Spotting a Sociopath’s False Mask of Victimhood

Outside of the obvious (lack of conscience, remorse and the ability to experience affective empathy), the biggest difference between sociopaths and the rest of us is their immediate need for pity and sympathy in the aftermath of their abuse against others.

Sociopaths jump on the “victim bandwagon” long before their victims figure out they are victims.

While the real victims spend months and years ashamed and in the fog of victim denial, sociopaths immediately start looking for sympathy, validation and support by declaring themselves VICTIMS!

Sociopaths quickly find a willing audience (generally a new victim or existing minions and family members) and repeatedly say things like, “Can you believe she made me do that? He deserves what he’s experiencing. It wouldn’t have happened if she had just listened to me in the first place. What a cruel and mean thing he did. She is so sick. He has no idea what a great friend in me he lost. She’ll never find anyone who is willing to help her the way I tried to help her. I doubt he will ever learn. She’s so pathetic.”

Those listening to the crying and distraught sociopath intensely spewing his/her unbelievable story of abuse with the air of saintly tolerance and feigned concern through a flood of crocodile tears, imagine that the sociopath must have been attacked by some type of human monster. The sociopath’s audience quickly and instantly judge the source of the sociopath’s “pain” as a person who is cruel and hateful.

Unfortunately, these people, the sociopath’s source of supply and validation for his/her shitty behavior, have no idea that it’s the sociopath before them seeking their pity who is the monster.

Sociopaths have a knack for playing the victim expertly and feel deeply that the only reason they “had to do what they did” to their victim is because their victim somehow abused the sociopath first.

To the sociopath, abuse is perceived very differently than how the rest of us perceive abuse.

An abuse against the sociopath means someone in their sphere of influence–their current intimate partner, business partner, best friend or family member–directly assaulted the sociopath’s existence through that person’s indirect actions and/or words.

Actions sociopaths associate as direct abuse against them include:

When someone questions, opposes, or debates the sociopath; exerts their free will and free thinking in any given situation; seeks assistance from anyone other than the sociopath; makes decisions without first consulting the sociopath; succeeds in efforts not first approved by the sociopath; receives more attention or recognition from mutual acquaintances than the sociopath; and/or looks or feels happier than the sociopath.

To the sociopath, these are direct affronts to the sociopath’s sense of security and identity. These “abuses” put the sociopath on the peripheral of a person’s life and not at the center of it, and sociopaths just HATE feeling like they are not the absolute center of their victim’s world.

When the sociopath feels this way, the sociopath is convinced he/she has been victimized by an uncaring and heartless monster. And there is always a willing audience to listen to and support the sociopath cry about injustices against him/her.

Is it because people like drama? Or does it have something to do with the sociopath testing his audience’s moral code and human decency in the moment?

I think it’s the later.

While the sociopath spews about the cruel and hateful assaults against him/her, it would be cruel and hateful for the sociopath’s audience of supporters to look upon the sociopath as a liar, don’t you think?

And that is exactly what the sociopath counts on and uses to his/her advantage in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the toxic relationship.

“It’s all her fault! All I did was love her and she left me! She is so cruel and sick and doesn’t appreciate a good man when he’s standing before her.”

Blah, blah, boo, hoo. It’s amazing how shameless they are in their quest for pity.

Sociopaths sound more like insecure and self-loathing toddlers frustrated because their mother turned her back to tend to a sibling or to dinner or to someone, anyone, who is not the out-of-control and selfish sociopath.

But the sociopath’s audience somehow fails to see the monster behind the mask and instead believes it’s looking at a person, the sociopath, who tried so hard to be loved and was rejected and abandoned by a hateful and mentally ill abuser not worthy of the sociopath’s gift of enlightenment and righteousness.

(Note to any sociopath reading this: The above sentence was written using the literary devices called sarcasm and irony. I know neither are easy for you to recognize and wanted to make it clear in case you take the message literally and as a compliment. Sorry. That’s not what it is at all.)

