Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Power

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Power: Surviving & Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse by Shahida Arabi was one of THE most important books I ever read to complete my healing from narcissistic abuse. For me, it was the final piece of the puzzle that I couldn’t understand. I had no idea how calculated narcissistic abuse was. She would say thing that were said to me verbatim. All the research studies I read didn’t cover that. I remember listening to the audiobook and just sitting there with my mouth opened as I listened to what seemed like old memories. Arabi helps the reader detach from the part of ourselves that wants to play rescuer, at least that is what she did for me.

After reading this book it was much easier for me to stick to my healthy boundaries and create a healthy distance. When I was coming out of the haze of narcissistic abuse I had a lot of resources I was using to build my self-worth, heal, and find my inner peace. So many of the tools I used were mentioned in this book, which is why I recommend it to ANY person coming out of or still in a relationship with someone who could possibly be a narcissist or sociopath.

Power: Surviving & Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse is available on audiobook and paperback and I have both. If you are the beginning of your recovery, you will definitely want to read this book multiple times. My wish is that people read the book all the way through because there are so many jewels of wisdom throughout and it will help you thrive if you do the work.

There were many passages in this book that gave me seeds to thrive, so picking one quote is very challenging. I keep going back and worth on which one to do. So here’s what I landed on, because this was the piece of the puzzle that was missing from my recovery before reading this book.

Favorite Quote from Power

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

“It’s not that they can’t help it, or that they’re utterly helpless to their disorder—it’s that they selectively choose which victims to devalue and discard, and those victims ten to be loved ones.”

-Shahida Arabi, Power: Surviving & Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse, p. 99

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Catch up on Your Feel-Good Friday Book Series Here:

I Am What’s Wrong 

Your Creative Brain

Hope for the Flowers

The Tao of Pooh

A New Earth

The Four Agreements

Healing the Shame that Binds You

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 81 – Protecting Our Internal Homes from Vandals

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 81: Protecting Our Internal Homes from Vandals

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

-Lao Tzu

Protecting our internal homes from vandals is an essential piece to us becoming the best versions of ourselves. We can’t protect our inner homes without the awareness of why we invited individuals into our homes in the first place. A person can’t come into our internal homes unless he/she is invited. Our thoughts about people give them entry into our homes. How we choose to view them in our homes determines if they will be pleasant guests, teachers, students, entertainers, and/or vandals. We also determine what these individuals leave behind. Did they give us seeds for our garden? Did they give us art for our walls? Did they give us helpful tools to help maintain our homes and gardens? Did they rip of flowers? Did they give us seeds for strangling weeds? Did they mark our homes with graffiti? We become prisoners of the vandals by allowing fear-filled feelings, thoughts, and perspectives of truth of who we interpret them to be, how we perceive their actions, and/or what we perceive that they think into our internal worlds.

They become vandals when we make ourselves their victim in our internal home. We allow them to destroy our homes and turn them into dilapidated shacks by allowing them to have power over our internal space and peace. We give them power by choosing perspectives of fear. The more power we give them, the more destruction we allow them to do. Now, this is not the person in the physical world causing this damage, it’s how we interpret them in our internal world. We can create kind people to be vandals, just as easily as we can turn a sociopath into a vandal. It’s all in how we choose to interpret their words and behavior inside our own heads that creates our internal view of them.

Even I have been a vandal in others internal homes, but remember I have nothing to do with that. If someone doesn’t like my perspective, they can create me to be a vandal. If someone takes something I said as mean or cruel, which could have been me having healthy boundaries, it doesn’t matter, a person can still make me a vandal in his/her head. We see how people do this all the time on social media when they attack other people. In order to attack someone else, the attacker first made the other person a vandal in their own internal world. This other person may be helping millions of people in the world, but if they have a perspective that is different from an unconscious person’s (attacker) perspective and that person decides to ignore the good and embrace the fear of the differences, the image the attacker created in his/her dilapidated shack makes the other good natured person a vandal.

We need to know and understand that no other person can be a vandal in our internal homes without our permission. Narcissists can be very good at charming their way into people’s internal homes, but they still have to be invited in. Not every person who crosses paths with narcissists invites them in. How we protect ourselves from vandals works the same way if we are dealing with narcissists and/or good Samaritans that we choose to view through eyes of fear, because protecting ourselves has NOTHING to do with what these people do in the physical world or who they are in the physical world. Protecting our internal homes has EVERYTHING to do with us taking responsibility for our own perspectives of truth.

