Surviving the Narcississt: How to Stop Toxic Thoughts

Surviving the Narcississt: How to Stop Toxic Thoughts

How Toxic Thinking Can Affect Your Health

Being in a good frame of mind helps keep one in the picture of health. ~Unknown

You know all about toxic families and toxic friends, but have you ever considered that your own thoughts can become toxic?

This is especially true if you love a narcissist–and even more especially if you live with the narcissist.

We’ve talked before about why it’s important to keep an eye on your thoughts–because you bring about what you think about. So, if you’re focused on all good things, then more good things will come your way. But, if your thoughts become toxic, they can and will draw negativity and toxicity into your life, and can even cause physical side effects if left unchecked.

Research has proven that the way we think can cause a wide variety of chemical reactions in our bodies. When we’re thinking happy thoughts–forgiving people, feeling patient and maintaining self-control, for example–our bodies will release chemicals that make us feel peaceful and healthy.

But when we’re feeling negatively and thinking toxic thoughts–like feeling and nurturing rage, holding grudges or wallowing in guilt or self-pity–our bodies release damaging chemicals. This makes us more susceptible to illness and disease.

Narcissistic rage can further complicate the situation, especially because narcissists typically aren’t aware that they have the ability to BE wrong–and if they are, forget about it–you’re going to have a cranky person dealing with a severe narcissistic injury.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of the book Who Switched Off My Brain, says that “stress and anxiety harm the body in a multitude of ways; patchy memory, severe mental health issues, immune system problems, heart problems and digestive problems.”

Serious stuff, right? The way you think can literally affect not just your day-to-day quality of life, but also your long-term health. (Check out my book on gaslighting.)

gaslighting quote

So how do you stop thinking toxic thoughts?

Listen to Yourself Talk

You may not even realize how often you complain or lament about the things in life you don’t love. Maybe you are frustrated because you had to wait in line for a half hour at the grocery store, or the traffic on your way home from work was so terrible that you actually got out of your car and sat on the hood to get a little sun. Perhaps you found out that your kid failed Science or you didn’t get into the college of your choice–or your dog ate your knitting project.

If you’re a narcissist, you’re probably not reading this anyway–but those of us who are dealing with you are likely to get the brunt of your toxic thoughts. So hey, if you love us, why not try to get a brighter perspective? We’ll love you for it.

And honestly, does it really help you to rehash and focus on these negative things? Nope, it actually hurts you. So, while you should absolutely feel comfortable telling the people you care about what happened to you during the day, try to focus on the positive side of things, even when there doesn’t seem to be one. 

For example, if you waited in line at the grocery store, maybe you talked to someone who really needed a good conversation. If you sat in traffic too long–maybe you needed the solitude or you heard your favorite song. You get the idea–find the silver lining in every cloud.

How to Stop Toxic Thoughts: Use Mind Control (On Yourself)

I can’t stress enough how important it is to recognize and monitor your thoughts. You may not even realize how often you think negative thoughts. For example, if your friend wins an award that you wanted, you may think “she must be better than me” or “I deserved that award, not her!” But if you can bring yourself to genuinely congratulate and feel happy for your friend, you’ll not only do her a favor, but yourself too. 

If you find yourself FEELING negatively, take a minute to listen to your thoughts. You might be surprised to find out that you may be subconsciously thinking toxic thoughts. 

Take control of your mind, because you can. All you need to do is mentally cancel those toxic thoughts and replace them with positive and healthy thoughts that reflect your true desires. (Because whatever you think about and focus on is what you’re drawing toward yourself–so why not think about and focus on what you really want?)

Change Your Scene

When I feel like my thoughts are getting a little toxic, sometimes it helps me to just change the scene around me. Maybe that means just going into a different room or taking a walk–or maybe I need to get in the car and go somewhere. But inevitably, if I make the effort to change my scene, it changes my mind pretty quickly. 

Try going out for coffee with a friend, taking a walk or a bath, working out–or even busting out the Wii for a little karaoke or golf. Whatever works for you–just get away from the spot in which you started thinking toxic thoughts for awhile.

What do you do to control and eliminate toxic thoughts? Tell me in the comments section, below, or hit me up on Facebook

Check out my latest book!

take back your life coverAre You Being Gaslighted?

