Identifying A Broken Picker, Date Smart! Chapter 3.2

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Date Smart
<div class=\"postavatar\">Identifying A Broken Picker, Date Smart! Chapter 3.2</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle and Dave Coleman (See Relationships page for author information)


Date Smart! Chapter 3.2

Is it Love or Addiction, The Relationship Addiction Check List, Exercise

(Please read “A word of caution” at the bottom of this page before continuing)

As your new navigators, we have great news! These feelings, patterns and behaviors can be changed and improved. Once corrected, you’ll be able to radically modify any behavior that didn’t work for you before so you can attract the type of companionship you desire and deserve. If you leave personality characteristics alone they become permanent. The key is to increase your willingness to absorb new ideas and consistently practice them. It’s our belief that before you can change a negative behavior such as poor picking, you must identify the causes and conditions that created your problem. We’ve said that in your childhood many of you observed the unhealthy relationships that were a regular part of your world. These ultimately helped form what became your Broken Picker. Many of you have been traumatized because of rape, date rape, verbal, emotional, physical and psychological abuse, or continuous exposure to emotionally unavailable individuals. These experiences can all leave you with a Broken Picker.


Your Broken Picker can be fixed and you can stop the cycle of being in revolving-door relationships. To attain a grounded, focused, and immediate change we’ve provided a list of concrete warning signs, which can prevent you from continuing to make poor relationship choices. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know if I have a Broken Picker and how broken is it?”  Our answer is simple. Complete the following S.B.V.P. questionnaire and learn from your responses. If you’re curious as to what S.B.V.P. stands for, you’ll have to read further because telling you now might bias your responses. We encourage you to finish all the exercises found in this book before coming to any specific conclusions. Complete the questionnaire by placing a check in either the agree or disagree column.


Please keep in mind when answering: All answers should reflect the majority of your relationships, from when you began dating up until now. Even if things have been going well lately, don’t disregard the bulk of your previous experiences. Twenty years of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse can’t be eliminated by six weeks of bliss with someone new. It’s up to you to answer the questions by taking the complete picture of your experiences in relationships into account. If 51% of the time over the course of your life a statement is true, then mark it agree.  If it’s less than 51% of the time, mark it disagree.


S.B.V.P. ASSESSMENT – Relationship Addiction Check List  


Agree           Disagree

1. _____      _____ Typically, you come from a dysfunctional home in which your emotional needs weren’t met.


2.  _____      _____  Having received little real nurturing yourself, you try to fill this unmet need vicariously by becoming a caregiver, especially to men/women who appear needy in some way.     

3.  _____      _____  Because you were never able to change your  parents into the warm, loving caretaker(s) you longed for, you respond deeply to the familiar type of emotionally unavailable man/woman whom you can again attempt to change, through your love.


4.  _____      _____  Terrified of abandonment, you’ll do anything to keep a relationship from dissolving.


5.  _____      _____  Almost nothing is too much trouble, takes too much time, or is too expensive if it will “help” the man/woman you’re involved with.


6.  _____      _____  Accustomed to a lack of love in personal relationships, you’re willing to wait, hope, and try harder to please.


7.  _____      _____  You’re willing to take far more than 50% of the guilt, responsibility and blame in any relationship. 


8. _____       _____  Your self-esteem is critically low. Deep inside you believe that you don’t deserve to be happy and that you must earn the right to enjoy life.      


9. _____       _____  You have a desperate need to control men/women or relationships, having experienced little security in childhood or adulthood. You mask your efforts to control people and situations as being “helpful.”


10. _____      _____  In a relationship, you’re much more in touch with your dream of how it could be rather than with the reality of the situation.        


11. _____      _____  You are addicted to men/women and to emotional pain. Addiction is defined as continuing to engage in a behavior despite the consequences. For example, you must have a relationship going on, but it always seems to end in pain. You allow little to no down time between relationships.


12. _____      _____  You may often be pre-disposed emotionally to become addicted to drugs, alcohol and/or certain foods, especially sugary ones.


13. _____      _____  By being drawn to people with problems that need to be fixed, or by being enmeshed in chaotic situations that are uncertain or emotionally painful, you avoid focusing on your responsibility to yourself.


14. _____      _____  You may have a tendency to have episodes of depression, which you try to distract yourself from facing with the excitement/novelty provided by an unstable relationship.


15. _____      _____  You’re not attracted to men/women who are kind, stable, reliable and interested in you. You find such “nice” men/women boring.


(The above exercise is adapted from Robin Norwood’s book Women Who Love Too Much).


