Rewrite Your Story After Narcissistic Abuse: This is where you begin (and pain ends)

Rewrite Your Story After Narcissistic Abuse: This is where you begin (and pain ends)

Travel deep inside yourself without the baggage of conditioning. Be an explorer, have patience and eventually your true nature will surface. You will return from your journey with fresh skin and you will approach each day with a wonderful sense of wonder and bliss. ~~Marco R. Capristo

Figure out who you are after narcissistic abuseWhether we recognize it or not, most everyone’s habits and behavior are a result of some form of conditioning – and for those who have experienced the painful and all-encompassing abuse that a narcissist is known for, the conditioning hasn’t always been in our best interest. 

Related: Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? Find out. 

It begins when we’re small children–our parents’ opinions of us begin to help us form our own perceptions of ourselves. If we’re cursed with narcissistic parents, our perceptions are skewed, twisted…often, plain wrong. 

That’s because children are sponges – they absorb everything in their environment, including and especially the opinions of their parents and other prominent people in their lives. 

If they tell us we’re beautiful, we believe that we are–but if they tell us we’re horrible and sick, we’ll believe that too.

And it doesn’t end there–add in the opinions of your teachers, siblings and friends…and later those of your spouse, your bosses and coworkers, neighbors and don’t forget that lady at the dry cleaner’s last week.

All of this “conditioning,” left unchecked, can sometimes add up to a very negative self image–especially if you don’t know that you don’t have to accept it.

And, we become what we perceive–we are what we believe we are.

Here’s the thing, friend. I’ve been saying this for years, and I don’t mean to nag. But please, take just a second and really focus on this next sentence. 

You don’t have to accept someone else’s judgment, perception or opinion of you.

You get to write your own story.

 You feel me? But seriously, go back and read it one more time if you need to – it’s that important. And, while you’re at it – tweet it out to your friends. 

Fact is, you can be whomever and whatever you choose. All you have to do is believe that you can–really believe it. I mean, feel it down to your bones. And then, believe that you’re receiving it, that you’ve already received it. Own it–because it’s yours if you want it.

Bliss Mission: Choose Your Own Story

9316349-77549111_23-s1-v1Today, I challenge you to take a look at the people around you–those you love, those you like and even those who present certain struggles. Remember your childhood, and the people you spent time with during that time.

Now, think of all the perceptions they had about you. Your parents? Your friends? Others?

Then, think about you. Have you adopted someone else’s opinion of who you are? Or have you constantly struggled against it? Do you feel guilty for being who you are, because you haven’t become what someone else wanted you to become?

Read also: Gaslighting, Love Bombing and Flying Monkeys

Most of us can identify with this feeling on some level, I suspect, but most especially those who have been negatively affected by a narcissist’s gaslighting and abuse in relationships. 

This next part is the hardest part of all, so I hope you’re sitting down.

It’s time to begin to release the negative self-perceptions you’ve held on to for years.

Related: Do you believe what you think you believe? Rediscover yourself after narcissistic abuse. 

BREATHE! This is going to FEEL very difficult, but once you realize how much better your life is going to be, you’re going to wonder why you’ve waited so long. Are you ready for this? 

It’s finally time to let go of every disapproving look, veiled insult and rude comment.

It’s time to wash away the well-intentioned but misguided attempts to save (read: change to fit someone else’s idea of perfect) your soul, your sense of fashion and your sense of justice.

I know what you’re thinking. Probably something along the lines of “Yeah, sure, and how would you propose I go about THAT?” Well, you know me – I’ve got an answer. 

And, if you know me well, you know that it works – because it’s how I survived my own narcissistic abuse situation. 

Try this.

Today, every time you have a negative thought about yourself, take notice and change your mind. 

Cancel the thought, and intentionally replace it with an affirmation of your true desires. So, if you t9316303-77549111_23-s1-v1hink to yourself, “I am always late,” notice it. Then, mentally cancel the thought and affirm, “I am always on time.”

Perception is everything, people. And you can change yours at will. 🙂 Good stuff, yes? I think so. I’ll leave you with a final thought to get your wheels turning as you begin to release any negative perceptions you’ve held about yourself.

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”~ Carlos Castaneda

Do not allow the simplicity of this tip make you doubt its power – this is one of those things that WORKS – changing your perception intentionally, and with a little practice, not only will you see results fast, but you’ll soon realize how much control you really DO have over your own life. 

Are you ready to rewrite your story? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below! Let’s talk about this. 

