Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Post Traumatic Growth

Although today's video gives a detailed description of what covert narcissism is and what a victim of this type of abuse endures, I felt like writing about a more inspiring side of narcissistic abuse which is: post traumatic growth.

Post Traumatic Growth is a positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.These circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to their way of understanding the world and their place in it. Post traumatic growth involves "life-changing" psychological shifts in thinking and relating to the world, that contribute to a personal process of change, that is deeply meaningful. 
Source: Wikipedia

I believe post traumatic growth is the light at the end of the tunnel for victims of narcissistic abuse and for victims of any type of abuse or tragedy. 

This is basically why I absolutely love what I do and being a counselor. I believe wholeheartedly that these things definitely happen in life, but we have a very hard and difficult choice to make. We have to decide whether this will destroy us or it will be the push we need to step it up and grow exponentially: emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

Overcoming a tragedy, or abuse for that matter, is a devastating event. We feel lost, alone, empty, hopeless. 

For a while it's very hard to find our way. But with just enough help we are able to move past it and, believe it or not, understand that this was a disguised opportunity to evolve. 

You may not see it this way and you may be rolling your eyes as you read this right now. But I believe that if you work consistently to recover and heal you will agree with me soon enough.

You can take my word for it. It comes a time when you talk about these issues and are able to smile and appreciate what a long way you've come. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Why do narcissists come back after the discard?"

Hoovering is a term used to describe highly narcissistic people going back to old sources of supply. The victim is re idealized and love bombed in order to hook the person back into the cycle of abuse. 

Hoovering refers to the vacuum cleaner and is representative of how they suck you back in after no contact.

I was asked this exact questions many times so I'm answering it in today's video: "Why do they come back after they discarded me?"

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Develop a Warrior Mentality

Hello on a Sunday! 👋 👋 

I hope this post finds you well and recharged for the week ahead. If not, you still have time to do some self care practices. 

Breathe deeply...or relax and read a book, or... go for a walk...anything that you enjoy. Do this for at least half an hour and you will definitely feel better!

Now, let's move on to today's recommendation. 

If you have to remain in contact with a highly narcissistic person you may want to incorporate this concept to your every day life: A Warrior Mentality. Especially if you are coparenting.

A warrior mentality implies that we will protect all that we love and hold sacred.

A warrior mentality involves strength when things get difficult, being relentless in the pursuit of boundaries, mental health and self-care. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self-care. 

This video series will be about anticipating typical behaviors that toxic people engage in and how knowing what to expect will reduce the damaging consequences of this conduct. I

In this video: communicating with a toxic person. What to expect?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How to Respond to Victims of Narcissistic Abuse.

One of the worst things a victims of abuse can go through, besides being abused, is being re-victimized by people that are supposed to protect them: a friend, a family member, a lawyer.

But what's even worse, and way more damaging, is when this re-victimization comes from the therapist. When this happens it could delay the recovery for years. I've had clients that said that their previous therapist even did couples therapy with their former partner, for years! Working on the victim's "communication problems".

This is extremely damaging and should stop. One of the most important things a victim of abuse needs, if not the single most important one, is validation. The victim is continuously portrayed as guilty, bad, or is continuously wronged by the abuser. The last thing he or she needs is to feel guilty or wrong again in therapy.

More on this in today's video.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Do they really have no empathy? Personality Disorders.

Empathy is the ability to understand and feel what the other person is going through. The ability to put yourself in other people's shoes is essential for our survival as a species. It's a pro social quality. 

The problem comes when a person only has cognitive empathy to the detriment of affective (emotional) empathy.   

This is very common in cluster B personality disorders. 

However, in this video I explain why I don't agree with the idea that narcissists have NO empathy at all. And we look at empathy in Histrionic PD, and Borderline PD. 

Malignant Narcissists who are well known for being the least likely to put themselves in somebody else's shoes, they too have some kind of empathy. The cognitive one. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to manipulate others so well.

They need the ability to understand others so that they can obtain what they are after: narcissistic supply. 

Sounds creepy, and it really is, but they use it (cognitive empathy) to their own advantage. Very narcissistic and damaging to others, indeed!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Drained Energy After Narcissistic Abuse. How to get it back?

This is where your own journey begins. It is time of letting go of the darkness the negativity and criticism. It's time to take care of you, put yourself on the map for once. You will need your energy, from now on.

You have been conditioned to not think about you. You are always thinking and working for the psychopath.  Always walking on egg shells. What will they criticize today, what will I do wrong today? What will they need from me. The moment you realize that you exist, that your voice is important, that you occupy space too on the planes, it's one of the best feelings.

So. Let's assume you are free from the psychopath or narcissist. That is a lot. In and of itself. Hats off. Well done. Don't be afraid of realizing that you were a victim. It's the first step towards getting your energy back.

