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.

diamonds under a dark mask

There is No Light Beneath the Sociopath’s Darkness, But You’re Another Story

diamonds under a dark maskUnlike sociopaths, we non-sociopaths are complete.

We have a light and a dark side. Sociopaths are just dark; they can’t absorb the light.

When I was in the relationship with the sociopath, I started watching the HBO series True Blood. Soon after starting, I stopped. (Or maybe the sociopath made me stop. I can’t remember to be honest.)

Recently, I started watching it again, beginning with episodes from where I left off.

As I watched episode after episode, I kept thinking, “The writers MUST know about sociopaths and psychopaths. Surely, this is a metaphor for what they believe is the truth of this world.”

If you aren’t aware of the show’s premise, here it is in a nutshell:

The world of humans learns that vampires, those blood-sucking beasts of legend and myth who don’t eat food but only human blood for survival, REALLY do exist.

In order for humans and vampires to co-exist, the vampires have the humans convinced that the vampires are not interested in feeding on human blood but can survive, and are happy surviving, on synthetic blood called Tru Blood, manufactured and bottled JUST for vampire consumption.

Tru Blood is the biggest LIE the vampires tell in order to keep humans ignorant and delusional about the truth. The truth is that vampires hate Tru Blood and continue feeding off of the blood of humans secretly and with great success.

Sound familiar?

Sociopaths/psychopaths/narcissists…whatever you want to call them…are soul suckers who lie with impunity and try convincing the humans in this world that they are just like us and deserve respect just like us. We should pity them and feel sorry for their lot in life.

And we buy the lies!

We let our guards down and seek to nurture and protect them and save them from themselves, we become their willing victims.

Willing you ask? Yes, willing.

We see them for what they are, maybe not immediately, but pretty soon we begin to see the cracks in their masks, and we STILL willingly live side-by-side with them giving them the benefit of the doubt. We assume they have a conscience, and we project our ability to empathize onto them, not realizing we are creating a deeper and darker pit for ourselves to one day crawl out of.

Why do we do this for so long?

Part of the problem is that sociopaths project their ugliness back at us at the same time we project our light onto them. We absorb the darkness; they reflect the light. Meaning, the darkness becomes a part of us that we try to understand; they never absorb the light. It blinds them just like the sun blinds and burns and ultimately destroys vampires of myth and legend.

We can live in the dark; they can not live in the light. They can turn us into them; we can’t turn them into us.

I realize this may sound hokey, but it’s the best metaphor for what actually happens when we become the willing victims of the vampiric sociopaths in our midst. (And whoever created the original metaphor, must have lived it, don’t you think? After all, we write and create what we know. Stuff doesn’t get created from thin air.)

Because we have both light and dark inside of us and understand the power of both, we can battle to rid ourselves of the darkness sociopaths impose on us just by capturing and embracing our light. Our light can overpower their darkness and help us uncover our own darkness. That’s what makes us so much more powerful than any sociopath/vampire. Simply by un-inviting them out of our lives, we begin to free ourselves of that darkness.

The rest is completely up to us.

So step away from these dark souls, as far away as possible, and start purging your soul and spirit of the darkness that is keeping you from living to your full potential.

Don’t be afraid of your darkness; there are diamonds under there.

~Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/453808099921744424/)

Alice Olive Paula

The Versatile Blogger Award and a few things about myself…

Paula's Pontifications receives the Versitile Blogger Award

It’s award season, for sure! I was very sick (I think it was the flu) for roughly 17 days straight recently. Hit with fever, body aches, and belly aches. I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to feel better. But I do, and the past few days I received encouraging and motivating feedback from the members of the blogging community. In addition to the two awards given to me last week, I was blessed with another one yesterday: The Versatile Blogger Award!

This award was passed on to my blog, Paula’s Pontifications, by Madeline Laughs of Spread Information ~ Stop the Madness blog, which “supports the fact that everyone has a story to tell.” Thank you, Madeline Laughs and Spread Information!

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog. Check!
  • Thank and Link back to the person who nominated you. Check!
  • State 7 things about yourself. Check!
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for this award. Not in this post. I have many fellow bloggers to recognize and will dedicate a post later this week to them.
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back. See above.

