chance and regret

Take a Chance on You and Never Regret Leaving the Narcissistic Sociopath

chance and regretDid you do enough? Did you make the right decision to walk away?

One of the reasons many remain in toxic and pathological love relationships for too long is because we want to be absolutely certain that we aren’t giving up on a person prematurely.

We always second-guess ourselves and ask, “What if it’s me and not him/her? What if I changed X, Y and Z about myself? Surely he/she will see my efforts and the relationship will get better.”

The relationship never gets better with a pathological person. The sociopath can’t see beyond his/her need to control you.

If you suggest counseling or attempt to change anything about yourself while in the relationship, your efforts will be perceived by the sociopath as a direct attack.

The sociopath will look upon your attempt to change with great contempt. The sociopath will accuse you of not being satisfied. Why change yourself or try getting the sociopath to change? You can’t possibly love the sociopath if you want to change the sociopath and the relationship. How dare you suggest it?!

To add more confusion, the sociopath tells you that YOU REALLY DO need to change and get better and provide him with the love and attention the sociopath deserves.

Yet, any attempt you make to change and satisfy the sociopath for the sake of preserving the relationship, the sociopath will shame and blame you.

You: Exercising really clears my mind and puts me in a great mood. I’m going to start going to the gym on the way home from work in the evenings. I think it will really help us.

The Sociopath: Help us? Well, it doesn’t help me. Spending time at the gym will only take away from our time together. You must not like our time together. You must not really love me. Whore! You heartless bitch!

It’s vicious and insidious and leads to more and more verbal, emotional and eventually physical abuse (if it hasn’t already escalated to that.)

Do yourself and your future a favor and see the sociopath for what the sociopath is and stop thinking you are failing yourself by ending it. Walk away. Go no contact.

Do you have any idea how many more deserving people are in this world dying for someone like you to be a part of theirs? People with a conscience and empathy and big hearts—real hearts, not those fake ones the sociopath likes flashing in our faces?

If you remain in a relationship with a sociopath, you remain under the sociopath’s control. You will forever suffer.

But if you get out, there can be no regrets for having the courage to step away from hell. Take a chance on yourself for a change.

Namaste! Peace!
~Paula

(image source:http://pinterest.com/pin/134404370102062789/)

setting boundaries

The Importance of Boundaries and Keeping the Sociopath on the Outside

setting boundariesI never had boundaries before I met the sociopath. I was naive and too open and honest. I wasn’t afraid of sharing my dreams and weaknesses and past mistakes. I believed my history made me the strong person I thought I was, and I just liked sharing.

When I hooked up with the sociopath, he seemed to like and respect me immediately.  This “instant attraction” led me to share too much, too soon. And boy did I share!

I shared without any expectations. I didn’t expect anything in return from the sociopath and figured that if he wanted to share himself with me he could, if not, that’s okay, too.

Although I expected nothing in return for all of my disclosure and sharing, I still became hurt and angered when it became increasingly clear that the sociopath was only interested in rejecting, defiling and dismissing my feelings, my opinions and my worth. Every chance he got.

My hurt and anger at what I perceived to be his change of heart and disinterest in me as a person turned into self-destructive behavior and crazy-making. Now I understand that trying to keep a sociopath in your life is never worth losing your dignity and self-respect. Never. But I allowed his treatment of me to affect me this way. I allowed myself to become invested in a person who I shouldn’t have been invested in.

It’s human nature to desire people to like us, and when someone doesn’t like us or seems to suddenly stop liking us, we want to know why and try to make them like us.

The sociopath fools you by making you think he likes you as soon as you meet him. You become invested in him emotionally and instantly. After all, he seems so interested and concerned and caring, doesn’t he?

But then suddenly, as if you were thrust into a parallel universe, the sociopath starts treating you as if he doesn’t like you and as if you don’t really matter after all. This leaves you confused, and you flail and try to figure out what you did to make him stop liking you.

You might even threaten to leave him.

It’s a no-win battle. No matter how many times the sociopath claims, “I love you. I’m sorry. I’ll change. You’re the love of my life. I’ll die if you leave me,” he’ll continue to degrade you with every opportunity.

You must set boundaries.

Boundaries help you say no to people (like the sociopath) who don’t align with your values. Boundaries keep you healthy, honest and true to your core. Setting and using boundaries is a mindful and beneficial practice.

When with the sociopath, you either need to use your forgotten boundaries or find the strength to create new boundaries.

You must not be so forgiving of the sociopath. Boundaries will help you put yourself first. You must be smarter and more aware of yourself and stop worrying about hurting the sociopath, because after all, the only thing the sociopath is capable of doing with any great success is hurting YOU!

They are masters at inflicting pain.

You should leave. You can leave. You will leave. You do leave.

You don’t have to take it anymore. You utilized your boundaries.

And once outside of the relationship and armed with a full understanding of what struck you, the hardest part is letting go of your need to keep “your” sociopath from hurting anyone else. You must realize that you can’t prevent the inevitable. The sociopath’s harm is inevitable. It can’t be stopped.

