After the fall, Yoga Journal gets it right! #Bikram #abuse #healing

YJ_June15Cover_PaulaI was approached in January 2015 by seasoned journalist, Andrew Tilin. He was in the middle of composing a feature story for the June 2015 issue of Yoga Journal magazine. How did he find me? He found me through my yoga blog and was particularly interested in speaking with me after reading the post Mourning my Bikram Yoga practice in light of rape allegations. After all, the purpose of the feature he was writing was to highlight how the yoga community was reacting to criminal allegations against celebrity yoga teachers, in particular John Friend and Bikram Choudhury, and I seemed like someone with an opinion to share. He emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in speaking with him; I responded with a big fat YES!

We spoke over the phone the first time for almost two hours. He contacted me a few weeks later, and we talked for two more hours. On both occasions, Tilin asked me lots and lots of questions about yoga and later about my experiences with abuse. I freely answered all of his questions without hesitation (but with a few tears occasionally). I don’t think he was expecting me to be so talkative and so candid. He often asked, “Are you comfortable sharing this?” And each time, I thought to myself, He must not have read any of my other posts. Of course, I’m comfortable sharing.

I don’t think the editors at the magazine expected me to share as much as I did either, because before they approved the final version of Tilin’s feature, a member of the editorial staff called me to do some fact checking and to verify that everything I shared was okay to print. In addition to the four hours I had already spent with Tilin, I spent close to two more hours talking with the editor. Needless to say, I exerted a lot of energy talking about stuff that I’m more comfortable writing about. If you’re an introvert, you understand how draining that is, but I feel like the investment was worth it. The published article unfolded beautifully! Yoga Journal and Tilin got it right! I have deep respect for, gratitude to and appreciation of the thoughtful and professional attention the journalist and the Yoga Journal staff took with my story.

The article isn’t about me. It’s not even about abusive yoga gurus, although Tilin pulls in data and a few experts to explain why and how abuse at the community level often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. This article, at its core, is about the capacity of the human spirit to overcome and let the light outshine the dark and it reinforces the power of going within to find peace.

Follow this link to After the Fall: The Ripple Effect from Accusations Against Bikram and Friend or pick up the June 2015 issue of Yoga Journal magazine and turn to page 80.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate.
http://www.paulacarrasquillo.com

©Paula Carrasquillo and Love. Life. Om. 2015

Survivors Continue to Share and Inspire

Love. Life. Om. Survivor Newsletter – Volume 2, Issue 4

Alana (not her real name) submitted her story to me earlier this month through my online submission form. I attempted to respond and thank her, but the email bounced back. So I am sharing her full submission in this newsletter in hopes Alana sees that it’s been shared and contacts me…again…in order to properly thank her.

Also this month, I was contacted by another survivor and author, Holly, who asked me to share her book with everyone. Follow this link to Amazon to download Holly’s book, Escaping Abuse: An Autobiography about Love, Marriage, Abuse, and Perseverance.

Enjoy this issue and pass it along to your network of supporters, survivors and fellow warriors!

Paula Carrasquillo

Pre-order “How To Do No Contact Like a Boss” by Kim Saeed

Pre-order your copy today!!

If you’re thinking about going no contact or are currently struggling to maintain no contact, Kim Saeed’s new book will serve as an invaluable tool for your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and growth.

Order your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00RM9QV9Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1427556744&sr=1-1&keywords=No+contact+like+a+boss

Just say “No!” to sociopath oppression and possession

“Have patience. Wait until the mud settles and the water is clear. Remain unmoving until right action arises by itself.” ~ Lao-tzu

The sociopaths we escaped were jealous of us. It’s that simple. They saw our strengths and knew we were stronger, which is why they made every attempt to demean and devalue us with words, suggestions and actions. Misery loves company, after all.

They hated us for liking ourselves and wanted to warp our healthy levels of self-love and self-respect into something ugly, grotesque and sinful.

They wanted to convince us that we were narcissistic and selfish. (Ironic, huh?)

So whenever we demonstrated self-respect by saying “no” to them and trying to maintain our boundaries, they’d degrade us, bring us down and convince us we weren’t as great as we thought we were. (Which is sad, because we simply had a healthy degree of self-worth that SEEMED inflated compared to their total lack of self-worth and self-respect.)