Seven things about me:

  1. Alice Olive PaulaAs a young(er) woman, I was often told that I reminded people of Olive Oyl. More accurately, that I looked like Shelly Duvall’s character in the Popeye movie. Remember Popeye? Now, people tell me I look like Alice (Milla Jovovich) from the Resident Evil films. I don’t know. I don’t get it, really. How about you? Hehe!
  2. I love scary movies. Why? I have no idea, but I read that it may have something to do with my need to stimulate a part of my brain that is normally not stimulated. However, I admit I took a VERY long and much-needed break from them in my recent past. I wonder why?
  3. While a graduate student, I was also a member of AmeriCorps and worked at a community corrections facility (also referred to as a half-way house), where I taught male and female inmates GED, ABE, Life Skills, and Computer training, among other things. The organization I worked for also has a WordPress blog. Check it out!: Community Educational Outreach.
  4. As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming an architect. I wanted to design and build things. That dream didn’t come true. Instead, my studies focused on writing and communication and adult education. Today, I design and build (and sometimes rebuild) websites. They call it information architecture, and I love doing it and learning more about it every day.
  5. I play the saxophone and the violin. Well…I used to play them. I’d like to start practicing again and maybe take a few lessons along with my son. I think he wants to play the trombone.
  6. One day I would love to live near the mountains and the sea at the same time. I have lived in the mountains of Colorado, Maine, and Maryland. I have spent many vacations on the coast and near water. I love both and can’t decide, so why not treat myself  and my family to both at once?
  7. I don’t like writing about myself. I like writing. Just not about myself. I’m slowly getting over that fear.

Namaste!

Snow White in the flesh

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Being involved intimately with a narcissistic sociopath is a bit like living out the story of Snow White. Except there is no rescue by Prince Charming.

We begin the relationship naive and trusting like Snow White. The sociopath presents himself as a dichotomy: he appears shiny and delicious like the apple, but, at the same time, he behaves as if he were broken and in need of our help just like the evil queen disguised as the desperate old woman.

Our vanities are tempted by the apple, the gloriousness of a romantic and adventurous existence. And our sympathy is tested by the old woman, our desire to bring light to the sociopath’s dark and troubled mind.

The apple is dangled above us, so close we can taste it! How can we resist? How could anyone resist? But once we’ve taken a bite of the apple, we realize it’s not really a shiny and delicious apple at all. It’s poison. Everything around us begins to rot and whither; we begin to rot and whither.

Before we even cross the threshold into the world of the sociopath, our inner battle between good and evil begins. The sociopath repeatedly whispers that we deserve the luxuries of life even in the midst of other’s suffering. And that it’s okay to pamper ourselves and be selfish.

“You’ve worked hard, Baby, for a chance at pleasure. You shouldn’t have to work so damn hard to get a few morsels. Let me help you.”

And the sociopath is right! And he seems like he’s on our side, because we HAVE worked hard to become what we have become, DAMMIT! We have sacrificed so much of our time and our talents for so many years without reaping much benefit. We have always worked hard and helped others without expecting anything in return. The sociopath convinces us that we have been duping ourselves and that a lot can be received without giving anything. The sociopath gives us examples of how he has acquired so much in life without needing to lift a finger. The sociopath convinces us that we, like him, shouldn’t be involved with people or events that offer us nothing in return.

“What good is THAT relationship? What’s in it for you?”

Well, much to our surprise, we start thinking that it does seem like a more practical approach to life. And since one of our biggest complaints has always been feeling like we’re being walked all over all of the time, we relinquish our own ethics and begin to believe that it’s okay to expect a lot from nothing. After all, look how it’s worked for him?

With this shift in our thinking, we become the mouse to the sociopath’s cat. The game has REALLY picked up! The honeymoon stage is finally over, making it much easier for the sociopath to take off his mask and begin his cruel mind games in earnest.

The rages begin. He screams at us and tells us we are bad, no good, and unworthy of respect. The more the sociopath rages and attacks our character calling us hateful, heartless, and cruel, the more we believe that he could be right. After all, we had selfish thoughts about life and how to acquire a better life. We abandoned people because we chose to think like the sociopath. We ignored friends in need because we chose to think like the sociopath. God! How horrible and uncaring we have been. The sociopath is right. We don’t deserve to be happy while others are suffering. How could we have thought that way in the first place?

We dive deeper into the darkness of despair and self-loathing. We soon become convinced that we are EXACTLY like the sociopath, no better and maybe even a bit worse. Our reflections begin to merge, and we don’t like it.

So what do we end up doing in hopes of trading in our distorted self-image for our lost reflection? We decide to try to fix the sociopath. We can’t allow the relationship to wither and die. The sociopath has convinced us that we are soul mates, remember? We were brought together for a reason, remember? That he can’t live without us or he’ll die, remember? We can’t go on living happy, joyful, and free with blood on our hands, can we? We hold on to hope that the sociopath will “come around.” We can’t give up on someone who is clearly hurting inside. People change every day, right? Surely, the sociopath can change, too.

But the sociopath NEVER changes; he just gets worse. He continues to throw our mistakes and bad choices in our faces and discovers new ways to turn the secrets of our past into ugly histories. Horrible tales are spun. Threats are made. We become even more trapped. Our happiness wanes, cultivating our depression. We become a complete shell of our former selves. Now what do we do? Do we wait for our Prince Charming to rescue us? Not likely. That’s where our tale differs considerably from Snow White’s.

