Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

6 Things That Happen When You Love a Toxic Person

A toxic person will maneuver themselves quickly to earn your trust and obtain your personal power. This is why you allow the abuse, compromise yourself, and forsake yourself – because to them that’s what love is.

 

Finding a partner in life can be a pretty daunting process.  With so many options out there the possibilities seem endless.  This is what makes dating so stinkin’ stressful.  And to boot, we all think we have a “type” and we look endlessly for it.  Undoubtedly, this can lead to choosing the wrong people to get involved with!

Whether you believe that you have the power to determine who you are attracted to or not you ultimately have the final say in who you date. The problem is not necessarily our “picker” but having the ability to spot toxic people. They don’t have signs or tags that label them as toxic. They walk among us in our neighborhood, at the grocery store, at work, and even within our own families. They are everywhere in our daily lives. So, by the time we spot one we are usually knee-deep in a seriously unhealthy relationship with them.

It is not as though we want to be involved with toxic people but it does happen. They may not come with signs but the impact they have on you does have raging red flags.

6 Ways a Relationship With a Toxic Pereson Can Impact You

1. You Forsake yourself

Toxic individuals are selfish and insecure so rather than taking accountability for who they are they will put the burden of their happiness on. They don’t see happiness as a choice they make for themselves with but the result of your actions.  For this reason, all of your attention is to be focused only on them. Any attention you give yourself or any recognition that you earn they are quick to accuse you of being selfish or (da da da daaaaa) a narcissistic. The expected irony? They’re not responsible for your happiness. This form of manipulation builds guilt within you. You quickly forget how to take care of yourself or feel guilty for doing so and that’s just how they like it.

 

2. You Compromise Yourself

The toxic person in your life will push you and bully you to get you to do things you don’t want to do. They will use persuasive traits to “help” you see things their way. They may even try to push you to do things that you really don’t want to do but by pulling the “if-me-love-me-you-would-do-this-for-me” card. But, again, that doesn’t work both ways as they don’t have to compromise themselves to show you love.  They continue to be who they are while they mold you into the vision they have for you.

3. You Become Alienated From Friends and Family

Toxic people know in order to control you they must eliminate their competition, which is your support system. In order for the toxic person to be effective, they need to be the one and only  influence in your life. Using their manipulation and charm, they’ll be able to create doubt in your mind specifically when it comes to your friends and family. They, cleverly and cunningly, will drive wedges in the healthy relationships of your life convincing you that only they have your best interests at heart.  Its a form of gaslighting where they force their truth onto you making you question yourself and everyone around you.   

4. You Become Conditioned to be Abused

Toxic people are mentally and emotionally (and often physically) abusive. They use their impressive power to manipulate you and get you to come back for more. The abuse is so stealth-like you really don’t recognize it as it happens. The abuse, also, doesn’t happen right away.  You get sucked in by compliments, sweet nothings whispered in your ear, fancy dates, or the thoughtful “little things”.  Before you know it, you’ve been taken as an emotional hostage while they re-condition you quickly and re-program you efficiently. Soon enough, you’re a willing participant and enabling their behavior.

5. You Relinquish Your Power

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She was referencing the personal power that we all have. The worst thing about personal power is that we are we slow to embrace it but very quick to give it away – and usually to the wrong person. A toxic person will maneuver themselves quickly to earn your trust and obtain your personal power. This is why you allow the abuse, compromise yourself and forsake you – because to them that’s what love is.

6. Eventually, You’ll Become Toxic Too

It might be an unintentional coping mechanism or an unrealized defense but you’re likely to become toxic the more time you spend with a toxic person. This is the ultimate empowerment for the toxic one because now they have what they need to hold you accountable for anything that goes wrong. That fight that you use to react to them is what they use to continue to control you. The more fight, or toxic, you become, the more of the superior victim they get to play. 

Realizing that you’ve become toxic doesn’t mean you have become them.  Its a coping mechanism, a mode of defense necessary for personal preserverance.  As long as you are in the relationship you will likely continue to become more toxic. Once free of the toxicity, you can work to re-program yourself by re-building healthy relationships in your life starting with you.

No matter your mental strength or weakness breaking away from the toxic person takes desire, forgiveness and time. It may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar to take care of you once you pull away from the toxic person but it is worth it.

You can do it.

