What I Learned from Living Through Hell – The Narcissist Slayer Award and Nominees

Narcissist Slayer Award - Paula's PontificationsI’m a Narcissist Slayer. Narc Slayer for short. I know several other Narc Slayers. I bet you do, too.

Roughly two (2) years ago when I started actively writing on this blog about my experience with the boy in my story, I never imagined that one day I would be awarded with a Narc Slayer Award. But that day has arrived, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Kim, the very talented and insightful blogger over at Let me Reach with Kim Saeed, presented me (along with ten (10) other bloggers/Narc Slayers) with this honor on December 13. Thank you, Kim!

Check out her full post and the others she awarded.

Like all blog awards, I have a responsibility as a recipient. I must:

1. Thank the person who nominated me and link back to them. CHECK!

2. Place the award logo on my blog. CHECK!

3. Write a blog post and nominate other blogs for the award – there is no minimum or maximum number of blogs required to nominate. CHECK!

>> Deliberate Donkey

>> My Abandoned Self ©

>> Madeline Scribes

4. Inform my nominees on their site that I have chosen them for the honor. CHECK!

5. Share one positive thing I took away from my relationship with the Narcissist.

Well, crap! I can do 1 – 4 with relative ease. But #5 stings my eyes just reading the words. Something positive? Other than the fact that going through hell has given me a greater appreciation for all of the beautiful people and encounters I experience on a daily basis, the positives are best described as things I have learned as a result of the toxic relationship:

I learned how NOT to live and navigate this world.

I learned that I may make mistakes, but those mistakes do not have to define who I am forever and eternity. I’m allowed to change and be better without constant and repeated shaming.

I learned that love has always been abundantly present in my life. I was just too stupid and blind to recognize and appreciate it. (I love you, George!)

I learned that loving with my whole heart is possible and even more fullfilling when I am with those who also love with their whole hearts.

I learned that change is possible, real change, as long as I remember that falling down doesn’t mean something’s over; it means I get a chance to try again with greater insight and understanding.

I learned that love truly is patient and kind; but in order to receive it, I must really love and value myself first.

I learned that regardless of how alone and powerless I feel when it comes to any and all challenges life throws my way, there is someone, many someones, out here who feel as I feel and desperately do not want to feel alone either.

I learned that there is strength in numbers and anything is possible if I simply have faith…faith in myself…faith in my family…faith in my friends…faith in God.

I learned that I do believe in something greater than myself and that something is with me every day as long as I never stop believing.

I learned that judgment truly is the root of evil, and that judgment of others begins when we judge ourselves. I’m finding peace in just being and not judging.

I learned that stating facts and responses to how I was treated are not judgments and that silence only encourages evil and abuse to perpetuate, grow and fester.

I learned that injustices eventually “get served” and that good truly does triumph over evil. However, unlike the drama-fueled victories depicted in movies, real-world victories are far more subtle and happen unexpectedly. There’s no applause or obnoxious cheering, but there are many silent smiles and feelings of validation and accomplishment.

Above all, I learned that patience is my best friend. (I wish I had met her sooner!)

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2014 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications

The Role of Your Conscience when Dealing with the Aftermath of a Sociopath

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When trying to understand a sociopath and how a sociopath will react to you and any attempts you make to seek justice or revenge, you MUST remember two very important facts:

1. Sociopaths are not connected intimately to a spiritual core.

2. Sociopath’s are unable to empathize or be guided by a conscience.

Why are these facts important to remember?

As empathic and spiritual people, we react to life and loss with feelings and deep emotions:

>> We wonder how what we did today will affect us negatively or positively in the future.

>> We consider how our choices will impact others in negative or positive ways.

>> We worry about the possibility of making the wrong choices in life that could potentially cause harm to ourselves and others.

>> More importantly, our conscience reminds us that our existence, choices and actions affect others and that we must be careful and thoughtful in our decision-making processes or else hurt another unintentionally.

The last thing we ever want to be accused of is hurting another person, right? It stings deep through to our core when we discover we’ve been careless with another’s heart and trust.

A Sociopath doesn’t have that conscience, that little voice warning him/her that what s/he is about to do could hurt someone. And the sociopath certainly doesn’t have that little voice that makes him/her feel guilty for hurting you once you express to him/her that s/he hurt you!

So a conscience doesn’t just work in one direction. It’s cyclical and holistic and surrounds our core. It protects us and others from potential harm, because it keeps us ever-mindful of the importance of using care in making decisions involving ourselves and other living creatures.

But sometimes we ignore our conscience. Sometimes, in the case of being spiritually, physically and emotionally abused by another, our conscience malfunctions and we are instead guided by our anger and deep need to seek revenge and justice.

Is it the trauma effects that take over, clouding our judgement, our conscience and our ability to rationalize? More than likely, yes.

So the moment you feel the need to see the sociopath suffer in ways you have never wished another to suffer, that is your cue that you’ve been victimized/traumatized and you need the help of a licensed professional to guide you back to your conscience.

You cannot and should not act without your conscience being fully active, responsive and healthy.

Otherwise, you react in revenge mode, and you do not want to seek revenge on the sociopath; it will back fire.

The sociopath isn’t afraid of you and your emotions, because the sociopath has no emotional fears or connections, remember? A conscience provides us with those fears, and sociopaths do not have a conscience!

Without a conscience, the sociopath uses your emotions to control you further. (People with a healthy and active conscience just wouldn’t think to do such a thing. Instead, we’d recognize that person’s pain and seek to understand it and help relieve it, not exacerbate it!)

If you start throwing hateful accusations and names at the sociopath (like calling him a “sociopath”), the sociopath recognizes that your conscience is out to lunch, rendering you weak.

When your conscience is out to lunch, you open the door to the sociopath who will effortlessly turn your efforts to destroy him emotionally right back at you!

You bypassed your conscience. When you bypass your conscience, you are an easy target, and you will suffer every single time.

And the sociopath certainly isn’t afraid to hurt you. The sociopath will find joy in watching you collapse. The sociopath feeds off of your emotional weakness.

Therefore, we only end up hurting ourselves when we seek to hurt the sociopath, because the sociopath is spiritually empty. Nothing at the spiritual or emotional level affects or harms the sociopath.

So what should you do? How do you deal with never getting justice for all of the injustices inflicted upon you by the sociopath?

I believe you should always be true to your conscience. Always seek the path of least resistance when dealing with a sociopath in family and divorce court. Always approach negotiations in a reasonable, thoughtful and caring way.

Act as your conscience dictates, not in absence of your conscience.

Otherwise, no judge or mediator will understand or even care about your emotional claims of abuse and turmoil.

Once you enter a court of law, everything becomes black and white. How do you begin to explain the varying shades of abusers you experienced when you can’t measure or prove the abuse took place?

And don’t expect the courts to take you on your word when you make claims of being abused by the sociopath. The courts can only go on what they see and hear before them.

If you’re in the courtroom resisting and crying and spewing hate in the direction of the sociopath while the sociopath just stands there without reacting to you emotionally, that’s what the court will see.

And what is it that the court sees? How does the court interpret this behavior?

The court sees a hateful and verbally abusive person (YOU) who isn’t using care to express his/herself. The court sees a person acting without a conscience and without remorse for the consequences of his/her accusations. In stark contrast, the court see the emotionally empty sociopath as a controlled and reasonable person.

Who do you suspect the court will rule in favor of?

I realize this doesn’t seem fair, and it isn’t fair. Your life was ambushed by a conscienceless piece of trash who tried to strip you of your conscience.

And the sociopath nearly succeeded.

But instead of abandoning your conscience and getting angrier and angrier at the sociopath’s lack of a conscience and an ability to be a decent human being, imagine how unfair it would be not to have the gift of empathy and a conscience.

>> Imagine not caring if you harmed yourself or others.

>> Imagine how empty you would feel if your mind was only capable of understanding the material world before you.

>> Imagine being absolutely unable to see into your soul and into the infinite possibilities of a spiritual life filled with love, peace and joy?

That’s not living. If I recall correctly from my time in hell with the sociopath, that was dying.

(And Sociopaths don’t even know they’re dead. We should keep that our secret, huh?)

Never abandon your conscience and never seek revenge or wish harm to befall the sociopath. (After all, zombies and dead stuff cant feel pain, so why bother.)

Instead, focus on rebuilding your conscience and employing it to find peace and grow love as it was intended.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications

(Image source: http://arkthefury.deviantart.com/art/guilty-conscience-183143181)

More on finding fault with the Sociopath’s Family

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Yesterday’s post about mothers of sociopaths garnered lots of reaction on this blog and on the Facebook page dedicated to my book, Escaping the Boy.

First, I think it’s wonderful that everyone is sharing their specific experiences and reactions. Doing this allows all of us a greater chance of finding a story that relates to our own, which, in turn, will serve to validate us further and aid us in our healing and recovery.

One thing I did not mention about blame and fault: they are built on the same psychological premise as reward and praise.

The same way we as mothers and fathers can’t take the credit for our children when they do well and succeed, we can’t feel emotionally responsible for our children’s failures.

Do you blame your parents for your mistakes? Do you give them all the credit when you have done exceptionally well in the past?

I doubt it.

The first thing we do as healthy people with healthy egos is thank ourselves or punish ourselves when we succeed and fail.

