Don’t Be Fooled by Glitter

th-9I as a victim of abuse for a large part of my life searched for decades for truth my soul was starving for. And now I share that truth with others. One of the hardest lessons I learned is that truly evil and toxic people do exist and that they prey on the truly good people and in fact, they target them in all aspects of life.

Read more here on how narcissists target empaths.

I also learned that exploitation and power imbalanced situations can come in many forms because “toxic humans” can come in many forms camouflaged as many things. So even after we recover from abuse, like with any addiction (and abuse victims do suffer from “pain addiction”), we can be targeted and triggered when we least expect it. We can have a single abusive or toxic mate, lover, co-worker, spouse or we can be exposed to toxicity and power imbalance in toxic “groups” that also come in all forms – families, work groups, religious groups, political groups, or what I experienced recently, a branch of a world-wide fundraising organization that is over 100 years old.

So to effectively heal after narcissistic abuse and not be vulnerable to narcissists, I’d like to remind you, “All that glitters is not gold.” This is why.

Pathological Narcissism is a Pandemic

Narcissism is now a world-wide pandemic.  It has infiltrated all aspects or our lives and is rampant in “good deed” communities like politics, the medical community, churches, and even fundraising organizations where many emotional manipulators can exist for years going unnoticed, providing illusions of generosity and “goodness” and feeding off the unlimited supply of power and energy of innocent members of the community while hiding true intentions of superiority and self-righteousness. Gary Bell, a valued community member at Yourlifelifter describes it perfectly, “Service organizations frequently come to be fraternal organizations with a bit of charity work to make it seem legit – fraternity and sorority houses for ‘grownups.'”

Narcissists are even posing as healers on Facebook. What better people to target than the vulnerable wounded ones they harmed who admittedly need help and whom they continue to abuse and exploit “by proxy” by posing as a healers? What a novel idea, right? Well, it is not so novel. It may be pretty new to Facebook but narcissists infiltrated the medical and psychological professions a long long time ago like pedophiles infiltrated the priesthood.

Read more here on narcissists posing as healers.

Kathy Krajco, a formidable pioneer in educating the world on narcissism and narcissistic abuse, describes in What Makes Narcissists Tick how the “helping professions” that supply an abundance of vulnerable prey attract pathological narcissists. Kathy cautions us to “think not only of vulnerable children in the case of teachers but also vulnerable children or grieving and hurt adults in the case of priests and ministers. Think of the vulnerable patients supplied to psychiatrists.” She also warns us about the serious problem narcissism poses in the public sector and private nonprofit institutions that use the do-gooder and moral elitist facade to cloak their true self-righteous intentions to not do good but to be “seen as doing good” and “show how good they are by pointing at someone else and telling them how bad they are.” Politics, she points out, “is an ideal arena for narcissists…the list of them who have conned whole nations to become dictators is breathtaking.”

What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves

10978510_362341267284154_1787609046267314286_n-1We can educate ourselves on narcissism and how to protect ourselves from toxic people and learn to rely more confidently on our emotional intelligence. So, if your gut instinct tells you there is something fishy going on, then trust it, don’t ignore your inner voice or second guess yourself, be cautious, and if the not so good feelings in your gut start to outnumber the truly rewarding ones, then run for the hills.

Read more here on what we can do as a person, a people, and a nation.

Do “do good” organizations do good for the community?  Possibly but beware the true intent of their members! Is it to simply give back to and benefit the community which was my sole personal objective or are there “hidden” underlying objectives? Look closely at their actions and do not assume their intentions, like yours, are good ones. Fact check! The more important question to answer is to determine why the members are really there? Does their objective for being there and donating their time align with yours? Look how they routinely treat all members. Do they play favorites? Are there cliques that seem to manipulate all the decisions in the organization to favor themselves and those in the clique at the expense of others? Do they portray in their home lives the ethics and moral codes of the organization? Do their actions contradict their thoughts and words and vice versa?

Read more here to learn how to identify emotional vampires in your life.

The point is this. Anyone can provide an illusion of doing good by hiding in a “do good” organization or even places of worship that are really filled with manipulative covert aggressive self-righteous people who are exploiting others and are languishing in their superiority over the “needy” they profess to help and are providing a very toxic and emotionally unhealthy environment for its innocent and truly compassionate members who simply are there just to “do good.” Wolves can be cloaked in many versions of sheep’s clothing and snakes can be cloaked in many colors of suits. So it doesn’t matter how appealing it “looks” or “sounds” even if there is a handsome “shiny as a new penny” person at the helm or is a rich Presidential candidate in a $2000 suit…..if it looks like, if it smells like, it is. And if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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Read more here on what we can do as a person, a people, and a nation.

So even after we heal, we must remain vigilant and confident in our personal power. And never forget that truth is truth and never again let anyone manipulate you into compromising yours even if they appear as glittered “do gooders.”

th-2You cannot polish a turd, folks, but you can roll it in glitter and nevertheless it will remain a turd and the smell lingers. Don’t be fooled by the glitter. It is all an unsustainable illusion. Truth, on the other hand IS like gold. It can tarnish but will never lose its brilliance or value.

Why Protecting Personal Boundaries is Critical in Healing

12642914_10153878531423142_6774038841148030402_n-1Abusers, narcissists, manipulators, and bullies find us. We do not find them. Why? Because they are powerless and weak and so they prey on people who are vulnerable to their covert aggressive tactics and who will give up their power to them.

Abusers and exploiters and bullies and especially narcissists are masters at pushing pain buttons, making people feel powerless, and getting people to let down their boundaries and getting them to give up their power to them. In fact, they enjoy doing it. They use charm and love as their camouflage. We become unknowingly complicit in our own abuse and exploitation. We innocently expose ourselves to some of the worst abuse and harm imaginable.

12654645_941891752514920_7863427450412629576_nPart of healing for those who were victims and continue to be susceptible to their attacks, then, is learning effectively how not to be vulnerable to emotional predators.

Read more here on how to identify emotional vampires in your life.

Unfortunately, there is no electronic monitor like a home protection system you can purchase to warn you of impending “emotional” predators and attacks. However, you can strengthen your own internal monitors and learn new self-care and self-compassion skills including honing your narcissist radar otherwise known as “NADAR” and honoring and “feeling” for and caring for your own wants and needs with compassion and defending your personal rights and authorities. These include assertively expressing what your rights, authorities, needs, and feelings are and recognizing and regulating your own emotions especially your pain-based ones and learning when they are triggered and who routinely triggers them. Just as important, then, is knowing WHAT makes you happy.

These are normal adaptive habits supporting our emotional health and self-worth and self-assuredness we should have learned in our youth. However, we are not encouraged to and are even ignored and punished for merely taking care of our basic needs in abusive and exploitive childhoods, relationships, and environments. If this is true and continues in your life, then you are in one of the most toxic environments rather than a mutually healthy and respectful one that supports your emotional health. If this is the case, take protective actions immediately. The good news?

10947330_10152839810449961_2098951278719241549_nHealing and taking your power back will allow you to embrace the new authentic you with love, compassion, caring and a whole new set of “life” and “self-loving” skills. These include assertively expressing your wants, needs, disappointments, viewpoints, and simply saying no. Saying no is a complete sentence and requires no additional explanation. Remember, too, that boundaries control flow in both directions. So be careful not only to protect your boundaries from others but also maintain them steady and not readily share too much information with others that can leave you vulnerable to emotional attackers as well. Read more here.

When in doubt, simply trust your gut instinct, don’t second guess it, recognize your discomfort with the situation, recognize this person as a potential threat, and walk away.  Say nothing or if you feel compelled, say something neutral like “I never heard that put the way before,” or “I will have to think about that,” and then remove yourself from the toxic situation as soon as you can.

Remember the TDS rule!th-1

  1. Minimize your TIME with them;
  2. Maximize the DISTANCE between you and them; and
  3. Put SHIELDING or a barrier between you and them.

Assertively saying no and walking away to a safe place allow you to do all three, easily and effectively.

For more information on how to deal with toxic people read this article.

Another, very important and not so obvious lesson relates to the challenges of managing boundaries faced by those with codependent tendencies, heavily reliant on others for self-worth.

Case in point. An abuse survivor with admitted over dependence on others for validation, goes to her sister to let her know how her non-traditional therapy went and was bashed by her sister for the decision she made.

Case in point. An abuse survivor who is far into her healing journey is called daily by a life-long friend who is a serious codependent and who uses her friend’s power to sustain herself but does not work on building her who own self-assuredness to help her through her personal issues.

