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

5 Ways Narcissists Use Social Media as A Weapon

5 Ways Narcissists Use Social Media as A Weapon

Everywhere we look on social media we can read about narcissists in and out of relationships. We can sympathize with the person who has had experiences with him or her, and many times we can even relate. Yet, we don’t pay attention to all the lists and think about our responses in our everyday life on social media. Often we don’t know how easy we make it for narcissists to attack their victims. The worst part is that we can often jump in and become apart of the abuse, gaslighting, and/or shaming without ever knowing we’ve become a pawn in the narcissist’s game. Is that the narcissist’s fault? No! They have a psychological condition where they can’t process morals, emotions, and reality in a healthy way. The only way to stop narcissistic abuse on social media is to take responsibility for what we are contributing to. Staying aware is key!

1.  Personally Attacking Others

Personally attacking another person on social media is not healthy behavior, but that in itself doesn’t make a person a narcissist. A narcissist will thrive on turning people against his/her victim. They will use people to attack their target. They will feel fulfilled when they get other people to join in on the attack. The more people they can get to attack their victim, the better. They may post a picture of a person in a vulnerable moment, but write a false tagline. They might clip a video where they were attacking, but what you see is the other person reacting to their abuse. If you see or read abusive, violent, shaming, blaming, and/or harassing posts don’t engage. Social media is not the place. If you are only looking at one side, you could be contributing to an attack on someone without even knowing it. You just played into the narcissist’s hand.  Don’t forget there are narcissists in finance, media, politics, non-profits, religious organizations, etc. Staying clear of personal attacks is your best option.

2.  Getting You on Their Side

Charming narcissists will do anything to convince you to side with them. They are the victim of every person, place, and thing. Life keeps happening to them, yet they are better than everyone else. They are entitled to more. They will do their best to trigger your hate and rage towards someone who is their target. DON’T ENGAGE! This doesn’t mean we don’t stand up for the human rights of others. Just be cautious of what the person’s intentions are. Are they standing up for a cause or trying to engage your hate? Keep the bigger picture in mind. Support what you want to see in the world (peace, compassion, love), not what you don’t want to see (violence, hate, and fear).

3.  Spreading Blame

Watching the blame is the quickest way to spot a narcissist on social media. They don’t understand how their family, friends, partners, kids, co-workers, and strangers can do what they do. Everything is someone else’s fault. Now, this can get tricky as our social media culture has become a giant blame cycle, which is what makes it a feeding frenzy for narcissists. Our relationship with drama is a weapon to them. If we feed the blame cycle, we are feeding their cycle of abuse.

4.  Taking Shaming Viral

Narcissists thrive on shaming their victims. They might put them on a pedestal, then they drop kick them down to the dirt. The victims crave to be back on that pedestal, so they may accept or think they deserve the shaming. It’s all in how narcissists groom their target(s). Other times narcissists use social media to groom the target into submission by public shaming. Sometimes the narcissist is targeting groups of people to shame. Watch out for that word “ALL” when it comes to groups such as ALL Christians, ALL Muslims, ALL Politicians, ALL gays, ALL women, ALL men, ALL police officers, ALL minorities, ALL immigrants, the list goes on and on. This is dangerous thinking and it is how we give narcissists power on social media and in our everyday lives.

5.  Searching for their Next Victim

Narcissists can use social media to hunt for their next victim. They need a person who will engage with them. If you are agreeing with their stories of shame and blame while supporting them as the victims, they want you. Whether you are apart of a large group or they are looking for that next romantic relationship to turn into an utter nightmare, there are signs you can give off to help them pick you as a target. Engaging with them on social media makes you a prime candidate.

 

Here is the real question, how do we know when a person is just hurt, angry, or enraged posting or if he/she is a narcissist? It doesn’t matter. A narcissist is probably watching the post either way, so even if you engage on a post that is not theirs, you are feeding them. You are contributing to their wicked game. If the person posting is a good friend, send them a text or call them. If the person is someone you don’t know very well, knew from school, or a public figure, remind yourself that you don’t know all the sides of the story. If someone is using ALL language, STAY AWAY from engaging. Narcissists are trolling the Internet waiting for places to feed.

