The 5 things to expect of yourself while detaching from outcomes

It’s Loving Kindness Wednesday!

You are unique. Your needs and desires are individual. Your path and direction will never align step-by-step with the path and direction of others. Nor will it align perfectly with any rigid plans or expectations you assign yourself or the “counsel” others may attempt to impose upon you.

It’s impossible to predict or know exactly who you will encounter or what hidden gems you may find along your path. But if you set out on your journey with a fixed agenda with no wiggle room, you run the risk of missing or dismissing what could potentially be the very person or experience you desire and can lead you to more amazing people and experiences.

To pack for your journey, all you need is yourself. Keep your heart and mind open to possibilities and not closed because of past conditioning or experiences. We all make missteps and find ourselves in less-than-desirable positions. But that doesn’t mean we have to surrender to the misstep or remain miserable in the aftermath of a crappy situation.

Surrendering to the bad only perpetuates more bad. Why would you want to create more of that in your life? You wouldn’t, so stop!!

You have the power inside of you to manifest and experience everything you seek: love, joy, peace, happiness, and freedom. Tapping into that power is as simple as meditating on your divine being and acknowledging that you are not just your body or your mind but an infinite, expansive and explosive ball of energy and light…you are the sun.

Once you accept this, your journey into your highest potential will begin. Although remaining detached from outcomes is vital to the momentum and forward movement of your journey, there are a few things you must expect of yourself:

1. Be honest with yourself and others while being true to your gut and intuition. 

2. Act and think with integrity. From moment to moment, we are a representation of our thoughts and actions. Our thoughts and actions determine if we choose self-doubt or self-confidence. If the self-doubt creeps in, send yourself loving kindness and ask a close friend to send you some too.

3. Don’t expect others to care about your journey; they have their own sh*t to worry about. Being in-tune with yourself is hard enough; expecting others to be in-tune with your every heartbeat and breath is unrealistic. Embrace the nuggets of connection that do happen but don’t get discouraged when you recognize a disconnect even when it happens between you and someone whom you thought knew you so well. C’est la vie! 

4. Mourn your losses and celebrate your victories but don’t wallow in defeat or get caught up in the trappings of your ego. Otherwise, you may miss the next opportunity!

5. Above all, never ever make a decision just to please others or to save them discomfort. More often than not, these types of decisions result in your displeasure and discomfort, which eventually leads to displeasure and discomfort for all. Just because you admire a person, doesn’t mean the steps that person took to get to where she is today are the exact steps you should take. Your gut speaks loudly and never lies; listen to it above all else. If advice from a friend doesn’t fit with your spirit, don’t be afraid to decline the advice. A true friend admires and honors you especially when you’re acting from a place of awareness and connection to spirit.

Namaste,

Paula Carrasquillo

#lovelifeom #lovingkindness #mauisunset #marriott #lovetravels 

Why I stuck with yoga even when it got ugly

Recently, a very dear friend and fellow survivor introduced me to Linda Sparrowe, yoga teacher, former editor-in-chief of Yoga International magazine, and past managing editor of Yoga Journal. She’s a participant on the upcoming panel discussion, “Yoga Continuum: Facing Challenges with Courage and Compassion”, as part of a collaboration between Naropa University and Yoga Journal. She kindly asked me to detail my experience with yoga as therapy. I share her questions and my answers below:

How have yoga and meditation helped you in your own journey through diagnosis, treatment, remission, and even recurrence?  

When I began practicing yoga 4 years ago at the age of 39, I had no idea how much of me was broken. At 18, I experienced intimate partner abuse at the hands of my boyfriend, who was also 18. The relationship didn’t last more than 6 months, but my life and outlook on life changed forever. 

For 2 decades, I suffered from, without realizing I was suffering from them, depression, alcohol abuse, and post-traumatic stress (PTSD). My inner world was out of control, but I thought I could compensate by controlling my outer world. My perfectionistic tendencies ran the gamut: I had to look perfect from head to toe; I had to get perfect grades; I had to perform perfectly in my jobs; I had to have a perfectly clean and ordered house; I had to look like I had a perfect life despite the fact I hated myself. I didn’t even understand why I hated myself, which made hating myself that much more intense and burdensome on my mind and spirit. I became obsessed with food and acquired an eating disorder. I feared criticism and didn’t want anyone to think I was stupid. So one degree wasn’t enough. I had to go for advanced degrees and certificates, anything to prove my worth and value. Just being me wasn’t enough.

