upliftThe following is an unedited, first draft of the introduction to my second book I’ve tentatively titled “The Exorcism of the Sociopath.”


I firmly believe that no one can heal and recover from sociopathic/pathological abuse alone. I also believe that not all support is good support.

Although I have written about the power of online support in my Washington Times Communities column and have often encouraged readers and those who comment to consider some form of online support, there is a definite line of defense we all need to consider before opening up ourselves to any person or support group outside of licensed, certified and experienced mental health care professionals and care givers.

When I began my blog and book journey in February 2012, I was very naive and oblivious as to what I would encounter. I had no idea whether or not my blog and story would be believed, accepted or laughed off the internet. I was desperate and at a standstill in my healing and recovery and really didn’t care about the consequences. Before rapidly moving forward with my blog writing, I was frozen in disbelief at the lack of progress I was making.

Why was I so frozen?

One of my biggest roadblocks to healing was my continual denial that I was suffering from anything I couldn’t fix myself. The least of which was trauma.

“Me? Traumatized? No way!!”

Why did I do this? Partly because I wanted to hold onto the idea that I was strong, but mostly because I didn’t want to feel like the sociopath had won. I wasn’t going to allow him to defeat me, and in my naiveté, I thought that pushing the pain deeper into the recesses of my mind meant I won.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Not facing the pain caused confusion and my body and mind to fester in a mixture of ugliness, grief and more pain. I made mistake after mistake in my personal life. I hurt myself with each emotion I denied myself.

On top of suppressing my pain and suffering, I arrogantly thought I could fix myself. After all, who knew me better than me? I was so blinded by the idea that I just needed to “get over” the abuse that I neglected to realize that I needed to walk through the trauma in order to find peace on the other side of it.

Luckily, I gradually became unfrozen, and  by mid-April 2012 due to reader comments and responses to my story, I was thawing out, discovering my wings and true power. It was amazing.

The comments that struck home most and had the deepest impact were those that suggested that my writing was therapy for a trauma I needed to release.

That word “trauma” kept popping up on the screen and wouldn’t stop creeping into my mind. And no matter how much I fought to eliminate it from my reality, I couldn’t fight the truth so many were trying to get me to see.

“You suffered something, Paula! Stop being so stubborn. Accept it!”

But even after repeatedly hearing this and finally accepting it, I still thought I could fix myself. I thought if my writing helped me reach this breakthrough moment, it could help me completely heal myself without burdening my family and friends further with my goddamn issues!

But none of us are an island. None of us are super heroes. (Although, I’d like to think I wear a cape some days, it’s just not healthy to be so delusional, is it? Hehe!)

So again, a few months later in August 2012,  I found myself floundering and in need of something else that would propel me forward. I realized my writing had just been a temporary fix, a band-aid of sorts. I had written and published my book by this time but still felt incomplete in my healing.

What was next?

What was next was something I never dreamed could come next:

On the very day in August 2012 in which I was laid off from my job, I received a private message from a woman who ran a rapidly-growing Facebook page. She asked me to help co-administer her page. The page touted itself as a place victims/survivors of abuse at the hands of narcissistic and borderline personality disordered individuals could collectively learn and heal. She needed me, along with her other three administrators to “man” the page so there was always someone available to connect with members regardless of time of day or day of the week.

“How honorable,” I thought. This woman seems to really care. I wanted to be a part of that and maybe learn something from her that could help me on my journey.

But that didn’t prove to be the magic pill for healing, either. In fact, it nearly negated all of the progress I had made up to that point. If it hadn’t been for my blog and its supporters, my yoga practice and my monthly counseling sessions, that online support group experience could have destroyed me all over again.

Why? How can I be so certain of this?

For starters, the woman who ran the page and its private support group was in no place to give others any advice. Within a few short months of being “indoctrinated” into her team of administrators, I learned from observation that she was too sick herself to offer any real help to anyone who was trying to heal. Her life was an absolute mess, and she shared each and every detail of her daily struggles publicly on the page’s timeline.

On top of me believing she was too sick herself to offer sound advice, she lacked any professional mental health care credentials or accredited training. She didn’t even have a high school diploma nor had she made any attempt to earn her GED.

Although her lack of education didn’t set off immediate red flags for me, it should have. As a person who values both formal and informal education and who has spent as much time in the classroom as I have in an office cubicle, I should have put more thought into her credentials and been more discerning about the information she shared on her page.

She repeatedly touted herself as an expert on personality disorders and in healing and recovery. She gave, as I interpreted it to be, unsound advice to victims/survivors who blindly trusted herunconditionally. I can only assume that each and every one of them asked themselves the same questions I had repeatedly asked myself:

“If this woman didn’t really care, she wouldn’t be out here trying to help, right? She must know what she’s talking about. After all, she was abused, too.”