(This article was originally published on divorcedmoms.com.  The author, Tara Parker, has edited and updated the article for relatability purposes.)

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

6 Things A Narcissist Will NEVER Do

There are certain things that we are willing to tolerate from certain people. You know, those quirks or goofy mannerisms that develop over time with a personality. Some of those things are really rather cute and then there are some things that we could just do without. Sometimes, those personality quirks or mannerisms can be changed and shifted into something that is tolerable.

Then there are certain things that are just intolerable yet are difficult to identify when dealing with a difficult person – like a narcissist.

The term “narcissist” seems to have found its way into daily conversation on social media. It’s everywhere. The term has become so easy to say that even those who are not narcissists are being labeled as one. While there are definite jerks, mindless screwballs, and idiots out there not every thoughtless moron is a narcissist.  Actually, there are certain, very specific things a real narcissist will NOT do that reveals them everytime!

A few things a narcissist will NOT do:

1. Don’t choose to be happy: The happiness of a narcissist is based on you, your actions, and your words. It is your mission to make them the one and only in your life. There is no other way and there is no compromise. When you don’t live up to their expectations they are not happy and it is YOUR JOB to make them happy.  More times than not, they may even count (and recount) the things they “do” for you to get you on board in “making” them happy.

2. Don’t Collaborate: There is no working together but there is their way and then there is the highway (which is their highway). If you don’t choose their way, they will wear you out until you give in. After a while, you condition yourself to give in sooner because it is easier than dealing with them….psst, this is part of their strategy. 

3. They deny they play the victim: Despite their past emotional injuries, they will not admit that they suffer from a mental health issue.  They always “one-up” others by claiming they have had it worse than anyone else while claiming to have their crap together.  (We both know they don’t.)

4. Don’t see themselves as anything but SPECIAL: In spite of their low self-esteem, they cannot see themself as anything other than special. They view themselves as the best at anything they attempt from being a partner/spouse to employee to person or what have you. To do this effectively and, often covertly, they will devalue your accomplishments. This feeds into their feeling of superiority.  They own the spotlight and it is your “job” to shine that light on them.

5. Don’t take accountability: You know this trait as it exposes itself with the statement: “If you had not done ‘this’ I wouldn’t have had to do ‘that’.” So few things are their fault; however, every so often, they will take the blame. This is to balance out the number of times they blame you or others. Because they don’t take accountability often it can be a pretty impressive when they do!  This will give a false sense of security that they can change. Don’t fall for this!

6. Never gives you what you need: This is the most difficult thing to remember or realize about a narcissist because as their prey, you have seen that softer, gentler side when the relationship was new. You know they can be  good because you’ve been on the receiving end of it. That is what has made you the well-conditioned enabler. This makes for an unrealistic hope that drains you of your life force and individuality. It is what mentally anchors you down to them.

Not all narcissists are developed equally. They have their own cycles and balances.  It can be difficult to identify these things before they become a priority in your life. Knowing you can’t change the narcissist can be a challenge to embrace and it won’t come without a painful realization. Once you learn that the narcissist won’t change for you, you find the power you need to leave the relationship. In the end, you’ll recognize your needs and follow your instincts. They may not change, but you can.

You can do it.

(This article was original published on divorcedmoms.com and later divorcedmag.com.  The author, Tara Parker, updated the articled based on her experiences, expert knowledge, and for relatability purposes.)

Emotional Independence, Self-Care, Uncategorized

8 Ways To Make Yourself Irresistible To Men

Being irresistible to a man is a matter of knowing yourself and loving every inch of you – inside and out.

 

There are few things that feel as incredible as that sensation of being sexy, desired…irresistible! Walking down the street receiving inappropriate cat-calls or shopping in the mall and watching heads turn…yeah, maybe we call them out as pigs but quite honestly, you know it is a pretty good feeling to be rubbernecked.

There is a lot to be said about being irresistible. Course, many women might have more to say about not being irresistible and this is where is I may be able to help. After being divorced a time…or two…I have figured out what it is about women that others find irresistible.

Let’s start from the top!

1. Confidence! Men, the secure ones who are not easily threatened, are attracted to women who have confidence. Being proud of you – flaws and flawlessness! If you don’t have a problem with you that will grab his attention and make you interesting! Men, real men, love a secure woman.

