Is the winning title in you? #domesticviolence #survivorstories #FREEbook

Last May 2013, I asked interested survivors to submit their stories of abuse and recovery for inclusion in my second book on recovery. Surprisingly, I received a larger response than I anticipated with nearly 60 stories submitted through the online consent form by the October 2013 deadline.

Recently, I finished reading and compiling all of the stories, totaling over 250 pages–far more than I had anticipated! Therefore, I have decided to publish a book dedicated to just these stories and am happy to report that the compilation will be available as a FREE e-book in time for October – Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In addition to copy editing and reorganization of pages in the coming weeks, a title for the compilation is also on my to-do list.

But I don’t wish to make that decision myself. I’d like you to help me. The author of the winning title, if consent is provided below, will receive editorial acknowledgement on my blog, Facebook page and in the survivor stories book. The author of the winning title will also have the opportunity to write his/her story for inclusion if not already submitted.

Do you have a “winning” title that speaks to the importance of these stories and why they matter?

Namaste!
~Paula

The book will be available for FREE as an e-book for the first several months of publication. A soft-copy of the book will also be available through Create Space self-publishing at a cost to be determined by the book’s final page count.

release me, paula renee carrasquillo, paula reeves-carrasquillo

The Exorcism of the Sociopath: Victim to Survivor

release me, paula renee carrasquillo, paula reeves-carrasquilloAfter this past week, I am more focused and determined to finally compile this blog into my second book, a follow up to Escaping the Boy. I’ve even come up with a working title:

The Exorcism of the Sociopath

One of the many realizations I came to over the past 18 months through my blog and my interactions with readers is that even after escaping the pathological relationship with the boy, I continued to be silently and insidiously possessed by something not of myself. I ruminated on the “why”s and “how”s of what happened. I self-soothed with alcohol for a while. I got stuck in a place I didn’t like.

In order to get unstuck and to rid myself of whatever it was that had possessed me, I needed to acknowledge that I wasn’t myself, accept that I was a victim of not being myself and then work toward releasing myself from the invisible stronghold that had overcome me.

Confused? So was I. All I knew was that I was hurting myself and those in my life who loved me. I wanted to stop.

My biggest hurdle to being able to end the insanity was believing I had been a victim in the first place. Who me?! No way was I ever going to admit to being taken advantage of. In doing this, in this resistance, I hurt myself. I was delusional. I tried repressing feelings and emotions that only a victim could possibly feel and emit.

I was NOT going to admit to being a victim. NEVER!

Silly me. I had very strong negative connotations connected to “being a victim.” I thought it was a death sentence. I thought that people would look at me differently and treat me differently and not feel like they could trust me. I worried that people would think I was telling my story in order to make excuses for my behavior. I never wanted to be perceived that way. I could fix myself and no one would ever have to know what happened to me.

I soon realized that I had to embrace, at least temporarily, my role as a victim. By doing that, I was able to discover how I was REALLY affected, emotionally and spiritually. I discovered invaluable support from people who didn’t feel sorry for me but who had faith in my ability to overcome. Once I was willing to take the added strength of others, I was able to let go of that victim role and embrace being a survivor, someone in total and complete control of my destiny regardless of where I had been and who had tried to destroy me.

My hope is that my second book will help guide others out of victim mode and into full survival mode. I want to see everyone who has ever entered a pit similar to the one I entered emerge a better and stronger person.

Accountability equals empowerment.

I am by no stretch of the imaginiation finished with my healing and recovery. But I know I am much stronger than I have ever been, and I foresee myself continuing to grow and learn throughout the next phases and stages of my life.

I want you to succeed. I want you to feel good about admitting that you were, at one time a victim. Most importantly, I want you to be a survivor. I want you to be someone you love and trust. Because once you become someone you love and trust, others will be more willing and able to love and trust you also.

Namaste!
~ Paula
(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/444871269411994202/)

balance

Balancing to Hold On by Letting Go

balanceSince I started this blog, I am realizing more and more how much we, the victims and survivors of pathological love relationships, need each other. I’m also realizing how much we need to set each other free.

From the outside looking in, most people who visit this site (and other sites like this one) can easily jump to the conclusion that we’re a bunch of crying, complaining, broken-hearted, love-sick divas who need to move on!

I get it. I really do. I understand why many choose to look at us in that light: it’s easier to see surface emotions and judge them without diving deep into the reasons behind the emotions.

Often when we read or hear of another’s pain, we end up taking on their emotions. It’s draining. That’s called empathy. Being empathetic takes lots of energy and requires an absence of ego.

We know sociopaths can’t do that. They are not able to empathize.

