Psychic Vampires: Recovery from Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

220px-Bela_lugosi_dracula

Courtesy Wikipedia

Narcissistic abuse is behavior that feels like evil.  For narcissists the compulsion to emotionally destroy is so strong they’re unable to resist the urge no matter how grave the consequences.  The victim’s feelings are denied, avoided, discounted, and held in contempt. 

In the beginning you thought you had met your soul mate, a real life version of a gentleman or princess, charming, and somewhat mysterious.  You instantly fell for him or her.  Within a few months you were married or living together.  The nightmare then began…

You misread some very important character clues.  You saw a superior person who was exciting, outgoing, and entertaining.  Unable to see past the charm, you ignored warning signs about the inner person, didn’t evaluate your inner needs or question what your life together might look like.  As time went on you realized your partner had to be the center of attention and was totally self-involved.  Your admiration became unchallenging and he needed a bigger audience.  He got bored with being nice.  You became more focused on recapturing attention as your newly aloof and withdrawn partner barely acknowledged your presence.  Quiet desperation set in.  Your identity developed into an extension of his; you gave up aspirations and outside activities to meet insatiable needs.  You were isolated from loved ones and the road narrowed.  You were in constant emotional pain; feelings of loneliness and abandonment were part of daily life.

Your friends grew to be impatient because you stayed in a relationship that was clearly damaging your self-esteem.  The thought of having to face alone the emotional pain of a breakup terrified you.  Focusing on your partner allowed you to avoid dealing with your true emotional state.  In the beginning you felt euphoric.  Then the negative experiences became more frequent, but the emotional price was not significant enough yet.  You worked hard at being to your partner what you thought he wanted you to be, losing sight of your identity. In a fog of denial you became lost.  The denial impeded the possibility of real change.  When you thought about leaving fears and anxiety blocked your way.  Eventually the emotional pain was so great you surrendered.

You accepted things as they really were.  You admitted “I am powerless over this relationship and my life has become unmanageable” (1st Step of 12-Step Codependent Anonymous).  Even though scared, you began trusting in yourself; trusting that you would be fine without an intimate relationship.  Finally, you cut off all means of communication with the narcissist and detached yourself; minute by minute, day after day, you walk into your new life.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse is an ongoing, uncovering, and self-forgiving process towards wholeness with self and others.  The abuser must be released forever, the desire for revenge extinguished to begin developing self-awareness and love for who you are.  You must give up the obsessive thoughts to hurt your abuser for what has happened to free yourself.  You must eventually stop telling your story of abuse.  If you don’t give up the victim identity you are likely to repeat the experience in another relationship or go back to your abuser for more pain.

Often emotional work needs to be completed with a critical and/or narcissistically abusive parent.  Many adult victims of relationship abuse were used as children for emotional support and the release of anger and tension.  You may have been treated kindly one minute and abused or shamed the next, which resulted in a confusing mixture of love and abuse.  Your happiness might have been dependent on the mood of a caregiver.

Recovery from narcissistic victim syndrome requires the willingness to accept temporary discomforts of change once you commit to being true to yourself.  Anxiety and panic can arise when you risk finding out what it’s like to be unattached and allow maybe for the first time in your life to feel a range of conflicting emotions.  Healing requires you to look at the life lesson of getting caught in a destructive relationship and being victimized.  Detachment from an abuser does not mean disconnection or aloofness it means seeing reality as it is, not as your illusions would like it to be.  It means separating your personal boundaries from your abuser, getting a clearer sense of where your limits are or need to be.  The initial uncovering, the gradual detachment and awakening to reality, the intense grief, the slow process of recovery, and forgiveness must take place to end the abuse. Giving yourself emotional space to make sense of the past, to learn about what happen to you, and grieving dreams lost is important for future loves.  By building endurance to withstand the grief process you may avoid repeating the same mistakes in your next relationship.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a healthy relationship with self.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

 

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Addicted to Abusive Love

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Obsessing over an abuser is an all-consuming and compulsive preoccupation.  The emotion is often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety and a resistance to alternative viewpoints. The abusers hook is usually a whirlwind courtship where excitement is in the air as romance moves swiftly.  The thrill of the unexpected is mood altering.  It’s fast, it’s stimulating, and it feels alive.  When sexual intimacy is added the speed and intensity of the emotions become greater.  The relationship passion provides a false intimacy which is then mistaken for genuine closeness.  The swift and strong emotions overwhelm an intended victims perceptions. Anything that interferes with the picture of the new love as “ideal” is denied.  The relationship focus is on how the other person is making one feel and not on who the other person really is.  The thinking goes:  “Since he makes me feel wonderful, he must be wonderful.”  The partner’s pleasing characteristics are amplified and overemphasized.  Any hint of trouble gets ignored.  When the person makes you feel terrific it’s easy not to see the red flags about someone’s past relationships, emotional problems, or character.