So why would we blame the parents of a sociopath or narcissist for how they treat others?

Certainly, nurture plays a heavy hand in who and what we become. As parents, all we can do is model care, trust and love in hopes our children will become loving and forgiving adults.

However, nurturing, good and bad, only has so much impact on a person. We are each born as individual humans with the potential to mold and create ourselves in any way we choose.

It really comes down to individual choice: we can continue being a jerk or a good person or we can choose to be something else.

Once we mature, we have the ability to step back, reflect and compare our moral code against society’s and against individuals we admire regardless of our upbringing.

Each of us has the power to be better and do better. We can change!

Sociopaths do not have that power. They are not wired with the ability to step back outside of their material selves and reflect on their core.

And even non-sociopaths, people who remain immersed in toxic relationships, do not have that power.

Think back to how you were in the toxic relationship.

>>Were you able to discern between the fake and the real?

>>Were you able to logically and clearly dissect the chaos and mind games playing out in every scenario?

>>Did you have full and complete control over your own thoughts and actions?

>>Did you love and respect yourself and your ability to solve problems and set personal boundaries?

Being free from the influence of a sociopath and other pathological types is essential for healing and recovery.

The only people who are to blame for inflicting pain upon you and your children and other loved ones are those people who directly inflicted that pain.

If it was your ex and his entire family, then it’s fair to blame them individually.

Give them back the burden you’ve been carrying, even if it’s just a mental and emotional burden you are tossing aside.

But we cannot blame the dead parents or care givers who were once a part of a sociopath’s life. We can’t blame the brothers or sisters we never met.

The full accountability lies with those who inflicted the harm directly, not by proxy.

I love my son and give him lots of love and understanding. My wish is that he grows up to be a man HE can be proud of being.

His success or lack of success will soon have no bearing on whether I was or wasn’t a good parent.

The power to be kind, empathetic, loving and forgiving lies 100% within him.

If your ex is a part of a pathological and toxic family unit, he/she had a choice a long time ago to become a positive influence. Not every person within a toxic family is pathological or destined to become pathological.

But the longer and deeper the delusions run, the less likely the cycle will ever end.

I have met many people through this page who were raised by pathological mothers and/fathers and are not sick themselves. They are good, honest and giving people.

So I wholeheartedly believe the fault lies solely on the abusive person’s shoulders. Not the mother’s, the father’s, the foster parents’ or adoptive parents’.

Those people as individuals may be jerks and assholes, too. They may have been shitty parents and care givers.

But it’s the choice of the individual to continue to be hateful and harmful to victims/survivors who modeled love and honor but, in the end, failed to make an impact.

It’s no more the parent’s fault than it was your fault that the sociopath remains diabolical and unable to change.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

The Sociopath’s Mother: Is it all her fault?

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There is much debate surrounding the role a sociopath’s mother has in the sociopath’s life.

1. Did the sociopath become a sociopath because he/she lacked good parenting from his/her mother?

2. Could the sociopath have turned out differently if he/she had a “better” parent and/or role model.

My answers are “No” and “Hell no!”

First, I’d like to clarify my perspective: I think sociopaths are born without empathy or a conscience. If a person is born without a conscience, that person can’t grow one. Plain and simple. Our brains can’t generate something it’s never had.

Therefore, sociopaths don’t simply lose their conscience or ability to empathize due to poor nurturing. Nature didn’t provide the sociopath with that convenient scapegoat.

Let’s take the burden off the mother: It’s not her fault!

(Personally, it took me a while to accept this and see it, but once I did, I wrote an open apology to the boy’s mother for the nasty stuff I wrote about her on my blog.)

I strongly believe that mothers who stand by their sociopathic children throughout their lives are highly empathic and suffer the most of anyone else in the sociopath’s destructive life.

I think an empathic mother is the first “victim” of a sociopath. (Thank you, Kristin, for helping me come to this conclusion in our conversation last week!)

The sociopath’s mother spends the child’s early years desperately trying to fix the sociopath and feeling guilty that her child’s inability to bond is somehow her fault. She seeks advice after advice from experts. But nothing helps or changes her desperation.

Around the time the child turns 5 or 6, the mother accepts the fact her child is an asshole and spends the rest of his school-aged years fine-tuning and experimenting with how to protect “the secret” and also protect others from her child’s potential to cause great harm.

The mothers of sociopaths suffer unrelenting and constant symptoms of PTSD over their lifetime.

>>Imagine being verbally and sometimes physically pushed by your own child.

>>Imagine the burden of always excusing your child’s behavior.

>>Imagine never being able to look one of your child’s victims in the face, because you know what’s waiting for him/her around the corner.