They wanted to convince us of what they wanted us to believe was true: that we were no better than them and that we needed them to learn humility and grace.

Pfft!

You can’t learn humility and grace from people who only understand possession and oppression. We are not in need of them. They are not people we want to aspire to be like. And there is no shame in believing you are amazing and have the right to your feelings, beliefs and personal interpretations of your experiences and ideas.

We don’t have to continue apologizing for being “normal” and healthy, a place too few are allowed to reach thanks to the sociopaths in their lives whispering to them repeatedly, “You really shouldn’t think so highly of yourself. It’s tasteless!”

The goal of a sociopath is to find the ultimate victim, someone who will take those whisperings to heart and permit those whisperings to lower their personal standards. Only a person who remains completely lost and oblivious to what the sociopath is doing can remain a victim whom the sociopath can get away with oppressing and possessing their entire life.

Be thrilled you escaped. No matter how long it took, you awakened to your power. Seize it and never forget it’s there and has always been there.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo

This post was selected for The Great Sociopathic Abuse and Recovery Blog Tour organized by Joyce M. Short, author Carnal Abuse by Deceit.

(image by JD Marston)

What if “50 Shades” was never intended to be what it has become?

What if “50 Shades of Grey” was intended to be the very opposite of what society has embraced it to be? Let’s imagine.


The author of “50 Shades of Grey” was in the middle of reading the Twilight series (pre-teen vampire romance series) and thought:

”Oh, this type of thing REALLY happens and it happened to me. It’s not romance; it’s abuse. Vampires are real. They may not suck blood, but they suck the life out of those they prey upon and control. Maybe if I wrote a human version of the vampire character, people will see how ridiculous it is for us to romanticize this type of relationship.”
This is love?
She took pen to paper and poorly wrote (purposefully) her novel filled with overt abuse, contradictions and obvious ironies about love and relationships. She even misrepresented the BDSM community knowing that THAT community is extremely vocal, more vocal than the DV community. (At least at the time she was writing.)

The book was published quickly as an e-book. Unfortunately, the book took off in a direction she never imagined. The book’s intended message was lost. People embraced it as a manual for better sex and improved relationships. It sold and sold and sold. A traditional publisher picked it up followed by an eager film production company. Instead of speaking out against the ignorant masses early, the author thought it best to sit back, collect her royalties and devise a plan.

While accumulating millions of dollars from the entertainment-hungry masses, the author made a wish-list of programs to create, programs and services traditionally not funded for victims and survivors of abuse:

1. Neuroscience and behavioral research studies focusing on the effects and varying classifications of PTSD during and in the aftermath of emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, and physical abuse.

2. Lobbying efforts to influence a change in the laws and penalties for non-stranger intimate partner rape and assault, child abuse, financial fraud, rape by fraud and a myriad of crimes associated with control and torture.

3. Education and awareness programs to assist and inform police officers, advocates, social workers and other service workers to clearly and effectively discern between perpetrator and victim.

4. A foundation dedicated to providing food, clothing, cars, money, hotel rooms and housing, counseling, integrative treatment options and support to victims and survivors and their families, children and friends.

5. Yearly conference of like-minded people and professionals interested in putting an end to the needless suffering of millions struck by abuse – emotional, psychological, financial, sexual and physical.

The book’s film version launched on Valentine’s Day 2015 (another intended irony in hopes of “awakening” those still asleep at the wheel).

On Monday morning, following the release, the author held a press conference revealing the book and film’s intended message. The book was rebranded and marketed as intended. Sales continued to rise and the wish list was made a reality.

…and we all lived happily ever after.

I know — “Wishful thinking, Paula.”


Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate.
http://www.paulacarrasquillo.com

With a mix of hope and skepticism, I digest the latest No More PSA

when-its-hard-to-listen-700x422Read my latest CDN story: Super Bowl domestic violence PSA: Listen and speak up

BETHESDA, Md., February 2, 2015 — The No More public service announcement (PSA) that aired during Super Bowl XLIX seeks to accomplish what no other domestic violence campaign has been able to do: to educate, incite action and shatter myths in hopes of ending the epidemic of domestic violence. Continue reading…

Excerpt from the Introduction to “Unashamed Voices” by Paula Carrasquillo

Unashamed Voices by Paula CarrasquiloThe following in an excerpt from the introduction to “Unashamed Voices: True Stories Written by Survivors of Domestic Violence, Rape and Fraud Exposing Sociopaths in Our Midst” set to launch on December 31, 2014.


