardly be anything left of you. Trust me. You might want to separate yourself to avoid emotional death. 

What I meant by my statement is that some narcissists have had to deal with the same kind of earlier-life invalidation, lack of attention, or emotional abandonment/rejection as codependents, and so they crave love/attention/adoration/validation the same way their relationship counterparts do. A lot of the time, it's not their fault that they developed strange ways of getting their needs met.

What I meant was that codependents and narcissists understand each other on a deeper level, and that's why they gravitate toward each other, even when the codependent is definitely not seeking to hook up with a narcissist. 

But make no mistake. These two individuals differ a lot, too. Narcissists have no mercy, especially if someone inflicts some sort of narcissistic injury on them. They will not contribute equally in any kind of relationship with anyone. They will only take. Furthermore, their inner rage is a lot worse than a codependent person's is. Narcissists hate closeness and intimacy. So the closer someone tries to get to a narc, the more the narc is going to punish that person. The "nicer" and more giving that person is, the more that person will get pummeled emotionally. 

They want to live their lives without feeling anything except contempt. They want to believe that those who have empathy, compassion, and feelings are inferior to them. They want to get fed and get gone. They have an appetite for destruction. Anything good, loving, or positive makes them angry. But they still need love, and they need other people's warmth. So they do what they need to get it, and then they crush those who give it to them. What's even worse is that they'll try to come back again once they crush someone,  lol. 

WTF, right? But that's how it is to deal with a narcissist in any capacity. 

Any kind of relationship with a narcissist is basically emotional suicide. I do not advise. 

Is Ghosting Someone Emotional Abuse?

Ghosting is one of the cruelest and most emotionally damaging things that one human being can do to another. It can make a person feel worthless, unwanted, unimportant, unloved, and all those fun emotions that some folks already struggle with because of their traumatic pasts. It can revive feelings of abandonment and leave a person in a bad way when it's done. 

Ghosting isn't taken as seriously as it should be because it's used by inexperienced young daters, cowardly people who don't like confrontations, and narcissistic individuals, too. However, it's important to understand that its effect on another person's emotions is the same, whether the ghoster does it with intent to harm them or not. 

What Ghosting Is

Ghosting is disappearing on someone you have any type of relationship or relations with. It's when you leave for work one day after breakfast and don't return home to your wife. It's when you don't respond to a message or call after you've just been with someone in a so-called intimate manner. It's when you intentionally deny someone of basic human contact and communication when you know they care for you. It's when you don't check in with someone to see if that person is even breathing. You simply drop off the face of the Earth without a word. You get the picture.

The nature of your relationship doesn't matter, as you're both still HUMAN BEINGS. It's just plain wrong. It's cruel, selfish, and sometimes even sadistic. 

What Ghosting Is Not

Ghosting is not to be confused with the no contact rule, which emotional and verbal abuse survivors commonly use. These persons need to cut contact with abusive individuals to establish boundaries, heal themselves, and prevent further abuse. In most cases, these persons endured a great deal of pain before they decided to cut contact with their abusers. NC is for their emotional wellness and protection and is not a malicious tool. Nine times out of 10, the abusive person knows exactly why the other person doesn't wish to talk to them.

The Right to Ghost

People have the right to talk to or not talk to anyone they want. That's true. It's their phone, their chat account, their presence, their time, etc. Sure, in a perfect world, it should be okay for people to withdraw a little when they feel like it. But ghosters don't "withdraw a little." Ghosters commonly cut people off when everything's supposed to be okay, or they "die" for a while and resurrect themselves only when it suits them. 

These individuals will only communicate if they want something, and they care very little about whether the other person needs anything at all. These types of individuals wouldn't give the other person a glass of water if their head and ass were on fire, but they would feel comfortable asking such a person for a variety of favors and assistance. They often crush one person's spirit to be with someone else, and then they show up when their other relationship(s) has a problem or doesn't work out. These are sociopath games.

Is Ghosting Emotional Abuse?

Hell yeah, it's emotional abuse. Big time. It invalidates and devalues the other person without a word being said. It re-opens the childhood wounds of people who have experienced abandonment or invalidation before. It evokes feelings of worthlessness in individuals who have their emotions invested in the other person. It's a cruel and heartless tool of emotional abuse in the worst form. 

If You're a Ghoster

You have issues, bruh! You have issues, sis! You deserve to have the same thing done to you, preferably by someone you do give a sh*t about. Grow up and simply tell people the truth when you don't care for them, and you can avoid doing emotional harm to other people. Unless, of course, you enjoy doing it. In that case, you should probably burn in hell. 

 If You've Been Ghosted

There are some positive sides to being ghosted. For one, you get to see how immature the other person is. If it's someone you really liked, you'll realize that an actual relationship with them would not have been okay. They're likely to handle a relationship issue, pregnancy, or marital problem in the same manner. 

