October 12, 2020:

In pieces here I've often returned to "narcississm" as one root of the personalities of certain women I've described.

This is less sexist than may appear from simple aggregation of statistics. I do not believe women in general demonstrate a preponderance of narcissism, or that women as a group are more narcissistic than men. My focus on narcissism is an artifact of my slow growth to self-understanding, combined with the way I sometimes use this workbook as a vehicle for fictionalizing my actual experiences or those of others I've observed.

I'm attracted to charm. Where "vulnerable to" might be the better expression. Women who make me laugh can slay me if they do it the right way. It's taken most of my life to learn that charm is frequently manipulative, very often selfish, sometimes driven by narcissism. Where my history of relationships is one repetition after another of an initial encounter with a very charming, very narcissistic, very selfish individual who became my traumatic role model for future disasters.

This is my fault. I repeated a pattern I should have recognized but did not. Where depression certainly played its part, but the structure of repetition goes deeper than simple brain chemistry.

It took therapy to recognize the pattern, where incidentally my therapists use the word "toxic" where I prefer "narcissistic" or "manipulative". And where failure to enter therapy decades earlier is perhaps my greatest mistake.