Why does anyone stay single?

Why do women prefer more masculine men during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle? Why are men more distressed by a partner’s sexual infidelity than their emotional infidelity? And why do female dating profiles advertise beauty, while male dating profiles boast about wealth?
The relatively new field of evolutionary psychology has answered all of these questions, and more. By applying evolutionary theory to the study of human mating behavior, psychologists have revolutionized our understanding of attraction, jealousy, lust, and love.

But surely there’s one question that evolutionary psychology can never answer: Why does anyone stay single?

If natural selection favors individuals who are best able to survive and reproduce, what possible benefit might there be to bowing out of the mating market? For countless generations, our ancestors have successfully reproduced. If evolution has shaped human desire, the prospect of life as a singleton should be as terrifying and impossible as holding your breath for 20 minutes. And yet, for many, remaining single is a conscious lifestyle choice. Why?

76 Reasons to Stay Single
It’s a question that occurred to Menelaos Apostelou, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. To answer it, he gathered together 120 men and women for an in-depth discussion of the reasons why people might stay single. After discarding very similar answers, he had a list of 76 distinct reasons.

Next, Apostelou sent a team of research assistants onto the streets of Cyprus to ask the public how likely each of the 76 reasons might be to cause them to stay single. Some reasons tended to go with others: If someone said they were worried that nobody wanted to be with them, they were also likely to say that they couldn’t find the right person. If they said they didn’t want to lose their freedom, there was a good chance they would also say they like to have their own space. Through these surveys, Apostelou found that the 76 reasons clustered into 15 groups, which in turn clustered into three super-groups, or broad and distinct reasons people choose to stay single:

Super-group 1: freedom of choice included reasons that seemed to be about wanting to flirt, be free, not commit, avoid conflict and constraints, and feeling that one is already doing well without a partner, as well as having different priorities and simply enjoying being alone.

Super-group 2: constraints included reasons relating to sexual dysfunction and other factors that might hold a person back from starting a relationship, such as a health problem, being older, or having children from a previous relationship.

Super-group 3: difficulties with relationships included reasons to do with bad experiences in previous romantic encounters, a lack of trust in others, a fear of change, an unwillingness to compromise, difficulties starting a relationship, and a feeling that one would not be better off with a partner.

Although most people will identify with reasons in each of the three super-groups, people who chose a reason from within one super-group were more likely to choose other reasons from within that same group. This suggests that, at least among Apostelou’s Greek-Cypriot research volunteers, there are three broad reasons why people choose to stay single—because they like to be free to set other priorities, because they feel cannot successfully compete for a partner, and because they find relationships difficult.

An Evolutionary Account
So far, so good. But what does this have to do with evolution? Apostelou’s argument goes like this:

Evolution has selected for ways of thinking and behaving that enhance our reproductive success, or the number of offspring we produce. So we shouldn’t be surprised that humans are motivated to pursue relationships. However, it should be surprising if humans pursued relationships indiscriminately, regardless of the costs.

For example, men with a greater earning potential tend to be more attractive to women. This means it makes less sense for a man to settle down with his high-school sweetheart at 18 than to focus on his education and developing his career, so that he can be more competitive for mates later (although a man with fewer opportunities for advancement might do better to marry young). By the same token, a woman who decides to marry the first man she dates might be making a bad move, but after dating more men, she will be better placed to make an informed decision about the best partner for her.

In both cases, these people would be staying single to exercise freedom of choice, applying reasons from Apostelou’s first super-group, but in a manner that is consistent with evolutionary theory. Staying single can allow you to pursue short-term flings, gain experience evaluating potential matches, and develop yourself to better attract desired partners later.

Now imagine another set of possibilities: If you are ill, it might not be the best time to settle down. You may have a better chance of finding an attractive partner if you wait until your health improves. If you have young kids with an ex-partner, this might make you less attractive to a new partner. In this case, you might decide to invest your energy and resources in your children, instead of a romantic relationship. If you are older, or infertile, you may choose to invest in the children of relatives or in your own grandchildren.

All of these constraints could lead you to reason that it makes more sense to stay single, at least for the time being—and again, your behavior would make sense in light of evolutionary theory.

