“There’s something odd about that guy she’s dating.”

“There’s something odd about that guy she’s dating.”

I have many sisters who aren’t afraid to be direct with me. I have a mother who pays attention and asks questions. Despite this, none of them felt comfortable probing me about “that guy” while I was dating him or letting me know how they really felt.

Only after I escaped the sociopath did I learn about the numerous conversation my friends and family members were having amongst themselves about “that guy”. In the aftermath of the relationship, my mother and sisters confessed that his behavior was “odd” and “abnormal”, but they weren’t able to define exactly what it was about him that made them uneasy. This inability to pinpoint a tangible reason to explain their gut feelings discouraged them from voicing their concerns with me directly.

Even if they had approached me, I’m sure I wouldn’t have welcomed their criticisms and questions. I would have become defensive and made excuses and explained away his behavior. I was in both shock and denial while inside the toxic dynamic. I was unwilling to face the humiliation of choosing so poorly, so the more I pushed away the reality of who “that guy” was turning out to be, the less humiliation I felt on a daily basis. I thought I was preserving myself, when I was actually allowing myself to decay from the inside out.

Today, I can pinpoint exactly what it was about “that guy” that made my family’s skin crawl, because it made my skin crawl too, but I just kept denying what I was sensing:

A permeating presence of stagnant, low-vibrational energy, which revealed his 1) lack of authenticity; 2) lack of truth; and 3) lack of original thoughts.

When I think back to these words he screamed at me just before I escaped, “I don’t know why you’re getting so upset now after all this time. You knew from the beginning that this is who I am,” I realize he was right. Even before the name calling, blocking, pushing, grabbing, pinching and down-right dirtiness of his actions and words, the ugliness of the sociopath was always present, hovering like a phantom and lingering at the threshold of the foreground and background. And he never tried to hide it. He actually believed he was as normal and as healthy as the next guy.

1. Lack of authenticity – This was ever-present but especially noticeable to me when we were with others in a group. I immediately picked up on his false gestures of friendship and camaraderie. In the beginning, my body would only slightly react…a tickle in my throat…at the sound of him talking about how happy he was for someone. He wasn’t happy for anyone. Who was he fooling? He only said he was happy because he thought that was what he was supposed to say. He didn’t feel happiness for anyone on any deep level. I sensed this lack of genuine emotions early but was too naive to understand the depth of what it meant about the true nature of “that guy”.

2. Lack of truth – Closely connected to his lack of authenticity, his lack of truth expanded beyond simply lying when recounting stories from his past and present. I never sensed a solid truth in anything he said, chose to eat, buy or acquire. In every relationship, we share and tell our stories with a combination of the words we use and the things we choose to surround ourselves, from the books on our shelves to the pictures we carry in our wallets. When we are in the presence of an honest and truthful person, everything that person says and everything surrounding that person, from their clothes to their friendships to what they eat, makes sense, folds into each other and further solidifies our personal idea of who that person is. With “that guy”, there were too many contradictions flashing before my eyes, making it impossible for me to form a clear picture of who “that guy” was. Unfortunately, because my intuition was not well-primed, these contradictions caused me to feel confused and restless about the emotions and sensations they conjured within me. I fought the contradictions and attempted to explain them away: “Oh, he’s just complicated. He’s just really in touch with his feminine side. He’s just very masculine and that’s why he’s super jealous. He’s just not used to kids. His just needs more time to understand my family.” The excuses were endless and only served to hide the truth about the lack of truth within “that guy”. I couldn’t form a solid image of his persona in my mind, because he wasn’t standing in truth. He was perpetually acting and switching roles depending on his audience and based on what he thought would garner him the most control, reward and attention. I see that now, and it’s twisted.