At 39, I escaped another short-term abusive relationship. I was lost. I wanted to kill myself. Luckily, I had family who loved and supported me. But even that didn’t seem like enough.

Then I discovered yoga two months before my 40th birthday. Within a few weeks of practicing, I overcame my binge eating and bulimia. Within 6 months, I quit drinking and was finally diagnosed with PTSD. For good and bad, my yoga practice opened the pathway to all of the repressed memories and denial I had been trying to bury for years. All the harm inflicted upon me by myself and others surfaced. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I thought I was going crazy, because, for the first time since I was 18, I was facing all of myself head on, and I couldn’t look away. Yoga unveiled my inner being, and my inner being wouldn’t allow me to look away. This process of going inward and seeing myself “naked” was painful, humiliating and shameful. Initially and despite practicing yoga almost daily, I fell even deeper into the pit of darkness and self-hatred. 

Fortunately, the side effects of my bottom were short-lived, because yoga helped me find my voice. I wrote and self-published my first book in 2012, “Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath”, which highlights my last abusive relationship. From there, I created and maintained a blog on which I purged myself of more “stuff” and connected to others in the process. At the end of 2014, I self-published my second book, “Unashamed Voices: True Stories Written by Survivors of Domestic Violence, Rape and Fraud”, which features 38 first-hand accounts of abuse submitted to me by visitors of my blog.

And I feel like that’s only the beginning of my life’s work. 

Last year, I completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training, because I not only wanted to deepen my practice and understanding of yoga, but I want to give others the gift yoga gave to me: my life. 

I teach yoga twice a week and yoga nidra guided meditation once a week. Over time, I plan to transition away from my corporate job as a web content developer and trainer and into teaching yoga and being a health coach full-time. My deepest heart’s desire is to help as many people as I can escape their pain, shame, and humiliation and awaken as I awakened.

How are yoga and meditation sources of healing, understanding and acceptance? 

Yoga taught me acceptance and letting go. At the heart of yoga, I learned:

1. Compassion for all living things. The first I had to master was compassion for myself. 

2. Being perfect is unattainable, because nothing is permanent except change, so there is no such thing as a state of being perfect. 

3. How others treat me is about them and not me. How I treat myself is what matters, because how I treat myself is how I will treat others. I want to be good to people, not indifferent, mean, or nasty. It’s a daily exercise to elevate my levels of self-love and self-trust. 

4. The humiliation, shame, and pain I experienced doesn’t mean I’m weak or unworthy of love; it means I’m human. I’m perfect just because I’m me. Yoga taught me that.

And, what would you put in your own yoga toolkit that you could draw upon as you face aging, illness, or even death?

To never stop. To keep going. It’s never too late to live or take another breath toward a more fulfilling life. Life is the absence of the fear of growing old and dying. Life is love. Death just happens.

Is it possible to explain why yoga? Or, maybe more precisely, what it was about yoga itself that allowed you to trust the process? That allowed you to stick with the pain of investigation and self-inquiry? What can yoga do for us that, for instance, talk therapy can not? How did yoga help you find your voice and feel comfortable and safe sharing it? How did it help you find more compassion, courage and perhaps patience with yourself?

First and foremost, my teachers, their patience, and their spirit of acceptance kept me motivated. I felt safe with them. I didn’t feel judged in their presence, which allowed me to be less critical of myself. Reciprocity of energy and vibration. If I fell out of a posture, my teachers would either encourage me to try again or encourage me to let it go for the night and try again the next night. No need to become frustrated or angry with myself, they’d say. It’s only yoga, and tomorrow is another day. Wow! That was a lot for my perfectionist nature to handle and accept. But my teachers made it effortless for me. I was never made to feel like I failed, like any attempt was a poor attempt, or like I had to attain a certain level of expertise or experience before becoming a yogini. I was permitted to be a yogini the second I walked onto my mat for the first time. Being accepted and respected without the need to prove myself worthy…that’s a powerful motivator. 

And because my teachers were so good to me, I wanted to be good to me. I found myself surrounded by acceptance, and peace washed over my hypersensitive nature which was normally agitated and accustomed to being preoccupied with seeking acceptance from others. This unconditional acceptance from my teachers on the outside allowed me to be focused inwardly on my journey into a new frontier of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-love. My entire perspective shifted because my teachers showed me so much love and acceptance, and they didn’t even know me outside of the classroom.