Here’s the best part about this process, when we protect our internal homes from narcissists, they have less chance of affecting our lives in the physical world. Narcissists need to be invited into our internal homes to have the power they desire over us in the physical world. Once we stop inviting them in, they lose interest, because if they can’t affect our nature in the physical world, they get bored and go on the hunt for another victim. It may be awhile before they stop attempting to get in. Eventually if we stay consistent, and we FULLY close and lock our door to them, they stop trying. They may even stay in our physical lives in some way (i.e. family members), but we don’t allow them space to vandalize our internal homes. We can choose to them even without inviting them in. To love someone means we are spreading our light to her/him. A person can stay in their darkness without affecting our light.

When we learn how to protect our internal home from vandals, we also will start to see AMAZING shifts and changes in who is attracted into and/or repelled from our physical worlds. I love watching how this process unfolds. I’ve found it fascinating that the healthier I get, the people who are stuck in their darkness have less and less interest in me or they will make me a vandal to their dilapidated shacks. If they choose to make me a vandal, they will attempt to have an altercation with me, and if I don’t allow them into my internal home to vandalize it, I will not respond like they want me too, so they will distance themselves from me. I take this as an ABSOLUTE BLESSING! I trust a person who is stuck in their darkness is on their own journey. If I’m meant to give them a seed from my garden, I do. It’s up to them what they choose to do with it. They may have so many weeds destroying their internal gardens that even if they try to plant my seed it won’t have space to grow. They first have to clean up the weeds before they can see the beauty that lies under them. If deep down a person wants a path out of their own darkness, I imagine them walking just outside of my internal property waiting to know when they are ready.

If we protect our internal homes, it doesn’t matter what others do in their own darkness, we won’t let them destroy our internal homes and the gardens we’ve created around them. Once we realize we can shut our doors to the uninvited and say goodbye to those visitors we invited in who turned into vandals, we are truly empowered to be the BEST versions of ourselves. Our awareness and dedication to do the work to keep us in our light opens us up to lives beyond what we could have ever imagined. When we protect our internal homes, we allow our beacon of light to shine brighter. Our homes stay filled with the love and light that spreads out into the world.

 

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Over the next few days you will get the tools to keep your internal homes protected. Just like everything else in this 90-Day A Better Me Series, these are seeds. You have to decide if you want to plant them. You have to make sure your land is ready. If you struggle with making these seeds grow into strong beautiful additions to your garden, go back to Part I of the series and work it from the beginning. Whatever you do, remember you have the power to change the trajectory of your life by how you choose take care of your internal world. We project out what we create inside. That manifests the reality we live in and attracts back to us what we’ve projected out. We have to make sure we are projecting out the best inner life we can to create an outer life we love and appreciate.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Check-out today’s Letter from A Better Me: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 81 – Protecting My Internal Home from Vandals

 

Social Media: A Narcissist’s Playground

How did we get here?

How did we become easy targets to allow narcissists to abuse their victims?

How is it possible for good people to become perpetrators of narcissist abuse?

How do we open the door unknowingly to be the next victim of narcissist abuse?

Come on, most of us are good people. We are not capable of being perfect. We don’t want to believe that we are capable of perpetuating the abuse of another person. We want to believe what we read. We want to believe that no one would post or say something harmful about someone else if it wasn’t true. We struggle to put ourselves in a narcissist’s mind because we can’t possibly think of calculating such a horrible attack on a person if it wasn’t (in our own minds) deserved.

Rule number one of a malignant narcissist is that they NEVER do ANYTHING wrong. They are the victims of their families, friends, romantic partners, business associates, and communities. You would think that we would be able to spot narcissists easily. Yet, according to the professionals who specialize in the field of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), it’s not as easy as one would hope.  That being said: There can be narcissists in all forms of business (even non-profits), in our communities, on our friend lists, in politics, and sometimes even in our homes.

What Makes Social Media a Narcissist’s Playground?

We are trained to focus on hate, fear, shame, blame, and overall judgment. Of course, a narcissist would love this playground. If you have ever read anything about how a narcissist operates, you know that they calculate turning people against their victim. They attempt to isolate their victim to make the victim become the alleged perpetrator. Social media makes this so easy. We can’t put it past a narcissist to record sections of an argument where the victim is reacting to their abuse, so it comes off sounding like the victim is the crazy one. They find pictures that show the victim not in a good light and without social media knowing the background of that particular moment, get people to engage in commentary bashing the actual victim of the abuse. They can say how innocent they are and how a “CRAZY” mom, dad, sister, brother, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, ex-lover, child, friend, co-worker, boss, employee, and the list goes on an on, DID THIS TO THEM! Wait, you may be thinking we have all done this at some point. The difference, a narcissist has done it to everyone on that list that pertains to his or her lifestyle. Everyex is the crazy one. Everyemployer is in the wrong. Everyemployee is to blame.  Everyfriend has abandoned them or used them. I think you get the point.