You’re at a party and you notice your husband getting a bit too close to another woman. After the party, you confront him. He tells you to stop being so insecure and controlling; that he’s his own man and if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t have acted like that in the first place. After arguing all night, you end up begging for forgiveness and apologize for the trouble.

Maybe it’s your mom – she’s picking on you like it’s a sport. She’s worried about what you’re wearing, what you’re eating – who you’re hanging out with – but it’s unhealthy. Instead of fighting back, you just suck it up and take it – maybe you’re too sensitive, or perhaps you really are crazy after all. Who can’t take a bit of criticism, anyway?

Or it’s your boss, who told you you had his support on your latest project, only to backpedal when it’s time to present it to the team. Suddenly, he criticizes you for your poor choices and he’s jumnped ship – but when you talk to him later, he tells you it was wrong from the beginning and you need to be more careful in the future. You find yourself wondering if your judgment might really be flawed, after all.

Maybe this stuff doesn’t happen in your life, but for many people, it’s an everyday reality. If you think it could never be you, think again! Some of the most intelligent and capable people are living in painfully toxic relationships with narcissists, and they’re plagued by regular bouts of gaslighting, an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that can be crueler than more obvious forms of abuse because it sort of sneaks up on you.

Because of its insidious nature, gaslighting is one form of emotional abuse that is hard to recognize and even more challenging to break free from. Part of that is because the narcissist exploits one of our greatest fears – the fear of being alone.

This book offers a comprehensive plan for dealing with gaslighting and other forms of narcissistic abuse. TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE starting right now when you download this book and instantly start reading. 

Toxic Relationship Recovery: Find Your Inner Strength After Narcissistic Abuse

Toxic Relationship Recovery: Find Your Inner Strength After Narcissistic Abuse

Ever feel like you’re just kind of weak? If you do, you’re not alone – and this is especially the case for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse in relationships.Here is how you find your inner strength in narcissistic relationships

So, you might want to be a roaring lion, but you feel like a weak little kitten, right?

I feel you – and listen – I’ve been there. In fact, that’s kinda why I do what I do! It’s also why I created the free Post-Gaslighting Emergency Recovery Kit (PERK), a sort of “first aid” kit for your soul designed to be used directly after a gaslighting attac.

Are you hanging by a thread?

The fact is that when we go actively searching for ways to sort of “beef up” our inner strength, it’s because we’re in a state of helplessness – almost like we’re hanging on by a thread and feel like if we don’t get a stronger hold on our emotions and confidence, we could lose everything.

Inner strength is defined by each person uniquely. You might see it as simply being able to say no when you want to, while another person might consider it living life in a way where every action and emotion you have is geared toward your happiness.

You and me? We were born with inner strength. We all were.

See, when we’re first born, we are void of excuses – of negative thought patterns about ourselves or life in general. There’s nothing we can’t do. You’ve seen babies and toddlers move about in the world – they do it with no fear. They attempt things without thinking of consequences.

So, we should all be fearless, then, right? Well yeah, kinda.

Obviously, that kind of carelessness can have a negative impact on you as well, so there’s definitely a health balance between not caring and caring so much that outside factors cripple or paralyze you.

Related: How to Identify and Manage Dissociation in Narcissistic Relationships

We Allow Events and People to Chip Away at Our Inner Strength

It doesn’t just dissipate like steam rising from a boiling pot. Inner strength is envied by others, and ignored by tragedies that we go through. In order for this to occur we have to hand over a certain amount of permission allowing it to happen.

As children, we’re taught that other people have power over us to some degree – teachers, parents – any and all authority figures. We’re taught to play nice and cave in to some activities and elements of life we may not enjoy just to be polite.

And, if we’re enmeshed in relationships with toxic narcissists, there’s another icky side effect:

We Become People Pleasers

It’s hard to grow out of that mindset, but kids usually take a path when they reach the teen years – and it continues on throughout adulthood.

As a teen, you either were labeled headstrong (which translates into inner strength), or not labeled at all – because people without inner strength are barely noticeable. They go along with whatever expectations people have of them.

Sometimes even if someone starts out on the right path – of having ample inner strength – they can lose it as they let their defenses down and allow other people to deeply influence them. Or, they go through a series of situations that bring them to their knees and with every encounter, they’re a little less strong.

