Survivor story 24 – Yvette’s story #seeDV #DVawareness

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Yvette’s story: Regain your perspective; you did not choose the toxic relationship


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.

Submit your reflections, because together we CAN change things #dvawareness #recovery

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Share your reflections and thoughts on the survivor stories I have been sharing during October.

Complete the Reflections on Survivor Stories Form now!

All 31 stories will be compiled and published as a free ebook in mid-November. The hope is to receive a funding source to make the book available in print for distribution in libraries, shelters, law offices, schools and conferences.

Thoughtful feedback and reflections will speak to interest and need and as supporting data to present to potential funding sources.

Although many of us do not need numbers and statistics to be convinced more must be done to combat the injustices of abuse and its aftermath, numbers and statistics are an unfortunate reality necessary to persuade and convince those in a position of power and influence to care.

Follow the link attached to share your reflections. If you haven’t been keeping up with the stories, a link to the story archive is provided on the submission form.

Complete the Reflections on Survivor Stories Form now!

Thank you!!
~Paula Carrasquillo

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

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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.

Story #11 – Katherine’s story: Surviving pathological and intimate partner abuse #dvawareness #survival #recovery

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October 11, 2014: Katherine’s story: Surviving pathological and intimate partner abuse

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 11, 2014 — Katherine* is a survivor of pathological and intimate partner abuse living, working as a nurse and recovering in The United States.

Before getting together with Scott, I was happy, trusting, confident and joyful. During the relationship, I was confused, distrustful and anxious. Now that it is over, I feel depressed, lonely, violated and still confused. It sucks.

I met Scott at work. He is a doctor; I am a nurse. (I’ve now discovered through research that these professions are quite typical for pathological relationships). I knew him for three years before we started dating. 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.

Jake’s story: Abuse, addiction, and love with a sociopath #DVawarenessMonth

Hsing Wei/FLICKR

Hsing Wei/FLICKR

October 10, 2014 – Jake’s story: Abuse, addiction, and love with a sociopath

BETHESDA, Maryland, October 10, 2014 — Jake* is a survivor of drug addiction and sociopath abuse living and recovering in The United States.


My name is Jake and my story is not for the faint of heart (as with anyone who has been in a toxic relationship with a sociopath). My story involves addiction, therefore is painful to talk about, but in writing this story I believe I will find healing so I can move on with my life. If I can help even one person with my story, then all of this was worth it. 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.

Give your awareness and knowledge wings #recovery #patience #healing

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Knowledge is power but only if we give it wings.

>>We can read book after book and blog after blog.

>>We can visit therapist after therapist and support group after support group.

>>We can take in vast volumes of knowledge and information yet still find ourselves stuck.

Why? How is it possible to know the truth yet remain confused about what’s next?

I think there are a number of factors to consider before giving up on your healing and transformational journey:

1. Honor the process; it’s not instant healing.

To change, learn, grow and ultimately transform takes time and dedication. There will be moments of “relapse” and/or intense triggers and high-level anxiety. These are normal reactions your body and mind produces when we try changing conditioned patterns of thought and action. We involuntarily fight against those changes, because ironically, we’ve conditioned ourselves to find comfort in our suffering and state of despair.

2. Honor your survival.

You survived something that many do not. You may have lost your job, your home, your car, your family and your dignity, but you are still breathing. Your heart is still beating, right? I believe in purpose, and there is a purpose you remain alive.

3. Honor your failed expectations.

It is absolutely impossible to expect or predict how and in what setting your joy will manifest. You can think of a 100 possible scenarios, and the 101st scenario you never imagined is what you experience. So think on what you want or “something better.” Never put limits on the possibilities.

4. Honor the need to love and respect yourself before others.

Healthy levels of self-awareness and self-care are absolutely necessary if you expect the universe to start treating you better and gifting you with opportunities. Forget about what will please others for a change. Think about what you need to do for yourself, so when you are called upon to help others, you’re ready.

5. Honor the purge process.

We MUST eliminate any obstacles–thoughts, habits and people–that interfere with moving forward in our recovery. If you know certain foods aren’t good for you, stop eating them. If you recognize certain people set you off, avoid social situations with those people.

Set firm boundaries and create sacred rules of engagement for yourself, because you matter and are worth every moment dedicated to your recovery.

Namaste!
~Paula Carrasquillo, author of Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath

Can you spot it? The sociopath as predatory chameleon

Those pesky buggers!

Those pesky buggers!

In the aftermath of sociopath abuse, we become bewildered and confused for many reasons. The source of our greatest confusion is the sociopath’s ability to “recover” so quickly and move on to his/her next and then the next and then the next soul mate.

(“Must be exhausting!” was my initial reaction to the boy’s endless, revolving door of victims who came before, during and after me.)

Unfortunately, we sabotage our recovery, because we have a tendency to judge ourselves against the qualities of all of these new girlfriends and/or boyfriends, when, instead, we should be examining and applying what we know about sociopaths to the sociopath.

The sociopath is not the same person he/she was when the sociopath was with you and seems like the absolute perfect and ideal match for the new significant other, a.k.a. the new victim, right? Well, what you observe is true. The sociopath is different, because the sociopath is no longer mirroring your values but is now mirroring the values of the new supply.

It’s perplexing at best:

>>You wonder how someone can turn off and on values (and many times conflicting and polar opposite values) so quickly.