Narcissists also use social media to hunt for their next victim. The instant they break up with someone, lose a job, have a fall-out with family, etc. they come to social media to prowl. You might start seeing them everywhere when before the interaction was limited. They look for people to comment on their “poor me” posts and all the sudden instant messages start popping up from them because you understand them and “nobody else understands them.” You are the only one who can rescue them and all the sudden you are on a giant super hero sized pedestal. Then they systematically will destroy your relationships with others and then—

Bang! THEY ARE IN! They prey on people-pleasers, empaths, and caring individuals who have problems with self-worth, self-image, self-esteem, and self-respect. The people who do things for others to gain their own personal value are their perfect targets. We may think we are helping or rescuing them. They act like they care and try to get you to reveal as much personal information as possible so they will be able to use it against you later. A narcissist will attack using anything you possibly have guilt or shame around. If you are a people-pleaser, social media is the perfect grounds for attack because their victim is mortified that people could think that they are anything like the image the narcissist is portraying.

Don’t forget, narcissists can be VERY charming. They act one way when they want something from you and a whole other way when you aren’t there. The question becomes how do we see through this and know when we are contributing to a narcissist’s abuse and/or opening the door to become their next victim?

The answer is we have to become vigilant and really aware of what we are doing on social media. We have to INVESTIGATE! If you don’t have enough time to investigate:

  • Don’t engage
  • Don’t perpetuate in hate, fear, or negative commentary when you don’t know the whole story
  • Don’t JUDGE based on a simple post
  • Don’t like or comment before you know facts
  • If a person is ALWAYS blaming other people…question your connection with the person.
  • If you don’t want to be involved in any potential hate, abuse, or fear tactics edit your friend list and LIKE and FOLLOW pages that don’t engage in it. Only have friends on your list that you truly want IN your life.
  • If you lack self-worth, self-respect, self-esteem, and/or are a people-pleaser, work on you so that you don’t become a victim.

Let’s not contribute to letting narcissists use us to hurt others. If you see abuses that can be reported—report them. If you see someone endlessly blaming and shaming others—block them. If you don’t want to perpetuate the hate—stop contributing to it. Be self-aware and vigilant. We are all capable of being fooled on social media. Research before you post or comment.

I hope you will read the companion piece to this one on https://lettersfromabetterme.blogspot.com. Let’s start spreading more love and stop contributing to the energy that gives narcissists a perfect playground.

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With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2018

 

#NarcissisticAbuse

#Abuse

#SocialMedia

#TAKEACTION

 

 

How Researching Narcissistic Personality Disorder Opened My Eyes

I was once asked to write a piece on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) by another website. My stomach instantly got tied up in knots. A numbing feeling permeated through me. I didn’t promise, but I figured I would try. I didn’t know what the research on the topic would bring to the surface; too close to home. I read article after article trying to figure out how to write a piece that would be different from what was already out there.

I used the research library from the college I attended and read countless peer-reviewed literature and research. When I would sit down to write; nothing flowed. This is not like me. Usually by the time I have done this amount of research, the words fly out onto the computer.

At one point, I decided to approach the NPD with a compassionate eye. Truthfully, the disorder completely sucks! All the people around a person with this disorder pay a steep price. The sad part, we have no idea how calculated it all is when we are in it. The really sad part is if people don’t get a lot, and I mean a lot, of help after being abused by someone with this disorder, it can lead to so many psychological long-term psychoses. Not all people with NPD are abusers, but the ones that are do more damage than any layman could ever understand.img_2901

If the person with NPD has a genuine intent not to hurt a person and does the work to fight the internal urges, it is possible they will have areas of trouble, but they won’t abuse. Others will go so far into it, then actually brag about their accomplishment to their next partner, yet the ex is not off the hook. No, an abuser with NPD will try to get the ex’s involved in triangles with the current love interest. The outreach is not genuine, it is about power and control.

As more and more information about NPD and NPD abusers kept coming in, I realized that I couldn’t write the kind of piece that one of these bigger established websites would want. I couldn’t five or ten step this one away. This one is too complex for that. The research alone stirred something very uncomfortable inside of me. The verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse that this disorder exhibits is the scariest I’ve ever seen. It defies all my thoughts about people and their ability to be better.