Inner Strength Can Always Be Replenished

No matter how often you feel like you’ve been knocked down or that you’re unable to face a situation, you will always have a spark of inner strength ignited in your soul. Sometimes it will be a large flame and sometimes you’ll wonder if it’s gone for good.

When you are relentlessly gaslighted by a narc, you find yourself feeling numb, despondent, depressed – all signs of PTSD.

But it’s in there. You simply have to fan the flames and focus on it to get it back.

Like a muscle that’s atrophied, your inner strength has to be flexed for it to work again. It has to be used on a regular basis – tested so that it becomes a force that’s able to protect you from harm and lift you to heights you never knew were possible.

Stand up, pull up your panties and throw on your favorite outfit. And let’s do this – be strong because you CAN. Be strong because you must. Be strong, and get ready to take back your life!

You might also like to read Take Back Your Power: How to End People Pleasing, Stop Letting Life Happen to You and Start Getting What You Want.

What do you think? How do you manage to dig deep enough to find your inner strength? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Queen Bee QT: 7 Things to Avoid If You Want to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Queen Bee QT: 7 Things to Avoid If You Want to Keep Your Mind Sharp

“The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.” ~Terry Pratchett

mobile-social-heroRegardless of your age, you probably want to preserve your mental acuity for the rest of your life.

Thanks to research, scientists are getting an increasingly clear picture of the things people can do to ensure their brains keep working in top form.

Consider these strategies to ensure your mind is working as efficiently as possible. Incorporate as many of these methods as you can into your everyday life to keep your thinking razor-sharp.

Don’t Sit Around All the Time: Move Your Body Often

Engage in consistent exercise. Scientists continue to assert that performing regular aerobic activity, at least 30 minutes a day, is one of the best ways to keep your mind in good shape. You’re never too young or too old to get started on this one and keep up with it. When you exercise, you propagate healthy cells throughout your body.

And don’t forget – sitting is the new smoking. The more you move, the better. 

(Here are some ideas for getting moving! Personally, I’m currently addicted to my FitBit! Add me if you’re also a FitBit person – I’m under angyatkinson at gmail dot com.)

Don’t Take Shortcuts on Getting Your Nutrients: Eat REAL Healthy Food!

Eat right. When you eat small amounts spread out over the day, your system can better handle the food, resulting in healthier organs, including your brain. Recommended foods are those that are moderate in protein and fat and high in fiber. Build your day around practical eating habits that will ensure you’ll have a mind that’s sharp as a tack.

Don’t Take Supplements: Eat Real Food Instead

Researchers are discovering every day that the use of supplements does not provide everything your body needs. Get your vitamins the old-fashioned way by eating healthy foods.

Choose whole foods. Obtain as many of your vitamins and minerals from food products, rather than supplements and vitamins, as you can. The mind and body respond better to the real thing.

Don’t Get Sick: At Least Avoid It When You Can!

Avoid preventable diseases. If you can steer clear of diabetes, hypertension, and weight gain, your mind will thank you later. Researchers now believe that these illnesses that attack your body are also detrimental to your mental acuity.

Don’t Stay Up All Night: At Least Not Very Often!

Get good sleep. Did you know that chronic sleep issues are related somehow (scientists aren’t sure how) to cognitive decline? Therefore, if you want to stay sharp, get a consistent 7 to 8 hours per night.

Because you can’t really catch up on lost sleep in ways that matter to your brain, make it a goal each evening to get in bed, turn out the light, and go to sleep in plenty of time to get those golden hours of snooze.

Don’t Let Stress Beat You Down: Never Give Into Negative Emotions

Successfully manage your stress. Feeling more relaxed and stress-free is believed to help your memory and keep your brain functioning better. Take whatever steps necessary to banish your stress.

Practicing regular exercise, engaging in fulfilling activities during your time off, and enjoying love in your life keep your stress level down.

Don’t Think You Know It All: Never Stop Learning

Keep learning new things. Although the jury is still out on whether working crosswords, word games, and math challenges keep your mind fit, one clear fact is that education ensures a strong, healthy mind. Learn something new each day.

This year, take that small business class. Next year, join the local birding group to learn all about the local birds. If you want to have a quick mind, never stop learning.

All of these ideas are pragmatic things you can do to keep your brain in great shape. And most of them can be implemented today! Follow these suggestions and you’ll be rewarded with a razor-sharp mind.

Wanna know how I did this? Click the photo to be taken to your free download at Amazon.com!

