shadows, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

Emerging from the Shadows of the Sociopath

shadowsOnce, I met a boy. He was sweet and caring and fell in love with me, and I with him.

But something happened, something unexpected and unexplainable. I don’t know exactly what happened, when it happened or why it happened. Whatever it was, it sent this boy into a very dark place.

For a time, I accompanied him in that dark place, but not because I wanted to be there. I had an obligation to him and myself, I thought. I had no idea how we got there in the first place. Things happened so fast. I don’t recall entering willfully, but I must have. All I knew for certain was that I didn’t like or enjoy the dark.

For too long it seemed, I endured the darkness and its shadows and fought daily to get us both out of there. But each time I tried to pull us into the light, the boy dragged us deeper into the darkness. The deeper we got, the less light I could see. We got so deep, I forgot what the light looked like and how it felt.

I was resigned to the darkness. I found myself as empty and as hollow as the dark place I desperately wanted to leave. I became a shadow of my former self.

But one night, I had a dream about the light. I felt its warmth and glow and joy. I missed the light so much. I hadn’t felt those things in so long. I needed those things and knew I would die if I didn’t escape the darkness. I didn’t want to die.

So I started climbing out of the darkness, first with small steps. But the boy kept pulling me back. He held tightly to my heels for awhile. But I refused to give up. I kicked long and hard until he finally let go.

Even without him holding on to me physically, I struggled. I had to take larger steps, and I soon found myself clawing and scratching my way to the surface. There were so many times I wanted to give up. My arms grew tired, my back ached, my memory kept going back to the boy I loved. I’d slip in these moments; my focus was compromised. Days and weeks and sometimes months of progress were lost with each little slip. But I kept remembering that dream and how warm and joyful the light was.

I kept moving forward, closer to the light and never looking back. Once the warm glow of the light hit me, my thoughts returned to the boy still in that dark place. I wanted desperately to share the joy I was feeling with him.

But my efforts were in vain.

My voice just echoed and bounced around the darkness driving the boy mad and just confusing him more as to why I chose to leave him behind. The darkness had eroded any inkling of the light inside the boy. He saw me perched above with the light shining on my back as just a shadow, dark and distant. To the boy, I appeared no better than the darkness in which he lived.

So in the end, the boy chose the darkness and its dancing shadows. I accepted his choice and eventually realized that no words, deeds or wishes would have convinced the boy that the wasted life he was living was unnecessary. He chose to hide behind false pride, ego and selfishness. He was a shadow and lacked the necessary trust to follow me and eventually join me as equals in the light.

And the final release, the ripping apart of the last heart string that connected me to him, was bittersweet but much more sweet than bitter, because it’s so lovely in the light.

Never underestimate the power of the darkness and the consuming shadows it casts.

Life is in the light. Death is in the darkness. You have a choice.

~ Paula

(image source:

Cappuccino Queen: A blog worth reading and following

20121203-115036.jpgShe calls him a psychopath. She fought for custody of her son and won. But she lost the battle for supervised visitations. Now, her beautiful baby boy Prince is dead. He was only 14 months old.

Prince’s mother, Hera McLeod and blogger at Cappuccino Queen, has many to “thank” for the death of her son, including the Montgomery County Maryland family court system (MoCo). MoCo failed to properly handle a delicate decision that allowed the father, a person of interest for murder and an alleged rapist in Prince William County Virginia, to have unsupervised visitations with his son Prince, a child who will never have an opportunity to speak.

Why is this happening? The courts and law enforcement need to wake up to the reality that parental rights must take a back seat to children rights when one or more of the parents display signs of having a personality disorder like narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and/or sociopathy/psychopathy.

Do judges make these careless decisions because the pleadings from the other parent are too emotional, and the judge simply thinks she/he is overreacting or acting vindictive due to a broken heart? That is a myth that needs to be shattered. We DO NOT love these monsters. We DO NOT want to reconcile with these monsters. We want to be free of them and be guaranteed that our children will be free from their emotional, verbal, and often physical abuses. Wouldn’t you be emotional, too, if you had every reason in the world to fear that the father of your child is capable of irreparable damage to your child, including murder?

Yet, faced with overwhelming evidence, MoCo Judge Algeo in Prince McLeod’s case made the decision to allow the father unsupervised visits. By the fourth visit, dear little Prince was fighting for his life in the hospital, but the injuries he endured were too much. His little body wasn’t powerful enough to recover.

One can make many assumptions about who, what, when, and how the baby was injured. But for many of us who have experienced the diabolical lies, manipulations, and behavior of our own narcissist and/or sociopath, the truth may never be revealed, not even through an autopsy report. One thing is certain, however: a child is dead and nothing can bring him back to the ones who love him.

Visit Hera McLeod’s blog, Cappuccino Queen, and read the recent article in The Washington Post related to Prince’s death. What do you think? Should THAT judge and judges like him even be allowed to reside over such proceedings? As tax payers and members of a democratic free society, you and I have EVERY right to question these decisions and demand answers.

(And it’s not as simple as looking at the court-case history or the father’s criminal history. We all should know that by now. Remember Josh Powell and his now dead wife, Susan, and her boys?)


Why Bikram yoga? Because it heals!