I, too, initially bought into her “strength of character” defense and believed she shared so others wouldn’t feel alone in their pain and suffering. But soon I realized that the reason she shared was much more benign than benevolent and in July 2013, when I had finally had enough and asked to be removed as an administrator, my support for her immediately ended along with all of the excuses I had created in my mind that aided in that support.

Not only was she not qualified to offer any advice, the advice she did offer was disseminated carelessly. She was able to mask her actual ignorance by plagiarizing the intelligence others. She sprinkled her “advice” with the words and research of credible professionals and sources, individuals she never bothered to cite or acknowledge.

As a writer and researcher, I couldn’t take anymore of her blatant disregard for the work of others. And as a victim/survivor, I was not interested in becoming the victim of another lying and manipulative con artist.

I became completely convinced that she used and continues using the weakened state of desperate victims to infiltrate their healing and recovery journey. She tells her tales of woe and faux abuse in hopes of gaining financially and feeding her narcissistic supply.

Although this realization did not surprise me after what I had experienced with the sociopath, it did hurt. Deeply. But as with any hindrance to my momentum and journey to finding peace, I was determined to push forward and make the most of what I had learned.

After informing my blog readers in early August 2013 that I no longer supported her pagea page I had previously promoted often and frequentlyI very quickly became aware that I was not alone in my suspicions and misgivings of this woman and her page. Many victims/survivors who had stumbled upon the page also felt as I felt. I miraculously found myself being supported and uplifted by a group of like-minded and highly intelligent and giving women with nothing to gain by supporting me.

We served to validate each other, and that’s all the push we needed to put the ugliness of being deceived by false support behind us.

In addition to this very public lesson, there are many more I have learned since January 2011 when I escaped the sociopath and struggled to put his deceptions far behind me.

In the pages and chapters of this book, I hope to accurately present each lesson learned and to uncover how no single group, counselor, yoga practice, one-on-one bond, exercise or self-help book/website will make any of us whole again. I believe the journey to peace and freedom is a combination of many of these things and much more.

You’re unique. Your story is your story. Your journey to healing and recovery is and will continue to be as unique and as colorful as you are.

My hope is that my journey along with the personal journeys of others shared in this book will serve as a model for what to consider and what not to consider. My hope is that you can learn from my successes/their successes and from my mistakes/their mistakes. My hope is to help you help yourself.

But my biggest hope is that you remain hopeful and believe that no matter the length of the journey, no matter the obstacles or bumps in the road, you’re worth giving yourself another chance at happiness, joy and ultimate peace.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/224687468882548535/)

Category:
abuse, Addiction, Alcohol, Child abuse, Children, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Fitness, Forgiveness, Friends, Health, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality, The Washington Times
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Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. I find your blog very helpful. My question to you is, have you found peace? Or is it fleeting? I am trying to cling to peace, but it seems to be an illusion and it fades as soon as I think I see or feel it. I have read the book and seen Life of Pi (so grateful for the movie cause I was a little confused by the book’s ending), but I feel like Pi. Like I thought I could just ration out my food, take notes and someone would find me soon. Little did I know, i would end up floating for much much longer at sea than I could have imagined. I have help, i have support, an amazing family, I have enough….but I am plagued with fear….

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    • Anonymous,

      Fear is natural. And the sense that your peace comes and goes and is fleeting is natural, too. There will come a day when your peace sticks to you like glue even in those moments when you think back to a time or event within your toxic relationship.

      The secret to Pi’s success was his ability to finally have faith in SOMETHING. You must also find your deep faith and a trust in yourself that is established by that faith.

      The fears will never leave us. But our faith will help guide us away from those fears and fill us with a trust and love of ourselves which will override any thought that creeps in our minds that tries to divert us from our true path.

      Namaste!! ❤ ❤

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  2. Hi Paula,

    I should probably email you. The silence is broken. The Ex and I have been in contact. It’s a long story.

    Yesterday he told me I haven’t been “acting very adult lately”? I said, “Lately? What are you talking about?” This is the first time we have spoken in four months. Are you referring to that saturday 2 weeks ago when I ran into you and your woman? He said, “I read your blog.” So I said, “Since when do you read my blog? When I told you I was going to start a blog about animal rights and helping the planet you feigned interest. When I decided to change the premise of my blog into a full-on, in-your-face animal rights blog you refused to look at it. You said you ‘didn’t want to know about the horrible things done to animals’. So why after all this time the sudden interest in my blog?” He said, “I don’t know, I just decided to check it one day and I saw what you wrote. It was very harsh.” (Evidently his woman read what I wrote too.)

    Um, ya think?

    Since that conversation I keep ruminating about how he and his woman think my blogging about what happened is not adult behavior. I love how he cheated, lied and deceived me but that aligns perfectly with his moral compass but I WRITE about what happened and that’s immature????????

    Am I missing something Paula or am I being sucked back into the vortex of a pathological liar?