2. Positive Attitude! Guys are not into the Negative-Nancy types out there. Guys find happiness an irresistible trait. Life sucks sometimes but when you can take the rollercoaster like a champ, rather than be that “woe is me” type, you will attract the kind of partner that will want to ride that roller coaster beside you!

3. Accept Your Body! We don’t all look like Victoria’s Secret models and most men realize that there are better chances of playing for their favorite NFL team than scoring a Vic’s Secret wiry beauty. (Many guys are happy just to see a girl naked and I cannot tell you how many guys have shared this with me.) Most of the guys you know don’t have a perfectly ripped bod either – so you have nothing to worry about. Work with what ya got and you’ll wrap him up in it!

4. Be Yourself! Guys have a “bullsh*t meter” that works like a charm and he will listen to it.  If you are putting on a show he will see right through you and be disappointed.  We all enjoy a good first impression but be genuine about who you are.  You don’t have to introduce your struggles within minutes of meeting but you don’t have to hide them as though you are ashamed. There is a good place and time to share your past and you’ll know it when it shows up.

5. Check Your Emotions! Men do like to see the vulnerable side of you and they want the opportunity to provide you with that feeling of security and safety. This means it is okay to show them when you are hurting or having a hard time; just don’t milk it because you are getting his attention! There are few things sexier than an occasional damsel in distress but when you are the one putting yourself in that emotional tower repeatedly he will stop asking for you to throw down your hair,

6. Respect him! Be snarky, quick-witted, clever and witty – that is hot! BUT, don’t turn your jokes and snippy whip-its in his direction all the time!!! After a while, he will read them as you talking him down and you lose points in irresistibility. Take your shots but take them wisely and when he has earned them. It is one thing if you are keeping up with him, and the boys, but when he is the constant “big butt” of your “small” jokes you open yourself up as a similar target losing that irresistible edge.

7. Don’t Become the Ball and Chain! Give him some space to be with his buddies and expect the same in return. He is into you because you are an individual with your own interests. Don’t be the girl he complains to his buddies about rather be the girl he has to brag to his boys about. Don’t be the girl he has to babysit or be involved with every moment of every day. Space is sexy because as the saying goes, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” Which leads to the final thing that will make you irresistible…

8. Play Hard To Get!!! Men are hunters. They like the chase. They like to work for their goals. They like to feel accomplished when they win you over, repeatedly. This is where the work comes into play because you have to know what works for him and what works for you. Don’t ignore him but respect yourself enough to continue to be you and leave him wanting more.

Being irresistible to him is a matter of knowing yourself and loving every inch of your body – inside and out. Healthy relationships are made of two individuals that enjoy one another – not become the other. If you feel you have to become him to gain his attention he is not into you…he is into him. Respect yourself and he will too – if he is the right one.

You can be irresistible – the moment you choose to be! Trust me, I know.

(Originally posted on divorcedmoms.com a few years ago.)
Self-Care

6 Thoughts On Keeping Those 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year where we head down that same ole path of “New Year New Me”.

Come February, we both know it will be back to “I really need to work out” but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have seen articles about how to write resolutions and how to follow them. I have seen articles on how to let go of the need to make resolutions and instead do what feels right for you. These are all great and you should get excited about making some life changes in the New Year provided you are ready and not just trying to follow the crowd.

Maybe the New Year is a good time to work towards a new you but if you are not ready to commit to the process of making changes then the timing may not be good. Timing is a big factor in change but the biggest factor to making any change is making sure you are on board. If you have not sincerely bought into making any changes (be it New Years’ or any other time of year), the changes you are contemplating won’t ever be anything but a nice thought. Harsh, I know, but hang with me here.

So, how do you know if you are ready to make changes for the New Year?

Ask yourself the 6 following questions…

1. Are you being honest with yourself?

Have you chosen resolutions that you can realistically accomplish? Are you asking a lot or a little? Are you giving yourself the amount of time you need to be focused or lazy? Or are you jumping on the “New Year” bandwagon because that is what everyone else seems to be doing?

2. Have you done any research?

Just as technology changes and improves so does information – from weight loss to nutrition to psychology to fashion! Know what you are getting yourself into and do your research to learn about the changes you are taking on. Don’t “learn” from others as they may understand information differently than you.