>>Imagine anxiously anticipating the end of your child’s next relationship so you can act clueless when the ex comes to you with concerns.

>>Imagine the jealousy you would feel for those victims who got away knowing you can never be free yourself.

Mothers of sociopaths display bipolar and borderline behaviors. They think doing good deeds will help them appear like good people and maybe good mothers one day.

Unfortunately, their sociopathic offspring disallow these mothers from ever finding peace. The mothers end up losing everyone just like the sociopath…unless she chooses to break free and essentially abort her role as a mother.

But what empath, even one damaged by a lifetime of abuse and trauma, could turn away from her child? I don’t think such a mother exists. Not one.

This is why I see mothers of sociopaths as sympathetic characters and doomed from the moment their child is conceived/born.

Although I sympathize, I would not knowingly welcome a mother of a sociopath into my life if it meant being subjected to her child.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

Becoming Numb to the Sociopath and Opening the Door to Survival

Open door to survival from sociopath abuse

Sociopaths repeatedly and effortlessly find loving and caring people.

Why and how do they do it?

First, Sociopaths need good people to camouflage their shittiness from the world. The more loving, giving, religious, charitable and/or respected their significant other, the more likely the sociopath will succeed in gaining his own reputation for being the same type of good person his significant other spent years establishing.

(Remember, sociopaths are the biggest and most successful cheaters on the planet! They can do it remorselessly and believe they deserve it and earned it honorably.)

Plus, the more people the sociopath’s significant other has surrounding her, the more protected the sociopath feels.

The delusional sociopath automatically considers his significant other’s friends his friends and will use them to cowardly hide behind while getting away with his insidious abuses.

(Think of churches, clubs, community service groups and even yoga studios and gyms where people come together to reach collective goals as a community or team.)

And sociopaths seem to have amazing radar for finding people like this, the absolute opposite of themselves.

Sociopaths hone in on and find the most empathic and forgiving individuals among us. They seek us out, because we serve as safe havens for the sociopath’s diabolical nature.

People who are natural nurturers. People who are good mothers or good fathers. People who take care of the emotional needs of friends and family. People who take on the burdens of the ones they love.

And people like this are not necessarily co-dependent.

Often times, people like this have gone their entire lives without falling prey to sociopaths. We have made friends, loved and lost and experienced the natural highs and lows of love and grief.

Victims of sociopaths aren’t relationship ignorant. We understand what healthy relationships should look like. We know love is about give and take. We also know that relationships take time, effort and work as the relationship grows and evolves.

Knowing this is one of the reasons many of us stuck around longer than we should. We held out hope that the sociopath understood love, too.

We thought the sociopath needed a little nudge and prodding in the right direction. We thought modeling patience and understanding is all the sociopath needed to awaken his sleeping compassion and empathy. So we practiced great patience with the sociopath . After all, we didn’t wish to seem cruel and unreasonable if we walked away abandoning the sociopath after just a few arguments and misunderstandings.

We gave the relationship, not necessarily the sociopath, many chances.

So, no, we were not all co-dependent. Entering the toxic relationship with the sociopath thrust us into behaving in ways characteristic of co-dependency.

We made excuses for the sociopath, and early in the relationship, we agreed with the sociopath when he claimed others didn’t like him because they were jealous of him.

This degree of co-dependency came from being with the sociopath too long. And we stayed too long because our nature dictated us to only look at the good despite the sociopath continuously pushing and destroying our boundaries, while simultaneously giving us empty apologies and false promises that he/she would change.

And because we are highly empathic and understand that love is patient, we gave the sociopath chance after chance to change his/her way of thinking about us. We held out hope that the sociopath’s demands and expectations of how we SHOULD love them would ease and align with reality.

(No one is perfect; we all make mistakes. Shaming and blaming and relentlessly pushing a person to the edge of sanity is not love.)

Unfortunately, the only thing that changed was our faith in ourselves. We interpreted the sociopath’s perpetual lack of understanding as our inability and failure to demonstrate our full capacity to love.

So we kept trying and prooving ourselves worthy. We gave the sociopath more and understanding than we had ever given to another human. Ever. And it still didn’t make a difference. The sociopath remained unchanged.

We exhausted ourselves to the point of losing sight of what real love looked like.

We lost our ability to overcome and mutually work through relationship issues and road blocks. We questioned our ability to love, care and forgive, because the sociopath relentlessly diminished us for reacting emotionally and normally to his hatefulness.

If the sociopath had his way, we would have simply submitted and allowed him to think and act just as he wished to think and act, regardless of the harm and abuse he inflicted.

The irony of the sociopath’s wish for us to stop reacting so emotionally lies in the simple fact that he coveted us in the beginning because we ARE so emotional and caring. If we had been void of emotions, we never would have attracted the sociopath into our lives in the first place.

