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

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Codependents Facing The Dark Side of Dependency

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

 

All the pieces of me are coming together as I acknowledge my own healing ability.  My past is no longer in charge of me

Facing our darker side is a step in the right direction to rid ourselves of hiding for the rest of our lives. Our problem behaviors have something to teach us if we can get past the urge to pretend they don’t exist. A person’s darker side contains the shadow parts of the self that one rejects and find unacceptable. The shadow is all the actions that scare and disgusts us about ourselves and others. This is the side of us we deny and would rather not experience. Uncovering your denial relieves you of anxiety, stress, and self-deception; it removes blocks to joy and love. Nothing you do to remove the blocks will be effective when you deny your anger and resentment. Being honest with ourselves makes room for self-acceptance. Telling the truth is the first step and the second is admitting we are willing or not to change whatever the behavior is at the moment. Keep in mind you are examining your fears and shortcomings with compassion, not terrorizing yourself with shame. Remembering our own mistakes when we want to judge others moves us towards authenticity.Our darker side is always looking for expression and can slowly destroy relationships with family, friends, partners, ourselves, and other important people to us. When we keep our problems hidden or denied nothing changes. Problems brought out into the open diminish their control over our lives. Learning how to take responsibility for your own issues is one of the essential actions in removing blocks to joy and love. This means being open to what you are doing to create your life situation instead of being a victim and believing that others are causing your unhappiness. Your behavior comes from how you treat yourself and others. When you don’t acknowledge your issues, you will end up feeling angry, bitter, trapped, unappreciated, unloved, and misunderstood. These feelings arise from a wounded sense of self where we give ourselves permission to be self-punishing.

Codependents often feel anxious that unpleasant and frightening things are going to happen. Your anxious thinking gets you expecting that you won’t be able to cope with change. These emotions are your warning signal that things may require work and attention in your life. When we are brave enough to face ourselves and love ourselves, even in our most destructive behavior, we gain courage. In this way, we encourage confidence in our ability to cope.

Codependents know when something is wrong in a relationship and tend to blame themselves or a partner instead of facing their own needs to grow up. Admitting this tendency will help you to set better boundaries. Keeping your negative attitudes or fears unacknowledged takes control of your happiness and creates life-long pervasive feelings of dissatisfaction in your intimate relationships.

Compulsive behavior is especially important to admit for the person who abuses alcohol and/or drugs. Many codependents abuse substances to avoid the frustration and pain that occurs in relationships. The codependent keeps their anxiety hidden. They fear being found out and feel very alone because they don’t share their true pain. Substances allow for a false sense of intimacy in relationships and at the same time keep people away.

Many codependents grew up in homes where the emotional goods (love) were in shortage. Lack of abundance in love can become the shadow of jealousy. Jealousy is the belief that there is not enough love to go around and a destroyer of relationships. The truth is that jealousy is fear about losing someone’s love or not getting the love you want. When you are jealous, admitting to feeling insecure about your lovability helps to silence the dark shadow and its hold on you. As does calming the fear of abandonment by acknowledging there is always enough love to go around until you believe it. Jealousy usually produces tremendous inner pain and distress. Accepting and managing your jealousy becomes ever so important in removing blocks to joy and happiness because of its potential destructiveness.

Controlling by managing other people or events is a way of dealing with anxiety, especially in unhealthy relationships. The belief that things and people hold the solution to happiness and stopping our pain makes life unmanageable. Relationships are meant to teach us lessons about love, not reinforce our past. A more joyful and loving existence is possible when we make a conscious effort to talk directly about fears and hidden thoughts. As we grow in understanding and acceptance the blocks to joy and love are eliminated. Expanding your understanding with truth removes fear and insecurity.
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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 manageable life. 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