Despite how tough my inward journey became at times, I refused to give up on myself. If I gave up on myself, I saw it as giving up on my teachers and all the love and kindness they freely and generously bestowed upon me. If I felt like giving up, I’d grab my mat and head to the studio. I always had my teachers, my breathing, my asana, and the collective energy of the studio to ground me. And for me, an introvert and highly sensitive person to rush to people rather than away from them for energy and motivation, that’s heavy.

Today, I’m more inwardly motivated and look to my personal transformation the past four years as proof that this thing called yoga works…for me. So why give it up? Why stop? I keep learning more and more and getting healthier and healthier. I’ve been 100% medication-free for over three years! No therapist would be able to do that for me, because 1) people on drugs keep therapists in business; and 2) no therapist understands or would believe that medication acts as a band-aid and blocks the user from finding their inner power. Medication couldn’t cure or heal me; medication kept me numb and lifeless. With yoga, I learned that being in motion and being in tune and aware of my body, mind, and spirit is the only path to resurrection, renewal, and an authentic life. Disease and sickness don’t stand a chance against the detoxifying power of perpetual motion, which keeps the mind open and the body successfully moving in the direction of health, homeostasis, and balance. 

Om Shanti,

Paula Carrasquillo

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

“Raped” by a Female Sociopath

Twenty three years ago when I was 19, I met a female sociopath, but I had no idea she was a sociopath.

It was the summer following my freshman year in college. I had just started dating a local boy who I had met on campus in the spring. I liked him. He was from the same rural, Appalachian area where I was raised. We enjoyed the outdoors, music, books, movies, hiking, biking…you name it, we had it in common.

About a week or two into the “official” start of the romance, he received a call from a girl he had known since high school. She told him she was pregnant, said the unborn child was his, and asked for money because she wanted an abortion.

My gut sank.

He explained that they went to high school together, had never dated, but had been friends for years. He said she had recently ended a tempestuous relationship with an older guy and that he had gotten together with her several weeks prior to talk about her break up, and one thing led to another.

I wasn’t jealous or offended. I mostly felt sorry for her. It seems this older guy had really hurt her and she was devastated. She and my now boyfriend made an unfortunate mistake in judgment and choices had to be made. Besides, up until a few days before receiving the news of her pregnancy, there was not a commitment between him and me.

I supported his decision to give her money for the abortion, but it gave me pause. I thought a lot about what that decision meant. But because I was so young at the time with my own recent history of dating shit to get sorted, I did not spend an extensive amount of energy contemplating her situation nor did I judge her. I actually suggested we all get together sometime in the near future.

A few days after her scheduled abortion, my boyfriend confided that he did not believe that the baby was his, but that he agreed to help her because no one else was stepping in to support her. I was a bit astonished that he would have suggested she lied. I didn’t want to believe someone would be that manipulative and deceitful.

Then I met her.

Wow, I thought to myself, what in the hell was my boyfriend thinking?! She was a total snob, not athletic, not healthy looking, and all she did was talk about everyone! She seemed uncomfortable around me, like she feared I was going to bite her or something. I’d ask her questions about herself, and she’d just stare off behind me. And when I tried to talk to her about me, she’d stare off behind me. I was confused. Couldn’t figure out this girl. Didn’t she realize that I didn’t care that she had had a fling with my boyfriend before he was my boyfriend and that I was genuinely interested in being her friend?

During the few years I dated this boy, we had many “adventures” with this girl.

>> She seduced our friends who happened to be a married couple (yes, she fucked them both); she preferred the male; the marriage ended; she was hot and intense with our friend in the beginning; she got cold and distant; they broke up.

>> We introduced her to a single male friend of ours; they were hot and intense in the beginning; they moved in together; there were lots of intense fights; she got cold and distant; they broke up.

>> My boyfriend and I moved in with her. She was hot and cold. I couldn’t stand being in what seemed like her lair, her nest. My relationship with my boyfriend experienced serious road blocks and obstacles. My boyfriend and I broke up but remained friends.

And remaining friends was easy. We lived in a small, mountain, college town. He worked at the book store, my favorite place to go, and she remained in the same apartment, her nest above the chocolate shop.

I’d see her occasionally walking or at a local bar. I’d make frequent attempts to communicate with her. She always seemed to be trying really hard to be seductive with me. We’d be sitting at the bar having a beer, and she’d lean in really close, touch my cheek with her hair, rub her thighs close to mine. Her tits seemed to like resting close to my arms.