Secondly, you'll learn that other people have been ghosted, and you're not alone in your pain. You'll learn that it's all about the ghoster, not about the victims. It doesn't matter if you're mean, nice, fat, skinny, smart, dumb, ugly, pretty, young, old, white, black, or whatever. Ghosters have issues that have nothing to do with you. They have five-year-old toy-shelving mentalities, are severely damaged, or just don't care enough about you to give a sh*t. In any case, that's not someone you want to invest any more of your time into, let alone your emotions. 

How to Handle a Ghost Who Gets Post-Mortem CPR

Let the ghosts stay dead. If they didn't like you enough to keep up with you, that's fine, but remember that nothing will change after their resurrection. They still won't like you after they resurrect themselves, and they'll likely just use you again IF you let them. Nope. Give 'em a nice ScrewYoulogy and send their ass back to the afterlife.  

You Can't Explain Yourself to a Narcissist


Oftentimes, targets to try reason with narcissists or "explain themselves" because they think that the narcissistic individuals will somehow have an epiphany about their behavior. They believe the narcissists abuse them because of a terrible misunderstanding about who they are as a person.


"He thinks I'm a loose woman who likes being used as a w****. I better explain that's not who I am. I better explain that I only do this with people I love. Once he understands, he'll stop treating me like this." 

"She thinks I'm a bad guy, so she cheats on me repeatedly because she thinks I don't love her. I better explain to her that I'm not like that. Once I explain it to her, she'll stop doing this to me." 

"He hits me or calls me names because he thinks I provoke him. Let me explain that I'm not trying to rock the boat!"

"He/she ignores me and dumps me and comes back days/months/years later because of something I did/said. I should explain and apologize."

"He didn't show up for me at the hospital when I was dying because I went on an innocent trip with my best friend several years ago while we were broken up (because he discarded me). I better explain that all over again. Surely, I'm in the wrong here."

Waste... of... time. 

Narcissists abuse their targets because they like to do so. It's as simple as that. It's fun for them. Kids play with toys. Narcissists play with people.  

Narcissistic people know their targets are good people. In fact, they HUNT for "good people" all the time. They seek empathetic and kind-natured people who are likely to give them more than one chance to act a fool on them, lol. They treat these people the worst because they have a deep-seated hatred for everything good, pure, and genuine. They HATE love. In fact, if you want to piss a narcissist off real quick, tell them you love him/her, or ask him/her to do something for you or with you that isn't in their self-fulfilling agenda. Ask them for an emotional connection instead of a f***, or ask them to help you when you're in need. You'll make them angry, and you won't get what you asked for.

They know their targets aren't cheaters, liars, whores, dummies, or malicious like them. But their whole show is about gaslighting. Their whole game is about destroying self-esteem, killing self-respect and dignity, and stealing love/time/sex/money/shelter/misguided commitment through manipulations and emotional abuse. 

Hmmm. Rob, kill, and destroy. Sounds kind of like Satan's agenda, doesn't it? 

If narcissists can get away with stealing your identity, they'll do that, too. If they can drive you crazy enough to whereas you start believing you're worthless, that's all the better for them. If they can make you so bitter and angry that you become like them, that'll really make their day.

You cannot reason with narcissists, because they don't operate with logic. You can't understand crazy. 

You can not explain who you are to them. They already know who you are. They just don't care. They're going to treat you like garbage anyway... just because they can.  

You can not plead with a narcissist. It will make them want to hurt you more. 

You can not cry to a narcissist. Your tears will only make them laugh. 

You can not bargain with a narcissist. You will always end up with the short end of the stick. 

The only thing you can do with a narcissist is walk away. Say no to giving them their supply. Walk away with the self-respect you still have, and forget that you ever met such a person. Repent of having a devil anywhere near you, and be thankful that you weren't their main supply.

Movie Commentary: Bully (2001)


I watched the old movie "Bully" a few days ago for free on Amazon. It's a classic movie starring Brad Renfro (R.I.P.) and Nick Stahl that was a true story of an event that happened in Florida in 1993. Seven young people got together and m*rdered one of their friends, who was a bully. Bullying survivors often watch this movie because they can identify with the victim. They sometimes discuss the events and give their opinions on what happened in different forums. 

I always thought the movie was an excellent depiction of not only physical violence but extreme emotional and s*xual abuse. The humiliation and degrading and shame that Marty went through struck a chord in me even more than when Bobby would just haul off and punch Marty in the face.

Some people say, "Well, why didn't Marty just stop being friends with Bobby?" That's the same question people ask of women who've been in similar long-term relationships. "Why didn't she just leave?" or "Why didn't she just divorce him?" or "I would've just left" are common comments. 

It's not that simple for someone who has been tortured in such a fashion. Abusers often apologize and then play on the victim's sense of friendship, family, or marital commitment. Bobby's favorite line after apologizing for a gruesome act of abuse was, "Marty, you're my best friend." 