So by the time the REAL victim comes forward months and/or years later to dispute the sociopath’s claims and/or detail what REALLY happened, everyone who supports the sociopath and who heard the sociopath’s early claims of abuse look upon the REAL victim as the abusive liar the sociopath successfully triangulated and manipulated them into believing she was. Sociopath supporters are blindly unwavering in support of the sociopath.

“I can’t believe anyone would accuse [insert name of sociopath] of such actions. He’s such a good and decent person. He’s done so much for [insert name of community]’s cause. I can’t believe anyone could accuse a person who has been through so much of such a horrendous act. Only someone mentally ill could accuse such a good person of THAT!”

We see this injustice repeat across all crimes of abuse, rape and fraud. We watch victim after victim on the news who come forward years after they were molested or raped being denied credibility. They are denied credibility because people who haven’t been abused assume REAL victims wouldn’t wait so long to report such offenses, which speaks to the collective cluelessness of society when it comes to identifying REAL victims. Tragically, even law enforcement, attorneys, social workers, psychiatrists, judges and juries are included in this collective ignorance.

The first thing that should be clear to those who are clueless is that REAL victims don’t even identify with victimhood until physical and emotional symptoms begin manifesting in their lives. Even then, many victims refuse to believe that their anxiety, addiction, depression, loss of hope, or physical handicap is a result of being a victim of abuse, a result of post-traumatic stress.

Victims/survivors of sociopath abuse struggle with accepting we were/are victims in the first place, and question whether or not we asked for our suffering, because victims of abuse believe it IS their fault and don’t seek to blame and/or point fingers at others, alone and definitely not in front of an audience.

But sociopaths, on the other hand, are thrilled to gain the pity from others and immediately declare themselves victims. With full and unwavering support from their unsuspecting new group of patsies, sociopaths are able to nurture a dangerous sense of self-empowerment, delusions and entitlement.

Suddenly, as if by magic, the poor abused sociopath is “over” the “suffering” he/she unfairly endured. Until, of course, his/her current group of so-called friends starts questioning, calling out, or ignoring the sociopath’s righteous and “expert” advice, and the pity party and crazy-making cycle grows and festers with new victims and new accusations.

So we must question those who attempt to infiltrate themselves into our world who seem so “unlucky” in life and have a history of jumping or being “pushed” from group to group, relationship to relationship, cause to cause.

Instead of blindly inviting these “strays” into our communities, we need to protect ourselves and our friends and ask these people directly: “Why do you think you keep losing people in your life?”

What’s the “right” or “wrong” answer to this question? I think everyone finally knows how to sense and discern between a sociopath’s disingenuous answer and a non-sociopath’s genuine response to the question. Besides, I don’t want to detail a correct or a wrong answer just so sociopaths can steal our knowledge and put it in their “mask of sanity” toolkit.

It’s fair to say that we know how to look into a person’s eyes, feel their energy (good and bad) and know if the fool is a fool. After all, we were fooled before, right? So now that we’re experienced with being duped once, we know immediately when it’s standing before attempting to dupe us again. The only thing that might be different is the costume. We won’t fall for it’s bait. We are confident and trust ourselves now, right? 🙂

Namaste!
~Paula

Everything feeds our healing journey #sociopathabuse #recovery

Outside of educating ourselves about sociopath abuse and finding the proper support to guide us along our journey, another key ingredient to healing and recovery is nutrition.

When I use the word nutrition, I don’t just mean the food we eat. I’m referring to everything we subject our bodies and minds to from a holistic approach:

1. Food – Is it balancing me or causing me heartburn or indigestion?
2. Air – Am I actively breathing in fresh oxygen?
3. Water – Am I keeping my organs hydrated?
4. Sunshine – Am I remembering to get outside at least once each day?
5. Exercise/moving our bodies – Am I getting out of bed/off the couch like I should?
5. Friendships – Are they really my friends?
6. Co-worker relationships – Are they harming my job performance?
7. Career/job decisions – Is this the right job for me?
8. School/academics – Am I focused?
9. Books/Films – Are they depressing me or inspiring me?
10. News – Is it triggering me or motivating me?

Examining all of these areas in the aftermath of sociopath abuse is vital, because all of these things can affect how we feel about ourselves in any given moment.