3. Lack of original thoughts – This was one of his most aggravating qualities. He liked regurgitating the thoughts and ideas of others and claiming them as his own. I considered this the equivalent to stealing, but I honestly didn’t think he actually believed his own delusions until I caught him claiming my thoughts, skills and ideas as his own. Some may call this gas lighting, but I knew the truth and never questioned my truth as he spewed it from his lying mouth. This wasn’t a matter of forgetting whether or not I knew something that he was trying to pass off as his lesson to me. This was a matter of me stopping myself from vomiting all over him due to my uncontrollable disgust at his arrogance, disrespect and lack of integrity. He wasn’t fooling me. But he was. I didn’t speak up and say, “Don’t use my knowledge and my words to establish your false sense of superiority over me.” Instead, I let the anger and disgust fester, while simultaneously trying to convince myself that he didn’t mean any harm. After all, don’t they say imitation is the highest form of flattery? Hmm? I don’t think so either. It’s just thievery and a little creepy.

Looking back, I used to feel ashamed at myself for remaining inside that low vibrational and toxic relationship for so long. Today, I realize my intuition simply wasn’t evolved enough to figure it out calmly and quickly. I reacted from a place of high-sensitivity without understanding why I was reacting from that place. It wasn’t because I was too sensitive or unstable. It was because my sensitivity was right on par. It was “that guy” who was unstable.

Namaste!
~Paula

Pre-order “How To Do No Contact Like a Boss” by Kim Saeed

Pre-order your copy today!!

If you’re thinking about going no contact or are currently struggling to maintain no contact, Kim Saeed’s new book will serve as an invaluable tool for your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and growth.

Order your copy today!

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Just say “No!” to sociopath oppression and possession

“Have patience. Wait until the mud settles and the water is clear. Remain unmoving until right action arises by itself.” ~ Lao-tzu

The sociopaths we escaped were jealous of us. It’s that simple. They saw our strengths and knew we were stronger, which is why they made every attempt to demean and devalue us with words, suggestions and actions. Misery loves company, after all.

They hated us for liking ourselves and wanted to warp our healthy levels of self-love and self-respect into something ugly, grotesque and sinful.

They wanted to convince us that we were narcissistic and selfish. (Ironic, huh?)

So whenever we demonstrated self-respect by saying “no” to them and trying to maintain our boundaries, they’d degrade us, bring us down and convince us we weren’t as great as we thought we were. (Which is sad, because we simply had a healthy degree of self-worth that SEEMED inflated compared to their total lack of self-worth and self-respect.)

They wanted to convince us of what they wanted us to believe was true: that we were no better than them and that we needed them to learn humility and grace.

Pfft!

You can’t learn humility and grace from people who only understand possession and oppression. We are not in need of them. They are not people we want to aspire to be like. And there is no shame in believing you are amazing and have the right to your feelings, beliefs and personal interpretations of your experiences and ideas.

We don’t have to continue apologizing for being “normal” and healthy, a place too few are allowed to reach thanks to the sociopaths in their lives whispering to them repeatedly, “You really shouldn’t think so highly of yourself. It’s tasteless!”

The goal of a sociopath is to find the ultimate victim, someone who will take those whisperings to heart and permit those whisperings to lower their personal standards. Only a person who remains completely lost and oblivious to what the sociopath is doing can remain a victim whom the sociopath can get away with oppressing and possessing their entire life.

Be thrilled you escaped. No matter how long it took, you awakened to your power. Seize it and never forget it’s there and has always been there.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo

This post was selected for The Great Sociopathic Abuse and Recovery Blog Tour organized by Joyce M. Short, author Carnal Abuse by Deceit.

(image by JD Marston)

Enter the Transformation Giveaway to win 3 FREE months of Health Coaching!

Paula Carrasquillo - yoga teacher and health coach

Are you ready to transform your life from the inside out? Enter the  Transformation Giveaway today!

I want to be your health coach. Tell me why you are ready and committed to take on a 3-month transformational journey, personalized to meet your specific needs. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, I’m also offering everyone who enters a 20% discount on my 3-month and 6-month programs.

The deadline to enter is April 3, 2015. Enter here. I’ll announce the winner on April 7, 2015. Good luck, and I can’t wait to work with you!