Wanna know how I did this? Click the photo to be taken to the book on Amazon.com!

Feeling overwhelmed with your own weight loss efforts (or lack thereof)? Don’t – because you don’t have to – I already did it for you and figured out the whole deal – so instead, check out my book Project Blissful in which I detail how I went from a very unhealthy and unhappy size 24 to a much happier and healthier size 6. – and just FYI – while the book costs less than $3, I promise there’s nothing in it that requires you to buy a bunch of stuff  – but there is every single secret that I used and learned while I lost more than 100 pounds, as you can see in the photo here. 

What Guys in Their 20s Want in a Woman (According to Craigslist)

What Guys in Their 20s Want in a Woman (According to Craigslist)

Too $hortWhat do guys in their 20s really want from a woman? And what does any of that have to do with Craigslist?

You might not think of Craigslist as a scientific tool, but it really offers a certain amount of insight into the psychology of the people around us.

For example, ladies, if you’ve ever driven yourself crazy wondering what men really want, you’re not alone—but your answer could be right at your fingertips–  all it might take to find out is a quick check of some Craigslist ads.

Wait, what? Find out what guys in their 20s want…on Craigslist?

So, being the big research geek I am, I just had to know if Craigslist ads could give me a good idea of what men, in general, want. I took a look at a cross-section of men-for-women (M4W) ads on Craigslist in my local area in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Today, we’re looking at guys in their 20s want.

(Stay tuned for follow-up articles in this series to discuss the 30-60 somethings!)

What do guys in their 20s want in a woman?

While none of the men’s answers were identical, there were certain trends that could be noted, both across the board and within each age group, including, of course, our fearless 20-somethings.

Honest, Sincere and Must Love Bondage (Age 23)

A 23-year-old anonymous male posted this ad seeking “…that special woman that will respect and honor me. A woman that is honest, sincere, dedicated, good worker and loves to spend quality time with his man…family values and responsible. A woman that likes to enjoy the beautiful things of life, a woman that is willing to have one man in her life, a person I can trust…”

So far, so good, right?

Bondage collar

The young man goes on to reiterate that he wants a decent-looking, active, fun-loving woman who shold also have a nice body, no criminal history, financial stability and must like to travel.

Finally, he ends his ad with a note on cleanliness, followed by a very…touching proclamation: “You must love SEX because I really do..I’m a very SUBMISSIVE MALE in bed..I LOVE BONDAGE PLAY.”

Yep. Don’t knock each over trying to get to that one, ladies. Moving on…

Lover, Best Friend, No Baggage Please—But I’ll Take a High Schooler (Age 25)

High School Musical

Our 25-year-old Craigslister offers a bit more hope in the male side of our species. He says he likes “a girl I can do everything with. Lover, best friend, most trusted person in life.”

He adds that he’s not looking for “someone who wants to be casual, still focus on their friends all the time,” but that he’d prefer “someone who wants and needs one man to make them happy, and wants to make a man happy.”

But then he adds a little something extra that makes me cringe a little. His age restrictions, specifically, include “someone who is either a high school senior, college student or college grad with a good career.”

That whole “high school senior” part that gives me pause. I mean, seriously?

I realize that 18 and 25 aren’t that far apart, technically. But let’s be honest—there’s a lot of maturing that happens between those ages.

Finally, he adds that he’d really prefer someone “with no baggage like kids, drugs issues, crazy exes etc. Someone who isn’t afraid of scary movies and roller coasters but also isn’t afraid of showing their emotions and professing a faith in some higher power. Someone who likes the man to take the lead, but knows how to take it when its time.”

So, there’s that. Do with it what you will, ladies. And if you’re in high school, please stay away!

Smart, Confident and Perpetually Barefoot (Age 28)

barefeetThank goodness for this 28-year-old, who seems to be a decent guy looking for something real.

He made a very comprehensive list in his ad.

“1. My soul mate is faithful and honest.
2. She is confident in her own skin. Real women are beautiful regardless of her size.
3. She is perpetually barefoot or in flip flops.
4. She loves rocking jammies over getting dolled up. She also prefers an all natural look to wearing a bunch of makeup.
5. She is brash and bold, but in a loving way.
6. She is smart and witty.
7. She loves nature.
8. We share a ton of hobbies.
9. She is looking for her soul mate too.
10. She wants true love and will work hard for it.
11. She is African-American.”  ~Anonymous Craigslister, Age 28

Can’t find too much wrong with that one, can ya?