Telling Family Secrets about Abuse

The_Hero_Illustration

The Hero Illustration

Be quiet, don’t tell anyone ever.  Suck it up.  The child raised this way is a very special person.   The denial required of children in their effort to protect family secrets creates feelings of helplessness.   This is the legacy of family secrets from the loyalty of children who do not wish to speak out against their parents.   Children involved in keeping family secrets have a high potential for participating in an abusive relationship as an adult.  Keeping secrets, as a family illness, parallels emotional and compulsive disorders.  There is a strong association between compulsive behavior (alcoholism, gambling, physical abuse, and/or sexual abuse, etc.) consistently identified in families with a “don’t tell” rule.  Regardless of the disorder, family members are often unaware of their own pain when the family does not even acknowledge there is a problem.   This makes it impossible to heal what we don’t allow ourselves to feel.  No one speaks of his or her loneliness and loss of sense of self.  Abuse is abandonment because when children are abused no one is there for them.   Toxic secrets lower self-esteem, increase shame/guilt, and block a child’s ability to grieve losses and hurts.

The impressions and feelings caused by keeping family secrets remain with those children and tend to be carried into adulthood.   Adult children often continue to experience problems related to talking about relationship abuse.  They have learned to tolerate whatever abuse is being handed out in intimate partnerships. To heal adult children must come out of hiding.  As long as your secrets are hidden, there is nothing you can do about it.  Sometimes secrets may have been repressed because they are emotionally charged or threatening to you.  It’s possible to have secrets you are unaware of or may minimize to protect yourself.

The best way to come out of hiding is to find a supportive intimate social network.   Choosing a safe person or group needs to be done carefully and over a length of time.  True love heals and affects personal growth.   To heal you have to risk exposing yourself to someone else.   You have a right to talk about problems and you have a right to feel.  You don’t have to pretend that keeping secrets isn’t making you feel crazy, lonely or confused.  You don’t have to analyze or justify your feelings.   What is most healing is to acknowledge secrets and sharing secrets that may be damaging you.  Telling what happen can increase self-esteem, decrease shame, allow you to grieve, to feel love and be loved.  You may find feelings associated with the secrets and repetitive self-destructive behavior or choosing abusive relationships end.  You will then choose relationships that grow out of awareness and sensitivity to your innermost needs.

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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

Why Do I Feel So Crazy? Recovering From a Narcissistic Relationship

Narcissus Courtesy of Wikipedia

Narcissus Courtesy of Wikipedia

“Am I crazy?”  Is a burning question for the partner of a narcissist.  Many victims suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome (PTNS).  PTNS is a condition in which the affected person’s memory, emotional, and physical systems have been traumatized.  PTNS is an experience not a diagnosis.  For sufferers, certain flashbacks of the abuse turn up repeatedly with endless variations.  Victims tend to remain in large part controlled by the abuser, their mind and emotions in bondage.  This elicits a terrible and terrifying combination of helplessness and rage; unbearable feelings that had to be suppressed for the victim to stay in the relationship.  Following are symptoms of PTNS.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome:

● Flashbacks of the cruel behavior and trauma

Hyperarousal (i.e., extreme fear of personal safety)

Hypervigilance (i.e., scanning your environs for constant threats, stalking, violence)

● Irritability

● Depression & Guilt

● Multiple physical complaints

● Numbing

● Impaired concentration and memory

● Disturbed sleep & distressing dreams

What is a narcissist? A narcissist is a person who deprives their partners of the ability to feel joy and love as a separate person in relationships.  They deliberately attempt to destroy or compromise the separate identity of another.  The longer the relationship continues, the narcissist not only becomes less considerate, but actively cruel.  Many victims end up feeling hollow because the narcissist squeezes them empty.  The emotional deprivation, physical and mental torture can result in a type of soul murder.  Brainwashing their partners into believing they are the problem keeps the emotional bondage going.  This leaves survivors not knowing what they want and what they feel, or what they have done and what has been done to them.

