The Evolution of Cheating Online: Red Flags For Your Relationship

The Evolution of Cheating Online: Red Flags For Your Relationship

Cheating has moved beyond the physical realm to the virtual world. Even when cheating is only online, it can destroy the emotional bonds of your relationship.

There are always signs that you can pick up on if your partner is cheating. However, before you panic and confront your partner, ensure that the evidence you found is real!

Be wary of these signs that your partner may be cheating online:

1. Spending time on hookup apps. There are multiple hookup apps that are designed to help people connect. These apps range from matchmaking to intimate sites.

  • If your spouse or partner is spending time on hookup apps, it’s a major red flag for cheating. Even if they don’t have a complete profile, your partner may still be connecting with others through messaging.
  • Your partner may be sending explicit texts and other messages through these apps. They may or may not meet them in person.
  • These types of apps are often a gateway to affairs in real life. There’s also the possibility of emotional cheating that involves your partner sharing intimate details with a stranger without physical contact.

2. Chatting with former partners online. If your partner is talking to an ex online, it’s another sign to notice.

  •  Often, online interactions with a former partner can lead to meetings in the real world. Your partner may restart a relationship with an ex by first connecting with them online.
  •  It’s important to recognize that not all interactions will lead to cheating, especially if they must discuss pertinent information about their children, but they can be a dangerous pathway.

3. Flirting on social media. Is your partner flirting with strangers online and using social media to connect with them?

  •  Social media can be a great way to meet new people, yet it can also pose risks for your relationship. If your partner is using it to flirt with strangers and interact with them inappropriately, this is a big red flag. Be aware of this behavior and monitor the interactions.
  • Innocent flirtations can still hurt and may show a deeper set of issues in the relationship.

4. Spending too much time with new friends online. Your partner may have innocent and good relationships with friends online. However, these connections may also be risky and hurt your relationship.

  • If your partner is spending more time with friends online than with you in the real world, then pay attention. Many affairs start as friendships and turn into something more serious.

What Can You Do To Help Prevent Online Cheating,

Rather than trying to ban your partner from using social media, strike a balance:

1. Draw a line. Set up boundaries before either of you goes online. Talk about things that you consider to be cheating online that could hurt your relationship. Discuss your concerns calmly and avoid heated arguments and fights.

  • People can safely use the internet without getting involved with cheating or affairs. Agree on your boundaries and then trust your partner to use it safely.

2. Recognize that online relationships can be strong and are real. They shouldn’t be ignored. Even if your partner isn’t physically touching the other person, emotional cheating can still happen.

Online cheating can have a huge impact on your relationship. These signs can help you determine what is really happening in your partner’s virtual world.

Narcissists and Public Humiliation: How & Why Narcissists Shame You Publicly

Narcissists and Public Humiliation: How & Why Narcissists Shame You Publicly

Public humiliation is one of many ways that a narcissist will manipulate and psychologically abuse his or her sources of narcissistic supply.

Narcissists and Public Humiliation

Often, a narcissist will humiliate you in public as part of an active smear campaign – and while I’ve previously explained smear campaigns, today I’m going to go a little more in-depth on the public humiliation part of it – which, in my opinion, is one of the most traumatic parts of the whole smear campaign tactic. So, first off, I’m going to give you a few real-life examples of how toxic narcissists have used public humiliation to hurt the people who loved them.

The Litigious Loser

One client told me her narcissistic ex-husband would use their children as bargaining chips and poison them against her. Then, he’d intentionally push, poke and agitate her to the point she’d get really upset and confused – and would then start videotaping her and threaten to use it to take her to court. He held the recordings over her head in order to continue to manipulate and control her even though they’d been divorced – which he did for several years before she came to me for narcissistic abuse recovery coaching.

The Sexy Selfie Stronghold

In today’s digital world, nearly everyone can admit to having snapped a sexy photo for the one they love and even, in some cases, participated in on-camera sexual activities with that person.

And you know how narcissists are, right? Yep. SEVERAL of my clients have told me that their narcissists – both male and female – have either used or threatened to use nude or otherwise compromising photos of them in order to blackmail them into doing what they wanted.