Remember healthy people don’t attack others. If we are the ones attacking, we show the narcissist that we are ready to be apart of their army. Spread what you want to see more of on social media. Don’t make social media feeding grounds for narcissists. Make them want to steer clear of you by not contributing to using social media as a weapon of attack. Keep yourself and others safe while preventing playing on a narcissist’s playground—stay kind on-line!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

If you want help getting out of your own way and stop attracting chaos to your life, check out the FREE 90-Day A Better Me Series. No sign-up required. Just click, scroll to DAY  1 read, and do the work to transform yourself into the best version of 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

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 49 – Gratitude in Our Relationships

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 49: Gratitude in Our Relationships

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant.”

-Tony Robbins

When have expectations on the people closest to us, we are setting ourselves up to be let down time and time again. Nobody owes us anything. If we think that a person we love owes us something because we did something for them there is a debt to be paid, we gave to that person from a place of lack. When we demand respect, love, understanding, time, etc., we are not being honest about the intentions of why we chose to give in the first place. We might have been giving out of self-expectations, low self-worth, attachment to titles, to feel wanted, to feel needed, etc. None of those are giving from a place of love. When we have expectations of others to be more than who they are, we are coming from a place of lack. When we can be grateful for who they are and what they are capable of giving, we are coming from a place of abundance. We don’t need someone else to fill a hole inside of us. We are complete on our own. We can give without giving ourselves away because we are giving from a place of fullness. When we give from a place of love, we feel gratitude in the ability to give.

Giving from a loving place means we are keeping ourselves in the abundance of gratitude—Our relationships shift and change. The people who are stuck in their own dark place who fed off our demanding energy of lack will grow and change with us, or they will grow apart from us. Family members, friends, and partners who feel the new energy and embrace it will shift with us. We will actually see more of the light inside them too. We will appreciate those relationships even more.

“The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.”

-James E. Faust

By keeping our focus on our gratitude, we start really seeing the partners and friends we choose to have in our lives. Our perspectives of truth (Days 43-46) shift and expand to see people from a more realistic view. We aren’t putting the relationships in the future or in the past, we are in the relationship right now. We are noticing what is happening now. If we have friends from the past, and we choose not to see them now because of our connection to the past, we miss opportunities to see who they are now. We might be missing the gifts that come from the growth each person has had.

When we are in intimate romantic relationships that are focused on the future, we are not seeing the person in front of us AT ALL! We are seeing the dream of who we are wishing them to be in terms of what we want for our future. That is way too much pressure to put on a relationship. Be grateful for the love now. Be grateful for the caring gestures now. Be grateful for the challenges now where you learn if this is even a person you want in your life. If they aren’t a person you want in your life, be grateful you figured that out. When we are grateful, we see the person in front of us. We learn and grow from their time in our lives and that is something to be grateful for no matter how long the relationship lasts. If they are not meant for the long term, we can be thankful for the things we learned and grow from there.

Even in our most intimate relationships, we can’t make our partners feel, think, act, or react in anyway that he/she doesn’t make the choice to do. We can’t make our partners happy. They have to choose to be happy, if they choose to be happy, they will appreciate our happiness and the happiness they share with us. They can’t make us happy either, because we have to make that choice for ourselves too. The same is true for anger, jealousy, etc. It’s all of it, light and dark energies. If we make someone else responsible for our feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions we gave our power away from a place of lack and fear. It’s that hole some people feel that only an intimate partner can fill. That is a perspective of truth that is very painful for all parties involved. Knowing we are responsible for ourselves and our partners are responsible for themselves is a perspective of truth that leaves a lot of room for gratitude and expansion. We can help without enabling. We can serve without expecting. We can receive with full love for the gesture.

“No gesture is too small when done with gratitude.”

-Oprah

Side note: For those who have been caught in narcissistic relationships, living from a place of gratitude shifts your energy away from the narcissist. A narcissist needs chaos to thrive and feed on. Living in gratitude and feeling good about ourselves takes away their power of us. If you are still in the relationship they will fight against positive shifts. They will try anything to revert your energy back to a chaotic place where they can feel like they are in control. Keep focusing on gratitude, when you have reached a certain point the signs will be so clear when it’s time to leave. You won’t feel the chaos behind the choice. You will feel a peace inside you. It is a truly empowering moment. The shift is definitely something to be grateful for!

