“There’s something odd about that guy she’s dating.”

“There’s something odd about that guy she’s dating.”

I have many sisters who aren’t afraid to be direct with me. I have a mother who pays attention and asks questions. Despite this, none of them felt comfortable probing me about “that guy” while I was dating him or letting me know how they really felt.

Only after I escaped the sociopath did I learn about the numerous conversation my friends and family members were having amongst themselves about “that guy”. In the aftermath of the relationship, my mother and sisters confessed that his behavior was “odd” and “abnormal”, but they weren’t able to define exactly what it was about him that made them uneasy. This inability to pinpoint a tangible reason to explain their gut feelings discouraged them from voicing their concerns with me directly.

Even if they had approached me, I’m sure I wouldn’t have welcomed their criticisms and questions. I would have become defensive and made excuses and explained away his behavior. I was in both shock and denial while inside the toxic dynamic. I was unwilling to face the humiliation of choosing so poorly, so the more I pushed away the reality of who “that guy” was turning out to be, the less humiliation I felt on a daily basis. I thought I was preserving myself, when I was actually allowing myself to decay from the inside out.

Today, I can pinpoint exactly what it was about “that guy” that made my family’s skin crawl, because it made my skin crawl too, but I just kept denying what I was sensing:

A permeating presence of stagnant, low-vibrational energy, which revealed his 1) lack of authenticity; 2) lack of truth; and 3) lack of original thoughts.

When I think back to these words he screamed at me just before I escaped, “I don’t know why you’re getting so upset now after all this time. You knew from the beginning that this is who I am,” I realize he was right. Even before the name calling, blocking, pushing, grabbing, pinching and down-right dirtiness of his actions and words, the ugliness of the sociopath was always present, hovering like a phantom and lingering at the threshold of the foreground and background. And he never tried to hide it. He actually believed he was as normal and as healthy as the next guy.

1. Lack of authenticity – This was ever-present but especially noticeable to me when we were with others in a group. I immediately picked up on his false gestures of friendship and camaraderie. In the beginning, my body would only slightly react…a tickle in my throat…at the sound of him talking about how happy he was for someone. He wasn’t happy for anyone. Who was he fooling? He only said he was happy because he thought that was what he was supposed to say. He didn’t feel happiness for anyone on any deep level. I sensed this lack of genuine emotions early but was too naive to understand the depth of what it meant about the true nature of “that guy”.

2. Lack of truth – Closely connected to his lack of authenticity, his lack of truth expanded beyond simply lying when recounting stories from his past and present. I never sensed a solid truth in anything he said, chose to eat, buy or acquire. In every relationship, we share and tell our stories with a combination of the words we use and the things we choose to surround ourselves, from the books on our shelves to the pictures we carry in our wallets. When we are in the presence of an honest and truthful person, everything that person says and everything surrounding that person, from their clothes to their friendships to what they eat, makes sense, folds into each other and further solidifies our personal idea of who that person is. With “that guy”, there were too many contradictions flashing before my eyes, making it impossible for me to form a clear picture of who “that guy” was. Unfortunately, because my intuition was not well-primed, these contradictions caused me to feel confused and restless about the emotions and sensations they conjured within me. I fought the contradictions and attempted to explain them away: “Oh, he’s just complicated. He’s just really in touch with his feminine side. He’s just very masculine and that’s why he’s super jealous. He’s just not used to kids. His just needs more time to understand my family.” The excuses were endless and only served to hide the truth about the lack of truth within “that guy”. I couldn’t form a solid image of his persona in my mind, because he wasn’t standing in truth. He was perpetually acting and switching roles depending on his audience and based on what he thought would garner him the most control, reward and attention. I see that now, and it’s twisted.

3. Lack of original thoughts – This was one of his most aggravating qualities. He liked regurgitating the thoughts and ideas of others and claiming them as his own. I considered this the equivalent to stealing, but I honestly didn’t think he actually believed his own delusions until I caught him claiming my thoughts, skills and ideas as his own. Some may call this gas lighting, but I knew the truth and never questioned my truth as he spewed it from his lying mouth. This wasn’t a matter of forgetting whether or not I knew something that he was trying to pass off as his lesson to me. This was a matter of me stopping myself from vomiting all over him due to my uncontrollable disgust at his arrogance, disrespect and lack of integrity. He wasn’t fooling me. But he was. I didn’t speak up and say, “Don’t use my knowledge and my words to establish your false sense of superiority over me.” Instead, I let the anger and disgust fester, while simultaneously trying to convince myself that he didn’t mean any harm. After all, don’t they say imitation is the highest form of flattery? Hmm? I don’t think so either. It’s just thievery and a little creepy.