Paula Carrasquillo
Yoga Teacher & Health Coach

What if “50 Shades” was never intended to be what it has become?

What if “50 Shades of Grey” was intended to be the very opposite of what society has embraced it to be? Let’s imagine.


The author of “50 Shades of Grey” was in the middle of reading the Twilight series (pre-teen vampire romance series) and thought:

”Oh, this type of thing REALLY happens and it happened to me. It’s not romance; it’s abuse. Vampires are real. They may not suck blood, but they suck the life out of those they prey upon and control. Maybe if I wrote a human version of the vampire character, people will see how ridiculous it is for us to romanticize this type of relationship.”
This is love?
She took pen to paper and poorly wrote (purposefully) her novel filled with overt abuse, contradictions and obvious ironies about love and relationships. She even misrepresented the BDSM community knowing that THAT community is extremely vocal, more vocal than the DV community. (At least at the time she was writing.)

The book was published quickly as an e-book. Unfortunately, the book took off in a direction she never imagined. The book’s intended message was lost. People embraced it as a manual for better sex and improved relationships. It sold and sold and sold. A traditional publisher picked it up followed by an eager film production company. Instead of speaking out against the ignorant masses early, the author thought it best to sit back, collect her royalties and devise a plan.

While accumulating millions of dollars from the entertainment-hungry masses, the author made a wish-list of programs to create, programs and services traditionally not funded for victims and survivors of abuse:

1. Neuroscience and behavioral research studies focusing on the effects and varying classifications of PTSD during and in the aftermath of emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, and physical abuse.

2. Lobbying efforts to influence a change in the laws and penalties for non-stranger intimate partner rape and assault, child abuse, financial fraud, rape by fraud and a myriad of crimes associated with control and torture.

3. Education and awareness programs to assist and inform police officers, advocates, social workers and other service workers to clearly and effectively discern between perpetrator and victim.

4. A foundation dedicated to providing food, clothing, cars, money, hotel rooms and housing, counseling, integrative treatment options and support to victims and survivors and their families, children and friends.

5. Yearly conference of like-minded people and professionals interested in putting an end to the needless suffering of millions struck by abuse – emotional, psychological, financial, sexual and physical.

The book’s film version launched on Valentine’s Day 2015 (another intended irony in hopes of “awakening” those still asleep at the wheel).

On Monday morning, following the release, the author held a press conference revealing the book and film’s intended message. The book was rebranded and marketed as intended. Sales continued to rise and the wish list was made a reality.

…and we all lived happily ever after.

I know — “Wishful thinking, Paula.”


Paula Carrasquillo
Yogi. Author. Advocate.
http://www.paulacarrasquillo.com

Believing in your abilities = a meaningful life + meaningful work

Three years ago, I began actively writing and purging myself of my story (which even I found hard to believe at times) on this blog. My healing journey has brought amazing new friendships and passions into my life, from becoming a yoga teacher and health coach to connecting with men and women across the United States to men and women in the UK, Canada, Australia and other continents. I wouldn’t wish changing anything about my story if it meant losing all of the knowledge and friendships I’ve gained in these few short years.

Today, I find myself at a major crossroads. The Universe has presented me with many, many options – all of which have the potential to fulfill my life. Unfortunately, I am finding it difficult to make a decision about where I best belong and how to get there.

I am connecting with more and more passionate advocates and light workers than ever before. There is so much work we can accomplish in partnership. And now is a pivotal time to speak out, because it seems those in power are listening.

I want to join forces with others and write another book, open a wellness center, facilitate community nutrition workshops, bring more yoga to those in need, host weekend retreats and create educational material we can distribute for free in different languages.

As the collective energy and vision of the awareness movement expands, my career opportunities are also expanding. I’m being called upon to teach more yoga classes (both at the salt cave and at corporate HQ) and to contribute more to my day job as a web content developer.

