“What the heck does she mean by MINDFUL, anyhow?”

I am in the middle of writing “Embracing Your Light: Mindful Healing and Recovery from Sociopath Abuse” and am defining the idea of mindfulness in hopes of dispelling any misinformation, prejudices, or negative connotations, so you’re not asking, “What in the heck does she mean by mindful, anyhow!?”

Below is mindfulness to me:

Mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to do yoga or meditate or eat tree bark.

Mindfulness simply means you live your life fully aware of yourself, your surroundings, and how you and your surroundings affect and impact each other.

Mindfulness is compassion for yourself and all living things surrounding you.

Mindfulness is not prescribing to any particular religion or faith. The faith required to be mindful is a faith in oneself.

Mindfulness is a state of being and knowing, knowing you are perfect in your imperfections. Mindfulness is accepting your imperfections and understanding that they are not permanent and do not define you.

Mindfulness is knowing that life is in a constant state of change and flux and that you are part of that change and flux.

You are who you are today. Tomorrow, you will be who you are tomorrow.

Accepting this and being patient in knowing is mindfulness.

Namaste!
~Paula

Why I’m Doing Another 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge and How I Prepare and Remain Motivated

I am embarking on my second Bikram Yoga challenge. The first challenge was almost two years ago in February 2012, just a few months after I started my yoga practice.

Me in Bikram Triangle

Me in Bikram Triangle

To be honest, I never imagined I would be motivated to do another challenge. The first challenge was very beneficial but also tough on my body, mind, spirit and family life. Although I felt accomplished in a mindful and self-aware sort of way upon completing the first challenge, my ego also said, “Well, you did it. You proved you could do it. No need to do that again.”

So I held fast to that egocentric attitude until recently when I started feeling defeated by life and overwhelmed by my responsibilities.

You see, in addition to having a regular 9 to 5 job, I have been writing non-stop on my other blog for 21 months. Over 320 blog posts in 90 weeks. That’s almost an average of 4 blog posts per week.

What I write on my other blog does not result in any sort of financial compensation. None. My compensation comes from the comments and messages I receive from readers who have been positively affected by the message I attempt to share and disseminate, a message related to an understanding of what domestic violence and intimate partner abuse looks like when perpetrated by emotional abusers. Sociopaths and narcissists.

Yeah, it may sound dramatic if you aren’t already familiar with my other blog. And you would be correct. Abuse and control is all about drama. My postings and writings are filled with reactions to that drama, and composing those reactions have been 100% draining. So when October began, I wasn’t surprised when I found myself in need of a break from my other blog and the emotions and feelings it stirred in me.

But a funny thing happened after I made the conscious decision to take a break from writing: I started to feel guilty!

I felt guilty for leaving people hanging. I felt guilty for not being as active as I once was. I have made some incredible friendships through my other blog and value all of the feedback I receive. Actively responding to comments and e-mails was never something I had to struggle with doing. But I found myself struggling, and that made me feel guilty.

Fortunately, I had enough humility (Thank you, yoga!) to reach out to my friends for support. Repeatedly, I received the same message: “Paula, take care of yourself. Put yourself first.”

It took a while for that message to sink in, but once it did, I immediately thought another Bikram Yoga challenge would be just the thing to get me out of my self-imposed slump. I was thinking about doing a challenge on my own but was thrilled to discover the studio where I practice is facilitating a challenge between now and Thanksgiving! (There are no coincidences, I’ve learned.)

I started my second challenge at Bikram Yoga Rockville on Wednesday, October 23 which ends the day before Thanksgiving. (The studio’s challenge actually started on Monday, October 21, so I have two doubles to look forward to completely. I’ll save those for the end.)

Like my first challenge, I had to prepare. Currently, my office is in my home with a more open and flexible schedule than I had during my first challenge. This simply means I have more options for which times I can attend class: mornings, afternoons or evenings. But a more flexible schedule doesn’t mean finding and maintaining my motivation is any less challenging.

Below are some ways I prepared and remain motivated.