The codependent personality is the perfect match for an abuser.  Codependent people tend to have an anxious attachment style due to emotionally unavailable, dismissing, and rejecting caregivers growing up. The need for a love attachment can be so extreme that the person believes they can’t live without an abusive partner.  This opens the door to being treated poorly and excessive dependency.  Attachment style with our parent serves as a model for adult experiences in intimate relationships.  Children that are rejected by a caregiver fear abandonment more than others.  When unmet dependency needs arise the person can become extremely clingy and unable to contain anxiety.  This anxiety becomes the foundation for people pleasing to get attention from others and to quiet the excessive worry about rejection.  Rejected adult children often experience pervasive feelings of sadness.  Some therapists call it the “Smiling depression.”   Generally unsatisfied with their intimate relationships, they feel constantly unappreciated, and become preoccupied with their abusive partners.  This way of intimate relating becomes the backdrop for attracting a sick partner.

Where the person with an anxious attachment style cares obsessively, the abusive person doesn’t seem to care as much.  This behavior triggers fear of abandonment for the codependent. The rejecting partner wavers between being distant and cut-off emotionally, to being critical and controlling.  They are reluctant to disclose, have a negative view of others, and are mistrustful of their partners.  They are less invested in partnerships and feel less grief or distress when a relationship ends.  They just don’t seem to care as much and tend to get tired of being nice shortly into a courtship.  Suddenly the end of the honeymoon begins usually over an insignificant incident.  Charm turns to rage and the partner is subjected to an unreasonable attack on his or her character.   Withdrawal symptoms begin when getting the “fix” or desired relationship satisfaction is denied.   The anxious and abusive match find each other to complete unresolved dependency needs from childhood.   Each is attracted to the other because of familiar painful traits.

Dealing with feelings from the past can stir up anger over old hurts and grief for the child that had to endure them.  Acknowledging and dealing with these feelings is essential to diminishing their control over your love life and resolving abusive relationship addiction.  When we don’t feel worthy of love we look to relationships to “fix” us and the addictive cycle of looking for relief in others begins.  With self-compassion we choose to be happy and learn to build healthy relationships.  Seeing your happiness as dependent upon another person is where many enter the world of relationship addiction. Long-term happy partnerships begin with people who are already happy before they meet.

Tips for Resolving Abusive Relationship Addiction

  1. Invest in your well-being by learning about attachment styles in addictive codependent relationships.
  2. Give yourself a break from intimate relationships until you are comfortable being alone.
  3. Commit on deep levels to practice loving actions towards yourself. Trust that the change taking place is good.
  4. Give yourself permission to seek help with a therapist when you are ready to change.
  5. Build endurance to fully grieve your lost childhood, so you can feel joy and happiness.
  6. Show up for yourself. Repeat over and over: “I am worthy,” “Sad feelings won’t last forever,” “I will make it out of this,” “I’m doing the best I can do.”
  7. Stop blaming yourself for family problems over which you do not have control.
  8. Take responsibility for your relationship history. Accept the lessons and learn from relationship pain so you don’t repeat it. Ask yourself, “What is the gift” from this relationship?
  9. Spend time each morning focused on forgiving your partners/parents for not being able to love you.  Let go of resentments so you can be free from the desire to hurt them. Move on to a new freedom and happiness.

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a decent relationship.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Dealing with the Emotional Hangover from Leaving a Narcissistic Relationship

Unchain-My-Heart Courtesy of Wikipedia

Unchain-My-Heart Courtesy of Wikipedia

The emotional hangover when we’re undergoing recovery from a narcissistic relationship is typically profound sadness and secondary to this feeling is rage.  Rage that someone who professed to love you could suddenly turn around and treat you so entirely without empathy.  The rage quite often is disguised as depression.  The grief heals slowly and leaves scars.  When the numbness has worn off there is deep pain and then there are attacks of emotional distress.  Feeling desperate for the pain to stop, panic about never ending loneliness and doubt about leaving are common.  You might find yourself caught in the compulsive mental replay of the injustice you endured.  The grief stages can last for several weeks gradually becoming less frequent for up to a year or more.  The pain and fear that has been bottled up inside from a restrictive, growth-inhibiting relationship comes to the surface.  Anger, blame, and helplessness, feels unmanageable and depressing.   You might be asking yourself. “Where do I go from here?”  “Will I ever find real love?”  Confronting the pain and fear from two, ten, twenty years or more can tempt you to run for cover, withdraw into darkness, jump into a new relationship (unwise choice) or decide to do the serious emotional work of completing yourself.