As you embark on your weekend, consider these key ingredients and determine your areas of strength and those of weakness and see how they can complement each other.

For example, if you have a really great friend or group of friends, but your diet is dragging you down, consider organizing a healthy cooking demo with your friends or ask one of your friends who has a healthy diet if she/he will help you to improve your diet.

I learn so much everyday from the amazing and intelligent people I have met and welcomed into my life. If you would like to share a “recipe” that has helped you get healthy, please share!!

Namaste!
~Paula

Your Addiction to the Sociopath – Thank the Abuse Cycle

Toxic Sociopath Abuse Cycle

In addition to the normal addiction properties associated with falling in love with anyone or anything, when we align with a sociopath, the addictive properties of love are exaggerated and one-side and become the driving force behind our desperate behavior, from the relationship’s inception to its disintegration.

The sociopath idolizes you and provides you with so much approval in the beginning of the relationship, that you become hypnotized and brainwashed into believing you are only worthy when the sociopath approves of everything you do even after the relationship ends.

Why would we want this person’s approval after compiling the laundry list of abuses that the sociopath inflicted upon us, our children and our beloved friends and family?

Because we are addicts and require time to detox, abstain and rewire our brains back to a healthy state of self-love and acceptance.

Unfortunately, we are all in denial of our addiction in the immediate aftermath of the abuse and refuse, stubbornly refuse, to accept we were addicts. This denial is what leads us all to break no contact and rush back to the sociopath with questions in hopes we’ll receive the sociopath’s acceptance and approval.

When we do this, we are simply perpetuating the behavior that kept up inside the relationship. We keep imbibing in the drug. We aren’t taking the steps necessary to change our habits, and we continue to remain dependent on the sociopath’s approval.

The birth and perpetuation of this addiction is immediate and sustained across all phases of the toxic relationship cycle: idolization, devaluation and discard phases.

All toxic relationships oscillate and cycle through these phases repeatedly from one phase to the next and back to the other phase and then back again. The oscillation is so slow and insidious in the beginning that victims do not notice.

The idolization phase, the most addictive of the phases, is the dominant phase in the early months and years. Although the idolization phase is often front-and-center in the beginning, the devaluation and discard phases are ever present.  In addition, the idolization phase is present even during intense periods of devaluation and discard. Like a dangling carrot of hope that fades and then comes back into focus and fades and then comes back into focus.

The overlapping and intermingling of the three phases results in extremely high levels of dependency for acceptance and approval from the sociopath.


Idolization Phase

What the sociopath does during the idolization phase…

The sociopath idolizes and praises everything about you and compares you to every past love interest, wife, girlfriend, and even his mother. You are the best, the only one who has ever understood him, the one, his soul mate and he can’t imagine life without you by his side.

What you do during the idolization phase…

You eat up the praise and compliments. Who wouldn’t? This is also the time in which you make excuses for those red flags you see. Instead of seeing him as a loser who can’t keep a girlfriend or fiancee or wife, you see the sociopath as a sympathetic character, a lost and stray dog in need of your TLC. He told you how much he admires your strength, courage and ability to nurture. So your desire to further demonstrate your strength, courage and ability to nurture kicks in, and you are immediately entranced into giving him all of your love and attention. Soon, the sociopath’s needs and desires overshadow your own.

Devalue Phase

What the sociopath does during this devaluation phase…

The sociopath insidiously chips away at all those things for which he originally praised and complimented you.

>>Your cooking was superb; now it needs a little something. (But he hasn’t a clue what it is and instead says something like, “Oh, you’re so smart. You can figure it out.”)

>>Your hair is now suddenly too long or too short or not the best color for you. (He’s only looking out for his amazing GF and wants her to look and feel great about herself, right?)

>> Your clothes, your shampoo, the car you drive, the way you care for your dog, the way you run your business…it could all be improved. (After all, says the sociopath, you are so good at finding solutions and fixing them immediately, right?)

