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.

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/)

Accepting Another Invitation to Talk About Sociopaths on TV

destiny old womanSince becoming aware of and accepting the reality of what struck me when in the relationship with the sociopath, the boy in my story, I try making decisions related to telling more of my story based on what I may or may not regret.

So when I was contacted this week by a researcher interested in interviewing me and learning more about my story for a new show on relationships to run on A&E’s Biography Channel, I hesitated to respond:

A.) I needed to run the idea passed my husband. He is ultimately affected by every decision I make related to telling my story. If he worries it will affect us negatively, I worry too.

B.) On the heals of my HuffPost Live appearance, I was feeling defeated and couldn’t help but ask, “Is continuing to speak out worth the stress and regret when I get it wrong or when I do a half-assed job of trying to express myself?”

C.) Can I really do this? Do I have the resources and the time to dedicate to something like this? Just a few weeks ago I was writing about not writing as much about this subject matter.

I immediately texted my husband. He immediately responded with, “Go for it!”

So I am going for it. I have a phone interview later next week and will be provided with more details. Once I am able to share more, I will.

In the meantime, please let me know some of the major focus areas related to sociopaths and recovery from pathological relationships that you think should be touched upon if the show allows.

If it were not for the support of my family and friends and all of the wonderful people I have had the privilege of meeting through this blog, I wouldn’t have the confidence and motivation I have to keep trying.

One day soon, I wholeheartedly believe, the words sociopath, psychopath, relational harm and pathological love will be understood by the majority and not over-used or misused like they are today.

Namaste! Peace and love!

(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/46302702388466751/)

Support Needed for Carrie, Lady With a Truck

Lady with a Truck Go Fund Me!!When I started actively writing my blog and story about a year ago, I stumbled upon another blogger “Lady With a Truck.”

She shared her story of a 10-year pathological love relationship and the struggles she faced with understanding it and moving forward. I was not able to read her story when I first found it. Her words and experiences and descriptions were too close to my own. Her voice sounded like my voice. I saw too much of myself in her story, and I wasn’t emotionally equipped to religiously follow her posts and support her.

Nearly 10 months passed and I found myself creeping over to her blog, dipping my toe into her posts and story again. I commented quietly (if that’s even a possibility online) and lurked about reading and digesting her story that I had left behind months before.

Lady with a Truck, also known as Carrie, reciprocated in kind and started following and commenting on my blog. A bond and friendship was forming, even though limited and virtual.

Last week, Carrie alerted her readers to a possible setback in her long and hard fought struggle to get back on her feet.

And the issues were all financial.

Financial issues are a burden but a necessary evil in this life. I reached out to her and suggested she start a Go Fund Me campaign. Another amazing and inspirational blogger One Hot Mess(age) had opened one just a couple months ago and with great success! There is no shame in asking for help when we really need it, and I hoped Carrie would ask.

And she has!

Please consider supporting Carrie. Read Lady With a Truck blog.

She is a fighter. She is a hard worker. She is self-sustaining in many ways.

But even the toughest among us need outside assistance every once in a while.

Make your donation today! Help her save her truck and her home. 

Namaste! ~Paula

http://www.gofundme.com/30o1l8?utm_campaign=Emails&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email

Never-give-up

Never Give Up. ~ shared by Paula F.

Never-give-upThe following was shared by one of my Facebook page followers, Paula F. Her story reads like a miracle! She hopes her story will help inspire others to keep moving forward despite the overwhelming urge to give up…

As we all know, escaping is a long, scary, difficult journey. But it can also be the most wonderful growth experience anyone could have.

I feel led to share this part of my recovery where ever I can. I’m sorry it’s long, but I think it’s worth the read. I’ll start with a bit of my back story, but worry not, it turns positive.

In November, for the 11th and last time, I left a 16+ year extremely abusive marriage with a man-boy I believe to be, at the very least, a sociopath.

I ran while he was imprisoned for assaulting me and left with nothing but my son, my animals and my truck and very few possessions. I was broken and terrified but determined to save us.