Looking back, I used to feel ashamed at myself for remaining inside that low vibrational and toxic relationship for so long. Today, I realize my intuition simply wasn’t evolved enough to figure it out calmly and quickly. I reacted from a place of high-sensitivity without understanding why I was reacting from that place. It wasn’t because I was too sensitive or unstable. It was because my sensitivity was right on par. It was “that guy” who was unstable.

Namaste!
~Paula

Undoing Our Fears and Triggers Lying Down

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While exposed to the sociopath’s crazy-making highs and lows, we compromised our intuition and ability to instinctively distinguish right action from wrong action.

One day, the sociopath declared that right action was wrong action, and the next day, the sociopath declared that wrong action was right action.

No amount of logic or deep thought could bring us clarity and focus to the life we were being conned and controlled into living and accepting under the sociopath’s spell.

Many refer to this as cognitive dissonance, living in the fog and/or being emotionally unstable. Much of what we experience in the aftermath through triggers and anxiety was born from this place of uncertainty and fear about ourselves and our surroundings. This fear and uncertainty, which the sociopath manifested in us, rendered us dependent and reliant upon the sociopath for clarity and approval.

Even outside the toxic relationship, we find ourselves frozen and in search of outside validity and approval. The fear of being judged and not accepted and viewed as unworthy is very real and keeps us from expanding and growing.

Regardless of how deep and for how long we were in this state of paralysis, I believe we can repair what was damaged and improve how we relate to ourselves and others moving forward.

It’s no secret that yoga and meditation have helped me find myself these past 3 years. One meditation technique I believe has been most profound for me is Yoga Nidra.

During the practice of Yoga Nidra, you relax in a quiet space either reclined and outstretched on the floor or mat or in a comfortable seated position.

A Yoga Nidra instructor guides you into a quiet and relaxed state in which you are guided through sensing your body to sensing your feelings and emotions to sensing your thoughts and beliefs and finally to sensing your natural state of being.

Yoga Nidra does not require you to move your body or to be flexible. It’s not a religion but is a profound spiritual experience. Many practice Yoga Nidra to release stress and anxiety and to improve sleep patterns and fight restlessness.

The following excerpt taken from the book “Yoga Nidra: A Meditation Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing” by Richard Miller, PhD, sums up why I practice and teach Yoga Nidra to others:

“You possess an innate intelligence that knows exactly what to do in every situation that life brings to your table. When you are wiling to be with “this” moment “now,” your intrinsic resources are always nearby, ready to acknowledge and engage right action. Fear is always about the future, and reactivity is about the past. Right action resides in the “now.” Yoga Nidra is a practice that reveals and teaches you how to live in the now so that you can access your native intelligence and inborn ability to respond appropriately to every situation.”

If you have questions about Yoga Nidra, please ask in the comment section below.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
yogi. author. advocate.

Regaining Your Intuition After Sociopath Abuse

20140623-111812.jpgThe sociopath’s goal is to isolate us in two ways: 1.) physically from our support system and 2.) spiritually from our moral code and beliefs.

We can look back and easily recognize how the sociopath physically isolated us. It’s not as easy to understand how we became so detached from our moral code.

Our moral code speaks directly to our intuition. They work in tandem. We establish our truths based on our moral code. Our intuition is designed to apply our inner, moral code to the outside world…to people and situations.

Our Intuition is the gut feeling we get about someone or some situation. One of the reasons we became detached from our moral code which led to getting lost in cognitive dissonance and the sociopath abuse is that we didn’t trust our gut…our intuition.

We told our gut that it was being unfair and unreasonable and too judgmental. We interpreted our inner voice, our intuition, as a negative judge of that person before us–the abuser, the sociopath, the psychopath…whatever term that suits. We denied our intuition and said, “No way, gut, I refuse to believe that any person could possibly be out to hurt and harm me. That’s ludicrous!”

We were wrong about our intuition, weren’t we? And because we were so wrong about our intuition, our moral code became ineffective. We now see that our moral code and intuition were only trying to warn us that not every person is motivated to act from a place of good intentions and love.

We essentially kicked over the red flags and killed our intuition by denying its worth.

Part of healing is to revive our moral code and intuition and nurture this amazing, inner team back to its brilliant self. We must get in touch with who we are, what makes us each individual and unique, and what also makes us compatible with others and allows us to be a part of a union, part of a community.