In preparation:

  1. Setup a calendar reminder for each day, so I remember to eat. (I sometimes get really busy during the day and forget to eat lunch. If I wait too long, I can’t eat until after yoga. (Bikram instructors recommend that you eat a light meal 2-4 hours prior to your daily practice.)
  2. Get a pedicure. (Hey, it’s important to have clean and polished feet to present to your fellow yogis. Plus, it helps to keep your mat fresh.)
  3. Bathe my mat. (It’s kind of like a clean sheet thing–it just feels good and it’s healthy, for you and your mat.)
  4. Buy tea tree oil and a spray bottle. (A tea tree oil and water concoction will be sprayed on my mat after each use; it’s a green and friendly solution to keeping your mat fresh.)
  5. Pack a clean change of yoga clothes and towel in my car for spur-of-the-moment decisions to go to the yoga studio.

To remain motivated:

  1. Let as many people know your intention to complete the challenge.
    The more people who know, the more people will be asking you every day, “So, how many days are left?” You don’t want to answer, “Oh, I quit.” Do you?
  2. Get a challenge buddy (or 2 or 3).
    This can be done directly or indirectly. If you are new or simply don’t have friends at the studio, pick someone’s name off the board and follow/stalk his/her progress. It’s definitely psychological but effective.
  3. Don’t neglect your family.
    If you are married, in a partnership, or have children, they’re probably your biggest supporters. So, even when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed by the yoga, do things with and for your family. They’ll be more inclined to maintain their support throughout the 30 days. And remember to say, “Thank you, Baby, for respecting how much this means to me.”
  4. Keep talking about how the challenge is making you feel.
    Even if you feel like crap some days, share it. You would be surprised by how many people will tell you, “Well, just don’t stop. You’re so close.”
  5. Be lazy, eat right, drink lots of water, and sleep when you can.
    Do I need to explain this one? :)
  6. Encourage other yogis in the challenge.
    Through encouraging others, you encourage yourself and the entire room.
  7. Keep smiling.

Namaste!
~Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and A Yogini Transformed.


Paula Carrasquillo is an active yogi, author, and advocate who has lived in numerous watersheds throughout the United States, including Colorado, Maine, Maryland and New Mexico. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Paula is passionate about her family, friends and the motivational and brave people she meets daily through her online writing and social media exchanges. To Paula, every person, place, thing, idea and feeling she encounters is significant and meaningful, even those which she most wants to forget. Follow Paula on Twitter and check out her other blog.

Sociopaths are parasites in a world of hosts

Image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/84020349270421025/

Image source: Pinterest

Sociopaths are parasites.

Sociopaths come in many shapes and sizes. They look like our neighbors, our bosses, our co-workers and even our best friends. They even come disguised as our soul mates. (Yikes!)

But the one thing all of these sociopaths have in common is their ability to suck us clean of every ounce of talent and goodness we have inside and then toss us on the side of the road leaving us wondering what we ever did to deserve such punishment.

Yes. We see the abuse inflicted upon us by the sociopath as punishment for something we did wrong. We committed a crime against the sociopath, and we must handle the punishment because all the sociopath ever wanted was for us to need him as much as he needed us.

In the beginning:

  • We were adored by the sociopath when he first met us.
  • We listened to the sociopath and his complaints of his past girlfriends, lovers, friends and even siblings.
  • We were convinced that the poor, poor sociopath was misunderstood and that we would be the one who would finally make his life worth living.
  • We were placed on a pedestal that was so high above all others, we couldn’t even catch our breath most of the time.
  • We became convinced that the sociopath really loved us; we were the love of his life, the one, the best thing that ever happened to him.
  • We got comfortable. We felt safe. We started sharing more about our dreams and passions.