We moved 500 miles away to kind-hearted people we barely knew, having no one else to turn to. Since November, we have been living in a 5th wheel with no water or power, behind a house that a dozen other people share, lots of toddlers too. It was chaotic and an increasingly difficult environment for me to deal with.

In April, my abuser was released from prison and, in violation of a no contact order AND a restraining order, contacted me and offered me back my home and all my possessions. I have come so far, my son is happier than ever, and I finally have too much self-respect to take that offer despite being as discouraged and in as difficult circumstances as I was. But I knew I had to do SOMETHING different as I was not moving forward.

So, instead of taking his offer, which in my heart I KNOW would allow him to undo all that I have done to recover from him, I took a huge leap of faith, left the place I was at and, facing homelessness, went to another, bigger city to look for housing and a job. I was able to get emergency homeless assistance for a motel room for 16 days. It runs out Tuesday. I have been busting my ass every single day, getting up at 6 a.m. and hunting for a place, applying for jobs, desperately clinging to my positivity, really trying my very hardest.

Friday, I woke up hurting (I have Fibromyalgia, PTSD, and Severe Anxiety Disorder) and discouraged, teary eyed, and afraid and fighting to hold on to the positive attitude I worked so hard to cultivate in myself, even through such hard times. I was thinking maybe my doctor and therapist were right; maybe it’s too soon to go back to work. Who would want me? And that after all my hard work to find a place to live and a job, I believed I had failed.

I prayed–what more could I do? I’d done everything I could, worked HARD, stayed positive as much as I could and now I was just stuck.

I was crying saying “What now? I did EVERYTHING I could, everything I thought I was led to do, everything I thought any higher power would want me to do. I worked my butt off, kept hope alive and my attitude right, trusted that what was meant to be would come to pass if I kept my eyes, ears, and heart open, doing all I could to find and follow up on every lead that came to me. Yet, here I am out of time, money and options, with a 13-year-old son depending on me! What do I do now?”

Well apparently the answer was, “Answer your phone” because it rang shortly after and within a couple hours everything I’d worked and prayed for came through.

Just when I’d decided to say screw it and hide in the covers and cry, I got a call about an apartment I applied for weeks ago and have gone back to follow up on 4 times. They finally approved me! So, I got up and got ready to go talk to the manager, feeling so good that I even called to follow up on the job I interviewed for Tuesday and left a message for the personnel manager thanking her for the opportunity to interview and saying I looked forward to the possibility of hearing from her.

Shortly after, I was in the manager’s office working on the rental contract, about to take a one-bedroom because I couldn’t afford a two-bedroom, when my cell phone rang and it was the personnel manager that I had left the message for. She offered me the job!! First job I interviewed for and I nailed it!! I just about FREAKED out right there in that office, and I took the 2-bedroom apartment, and I get to have my therapy dog there too!

As if that wasn’t awesome enough? A few minutes later my cell rang again and it was regarding the state government job I tested for Thursday. They want to interview me next week! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? I am on cloud nine right now! I DID IT!!!! I actually did it! From broken, broke, homeless and nearing hopelessness; I picked myself up, sought the help I needed, listened to my heart and higher power, worked my ass off to change and put myself back together and make a life for my son and I and I SUCCEEDED!

If I can, anyone can! I went from homeless and unemployed to not just getting adequate shelter but getting a NICE place at a good price. From jobless to offered a great job for exactly the community organization that I most wanted to work for and still sought after for another, giving me options! I feel wonderful. Proud of myself. So very, very blessed and led to share and maybe touch at least one struggling soul with hope and encouragement.

Never give up! You are worth putting your all into all that you do. You are worthy and must forgive and love yourself! Your reward will come, maybe not as soon or easily as we’d like, but in ways you can’t imagine. Just don’t give up! Learn to love yourself and live with an attitude of gratitude and hope and a heart of love. Let your light shine and your path will be revealed. Your light may also illuminate something for others as well. And isn’t that the greatest gift and reward we can aspire to give or get? Thank you for allowing me to share.

Love, light, and hope to you all!

~Paula F.