So the more the sociopath demanded that we become like him and learn to relax and let things roll off our backs, the more we attempted to do that.

And what’s the first thing we started relaxing about? Yup. You guessed it. We started reacting less and less to the sociopath’s negative criticisms of us, and we submitted less and less to the sociopath’s whims.

And when we did this, the rage became even greater. Initially, this caused us great confusion:

“You asked me to stop caring so much, remember? You asked me to stop stressing and being so emotional. So I am trying.”

But we learned quickly that the sociopath is not only hateful, but he is also the biggest hypocrite we’ll ever encounter.

For the sociopath to remain happy and without rage, we must remain detached from our emotions unless those emotions somehow benefit the sociopath.

We must laugh, cry and get frustrated only when the sociopath deems those emotions necessary and just. All other emotions we feel are judged and vilified by the sociopath.

You see, any emotions or reactions we have must be born of the sociopath and only according to his will. The sociopath thrives on our emotional reactions to him. The sociopath feeds on the drama our emotions generate. So if we no longer reacted to him emotionally, he no longer received the drama he thrived; he lost his life source in us!

(The same principles that guide a schoolyard bully’s behaviors.)

In the sociopath’s delusional attempts to force us to become numb to all things that normally illicit emotional reactions in us, we also became numb to the sociopath and his manipulations.

The numbness overtook us one day, more than likely in the middle of one of the sociopath’s rages.

(What an insult to the sociopath’s nature!! How dare we become numb to him?!?!?)

Instead of fighting or running away like we had done so many times in the past, we sat emotionless and quietly “took it” instead.

Becoming numb is essentially the “freeze” mode of our “fight/flight/freeze” response to threatening situations. In our numbness, we fully rejected the drama that drove the sociopath’s behavior and abuses against us.

We didn’t realize it in the moment, but our ability to go numb was a beautifully disguised clue that we could survive without the sociopath’s approval and acceptance. We CAN detach. But we were too numb to understand this fact as it was happening.

Do you remember when you first became numb? It is not a sign of heartlessness. It’s a sign of strength and your ability to self-protect.

Our last resort is becoming numb and detached. It doesn’t feel good or natural to us. That’s why we question it.

But we realize, eventually, that becoming numb is not a heartless act. We finally learn what being heartless really is:

Heartless is cheating and manipulation.

Heartless is behaving and responding to those you claim to love without empathy, compassion or a conscience.

Heartless is driving another to detach from all others except oneself.

Heartless is the sociopath you escaped.

Namaste!
~Paula

(image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/185421709627994995/)

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

Grazed by the Bullet of Sociopathic Child Abuse

armando_me_hospitalThis post was tough to write probably because the toughest part of the aftermath of my experience with the sociopath has been coming to terms with what he did to my son and the associated guilt I carry for being partially to blame. Reminders of the bullet we dodged can’t help but creep into my every-day life as I watch my son grow and thrive. Because the sociopath didn’t stop at trying to emotionally tear me down. He cowardly went after my son as well, while lying and claiming unconditional love for him.

As a child, I didn’t dream about getting married or having children. I rarely imagined my future self with anyone for that matter. My visions of my future were rather boring:

I was always old and surrounded by cats. (I don’t even like cats that much!) My younger sister often accompanied me in these visions; she was old, too. She was surrounded by dogs. (Makes a lot of sense if you knew her!)

Neither of us had children in these visions. Nor did we have husbands. We took care of each other (kind of like we’ve always done since we were little), and we always seemed to be hanging out on our front porch with the animals and several flower pots covering the stoop and front walkway. (I’m not exactly a green thumb; I’ll give my sister the credit for keeping the flowers healthy and alive.)

One thing I loved the most about these visions was our happiness. We were happy to have each other like we had always had each other growing up. As old ladies, we smiled a lot and drank iced tea.

We seemed so damn content in these visions. I’m starting to understand why that may be.

Today, we both have a child of our own. Just one each: I have a wonderfully imaginative and sensitive little boy, and my younger sister gave birth to a beautiful daughter earlier this year.

Before giving birth, I was so afraid to fail as a mother. I was so afraid of endangering my child or doing something to cause him harm. But something inside of me changed in the first moments of my son’s birth 8 years ago.

To me, having a child was a stressful idea. So many responsibilities! So many unknown variables and “what if”s that I seriously never wanted to have children.

But then “the pill” failed and I was pregnant!

I worried for 38 weeks that my son would be born deformed or with a disability – all due to something I had caused or had eaten or had been exposed to while pregnant.

(No one put these fears into my head. I was pretty good at scaring myself back then without anyone’s help.)

At 37 weeks pregnant, I was suffering from severe pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure) and nothing was working to bring my BP into a normal range. I agreed to an emergency C-section.

I vaguely recall being wheeled into the OR to receive the spinal injection that would numb me from the neck down.

I vaguely recall lying on my back with my arms stretched out and fastened so as not to move them.

I vaguely remember the draped green fabric staring back at me so I couldn’t see what was happening to my body.

I vaguely remember the pressure.

I vaguely remember, once the pressure stopped, my husband behind and above me with the light shining down upon him as he smiled in spite of his tears.

The one moment I remember in all of its details was the moment my son’s nose touched mine and a deep and calming energy, that I can only describe as love, shooting through my body, relaxing me instantly.

I wouldn’t get a chance to hold my son for another 24 hours, the time it took for all of the drugs to flush out of my system and for my overwhelming fear of dropping him to wash away.

The first time holding him was feeding time, and his little 6 pound 9 ounce body nuzzled up to me and latched on in an instant, leaving the two of us to grow our love bond over and over again for the next 12 months of breast feeding and bonding bliss.

Which brings me to why I had no choice but to walk away from the sociopath (not really knowing he was a sociopath) in order to protect the truest love I had ever felt outside of the love of my parents and siblings–the love between myself and my son.

The saddest and most despicable behaviors by the sociopath, the boy in my story, was his attempt to convince me that my son wasn’t as lovable as I believed my son to be and the sociopath’s attempt to destroy my son’s growing self-esteem.

(It’s important to know that my son is NOT the sociopath’s son, and my son was between the ages of 3 and 5 when I was in the toxic relationship.)

I think all parents would agree that children can be manipulative and can use loving ploys at times to get what they want.

I also think parents would agree that we as parents intuitively know the difference between our child’s con and our child’s real desire to bond and connect.

The sociopath would roll his eyes at my son anytime my son would come running to me for a hug or a kiss. The sociopath would whisper to me how pathetic my son’s obvious manipulations were.

I would argue that my son was genuine in his love and that I could recognize when my son was trying to get something out of me by obvious attempts to “schmooze” me.

The sociopath, of course, didn’t appreciate that. For starters, the sociopath wanted me convinced that my idea of unconditional love between me and my son was just an illusion. The sociopath hoped I would feel defeated by my son’s inability to love me. After all, if I didn’t think my son loved me, I’d rely more and more upon receiving the sociopath’s love, which would render me more and more dependent upon the sociopath’s acceptance and approval of me as a person. Which would give him, in the end, ultimate control.

But each attempt by the sociopath to sever the bond between mother and child failed. I wasn’t going to believe, not for a second, any of the sociopath’s lame and bogus attempts to brainwash me against my own child’s affections. So the next best thing for the sociopath to do was to try tearing down my son’s confidence.

Mature, huh?

The sociopath liked calling my son a “baby” and a “midget”. My son despised being teased and would verbally declare to the sociopath just how much he despised the taunts:

“Stop it, Wooben! Stop it! I am not a baby!”

This encouraged the sociopath. He would laugh and poke more fun at my son and use even more annoying baby talk when speaking to my son.

(This baby talk approach is effective and demeaning, especially for children who partially define themselves and their maturity by how adults treat them. If an adult treats a child with respect and maturity, a child will naturally feel respected and mature. If an adult treats a child as “less than” the adult, the child will feel less than and will lack the confidence necessary to become mature and self-reliant. A powerful cause-and-effect reality in which adults always have the upper hand. Rather frightening if you think about this too much.)

My son was in a lose-lose battle with the sociopath. The more my son cried at being called a baby, the more the sociopath could prove to my son that he was a baby.

“Poor, poor Armando. Cry, cry Armando. See! You ARE a baby!!”

(Have I ever mentioned my desire to gouge out the sociopath’s eyeballs in the final weeks of the relationship before I escaped? Oh, forgive me. I can’t help but remember that urge as I revisit this scumbag’s treatment of my child.)

The point I am making is that this is child abuse. Plain and simple.

Child abuse is not limited to physical violence. Child abuse often begins as simple taunts and teases like I describe above. The abuse becomes obvious when these taunts and teasings escalate and the adult in the situation ignores the negative impact upon the child or finds the negative impact fulfilling in a sick and twisted way.

I pointed out the twistedness behind the sociopath’s behavior only to have the sociopath project some other ugliness onto me in hopes I would get too distraught with being too unhappy with myself to care or worry about how unhappy I was with how the sociopath treated me and my son.

Well, the sociopath underestimated my love for my child and my ability to suspend my depression long enough to act. I think he underestimated my love and desire to protect my son, because the sociopath never experienced such a true-love bond with his own mother. He had no idea the lengths I would go to in order to protect and preserve that love because the sociopath had never seen or felt it in his own life.