We’ve seen how reasons for staying single that fit within Apostelou’s first and second super-groups are not incompatible with natural selection. But what about the third super-group  —  difficulties with relationships? Here, Apostelou takes a different tack. He reasons that navigating romantic relationships is a modern phenomenon. For much of human history, men may have secured partnerships with women by simply out-competing other men in physical combat, gorilla-style. Meanwhile, women may have had less choice in their partners, with a loose system of marriages arranged by parents as the norm. Apostelou says:

“In ancestral human environments, individuals would get mates from their parents or by fighting other men, rather than by addressing opposite-sex partners directly. Thus, selection forces had not enough time to augment the capacity of individuals to approach and persuade other individuals to establish an intimate relationship with them.”

In other words, those who stay single because they have trouble flirting, because they are too shy, or because they believe nobody wants to be with them are not operating a shrewd, long-term mating strategy. They are not unconsciously weighing the costs and benefits of settling down now rather than later. Instead, they are suffering the consequences of our species’ rapid development from hunter-gatherers to citizens of modern industrial economies in the (relative) blink of an eye.

In Apostelou’s view, natural selection “wants” these people to find a partner, but human circumstances have changed so quickly that evolution has yet to come up with a solution to these dating woes.
References:

Apostolou, M. (2017). Why people stay single: An evolutionary perspective. Personality and Individual Differences, 111, 263-271.

Open Minded

A recent study examined the difference in outlook between open minded and close minded people.
The study stated that the quality of ‘openness’ has a lot of deciding power on what kind of reality an individual lives in. Most open minded people live in a completely different reality than other people!

Openness is not a set quality. It includes keeping an open mind, trying new things, meeting new people – basically a desire to explore and push the boundaries of what you know and have.

Open minded people are very gregarious. The study, called ‘Seeing it both ways’, was conducted in the Melbourne University. A hundred and twenty three participants of various backgrounds were examined. Their character and views were measured.

The test for open mindedness focused on five categories of personality – conscientiousness, neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, and the ability to keep an open mind to new experiences.

They then tested who experienced a visual perception phenomenon called “binocular rivalry.” This phenomenon occurs when each eye is shown a different image, in this case a red patch in one eye and a green patch to another.

Most people switch back and forwards between the two incompatible images, as the brain can only perceive one at a time. But some people merge the two images into a unified red-green patch. Most participants who looked at both patches together were the ones who scored higher on openness!

Researchers theorize that open minded people tend to be more creative. Because these people are fine with keeping their mind open to experiences, learning and perception, they easily create new mental routes inside their head. Therefore, they develop new ideas by connecting things a normal person would not. This finding had been mentioned in an old study from 2015 as well.

Open mindedness, therefore, helps individuals attain higher planes of thought and a calmer resting state.

It literally creates a different structure of reality by introducing new elements inside the picture normal people would not perceive. It broadens the world an individual lives in.

Source:

http://theearthtribe.net/psychological-study-reveals-that-open-minded-people-live-in-a-completely-different-reality/

Trip to Bangkok

Bandung, 13 Juni 2017

03:40pm

Hi readers, kali ini gw mau share tentang perjalanan gw ke Bangkok waktu bulan Juni 2016 lalu. ya ya ya… uda basi I know. Gw beneran baru sempat share nie. ^_^

Waktu itu gw ke Bangkok 4 hari 3 malam cuma Rp 2.500.000 ikutan open trip backpacker. Itu uda termasuk tiket pesawat pp, hotel dan biaya transportasi umum selama di Bangkok, makan beli sendiri, terus masuk tempat wisata bayar lagi sendiri yah. Cukup enjoy, seru dan recommended ikutan agent travel backpacker ini. Selama jalan-jalan di Bangkok kita menggunakan bis umum dan perahu… yuhuuu… seru pokoknya. Ga usah sok tajir kalau mau fun, dinikmati aja. hahahahaa Waktu itu gw lupa yah nama agent backpackernya apa, tapi gw masih save nie nomor hp si bos yang punya. Yang mau dapet info tentang trip yang lagi dibuka sama agent backpacker ini bisa hubungi mas Diansyah (082115838000) atau bisa juga buka websitenya di http://www.liburanonline.com.