 

Are you being gaslighted? 10 things you need to know if you love a narcissist

Are you being gaslighted? 10 things you need to know if you love a narcissist

If you’re dealing with a narcissist or otherwise toxic family member or friend, you’ve probably got a lot of someone else’s thoughts floating around in your head.

You might think you’re not good enough.

You might think that your feelings and thoughts aren’t genuine or relevant to the world, and you might even feel like a big fake when you do try to follow your dreams, simply because you’ve heard for so long that you’re not worthy, whether directly or indirectly.

If you’re struggling with a toxic relationship, especially a family-based one, you may have had so much conditioning that you aren’t even sure which way is up.

The first step to healing is to start within your own head. You have to change those thoughts and limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

Let’s start here.

When I was in my own toxic family situation, I struggled with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and more. I felt like nothing I did or said was genuine or worth knowing about, like I had to hide who I was in order to conform to the expectations of my toxic family member.

But I learned some important lessons as I began the healing process, and I want to share them with you. If you’re currently in this situation, you may have never heard these things–and when you first read them, you probably won’t even believe them. But these are truths–and you keep reading them until you get it.

Changing your mind will help you to change your life. I’m living proof it works.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship with a Narcissist or Sociopath

  1. You are a real person with legitimate concerns, thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.
  2. You are good enough.
  3. You don’t need anyone’s approval or endorsement to help you succeed. You can get validation through success in your own, self-dictated endeavors.
  4. It isn’t about you and that it isn’t your fault. You aren’t bad or broken.
  5. You can literally do almost anything you want to do if you simply decide to do so. If you choose to do it, you’ll be compelled to take inspired action and you will make it happen.
  6. You have something real to offer the world. You matter. You have value.
  7.  You can be exactly what you choose to be and choosing your own identity does not make you selfish, lazy, entitled or otherwise unsavory.
  8. You get to choose my own identity every day. You decide who you are and how far you go.
  9. You can compromise for someone you love to a certain point when it’s time to choose your priorities and choose a path. But compromise means that both parties bend and both parties are satisfied with the outcome. It’s not compromising to give up what you truly want in order to make someone else happy or to keep them from getting angry at you.
  10. If you were to walk away from the toxic relationship, the world would not end. But it will be very difficult, and you’ll have a lot of soul-searching to do. Personally, I had to reexamine everything I understood to be true.

take back your powerNeed help with feeling powerful when you’re dealing with an extremely toxic narcissist?

Check out my book – Take Back Your Power: How to End People People Pleasing, Stop Letting Life Happen to You and Start Getting What You Want. 

About the book: Do you find yourself giving all you’ve got and people still want more? Do you sometimes do without what you want or need in order to keep the people around you happy? Are you afraid to deal with confrontation and do you often find it easier to just go with the flow in order to keep the peace?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a people pleaser. Many people pleasers are also very empathic people, who are especially attractive to toxic types who love to take advantage every chance they get.

In this book, you’ll learn how to stop feeling the need to make everyone else happy and start figuring out what makes you happy, personally, and really – not someone else’s idea of what’s supposed to make you happy,

Listen up: you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else. Stop beating yourself up and start embracing your personal power. Take your life back starting today!

 

Celeb QB: Reese Witherspoon Gets Real on Being Mom

Celeb QB: Reese Witherspoon Gets Real on Being Mom

I feel very blessed to have two wonderful, healthy children who keep me completely grounded, sane and throw up on my shoes just before I go to an awards show just so I know to keep it real.” ~Reese Witherspoon

reese witherspoonActress/mom/goddess Reese Witherspoon recently “got real” about parenthood in an interview with Southern Living magazine.

“No one’s really doing it perfectly,” Witherspoon told the mag’s editor-at-large, Jenna Bush Hager.

“I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can,” she says. “But, you know, right now I’m feeling sad missing my little 2-year-old [Tennessee], and my daughter [Ava]s about to finish her freshman year of high school, and my son [Deacon] has a golf tournament this weekend that I hope I don’t miss.”

But, the actress says, her kids are pretty supportive.

“There are some sacrifices you make, and it hurts your heart sometimes,” she says “But my kids tell me they’re proud of what I’ve accomplished, and that just means everything. I grew up with a working mom, and I have so much respect for the things she did as a nurse and a teacher. I would never begrudge her that.”

Southern Values Still in Place

I can’t lie – I’ve always loved me some Reese Witherspoon. Between her fashion sense and her hot-mom-ness, who wouldn’t love her? (And I have a serious affinity for the whole Legally Blonde thing – but ONLY the Reese version!).

But the Sweet Home Alabama star’s strong ethics and liberal Southern values are being passed along to her kids – I love it. Growing up, Witherspoon said her parents were strict but “incredibly loving,” adding that “We had family dinner every night. That’s a big thing I learned from my grandmother, to spend time with your kids and listen to their dreams.”

‘And, of Southern women, Witherspoon says she knows only strong ones.

“I don’t know a weak Southern woman. My mom says if you want something done, then ask a Southern woman,” she says.

My step-daughter didn’t want me to marry her father: How I Survived

My step-daughter didn’t want me to marry her father: How I Survived

Stock Photo

Stock Photo

Oh boy! Oh boy! I was in for a morning like I had never thought possible a few weeks ago. I woke up as normal and went about my morning routine, starting with getting the kids awake and in the shower.

Then I’m making breakfast and packing lunches.

And making beds and answering the every day question.

“Do I have to go to school today?”

So, while putting away the clean dishes from the dishwasher, I was talking to the smallest of my bunch, my youngest daughter and my new step-daughter, who were both being very engaging that morning.

We were laughing and getting ready for our day.

The Planner Incident

Every school day the kids bring home a planner that you are supposed to sign saying you saw it and read the information it gives you from school. I have never been a step-mother before.

I have signed many planners before this one, and still do so daily though. I had just recently married and we were starting to blend our families together. My step-daughter is with us half of the time and her mother the other half. I never signed her school planner before we were married because I did not think it was my place to do so.

However, after the wedding my husband suggests to me that I sign my step-daughter’s planner now that we were married and I had a new name. I thought it would be a good way to become more of an integrated part of her life so I proudly signed my new married name in my new step-daughter’s planner feeling happy and proud of my new beginnings. I even signed her planner the next day as well. Yay for new right? Not so much.

I did not think of the implication my actions of signing her planner would cause. It’s just signing a planner right? No… no, no it is not just that. It was so much more and I had no clue.

My smiley morning of oatmeal, kids, and cleaning up stopped when I opened my step-daughter’s planner. Upon flipping to the correct date I noticed the week before and stopped.

You know that week of Yay, you are all fantastic and life is fantastic and everyone loves everyone?

Yeah,  all of that came to a very abrupt halt.

I saw my name. That new name I had just gotten and was so proud of…scratched out. My step-daughter scratched out my new married name. Then again on the next day she scratched it out and her mother wrote her name over mine….. *sigh*

I died just a little inside. Here I was only married for 8 days and THIS was happening?

Holy sheesh, I wanted to cry. I didn’t understand. Weren’t we just joking and laughing and eating breakfast and getting along fine 5 seconds ago?

Had I ever noticed my step-daughter display anything but love and acceptance over the past year and a half before I married her father? I couldn’t recall anything that would cause her to do this. I was stunned.

What I Did Next

Turning around I flipped the planner over showing the kids what happened and asked what was this scribbling on the page?

My new step-daughter instantly starts crying into her Cheerios and I realize that was the wrong thing to do. My youngest just looks at me and I leave the room immediately feeling confused and knowing there was a better way I should have handled the situation.

I texted my husband at work. I told him what was going on and asked if he knew anything about it. I have to admit I freaked out a little bit with him.

He immediately called me and said that he had no idea and acted shocked this was happening. I did not know where to turn next.

In the meantime, my youngest daughter comes downstairs and says that she knows why my new step-daughter is upset and my daughter wants to talk. She says that my step-daughter always wanted her parents to get back together and so she did not want me to marry her father.

She said she told her mother and her grandmother (mother’s mother) about this and they had both previously told her father about her feelings and discouraged him from marrying me a few days before the wedding. I quickly thanked her for the information and then ushered her back upstairs so I could process all of this.

I was grateful that I had a starting point. If you know what the problem is then you have a better shot at fixing it. I was worried why my husband didn’t tell me all of this but deep down I totally understood too.

I didn’t even have to ask him to know that he was only trying to protect me. So, I texted him back at work and he told me that yes, he had known and that we were going though everything with the wedding and he didn’t want me to worry about something I didn’t need to worry about, how he wanted to be with me, and how he had talked to his daughter about this and thought it was all resolved.

Very apparent this was not resolved by the morning I was having.

I quickly tapped into my resources at home and called my oldest teenage daughter downstairs to ask her opinion. I told her about what had just happened in the kitchen and asked her what she thought would be best.

Love this kid of mine…

 

My Daughter’s Advice

She said that if she was in the same position and the same age she would want someone to sit her down and tell her like it is. Not to sugar coat anything because that’s not how life is. Don’t treat her with kid gloves, I am helping to raise another mature and responsible adult now. I need to treat my step-daughter like I would treat my own children. My daughter has such wisdom for a young adult.

I knew my oldest daughter was right that I had to tell my step-daughter the truth but with compassion, understanding, and love. I can “tell it like it is” all day to my own kids but they know me.

Telling It Like It Is

 

With this being the first time I had to help raise another person’s child I thought maybe she should know where my messages come from… the heart. I needed her to know that when I say something it’s not because I want to be bossy or take her mother’s place. It is because I love her and I want her to become a successful adult.

I found my confidence again with being a mother and a part of this family. I texted my husband one more time and told him that I was going to have a chat with my step-daughter regarding what happened this morning. He totally supported my decision to do so.

A Resolution: The Talk

I decided that since she was the last person to be dropped of at school each morning that gave us a normal time we are alone together every day to talk. She won’t feel like I am singling her out or pulling her aside.

Since she is the last one out of the car she sits behind me in the car. This allowed us to have our chat and her not to see me, I thought she might be more comfortable talking if she wasn’t staring directly at my face.

The plan of attack and time of occurrence had been decided so I was ready to go back upstairs and face life once again.

I walked up with a basket of clean laundry to put away acting like I was just doing my normal thing in the basement. I sneaked a peek at my step-daughter to see if there were anymore tears and thankfully there were not.

I got my kids all in jackets and ushered them out to the car on our way to school. My heart was racing and I didn’t know what I would say. I knew I had minutes before this big life changing conversation with a child was supposed to start and I felt like I needed to puke.

All of a sudden everyone was out of the car and only my step-daughter and I were left. I pulled out of the high school parking lot and onto the road heading to the next school.

I stumbled. I sat quiet. I knew I had to talk. By the time we hit the light I told myself that I was counting to 3 and then starting because the words were not willing to come out on their own. 1… 2… 3…

What I Said

I opened with, “I thought maybe we should talk about this morning and your feelings.”

Great start, good job, keep going, I told myself – a quick pep-talk I gave myself when the next sentence wouldn’t come out.

However, as soon as I got the courage to start talking it was easy. I told her I knew why she scratched my name out of her planner.

I said I understood how she feels about wanting her parents to get back together. I explained to her that I felt the same way when I was a kid. That when my mom and dad got divorced I wanted so much for them to get back together.

Even when my mom remarried a terrific guy who became my step-dad, even though I really liked that guy and his kids, even though I saw my mom was happy and I was happy, I still wanted my parents to get back together.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t love my new family or my old family. That simply meant I wanted my mom and dad. Because I do love my step-dad and I think he is great. But I just wanted my mom and dad.

I told her that I wanted my mom and dad to get back together all the way until I was an adult because it is hard to understand the “why” when you are a kid. Why some relationships just don’t work out.

Sometimes two people don’t get along no matter how much they love each other. That unfortunately relationships can end and the best things that came out of them are the beautiful children.

Then I took a deep breath and continued. We were pulling onto the street of her school so I had to make it quick.

I continued.

I told her that it’s perfectly normal to feel the way she feels and that no one loves her less because of it. That we know she doesn’t love us less because of this either. I told her that I love her and her dad.

I said that I will be there for the two of them for the rest of my life and that will never change. I stressed that her mother and her father and myself we all love her and understand her feelings and only want her to be happy.

I wanted her to understand I was not mad at all. That I was empathetic to the situation and related to her directly. I wanted her to know that I was supportive of her feelings as well. I was afraid that she thought the way she felt was not normal.

I needed her to know that her feelings were normal but her father and I were married now. I am a part of her life, not as a replacement parent but as a friendly guide with a mothering hand. I had to know that she knew I loved her and I wasn’t ever going to punish her for the way she felt even if it hurt me.

I support her and her feelings.

When she got out of the car I hugged her and told her I loved her. She was quiet during the ride but she looked at me while we were standing there in those few short seconds and said she understood and she thanked me for talking to her. She was smiling.

SUCCESS!

I have never been a step-mother. I have no clue how to start, where to start, and what not to do. I am learning this new role in my life each and every day. However, I am going to trip and fall and have to pick myself back up I’m sure.

But that little girl, my NEW DAUGHTER, will see nothing but me trying as hard as I can to do what’s right for her and for us. I am excited to have another little life to help gently guide. I will not fail her.


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101 Easy Ways to Brighten Anyone’s Day

101 Easy Ways to Brighten Anyone’s Day

“Thoughts are sending out that magnetic signal that is drawing the parallel back to you.” – Dr. Joe Vitale

You know how I’m always talking about how you get back “what you put out there,” right? Like Joe Vitale says, it starts with the thoughts, but then it flows through your actions too. 

One simple way to get good back in your life is to put a little good out there. So why not start by brightening someone’s day?

From the checkout lady at the grocery store to your one true love (and everyone in between), there’s something you can do to brighten nearly anyone’s day. It’s simple, easy and can actually make YOUR life better too. What do you have to lose? 

Here are 101 different ways you can do that off the top of my head.

  1. Smile and look them in the eye.
  2. Say hello when you pass by.
  3. Strike up a conversation if it feels right.
  4. Compliment their outfit.
  5. Ask about their day.
  6. Send a handwritten thank you note.
  7. Like their Facebook pic and make a nice comment.
  8. Retweet them.
  9. Read their blog and share their link with a comment.
  10. Bring them flowers.
  11. Do their dishes.
  12. Encourage their dreams.
  13. Tell them they’re amazing.
  14. Offer to babysit their kid so they can have a few hours to themselves.
  15. Text them a funny meme during a boring or stressful meeting.
  16. Be interested in whatever they’re talking about.
  17. Brag about them and their accomplishments. Make sure they see or hear it.
  18. Pay for their coffee.
  19. Bring them breakfast in bed.
  20. Take their dog for a walk.
  21. Clean their cat’s litter box.
  22. Carry their groceries.
  23. Pay for their groceries.
  24. Tell them what you like/love about them.
  25. Notice their new haircut.
  26. Acknowledge their efforts.
  27. Celebrate their accomplishments.
  28. Be there to pick them up when they fall.
  29. Mow their lawn.
  30. Help them move.
  31. Pass along a good tip that makes their days easier.
  32. If you find something you know they’ll love, pick one up for them.
  33. Hold their hand.
  34. Give them a massage.
  35. Watch their favorite movie with them.
  36. Listen to whatever they have to say and offer solid feedback.
  37. Take them out for a night on the town.
  38. Teach them to dance.
  39. Cook them dinner.
  40. Take them out to dinner.
  41. Compliment their cooking skills.
  42. Ask for their help with something they love.
  43. Introduce them to a new friend.
  44. Be really happy for them when something good happens in their lives.
  45. Help them get ready for their next party.
  46. Have a party in their honor.
  47. Say I love you.
  48. Say I like you.
  49. Offer specific reasons for why you like or love them.
  50. Recognize when they do something nice and say thank you.
  51. Make them feel important.
  52. Share your dessert with them.
  53. Take them to lunch on you.
  54. Surprise them with ice cream when they least expect it.
  55. Be their workout partner. And really follow through.
  56. Devote an entire hour to their happiness – and make it all about them.
  57. Take them out for a mani/pedi on you.
  58. Take them to the movies.
  59. Show up with Chinese food, a couple DVDs and a bottle of their favorite wine.
  60. Support them when they feel sad.
  61. Offer brilliant insight into their lives that helps them become better people.
  62. Instead of criticism, offer unconditional acceptance. Watch them blossom.
  63. Play hooky with them one day.
  64. Take care of them with they’re sick.
  65. Baby them when they need it.
  66. Let them have their space when they want it.
  67. Give in if it’s not that serious.
  68. Explain why you won’t give in if it is serious.
  69. Ask their advice.
  70. Let them play with your toys. (This one’s my 6-year-old’s idea, but it’s a good one.)
  71. Buy them a kitten or puppy.
  72. Give them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.
  73. Buy them a day at the spa.
  74. Go with them to the spa.
  75. Love their friends.
  76. Love their family members.
  77. Have their baby.
  78. Buy them a house.
  79. Buy them a car.
  80. Tell the world you love them.
  81. Marry them.
  82. Steal then away for a surprise vacation.
  83. Buy them a month’s supply of weight loss supplements (if they have a preferred brand).
  84. Tell them they are perfect as they are and that you wouldn’t change a thing.
  85. Let it slide sometimes.
  86. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  87. Trust their judgment.
  88. Let them order your dinner.
  89. Take an interest in their passions.
  90. Throw a birthday party for them.
  91. Play a game with them.
  92. Take a great pic of them and post it on Facebook. Tell everyone how beautiful they are.
  93. Clean their glasses.
  94. Leave generous tips.
  95. Tell them they’re doing a great job.
  96. Tell their bosses they’re doing a great job.
  97. Offer a great review of their products or services.
  98. Go to their housewarming party and bring the perfect gift.
  99. Show up for them.
  100. Cheer them on.
  101. Take them rollerblading and don’t laugh when they fall.
 
 What other ways can you think of to brighten someone’s day? Share them with the QB community in the comments section, below. 
 
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