What you do during the devalue phase…

You never question the criticisms. You love the sociopath and will hyper vigilantly stay on task and slave away at improving your skills and abilities, never realizing the sociopath wants you to do this just to make the sociopath look good for being associated with you. The sociopath will take all the credit when you are complimented by others. Behind your back he will make remarks like, “She finally listened to me. I can’t believe she was doing it that way, can you? She’s so smart, isn’t she? Just amazing.”

And those people will only hear the last part of his back-handed compliment and come to you and say, “Wow. You guys make a great team. He loves you so much.” And all the sociopath is doing is barking orders at you, but you’re too distracted by the need for acceptance that you miss the irony in everything the sociopath projects in your direction.

Remarkably, you feel even more idolized and loved while simultaneously being devalued, not realizing you are being drained of your self-will, vitality and naturally zest for life. Every decision you make is unknowingly guided by the sociopath’s subtle devaluation of you, because you desperately NEED the sociopath’s approval.

Discard phase

What the sociopath does during the discard phase…

The sociopath is no longer subtle about his devaluation. The sociopath either stonewalls you, ignores you and/or dismisses everything about you in hopes you’ll get the message and just leave the relationship (he’s got someone else waiting in the wings, you know?) or the sociopath is direct and down-right nasty and tells you how much you suck. He attacks all the things he once praised about you and even goes as far as telling you that you never would have reached the success you reached if not for the sociopath’s influence and encouragement. You’re so ungrateful and hateful. The sociopath can’t believe how much time he wasted trying to make the relationship work.

What you do during the discard phase…

If the sociopath is subtle/passive-aggressive with his “punishment” of you, you will probably approach the sociopath with concern. You might start up a conversation like this:

“I love you, but I’ve noticed you haven’t been happy. I want you to be happy. Is it me? Did I do something wrong? If it’s me, please tell me what it was and I will fix it.”

If the sociopath is overt and direct with his discard tactics, you will try to fight the sociopath verbally and perhaps physically. You will beg and plead with the sociopath to stop hurting you. You will do anything…change everything. You love him so much. You just want the sociopath to be happy with you again. To love you and idolize you again.


And the cycle begins again. You gave the sociopath the supply and green light he needed to stay in the relationship and suck more from you. (You’re such a great lap dog.)

But once the sociopath has a new supply, the last discard WILL come, and you WILL be left desperate for answers:

“You love me, right? You can’t just stop caring about someone even if you have found another love interest, right? You can still value me as a person? You can still see my value right? Please, please, please see my value. Please!! PLEASE!!”

Unfortunately, you’re wasting your breath. The sociopath saw you as a means to an end. You were fun for a while and gave him the ego boost and recognition he desperately needed to feel good about himself. He may have gotten away with your child, your home, your business, your car, or even something as simple as your dignity. Whatever it was he took and now you find yourself crying about, the sociopath doesn’t care. The sociopath now has someone new to manipulate and control and walk through the same phases of toxicity with fresh vigor and vitality, thanks to you. You’re just a bother, and you keep proving how crazy you are with your threats and stalking and desperate attempts to get him to return your emails, texts and calls. (Your actions are incredibly distasteful, you poor, poor thing. You need help. You must be bipolar or something.)

The only help you need is help learning to detach in order to detox and stop relying on that ridiculous approval high that was never fulfilling nor was it worthy of your time and energy pursuing. You were/are addicted. The more you refuse to accept this, the longer it will take before you realize you will never get answers from the sociopath who truly sees his actions as just and good. You were simply too weak to walk by his side, so he had to wipe you off the bottom of his shoe; you were holding him back.

Namaste!
~Paula

 

Stick it out; don’t give up #healing #recovery #patience #sociopathabuse

The day I stepped onto a yoga mat for the first time I was a few months shy of my 40th birthday, suffering from depression, a lot of knee and joint pain, unknown post traumatic stress, and alcohol dependency.

Was I scared? Yes. I was scared shitless!

I didn’t know if I was going to hurt myself or help myself. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry. I didn’t know if others were going to laugh at me or cry for me.

Nearly three years later, I am no longer depressed, I’ve been sober for 2 years, I laugh WITH myself, and I cry because sometimes it’s what I need. I’m no longer ashamed of my past mistakes or the abuse inflicted upon me. I’m no longer afraid to fail OR to succeed. The nightmares have stopped, and room was made to start my life over again from scratch–for me and for my family who never doubted me.