Although I seem to be juggling everything with relative ease, I’m not. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything I set out to do. Plus, I want to spend more time with my family. I want to spend more time taking care of myself. I also want to spend more time doing meaningful work.

But I understand explicitly how the real world works and doing meaningful work doesn’t exactly pay the mortgage, the insurance and the food tab. At least not immediately. Making a living doing meaningful work sadly seems outside of my grasp today, but that hasn’t stopped me from considering how to make the transition gradually over time.

I can’t just throw caution to the wind and quit my day job today to pursue my dream of creating a wellness center for survivors of abuse and trauma. I must be realistic. This doesn’t mean abandoning my dreams. It simply means slowing down, prioritizing my time and creating an action plan.

Three years ago, I would have been frustrated being faced with such uncertainty and being without immediate solutions and answers. Instead, I feel blessed today, because not knowing the solution or absolute outcome is okay. I’m surrounded by people who love, respect and honor me and who won’t judge me or attempt to sabotage my progress. My mistakes are my mistakes; my success is my success. No one is standing over me waiting to attack me or shame me or tell me my ideas will never work. Does it matter if they might not work? No, of course not. What matters is that I believe in my abilities to make my ideas work…eventually.

Here’s to you believing in your abilities and being okay with not having all of the answers before setting out on your transformational journey of healing and creation.

You are destined to heal. All you have to do is believe.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
http://www.paulacarrasquillo.com

Excerpt from the Introduction to “Unashamed Voices” by Paula Carrasquillo

Unashamed Voices by Paula CarrasquiloThe following in an excerpt from the introduction to “Unashamed Voices: True Stories Written by Survivors of Domestic Violence, Rape and Fraud Exposing Sociopaths in Our Midst” set to launch on December 31, 2014.


I was 17 when I met the person who would change me forever. I was a high school senior, sitting on a full academic scholarship. He was 18, a high-school graduate. He chose not to attend college and instead worked at a local pizza parlor while trying to break into semi-professional lacrosse. I was impressed by his passion and truly believed it was a dream he could potentially fulfill, considering the year before he was a member of the 1988 Maryland High School Class 1A State Football Championship team. He seemed trustworthy and kind. He called me on Thanksgiving Day and asked me out on a date. I was excited. He was incredibly cute. Of course I said yes. He became my boyfriend for the next ten months.

The abuse started in subtle ways. He made strange comments about what I wore, about who my friends were and about my family. He judged me for having sex with him “too early” despite the fact he participated in having sex with me “too early.” I wasn’t accustomed to being judged by a person who judged me for doing exactly what he was also “guilty” of doing. His criticisms seemed pointless and circular. If I pointed this out to him, he’d say, “Oh, you think you’re so smart, Little Miss College Girl. You have no idea what real life is about. Your family keeps you inside a protective bubble. You have no idea. Just wait. One day you will find out what life is really about.”

His comments left me confused. They sounded like warnings, but I didn’t understand at the time that he was cautioning me about himself. Soon, these strange comments were paired with physical assaults against me. He poked me on my arm or on my forehead. These unprovoked pokes would come unannounced as I was talking or expressing an opinion or saying anything he didn’t like.

One day, the pokes escalated to full-shoulder grabs. He grabbed, contained and constrained me from speaking further about whatever it was I was trying to say. My shock and confusion grew. I remember saying, “Why are you grabbing me? No one grabs me and touches me like that! My father never even grabbed and touched me like that. What makes you think you can treat me this way?” Instead of standing back and recognizing he was wrong for grabbing me, this 18-year-old boy began to cry. Stories of his childhood abuse at the hands of his father came rushing to the surface, spilling out of him as he sobbed. They seemed never-ending. Being locked in a closet for hours and sometimes days. Witnessing his father beat his mother until she bled. Witnessing his brother being terrorized. Being beaten senselessly with a belt or a bat or a pot or a pan, whatever his father had handy. I cringed. My emotions oscillated between anger and shear disillusionment as I listened attentively to his accounts. I didn’t know how to soothe him outside of hugging him and telling him I was sorry for what he went through. I tried the best I could. One would think he would welcome my attempts to soothe him and return my hugs or say something appreciative like “Thank you” or “I’m glad I can talk to someone about this.” Rather, they were met with contempt, anger and violence. He screamed at me, “You think you’re so special and smart! You’re nothing! You don’t know how easy you’ve had it. You have no idea what I have been through. Don’t pretend to understand!”

