Often, my clients who are recovering from narcissistic abuse tell me that they don't even know who they are anymore - and even if they do, they all think they're too old to start something new.
Still, sometimes life forces you to start over - and that's especially true when you leave a toxic relationship. So lemme ask you....
Do you feel like it's too late to achieve a significant amount of success? Many of the most successful people did start at a young age. It can be disheartening for the late bloomers among us. But many of the most successful people you know didn't get started until much later in life. If you think you missed the boat because you're middle-aged, you couldn't be more wrong. You're wrong even if you're 80. Success often isn't achieved until later in life.
1. Samuel L. Jackson didn't get his first big role until the age of 43. Prior to that he was a struggling actor with little future. Now he's known by people all over the world for his acting. How many movies, TV shows, and video games has he been in since that first big role in Jungle Fever? 140!
2. Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart at the age of 44. He had been successful in the retail environment in his younger years, but nothing out of the ordinary. Wal-Mart went on to become one the biggest companies in the world, and Walton become one of the world's richest.
3. Stan Lee. Known to everyone as the creator of Spiderman and the X-Men, Stan Lee didn't experience success until the age of 39. And his most well-known work didn't occur until several years after that. Who says it's too late to do something incredible with your life?
4. Ronald Reagan never held a political office until the age of 55! He became one of the most popular presidents in modern history.
5. Colonel Sanders didn't invent his famous chicken recipe until he was 50. His famous chain of restaurants is still doing well today. His likeness has been used to market KFC since the very beginning.
6. College students everywhere owe a debt of thanks to Momofuku Ando. At the age of 48, he created those Ramen noodles that poor students rely on for life itself. How many times have you had Ramen noodles in your life?
8. Taikichiro Mori became a real estate investor at the age of 55. He was a professor before that. He was the richest man in the world in 1992 with a net worth $13 billion. He inherited his first building from his father. The rest he accomplished on his own.
9. Grandma Moses started painting at the age of 78. If you have the gumption, you can still make an impact after 70. One of her paintings sold for over a million dollars.
10. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't publish her first novel until she was 65-years old. She wrote an additional 12 novels after that. A successful television series was built around her series of books. Older children still read her books today.
11. Peter Roget created the first thesaurus when he was 73-years old. He was trained as a medical doctor but had an obsession with words, especially words that had the same meaning. He quit his medical career to focus on the creation of the first thesaurus. The most popular thesaurus in the world still bears his name.
It's never too late to leave your mark on the world! But time is constantly passing, so it's time to start making it happen. Spend the later portion of your life pursuing something you love. There's still time to do something amazing!
When you're in or have recently left a relationship with a narcissist, there are many negative side effects you've got to deal with as a result of the gaslighting and manipulation that goes along with it - and one of the most common issues for survivors and victims of narcissistic abuse in relationships is PTSD and C-PTSD.
What is PTSD and Who Can Get It?
Millions of people are affected by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome/Disorder) and C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) each year and it can affect anyone in any age group.
PTSD has been talked about in the media as a serious problem that affects soldiers returning from traumatic experiences involving combat, but what we don't talk about as often are people who have been emotionally and mentally abused by narcissists, psychopaths and other negative people.
That's why soldiers are what most people think about when they hear that term.
The fact about PTSD is that soldiers aren't the only ones who can be drastically affected by the debilitating reality of traumatic experiences - and it doesn't have to result from physical combat.
A person who has been in a car accident, storm, plane crash, been raped or suffered some other type of external trauma can develop emotional illnesses that may morph into depression - or PTSD.
Those who are experiencing PTSD have likely had a "fight or flight" response to a traumatic experience. This normal reaction to impending danger is ingrained in our psyche to prevent us from harm, but in PTSD, that natural response may deeply change a person.
Even though the person is out of danger and no longer needs to be afraid, he or she often reacts to non-threatening experiences and events with a "fight or flight" response.
What does PTSD look like?