What can we learn from these interrelationships on managing personal boundaries?

healthy-boundaries-memeFirst, people with codependent tendencies and empaths in particular, should focus to avoid telling “good news” or for that matter any news to toxic people whose truth does not align with theirs and who do not have their best interests at heart regardless if those persons are related or not. Just because someone is related and should care about you in emotionally healthy respectful ways and should have your best interests at heart does not guarantee they do and entitle them to disrespect you and not honor your personal rights or wishes.
Let’s take a closer look at the first example here, a person going to another for validation and solace. Now, an emotionally healthy individual whose ego is intact, would have merely been concerned that it worked for you and how it met your healing goals and asked you how the therapy went. My concern would have been you. Point being is that by learning not to tell your “sister,” who in this example represents anyone who is toxic and learning instead to focus on relying on those who do have your back and will reliably validate you, you learn self-reliance, to rely more comfortably on yourself and less on others. You can also learn to limit your group of friends to just a key few you can periodically check for assurance with but not overly rely on for acceptance or approval.
There is another very important and not so obvious lesson here related to personal boundaries: Boundaries control flow inward and outward.
Empaths can be so trusting of people they readily tell others everything! Readily sharing too much information with others can leave us vulnerable to emotional attackers as well. Read more here. Releasing too much information too fast is a signal to boundary violators and energy vampires that you are at their disposal to target and prey on. It is also dishonorable to your own self and your life. Trusting others before you have evaluated whether they are “on your side” or not is simply not a wise thing to do. Would you let your money hang out of your wallet while you walked down the street? I think not. Well, the same applies to your own personal emotional health and well-being that hold much more value to you than money!
Abuse survivors can become notorious boundary violators themselves. People who are heavily dependent on others for self-worth particularly may have a hard time sourcing their own power and learning self-reliance.emotional_bill_rights
These “codependent” people have learned to routinely not only let others violate their boundaries but also to violate other people’s boundaries to source from them what they need to define their worth. It is not fair and totally disrespectful to legitimate and emotionally healthy friends to overly burden them with too much information about your problems, issues, and your journey. Innocently, you become, at a minimum, annoying and in the worse case, exploitive, dishonoring, and toxic to them. So, the best of people in a maladaptive wounded state who have the best of intentions must not forget the importance of honoring OTHER people’s personal rights while they are learning to manage their own.
Learning boundary management by re-learning what personal rights are and where healthy authorities and boundaries start and finish will help us make great strides in our healing, replace maladaptive thoughts, beliefs and actions with healthy ones and support and sustain emotionally healthy and mutually respectful loving relationships.
I explore these issues and provide many more healing lessons, tips and tools in my book Take Your Power Back. You can get your copy and read more here.

 

 

Can Malignant Narcissism Be Cured?

Life, Health, Career Coaching

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

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Here’s the simple answer: “No!”

Therapy can help narcissists put on the brakes if they go to therapy and the therapists are skilled in their covert aggressive personalities and know how to deal with their perverted thinking including their manipulation, lack of compassion, aggression, combativeness and need to win. However, based on my decades of research and the collective opinions of real experts on character disturbances who have treated thousands of narcs and their victims, I believe there is no cure. Read more at http://drgeorgesimon.com.

Can they have redeeming character traits? Intelligence?

Of course they can.

But they permanently lack the qualities we as humans need to build and sustain integrity of character and building meaningful healthy relationships.

Let’s explore this.

Our characters are built through life experiences and mistakes and successes and are chiseled permanently like sculpture. Our characters, whether they be characters of integrity just like disturbed…

View original post 770 more words

On Functional Medicine, Truth, and Healing from Abuse

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein

Let’s look at traditional medicine and ask the same question that Doctor Phil frequently asks:

“Is it working for you.”

th-5-1Well, it is very obviously not working for the patients who continue to suffer but a lot of people are benefitting from treating symptoms of disease, autoimmune illnesses (hugely on the rise), emotional fatigue and trauma, or whatever.

The functional approach is a long overdue new direction in medicine that focuses on root causes to disease and ailments and promotes our bodies’ natural defense mechanisms to prevent and heal illness and disease related to our physical and emotional health.

However, functional medicine is not based on a new concept – not in the least. I have used this for over 35 years and it is pretty basic. It goes like this:

“It is impossible to heal and prevent a problem if you do not address what causes it…pure and simple.”

It is impossible to effectively heal a problem and sustain healing if you label it with something after going through a checklist of SYMPTOMS and do not investigate to identify and then address the root causes. Addressing what happened does not address why it happened or the events or series of events leading up to the mishap.

th-1Albert Einstein said it eloquently in his statement (and my favorite quote):

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

The same applies to illness or sadness or whatever we know “needs fixing.”

We also need to acknowledge it needs fixing because if we don’t, our human nature as creatures of habit takes over and we revert back to what we are comfortable doing even if is doing us harm or brings us angst. Why? Because, if we were abused, neglected, invalidated as children, we can have so many fears we are accustomed to living with that we choose the one or ones we are most comfortable with and deny the others.

shameLet’s see…should I stay with the abuser because my fear of abandonment overrides my fear of emotional pain or should I select abandonment over shame? Sound silly? Maybe. But this is exactly how the human mind reacts, how it copes after it has been overly taxed, traumatized. The brain is capable of so much but it is not capable of spontaneous healing.

Now these beliefs and immature coping mechanisms may have served us in the short term when we were defenseless to our heartless uncompassionate caregivers and caretakers, but they do not and will not serve us in the long term because they are just bandaiding symptoms. They will sustain your happiness because pain and the sources of pain DO NOT EVER GO AWAY. Just because you cannot access them does not mean they do not exist. Believe me. They are there ready to raise their heads when you least expect it and most likely when you are emotionally challenged such as during an illness, death, divorce, or after some major loss.

This example demonstrates the damage that is done to our belief systems and to our mechanisms for self-regulating our pain-based emotions. So abuse survivors’ emotions become toxic to themselves.

This is why traditional therapies frequently do not work for narcissistic abuse survivors and this is why millions of people worldwide are on Facebook and the Internet looking for answers. They are in emotional pain. They are emotionally fatigued. Their souls need emotional nourishment. They need truth.

You cannot treat trauma from abuse by prescribing a pill and treating symptoms and not accessing the trauma back to its source – childhood. It is as simple as that.

Gregg Zaffuto told me that reach at his groundbreaking healing page on Facebook, “After Narcissistic Abuse” reached over one million people worldwide last week and that is just one of many legitimate and credible healing pages.

Yes, folks there are millions of us looking for answers, millions of us whose souls are unnourished and starving for truth.

What? You say you were never physically abused? Well, emotional abuse, covert aggression, invalidation, coddling are all forms of abuse so no one is immune.

HEALING IS ALL ABOUT YOU. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE ABUSERS.

Healing is all about truth! This is why I focus on the truth and your healing. This is what I am committed to share with you at Yourlifelifter and what I documented in Take Your Power Back along with a step-by-step program and the tools to help you in your healing journeys.

705466_COVER_Mockup1Take Your Power Back is the product of my decades long search for truth into the root causes of pain addictions in abuse victims.

I wrote it to help you find yours, stop believing lies, break your pain addictions, become the joy-based people you were all put on this earth to be and THRIVE!

May your spiritual source guide and protect you in your search for truth!

Together we heal! Together we thrive!

Five Major Fundamental Healing Truths

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Excerpted from Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors. Purchase a copy here.

As discussed in detail in Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors, victims of abuse have been conditioned to think like victims. It is this thinking that hinders recovery. Victims can get so accustomed to living cyclical patterns of seeking and avoiding pain that they do not understand the real extent of their unhappiness and level of dependence on harmful power imbalanced relationships.

You may live and work in environments where these dysfunctions continue, the boundaries of personal respect are habitually violated, and personal rights are not honored. Your self-esteem suffers, and you live to avoid pain rather than pursue and seek joy. Perhaps you do not even know what brings you joy. The distorted thinking and skewed beliefs that create invisible barriers to your happiness can also create barriers to your healing.

So, here are five fundamental truths to help you challenge what I believe are the biggest falsehoods in your thinking that have hindered and will continue to create obstacles in your healing journey.

TRUTH #1

hopeBelieving lies does not make them true and not believing the truth does not make it a lie. Truth IS truth. Lies are lies. This is indisputable!

TRUTH #2

We manifest in life what we believe to be true!

We live to provide the evidence that our beliefs are true – even if in reality they are not!

Read this again!

We manifest in life what we believe to be true (even if our beliefs are really lies).

TRUTH #3

The human brain cannot process two opposing thoughts.

Let’s break this down a bit more.

Cannot heal at same level as painIf we believe we are the source of our pain, must suffer to be lovable, deserve pain rather than joy and we are powerless to the pain (all lies we were taught to believe in childhood), then when we become adults, we create the lies we believe and become attracted to relationships and people that continue to bring us pain.

This is how and why abuse spreads from our caretakers to us and from us to our children and is perpetuated from generation to generation. Yes, the broken ones before us taught us to believe their lies; we became pain-based inauthentic versions of ourselves who teach the same lies to our children. We attract those who prey on vulnerabilities we developed because we did not and do not live authentic lives based on our personal truth and divinely provided human design.

Read “What You Don’t Know About Dysfunctional Families and Intergenerational Abuse” here to learn more.

In addition, emotional vampires like narcissists and psychopaths who cannot generate their own power, bank on our vulnerabilities and the false beliefs that we are deserving of pain and are powerless to those who trigger it.

TRUTH #4

Abusers find us. We do not find them!!

Sorry to disappoint you, but abusers do not have some magical power over us and no, we are not the source of our pain and we do not deserve to be in relationships with weak, spineless, aggressive, uncompassionate, lazy people who steal our energy from us and who want all the benefits we can provide without any of the work.

Listen and learn more on the “Toxic Tango of Empaths and Narcissists” here.

They are aggressive but the truly weak ones who cannot generate their own power so they steal ours from us. Aggression is not power, folks. Abusers hunt for and prey for those with our vulnerabilities, the false beliefs and fears we were taught in childhood. In fact, they bank on our vulnerabilities so they can feed off of our compassion and benefit from us, like a parasite feeds off of its host, for a very long time. Read more here on the differences between harm, fear and real danger.