It is important that you mourn the ending of your relationship because grieving is essential to healing.  No matter how intense the painful emotions become you can endure them.  You have to break away in as healthy a manner as possible so that you are no longer emotionally available.   If you don’t make a clean emotional break you are likely to go back for more abuse.  This can happen because codependent love has an addictive emotional character which results in withdrawal symptoms.  The withdrawal is similar to symptoms from stopping substance abuse. After the break-up, people will experience an obsessive longing for their abusive partner (drug), debilitating emotional pain, and often engage in self-destructive behavior. This emotional response is why some people feel incapacitated by the hurt and obsess about hooking up with an ex-partner for more abuse. In order to accept years of rejection the “victim” develops an insane tolerance for emotional pain. The high tolerance for abusive behavior is a coping strategy to protect the psyche and is often learned in childhood. This obsession can be changed when we learn to love ourselves. When you accept that the way you treat yourself is the problem, the temptation to go back to purgatory will end.

Staying in a destructive relationship is more painful than the temporary pain of healing from the abuse. The emotional hangover will end and you will feel the immense relief of no longer walking on egg shells, needing to justify, explain, or apologize to anyone.  An abusive partner sucks the energy and joy out of your life.  The tension and conflict is exhausting.  Making a commitment to be kind to yourself through this process is life affirming and energizing.  It is also protection against tolerating abuse in future relationships.  Your grief will change when you understand your needs and how to get them met while learning to have fun without an intimate relationship.

Research tells us that long-term happy marriages/partnerships are formed by people that were already happy before the relationship started. When you complete the grieving process and learn to love yourself you will find a new partner who is capable of love.

Tips for healing the emotional hangover from Narcissistic Abuse

● Show up for yourself by repeating over and over: “I am worthy,” “Sad feelings won’t last forever,” “I will make it out of this,” “I’m doing the best I can do”

● Feel good about your decision to leave

● Invest in yourself by learning about narcissistic abuse and codependency

● Give yourself a break from intimate relationships until you have healed and are comfortable being alone

● Invest in your self-acceptance, protection, and emotional growth

● Know you will survive the abuse, learn from the experience, and have deeper self-knowledge

● Force yourself to develop new interests and social outlets

● Give yourself permission to seek the help of a therapist familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

● Acknowledge the anger that you feel so you don’t accept behaviors that hurt you

● If you are feeling depressed ask yourself what you might be angry about

● Examine your fears and insecurity with compassion, not terrorizing yourself with shame

● Make a commitment to take care of yourself even though you may fear in your ability to do so

● Believe in the ability to competently deal with feelings, solve problems, and take responsibility for your life

● Be open to what you are doing to create your life situation instead of being a victim

● Spend time each morning focused on forgiving your partner for not being able to love

● Let go of resentments so you can be free from obsessive thoughts

● Learn to trust yourself by finding out what is right for you

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Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Trusting Ourselves to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart – Wikipedia

Trusting yourself is the key to living well and being capable of trusting others.  You learn to trust yourself to leave any abusive relationship by listening and following through on your inner wisdom.  This is the start of practicing self-care and self-respect by doing what is true and right and what is best for you.   Falling for partners who deceived, abused, manipulated, and otherwise exploited you is not trusting your instincts.  Chances are there was a small voice that said, “Something doesn’t feel right” or maybe you didn’t feel uncomfortable and are shocked about your choice.   How could someone who felt so right be a total mistake?  Belief in yourself may be shaken.  There are times when we are challenged with change in relationships and fear we can’t take care of ourselves.  Listening to self-talk that says I don’t deserve to love or be loved keeps you stuck.   Believing you deserve a manageable relationship and acting on your intuition ends the abuse.

