For the anonymous and obscure reader who contacted me and left no email address

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I like answering all of my mail. Sometimes people contact me and leave no return address.

Today someone contacted me and left no return email. He asked about first loves. I hope he sees this post and feels more secure and less guilty about continuing to love his first love.


Despite this blog’s seemingly negative outlook about relationships and love, I very much believe in love and have loved and been loved throughout my life.

I, for one, find it especially difficult detaching myself from those I once loved and who loved me in return.

(The sociopath is the exception. Like most of what I believe spiritually, the caveat is always “with the exception of sociopaths.”)

This lifetime is a short one. We meet a mere handful of people. The ones who fill my spirit with kindness, affection and bliss live inside of my heart even if they live many miles away or if we have somehow lost touch.

Here’s to true love and best friends!

Namaste!
~Paula

Shifting gears and getting down to more awareness business

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Thanks to many factors and revelations over the course of several years, my life has come full circle, and it’s heading into another orbit as I write.

I feel stronger and more confident today than I’ve ever felt in my life.

I’m no longer the frustrated and fearful person who lacks the confidence to speak up when I initially feel the urge to speak up:

1. If I don’t want to do something, I’ll let you know now. I won’t wait until I’m in the middle of doing it and break down angry and upset for having been “forced” to participate.

2. If I don’t appreciate how someone is speaking/addressing me, I’ll let them know, mid-sentence if necessary.

3. If I sense someone is not being truthful, I’ll ask for clarification on the spot, in the moment.

4. If I like you, I’ll tell you.

5. If I don’t like you, I’ll tell you but only because I don’t want you wasting your time thinking I like you.

6. If you tell me you like me, I’ll let you know how thankful and grateful it makes me feel.

7. If you tell me you don’t like me, I’ll respect your reason and try to learn from any mistake I made that led you to your opinion of me.

Some will recognize this list as an example of how I plan to use and maintain my boundaries. I’d agree.

However, boundaries mean nothing if there isn’t a solid foundation of self-acceptance. My foundation, I must admit, is still wobbly. It’s not as earthquake-proof as I’d like it to be.

I feel like the boundaries I have built are quite vulnerable considering I struggle sometimes accepting who I am and where I’ve been.

This blog and the support I get from it have definitely contributed to a more stable foundation, but I can’t rely on this blog alone to reach a higher level of self-acceptance.

Fortunately, I have devised a plan (sounds good on paper!) that might help me reach the level of self-acceptance that my beloved family and friends deserve for me to have.

The first part of my plan is to say “Good-bye” to JUST writing about sociopaths. I started this blog before I ever believed in sociopaths (hehe!), but I admit my experience with a sociopath definitely propelled the popularity of this space.

(I doubt the growth of my blog traffic had much to do with my grasp of grammar or my writing style as much as it had to do with the morbid curiosity surrounding the subject matter of Sociopaths, Psychopaths and Narcissists…oh my!)

It’s the simple truth: The sociopath writing I publish gets more people to my blog and allows me to interact with more people than if, instead, I wrote a blog with a focus on…yoga!

If you have been following this blog for awhile, you will remember that I tried transforming the focus and attempted to transition away from writing about sociopaths a few months ago. Fulfilling this desire (and letting go) has proven to be one of my greatest challenges, regardless of all the yoga I’ve done.

“Just let it go, Paula. You can do this,” I keep telling myself.

How do I let go of something that has brought me so much cathartic healing? That has introduced me to a world of knowledge I never knew needed to be known or passed along? That has provided me with more love and friendships than I ever dreamed would be a possibility?

Plus, I am human, and I like the attention. I like the interaction. I like the validation.

But I also recognize that trying to increase my blog hits each month, to help everyone who comments and to respond timely and accurately to everyone who contacts me privately was causing me some stress, anxiety and took away from my ability to help myself and continue to grow and succeed.

I was stupidly putting too much pressure on myself to be more than I am capable of being.

What am I capable of?

I can write, and I am willing to share. I write blog posts about my experience with someone I believe is pathological, highly narcissistic and sociopathic. I write about how I’ve fallen flat and how I found the faith and courage to continue despite accepting the ugliness of my past. I can also write on many more interesting topics, too.

What am I not capable of?