Should I have felt sorry for the sociopath and tried to get him to understand the love bond I shared with my son?

Well, I did feel sorry for the sociopath, and I tried many times in vain to express and model the love bond. But the sociopath was too jealous and insecure and afraid to open up to seeing something, anything, new and inspiring outside of his sad reality and life circumstances.

My child didn’t deserve being subjected to this sick man’s behavior any longer than he needed to be subjected to it. I wasn’t going to sit around praying and hoping the sociopath would change, either. My love for my son was much stronger and more motivational than any sad story told by or empty promises offered by the sociopath.

In the end, the sociopath’s crying tantrums and empty apologies were met by two words from my mouth, “Fuck you!”

(I know! It’s not appropriate, lady-like or classy. I didn’t exactly know what I was dealing with, remember, or what was happening to me? I didn’t exactly know the sociopath was a sociopath in these emotional moments. All I knew was that the guy was not good for me and was clearly hurting my child. What I describe here is just part of the abuse. I was angry. I deserved to be angry.)

Sacrificing my son’s love was never an option. My son deserved a chance to develop healthy self-esteem, self-respect and self-love. I could see that the sociopath lacked all of those qualities. Therefore I could not, in good conscience and with love, continue subjecting my son to such a poor model of human behavior.

If I didn’t leave for myself, I had to escape for my son. So that’s where my strength was born. Out of the love bond I had for my son.

My son saved me long before I was able to save myself. Miraculously, our love bond grew and continues to grow even stronger as a result. Who knew such a thing was possible!?!?!!!!

Namaste!
~Paula


© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

Finding Healing and Support in the Aftermath of Sociopathic Abuse

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/)

letter to a sociopath who thinks he's god

A Letter to the Sociopath So He Can FINALLY Stop Worrying About Me

letter to a sociopath who thinks he's godDear Sociopath,

I feel so silly writing this. Why? Well, I know how much you always worried about me, and no matter how much I told you it was unnecessary to worry, you still worried. So even after you read this letter, you’ll probably continue to have those same worries, but I hope not. What kind of life is it to worry about little old me who isn’t even in your life anymore? I hope this letter, filled with details of my recent happiness, helps to ease your worries.

So here goes:

Remember that love story you kept begging me to write when we were together? Well, I wrote it!! And can you believe I am nearly finished a much longer follow-up book? My second book should be even more enlightening for those who found my first book so helpful. I know you’d be proud of me. After all, you always said I had a lovely way with words and shouldn’t waste my talents and skills. You were even able to talk me into deleting that silly family-related blog I started when my son was first born, explaining to me that I should focus on something more practical and worthy of my talents. Well, guess what? I did that too! Isn’t this a great blog? I even came up with a catchy name for it, too: Paula’s Pontifications. Pretty cool, huh? I thought you’d be impressed.

I’m sure you could never forget my son. You know my son, the gorgeous and lovable little 5-year-old boy you so generously allowed to play with your dog. (That was incredibly selfless of you, by the way, to let my child play with your delicate dog.) Regardless, he is doing incredible! He loves yoga and karate and wants to be a soccer star when he gets older. All those fears you had about me raising him wrong and your worries that I was jeopardizing his well-being, well, you can now rest assured that he’s safe and well-protected. He starts 3rd grade in a few weeks, and although he is the youngest in his class, he keeps up easily, even though he hates writing, but I guess we all can’t be perfect. Thanks for caring so much. Oh, and don’t worry about him being sad because he is missing you. He doesn’t even remember you.  Isn’t that great? No worries there, either. No loss of sleep for my little boy. Kids are so resilient, huh?

Best of all, I never had to sell my car or file for bankruptcy! I know how very concerned you were about me losing everything when I left you. After a few career bumps and obstacles, I was able to land an even better-paying job than I had before. Plus, with my increased writing and editing experience, I get an occasional freelance job. I think I am pretty close to making double what you were making. Isn’t that awesome? If you were still with me you could have definitely become that house boy you always dreamed of becoming. The chances of me ever becoming pathetic and dependent have narrowed considerably! Again, you can let go of all those worries and fears you had about me sabotaging my career. With over 100,000 words published online, I’m sure my marketability will continue to grow. I’ve truly been blessed in many ways over the last 30 months. Thank you so much for worrying that I would fail. You can stop now, because I didn’t fail. Instead, you can celebrate and have a maté for me!!

Oh, and your biggest fear about me self-destructing? You can finally let it go!!  I was able to quit drinking! Remember all those AA meetings you found and wanted me to attend because the ones I was attending were too far away from your house and you felt they took away too much of our time together? Well, I beat my alcohol dependency without AA meetings. I took what I needed from those meetings and worked with my husband who was more than willing to sacrifice some of his days and nights to hold my hand and pick me up when I fell down, real and figuratively. And since I no longer need alcohol to get through my days, I even kicked my depression and am no longer on any type of mood-altering medications!! I know how much you hated that I took medicine. Well, no need to worry about it anymore. I am whole again and better than before.

And remember all those times you tried to get me started with a workout routine? Well, I have one now! I don’t know what got into me, but one day I just went to a yoga studio and haven’t looked back! Maybe it has something to do with doing it on “my” time and not “our” time. It would have been impossible for my husband and me to have scheduled matching workout routines. After all, who would take care of our son if we were both at the gym at the same time? (Flexibility, collaboration and partnership…in case you need to know for the future. You’re welcome!) But anyhow–back to yoga. It has changed my life!! My entire body and mind and spirit have been transformed! I don’t even recognize myself some days. I know you tried to push me when we were together. Sorry our workouts didn’t work out. (I’m so funny now, huh? I even got my humor back!) But be happy for me now. I found something I love, and I begin yoga teacher training next month. My goal is to one day teach yoga to trauma victims, specifically I want to help women who survived and escaped abusive relationships, relationships that compromised their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We all deserve to be whole again.

I’m sure you’re dying to let me know how proud you are of me, huh? No worries there. My husband, my son, my sisters, my parents and the wonderful and amazing new friends I have made are repeatedly telling me how proud they are of me.  Don’t worry, I am 100% appreciated, just what you always hoped for me.

So that’s my happiness in a nutshell. I hope you finally found what you’ve been looking for, too. Oh, but you already told me that you had found what you were looking for. I hope that’s still working out for you. I know how much it sucks to lose people you once loved.

Namaste!
Paula (a.k.a. Pumpkin. You might remember me by that name.)

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/33284484715793320/)

Accepting Another Invitation to Talk About Sociopaths on TV

destiny old womanSince becoming aware of and accepting the reality of what struck me when in the relationship with the sociopath, the boy in my story, I try making decisions related to telling more of my story based on what I may or may not regret.

So when I was contacted this week by a researcher interested in interviewing me and learning more about my story for a new show on relationships to run on A&E’s Biography Channel, I hesitated to respond:

A.) I needed to run the idea passed my husband. He is ultimately affected by every decision I make related to telling my story. If he worries it will affect us negatively, I worry too.

B.) On the heals of my HuffPost Live appearance, I was feeling defeated and couldn’t help but ask, “Is continuing to speak out worth the stress and regret when I get it wrong or when I do a half-assed job of trying to express myself?”

C.) Can I really do 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 matter.

I immediately texted my husband. He immediately responded with, “Go for it!”

So I am going for it. I have a phone interview later next week and will be provided with more details. Once I am able to share more, I will.

In the meantime, please let me know some of the major focus areas related to sociopaths and recovery from pathological relationships that you think should be touched upon if the show allows.

If it were not for the support of my family and friends and all of the wonderful people I have had the privilege of meeting through this blog, I wouldn’t have the confidence and motivation I have to keep trying.

One day soon, I wholeheartedly believe, the words sociopath, psychopath, relational harm and pathological love will be understood by the majority and not over-used or misused like they are today.

Namaste! Peace and love!

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/46302702388466751/)

Set yourself free from the cowards in your life!

freedomToday is Independence Day in the United States. Set yourself free from the coward (or cowards) in your life.

The person who shames and blames everyone else and never faces his own shitty-ness is the epitome of a coward.

We are all imperfect, but we are perfect in our willingness to be accountable for all of our imperfections. Cowards are never accountable.

So don’t allow a coward to dictate and tell you who you should be or how you should live. You know better than anyone what you want from life. You don’t need some controlling fool screaming at you and belittling you. Or ignoring you until you feel worthless.

Besides, in truth, anyone who tries to dictate your life has no handle on their own. They want to restrain and contain you because your potential is so obvious, it scares them. They fear you’ll abandon them.

And their fears are justified! Because you do matter and are worth so much more than their treatment. Ironically, in their attempts at containing and controlling you, you begin to realize how free you could be, and you begin to despise and hate them.

But don’t feel guilty about your hate. Don’t try to turn off that hate. You are absolutely allowed to hate someone just as much as you are allowed to love someone.

Why?

Hate is a survival mechanism, an emotion that empowers you to act. Hate gives you the motivation you need to free yourself from the one who oppresses you.

And once detached and free, the hate dissipates, too. It’s actually very simple: eliminate the cause of your hate, and the hate will magically disappear.

Stop over thinking things. Listen to your gut. Walk away and be free!

Namaste!

~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/121597258662115650/)

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