Communicating from the energy of gratitude and expansion keeps the defenses down. We can appreciate hearing their view, then explain ours. If we don’t treat differences like battlegrounds, we grow together. Just remember:

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If you are having trouble with a family member, partner, or friend, keep them on your gratitude list. It will help you get out of your own unhealthy space of focusing your energy on lack, which is what creates the space of expecting people to be more than they are. We want to see people from our light, because it will not only help us focus on the light in them, but we will see their dark spots and know if we need to have space from this person. When we are in a dark place inside, we can want and expect people to show up more, but when we find our light, we may see space from them is a true blessing. We want to feed our peace, not our chaos. That is our responsibility to ourselves. When we have a grateful heart and share from a loving place, we feel good! NO ONE can take that away from us no matter how they respond to our loving action. We are full. We are abundant in loving energy. We can show up to our relationships with gratitude for whatever the day holds. There are so many blessings that come with relationships full of gratitude!

Just for Today

Focus your gratitude list on relationships you are struggling with. You will feel a clear energy shift with that person once you have found your own light. They will feel it too. It’s one of the miracles of gratitude. This may take a lot longer than one day if the dark energy you feel about the person runs deep. Keep going!

This exercise helped me move out of my own toxic space in unhealthy relationships and opened me up to countless blessings that I’m still experiencing today even know those particular people are long gone. I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I got to learn about myself in those relationships. Their darkness ended up helping me to brighten my light. I’ve also felt amazing shifts in my relationships with my children, friends, and family members by focusing on this list. It really is an AMAZING journey!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

Make sure to  read today’s Letter from A Better Me 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 49 -Celebrating Gratitude in My Relationships

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 28 – Giving Ourselves Away

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 28: Giving Ourselves Away

“When you know and respect your own inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.”

-Benjamin Hoff

From a young age many of us are taught not to be selfish. We are told that self-care is secondary to serving others. The message for some can be we aren’t worthy unless we are serving someone else. We take in messages like, treat others like you want to be treated. So we give and give and give trying to fill ourselves. What happens to many of us is instead of feeling full because we give, we feel depleted.

Giving when the intentions are in a healthy place fills us up. It gives us the power and energy to keep going even when we are serving in the darkest places. If we are a person who gives her/himself away, we will serve under extreme conditions, but make NO time for self-care. We will keep pushing until we completely crash. Numbing is used frequently, which can turn into addictions. Slowly, we lose ourselves piece by piece by piece. We become title after title throwing ourselves into any role we can to give ourselves away. One day IFwe get to a place where we’ve gotten so sick of ourselves or awaken to the need to change, we realize that we gave ourselves away and that we deserved better than the way we were treating ourselves.

When we give ourselves away, we become victims. We may blame others for taking advantage of us. We may blame ourselves for being stupid, a pushover, or a doormat. We also can feel that all we are here to do is serve others, and we are being selfish by not feeling happy about it. Why wouldn’t we want to numb ourselves under these conditions?

When we give ourselves away, we aren’t being accountable for our feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions. We are acting unconsciously walking around being our own victims. We aren’t questioning our beliefs. We are living in our shame and unworthiness of having no value. If you’ve been reading this entire series, you see what I’m getting at because I’ve covered each way we sabotage our lives piece by piece throughout the first 27 days of the 90-Day A Better Me Series. What happens to us is not always under our control. We can’t always avoid traumas. Our beliefs whether they were created before the trauma or in a reaction to the trauma are ours and ours alone. We can’t be convinced of anything we don’t want to believe. That is why we are accountable. Giving ourselves away usually starts as an unconscious way of trying to seek our value outside of ourselves, like I wrote about on Day 28.

We are accountable for giving ourselves away. This doesn’t mean blaming ourselves and being the victim of our unconscious choices. This is true authentic empowerment. By knowing we choose to give ourselves away, we give ourselves the power to change it. Self-care, healthy boundaries, and being open to learn a different way of doing things are what happen when we take our power back.  We can’t get there until we become aware.