I can’t be responsible for guiding everyone in the right direction who asks for my help. I wish I could, but I am not a counselor. I can’t help everyone with just words who privately contacts me. I don’t have a magic pill or solution.

Because I have learned healthy boundaries, I recognized how I was allowing my blog to control and dictate my sense of worth and accomplishment. So I took a healthy break the last few months from writing as prolifically as I had been writing. I took that time to map out some goals and determine how I’d like to challenge myself in the coming months and years.

I don’t want to let anyone down by pulling away from my original subject matter, but I’m antsy to go to new places and explore new possibilities, in my writing, my life and my relationships.

>> I want to write more for my Washington Times Communities column on relationships, yoga and health, all from a mindful perspective. I’ve been more fearful to put myself out there, up to this point, on such a public forum as opposed to my personal blog space. It’s safe here. It’s not there.

>> I want to dedicate more time to my anatomy and yoga studies, so I can be fully confident and ready to teach the students who could benefit from my experience at the time I earn my 200-hour yoga teacher training certification later this year. I want to teach yoga to trauma patients and volunteer to teach yoga in community corrections and shelters.

>> I want to dedicate more time to editing all of the personal abuse stories submitted to me last year, so the second book I publish is one we can all be proud to pass on to our family and friends and strangers in need.

>> I want to highlight more success stories on my blog. I think this community reads enough about struggles; we deserve some feel-good pieces with more focus on aftermath success.

>> I want to organize a conference (no matter how small or cramped) that will bring us all together in a room, so we can give each other real hugs and not just virtual ones! (((Hugs)))

All of these things require time, organization and dedication. I believe 2014 is going to be a time of further assessment.

But I also sense 2014 will be the year the global foundation surrounding the importance of narcissist and sociopath awareness becomes more solid, making all of us better positioned, emotionally and mentally, to stand proud and spread awareness about emotional abuse wider than just our blogs, Twitter feeds or Facebook pages.

Regardless of what I write and share on my blog moving forward, whatever it is it’s most certainly related to how I continue to mindfully heal and grow.

My life is consumed and driven by the desire to never stop growing.

And I’m not just talking about healing and growing from the toxic relationship in which I found myself with the sociopath. I’m also referring to healing and growing from years of not thinking I was good enough.

I want to share all of the good stuff I learn with you in hopes you’ll continue sharing your successes and periodic struggles with this community.

I’ve been too fearful to be me in the past. Thanks to this community (which is continuously growing!) I am ready to spread my wings and take a few risks. What do I have to lose?!? What do any of us have to lose!?!?

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://blogs.worldbank.org/psd/shifting-gears-capitalism-and-the-logic-of-competitive-industries)

Always be inquisitive and watch sociopaths run in the other direction

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Practice being the smart, caring and inquisitive person you were born to be, and eliminating sociopaths from your life will be that much easier!

It’s not cool to be an asshole. Sociopaths think they’re cool.

Sociopaths are so delusional, they think the rest of us are envious and wish to be bold and as straight forward as the sociopath is.

Do you think these are enviable and/or brave behaviors?

1. Lying to get what you want.

2. Crying crocodile tears to get sympathy…so you can get what you want.

3. Yelling profanities to get people to listen…so you can get what you want.

4. Shaming people into believing they’re bad and you’re good…so you can get what you want.

5. Stealing knowledge, ideas, resources and connections from others…so you can get what you want.

I don’t know about you, but in my book those are all indications that the person is lazy, cowardice, ignorant, childish, selfish, delusional and someone I wouldn’t want to call a friend let alone a spouse or significant other.

How can you be proud to stand next to someone who is a leech in every aspect of their lives?

>> Sociopaths steal from their parents, children, spouses/lovers and business partners.

>> Sociopaths would rather buy the Cliff’s Notes on life than wade through the tough parts and the good parts with equal interest and passion.

>> Sociopaths have zero creativity; their ideas about life and love are mere words stolen from true poets and artists. They are masters at clichés. They know them all! It’s quite something to listen to them talk about life with so many over-used platitudes and commonplace stock language. Sociopaths lack emotions and continuously betray themselves, unknowingly, with each passing conversation and protestation they attempt to invoke.

This is why sociopaths NEED us; we don’t need them.

More specifically, they need us to suspend our disbelief long enough so we become convinced the sociopath holds all of the answers.