The three characteristics of those suffering from PTSD experience are:
1. Exaggerated emotional and physical responses
A person with PTSD might become frightened from loud noises or being surprised. He or she may begin to shake uncontrollably, shrink from the situation or leave the premises. Anxiety is always present in the PTSD patient.
PTSD may cause a person to frequently recollect the traumatic event. He may become very irrational and emotions may run wild because he's mentally 'rewinding' the event and playing it in his mind over and over.
The person with PTSD may have difficulty trusting anyone and become suspicious and jealous of those who love and want the best for them. The patient is often angry and depressed and extremely detached from loved ones.
PTSD patients think that no one understands them, so relationships are difficult to maintain. Other areas that become problematic for the PTSD patient are his job, performing the most basic of daily tasks and the fact that he can't comprehend that what he's afraid of isn't a real threat at that moment.
This is further exacerbated when a narcissist's abuse is involved, because in this case, the messages are initially coming from OUTSIDE your head - they're the narcissist's attempts to slowly and methodically break you down - and they work way too well.
The mental stress of PTSD is devastating and can take a toll on the patient's relationships with others and the ability to function if not identified and treated properly. There are certain types of trauma that can easily cause PTSD.
Who Can Be Affected by PTSD?
Besides traumatic combat experiences (such as narcissistic abuse), there are other events that might precipitate PTSD. People of all ages and who have experienced all types of trauma may fall victim to this devastating disorder.
Other than combat veterans (mostly men) here are some trauma victims who are more likely to be affected by PTSD during and after toxic relationships than others:
Children are some of the most likely victims to be affected by PTSD and react to it in various ways that could cause mental and physical illnesses.
Events such as car accidents, being bullied at school, violence at home, a loved one's death or illness, child abuse or a serious accident can precipitate PTSD in children.
Symptoms of PTSD in children include re-living the experience, nightmares, avoiding situations, blocking out his feelings and memory of the event and being easily frightened of events that pose no threat of harm.
If you notice some or all of these symptoms of PTSD in a child who has been through a traumatic event, make sure you seek help immediately from a health care professional.
Women are much more likely than men to develop PTSD and the reasons could stem from domestic violence, being neglected or abused as a child, being raped, physically attacked, being in accidents, having a crushing medical diagnosis or experiencing the loss of a child or other loved one.
Symptoms of PTSD in women might include severe depression, abuse of drugs or alcohol, developing an eating disorder or increasing the risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain. Suicidal thoughts or actions and other maladies may also occur.
Treatment for PTSD in women might include anti-depressants or anxiety medication prescribed by a health care professional or therapy with a person licensed in counseling trauma victims.
People who are alone can suffer from PTSD. Although some people who are alone in life may enjoy it, most of us need a help and support system that we can call on when depressed or medically impaired. Those who have no one to talk to or interact with are much more likely to develop PTSD.
The elderly are sometimes at risk for PTSD when they're abruptly pulled away from their home and placed in a nursing facility. Friends may have passed on and family may live in other areas of the world.
It's a frightening experience to the elderly to be alone.
Treatment can range from medication to counseling and helping the victim join in other activities as much as possible.
The truth is that anyone who has been through a traumatic experience is at risk. Men, women, children and the elderly may all experience PTSD if they're victims of extreme trauma and/or the mental and emotional abuse that comes along with a toxic relationship with a narcissist.
What else can make PTSD happen?
Some events that could produce enough traumas to cause PTSD are sexual molestation, experiencing a threat by someone with a weapon, rape, kidnapping, car accident, devastating illness, natural disaster including hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes and civil happenings such as divorce or being sued.
Emergency response workers such as firefighters, medics, pilots and policemen are likely to develop PTSD if they witness or are part of a traumatic event where loss of life or devastation is involved.
Symptoms & Complications of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD you should look for are the same as the above, including suicidal thoughts, alcohol or drug abuse and depression.