The rest of us can empathize to a high degree, and the beauty of our ability is that we can choose the degree to which we empathize.

What do I mean? Well, think about it. The amount of energy it takes to focus on another’s pain is draining. We know the people in our lives who drain us the most, right? More than likely, the first person that comes to mind is the sociopath with his pseudo-pain.

But there are many non-pathological people who need our attention due to real pain, and we give to them freely. We put our worries and frustrations aside in order to take on the worries and frustrations of others.

And because we are aware of the energy required to do this, we sometimes choose not to empathize. We choose not to get involved. Making that choice is tough and sometimes filled with guilt. But it’s necessary.

I am perfectly content sometimes to not get involved, especially if I have no useful skills or resources that can help someone in great pain. In those circumstances, I end up feeling more helpless and hopeless and sad, in addition to taking on the pain of the person with whom I am empathizing.

So I choose not to get involved.

It’s not easy to turn the switch from “on” to “off.” I have had to do this often over the past months with family, friends and blog followers (I apologize!) in order to protect myself and remain on track to self-awareness and recovery.

Being overly empathetic of others steals our energy needed for ourselves. It’s the catch-22 of being a healthy, non-pathological person who critiques sociopaths and psychopaths daily–I end up looking no better than the sociopaths and psychopaths I analyze and digest.

But that’s just my guilt talking. I know I’m not a sociopath or psychopath. I also know when the time has come for me to be serious about my limitations and think seriously about hanging up my current hat in order to try on a new one.

Now is one of those times.

Since late February, I have been struggling with writing about sociopaths/psychopaths. I know deep down that I can’t maintain this momentum. I just can’t. I’ve written exhaustively about my experience and observations over the past 16 months or so. With the submission of each post, I think, “This could be the last one on the subject.”

It never is. There is always something that sparks something inside of me. It could be a conversation with a friend, a question from a reader, a TV commercial I watch, a word I hear, a song I begin to hum…whatever it is, I become inspired to share one more story related to sociopaths and toxic relationships.

But I am serious this time. This really could be the last post on the subject I write, but that’s only because I have so many other wonderful things in my life on which I want to focus.

Other than the obvious need to spend more time with my family, I am also actively planning to begin yoga teacher training in the fall. Once certified in yoga, I can then become certified to teach yoga to trauma patients.

THAT is what I see as my ultimate gift and take away from my toxic relationship and the best use of my empathy and all the energy it consumes. My writing has been a stepping stone to many things: friendships, understanding, job opportunities, vision and purpose.

I’ll continue to write, but probably less and less about sociopaths and psychopaths but more and more on healing techniques and mindful approaches to self-care (which anyone could benefit regardless of past relationship horrors).

I remain dedicated to transforming this blog into a comprehensive book on the aftermath and journey to self-recovery and healing from relational harm. That goal will be primary through the end of this year. As far as writing new material, I want to focus more on writing and editing for Elephant Journal and my Washington Times Communities’ column (which could possibly go into syndication, but I need to hunker down for that to happen).

So I’m not really going anywhere. I could never leave this community. However, I realize I need to let go a little in order to free myself to explore more possibilities for life, love and laughter. The “longing” part is taken care of now, because I feel more free today than I have ever felt in my entire life. I owe a large majority of that to my blog readers and visitors. You’ve made these past months so worth it to me.

The rest is thanks to my loving husband J., my son A. and myself.

Namaste!
~Paula

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/147492956518852766/)

Share Your Story!

Share your story of survival and recovery with me for my next book!

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I am writing a follow-up book to Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath and would like you and your story to be a part of it!

Submit your story!

My second book will focus on healing and recovery from pathological love relationships using mindful approaches like yoga, meditation, writing, journaling, joining support groups and much more.

I believe that the more real-life examples victims, survivors and advocates read, the better our collective understanding. The better our collective understanding, the easier it will be to increase our support systems and see real change in how divorce, child custody, domestic violence, rape and intimate partner abuse cases are approached, investigated and determined/prosecuted.

By following the “Submit Your Story” link, completing and submitting the form, you agree to have your story shared anonymously. However, if you would like me to use your name in my book, check the box at the end of the form prior to submission. Your name and home state/country will be included in the book’s acknowledgments.

If you have any questions prior to completing the form, send me a private message.

You can complete as little or as much of the form/questionnaire as you would like. Keep in mind that writing about your experiences may cause anxieties and a flood of emotions. If you are triggered in any way, stop writing and speak to a trusted counselor or loved one.

Submit your story!

http://storyofasociopath.com/Share_Your_Story_.html

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