Although sociopaths are unable to explain how they come to think what it is they spew, they can’t stop spewing it.

Sociopaths are so convincing with what they spew, we tend to just take what they say as having come from their own minds and thought processes.

(I’d put this up their as the #1 reason we stuck around longer than we should have; we trusted someone undeserving of our trust just because they sounded good.)

Once we start to question the sociopath, we’re immediately raged upon and accused of disrespecting the sociopath’s authority. And, more than likely, we become ashamed of ourselves for inciting such a reaction from someone who called us his soul mate and reason for living over breakfast just hours before.

In the words of Cher to Nicolas Cage in Moon Struck, “Snap out of it!!”

(You did. You have. You won’t go there again!)

Today, thankfully, we are all very discerning individuals. (We wouldn’t be participating in pages like this if we weren’t!)

We are smart and articulate and expect anyone and everyone who claims to be an expert to provide proof. Gone are the days that we’re going to blindly trust someone just because they are charismatic and appear well-studied and knowledgeable. We are no longer suckers in our public or our private lives.

Therefore, if we hear someone preaching, we will feel safe and comfortable asking, “Why should I consider what you have to say?”

An honest and passionate person will answer, “You shouldn’t,” because an honest and passionate person has learned that the door to thinking, living and understanding closes the moment we abandon our independent thought processes and instead, rely on others for answers.

The answers are inside you. Don’t let a sociopath (or anyone for that matter) scare you into thinking his answers WILL BE your answers or else. The second a person says, “You’re wrong for thinking that way,” you need to remember that it’s your thoughts that make you who you are. Your thoughts will guide you to your truth and to your imperfect but perfect self.

I’d rather live alone with my imperfect self than share a space with a delusional and controlling sociopath any day!

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications

Interested in Spoiling Your Holiday Party? Invite a Sociopath!

Broken SantaHoliday time means fun with friends and family. Sprinkle in a sociopath, and the fun is stripped faster than you can say, “Happy Thanksgiving!”

I hated being in public with the sociopath, especially around the holidays. Not only did he insist on controlling me, he insisted on behaving in ways that pushed people away…from both of us.

He was always so sweet and charming to the very people he repeatedly talked negatively about in private.

And he talked shit about EVERYONE in private:

His mother, his brother, his sister in-law, my sisters, my friends, his friends and even their pets!

No one was off limits or safe from the sociopath’s miserable judgements.

But few people got sucked in by his fake and charming demeanor when we got together for holiday parties with friends and/or family.

(I still get pissed at myself for tolerating his ability to be the biggest asshole in any room. I thought he was JUST insecure. I felt sorry for the cad.)

My sisters certainly did not see him as charming, funny or even attractive for that matter. They tolerated him, because they loved me. My mother was the only one who tried to be friendly, but even her patience failed eventually.

And most everyone in his so-called inner circle seemed like they just tolerated his presence. I picked up on this quickly.

He never attracted people’s energy; he seemed to detract their energy. No one ever seemed to give a shit if he showed up to their parties or not.

And why should they have cared? He was either talking about himself or trying to isolate me somewhere in the corner of the room.

And if he felt like our conversation wasn’t properly engaging me, he would physically smother me. Always needing me to sit next to him (or on his lap), to hold his hand, to kiss him and to only have my eyes on him!

His behavior and neediness frustrated me. It was maddening and tiresome.

I am a social person. I didn’t like alienating people due to his extreme need to overwhelm me with PDA.

Why go out if your hell-bent on ignoring the party host, your so-called friends and your family. Doesn’t it make better sense to stay home if you’re not interested in being social with anyone other than your significant other?

(Yeah. That’s a no-brainier, right?)

So I always, always tried to break away from his clutches at family gatherings and parties. But being bold and independent only caused the sociopath to react with more troubling anti-social behavior:

At my family parties, he would go off and pout.

(Yes, pout. Male or female, drama drives the sociopath.)

Imagine a grown man of 35 walking up to a grandmother (my mother) and saying, “Why doesn’t she love me? I love her soooo much, and she just ignores me.”

My mother’s favorite retort, “Are you for real?!?”

If the sociopath expected to be coddled and for me to be reprimanded by my mother for not giving him my undivided attention, he was sorely mistaken. My family obviously knew and respected my nature much better than the sociopath, the same man who claimed to know me better than anyone because he was my soul mate.