The physical violence escalated quickly over a short period of time. He smothered and kicked me. He attempted to break my arm. He even threatened me with a loaded gun. Why? For what purpose? How did hurting me, beating me and shaming me help take is pain and suffering away. An eye for an eye?

I felt shock mixed with fear and pity. I failed to recognize that this person was taking out his painful past on me. I kept thinking maybe I could help him and make some sort of difference in his life. Model love? Prove to him that I cared? I wasn’t able to see that I was his victim. He was the perpetrator of violence against me, an innocent girl who desperately wanted to understand. The abuse continued.

One night in the late hours of a warm summer evening in 1990, my boyfriend and I were sitting on the front steps of his parent’s house. Our conversation unexpectedly evolved into an argument. I tried getting into my car to leave, but he grabbed the car keys from my hands. He held them over his head. I jumped to get them back but missed. He took off running down the street. I chased after him for my keys. I almost caught up to him when he suddenly stopped, turned and started running toward me. Terrified, I ran in the other direction, but he quickly caught up to me and kicked me from behind, knocking me forward onto the ground. I got to my feet and began running. Again, he caught up, kicked me and knocked me down to the road’s surface. I got up. I couldn’t outrun him. I tried. Repeatedly, he chased, kicked and knocked me to the ground for what seemed like hours. I begged and pleaded with him to stop. But he wouldn’t. I screamed, “Please! Just kill me! You’re killing me! Just kill me already!” The porch light of a nearby house switched on. This must have scared him. He hurled the keys at me and ran off in the direction of his parent’s home. After many minutes of searching and digging in the darkness amongst the twigs, leaves and garbage, I finally found my keys. I walked back to my car in a daze of shock, not knowing if, at any moment, he would jump out and beat me one last time.

Once safely inside the car, I locked the doors and briefly pondered my options. Telling my parents was out of the question. I feared what they would do to him in retaliation. I also feared what my boyfriend would do in retaliation to their retaliation. So I drove straight to the police station.

I walked into the reception confused and frightened. Although at 18 I considered myself smart and confident, I didn’t feel the least bit confident at the police station. I had never been to a police station. I had never spoken to a police officer in my life. As I approached the reception window, the officer behind the glass looked up from his paperwork and asked, “What do you want?” His words echoed a few times in my head. What do I want? What do I want? I guess I want help! I said, “I want help. I want you to arrest my boyfriend.” The officer chuckled and laughed at me. I instantly became confused. Why is he laughing at me? This is serious. Doesn’t he believe me? So, I repeated, “Will you please arrest my boyfriend? He tried to kill me!” From behind the glass, the officer asked in a patronizing way, “How did he try to kill you?”

I remember opening my mouth, but the words were hard to find. I started crying hysterically. I couldn’t form a complete sentence to save my life. I vaguely remember mumbling and wiping the tears and snot from my melting face. The officer interrupted me and said, “If you can’t control yourself, I can’t help you. How old are you?” I screamed, “I’m 18, and my boyfriend just tried to kill me!” Condescendingly, the police officer said, “If you expect me to help you, you need to be more respectful, young lady.”

I was so confused. Can’t he see that I have been running in the dark along the streets for hours trying to get away from my boyfriend? Can’t he see that I have dirt and mud all over my knees and the palms of my hands from repeatedly falling after being kicked from behind? Respect? I respect him. What is he talking about? What’s happening? I started crying more. The fluorescent lighting beat down on me. I sat in one of the plastic chairs along the wall putting my hands over my face. From behind the glass, the officer repeated, “If you can’t control yourself, I can’t help you.” Control myself!? What the hell is he talking about? My tears turned to anger and frustration. I dropped my hands from my face and spoke sternly, “I need you to take down my name and the name of my boyfriend.” The officer retorted, “I don’t need to do anything.” In that instant, I knew I was defeated.