Jadi waktu itu gw memutuskan ikut open trip ini sendirian. Gw lobi-lobi beberapa teman tapi ternyata banyak teman gw yang uda pernah ke Thailand, jadi mereka prefer pergi ke tempat lain, sementara gw uda ngidam banget mau liburan ke Thailand. Well, dengan modal nekat dan kepedean langsung daftar lha gw ke http://www.liburanonline.com tersebut. Gw excited banget ke Thailand… yuhuuuu…..

Oh iya, sama si yang punya travel kita digabungin di satu grup open trip. Terus gw iseng cari mangsa alias kenalan sama cewek yang ada di grup itu dengan tujuan biar ada teman janjian waktu di bandara Soe-Ta. Terus yaudah dapet terus kenalan, terus janjian, terus duduk bareng, nunggu bareng, terus terus terus…. ehmm… tar lagi yah gw ceritain.

Selama di Bangkok kita nginep di kawasan Khaosan Road, nama hotelnya Thai Cozy House. Hotel ini lumayan nyaman, di kamar ada AC, kulkas, dan disediain wifi. Ok lha buat backpacker. Nginep di kawasan ini seru banget. Dari hotel kita tinggal jalan kaki ke pusat partyyyy….alias banyak cafe, banyak bar, banyak belanjaan, banyak makanan, banyak yang sexy, banyak yang ganteng. Recommended buat kamu yang suka senang-senang dengan budget backpacker bisa nginep di kawasan Khaosan Road ini. Di kawasan ini banyak banget hotel dan penginapan yang harganya cukup terjangkau. Apalagi buat kalian yang hoby party all night long, disini ok banget buat party. Gw penasaran pengen nyobain party di Khaosan Road, cuma mengingat gw sendirian dan ga punya teman yang bisa diajak party, well… gw urungkan niat. Cari aman, karena takut dikasih drugs, takut diperkosa, takut dibawa kabur, dsb. Well, antisipasi lebih baik. Next time mungkin harus bawa temen biar seru kalau mau mampir lagi ke Khaosan Road. hohhoho

Thai Cozy House. Penginapan yang berada di kawasan Khaosan Road

Di Khaosan Road rame banget pokoknya, yang mau coba belalang crispy, capung crispy, kecoa crispy, semut crispy, ulat crispy, dan binatang-binatang lain yang ga dimakan di Indonesia bisa coba dengan harga 10 bath untuk 1 tusuknya. Oh iya di Thailand itu kebanyakan makanannya ga halal, kalau kalian pakai jilbab biasanya yang jual langsung teriak “pork pork” artinya ada babi, jadi ga usah beli disini. Atau kalau kita ga pakai jilbab, kita bisa tanya “Hallal? Yes or no?” nanti dia kasih kode yes terus kita bisa masuk dan makan disitu. Oh ya yang bikin bingung kalau liburan di Thai, kadang menu makanannya pakai tulisan Thailand yang kita ga bisa baca sama sekali. Terus giliran ditanya ada makanan apa aja, terus mereka jawabnya pakai bahasa Thailand. Whhooooaaaa….bunuh aja gw…bunuh… wkwkwkwkwkwkwwkkw Emosi ceritanya. Well, jadi gitu deh kalau nasib orang backpackeran pasti kan ke tempat-tempat yang tergolong murah dimana orang-orangnya minim bahasa Inggris. Yaudah selamat berbahasa tubuh lha pokoknya yah… hahahahahahhaah

Jajanan Thai yang terdiri dari capung, belalang, kecoa, semut, ulat, dll. Salah satunya bisa ditemukan di kawasan Khaosan Road
Naomi saat mencicipi belalang crispy di Khaosan Road
Tempat makan di kawasan Khaosan Road
Suasana di Khaosan Road
Cafe-cafe di kawasan Khaosan Road

Selain makan belalang crispy, di Khaosan Road gw juga makan ice cream coconut ala Thailand gitu. Lumayan lha enak buat nyemil-nyemil. Lupa harga ice creamnya berapa yah, 25 bath kalau ga salah.

Naomi saat mencicipi Thai Coconut Ice Cream

Terus besoknya kita berkunjung ke Sleeping Buddha Temple atau disebut juga Wat Pho Temple. Di tempat ini ada patung sang Buddha lagi tidur, besar sekali patungnya. Tiket masuk Wat Pho itu 100 bath.

