Saying “Goodbye!” to The Washington Times and “Hello!” to Communities Digital News

Who knew the newspaper business was such a dramatic industry!?!?!?

Many who follow my blog are aware that I also write for The Washington Times Communities online. I have a column titled, “Living Inside Out Loud,” packaged under the Health and Science section. (See the link to the left?)

Today, I am sharing some news regarding the state of my column and the state of Communities in general that I think may look dire on the surface but is rather exciting considering the state of digital news outlets today:

The Washington Times (TWT) ended its partnership with The Washington Times Communities (Communities) editors and creators this week. In addition, the editor-in-chief of TWT informed Communities’ writers in an e-mail last night that stories written and submitted by Communities writers to TWT editors moving forward may or may not be published to the TWT site. Publication is at the discretion of TWT editors, not the former Communities editors with whom I have come to trust and respect. The EIC alluded to the possibility of having a revamped Communities section featured on TWT site sometime in February.

The explanation provided by TWT EIC was vague at best, leaving me wondering about my future and my column’s future. To be honest, I haven’t been writing prolifically for my column but had my sights set on changing that…remember? The news left me feeling a bit deflated.

But you may be asking, “What is the difference between TWT and Communities, anyhow?”

For several years, TWT has been providing a platform for independent, community writers called “The Washington Times Communities”. Communities is a separate entity from TWT. The Communities’ editors, Jacquie Kubin and Lisa Ruth, and the writers they vet, edit and mentor daily are not employees of TWT. With the revenue generated by Communities’ stories, TWT pays a small percentage (less than 40%) of revenue to Kubin who disbursed the dollars among herself, her editor and the hundreds of Communities’ writers that provided the content, the meat and potatoes of the Communities section.

Needless to say, TWT benefited greatly from this partnership and justly so. That’s capitalism. That’s how business is conducted, right?

The main benefit of this partnership to the writers and editors obviously was not to get rich from writing and publishing. Rather, the benefit was exposure, exposure of honest stories, quality writing and the potential to increase the credibility of each writer through their association with an established news source such as TWT.

Bottom line, being able to say you wrote for “The Washington Times” looks good in a writer’s portfolio and on their resume. And who doesn’t want an impressive resume!?

Historically, writers and journalists who have written for well-established news sources do garner immediate credibility and recognition. However, there is a shift occurring.

More and more interested readers seek stories written by community journalists that possess fresh and clean perspectives free of the influences of the bias of a particular news source. Readers want the full story. Readers want both sides and then another side of the same story. No longer do those interested in remaining informed rely solely on established news outlets to form their opinions and conclusions about current events and social commentary.

The Communities’ model, created and nurtured over the years by Kubin with high levels of support from Ruth, will live on. Not as “The Washington Times Communities” on TWT’s website, but as Communities Digital News (CDN) on its own platform and under its own site domain:

http://www.commdiginews.com

CDN will no longer have to share its revenue with a “parent” and will, instead, be able to provide a strong, independent platform for writers and an even stronger money-generating base.

To write well takes skill and passion. To continue writing well requires reward and motivation. Good writers deserve just compensation. (Call me bias!)

So although I have enjoyed the exposure and the credibility TWT’s has provided my portfolio and resume, I must remain faithful to the people who did the hard work to get my voice out there, Jacquie Kubin and Lisa Ruth, and who are offering me a chance to make some money for all of my efforts. Therefore, I have decided not to submit future stories to the editors at TWT. I choose to contribute to the CDN website moving forward.

I’d like to openly thank the EIC of TWT for his generous invitation to remain associated with TWT, but I must decline your offer.

And just as the EIC graciously wished the Communities’ creator luck in her future endeavors in his e-mail to Communities’ writers yesterday evening, I also wish TWT the best of luck with its future publication and distribution of news, locally and globally. (Besides, I have friends and family that continue working for TWT; I want TWT to succeed!)

I’ll surely continue reading TWT headlines and passing along TWT’s side of the story. My biggest hope is that my friends, family and blog followers/visitors will consider supporting me and the rest of the CDN family of writers from across the country by reading and sharing stories you discover and enjoy at http://www.commdiginews.com.