I was unmoved. I was not interested or attracted to her. Why would she think I was? Because I was friends with women who had been “intimate” with her? Could that be why she thought I was another easy seduction?

After her overt advances failed, she resorted to dismissing my sexuality. She’d make comments about me having no shape, having no breasts, and having no sex appeal. She commented on my clothes and the way I wore my hair or didn’t wear my hair. How I didn’t smell like a woman that men would find attractive.

I listened to her mostly unaffected, but I boiled inside whenever I saw her, because as much as she thought she was sexy and attractive, all I saw was a demon. All I saw was a sad and lonely woman who needed to minimize me to feel better about herself. At the time, I didn’t know about sociopaths or personality disorders. I just knew that I was in the presence of something that was not good. Nothing about her was good to me.

About 6 months after my breakup with my boyfriend, we got together one afternoon and he asked about getting back together. I was thrilled! I loved this guy. He was one of the best people I had ever met in my life up to that point.

I said, “Yes, I’d like to be together again.”

He seemed pleased with my answer but then a look of shame came over him. He said, “Before we go any further, I must confess something to you, Paula. Remember the weekend you went away for your sister’s wedding while we were living with Ruby?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, Ruby and I were together,” he confessed.

My heart sank.

“Together? What do you mean?,” I asked knowing full well what he meant.

He shared all of the details and how it happened and where specifically in the apartment it happened.

I wanted to run and throw up. I wanted to understand why he did it and why she did it. Why did they betray me?

He talked; I listened. I cried; he cried. He held me; I held him.

I was finding it hard to forgive him. I decided to confront her and compare stories. So I called her that night and arranged to meet her in her “nest” the next day.

What a mistake. Why did I even bother.

When I asked her if it was true, she matter-of-factly nodded and shrugged. She sat in her sofa with this air of superiority over me, like I shouldn’t have been surprised that my boyfriend would seek satisfaction from a “real” womanly woman outside our relationship.

Not once did she say, “I’m sorry, Paula. I know it was wrong.”

Not once! Not even a spark of regret did I detect.

Instead, she seemed to find joy in my sorrow. She seemed to be gleeful that I had experienced this ugly betrayal.

I left her apartment, her lair, feeling dirty and disgusted. Within 6 months, the relationship with my boyfriend ended again. It could never be healed from the many fissures and cracks created as a result of the influence of the sociopath who slithered in and destroyed the innocence of young love.

Today, the sociopath remains in the same apartment. She continues to nest. She continues to exist. But unlike 20 years ago when her youth disguised the ugliness within, she looks as unattractive as her dark heart and soul, burning just beneath the surface.

Namaste!
~Paula

(I might receive some serious shit from folks who personally know me for sharing this story, but I really don’t care anymore. It’s time it was told.)

Why the Sociopath Needs Secondary Supply to Maintain Primary Supply

Not only does the sociopath groom and prep his primary victim in the early idolization phase of the toxic relationship, the sociopath also grooms and preps the victim’s closest family member or best friend as secondary supply.

The sociopath does this to build an illusion of trust between himself and a person who came into the life of his current victim many years before the sociopath.

If the sociopath can establish this false trust with a victim’s best friend or closest family member, then the sociopath is able to successfully triangulate and gain support when his primary victim begins to question the sociopath’s motive.

The secondary supply is only privy to all of the so-called love and respect the sociopath has for the primary victim. The secondary supply, whenever alone with the sociopath, repeatedly is fed lines by the sociopath such as:

“I love her so much. She and I are perfect for each other. She came into my life just when I needed her the most and she needed me. You see that, right? How beautiful is that!?!”

The secondary supply is so happy for her friend, the primary supply, and even repeats the sociopath’s shallow declarations to others in their inner circle. The secondary supply is enveloped in the same fog as the primary victim, but the secondary supply never experiences the reality of the sociopath’s dark side the way the primary supply eventually and insidiously does.

So when the primary supply starts confiding her misgivings and doubts about the sociopath to the secondary supply, the secondary supply is there to immediately counter the concerns with what she thinks is love, support, and reassurance:

“Don’t be silly! He loves you so much. All he tells me is that you saved him and he saved you and that he wants to grow old with you. Other women don’t matter to him any more! He loves you! Give yourself more credit and stop worrying. You need him and he needs you. He tells me all the time. He’s good for you.”

This just perpetuates and deepens the primary supplies confusion and cognitive dissonance.

And if the primary victim doesn’t go to the secondary supply with her concerns and instead starts by confronting the sociopath, the sociopath will direct her to talk to the secondary supply:

“Don’t be silly! You’re imagining things. I love you so much. Just ask Alice.”

In my case, the sociopath found supply from my elderly mother. My sisters were no match for his empty and transparent compliments. All they saw was an arrogant fool who was fooling their sister.

But my mother…she was blindsided by the sociopath’s feigned concern and charm, as are all secondary supplies…at first.

And it wasn’t until my mother, the boy’s only source of secondary supply that could possibly influence me, suddenly dropped her support of the sociopath that I too began to really question his motives and authenticity.

This past Mother’s Day, my mother approached me, because she couldn’t figure out how to delete messages between the boy and my mother through Facebook. She had been too ashamed to ask me for help to delete them sooner. She was ashamed of her part in the perpetuation of the toxic relationship. She also feared I would be triggered and become angry after reading the messages.

The only thing the messages proved were what I have known all along. I assured my mother that she did nothing wrong, that I wasn’t upset with her, and that reading the messages validated me.

Delete!! Poof! My mother is no longer haunted by the King of Cons.

Who was your sociopath’s secondary supply?

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

A pledge to yourself

Make a pledge to yourself:

“I Pledge that I will remain open to my healing and recovery process and that I won’t give up on myself no matter how often that voice inside my head tries to talk me into giving up.”

“I Pledge that I will remain faithful in my abilities to overcome any feelings of hopelessness and sadness and that I will reach out to a friend or loved one when I become overwhelmed.”

“I Pledge that I will celebrate my successes and never devalue or minimize my accomplishments and be confident and willing to give of myself only when it’s healthy to do so.”

“I Pledge that I will honor my life and my spirit and the lives and spirits of others who are walking beside me on this journey.”

Namaste!
~Paula

A collective gut changes the world

Our emotions carry us away to places of self-doubt and shame when we deny them.

When we deny our emotions, we clog our intuition.

Stop denying them. Stop trying to turn your frown upside down. And stop trying to hide your joy when you are joyous.

Embrace your highly empathic nature. Embrace feeling deeply. Embrace your true nature.

Don’t keep trying to defend yourself against those labels people give you:

>> “You’re too sensitive.”

>> “You seem emotionally unstable.”

>> “You need to calm down.”

>> “You might want to see a counselor about your outbursts.”

>> “You’re crazy!”

The truth behind all of these labels is that they come from a place of fear. Your emotions and ability to release them scares the hell out of people.

So what do we do about it?

For starters, we don’t apologize for our feelings. Our feelings come from a highly intuitive place of understanding and knowing.

So we keep sharing what we feel, despite the fact there may be zero statistical evidence backing us up. And when we see another who bravely shares, we back that person up. We don’t cower and hide behind the pack.

We want things to change, right? Well, the only way to see change in the world is to exert our powerful emotions.

Once each of us starts to share, the statistics become very clear and valid.

Look what has happened in communities like this one? We started talking about things no one wanted to believe was true, and now we have numbers that prove that what we have seen and felt all along are absolutely valid and absolutely real.

Never underestimate your gut and the domino effect and power it can invoke to unearth the voice of a collective gut.

A collective gut changes the world.

Wow! Really!

Namaste!
~Paula

The internal film of my life

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My life frequently passes chronologically through my internal lens like a film, a movie trailer. It seems to start and end the same each time it plays. But the middle always surprises me by what my subconscious chooses to remember and draw to the surface at a specific time of day or during a particular season.

Today, my film is playing out like this:

>> I see myself chasing after lightning bugs as a child with my sister.

>> I see my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Newlon, who encouraged me to speak in front of people despite the embarrassing way my “R”s came out sounding like “W”s.

>> I see the town librarian who never smiled and always seemed annoyed that my sister and I would come in on really hot summer days and sit for hours and read Highlights magazines just to cool off.

>> I see myself at sleepovers with my friends Missy and Lissa and their annoying little brothers.

>> I see myself sitting through my high school graduation next to Doug who finally spoke his first words to me after being in the same classes for 4 years.

>> I see myself as a freshman in the dorms and running barefoot in the puddles behind Cumberland Hall with Kristy who loved thunderstorms.

>> I see myself visiting DC for the first time alone to be with my friend Susan and meeting her Korean ballerina roommate who had no shame in telling me that her secret Korean spice was MSG.