A victim might question whether abuse really did happen.  Acknowledging victimization is crucially important to the person’s ability to control obsessive thoughts of the past and recover. The survivor can then begin to separate and achieve independence from the narcissist. It is important that you do not turn this new awareness against yourself.  For example, “I may be angry at him, but I’m even angrier at myself for putting up with it.”  Using self-compassion, the trauma can contribute to the strengths and talents of the injured as they reclaim self-confidence.  Be alert to self-blaming and change the negative thoughts when you hear them.  You might say, Stop! Get out of my head.

One of the steps in recovering from the abuse is recognizing that you are angry and admitting it.  It is essential to uncover your feelings, so you can begin the process of healing. Know where anger is coming from inside you.  Emotions repressed are harmful and keep you trapped and powerless to face the situation or feel happiness.  Acknowledging anger, usually disguised as depression, allows you to decide what to do about it and deal with it.  Another step is to understand why you are so angry.  Are you angry because you have been hurt, physically, emotionally, financially, etc.?  Are you furious because of the way you have been treated and the emotional impoverishment you lived with?  Are you resentful because you are the only who can change?  Are you angry at being labled Bipolar?  The mood swings from the stress of living in a war zone while dodging the narcissist’s land mines can look like a mental health disorder.

Once your anger is out in the open it is less likely to cause problems for you.  It is necessary for you to change because you are the one who has been made sick by the existing situation. The ability to enjoy what you are doing, your daily living, and your recovery from PTNS are constantly influenced by emotions.  Nurturing yourself when you are hurting is imperative.  Devote time each day to doing things that make you feel good. Establishing a daily routine is essential to your mental health.  Get professional help if needed.  Invest in your well-being so that you can create what you need, deserve, and want in a relationship with yourself. Below are the criteria for the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

● Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

● Grandiose sense of self-importance

● Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

● Belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

● Need for excessive admiration

● Sense of entitlement

● Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

● Lacks empathy

● Often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

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Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to 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.

Codependents Learning to Communicate Needs in Relationships

Communication

Part of having successful relationships is learning to communicate clearly, directly, and assertively. Effective communication is the key to getting what we need and want and to having satisfying relationships with others. This is especially important when acknowledging feelings such as disappointment or anger directly, as what we need and want can be very important in our love relationship. Also, having positive relationships  and addressing codependency issues are important in keeping stress down, reducing tension, and increasing positive experiences.  What is codependency in relationships?

Codependents are people who find it difficult to ask for what they need or to stand up for themselves and often let other people push them around or take advantage. They are unable to make up their mind and may evade an issue in conversation.  This communication style can make a codependent attractive to an abuser.  Signs of an abusive person is someone who talks over people, expresses feelings in a way that violates boundaries, and who makes inappropriate demands.  During an argument this person intimidates with piercing eye contact, takes an overbearing posture, makes “you” statements in a loud voice with demanding tones, and interrupts often.  And you do not have to allow their coercive demands to control the course of your life. You have the power to live your own life by not letting the demands of others control you.

Effective communication involves acknowledging feelings directly, instead of making others guess at your feelings or having your feelings come out in other ways. In most situations direct communication is the appropriate choice. However, if you are communicating with someone who is yelling, you might be more reactive by indirectly expressing angry feelings instead of openly addressing them. This creates a disconnect between what you say and what you do. Your true feelings end up being demonstrated through actions, not words.  Many codependents protect themselves from seeing things that are too painful in addictions, (alcoholism, food, sex, gambling) compulsive caretaking, feeling miserable, guilty or ashamed.  It is okay to say no to people when that is what you want. Denying feelings does not stop pain or compulsive behavior.

Being vulnerable can be frightening, especially if we have lived with people who abused, mistreated, manipulated, or did not appreciate us. By recognizing that our rights and needs are just as important as others, we learn to be direct and clear in our statements and behaviors. We use words to forge a closer connection. We disclose how we feel in a way that reflects self-responsibility, directness, and honesty. Repressing thoughts and feelings does not turn us into the person we want to be.  Give yourself permission to say what you want and stop when you are done. Codependents are usually good at respecting other people’s opinions and needs, but do not have respect for their own. You can learn new behaviors and break demeaning beliefs about yourself that can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Following are suggestions for assertive communication and how to resolve conflict in relationships:

Describe issues clearly and concisely. Let the other person know your concerns. Don’t beat around the bush. Take responsibility for what you want or don’t want and ask for it directly.