(image source: daytobeyou.com/stay-strong/never-give-up-2/)

First annual “Silent No More” walk/run to fight domestic violence

Silent No More CollageThis past weekend, Saturday, October 20, I participated in my first walk to fight domestic violence: Silent No More.

I have been participating in charity walks, runs, and bike-a-thons since I was in 4th grade. Growing up in Westernport, MD, I remember the principal and teachers at Westernport Elementary School holding the annual spring assembly encouraging each student to ride in the St. Jude’s bike-a-thon to help raise money for the sick kids who couldn’t ride. Those were the days when I had to go door-to-door to get people to sponsor me as little as a dime for every mile I rode. I was 8 the first year I rode, and I wanted to ride at least 50 miles so I could get a trophy. (And I did! My first trophy!) By the third year I participated, I wanted to ride the 50 miles and get the most sponsors to raise the most money to help those kids. I raised a lot but not the most. I still got a trophy, but the trophy meant less to me than the first and second trophies I had won. As an 11-year-old, I learned that I could make a difference just by doing a little something one day out of the year and that I could have fun doing it.

Since then, I have done many, many charity walks. The walks have all been to fight some type of disease like breast cancer or juvenile diabetes or prostate cancer or heart disease or AIDS. These events bring out hundreds of participants and raise thousands of dollars every year. I am always thrilled to be a part of these events and know that even a few dollars add up and can truly make a difference in someone’s life and the lives of many. If I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t dedicate my time and money.

I learned about The Silent No More 10K run/2M walk through Facebook and desperately wanted to be a part of it. The event was held in Morgantown, WV, the home of West Virginia University and the Mountaineers, which is almost 4 hours from my home near D.C. My mom and son went with me. I fully expected my son to sit next to my mom at the table I setup to display my book and business cards. But about 10 minutes before the horn sounded, he told me he’d like to walk with me.

He ran ahead of me for the first mile, while I lagged behind and walked and talked with a couple of walkers I just met. On the return trip, things were different. He ran out of steam, and I had to say goodbye to my new friends and walk slower back to the finish with my son who I also carried on my back several hundred feet. We finished together, and I won a book (“Sister of Silence” by Daleen Berry, a memoir of her abuse and escape) for being the first woman walker over 40 to finish. (Over 40. Still sinking in.)

Overall, the day was bitter-sweet. The turnout of participants seemed low to me (less than 50), and the media showed up late AFTER the race began. Also, there were some runners who participated just for the opportunity to say they ran and competed, not because they were there to support the cause. I know this because the turn-around point for the run portion of the event was not attended by an event coordinator, and many of the top runners did not see the cones and ended up running more than a 10K. About half a mile more! The finishing times for the top runners and finishers were well above their personal best. (Apparently, this isn’t good for a runner’s resume.) The winning runner was so disappointed by the failure of the event planners that he left before awards were distributed! This was very sad to me.

But the day had its perks, too. I met my Facebook friend and fellow blogger Ray for the first time. I also met author Daleen Berry and the race coordinator Kevin. I sold the first soft copy of my book (most sales have been through Kindle and Nook), and I met many people dedicated to the cause to fight domestic violence/intimate partner abuse. I learned about Samantha’s Sanctuary located in Morgantown and that the money collected on race day will go to buying Kindles preloaded with resources and books to help empower victims of abuse. (Maybe they’ll load my little book on the Kindles they distribute. Who knows!?)

My wish is that the event will become an annual event and that next year will bring more support. No, we’re not fighting breast cancer or heart disease. We’re fighting something that is just as debilitating and life-threatening. Is support so low for this cause because domestic violence is a disease with a human face unlike cancer which is a disease caused by something inhuman? Or is it because too many people still blame the victims of domestic violence and have given up on trying to help? Regardless, it’s a cause that desperately needs more support and funding. Hopefully, my son will continue participating with me, and maybe one day he’ll even be one of the top finishers on race day. One thing is certain, he is learning that events like this aren’t about winning or raising the most money. Events like this are about supporting those who don’t have the resources to save and support themselves, because just knowing someone or many someones care is enough to save a person. Peace!

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 pocaipainting.com. 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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