Once he knew we were hooked:

  • We were shamed slowly and insidiously, and our past was thrown in our faces.
  • We were led to believe we weren’t good enough and shouldn’t think so highly of ourselves.
  • We experienced confusion, and the pedestal slowly crumbled beneath us, putting us off balance and jolted repeatedly and endlessly.
  • We failed to be patient enough when the sociopath raged and cried.
  • We failed to comply when the sociopath told us we shouldn’t wear that or listen to this or watch that or be friends with him.
  • We failed to act fast enough with our empathy when the sociopath was crying and injured due to what he deemed our insensitivities.
  • We failed to put the sociopath first before all others.
  • We failed to bury our dreams and desires in place of the sociopath’s fantasy.

Once we realized the sociopath was not as righteous as he wanted us to believe:

  • We disagreed more openly with the sociopath. We spoke up.
  • We did what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it without the sociopath.
  • We made friends outside of the sociopath’s established inner circle.
  • We talked to strangers and enjoyed talking to strangers.
  • We planned more and more of our free time without considering the sociopath.

Once we started to fight for our freedom:

  • We were abused, shamed and blamed more. Sometimes we were physically attacked.
  • We pointed out the sociopath’s delusional thinking.
  • We told the sociopath what we really thought of him.
  • We got angry when the sociopath gave us the silent treatment and ignored us when we started asking questions.

Once we realized we had been completely discarded as a human by the sociopath:

  • We got tired of being angry and being ignored by the sociopath, so we started telling anyone in earshot what was happening to us.
  • We were pitied or even ignored.
  • But we kept talking. Someone was listening.

Once we realized we were not alone:

  • We helped ourselves and listened to our gut.
  • We promised to love ourselves and be better than the person we were before the sociopath entered our lives.
  • We worked hard to change our destructive thinking patterns.
  • We ate better, began a new habit or two or three, made new friends and took long walks again…all by ourselves.
  • We relearned self-love and self-respect, two things we thought we had in spades before the sociopath came into our lives.
  • We learned to trust ourselves again.
  • We learned to focus on our happiness and joy and not worry about the sociopath’s next victim.
  • We learned that our savior is inside of us.
  • We learned to love again.

What did the sociopath learn?

  • The sociopath learned to sharpen his skills.
  • The sociopath learned how to be more stealth, patient and charming.
  • The sociopath learned how to prolong his game, so he can suck more out of his next victim(s).

Because there will always be a next one and a next one and a next one.

Namaste!
~Paula

Put your yoga where your mouth is

big smile yoga

Source: Pinterest

“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 last fall, when I learned 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?”

There is absolutely nothing more humiliating than losing your job. I worked for a Federal contractor and knew the reality of contract work: nothing is guaranteed beyond the initial contract period. I was given a two-day notice that I would be losing my job; I was devastated.

I drove home that evening feeling like a complete failure and wondered if there was something I could have done that would have helped extend the contract. There was nothing. I did my job. I did my job well. The end of the contract was the end of the contract. It had nothing to do with my performance.

The worst part of that evening was breaking the news to my husband; we had just purchased and moved into a new home a month before, and the last thing I wanted to do was let my husband down at this early stage in our mortgage responsibilities.

Fortunately, he took it well and reassured me I will find a new job in record time. He said to me, “You’ve got skills, Baby. No worries.”

But I worried. I sat down and figured out a budget and what bills I needed to pay and which ones I could defer. On paper, things looked a bit bleak. I stepped away and decided to go to an eight p.m. yoga class—if there was one expense I didn’t mind paying, it was my monthly yoga membership.

Arriving at the studio, I decided to choose a spot in a corner of the room I normally avoided, because I always thought it looked too hot. (I know—it’s Bikram—every spot is too hot.) I did my pre-practice warm up and took a quick sip of water before the instructor entered.

Transitioning through the 26 postures, I thought a lot about being unemployed; I thought about how much of a loser I was and wondered how I was ever going to get a job fast enough in this economy and job market.

I was really beating myself up during this practice.

I took many savasanas and opted out of the second set for each of the balancing postures. I kept thinking that my practice was suffering along with my career; all of the self-esteem I had built and gained over the past 10 months was quickly dissipating in less than 10 hours! Where was my mind going? And how could it go there in the yoga room?