I’m often asked two questions from friends who discover that I practice Bikram yoga:
1. How did you get started with Bikram yoga?
2. What keeps you going back to Bikram yoga?

How did you get started with Bikram yoga?

bikram yoga poses found here: upon a time, I was a runner. I ran track in high school and earned an NCAA letter running cross-country in college. (Go FSU Bobcats!) As the years progressed, my knees took a beating, and I always HATED running during the winter months. Then in 2002, I was in a car accident and tore my medial meniscus in my right knee. I underwent arthroscopic surgery in 2004, but I never fully recovered my mobility 100%. Needless to say, I stopped running and resigned myself to low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and elliptical workouts.

Unfortunately, nothing I tried ever gave me the same “high” as running. I longed for something that challenged me and provided the same physical and mental stimulation I had once taken for granted with running. I began reviewing various workout options offered at health and fitness clubs: Zumba (too much like a stage performance), Pilates (too expensive), karate (too much competition from my son), boxing (too dangerous for the longevity of my face as it appears today), spinning (too much emphasis on the lower body), swimming (too much body hair to worry about), etc.

But I NEEDED to do SOMETHING to get fit before 40 and feel good about myself again. So, I started doing what anyone would start doing in my situation: I Googled. I did a simple Google search for “exercises that heal the body,” which resulted in a list of meditation-related sites. As I read through the pages, I refined my search to “exercises that use meditation and movement to heal.” From these results, I learned about Tai Chi, Qi-Gong (pronounced chee-gong), and yoga. This lead me to Bikram yoga, which lead me to Bikram Yoga Rockville just around the corner from my house.

Why do you like it so much? What keeps you going back to Bikram yoga?

Where to begin…

  1. The runner’s high – Yes.
  2. The obvious effect on my body – There is no doubt that I have lost weight and toned up tremendously since starting my practice 6 months ago. Who would walk away from an exercise that gives them the runner’s high AND helps them lose weight without actually running?
  3. The increased energy upon leaving the hot room – After spending 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees, you would think a person would be so drained and lethargic that he wouldn’t be able to think of anything other than relaxing. Bikram yoga has the complete opposite effect. I leave the room feeling more alive and energized than when I entered. I may be thirsty but not ready for a nap, that’s for sure.
  4. The dichotomy of the experience – The postures and breathing exercises build upon each other consecutively. Although I feel like my sides are breaking in half-moon pose (#2 in the image above), I am feeling euphoric 45 minutes later coming out of my first camel pose (#22 in the image above). There is a distinct yin/yang or pain/pleasure moving between the agonizing task of holding a position and the peaceful release and “letting go” of savasanas (periods of rest and stillness).
  5. The people (yogis and trainers) – There is nothing more enjoyable than to share a “workout” with good people, really good people.
  6. The healing qualities – Each posture works a different muscle group, body part, and/or organ system. From stretching my muscles to working to balance my digestive tract, together the postures heal me. How have I been healed? I’ll be writing a post for each of the 26 postures and breathing exercises over the next 60 days (that’s an average of a new post every 2 days). Each post will detail the touted benefits and the actual benefits I have experienced.

Until then!

Thank you, Yoga!

peaceful yogaYesterday was the half-way point in my 30-day Bikram yoga challenge at Bikram Yoga Rockville. It was also my 4-month anniversary of practicing yoga. (Woohoo!) And to make the day even more significant, I had my first OB/GYN visit as a 40-year-old woman.

Second only to the doctors who delivered my son in Colorado, the providers at Capital Women’s Care are the best. I always see the nurse first. She asks the general questions about lifestyle and medications. She was very pleased to hear that I still don’t smoke (never did, don’t plan to start); I quit drinking alcohol; I practice yoga 4-5 times each week (this month it is EVERY day); and that I am having my tattoo removed. She said, “This is wonderful, Paula. So many positive changes and just in time for your 40th birthday.” Made me feel really good, especially after she took my blood pressure and discovered I am well within the normal and healthy range. (While pregnant with my son 6 years ago, I suffered pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Since then, I have measured a bit high. I attribute my recent lower BP reading to my yoga practice.)

Thank you, yoga!!

Then the doctor arrives. (My doctor is a funny guy with bushy brows.) His first question for me is usually, “So, is this the year you’re going to have another baby?” (The baby business is VERY profitable. Hehehehe!) However, on this visit, his first question was, “Hmmmm, are you a ballerina or something? Your spine is incredibly straight and fluid.” I answered, “I haven’t done a plié in years. I do yoga now. I guess you could call me a yogi-na.” He smiled and said he should try yoga. (Apparently, many of his patients have been touting the benefits, which he has seen with his own eyes.)

Thank you, yoga!

I left his office clutching a referral for my first mammogram and feeling peaceful. Regardless of reaching the decade of increased health risks for breast cancer, menapause, heart disease, and osteoperosis, I drove home thinking I am probably in the best health [knock on wood] that I have been since running cross country in college 20 years ago. And I really do owe it all to yoga.)

Thank you, yoga!

Specifically, I would like to acknowledge the wonderful and caring crew at Bikram Yoga Rockville. Their warm attitudes, encouraging spirits and peace-induced guidance fill me with hope and remind me with each practice the importance of just letting go…letting go…letting go. Namaste!

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