If you’re feeling a little defeated lately…


There is no right or wrong way to heal.

There is no expected length of time it should take you to heal. It could take you weeks, months or even years to reach the peace you deserve.

Your healing and recovery is dependent on the intricate complexities of your individual personality, experiences, their duration, and the intensity of the harm that was inflicted upon your spirit.

Be good to yourself. Remember you matter. Remember you are not alone.


Acceptance and Feeding the Wolves

I receive letters and private emails from many readers. You share many of your feelings, stories, and fears with me. For that, I am grateful and feel blessed to have your trust.

A recurring question from many readers is:

“How do I get my abuser out of my head in order to forget and move on?”

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There is no definitive solution. We lived through something with someone. We can’t erase it. But I do believe there is a first step we all must take in order to recover from it:

We must accept what happened to us and realize we cannot change it or change the person who hurt us.

As a person who was able to wake up and escape my abuser before it was too late, the hurt I felt was not of having my heart-broken. Not even close. The hurt I felt in the beginning of my healing was in having trusted someone I expected would treat me with love, kindness, patience, and forgiveness. Those are basic and simple building blocks of all healthy relationships and the exact traits narcissistic sociopaths like the boy in my story lack.

My husband has those traits. My son has those traits. My mother, father, and stepfather have those traits. My sisters and brothers have those traits. My life-long friends have those traits. Therefore, my expectations that the boy would have those traits was not unrealistic. I had been conditioned to expect them from everyone, including the boy. And when they failed to flow from him, I wanted to help him grow those traits. How futile and naive! I know that and accept it now.

Acting on my co-dependent tendencies is a thing of the past. It serves no one, especially me. Why would any of us choose to try to fix another when we need to fix ourselves first? Once you accept your abuser for what he/she is, you can finally accept yourself, warts and all!

The beauty of accepting ourselves is the realization that we have complete control and power over changing those things we don’t like about ourselves and our behavior. Most importantly, we are allowed to expect better from ourselves and also expect results from our efforts to change.

I started by writing down all of the things I liked about myself. Then I jotted down all of my failings. I wanted to maintain the good in me but transform my bad habits and behaviors. I couldn’t erase my past failings and personal disappointments and setbacks related to my actions. However, I knew I could begin again. But beginning again required a thorough inventory of EVERYTHING!!

I spent many hours and weeks going back in my past and dissecting the years. I discovered too much I had tried sweeping under the rug. I had many “ah-ha” moments, and my confidence in my ability to relearn how to be myself again slowly started returning. With this confidence, I was energized to do something with my skills and talents I had suppressed for so long. (I, just me myself and I, suppressed them. It was no one’s fault but my own.)

In less than six (6) months from the time I decided to take control of my life, my writing took off. My book was published. I landed my column in The Washington Times Communities. My Facebook pages grew. I was approached by the founder and creator of My Emotional Vampire to help with their ever-increasing following. I read more and more blogs by other survivors. I lent my support to them as best I could. One Mom’s Battle asked me to contribute to the back cover of her book. I participated in fund raisers and walks.

My body and soul were being energized more and more every day thanks to my own efforts (and lots of support from my son and husband). I got myself into the mess I was in, and I was able to get myself out of it. That’s all we can do for ourselves in the end, really. Don’t you think?

Today I celebrated another birthday. My husband and son bought me a beautiful cake and two yoga calendars: one for my office and one for wherever else I need reminded of the passing of time. They also got me a dimmer switch for the light above the dining room table. (Mood lighting is VERY important!) Before leaving for work this morning, I wrote in my new journal (Thank you, Janine!) and wished for a peaceful day.

I want to end this post with a Cherokee tale I read many months ago and again last night in the last pages of the memoire Look Me in the Eye: Caryl’s Story by Caryl Wyatt and Anita le Roix:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


To stop the abuse, you’ll need to shed your fears of independence and loss

victory over fear An anonymous reader commented on my Emotional Abuse page this morning. I have provided part of the comment below:

I would like your opinion on abusive/emotional abused relationships (AR) which can also be classified as part of typical chronic stress. I am very curious around the following: IF such circumstances (AR) prevail to such an extent and for a very long period of time (say decades) that the brain functionality within such a victim can shutdown in the form of dementia as some type of inherent protection. I can maybe describe the situation as if the soul of such a person goes into hiding within her/his body? Usually found within a relationship of a very successful driven person, married to someone very supportive, subordinate or “slave” type of relationship. As many studies show and you stated that such a person becomes so used to AR within such a relationship that they seldom realizes the ongoing AR until the mind/brain decides for them?

