Working hard and being passionate are the keys to wiping out sociopathic influence

This is a bit of a rant. I don’t rant much. (Or maybe I do.) Let’s blame it on the cardinal cross…

People wonder why I get so angry when it comes to the sociopath, the boy in my story. They wonder why I can’t just stop wishing he’d die and why I continue praying he has no children. I must have had my heart completely crushed to be able to get so fueled by the thought of the sociopath still breathing?

No. My heart was not broken by the sociopath. Coming to the realization that there are people out there with zero empathy, zero ability to be remorseful and absolutely zero remnants of a working conscience broke my spirit. A broken spirit stings and bleeds more profusely than any broken heart I’ve ever experienced. Nothing compares to coming face-to-face with the crushing reality that everything you love is everything another absolutely hates and tries to destroy.

I’m angry because the sociopath from my past is just a representation of the millions of heartless, cruel, selfish animals walking among us feigning care and concern. Fake, counterfeit people who suck the life out of people like me and many of the wonderful men and women I have met through my writing.

I am not fake. I am not counterfeit. I truly care, and I am truly concerned. Sociopaths insult my very existence. Sociopaths make what I’m made of seem easily acquired and copied when what I am made of can never be 100% duplicated.

The sociopath might get the expressions right, he might be able to repeat my words or steal my story and pretend it’s his own. Yes. Anyone can make cosmetic changes to their facade. It’s not very hard.

But what the sociopath can NEVER duplicate is what’s going on inside my soul.

The sociopath will never see the things I see. The sociopath will never feel the joy or the pain I feel. The sociopath will never be able to express love for another the way I do. The sociopath will never know unconditional love the way I know unconditional love.

No sociopath will.

Healing from my broken spirit and from my collective realizations takes an everyday effort. I remind myself every day to remain hopeful that good will triumph…despite the shitty news I read and watch every day.

Yes. I am absolutely angry. I am angry because too many of us just sit back too fearful to speak out against what can only be described as unfair treatment of others.

We see people getting berated by a boss or co-worker. Most of us say nothing. Why take the chance of being the one who gets thrown under the bus next?

We see a customer ahead of us in line being nasty to the cashier. We say nothing. That customer might turn around and hit us. Goodness gracious, we can’t get involved in something so distasteful, can we?

We watch a mother or a father scream at their children at the bus stop. It’s none of our business to get involved, is it? Again, we might end up in a fist fight, and we don’t want to invite THAT kind of behavior into our lives.

But it’s okay to sit back and judge all of those people who do stand up, get knocked down and then stand up again ready to fight…again and again and again. It’s okay to call those people crazy?

It’s okay to judge those people who speak the words everyone else is too cowardice to speak and somehow think being cowardice is really being intelligent and moral?

Wrong!

Morality is standing up, speaking out and fighting against the shit you see that is wrong. Immoral behavior is when you know the emperor is naked but you go along with the crowd, pretending to admire the bare-ass emperor’s clothes, anyway.

Really? People are proud to be this type of intelligent coward? Intelligent cowards?

I am a highly empathic person. I love being alive and have always loved seeing others happy. I have always gone out of my way to be fair or to let someone else win who seems to need that “victory” more than I ever did.

But I’m learning that it’s my turn to let myself win for a change. It’s my turn to stop being afraid of the punches that will inevitably land square on my chin. It’s my turn to just say, “Screw you, intelligent cowards. That guy is buck naked!!”

Yes. I am planning a party and not everyone is invited. That party is my life. And those uninvited are those who remain keen on being intelligent cowards.

Who else is ready to plan their next party and not invite everyone you once felt obligated to invite just to seem like a good person?

I don’t care if people call me crazy or call me angry or tell me I’m out of control, because I know I care now more than ever before, my anger is finally well-directed and I’m in more control of my thoughts today than I have ever been.

Many will think it unwise to be my friend. That’s okay. I understand. It’s never been wise to be friends with folks who most consider are crazy, because people might think you’re crazy for being friends with a crazy person. I get it.

I guess it makes no difference to me. I’ve got lots of friends others have judged as crazy (besides myself), and it hasn’t affected my ability to keep growing and learning and working and making a living.