Take the initiative in bringing a topic up and show the other person that you respect your own needs.

Keep your focus on the matter at hand without getting diverted onto other issues.

Make good eye contact and face the person you’re speaking with, but don’t invade their personal space.

Speak firmly, positively and loudly enough to be heard.

Match your words with your true needs.

Bring up the issue with confidence.

Avoid attacking, threatening, or judgmental statements.

Be fair, truthful, and stick to your values.

Maintain a posture and attitude of equality.

Don’t apologize for your needs. Don’t expect people to apologize for their needs.

Use “I” statements: When you yelled at me, I felt disrespected. I need you to express  your feelings without yelling.

Talk ABOUT feelings, rather than act them out.

Edit unnecessary negative content.

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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 to express needs and 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

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.

Secrets of a Narcissist

Dissociated Personality States Courtesy Wikipedia

Dissociated Personality States Courtesy Wikipedia

Richard (not his real name) profiled me as his perfect victim on an online dating site rated as a top trusted relationship provider in the USA.  For many decades he had fooled friends, family, and colleagues while sexually abusing the clients that he was ethically bound to do no harm to.  Richard has a long trail of soul murdered women in his pursuit of ideal love and omnipotence.

He is a charming, seducing, angelic narcissist creating misery in his wake.  Narcissists tend to damage the lives of almost every person they encounter by lying, betraying, and manipulating.  For Richard’s ex-wives and child their life with him was purgatory.  For all he could keep hostage, it was misery, a nightmare.  For some partners it must have felt like evil.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with NPD:

● shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

● grandiose sense of self-importance

● preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

● belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

● need for excessive admiration

● sense of entitlement

● takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

● lacks empathy

● often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

Narcissist are compulsive in their pursuit of narcissistic supply (awe, admiration, attention, even being feared) and projecting a loving image that is compatible with his or her false self-image.  A narcissist’s projected image tends to be lovable until he or she gets tired of being nice.  No longer able to manufacture adoration in their partner; being feared then becomes narcissistic supply.  A victim’s emotional pain and destroyed self-esteem feeds the fantasy of being all-powerful and capable of anything.

The start of our relationship was a whirlwind romance.  The chemistry appeared to be instant for both of us.  We met outside a bookstore.  I was sitting on a bench, when I locked eyes with him, the sexual tension was immediate.  My whole body was vibrating with aliveness.  He mistook my loving nativity and longing for being gullible.  He underestimated my integrity and commitment for doing no harm to others.  He was too good to be true and I didn’t understand that meant a nightmare.  He came across as a confident, charming, attentive, professional in my field.  Shortly after we were dating he started making plans and began to tell me he loved me. I was the ideal reflection of true love for his preoccupation with projecting a lovable image.    He had no intention of following through on the promises he made.  He had picked me to better his status and save him from financial disaster.  My life had been so extraordinary as a result of my personal adversities that I believed this miracle man was possible.  His insidious ability to mirror my wish-fulfillment (delusion) for a perfect man was award-winning as was the lovability of his projected image.  My emotions of awe, respect, admiration, and attention were food for his narcissistic supply.  He catered to my needs and wishes because he craved my reflected love and admiration.  It was through my reactions that he felt an illusionary sense of self.  Richard was sadly divorced from his true self and married to his image.  He was an empty soul forced to use me in order to feel his existence.  If I had not caught his written admission of the crimes he committed over several decades I might have become his mere instrument for gratification.  He was never bothered by his history of unscrupulous behavior and the constant exploitation of his victims.  Indifferent to the consequences of his actions, the damage and pain he inflicted on his partners, son, friends, clients or family.  The written admission of the crimes he committed came as a result of a major life crisis which directly threatened his projected and perceived image.  Life crises are typically the only times a narcissist may seek help.  A girlfriend he had lived with for 10 years ended their relationship and at the same time his 16-year-old son from a previous marriage got a restraining order put in place, stating to the judge, “My father is too immature to be a parent.”  In a moment of desperation, two years before we met, he wrote about his secrets in a journal.  In his disorganized character style he left the journal in his library bookshelf.