(Pfft! Vomit. Don’t fall for that line, Ladies and Gentlemen. Do not fall for it!)

Eventually, him tugging on me and interrupting me mid-sentence while talking to a cousin or aunt pushed me to take him aside.

(Exactly like a mother would take her impish child aside to knock sense into him.)

I would walk him back to a private room closed off from the general bustle of the party. Initially, he would think I was doing it to get frisky. (You know, to have sex.) But once the door was shut behind us, I’d explain to him how his behavior was spoiling everyone’s good time.

But guess who left the room feeling guilty?

Yup! Me!!

Although I knew his behavior was childlike and selfish and immature, I was somehow shamed into thinking I was being hateful and insensitive:

“You know I’m not used to being around large families like yours. I just want to feel needed and loved. I just love you so much, and you don’t seem to care how I’m feeling. This is your family. This is where you feel comfortable. Just give me more time. I need time to feel more a part of everything.”

And I’d fall for it. I’d fall for one of his biggest lies and deceptions:

“I’m interested in loving your family as much as I love you.”

(Lies! We know that love is not something sociopaths know or understand like the rest of us. Loving my family comes naturally if you love me. No need to feel excluded. Me inviting you to my family holiday should be a sign that you’re already included. There are no tests to pass. You’re in!)

The pouting and pity party occurred repeatedly, because the sociopath didn’t want to share my attention. He was selfish and callous. That’s not love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

(Image source: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20331806,00.html)

Anti-Ode to The Sociopath

brokenwingOh, you despicable sociopath,
Sitting upon your throne of nothingness;
Can you hear their voices echoing in your head?
“You never loved us; you loved the idea of us. There is a difference. And you don’t love the one you’re with now, either.”

You are deaf.

Oh, you pathetic sociopath,
Thinking upon your empty heart;
Can you see each of your “soul mates” running away from you over and over again in your mind?
“You were never our soul mate. A soul mate wouldn’t repel us nor make us feel unworthy of love and understanding.”

You are blind.

Oh, you sad and soulless sociopath,
Resting on a pillow of empty morals;
Can you read the minds of the people who simply tolerate you?
“We call you Darth Vader behind your back. Do you realize that? You’re the butt of our jokes.”

You are dumb.

Oh, you conscienceless and self-righteous sociopath.
The only fool getting in your way is the one staring back at you in the muddy puddle of your reflection you continuously attempt to avoid.

Step in it, Dear Sociopath. You may be surprised by what’s gasping for breath just beneath the surface.

Image and Poem © 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications

balance

Balancing to Hold On by Letting Go

balanceSince I started this blog, I am realizing more and more how much we, the victims and survivors of pathological love relationships, need each other. I’m also realizing how much we need to set each other free.

From the outside looking in, most people who visit this site (and other sites like this one) can easily jump to the conclusion that we’re a bunch of crying, complaining, broken-hearted, love-sick divas who need to move on!

I get it. I really do. I understand why many choose to look at us in that light: it’s easier to see surface emotions and judge them without diving deep into the reasons behind the emotions.

Often when we read or hear of another’s pain, we end up taking on their emotions. It’s draining. That’s called empathy. Being empathetic takes lots of energy and requires an absence of ego.

We know sociopaths can’t do that. They are not able to empathize.

The rest of us can empathize to a high degree, and the beauty of our ability is that we can choose the degree to which we empathize.

What do I mean? Well, think about it. The amount of energy it takes to focus on another’s pain is draining. We know the people in our lives who drain us the most, right? More than likely, the first person that comes to mind is the sociopath with his pseudo-pain.

But there are many non-pathological people who need our attention due to real pain, and we give to them freely. We put our worries and frustrations aside in order to take on the worries and frustrations of others.

And because we are aware of the energy required to do this, we sometimes choose not to empathize. We choose not to get involved. Making that choice is tough and sometimes filled with guilt. But it’s necessary.

I am perfectly content sometimes to not get involved, especially if I have no useful skills or resources that can help someone in great pain. In those circumstances, I end up feeling more helpless and hopeless and sad, in addition to taking on the pain of the person with whom I am empathizing.

So I choose not to get involved.