Complications of PTSD are varied, including the disruption it can cause in jobs, relationships and functioning on a daily basis to complete even the most menial tasks or experiencing enjoyment in anything. PTSD shouldn't be ignored. It won't go away without treatment.
The Best Ways to Treat PTSD
If you or someone you know falls victim to PTSD, treatment is imperative - and the sooner, the better. Symptoms may occur immediately after a traumatic experience or even months or years later.
One type of treatment doesn't fit all for those who suffer from PTSD, but there are various ways to get through the disorder and get rid of the symptoms that plague and disrupt your life. These include:
Traditional "Talk Therapy" - Talking it through for PTSD patients is sometimes the best way to treat the disorder. Counselors and psychotherapists that are specially trained in PTSD treatment can usually help the person find closure for the traumatic incident that has caused such a lifestyle change.
Cognitive Therapy - This type of therapy helps a PTSD patient realize that events that took place weren't his fault and helps alleviate feelings of guilt. A therapist listens to the PTSD patient describe the traumatic event(s) in detail and then helps the person understand the incident and why it happened.
Coaching- When the person suffering from PTSD is otherwise mentally stable, a good life coach can help them discover the answers they seek and learn new coping techniques for dealing with the issues that come along with it. This can work together with or independently from traditional therapies.
When the patient demonstrates that he or she has a good understanding of the event, he then knows that he was suffering stress because of his thoughts about the situation.
Change Your Mind to Change Your Life: Reprogramming Your Brain
The next step is to learn to replace the frightening and negative thought with less traumatic thoughts and put the incident into perspective. These therapy sessions will help the patient learn how to cope with fear, anger and guilt that often plague people after a traumatic experience.
Exposure Therapy - Eliminating fear is one of the goals of exposure therapy and is based on the theory that after a traumatic event happens, a person learns to be afraid of thoughts, feelings and circumstances that remind him of the traumatic happening.
A therapist can help the PTSD patient control those thoughts and feelings and learn how not to be frightened of the memories associated with the event. A PTSD patient might spend most of his life focusing on memories of the event and reliving it.
Exposure therapy can help "desensitize" the patient's reaction to the memories and replace them with less stressful thoughts. Relaxing is key to successful exposure therapy and the therapist might use breathing exercises to help with this.
Support Groups - A supportive group of people can help PTSD patients overcome their fears and emotions. A group can be family members since they are most affected by the person's PTSD.
A good therapist will help the patient and family communicate with each other and voice concerns. Honesty is paramount in family group therapy and can help mend and foster relationships.
A supportive group therapy may also be with those who have experienced the same or similar traumatic experiences. Sharing stories and emotions with others who are in the same boat helps each person build trust and self-confidence and realize that he's not alone.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) - An experienced counselor will help the patient change reactions to remembering a traumatic experience by focusing on the memories while performing certain actions.
Actions a patient might perform could be eye movements, sounds and tapping. The conclusion about EMDR is out as to how it works to solve problems, but studies suggest that PTSD patients experience fewer symptoms after the therapy.
Light Therapy - One of the problems with PTSD is that sufferers have trouble sleeping. Light therapy has been shown to drastically reduce symptoms of PTSD and is a very inexpensive method of treatment.
Bright lights affect a person's internal clock and metabolism and also cause positive reaction to inflammation, immune system and stress such as that caused by traumatic experiences. Depression can also be alleviated with light therapy.
Dog Therapy - It may seem out of the box, but dog therapy has been found to seriously help those who may be suffering from PTSD. A dog is known as a "soldier's best friend," and many dogs have had specific training to help soldiers with PTSD as a result of combat stress and experiences. They can benefit victims of narcissistic abuse the same way.
Dogs can help patients express and feel love again, they are great companions for those who feel alone and they can help reduce stress, frustration and feelings of loneliness by encouraging outdoor walks and socialization with new people.