Flying Monkey ‘Friends’

Another way that narcissists like to manipulate and publicly humiliate their victims is through the use of flying monkeys – people who, willingly or otherwise, help the narcissist to manipulate you.

For example, a narcissistic wife of one of my clients managed to humiliate him by spreading gossip among his female co-workers about his sexual health – none of which were true, but all of which really changed the way his co-workers saw him.

Her intention, of course, was to ensure his fidelity as he worked alongside his attractive coworkers each day. But in her selfishness and lack of concern and empathy for her husband, this narcissist had managed to make sure that he felt completely isolated, alone and humiliated in his workplace every day. The environment eventually became so toxic that my client moved on to a new company – and thankfully, he got divorced (and eventually moved on with a much healthier girlfriend).

In all three of those cases, there’s a similarity – and I’m not talking about the obvious one (the humiliation factor). I’m talking about the fact that none of these people recognized at first that they were even being abused – or at least, they couldn’t admit it.

So let’s talk about that.

The Humiliation Factor: No One Wants to Admit They’re Accepting the Abuse

So, how can you possibly “miss” the fact that you’re being abused?

The problem with abuse is that most relationships don’t begin with abuse. Instead, there are subtle shifts along the way, silent reprogramming until the abuser feels confident that they can control the relationship.

In most cases, by the time the abuse becomes recognizable, the victim has been so brainwashed that she or he (men can also be victims of abusive relationships) doesn’t recognize the actions as abuse and actually takes the blame for his or her predicament.

Victims often can’t be convinced that they’re experiencing abuse. They’re so busy justifying the behavior of the abuser that they don’t see it for what it is.
In many cases, the simple answer is that it’s hard to admit you’ve allowed this to happen. But if you recognize some of the following patterns in your own relationship, it’s quite possible that you are in fact, a victim of abuse.

Thoughts? Share them, along with your relevant experiences, in the comments below this video.

Emotional Terrorism: Narcissists Who Gaslight and Torment You on Social Media

Emotional Terrorism: Narcissists Who Gaslight and Torment You on Social Media

So often, I hear from viewers, readers, and my coaching clients that they’re being bullied online by a narcissist – usually, one they’ve been personally involved with.

In those cases, narcissists will do everything from attempting to use social media to publicly and personally humiliate their victims to generally spreading rumors and lies about them – and then some.

For example, when a victim goes no-contact with a toxic narcissist, he or she may first put on a really good “poor me” show for his/her connections. They may ask for advice – “how do I deal with this crazy person” – or they may flat-out make false claims about their target to the world.

So why is this such an effective way to continue to abuse their victims?

In addition to the fact that it often connects to literally everyone you know, social media bullying can be the ultimate platform for life-destroying passive-aggressive behavior – and we all know that’s a narcissist’s comfort zone.

We have so much technology now that’s supposed to streamline our lives and make it easier to connect with the people that we care about.

It’s supposed to make it easier to do business and make good things happen for our careers. But strangely, the technology that was supposed to be the key to our happiness, comfort and success has the potential to backfire.

Instead of helping, especially in toxic situations, the use of technology has led many people to deeper levels of stress, feelings of discontentment and lives so busy that they’re hardly living at all.

Toxic Abuse in the “Virtual”

Often, a narcissist will lash out at a victim through social media – and this may happen either during the relationship or after its over.

They (or their flying monkeys – aka enablers) will spread gossip, harrass you, blow up your PMs or even post publicly on your page – or theirs – to let everyone know how “terrible” you are.

This, like every kind of narcissistic abuse, serves a couple of purposes.

First, people who aren’t clued into the situation will offer the narc sympathy and say nasty things to or about his/her target. This gives the narc some good “supply,” and also helps him/her to accomplish their goal of making you look crazy (hello gaslighting!).

Essentiallly, a toxic narcissist will use social media to target his or her various sources of supply (and/or anyone who makes him/her feel bad about themselves). This might include ex-spouses, ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, current partner, new wife or girlfriend of an ex, colleagues, friends and even people the narcissist never met. I’ve personally had this one happen quite often, doing what I do, as I’m sure you can imagine.