>> I see all the interesting patrons I met waiting tables in college.

>> I see my friends and parties and celebrations and vacations and the ocean and the mountains.

>> I see my wedding day and the day I learned I was pregnant.

>> I see myself meeting my son for the first time.

>> I see last night and how my son is growing into a boy who makes me proud.

>> I see the sociopath and how accepting one man’s self-pity nearly destroyed my vision of all the beauty my life has provided.

>> I see the power I had once given that ugly grain of sand.

>> I see how that ugly grain of sand will forever spread his self-pity, and I accept that there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.

So I go back to thinking about planning my next party with the people I love and who love me.

I think about being here, now and being completely confident in my next decision to grow and learn and to open my life to more opportunities to meet even more wonderful people I will one day be seeing in future versions of my life’s internal film.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/401172279277101461/)

Leaving the sociopath before the discard

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Choosing to leave the sociopath before the sociopath is ready to discard you may cause increased cognitive dissonance if you don’t know what to expect.

In the beginning, the sociopath exhausts you of all your novelty in the early love-bombing and idolization phase.

The sociopath is so interested in your interests and becomes so immersed in your life and daily routine that you become intoxicated by all of the attention.

You interpret this as a good thing. You interpret this as an AMAZING thing. The sociopath must love you so much to want to become your twin, huh?

The sociopath even seems to bond quickly and easily with your inner circle of friends and certain family members.

You’re in awe of how alike you are! Where has the sociopath been all of your life?

And that’s exactly the question you should be asking. Where HAS the sociopath been? Where are the sociopath’s friends and family? If the sociopath is so amazing, there MUST be others who think the same, right?

Oh, wait! You bought into the sociopath’s professions that YOU are the first person to enter his life who makes the sociopath whole and complete. Sorry. You’re so special. I forgot. You have superpowers and are the only effing person out of millions and millions that “gets” this pitiful creature and can give him the love and understanding that he needs. Everyone else from his past, including his mother and siblings, just couldn’t grasp the genius of the sociopath. But you can. Sorry. I forgot.

Do you see how absolutely absurd this is? Everyone else left this person, and you seem to think it’s because the sociopath is somehow superior and that’s why everyone misunderstands him but that you are somehow superior in your ability to care and listen to him and that’s why the sociopath chose you?

Um. Not exactly.

You won’t be feeling very special and powerful once the sociopath sucks you dry of your creativity and energy. You REALLY won’t be feeling very special once you finally decide to ask the sociopath for love and support and understanding and instead get the sociopath screaming at you, “You’re such an ungrateful bitch. I give so much to you and all you want is more?”

And you feel guilty and continue to give freely, because that’s what love is about. You stop asking for anything in return, because only ungrateful whores do such a thing and you refuse to be accused of THAT again. Some people just show their love in different ways, right? The sociopath is so much more evolved in the way he loves you, and you should be just as evolved in how you love the sociopath. Right?

Again, the absurdity! This is how you get stuck in cognitive dissonance. You know love is patient and kind and compassionate and reciprocal. You know it is, so why do you believe the BS spewing from the sociopath’s mouth? Oh, because he’s done things for you and bought things for you and said nice things to you and complimented you on your character? Wonderful. The sociopath must really love you.

Did you forget that people who love you don’t keep track of their good deeds? People who love one another listen to each other’s pain; they don’t deny their pain or shame them and make the other feel miserable and ungrateful for expressing their pain.

The sociopath said and did some nice things, but now the sociopath holds those nice things over your head as his free pass to treat you in any shitty way the sociopath pleases. Is that love? Do people who really love you not listen to you and immediately point a shaming finger back at you if you open up about what you perceive as unfair treatment?

No. A caring person does not deflect. Someone who loves you will say, “Wow, I had no idea when I did that you felt that way. I’m sorry. Let’s talk about this more. I don’t want to make you feel like that again.”

How many times do YOU say that to the sociopath and how often does the sociopath say this to you?

And don’t count the times the sociopath sat seemingly attentive, bouncing on his seat, arms folded in front of him just waiting for you to shut up so the sociopath can say, “Are you finished? Do you feel better now?”

How condescending, rude and disrespectful! You’ll eventually tire of this lack of respect and lack of caring and compassionate reciprocity.

Once you show any signs of being tired or unwilling to give, give, give, the sociopath interprets your behavior as uncaring and unloving.