Naomi berfoto disamping patung Sleeping Buddha di Wat Pho temple yang besar banget. Saking besarnya jadi cuma kebagian kepala sang Buddha aja.
Halaman di Wat Pho temple

Setelah dari Wat Pho kita lanjut ke Wat Arun. Di sekitaran Wat Arun kamu bisa belanja souvenir dan bisa sewa baju tradisional Thailand untuk berfoto. Oh iya sewa baju ini hanya untuk berfoto aja, ga bisa dipakai sambil jalan-jalan di Wat Arun yah. heheheh Kebetulan gw ga sewa baju tradisional Thailand, karena harga sewa bajunya 200 bath seinget gw. Ga mahal sih, cuma gw uda fokus mau beli barang yang lucu dan uda niat ga mau boros selama di Bangkok. hehehehehe

Suasana di dalam Wat Arun temple
Seorang Biksu yang sedang melayani di Wat Arun temple
Tempat penyewaan baju tradisional Thailand di kawasan Wat Arun temple

Dari Wat Arun terus kita berkunjung ke Grand Palace. Bagus banget deh di Grand Palace. Kalian wajib berkujung kesini. ^_^

Gerbang luar Grand Palace
Halaman Grand Palace
Gerbang dalam Grand Palace. Untuk dapat masuk ke dalam istana harus membayar sekitar 500 bath.

Oh iya selama di Bangkok gw kemana-mana itu naik angkutan umum seperti bis, menikmati pemandangan sambil naik perahu (transportasi air), terus yang paling seru itu naik Tuk-Tuk. horeeee….. seru banget…. supirnya ngebut banget. Tapi ngebutnya seru kayak di film fast & furious gitu. Penumpangnya dibikin kesenengan dan teriak-teriak abis itu ketawa ngakak sambil teriak “again…again…” (lagi…lagi…)…. aneh…. but ini seriusan seru. hahahahahhaa

Transportasi air di Bangkok
Saat naik Tuk-Tuk di Bangkok

Setelah jalan-jalan keliling temple, besoknya akhirnya kita wisata belanja ke The Platinum Fashion Mall. OMG… OH Uh la la…. ini surga bangeeeeetttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt sist….. murah-murah banget gila….. swear tekewer-kewer. Kalian yang hobi shopping wajib banget liburan ke Bangkok. ajibbbbbbb…… Mulai dari dress yang harganya 150 bath, baju lucu yang harganya 100 bath, sampai bikini-bikini lucu…. uwawww…..
Dari The Platinum Fashion Mall kita ke MBK Center. Di MBK belanja lagi. sok tajir yah… hahahahhahahaha Terus seinget gw sih kita ke Pantip Plaza juga apa gak yah. Lupa deh… pokoknya gw jalan-jalan tapi lupa kadang sama nama tempatnya. Terus yang paling ga boleh dilewatin adalah ASIATIQUE The Riverfront. yuhuuuuu….. seru banget main dan belanja disini. Walau harganya ga semurah di Platinum, tapi ok lha buat cuci mata. Sebenernya harga di Asiatique termasuk standar juga kok kalau menurut gw. Gw beli dompet custom dengan ukiran nama gw donk… yuhuuuu…. seinget gw harganya itu 150 sampai 200 bath deh. Pokoknya kalau dirupiahin cuma 70ribu. Boleh lha yah… Tapi kalau lagi rame, ngantri cuy… ngantri ngukir namanya itu lho. hahahahhahaa Selain itu, kamu juga bisa beli oleh-oleh sabun unik atau disebut dengan Fancy Soap yang bentuknya unik dan fulgar, mulai dari bentuk buah-buahan, bikini, pakaian dalam, hingga berbentuk alat kelamin. 😂 Fancy soap ini biasanya dijual dengan harga 100 bath/3 atau 4 pcs, atau bisa juga dibeli satuan dengan harga 40/50 bath (giliran yang kayak gini kok gw hafal banget yah😅)

Asiatique The Riverfront Bangkok
Suasana di Asiatique The Riverfront Bangkok
Gembok Cinta di Asiatique The Riverfront Bangkok
Dompet custom yang dapat dibeli di Asiatique The Riverfront Bangkok. Kalau ke Bangkok lagi, saya harus beli dompet disini lagi👍
Fancy soaps yang dijual di seluruh pusat oleh-oleh di kota Bangkok. Bentuk sabunnya unik-unik dan sedikit fulgar. Hehehe