When we don’t value ourselves, we will give ourselves away, or become so engrossed in numbing ourselves that our addictions take over as our way of fighting giving ourselves away. So instead of giving, we end up taking and taking. Both stem from becoming victims of ourselves. That is why many times a person who gives too much attracts an addict who takes too much. There are so many lessons in the relationship because both parties are suffering. They are both just approaching the suffering in different ways. We will stay in the dysfunction until we grow away from it.

There is no accident why I posted each day the way I did. If you are reading this series, you’re on a journey. That’s why I start with awareness of the things that block us. In the end, we are the problem and we are the solution. We can’t change anybody else. We can only work with the person in the mirror. If we do the work there, we become clear as we come out of the fog of our own victimhood. We are worthy! We are lovable! Life changes when we change.

Now, being that narcissists are a hot topic, especially when we have had to survive their abuse, it’s time I share my gratitude. It was my toxic relationship with a narcissist that got me to see how unhealthy I was. I was a prime target for one because I had no problem giving myself away. This is not about being an EMPATH, A GIVER, or COMPASSIONATE! We aren’t target for these AMAZING qualities. We are targets because we use the great qualities we have as an excuse to be walked on. Not all empaths, givers, and compassionate people are doormats, just the ones who don’t take care of themselves, their energy, and hold themselves accountable. When a narcissist comes into our life it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. They are AMAZING teachers. Narcissists can show us where our boundaries need work. They show us where we lack self-worth. We can see where we are still blaming, shaming, and judging others and ourselves. We can see where and how we give ourselves away time and time again. Most of all, we are faced with our greatest shame. Narcissists are great at finding our darkest areas and exposing them.

A narcissist may not be able to connect to their accountability, but we can. If we  blame them for being who they are because they can’t help it. We are responsibility for the negative energy we are putting out. If we try to seek revenge for the pain we felt, we are responsible for that energy. A true narcissist doesn’t have control over it. I had to learn about myself and my accountability to break the ties and stop attracting that kind of energy into my life. Self-care is ESSENTIAL for not giving ourselves away and becoming a target. There are ways narcissists fish for victims. We can know multiple narcissists and not be a victim of them. Awareness is key. The more I learned about narcissism, the more I understood why I needed to learn the lessons I did. Now, I can be nothing but grateful because I’m free from being a victim of myself.

If we consider ourselves people pleasers, it’s time to take a good look in the mirror and really look deeper into why we choose to give ourselves away. We will cover more on Day 29 when approach the topic of self-abuse. If you have been triggered by this installment, I highly suggest you go back and read through Days 1-27. You will see where my perspective comes from and you may be more willing to dig deeper. Just remember fear, blame, shame, judgment, and hate are keeping us trapped. If we want to feel free, we have to let go of what doesn’t work.

Hint: If we are not at peace, what we are doing isn’t working. If we want to create peace outside of us, we have to feel peace inside of us.

Just for Today

It’s time to pull out some paper or create a new document on your computer. Look at areas of your life where you feel like you are giving yourself away. For now, put it aside and add to the list as needed. If you stay on the journey with me, you will have the tools to take a different path, if and only, if you want to. We always have the choice to get better, whether you choose to do it with me, someone else, or not do it at all is up to you. This is your life! Nobody can make it better except for you. No one else can do this work for us. We can be guided, but until we are ready we will stay in our chaos.

Be conscious of your energy that you are attracting to your life. Whatever you put out, you will get back. Holding ourselves accountable is not blame. We are all learning. We don’t know what we don’t know. If we choose to stay in the FIGHT of it all, we will suffer. We can make this choice moment to moment, and any time we fall back into old patterns, it just means there is more to learn. If we stick to it, we will get better. Becoming aware of how we give ourselves away is a BIG piece of the journey. Once we start seeing it, we open up to changes and shifts beyond our imagination.

Don’t miss today’s Letter from A Better Me, 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 28 -Giving Myself Away. In the meantime if you want more, please explore past posts. If you haven’t already, you can choose to follow me. Thank you for reading!

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019