If you want to start your recovery process with the right foot then no contact is your friend. Reduce all communications. Everything. Social media, phone, text, whatsapp, everything.

If you have children e-mails will do. Sometimes the phone is a good alternative but in my experience communicating by phone especially at the beginning is too much contact, and that can make you go back to square one in a second during this initial phase.

Your identity is not there anymore. It's a memory of who you used to be. You doubt yourself a lot, you may even feel numb, and almost every night (at 2 or 3 am maybe?) your inner critic pays a visit reminding you of the narcissist's judgement, false accusations and emotional neglect that you endured for months, years, decades.

Let go of that darkness.


It takes time and work.

1) No Contact

2) Learn about narcissism, abusive behaviors, manipulative techniques. Learn about what happened to you. Read Psychopath Free by Jackson Mc. Kenzie and In Sheep's Clothing by Dr. George Simon.

3) Treat your CPTSD symptoms in therapy.

4) Mindfulness. I released a video with exercises you can do to be more aware of the present moment.

5) Self care. If you are angry. Feel it. Be angry. If you can express it through a sport or go for a walk in nature, release that anger, write it down. Writing this will help you in the future if you ever have doubts and you start projecting your own goodness onto the abuser and only remembering the good times. This journal that you wrote while angry will keep you real, grounded, and  will remind you of all the abuse you went through and endured.

Eat healthily. Eat protein in the morning. And reduce caffein intake. Maybe just have one coffee in the morning and that's it. Drink lots of water. That helps you flush your system of cortisol the stress hormone. Do Yoga. It's been proven to reduce the effects of abuse on the amygdala.

Work on your self esteem, work on deconstructing how you ended up with a psychopath. Look at the red flags. Again. Dr Simon's book In Sheep's Clothing is a great resource.

Time and self care will help you regain your energy. All these things together, exercise.

But remember before all this to be compassionate with yourself. You've been deeply violated. This is a violation of the spirit. Your innocence, your trust has been corrupted. You have seen darkness and decadence. You have given everything until there was nothing more. You need to care for your self like you've never done it before. Train. Train your mind. Train your body with mild exercise.

Reach out for your friends, your friends of life. Those that stood by you through thick and thin. If you are lucky you have one or maybe two. If not a member of your family. And if not. Go to survivor meetings in your area. Go to counseling.

I assure you with the help of all those things you will find your self again. Different. Never the same. More mature, less innocent but even more compassionate, and empathic than ever before. You will be evolved enough to give your superpowers of empathy and love and kindness only to those who have proved to you that they are worthy of your empathy, love and kindness.

Friday, March 1, 2019

5 Mindfulness Exercises

*Today's Video

Mindfulness is being in the present moment without judging. 

This awareness is the basis of a different state of consciousness, and is used in therapy to treat PTSD, CPTSD, anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness seems easy by definition. At first it's difficult to put the monkey mind to rest but soon enough you'll go back to it whenever you need to calm down, relax or focus. 

What is Mindfulness?

"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." -Jon Kabat-Zin

In 1970 psychologist Jon Kabat Zin developed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to treat his patients. 

He run tests on buddhist monks who are well known for their meditation capabilities and neurologists found impressive results. 

It's widely known among scientist and therapists that there's a positive correlation between mindfulness and wellbeing.

The first exercise will introduce you to mindfulness. It's where all the other variations stem from: Your breath. 

When in doubt always go back to your breath.

1) Breathe Mindfully

Find a comfortable position. 

Focus your attention on your breathing. What does it feel like? Listen to the sound.

Bring attention to your belly. Feel it rise and expand when you inhale. Feel your belly fall every time you exhale.   

Continue to focus on your breathing.

Whenever thoughts come up and you notice your attention drift away, acknowledge that thought and let it go like a cloud in the sky. 

Go back to your breathing.

2) Conscious Observation 

Choose an object. Any object. A cup of tea, a pen. Any object at hand. 

Now let it absorbe your complete attention. Just observe. Being conscious of what you are looking at gives you a sense of being aware.

Now observe how the mind frees itself of thoughts and focuses on the present moment.

You can practice this exercise using your ears as well. Close your eyes and listen. What sounds are present in the room?

3) Body Scan

4) Count to Ten

Center your attention on counting. 1,2,3... If you loose concentration and thoughts interfere start again.

What usually happens is this "1,2,3..I forgot to call Margaret" "1,2,3, I need to buy milk" "There comes a thought again..." 1,2,3 

Seems easy but it is not! ha!

5) Sit Down and Observe Your Thoughts

This is a good exercise for people that are very stressed and busy and can't focus on breathing long enough.

Just sit down. And don't try to eliminate or let go of thoughts. Simply observe them when they come up. Don't get involved with them. 

Notice your thoughts as if you were an outside observer: "Ok, now I'm thinking about my meeting with Carol tomorrow" 

Enjoy the weekend!