Scoring Procedure for Relationship Addiction Check List

Total up ONLY the number of times you checked Agree. The higher the number, the more chronic or severe your broken picker is. If your score was:


1 to 5 Agrees This indicates that you’ve suffered one or more of the following conditions: Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse. You would have a tendency to be attracted to or maintain an unhealthy relationship for a short duration. Repeated poor picking is complicated by self-sabotage and chronic long-term failures which are usually self-inflicted. It’s also important to note that an answer of one to three “agrees” probably doesn’t indicate much, if any, of a problem. But it can serve to heighten your awareness of avoiding those patterns. However, a score of four to five more aptly fits this category description and analysis.


6 to 10 Agrees This indicates that you’ve suffered one or more of the following: Severe verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse with a high probability of some physical abuse. The physical abuse may be an isolated incident. The higher your number, the more chronic your pattern is. You have a tendency to pick externally abusive relationships (people who are prone to abuse you, instead of you abusing yourself) with someone who has extreme control issues including a need to argue, berate, belittle, and/or control. Internal abuse occurs when you “beat yourself up” rather than allow another person to do it to you by developing behavior such as chemical dependency, eating disorders and/or compulsive behavior such as gambling, sex, food, etc. After a long duration of dysfunctional behavior, you’re more likely to pick a similar relationship or an abusive one under a different guise. For example, your first relationship may have been with an abusive alcoholic, which led to fights, arguments, control, and emotional unavailability. Your second relationship may have been with a workaholic, which translated to fights, arguments, control, and emotional unavailability. Your third relationship may have been with a gambling addict, which fueled fights, arguments, control, and emotional unavailability. You might pick a healthy counterpart but can quickly become bored, dissatisfied and disinterested in them. Sabotaging the relationship is inevitable. Watch for dishonesty and trust issues.


11 to 15 Agrees This indicates that you have suffered one or more of the following: extreme verbal, emotional, psychological or physical abuse with a high probability of sexual abuse. You may have experienced either an isolated incident, such as rape, or chronic abuse such as incest or spousal abuse. You’re highly likely to pick externally abusive relationships. When you’re not in a relationship, you probably internally mistreat yourself with drug abuse, alcohol abuse, compulsive spending or gambling, over-eating, eating disorders, etc. In early therapy or initial recovery attempts, you’re highly likely to sabotage healthy relationships and set up subconscious failures, which will validate your feelings of “See?  I’m no good.” Finally, your tendencies to return to the abuser, to cross over burned bridges or continue being in abusive relationships may result in a life-threatening scenario stemming from external or internal abuse or depression.

No matter how high your score, we’ll provide simple tools to work through your broken picker issues in order to create successful change. Even the worst case scenario can get better if you’re willing to try at least some of the solutions we will offer. Next week In Date Smart! Chapter 3.3 we will start by giving you the CRCs of an abusive person.

Please come back each week as we will post the next piece of each chapter broken down into posts that you can comment on, ask questions or share your thoughts. We will eventually update and post the whole book Date Smart!

(A word of caution: If you have done ALL the exercises to this point in the book you are quickly discovering that the tools we provide are both very accurate, somewhat intense and can easily get to the core of an issue.  However, the exercises starting in this chapter actually Chapter 3.2, are the toughest in Date Smart! and it can overwhelm a person with some very real feelings and insights that may be a little tough to swallow.  Stick with it!  Use a friend or therapist or support group to get through the learning process and in later chapters it will all be worth it.  It is common among those who read out book that those who are really sick and tired of being sick and tired, tired of one failed relationship after the next, tired of one more loser who stick with the book and finish all the exercises make huge successful relationship changes.  It is not uncommon for some people to get to, or half way through, chapter three and give up because it hurts too much to look that hard at yourself.  Trust us when we say we understand.  If you’re connecting that hard and feel you want to quit, it is okay. Take what you can use, leave the rest behind or get some outside help and go through the exercises with someone else if you really want to push through the pain.)

*Special thanks for co-writing this article goes to Dave Coleman aka The Dating Doctor. Dave and I wrote Date Smart! back in Jan. 2000. The publication rights have now reverted over to us equally and, with Dave’s permission, I have edited the book and modernized some of the ideas we originally wrote. The book, Date Smart! is still available through some stores and you can contact Random House to request the book be reprinted. With enough demand they might just contact Dave and I to republish and possibly write another one. We are basically giving you the book to read in posts and encourage you to visit both Dave’s website and of course all parts of our website Neither the posts nor the book are in any way to be republished or sold or used without our express specific written permission and all posts are copyrighted and protected (ISBN-10: 0761521739, ISBN-13: 978-0761521730). Dave and I have written a number of articles together as well and so this serves as the byline. A huge thank you to Dave for sharing both our efforts and time to write what we hope are insightful, intriguing and informative articles that we share the creative collaboration and credit for working on over a number of years.

You can contact Rick by posting or by emailing:

askrickhead [at] topicisland [dot] com or read posts at Ask Rickhead

You can write Dave at:

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to “Identifying A Broken Picker, Date Smart! Chapter 3.2”

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