The final savasana arrived. I lay there on my back, with my body stretched out and my eyes closed. I may have looked relaxed, but I was anything but relaxed. The instructor sweetly repeated the words he always repeats at the end of his class:

“Feel free to take what you need and leave behind what you don’t need.”

In the instant those words hit my ears, I knew I had to let go of the negative thinking that had been consuming me; I needed to gain a positive attitude and leave behind the bad one. I had to start from “the scratch,” and “the scratch” just happened to be the last savasana of the evening.

I was okay with that.

I left the yoga feeling less stressed and renewed—I was ready to be jobless and do what needed to be done to land a new position.

I practiced yoga sporadically; I went during the morning and early afternoon, times I normally wouldn’t have practiced while working. If I had an interview scheduled, I went to class before the interview.

A few weeks later, I started a new job…I barely had an opportunity to collect unemployment!

During those weeks of job searching, I put my yoga practice where my mouth is, which allowed me to ease my stress and be reminded of what’s most important to my family and me—our health and happiness.

With those two things, anything can be accomplished.

Namaste!
Paula

© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and A Yogini Transformed.


Paula Carrasquillo is an active yogi, author, and advocate who has lived in numerous watersheds throughout the United States, including Colorado, Maine, Maryland and New Mexico. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Paula is passionate about her family, friends and the motivational and brave people she meets daily through her online writing and social media exchanges. To Paula, every person, place, thing, idea and feeling she encounters is significant and meaningful, even those which she most wants to forget. Follow Paula on Twitter and check out her other blog.

How to Recover from Sociopathic Abuse with a Mindful Approach to Online Pages and Groups

marianne williamson quoteIf you’re reading this, you probably supplement your healing and recovery from sociopathic abuse using Facebook or blogs in some capacity.

Over the last 30 months, the people, pages and private groups I trust, like, follow and learn from have changed and evolved as my healing and outlook changed and evolved. Pages I religiously picked over 12 months ago are no longer the same pages I pick over today.

It’s not that I don’t value those pages or groups anymore. On the contrary. Those pages and groups served me well, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

You see, this journey to find our peace after sociopathc abuse consists of stages. In order to naturally progress in our healing, we must be able to recognize when it’s time to move from one stage to the next stage. Sometimes it happens naturally. But sometimes we stay in one stage longer than another, or we fail to realize we need to move on and end up getting stuck in a certain stage.

The following are the stages I have entered, so far, in my healing journey:

1. Confusion (12 months) Upon escaping the boy in my story, I was desperately confused. I knew that the relationship was toxic while in it, because I suffered great anxiety, depression and self-destructive behaviors. Yet, even after leaving and taking a step back to look at the relationship from the outside in, I struggled with making sense of what happened and dove deeper into depression and self-loathing. I thought exiting the relationship would bring me immediate peace; instead, it just made me more confused and doubtful.

2. Awareness of Sociopaths (3 months) While depressed, drinking to self-soothe on occasion and seeing a counselor regularly, I began independent research and study into personality disorders and bipolar disorder. I didn’t begin this research because I thought my abuser (the boy in my story) was mentally unstable. I began my research because my abuser told me I was mentally unstable, and I needed to understand what it was about me that I needed to change. Within a few short weeks of reading and digesting information and taking online tests and asking my psychiatrist pointed questions about this disorder or that disorder, I came to the conclusion that in my research into personality disorders, I was not learning about myself but about my abuser.

Don’t get me wrong. In this early stage, I was clearly unstable. I was. And I was fully aware of it. I had no trust in my abilities to think or rationalize clearly or with any effectiveness. However, I thankfully realized that I was not as severely broken as the boy in my story would have liked me to believe. And this realization led to the next stage.

3. Anger and Denial (5 months) I was pissed. I was angry at myself and angry at my ex. I oscillated between absolutely believing my ex was a monster to denying that sociopaths really existed. This oscillation caused so much confusion and frustration. I was so angry, but I didn’t want to be angry and sought various outlets for my anger.