TRUTH #5

We can heal. Our abusers cannot.

The good, and really not so surprising news, is that with hard work, self-compassion, and self-care, our brains can rewire. Absolutely they can. We have the divine ability to release the pain and replace these false beliefs (the lies we were taught to believe) with truth, build our self-worth back up to their true levels, take our power back, and then find others whose truth aligns with ours in power balanced mutually respectful relationships we truly are deserving of.

This is how we heal! This is how we thrive! This is how we become the deserving joy-based authentic versions of ourselves we were put on this earth to be!

I explore these truths and share many more lessons, tips, and tools that will facilitate your healing in Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read more about the book and purchase a copy here.

May your spiritual source guide and protect you in your healing and in your search for truth!

Take Your Power Back is Now Available for Purchase

 

705466_COVER_Mockup1

Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors is for sale!

You can read an excerpt and purchase a copy of this groundbreaking book here!

Thanks to Dr. Patrick Gannon, PhD, Co-Founder of the ASCA (Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse) Self-Help Recovery Program for this great review!!

Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors is a practical and inspirational guide that focuses on key issues faced by adult survivors. Evelyn Ryan’s words of support and encouragement will be a source of emotional nourishment for adult survivors as they go through recovery. The book gets inside the emotional consequences of abuse. In particular, it shows how abuse impacts self-esteem and how survivors are inclined to unconsciously seek power-imbalanced relationships with narcissistic partners. The 7 Healing Lessons are cogently described dynamics tied to one’s past and the corrective thinking that is necessary for recovery. The focus on the ASCA Self-Help Program (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) in the chapter on the Healing and Recovery Journey dovetails perfectly with the central message of this inspirational book: you can recover your authentic self by committing to make specific changes that are essential to life success but it will take hard work, persistence and most importantly, a COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF. I can see that survivors will want to read and re-read sections of this book for on-going support and inspiration – THE WORDS ARE THAT POWERFUL! Full of helpful lists, psychological insights and practical suggestions on how to take charge of one’s inner life to facilitate recovery, this book is an undiscovered gem!

Patrick Gannon, PhD
Co-Founder
ASCA Self-Help Recovery Program

Can Malignant Narcissism Be Cured?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Here’s the simple answer:

No!

Can narcissists have redeeming character traits? Intelligence? Of course they can. But they permanently lack the qualities we as humans need to build and sustain integrity of character and meaningful healthy relationships.

thTherapy can help narcissists put on the brakes if they go to therapy and the therapists are skilled in their covert aggressive personalities and know how to deal with their perverted thinking including their manipulation, lack of compassion, aggression, combativeness and need to win. However, as summarized below, based on research and the collective opinions of the “real experts” on character disturbances who have studied and treated thousands of narcs and their victims, there is no cure.

Read more at http://drgeorgesimon.com and listen to Dr. James Fallon  in “Crime Talk.”

ST-21-1_-1How Do Our Characters Develop?

Our characters incrementally build through our life experiences, hard work, mistakes and successes and are chiseled permanently like sculpture into our being. Our characters that develop as we age, whether ones of integrity or disturbed manipulative ones, cannot be undone.

We all have to work to build self-worth, self-esteem, self-assuredness, and self-reliance, the qualities, skills and abilities that motivate and sustain us through life. However, this process goes haywire in narcissists (and some other disordered individuals) who lose these abilities as well as the ability to self-soothe. Instead, they learn to manipulate power or whatever they want or need to sustain themselves from others. They remain like small children, always dependent on others for survival. Their characters do not develop and predictably remain “childlike.” They forever remain human “parasites.”

images-2Their thinking, as they grow into adults, distorts and they believe they are entitled (like any small child) to all the benefits of humanity and of life without working for them. They permanently view their adult hosts as a small child views its mother. A child cannot care for itself, right? And does not know it is dependent on its mother and does not care if the mother is generous or self-sacrificing or not. A small child does not even understand it is a separate being from its mother and has no empathy for its mother. It just gets and takes from its mother what it wants as well as needs and, as a child, is validly entitled to. And if it does not, well, it then rages, cries, and has tantrums.

Sound familiar? It should because arrested development causes the characters of narcissists to remain forever in a helpless child like state and not develop the elements needed as they age to adapt, improve, self-soothe, regulate their own emotions, love unconditionally and to work for what they need to sustain their own happiness. They permanently lose the ability to become a normal functioning human being similar to a feral child raised in the wild who loses many of the human cognitive and emotional abilities if not developed by a certain age.

Narcissists permanently lack the human capabilities to ensure our normal emotional development and that allow us to integrate and interact in emotionally healthy ways with other humans. They have lost those functions because their brains have lost the functions that allow them to do so. Their thinking and beliefs are skewed. They are sort of like mutants who look normal on the outside but in reality are not. I refer to them as “The Lacks” because they are permanently missing the key elements we need to function “normally.” They are forever stuck in a “less than as adult humans were designed” state. And, so, their characters and thinking become disturbed, disordered, broken. They are forever unable to act on their “free will.” They have learned instead to maladapt by filling these gaps with energy parasitically sourced from and manipulated from others.

Let’s explore these “gaps” further.

The Roles of Compassion and Empathy in Human Existence

Having compassion and learning to use it responsibly are critical to our individual and collective existence. It allows us to function in relationships with others and as a society. Compassion is critical to our emotional health and our character development and personal relationships.

We need compassion to care about and for ourselves and others and they for us. It enables us as we mature to learn emotional empathy, the ability to actually put ourselves in other’s shoes and feel what others are feeling. Empathy is a potential ability those with compassion can learn and matures as the brain develops and as our characters develop. That ability to “mirror” ourselves emotionally in others allows us to love and to be loved reciprocally. Compassion allows us to value ourselves and others and motivates us to care for ourselves and others and strive to end our own and other’s suffering and pain. Compassion allows us to tolerate and adapt to change and other’s differences and to coexist in peace and harmony. It prevents a total chaotic society.

The levels of compassion and empathy vary from person to person. Unfortunately, some of us can be born with too much (e.g. empaths) and some of us are not born with enough (e.g. narcissists and psychopaths).

What are a Narcissist’s Major “Character” Gaps?

Well, at the top of the list is the lack of compassion. They lack empathy and the ability to love. They have exaggerated fear of shame. These are the most significant gaps in their disturbed characters that prevent their self-worth and self-reliance from developing and that cause them to become emotional parasites and prey on others and not have effective healthy relationships with others of their own kind. So, doesn’t it make sense that empaths who have too much compassion would be targets of narcissists who lack compassion?

READ MORE ON WHAT MAKES US VULNERABLE TO NARCISSISTS.

Preeminent neuroscientist, Dr. James Fallon reports in “Crime Talk” that narcissists and psychopaths are genetically predisposed to aggression, violence and lacking compassion and emotional empathy and for psychopaths, lacking conscience. They do, however, possess cognitive empathy, the ability to recognize emotions in others. The pleasure centers of their brains are also affected so narcissists and psychopaths do not get pleasure like normal folks would get such as from reading a book.

What I find most interesting is Dr. Fallon’s description of how their “evil genes” are “turned on” by abuse (including coddling) in childhood. Psychopaths and narcissists, however, use the functioning parts of their brains and those that support reasoning and planning to con you and manipulate you. Their brains, according to Dr. Fallon, create a work around in order for them to survive and abuse and con from you what they want and need and they do not care what impact that has on you.

We can also see major flaws in a narcissist’s thinking when it comes to work, commitment, and obligation (or more accurately lack thereof).

“Why would I work for anything to achieve a goal that I do not know I am worthy of achieving and I am not confident I can achieve when I am entitled to do minimal work and use others’ successes to make me look good and provide an illusion that I am successful?”

As depraved as this sounds, this is a realistic example of the skewed thinking of what Dr. George K. Simon, a preeminent expert on manipulative aggressive personalities and author of the best sellers In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance, and The Judas Syndrom refers to as the “covert aggressive personalities” that include the pathological narcissists and psychopaths. Dr. Simon confirms that narcissistic personalities lack the capacity to love because they lack empathy and the warning signs of such empathy deficits are always in the attitudes they display toward accepting work and obligation. Narcissists simply detest putting out effort that might, even in part, benefit someone else.

READ MORE ON NARCISSISTS AND CHARACTER, WORK AND OBLIGATION HERE.

Dr. Simon also verifies that narcissists can work very hard and can spend inordinate amounts of time and energy to get something they want. As most of us very well know, they can put in extraordinary efforts to groom and love bomb a potential mate or spouse. But putting the same amount of energy into finding or keeping a legitimate job or a personal relationship, taking care of a sick family member, demonstrating the loyalty and consistency necessary to be considered for advancement, or making the investment in personal self-development to merit consideration for more advanced positions are completely different matters and very unattractive enterprises to them. They want all the benefits of marriage, for example, without having to work for them or earn them!

