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, Helping Friends

The Addictive Traits Of The Narcissist: 3 Tips For Breaking Free

There is something about them that keeps you around. No matter the difficult times there is still something that you hold on to. What is “it?” What is that force that keeps you going back for more and more? Why can’t you just leave? Why are narcissists so damned hard to get rid of?

It is kind of creepy to think that narcissists can be so addictive.

They are inconsiderate. They are often times ruthless. They are mean. They are thoughtless. They are insensitive. They are hardly the “knight in shining armor” we thought they were in the beginning. Take off all the hardware and what you really have is the tail end of the white horse versus that stud of a rider. They are narcissists.

And yet, here we are in our restless sleep waiting for that kiss that will wake us up to our happily ever after. Waiting and waiting, and more waiting. The problem is that we are waiting for the wrong guy to make the right choice. The real problem is that we will wait until we feel as though we are trapped. We put the right faith into the wrong guy.

It’s complete shenanigans to waste so much of our time, but, it is easy to become so deeply involved with a narcissistic person that getting free seems to be more of a dream than an achievable goal. A narcissist will either exploit your co-dependent side or create one within you making you dependent upon them. This is a form of conditioning and it is key to ensuring you don’t leave once you are locked in. It makes no sense because you know, at first, it is wrong, until they gaslight you enough that you believe everything they do is normal or your fault.

It can be really difficult to break free from the narcissist.

It can be even more difficult to explain to others why breaking away from them is so hard. There’s just no explaining it. For someone to understand they have to have been there and know it takes a lot of time to become so worn down to uncover that hidden strength to leave.

 

In the meantime, your support system gets frustrated with your inability to see the narcissist for what he is. They stop trying to talk sense into you, which makes the desire to leave, sometimes, that much more difficult. That is, of course, if you still have friends. Most narcissists will work hard to turn you against your support system. So, if they are still around listen to them. If they have since left, maybe these tips will help you.

How do you survive a relationship with a narcissist when you’ve worn out your support system? Here are 3 Tips.

1. Trust yourself. When you feel alone trusting your gut, even when it leads you to make the most uncomfortable decisions, is going to be more right than wrong. You know yourself better even if you are not aware of it and that is why you have instincts. When you have no one to talk to you are left with yourself and if you listen closely, you will hear those instincts telling you exactly what to do. This means being honest with yourself and forgiving yourself.

2. Be okay to be alone. Freeing yourself from the narcissist may look like a road to loneliness and quite honestly, it likely will – at least, for a while. The narcissist typically only wants you to have them to focus on, rely on, and depend on. If they have succeeded then your leaving them looks like a one-way ticket to lonely-town. Being alone is not going to hurt you, though. Actually, once your support system finds out you have left your narcissist they may re-enter your life if you welcome them. Remember, to isolate you takes your cooperation even if you don’t realize it. If your support system was made up of healthy people, welcome them back.

3. Expect the panic. This might be the most difficult of all. As the unknown emerges and change begins to take place it can be easy to psych yourself out, telling yourself that you are making the wrong choice or invite the narcissist back into your life. If you expect yourself to panic, to be scared, to be afraid, to feel all the negative things you can possible imagine (including unloved) you can prepare yourself for them. By preparing for all that panic has to offer, you can recognize it as it is happening and prevent you from sabotaging your freedom. Being healthy and alone is far better that being imprisoned by a narcissist.

There comes a time when you can feel it happening. Little by little, reality chips away at your patience revealing what you are truly worth. So, don’t give up. Even when others seem to have given up on you, they really haven’t – they just don’t know how to be there for you. So keep going. You’re worth more than you are getting and the only way to get what you are worth is to get it for yourself. You can do it.

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

The Review of an Independent Woman

The independent woman is an interesting phenomenon. 

The complexity of her confidence and emotional stamina is highly attractive.  Some want to be her despite their fears. Some want to learn from her while others want to limit her.

The independent woman has failed to let her experiences define her.  She can speak to her past without the tears because she has faced her feelings.  She recognizes her flaws. 

She doesn’t subscribe to social constructs nor does she fit into any box. 

She is her own person with her own thoughts.  She is unique. She is confident and respects herself.  She is driven by the love she has for herself.  She is unapologetically herself.

  She knows her ‘why’. 

She seems to be a pro at being independent, but she was not always this way.  While she embraces her flaws and mistakes there are plenty out there who would be all too happy to share her bad decisions with anyone who will listen, and she won’t stop them.

She is the kind of woman that doesn’t seem to “need” anyone.  She seems to be able to not only manage her own problems but that of others.  She is heavily relied upon by those around her.

She motivates others with her perseverance. 

She inspires others with her words.  She attracts many on various levels, but she honors personal boundaries in order to preserve relationships. 

It is not the independent type doesn’t need others – we all need others in one fashion or another.  But the independent type knows how to make space for others, so they feel wanted.  They understand the value of relationships and the boundaries the bind them. 

The independent woman doesn’t lack need.

She has needs.  This is not to say that she is impersonating her independence.  But the independent woman know how to find the grove or momentum to pursue her goals.  She has found the light to shine on her path even when the direction is not clear.  And when the light is not so bright, she will feel her way through.  She has learned enough about herself to know when she needs to rely on herself and when she should rely on others.