Oh iya, kamu bisa tuh cobain bir Thailand yah. Well, sebenernya ini bir biasa aja. Cuma karena gw lagi di Bangkok, yaudah cobain deh. Ini bir ringan banget deh yah. Masa gw ga berasa pusing atau gimana, kayak minum coca cola gitu (*ini antara doyan sama haus ^_^). Rasa bir nya pun jauh banget dari bir Indonesia. Kalau bir bintang, heineken, guinnes kan berasa minum bir kan yah. Ini bir Thailand yang namanya CHANG, sama sekali ga berasa sepet kek, pait kek, apa kek. Biasa aja gitu. No sensasi. Namanya juga coba yah, yaudah yang penting uda tau yah. Tapi aman kok ga bikin mabok (ga tau juga sih, kan gw cuma minum 1 botol) hehehehehe.

Naomi saat mencicipi Chang Beer di kawasan Khaosan Road

Well readers, kayaknya itu aja cerita Naomi selama di Bangkok. Sekedar tips, kalau bisa siapin budget 3jt keatas untuk belanja, karena banyak teman-teman sok ngirit, eh pas di Bangkok semua khilaf pada belanja terus kehabisan bath dan terpaksa narik duit di atm. Narik duit di atm internasional pasti potongannya lumayan yah, jadi mending siapin duit lebih buat jaga-jaga kalau khilaf. Hehehe

Oh iya kalau bisa pelajarin sedikit kata-kata berbahasa Thai untuk membantu komunikasi kita selama disana, karena banyak yang gak bisa bahasa Inggris. Kalau gw waktu itu sempat bingung kalau mau manggil waitress harus sebut apa, kalau di Indonesia kan biasa panggil mas/mba, nah kalau di Thai bingung deh tuh manggilnya gimana. Alhasil gw angkat tangan gw keatas sambil melambai-lambai ke waitressnya (mirip adegan kalau mau jawab soal di kelas…wkwkwkwkwkkkk), atau bisa juga gw harus keluar dari meja dan nyamperin terus colek-colek waitressnya. Hahahahaaaa Terus yang geblek gw sempat sotoy dengan manggil si waitress dengan sebutan “ploy, pai, kim, dsb”, padahal gw juga ga tau itu apaan. wkwkwkwkwkkwkwkwkwkwk Dan apakah kalian pikir mereka nengok dipanggil begitu, kenyataanya tetap tidak nengok yah. hahahahahaa

Thank you for reading….

Sampai jumpa di trip Naomi selanjutnya.
With love,

Naomi Indah Sari
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What childhood trauma does to brain

Traumatic stress impacts the developing brains of males and females differently, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program.

In youth with symptoms of post-traumatic stress, there is variation in the volume and surface area of the insula between males and females who have experienced traumatic stress versus those who have not, the study found. The insula is a region buried deep within the cerebral cortex that plays a key role in interoceptive processing (how much or how little attention one pays to sensory information within the body), emotion regulation, and self-awareness. The study was published online in the journal Depression and Anxiety on January 9. It is the first study to date which has examined sex differences in subdivisions of the insula in youth with trauma histories.

While many individuals experience trauma, curiously, not all of them develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who are diagnosed with PTSD or have had a traumatic stressor in their lives endure exposure to actual or threatened death and “intrusive” thoughts afterward, which are associated with the traumatic event. These intrusive symptoms are coined such because they are unwanted and unwelcome by the individual who experiences them, and can include repeated, involuntary distressing memories, dreams, flashbacks, and intense, prolonged psychological and physiological reactions, as if the traumatic event were still occurring (even though it has long ceased). In turn, the individual exposed to trauma who is prone to developing PTSD will avoid any stimuli associated with the traumatic event and will experience changes in thought and mood, as well as consistently heightened arousal (APA, 2013). Previous neuroscience research has found that changes in the insula following trauma contribute not only to the development of PTSD, but also to its maintenance. Similarly, it was found that women who experience trauma are more likely to develop PTSD (Hanson et al., 2008), but scientists have not been able to pinpoint why… until now.

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Source: Johnny Greig/Getty Images
59 youth between the ages of 9 and 17 participated in the study. Half of the individuals exhibited PTSD symptoms and half did not. The two trauma versus no-trauma groups had similar age, IQ, and sex characteristics. Of the 30 participants (14 female and 16 male) with trauma, 5 reported one traumatic stressor, while the remainder (n=25) reported more than two traumatic stressors or chronic trauma exposure. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI), researchers scanned the participants’ brains and compared healthy male and female brains to the brains of males and females with PTSD symptoms. Though there were no structural differences in insula subdivisions between healthy male and female brains, there were notable differences between males and females in the traumatized group. Boys with trauma had larger insula volume and surface area than boys in the control group, while girls with trauma had smaller insula volume and surface area than girls in the control group. This finding suggests that trauma not only impacts the developing brain, but also that it impacts the development of boys and girls quite differently.

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Insula volume decreases with aging (Shaw et al., 2008), and the reduced insula volumes in girls with PTSD symptoms suggests that this part of the brain is prematurely aging in part due to traumatic stress. Klabunde, Weems, Raman, & Carrion (2017) drove home the importance of these findings in their paper:

“By better understanding sex differences in a region of the brain involved in emotion processing, clinicians and scientists may be able to develop sex-specific trauma and emotion dysregulation treatments.”

The study also helps highlight the interplay between nature and nurture when it comes to assessing complex mental health issues, such as PTSD. While most people do not readily have access to equipment such as an MRI scanner used to elucidate this study’s findings, mental health professionals and patients alike do have the ability to remember that environmental stress translates to neurobiological changes and that these changes differ between the sexes, meaning a one-size-fits-all approach to PTSD will be much less effective than a treatment which considers contextual variables of the individual, such as biological sex.

The article citation is listed below and can also be found at this link.

References

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th Edition. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Hanson, R. F., Borntrager, C., Self-Brown, S., Kilpatrick, D. G., Saunders, B. E., Resnick, H. S., Amstadter, A. (2008). Relations among Gender, Violence Exposure, and Mental Health: The National Survey of Adolescents. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78(3). Pp. 313 – 321.

Klabunde, M., Weems, C. F., Raman, M., & Carrion, V. (2017). The moderating effects of sex on insula subdivision structure in youth with posttraumatic stress symptoms. Depression and Anxiety 34. Pp. 51 – 58.

Shaw, P., Kabani, N. J., Lerch, J. P., Eckstrand, K., Lenroot, R., Gogtay, N., Greenstein, D., Clasen, L, Evans, A., Rapoport, J. L., Giedd, J. N., Wise, S. P. (2008). Neurodevelopmental Trajectories of the Human Cerebral Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(14). Pp. 3586 – 3594.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/greater-the-sum-its-parts/201703/what-childhood-trauma-does-brain-development?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

Narcissist


The DSMIV cites as an “essential feature” of the narcissist a “lack of empathy that begins by early childhood and is present in a variety of contexts.” If lack of empathy isn’t a hallmark of an antisocial individual, then what is? – Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D.
For the layperson (including this writer), the word “narcissist” is often used without proper context. Associated with self-absorption and selfishness, the textbook definition of narcissism is used in a way that can apply to pretty much everyone with a pulse. However, some people are much more inclined to narcissistic behavior than others.
Perhaps there is no other way this misconception can be illustrated better than a narcissists’ relationship with others. This relationship – a word used in the loosest way possible – commonly involves deceitfulness, lack of empathy, and deliberate exploitation. These relationships are usually harmful to the person placing well-intentioned, but misguided, trust into a person lacking the ability to reciprocate such an emotional investment.
As decent people, it is beneficial that we’re able to identify and understand the traits of narcissists. None of us want to be exposed and abused, especially from a person whose preconceived actions and behaviors are designed to provoke the same.
It is our right to be loving and courteous, not doubtful and hesitant. We have the utmost right to protect ourselves from those who wish to harm us, whether such harm is intentional or not.
With this in mind, we believe it is beneficial to present certain scenarios that one may encounter with a potential narcissist. One of the things for which narcissists are well-known is taking advantage of people; hence, the purpose of this article.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS THAT A NARCISSIST MAY TRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU:

1. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

It is common for a narcissist to mask his/her true identity with a false self. Basically, this is designed to be a sort-of presentation to the world – a well-designed impetus to acquire much-needed attention and admiration. Never mind that such attention and admiration is undeserved; in fact, it’s quite likely the opposite.
Unfortunately, this deceptive tactic often works. People are frequently unable to fully understand the true nature of a narcissist – as a person that lacks empathy and interest in other human beings. Instead, they see someone that is charming, sweet and caring.
As a result, victims of narcissists are likely to suffer a good deal of cognitive dissonance. They often try and rationalize the “charming, sweet and caring” person with the outlandish and hurtful behaviors that the narcissist constantly subjects them to. The end result is that victims may end of blaming themselves while overlooking the narcissist’s true identity.
2. EMOTIONAL PUPPETEERING

Also known as triangulation, narcissists often manipulate emotions via the insertion of another person into the relationship. In essence, this alters the relationship dynamic, and is an attempt to both provoke jealousy and maintain control.
Triangulation generally works as follows: another problem arises in the relationship, and the narcissist doesn’t feel obligated to help solve anything. Seeing an opportunity, the narcissist will (often) manipulate the emotions of another in order for them to communicate with the “problem person” – aka, the victim.
The objective? To make the victim feel as if they must “compete” for their affections. Narcissists will commonly say things like “I wish you’d be more like him/her,” “He/she would never treat me like this.” Such statements provoke feelings of insecurity and uncertainty in the victim; often leaving them wondering where exactly they fit into the narcissist’s life.
3. “SHAPE-SHIFTING”

Narcissists love to have their egos stroked, and are well known for having a “collection” of people to do just that. Even a narcissist realizes that – in order for people to “accommodate”  you – you must maintain some type of good will. To achieve this good will, a narcissist will often “shape-shift,” or embody a new persona in order to please people and get what they want. Namely, constant admiration and stroking of their ego.
Quite simply, it is not normal behavior to alter personas from one person to the next. Observing this tendency should be a telltale sign that the person is unauthentic and best, and narcissistic at worst.
4. “IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU”

Narcissists will do any say anything to cloud another’s judgement on their abnormal behavior. After subjecting their victim(s) to abuse – emotional and/or psychological, most likely – they’ll seek to invalidate and criticize any resistance to their actions. Common phrases include “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re too serious,” or “You’re misunderstanding me.”
Narcissists pride themselves on being emotional chameleons. When it comes to abuse, they’d like nothing more than for the victim to dwell in negativity and misguidedly blame themselves for the narcissist’s actions. The ultimate goal of a narcissist is to evoke a sense of self-doubt within their victims; as this self-doubt permits them more time to inflict their will.
5. THE IDEALIZATION-DEVALUATION-DISCARD CYCLE

Narcissism encompasses antisocial views and behaviors. This is most evident in relationships with romantic partners, of which there are often many. In nearly every case, the narcissist will put their partner through a cycle of idealization, devaluation and discarding.
Idealization involves making their partner the centerpiece of their life. During this phase, they’ll be charming, courteous and praising. They’ll flatter someone with this phase, and make their victim think they found their soulmate. In return, they’ll receive the admiration and attention that they constantly need.
Suddenly, the narcissist will begin to create feelings of “hot and cold,” where they continue the idealization phase to small extent, while criticizing their victim and often withdrawing from them. Predictably, the narcissist will manipulate the victim’s emotions in an attempt to maintain control. This period is often wrought with emotional and psychological abuse.
Finally, the narcissist believes their job to be done and subsequently pulls out of the relationship. But not before demeaning and disrespecting their victim in some terrible way; often by leaving them for someone else, humiliating them in front of others, or simply ignoring them for days on end.
SOURCES:

HILL, MS, LPC, T., POSTS, V. ALL AND ?LPC (2015) TRIANGULATION: THE TRAP OF THE PROBLEMATIC PERSON. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://BLOGS.PSYCHCENTRAL.COM/CAREGIVERS/2015/10/TRIANGULATION-THE-PROBLEMATIC-FAMILY-MEMBER/ (ACCESSED: 19 NOVEMBER 2016).