Dr. Simon emphasizes that narcissists resist working to become better human beings more than any other kind of work. So even when it comes to respect and love and admiration, they want to come by them in the same manner as everything else  – without having to earn them. And guess what folks? How do we build integrity of character?  You got it …by working hard to set goals, make a plan to achieve them, being successful, and learning lessons through mistakes we make along the way. The normal human desire to work for those things to improve themselves are lacking in the disordered. And as a result, the characters of the narcissists do not mature or develop. They remain “deficient” humans with questionable to poor characters and even criminal ones who manipulate from the truly good people what they need to sustain themselves. So in essence, they are and remain human parasites, man and woman “babies” who are dependent on others for emotional sustenance.

Malignant Narcissism, Cures, and Change

Narcissists rarely, if ever, seek professional care or ever want to change because they like themselves just the way they are and loathe working on self-improvement. Very few psychology professionals are even trained or equipped to deal with them. So, if they choose to change (which the probability for is close to zero), very few professionals will be able to treat them competently anyway. And even if they are treated by a competent therapist who teaches them to become aware of their depravity and how to temper it, they will still lack compassion and empathy, and they will continue to fake the new “behaviors” to con you and others to serve none other than themselves. They will remain unable to love and sustain the behaviors that support reciprocal emotionally healthy relationships. They will still think like and be narcissists.

So, you cannot “love” a narcissist to change or teach them to be compassionate. Narcissists have a conscience and know exactly what they are doing. They simply do not care and no one can make them care. It would be like telling you to stop caring about others or to stop having compassion or to tell a leopard to change its spots. These are the skewed and permanent parts of a pathological narcissist’s thinking and emotional development that cause the irreparable damage to their “lacking” characters.

Can Narcissists Learn to Change Bad Behaviors?

Of course, they can. They are master manipulators and while they lack emotional empathy, they do not lack cognitive empathy. So they readily can identify emotions in others and learn and plan to manipulate them. They conned you into “liking” them or loving them and they learned to charm you. Didn’t they? They also turned on you on a dime when their pathological envy and sick needs to destroy you and manipulate from you what they believe in their evil minds they are entitled to take without any of the work kicked in. This is because the disorder, like Dr. Fallon reports above, does not impact parts of the brain where they plan and scheme and strategize.

Can Narcissists Be Cured?

Can you cure a vampire? A parasite?

Our characters, as discussed above, are permanently chiseled into our being. Disorders by definition are permanent character flaws. Disorders are not bad habits that we can break and replace with newer and healthier ones. Can the disordered “behaviors” be diagnosed and perhaps treated? Of course. But changing a behavior (which is close to impossible in narcissists who love themselves just the way they are) will not “cure” the “permanent” gaps in their characters or distorted thinking and the ability to change a behavior does not make a disordered person now “normal” or “healed.” And, in fact, for a narcissist, changing a harmful behavior by learning to “put on the brakes” masks the disorder and actually, in my opinion, makes them more dangerous since it adds to their portfolio of combat tactics and better enables them to change their outward demeanor like a chameleon changes its colors to match the “environment.” Most importantly, remember, they can never regain compassion and emotional empathy, the key emotion and character trait, respectively, that humans need to sustain not only themselves but also normal emotionally healthy relationships and that are needed to build integrity of character. 

Accepting this along with learning how not to be vulnerable to them and in some cases, protecting your children are huge in healing for narcissistic abuse survivors. Dr. Fallon, who is a self-diagnosed narcissist himself, believes that if we as parents see the signs of pathological narcissism in our children early enough (assuming we are knowledgeable in the signs and are healed ourselves), we can try to get them competent care which may increase the likelihood that they do not turn out that bad, however there are no guarantees. In the best case, they will still be narcissists, however, they will fall at the lower end of the severity spectrum of harm they can inflict. Read more here on what parents can do.

However, there is one fundamental difference between narcissists and the people they target. The brains of the abused can rewire and heal the skewed beliefs that cause their susceptibility to power imbalanced relationships. The damage can be addressed and reversed. The brains of narcissists whose skewed thinking is caused by arrested development lose their ability to rewire and, therefore, narcissists, as Dr. Fallon confirms, cannot heal and cannot be cured. The damage is permanent.

What You Don’t Know About Dysfunctional Families, Pain-Based Thinking, and Intergenerational Abuse

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

trait-8Bringing clarity to the root causes and sources of the family dysfunction will significantly help alleviate the self-blame and shame that abuse victims experience and clear a path to healing and recovery.

Dysfunctional abusive families are fueled by unhealed pain-based maladaptive thinking that has been passed on from generation to generation to generation. Most recently, epigenetic studies are exploring the factors that embed trauma in our cellular genetic memories and the resilience to deal with it effectively.

So the abuse that you and I and everyone are experiencing today, at this very moment, along with our emotional pain, was never ours to begin with. They, however, can be traced to unhealed emotional wounds, faulty thinking, and pain from your great great great great great grandfathers and grandmothers.

The Roots of Pain and Abuse in Families

My 87 year old father still shares stories told to him by the elders in the village and in 400 year old songs of attacks from the Turks who took 20,000 men from his island to sell as slaves in Constantinople and Egypt. They ran into the hills to protect themselves! So what did those who survived and who witnessed these vicious attacks along with experiencing the starvation and extreme poverty caused 200 years later by the Greek civil war and Nazis who rampaged the villages do to alleviate the legacy of emotional pain, repressed trauma, and feelings of powerlessness? What about the ones who survived their slavery and torture? On a recent trip to Greece, my guide and esteemed historian Maria, described how her family were refugees from Smyrna after it was burned to the ground by the Turks during the Greek-Armenian genocide in the early 1900’s.

if-you-dont-heal-your-painOh, how they must have suffered and oh, how traumatized they must have been! Could they go to the local clinic for counseling? Or on Facebook for self-help or read a book on healing? I think not! So the trauma became embedded in their cellular memories and repressed in their physical ones. So to survive, they had to become innovative in their methods to alleviate their pain and trauma.

Pain-Filled Families Learn to Prey on Their Own

Monetary or material privilege does not provide genetic entitlement or immunity from abuse, emotional pain, or disease for that matter or guarantee strength or integrity of one’s personal character. No one is immune to pain, folks, or the damage it causes no matter how far families have come or how “privileged” they are. Psychology did not exist back then in the villages and tribes where all our ancestral roots lie. And repressed pain does not stay repressed forever. What did they do? What could they do? This is how, I profess, it more accurately played out.

The ones with character and kind hearts, compassion, emotional intelligence, and consciences and who were born empaths (and most likely inherited the pain coded in their genetics) went on to become the abused and scapegoats and the ones with the evil cold hearts became the abusers, bullies, golden children and narcissists. Now, abuse did notimgres-2 always manifest in physical or sexual violence, because the abusers creatively figured out that could play favorites and neglect, ignore, criticize, diminish, denigrate and invalidate their other children and even learn to live vicariously through their successes that they could brag about in the villages. Of course! They figured out a way they could benefit without doing any of the work of actually being a good parent and sacrificing for their children’s benefit! But they could provide an illusion of power and goodness to their small world with the small vision and faulty belief system that they did.

So these dysfunctional pain-addicted families starved not only for nutritional but also emotional sustenance and preyed off of each other’s energy like blood thirsty vampires, recruited other flying monkeys in their dirty dealings, and used their own helpless children and siblings as hosts, free fodder for the taking. The abusers could not generate their own energy and needed some way to alleviate their deep-seated and now genetically programmed emotional pain. The pain and trauma that were locked in the family’s genetic code and repressed memories were now free to “express themselves” in abuse and exploitation of their own flesh and blood. Essentially they became “brood parasites,” if you will.

What better or moreth-2 convenient way to self-soothe than to shadow their repressed emotional pain on their own defenseless children and especially the female ones who were less able to defend themselves and the “village idiots” who they could bully and make fun of unhindered with no accountability! The emotionally starved “brood parasites” emotionally cannibalized their own to serve none other than themselves. God forbid that the abused should tell the truth or rebel! Those who did were threatened with abandonment or banishment from the village and even death! This became a key component of the dysfunctional unhealthy cultural unwritten and unchallenged “belief code” of the village  reflected  in the abusive and exploitive dynamics in what we now call “dysfunctional families.”

Leaving the Village “Takes a Village”

th-9Epigenetic studies related to inheriting pain are providing credence to the adage, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Our genetics, thankfully, do not only make us vulnerable to pain, they also predispose us to psychological resilience that was most certainly needed by those who chose to move and live elsewhere or perhaps to merely act on their right to pursue happiness.

People who chose to leave the village had daunting emotional challenges that required much more than packing up and moving. Not only did that have to heal from inherited pain as well as the pain inflicted from the abuse and scapegoating, they had to deal with the unwritten tribal belief systems and the accompanying rejection and aggression and even fear of death. Can you imagine the reaction when someone actually acted upon and used their free will and chose to leave the tribe simply because they were unfulfilled and their souls were starving or they were pursuing their heart’s desire? How dare they! How could they? We all can see the extreme impact of culture in the honor killings of children and siblings whose lives are believed to be of lesser importance than the “shame” brought about by their merely acting on their free will. It is very easy to see the impact of those who lack compassion has on their inability to self-sacrifice for their children’s welfare.

Using free will including self-care and self-compassion were frowned upon and severely punished because not only did they threaten the livelihood of the “family” and challenge the village’s and family’s cultural belief system and power balance but they also made the person less available to others to shadow their pain on and threatened their emotional food supply. If those folks became successful? Well, then the abusers could, on a whim and based on how the ego-driven winds were blowing that day, either brag about their accomplishments back in the village or pretend they never happened or simply just lie about them and continue to scapegoat them. So the truly brave and emotionally resilient ones simply left voluntarily knowing that it was all a bunch of glittered crap and nothing but a huge carefully planned illusion created by extremely weak, powerless, uncompassionate, conforming, and evil-hearted people. What about the ones who stayed?