This is reality. At this point in the relationship with the sociopath, we are COMPLETELY and UTTERLY alone. We are on our own. We have a choice to make. Do we leave and begin our healing journey to a better and glorious life? Or do we stay and continue withering away, dying from the inside out?

You probably already know the choice I made. What choice did you make? What choice WILL you make?

Namaste!

Introverts and emotional vampires–a toxic mix

http://www.adaliaconfidenceandsuccessblog.com/2010/07/15/30-signs-of-toxic-relationships/Contrary to what many might assume, being introverted is not synonymous with being shy. Shy people often carry around fears and insecurities, making interpersonal communication difficult if not impossible. Introverts, on the other hand, are energized by being alone and choose to be alone. Introverts like to think and reflect on themselves and the world around them.  Although introverts enjoy people and can be very personable unlike those marked as shy, being surrounded by people drains introverts of their energy. Instead, they opt for quiet walks alone or other activities like reading or cooking or baking or knitting. You get the idea.

I am an introvert. I first took the Myers-Briggs type indicator test twenty years ago and was saddened to learn that I was considered introverted. It really bothered me, because I, like many others, associated being introverted with being shy and socially awkward. Who wants to be a social misfit?

So, instead of embracing the revelation, I fought the label. But being the natural introvert that I was, I didn’t know where to begin with being an extrovert. I thought partying more, being more talkative with my co-workers and classmates, asking friends to run with me instead of by myself, and choosing action-packed movies over cerebral films would help me become the extrovert I thought I wanted to be. Nothing really worked. I always went back to my natural introverted self, I failed to realize that being introverted and extroverted is not just about what you do or don’t do with people; it’s also about how you think best.

As an introvert, I think and understand things better through solitary activities like writing, reading, and meditating. Extroverts think better talking things out with others. (This is what I have read. If I am way off, please correct me.) Therefore, I avoid immediate arguments with others, become silent, retreat, and get my thoughts and feelings down on paper before I try expressing them aloud.

What does this have to do with being in a relationship with an emotional vampire like the boy in my story? A lot, actually…

Emotionally abusive people like the boy interpret an introvert’s desire to be alone as a personal insult to them. Abusive people are VERY insecure and abuse others through asserting their control over them. They want to control what you do, who you know, who you talk to, and even what you think.

Because I like to be alone to refresh my brain, I was often accused of alienating him from my life and not loving him enough. One of my activities that he especially disliked was me exercising on the elliptical machine for 20-30 minutes each evening after work. The boy HATED that I did this. He interpreted it as me choosing some other activity in order to avoid him because I must not love him enough (or some such shit reason that he would pull from his pathetic ass).

He could never “get” that exercising and decompressing before we got together each evening had a direct impact on my energy level and mood. I tried to explain how exercising was a natural anti-depressant. (I thought that would be something he would embrace since he hated that I took Cymbalta at the time.) But, like most things that defined who I was as a person, I was forced to give up this practice. It was him or the gym. Because I thought choosing my needs over him was a heartless and selfish thing to do, I chose him. In choosing him, I didn’t realize at the time that I was also sacrificing me. (Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? Thank you, “CoDependent No More“!)

I also enjoyed reading and writing, two more activities that I was accused of choosing above him because I “must not have enjoyed our time together or loved him enough.”

As a result of not being able to do the things that were essential for the health of my introverted core, I quickly lost myself. If I tried to retreat to a quiet room away from the boy, he’d follow me and demand that I talk to him. I’d try, but I had no energy to fight against his crazy-making arguments. I had no defense against all of his accusations. I relinquished all control and all boundaries to him. I was numb to it all.

After much (introverted) reflection, I realize now why I was so numb toward the end: he had taken away my outlets: reading, writing, exercising, and other activities. I didn’t even realize how important these outlets were/are to me as an introvert. Now I do!! All those years of wishing I were an extrovert slapped me in the face and made me realize I am who I am and want to keep being that person.

I am an introvert. More specifically, I am an INFJ. My husband appreciates me and understands that I need alone time occasionally. He doesn’t worry that I don’t love him enough or that I don’t love our son enough. He knows that sometimes I need to be alone in a quiet room or go for a solitary walk around the neighborhood. It’s nothing personal against him. It’s personal pro me. He knows that if I take care of myself and heed my personal needs, I will take better care of him and our family’s needs. It’s a good combination. We’re a good combination.

Namaste!

Finding humor in our experiences

I am all about finding humor even in the most hurtful and hateful situations. Yesterday I discovered a new way to share and educate folks about spotting narcissists (who could turn out to be sociopaths) using my humor… text-to-speech animated videos! Enjoy!


Is your new love interest too needy too soon? Is he telling you he loves you after only one or two dates? These are a few of the Red Flags of Narcissists and Other Emotional Vampires. Don’t be fooled. Run now. Really. Just run away. (Click the title below to see the video and “Like” it!)