>>You wonder how you could have been so blind to the sociopath’s mask and false character for so long.

>>You beat yourself up thinking the sociopath is different today because you didn’t allow the sociopath room to grow inside the relationship.

>>You keep thinking the sociopath is right about you and that the sociopath wasn’t happy with you because you made the sociopath unhappy.

>>You question if the sociopath is even a sociopath. After all, the new girlfriend/boyfriend seems awfully happy and so does the sociopath.

Remember that sociopaths are predatory chameleons. They have no identity and no values and must take on the values of their new victim to blend in with the new victim’s surroundings (including their friends and family). Seeing this “miracle” makes the victim that got away (you!) wish you hadn’t gotten away.

How absolutely absurd, right? You do not want to be back in that place, do you? That place where every action and desire you had was judged and placed under a microscope, right? Where you didn’t know from day to day if your choices would be accepted, rejected or used to shame you. Where life could sometimes feel euphoric and then suddenly feel like a dungeon. Where everything floated in uncertainty, denial and hopelessness.

You do not want to be back in that place. Of that I am certain.

Rejoice in the fact that you are no longer tangled inside that web. Rejoice that you have values that helped you wake up from the haze and fog the sociopath used to hypnotize you.

The sociopath didn’t suddenly change overnight. The only thing that changed overnight was the sociopath’s target. And the best way to attract and entrap a target is by looking and acting and taking on the values, interests and concerns of the new target. It’s how you were lured, remember?

The sociopath does not change.

It’s only a matter of time before the sociopath’s latest soul mate and circle of friends catch on and make their escape. The cycle will continue, and the sociopath will once again be forced to smear those people and frolic about altering his/her values to blend in and fit inside a new crowd of unsuspecting victims.

What a hell of a life, huh? Must be exhausting to have no identity of one’s own.

Namaste!
~Paula Carrasquillo, author of Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath

“Love bites” of sociopaths #Pistorius #DomesticViolence #SamanthaTaylor

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Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide but not guilty of murder. He could receive a suspended sentence and be free to abuse again, because Judge Masipa claims there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that Oscar knew Reeva was behind the locked bathroom door of his Pretoria, South African home on the even of Valentine’s Day 2013 when he blindly fired 4 shots through the door, murdering the young and vibrant Reeva.

As I scanned the endless verdict headlines this morning in disbelief, another Pistorius-related headline caught my eye:

My life of hell with Oscar Pistorius: Watch ex-lover reveal how she feared Blade Runner would kill her

In this brief article and video interview footage, Samantha Taylor, former girlfreind of Pistorius, describes incidents in which the paralympic athlete bit her, pinched her, and locked her in his home. She describes being so frightened following one of his rages that she hid his gun from him, the same gun he used to shoot and murder Reeva, out of fear for her life.

To me, this is chilling and reminiscent of my own degrading and fear-inducing treatment.

Although the boy in my story didn’t have a gun (at least not one that I knew existed), he bit and pinched me in public and private whenever it seemed he was losing control of me and/or I was exerting my independence.

In public, I would be sitting at a table of acquaintances talking about this or that, and suddenly he’d squeeze and sting my upper thigh or the back of my arm with an aggressive pinch.

I’d immediately react and jump mid-sentence, and those at the table would look at me like I was crazy and wonder, “What in the world?” But before I could get my bearings straight, the boy would quickly lean over and kiss me to further silence me while biting my lip. Once he released me, he’d whisper in my ear, “You are so beautiful.”

I was left shocked, stunned, frustrated and embarrassed.

In private, I would be sitting quietly reading, and the boy would sneak up behind me and bite my neck or shoulder and/or pinch my arm. I would immediately jump and tell him it hurt and to please not do that again. His reaction to me would be disdain.

He would say, “Oh, that didn’t hurt. You are so sensitive. You don’t like me touching you, do you? You don’t love me, do you?”

And then a rage would ensue.

He argued and tried to convince me that his bites and pinches were “love bites” and “love squeezes.” I didn’t know what to call them, because they hurt and left bruises but were immediately followed by his professions of love and idolization.

I was left so confused and wondering, “Maybe I am too sensitive and just need to lighten up a little.”

Today, I realize that these are tactics abusers use to control, intimidate and induce cognitive dissonance on their victims. It’s akin to training a dog with a shock collar, so they don’t go beyond the boundaries their invisible fence allows.

And, yes, I feared for my life before I left him, sleeping with a butter knife underneath my side of the mattress just in case he’d decide to wake me and fly into a rage. My fears were further validated a year after escaping when an ex-girlfriend of the boy contacted me and wrote, “I always feared that if I had married him, my life would become one of those Lifetime movies where the husband snaps and kills his wife for no apparent reason.”

The injustice of the Pistorius verdict is why we must not be afraid to share what happened to us and why our collective stories will one day be heeded and judges like Masipa presiding over trials like Pistorius’ won’t let killers walk free after an act of cold-blooded murder against one’s own spouse/significant other.

Consider picking up a copy of the recently released book by Samantha Taylor’s mother, Patricia, Oscar: An accident waiting to happen, which speaks to the athlete’s state of mind leading to Reeva’s murder. Chilling.

Namaste!
~Paula, author of Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath

Spotting a Sociopath’s False Mask of Victimhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actions sociopaths associate as direct abuse against them include:

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

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

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

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

I think it’s the later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste!
~Paula

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