My blog writing picked up momentum and so did my yoga practice. I did a 30-day yoga challenge and was determined to dump the anger in anyway I could. It wasn’t a healthy choice, however. I was forcing it when I should have been more gentle and mindful with myself. I was not reaching out for the help I needed. and I was still self-soothing with booze, which resulted in a serious alcohol-related setback. I reached the lowest, yet highest point of my anger and discovered I suffered from post traumatic stress but was too ashamed to talk about it. So I kept writing and trying to purge my anger. It worked to a degree, but I still found myself frustrated and angry at myself for my inability to fix myself. Daily, I found myself wishing and hoping for my ex and his family to die from self-implosion. My anger was not controlled nor was it healthy. But, today, I see that it was necessary to reach the next stage.

4. Acceptance and Self-Focused Healing (ongoing) – Being angry just got old, and my body and mind asked me to please stop and to focus on the rest of my life. I took an inventory of my life and the people in it. I deconstructed myself in order to reconstruct and build a new self. I could never go back to who I was before the sociopath. Never. But I also wanted to be better than I was before.

I began to value my skills and abilities and my worth in an amazing and profound way. I journeyed into discovering my faith and spirituality. I let go of many, many material things from my toxic relationship that I recognized were burdening me: photographs, gifts from the boy, clothing worn while in the toxic relationship, emails, texts, voicemails, and letters and cards. I purged myself of the love affair completely. It was difficult, because I still have love letters from boys I dated in high school and early college. Being sentimental has it’s disadvantages when the other half of a love relationship is pathologically disordered. I kept writing on my blog but my writing became more hopeful, less angry and more uplifting. (Well, at least that was my hope.)

These were and continue to be my stages of healing. Yours are surely different but with overlapping similarities.If you are active on Facebook and on pages and in groups, keep in mind that each stage requires us to absorb and focus on different kinds of support and information available across many different kinds of pages and groups.

I had to let go of people and pages and groups as I became more and more aware and progressed in my healing. Unfortunately, I held onto some pages and groups for too long in some cases. But, eventually, I recognized how I was becoming stagnant in my mind, knowledge and everyday life. Removing myself and discovering the next stage of support was not me being fickle. It didn’t go against my ability to be loyal. I was and have continued to be loyal to myself when it comes to moving and growing.

This is YOUR healing. No one else’s. Don’t allow anyone to tell you what you can and can not say, do or think. If you are an active participant in your healing, you are the master of your healing. You are the center of your learning and evolution.

No page, page creator or group facilitator has all of the information you need at exactly the right time and stage that you need it.

The moment you start feeling you’re no longer benefiting from a page (including this page), hide it from your feed and go in search of a page that speaks to where you are now. Don’t even bother saying goodbye. Really. Just silently and gracefully walk away.

Your first priority is to you. Be selfish for a change. If others are actively participating in their healing and recovery, they’ll understand in time if they don’t understand in the moment.

Peace and namaste!
~Paula

© Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications, 2012 – 2013.

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/)

grief

Ambiguous Loss: Grieving the Sociopath

griefOften associated with losing someone due to death or a debilitating disease/condition like Alzheimer’s, ambiguous loss is, well, ambiguous.

It’s not clear when the feelings of ambiguous loss begin to creep into our psyche in relation to our toxic relationship with the sociopath. These feelings more than likely begin while still in the relationship as we slowly, over time, witness the slipping and transformation of the sociopath from a person we once loved into a person we no longer recognize.

Once outside of the relationship, these feelings become even stronger. We realize that although we accept the sociopath for what he/she is, we fail to quickly release ourselves from and let go of the false person we once believed the sociopath to be.

Although we no longer love, honor or respect the sociopath, we still grieve the loss of the person we thought the sociopath was. We fell in love with a fantasy person, someone who we allowed to affect us deeply. And the pain and overwhelming feelings of desperation of losing this fantasy person may cause us to get stuck in our healing and recovery, paralyzing us from moving forward.

