New page! FAQs – Healing and Recovery from Pathological Abuse and Trauma

After two years of receiving the same/similar questions from readers, I finally decided to get smart and create an FAQ page.

FAQs – Understanding and Recovering from Pathological Abuse and Trauma | Paula’s Pontifications

The FAQ list will continue to grow. I already have questions sitting in front of me waiting to be answered! And I will make every attempt to answer them as intelligently and as thoughtfully as I am able. If I can’t answer them, I’ll direct us to someone who can.

Follow this link to the FAQ page:


How many licks?

Hard Work Ahead in the Aftermath of the Sociopath

How many licks?Sociopaths see all people, especially intimate partners, as possessions and acquisitions.

Remember that Tootsie Roll Pop commercial from decades ago? Well, I can’t help but think about it when I think about the sociopath, the boy in my story. He behaved like a big, fat toddler holding a lollipop, slowly licking away at me and my identity.

And I allowed the sociopath to consume me, penetrate and control my emotions. He judged my emotions daily by shaming, blaming and praising me. And I cared what he thought. Why? Because I thought he really loved me, and don’t we all care what our loved ones think of us?

But now I know nothing the sociopath did or said came from a place of love. His actions came from a place of fear, and his fears were inflicted upon me. I absorbed those fears and took them on. Doing this thrust me into a very dark place. A dark place that slowly and insidiously destroyed my sense of self.

After escaping the sociopath, I was hit hard by a need to go inward and explore what it was inside of me that allowed such evil to penetrate me and use me as its host.

I discovered I wasn’t as confident and as strong as I thought I was. I didn’t have the necessary self-love and self-respect I needed to fight off and deflect sociopaths and sociopathic behavior by others.

So I set out to change that.

I wrote on my blog. I met others with similar experiences. I didn’t feel alone.

I talked to friends and family about how I was feeling. Not everyone understood but enough “got it” and encouraged me to keep talking.

I read books and blogs. Some didn’t fit with how I was feeling. Others did. I took what was valuable and relevant to my situation and left the rest behind.

I continued meeting with my counselor even when I felt like I didn’t need to talk to him anymore. He kept encouraging me while asking the hard questions.

I practiced yoga as often as I could. If I couldn’t find the time to get on the mat, I thought about what I learned on the mat and how I could bring that patience, determination and non-judgment into my daily life, work and play.

I faced my deepest and darkest sides. I turned my entire identity upside down and inside out.

And the work remains; it’s never-ending. But that’s just because life is never-ending (until, of course, it ends). I’m comfortable being an idealist who is forced to push the reality button on occasion.

Thankfully, I now have a solid foundation of self-love and self-worth. I no longer define myself by what I’ve done or what I have left undone. I am always changing and growing, the way we’re supposed to do in life. I’m in an environment and surrounded by friends and loved ones who give me that freedom to grow and reach my potential.

Today, I remain committed to starting, completing and maintaining the hard work I’ve done and continue to do deconstructing and rebuilding what nearly destroyed me due to all of my past toxic relationships and their effects.

I may not be 100% impenetrable. I have no doubt I will be faced with many shitty people in my future. Fortunately, I have more faith and trust in my gut, and I am pretty confident that it would take an infinite number of licks to get to the center of this tootsie roll pop again! 


© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

5 Tips to Keep Online Support from Being Non-Supportive

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Many of us have turned to online support groups and blogs to help guide us through our understanding, healing and recovery from pathological relationships. They are wonderful places to meet wonderful people. I for one credit the help I have received from virtual strangers as my biggest support tool over the past year.

However, there have been some encounters and hiccups along the way, and I just wanted to share a few tips that have helped me navigate away from pages, sites, groups and even individuals that are counter to progressive healing:

1. Enter private groups with zero expectations.
Even if you were invited by a “real” friend or long-time virtual friend, private groups are not a one-size fits all. Dip your toe in. Be cautious. Feel out and read past posts and comments. If there is something triggering, you may want to remove yourself from the group. No one SHOULD get offended. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.

2. Never let anyone tell you how you should be feeling.
We spent far too long dealing with a pathological partner telling us how we SHOULD think or feel. We don’t need people or groups devaluing us, too. If you comment about how you feel or what you’re thinking and you immediately receive a response like, “You shouldn’t feel or think X,Y,and Z,” remove yourself from the group or step away from the page. If it’s the administrator of the page who is trying to offer you advice on how you SHOULD be feeling, that’s a red flag that the owner of the page may be stuck or pathological themselves.

3. Never measure your progress and recovery against that of another.
It’s very common to meet someone online who seems exactly like you. That person’s experience mirrors yours almost down to the pet names your exes used to call you. You feel connected (FINALLY!) and understood. You start comparing your progress with her progress. Doing this often results in self-judgment. You might feel inadequate if you think she’s moving forward faster than you. Or you might even start judging your friend and think she’s not moving fast enough. We all have varying and complex coping mechanisms. Some of us cycle through emotions faster than others. A person who seems “stuck” may just be a bit more cautious in moving forward. Someone who appears “healed” may be hiding their doubts. Which leads to #4…

4. Online support should NEVER replace other professional services.
Professional counseling and support outside of the virtual world is often necessary and essential for some one in recovery. No matter how much you think the online group is helping you more than offline professional services, don’t be too hasty in dropping your counselor.

5. Above all, listen to Your Gut.
We hear this a lot, because we were so bad at listening to ourselves while in the pathological relationship. Instead of waiting to test your gut in your next romantic relationship, start using it in all of your relationships, especially in online support groups. If a person seems to contradict themselves or you feel a page administrator or group facilitator is hindering you or trying to control you, you’re probably correct. Not everyone who creates a page or group is doing it for good reasons. Some page creators are doing it for selfish and ego-boosting reasons. It’s a harsh reality but a very true one. Don’t feel obligated to continue a relationship or friendship with someone if your gut is telling you to break the ties.

Have a great weekend! Namaste! ~Paula

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NO MORE: My Post, Your Support, and The Healing Process

NoMore.orgI found an amazing organization a few weeks ago: NO MORE. NO MORE’s goal is to bring more awareness to domestic violence and sexual assault in hopes of ending it for good:

“NO MORE is a simple idea with the power to unleash new, major  attention to the people all around us who are hurt – directly or indirectly — by domestic violence and sexual assault every day and every minute.  We all know someone who has been touched by this violence but still, domestic violence and sexual assault remain hidden and misunderstood.” (from

NO MORE’s website site provides a toolkit of images and messages to anyone with a blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, and any social media account or outlet to spread the message. All you need to do is fill out an online form to request the toolkit. I requested my toolkit last week and was asked if I would be willing to write a personal account of why I support the NO MORE campaign. I did. And they posted it on their site.

For me, sharing what happened to me has been empowering and has brought me back to me. Not everyone can share their experiences with domestic violence/intimate partner abuse or sexual violence. I share because it helps me heal and find internal; peace; I have no interest in anyone’s pity. I share and continue to share what happened to me because being silent helps no one, except the tormentor/abuser.

I ask you to support NO MORE by requesting a toolkit. You don’t need to be a victim/survivor. Just someone who is tired of turning a blind eye to suffering that is happening right under our noses every day. Namaste!

Paula’s post on


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