 Preorder your copy today!

Cosby is a Psychopath and so is that person you think is ‘just’ a Narcissist

I was duped. I took this picture last February.

I was duped. I took this picture last February.

A person who must lie about who he is, what he believes in, and about his feelings to get you to love him and then manipulate you into thinking your love is only genuine if you see him as superior and that you must never question his superiority is a narcissist and a sociopath and a psychopath.*

We want to make a distinction among these terms: narcissist, sociopath and psychopath. I no longer believe these terms are mutually exclusive; and if given enough time and observation, we will see that those we once thought were “just” narcissists, will prove they were psychopaths all along who simply wore their masks of sanity incredibly well.

I think psychiatry, neuroscience, and other behavioral sciences will one day realize this too and conclude that these terms (which are man-made terms based on limited human observations) all refer to the same type of person: [insert new term to encompass all three].

Today, we determine which label to apply based on the intensity or level of evil one of these types presents to us. What is becoming more and more clear to me is that the behavior of the pathological is purely situational and dependent on how much resistance they face from their chosen victim(s) and what resources they have available to them.

A person we once referred to as “just” a narcissist, does something that convinces us he is a sociopath, and then it’s revealed that he has done something even more diabolical which elevates him to the ultimate status of psychopath.

Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths…they are all the same. It’s just that it takes time and a change in their status, resource level, and support level for their behavior to become evident and measurable through observation thus proving that they crossed the imaginary boundaries distinguishing the terms a long, long time ago.

Look at Cosby. If all psychopaths were lucky enough to have his money and connections to create the persona and mask he hid behind for decades, I don’t think we would ever fully understand or comprehend how easy it is for psychopaths to hide in our midst. Or how easy it is for psychopaths to instill fear in their victims forcing victims to remain silent, thus perpetuating the psychopath’s mask and outward persona of goodness and righteousness.

All psychopaths want to have the power Cosby had. The money, the honorary degrees, the celebrity.

In their delusions, like Cosby, they create micro universes where they ARE King. Some even name their cars or their wi-fi networks after themselves. The wealthier ones name yachts and airplanes after themselves. Same disease; different level of resources.

And these people are not geniuses or brilliant. They manipulate the most primitive part of us: our desire and need to be loved by another human being.

And in order to manipulate our primitive brain, all they have to do is tap into their primitive brain filled with trickery, manipulations and emotional blackmail.

Anyone who has to lie, cheat and steal to win people, jobs and status and then bash those same people to con others to gain a fresh supply of people, jobs and status is dangerous.

Period.

The cycle of abuse they follow in romantic relationships is the same cycle they use in all relationships, in organizations and in communities: assess, groom, idolize, devalue and discard.

Their evil behavior curls around and tarnishes and attempts to destroy everything and everyone in its path.

With Cosby, the American public was groomed and charmed into submission thanks to the creation of a character named Dr. Huxtable. Dr. Huxtable was Cosby’s “sheep’s clothing” and protected Cosby from being exposed for decades.

The man who raped those ladies is not a good person. He exemplifies a psychopath.The man who raped you, abused you, tormented your children and then cried to everyone in earshot that you’re a liar and insane is not a good person.

You can call him a sociopath, a narcissist or a psychopath. It doesn’t matter, because those of us who have met the devil know there isn’t a label or term available to use that can encompass the ugliness and insidiousness of what we lived.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
yogi. author. advocate.

* Note: This also applies to females who are psychopaths.

Letting Go of Perfect

Letting go of perfect ~Paula Carrasquillo

source: Creative Commons by gnuckx

After posting Sociopaths, Approval and Victim Perfectionism yesterday, I thought I’d share how I discovered the root cause of my perfectionism, which I believe primed me for being a perfect target for the sociopath from my past.