Early in our relationship, after declarations of love, and before his proposal, he left his email page open on his computer.  I noticed emails coming from our on-line dating site.  I mentioned this to him asking if he was still looking for a match.  I saw irritation cross his face as he told me he was off the dating site, but they kept sending him email.  I took him at his word and let it go.  Later, when he asked for my hand in marriage, I accepted.  Weeks after the engagement the manipulation began for me to pay his bills.  My financial solution was to sell my home and move in to his house.  I reasoned that moving in was the right action to take because we were lifetime partners.  I was very fortunate because the beginning of grace was being manifested.  I was settled in his home when my lap top stop working and he allowed me to use his computer.  Again, one evening when he was attending a men’s support group, he left his email page open.  I saw communications with women from several dating sites.  I did not open the messages.  I was shocked, devastated, and numb.  I told him what I had discovered when he came home.  He exploded accusing me of bizarre intentions and accusations.  We later explored the cognitive distortions that allowed him to verbally attack my character.  We are both in the mental health field and empathy would have been the emotionally appropriate reaction to my discovery, especially since he professed innocence.  My red flags went up.  Several days later I opened the “Windows Media Center” program on his lap top to look at some pictures we had taken and the program opened his email site.  There I saw several communications with women from various dating sites.  One of the emails was dated after he had asked me to marry him and I opened the communication.  The truth of his betrayal was revealed to me.  I was so upset that I left our bed that night to sleep on the couch in his library loft.  I looked through the multitude of self-help books in the shelves to see if I could find one on sexual addiction.  It was then that I found a brown journal outlining his sex crimes against clients and the history of abusive treatment with women he married and partnered.  After reading his disclosures I wasn’t sure what kind of person I was dealing with and feared I might be in personal danger.  I decided the best action was to go back to bed and pretend I was okay.  Fortunately, his place of work was at a great distance from home.  He had a routine of staying overnight with friends or at work on Monday and Tuesday nights, coming home on Wednesday nights and then he was off from work on Thursdays.  Monday morning I consulted with a colleague on the discovery of his crimes and then took the evidence to the police.  I arranged to move all my belongings out of his house and went into hiding as the FBI Sex Crime Unit and local police evaluated the evidence.  In the meantime, he didn’t know I had left until he came home on Wednesday night.  The phone calls and emails began immediately.  Richard did not know he was under police investigation.  I did not respond to his attempts to contact me and have not spoken to him since this happen several years ago.  No contact is the only way to deal with a sociopathic narcissist when you leave.

Following is one of his emails to me after I left his house and below are a few excerpts from his journal.

Hi Baby,

Please don’t believe your mind!  You know about negative fear based thinking.  What you saw is what you saw, but like looking at the glass you can see it as half-full or half empty.  Listen to my heart.  Carlos Constenada says in, The Teaching of Don Juan, “when you are at the crossroads and both roads go nowhere choose the one with HEART IN IT.”  Please listen to my heart.  We were beginning to plan our lives and our wedding.  I want to marry you.  I want to give you your ring back.  I am sorry.  I know I let you down.  I don’t want “the ring” it’s yours, let me give it back.  I have been hurt and confused by this too.  Forgive me, I was wrong.  I am sorry I was wrong in not protecting your mind from the painful thoughts that I betrayed you.  If I would had destroyed those emails this would never have happened.  I DID NOT BETRAY YOU AND NEVER WOULD.  I am sorry you read those emails.  I pissed you off.  If you need more proof that I can be trusted, than I will give it to you.  Help me help us so I can help you.  You punished me enough, but let US work it out.  I will go to therapy with you.  I will go to groups.  I want a life with you, whatever it takes.  I never had the opportunity to have my hearts dream with a woman.  We have the juice to have a real beautiful romantic life.  Let your anger go.  Let us have each other back.”