I realize now that the first step toward my current freedom was completely in my hands. The power to transform, grow, and heal was within me. Stepping onto that yoga mat back in October 2011 began my awakening.

But my awakening wasn’t instant. Nothing transformational is ever instant. We must work hard for it. With each practice, I learned to be more patient and more gentle with myself and to remain hopeful.

Despite occasional set backs and struggles, I stuck it out. I kept going back to the mat. I kept learning something new about myself and my abilities, both mental and physical.

I’m glad I stuck it out. I surely wouldn’t be in a place to write today if I had given up many yesterday’s ago.

If you’ve started on your transformational journey through yoga or some other practice that fits your needs, I want you to stick it out, too. Even when you don’t think there are changes happening, stick it out!! You rarely have the capacity to realize or appreciate the changes and transformations in the exact moments they occur. Life informs you days, weeks, or months later. So be patient. Stick it out.

And if you haven’t started, start today by telling yourself that you’re worth it and you deserve joy, peace, and a chance at an awakening and new beginning.

Namaste!
~Paula

Integrative Health Tip #1: Healing from Pathological Abuse with Guided Metta Meditation

When we are struck by a sociopath, we are presented with the gift of knowing and experiencing the true dualities of life.

We appreciate love more, because we felt true hate. We appreciate beauty more, because we have experienced true ugliness.

We saw these things not only manifest in our abuser, but within ourselves as a result of being impacted by the sociopath. Once we are outside of the sociopath’s sphere of influence, we are empowered to focus on the good…the love and the light and the peace.

Have you ever tried guided metta meditation? As supplemental therapy for traditional counseling, medication, and mental health recovery services, many healthcare professionals are asking their patients to consider integrative healthcare options like nutrition coaching, acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. I have a playlist on Youtube. Consider video number 4 (above) on the list.

Peace is within us, and once we realize how to access it, our life becomes enveloped in it, protecting us from future sociopath/pathological influence.

Namaste!
~Paula XOXO

What to look forward to if you decide to break “No Contact” with the sociopath

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No Contact isn’t easy to maintain.

In the early months of recovery, not only are you detoxing from the addiction of being totally dependent upon the sociopath for emotional validation and support, you are also going through the natural rumination and bargaining phase of grief.

And the grief is multi-layered! You are not only grieving the loss of a relationship, but you’re also grieving the loss of a fantasy you thought was real.

You want answers. You demand answers, dammit! So you erroneously think the sociopath will give them to you. You contemplate breaking No Contact.

Reaching out to the sociopath will inevitably harm you. The sociopath will do 1 of 4 things:

1. Ignore you, causing you to question yourself more. (Stonewaller)

2. Respond to you with hate and vile, causing you to question yourself more. (Persecutor)

3. Respond to you with feigned concern, telling you that you’re sick and need professional help, causing you to question yourself even more. (Savior Complex)

4. Respond to you with a weak apology and love bombing to suck you back in, causing you to question yourself more. (Pity Ploy)

All of these responses give the sociopath power and control over you. The sociopath feeds off of your desperation.

Do you want to continue this merry-go-round? Or do you finally want to break free from the craziness?

You know what you need to do…

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/545428204843094244/)

“…in like a lion and out like a lamb.”

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I always loved this metaphor, and it’s proving true this March with snow, sleet, angry winds and freezing temperatures sweeping across most of the United States.

The metaphor also fits our transformation in the recovery process, specifically as it applies to rediscovering our identities.

We begin our journey as stubborn, prideful and roaring lions. We’re angry and frustrated and determined to get back to who we were before the sociopath entered our lives.

We miss that person we were before. We want that person back. We’re pissed. We repeatedly scratch and claw to find that person.

In our angry and prideful lion state, we fail to see that the person we were before…that person is gone.

Because we are the stream and the stream is forever flowing. With or without the sociopath, we would have continued to change.

But the sociopath was an uncontrollable storm and our banks washed away in the flood.