It’s not easy to turn the switch from “on” to “off.” I have had to do this often over the past months with family, friends and blog followers (I apologize!) in order to protect myself and remain on track to self-awareness and recovery.

Being overly empathetic of others steals our energy needed for ourselves. It’s the catch-22 of being a healthy, non-pathological person who critiques sociopaths and psychopaths daily–I end up looking no better than the sociopaths and psychopaths I analyze and digest.

But that’s just my guilt talking. I know I’m not a sociopath or psychopath. I also know when the time has come for me to be serious about my limitations and think seriously about hanging up my current hat in order to try on a new one.

Now is one of those times.

Since late February, I have been struggling with writing about sociopaths/psychopaths. I know deep down that I can’t maintain this momentum. I just can’t. I’ve written exhaustively about my experience and observations over the past 16 months or so. With the submission of each post, I think, “This could be the last one on the subject.”

It never is. There is always something that sparks something inside of me. It could be a conversation with a friend, a question from a reader, a TV commercial I watch, a word I hear, a song I begin to hum…whatever it is, I become inspired to share one more story related to sociopaths and toxic relationships.

But I am serious this time. This really could be the last post on the subject I write, but that’s only because I have so many other wonderful things in my life on which I want to focus.

Other than the obvious need to spend more time with my family, I am also actively planning to begin yoga teacher training in the fall. Once certified in yoga, I can then become certified to teach yoga to trauma patients.

THAT is what I see as my ultimate gift and take away from my toxic relationship and the best use of my empathy and all the energy it consumes. My writing has been a stepping stone to many things: friendships, understanding, job opportunities, vision and purpose.

I’ll continue to write, but probably less and less about sociopaths and psychopaths but more and more on healing techniques and mindful approaches to self-care (which anyone could benefit regardless of past relationship horrors).

I remain dedicated to transforming this blog into a comprehensive book on the aftermath and journey to self-recovery and healing from relational harm. That goal will be primary through the end of this year. As far as writing new material, I want to focus more on writing and editing for Elephant Journal and my Washington Times Communities’ column (which could possibly go into syndication, but I need to hunker down for that to happen).

So I’m not really going anywhere. I could never leave this community. However, I realize I need to let go a little in order to free myself to explore more possibilities for life, love and laughter. The “longing” part is taken care of now, because I feel more free today than I have ever felt in my entire life. I owe a large majority of that to my blog readers and visitors. You’ve made these past months so worth it to me.

The rest is thanks to my loving husband J., my son A. and myself.

Namaste!
~Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/147492956518852766/)

Mear One – Devotchka {recorded live at Red Rocks, June 2013}

I was introduced to this band by my ex boss and now good friend, Jessica, while living and working in Denver, Colorado back in 2005. I’ve seen them live about three (3) times. I WISH I could see them here, at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado near Golden and Boulder.

There is something for everyone!

  • Crowds!
  • Sunlight!
  • An orchestra!
  • Paint!
  • Half-naked women!
  • Enjoy!
Free and beautiful

A reader’s words to “her” sociopath

Free and beautiful

Words to the Sociopath

With your boyish charm you stole my heart,
took my breath, enchanted my mind.
Then the mask fell leaving me bewildered.

The cruel words that spewed from lips I once cherished were meant to crush my spirit.

My heart now has surfaced from the black depths.
Layers of your negativity peeled from my heart.

I breathe.
I breathe freedom.
I breathe peace.

I wake each morning to the power within myself to live my life beautiful.
Destroy my esteem you didn’t.
 
I am stronger than before.
I am beautiful.
I am FREE.

Lorrie Lawson, April 2013

(Image credit: Vajarto Wallpaper)

Elephant Journal – My New Writing Gig

elephant journal logoIn a quest to expand my reach and touch an even greater audience, I pursued an apprenticeship with Elephant Journal and landed it!! I begin next week. Here is a little bit about Elephant Journal and the purpose of the online magazine. I hope you all decide to follow Elephant Journal either on Facebook or Twitter or both!


yoga | organics | sustainability | active citizenship | enlightened education | conscious consumerism | buddhadharma | ecofashion | the contemplative arts

elephantjournaldotcom is your guide to what we like to call ‘the mindful life’: yoga, organics, sustainability, genuine spirituality, conscious consumerism, fair fashion, the contemplative arts…anything that helps us to live a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.

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