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)

Never be a Devil’s advocate: The dangers of believing in the endearing sociopath

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Think back. What was it the sociopath did that made you think the sociopath was a good guy who deserved your trust?

Did the sociopath take up for you when no one else would?

Did the sociopath promise to fix something in your life that you were convinced could not be fixed?

Did the sociopath actually come out and say, “You’re different from everyone. You have something special, and I can help you nurture it”?

More than likely, the sociopath spent hours, days and many weeks grooming you into believing he was your savior, your saving grace, and that you complimented him perfectly.

He wanted you and only you.

Included in his charms and slick talk to convince you he was worthy and serious, the sociopath probably had an example or two of “accomplishments” he made in the past.

Did the sociopath tell you about how he helped a friend or gave to a charity?

Sociopaths are very good at giving us lip service and listing examples of their so-called good deeds. And because we would never dream of lying about who we are and what we have done to improve ourselves and others, we believe the sociopath and are impressed by the sociopath’s grandiose stories of action. Really impressed.

Unfortunately, we never heard the real story of their over-inflated acts of kindness, acts accomplished and implemented by others and at the expense of others. The sociopath simply took (and continues to take) the credit like any pathological and self-righteous nut job would.

The sociopath depicted himself as a saint surrounded by sinners. He always, somehow and miraculously, escaped the world of the sinners just in the nick of time, too!

And the proof that the sociopath was god-like seemed to be right before your eyes, too. You became “knowledgable” that all of the sociopath’s exes had been eliminated and vanquished from his life, and they all seemed to regret having been vanquished.

(The sociopath MUST have be some kind of wonderful if he could induce such neediness and desire in those he had discarded, right?)

He’s like the James Bond of real life, don’t cha know? How glorious it must be to be the charmed sociopath, huh? To attract every sinner in need of saving on the planet means the sociopath MUST have super powers or SOMETHING that causes him to emit such energy, right?

We never dreamed that the power the sociopath emitted was the power of lies, dishonesty and manipulation. We just never suspected THAT until it was almost too late.

Instead of reading the signs correctly, we believed what the sociopath told us. The sociopath convinced us that, regardless of the blaring fact he kept losing people in his life, the people he lost meant nothing to him and were just out to destroy him…never the other way around.

The sociopath convinced you that he had what everyone else wanted (You know, that secret computer chip implanted in his brain, which explained his ever-impressive and expanding mind of knowledge and power. Bahaha!), and he’s offering it to you (yeah, poor sinful you) for a steal. All you have to do is trust him and believe in him, and your life will be forever blessed. Everyone will be envious that you are by the sociopath’s side and not them.

(Pfft! Really? You fell for it, too. Admit it. We were all duped. Nothing to be ashamed about. We all want to believe Superman really exists. It’s called hope in mankind.)

Once positioned on his right side, you unknowingly volunteered to be a slave to the sociopath’s every whim and fancy.

You found yourself agreeing to say and do things you never dreamed you would ever say or do. You rejected people who, in the past, you would have welcomed due to their inquisitive and powerful nature.

The sociopath told you not to trust them, so you didn’t, because you trusted the sociopath and believed that the sociopath MUST have known something you didn’t know. Repeatedly, you rejected and discarded the same people the sociopath rejected and discarded.

(I just watched independence and discernment wash away as I wrote that. Very frightening how much power we give these sociopathic fools…and for no good reason other than our blind faith in the good of humanity.)

But as soon as you began to question the very whims and fancies you once blindly trusted, you became one of the sinners whom the sociopath needed to either mind screw more or vanquish forever from his delusional world of self-power and control.

Once you stopped responding to the sociopath’s relentless attempts to mind screw you, you somehow either left or were discarded like many before you.

Regardless of how it ended, be thankful it’s over. Be thankful the freak is out of your life and you can focus on reality again.

If you’re reading this in disbelief and thinking that life with a sociopath sounds too much like a silly B movie or cartoon, you’d be correct. Sociopaths love drama. The more that surrounds the sociopath, the better.

Drama has no substance. It’s more transparent, translucent and without substance than the clouds. At least clouds have a purpose!