Aside from that, the victims often have extremely low self-esteem and don't feel like they can do any better. Then there's the "comfort zone" factor. In Marty's case, he had been friends with Bobby all of his life. He probably didn't know what a healthy friendship was, and maybe it would have been awkward for him to break away and try one. 

Marty also had very little support. He tried to tell his parents what was going on, and they pretty much blew him off. They saw that he would come home with black eyes and bruises, but they didn't investigate the situation enough and didn't seem to care about Marty's well-being too much. At least, that's the way it seemed in the movie.  Abuse victims always cry for help to someone. Sadly, these people are often ignored, or people just plain sweep the stuff under the rug. 

Personally, I still don't think that Bobby deserved to die in the brutal manner that he died. I don't think he deserved to die at all. I understand the dynamics of such relationships. I know every last feeling that Marty felt, but taking another person's life is never the answer. 

However, I do believe that the courts should have taken Marty's years of emotional and physical torture into consideration. A human being can only take so much abuse before they just want to do something... anything... to make it STOP. Some people choose to run (flight), and some people choose to fight. Others freeze up and stop being able to function for a while. Those are the three responses to abuse, and they can alternate at any time during a cycle. 

It seemed to me like after experiencing a lifetime of emotional and physical torture, Marty was punished even more by being placed in prison with the stiffest sentence out of all of the defendants. That's not to say that he didn't deserve to do time for the specific crime. But it seemed like they gave him the harshest sentence when he was the one who suffered the most from the abuse. Some of the other kids did it just for fun or just to pass the time that night. They didn't receive the harsh sentence that Marty got. There's something fundamentally wrong with that. 

WARNING: "Bully" is a VERY graphic and explicit movie. It shows a lot of violence, foul language, drug use, r*pe, and s*x. The m*rder scene was graphic, as well. It is a very unapologetic depiction of a true story that probably should have been rated X, to be honest. It is not for you if the reality of abuse is too much for you. 

Be Mindful of the Enemy

An excerpt from somebody's book: 

"The worst kind of enemy is the one who comes under the guise of a friend or "loved one." It's one thing for a person to say, "I don't like you. I hate you. You repulse me. Get the hell away from me. I wish you nothing but bad fortune." It's quite another thing for a person to get close to you and touch you but then fail to disclose their hatred of you. 

Personally, I like my enemies to be honest and forthcoming. Unfortunately, honesty isn't the enemy's forte. Many people in the world have malice toward other people, and hell has blessed them with the gift of hiding it with a smile. Encountering these kinds of people is worse for women because we're emotional creatures. Men can engage in "physical relations" with people they vehemently hate. Most women can't. The whole reason we engage in "physical relations" is that we have love for the other person. Men, for the most part, have "physical relations" to fulfill a physical need. It's very difficult for a woman to do such things without having feelings. I'm not saying that all women are incapable of having meaningless relations, but many are. On the other hand, men can do it repeatedly, and that makes women super-susceptible to being targeted by narcissistic men. These men have nothing but hatred in their hearts for the women they bed and wed, but they have a charming hell-blessing that allows them to disguise it

This makes it hard for a woman who's looking for mutual love to thrive. It seems like we always have to watch our backs, keep our guard up, and observe new relationships for quite some time before getting too involved. It's not impossible to find real love, but it's kind of challenging these days." 


The Toxic Narcissist and Empath Tango


Toxic relationships are games, and each participant's objective is to win. In a narcissist-codependent or narcissist-empath relationship, the narc wants to "win" by completely destroying the target. The target wants to "win" by changing the narcissist back into something that he never was in the first place. She wants to make him into a loving, caring, and empathetic person. Both parties do it for the wrong reason, which is to validate themselves.

The narc would feel powerful just knowing that he caused someone so much emotional pain that she could no longer function properly. The codependent would feel important if she could turn a frog into a prince or a devil into an angel. If they could only "win," they could experience that sense of control they never had when they were children. 

These dysfunctional entanglements often go on for years, back and forth, break up and makeup, no contact and re-contact, etc. Nobody ever wins, though. The longer it goes on, the more both parties lose. The empath is the one who loses the most, however. She loses self-esteem, self-respect, confidence, hope, trust, and sometimes even faith in humanity. If she plays the game too long, she runs the risk of being stuck in it forever. 

It's not too late for her, though. As long as she has an ounce of hope (for herself) and a mustard seed of faith, she can get out. She can heal, and she can find true love one day. All she has to do is stop playing the game. 

How does one stop playing the game, though? 

It's really not as complicated as people make it. It's just like a game of catch where two people throw a ball back and forth to each other... over and over and over again. If one of them doesn't want to play the game anymore, all that person has to do is stop throwing the ball back. Put it down instead of throwing it back and simply walk away. Game over.