The independent woman has a sense of self and has assigned it a specific value.

We all have this sense of self but to love and nurture it is a specific discipline.  Most will abuse, neglect, or ignore themselves in order to fit into a box created by others.  The independent woman doesn’t have a box and without the box there are no instructions. This can make troubleshooting with her more difficult when times get tough but she just becomes that much more intriguing. 

So, what do you do with the independent woman? 

How do you help her when you can see she is struggling even if she is not voicing her struggles? Ask her. Ask her the questions you think you know the answer to.  While you might know her independence you can still learn her needs.  There is a difference.

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

How I Let Him Go Even Though I Still Loved Him

How did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

woman sitting in front of tree

And there is it was – staring me right in the face. I knew it immediately but despite my knowing I still questioned it. My gut was on red alert and my heart was on the verge of sobbing. My ears were ringing. My eyes felt frozen. It was the red flag that couldn’t be denied and I denied it anyway – at least for a few more years. Ugh. (facepalm)

We seemed to have so much in common. We could talk for hours. Our pasts seemed parallel giving us an exclusive understanding of one another. We had genuine interests in each other’s hobbies. We could see through to one another. Being together we both emerged with a side from within that was buried so deep. The connection was unique. It felt rare. It redefined passion.

So, why is it I am not with him today? How could I not eternally embrace something that sounds as though it was delivered from “a land far far away”?

Well, I finally saw what everyone had been telling me – that he was not right for me.

What we had was a very passionate relationship in every romantic sense of the word that you can imagine. And yet with the positive passion came the negative passion. Both were intense at their own distinctive level. Both were scary. Both were invigorating. But also dangerous to my mental health.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship but what I will tell you is that we had little to no support from our friends and family. This is a definite sign that the relationship is not what you think it is. Sometimes, the best measurement of the health of a relationship is the level of support from those around you.

I refused to listen to those people because there was always that one person who stood out and said, “Yes! Yes, you are the one for him!” My desire to hold on to that positive passion was fed by the repetition of that one statement for two years – in my head.

woman in black full zip jacket

So, how did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

I had to recognize that what I felt was not equal to what he felt or the negative passion would not have been as strong.

Don’t be mistaken. He liked to keep me around for his pleasure and fun or his needs but when it came to what I needed? Ha. It was not only my fault he was unhappy with our situation but it was my fault if I was experiencing turmoil or trials. It was my stupidity or my bitchiness that created my situation and that wasn’t his problem.

But, he loved me. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But, wildly enough, I believed that he loved me and I needed to stay. It took me about 25 months to finally pull the trigger and walk out of his life and back into my own.

I don’t know if was time wasted or the most influential learning experience I have ever been through. What I do know is that the experience is mine to share with you.

So, back to how to let go if you still love him. How did I put my love aside to escape my prison?

1. I kept all the text messages for reference. He used to get mad that I would retain our text conversations and refer back to them. He rarely came off looking like a nice guy (and my responses weren’t always pretty, either) and therefore he would demand I delete them or sweet-talk me into deleting them.

Once they were gone I had nothing visual to remind me who he really was. Once those texts were gone he would turn on the loving charm and then cycle back into the emotional deviant I was hooked to. I do have some of the texts to remind me of why I left when I start to miss the good times.

2. I had to push my emotional brain aside for my logical. I had to really think about his actions and how they aligned, or misaligned, with his words. I had to look at his expectations and my expectations and determine how they balanced. I had to stop deceiving me and come to terms with the reality that I was not getting anywhere with him and my life was depleting the more time I devoted to him. Once I realized that it was easier to not respond his last text message.

photography of woman using laptop

3. I needed something to maintain my focus. My attention had to be placed somewhere else so I could go through the process of grieving a relationship I had with a man who was mentally dangerous. I found that focus and protected it with every fiber of my being. That focus remains today as a reminder that being me is a great thing and not a result of someone else’s demands.

4. I prepared myself emotionally for the final walk. I literally stood in front of a mirror and told myself, “You will want to text him so the crying will stop. You will want to run back to him to feel normal again.” I knew the real problem for me was fighting the addiction created throughout the relationship. Maybe the uncomfortable tears of grief would stop by contacting him but they would be replaced with the comfortable tears of name-calling and emotional abuse I had been so accustomed to.

Maybe I would feel normal again by running to him but would hurt myself more by embracing that sense of “normal” versus developing myself by venturing out of my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is that it might be comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily feel good nor is it healthy. It is just comfortable.

5. I had to be fair to myself and allow myself the time to heal and try life without him. I had to be permitted to be me again without his permission or approval. I had to give myself enough time to feel the emotions I prepped myself for. I had to give me a chance to heal even if it hurt like hell. Even if I cried myself to sleep. Even if it meant I would never be loved again. In the end, it meant I would love me and not have someone attempt to make me feel guilty for it. There is no guilt in loving me but there is guilt in knowingly hurting me via an unhealthy relationship.

woman holding a smiley balloon

So, the time has passed and here I am. I didn’t die without him like I thought I would. I didn’t spiral down into depression like he had predicted. I continued to breathe and live my life. I am free to be me and am happy being me. I have grown and continue to do so every day. Why? Because I didn’t give up on me.