Excerpts from his journal:

I have used woman as objects and manipulated them for my own purposes.  I used Linda (not her real name) as a sexual object to clean house and serve my needs, so I could read and do for myself for self serving purposes.  I married Sally (not her real name) because I thought I could use her to provide for my security.  We were compatible.  She had more competence in business and with finances.  She wanted to have a child.  She was someone who would take risks.

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I have been willing to use anyone.  For years I would do the beach patrol and use women’s bodies to relieve my sexual narcissism.  I hurt people with sex.  I used clients for my needs.  I used clients and I used my sexual instinct.  I wanted so many women.  I had sex with many clients to meet my own needs.  I have used women as sexual objects to control for my own joy.

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Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll.  I am a bad ass risk-taking tough guy.  I got my body in shape to protect myself.  I live in the basic instincts.  I have a persona of a hunk.  To be a man meant you could endure more pain and take more risk.  I was willing to challenge people and use force to get my way.

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I have had a strong lust for the touch of attractive women in my life.  I was not much interested in her character.  I am a sex hound, a cheat, someone who has stolen when given a chance.  I have an interest only in what I can get and at times I am desperate and have had to settle.  I settled with Linda, Sally, Karen, and Joyce because of what they could do for me.  Diane was someone I could use and she had a house.

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I used my desires for sex, alcohol and pleasure to get my basic instincts met to dominate and control.  “Find, Feel, F…k, Forget.”

None of Richards’s victims have come forward.  Due to confidentiality laws, information could not be obtained from the clinics and hospitals he worked at over the years.  Written admission of crimes is not enough to press charges or hold muster in a court of law.  My hope is that this experience has stopped him from abusing anymore victims.  He has been a great teacher for me and a gift to my work with violent clients.

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 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.

Does the Violent Sociopath, Narcissist, and the Emotionally Immature Male Change?

I have facilitated court mandated 52-week intervention groups for the male perpetrators of domestic violence for almost two decades and have become convinced that change happens only in an environment of love, where each group member has something to offer all the others. The violent person needs not only to receive love but also to give love in return.  The more lethal members have much to give; they can heal other members by sharing the severity of their violence.  As group cohesiveness develops, the truly violent member can reveal to the other group members his lethality without offense and without being shamed.  I have observed with my clients that through listening and sharing their stories they discover and learn a new way of viewing their problems and interacting with the world.  They start to feel safe and their life takes on a new meaning as they begin to own the stories they tell.

The abuser that accepts 100% responsibility for their own actions comes to view violence (emotional, verbal, physical, etc.) as never being an acceptable solution when solving problems.  These men come to see that their impulse control problem fueled by self-hatred is more powerful than they are.  Dealing with their anger problems alone is ineffective and not enough.  They need others to help them; and need others to give back what they have received.  In a group of fellow batterers they can face themselves, they hear their life story and experience the feeling of self-acceptance. This experience of being understood and fitting in involves honesty.  This happens by telling the truth about their violent behavior.  They also learn where they fit by listening to how others have handled or are attempting to handle similar situations.  By listening they discover a way of life that really works.  Listening and telling is how they participate and how they learn to stop violence.

The narcissist and sociopathic clients seem to not experience a need to belong.  I believe their profound self-hatred stops the development of real love for self and others. They are constitutionally incapable of empathizing with their victims and often inflict great (physical or emotional) pain on meaningful others while enjoying their writhing and suffering.  Some of these clients openly admit to the purgatory they put their partners through. The sociopath in particular does it for pure pleasure.  Impressing upon the personality disordered defendant that greater legal punishment will be the consequence if they get caught for continued violence appears to be the only effective tool for impulse control while they are in intervention.  These men are powerful teachers for group members.