The Vulnerable Ones Stay

Well, the ones, for whatever reasons, who stayed continued to suffer and pass the pain-based wounded thinking, distorted beliefs, and trauma coded genetics to their unknowingly vulnerable children. Perhaps, overcome by fatigue and depression, they committed suicide (like 2 of my relatives did) and were never spoken of again. The truly evil “broken” ones passed their evil genes and character weaknesses including the inability to self-soothe and create their own energy to the golden children they conceived and coddled who reminded them of their own selves. As adults, they wanted all the benefits of humanity without doing any of the work and learned to create an illusion of normalcy to groom other kind yet wounded people, pretend to love them, marry them, continue to abuse them, and suck their power and energy and souls from them. Or if the marriages were arranged, then matching an abuser to a scapegoat they could overpower was likely.

This is how the cycle of abuse is perpetuated by the legacy of unhealed wounded thinking that is at the root of dysfunctional and abusive families today and the millions of suffering people seeking alleviation of their chronic emotional pain and nourishment for their starving souls! This is the same legacy of unhealed wounded thinking that has contributed significantly to the pandemic of disturbed characters comprising terrorists, bullies, dictators, narcissists, Presidents, and criminals across the world today – the scourge of humanity!

Read more here on terrorism and world-wide pandemic of narcissism.

th-8Abuse Survivors Can Heal and Break the Cycle

What I find very very interesting and what is most important to understand and grasp is that abuse survivors do have the propensity and the strength of character needed to heal from the damage this crazy making causes on! In addition, as we heal, our children heal through us. This is how we break the cycle of abuse.

Let’s explore this.

First, we are all born with the inalienable human rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. No one was born with the right or entitlement to prevent us from using our free will to act on these rights and become our authentic selves just as our founding fathers agreed to in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and its amendments. And so while abusers can try to sabotage our lives and manipulate our power from us, they can never take away our right to freely pursue life, liberty and happiness. There is also now a collective movement in world-wide healing that supports this vehemently. Read more on Facebook and the power of healing. 

However, other more “interpersonal” rights we earn as we mature and grow. For example, respect is earned through our experiences and the knowledge and abilities we acquire and our successes and mistakes that cause us to think about, change, and develop our internal beliefs and strengthen our character. Credibility and trust are also earned. We are not born credible or trustworthy. The rights to be believed and trusted we work for by demonstrating our trustworthiness to others and they to us.

Learn more on how we build integrity of character, authenticity, and personal strength.

This is how we develop integrity of character. Abusers can temporarily try to interfere with our lives but they cannot prevent us from creating our own unique personal truth and character or make us become someone we are not “designed” to be. They cannot take away our emotional resilience and our drive which are key components to developing integrity of character. Notably, after abuse and trauma, the brain can rewire and heal. Abuse survivors, can unlearn faulty pain-based thinking and replace it with joy-based thinking they come to learn they are worthy of and have the complete right and authority to pursue.

Read more on Facebook and the power of healing.

In regards to families, we all create and become part of “families” separate from our birth family all the time. The rules of emotional health apply to ALL families and all relationships. A family of birth is not exempt from these rules because they are genetically related. Invisible genetics do not entitle people to abuse, ignore, neglect, degrade, denigrate, betray, abandon, and crap on others. A position in a loving family is a role of honor that is earned by showing the members love, honor and respect in the same way we do them. That is what emotionally healthy mutually beneficial relationships are. That is what love is. And we ALL deserve that –  every darn single one of us! That is a universal right as a human being that we are all born with.

Read more on what a family is here.

Narcissistic Abusers Cannot Heal

The abusers, interestingly enough, can heal no sooner than they can change the color of their skin. You cannot teach someone with a disturbed or disordered character how to have compassion, a conscience, and a heart. That is impossible. You either have them or you don’t. So while we are all born with the potential to develop a good character, those with disturbed characters lack the ability to develop one and feel entitled to take what they want rather than earn it through hard work like the rest of us. We can see the biggest differences between narcissists and authentically “good” people when it comes to work, commitment, and obligation. Read more on these differences here.

In addition, developing a virtuous character and maintaining healthy relationships require having compassion and a conscience, traits that are lacking and that do not develop in disturbed characters.

Read more here on what causes malignant narcissism. 

Read more here on why there is no cure.

Narcissists will, simply, always be disturbed, covert aggressive emotional frauds and thieves, “human parasites.” They may want all the benefits of what conscientious and virtuous people work for and earn, but they will always lack the integrity, strength, power, and authenticity to truly become good people.

And as the truly good people with integrity of character heal their emotional wounds and come to understand their true self-worth, their children will heal through them. And when they do, not only will they and their children live authentic joy-filled lives, they will thrive. This is how we break the cycles of intergenerational abuse rooted in our genetics and our ancestors’ unhealed emotional pain. This is how we heal ourselves and our children. This is how we take our power and free will back and become the authentic versions of ourselves we were put on this earth to be. I cover these issues including a “how to” healing and recovery plan in much more detail in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can purchase and read a sneak peek and review of the book here.

Control and Personal Power in Power Imbalanced Relationships

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“If we live in fear of anything, we give it the power to overcome us.”
~ Michele O’Donnell, Healer, Minister, Author, and Counselor

th-29I have been researching personal power and how it relates to personal success and happiness for decades. Sadly, this is what I discovered. That we have been misinformed about the relationship between abuse and an abuser’s need to control. This does not accurately describe the causes of power imbalance in abusive relationships and actually can hinder an abuse victim’s healing. Let’s break this down.

WHAT IS REAL PERSONAL POWER?

People with real power do not covertly or overtly aggressively go after others’ power because, simply, they do not have to. People with real power work for it. They use their free will to set goals and do the work including getting the education and building the relationships and the integrity of character to achieve them. When they hit a wall, they take further action to course correct or thought correct. They become proficient at creating value for themselves and others. They have what my cousin Alexandra calls “skin in the game.” They tap into themselves to generate the energy and use it freely and willingly to create value that benefits themselves and others that they know they deserve and are worthy of. They use their own energy to nourish their souls and fuel their spirit and self-esteem. They share their power with others, who voluntarily of their own free will, share theirs back.

Life and relationships, in particular, require a balance of work, commitment, and obligation. It is when this balance of give and take becomes “tipped” that things can become unhealthy fast. The more tipped the balance, the more unhealthy the situation can become. Think about this. Isn’t it always when someone is giving too much and putting in the extraordinary effort or someone is taking too much and not putting in the work (and especially over a long period of time) that things get crazy, stressful, exploitive, abusive, unpleasant, or just plain suck?

Why?

Because, we are not benefitting from the investment of our time, energy, pain, love, effort, education we are expending commensurate with the level of effort we are putting in. Our efforts and our value are never validated. What we believe to be true about ourselves is not validated and what we aspire to never happens so our personal truth and personal worth are never “proved.” We are stuck in a give and give and give (and “no take”) dooloop of unfulfillment and emotional exhaustion.

Read more here on the The Five Pillars of Personal Worth, Power, and Authenticity.

WHERE DO NARCISSISTS AND OTHER EMOTIONAL VAMPIRES FIT IN?

abraham-lincoln-power-quotes-nearly-all-men-can-stand-adversity-but-if-you-want-toThere are huge differences between real authentically powerful people who have integrity of character and people who are inherently weak and pretend to have power and integrity of character. The latter are what preeminent psychologist Dr. George K. Simon refers to in his best seller, Character Disturbance: The Phenomenon of Our Age as the character disturbed with covert aggressive personalities. These are the ones who want all the benefits of life without earning them because they believe they are entitled, because they believe in their disordered brains that the rules of life, law, love and personal honor and respect do not apply to them.

Read more on narcissists, work and obligation here.

These are the energy thieves, the narcissists, psychopaths, abusers, con artists, criminals, and manipulators who aggressively and offensively go after others’ power because they cannot generate their own and because they do not want to work for it. These human parasites want all the benefits of life, marriage, friendship, a successful career without any of the hard work. Now, mind you, I am not claiming that they these folks do not have potential power or perhaps even redeeming personal traits or talents, skills and abilities. Of course they do. But they will use those talents, skills and abilities to serve themselves and to manipulate you and your children and not to better themselves. They abuse their power and use it to manipulate others’ power.  In fact, their greatest aversion is working to better themselves. They will have no interaction with you unless they in some way benefit and you in some way are giving up your power to them. They have to win always. They are in constant combat. This is just how these predictable and annoying characters tick.

11148662_10152995529557599_2181743658615626665_o

Read more on narcissists, work and obligation here.

We cannot survive without emotional sustenance, folks, so these energy vampires, like the blood-sucking vampires, will shrivel and die if they do not steal attention, adulation, love, winning, coming out ahead, or whatever they need by creating illusions of normalcy by grooming you, telling you they love you, conning you, putting you on the defensive, and preying on your vulnerabilities. So they have no problem working for what they want and what will serve them and aggressively and covertly go after the power they want and need and target the most vulnerable and easy to manipulate and who do you think the best to feed off are. Other narcissists? Other character disturbed people? Others of their own kind are very very unpalatable but no one is immune to their attacks not even other narcissists. But the most tasty and yummy to feed their emotional gaps are none other than the survivors of abuse and, in particular, empaths, people with high emotional intelligence and compassion.

Yes, the evil of society, the emotional and energy vampires prey on the wounded, the ones who unknowingly give up their power to those who trigger their repressed legacy pain. These are the ones discussed in the Bible that “call evil good and good evil and put darkness for light and light for darkness.” They will cease at nothing in order to get not only what they need but what they want and believe they are entitled to take.

The wolves, by the way, are continuing to pose as sheep and are becoming more creative in their combat tactics. Narcissists are now even posing at healers and are starting healing Facebook Pages and websites in the guise of having compassion and wanting to help the exact people they victimized and traumatized and people are falling for it. So they have figured out a way to continue even to feed off the healing energy of their suffering victims that should be reserved for themselves and their survival.

BELIEVING ABUSERS NEED TO “CONTROL” US IS MISLEADING

th-1Be wary folks. Reading that abusers “need to control others” is very very misleading. This, in my opinion, can significantly prevent healing and actually keep people in abusive
relationships by causing us to focus too much on the abusers and falsely leading us to think they can be healed and feeding our toxic shame by communicating the untruth that somehow we are the weak faulty ones and the abusers are the strong ones with some magical power over us. In fact, it is totally the opposite. Abusers are covertly or overtly aggressive but they are very very weak individuals with extremely low self-worth who cannot freely generate their own personal power.

Let’s examine this further.

We (not others) are the only ones who are able to use our free will to nurture our souls and our self-esteem and self-assurance that serve our personal needs and sustain our emotional health. This is the human design. This is authentic legitimate personal power. Abusers, on the other hand, are character disturbed and believe in their distorted minds that aggression and manipulation and taking from others (what they have worked for) is power. The last time I looked, that was called theft, exploitation, weakness, character disturbance, covert aggression, bribery, burglary, abuse, and evil.

So contrary to what we are taught, magic llusion truthabusers don’t need to “control” you.  More accurately, they use aggression to create an illusion of power that intimidates you and triggers your fears and makes you feel powerless so they can manipulate your power from you because they lack real ability and desire to generate the power needed to sustain themselves. This is why they move from victim to victim to victim. The level of aggression and their combat tools vary but abuse in any form is abuse be it physical, violent, emotional, invalidation, or neglect and criminal activity is criminal activity. This is why we have laws to protect us, right? Whatever the case, it is all aggressive offensive combat and they use love and grooming and other tactics to play on our vulnerabilities including our overly developed consciences and compassion and insecurities to trap us. They want all the benefits of what we can provide them without the work. They are weak powerless predictable parasites in human form. They are, simply, depraved and broken.

Read more on narcissists, work and obligation here.

THE DIFFERENCES IN AGGRESSION, POWER, HARM AND CONTROL

Now, let’s look a bit more at abusers’ aggressive combat tactics and how they impact personal power and control. There is a huge difference between aggression, power, harm and control. Abusers use aggression to create an illusion of power. They use their covert aggressive skills to manipulate you to believe you have no power and they are the “All Powerful Oz” who, remember, was actually a great creator of smoke and mirrors that was discovered by Toto a very small scruffy dog. In between the abuse, abusers groom you. So the cycles of abuse and makeup sessions create peptide addictions in the brain. We end up mistaking the chemical trauma bonding for love. We were conditioned to believe we must suffer to be lovable and that we are defenseless and powerless to emotional pain. We are conditioned to believe that only the abusers can relieve the pain. As healer, minister, author, and counselor Michele O’Donnell states, “If we live in fear of anything, we give it the power to overcome us.”

Cannot heal at same level as painThis is not love, this is not power, and this is not the basis of emotionally healthy relationships. This is, however, the basis of power imbalanced abusive relationships and what causes us to unknowingly give up our power to abusers, become complicit in our own abuse, and perpetuate the cycle of intergenerational abuse.

Abuse, folks, is not about control. Abuse just like healing and recovery is not about the abusers. Abuse and healing are all about us, fixing our skewed beliefs and taking OUR power back. I explore these issues in much more detail in Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read a sneak peek and review of the book and purchase a copy here.

 

How Abusive Childhoods Cause Us to Sabotage Our Health and Happiness

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“We all have inalienable rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Absolutely we do. However, if we are prevented from pursuing them because we have damaged the only vessel that we have to travel in that journey, we are sabotaging not only our own health and happiness but also our children’s by teaching them the same maladaptive unhealthy thinking patterns and beliefs. And, frankly, we and our children all deserve so much better.”

th-12The article, “The Damaging Effects of Living An Inauthentic Life and How to Change It,” by Tracey Crossley provides probably the most important lesson to adult survivors of childhood abuse on the damaging effects of childhood abuse.

This is why.

Because abuse survivors were punished in youth whenever their authentic selves emerged to protect and care for themselves and they were rewarded for being who their abusers wanted them to be to serve none other than the abusers.

We learned, as a result, at that moment in time when we were defenseless dependent children and our brains were in critical stages of development, to become inauthentic versions of ourselves in order to cope and respond to pain. We disconnected rather than integrated with ourselves emotionally, did not learn self-care and self-compassion, and learned to maladapt and rely on others who cause the pain (we think we deserve) to soothe the pain. As we took in too much pain and trauma, our bodies defensively repressed it, temporarily stored it away in our memory banks until we were more mature and better equipped to handle it.

As is described so eloquently in Tracy Crossley’s article, as we go out into the world and live our lives and develop relationships, go to school, and pursue our passions, we make decisions based on false perceptions and beliefs about the world and ourselves along with our unhealed trauma wounds. In the process, we never learn what the real things are that nurture OUR souls and OUR self-worth and that make US happy and how to pursue them. We end up neglecting our own needs and become overly dependent on other people to tell us what we are doing is worthy and we use, by default, their happiness to bring us happiness rather than sourcing that from within our own selves.

Let’s explore this not so obvious point a bit more.

th-5-1Living Lies Cannot Sustain Us

Living lies just like physically abusing or neglecting our bodies cannot sustain us because our bodies were not designed to work that way. We are fighting nature by fooling ourselves and what will nature do? It will rebel and when it does, the consequences can be severe and for some irreversible. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So when you do not supply the body what it needs to function properly, it will attempt to take from somewhere else.

So if you do not provide the body the proper nourishment it needs to survive and sustain itself or you take in too many toxic substances or stress your body above what it was designed to do, the body cannot develop normally and visually, you look bad and physically and emotionally, you feel bad. You become physically and emotionally unfit.

c8201dd7ec25ba33ef0f4148c07a5d9bNow for a while, the liver or body systems that are being taxed will filter out the crap and your natural defenses will take over until..wham! You have overtaxed them and they no longer are able to filter out the garbage faster than it is coming in or you have strained that vertebrae or ligament or muscle as far as it can be stretched. You experience emotional and physical pain. These are the cues that what you have been putting in the body is not sufficient to nourish and sustain it and you need to stop doing what you are doing and course correct.

So you could take an aspirin or an antacid or put on makeup or get false teeth or take high blood pressure medicine or cholesterol medicine that will mask the damage and temporarily relieve and sustain yourself, nevertheless until you provide your body the proper nutrition to care for it and ensure its works as it was designed, something will continue to give and you will continue to risk being at some level of pain and suffering.

How Overtaxing the Mind Starves Us of Emotional Nourishment

Equally, when you do not provide the mind what it needs tostarving soul hunger flourish or you overtax it and take in too much emotional toxicity or pain, the spirit will starve for nourishment and you will exceed the pain threshold your brain was designed to handle. Read more on nourishing our souls. The brain has remarkable plasticity but it is not good at spontaneous healing. The mind and spirit will become traumatized and malnourished and you will become emotionally fatigued, exhausted, stressed, or depressed. Sustained emotional stress also results in more physical damage to the body because the human body is comprised of integrated systems. The neurological system is connected and interrelated to all the body’s systems, hence, healthy body, healthy mind and vice versa.

In essence, when you mess with nature, you mess with your own divine AUTHENTIC and integrated design. To be happy we have to learn and embrace a healthy life style that includes not only our emotional fitness but also our fitness related to our achievements and relationships and our physical health. Read more here.

Masking Pain Will Not Address It

14445943_10154619521823628_8931312378332167929_nAnd like an aspirin that provides temporary relief from physical pain, we can bandaid our emotional pain. Absolutely, we can. Doctors can label us with this condition or that and prescribe antidepressants or mood elevators or we can self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs or food or people and find many other creative ways to mask the pain and continue to be someone we are not and look to others, even abusers and manipulators, or things to define our worth and for instant relief and gratification. We can even deny it. The body when the trauma is too much for the mind to bear, even represses it. However, wounds that cannot be accessed cannot be healed. Some of us may even believe this works for us. That is until we get older and our liver or kidneys or heart or soul become stressed to capacity or until we face some major emotional catastrophe that tests our self-reliance, self-assurance, and coping skills. Then and for some, only then, do they experience the perfect storm and are faced with reality and like Dr. Phil says learn in the hardest and worst way that what they have done has not worked for them and has resulted in immeasurable and, for some, irreparable damage.

th-13We all have inalienable rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Absolutely we do. However, if we are prevented from pursuing them because we have damaged the only vessel that we have to travel in that journey, we are sabotaging not only our own health and happiness but also our children’s by teaching them the same maladaptive unhealthy thinking patterns and beliefs. And, frankly, we and our children all deserve so much better.

