Prince Harming Syndrome!

By Karen Salmansohn

Confession time:

I once suffered from what I call Prince Harming Syndrome, the tendency to date men who were bully beaus—charismatic guys who seemed like great catches. That was, until they'd suddenly erupt into a rage over the smallest of things: an unmade bed, being late by 10 minutes, a difference in movie preferences.

My last Prince Harming relationship ended when this bully beau got into a rage at me and cursed at me (bad curses) in front of his 8-year-old daughter. I finally had the clarity of mind to leave.

Although I've since — thankfully, and with effort — broken free from my Prince Harming Syndrome, I continue to hear many tales of Prince Harming from my girlfriends.

Having "been there, dated that," I wanted to offer seven tips that helped me break my pattern in order to help others break theirs. If you're presently involved with a Prince Harming, keep in mind the following…

  1. Did you have a parent with a bad temper? If so, you're experiencing what Freud called Repetition Compulsion. Your past is sneaking into your present. You accept being shrieked at as being "normal" when it's not. Some part of you from childhood feels "you're bad" and deserves anger as a ritualistic behavior. Well, I'm here to tell you, the time has come to stop these anger rituals! Nothing in your past is in your present making you do anything you don't choose to do. You are not your past history! You are not your past failures! You are not how others have at one time treated you! You are only who you are and what you do now in this moment.
  2. Are you hooked into pain because of low self-esteem? Perhaps you feel like you don't deserve healthy love because of your weight, career, etc. If so… either improve your weight, career, etc.—or change your view of these things. Start loving yourself—flaws and all. Focus on what makes you hot stuff! You're funny, kind, generous, a great kisser. A guy should be so lucky as to be with you! The more you believe that you deserve healthy love, the more you will conquer and attract.
  3. Have you stopped being a hopeless romantic—and now think romance is hopeless? Have you lowered your "dating bar" so low that now only the slimiest reptilian snake-y guys are wiggling through? If so, raise that bar — by surrounding yourself with friends and family who are in healthy, loving relationships, so you're reminded that "good love" is out there — and know what it looks and sounds like!
  4. Are your values off-kilter? Do you care more about money and good looks than you do about your self-esteem and happiness? You must remind yourself: The #1 reason to merge your life with a man is that he makes you feel happier—not more anxious and depressed. You must also remind yourself of your top values for a man. Make a list—and on it should be: even-tempered, kind-hearted, gentle, a good listener, a compromiser, etc. Also write how you'd feel being with this type of man (relaxed, safe, content, happy, etc.). Keep these lists in your wallet.
  5. Are you an "enterpainer"? Are you used to entertaining everyone with your tales of drama and conflict? Do you get attention and feel important every time you complain about how awful this man is? Stop settling for attention for the negative stuff in your life. Get rid of Prince Harming, and seek positive passion and purpose.
  6. Do you keep telling yourself it's not 3 strikes and Prince Harming is out—it's 3,452,103 strikes? Are you more afraid of the pain of temporary solitude than the pain of abuse? If so, accept that when you break up, there will be a temporary period of aloneness. Decide now to use your alone time to do things you've been putting off. Take a class. Join a club. You'll get through the solo time.
  7. Are you afraid to break up? Don't let the prospect of saying goodbye to a Prince Harming make you feel like a failure. Re-frame this as a success story. This ending represents your brand new beginning! Every time you miss your Prince Harming, repeat the word "Forward!" Remind yourself you're moving forward, away from this self-hurting tendency and towards a better, brighter future.

Karen Salmansohn is the best selling author of Enough, Dammit—a book about breaking bad habits for good, as well at the creator of the famed "Be Happy, Dammit!" online newsletter. For more visit www.notsalmon.com.

Comments or Questions? Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sensei Trudy Fossey
6th Degree Black Belt
Karate at Hillhurst

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