And I’ve done it without kissing ass, bullying people, degrading people or getting people to feel sorry for me. That’s what sociopaths do. They cry and lie and cheat their way through life.

Don’t let them fool you. You don’t have to do any of those things to be successful. You don’t have to lie and cheat. That’s a myth sociopaths like to spin. They spin this myth, because they are too lazy to earn their success. And that is the key: you have to work hard and be confident that you are just as smart, just as capable and just as worthy as the next person. If more good people stop trying to follow the lead of the sociopath in their lives and instead do the hard work, more and more sociopaths will be pushed aside. They’ll be pushed out of corporations, out of governments, out of churches and out of communities.

Survival of the fittest. It’s true. The concept is true. But too many of us have fed into the quick fixes all these scamming sociopaths like to throw up to divert us from the real work required for fulfilling lives.

There are no short cuts in life. Don’t let that moron sociopath make you think there is. That moron sociopath is just too lazy to do the hard work and if you don’t do the hard work, the sociopath has an excuse for being a liar and a cheater.

Don’t be a liar and a cheater. If more of us started living authentic and mindfully and not always looking for instant gratification, the sociopath’s way of being would never cross our minds. Ever.

And when a sociopath does cross our paths, it will be that much easier to spot them and say, “Hit the road, scumbag!”

Namaste!
Paula

Shifting gears and getting down to more awareness business

20140108-153722.jpg

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)

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.

Never-give-up

Never Give Up. ~ shared by Paula F.

Never-give-upThe following was shared by one of my Facebook page followers, Paula F. Her story reads like a miracle! She hopes her story will help inspire others to keep moving forward despite the overwhelming urge to give up…

As we all know, escaping is a long, scary, difficult journey. But it can also be the most wonderful growth experience anyone could have.

I feel led to share this part of my recovery where ever I can. I’m sorry it’s long, but I think it’s worth the read. I’ll start with a bit of my back story, but worry not, it turns positive.

In November, for the 11th and last time, I left a 16+ year extremely abusive marriage with a man-boy I believe to be, at the very least, a sociopath.

I ran while he was imprisoned for assaulting me and left with nothing but my son, my animals and my truck and very few possessions. I was broken and terrified but determined to save us.

We moved 500 miles away to kind-hearted people we barely knew, having no one else to turn to. Since November, we have been living in a 5th wheel with no water or power, behind a house that a dozen other people share, lots of toddlers too. It was chaotic and an increasingly difficult environment for me to deal with.

In April, my abuser was released from prison and, in violation of a no contact order AND a restraining order, contacted me and offered me back my home and all my possessions. I have come so far, my son is happier than ever, and I finally have too much self-respect to take that offer despite being as discouraged and in as difficult circumstances as I was. But I knew I had to do SOMETHING different as I was not moving forward.

So, instead of taking his offer, which in my heart I KNOW would allow him to undo all that I have done to recover from him, I took a huge leap of faith, left the place I was at and, facing homelessness, went to another, bigger city to look for housing and a job. I was able to get emergency homeless assistance for a motel room for 16 days. It runs out Tuesday. I have been busting my ass every single day, getting up at 6 a.m. and hunting for a place, applying for jobs, desperately clinging to my positivity, really trying my very hardest.

Friday, I woke up hurting (I have Fibromyalgia, PTSD, and Severe Anxiety Disorder) and discouraged, teary eyed, and afraid and fighting to hold on to the positive attitude I worked so hard to cultivate in myself, even through such hard times. I was thinking maybe my doctor and therapist were right; maybe it’s too soon to go back to work. Who would want me? And that after all my hard work to find a place to live and a job, I believed I had failed.

I prayed–what more could I do? I’d done everything I could, worked HARD, stayed positive as much as I could and now I was just stuck.

I was crying saying “What now? I did EVERYTHING I could, everything I thought I was led to do, everything I thought any higher power would want me to do. I worked my butt off, kept hope alive and my attitude right, trusted that what was meant to be would come to pass if I kept my eyes, ears, and heart open, doing all I could to find and follow up on every lead that came to me. Yet, here I am out of time, money and options, with a 13-year-old son depending on me! What do I do now?”