Even outside of the relationship, we remained isolated and distant from the very people who could guide us back to our spiritual and moral core. We told ourselves, “They will never understand. I can’t possibly get them to understand.”

And, in the beginning, we can’t explain it because we are deep in cognitive dissonance and detached from our core beliefs and spirituality.

That spiritual and moral core rests inside our intuition. So we must learn to have faith in that very thing we rejected. It was through that rejection that we left the door open to the abuse and manipulations in the first place.

How do you get back to that place of trusting your gut?

The first step is to forgive yourself for ignoring your gut. Then praise your gut for being so smart and apologize to your gut for being stubborn.

“I was really stupid to ignore you, Intuition. I vow to listen to you in the future. You’re so damn smart!”

The next step is to recognize what your gut tells you about people and situations moving forward.

In the beginning, you’re going to strike out more than you’ll hit home runs. Your gut is rusty! So, at first, you might pick the wrong people to trust or the wrong group to join or the wrong job to replace the one you lost.

It’s okay. It takes a while to polish and work our those kinks.

Resist the urge to judge yourself too harshly. The only thing self-judgment results in is self-defeat. You don’t want that.

So keep telling yourself it’s okay to get things wrong at first. Let go of perfect. Let go of the need for instant results. Rest. Be good to yourself. Eat well. Live well. Laugh at yourself.

Laugh a lot at your old self. She/he was a real riot, don’t you think?

Namaste!
~Paula

A collective gut changes the world

Our emotions carry us away to places of self-doubt and shame when we deny them.

When we deny our emotions, we clog our intuition.

Stop denying them. Stop trying to turn your frown upside down. And stop trying to hide your joy when you are joyous.

Embrace your highly empathic nature. Embrace feeling deeply. Embrace your true nature.

Don’t keep trying to defend yourself against those labels people give you:

>> “You’re too sensitive.”

>> “You seem emotionally unstable.”

>> “You need to calm down.”

>> “You might want to see a counselor about your outbursts.”

>> “You’re crazy!”

The truth behind all of these labels is that they come from a place of fear. Your emotions and ability to release them scares the hell out of people.

So what do we do about it?

For starters, we don’t apologize for our feelings. Our feelings come from a highly intuitive place of understanding and knowing.

So we keep sharing what we feel, despite the fact there may be zero statistical evidence backing us up. And when we see another who bravely shares, we back that person up. We don’t cower and hide behind the pack.

We want things to change, right? Well, the only way to see change in the world is to exert our powerful emotions.

Once each of us starts to share, the statistics become very clear and valid.

Look what has happened in communities like this one? We started talking about things no one wanted to believe was true, and now we have numbers that prove that what we have seen and felt all along are absolutely valid and absolutely real.

Never underestimate your gut and the domino effect and power it can invoke to unearth the voice of a collective gut.

A collective gut changes the world.

Wow! Really!

Namaste!
~Paula

intuition, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist

How can I be sure my ex is a sociopath?

intuitionSo you aren’t certain if your ex was a sociopath or not. You feel something wasn’t quite right, but you’re not feeling at ease about suggesting your ex could possibly be pathological.

You’re not alone. I struggled with the answer to this question too. Contrary to what some may think, I didn’t leave the relationship and then immediately believe he was a sociopath and start writing about it.

The reality is I thought I was the one with the problem; I believed I was the cause of the wedge driven between us which resulted in the relationship’s ultimate deterioration.

Even after months of counseling and study and learning that my normal mental state was simply put off balance by some outside influence,  I continued to struggle with the idea that he was that outside force.

When the thought crossed my mind that he was the major problem, I feared I was being over-reactive and thinking upon events and experiences out of proportion.

It wasn’t until I received validation through his “friends” and a few of his exes that I accepted what my gut had been trying to convince me of all along:

My ex was a dark and twisted sociopath!

I now understand that I really didn’t need the validation; I should have listened to my gut all along.

And this is why:

We learn something about ourselves and about humanity in general with every relationship we enter.

We learn to become better communicators. We learn to love with our whole hearts. We learn to be more patient. We learn that everyone comes from different places than us, geographically and mindfully. We learn to respect each other’s differences. We become more and more aware that with the beginning and ending of each relationship, this world is filled with so many different and wonderful people.

We are able to do this by using our keen ability to empathize and consider the other person’s feelings and understandings of the world. By using our empathy and compassion, we guide each other to the next level of connection, to the next level of a relationship beyond the lust and sex.

But sometimes, for a number of reasons, our romantic relationships don’t work. Our mutual dreams for the future change; they aren’t so mutual any more. We grow apart.