No Barbies, No Fatties and Don’t Be Too Short (Age 28)

Barbie's BBQ

“I don’t want a Barbie or a stick woman, (but) I don’t want an obese woman either,” says another Craigslister, Age 28.  “There are beautiful big women out there but it’s just not for me.”

He goes on to explain that he prefers Caucasian women, because he’s “never dated interracial and (has) no plans for it.”

“You don’t have to be 6 feet tall, but I don’t want to have to look to far down at you. I don’t mind if you’re divorced, but not looking to pay for your divorce either.”

And,  in case you wondered, he ended the post by noting that “everyone has their own taste and what they like; I won’t be everyone’s ideal mate.” Good insight.

Drug-Free, Childless 1950s Housewife (Age 28)

1950s Modern Kitchen, Electric Range, 1953

So, there are guys like this in every generation. It doesn’t make them bad, per se, it just makes them specific.

The good thing here is that you have the choice–if you don’t think you can fit into this guy’s mold without becoming someone you hate, then you don’t date this guy.

He prefers, according to his Craigslist ad, “a woman that isn’t one of these feminist new age liberal types.”

She should also be thin or athletic, and intelligent–however, she should not have a child or a smoking or drug habit.”

He adds that his ideal woman “just wants to be a man’s princess. The 1950s lifestyle, house wife etc…. that is what I seek.”

So how about you? What qualities do you (or would you like to) see in an ideal woman? What do men in their 20s want in a woman, as far as you see it? Are these guys unusual? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Eat Better: The Health Benefits of Organic Foods

Eat Better: The Health Benefits of Organic Foods

Organic foods have become easier and easier to obtain in recent years. Still, many consumers wonder if this type of food is healthy enough to be worth the often extra cost.

Many of the benefits of organic foods have come to consumers through word of mouth and the promotions put on by advocates of organic eating.

Fortunately, there has been research and several solid  arguments supporting the use of organic foods in everyday eating.Several recent studies on farms which produce organic foods determined that organic farms don’t release synthetic pesticides into the ground, the air and, most importantly, the water table.

Some of the inorganic, chemical pesticides are known to be harmful to wildlife and other animals. Organic farms also are superior to conventional farms when it comes to maintaining surrounding natural ecosystems. This includes, maintaining healthy populations of natural plants, insects and indigenous animals.

They also rotate crops more often to maintain a healthy soil. When researchers calculated the energy use per unit area or per unit of yield of organic food-producing farms, it was found that organic farms used less energy and generated less packaging and chemical waste than conventional produce farms.

The yield in organic produce farms is about 20 percent less when those farms used half the fertilizer and 97 percent less pesticide than conventional farming. Others feel that organically-used soil is of a higher quality and maintains higher water retention than farms that raise produce conventionally. This factor may improve the yield of organic farms during years when rainfall is less than average.

In one study on organic farming techniques, a comparison of an organic farm and a conventional farm during a drought
season, the yields of soybeans were between 50 and 90 percent better than the regular farms. Organic corn yields were
mixed but, on average, the farms were on par with conventional farms.

Consider the risk of pesticide exposure on farm workers. Farm workers on organic farms are spared the health risks of being
exposed to pesticides, which are great, even when used correctly. Pesticides made from organophosphates, in particular,
can cause serious acute health problems with over-exposure. Long term exposure, unfortunately, is associated with breathing
problems, memory problems, skin conditions, cancer, miscarriages and birth defects.

To make matters worse, those who eat food not grown in an organic fashion can be exposed to both pesticides and herbicides
that remain on the food. This is why all produce from conventional farms should be washed carefully. Exposure to certain
herbicides is known to cause birth defects, even in small doses. Sadly, one recent study showed that the greatest source
of pesticides in babies is through the dietary consumption of food not grown in an organic fashion.

On a happier note, another study found that a group of children who were switched from a regular diet to an organic diet
dramatically reduced their levels or organophosphate pesticide exposure. In addition, studies have shown that organic food
actually tastes better in taste tests than conventional food.

If you want to keep your family as healthy as possible, consider making the switch to organic foods. The benefits to the
environment and likely to your family’s health are considerable.

What do you think? Do you use organic foods? Will you now? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below. 

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