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    • You’re getting sucked back in. You should have simply said, “My blog. Yeah. It’s awesome isn’t it?!?” Totally ignore the negative comments he slings your way about you being immature and childish. What-the-fudge-ever! He wants you to 2nd-guess yourself in hopes you’ll stop making him look bad. He wants you to think you’re making yourself look bad by talking badly about him. Pfft!! Abuse 101: They can dish it out,but they sure can’t take it! Poor thing. Do not engage him. You are not dealing with someone you think you know, remember? Your humanity will be lost on his need to control your emotions in every way possible. He’s the childish one who is pissy because you’re going about your life and sprinkling his with little messes he can’t be bothered to clean up. It’s beneath him so it must be stopped. What better way to stop the messes from happening than to try shutting down the source. You. What he doesn’t realize is that he created the mess all by himself and should learn to deal with the consequences of his carelessness. He’s a loser and you just happen to be the messenger of that very solid reality. 🙂

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    • Thank you Paula! I sooooooooo needed to hear this. I just wish I had read this before posting my latest post. Oh-well.

      Since yesterday he has told me to stop trashing him. I told him until he owns what it his and apologizes, it’s open season.

      He also told me that his new wife said I am unfairly directing my anger at him. She is clearly duped by him. She has no idea.

      Both you and my therapist WARNED ME about not getting mired in my Ex’s deception. You both warned me.

      The good thing is, I knew enough to reach out to you which means I didn’t lose my head and become lost in his web of lies – AGAIN!

      Whew!

      Love you Paula!

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  3. Your book, Escaping The Boy, was my first clue as to what had happened to me. It all hit home & I was so grateful to learn all about it, for future, possible, relationships. Now, I am ‘armed’ & ready… Thx so kindly for spilling the beans on them!!!! Elaine

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  4. Really? After the worst day ever you just simply had to go there! Lol.

    “But my biggest hope is that you remain hopeful and believe that no matter the length of the journey, no matter the obstacles or bumps in the road, you’re worth giving yourself another chance at happiness, joy and ultimate peace”

    If I didn’t know better, I would of sworn this was written specifically for me today. Thank you.

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  5. But my biggest hope is that you remain hopeful and believe that no matter the length of the journey, no matter the obstacles or bumps in the road, you’re worth giving yourself another chance at happiness, joy and ultimate peace.
    ^ my favorite line.
    It is the perfect conclusion to your introduction and awesome intro to your book.
    It is so important that people not compare their recoveries; yes support online has its place but everyone’s story, history and situation is different.
    Unfortunately I think people have a hard time finding professionals who acknowledge NP, psychopaths and sociopaths and many victims are not taken seriously.
    I can’t wait to read the book Paula!
    Goodluck with it! I have a great deal of respect for you and your writing. You write with integrity and that counts for so much.
    My hat is off to you 🙂

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    • Carrie, It will be a beautiful day when more and more professionals are willing to acknowledge the victims of these fools. Even though the disordered abusers can’t be “fixed,” there is hope for those affected by them. We just need to keep waving our hands and shouting, “Hey! Hey, dummies! Over here! Listen to us. We’ve got something really important to teach you.” Hehehe!

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  6. Great opening Paula. I hadn’t realized how much our timing aligned. Or if I did, I didn’t connect it until now. This sentence here “You’re unique. Your story is your story. Your journey to healing and recovery is and will continue to be as unique and as colorful as you are.” is IT. That is so important to remember and hold dear.

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  7. Perfectly stated Paula. Oh, and just for the record, I still think you wear a cape. ❤

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  8. Well said Paula. I agree that it takes many different methods in order to heal. This is one thing I assert constantly myself. Prayer, support of family and friends, taking care of our bodies, professional counselling, helping others. Everything is important and if we rely on only one method we will get stuck.

    Like you I also had a difficult time realizing I had been abused and traumatized. Now that I’ve come to terms with it, people close to me are having a hard time accepting it. I’m told often I always try to portray myself as the victim….sometimes we ARE the victim. Understanding that fact, and choosing to end the cycle is a part of the process.

    I look forward to reading your book when it’s done. I’m happy you are trading negativity for positivity (deciding you WERE a victim, but you aren’t anymore).

    Hope I worded this correctly.

    Anonymous (it’s safer that way)

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    • Thank you, Anonymous. You worded it perfectly! I hate the word victim but it’s extremely necessary for each of us who have been where we’ve been to redefine what it means and to recognize it doesn’t have to define who we are and our potential. 🙂

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  9. Excellent description of your own journey and its successes and pitfalls. I like what you write that we each have our own unique stories. This can be especially important to victims to hear, given that so much has already been taken from them. We each deserve to have our own stories.

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    • Thank you, Kimberly. I think recognizing we each have unique stories to tell is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned, especially from simply being a part of this blogging community and meeting and discovering so many incredibly talented and passionate voices.

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