We may have a partner that tells us we cannot believe in ourselves; we are off base and nuts.  They benefit from mistrust because it keeps the cycle of abuse going.  Fear, panic, and doubt are an enemy to leaving an abusive situation and feelings you do not want to entertain.  You can stand in your truth and trust your own gut.  Accepting your mistakes when you thought you were making a good decision and trusting yourself anyway is important.  The rigid rules and demands for perfect decision-making are self-punishing.  You have the power to make healthy choices.  Are you wondering how you can count on your relationship choices when things went so wrong?   Each person that comes into your life has unique lessons to teach you.  You have no control over anyone’s actions or emotions.  Protect yourself by listening to your heart and no longer placing faith in partners that are destructive.  As you attract healthy partners with your intimate self, you will trust your thoughts and your own emotions. Letting your past interfere with self-trust keeps you trapped in fear and abuse.  You can learn, grow, and improve from your mistakes.  You can make better choices and leave situations with abusive partners.  By accepting your mistakes and being grateful for the lessons, you don’t have to repeat them.   You can make decisions based on what you know now.  Trust your decision to leave and do the best you can.  From your past unwise relationship decisions you experience growth.  Feel good about your decision to change and about your mistakes. Acknowledge your newly acquired awareness and treat yourself kindly when you wonder how you could have been so naïve or blind.  Realize that you were not as aware then as you are now.  Accept your inner knowing and listen attentively.  Know you will survive the abuse, learn from the experience and have deeper self-knowledge.  Begin once more; it is never too late to begin again.  The way to heal a broken heart is to keep on loving.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Partners Who Are Incapable of Feeling Love

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Each person who enters your life has a unique lesson to teach you

What if your partner is incapable of feeling love? Chances are they have a deep-seated fear that if they love you (or anyone) that will give you the power to hurt them, deprive them, and to abandon them. What he or she is feeling and thinking is what causes extreme fears, not what a you are saying or doing. To ease these fears this person will strip you of self-confidence to make you weak so that you are afraid to leave the relationship. To calm fears of being abandoned they will make you a focus of their rage, panic, fears, and inevitably their hatred. These behaviors effectively sabotage the relationship. Your partner controls the relationship abandonment through abuse because they are terrified of your ability to leave them. The partner incapable of love sets-up their own abandonment. The fear of rejection runs profoundly deep.

Falling for someone incapable of love locks you into whatever false image the person is projecting. You fall in love with an illusion. During the honeymoon phase of the courtship you see a person who seems to want and needs love.  Once you commit they begin to ignore your emotional needs and sometimes are unfaithful. Suddenly the partner begins to withdraw and provoke arguments. You wonder how could your partner who seemed to love you change so totally toward you. The relationship becomes too close for comfort for the person who is incapable of love. You as a person are not seen as a separate self with needs and a separate identity. This means you end up taking part in the relationship at the cost of not being yourself.

Why do you stay with someone incapable of loving you? Usually something in your history has led you to this place and what keeps you in a loveless relationship. Being loved is what most of us really want and often we are afraid of love without consciously knowing it. This is especially true if you have a history of over functioning and avoid worrying about your own personal goals and problems by focusing on others. This caretaking becomes a way of managing anxiety in relationships under stress. Developing a clear and authentic self means you can be pretty much be who you are. When you are not able to leave an emotionally painful relationship the tendency is to construct an explanation to make sense of your experience, “He just can’t deal with intimacy” or “She had a bad childhood.” The cost of not leaving may include chronic anger, resentments, feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or even self-blame (i.e., “I am such a loser for not leaving”). When you sacrifice your well-being you might also experience sexual problems, physical complaints, or compulsive behaviors. This leaves you angry at how badly you are being treated and with an overwhelming need to hold on to your relationship no matter how it is hurting you.

Acknowledging that your partnership is destructive and deciding to leave is not easy. Often there is regret, disappointed dreams, and damaged self-esteem. You may feel leaving is wrong and a sign of failure, especially if children are involved. In truth, what is wrong is to accept cruelty, abuse, and unhappiness. The abuse is a deal breaker.  The relationship will be more painful in the long run than the temporary pain of leaving. If you don’t take responsibility for your life, you aren’t really living. Establishing a good relationship with yourself allows you to find love with others. If you are afraid to leave the relationship, please give yourself permission to ask for help.

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Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Curing Your Fear of Intimacy in Relationships

250px-Dramaten_mask_2008aMost everyone carries fears about intimacy and being vulnerable.  We are afraid of being hurt, abandoned, rejected, humiliated, or betrayed.   Some of us are more afraid than others because of experiences that shaped us growing up.  Attachment style with our parental relationship serves as a model for adult experiences, particularly in the most intimate of relationships.  When a parent is emotionally absent, dismissing, inattentive, constantly distracted or downright cruel and rejecting, the distress confuses the child and desperate behavior begins to intensify.  As adults these children fear the threat of rejection or abandonment more than others.  They can become extremely clingy and angry, overwhelmed by their unmet dependency needs and unable to contain anxiety.  Often, they become people pleasers to receive approval from others.

Adults that have a negative self-image are fearful and doubting in their ability to keep a partner interested and maintain a loved one’s attention.  They worry excessively about rejection.  They are emotionally dependent and constantly feel unappreciated.  In intimate relationships they are romantically obsessive and jealous.  They tend to take hostages and are preoccupied with their partners.

Some adult children are dismissing and come across as emotionally disconnected, cold, and uninterested in intimate relationships.  They can waver between being distant and cut-off emotionally, to being critical and controlling.  These people are cynical and have negative views of others.  They are particularly guarded, mistrustful, and reluctant to self-disclose in most intimate relationships.  They tend to have more break-ups and are less invested in partnerships.  They feel less grief or distress when they have break-ups than others experience.  They just don’t seem to care as much.

Those who don’t care at all and are emotionally shut down as a result of trauma are often incapable of human intimacy.   If their behavior is characterized by a lack of remorse, lack of empathy, manipulations, and emotional coldness they may be a psychopath.  True psychopaths are constitutionally incapable of normal human interaction.  If you are in a relationship with someone like this, run, get out.  You cannot experience genuine intimacy with someone who abuses power and control and deals with emotional discomfort by blaming and attacking.

Many of us have these problems because we are afraid of being hurt or betrayed.  We still want intimacy, but are afraid of depending on someone and then getting wounded again.  These experiences are a driving force in ambivalence about intimacy.  The more painful and unresolved our earlier experiences are the more we crave intimacy and the more we feel threatened by it.  This is demonstrated by “come close”, “go away” relationship behavior.  We get close, get afraid, find fault with our partner, feel hurt and sabotage the relationship.  We then find ourselves alone, crave closeness again, and the repetitive behavior starts all over.  So if you sabotage intimacy and see it as a negative behavior you want to change, focus on the fear that fuels your actions.  You can learn to be compassionate with your fears and with others.  When you can see your fears and needs more clearly you can stop the cycle.  Love is what we really want and often we are afraid of love without consciously knowing it.

If you love someone and want more intimacy, and a decent relationship, you can learn how to create intimacy better.  Find out what your partner needs and how to support those needs.  If you pay attention and care about your loved one’s feelings, you can learn to be a better (not perfect) partner.  And when you stay in a relationship over time you can build your capacity for intimacy.

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Caring About How We Think in Abusive Relationships

"Thinking" Courtesy of Wikipedia

“Thinking” Courtesy of Wikipedia

Researchers of cognition estimate that people experience upwards to 60,000 automatic thoughts a day, and for most of us 80% of our contemplations are negative. These negative  thoughts are repetitive ideas that we continuously tell ourselves throughout our lives. They are primarily formed from experiences with feelings and actions in our family environment and intimate relationships. They are not facts and are often not accurate reflections of reality. Especially when our family communication patterns are destructive and our intimate relationships are abusive. Our inner dialogue has a strong effect on  emotional states, actions, and how we cope with life.

Imagine you have a problem with an emotionally abusive partner that you are trying to cope with. You could think, “This is not about me, I can manage, even though it is difficult,” or, you could think, “This is hopeless, there is nothing I can do right, I’m completely overwhelmed and it’s impossible to make a change.” How might you feel, think, or act differently in these situations? If you feel anger or resentment, the challenge is to acknowledge it, learn from it, and then release any self-destructive thoughts.

Thoughts can affect your reactions to your partner’s emotional abuse and your ability to cope with it too. In particular, thinking his or her abusive behavior is about you. Participating in the emotional cruelty with your partner is likely to make you feel more helpless to change and to suffer more. In contrast, thinking that makes you feel competent to cope with the relationship can make you feel better about yourself and allow you to change the circumstances. When you feel misery, force yourself to think grateful thoughts. When you feel blamed, reassure yourself that who you are is okay.

Thoughts often seem to be out of our control. Even so, the truth is that we can learn to monitor our thinking, notice thoughts that are more or less helpful, and make choices about how to counter or change those thoughts. By doing these things, we reduce thoughts that contribute to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and increase thoughts that contribute to feelings of competence, confidence, and determination. These thoughts can then help you a) act more effectively with your partner and b) stop creating your own emotional pain c) help you leave your relationship. This also helps you make emotionally fulfilling choices like spending time with loved ones, accomplishing your work or educational goals, or reducing the negative effects of your abusive partner.

The three steps to changing your thinking are to:

1. Notice your thoughts (if you are feeling bad, you’re thinking negative thoughts).
2. Ask yourself, “Is the thought helpful or harmful. Is it accurate?”
3. Change your thought, if harmful or inaccurate; counter it with a positive coping thought and behavior.

Thoughts can be empowering thoughts or self-defeating thoughts. They can be thoughts that reinforce you to believe in your value or thoughts that punish you for being or making a mistake. Looking at your own relationship experiences, which types of thoughts are most likely to be helpful? Where does your mind hang out? Make a list of these inner dialogues to help you notice the thoughts that make you feel bad. This action will help you to stop attending to the seemingly involuntary thought processes and the continuous negative monologues.

Questions to ask for empowering coping thoughts in an emotionally abusive relationship are:

1. Am I blaming myself for something over which I do not have control?
2. Are there any strengths or positives in me or the situation that I am ignoring?
3. Have I had any experiences that show that this thought is true all the time?
4. If a friend had this thought, what would I tell him or her?
5. Have I been in this type of situation with my partners before? What happened? Is   there anything different between this situation and previous ones?
6. What have I learned from prior experiences about the signs of an abusive relationship that could help me now?

These actions will help you in emotionally destructive relationships and can help you get through times of stress in healthy relationships. Listen to that voice in your head and do what you need to do to take care of your thoughts.

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to the self-judgment and critical thoughts. And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-acceptance and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

How to Stop Obsessing Over a Narcissistic Relationship

Love_wheelObsessing over a narcissistic relationship is stressful and tiring; leading you to feel down, frustrated or hopeless.  Fixating over your painful experience can interfere with your life by keeping you from doing the things you want to do.  A particularly helpful skill to stop compulsive thoughts of the abuse is learning to control your attention, the degree to which you are focused on the mistreatment, the more you are aware of it.  This is not about denying your pain; it is attending to something else.  Negative thoughts are ideas that we tell ourselves and are not always accurate reflections of reality.

When we take feelings to seriously, we let how we feel control all our decisions.  While learning to focus on the things you have control over, you will empower yourself to end the destructive attachment. Letting go of your resentments (desire to hurt your partner) happens when you believe in your right to happiness.  Sometimes we need time to ready ourselves to cope. Change your thinking about the abuse, and about yourself, so that you don’t blame yourself, or believe things are hopeless.  The following steps are ways to stop your obsessions.

I believe the first step below requires us to give up our desire for vengeance and letting go of a victim mentality.  If you want revenge let it be your own success at creating a decent manageable life.  Allowing your abuser to rent space in your head means they get to continue punishing you.  Narcissists feel all-powerful when they think your life is miserable with them, and especially without them.  Feel your anger and use your emotional pain to motivate change in your life.

  1. Take responsibility in part for having chosen your abusive partner and/or for staying in purgatory.  Accept the lesson and learn from the relationship pain so you don’t repeat it. Ask yourself, “what is the gift” from this relationship?
  2. Stop talking about your ex-partner to others; refuse to establish a victim identity. Create a state of well-being within you.
  3. Spend time each morning focused on forgiving the narcissist for not being able to love you, so you can free your ego from the desire to hurt them. Move on to a new freedom.
  4. Care enough about your well-being to stop the self-punishing thoughts. Refuse to build drama stories in your mind.
  5. Practice hearing and feeling the critical voice in your head. Banish fear and guilt from your mind. Acknowledge and observe the destructiveness of your compulsive thoughts and emotions.
  6. Keep your thinking and feeling centered on good things, care about how you feel. Lower your dark curtain and emerge from darkness.
  7. Work as hard on accepting what is good in your life as you have the painful and the difficult. Learn to trust yourself by finding out what is right for you.

Thank you for reading this article. I have dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-love by teaching from my own experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about abusive relationships and what it takes to put an end to victimization.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Postmodern Learning Journey

Consciousness 17th Century Courtesy of Wikipedia

Consciousness 17th Century Courtesy of Wikipedia

The questions “Who am I?” “Who are we?” and “What is consciousness?” is fascinating to think about.  These issues carry within itself another, even more important question:  “Where do I belong?”   The answer to that question is discovered within a fellowship of friends.  I believe belonging is a core need of nearly all of us in the quest for answers and truth.  On my postmodern journey (belief there is no one objective “truth” rather many possible intrepretations of any event)  I connected with the article, The Essence of Self (Russell, 2003).  Russell believes when the mind is quiet we are experiencing our true essence which is a state of pure consciousness.  He says we develop our sense of self from people, places and things.  I have learned that the challenge is to understand that “I am” not my appearance, my work, my achievements, or my bank account, etc.  This “I am” realization is a sense of my own presence, it is not thought.  Russell describes this well in the following quote:

“When the mind is silent, and the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories with which we habitually identify have fallen away, then what remains is the essence of self, the pure subject without an object.  What we than find is not a sense of “I am this” or “I am that,” but just “I am.” (p. 12).”

It is during meditation that I sense this “I am.”  I feel my own presence (authenticity) in my breathe with such peace that my thinking, emotions, physical body, and the passing of time, seem insignificant in comparison to it.  It takes me beyond what I previously thought of as “myself.”  This presence is essentially me and at the same time greater than me.

Russell (2003) also delineates the concept of self, time and space in his article and I connected with his words. I can observe when my mind gets caught up in identification with the past and continuous compulsive projection into the future.   I believe Russell would say when I’m getting caught up in mind thought I am building my sense of self from time.  As soon as I am conscious of this mind process, I become present.  I seize to be my problems and emotions; I stop acting out my compulsive projections and instead become consciousness of which I really am.  The challenge is to stay in the present moment and stop punishing myself for behaviors in the past or with anxious predictions about the future.

Ken Wilber’s integral psychology model has also had a dramatic impact on my postmodern learning.  He has put into words my spiritual awakening with such accuracy that my sense of belonging to something greater then myself is much stronger.  I have learned of this postmodern thinking and shared experiences after the fact and it gives credibility to Wilber’s teaching and my awakening.  A chapter in his book, Integral Psychology (2000), “The Archeology of Spirit” was the most profound.  He writes about the experience he calls looking deep within the mind so well. “In its gentle whisperings, there are the faintest hints of infinite love,” and “It is reached by a simple technique: turn left at mind, and go within” (p. 111). The descriptions are wonderful.  I have felt the hints of infinite love during meditation and as a result, in moments of dialogue with others.

Wilber speaks of “at-home-ness” with the world developing deeper as the self integrates various “streams.”  I think of this as having a place wherein I fit, at home with self, with family, with the world.  Spirituality helps me find that experience by accepting myself, including my relationships with others, and especially my family.  Because of this, I have learned to see my relationships in a different way and to better fit with others.  Wilber calls this process identifying, “If you identify with your friends and family, you will treat them with care.  If you identify with your nation, you will treat your countrymen as compatriots.  If you identify with all human beings, you will strive to treat all people fairly and compassionately, regardless of race, sex, color, or creed” (p.116).  This passage struck me because when I had a spiritual experience as a result of losing my forearm, I than possessed the most profound need to connect with others.  This need helped me overcome the uncomfortableness with looking different and gave me the courage to be myself.  This loss was a powerful lesson in understanding that I am not my body or mind and that my real self had not changed though my outward appearance had.

My postmodern learning journey requires an examination of my invisible inner world through introspection, interpretation, and conscious awareness of my mind talk. My beliefs about subjective reality have been changed by what I am learning.  We live in an exciting time of conscious evolution in which the scientific method is inadequate in its explanations.  Modern science is uncomfortable with subjective uncertainty as are most of us.  The challenge of nonresistance to change and unpredictability is shaped and affected by our own culture, community and compulsive thoughts.  We are the shaper of our reality, environment and culture.  The good news is that we do have some control over our thinking and hold the key to our personal freedom from self-bondage.

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Thank you for reading this article.  I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-love by teaching from my  experience.  In the past, I’ve sacrificed my emotional and spiritual well-being for perfectionism and looked to others for approval at the cost of trusting my  intuition and developing my self-worth.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to the self-judgment.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

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Romantic Myths and Ending the Codependent Relationship

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Codependents have a deep capacity for love, but they haven’t developed the capacity to love themselves enough to stop the pain an unhealthy relationship can cause them.  Codependents tend to believe that you should love unconditionally and that the unconditional love you give your partner should be returned.  This unconditional reciprocity is only possible with your infant or four-legged friends.

Codependents demand a lot from their romantic relationships and want their partners to fix their lives, to save them from sadness or to bring joy.  They expect their partners to make them happy in every way.  This is the codependents romantic myth; believing that finding someone special will improve all aspects of their lives.  This is an emotional trap!  Your unhappiness will not stop when a rescuer comes.  Because of this belief codependents feel consistently unfulfilled in relationships.  Rescue is always an “inside job.” It is your job to notice your needs and take care of yourself and give yourself love.   Believing your partner will complete you is a set-up for disillusionment and resentment.

An unhealthy person can have a powerful pull when a codependent is needy, unhappy, and trying to maintain positive energy and balance while in search of a loving relationship.  Entitlement to your own feelings allows you to see other people’s pent-up anger and emotions and to recognize whether a person is right for you.  Entitlement to your feelings is the end to codependent relationships. You cannot change others; you can choose to see emotional problems in potential partners so you are not  pulled into their darkness or bargain with your own well-being. You can move on to realistic thinking, new behaviors, and new emotions.  You can see beyond old patterns of personal consciousness that have trapped you in unhealthy partnerships.  You can stop victimizing yourself, let go of negativity, and become aware of your power to cope effectively with unhealthy people, thoughts, and situations.

Loving people have a deep need for connectedness, harmony and a sense of belonging. This need is attained only in the giving of love to ourselves and only in the openness to receive it from emotionally available partners.

 Tips for Ending Codependent Relationships

1. Invest in yourself: Life will be easier the more you know about codependency.

2. Struggle, fail, be confused and frustrated to discover your own truth.

3. If you are having difficulties that you want to work out, seek professional counseling.

4. Do not form relationships solely on the basis of attraction.

5. Work through your family of origin issues so you don’t find yourself working through them with the people you are attracted to.

6. Learn to go slowly and pay attention during the process of initiating and forming relationships.

7. Say how you really feel. Be entitled to your feelings!

8. Let go of your need for care-taking and control.

9. Create a solid sense of self and the courage to speak up when something bothers you.

10. Allow a partner to be who he/she is and don’t try to fix them.

11.Talk openly about changes you see happening in the other person and in yourself.

12. Learn to look for what’s good for you, instead of what’s good for the other person.

13. Monitor yourself and not your partner.

Each person who enters your life has a unique lesson to teach you.  When you find what’s good about you, you’ll find the right person, and the joy that person has to offer will make up for all the past hurts put together times ten!!!

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Thank you for reading this article.  I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  In the past, I’ve sacrificed my emotional and spiritual well-being for perfectionism and looked to others for approval at the cost of trusting my  intuition and developing my self-worth.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about abusive relationships and what it takes to put an end to self-judgment.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Stopping Complusive Mind Chatter

Thinking Courtesy of Wikipedia

Thinking Courtesy of Wikipedia

Meditation is the single most important thing you can do for yourself each day to stop compulsive mind chatter.   Starting the practice of meditation is often a salvation.  Your authentic self will appear in moments of quite awareness, and in non-resistance to the present moment, the dialogue in your head will stop and so will the compulsive emotional pain.  During meditation one’s still self can become present and is empowered to de-identify with the drama the ego manufactures in order to feel alive and keep the negative chatter going.  By practicing meditation you will experience stillness, peace and self-acceptance.  We all have the power to stop attending to the seemingly involuntary thought processes, the continuous negative monologues, and the repetitive victim stories playing in our minds.  Emotional, physical, or mental pain can be used as a gift to motivate you to stop the mental fighting in your mind.

My experience with emotional trauma and chronic pain has been a major influence on my values and self-care.  I have been moved by intense struggling into accepting “what is.”  When I practice acknowledging that my emotional pain is self-created and I am not a victim, my thoughts commence to change dramatically.  Moment by moment I practice giving up my attachment to past, future and present thoughts to make living in the present my main focus.  I have found peace through this surrender and a profound need to demonstrate kindness through my actions.  The compulsive drive for more, better, new, in order to feed a false image and ineffectively heal emotional wounds is no longer fulfilling to me.  This awareness came from an accumulation of personal losses, emotional pain and chronic physical pain.  I use to have a voice in my head that continuously attacked and punished me for not doing enough.  I decided I would no longer tolerate the self-created misery and unhappiness.  The negative thoughts still lurk, but I practice observing and releasing them without judging.

I have found it is necessary to practice not taking people or situations personally and to stop building negative thoughts.  The minute I make a situation “about me,” my fear is in charge and creating a story.  I have learned that the challenge is to respect that who “I am” is not my minds activity, my appearance, my work, my achievements, or my bank account, etc.  This “I am” realization is a sense of my own presence, it is not thought.   As soon as I am conscious and stop the compulsive mind chatter I’m hearing, (i.e., “Hello old friend that has come here to make me feel like crap, you can go now”) I become present.  I seize to become my reactions and negative emotions; I stop acting out my compulsive projections.  I quit beating myself up and instead become conscious of my present worth.  The challenge is to remain in the present moment and give up identifying with the drama for things that happened in the past or with fearful projections into the future.  I take responsibility for my actions and self-respect.  I recognize that I am continuously creating my minds reality and I give myself permission to be “perfectly imperfect.”

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-love by teaching from my  experience.  In the past, I’ve sacrificed my emotional and spiritual well-being for perfectionism and looked to others for approval at the cost of trusting my intuition and developing my own self-worth.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to the self-judgment and self-bondage.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.