So what can we do about it? How can we overcome this loss? I’ll leave that to the experts at The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing to provide possible solutions. The following is taken from their site:

1. Seek out support from others. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and who understand what you are going through can help validate your feelings.

2. Look for support groups that address the type of loss you are experiencing.

3. Allow yourself to take time to feel and express whatever emotions come up for you. Ignoring your feelings can prolong your feeling of being stuck.

4. Try to create a structure in aspects of your life that you can control, such as dinner and bedtime at the same time they usually occur, regular exercise, and family meetings as necessary.

5. Continue to strive to find meaning in your life that includes and acknowledges the loss you are experiencing.

6. Seek professional help if you find that the loss controlling your thoughts and behaviors and/or causing marked distress for an extended period of time.

Namaste!
~Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/228839224786475459/)

The Top 5 Reasons to Walk Away from all TEXTBOOK Sociopaths

walking away

There seems to be a growing trend of sociopaths “coming out” on blogs, message boards and even in real-world environments. More often than not, the sociopath slips into an already comment-heavy post or string of victims and survivors with a seemingly harmless comment like this:

Hi, my name is Johnny, and I’m a sociopath. I’m not here to convince you that you’re wrong about sociopaths. I’d like to help you understand us better. Ask me anything you want to know. I’ll even give you my personal e-mail address.

What have I learned to do when this happens on a post I am actively commenting? I have learned to ignore and keep moving. Hopefully, the following five reasons will influence you NOT to begin any type of engagement with a sociopath, no matter how tempting and curious you may be:

1.) Do not engage a sociopath. Period.

If someone comments on a blog you follow and announces that he’s a sociopath, shrug to yourself and move along. Do you really want to be friends or associates with someone who professes to be the very thing that tried to destroy you in the first place?

2.) Do not believe a sociopath when the sociopath claims to have a moral code.

It’s your moral code he is projecting in order to gain your sympathy and trust. When we recognize ourselves in another person, our empathy, sympathy and compassion kick in and we think, “Oh, that poor, poor man. He needs someone to understand him.”

3.) Do not share your private thoughts, philosophy or insight with a sociopath.

When a sociopath says, “Just ask me anything you want to know. I’d love to help you understand me better,” he’s actually saying to himself, “If I gain their trust by seeming like a helper and a savior, I can learn more about what makes these non-sociopaths tick so I can be better at fooling and manipulating them.” Remember, if there is nothing in it for them, why would they waste their time on us boring, non-sociopathic saps?

4.) Do not praise a sociopath for being open and honest.

First, that’s a flipping oxymoron, contradiction in terms on so many levels. Second, if you praise a sociopath, you’ve invited him into your sphere. The sociopath’s negative energy has infiltrated your positive energy, and he’s already started sucking it from you. When you praise a sociopath for being human like you, what you’re really doing is validating the sociopath, giving the sociopath an ego boost and acknowledging that the sociopath succeeded in duping you. Open door to manipulate you further!

5.) Remain ever-mindful and fascinated with each other and not with the sociopath.

Curiosity killed the cat, remember? If you begin a conversation with a sociopath, be prepared to be triggered and for your recovery to be compromised. Be prepared to question yourself and your reality of good. Be prepared to start thinking sociopaths can be “fixed.” Be prepared to start becoming a delusional mess all over again.

Use your powers and strengths of compassion and empathy to understand each other instead. We already know how sociopaths operate. They’re textbook! They have nothing to teach us. Besides, why would you willfully enter that hell again?

No contact. Period.

Namaste!
~ Paula

The End of the Relationship with a Sociopath: Where is the Sense in It?

senseless

From the beginning, a relationship with a sociopath make no sense and is unlike any relationship we have ever encountered. And then the end comes, and we’re blown away by how it plays out.

When normal, healthy relationships end, we naturally grieve. We say goodbye to someone with whom we shared ourselves and whom shared themselves with us. It’s sad. It’s painful. But it’s life. People come and go. And just because the person we are saying good-bye to will no longer be a part of our everyday life, we have the beautiful memories of that person and all of the adventures and growth we experienced.

