balance

balanceSince I started this blog, I am realizing more and more how much we, the victims and survivors of pathological love relationships, need each other. I’m also realizing how much we need to set each other free.

From the outside looking in, most people who visit this site (and other sites like this one) can easily jump to the conclusion that we’re a bunch of crying, complaining, broken-hearted, love-sick divas who need to move on!

I get it. I really do. I understand why many choose to look at us in that light: it’s easier to see surface emotions and judge them without diving deep into the reasons behind the emotions.

Often when we read or hear of another’s pain, we end up taking on their emotions. It’s draining. That’s called empathy. Being empathetic takes lots of energy and requires an absence of ego.

We know sociopaths can’t do that. They are not able to empathize.

The rest of us can empathize to a high degree, and the beauty of our ability is that we can choose the degree to which we empathize.

What do I mean? Well, think about it. The amount of energy it takes to focus on another’s pain is draining. We know the people in our lives who drain us the most, right? More than likely, the first person that comes to mind is the sociopath with his pseudo-pain.

But there are many non-pathological people who need our attention due to real pain, and we give to them freely. We put our worries and frustrations aside in order to take on the worries and frustrations of others.

And because we are aware of the energy required to do this, we sometimes choose not to empathize. We choose not to get involved. Making that choice is tough and sometimes filled with guilt. But it’s necessary.

I am perfectly content sometimes to not get involved, especially if I have no useful skills or resources that can help someone in great pain. In those circumstances, I end up feeling more helpless and hopeless and sad, in addition to taking on the pain of the person with whom I am empathizing.

So I choose not to get involved.

It’s not easy to turn the switch from “on” to “off.” I have had to do this often over the past months with family, friends and blog followers (I apologize!) in order to protect myself and remain on track to self-awareness and recovery.

Being overly empathetic of others steals our energy needed for ourselves. It’s the catch-22 of being a healthy, non-pathological person who critiques sociopaths and psychopaths daily–I end up looking no better than the sociopaths and psychopaths I analyze and digest.

But that’s just my guilt talking. I know I’m not a sociopath or psychopath. I also know when the time has come for me to be serious about my limitations and think seriously about hanging up my current hat in order to try on a new one.

Now is one of those times.

Since late February, I have been struggling with writing about sociopaths/psychopaths. I know deep down that I can’t maintain this momentum. I just can’t. I’ve written exhaustively about my experience and observations over the past 16 months or so. With the submission of each post, I think, “This could be the last one on the subject.”

It never is. There is always something that sparks something inside of me. It could be a conversation with a friend, a question from a reader, a TV commercial I watch, a word I hear, a song I begin to hum…whatever it is, I become inspired to share one more story related to sociopaths and toxic relationships.

But I am serious this time. This really could be the last post on the subject I write, but that’s only because I have so many other wonderful things in my life on which I want to focus.

Other than the obvious need to spend more time with my family, I am also actively planning to begin yoga teacher training in the fall. Once certified in yoga, I can then become certified to teach yoga to trauma patients.

THAT is what I see as my ultimate gift and take away from my toxic relationship and the best use of my empathy and all the energy it consumes. My writing has been a stepping stone to many things: friendships, understanding, job opportunities, vision and purpose.

I’ll continue to write, but probably less and less about sociopaths and psychopaths but more and more on healing techniques and mindful approaches to self-care (which anyone could benefit regardless of past relationship horrors).

I remain dedicated to transforming this blog into a comprehensive book on the aftermath and journey to self-recovery and healing from relational harm. That goal will be primary through the end of this year. As far as writing new material, I want to focus more on writing and editing for Elephant Journal and my Washington Times Communities’ column (which could possibly go into syndication, but I need to hunker down for that to happen).

So I’m not really going anywhere. I could never leave this community. However, I realize I need to let go a little in order to free myself to explore more possibilities for life, love and laughter. The “longing” part is taken care of now, because I feel more free today than I have ever felt in my entire life. I owe a large majority of that to my blog readers and visitors. You’ve made these past months so worth it to me.

The rest is thanks to my loving husband J., my son A. and myself.

Namaste!
~Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/147492956518852766/)

Category:
abuse, Books, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Elephant Journal, Emotional Abuse, Family, Forgiveness, Friends, Health, Journaling, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Poetry, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Washington D.C.
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Join the conversation! 28 Comments

  1. […] this? Do I have the resources and the time to dedicate to something like this? Just a few weeks ago I was writing about not writing as much about this subject […]

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  2. Paula, what a beautiful post!!! Really touched me. I really get where you are coming from., I feel like that too sometimes. Then a sociopath sends me an email about my ‘evil website’ haha yeah they do!! …. and I am inspired all over again. You do, whatever feels right in your heart to do. I am over at wordpress.org. I don’t like it, I wish I hadn’t changed. You know what I have learned this last week. Just – please yourself. I shouldn’t have changed from wordpress.com as i was happy here. I should have just done what was right for ME instead I was thinking about others, which has right now held me back, So follow your heart and the world will follow with you!! 🙂

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    • Thank you for the support, Nikki. Maybe it’s just too soon to know for certain about WP.org. I’ll start sharing the link to your message board. It’s only been a couple of days. 🙂

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    • Well….. you know what sometimes, things just are NOT meant to be. I HATED it, so yesterday I wrote happiness engineer a message saying can I go back to .com?

      I fell asleep and woke back at .com world. I wanted to do a happy dance. Its now time to eat humble pie., and admit that I made a mistake, it wasn’t for me. I personally prefer .com. It was boring, and you have two screens the back end screen then the part where you post. I cannot see any benefit to it at all. And the forum I put on was so low quality – and I couldn’t seem to improve it, It just didn’t seem worthwhile. SO…. I have to write a humble pie post, but its good, its about how its ok to admit, when you are on the wrong path,…. to turn back and change direction again. If it is not right for YOU then it isn’t right I was doing it to support others forgetting about my own needs and what I wanted – maybe this is relevant to your post??? too…..