How to Spot and Respond to a Narcissist on the First Date

Note: This video was made by MyEmotionalVampire. That’s me! Many of you may or may not know, but I am a co-administrator for the My Emotional Vampire (MEV) community page on Facebook. I’ll be making many more videos just like this one for MEV and you! 🙂

Healing through laughter

Laughter is the best medicine.

My son the laughter dummy

In addition to writing and sharing my story of emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath, I want to provide healing options for those who have suffered similarly. On my blog, I write about yoga, Bikram yoga specifically, and how it is healing me every day and with every practice. But one of the most valuable healing tools I have encountered is laughter.

Laughter? Yes, laughter. According to Laughter effects: Humor and Inspiration for victims of sociopaths, laughter is good medicine:

“Laughter reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, and benefits the cardiovascular system. Laughter is the direct pathway to the center of one’s identity. Humor is empowering!” (Martin, 2011).

And what’s the biggest thing that gets taken from us at the hands of sociopaths, narcissists, and other Cluster B predators?…our identities!  I think it is fair to say that most of us choose to be angry at the person who orchestrated our suffering, and the anger is nearly uncontrollable to reel in at times. Unfortunately, being angry wreaks havoc on our bodies and can cause any number of health issues if allowed to seethe. Here is a short list of anger-related conditions I pulled from a Healthmad story on The Physiology of Anger:

  • High blood pressure
  • Decrease in metabolic activity
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Flare-ups of skin diseases (think psoriasis and eczema)
  • Flare-ups of arthritis pain
  • Difficulty battling the common cold
  • Increased risk of asthma attacks

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather put an end to the insanity and not be angry or suffer additional physical and mental anguish. I think we suffered enough, don’t you? Instead, I desperately want to laugh and be happy and healthy with increased vitality and energy and loving relationships. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? And we deserve idyllic. So, how do we change anger to laughter? Where do we start? What do we do to keep the laughter flowing?

The answer is pretty simple in my opinion: 1) watch and read humorous movies and books; 2) find the “funny” in everything (even a traffic jam can be funny) and; 3) above all, work on not taking yourself too seriously.  After all, isn’t that the trap the sociopath put us through to begin with?

Below is a link to a website I like visiting occasionally to help transform my anger into laughter. It’s specifically designed for those of us who have had the unfortunate experience of dating douche bags. Hahahaha! Peace.

http://www.idatedthatdouche.com/I Dated that Douche website is filled with funny quotes and images to keep you laughing in spite of it all.

Day 5: A (yoga) pedicure’s life

Day 5 yoga toes

Day 5 yoga toes

I made it through the first 5 days of my yoga challenge, and my pedicure still looks pretty good, huh?

Day 3 of my challenge, my sister joined me. She’s a few years older than me and had never done yoga before. Her “thing” was running. Unfortunately, she broke her ankle over Thanksgiving and has been desperate to do something to get active again. Over a text on Tuesday afternoon, I suggested she join me at Bikram Yoga Rockville. She said yes!

After she said yes, I wrote that if she liked the class, I would buy her a mat as an early birthday gift. (Her birthday isn’t until the end of June. Bribes help motivation, what can I say?) After Wednesday’s class,  she really liked it. She’s gone 3 times in the past 5 days and has a nicer yoga mat than I do!

Another highlight from the weekend: I did a double. I attended the 8 a.m. AND the 10 a.m. classes on Saturday morning. About 30 minutes into the first class, I was having doubts about attending a second class in the same day. My left thigh was sore, and the room seemed hotter than usual. (Yes, you CAN feel the difference between 100 degrees and 105 degrees.) Then my mind started wandering. I started thinking about the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. What a tragic film! I could feel tears welling up inside of me as I remembered the scene when Benjamin and Daisy were both the same age (roughly 30) and they had their child and then Benjamin leaves.

“Jesus, Paula! Stop thinking about that movie. And please don’t think about the end of the movie, okay?”

And then Daisy at age 60 caring for toddler Benjamin… and then tiny infant Benjamin…and then his last breath. The tears were flowing but easily camouflaged by the sweat dripping down my face. It felt good, the crying. I refocused my breathing and realized a second class is just what my body and mind needed.

The second 90 minutes was better than the first, and luckily I didn’t drift into thinking about the Button movie or Pan’s Labyrinth (gotta write about THAT film soon). I finished on a high and drove home feeling like I had accomplished more than I imagined I could that day, and it wasn’t even past noon yet!

Tomorrow is my second date with the Art Erase laser. Hopefully, I’ll have a bitter-sweet image of my right forearm to share. To catch up on my tatoo removal journey, read the following posts and laugh at my expense. Namaste!

  1. Tatoo, what tatoo?
  2. Tatoo removal: The first steps
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