Are you a Catfish?

self esteem

As many of you probably know from the MTV reality show, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.

You may be asking yourself: Why would anyone want to be a catfish?

Well, as it turns out, there are two main reasons people catfish: either someone does it because they are scared no one would want them for who they are, or they do it specifically to punish others.This blog will focus on the first type.

The first type of catfish thinks and feels like they are not good enough on their own. A catfish can be male or female pretending to be either male or female. Usually the catfish thinks that if they used a real photograph of him or her self, no one would want to be friends with him or her.

As a society, most of us have put such an emphasis on what people physically look like that we reject or mock people who do not fit our idea of what is acceptable. How tall are they, how much do they weigh, what skin tone do they have, what do their teeth look like, what color is their hair, do they have acne? (Thanks to this, the beauty industry makes billions of dollars off of us every year.)

So, those of us who feel deep shame over who we are go find a picture of some person we think is beautiful and bang! we have our profile picture. And usually it is only the profile picture that is a lie. With a successful mask in place, we are finally free to be ourselves. We can search for other people who like the same things we like or have the same philosophies we have. We can finally let our guards down and be ourselves.

Online relationships can be so much easier than face to face relationships. Sometimes it is easier to talk to strangers about things that make us feel because, if they are a stranger we don’t have to care what they think of us. If we do not click then we simply block or unfriend them until we do find those people we click with; our tribe.

I am not sure how many of you have tried opening up to someone else online, but it is less intimidating not having to look someone in the eye when you share your deepest thoughts and emotions, especially if there is a chance you might be rejected for them.

So, the benefits of being a catfish include:

  • a safe place where the lonely can open up

  • finding validation for your true inner self

  • a place where an outcast can find friendship

  • an outlet where online acceptance can increase self esteem

But, there are many risks to catfishing. Sometimes the risks outnumber the benefits.

Some catfish experience internet addiction because these online friendships are the only support they have. They have to spend more and more time online or texting with strangers which takes away from real-life experiences they could be having. Catfishing also sets people up for continued rejection because once the other person figures it out, they often want nothing to do with the catfish. This loss fulfills the catfish’s idea that no one wants to be their friend and they end up feeling more isolated and more alone. If you are a catfish, you do not have to pretend to be someone else.

You are enough.

Here are some easy ways to meet your emotional and social needs:

  • Do what you love you’ll run into others who love the same stuff you do
  • join a club or meet up for a topic that interests you
  • volunteer one day a week at an animal shelter
  • volunteer one day a week at a food pantry
  • Doing something that benefits others increases our self esteem, relieves our depression, and helps us connect with others.
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We aren’t victims of circumstance. We’re creators.

relationships

Are codependency, love addiction, and narcissism the same thing?

Narcissists, love addicts, and codependents share some central things in common:

  • they all need to be needed

  • they all struggle with feelings of not being good enough

  • they all have deep childhood wounds

Narcissists need to be adored and valued because they feel inferior. On the other end of the spectrum, codependents adore and value others in hopes that the object of their affection will give that same love and adoration back to them.

The general difference between people who are considered “codependent” versus who are considered “love addicts” is that even when a person has secured a loving relationship, it is not enough.

It is not enough that one person loves and adores a love addict, it is never enough.

“Love addicts” are on a quest to make everyone love them. They are trying to fill a deep emotional wound and, eventually, they discover it cannot be filled even with all of the love in the world because the one thing they lack is their own love and approval.

This is similar to the “charming” mask worn by narcissists. Narcissists are well aware that they “act” nice as a way of trying to make everyone like them. You see, narcissists are also seeking all the love and approval in the world. This is because they are growing in their own sea of negative emotions including insecurity and shame.

Some narcissists can actually recall when they purposely shut their feelings off because they felt too many negative emotions.


On the other end of this same spectrum, people with love addiction or codependency issues complain that they always hurt and cannot turn their feelings off. They feel EVERYTHING.

Codependent people are naturally pleasers and want to feel safe and protected. I suspect this is one of the central reasons these two opposite personality types find each other. Narcissists are naturally controllers. In other words, codependents and narcissists are opposite sides of the same coin.

When the codependent person is a passive woman and the narcissist is an aggressive male, we have the magic combination of potential domestic violence, though this same combination also applies to same sex couples.

It seems passive or codependent individuals are naturally attracted to the strong, aggressive narcissistic type. It’s natural for weaker or more passive people to want to feel protected.

And the smooth, debonair, sexy narcissists in their masks pretending to be cool and smooth attracts the codependent like a moth to the flame.

Narcissistic, aggressive types need to have power and control and the codependent, passive type need to feel like their partner is in control. This includes being in control of them. It brings the codependent a sense of secondary power to think that they are with someone who is powerful.

 power-and-control-wheel-updated-1011x1024

So, one way to consider this is that narcissists make up for their lack of self esteem by taking control and acting dominant and with their need for power and control comes a need for respect.

Codependents make up for their lack of self esteem by acting submissive. In this way, codependents and narcissists coming together are like two puzzle pieces fitting together.

 equality-wheel

If the narcissist and the codependent cannot grow and develop healthy boundaries together, the risk for physical violence and emotional abuse, etc will remain high.

Treatment and recovery are possible if both partners are willing to take off their masks and be vulnerable to each other. It takes honesty and vulnerability to achieve a truly fulfilling relationship for everyone involved.

Design a life you are crazy about

Stress Management

Today is National Stress Awareness Day.

I am sure there will be a lot of tips on breathing, eating healthy, and mindfulness (all of which are good) BUT, I would just like to remind you to also think in the macro…

Life is what we make it.

It can be relaxing,

It can be adventurous,

It can be stressful,

It takes a little bit of effort, but our life can be whatever we decide to make it.

Step One

Figure out exactly what kinds of things make you happy.

Maybe it is music.

Maybe it is travel.

Maybe it is animals.

Maybe it is the beach.

Again, this list could be endless.

Step Two

Figure out the specific things in life that cause you anger, anxiety, or depression and work to limit these factors in your life as much as is possible. We will never be able to avoid everything in life which causes us stress, but we can actively reduce these stressors.

Maybe there are specific people in our lives which cause us to feel angry or unloved. We can work to limit the amount of time we allow them into our lives or remove them all together.

Maybe it is our job that requires changing.

If bills freak you out, maybe you schedule one or two days a month specifically for opening mail and paying debt followed by something relaxing.

Step Three

Schedule things which bring you joy, peace, or excitement  into your weekly calendar or to-do list just like any other chore or activity. Consider these activities promises to yourself and honor them as you honor promises you make to others.

It can be really helpful to space these activities throughout your week either as little rewards or as ongoing stress reducers. For example, a tentative schedule could look like this:

 Sun

 Mon

Tues

 Wed

 Thurs

 Fri

 Sat

Hike

Pay Bills

Sauna

Read a Book

Yoga

Dinner out

Beach

Play Golf

 Gym

 Manicure

 Bubble Bath

 Tai Chi

 Live Music

 Road Trip

 Try Meetup .com

 Pay Bills

Try new recipe

Draw or Paint

 Get Massage

 Plan Vacation

 Bike Ride

 See Movie

Create New Playlist

 Volunteer

Netflix binge

Clean your car

 Laundry

Call Parents