I was 17 when I met the person who would change me forever. I was a high school senior, sitting on a full academic scholarship. He was 18, a high-school graduate. He chose not to attend college and instead worked at a local pizza parlor while trying to break into semi-professional lacrosse. I was impressed by his passion and truly believed it was a dream he could potentially fulfill, considering the year before he was a member of the 1988 Maryland High School Class 1A State Football Championship team. He seemed trustworthy and kind. He called me on Thanksgiving Day and asked me out on a date. I was excited. He was incredibly cute. Of course I said yes. He became my boyfriend for the next ten months.

The abuse started in subtle ways. He made strange comments about what I wore, about who my friends were and about my family. He judged me for having sex with him “too early” despite the fact he participated in having sex with me “too early.” I wasn’t accustomed to being judged by a person who judged me for doing exactly what he was also “guilty” of doing. His criticisms seemed pointless and circular. If I pointed this out to him, he’d say, “Oh, you think you’re so smart, Little Miss College Girl. You have no idea what real life is about. Your family keeps you inside a protective bubble. You have no idea. Just wait. One day you will find out what life is really about.”

His comments left me confused. They sounded like warnings, but I didn’t understand at the time that he was cautioning me about himself. Soon, these strange comments were paired with physical assaults against me. He poked me on my arm or on my forehead. These unprovoked pokes would come unannounced as I was talking or expressing an opinion or saying anything he didn’t like.

One day, the pokes escalated to full-shoulder grabs. He grabbed, contained and constrained me from speaking further about whatever it was I was trying to say. My shock and confusion grew. I remember saying, “Why are you grabbing me? No one grabs me and touches me like that! My father never even grabbed and touched me like that. What makes you think you can treat me this way?” Instead of standing back and recognizing he was wrong for grabbing me, this 18-year-old boy began to cry. Stories of his childhood abuse at the hands of his father came rushing to the surface, spilling out of him as he sobbed. They seemed never-ending. Being locked in a closet for hours and sometimes days. Witnessing his father beat his mother until she bled. Witnessing his brother being terrorized. Being beaten senselessly with a belt or a bat or a pot or a pan, whatever his father had handy. I cringed. My emotions oscillated between anger and shear disillusionment as I listened attentively to his accounts. I didn’t know how to soothe him outside of hugging him and telling him I was sorry for what he went through. I tried the best I could. One would think he would welcome my attempts to soothe him and return my hugs or say something appreciative like “Thank you” or “I’m glad I can talk to someone about this.” Rather, they were met with contempt, anger and violence. He screamed at me, “You think you’re so special and smart! You’re nothing! You don’t know how easy you’ve had it. You have no idea what I have been through. Don’t pretend to understand!”

The physical violence escalated quickly over a short period of time. He smothered and kicked me. He attempted to break my arm. He even threatened me with a loaded gun. Why? For what purpose? How did hurting me, beating me and shaming me help take is pain and suffering away. An eye for an eye?

I felt shock mixed with fear and pity. I failed to recognize that this person was taking out his painful past on me. I kept thinking maybe I could help him and make some sort of difference in his life. Model love? Prove to him that I cared? I wasn’t able to see that I was his victim. He was the perpetrator of violence against me, an innocent girl who desperately wanted to understand. The abuse continued.

One night in the late hours of a warm summer evening in 1990, my boyfriend and I were sitting on the front steps of his parent’s house. Our conversation unexpectedly evolved into an argument. I tried getting into my car to leave, but he grabbed the car keys from my hands. He held them over his head. I jumped to get them back but missed. He took off running down the street. I chased after him for my keys. I almost caught up to him when he suddenly stopped, turned and started running toward me. Terrified, I ran in the other direction, but he quickly caught up to me and kicked me from behind, knocking me forward onto the ground. I got to my feet and began running. Again, he caught up, kicked me and knocked me down to the road’s surface. I got up. I couldn’t outrun him. I tried. Repeatedly, he chased, kicked and knocked me to the ground for what seemed like hours. I begged and pleaded with him to stop. But he wouldn’t. I screamed, “Please! Just kill me! You’re killing me! Just kill me already!” The porch light of a nearby house switched on. This must have scared him. He hurled the keys at me and ran off in the direction of his parent’s home. After many minutes of searching and digging in the darkness amongst the twigs, leaves and garbage, I finally found my keys. I walked back to my car in a daze of shock, not knowing if, at any moment, he would jump out and beat me one last time.

Once safely inside the car, I locked the doors and briefly pondered my options. Telling my parents was out of the question. I feared what they would do to him in retaliation. I also feared what my boyfriend would do in retaliation to their retaliation. So I drove straight to the police station.

I walked into the reception confused and frightened. Although at 18 I considered myself smart and confident, I didn’t feel the least bit confident at the police station. I had never been to a police station. I had never spoken to a police officer in my life. As I approached the reception window, the officer behind the glass looked up from his paperwork and asked, “What do you want?” His words echoed a few times in my head. What do I want? What do I want? I guess I want help! I said, “I want help. I want you to arrest my boyfriend.” The officer chuckled and laughed at me. I instantly became confused. Why is he laughing at me? This is serious. Doesn’t he believe me? So, I repeated, “Will you please arrest my boyfriend? He tried to kill me!” From behind the glass, the officer asked in a patronizing way, “How did he try to kill you?”

I remember opening my mouth, but the words were hard to find. I started crying hysterically. I couldn’t form a complete sentence to save my life. I vaguely remember mumbling and wiping the tears and snot from my melting face. The officer interrupted me and said, “If you can’t control yourself, I can’t help you. How old are you?” I screamed, “I’m 18, and my boyfriend just tried to kill me!” Condescendingly, the police officer said, “If you expect me to help you, you need to be more respectful, young lady.”

I was so confused. Can’t he see that I have been running in the dark along the streets for hours trying to get away from my boyfriend? Can’t he see that I have dirt and mud all over my knees and the palms of my hands from repeatedly falling after being kicked from behind? Respect? I respect him. What is he talking about? What’s happening? I started crying more. The fluorescent lighting beat down on me. I sat in one of the plastic chairs along the wall putting my hands over my face. From behind the glass, the officer repeated, “If you can’t control yourself, I can’t help you.” Control myself!? What the hell is he talking about? My tears turned to anger and frustration. I dropped my hands from my face and spoke sternly, “I need you to take down my name and the name of my boyfriend.” The officer retorted, “I don’t need to do anything.” In that instant, I knew I was defeated.


 Preorder your copy today!

Cosby is a Psychopath and so is that person you think is ‘just’ a Narcissist

I was duped. I took this picture last February.

I was duped. I took this picture last February.

A person who must lie about who he is, what he believes in, and about his feelings to get you to love him and then manipulate you into thinking your love is only genuine if you see him as superior and that you must never question his superiority is a narcissist and a sociopath and a psychopath.*

We want to make a distinction among these terms: narcissist, sociopath and psychopath. I no longer believe these terms are mutually exclusive; and if given enough time and observation, we will see that those we once thought were “just” narcissists, will prove they were psychopaths all along who simply wore their masks of sanity incredibly well.

I think psychiatry, neuroscience, and other behavioral sciences will one day realize this too and conclude that these terms (which are man-made terms based on limited human observations) all refer to the same type of person: [insert new term to encompass all three].

Today, we determine which label to apply based on the intensity or level of evil one of these types presents to us. What is becoming more and more clear to me is that the behavior of the pathological is purely situational and dependent on how much resistance they face from their chosen victim(s) and what resources they have available to them.

A person we once referred to as “just” a narcissist, does something that convinces us he is a sociopath, and then it’s revealed that he has done something even more diabolical which elevates him to the ultimate status of psychopath.

Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths…they are all the same. It’s just that it takes time and a change in their status, resource level, and support level for their behavior to become evident and measurable through observation thus proving that they crossed the imaginary boundaries distinguishing the terms a long, long time ago.