As a professional working with violent men my duty is to be an instrument of change and putting the injured parts of my clients together into some kind of whole.  I do not abuse power or control and I model self-love and compassion.  The same assertive, trustworthy, and caring woman shows up each week to group.  I have found that many clients experience alienation and separation because the connection with something larger than oneself is missing.  Creating a non-shaming group environment is essential to the acceptance of outside help.

An argument for the principles that being good and fitting in involves honesty with self pervades all spiritual visions.  The act of confronting the truth of one’s own violence begins the development of empathy and the recognition that others weaknesses make them not different from, but like oneself.  Being an instrument in raising tolerance for differences, along with an understanding that we all struggle with the same demons, we all share the same fears and sorrows, we all do the best we can with what we have is the foundation for conflict resolution and self-responsibility.

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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 abusive relationships and what it takes to put an end to the violence.  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.

How Codependents Leave Abusive Narcissistic Relationships

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Courtesy Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikipedia

You may be feeling crazy because you love a narcissist and are afraid to leave the abusive relationship.  It will be easier to help yourself leave the more you know about codependency and narcissistic personality disorder.   Abusive narcissists require someone who is willing to cater to their needs and to give up their own desires.  Narcissists are self-destructive people with concealed low self-esteem and insatiable needs for attention and nothing to give. They parasitically attach to a giving, supportive person who avoids center stage and thrives on taking care of others.

Expecting something from an abusive narcissist who has nothing to give can make a codependent feel crazy.  Trying to pretend that the narcissist is someone he or she is not can drive you wild.  So what is codependency?  Codependents are people who have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from their past and present.  Codependents spend years trying to get mom or dad to love them in a certain way, when that parent cannot or will not.

The development of codependence has its roots in dysfunctional family systems and occurs over a fairly long period of time.  Overly rigid, dogmatic, or authoritarian types of families where there may or may not be alcohol abuse or dependence appears to produce codependency.  These families tend to emphasize discipline and control where rewards are given for compliance with strict and often illogical rules.  Children learn that any positive feelings about self are dependant on the mood of someone else.  These families may appear to be perfect to neighbors, but there is a great deal of pain and secrecy behind closed doors.  Children learn early to not express their thoughts or feelings and to ignore family behavioral problems.   This family survival response effectively raises the child’s tolerance for emotionally abusive and inappropriate behavior in others.

As adults, these children have a greater tendency to get involved in abusive painful relationships with people who are unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy.  Lacking entitlement to their feelings, these adult children tend to be indirect about their needs, deny feelings, and distrust intimacy.  They start with the belief that love is sacrificing for my partner and putting up with what ever my partner wants to dish out.  This is a set up for making the abusive relationship more important than you are to yourself.  Generally, codependents feel consistently unfulfilled in relationships and are the ones who tend to get deeply stuck in purgatory with an abusive narcissist.

If you are a codependent in a relationship with an abusive narcissist and are asking yourself, “Why am I feeling so crazy?”  It’s time to let the narcissist go.  It is time to let him or her off the hook.  Like your caretakers, the abusive narcissist is constitutionally incapable of loving you. That doesn’t mean you can’t love that person anymore.  It means that you are ready to feel the immense relief that comes when you begin accepting the truth and stop denying reality.  You release the narcissist to be who he or she actually is.  You stop trying to make that person be someone he or she is not.  You deal with your feelings and walk away from the abusive relationship. You stop letting what you are not getting from the narcissist control you and you take responsibility for your life.  You then begin the process of healing and loving yourself.

Get angry, feel hurt, and land in a place of self forgiveness.  Your life in purgatory will end.  You will no longer be a victim of abuse.  You will recognize that you have been mistreated and allowed yourself to be mistreated.  You will no longer create, seek out, or re-create situations that victimize you.  You stand in your power and no longer live in quiet desperation.

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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 relationship abuse and 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.