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    • Definitely relevant! I’m glad it was able to be corrected quickly. My book website through GoDaddy (www.storyofasociopath.com) could host a message board. Their message boards are much “prettier” than one’s I have seen on WP.org. So if you ever change your mind and your needs, consider Go Daddy.

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    • THanks Paula, I was with Godaddy, I didn’t know that and to be honest, the learning curve was so steep I really couldn’t figure out how to do it. Days spent on youtube watching videos….. was a nightmare, and caused so much stress. I thought why am I doing this for? I like writing. I also hated how you had two pages – I really didn’t like it at all. Was a big deal for me to say ‘i Made a mistake this isn’t working for me’…. I am glad I did. I missed the community that you have here on wordpress.com. That works better for me. It felt quite lonely over there 🙂

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  3. I love how open you are about sharing your journey. Life evolves and it is beautiful seeing someone embrace that sense of evolving.

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  4. I can totally relate to where you are in your healing. I have had a hard time finding that balance of helping others who are where I was 2 years ago while continuing on to my next level of healing. There is definitely a bit of that “turning off” the empathy…or at least dialing it back a bit. I want to be mindful without rumination. I want to be aware and alive and in tune with my current life and situations without being triggered back into that dark scary place I lived for too long. There is certainly a balance to be found. I look forward to reading your future works, we seem to be on similar ground.

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    • Janine, you are really good at finding your balance. You’re also really good at being patient in a natural kind of way. It’s one of your many great qualities I hope rubs off onto me. ❤

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  5. I totally get you, I’ve always known that too much empathy with others can actually consume your energy, so I always choose to not get involved, but here is the thing… I’m a person of not many friends and that’s because I’ve always tried to not get involved with their personal problems… and that’s actually made me to be distant from them and hence the few friends… and the most negative part of this that sometimes when I feel bad or depressed about something I look around and I find nobody…so I guess that like almost everything in life, there has to be a balance…

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  6. Evolution in life, goals, blogging/writing, is all a part of the growth. It’s good you see you are ready for a new direction, and wonderful you are willing to explore that. There is a wealth of information here, and it can only be strengthened by you coming into your joy more completely.

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    • Thank you, Melanie. I love watching all of us evolve. In such a short time. It’s amazing to watch! ❤

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    • It is amazing. I know mine was catapulted as a result of this community. It is the solidarity and support that has helped me so immensely.

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  7. You are a very talented, passionate woman with so much more life to live, so many more stories to tell and journeys to embark on; that always was one of “the boys” ,psychopath’s problems; you are too full of life and the need to keep growing and learning for him to be your whole life.

    You have done so much good through your blog towards raising awareness and breaking the silence. You helped me find my voice.

    Lol I can’t find the words to express what is in my heart; you’ve been a good friend Paula thank you!! And you have just proven to the world that there is life, love and sunshine after the sociopath/psychopath. Congratulations!! Onward and upward!
    Love
    Carrie

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    • Thank you, Carrie. You know how hard it was for me to read your blog in the beginning? I hated what that “boy” did to your passion, but I see your passion today and it’s wonderful! ❤

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  8. It seems like we can get stuck in revealing the truth about NPD–to the point that you ask yourself is this what life is all about? I had dreams and goals before the narc. It seems like we can get side-tracked a bit in the healing process but at a certain point yes you come to the place where you can say life moves on and so do I. I am so glad that you and your blog have a part of my journey. Your moving on means that I can move on as well. Thank you for your wisdom, your encouragement, your support and your friendship. I look forward to your new posts.

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    • Thank you, Ivonne! I love reading you “story” but I love reading your other passions more. You make me laugh and think about myself and my life. You’ve contributed to my growth, too, in so many ways. It’s been a natural, holistic journey these past months. I have an entire new respect for clowns, by the way. 🙂 ❤

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  9. Paula!
    I understand where you are! Life brings us many chances and changes…go with what makes you feel good and alive! Teacher training in yoga makes so much sense!
    Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!

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  10. Thank you Paula for your insight. I was struggling and now I make sense of things. I have moved on. I am in a new relationship after 3 years, mindful of the old, but I know what my weaknesses are and the red flags I have to look out for. Your blog has been invaluable. I have researched my life, my past, my ex and experiences, and I know where I am going. For anyone just escaping the hell, can I recommend Kelly Clarkson’s album “Stronger”. It’s my inspiration album and my freedom. I have it in the car and I sing it in my way to work. I don’t know Kelly’s story, but her recovery words ring true. Thank you for your inspiration and I wish you all the best for the next chapter from the UK x

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    • Thank you, Clare. I love Clarkson’s album too! I am so happy that you are in a new and healthy relationship but remain mindful of where you have been. How can we not be aware after all of this!?! ❤

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  11. I think you should blog about whatever feels right. I tried to blog about specific topics on specific days for a few months and it became a chore. For me writing is joyful, so once that joy lessens I have to stop and find balance. It feels good to blog about the positive parts of life so it seems you are on the right track.

    I have a friend who even though physically free still allows herself to emotionally be in the clutches of a sociopath. Your blog is both a reminder to be patient with her and a resource. I may read every post or comment much, but in my eyes you are a valuable part of our blogging community. 🙂

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    • Correction: “..may *not* read every post..”

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    • You’re so right! I should blog about what comes to me and inspires me. No forcing a particular subject on myself and blog readers. I am glad my writing has helped you be patient with your friend, too. She needs that the most from you. Simple patience. ❤

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