I’m not saying there are not people who make this work for them in a productive way without hurting anyone. My focus is on the ones who do; the ones that decide that they like the feeling of power over someone else. This is about the NPD abusers that keep people hostage. They strip them down until the person doesn’t even recognize what is going on anymore. Men and women can be played with in ways that an average human never could have thought of. The psychological scars can be and most times are long term. A fear lies right under the surface waiting to be ignited.

Even as self-aware as I am, I still get caught up in the anxiety and fear sometimes, but it is less and less as I work on bettering myself and my self-worth. I know what is happening now, so I can face it. I don’t do this alone. I have a team of people that help me to face truth about being faced with this kind of abuse. NPD abusers stop at nothing and they don’t care who they hurt in order to get to their targets. There are a lot of signs, but NPD abusers are very good at their game. They often fool talk therapists and others to believe their games. Here is a list of red flags that you could be dealing with an abusive person with NPD or worse. A person having one or a few might not be one. A Malignant narcissist has all of them:

  • Like the game of turning people against each other
  • Say phrases similar too: “You won’t believe what she/he did to me”, “My ex is psycho”, and “You’re the only one who can…”
  • Puts people on pedestals then enjoys tearing them down
  • Romantic partners/victims have to walk on egg shells in the relationship
  • Constantly caught in lies, but defends them to the end
  • Blames everyone and everything other than themselves (No personal responsibility)
  • Goes from being full of love to emotionally and verbally abusive
  • Brags about how they have hurt others.
  • Feels superior to others
  • Keeps their ex-girlfriends/boyfriends around and makes triangles with current romantic victim
  • They go into a relationship strong and needs instant reciprocation
  • Doesn’t like to be interrupted but will interrupt constantly
  • The world revolves around them
  • They use people around them as a means to an end
  • Expresses great interest in accomplishments then tears them down
  • Uses people’s insecurities against them
  • Their ex-partners were always the crazy ones
  • Competes with everyone all the time and is a sore loser
  • Lots of promises and little follow through
  • SOOOOO much manipulation and lies

Here’s the worst part about Narcissistic abuse, the victim gets sucked into this tornado and it is very hard to get out. People around them will have no idea why they are staying and they have no idea why they can’t leave, but there are so many psychological components going on inside that keep the person hostage in the relationship. Plus, they are getting threats of being destroyed. Some Abusers will even start a fight then video tape the victim reacting to the abuse and sell it as they were the ones being abused. It is all just a giant game to win in their sick minds. Victims are told how different they were, and how they are the only ones who could help abuser be the person they want to be (can I puke now?). I know how real it feels because I’ve been there. Even with all the research I’ve done on the subject, I am still wounded. I still am traumatized by the memories and fight for control of my life.

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I’m reading a book now called, Power: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse by Shahida Arabi (click here for book info). All the research I’ve done in the past is finally getting put together. All the mixed feelings I’ve had over the years are making sense now. I had no idea I was using many of the tools to get out of the relationship without looking back. I couldn’t see before how all my hard work on building myself back up has taken me through countless obstacles with the abuser. I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they were or are victim of narcissistic abuse or loves someone who is being abused. The great thing about this book is it is available in audiobook that you can listen to on a phone or tablet. I remember having to hide everything good I did for myself or it would be thrown in my face. He would even say I was being brainwashed. I say, yes, my brain needed washing. NPD is thrown around pretty heavily now days. The information out there can be confusing, believe me, I know. Some articles out there aren’t written by people who understand the whole picture. They may know a piece of the puzzle, but unless you truly invest the time in reading books by professionals and doing true research, you still won’t fully understand what happens during the abusive process and the after affects.

Narcissistic abusers will do their best to get people on their side. Don’t do it! They will use anyone on their path to hurt their intended victim. Sometimes we unknowingly become apart of the abuse cycle by engaging the abuser. The best professional advice given to people who have suffered this kind of the abuse is no contact or as little as possible.

This piece doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it is like for the victim and how incredibly calculated the abuser is during the courtship and afterwards. If you want to see the whole picture, read the book listed above. I will warn you if you are being or have been abused by someone with NPD, you will be baffled at how calculated these games are. The fact that a book would say exact quotes and tell exact stories says more than I could possibly ever imagined possible. If you are a friend or family member reading the book, whether you know the victim or the abuser, it will be eye opening and help you reach a better understanding of what it’s like to live under these circumstances. Hopefully it will help victims not feel so alone, and help outsiders to be more compassionate and less judgmental to the person staying in this abusive relationship.

To the victims: There is a lot of help out there. It is possible to lead an amazing life even after being verbally, emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abused like this. I learned a lot from my experiences and I got the help I needed to lead a life I love. This doesn’t have to take you down.

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From A Loving Place,

Rachael Wolff