The sociopath fails to see this lack of reciprocity. The sociopath thinks just being in your life is the sociopath’s gift to you, and the fact that he keeps forgiving your ungratefulness and hasn’t left or discarded you should be indicative of how much he cares, right?

Wrong!

The sociopath doesn’t “forgive” you. The fact the sociopath remembers every slight you’ve commuted against him should be your cue. And the only reason the sociopath hasn’t left you…yet…is because there is no one waiting in the wings ready to pity the sociopath and provide the sociopath with immediate supply.

There is no doubt that if you decide to leave the sociopath now, without a source of supply waiting in the wings for him, the sociopath will act and seem devastated. The sociopath will cry and whine to others that he loved you more than you loved him and you unfairly abandoned the sociopath. And in all of his crying and flailing about, he’ll gain pity. The sociopath may even convince one of your friends that you are the cause of the breakup.

Now you have someone else that you thought cared about you brainwashed into thinking you’re ungrateful and uncaring. It’s enough to make you lose your mind defending yourself.

And it seems to make zero difference to anyone that you are not the person who repeatedly loses girlfriends, fiancees, spouses and best friends over the course of your lifetime. It doesn’t seem to matter to these unsuspecting folks, who are getting dragged into the sociopath’s triangulation, that it’s the sociopath who behaves from a place of hate, fear and jealousy…not you.

The more you reach out to your inner circle, the more you realize that these unsuspecting individuals have been fed so many lies. The sociopath even said to them, “And she’ll say X, Y and Z in her defense. Just wait. You’ll see. That will be your proof that she never cared about me, used me the entire relationship and is the cause of all my pain!”

And you DO respond exactly as the sociopath predicted you’d respond.

How could the sociopath be so foretelling in how you’d respond to the criticism if the criticism were not true?

Easy. Who wouldn’t be defensive when shameful secrets you once shared in confidence with the sociopath are now being used against you to make you look like the abusive and hateful person?

Somehow this very simple observation gets lost on people. Maybe it’s because people like knowing the struggles and misfortunes of others so they feel better about their own lives. It’s true. And the sociopath counts on it. The sociopath counts on people judging you negatively based on secrets that the sociopath carelessly shares.

It’s not even worth wasting your breath trying to defend yourself, because “yes” you did those things and said that thing. Defending the facts misconstrued out of context as lies and judgement is exhausting and can drive a person mad. Don’t even attempt to defend yourself against people hell-bent on choosing the dark gossip over the innocent truth. Dark gossip always wins.

So what do you do about it?

The first thing you do is accept that you trusted the wrong person with your secrets.

The second thing that you do is refrain from participating in the destructive gossip of others. When someone comes to you with someone else’s secrets, stop the gossip in its tracks. Simply say, “That’s unfortunate. I really have no opinion.”

And how could you have an opinion? What that person did can only be explained by that person and that person isn’t even in the room.

And if the gossip monger refuses to shut up, ask the gossip monger, “What is your purpose in telling me this?”

Hmm? An honest gossip monger will say, “Because I want you to dislike that person and like me instead.”

Hehe! But we know there are no “honest” gossip mongers among us that understand their motivation like this.

Instead, the gossip monger will say to you, “Don’t you think so-and-so is a terrible person for behaving in such a way?!?!”

Ahhh…the deflection. The deflection of judgment. If you agree and say the person is terrible, then the gossip monger sociopath can hold that over YOUR head if you ever decide to defend so-and-so in the future:

“You said on such-and-such a date that you thought she was horrible and now you’re her friend? I’m telling her.”

Again, jealousy, hate and control are what drives these people.

When the person you’re now defending confronts you about once calling her crazy, simply say, “Yes, I said that. I was wrong. I am ashamed. I didn’t have all the facts, and the sociopath seemed so convincing.”

Forgive this person. They were a pawn just like you.

Remember, you’re going to lose friends when you leave the sociopath. But know that it’s because lies and drama excite people. People gravitate toward drama, because they are so lost and bored with their own lives. Sociopaths count on other people’s boredom to gain supporters. Accept it, even if it means standing in a corner alone for a while. All that alone time will provide you with the much-needed opportunity to self-assess, self-reflect and self-improve.

Reject the urge to lash out at the lies and personal secrets being spread. Remain non-engaged.

And when and if those people who once “followed” the sociopath come running to you to apologize, accept their apology without forcing them to explain why they supported the sociopath in the first place. You already know why, because you once supported the loser, too.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/441704675925805414/)

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