How Abuse Makes Our Emotions Toxic

Let’s now look at abuse and how it impacts our abilities to regulate our emotions and engage in healthy relationships. Everyone who is abused is most likely not able to recognize the “good” in a healthy relationship because they never learned to relate good treatment to love and to defining their worthiness. The belief filters in abuse survivors become skewed. The magnitude of the damage depends on what “fears” are driving you as well. Read more in “Why Did I Get Involved with a Jerk and What Can I Do About It.”

Read more on how emotions can become toxic in abuse survivors.

take-your-power-back-300x300

Don’t forget that in life, we move in the direction of, create in reality, and do what we believe to be true even if it is a lie and even if it does not serve us and harms us. That is what makes us get involved with abusers and not leave them on the spot. Our filters for screening out narcissistic jerks were damaged in childhood and most likely many other abusive power imbalanced relationships we have had in our lives.

The problem is that if we meet someone who is authentically a good person and who is NOT inflicting emotional pain on us and NOT pushing our fear and pain buttons, we are at risk of feeling unloved, unfulfilled and unworthy and then proceed to sabotage the “good” relationship to keep ourselves in our comfortable and familiar state of shame that, of course, while painful, we nevertheless “believe” we can handle better, say, than our fear of being betrayed and abandoned and do not believe we are worthy of anything better.

This is an excellent example of how abusive childhoods cause pain addictions and skewed beliefs in personal power that rule our lives that become “pain-seeking” and “pain-avoiding” rather than “joy-seeking” and “joy-filled” (e.g. joyful). While we do this unconsciously and not deliberately, these vulnerabilities make us susceptible to attacks from emotional predators and for a life of chronic unhappiness, unfulfilment, and emotional pain and fatigue.

“The problem is that if we meet someone who is authentically a good person and who is NOT inflicting emotional pain on us and NOT pushing our fear and pain buttons, we are at risk of feeling unloved, unfulfilled and unworthy and then proceed to sabotage the ‘good’ relationship to keep ourselves in our comfortable state of shame that, of course, while painful, we nevertheless ‘believe’ we can handle better than, say, our fear of being betrayed and abandoned and do not believe we are worthy of anything better.”

Let’s break this down a bit further as it applies to relationships. Do relationships with jerks bring you pain? Absolutely, however, it is pain that you associate with being lovable and a good person and believe you are powerless to and you do not believe you deserve better. You also in your childhood most likely developed codependency tendencies and learned to self-sacrifice for other people. Perhaps you are an empath with too much compassion and believe you must fix other’s problems before you take care of your own needs? Perhaps you never learned you are worthy of being happy and were rewarded only for taking care of other’s needs?

This maladaptive thinking is what keeps us vulnerable to abusers and how abuse makes our emotions become toxic to our own selves. We learn to maladapt and confuse self-worth with avoidance of pain rather than pursuing goals and relationships that bring us real joy. Our decisions become heavily based on our learned pain tolerances and perceived weaknesses rather than our personal value and power and worthiness of joy. We become attracted to power imbalanced relationships because we believe we should suffer to be lovable and can “handle” the shame and emotional pain from abuse better than our fear of abandonment from being alone. So a relationship with a “good” person would not be appealing to abuse survivors who would not relate being treating well to being lovable or worthy and would not be able to “see” the good in it and therefore, would perceive no value in it.

Here’s the good news!th-23

We are only born with two fears: fear of falling and fear of loud noises. All others fears, pains, apprehensions, anxieties, phobia, bad habits? Well, those we learned. And just like we learned them, we can UNLEARN them.

I am committed here at Yourlifelifter and wrote Take Your Power Back to help you do exactly that and show you where to look to discover the real truth, facilitate your healing, and live as the joy-based authentic person you were put on this earth to be.

On Free Will, Character, and Tolerance

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

th-7If you do not provide the body the proper nourishment it needs to survive and sustain itself or you take in too many toxic substances or stress your body above what it was designed to do, the body cannot develop normally and visually, you look bad and physically and emotionally, you feel bad. You become physically and emotionally “unfit.” Read more here.

starving soul hungerNourishment, we must remember,  includes emotional nourishment. We cannot sustain ourselves emotionally if we are not allowed or are prevented from acting on our inalienable rights to pursue happiness. So we need to act on our free will to survive and to support our emotional health and overall well-being. In fact, our human bodies were divinely designed to use our free will to search for and pursue “truth” to sustain our happiness. Let’s examine this further.
No one has the right to prevent us from becoming our authentic selves including manipulating our power from us to redirect it to serve themselves. In fact, this is just plain dangerous. No one was born with that right or is entitled to that right just as our founding fathers agreed to in our Bill of Rights and the Constitution and its amendments. Our “power” is limited to solely, if we choose, inform others we don’t agree and why or this is what we believe and why. That is about it! You can’t debate the “correctness” of beliefs or conclude that mine are wrong and yours are right. What we believe is what we believe even if we think those of others are skewed and way off base. We cannot turn personal beliefs into laws and expect them to hold steadfast and true. Self-righteousness is not righteous.

We have laws founded in morality and righteousness that mandate the boundaries of our actions to ensure a peaceful society and support the principle that we are all different and have a common right to free will and to choose our paths in life. These laws have evolved and proved their effectiveness over time. However, laws cannot tell us how to think or what to pursue or what not to pursue. That we must figure out on our own. When the laws become self-righteous or exploitive and prevent folks from acting on their free will (assuming people are capable of making decisions that do not do them harm), people start making their own rules and rebelling. Why? Because directing, manipulating, or restricting that what innately makes us human and what we as humans are uniquely designed for and what drives our passions and our unalienable rights to pursue happiness and use our own free will to pursue it, in short, create chaos. They go against the laws of nature, conflict with our life’s purpose, and prevent us from being who we were put on this earth to be and to live harmoniously with others.
12622499_1059585244104691_2861246025910635435_oWe can’t tell people how to think or manipulate their thinking and what to do even if we do not believe or agree with what they think or what they do. We can try, however this is self-serving, exploitive, fraudulent, disrespectful, dishonorable, and abusive. This is invalidating and is attempting to take away a person’s divine right to free will as well as what they need to sustain their health and well-being and to act on their inalienable rights. As stated earlier, when we attempt to do so, chaos ensues.

How does free will relate to our personal rights and relating to one another? As discussed, we are are born with the inalienable rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. We are also innately born lovable. However, other personal “rights” such as the rights to be believed or to be trusted are earned and learned. We work for these rights by gaining the skills, knowledge, and abilities and more so and demonstrate our worthiness through our actions and words that stem from beliefs we validate through our life experiences and our personal interactions. This is how our characters develop and become chiseled permanently into our being. Read more here.

Let’s look at my business and Facebook ownership, for example. This ownership gives me no special entitlement. Being an abuse survivor or having the ability to manage a Facebook page and business provide me no special rights or divine authority to be believed.  It simply doesn’t work that way. And to think otherwise is irrational and ludicrous.

th-8I could, like any unethical, weak, exploitive, or self-serving person just tell you all a bunch of lies or what you “need” to hear to manipulate your power from you and continue to exploit you. I. assure you that is not the case. To the contrary, I, like other legitimate healers, earned this position and the respect that comes with it through my hard work, education, authenticity, professional certifications, actions, validation from others including experts, other credible Facebook owners, and my community members and customers who through reliability of my service, have learned to trust me.

So no one has the right to dictate how others behave or how or what they choose because, simply, they have not earned that right and it is not their “divine’ purpose to do so. Those who do, are the ones who have maladapted and instead of becoming self-reliant and self-sustaining people, learned to parasitically source their emotional nourishment from someone or something else. They have become dangerous to society. They are the ones who as described in the Bible, turn darkness into light and light into darkness.

Read more on why people are evil.

In reality, if we want to change the behaviors of others, we can only change through sharing truth and with our learned ability to influence change and proving our credibility to others. Bringing value to others is the only power we have over others. That is about it. The rest is left to others to decide. Accepting this and others without judgement is the key to tolerance and compassion that are what drive mankind’s survivability and sustainability and our own ability to adapt to that we know we have no power to change and using our free will to change that which we do.

And when we find others who reflect our truth back to us?

Well, that is when the magic starts and that is what life is all about.

Why Healing From Abuse Is Never About The Abuser

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Excerpted from Evelyn Ryan’s book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors. Read a review of the book here.

th-8The only person you are here to serve is your authentic self. When you serve your authentic self, your decisions and actions fulfill your legitimate emotional needs. All of life’s pieces fall into place, since the core of your being is truth-based and authentically you. You know you can rely on yourself for your safety. You feel safe in your own body.

What happens to us when we are abused, betrayed by those we intimately trust? Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. The victim’s response is shame, internal pain, self-loathing, trauma, and fear. We translate that into the false belief that something is wrong with us. But there is nothing wrong with us! There never was. We did not do anything wrong. Being who we are is not wrong. Our love was real. Our trust was real. Theirs was not. We were innocent defenseless victims.

GET TIPS FOR DEALING WITH THE SHAME FROM BETRAYAL.