To rebuild after the flood, the lion is of little use. Roaring isn’t action, and we recognize the need to take action.

Enter the gentle lamb that tenderly and compassionately envelopes us in its warm and cozy coat.

It’s in the safety and protection of this coat that we begin assessing the damage to our banks.

At first, we think, “Oh, shit. There is no way I will ever be able to repair this damage.”

This self-defeating thinking stalls our progress. We aren’t interested in finding any sandbags and rebuilding our foundation. We’d rather wallow in self-pity and weakness.

So we do. And we continue wallowing. We continue getting weaker, despite that warm coat that blankets us.

Soon, the continual self-pity tarnishes our coat, and we become disgusted with ourselves, and we say to ourselves, “This is NOT where I want to be. I do not want to be this pathetic.”

But then we find we’re stuck again!! We have no idea where to begin; on which bank should we start?

After stalling a bit longer, we finally just pick a bank and begin the repeated and arduous chore of carrying and dropping sandbags, carrying and dropping sandbags, carrying and dropping sandbags.

It seems like forever, but we finally begin to see progress. The rain comes on occasion, but it’s more of a drizzle and less of a storm.

Our banks are tested, and our sandbags hold.

We’re overjoyed, and our confidence and determination builds. We pick up another sandbag and drop it and another and another.

Soon, the damage to our banks is much less noticeable to ourselves and others who happen to be walking by.

“Lookin’ good over there! Do you mind if I have a closer look?”

And we begin to welcome people to our banks again. We trust the work we’ve done will hold up…and it does!… and our confidence slowly returns.

We start catching glimpses of ourself. We barely recognize what we’re seeing. But surprisingly, we’re not repulsed. We’re relieved. It’s like our best bits have been enhanced and our worst bits are barely visible.

Our confidence, love and compassion continue to grow, and we lap up the clear waters of our stream like thirsty and growing lambs should.

We’ve been reborn. The universe awaits!

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/297308012871018357/)

Are you ready to be transformed? What to expect of yourself as you heal from sociopathic abuse

changeQuestion left on my blog by a reader:

“I have a question for this community. So now that I’ve identified the narcissistic sociopath in my life (husband) and have even identified the relationship in my life that started this cycle of my choosing (mother), how do I identify myself in this scenario? What kind of person am I that has “lived” in this relationship for so long (30), what is my behaviors and how do I change them and discontinue making the same selection? How do I change this dependency to this kind of behavior that I have allowed to develop? I am taking full responsibility for the rest of my life.”

My response follows, but I would really like anyone out there who has some approaches to healing and words of wisdom to please share. Namaste!


Paula’s response:

You’re three steps ahead of most: 1) you’ve identified that you were in an abusive relationship; 2) you identified the perpetrator for what he is; and 3) you recognize you are accountable and must look within to change and transform your conditioned/habitual dependent thinking.

If you haven’t already done so, find a trusted counselor to help guide you through your self-discovery journey. This person, ideally, understands trauma as it relates to symptoms of women coming from domestic violence situations and who understands that “violence” means any type of control wielded over another in the form of physical, financial, emotional and/or spiritual abuse. You don’t want a counselor who will minimize your emotions because that will make your inner journey a journey of self-blame rather than self-discovery and acceptance. You blame yourself enough already, I suspect.

While in counseling, start doing something, anything, you have always been interested in doing. Learn to cook, bake, sew or kayak. Learning a new skill ignites our cognitive thinking side of our brain and allows us to get out of the emotional side long enough to start appreciating ourselves again. Set mini goals for yourself. Understand your triggers and ask your counselor how you can work through them to minimize the negative effects of those triggers. Some may be harder to work through than others but understanding the source empowers us to control them rather than having them control us.

Join a gym or dust off those workout DVDs you collected over the years. Or simply start walking. Anything to activate your endorphins, which will naturally make you feel good about yourself. Feeling your heart beating and reminding you that you are alive and that you matter. Physical activity isn’t just for losing weight and looking good on the outside. It provides invigorating benefits to our internal systems as well.