When this happens, we must say good-bye, but the love and connection never fades. This person entered our life and affected us, so we keep that person and the memories of that person tucked away in a private place in our heart. Life goes on. We meet and fall in love with someone new, and the cycle continues.

(And the people who came before the new love remain close to us in our hearts. Those genuine feelings of connection to another person never go away.)

But when we enter into a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath/psychopath, the normal dimensions and expectations of relationship evolution explode!

We learn quickly that this person has either never been in a healthy relationship or doesn’t understand how healthy relationships are supposed to work. From being love bombed and put on a pedestal one day to being thrown under the bus the next.

THAT IS NOT NORMAL!

Healthy people with a healthy conscience and the ability to empathize DO NOT hurt the ones they love that way. They don’t demean and threaten loved ones. EVER!

Even if you aren’t able to label a person, your ex-spouse or ex-partner, as a sociopath or narcissist or you have trouble believing they might be pathological, ask yourself the following:

  • “Did the relationship leave me questioning my faith and beliefs in myself and humanity?”
  • “Did I, at any time, start believing that I somehow deserved to be abused, treated disrespectfully and then discarded?”
  • “Do I or did I absolutely hate and despise this person for what he did to me? Was this hatred all-consuming unlike any hate or dislike I have ever felt for anyone before this person?”

If you answer “yes” to these basic questions, you were in a toxic relationship with a toxic person who was making you think toxic thoughts, and there really is no hope for the relationship to move forward because it was never built on love, trust or any mutual understanding of what life and relationships are meant to be.

Why?

Because the other half of the relationship was pathological, a.k.a. TOXIC!

You know in your heart that you deserve better. Tend to your needs and embrace those in your life who have shown you real love and support and ask for nothing, absolutely NOTHING, in return.

Namaste!
~ Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/496521927638093506/)

Nurture your intuition, don’t ignore it…

albert-einstein-intuitionIntuition is our natural inclination to make guesses about something or someone without having tangible proof. Simply put, it’s our gut feelings or our hunches about something. We often get hunches when we meet someone for the first time. Our instincts tell us, almost instantly, if someone will or won’t be a friend or an important person in our life. We get hunches about our teachers and co-workers and bosses. Our intuition prepares us and lets us know if we can or can’t trust certain people or certain situations.

On one hand, our intuition is powerful.  (It can protect us from threatening people or events.)  On the other hand, it’s not always accurate. (We may choose to avoid a situation or person that our gut tells us might harm us when they actually could have helped us. We sometimes call that hindsight.) As a result of repeated instances of failed intuition, each of us learns and evolves (as unfortunate as it is fortunate) to use our intuition less and less and rely more and more on our intellect, which we use to deduce and measure EVERYTHING based on proof and evidence.  Lawyers use their intellects. Doctors use their intellects. Peer-reviewed journals are filled with intellectually-based evidence proving or disproving someone’s theories, which is just a fancy word for hunches.  (No wonder hunches are so tiresome: we always need a lot of proof for anyone to take them seriously. Very counter-intuitive, don’t you think?)

But not every hunch can be proven or disproven with supporting evidence, can it? For example, can we prove someone is telling us the truth about their past, their present feelings, and their future dreams? (I’d have to say a big “Hell no!” to that question.)  Building positive personal relationships with people we can trust relies heavily on our intuition, wouldn’t you agree? But because we don’t use our intuition enough, it gets rusty, REALLY rusty, and we trust it less and less. (Ironic, huh? The thing we should trust the most in order to measure our trust in others can’t be trusted.) No wonder we often end up trusting the wrong people. Our intuition sucks!!

So, how do we nurture our intuition and create an intuition we can trust when called upon? How do we create a less-sucky intuition? I think, like most anything we want to improve, we need practice. The next time you get a gut feeling about something or someone, share your gut feeling with yourself by writing it down. (Create a Hunch Journal or some such silliness. No one needs to know.) Then, when your hunch is proven or disproven, return to your journal and reflect on why your intuition worked for you or failed you.

Often, we base our hunches on prejudices or inaccurate information and data created by our minds. Writing stuff down and reflecting on them over time will correct these errors and help fine-tune our intuition. Soon, our intuition will grow more trustworthy as its foundation becomes more stable and based on truths rather than fallacies. (If you have old diaries or journals, you could test this out today. How much of your internal thinking and gut reactions to people and events were correct? How have your feelings about these people changed over time? Have they changed?)

How trust-worthy are your hunches?

Namaste!

My next post: “How a fine-tuned intuition can save us from being victims of abusive relationships and crappy jobs and shitty bosses”

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