I initially sensed this person was trying to make excuses for the abuser, trying to make a connection between successful people and their stress levels as a cause/reason for the abuse. Then I thought maybe the reader is talking about her own stress induced by the abuse tucked away subconsciously.

Because I am no therapist or counselor and only have my own experiences and the experiences of other survivors as resources, I worry that my answer (provided below) may be insufficient. Please provide your comments to help add more clarity for the reader.

What you describe is what happens in all situations of abuse regardless of the abuser’s success in business. The abuser could simply have a notion that he/she is successful. People who mentally, emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and physically abuse others are NOT superior humans, not evolved in any way. Somewhere along the line their ability to solve-problems using their cognitive abilities was interrupted/aborted. What they excel at is the primitive abilities to cry, manipulate, and make demands in order to guilt their victims into complying with the abuser’s needs. And their biggest need is to control their victims. It’s the ultimate goal…CONTROL.

A business man who can’t control the changing market or decisions of others WILL seek to control what and who he can control. More often than not, it’s a subservient wife, his children, his pets, or the help, just to name a few. All of these people have become dependent on the abuser financially, and the abuser WILL use that to his advantage. The victims feel helpless to act against the abuser, because the abuser has threatened the victim, made the victim believe she/he can’t survive without him. And the abuser is correct. The victim can’t survive or live as she/he has been living with the luxuries the abuser has provided.

So, the victim shuts down and goes into herself, as you describe. But this is where the lines become blurred. Who is in control and who has simply given up control? We as human beings can’t be controlled unless we allow someone to control us. It’s difficult to come to this realization when you are being beaten up on a daily basis verbally, emotional, physically, spiritually, and sexually.

As soon as we realize we want to take back control, that’s when we stop being the victim. But in shedding the victim robe, we must also be aware of the increased responsibilities associated with being independent. Being independent and responsible is not an easy position for long-time victims to transition. Most victims initially lose many things: money, possessions, friends, jobs, and possibly ties to their community and their church. The victim, not the abuser, must make all of the changes. The abuser is free to continue being just as he has always been.

It’s a frightening prospect to be faced with losing everything and be prepared for your abuser to keep reminding you of this in hopes you’ll change your mind and remain his prisoner/slave. It’s about choice. Really. And it’s about being okay with the pain of emerging from your cocoon and wanting to live with 100% accountability of what and whom you become.

I welcomed the pain, having faith that there was something much more beautiful than the hell I found myself. I hope this makes sense to you. ~Paula

If you would like to comment privately, you may send me a message through my Contact Me page.


Judgment Day and Finding Recovery: A Reader Shares her Story

TWTC story December 29, 2012

I have been a bit quiet today and need to catch up on my reader comments. (I’m not ignoring you!!) I have been busy preparing a two part story for my TWTC column, Living Inside Out Loud.

Yesterday, a reader contacted me with her story. Out of her need for safety and self preservation, she chose not to share her story publicly. I told her I would share it on my blog and in my column. She agreed!!

I hope you will read both parts, share, and comment. Her hope is to help others by sharing her story, something we all need in our healing and recovery.

Part I: Judgment Day

Part II: Finding Recovery

Deconstructing ourselves in order to discover ourselves

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a movie, not even CLOSE to reality: An estranged couple get their minds wiped clean of all memories of each other.

How absolutely wonderful that would be, don’t you think?! On the surface, the idea of erasing all remembrances of an intimate relationship with a narcissistic sociopath seems like a beautiful solution. But not really. After all, how would we learn from the mistakes we made with the narcissistic sociopath if we can’t remember our mistakes?

Mistakes YOU made you ask? Yes. Regardless of the ambush of abuse and his over-the-top and shitty behavior, we must be accountable for our part in the toxic relationship.

Where do you begin?

The first step is to stop asking all of the “why” questions related to HIS behavior:

Why did he do that?
Why did he say those things?
Why was he so jealous?
Why did he claim I was just like him?
Why did he belittle me and my son?
Why did he hate my sisters?
Why, why, why? And on and on.

Instead, ask yourself some “why” questions related to your own behavior:

Why didn’t I speak up for myself sooner?
Why did I let him make me so angry when he said things I knew were false?
Why did I tolerate things for as long as I did?
Why did I let his harsh and vile words hurt me?
Why didn’t I listen to family and friends?
Why was I so stubborn?

Ah-ha! See the difference this makes? All of a sudden it’s no longer about him and trying to figure him out. (You couldn’t do that INSIDE of the relationship; what makes you think you can do it OUTSIDE of the relationship, silly!?)