In addition to basically anyone who makes a narc feel bad about him/herself and her behavior, the narcissist may target anyone who gets in their way and/or anyone they fear will expose their true nature.

Many narcissists (not to mention histrionics, borderlines and other self-obsessed, abusive personality types) use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other platforms to run smear campaigns, make false allegations abput their targets – and more.

Others will go so as far as to use social media to perpetrate parent/child alienation (especially with divorced and/or step-parent situations) and to stalk and harass their targets while simultaneously portraying themselves as the much-maligned victim, superman/woman and/or mother/father of the year.

Let’s talk about emotional terrorism.

Since a lot of narcissists are especially gifted when it comes to finding your sensitive issues – the little “sore spots” we all have – they intuitively use social media to lash out at or attack their victims.

They’ll hurt people without a second thought, and they’ll do it while making themselves look like the injured party – it’s narcissistic injury on crack.

Of course, they use this platform to push people around and down – and raise themselves up. They need to have power over other people, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want.

Listen, these aren’t new behaviors for narcissists in general – it just allows them to reach a bigger audience. It’s the whole smear campaign thing times a million.

So how do you deal with being gaslighted and manipulated through social media?

You start by not getting involved. If you see it happen, immediately block the narcissist so they don’t have access to your profile and can’t tag you in their drama.

Even though it’s complete bullshit, you have to stand firm by not getting involved. If you DO fire back publicly through social media, the narcissist will only use it to cement his/her case – “see, I told you she/he was crazy!”

Even if you’re just an online bystander to someone else’s drama, if you experience that, your mind will register the same type of anxious response as if you had been involved and your feelings will follow the lead of your thoughts.

When you see how wonderful someone else’s life appears to be online, it can lead you to become discontent and irritable. It can make you focus on the negative instead of looking at the positive.

Dealing with Narcissists in Social Media? Awareness of Your Thoughts is Key

Online interaction can also make you feed yourself negative self talk – especially when you see others who are better looking, richer, have nicer homes, easier looking lives and appear to be having more fun.

Not only will you feel bad about yourself, but your stress level will go up. When you practice mindfulness in associating with your technology use, you’ll discover that your happiness level will increase.

You can do this by setting limits on when you’ll be online and how much time you’ll spend online. Refuse to keep your cellphone with you 24/7. When you are on social media or online, find ways to use it to do something positive such as encourage someone else.

Let go of the things online that are irrelevant to your life or that make your negativity or stress level rise. When you do go online, make sure that you have a defined purpose and a time limit and stick to that.

So, if you’re there right now, or if you’ve been there before, tell me about your experiences. How did you deal? What tips would you offer another survivor in the same situation?

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Tune In: How to Deal When Online Drama Affects Your ‘Real Life’

Tune In: How to Deal When Online Drama Affects Your ‘Real Life’

“All of the biggest technological inventions created by man – the airplane, the automobile, the computer – says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness.” – Mark Kennedy

 

Technolgy affects happiness

Life is Different Than it Used to Be

We live in an online world more often than not. We have so much technology now that’s supposed to streamline our lives and make it easier to connect with the people that we care about.

It’s supposed to make it easier to do business and make good things happen for our careers. But strangely, the technology that was supposed to be the key to our happiness, comfort and success has the potential to backfire.

Instead of helping, in many cases, the use of technology has led people to deeper levels of stress, feelings of discontentment and lives so busy that they’re hardly living at all.

Related: Kissing Frogs – 27 things everyone should know about online dating

It’s Not JUST the Internet – Take Responsibility for Your Choices

Studies performed on the link between stress and time spend on the Internet or social media sites can be misleading when they claim that spending time online can lower stress.

The factors involved in the studies don’t take into consideration the offline lifestyles of those involved in the studies. Technology in itself is neither good nor bad. It’s how it’s used that can make it something that can negatively impact your life.

That’s it – the key to using technology and staying happy at the same time. 