Dog therapy for PTSD patients hasn't definitely been proven to be an effective treatment for PTSD, but you may talk to your doctor or therapist about acquiring an emotional support dog that has been trained to help provide companionship for the patient.
Yoga - Even the military is now using this ancient Eastern practice to treat soldiers with symptoms of PTSD and recognize its ability to help patients gain an awareness of his or her feelings and heal from the experience.
Yoga brings a sense of calm to both the mind and body and those who suffer from PTSD find that it helps them see things differently and recover enough to go on with their lives rather than reliving the past.
Anxiety caused by PTSD can also be relieved by practicing Yoga. The poses, stretching and meditative thoughts soothe mangled nerves and allow the person to calm him or herself without using medication, alcohol or other means to seek relief.
Recovering from PTSD
Recovery from PTSD can take a long time, depending on how fast it's recognized in the patient as a problem and treatment it obtained. There are health professionals who specialize in the treatment of PTSD and can diagnose and prescribe the treatment that's going to be of most help for a child, woman, man or soldier.
Most treatment lasts from six to twelve weeks, but it could take more time, depending on the severity of the disorder. Even though good and helpful treatments are available, the person with PTSD may not recognize they're having a problem.
Sometimes PTSD can be treated by an antidepressant medication or SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that can help with feelings of sadness and worry. Much of what causes PTSD are the chemicals in the brain - and the lack of serotonin - so medications can be used with some success.
If you or a loved one is under treatment for PTSD, make sure you ask the therapist or health care professional how long the treatment may take and what you can expect from it.
It's very important that loved ones or others close to the patient get him to a therapist as soon as possible, so helping the person recognize the PTSD is vital. Make sure you research and discover all you can about the symptoms of PTSD, treatment and recovery options.
Often, a narcissist will humiliate you in public as part of an active smear campaign - and while I've previously explained smear campaigns, today I'm going to go a little more in depth on the public humiliation part of it - which, in my opinion, is one of the most traumatic parts of the whole smear campaign tactic. (more…)
That's how I knew that you're more of a Monday kind of girl. Feel me?
Why You Dread Weekends When You Have to Spend Them With a Narcissist
Picture it: It's Friday morning, and you're teetering somewhere between hope and dread.
As your narcissist gets ready to go to work, you feign happy, cheerful morning face as you do your best to prevent the typical pre-weekend drama.
Whether you're off to work yourself or you're sticking around to hold down the fort, there is a buzz of panic around you, and whether you admit it to yourself or not, it's because you're mentally preparing for the inevitable.
He tells you he's going out tonight, just "him and the guys." And since they're going to a late-night bar and plan to drink, he says, he's going to bunk at his (perpetually single) friend's place after the end of the night.
In your mind, a million little bombs go off - as his wife, you see many obviously logical objections to this setup. But you don't verbalize them, because you know that he will only twist everything and create a reason to put on a big show of narcissistic injury, which quickly turns to rage.
You try to stay calm and avoid asking too many questions, but he's come for a fight and he challenges your gray rock-like stance at every turn.
The next day, he unabashedly starts another argument that seems to stem from almost nothing after he stays out all night again.
Long ago, you defined rules as a couple and lately he's been breaking them, more and more often - and generally with no remorse.
If you dare to behave any way except as though you're perfectly content with his disrespectful behavior, he will belittle your intelligence, question your sanity and your general worthiness as a person, and use completely bullshit reasons (stated in a loud, offended manner as to increase their authority and truth - like qualities) to justify his behavior.
And even if he admits to being wrong about anything at all, he will only tolerate being "not perfect" for an unnaturally short time (hours, if you're lucky) before he expects you to just get over it already.
So, you swallow it down, shut your mouth and you don't ask questions. You barely breathe and you try to keep your face clear of your real feelings. You know that even a hint of a look of anything other than neutral emotion could trigger another episode of gaslighting.
All of this, before Saturday at noon.