Think about stuff you consume that makes you feel miserable about yourself. Salty foods, too much caffeine, alcohol, sodas…you get the idea. Pay attention to the things you put inside your body and how they make you feel. Try eliminating those things that make you feel crappy and increase the consumption of those things that make you feel good. Keep a food journal.

Surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you and who won’t coddle you but who will call you out (in a gentle, caring and non-shaming way) and help you when you need help. You don’t want anyone’s pity but you deserve to be understood and for your feelings to be shared without judgment.

Most of all, be patient, hopeful and positive. Allow yourself to have setbacks. They happen. Don’t be rigid in your recovery journey. You may think something will work for you, later to discover it just doesn’t have the same helpful benefits the same activity had for someone else.

You’re not going to recognize yourself. It’s a frightening thing. Other people aren’t going to recognize you either. Some may even ask where the old you went, especially those who have leaned on you for support over the years while you ignored your own needs. Don’t feel guilty about that. Let them know you still care, empathize and have compassion for them but you are your first priority and your happiness is most important, because if you’re happy and satisfied with yourself and love yourself, there’s more love to share with others…real love, not the co-dependent care you felt obligated to give to everyone who reached out to you and left you drained and wondering when someone was going to help you.

Well, the time has come for you to help yourself. After all, you were always so good at helping others, right? You’re going to be a great personal coach for yourself.

I hope some of this was helpful.

~Paula

(image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/305118943475896739/)

How many licks?

Hard Work Ahead in the Aftermath of the Sociopath

How many licks?Sociopaths see all people, especially intimate partners, as possessions and acquisitions.

Remember that Tootsie Roll Pop commercial from decades ago? Well, I can’t help but think about it when I think about the sociopath, the boy in my story. He behaved like a big, fat toddler holding a lollipop, slowly licking away at me and my identity.

And I allowed the sociopath to consume me, penetrate and control my emotions. He judged my emotions daily by shaming, blaming and praising me. And I cared what he thought. Why? Because I thought he really loved me, and don’t we all care what our loved ones think of us?

But now I know nothing the sociopath did or said came from a place of love. His actions came from a place of fear, and his fears were inflicted upon me. I absorbed those fears and took them on. Doing this thrust me into a very dark place. A dark place that slowly and insidiously destroyed my sense of self.

After escaping the sociopath, I was hit hard by a need to go inward and explore what it was inside of me that allowed such evil to penetrate me and use me as its host.

I discovered I wasn’t as confident and as strong as I thought I was. I didn’t have the necessary self-love and self-respect I needed to fight off and deflect sociopaths and sociopathic behavior by others.

So I set out to change that.

I wrote on my blog. I met others with similar experiences. I didn’t feel alone.

I talked to friends and family about how I was feeling. Not everyone understood but enough “got it” and encouraged me to keep talking.

I read books and blogs. Some didn’t fit with how I was feeling. Others did. I took what was valuable and relevant to my situation and left the rest behind.

I continued meeting with my counselor even when I felt like I didn’t need to talk to him anymore. He kept encouraging me while asking the hard questions.

I practiced yoga as often as I could. If I couldn’t find the time to get on the mat, I thought about what I learned on the mat and how I could bring that patience, determination and non-judgment into my daily life, work and play.

I faced my deepest and darkest sides. I turned my entire identity upside down and inside out.

And the work remains; it’s never-ending. But that’s just because life is never-ending (until, of course, it ends). I’m comfortable being an idealist who is forced to push the reality button on occasion.

Thankfully, I now have a solid foundation of self-love and self-worth. I no longer define myself by what I’ve done or what I have left undone. I am always changing and growing, the way we’re supposed to do in life. I’m in an environment and surrounded by friends and loved ones who give me that freedom to grow and reach my potential.

Today, I remain committed to starting, completing and maintaining the hard work I’ve done and continue to do deconstructing and rebuilding what nearly destroyed me due to all of my past toxic relationships and their effects.

I may not be 100% impenetrable. I have no doubt I will be faced with many shitty people in my future. Fortunately, I have more faith and trust in my gut, and I am pretty confident that it would take an infinite number of licks to get to the center of this tootsie roll pop again! 

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

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