But when a relationship with a sociopath ends, it’s on par with losing someone through death. Why is the grief so intense? Probably because there was never a normal closure when a so-called relationship with a sociopath ends.

When we end romantic relationships with healthy partners, there is usually the final, mutual conversation where one side says, “I love you but it’s just not working” and the other side says “I love you, too, and I agree it’s not working.” You go your separate ways; there is no drama; there is no second-guessing. You move forward and deal every day with the gradual subsiding of the pain and grief of losing a person you once shared a life. And you always remember that person and how he/she shaped you and helped prepare you for the next relationship.

When the toxic relationship with a sociopath ends, we never experience the mutual conversation or the drama-free exit and separation. Instead, what we get from a sociopath is emptiness and lies. If you leave the sociopath, he’ll say, “Thank God I don’t have to endure you any more. I should have realized long ago that I was wasting my energy on you.” If he is the one to leave, he’ll say, “It’s just not working out. I don’t love you and never really loved you the way you wanted me to love you. We would have made each other miserable. Have a great life.”

Both reactions are shocking to a normal, health non-pathological person. How could someone devalue the years you spent together with such dismissive statements and lack of emotion and care?

Well, a sociopath, that’s who!

Once the sociopath no longer needs you or realizes he can’t use you for further supply, you become dead to the sociopath. His memory is wiped clean of you, because he was never able to connect with you on a spiritual level in the first place. You were just a material thing, an acquisition and a conquest; it’s easy to toss away things. In no uncertain terms, you become trash and garbage in the eyes of the sociopath.

You do not exist. You are worthless and so was the relationship. Poof! You’re nothing.

So harsh! You are unable to compute how the sociopath was able to come to such a conclusion about you and your worth. Once you recognize this reality, when you hear it in his tone and learn of it through the smear campaign, you may become desperate to make him see how wrong he is. You may try to delay the end. You may call him and beg and barter with him. You may get down on your hands and knees and say you’re sorry and would do anything to prove to him that you are worthy of his eternal friendship and love.

But, more than likely, by the time you make such a spectacle of yourself, the sociopath has already found a new source of supply. By doing this, you just end up looking like a crazy and desperate fool. The sociopath does not care what you have to say. He does not acknowledge any of the truth you might be speaking. However, the sociopath loves that you keep begging him and pleading with him to be nicer to you. These are the moments that feed the sociopath, and he shares these pleadings with his current victim/girlfriend/fiancee to prove to them how insane you are, “Jesus! This woman is so sick. She just can’t let go and accept I don’t want anything to do with her.”

The boy in my story described several women from his past in this way. (I’m definitely added to that list now. Hehe!) But was it really letting go of him that they were unable to do? Was his teenage lover really desperate to marry him after all these years because she was delusional and couldn’t accept the end of the relationship? Was the ex-girlfriend from Ohio, now married with children, pining for the boy because she still loved him? Did I call him after my stepfather died because I needed him to comfort me?

No. None of us really needed him in our lives. What we needed from him was a glimmer of humanity that we never received when the relationship ended. All we got was drama, hate and lies. We were desperate to be treated as humans.

But expecting to be treated as a human when the relationship with a sociopath ends is hoping in vane. It will never happen. Why? Because the sociopath isn’t human like you and me. He has no conscience. So why on earth would the sociopath treat you like you were human if he doesn’t even know what it feels like to be human with a conscience?

He wouldn’t, because he can’t. The sociopath is not capable of treating you like anything other than a disposable piece of flesh.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/209206345162866290/)

“The sociopath ADORED me so much at first!! What happened?”

adoreNarcissistic Sociopaths need constant adoration. The sociopath primes you from the very beginning to provide them with constant adoration by adoring you first.

In the beginning during the idolization phase, everything you do and say is described by the sociopath as “amazing” and “genius” and “fantabulous!” He adores you and can’t imagine spending a night without you. You are the most beautiful woman he has every looked upon, touched and kissed. You don’t have sex; you make LOVE!! He can’t believe the time he wasted living without you. You’re a goddess.

