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'LOSERS': Are There Any In Your Life?
by Alice Donavin

Spouse, partner or significant other -- a loser can be anyone whose personality, attitudes, or behavior is damaging your life. A loser dating relationship can lead to years of heartache and emotional problems; therefore, this Valentineapostrophes Day -- wake up and smell the roses.

As explained by Alice Donavin, LCSW, a Professional Life Coach and Psychotherapist in Haverford, PA and Palm Beach, Florida, who specializes in "loser"* relationships and regularly makes house and office calls, "The loser has character traits and behaviors that create emotional, social, sometimes even physical damage. As theyapostropheve always lived with this personality, they often simply accept it as apostrophethe way they areapostrophe and do not see a problem. In my years of psychotherapy and counseling practice, it has invariably and unfortunately been the victims of the loser whom Iapostropheve treated. The men and women who arrive at the office severely depressed with their lives in turmoil. If only the losers themselves would recognize the problem and come in for help!"

But how can you identify a loser? There are definitive patterns and indicators. If the person youapostrophere wondering about possesses even one of the following warning signs, there is risk in the relationship.

1. He or she says, "I love you" way too soon.

The loser is quick to attach and even quicker to express their devotion. In less than a few weeks of dating, youapostrophell hear that youapostrophere the love of their life and they want to marry you. Showered with attention and nice gestures, you may be overwhelmed by this display of instant connection or commitment. They may in fact be the best thing that ever happened to you, but truly great, healthy relationships take time -- at least more than a few weeks.

2. He or she wants you all to themselves... all the time.

The loser is determined to be your everything. Telling you that your supportive friends and/or family treat you badly, take advantage of you, donapostrophet understand how special the love you two share is, the loser urges you to cut everyone else off. Theyapostrophere jealous and threatened by anyone youapostrophere close to, even your children! You must be available and account for your whereabouts 24/7. In short, the loser wants complete control.

3. He or she fails the waitress test.

The way an individual treats a server, clerk, or other neutral person, especially of the opposite sex, is the way theyapostrophell eventually treat you. If they whine, complain, criticize, torment, or act like an arrogant jerk, you can count on receiving the same treatment down the line.

4. He or she has a super-scary temper.

The loser really loses it. They get mad easily, blow up, and do dangerous things like drive too fast, throw stuff, get into fights, or threaten others. Though the loser promptly assures you that they are not angry with you, but at others or the situation, you can be sure that their hostility and violence will eventually be directed at you.

5. He or she is a confidence assassin.

The loser repeatedly puts you down. Constantly correcting your slightest mistakes, they tell you youapostrophere too fat, not very intelligent, have no taste, and always leave you with the feeling that youapostrophere not quite good enough. This gradual chipping away at your self-esteem allows them to later treat you really badly and make you feel you deserve it.

6. He or she keeps you spinning.

The loser cycles from mean to sweet... and back again. One day is filled with hurtful criticism and verbal abuse. The next day theyapostrophere absolute darlings, apologizing for their recent "lousy mood" and doing all those lovely little things that first sucked you in. Even if you were resolved to get out, you hang in, believing that the sweetness is the big permanent change youapostropheve been hoping for. Itapostrophes not. The loser will be mean again and sooner rather than later.

7. He or she is a master of the blame game.

The loser never ever takes personal responsibility for their behavior. Itapostrophes always someone elseapostrophes fault -- usually yours. You are the reason they yelled at you, treated you badly, or embarrassed you publicly. Youapostrophere the one making them drive 80 miles an hour or drink too much.

8. He or she has you walking on eggshells.

The loser invokes fear. If you find yourself afraid to bring up topics, question the loserapostrophes behavior, or mention that you even spoke to another friend, youapostrophere with a loser. And, you probably should be afraid.

*This article is based on a public service piece by Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D., Psychologist titled "The Loser: Warning Signs Youapostrophere Dating a Loser."

About the author:

Alice Donavin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), practicing as a Professional Life Coach and Psychotherapist in Haverford, PA and Palm Beach, Florida. A graduate of The Seton Hill College in Greensburg, PA, and The Catholic University in Washington, DC, Donavin holds a BA in Sociology and Pre-Law, as well as an MS in Social Work. For more information, or to schedule a consultation with Alice Donavin, LCSW, please contact her 610-585-4028, alicedonavin@aol.com