The sociopath is just a fool who builds life upon a foundation of shifting and sinking sand. The pillars of support the sociopath needs come from you and me and that person and this person.

Without us, the sociopath can’t survive and thrive.

Without us, the sociopath ceases to be powerful.

Without us, the sociopath is unable to hurt people like us.

Without us, the sociopath will suddenly and violently perish.

Sociopaths NEED us; we do not need them. Always remember this simple fact to remain free from the sociopath’s lies, manipulations and never-ending con game.

The next time a sociopath crosses your path with charms and promises of salvation, just nod, smile and say:

“No, thank you. I might believe in ghosts and faeries, but I refuse to believe in you.”

Namaste!
~Paula

Finding Healing and Support in the Aftermath of Sociopathic Abuse

upliftThe following is an unedited, first draft of the introduction to my second book I’ve tentatively titled “The Exorcism of the Sociopath.”


I firmly believe that no one can heal and recover from sociopathic/pathological abuse alone. I also believe that not all support is good support.

Although I have written about the power of online support in my Washington Times Communities column and have often encouraged readers and those who comment to consider some form of online support, there is a definite line of defense we all need to consider before opening up ourselves to any person or support group outside of licensed, certified and experienced mental health care professionals and care givers.

When I began my blog and book journey in February 2012, I was very naive and oblivious as to what I would encounter. I had no idea whether or not my blog and story would be believed, accepted or laughed off the internet. I was desperate and at a standstill in my healing and recovery and really didn’t care about the consequences. Before rapidly moving forward with my blog writing, I was frozen in disbelief at the lack of progress I was making.

Why was I so frozen?

One of my biggest roadblocks to healing was my continual denial that I was suffering from anything I couldn’t fix myself. The least of which was trauma.

“Me? Traumatized? No way!!”

Why did I do this? Partly because I wanted to hold onto the idea that I was strong, but mostly because I didn’t want to feel like the sociopath had won. I wasn’t going to allow him to defeat me, and in my naiveté, I thought that pushing the pain deeper into the recesses of my mind meant I won.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Not facing the pain caused confusion and my body and mind to fester in a mixture of ugliness, grief and more pain. I made mistake after mistake in my personal life. I hurt myself with each emotion I denied myself.

On top of suppressing my pain and suffering, I arrogantly thought I could fix myself. After all, who knew me better than me? I was so blinded by the idea that I just needed to “get over” the abuse that I neglected to realize that I needed to walk through the trauma in order to find peace on the other side of it.

Luckily, I gradually became unfrozen, and  by mid-April 2012 due to reader comments and responses to my story, I was thawing out, discovering my wings and true power. It was amazing.

The comments that struck home most and had the deepest impact were those that suggested that my writing was therapy for a trauma I needed to release.

That word “trauma” kept popping up on the screen and wouldn’t stop creeping into my mind. And no matter how much I fought to eliminate it from my reality, I couldn’t fight the truth so many were trying to get me to see.

“You suffered something, Paula! Stop being so stubborn. Accept it!”

But even after repeatedly hearing this and finally accepting it, I still thought I could fix myself. I thought if my writing helped me reach this breakthrough moment, it could help me completely heal myself without burdening my family and friends further with my goddamn issues!

But none of us are an island. None of us are super heroes. (Although, I’d like to think I wear a cape some days, it’s just not healthy to be so delusional, is it? Hehe!)

So again, a few months later in August 2012,  I found myself floundering and in need of something else that would propel me forward. I realized my writing had just been a temporary fix, a band-aid of sorts. I had written and published my book by this time but still felt incomplete in my healing.

What was next?

What was next was something I never dreamed could come next:

On the very day in August 2012 in which I was laid off from my job, I received a private message from a woman who ran a rapidly-growing Facebook page. She asked me to help co-administer her page. The page touted itself as a place victims/survivors of abuse at the hands of narcissistic and borderline personality disordered individuals could collectively learn and heal. She needed me, along with her other three administrators to “man” the page so there was always someone available to connect with members regardless of time of day or day of the week.

“How honorable,” I thought. This woman seems to really care. I wanted to be a part of that and maybe learn something from her that could help me on my journey.