It’s now about YOU! All eyes are on YOU!

If you want to change your behavior, you must understand your current and past behavior first. In literature, the breaking down of characters and plot and action based on the reader’s personal understanding of the words is called deconstructionism. Through the deconstruction process, the reader gets a more meaningful understanding of all of the parts and pieces that make the story happen the way it happens. Like deconstructing a story, deconstructing your own mind, thoughts, actions, reactions, and feelings, will help you understand yourself more clearly, which can lead to healthy change and growth.

During the deconstruction process, you’ll be taken to places in your past you may not want to visit: your parent’s fights, their divorce, an argument on the playground with a childhood friend, an argument with your beloved sister. But you’ll also be taken to places that you enjoy and embrace: your first kiss, your first day of college, meeting someone special, riding a rollercoaster. With each visit to the past, you’ll ask yourself more and more questions about what you felt and why you felt that way. Amazingly, you’ll find the answers but only if you stay focused on YOU, not on other “characters” in your memory. (If there is one time in your life you need to be selfish, it’s now!)

Deconstructing yourself is intimidating but such a simple thing. You will never REALLY know why someone hurt you or treated you poorly. But you will learn why you reacted the way you did and how you can keep from reacting negatively in the future. You will also become more empowered to take action and control of your life when faced with toxic people in the future.

Taking that first step outside of your current self and asking “why” can lead you to redefining yourself and living the life you were born to live.


Keep your heart out of his jar…forever!

Heart outside of his jar - Keep it there!If you succeed or have succeeded in ending your relationship with a narcissist, a sociopath, or anyone with an affliction associated with any Cluster B disorder (antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorders, and histrionic personality disorder), there WILL be a time in either the near or distant future that the nutcase will contact you in an attempt to lure you back into his lair.

The sociopath will choose a time in his life that he needs you the most. He might be alone, engaged to someone who is simply driving him crazy, married to a nag, or dealing with a pregnant wife who just won’t put out or give him any attention. Whatever his situation, he’s suffering because the woman in his life doesn’t love him the way he NEEDS to be loved. He’ll be sitting around one day and suddenly you’ll come to mind, and he’ll think:

“Paula. Yeah, Paula. She was easy to manipulate and control; she’ll enjoy some of my flattery and give me some, too, I’m sure. Getting my fix [his narcissistic supply] from a few e-mails or phone calls would really boost me right now.”

And off goes the narcissist to call, write or text Paula with lies, lies, lies about how he’s being mistreated and misunderstood.

He’ll be expecting Paula to soothe his ego and take pity on him immediately. He’ll expert her to say, “You poor thing. You deserve better. You poor, poor, thing.” But he doesn’t realize that Paula has learned her lesson (FINALLY!) and can now recognize the tricks of sociopathic pricks like him even from a distance of several light years.

So, instead of having pity and replying to him with soothing words often reserved for children, she won’t respond at all. She won’t even send him a “Screw off!” note. Instead, she’ll ignore him because that’s the best way to defeat these predators. Ignore them and act like they aren’t even human, because, with all sincerity, they aren’t human like the rest of us.

These song lyrics below (and video here) may help some of you who are on the fence about finally deleting, blocking, or changing your email and phone number, so you don’t have to read his words or hear his disgusting voice again…

“Jar Of Hearts”

No, I can’t take one more step towards you
‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret
Don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most
I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms
And I’ve learned to live half-alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

Dear, It took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
‘Cause you broke all your promises
And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back

[Chorus: x2]
And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul

Don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?

Reader support and fun with analytics

WordPress blogging is fun. I get to write and publish and meet other bloggers and readers. I find out a lot about myself and receive enormous amounts of encouragement. I honestly don’t know what would have happened to my mind in the last few months if I hadn’t been gifted with all of the support.

Especially in hard times, we need each other. Now that the good times are peeking through, I’m focusing on participating more in the blogs I follow (and hope to follow), which means reading them, commenting on them, commenting on comments, and simply being there like so many were there for me.

One of my favorite features provided by WordPress is the analytics. People from across the globe visit my blog. The majority of visitors come from the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. I can also pinpoint the city, state and the referral site!

The most interesting analysis to date has been the reoccurring (almost daily) visits by a specific reader (not a fellow blogger) who comes from Springfield, Virginia and enters via If you happen to be that reader, thank you so much for your interest in my blog. It seems you’re especially interested in anything and everything I post about sociopaths, Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath, and abuse. I hope you’re learning about yourself the evil among us.

To the rest of my readers and fellow bloggers, Namaste!

Anne Lamott quote

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