SAMENOW, PH.D, S. (2011) NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER AND THE ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER — A LOT IN COMMON. AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/INSIDE-THE-CRIMINAL-MIND/201107/NARCISSISTIC-PERSONALITY-DISORDER-AND-THE-ANTISOCIAL (ACCESSED: 19 NOVEMBER 2016).
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Don’t destroy me, Love


A Happy re​lationship can transform into a destructive one if you treat her less than how she deserves to be treated.
Nonetheless, I hope you try to love her right. I hope you cast every ray of awareness upon your love for her. I hope you know that awareness is what keeps a relationship strong.
I want you to remember how she looked when you first laid eyes on her. She was everything you longed for. Be it her beauty, her wild nature, her sense of humor or her independence, there’s something about her you haven’t found in anyone else.
And what floored you the most was her completeness.
If you love her, keep her this way. Keep her beautiful, keep her wild, keep her complete.
While she’s the master of her own fate, I wish you understood that you play a major role in her life. How you treat her determines how she views herself—you can make her shine or make her feel lost. She’s a statue in your hands and she only hopes to be held with vigilance.
If you love her, don’t destroy her.
Know that she was destroyed before and another destruction isn’t what she’s aiming for. If she’s with you, know that she has stepped over her fear and insecurities to be with you. She has stepped over her past and decided to give love another chance. She has entrusted you with the health of this relationship—and with her heart.
Don’t let her down.
You destroy her the moment you think you know her. She’s not a book you will eventually finish. She’s something yet to be discovered—so live every day as if you’re meeting her for the first time.
Be present. Nothing destroys her more than your emotional absence. You can sit with her all day long and not really be there, yet you can be so far away and be completely present.
Stimulate her thoughts, her emotions, her being. Dive into her soul like you’d dive into an ocean.
Know that you’ll wreck her if she ever felt you need her rather than want her. You’ll destroy every inch of her if you only love her when loneliness creeps up on you. Because she seeks your love in all moments, not just when your fears and insecurities strike.
I know that your own past sufferings may have destroyed you. But don’t love her just so she can carry your emotional baggage with you. Don’t love her if you only want her to fix you. Know that she will, with time, without you even knowing.
Her love and existence will heal every part of you. But if you are with her solely to fill the emptiness inside you, she will know—and it will destroy her.
And remember, she doesn’t want to be fixed either. Maybe she opened up to you and told you about her painful past. Perhaps you know the exact number of pieces she was turned into. But she didn’t tell you so you would fix her—she only told you so you can know what she endured and how it made her who she is today.
She wants you to acknowledge that your actions toward her—actions motivated by love, understanding and patience—are what matter.
Don’t treat her like a broken woman. She is complete with all her pieces, even though they may still be scattered everywhere. Embrace them with her—just don’t add to them. Make her see why she went through destructive relationships in the past. Make her realize that she went through the “worst” so she could appreciate the “better” that you are.
If you love her, love her with all her flaws and insecurities. She is as imperfect as you are and she only hopes to share that imperfection with you. She wants to undress her soul in front of you and be utterly herself.
She wants to be the same way with you that she is in the mirror—crazy, wild and free. If you’re not ready to accept her as she is, you will destroy her.
If you love her, build her up because she will be doing the same for you. Know that whatever effort you put in, she will be putting in double.
If you show her the moon, she’ll show you the entire galaxy.
If you take her to a well, she’ll introduce you to the ocean.
If you treat her right, she’ll love you more.
If you love her well, she’ll never forget you.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Source: Elephant Journal via Ideaspots 
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Aspiration by Tom Burkin

England, April 12th 2017

​10:46 pm
Do these thoughts of evil actions,

Resonate from a past violence,

Or are they merely a reflection

Of exploring the true depths

Of human consciousness
Does the desire to do good

Come from a place of light

Or merely the hope of redemption

Of what has come before

That you fear to come again
Is it true that what makes a man

Is both darkness and light

Love, hate, fear, hope

And all that’s in between

Or is that just an aspiration
When you feel indestructible

As the Earth itself

When you feel as vulnerable

As a newborn

Is there a difference, actually?
For we are all but perfect humans

Capable of the highest

Certainly the lowest

Where do we draw the line

As to who deserves forgiveness 

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