Now, ask yourself one question: is this all there is?
In case you can't decide, let me ask you this: can you tell me that you actually enjoy spending time with your narcissist on a daily basis? Can you say that you love your life?
If not, ask yourself: can my life get better? If so, what can I do to make that happen?
If a miracle happened and your life became instantly perfect, what would change? Be honest with yourself here.
Would you keep the narcissist as he is, today, or would you drop him (or change his behavior)?
Are you willing to keep taking it? Aren't you ready to love your life again?
I say it's time to take back your weekends, my friend.
The course went live yesterday and I am SO FREAKING THRILLED to tell you that I've already had more than 500 people sign up. The early reviews have been very positive, and since so many people have been telling me how helpful it's been for their healing, I have decided to offer it to my QB readers for half price through Friday only.
Here are the details on how to get your 50 percent discount:
So let's just start here. This won't be your standard breakup advice article.
There's plenty of breakup advice online, but most of it is geared toward helping you get your ex back. What if you either don't want him/her back - or what if know it's useless because you've already recognized that you're in a toxic relationship with a narcissist?
What if you want advice on how to move on as quickly and pain-free as possible? Maybe you've read all the standard breakup advice and you don't see how any of it really applies to you. There's a reason for that - it's because narcissists aren't normal, so breaking up with a narcissist is pretty much a big cluster-truck of messy, painful and confusing. (more…)
There's an old story about a child trying to move a heavy stone while his father looks on. The child works and works, but is just not strong enough. Finally, he tells his father, "I can't do it. It's impossible."
His father responds, "Of course you can. You haven't used all the strength you have available to you yet." The little boy answers that he has tried his hardest, and still can't do it, to which the father responds, "You haven't asked me to help you yet."
Sometimes, when you're trying to recover from narcissistic abuse, it can feel like you're moving that heavy rock. You struggle and fight, but it's so hard to stick to the plan that you give up. There comes a time to recognize that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Enlisting the aid of friends, family and a good support group can bolster your efforts and help you overcome setbacks that threaten to derail your narcissistic abuse recovery efforts. Instead of trying to go it alone, try a few of these suggestions to help you stay on track with the help of friends and family.
1.Get a support system. Gather up trusted friends and family members and make them part of your inner circle - your support system. Don't have people you feel comfortable sharing your situation with? How about a whole group of people who have been there, done that? Join my SPAN group, right here. It's totally free and confidential.
2.Get your family on the right page. Husbands, wives, children and siblings can offer support in unexpected ways. Something as simple as a sincere compliment at the right time can be all you need to nudge you onward. By the same token, refuse to let them sabotage your recovery efforts. Sometimes even people who are acting as the flying monkeys of a toxic narcissist don't know what they're doing. Give yourself the freedom and space you need to clarify the situation - and don't be afraid to take a step back from people who are toxic for you, especially during recovery.
3. Join my small group coaching sessions. There's a lot to be said for seeking out the support of others who are fighting the same battle you are. Whatever it is that motivates you, you can find it in my small group coaching sessions - and you'll get one-on-one help as well as being able to connect with and learn from your fellow group members during our sessions. Healthy sharing, companionship, encouragement, applause and practical, common sense advice from others who are also fighting to take back your life can all make this whole narcissistic abuse recovery stuff a whole lot easier.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery tips: You might already know that narcissists are notorious liars, but when you first realize you're dealing with one, you might not be aware of the red flags to watch for - especially when it comes to the most common lies narcissists tell.
But knowledge is power. That's why I've compiled 10 of the most heinous lies narcissists tell their victims. Discover, Understand and Overcome Narcissistic Abuse.
The most effective way to take back your life from an abusive, toxic narcissist is to go no contact. In this vlog, I'll be sharing ten important things to remember when you go no contact with a narcissist and offering tips and advice on how to make the no contact solution work for you.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? What would you add? What other ways have narcissists manipulated you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below, and let's talk about it.