When we are missing key characters in our lives that play roles that are essential to our well being, we may become influenced by those that fill the void. These new characters may seem like they have our best interests in mind and for the first time we feel loved and cared for that we didn’t have before. We’re charmed by the pursuit and the good feelings we have inside of us - this stage is called infatuation. Then as time progresses on they start to throw tiny jabs that may seem like “jokes” or opinions masked as “because I want the best for you” type of thing. In reality, these jokes are ways to devalue us and those opinions that we never asked for are ways to control us & our future. Once we start to believe these misguided opinions, we start to feel the need to change. We change ourselves and start to lose ourselves while also losing them. We crave the infatuation from earlier that we thought was “love” and start to feel like we’ll do anything to get it back. They take away their emotions and any type of emotional connection we thought we had with them. Then we go through the rapid discarding phase where this person starts to disappear and becomes the definition of elusive. Eventually we’re discarded but not forgotten as these characters like to keep us at arms length as by this time, they’ve already groomed their next victim. We have to be vigilant with who we give our hearts to and understand the red flags for emotional and mental abuse.