Your boundaries are limited. Your boundaries can’t save anyone else but yourself. That’s okay. It’s got to be okay.

You’re safe now. The sociopath is on the other side. The outside. He can no longer hurt you or your family or your friends and all those people you love and deserve your love.

You’re free.

I keep this page going and my blog fresh because I want to help people avoid the prolonged confusion I felt trying to make sense of the mess I found myself in emotionally and spiritually during and immediately after escaping.

I want others to learn from my mistake and to understand the importance of setting healthy boundaries in order to preserve their integrity and worth.

Strong, healthy boundaries can help you avoid being exploited.

I do not wish for anyone to endure the pain and confusion I endured trying to figure out the “other” species living among us that hurts and harms with impunity.

Namaste! ~Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/9007267977441132/)

Brain machine

Changing Our Brains After the Toxic Relationship with the Sociopath @ElephantJournal

BrainmachineOur brains like balance. Even if the balance doesn’t produce positive results in our life, the brain fights to keep the balance.

Being in a relationship with a sociopath resulted in a brain balance that causes us to think and function in a non-desirabe way. We can attribute this non-desirable brain balance to any number of factors: trauma, cognitive dissonance, emotional, spiritual, sexual and physical abuse.

Once outside of the pathological love relationship, we find ourselves flailing and desperate to change and change quickly.

In our desperation, we fail to realize that it’s not our will to change that we’re battling; it’s our chemistry. Our bodies got comfortable and balanced even in our suffering and despair. Just because we want to change that, doesn’t mean our bodies will cooperate freely and instantly. On the contrary, our bodies desire to maintain whatever balance has been established.

Asking our minds to change is the same as asking our minds to be okay with being thrust into a period of imbalance. Our mind doesn’t like that idea and fights against that imbalance.

With lots of patience in our ability to fight this internal resistance, we can create a new and improved balance, one that allows us to feel peace and a renewed sense of self-love and hope.

*I edit and write for Elephant Journal Literary Magazine.  I was tasked with reviewing and posting the following story yesterday, which inspired this post.

Neuroscience & Why Changing Our Habits is Hard
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/05/neuroscience-why-changing-our-habits-is-hard-stephen-light/

The article provides some insight into why our desire to change and move beyond the pathological love relationship isn’t instant and requires time, dedication and persistent motivation.

It was like an addiction after all…

Namaste! Happy Monday! ~Paula

5 Tips to Keep Online Support from Being Non-Supportive

dog and cat

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

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/379780181046759496/)

Don't be Fooled Again - Paula Carrasquillo - Paula's Pontifications

No One is Immune to Falling Victim to a Narcissistic Sociopath…the first time.

Don't be Fooled Again - Paula Carrasquillo - Paula's PontificationsHow many times has someone said or inferred, “What were you thinking getting involved with that fool. You’re smarter than that?”

I find this comment about as insulting as asking a cancer patient what they did to get cancer.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how many degrees or certifications you earn or how old you are. There are no absolute parameters to protect anyone from being a potential victim.

If you have a conscience and are capable of empathy, you are a potential victim.

Sociopaths don’t announce themselves.

They don’t say, Hey, I’m going to make you think I am smart, intelligent and caring. Once I have you convinced we were born to be together, I’m going to start tearing you down. Why? Because I’m a piece of trash, and I’d like you to feel as worthless as I feel. Misery loves company after all. Your mind is going to become so confused. You will experience cognitive dissonance comparable to that of military combatants. You are going to love me and struggle with hating me. You are going to start thinking you deserve everything I put you through. Everyone is going to tell you to leave me, but you are going to stay because I’ll make you pity me. I’ve lived such a rough life. No one sticks around for long. I need love, too. Unfortunately, everyone leaves and abandons me in the end, because I have no idea what love is. I know how to hate and break down good people with ease. However, I have no interest in making them feel good about themselves (unless, of course, telling them gets me something like money, sex, power or advantage).

Would any of us give a person like this a second glance? No. Why? Because we aren’t stupid. We are smart and intelligent and filled with life experiences. We’ve been hurt in the past by relationships and are on the lookout to not get hurt again.

But even due diligence isn’t enough when dealing with a sociopath. They come to us very needy. That’s how they hook us.

They are depressed or stuck or in need of a person or group of people to lift them up. Good people fall for this victim role every. single. time. Don’t be ashamed that you fell for it. Be ashamed if you didn’t.

Having known and experienced a sociopath makes you and me and her and him stronger. We aren’t weak or foolish. We have experienced and survived the darkest side of humanity. Now we know it exists. Now we know anything is possible, including the existence of people without a conscience.

We may not recognize the sociopath at first in the future. But we will be less likely to allow sociopathic characters to infiltrate our lives the same way we allowed it in the past.

Knowledge really is power when it comes to protecting ourselves against pathology.

What’s that Who song? Won’t Get Fooled Again. Yeah. That’s my mantra.

Good morning! Namaste!

~Paula

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