Well apparently the answer was, “Answer your phone” because it rang shortly after and within a couple hours everything I’d worked and prayed for came through.

Just when I’d decided to say screw it and hide in the covers and cry, I got a call about an apartment I applied for weeks ago and have gone back to follow up on 4 times. They finally approved me! So, I got up and got ready to go talk to the manager, feeling so good that I even called to follow up on the job I interviewed for Tuesday and left a message for the personnel manager thanking her for the opportunity to interview and saying I looked forward to the possibility of hearing from her.

Shortly after, I was in the manager’s office working on the rental contract, about to take a one-bedroom because I couldn’t afford a two-bedroom, when my cell phone rang and it was the personnel manager that I had left the message for. She offered me the job!! First job I interviewed for and I nailed it!! I just about FREAKED out right there in that office, and I took the 2-bedroom apartment, and I get to have my therapy dog there too!

As if that wasn’t awesome enough? A few minutes later my cell rang again and it was regarding the state government job I tested for Thursday. They want to interview me next week! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? I am on cloud nine right now! I DID IT!!!! I actually did it! From broken, broke, homeless and nearing hopelessness; I picked myself up, sought the help I needed, listened to my heart and higher power, worked my ass off to change and put myself back together and make a life for my son and I and I SUCCEEDED!

If I can, anyone can! I went from homeless and unemployed to not just getting adequate shelter but getting a NICE place at a good price. From jobless to offered a great job for exactly the community organization that I most wanted to work for and still sought after for another, giving me options! I feel wonderful. Proud of myself. So very, very blessed and led to share and maybe touch at least one struggling soul with hope and encouragement.

Never give up! You are worth putting your all into all that you do. You are worthy and must forgive and love yourself! Your reward will come, maybe not as soon or easily as we’d like, but in ways you can’t imagine. Just don’t give up! Learn to love yourself and live with an attitude of gratitude and hope and a heart of love. Let your light shine and your path will be revealed. Your light may also illuminate something for others as well. And isn’t that the greatest gift and reward we can aspire to give or get? Thank you for allowing me to share.

Love, light, and hope to you all!

~Paula F.

(image source: daytobeyou.com/stay-strong/never-give-up-2/)

Bikram yoga - balancing stick

“Put your yoga where your mouth is” #Elephant Journal

Previously published article reworked for Elephant Journal. Enjoy!

Put your yoga where your mouth is. ~Paula Carrasquillo

Bikram yoga - balancing stick

NAMASTE by stelonature photography

“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late, and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.” ~ Bikram Choudhury

I absolutely believe Bikram’s words to be true and repeat the above quote a lot on my social media status updates and with friends.

As a result of my wonderful yoga experiences, I tell everyone I know and meet about the healing and strengthening powers of yoga.

Most people seem genuinely interested in learning more, but few have actually taken me on my word and tried yoga for themselves. The few who have tried all agreed that their experience was positive and left an impression. They were thankful for all of my talk about yoga.

So, when I learned a few weeks ago that I would be laid off from my job, I put my talk to the test: could I persuade myself to not give up and “to start from the scratch again?” Read more…

Alice Olive Paula

The Versatile Blogger Award and a few things about myself…

Paula's Pontifications receives the Versitile Blogger Award

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

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

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

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

Seven things about me:

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

Namaste!

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!

Book giveaway time, because everyone likes free stuff!

Cover: Escaping the boy: My Life with a Sociopath RevisitedLike this post for a chance to win a free e-book version of my book, Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath! I will randomly select a reader and announce the winner on New Year’s Day.

Thanks to everyone for your support and dedication to maintaining the message and keeping awareness about the link between domestic violence and personality disorders moving forward. We can’t do this alone, but we CAN do this!

Namaste!

Handing out of dose of reality one “ugly” story at a time

verbalabusejournals.com

Visit www.verbalabusejournals.com to submit your story.

More and more victims/survivors are getting sick and tired of being shut down by ignorance and injustice. They’re speaking out and writing. Find out how and where by reading my latest story published to The Washington Times Communities:

Domestic Violence Victims are Speaking Out, Handing Out a Dose of Reality

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