But that didn’t prove to be the magic pill for healing, either. In fact, it nearly negated all of the progress I had made up to that point. If it hadn’t been for my blog and its supporters, my yoga practice and my monthly counseling sessions, that online support group experience could have destroyed me all over again.

Why? How can I be so certain of this?

For starters, the woman who ran the page and its private support group was in no place to give others any advice. Within a few short months of being “indoctrinated” into her team of administrators, I learned from observation that she was too sick herself to offer any real help to anyone who was trying to heal. Her life was an absolute mess, and she shared each and every detail of her daily struggles publicly on the page’s timeline.

On top of me believing she was too sick herself to offer sound advice, she lacked any professional mental health care credentials or accredited training. She didn’t even have a high school diploma nor had she made any attempt to earn her GED.

Although her lack of education didn’t set off immediate red flags for me, it should have. As a person who values both formal and informal education and who has spent as much time in the classroom as I have in an office cubicle, I should have put more thought into her credentials and been more discerning about the information she shared on her page.

She repeatedly touted herself as an expert on personality disorders and in healing and recovery. She gave, as I interpreted it to be, unsound advice to victims/survivors who blindly trusted herunconditionally. I can only assume that each and every one of them asked themselves the same questions I had repeatedly asked myself:

“If this woman didn’t really care, she wouldn’t be out here trying to help, right? She must know what she’s talking about. After all, she was abused, too.”

I, too, initially bought into her “strength of character” defense and believed she shared so others wouldn’t feel alone in their pain and suffering. But soon I realized that the reason she shared was much more benign than benevolent and in July 2013, when I had finally had enough and asked to be removed as an administrator, my support for her immediately ended along with all of the excuses I had created in my mind that aided in that support.

Not only was she not qualified to offer any advice, the advice she did offer was disseminated carelessly. She was able to mask her actual ignorance by plagiarizing the intelligence others. She sprinkled her “advice” with the words and research of credible professionals and sources, individuals she never bothered to cite or acknowledge.

As a writer and researcher, I couldn’t take anymore of her blatant disregard for the work of others. And as a victim/survivor, I was not interested in becoming the victim of another lying and manipulative con artist.

I became completely convinced that she used and continues using the weakened state of desperate victims to infiltrate their healing and recovery journey. She tells her tales of woe and faux abuse in hopes of gaining financially and feeding her narcissistic supply.

Although this realization did not surprise me after what I had experienced with the sociopath, it did hurt. Deeply. But as with any hindrance to my momentum and journey to finding peace, I was determined to push forward and make the most of what I had learned.

After informing my blog readers in early August 2013 that I no longer supported her pagea page I had previously promoted often and frequentlyI very quickly became aware that I was not alone in my suspicions and misgivings of this woman and her page. Many victims/survivors who had stumbled upon the page also felt as I felt. I miraculously found myself being supported and uplifted by a group of like-minded and highly intelligent and giving women with nothing to gain by supporting me.

We served to validate each other, and that’s all the push we needed to put the ugliness of being deceived by false support behind us.

In addition to this very public lesson, there are many more I have learned since January 2011 when I escaped the sociopath and struggled to put his deceptions far behind me.

In the pages and chapters of this book, I hope to accurately present each lesson learned and to uncover how no single group, counselor, yoga practice, one-on-one bond, exercise or self-help book/website will make any of us whole again. I believe the journey to peace and freedom is a combination of many of these things and much more.

You’re unique. Your story is your story. Your journey to healing and recovery is and will continue to be as unique and as colorful as you are.

My hope is that my journey along with the personal journeys of others shared in this book will serve as a model for what to consider and what not to consider. My hope is that you can learn from my successes/their successes and from my mistakes/their mistakes. My hope is to help you help yourself.

But my biggest hope is that you remain hopeful and believe that no matter the length of the journey, no matter the obstacles or bumps in the road, you’re worth giving yourself another chance at happiness, joy and ultimate peace.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/224687468882548535/)

letter to a sociopath who thinks he's god

A Letter to the Sociopath So He Can FINALLY Stop Worrying About Me

letter to a sociopath who thinks he's godDear Sociopath,

I feel so silly writing this. Why? Well, I know how much you always worried about me, and no matter how much I told you it was unnecessary to worry, you still worried. So even after you read this letter, you’ll probably continue to have those same worries, but I hope not. What kind of life is it to worry about little old me who isn’t even in your life anymore? I hope this letter, filled with details of my recent happiness, helps to ease your worries.

So here goes:

Remember that love story you kept begging me to write when we were together? Well, I wrote it!! And can you believe I am nearly finished a much longer follow-up book? My second book should be even more enlightening for those who found my first book so helpful. I know you’d be proud of me. After all, you always said I had a lovely way with words and shouldn’t waste my talents and skills. You were even able to talk me into deleting that silly family-related blog I started when my son was first born, explaining to me that I should focus on something more practical and worthy of my talents. Well, guess what? I did that too! Isn’t this a great blog? I even came up with a catchy name for it, too: Paula’s Pontifications. Pretty cool, huh? I thought you’d be impressed.

I’m sure you could never forget my son. You know my son, the gorgeous and lovable little 5-year-old boy you so generously allowed to play with your dog. (That was incredibly selfless of you, by the way, to let my child play with your delicate dog.) Regardless, he is doing incredible! He loves yoga and karate and wants to be a soccer star when he gets older. All those fears you had about me raising him wrong and your worries that I was jeopardizing his well-being, well, you can now rest assured that he’s safe and well-protected. He starts 3rd grade in a few weeks, and although he is the youngest in his class, he keeps up easily, even though he hates writing, but I guess we all can’t be perfect. Thanks for caring so much. Oh, and don’t worry about him being sad because he is missing you. He doesn’t even remember you.  Isn’t that great? No worries there, either. No loss of sleep for my little boy. Kids are so resilient, huh?

Best of all, I never had to sell my car or file for bankruptcy! I know how very concerned you were about me losing everything when I left you. After a few career bumps and obstacles, I was able to land an even better-paying job than I had before. Plus, with my increased writing and editing experience, I get an occasional freelance job. I think I am pretty close to making double what you were making. Isn’t that awesome? If you were still with me you could have definitely become that house boy you always dreamed of becoming. The chances of me ever becoming pathetic and dependent have narrowed considerably! Again, you can let go of all those worries and fears you had about me sabotaging my career. With over 100,000 words published online, I’m sure my marketability will continue to grow. I’ve truly been blessed in many ways over the last 30 months. Thank you so much for worrying that I would fail. You can stop now, because I didn’t fail. Instead, you can celebrate and have a maté for me!!

Oh, and your biggest fear about me self-destructing? You can finally let it go!!  I was able to quit drinking! Remember all those AA meetings you found and wanted me to attend because the ones I was attending were too far away from your house and you felt they took away too much of our time together? Well, I beat my alcohol dependency without AA meetings. I took what I needed from those meetings and worked with my husband who was more than willing to sacrifice some of his days and nights to hold my hand and pick me up when I fell down, real and figuratively. And since I no longer need alcohol to get through my days, I even kicked my depression and am no longer on any type of mood-altering medications!! I know how much you hated that I took medicine. Well, no need to worry about it anymore. I am whole again and better than before.

And remember all those times you tried to get me started with a workout routine? Well, I have one now! I don’t know what got into me, but one day I just went to a yoga studio and haven’t looked back! Maybe it has something to do with doing it on “my” time and not “our” time. It would have been impossible for my husband and me to have scheduled matching workout routines. After all, who would take care of our son if we were both at the gym at the same time? (Flexibility, collaboration and partnership…in case you need to know for the future. You’re welcome!) But anyhow–back to yoga. It has changed my life!! My entire body and mind and spirit have been transformed! I don’t even recognize myself some days. I know you tried to push me when we were together. Sorry our workouts didn’t work out. (I’m so funny now, huh? I even got my humor back!) But be happy for me now. I found something I love, and I begin yoga teacher training next month. My goal is to one day teach yoga to trauma victims, specifically I want to help women who survived and escaped abusive relationships, relationships that compromised their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We all deserve to be whole again.

I’m sure you’re dying to let me know how proud you are of me, huh? No worries there. My husband, my son, my sisters, my parents and the wonderful and amazing new friends I have made are repeatedly telling me how proud they are of me.  Don’t worry, I am 100% appreciated, just what you always hoped for me.

So that’s my happiness in a nutshell. I hope you finally found what you’ve been looking for, too. Oh, but you already told me that you had found what you were looking for. I hope that’s still working out for you. I know how much it sucks to lose people you once loved.

Namaste!
Paula (a.k.a. Pumpkin. You might remember me by that name.)

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/33284484715793320/)

Unofficial Press Release – An Abusive Relationship Presented as a Work of Fiction

Cover: Escaping the boy: My Life with a Sociopath RevisitedWhen I first self-published Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath nearly a year ago in August 2012, I was extremely ignorant about marketing and self-promotion. I relied on this blog and a Facebook page to spread the word. I eventually created a website, too.

Recently, I was able to scrounge up some cash to pay for an official press release to be distributed to numerous outlets, including book reviewers and syndicated media sources.

The original press release written by the “pros” at Xlibris sucked!! It really sucked. So I wrote my own and am awaiting word on it’s tentative release and distribution. In the meantime, I’m sharing my rewrite here. (Am I a little protective? Yes. A little anal? Yes. But only because “they” got is so, so wrong the first time.)


Author Paula Carrasquillo Accounts her Abusive Relationship Presented as a Work of Fiction
A fictional story based on one woman’s experience of emotional, spiritual and physical abuse at the hands of a sociopath

GAITHERSBURG, Md. – Abuse comes in many forms and affects many people in the victim’s life. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuses are equally degrading and harmful. One is not better than the other or worse than the other. They are all abuse.

Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath details and illustrates the insidious nature of emotional abuse in a pathological and toxic love relationship. The novelette is the first fictional title by author Paula Carrasquillo, yet is highly based on a not-so-wonderful life experience. Paula admits that she’s not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a counselor, but through extensive personal research, reflection, and acceptance, she has come to the conclusion that her relationship was highly dysfunctional and unhealthy due to her abuser whose character and behavior can only be understood as being that of a narcissistic sociopath.

Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath is an eye-opener of a read. The author expresses to her readers that if someone seems “too good to be true,” he probably is. And just because there are no physical signs of abuse, does not mean a person isn’t suffering due to another’s actions or words.

Many readers will relate to this story and find comfort in knowing they are not alone. In addition, many readers who have not personally experienced abuse will be compelled to pass the book along freely to family, friends, love ones, and others they suspect of being a victim of abuse—emotional, physical, sexual or otherwise.

Although the title and cover would suggest a moody and dark tale, Paula infuses her storytelling approach with humor, survival and hope: survival of intimate partner abuse and hope that one day there will be an end to domestic violence and an increased awareness of the destructive nature of sociopaths hiding in plain sight who inflict inevitable harm.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to www.Xlibris.com.

About the Author
Paula Carrasquillo, M.A. lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area. She loves to read and practices Bikram yoga for her physical and emotional well being. She earned a master’s degree in communication and adult education from Regis University in Denver, Colorado and her bachelor’s degree in English from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. Paula has worked with the at-risk population as a curriculum developer and an educator teaching GED, ESL, and Life Skills courses. She currently works as a web and content analyst. She also writes a weekly column for The Washington Times Communities, Living Inside Out Loud. Paula is currently writing her second book on healing and recovery from pathological love relationships and abuse.

Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath* by Paula Carrasquillo
Revisited
Publication Date: August 27, 2012
Trade Paperback; 72 pages; 978-1-4797-0609-9
eBook; 978-1-4797-0610-5

To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

For more information, contact Xlibris at (888) 795-4274 or on the web at http://www.Xlibris.com.

Pistorius, Jealousy, and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies of the Narcissistic Sociopath

jealousy and pistoriusNarcissistic Sociopath’s single-handedly destroy their lives through paranoia and jealousy. As more and more news is being leaked to the press, it seems Oscar Pistorius is no better than the common douche bags across the globe (like the boy in my story) who abuse and lash out at their partners. An olympic athlete jealous of his girlfriend’s relationship with a rugby player? Sure. Believe it. Having close friends outside the “romance” is just the thing that sets off these cowards. But it’s going to be a tough nugget for many supporters to swallow, since Pistorius happens to have a couple of medals to flash in front of our eyes in hopes of blinding us to his true nature.

Narcissistic sociopaths can’t leave well enough alone and believe the people in their lives when they tell them they are “just friends” with someone. Why? Because a narcissistic sociopath can’t trust himself. How is he expected to trust anyone else?

Sociopaths are the Kings and Queens of self-fulfilling prophecies: their biggest fears become reality quickly. Sociopaths suspect the worst and repeatedly accuse their intimate partners and spouses of acting in despicable ways.

“You whore! I know you’re sleeping with X, Y, and Z when I’m not around. Why else would you be friends with such losers who have nothing to offer you?”

Over time and worn down by the increasing delusions of the sociopath, these partners finally just give up and relent. It’s too tiresome, otherwise, to continue our attempts at defending ourselves and our intentions. We allow the sociopath to think what he wants to think. Unfortunately, as soon as we think we have disengaged, the real fight for our lives and spirits begins.

I think many of us who have experienced similar can imagine the nightmare that was Reeva Steenkamp’s last moments. The rage, the anger, the begging, and the pleading. Even if Oscar Pestorius is never diagnosed with having a pathological personality disorder, he behaved as if his dark side was met with little to no resistance by the “idol” so many had cheered to victory in the past. Such a shame.

As I have noted in the past, a narcissistic sociopath can take the most innocent of behaviors (like being friends with someone) and twist it into something dark, dirty, and shameful. Being a good person and having good and loving friends and family is the narcissistic sociopath’s biggest enemy and source of rage and disgust. As soon as the green-eyed monster of jealousy rears its ugly head, kick these fools to the curb. Who cares if he/she happens to be a well-respected athlete or business owner? They’re pieces of trash capable of murdering you. If you think that’s harsh, lucky you. You’ve never looked evil in the eye.

Pistorius murder charge: Was Reeva Steenkamp shot over “close friendship” with Oscar’s rugby hunk pal?

Acceptance and Feeding the Wolves

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I receive letters and private emails from many readers. You share many of your feelings, stories, and fears with me. For that, I am grateful and feel blessed to have your trust.

A recurring question from many readers is:

“How do I get my abuser out of my head in order to forget and move on?”

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There is no definitive solution. We lived through something with someone. We can’t erase it. But I do believe there is a first step we all must take in order to recover from it:

We must accept what happened to us and realize we cannot change it or change the person who hurt us.

As a person who was able to wake up and escape my abuser before it was too late, the hurt I felt was not of having my heart-broken. Not even close. The hurt I felt in the beginning of my healing was in having trusted someone I expected would treat me with love, kindness, patience, and forgiveness. Those are basic and simple building blocks of all healthy relationships and the exact traits narcissistic sociopaths like the boy in my story lack.

My husband has those traits. My son has those traits. My mother, father, and stepfather have those traits. My sisters and brothers have those traits. My life-long friends have those traits. Therefore, my expectations that the boy would have those traits was not unrealistic. I had been conditioned to expect them from everyone, including the boy. And when they failed to flow from him, I wanted to help him grow those traits. How futile and naive! I know that and accept it now.

Acting on my co-dependent tendencies is a thing of the past. It serves no one, especially me. Why would any of us choose to try to fix another when we need to fix ourselves first? Once you accept your abuser for what he/she is, you can finally accept yourself, warts and all!

The beauty of accepting ourselves is the realization that we have complete control and power over changing those things we don’t like about ourselves and our behavior. Most importantly, we are allowed to expect better from ourselves and also expect results from our efforts to change.

I started by writing down all of the things I liked about myself. Then I jotted down all of my failings. I wanted to maintain the good in me but transform my bad habits and behaviors. I couldn’t erase my past failings and personal disappointments and setbacks related to my actions. However, I knew I could begin again. But beginning again required a thorough inventory of EVERYTHING!!

I spent many hours and weeks going back in my past and dissecting the years. I discovered too much I had tried sweeping under the rug. I had many “ah-ha” moments, and my confidence in my ability to relearn how to be myself again slowly started returning. With this confidence, I was energized to do something with my skills and talents I had suppressed for so long. (I, just me myself and I, suppressed them. It was no one’s fault but my own.)

In less than six (6) months from the time I decided to take control of my life, my writing took off. My book was published. I landed my column in The Washington Times Communities. My Facebook pages grew. I was approached by the founder and creator of My Emotional Vampire to help with their ever-increasing following. I read more and more blogs by other survivors. I lent my support to them as best I could. One Mom’s Battle asked me to contribute to the back cover of her book. I participated in fund raisers and walks.

My body and soul were being energized more and more every day thanks to my own efforts (and lots of support from my son and husband). I got myself into the mess I was in, and I was able to get myself out of it. That’s all we can do for ourselves in the end, really. Don’t you think?

Today I celebrated another birthday. My husband and son bought me a beautiful cake and two yoga calendars: one for my office and one for wherever else I need reminded of the passing of time. They also got me a dimmer switch for the light above the dining room table. (Mood lighting is VERY important!) Before leaving for work this morning, I wrote in my new journal (Thank you, Janine!) and wished for a peaceful day.

I want to end this post with a Cherokee tale I read many months ago and again last night in the last pages of the memoire Look Me in the Eye: Caryl’s Story by Caryl Wyatt and Anita le Roix:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Namaste!

Save our journalists!!

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Recently, The Washington Times laid off more than 20 newsroom staff writers. Not surprising considering the landscape of traditional news reporting, print publications vs. digital media, and the economy.

Although I write for the Washington Times Communities (TWTC), I am not an employee. What I write does not make it to the print version of the publication or the main pages of their website. My Times gig does not benefit my checkbook, but it does help build my portfolio. It’s fun, not work. I have a day job.

I also have sympathy for the writers who were laid off. Who doesn’t? Regardless of the market, losing your job and trying to find a new one is humiliating and daunting. For writers and reporters, I think the prospects and hopes are even more daunting than those in other careers.

As a writer and independent contributor for other online resources and sites, I know what companies are willing to pay and what they are not willing to pay for good writing. Not much! Sometimes absolutely nothing. And there are more and more of us “amateur” writers willing to receive little to no compensation to help businesses and organizations fill the empty spaces on their sites.

What’s the payoff? For me, there is an enormous feeling of accomplishment in having my work published instantly for all to read and comment. I’ll be honest, I don’t publish crap I don’t like. I publish the stuff I am most proud of and that I believe will be most helpful to the readers of this blog and my TWTC column.

I would never insult the profession of journalism and call myself a journalist. Writing might be fun for me, but writing and reporting the news is serious business and not always a good time for journalists.

I once worked in a newsroom as an undergrad. I was an unpaid intern. I was given soft-news stories to draft, stories that didn’t make the headlines but interested readers none the less. I couldn’t pick and choose what I wanted to write. There was an editor who told me what I could write. If I had ideas of my own, I had to run them past her first. The experience was eye-opening but not very gratifying. Needless to say, I was not encouraged to become a newspaper reporter. Not only does someone else dictate what and when a reporter writes, but a reporter is also challenged with research and source verification (something good journalist ALWAYS practice) on a deadline-driven basis every single day! I think of reporters and journalists as being highly stressed and recipients of few perks and compensation but lots of criticism and little praise.

I’m a writer with many passions. As a blogger and TWTC contributing writer, I enjoy the freedom to write when and how I want to write. I have a voice I’m interested in sharing. Much of my writing is based on my experiences and opinions. But experiences and opinions don’t pay the bills. I know that and you know that.

Even though I love my blogging community and think there are some amazingly talented and gifted writers here, we still need the skills and expertise of educated and trained journalists to bring us the most accurate and timely news, news that influences our thinking, writing, and conversations.

Keep the staffers who were laid off last week in your thoughts. Demand the best from the news sources you go to every day. Let them know when they’ve succeeded and when they have failed to bring you reliable and trustworthy news. If writers and reporters are losing their jobs, the ones who still have their jobs need to be the best of the best. At least that’s what I think. 🙂

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