3. Who will be impacted by your changes?

This is important. Your changes don’t just make a difference in your life but in the lives of those around you particularly those in your immediate inner circle – you know, those people that are allowed within 18 inches of your personal space. Your changes, be they physical or at a deeper level, have the ability to affect more than just you. If your changes are going to impose a great deal of change upon others you’ll need their buy-in as well. Your loved ones may not be looking to make changes for themselves though they should be willing to support you. Additionally, the sacrifices they may need to make for your changes should be reasonable.

4. What kind of support system do you have in place?

Your support system should be hand-picked friends or family who are aware of your goals AND your timeline. They should also know what is okay and not okay to say to you in order to help you be successful. Verbalize the words you need to hear from them and how they can approach you. Develop code words or some sort of system for when you need that extra kick in the rear to maintain your focus. 

5. What are you willing to sacrifice?

Depending on what you are looking to change you might have to be willing to sacrifice certain things or people in your life. This is a HUGE thing because this can turn emotionally unpleasant very quickly and make it hard to follow through on your resolutions. Making changes, taking on serious resolutions or accomplishing goals does not come without its losses along the way. This goes back to being honest with yourself and this may be when you learn more about you than at any other point in your journey. If you are not willing to give up this, that or, the other thing then you are not going to succeed. 

6. Can your income support the changes you want to make?

This seems silly to ask BUT depending on what your resolution is you may need to think about budgetary restraints and plan accordingly. Maybe your budget won’t be affected but you need to know this right off the bat. Don’t expect to dress like a Kardashian on a Ramen Noodles income or to acquire the body of a full-time athlete with only 30 minutes a day to workout.

Asking yourself these questions will help you determine how successful you will be at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. They may even help you define your goals further which can only increase your potential for success. As you venture down your New-Year-New-Me journey or any journey, remember to have compassion for yourself. Not only are you your biggest supporter but you can wind up as your own worst enemy. In order to avoid that, you will need to know how to forgive yourself for your failures and be willing to focus on your goal.

You can do it!

Emotional Independence, Self-Care

Trust

Yeah, well, Rose, I mean, you shouldn’t trust anyone completely.” – Dorothy Zbornak, Golden Girls

Trust seems like a simple concept: you either trust or you don’t. Right?

Recently, my son asked me if I trusted him.  We were in my car and he was at the wheel.  Perplexed, I asked him why he would me such a thing.  He said he just wanted to know.  So, I stopped and thought for a minute.  I looked at my son as he was driving my car.  After a few moments, I gave him an answer.  I told him that I trusted him in different ways.  I told him that I didn’t trust him to drive my car by himself, as he only had a learner’s permit and was still new to driving.  I told him that I trusted him to watch his younger sister overnight, if the need came up.  I told him I trusted him to manage his own homework and I trusted him with my finances.  I told him I didn’t trust him to perform surgery as he has a weak stomach.

He took a moment before telling me how much sense that made. 

Trust, like a diamond, has many sides that are not equal nor identical; this is what makes trust unique for each person. We may trust a colleague to review our work but not to have drinks with.  We may trust our significant other to be a financial partner but not load the dishes into the dishwasher.  We may trust ourselves to pick out a great pair of shoes but not with the box of sweets in the pantry.

The idea that trust can be so complex and multi-faceted is what makes it so difficult.  This can be why so many try to minimize trust to “do” or “don’t” categories.  Attempting to track all the layers of trust can make one crazy with anxiety.

Is it important to understand those layers?  After all, isn’t it just easier to put people into the “trust” or “don’t trust” box?  When we are talking about trust, aren’t we all talking about the important things?

It is easier to put people into the two types of trust boxes.  And some of us may only be referring to the important things when it comes to trust. The problem is that not all of us embrace the important things the same way. We often misunderstand communication or motives based on how those two polarizing boxes of trust are defined.

Bottom line, trust can be a scary and uncomfortable thing. The first person we need to be able to trust is ourselves. If we don’t trust ourselves, we will look to others to help with making decisions.  A lack of trust in ourselves can also lead to repetitive unhealthy behavior (we can talk about that more later).

So begs the question? Should you not trust anyone completely as the quote stays above?  Well, that is really up to you.  Do you honesty trust anyone completely?  Can you look at the layers of a relationship in your life and say with 100 percent confidence that you trust at least one person completely. 

You’ll need to define what trust means to you and how it interfaces with your emotions to answer that.

But, you can do it.