Story #29 – Dana’s story: Cognitive dissonance is a measurable sign of abuse

Dana

Dana’s story*: Cognitive dissonance is a measurable sign of abuse

“I was in this relationship from the age of 15 to 50. So before the relationship, I would say that I was an open, enthusiastic and loving person. By the time the relationship ended, I was suffering from chronic depression and needed lots of therapy. In between, I became a loving mother and a freelance writer and newspaper reporter. I often wonder how much more I could have accomplished had I had a supportive spouse.” Read more.


Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Survivor stories 18, 19 and 20 – Rachel, Sofia and Teresa #DVawareness @commdiginews

sociopath_Gary_Small_Quote


October 18, 2014 – Rachel’s story: Betrayal, abuse at the hands of a narcissist*

October 19, 2014 – Sofia’s advice on domestic violence: “Take off the blindfold. Knowledge is power.”

October 19, 2014 – Teresa’s story: He was a sociopath, not a good guy with a few bad demons


Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Gloria’s Story: “They don’t understand. They’re just jealous.”

beach

Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

Gloria’s Story: “They don’t understand. They’re just jealous.”

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 7, 2014 — Gloria* is a survivor of narcissistic/pathological abuse living and recovering in the United Kingdom.

Before the relationship became intimate, I spent two years being assessed and groomed although I did not realize it at the time. It was by far the most intense friendship I have ever had and we spent every day (five days a week) chatting briefly on messaging and emailing each other at work. I felt great, because I had just come out of an abusive eight-year relationship and here was this man, my friend from South Africa, back in my life after 23 years, and he made me feel good about myself. He told me I was very attractive, so kind and friendly with everyone, and we seemed to have so much in common. He became my best friend all over again. He persuaded me to buy a webcam and I did not see anything wrong in this at the time. Read more… 


*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Faith’s story of abuse: “He told me that we were kindred spirits and that I must have read the instruction manual for him.”

alone

Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

Faith’s story of abuse: “He told me that we were kindred spirits and that I must have read the instruction manual for him.”

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 6, 2014 — Faith* is a survivor of intimate partner abuse living, dancing and recovering in Canada.

Before the relationship I was happy, confident and outgoing. I had grown up in a neglectful, abusive single-parent household but had managed to do alright nonetheless, I believed I was liked by my entourage and had fair self-esteem levels. I was involved in my ethnic community, as a dancer and counted many friends in the band we were all a part. Read more…

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

Ellen’s story: “I was always afraid he would rape me, hit me and be even crueler.”

burma

October 5, 2014 – Ellen’s story: “I was always afraid he would rape me, hit me and be even crueler.”

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 5, 2014 — Ellen* is a survivor of intimate partner and sociopath abuse who lives and is studying to become a doctor in the United States.


Before I met my boyfriend, I was living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I was a smart, funny, outgoing and independent girl. I had a car and registered for college. I was working and paying for myself. I had had a few instances of drug and alcohol problems and was actively keeping myself out of trouble.

Just before I met him, my grandmother slipped into a coma from diabetes. I was locked out of my house by a controlling aunt. I found myself needing to live with my mother, who suffered from schizophrenia. Read more…


Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

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

“What the heck does she mean by MINDFUL, anyhow?”

I am in the middle of writing “Embracing Your Light: Mindful Healing and Recovery from Sociopath Abuse” and am defining the idea of mindfulness in hopes of dispelling any misinformation, prejudices, or negative connotations, so you’re not asking, “What in the heck does she mean by mindful, anyhow!?”

Below is mindfulness to me:

Mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to do yoga or meditate or eat tree bark.

Mindfulness simply means you live your life fully aware of yourself, your surroundings, and how you and your surroundings affect and impact each other.

Mindfulness is compassion for yourself and all living things surrounding you.

Mindfulness is not prescribing to any particular religion or faith. The faith required to be mindful is a faith in oneself.

Mindfulness is a state of being and knowing, knowing you are perfect in your imperfections. Mindfulness is accepting your imperfections and understanding that they are not permanent and do not define you.

Mindfulness is knowing that life is in a constant state of change and flux and that you are part of that change and flux.

You are who you are today. Tomorrow, you will be who you are tomorrow.

Accepting this and being patient in knowing is mindfulness.

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

I lost a friend this week…

20140308-104045.jpg

When I learned she was dead, I was shocked but not surprised. She had been sick for a very long time, and I felt relief that her suffering had finally ended.

Knowing what I know about the struggles of my friend over the past 2 years, I’m not particularly interested in the details surrounding how she actually died. While sharing the news with a friend, I simply stated, “She was very sick.”

My friend asked, “Mentally or physically?”

Because I respect the memory of my friend, I didn’t want to answer the question despite knowing it was a perfectly acceptable and innocent question to ask.

Then I thought more about the question…

When we are sick, doesn’t the sickness affect our bodies and our minds?

Pain is not just physical; pain is mental and emotional.

When was the last time you hurt yourself and only that part of your body was affected?

When my belly hurts, my head hurts. When I cut myself or knock into a chair (because I’m clumsy sometimes), the pain is felt throughout my body. My mind becomes frustrated by my carelessness as much as my physical systems are stressed to heal my bruise or bump.

And just like our minds are affected by physical pain and injury, our bodies become affected when the pain and injury starts in our minds.

Many who have suffered psychological abuse leading to depression and self-defeating thoughts can attest: if we don’t have the tools to help us mentally heal, our physical bodies are directly compromised and weakened.

So many women I speak with daily through this blog suffer from physical conditions like fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal malfunctioning, exhaustion, insomnia, cancer…the list goes on.

I believe, regardless if the pain begins in our physical bodies or in our minds, we have the power and capacity to help ourselves heal.

(I’m not against medical treatment. Not at all. But I believe we can positively supplement medical treatments by remembering to think and be mindful of our inner power to heal.)

We need to stop putting pain and healing into buckets of physical or mental sickness. When we are sick, we are sick–body and mind. And because it’s our body and mind that is sick, we need to shift our thinking away from pills and band aids that only treat the original source of our pain and instead use a more holistic and mindful approach to healing.

I put this out there not because I read something (although I do read stuff) or because someone told me that’s how it should be. I put this out there because I have benefited from holistic healing unaware that I was helping myself holistically. It’s only been within the last 12 months or so that I have been able to step outside of the work I’ve done and analyze it.

I’ve tried just pills; I’ve tried just exercising.

I stopped the pills and stopped exercising for the sake of exercising. The pills didn’t make my depression go away anymore than exercising helped my knee pain go away.

What helped was taking a good hard look at everything I consumed and every activity I participated and every person I allowed to affect my thoughts and actions.

I love yoga. I love studying about nutrition. I love sharing what I have learned. I’m not a selfish asshole content with my own self-awareness. I want and wish for all of my friends and family members to benefit from what I have learned. It’s what drives me to keep me writing and spewing through my keyboard.

If you know me personally, you have surely heard me say, “You should try yoga!!”

It’s important to know that I’ll probably continue encouraging you to try yoga, especially if you keep insisting on complaining to me about how unhappy and in pain you are.

(Keep in mind that I want you to complain to me. I won’t judge you, but I will say, “You should try yoga!”)

If I didn’t care about you, I wouldn’t want to share with you what has worked for me…almost like a magic pill.

And because you welcome my repeated and annoying suggestions, I also welcome your advice to me even if your advice is to tell me to just shut up already.

I’ll take my chances at being the friend that annoys you.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/315814992590392541/)

%d bloggers like this: