My Mother the Murderer

I made a conscious decision many years ago to not be a victim and to overcome all the abuse I endured as a child.  I’ve spent a lot of time working on myself, and instead of taking the easy, less painful route of self exploration,  I exposed my demons to the light and tried to make something of my life.  Its been a long and painful experience, but definitely well worth the positive outcome.  I’m pretty happy with my life, but of course, there is always room for improvement.

Yesterday I had a reminder of where I come from.  My adoptive mother was not only a liar, a drug addict, and a drunk, but she also ran an illegal abortion clinic and illegally sold children.  I knew she was arrested for dealing amphetamines in 1970 and spent nearly 2 years in Ventura county jail.  I also knew she was arrested for abortions and numerous DUI’s, but I didn’t know she was arrested for murder.

Back in the late 80’s she hooked up with another scammer, Dr. Milos Klvana.  He had lost all of his doctor hospital privileges, had his medical license revoked, and had opened up a birthing clinic in Southern California.  I met Milos a few times as a teen and he reminded me of a very charming snake oil salesman. Turns out he was worse then that.  Doc, my adoptive mother, went into business with him, and together they scammed people into doing cheap births in their clinic.  They took in all kinds of high risk patients without even having proper equipment like oxygen and heart monitors.  Instead, they would let these women suffer through long, stressful births and then finally inject them with Pictosin. This would then artificially dilate the the woman and force  the baby out.  What happened in nine of those cases, the baby was stressed and there was brown fluid emitted during labor.  Its basic common medical knowledge that meconium is a very serious sign that the baby is in danger.  Fetuses may pass stools (meconium) in response to stress, such as a lack of oxygen.  If it is aspirated into the lungs they will die – and that is what happened to nine of the babies they delivered.  Whats worse is that Doc and Dr. Klvana scared the parents into not taking the babies to the hospital, and when the babies died, they tried to convince them to NOT file a report.  Dr. Klavana disposed of one of the babies bodies in the trash, another one he told the mother to bury the body in the back yard.  Dr. Klvana got 53 to life, Doc lost her license and was put on probation.  She must have had a better lawyer or thrown Klvana under the bus.

I’m sure this is not the only time Doc committed murder; she was a selfish liar, a scammer, and a narcissist with a violent temper. Sandy always promised me that when Doc died she would tell me all the horrible and illegal things Doc did. Its probably a good thing she never did.    Doc NEVER took the blame for anything, ever.  There was an excuse, and a lie for all over her behavior. And if you didn’t believe that, she would get violent and report to shouting and hitting.  Its what narcissists do.

The liberation in this finding is that I can finally admit that my adoptive mother was a monster, and so Sandy since she knew about illegal and immoral activities Doc did.  I’m DONE making excuses for their crappy behavior! All my live I have have justified, minimized, and said things like “well they weren’t that bad.”  No, they where! They were that bad and then some!  They abused me, neglected me, called me names, illegally adopted me, abandoned me, and lied to me.  It was that bad! They are evil monsters and they chose to do bad things. What they did is their problem and not mine any more.

I will not be a victim.  I will not allow them to control my life.  I will chose to work through this just like I’ve worked through everything else.  I will use self help books, professional therapy, talking to friends, and with the dear help of my motorcycle.  I will not allow their shit to ruin my life.  I wont.  Its my decision.  I chose to make heaven out of their hell.  I am free to fly out of their ashes and let them burn.erik-hoepfner-rise-from-the-ashes

Links are to the cases against Dr. Lucile Schober and Dr. Milos Klvana

People VS Klvana http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/4th/11/1679.html

A blog about how Doc almost killed some other woman baby http://www.xenu.net/archive/personal_story/cheryl_s/cheryl02b.html

Gladys Root – Docs lawyer, lover, and partner in crime: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Root

 

Meeting Manson

I was only 4, but I vividly remember being awestruck by this long-haired, bohemian beauty that stopped by our home/office in Pacoima, California. She wore a long flowing skirt made out of mis-mismatched materials and a short top that exposed her flat belly.  Even at that young age, I knew I wanted to grow up and be her; a free spirited  natural beauty that could cause men to move mountains just with a smile. 2b9e15891c30dcd892be3fed022f0514

The beautiful gypsy asked for a brief meeting with my adoptive mother, Doc.  Doc was a strong willed, independent women who graduated from medical school in 1941. Doc struggled in a man’s world, and she had a hard time being taken seriously, but she plowed through and paved the way for other women doctors.  I’d have to make the assumption though, based on what she told me later in life, that she delivered babies cheaply at her office or in the home, and did illegal abortions as a way to make ends meet.   When she was sober she was full of bravado and spoke of the abortion as just “removing a blob, it’s not anything but tissue.” But get some drinks in her and she would cry over lost lives.  I feel that part of the reason she drank excessively and took drugs was to not feel the guilt the of murdering a child, but I’m sure being a lesbian in that time didn’t help matters.

I remember watching the beautiful fairy saunter out of the house and I wanted to follow her; I  wanted to be as free and alluring as she was

Doc looked down at me with a puzzled look.  “Well, that was strange.”


“What Doci”  (I never called my mom, mom, I called her Doci)

“Well, I guess I’m pretty famous for doing home births with this commune of hippies near Simi Valley and they want me to come out and deliver their babies.”

She seemed to proud in the fact of being well known.

“Stefi, you wanna go for a ride?”

I was always eager to go any place and shook my head quickly up and down.

Doc smiled, “Well ok lets go.”

Doc got me dressed and we hopped into the blue Ford wagon and headed down Van Nuys Blvd to Denonshire then up Topanga Canyon and finally a left turn onto the old road to Simi Valley.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“There is supposed to be a ranch out here on the old road on the left. Keep your eyes out for someplace that is supposed to look like an old movie set.”

Now I was really excited, a real movie set!  My vivid imagination immediately dreamed up Indians riding around on beautiful appaloosa  and pinto horses, and when I got there they’d want me to be in the movie too.

I looked out at the rolling hills and day dreamed, but then suddenly started feeling afraid.  I didn’t know why, but I wanted Doc to stop and turn around.  I didn’t want to go there any more.

“That must be it” Doc said.

I looked and the buildings looked like they where right out of a cowboy movie , but instead of excited I feel cold inside.

Doc turned left onto the dirt road and my anxiety and fear grew. This didn’t look like a cowboy movie at all. There where hippies all over the place and they seemed like mindless zombies as they walked around the set.  Their blank faces scared me. At 4 I didn’t know how to interpret what was going on, but I know I was very frightened.

Doc seemed to be uneasy now as she told me sternly,  “You stay right here in the car. Make sure you lock the doors and don’t let anyone in but me, understand? No one!”

I nodded.

“No one, do you understand me?” she raised her voice for emphasis.

I wanted to scream “LETS GO” but instead I meekly said “yes.”

She shut the door and I locked it behind her.

A tall, scraggly looking man came over to Doc and motioned for her to wait there in front of the car.  Everything seemed so weird and I just wanted go to.  A few minutes later a short man with wild hair and crazy eyes walked over to her. I was petrified with fear just looking at this man. I could “see” his evil.  I remember thinking, “how cant people tell he’s pure evil?”  Somehow, at 4 years old, I knew this man had destructive and heinous soul.  The whole time my mom stood there talking to him, as strong and brave as she was, I was afraid for her life.

Doc was pissed off when she got back into the car.

“Just who in the hell does that jerk think he is? Asking me, a doctor, to deliver his babies for free to be part of some stupid cause?  That stupid son of a bitch, I should have punched him in the face”

Doc complained about most of the way home.

That moment burned a memory deeply into my mind.  I forever wonder ed how all those people could not tell Charlie was pure evil. How didn’t they see it? Feel it? Maybe they did.  Maybe they just hated society and its rules so much that they choose to be with someone who preached hatred for all things “normal.”  Whatever the reasons, they all chose to follow Charlie and act out in the worse possible way – murdering innocent people.  I look back now and I cant believe that the beautiful gypsy believed in Charlie’s bullshit too.   I guess there are certain people that will blindly follow anyone no matter how evil or how grotesque their beliefs are.  Charlie’s group never questioned, they just followed blindly.  One thing I learned in all this,  if someone gives you the creeps, it’s a real feeling and believe in it. Get away while you can.  I also learned to never be a follower; don’t blindly let other people tell you what to do and how to live your life.  Instead, be a free and critical thinker.

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Committing to Change

Every year people make resolutions about wanting something different to happen, but rarely do those dreams become reality. Why is that?

In the dead of winter in 1998 in the high mountains of Tahoe, California, my fiancé had just dumped me in the worst possible way.  As we sat across from the dining room table he looked me right in the eyes, and without a hint or resentment or guilt, he told me “I never loved you. I think I just felt sorry for you.”  We had been engaged and living together for the past year and we had our ups and downs, but I never expected this.  I was shocked, stunned, hurt, and horribly embarrassed.  How could I not see this coming?  As I cried he looked at me with dead eyes and said, “I need you to move out.”  I was working two jobs and barely had money to survive let alone move out on my own.   He added “now.”  I just sat there crying as he walked off.

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What had just happened? I thought he loved me? We were engaged after all and our relationship seemed fine. Where did this come from so suddenly?  I blamed myself and I fell into a deep depression – I hated me.  I told my ex I had no money to move and he’d have to help me with a first and last for rent, he declined.  He told me I could live in his cold basement until I could figure it out, and that I needed to borrow money from someone and get out soon.  I went out and hustled until I was working 7 days a week to earn extra cash.  In the mean-time he made my life hell by either completely ignoring me at the house or being hostile toward me.  He would come home late and be gone all weekend without a word. I lived for 2 months of this abuse before I could scrape enough money to move out.

Over that two months I had time to grieve the relationship and piece together that he had been cheating on me and this was his way of ending it. Looking back I see how I did not deserve that kind of ending, but at the time I felt I deserved it for being such a bad person.  I was surprised to find that I was much happier living alone in my studio apartment.  I spent more time at the gym, hiking, and reading.  I also had free time to contemplate my life; where I am, where I had been, where I was going.  One day I made a list of all the relationships I had ever been in and I was horrified at what I saw.  I had been in one abusive relationship after another since I was 15.  Could this really be?  It had been 19 years since my first boyfriend, and I could not come up with a single one that had not abused me in one way or another. With that realization, I sank into a deep depression.  I lost all interest in everything I enjoyed. I was miserable at work.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  I felt like the scum of the earth that must somehow deserve this kind of horrible life.

I was laying in my bed one Sunday morning and I thought “I wish I would just die” and I meant it.  I was tired of the abusive relationships, tired of not getting anywhere in life, and tired of being 34 with no degree, no good job, and nothing to show for my years on this planet.  I laid in bed the entire day feeling sorry for myself.  In this fog of depression I had a thought. “Why do I keep dating abusive men?”  It got me to thinking that I must have some sort of glitch that attracts me to these abusers. But why?  On that day I committed to figuring out why I had spent 19 years being abused.

I went to the library and got self-help books.  I read the old classics like Psycho-unknownCybernetics and Your Erroneous Zone . This was the start of changing my life.  I couldn’t seem to shake the depression so I decided to find a therapist.  I quickly learned on my income I could not afford therapy I had remembered seeing a free group for survivors of domestic violence.  I found the number and made the call.  I was in group therapy that next week.  Even though I had admitted to myself that I was in abusive relationships, I could not get myself to admit I was a victim of domestic violence.  I mean, a few guys hit me, but mostly guys verbally abused me anunknownd thats not the same right?  As I listened to the women tell their stories, I realized that they were also verbally abused like me.  After 6 weeks in the class I finally figured out that verbal abuse is the same as physical; it destroys your self-esteem, your self-worth, and makes you feel worthless.  I connected with the therapist who led the class and I started seeing her for free at the County Mental Health office.  I made a commitment to go to therapy to help with my depression and figure out why I was attracted to abusive men.

For the first time in my life I talked about my childhood abuse to another human being.  I talked about my rape at 3 years old by a neighbor, my abusive, drunken lesbian parents, my molestation at 10 by my 42 year old neighbor, and being drugged and raped by two men in Vegas for hours.  I completely fell apart.  I felt worse.  I felt sorry for myself. Why me?  Why is God punishing me? What did I do to deserve this screwed up life? I felt suicidal.

As horrible as I felt, I committed to stick with individual therapy and group therapy.  I also committed to take suicide off the table and deal with my feelings. It sucked, but I did it.  I realized I fantasized about suicide just because I didn’t want to feel.  I spent my entire life avoiding, denying, and minimizing my feelings. I spent years drinking, drugging, partying, and doing anything I could to not feel.  I stopped all the drugs and drink at 22, but I kept avoiding with abusive dramatic relationships , overeating, under eating, and over exercising  I’d do any activity that keep me out of the feelings.  Therapy was very uncomfortable. It was about feeling your feelings, no matter what they are.  I felt so vulnerable and raw during that first year, but I stuck with it.  I decided and then committed to getting well.

Fast forward to today, another 19 years later and have come so far in my life.  I am so grateful about the decision I made to get better and then committing to that decision.  I have a fairly happy life, a healthy relationship, and a very stable and fulfilled life now.  I still go to therapy on occasion, I still read self-help books, I still work on making my life better all the time. Growth never stops. There is no “happily ever after” once I get skinny, get implants, get rich, or have a perfect relationship.  A happy life is about progression and moving forward, not one perfect moment in time.  My happiness comes from having an idea about what would make my life even more fulfilled, making a decision to move toward that, then making a plan and committing to change.

As I look at the calendar for 2017 I see lots of room for more commitments – things I am willing to make time for. I can’t just wish to get fit this year, I have to commit the time to go to the gym, hike, and do yoga and then make a schedule and put it on the calendar. From there it becomes habit by doing, as well as being my own coach and reminding myself I made a commitment to change.  I’m grateful that I found the key to my success – I make a decision and then commit to change, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult.  Like Nike says, “Just do it,” no matter how painful.  Here’s to another 19 years of commitment to growth!

Self-Imposed Suffering and Letting Go

Some of my suffering in life comes from the inability to let certain things go.  When I find out first hand that someone is a liar, scammer, cheater, abuser, or harms people or animals, I feel compelled to scream it from the roof tops. I have a quirk in my character in that I have high exceptions of people and I expect them to be honest, fair, trustworthy, and to do the right thing even when no one is looking.  I do NOT expect people to dress a certain way, or act a certain way, or have a certain amount of money,  but I do expect them to be decent human beings.

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I’ll be totally honest, my ranting about these people sometimes is, in a small part, retaliation for the harm they have done to me. But truth be told, my bigger reason is a deep desire to hopefully keep others from being harmed by these opportunists.  I want to make sure everyone knows that this person is a repeated liar, scammer, or is abusive. I don’t necessarily want to assassinate their character, but instead, to warn others and keep them from harm, or at least let them make a decision based on facts before deciding to befriend or date this person. If they choose to move forward then I feel that they at least have the full picture of who this person really is and what to expect.

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I try, and it’s not easy, to let everyone live the way they want. As long as it’s sane, safe, and consensual, it’s no business of mine.  I try to remind myself of the power of words and of the harm that can be done through speech.  Even the bible warns to not “wrong one another” (Lev. 25:17) through speech. In Judaism there are a few exceptions when tale-bearing is allowed, or even required.

“A person is also required to reveal information to protect a person from immediate, serious harm. For example, if a person hears that others are plotting to kill someone, he is required to reveal this information. That is another reason why the commandment not to go about as a tale-bearer is juxtaposed with “you shall not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed.”

In limited circumstances, one is also permitted to reveal information if someone is entering into a relationship that he would not enter if he knew certain information. For example, it may be permissible to tell a person that his prospective business partner is untrustworthy, or that a prospective spouse has a disease. This exception is subject to significant and complex limitations; however, if those limitations are satisfied, the person with the information is required to reveal it.”

unknown-7Maybe I am justifying my behavior, but I feel that to warn others before they are betrayed is the right thing to do.  But sometimes this sharing of information brings me suffering, why not just let it go and say nothing?

Can you imagine a world where people said nothing at all ever about other people?  While I agree that judging, gossiping, and lying about people is never a good thing, I also believe there are times that people need to be warned about scammers.  What if you were about to start dating a man who had beaten other women in the past, wouldn’t you want to know?  Or you were about to become a business partner with a pathological liar and thief. Wouldn’t you want to know?  Or if you are a single mom about to date a pedophile, hopefully you would definitely want to know about that, right? I feel there are times that people need to know the truth about others to keep them from harm and prevent them from wasting time.  But what about my suffering?

What hurts me are the people that get REALLY angry because they don’t want to hear the truth about said person.  Even though, in my mind, I am trying to help them and protect them from harm, surprisingly there are a significant number of people that either don’t care or don’t want to hear it and often they end up attacking me.  Even if you showed them a video of that person kicking a puppy, they somehow blame me for even telling them about it and then point out my own flaws.

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As much as I try to let this trait of high expectations go, I think about a world filled with scammers and liars doing that they do and no one caring enough to warn people – I can’t live in that kind of world.

My learning lesson in all this is still about letting go. As of today, it seems that I am unwilling to let go of warning others of liars, scammers and abusers.  However, what I can let go of is people’s reaction.  If they get mad and attack me, I can simply let that person’s reaction go. Their reaction is really none of my business and just a reflection of who they are and their life experiences. I can only take responsibility for even saying something in the first place, but their response is not my responsibility.  For today, I won’t let that part of me go.  Maybe in a day, a week, or a year, that may change, but for right now I will work on letting peoples reaction go.  I can’t force anyone to see the world my way, nor do I want to.  I just wish sometimes I didn’t have this big stupid heart that cares about others well-being, and didn’t have this strong disdain for the fake and the cruel.  Now it Karma was just instant I wouldn’t have this problem.

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Domestic Violence Can Happen to Anyone

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You’d think that being an independent, strong-willed, 6 foot tall Scandinavian woman would have kept me from being abused, but it didn’t help one bit.  While I never really tolerated physical abuse, much, I sure had my fair share of psychological abuse.

Looking back now, it’s really hard to imagine why all my relationships, with the exception of two recent ones, were with physically and/or mentally abusive men.  I would never tolerate that kind of behavior now, but I sure did back then. So how did this happen?  It all stemmed from my  abusive upbringing and my incredibly low self esteem.  My lesbian parents were completely dysfunctional.  My one mother was a highly functioning alcoholic doctor who was hardly ever home, and when she was, she was usually on a drunk binge. She was also a liar – she lied about most everything, but I will say this, she was a pretty good doc for being so screwed up.  My other mom was just mean as hell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She never, not once, even now, ever said a nice thing about me. She has always been very cruel and very critical.  It’s no wonder I contemplated suicide when I was 5 years old.

This abusive childhood prepared me for familiar abusive relationships. I craved love and I was desperate for a relationship, any kind of relationship. This desperation made me vulnerable to being molested. My 42 year old neighbor in California picked up on this and he spent 6 months of typical pedophile grooming before he finally violated me.  My first real “semi-consensual” relation happened  when I was 14 years old.  I met I guy I was not physically attracted too, but all my friends had slept with him, so I figured there must be something cool about him.   He was 22 years old and basically made his living working part time as a janitor and selling drugs.  He was not my ideal choice, but he was interested in me, and I just wanted to be loved by someone and I desperately  wanted to get out of the house.   I pretty much ended up spending most nights at his parents house because thats where he lived.

Everything was wonderful in the beginning, but very quickly it turned abusive.  He ended up being very controlling of everything I did, said, and wore. Mostly he was critical of my weight and he fed me lots of cocaine and cross tops.  He wanted my ribs and hip bones sticking out, so  from age 15 – 18 I suffered from anorexia and bulimia, and he loved it!  He would praise me for not eating for days on end, said it made me look beautiful and sexy.  Other than that, he never had a kind word to me.  I could never do anything right and I was always reminded of how stupid and fat I was.  Sometimes he would get so angry he would SCREAM at me just inches from my face.  I would go blank, numb out, and basically leave my body until it was over.  The fights would usually end with him demanding sex and I would begrudging give in.

domesticviolence2His first punch came when I was 16. I kept pleading with him to teach me how to drive his stick shift truck and he never wanted to because he said,  “girls suck at driving stick-shift.”  Out of the blue, he told me to “get in the drivers seat” because he wanted to show me how to drive.  No warning, no prep, he told me to put it into first gear and go.  I had no idea what to do so  he started screaming and hurling insults at me.  I panicked and started grinding the gears as I tried to push the lever into first gear.  “Push the damn clutch in your stupid bitch!” What the fuck is wrong with you?”  Somehow, amongst  the screams, I managed to figure out how to get the truck into first gear and it lunged forward. The screams continued and he barked at me to turn left. I was terrified to see it was a very steep hill with a stop sign half way up.  He laughed medically and said, “well I guess you’re gonna learn to drive this truck or we all die.”  Of course I panicked and popped the clutch and the truck stalled. He back handed me right in the face and I started crying.  I lurched the truck forward until the road flattened out and promptly stoped the truck and jumped out.  I took off running and he ran after me. He grabbed me and threw me back in the truck. He took me home and I told him it was over.  He sweet talked me, got me presents, promised it would never happen again, and just like that we were on again.

Unknown-6The verbal abuse continued for years, until right before my 18th birthday.  I had starved myself to the point of almost dying and I got so scared I went back to eating.  I had put on 10 lbs  and he was so pissed off about it.  He went to the local burger place and got a burger and fries and told me “you cant even have a bite ‘cause you’re getting as fat as a pig.”  I defiantly took a french fry and took a bite and he punched me hard right in the face.  For the first time I fought back and we ended up fighting in the living room.  I finally ran out of the house, he caught me and he dragged me back into the house by the ankle, my head bouncing on the concrete.  He drug me back into the bedroom, ripped my pants off me and violently raped me.  I sobbed the entire time.  When he finished he rolled off me like everything was ok.  I slowly put my clothes back on and didn’t say a word.  I looked at him just laying their naked and limp, and I thought about getting a knife and killing him.  I honestly, in that moment, wanted him dead, but I wasn’t angry, I was very, very calm.   In a very low voice I looked him in the eye and said “You ever fucking touch me again or Ill kill you, I swear to God.  Don’t every talk to me every fucking again. or I will kill you. I promise.”  He looked completely shocked but didn’t say a word as I walked right out of his life.

You would think I would have learned from that, but no, my self esteem was so low, and I felt incredibly awkward and weird around nice guys.  I could not handle their intrusive questions I dated a guy I really liked him, but he asked me forging things like “How was your day? How are you feeling? What do you think about….?”  I had no idea how to answer simple questions like that, so I dumped him.

It wasn’t until I was 26 years old that I made a decision that I would never put up with physical abuse ever again.  At 23 I was completely enamored by this tall, handsome, confident and very charming former stunt man and world champion kick boxer.  He wooed the pants off me, literally, and as I found out, he was also a champion in the bedroom. Not because he enjoyed sex actually, but because he wanted the adoration of “being the best in bed.”  It was nothing but a show, typical of narcissists that use sex as a tool.  He controlled me, mentally tortured me, and took over my life for three years.  I stupidly followed him around like a damn puppy dog, even thought I knew he was cheating on me the entire time with anything that moved.  The end came when we bought a condo in Tahoe and in the middle of winter we got into a huge fight. Like the last relationship, I had had enough and finally stood up to him. He didn’t like that and he slugged me, hard. Not only was he the former world champ kick boxer, but he was also a professional boxer.  HIs punch didn’t knock me out, but it knocked me down. I started screaming so he put a pillow over my face and I couldn’t breath. The more I fought, the harder he pushed.  I finally just gave up and he finally took the pillow off my face and jumped off of me. He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a sharp knife.  He put the knife to my throat and threatened to kill me if I didn’t shut up.  I took all my fears, all my emotions, and I shoved them into a box in my mind, and again, like my last break up, I went totally calm.  I told him everything was ok, and maybe we just needed a day apart to calm down. I told him we both needed to just relax down, and I apologized profusely for upsetting him.  The entire time he had the door blocked and held the knife in his hand.  I promised him everything would be ok, and for some reason he started to cry and turned the knife to his own throat and threatened to kill himself. (I later learned in therapy that it wasn’t real, it was just manipulation to get me to feel bad.)  I begged him not to do that and told him I’d just take some time and go to my moms house in Reno and then everything would be ok again.  He then turned the knife to me and told me he’d kill me first, then himself.  I just kept on talking, saying anything that seemed to calm him down.  Finally he put the knife to his side and started to get angry again, which actually worked in my favor.  “Fine, get the fuck out of here!” he screamed at me over and over.  I used the opportunity to pick up the phone telling him I was gonna call my mom to pick me up and he agreed.  Now, keep in mind, I was trained by my lesbian parents to never call the cops or I’d go to an orphanage.  My abusive boyfriends trained me to never all the cops for fear of death.  And for a time I dated some outlaw bikers who engrained in me  that “we NEVER call the cops.”  As soon as I picked up the phone, he lifted up the knife and came at me again, luckily I quickly made a decision to call 911.  He started screaming at me belligerently again and  making death threats.  Ten long minutes later, multiple police officers arrived. Of course I defended him and asked them not to arrest him, but between my bruise and his threats they heard on the phone, he was arrested and charged with domestic abuse and felony kidnapping.

images-5I lived in a shelter for 10 days, then moved into my car in the middle of winter. Luckily I got a job quickly and was able to move into a rental.  It was a very low time for me.  I vowed to NEVER be abused again, and I wasn’t physically, but I ended up one more mentally abusive relationship.  At age 29, when that relationship ended, I promised myself I would not date for one year and I would go to therapy until I figured out why I attracted abusive men into my life.

I had to decide that enough was enough and that I wanted something different.  I had to promise myself that I would make my life better and not end up abused again. I spent the entire year in individual and group therapy.  I did not date I just worked on me.  I realized that my childhood abuse set me up for abuse from men.  I learned that my attracting and staying in abusive relationships was from my lack of self esteem and feeling that I didn’t deserve a healthy relationship.  It all started wth me looking inward and seeking help.  I learned a lot about myself, and I also learned I’m not alone. In my survivors of domestic abuse group I connected with other ladies just like myself  and I found strength in our solidarity.  We would all encourage each other and check in, and we would be brutally honest with each other if we started dating another abuser.   We put our life on the table and trusted that we would could get better if we were vulnerable and honest, and for me it worked.

Doing the therapy was not easy; it was uncomfortable and embarrassing, but I did it.  And I kept doing it, even all these years later I still go to therapy.  I want to continue to grow and get healthier, and while I am far from perfect, I am in a much better place than I was before.  I am currently in a relationship with a very healthy, well balanced, kind, and encouraging man and I am very grateful. But just like me, he would not have been ready for a healthy relationship unless he had gone to therapy as well.   images-4

If you are in a bad relationship, I promise you, get help, get out, and your life WILL get better.  You just have to decide and then get the help and resources to make it happen.  You, yes you reading this, you are beautiful and you deserve to have real love.  Life can be better if you make it so, you just have to make the decision and then do the work.

My life would be so much easier if…

My parents could have gotten married.  I would not be struggling to get my mom into a nursing home just because she doesn’t have enough insurance coverage. Plus, who can’t afford $8,000 a month a nursing home?  Instead, if they could have wed, she would have VA benefits from her spouse being in the Korean War as a doctor and I could get her the 24 hour care she deserves instead of me being her only lifeline.  Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, I care for my 87 year old mom who not only has advanced Alzheimer’s, but is legally blind, going deaf, can barely walk or care for herself.   It’s a tremendous burden on me to care for her all the time and to never have a break, expect on Saturday for a few hours when we pay a home aid $25.00 an hour to babysit. I’m trapped.  If I hear a noise, any time of the day or night, I literally jump and run into her room because she has fallen so many times.  Just last month she landed on her face and broke her nose, two days ago she fell during the day and broke her ribs.  I’m on edge at all times, listening for her fall or her screams for help.  I’m trapped in the home when I am here, trapped in my mind and worried when I leave.

Every single morning I take a deep breath, put my hand on her bedroom doorknob and slowly open the door expecting to find her dead.  It’s a horrible way to start the day, but it’s my reality.  I have tried every angle, called every number, asked around and searched, but I can’t get home health care like she had in Idaho. New Mexico lacks funding and there is no money for home care, or for Medicaid for nursing home care.  I am in this gray area; Alzheimer’s is not really a disease that will warrant medical care, so I can only get her admitted to a hospital for something serious, something that requires a longer stay than 3 days. Then, and only then, can I ask them to transfer her to a nursing home. The hospital can comply, or not. Then the trick is to find a nursing home that will take Medicaid assisted payments.  Many wont. So once you find that home, you have to apply for a waiver, and after long months of waiting, they can approve you or not.  If approved, most likely they will take all of her assets; her home, cars, money in the bank, all of it. If not approved, you owe thousands of dollars for care.  Is this any way to treat American Citizens?

But only if my parents could have gotten legally married I would not be having this issue.  Instead she would be in a VA nursing home and I would have my life back, and maybe, just maybe, this migraine I have had for 3 weeks would finally go away.  But no, the government decided that gay marriage is illegal. Why is sex with another person over 18 and consenting illegal? What right does the government have to say who is allowed to love whom?  My parents were together for over 50 years, and while being far from perfect, they stuck it out and stayed together.  Had they been able to get married I would have had insurance coverage from my one mom who worked at a job with insurance.  I would not have had to lie to everyone about their relationship for most of my life.  I would have been allowed to invite kids over to play at my house. But no, instead I grew up in shame and isolated from the world.  Is this a way to treat an American Citizen?

Your bible may tell you that gayness is an abomination, but if you’re going to accept that, then I challenge you to accept EVERYTHING in the bible, including stoning women to death, selling children into slavery,  and owning slaves.  Plus remember, sin is sin in the bible, and according to Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death, and in Psalm 145:20, God will destroy all the wicked.  So don’t judge those who sin differently than you do.  According to Galatians 5:19  you can sin by: 1 Adultery, 2 fornication, 3 uncleanness, 4 lasciviousness, 5 idolatry, 6 witchcraft, 7 hatred, 8 variance, 9 emulations, 10 wrath, 11 strife, 12 seditions, 13 heresies, 14 envyings, 15 murders, 16 drunkenness, and 17 revellings.  But, go ahead and hold onto that belief system if you must, but realize this, marriage is a LEGAL document, not a moral one.

If my parents would have been allowed to marry, me, Stefani, a married, straight, female that identifies as female, would not be having this incredible burden that effects every aspect of my life.  My parents are Americans that deserved the pursuit of happiness which included the legal right to get married. Too bad my other mom passed away before she could have actually had the equal opportunity of marriage.

Understanding Suicide and How to Help

Understanding Suicide and How to Help ©Unknown-4

~By Stefani Lord

“As anyone who has been close to someone that has committed suicide knows, there is no other pain like that felt after the incident” ~Peter Green

When the crushing waves of guilt, shame, resentment, frustration, sadness, anger, self-pity, and despair swell to frightening heights, some of us will dig a deep hole and crawl inside in hopes of escaping the heart stabbing pains of life. When we feel that no one understands us, or that no one cares if we live or die, and when all hope is lost and we are completely  beaten down from the daily struggles of our miserable lives, we curl up into a tight fetal position in that cavernous black hole.  Eventually, when we can no longer tolerate the painful secrets of our past, and when that bottomless hole drowns out the final glimmer of hope, the mind will ruminate on finding ways to end end the pain.  Once the brain is engulfed in terrifying darkness, and when that final drop of hope bleeds from our soul, we no longer fear the end, and this my friends is when we commit the ultimate selfish act.  We are relentless in our escape of the hurt and the shame.  We can no longer be a burden to this world. We only think of our own pain, our own troubles, and our own hopelessness.  There is no regard for the splattered emotions of those left behind or the painful tears shed over our loss.

Because I have tired so many times in my youth to kill myself, I consider myself a suicide expert. I have stood on buildings and on freeway overpasses, drunk out of my mind, trying to talk myself into jumping.  I have dreamt up, thought about, and mentally detailed at least 20 different ways to end the pain. I’ve tried overdosing, but I could never seem to take enough pills.  I think that partying to excess for so many years, along with being such a big girl, that this must have give me a super high tolerance for drugs.   I tried slicing my wrists a few times, but I was never able to take enough pills to overcome the pain so I could cut deep enough.  Twice I took a huge handful of muscle relaxers and tried to hang myself by a belt in my closet; but self -preservation took over stopping me both times.  I even tried laying on the train tracks at night  – but the thought of being mangled up and not dying scared me more then death itself.

I wasn’t always so obvious in my suicide attempts.  I also tried a very slow, and insidious ways to end my life, and avoid the pain,  by stuffing my face until I was morbidly obesity. I also tried the opposite and starved myself for years.  I drank myself into constant stupors and then drove my car with reckless abandonment.  I “partied” by taking large quantities of dangerous drugs, often not even knowing, or caring, what I was ingesting. And I partook in lots risky sexual behaviors with absolutely no protection. My life was filled with pain and misery, so I never cared if I died or got some horrible disease.  I just wanted to escape my nightmarish thoughts at any cost.

There is another form of suicide that often just seen as a person with a bad attitude, a thug, a trouble maker. I like to call it the “fuck the world” (FTW) way of knocking yourself off. You can see the anagram of FTW tattooed on lips, faces, necks, and hands of my brethren with inner turmoil and rage.  This FTW philosophy allowed me to blame everyone and everything for my rotten luck.  I looked at people as someone who will hurt me, betray me, and completely un-trustable.  I believed in a “take what you can from others before they take from you.” It’s a mantra of hate, anger, anarchy and an “I’ll show you what its like to be unwanted, neglected and abused.”  I will steal your cars, break into hour houses, sell drugs to your kids, sleep with your husband and break into your beautiful suburban home. I purposely wanted to do something to hurt you just so you could feel my pain.  There are no repercussions to getting caught, and if I die, who cares; the world would be better off without me.  My FTW idolized the ultimate way to die;  in a gun blazing shootout before a final high speed pursuit before driving off a cliff like Thelma and Louise. I didn’t care about you, or me, nor did I give a crap if I died tragically or took you out with me.  Like Curt Corbain I would rather burn out than fade away.

This FTW mantra not only facilitated the further stripping away of my moral compass and turning me into a hardened criminal, but it also kept me from facing my pain. This was my “get out of my way before I punch you in the face” armor; my way of letting you know that I just didn’t  give a shit about anything or anyone. All I cared about was getting what was mine, getting as drunk and high as possible, and getting laid by just about anyone.  I’d get what I wanted by manipulation, coercion, or by theft. It didn’t matter because I had no feelings toward your loss.  I just wanted what I wanted, and anything you had is what I wanted, especially if it hurt you emotionally.

I played this role of a morally bankrupt zombie into my mid 20’s; vacillating between complete numbness and lashing out in anger, especially to those who looked alive and happy.   But before you write me off as some whorish, drug-dealing, crack head criminal, you should try to understand why I acted the way I did.  If you just write me off as some stupid scumbag, you will never understand the magnitude of the changes I made in my own life or that it’s possible to change your own life no matter what you have been through.  Or worse yet, you may not ever understand your own child, your parents, your husband, your neighbor, or yourself.  In spite of all the sadness, pain, torment, and abuse, there really is a happily ever after to this story.  It took me years of hard work and introspection, but I finally learned how to be a human being that is truly happy inside.  I went from an emotional zombie with horrible addictions who ballooned up to over 350 lbs, to a healthy and  semi- emotionally adjusted (is anyone fully balanced?) human being. My dream is that by telling my story I can offer a glimmer of hope to others out there suffering and for those watching their loved one suffer.butterfly-logo-suicide-prevention-walk-2014-official-white

For the depressed please realize there is HOPE.  It may not feel like it, but it can, and will get better, I promise.  The first step is to seek out help. Ignoring the suicidal thoughts makes them grown stronger.  You cant run away from this problem, therapy, and sometimes medication, is the key to getting healthy.  Reach out, make a call, get help.

If you’d like to read about why my life was filled with misery, check out my life story at: http://www.stefanilord.com/2015/12/why-a-blog/

~Stefani Lord

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Instead of reinventing the wheel, I am going to share information from suicide(.)org

How to Help a Suicidal Person

by Kevin Caruso

If the suicidal person needs to be hopitalized (or is hospitalized),

please click on the following:

How to Help a Suicidal Person Who Needs Hospitalization

•Always take suicidal comments very seriously. When a person says that he or she is thinking about suicide, you must always take the comments seriously. Assuming that the person is only seeking attention is a very serious, and potentially disastrous, error. Get help immediately.

•Follow the information that is on the home page of Suicide.org. Feel free to view the home page of this site and to use it to help you. Dealing with a person who is suicidal is not easy, so following what is on the home page of Suicide.org can help you. And always remember that you need to call 911 or your local emergency number immediately for anyone who is at a high risk for suicide. Do not hesitate.

•Try not to act shocked. The person is already highly distressed, and if you are shocked by what is said, the person will become more distressed. Stay calm, and talk with him or her in a matter-of-fact manner, but get help immediately. If the person is at a high risk for suicide, call 911 immediately.

•Get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK. This point cannot be overemphasized; a person who is suicidal needs immediate professional help.

•Do not handle the situation by yourself. A suicidal person needs immediate assistance from qualified mental health professionals. Again, call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK. And do not allow untrained individuals to act as the only couselors to the individual.

While you are waiting for help to arrive (or if there is no emergency):

•Listen attentively to everything that the person has to say. Let the person talk as much as he or she wants to. Listen closely so that you can be as supportive as possible, and learn as much as possible about what is causing the suicidal feelings.

•Comfort the person with words of encouragement. Use common sense to offer words of support. Remember that intense emotional pain can be overwhelming, so be as gentle and caring as possible. There is no script to use in situations like these, because each person and each situation is different. Listen carefully, and offer encouraging words when appropriate.

•Let the person know that you are deeply concerned. Tell the person that you are concerned, and show them that you are concerned. A suicidal person is highly vulnerable and needs to feel that concern.

•If the person is at a high risk of suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Do not leave a critically suicidal person alone for even a second. Only after you get professional help for the person can you consider leaving him or her.

•Talk openly about suicide. Ask the person, “Are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?”
If the answer is yes, ask, “Have you thought about how you would do it?”
If the answer is yes, ask, “Do you have what you need to do it?”
If the answer is yes, ask, “Have you thought about when you would do it?”
Here are those four important questions in abbreviated form:

1Suicidal?

2Method?

3Have what you need?

4When?

•You need to know as much as possible about what is going on in the person’s mind. The more planning that someone has put into a suicide, the greater the risk. If the person has a method and a time in mind, the risk is extremely high and you cannot hesitate to call 911 and ensure that professional treatment is given.

•If the person talks about using a firearm that he or she owns for suicide, call the police so they may remove the firearm(s). Firearms are used in the majority of suicides, and those who use a firearm usually do not survive. It is thus an emergency that needs to be handled by the police immediately.

•Don’t be judgmental. Do not invalidate anything that the person says or feels. The person is probably suffering from a chemical imbalance in the brain, and thus could not possibly think clearly. Be supportive and caring, not judgmental, but get help immediately.

•Be careful of the statements that you make. You do not want to make the person feel any worse than he or she already does. Again, the person is probably suffering from a chemical imbalance in the brain and is thus extremely sensitive.

•Listen, listen, listen. Be gentle, kind, and understanding. Again, allow the person to talk as much as he or she wants. Always listen very attentively, and encourage him or her to talk more. Be as gentle, kind, and understanding as possible.

•Let the person express emotion in the way that he or she wants. Allow the person to cry, yell, swear and do what is necessary to release the emotion. However, do not allow the person to become violent or harm himself or herself.

•Again, use the home page of Suicide.org to help the person. Make a copy of it and give it to him or her. This will not only help the person now, but also in the future when he or she needs help. You can also make copies of any of the pages of the Suicide.org site that you think will help the person, and give them to him or her. (There is no charge for distributing copies of pages of this site in print media, not on the Internet, for noncommercial, nonprofit use.)

•After the person has received help and is no longer critically suicidal, help the person make an appointment with a medical doctor and a therapist. If the person has not yet seen a medical doctor or a therapist, help him or her make the appointments. Suicidal feelings need to be dealt with on a professional level. Only trained professions should assume the care for the person. This is very important. Do not try to help the person by yourself. Make sure that the person is seen by a medical doctor and a therapist.

•Before you leave the person, make sure that he or she has received professional help from qualified mental health professionals or that the risk of suicide has dissipated. You cannot leave the person until the risk of suicide is gone or he or she is in treatment. A person who is suicidal is at risk of suicide at any juncture. Ensure that all appropriate actions are taken to help the person before you leave.

•When in doubt about what to do, call 911 immediately. Be safe. A suicidal person needs professional help. Period. If you are not sure what to do, it is certainly better to err on the side of caution and get professional assistance immediately. Again, if you are not sure what to do, call 911.

•If someone tells you that you need to keep his or her suicidal intentions a secret, then you never can keep that “secret.” Under no circumstances can you keep a “secret” that could cause someone’s death. You are not violating a privileged communication; you are taking the steps necessary to prevent a suicide. That is an expression of love, caring, and deep concern, and is the only ethical choice in a situation as serious as this.

•Follow up with the person on a regular basis to make sure that he or she is doing okay. Suicidal feelings can come and go, so follow up to see how the person is. It is very important to show continued support. If the person becomes suicidal again, take immediate action to help him or her.

http://www.suicide.org/how-to-help-a-suicidal-person.html

The Day In the Life of a Caregiver

My husband always has to remind me to say I’m a full time caretaker instead of just saying, “I don’t work.”  I just take it for grant it that what I do is full time work, and then some.  I am at work taking care of my mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the exception of Saturday when we hire an aid to babysit her for a few hours.

Every morning I get up and I take a deep breath and prepare myself for the ffe176b77d526f7499845409b4d83f90worst.  I slowly open her bedroom door expecting her to be passed away.  Sometimes I have to stand there for a few seconds and wait to see her chest rise and fall, then I can exhale.  Every morning I get her up and make her a cup of coffee and some pancakes.  I have to shut the door while she eats or she will give it all to the dogs; Her appetite is basically gone.    I have to remind her every day to brush her teeth and her hair, and then I let her pick out her own clothes for the day.  Then she sits. She sits for 10 hours or more every day just watching old cowboy shows.  Ill ask her if she wants to go outside and she will say no; she’s afraid to walk since she is nearly completely blind and has lost the feeling in her feet.

Every day I straighten up her room, and weekly we dust and vacuum and scrub.  I empty her trash, make her meals, clean her dishes, fill her water up, and give her supplements and pills.  I do this every day, day after day, week after week.  I rarely leave the house for fear she will fall again.  And if I do leave, I worry the entire time, even though we have cameras in the house. I feel like am abandoning her if I leave.  I worry about people – its one of my character flaws.

Sometimes we have over the top events that make me want to run away, or get drunk, or eat a cake, or do anything self destructive to not think. Today is one of these days.  15 minutes ago I started to smell the strong nauseating smell of human waste.  I knew something horrible awaited me in her room.  I walked in to find she has pooped on the toilet and on the floor, then she walked in it to her chair. There was poop on the carpet, and on her recliner.  Then, to make matters worse, while I walked away to get cleaning materials, one of the dogs ATE most of it.  No, they wont eat their dog food half the time but they will eat crap!  Sick.  So now Im nauseated and pissed off, but I cant say a word because I don’t want to humiliate my mom.  I just calmly say “I see you had an accident, lets clean this up ok?”  I get her in the shower and start cleaning. OMG, there is poop all over her recliner and luckily I have a professional and a portable small steam cleaner.  I get her dirty clothes into the washer and chuck the pants – they are too far gone.  But while Im cleaning I start to think about all the things I do for my mom – and it’s a lot.  Its also a thankless job, but I do it day in and day out because it’s the right thing to do. However, we might be getting to the point where I cant care for her full time – but its almost that same decision you have to make when your pet gets old. Putting my mom into assisted living is a serious decision – and one I probably would have made already if she was on medicaid.  Medicare wont pay for nursing homes unless you have medicare insurance. So today Im going to spend time applying for medicaid for her.  The other problem is the ONLY nursing home up here is full.  We are number 17 on the list – so that means I have to wish for 17 people to die to get her admitted.

For today I wont eat cake, or drink, or do anything else unhealthy to avoid.  Instead, as soon as I get her dressed again, Im going to head out on my bike, park someplace, and then go for a walk.  I need to get out – get away – clear my head, and my bike is like magic for these situations.  In a few minutes my mind will be concentrated on deeply leaning the bike to a 20 mile per hour curve – And for that Im grateful.  Im also grateful my dogs are healthy, my husband has an amazing job, and I have my health.  I have to keep focused on what I do have  and be grateful.  If I allow myself to get too wound up in these depressing emotions they will literally eat me up inside.

So, I will take a lunch break from my “job” and go take some me time.

Advice To My Younger Self Is My Advice To You

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I am no expert on life; I am no mystic, or coach, or guru, or anyone who claims to have the answer to all of life problems. But, what I do have is a lifetime of experience making mistakes, doing bad things, and having bad things done to me. I have made the same mistakes over and over again until I finally started learning from them during therapy.  I learned to forgive myself for my continual blunders.  I also realized that people who do bad things to specifically harm another are sick and it has nothing to do with me. They do bad things to people in hopes of hurting them as much as they hurt inside, or they have no conscience or remorse and it’s all about their needs and wants. The point is, I have had a very tough life and I survived it and continue to learn and thrive.  I want to share my life experiences in hopes that it will help someone, maybe even you.

My therapist gave me a life changing homework assignment.  He asked me to take some quiet time and to close my eyes and think about what I would say to my younger self.  He assigned me three pivotal times in my life; when I was raped at three, molested at 11, and drug raped in Las Vegas by strangers at 19.  He told me to imagine me sitting there my younger self in front of me.  What would you say to three your old Stefi?  To 11 year old Stefi? And 19 year old Stef? What word advice would you give her? What loving words of support would you say to her?  He said to imagine hugging my previous self and telling her that I would always be here for her, and that nothing that happened to her was her fault.  I also told my younger self that all mistakes are forgiven.  It’s a powerful lesson in forgiving yourself and letting go of past hurts.  It’s also empowering to know that you are now a more mature self that can go back and help heal the wounds of your past. Try it.  Pick a mistake or a time in your life when something life changing happened at any age, even last week.  Then close your eyes and offer kind words to yourself. Be nice, offer words of encouragement, and then give yourself a hug and say, “All is forgiven.”  Even if you did something horrible, there is no point in beating yourself up forever – it does no good to anyone. Instead continue to forgive yourself and let go.

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I think the best advice I would give to my younger self is the same advice I would give to most young ladies – stop making “getting a man” (or woman) your top priority in life!  You will find the right one. You will find love.  Just stop putting so much effort into it getting it right now.    Stop chasing love like butterflies.  Instead, take all of that energy and time and work on you.  Figure out what you want out of life and go for it!  Find out the things that make you happy, and chase those dreams. Want to be a doctor? An engineer?  A hair dresser?  An athlete?  Focus on those goals and the love part will come later, I promise. We have this stupid fantasy that there is only one true love of our life and we have to always be ready to find our prince charming.  Bullshit. Guess what ladies? There are lots of princes out there.  I don’t believe in the one true love – otherwise how do you explain people finding amazing partners after a divorce?  A very small amount of people do find that very true love right off the bat and stay married most of the life, but that is the exception.  For the most part we find love and often it goes away, but we find another love.  People swear before God that he or she is the one true and only love of their life and they get married. Then a few years later they’re going through a bitter divorce.  It happens. We love, it ends, but we often find another love if we are ready for it to happen.

Very important – don’t put all your hopes into a marriage or a partner to rescue you and make your life great – that’s a fantasy. Instead, go and find you. Discover all the good, and the bad things about yourself, and be honest about it.  Then you can be open to finding a partner who is comfortable in who they are.  You don’t want to be the strong one who has to carry the other person, nor do you want someone who is stronger that is always trying to fix you. That is parasitic and co-dependent and will drain you or the partner.   My point is doing go looking for love for the sake of being in love or not being alone.  Instead wait for is a partner that loves you, treats you with respect, honors you, lets you have your freedoms, and encourages you to be the best. Don’t settle for some guy just because he’s there and you’re lonely. And please don’t do that to a partner, it’s cruel. Don’t keep him hanging around so you won’t be bored or alone.  Be honest and real and just let him go and let him find true love.

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Oh and ladies – when a man has sex with you does not always mean he loves you. Heck, he might not even like you. But, there are some men that will feed you a line of BS just to satisfy their needs.  These men are out there, and unfortunately they are the ones you see most in the clubs and are the guys who always seem to get the hot chicks. They have their lines down pat and know how to get a girl to lower her panties with sweet words. These guys are narcissists – avoid them like the plague. Instead, it’s those quieter guys, the ones that often get overlooked, those are usually are the ones you want.  These guys often get put into the friend zone because they don’t come on strong enough, soon enough.   That’s because they actually want to get to know you.  These are the guys with self-respect, dignity, and a good heart. The guy that is respectful, romantic, and treats you like he wants to be treated. This is the guy who you have a lot in common with.  It’s also the guy you can talk open and honestly with – the one you can bare your soul to and he still loves and supports you and would never use that against you.  He’s the guy that likes the same things you do.  You’re the couple that gives each other freedoms and you trust that person not do  anything that would hurt you.  You trust them in all situations.

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Unfortunately, a lot of the times, we girls, just like guys, we go for that super-hot, super-sexy man and try to make a relationship out of it – even if he is a jerk and we have nothing in common with him. So in your quest for love – don’t forget the nice guys, the guys that sometimes end up in that friend zone. Because I can tell you from my own experience, being married to your best friend (as long as there is a sexual connection) is the best thing ever!

I know we all want love, it’s so wonderful when you are in it. But often in our quest we settle or we try to make love out of something that is abusive, or demeaning, or just not right, purely for the sake of being in love. That’s not love – that’s delusional and self-abusive.

Advice To My Younger Self Is My Advice To You:

  • You will find true love, I promise, don’t settle.
  • If you partner doesn’t respect you, it’s not love.
  • If your partner doesn’t support your dreams – he doesn’t support you – move on.
  • If he puts you down, belittles you, humiliates you, says mean snarky comments to you, it’s not love
  • Fighting all the time is not love.
  • If he hits you, it’s definitely not love.
  • If he cheats, dump him
  • If he lies, dump him and stop chasing.
  • Breakups HURT! They suck, they are painful, and often we will try to get back into a bad relationship just to not feel the pain or jump into new one. Don’t do it!  Just feel it, vent to friends, talk to a therapist, let the emotions run its course, and then go back and do the homework above – imagine yourself at the break up and give yourself comforting words.  Tell yourself it will all be ok and you will find love again.  After a break up we feel we will never find love again – that is a lie.  If you work on yourself, work on being a better person, and don’t go hunting for love because you don’t want to be alone, eventually you will find it again if you open up and make yourself vulnerable to being hurt all over again.

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  • Lust is not love. All that mushy stuff will fade over time.  Find someone you enjoy being with all the time – even when sitting around doing nothing.
  • If this wonderful great relationship later turns into any of the above, end it and move on. There are other princes out there.
  • Focus on what you want – be it working out, a great career, college, riding a motorcycle, or whatever else makes you happy (other than chasing men) – just go for it.  Don’t let anyone stop you.
  • Honest love is out there – but you have to be ok with yourself first.  Take the time to love you and do the things you love to do. Go to therapy, hire a life coach, and find some sort of support system to always keep growing and learning about yourself. Read books, lots of books, especially on relationships and self-growth. Always work on bettering yourself, because if you do, you will find a partner that wants nothing but the best for you as well.
  • While you are waiting for love, keep active.  Go out with friends, make date night with your girlfriends, find clubs to join, join a gym, do anything, and be active.
  • Take 15 minutes out of your life to write down what your idea partner looks like – not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and personality wise. What does he act like? What are traits you want in a partner? Focus on all the things you want and then raise your standard without being unrealistic.  “I want him to worship me, make a million dollars a year, drive a lambo, workout 3 hours a day, and cater to my ever need” Sorry, those girls are called professional gold diggers and they spend a lot of time and money having the right look to catch a guy who wants arm candy.  Unrealistic.

I have dated every shade of asshole that is out there.  I have been lied to, cheated on, hit, and verbally abused.  I kept with the relationship, because as a guest on Jerry Springer would say “I loved him!”  No, I just thought I could never do better, or that I would never find anyone to love me.  Not true. There are lots of loves out there – it’s just finding the right one is not as easy to find.  So relax, work on you, get out there and keep active, and I promise you – one day love will come.  However – if you have issues and you don’t work on them via therapy or some other method to self-evolve – you may end up like me for a while – dating the same losers over and over and over again.  Take the time to work you, and fix anything that you don’t like – then you will be ready for love.

By the way, if you are a guy reading this, it applies to you equally as well.  Stop chasing love, work on you, stay active, focus on what you want in a relationship, and eventually it will come to you.

If you have gotten this far, repeat after me.  “I am beautiful and lovable, and I deserve to have an honest, respectful, loving relationship.”

 

Why Do We Stay in Toxic Relationships?

“Why would she date such a jerk like him? Why does she put up with his cheating?  She’s not the same since she got serious with him.  Can’t she see that she deserves better.”

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Whenever we see someone we care about in a bad relationship,   we always ask ourselves, “why don’t they just leave?” Having been in numerous emotionally abusive relationships, as well as a few physical, and one sexual, I can say from experience that for myself, I didn’t think I deserved anything better.

Being emotionally abused repeatedly, as well as being raped as a kid, taught me that my life had no worth. I grew up hating me; utterly and truly hating every inch of me, inside and out.  I hated every day of my life because I was abused at home and bullied at school.  I had no friends, no siblings; I was all alone in my misery. Every day I would crawl inside my head and fantasize about “idealistic happily ever after fantasies” of being swept of my feet by prince charming to beating myself up for being to disgusting to love.  I called myself fat, ugly, stupid, dumb, worthless, and unlovable. But why wouldn’t I? Thats what I was shown. Thats what the school kids told me. No one ever told me I had any real worth.

Life beat me down, but I continued the beating for years to come. But of course I did — how in the hell would I have ever learned healthy coping skills from alcoholics, molesters, and bullies?  I never had a chance to love without pain and mistrust, and certainly no one ever showed me healthy, unconditional love.  Because of childhood abuse, I spent most of my life in isolation filled with rage, hate, shame, and self loathing.  I was certain God had put me on this earth just to punish me. How else can you explain such a horrific childhood filled with abuse and trauma?

We could discuss ad naseum why this happened to me, but really, it  would be nothing more than us guessing based on our own beliefs.  Bad things just happen to very good people, and I may never know why I was given this life, but it happened and I cant change that. I just wished that I would have worked on my issues much earlier in life.  I wish they had offered free therapy for all school age kids, or at least offer classes on healthy relationships. Lord knows it would have helped me.

I truly believe that what you think about what you bring about — so I brought the worst of the worst into my life. My first boyfriend was 23 and I was 14. He was physically and emotionally abusive. I took the abuse because its all I knew and I felt that it was all I deserved.  After we broke up I dated druggies, bikers, dealers, criminals, and every bad boy that came along. At 20 I married a man 9 years older than me who was  yet another in a series of abusive controlling alcoholic men I would end up with.  Over and over again I let men abuse me.  I didn’t know any better and I confused control and manipulation with love.  It took me another 20 years to figure out that you pick you friends and lovers based on how you feel about yourself. If you love and respect yourself, its less likely you will accept abuse from anyone.  Thank God for years of therapy, as well as physical, emotional, and spiritual work that completely turned my life around. I finally love me, and since then, found honest and real love.

Abused children often end up with abusive partners, but what about the “normal” person who ends up with a controlling, manipulative, emotional abuser?  How does that happen?  Its easier than you think if you don’t know what your looking at.  These narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths will use all kinds of techniques to confuse and silence you. The first step in your own recovery is to realize anyone that controls you, emotionally abuses you, destroys your character, or constantly makes you feel like you are less than has mental issues and will do and say anything to keep you in their world.  And if you dare stand up to them, chances are they will emotionally or physically beat you back down. The best thing you can do is leave — leave a toxic person behind and hope they get the help they need. But please understand this – YOU ARE NOT THEIR THERAPIST OR SAVIOR!  You cannot help them because they have issues that need to be addressed with a professional.  It’s not your job to fix them — instead let them go and fix yourself.

So how do these narcissists work their way into your life?  I mean, in the beginning things were great and this person was “the one,” but over time they drain your soul and leave you an empty shell without you noticing until its too late. There is a wonderful article called, “20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use to Silence You” written by Shahida Arabi, the bestselling author of The Smart Girl’s Guide to Self-Care and Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself.  I wish everyone would read this article to help prevent a lifetime of pain.  I have included the direct link to the site as well as copying the entire article here.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/6/

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Toxic people such as malignant narcissistspsychopaths and those with antisocial traitsengage in maladaptive behaviors in relationships that ultimately exploit, demean and hurt their intimate partners, family members and friends. They use a plethora of diversionary tactics that distort the reality of their victims and deflect responsibility. Although those who are not narcissistic can employ these tactics as well, abusive narcissists use these to an excessive extent in an effort to escape accountability for their actions.

Here are the 20 diversionary tactics toxic people use to silence and degrade you.

1. Gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?” Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.

When a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath gaslights you, you may be prone to gaslighting yourself as a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that might arise. Two conflicting beliefs battle it out: is this person right or can I trust what I experienced? A manipulative person will convince you that the former is an inevitable truth while the latter is a sign of dysfunction on your end.

In order to resist gaslighting, it’s important to ground yourself in your own reality – sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having a validating community is that it can redirect you from the distorted reality of a malignant person and back to your own inner guidance.

2. Projection.

One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability

While we all engage in projection to some extent, according to Narcissistic Personality clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Lewi, the projections of a narcissist are often psychologically abusive. Rather than acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings, malignant narcissists and sociopaths opt to dump their own traits on their unsuspecting suspects in a way that is painful and excessively cruel. Instead of admitting that self-improvement may be in order, they would prefer that their victims take responsibility for their behavior and feel ashamed of themselves. This is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another.

For example, a person who engages in pathological lying may accuse their partner of fibbing; a needy spouse may call their husband “clingy” in an attempt to depict them as the one who is dependent; a rude employee may call their boss ineffective in an effort to escape the truth about their own productivity.

Narcissistic abusers love to play the “blameshifting game.” Objectives of the game: they win, you lose, and you or the world at large is blamed for everything that’s wrong with them. This way, you get to babysit their fragile ego while you’re thrust into a sea of self-doubt. Fun, right?

Solution? Don’t “project” your own sense of compassion or empathy onto a toxic person and don’t own any of the toxic person’s projections either. As manipulation expert and author Dr. George Simon (2010) notes in his book In Sheep’s Clothing, projecting our own conscience and value system onto others has the potential consequence of being met with further exploitation.

Narcissists on the extreme end of the spectrum usually have no interest in self-insight or change. It’s important to cut ties and end interactions with toxic people as soon as possible so you can get centered in your own reality and validate your own identity. You don’t have to live in someone else’s cesspool of dysfunction.

3. Nonsensical conversations from hell.

If you think you’re going to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who is toxic, be prepared for epic mindfuckery rather than conversational mindfulness.

Malignant narcissists and sociopaths use word salad, circular conversations, ad hominem arguments, projection and gaslighting to disorient you and get you off track should you ever disagree with them or challenge them in any way. They do this in order to discredit, confuse and frustrate you, distract you from the main problem and make you feel guilty for being a human being with actual thoughts and feelings that might differ from their own. In their eyes, you are the problem if you happen to exist.

Spend even ten minutes arguing with a toxic narcissist and you’ll find yourself wondering how the argument even began at all. You simply disagreed with them about their absurd claim that the sky is red and now your entire childhood, family, friends, career and lifestyle choices have come under attack. That is because your disagreement picked at their false belief that they are omnipotent and omniscient, resulting in a narcissistic injury.

Remember: toxic people don’t argue with you, they essentially argue with themselves and you become privy to their long, draining monologues. They thrive off the drama and they live for it. Each and every time you attempt to provide a point that counters their ridiculous assertions, you feed them supply. Don’t feed the narcissists supply – rather, supply yourself with the confirmation that their abusive behavior is the problem, not you. Cut the interaction short as soon as you anticipate it escalating and use your energy on some decadent self-care instead.

4. Blanket statements and generalizations.

Malignant narcissists aren’t always intellectual masterminds – many of them are intellectually lazy. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything you say, making blanket statements that don’t acknowledge the nuances in your argument or take into account the multiple perspectives you’ve paid homage to. Better yet, why not put a label on you that dismisses your perspective altogether?

On a larger scale, generalizations and blanket statements invalidate experiences that don’t fit in the unsupported assumptions, schemas and stereotypes of society; they are also used to maintain the status quo. This form of digression exaggerates one perspective to the point where a social justice issue can become completely obscured. For example, rape accusations against well-liked figures are often met with the reminder that there are false reports of rape that occur. While those do occur, they are rare, and in this case, the actions of one become labeled the behavior of the majority while the specific report itself remains unaddressed.

These everyday microaggressions also happen in toxic relationships. If you bring up to a narcissistic abuser that their behavior is unacceptable for example, they will often make blanket generalizations about your hypersensitivity or make a generalization such as, “You are never satisfied,” or “You’re alwaystoo sensitive” rather than addressing the real issues at hand. It’s possible that you are oversensitive at times, but it is also possible that the abuser is also insensitive and cruel the majority of the time.

Hold onto your truth and resist generalizing statements by realizing that they are in fact forms of black and white illogical thinking. Toxic people wielding blanket statements do not represent the full richness of experience – they represent the limited one of their singular experience and overinflated sense of self.

5. Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.

In the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath, your differing opinions, legitimate emotions and lived experiences get translated into character flaws and evidence of your irrationality.

Narcissists weave tall tales to reframe what you’re actually saying as a way to make your opinions look absurd or heinous. Let’s say you bring up the fact that you’re unhappy with the way a toxic friend is speaking to you. In response, he or she may put words in your mouth, saying, “Oh, so now you’re perfect?” or “So I am a bad person, huh?” when you’ve done nothing but express your feelings. This enables them to invalidate your right to have thoughts and emotions about their inappropriate behavior and instills in you a sense of guilt when you attempt to establish boundaries.

This is also a popular form of diversion and cognitive distortion that is known as “mind reading.” Toxic people often presume they know what you’re thinking and feeling. They chronically jump to conclusions based on their own triggers rather than stepping back to evaluate the situation mindfully. They act accordingly based on their own delusions and fallacies and make no apologies for the harm they cause as a result. Notorious for putting words in your mouth, they depict you as having an intention or outlandish viewpoint you didn’t possess. They accuse you of thinking of them as toxic – even before you’ve gotten the chance to call them out on their behavior – and this also serves as a form of preemptive defense.

Simply stating, “I never said that,” and walking away should the person continue to accuse you of doing or saying something you didn’t can help to set a firm boundary in this type of interaction. So long as the toxic person can blameshift and digress from their own behavior, they have succeeded in convincing you that you should be “shamed” for giving them any sort of realistic feedback.

6. Nitpicking and moving the goal posts.

The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the presence of a personal attack and impossible standards. These so-called “critics” often don’t want to help you improve, they just want to nitpick, pull you down and scapegoat you in any way they can. Abusive narcissists and sociopaths employ a logical fallacy known as “moving the goalposts” in order to ensure that they have every reason to be perpetually dissatisfied with you. This is when, even after you’ve provided all the evidence in the world to validate your argument or taken an action to meet their request, they set up another expectation of you or demand more proof.

Do you have a successful career? The narcissist will then start to pick on why you aren’t a multi-millionaire yet. Did you already fulfill their need to be excessively catered to? Now it’s time to prove that you can also remain “independent.” The goal posts will perpetually change and may not even be related to each other; they don’t have any other point besides making you vie for the narcissist’s approval and validation.

By raising the expectations higher and higher each time or switching them completely, highly manipulative and toxic people are able to instill in you a pervasive sense of unworthiness and of never feeling quite “enough.” By pointing out one irrelevant fact or one thing you did wrong and developing a hyperfocus on it, narcissists get to divert from your strengths and pull you into obsessing over any flaws or weaknesses instead. They get you thinking about the next expectation of theirs you’re going to have to meet – until eventually you’ve bent over backwards trying to fulfill their every need – only to realize it didn’t change the horrific way they treated you.

Don’t get sucked into nitpicking and changing goal posts – if someone chooses to rehash an irrelevant point over and over again to the point where they aren’t acknowledging the work you’ve done to validate your point or satisfy them, their motive isn’t to better understand. It’s to further provoke you into feeling as if you have to constantly prove yourself. Validate and approve of yourself. Know that you are enough and you don’t have to be made to feel constantly deficient or unworthy in some way.

7. Changing the subject to evade accountability.

This type of tactic is what I like to call the “What about me?” syndrome. It is a literal digression from the actual topic that works to redirect attention to a different issue altogether. Narcissists don’t want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will reroute discussions to benefit them. Complaining about their neglectful parenting? They’ll point out a mistake you committed seven years ago. This type of diversion has no limits in terms of time or subject content, and often begins with a sentence like “What about the time when…”

On a macrolevel, these diversions work to derail discussions that challenge the status quo. A discussion about gay rights, for example, may be derailed quickly by someone who brings in another social justice issue just to distract people from the main argument.

As Tara Moss, author of Speaking Out: A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls, notes, specificity is needed in order to resolve and address issues appropriately – that doesn’t mean that the issues that are being brought up don’t matter, it just means that the specific time and place may not be the best context to discuss them.

Don’t be derailed – if someone pulls a switcheroo on you, you can exercise what I call the “broken record” method and continue stating the facts without giving in to their distractions. Redirect their redirection by saying, “That’s not what I am talking about. Let’s stay focused on the real issue.” If they’re not interested, disengage and spend your energy on something more constructive – like not having a debate with someone who has the mental age of a toddler.

8. Covert and overt threats.

Narcissistic abusers and otherwise toxic people feel very threatened when their excessive sense of entitlement, false sense of superiority and grandiose sense of self are challenged in any way. They are prone to making unreasonable demands on others – while punishing you for not living up to their impossible to reach expectations.

Rather than tackle disagreements or compromises maturely, they set out to divert you from your right to have your own identity and perspective by attempting to instill fear in you about the consequences of disagreeing or complying with their demands. To them, any challenge results in an ultimatum and “do this or I’ll do that” becomes their daily mantra.

If someone’s reaction to you setting boundaries or having a differing opinion from your own is to threaten you into submission, whether it’s a thinly veiled threat or an overt admission of what they plan to do, this is a red flag of someone who has a high degree of entitlement and has no plans of compromising. Take threats seriously and show the narcissist you mean business; document threats and report them whenever possible and legally feasible.

9. Name-calling.

Narcissists preemptively blow anything they perceive as a threat to their superiority out of proportion. In their world, only they can ever be right and anyone who dares to say otherwise creates a narcissistic injury that results in narcissistic rage. As Mark Goulston, M.D. asserts, narcissistic rage does not result from low self-esteem but rather a high sense of entitlement and false sense of superiority.

The lowest of the low resort to narcissistic rage in the form of name-calling when they can’t think of a better way to manipulate your opinion or micromanage your emotions. Name-calling is a quick and easy way to put you down, degrade you and insult your intelligence, appearance or behavior while invalidating your right to be a separate person with a right to his or her perspective.

Name-calling can also be used to criticize your beliefs, opinions and insights. A well-researched perspective or informed opinion suddenly becomes “silly” or “idiotic” in the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath who feels threatened by it and cannot make a respectful, convincing rebuttal. Rather than target your argument, they target you as a person and seek to undermine your credibility and intelligence in any way they possibly can. It’s important to end any interaction that consists of name-calling and communicate that you won’t tolerate it. Don’t internalize it: realize that they are resorting to name-calling because they are deficient in higher level methods.

10. Destructive conditioning.

Toxic people condition you to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse, frustration and disrespect. They do this by sneaking in covert and overt put-downs about the qualities and traits they once idealized as well as sabotaging your goals, ruining celebrations, vacations and holidays. They may even isolate you from your friends and family and make you financially dependent upon them. Like Pavlov’s dogs, you’re essentially “trained” over time to become afraid of doing the very things that once made your life fulfilling.

Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and otherwise toxic people do this because they wish to divert attention back to themselves and how you’re going to please them. If there is anything outside of them that may threaten their control over your life, they seek to destroy it. They need to be the center of attention at all times. In the idealization phase, you were once the center of a narcissist’s world – now the narcissist becomes the center of yours.

Narcissists are also naturally pathologically envious and don’t want anything to come in between them and their influence over you. Your happiness represents everything they feel they cannot have in their emotionally shallow lives. After all, if you learn that you can get validation, respect and love from other sources besides the toxic person, what’s to keep you from leaving them? To toxic people, a little conditioning can go a long way to keep you walking on eggshells and falling just short of your big dreams.

11. Smear campaigns and stalking.

When toxic types can’t control the way you see yourself, they start to control how others see you; they play the martyr while you’re labeled the toxic one. A smear campaign is a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so that you won’t have a support network to fall back on lest you decide to detach and cut ties with this toxic person. They may even stalk and harass you or the people you know as a way to supposedly “expose” the truth about you; this exposure acts as a way to hide their own abusive behavior while projecting it onto you.

Some smear campaigns can even work to pit two people or two groups against each other. A victim in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesn’t know what’s being said about them during the relationship, but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after they’ve been discarded.

Toxic people will gossip behind your back (and in front of your face), slander you to your loved ones or their loved ones, create stories that depict you as the aggressor while they play the victim, and claim that you engaged in the same behaviors that they are afraid you will accuse them of engaging in. They will also methodically, covertly and deliberately abuse you so they can use your reactions as a way to prove that they are the so-called “victims” of your abuse.

The best way to handle a smear campaign is to stay mindful of your reactions and stick to the facts. This is especially pertinent for high-conflict divorces with narcissists who may use your reactions to their provocations against you. Document any form of harassment, cyberbullying or stalking incidents and always speak to your narcissist through a lawyer whenever possible. You may wish to take legal action if you feel the stalking and harassment is getting out of control; finding a lawyer who is well-versed in Narcissistic Personality Disorder is crucial if that’s the case. Your character and integrity will speak for itself when the narcissist’s false mask begins to slip.

12. Love-bombing and devaluation.

Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with you. Then, they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired in the first place. Another variation of this is when a toxic individual puts you on a pedestal while aggressively devaluing and attacking someone else who threatens their sense of superiority.

Narcissistic abusers do this all the time – they devalue their exes to their new partners, and eventually the new partner starts to receive the same sort of mistreatment as the narcissist’s ex-partner. Ultimately what will happen is that you will also be on the receiving end of the same abuse. You will one day be the ex-partner they degrade to their new source of supply. You just don’t know it yet. That’s why it’s important to stay mindful of the love-bombing technique whenever you witness behavior that doesn’t align with the saccharine sweetness a narcissist subjects you to.

As life coach Wendy Powell suggests, slowing things down with people you suspect may be toxic is an important way of combating the love-bombing technique. Be wary of the fact that how a person treats or speaks about someone else could potentially translate into the way they will treat you in the future.

13. Preemptive defense.

When someone stresses the fact that they are a “nice guy” or girl, that you should “trust them” right away or emphasizes their credibility without any provocation from you whatsoever, be wary.

Toxic and abusive people overstate their ability to be kind and compassionate. They often tell you that you should “trust” them without first building a solid foundation of trust. They may “perform” a high level of sympathy and empathy at the beginning of your relationship to dupe you, only to unveil their false mask later on. When you see their false mask begins to slip periodically during the devaluation phase of the abuse cycle, the true self is revealed to be terrifyingly cold, callous and contemptuous.

Genuinely nice people rarely have to persistently show off their positive qualities – they exude their warmth more than they talk about it and they know that actions speak volumes more than mere words. They know that trust and respect is a two-way street that requires reciprocity, not repetition.

To counter a preemptive defense, reevaluate why a person may be emphasizing their good qualities. Is it because they think you don’t trust them, or because they know you shouldn’t? Trust actions more than empty words and see how someone’s actions communicate who they are, not who they say they are.

14. Triangulation.

Bringing in the opinion, perspective or suggested threat of another person into the dynamic of an interaction is known as “triangulation.” Often used to validate the toxic person’s abuse while invalidating the victim’s reactions to abuse, triangulation can also work to manufacture love triangles that leave you feeling unhinged and insecure.

Malignant narcissists love to triangulate their significant other with strangers, co-workers, ex-partners, friends and even family members in order to evoke jealousy and uncertainty in you. They also use the opinions of others to validate their point of view.

This is a diversionary tactic meant to pull your attention away from their abusive behavior and into a false image of them as a desirable, sought after person. It also leaves you questioning yourself – if Mary did agree with Tom, doesn’t that mean that you must be wrong? The truth is, narcissists love to “report back” falsehoods about others say about you, when in fact, they are the ones smearing you.

To resist triangulation tactics, realize that whoever the narcissist is triangulating with is also being triangulated by your relationship with the narcissist as well. Everyone is essentially being played by this one person. Reverse “triangulate” the narcissist by gaining support from a third party that is not under the narcissist’s influence – and also by seeking your own validation.

15. Bait and feign innocence.

Toxic individuals lure you into a false sense of security simply to have a platform to showcase their cruelty. Baiting you into a mindless, chaotic argument can escalate into a showdown rather quickly with someone who doesn’t know the meaning of respect. A simple disagreement may bait you into responding politely initially, until it becomes clear that the person has a malicious motive of tearing you down.

By “baiting” you with a seemingly innocuous comment disguised as a rational one, they can then begin to play with you. Remember: narcissistic abusers have learned about your insecurities, the unsettling catchphrases that interrupt your confidence, and the disturbing topics that reenact your wounds – and they use this knowledge maliciously to provoke you. After you’ve fallen for it, hook line and sinker, they’ll stand back and innocently ask whether you’re “okay” and talk about how they didn’t “mean” to agitate you. This faux innocence works to catch you off guard and make you believe that they truly didn’t intend to hurt you, until it happens so often you can’t deny the reality of their malice any longer.

It helps to realize when you’re being baited so you can avoid engaging altogether. Provocative statements, name-calling, hurtful accusations or unsupported generalizations, for example, are common baiting tactics. Your gut instinct can also tell you when you’re being baited – if you feel “off” about a certain comment and continue to feel this way even after it has been expanded on, that’s a sign you may need to take some space to reevaluate the situation before choosing to respond.

16. Boundary testing and hoovering.

Narcissists, sociopaths and otherwise toxic people continually try and test your boundaries to see which ones they can trespass. The more violations they’re able to commit without consequences, the more they’ll push the envelope.
That’s why survivors of emotional as well as physical abuse often experience even more severe incidents of abuse each and every time they go back to their abusers.

Abusers tend to “hoover” their victims back in with sweet promises, fake remorse and empty words of how they are going to change, only to abuse their victims even more horrifically. In the abuser’s sick mind, this boundary testing serves as a punishment for standing up to the abuse and also for being going back to it. When narcissists try to press the emotional reset button, reinforce your boundaries even more strongly rather than backtracking on them.

Remember – highly manipulative people don’t respond to empathy or compassion. They respond to consequences.

17. Aggressive jabs disguised as jokes.

Covert narcissists enjoy making malicious remarks at your expense. These are usually dressed up as “just jokes” so that they can get away with saying appalling things while still maintaining an innocent, cool demeanor. Yet any time you are outraged at an insensitive, harsh remark, you are accused of having no sense of humor. This is a tactic frequently used in verbal abuse.

The contemptuous smirk and sadistic gleam in their eyes gives it away, however – like a predator that plays with its food, a toxic person gains pleasure from hurting you and being able to get away with it. After all, it’s just a joke, right? Wrong. It’s a way to gaslight you into thinking their abuse is a joke – a way to divert from their cruelty and onto your perceived sensitivity. It is important that when this happens, you stand up for yourself and make it clear that you won’t tolerate this type of behavior.

Calling out manipulative people on their covert put-downs may result in further gaslighting from the abuser but maintain your stance that their behavior is not okay and end the interaction immediately if you have to.

18. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.

Belittling and degrading a person is a toxic person’s forte and their tone of voice is only one tool in their toolbox. Sarcasm can be a fun mode of communication when both parties are engaged, but narcissists use it chronically as a way to manipulate you and degrade you. If you in any way react to it, you must be “too sensitive.”

Forget that the toxic person constantly has temper tantrums every time their big bad ego is faced with realistic feedback – the victim is the hypersensitive one, apparently. So long as you’re treated like a child and constantly challenged for expressing yourself, you’ll start to develop a sense of hypervigilance about voicing your thoughts and opinions without reprimand. This self-censorship enables the abuser to put in less work in silencing you, because you begin to silence yourself.

Whenever you are met with a condescending demeanor or tone, call it out firmly and assertively. You don’t deserve to be spoken down to like a child – nor should you ever silence yourself to meet the expectation of someone else’s superiority complex.

19. Shaming.

“You should be ashamed of yourself” is a favorite saying of toxic people. Though it can be used by someone who is non-toxic, in the realm of the narcissist or sociopath, shaming is an effective method that targets any behavior or belief that might challenge a toxic person’s power. It can also be used to destroy and whittle away at a victim’s self-esteem: if a victim dares to be proud of something, shaming the victim for that specific trait, quality or accomplishment can serve to diminish their sense of self and stifle any pride they may have.

Malignant narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths enjoy using your own wounds against you – so they will even shame you about any abuse or injustice you’ve suffered in your lifetime as a way to retraumatize you. Were you a childhood abuse survivor? A malignant narcissist or sociopath will claim that you must’ve done something to deserve it, or brag about their own happy childhood as a way to make you feel deficient and unworthy. What better way to injure you, after all, than to pick at the original wound? As surgeons of madness, they seek to exacerbate wounds, not help heal them.

If you suspect you’re dealing with a toxic person, avoid revealing any of your vulnerabilities or past traumas. Until they’ve proven their character to you, there is no point disclosing information that could be potentially used against you.

20. Control.

Most importantly, toxic abusers love to maintain control in whatever way they can. They isolate you, maintain control over your finances and social networks, and micromanage every facet of your life. Yet the most powerful mechanism they have for control is toying with your emotions.

That’s why abusive narcissists and sociopaths manufacture situations of conflict out of thin air to keep you feeling off center and off balanced. That’s why they chronically engage in disagreements about irrelevant things and rage over perceived slights. That’s why they emotionally withdraw, only to re-idealize you once they start to lose control. That’s why they vacillate between their false self and their true self, so you never get a sense of psychological safety or certainty about who your partner truly is.

The more power they have over your emotions, the less likely you’ll trust your own reality and the truth about the abuse you’re enduring. Knowing the manipulative tactics and how they work to erode your sense of self can arm you with the knowledge of what you’re facing and at the very least, develop a plan to regain control over your own life and away from toxic people.

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And this his how they do it – they warp your mind over time – and they are very good at what they do. The best advice? Run. If you are a child and can’t, try talking to anyone you trust about whats happening and realize its not you, it’s not about you, it’s that your parent is very, very sick.
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