Look at Cosby. If all psychopaths were lucky enough to have his money and connections to create the persona and mask he hid behind for decades, I don’t think we would ever fully understand or comprehend how easy it is for psychopaths to hide in our midst. Or how easy it is for psychopaths to instill fear in their victims forcing victims to remain silent, thus perpetuating the psychopath’s mask and outward persona of goodness and righteousness.

All psychopaths want to have the power Cosby had. The money, the honorary degrees, the celebrity.

In their delusions, like Cosby, they create micro universes where they ARE King. Some even name their cars or their wi-fi networks after themselves. The wealthier ones name yachts and airplanes after themselves. Same disease; different level of resources.

And these people are not geniuses or brilliant. They manipulate the most primitive part of us: our desire and need to be loved by another human being.

And in order to manipulate our primitive brain, all they have to do is tap into their primitive brain filled with trickery, manipulations and emotional blackmail.

Anyone who has to lie, cheat and steal to win people, jobs and status and then bash those same people to con others to gain a fresh supply of people, jobs and status is dangerous.

Period.

The cycle of abuse they follow in romantic relationships is the same cycle they use in all relationships, in organizations and in communities: assess, groom, idolize, devalue and discard.

Their evil behavior curls around and tarnishes and attempts to destroy everything and everyone in its path.

With Cosby, the American public was groomed and charmed into submission thanks to the creation of a character named Dr. Huxtable. Dr. Huxtable was Cosby’s “sheep’s clothing” and protected Cosby from being exposed for decades.

The man who raped those ladies is not a good person. He exemplifies a psychopath.The man who raped you, abused you, tormented your children and then cried to everyone in earshot that you’re a liar and insane is not a good person.

You can call him a sociopath, a narcissist or a psychopath. It doesn’t matter, because those of us who have met the devil know there isn’t a label or term available to use that can encompass the ugliness and insidiousness of what we lived.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
yogi. author. advocate.

* Note: This also applies to females who are psychopaths.

Sociopaths, Approval and Victim Perfectionism

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Sociopaths openly debase others in order to brainwash their new/current target into absolute and complete compliance.

The new/current target serves as the sociopath’s attentive audience. The new/current target listens with deep interest and awe as the sociopath talks about his disapproval and disgust of those from the sociopath’s past.

“She was so lazy.”

“She never cooked for me.”

“When she did cook, it was terrible.”

“He was so fat.”

“She pretended to work hard.”

“She was so fake. Her friends were fake too.”

“She only had that job because they didn’t know where else to put her in the company.”

“He was so arrogant and really thought he was something special.”

“She was so spoiled. Daddy was always bailing her out.”

“He just used me for my connections.”

“She gained so much weight and left the laundry unfolded for days in the basket.”

“She dressed like a slob.”

“She was so depressed and took pills and drank on top of that!”

“He was so worried about what others thought of him.”

“She stalked me! She’s crazy. She even wrote a book about a sociopath who seems to resemble me.”

“She was a horrible mother. Her family was a bunch of enablers.”

“If I had married her, I would have been miserable. She was just going to get fat and age like her mother.”

The new/current target takes detailed notes and vows never to allow herself to do or be those things for fear of losing the approval of the sociopath.

Being perfect. That’s what the victim makes her goal and purpose in life. To remain the “chosen” one who will never let the sociopath down and who will never be the subject of the sociopath’s diatribes against those who have disappointed him in his past.

Unbeknownst to the victim, all this complaining and criticism of others is part of her grooming and has nothing to do with who those people the sociopath is talking about really are and everything to do with elevating the new/current victim into a higher degree of compliance.

The harder and more vigilant the new/current victim works to maintain that unattainable and false sense of perfection, the weaker and more susceptible to emotional, mental, physical and spiritual injury she will become.

It’s sad and ironic how each victim/survivor is guilty of desperately trying to be perfect for the sociopath, only to lose themselves and became the polar opposite of perfection.

We broke down like an over-used washing machine and found ourselves empty and powerless. That’s what happens when we chase after perfectionism just to hold onto the approval of someone who isn’t worthy of our approval in the first place.

Release the emotional leverage the sociopath has over you. Let go of needing or wanting the sociopath’s approval or friendship or hoping the sociopath will one day appreciate you as a human being. It will never happen.

You’re dead to the sociopath, so why not make the sociopath “dead” to you?

~Paula Carrasquillo

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