Most of my adult life I was a perfectionist. I allowed myself very little wiggle room when it came to making mistakes. My perfectionism led to little mistakes becoming huge mistakes and little victories becoming completely diminished in my mind. I beat myself up over bad stuff and never gave myself any credit for the good stuff I created. Thankfully, I now understand the source of my destructive perfectionist thinking, and it has made all of the difference in finding my path in life.

As a child, I was a carefree and happy person. Despite my parents’ divorce and a few moves in elementary school, I was always able to push through the little and the big things with relative ease. I bounced back from change and disappointments like a spring.

At the age of 12 (puberty actually), my spring broke. One day I had an itchy and flaking scalp; the next I was being dragged to the doctor feeling completely ashamed. Psoriasis! Even the name sounds gross, huh?

I hated being associated with this condition. I hated when my friends would see my scaly elbows and say, “Ooh! What is THAT?! What’s wrong with you?!!” I had never gelt like such an outcast; it was crushing. I hated being preoccupied with hiding my little scaly patches on my knees, elbows, back and hairline. I hated avoiding activities like dancing for fear the costume would fail to cover me “just right.” I hated that my freedom seemed to be taken from me.

Early in my treatment, I knew that there was really nothing the dermatologist could do to help me. Sure, there was always a new lotion or cream to try. But they were just band-aids. And some of this crap stunk! I got so sick of it all. I stopped all prescription lotions and creams sometime in my early 20s. I became a Palmer’s cocoa butter girl. It helped to a degree, but because I felt helpless and like I had zero control over my skin, I pressured myself to expect nothing but the best in every other area of my life.

I had to get the best grades. I had to have the cleanest room. (If you had as many sisters as I do, you’d understand this one.) I had to have the best job. I had to be the perfect weight. I had to be the perfect wife. I had to be the perfect mother. I had to be perfect.

Period.

Being a perfectionist can lead a person to behave self-destructively. Perfectionists can suffer from a multitude of conditions including anorexia, bulimia, drug or alcohol abuse, binge drinking, obsessive compulsive disorder, and/or depression.

In two words: perfectionism sucks!

Why and how did I figure out that my inability to overcome my troubles stemmed from trying to be perfect? Like most people in denial about bad habits and addictions, I had to hit rock bottom. Once I did, I was finally determined to change and to never put my life and future at risk again. To accomplish this, I had to take a good hard look at myself in order to fix myself.

I inventoried my entire past, beginning with my childhood. I created a timeline of my happiest years and my most depressed periods. During happy times, my psoriasis flair ups were few. During unhappy times, my psoriasis flair ups could be best described as volcanoes, which left me feeling out-of-control, which led to me trying to fix myself with perfectionist thinking, which always failed, which led to extreme feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred, which led to self-destructive behaviors.

What a vicious cycle.

I soon realized that I had to shift my perception of the disease or continue being controled by it. I had to embrace my psoriasis (I’d be lying if I said I fell in love with psoriasis, but I have gotten as close to “being in love” as possible).  More importantly, I had to become dedicated to learning as much as possible about what psoriasis really is and how flair ups can be prevented in the first place.

While educating myself, I discovered and embraced mindful techniques and approaches to managing my condition. Yoga helps. Meditation and manifestation help. Sticking to a vegan/plant-based diet helps. Eliminating alcohol and sodas helps. Writing  helps. Talking about it helps. And the best part? Although I still have psoriasis (there is no cure), I do not allow the appearance of my skin to control me anymore. Flair ups happen, and that’s okay.

Through practicing simple acts of self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love, I have been miraculously cured of my perfectionism and all of the distasteful side-effects related to that disease.

If you are a perfectionist and are tired of never reaching the peak of your potential, find out the source of your perfectionist thinking. Taking a good hard look at the source is the best way to eliminate this toxic thinking from your life and to start living more joyfully.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
yogi. author. advocate.

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