Why does he say these things? Because you are all of those things, especially in the eyes of the sociopath who is just a dull blob of flesh next to your gloriousness. He sees it; he knows he pales in comparison. He tells you, because it’s the truth.

But you’re now scratching your head. You were under the impression sociopaths lie all the time. Well, they do lie all the time…about themselves and their feelings and their motives.

Luckily for us, sociopaths can’t create their own worlds without some truths. Unfortunately, the truths they use come from us. With our truth as the foundation of the relationship, the manipulation and mind games can begin.

(Remember, they NEED us; we do not need them.)

The sociopath doesn’t tell you these truths with the end goal to make you happy and fulfilled. He does it to make himself happy and fulfilled, because we reward him for rewarding us with such high praises.

It’s our natural default: when someone is nice to us, we’re nice in return.

Think about it—when was the last time you told someone to screw off when they complimented your appearance or your job performance? More than likely, you said “Thank you” and provided them with a reciprocal compliment either on-the-spot or later when appropriate.

We remember niceties of people, because it feels good. And we always return the niceties, because we want others to feel good, too. We don’t do it to receive more niceties in return, which is what sets us apart from the sociopath. The sociopath gives compliments with the great expectation of receiving compliments in return, a purely selfish and malignant mindset.

A great way to test what I propose is to think back (or in the present if you’re still engaged with a sociopath) to the last time you failed to return a compliment or even slightly criticized the sociopath.

How did he react? Probably with something like this:

“How can you be so cruel?! How could you say such means things to me when all I do is love you so much?” (And all you said was that you were tired of his choice of restaurants and you wanted to try something new.)

Regardless of the context of the present conversation or situation, the sociopath told you last week how beautiful you looked in that dress you wore to work, and you better not disagree or misbehave. If you fail to comply or insist on arguing, you are a selfish and heartless whore!

(Oy vey! Holy hell! Squat on the Buddha!)

And the hate-filled rages only get worse the longer you hang around. The first few times you might feel guilty that he got so hurt by a simple comment you made. You try rephrasing and even prefacing your comments with, “I don’t think you’re 100% wrong, and I don’t dislike it completely but…”

(This is called walking on eggshells. Dammit! You should be able to have an opinion about something and feel safe expressing that opinion without feeling like you’ll be instantly attacked and diminished.)

Sociopaths think the kind of love and praise they give to you is carte blanche for them to behave in any way they wish to behave. They keep a running tally of all of the things they did for you “out of the goodness of their hearts.” Since they tell you they love you and think you’re perfect, they expect you to be okay with anything and everything they ask of you.

It’s as if we’re just stupid and lost puppies stumbling around waiting for praise and food all of the time. As if we completely depend on the sociopath for all of our needs. As if all we live for is to kiss his ass and give him some ass. As if we need him in order for our lives to run smoothly and without interference, like a finely-tuned Swiss watch.

(And that’s exactly how the sociopath wants us to be. Completely dependent. But that’s simply delusional!)

And once we start displaying any kind of disobedient behavior, like expressing ourselves, the praise and adoration stops. We’re put in the proverbial doghouse indefinitely. The sociopath withholds those praises like a dog owner withholds biscuits and treats until the dog “learns” to behave better (a.k.a. listens and obeys its master.)

I have a mind. You have a mind. Our minds are our masters, not the sociopath or any other human on the planet.

The sociopath entertains himself daily performing in his one-man show. We’re just his props; he honestly believes that he is the only one that matters.To the sociopath, we are nothing unless we comply. We’re “dead to him” if we continue to “selfishly” insist on using our minds willfully and outside of his little world.

Can you imagine a cluster of these fools in the same room together? We should organize a fake event and send them all an invitation. Let them be our puppets while we sit back and take pictures and video. What do you think would happen? (Bahaha! I know. Wishful thinking, huh?)

Namaste!
~ Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/79024168432465186/)

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