The key is to use technology with mindfulness. You can incorporate what’s good and positive about being online and the various use of technology to connect with other people in a meaningful way.

For example, if you have family members that live a good distance away from you, it can make you feel happier when you connect with them instantly through a text message or through an online chat.

You can share updates about your life or send relatives photos of your kids instantly. When you use social media with mindfulness, it can help you to be able to better manage stress.

It can also lead to feelings of contentment and leave you with a more positive outlook. The dark side of being online is that there’s a great deal of negativity floating around in cyberspace.

The Trolls Online

We’ve all heard about online trolls, and some of us are even privileged enough to know one. Are all trolls narcissists? Maybe, maybe not. But there are numerous stories about people being hateful to each other, calling names, bullying, threatening or harassing. There are people who keep drama heightened through online fighting.

8374037-77549111_23-s1-v1Even if you’re just an online bystander to someone else’s drama, if you experience that, your mind will register the same type of anxious response as if you had been involved and your feelings will follow the lead of your thoughts.

When you see how wonderful someone else’s life appears to be online, it can lead you to become discontent and irritable. It can make you focus on the negative instead of looking at the positive.

Awareness of Your Thoughts is Key

Online interaction can also make you feed yourself negative self talk – especially when you see others who are better looking, richer, have nicer homes, easier looking lives and appear to be having more fun.

Not only will you feel bad about yourself, but your stress level will go up. When you practice mindfulness in associating with your technology use, you’ll discover that your happiness level will increase.

You can do this by setting limits on when you’ll be online and how much time you’ll spend online. Refuse to keep your cellphone with you 24/7. When you are on social media or online, find ways to use it to do something positive such as encourage someone else.

Let go of the things online that are irrelevant to your life or that make your negativity or stress level rise. When you do go online, make sure that you have a defined purpose and a time limit and stick to that.

What do you think? How does living “online” affect your “real life” these days? Could you benefit from being more mindful about your technology use? 

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Why Facebook should make the new ‘ex’ tool a standard option

Why Facebook should make the new ‘ex’ tool a standard option

It’s 2 a.m. and you’ve just fallen in bed after a night of drinks and dancing with the girls.

Your phone quietly informs you of a new Facebook notification just before your eyes close and you drift away to sleep and you groggily reach across your nightstand, flipping the phone toward you.

You unlock the phone and squint to read that your ex just got engaged.

Whether you’re single or married now, you have no choice but to do a little stalking. I mean after all, don’t you want to know who he ended up with?

You’ll compare yourself to her, wonder if she’s better in bed than you, and if you’re still raw about your breakup, you’ll probably wind up hating her.

That’s no good for you or anyone else. Hate is one of the most self-destructive emotions we have.What is wrong with the new FB ex tool

Logically, we know that we shouldn’t look and stalk – but in those weak moments, like at 2 a.m. after a night of drinks and dancing, we can’t help ourselves.

But now Facebook has decided to step on in and give you a little help getting over your ex.

That’s right – now there is a way to prevent your urge to stalk, and we can thank the great Mark Zuckerberg.

As you’ve probably already heard, Facebook recently announced that you can control how much (and how little) you see of your ex. That’s cool and all, but I feel like there’s something else we need.

Dear Mark Zuckerberg, Help me out!

So this is why I’m not totally satisfied yet. Right now, these tools are exclusive to people who change their relationship status.

So, if you change relationship status, you’ll be presented with the new options.

I say that’s pretty cool. Of course I also have a suggestion for the Facebook team. You ready?

Give me this much control over all of my friends. There are a few things I don’t want to see repeatedly.

For example, some author friends and I share several free ebook groups that we use to promote our free days on Kindle Select. The problem is that when they post their freebies, I end up seeing like 50 notifications on the same item. This clutters up my newsfeed and pisses me off a little.

When I try to unfollow the person, I still see the notifications.

On top of this, I do not want to annoy my own friends with similar stuff.

So I think I’ve made my point. Facebook. Help me out.

What do you think? Should Facebook make its “ex” tools available to everyone? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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