Our attackers are character-flawed, disordered. We were betrayed because we trusted and depended on unhealed abusers, manipulators, and untrustworthy broken people. They betrayed us. We were betrayed because that is what betrayers do. It was not personal in that sense. Our attackers targeted us because they are experts on homing in on people with our vulnerabilities.

th-2

They need people with our vulnerabilities so that their manipulation tactics will be
successful, so that they will win the challenge and the ultimate prize: our energy, attention, and adulation. Before you and me, there were many, and after us, there will be many more. We were betrayed because we were vulnerable. We did not ask to be victimized, but we played a role in the abuse that we need to understand and accept.

imgresMany of us are empaths—highly sensitive natural healers, compassionate people with
high emotional intelligence. We did not learn to use our compassion and trust responsibly; we depended on untrustworthy people to define our self-worth. Our emotional vulnerabilities make us complicit in our own abuse by keeping us susceptible to abusers who preyed on us and kept us addicted to pain. This truth can be very painful, and yet it’s life-changing. It will change your life forever and for the better. When we know better and that we are worthy of the knowledge, we do better.

knowbetter do betterAnger, resentment, and revenge will not heal us. Self-avoidance will not heal us. Focusing on our abusers will not heal us. Taking responsibility and accepting without judgment will. In healing, we learn to become our authentic selves—and to stop seeking approval of our worth from others. Healing is a learning process. Through asking the right questions and seeking and finding truthful answers in a safe and trusting environment, we learn to turn our compassion and courage inward to support shifts in our thinking that lead to long-term emotional health and happiness.

We learn to befriend ourselves (who we long ago abandoned) by accepting our powerlessness, committing to our healing, challenging our thoughts, releasing our fear and shame, and incrementally taking our power back as we lift up our thinking and discover and honor our real selves and our personal divinity.

Do we need to understand our abusers to heal? Yes. But minimally and only in order to understand what they are missing and what they exploited in us and what faulty beliefs make us vulnerable to them. In fact, focusing too much on them will prevent you from healing.

Read more here on how much do we need to know about narcissism to heal.

Narcissistic abuse recovery expert, Melanie Tonia Evans, cautions us frequently that focusing too much on our abusers and our fear of them rather than on our healing and the role we play in our abuse can keep us trapped and prevent our recovery. I can relate.

One of the most difficult lessons I learned was that I was vulnerable to attacks by manipulators and bullies. I felt threatened by them and believed I was not safe. I became fearful and resentful. My fear drove me to overestimate the harm from them and underestimate my ability to deal with them. I felt defenseless. I became hyper-vigilant in my attempts to avoid shame and pain as I waited for their attacks. I became hyper-reactive to attacks that I was sure would come and did come. I became intolerant, which did not serve me.

In the process, I gave up my power to emotional vampires who continued to target me. Trying to avoid perceived threats kept me emotionally trapped to the people and events that triggered my fears and caused me continued pain. So, I remained a victim of the emotional vampires because I thought like a victim. I was held captive by my own fears. I became emotionally fatigued. Focusing on them rather than myself kept me from healing. I learned and accepted that my fear was giving my abusers the power to overcome me.th-14

So I put on my big-girl britches and, little by little, took on and challenged my fears and
my false sense of powerlessness, replacing them with courage and self-assurance. I took my power back as I came into my own truth and accepted what I could change as well as what I could not. I accepted what happened to me, took responsibility for the role I played, and shifted my thinking from that of a victim to one who wanted to take her power back, detach from and defuse the abusers, and thrive. I took action!

I adapted by turning the irrational fear and hypervigilance into compassion and tolerance. I turned that wasted fear-driven energy to the source of that fear within myself and not only challenged and released it but replaced it with self-compassion, self-knowledge, self-power, self-respect, and self-love. I honed my ability to identify and cope with evil people. Instead of focusing my energy on them, I shifted my attention to me and my self-worth and abilities. I protected my personal boundaries because I know and believe I am worth it.

In the process of healing and witnessing my own healing, my fear of aggressors became pity for the powerless annoyances they are. In the process, my self-esteem and self-respect and self-assuredness soared, and I took my power back. I chose not to give my power to powerless emotional vampires and to protect my personal boundaries and honor my personal rights and authority because I know I deserve respect. I taught my daughter the same. In the process, my daughter healed through me and thrived. It is never about the other person, folks. My dear friend Jim Upshaw told me that years ago, and I never forgot the message. Now I know the true meaning. Now I never forget the lesson: When you serve your authentic self, your decisions and actions fulfill your legitimate emotional needs. You know you can rely on yourself for your safety. All of life’s pieces fall into place, since the core of your being is truth-based and authentically you.

In the healing process, we regain our self-trust, self-power, self-respect, and self-esteem. We learn what our true value is to ourselves. We learn to rely on and trust internal emotional cues that have been recalibrated with our personal truth and core beliefs. Oh, of course, we must get cues from our environment and from others who have our best interests at heart. We also become better able to recognize those who do not. But we now can readily use those cues to gauge where we are and to tweak our internal truth-seeking filters based on our choices and their outcomes.

th-29In healing, we learn who we really are and to love ourselves. We become fully integrated people of integrity whose thoughts, actions, and beliefs align. Our healing allows us to be the best version of ourselves. It is the best demonstration of self-love we could give ourselves. And in that newfound truth, we thrive.

Power Imbalance in Abusive Relationships – Part 2

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

th-1This is Part 2 in a two part series on power imbalance in abusive relationships.

Part 1 discusses misperceptions on the relationship between abusers and their victims and describes the predatory aspects of abuse and the not so obvious causes of power imbalance in abusive relationships.

Part 2 discusses further the differences between aggression, power, and control in abusive relationships and how healing allows us to access and rely on our own personal power.

No matter what you think or what you read about the abusers’ need to control, people who abuse or exploit others have no superhuman magical powers to inflict pain and also alleviate it. To the contrary, they are much more simple and “weak” than that. Abusers are, in reality, aggressive fearful parasitic spineless cruel individuals who lack compassion and the ability to generate their own power and energy.

thPeople who abuse “simply” are aggressive character deficient hunters who easily betray trust and do not and cannot follow the rules of respect, honor and decency. Aggression and control, however, are not synonymous with power or danger.

Abusers may be overtly or covertly aggressive but they abuse because they lack power no different than the creeps we see on world-wide news who lure and track a defenseless creature, kill it, skin it, behead it, and put its head over the mantel to ogle at and think in their depraved minds that now he or she is more powerful than the truly powerful and majestic creature whose life they selfishly took because they “simply” “wanted to” because it made them “feel” better. What is the difference between these “big game” hunters and narcissistic emotional vampires. Well, not much.

They target us, because our pain addictions and false beliefs of powerlessness we brought with us from wounded childhoods make us vulnerable to their attacks and they WANT AND NEED our power to feel better. They target you, like the hunters “simply,” because they can and YOU are beneficial to THEM and they are character or personality disordered and aggressively go after and take anything they want! They believe they are entitled and that the rules of normal respectful human engagement or honoring life do not apply to them. They make their own rules that serve them. They have distorted views on work and obligation. They “simply” are depraved and have become human predators.

Read more on narcissists, work and obligation here.

However, because we were powerless to our abusers in childhood, we believe falsely based on our unhealed wounded thinking that we are defenseless to these limited individuals who inflict pain on us and they are the only ones who have the power to take away the pain they inflict. Folks, we do not have to suffer or self-sacrifice to be lovable! And we are not powerless to these creeps. THEY are the powerless ones! And frankly, you DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER.

Read this again!

Healing requires major shifts in our thinking so they are based on truthful and adaptive beliefs that serve our authentic needs NOT the needs of parasitic energy vampires who like the big game hunters need the power of trophy wives or husbands to feed off of and hang over their “ego” mantels. Healing requires us to take our power back, regulate our emotions and not rely on soul suckers and weak spineless people who would sell their own mothers and children for a nickel if it serves them.

Do you have neuroses, compulsions, fears, anxieties, phobias? Most of us do and this is why. In childhood, our abusive or neglectful or invalidating caretakers caused our pain emotions to become toxic and did not, as they should have, validate our emotions and teach us how to functionally and effectively control our emotions and self-soothe. We all have those capacities. They just never developed because we were neglected and were never taught how to use and mature them to benefit our own selves.

th-23Pain-based emotions are here to protect us and not do us harm. We are born with only two fears: fear of falling and fear of loud noises. Every other pain, phobia, and maladaptive emotion-based neurosis we have, we learned. We become reactive to our emotions that control us rather than using them as cues to willfully course or thought correct. Read more here. When we are emotionally starved and fatigued, guess what? We get depressed. And guess what? When we are emotionally fatigued and depressed, we cannot set and achieve goals to support our self-esteem and self-worth that sustain our happiness and emotional health.

Read this again and again. This is no secret.

Real power is willfully and confidently choosing to do what we want to do and when, taking actions sourced from our own power, our own free will to authentically serve our own selves! This is how the human body was designed to function. And as we live our lives, through our experiences and interactions with other and our successes and our mistakes, we incrementally build wisdom and our characters.

Read more on living an authentic life here.

Learn more about building personal power and worth.

This functional capability goes haywire from the trauma from abuse including neglect and emotional invalidation. Rather than developing and maturing these abilities, we, maladapt, and learn to rely on other unreliable people, things, and substances to cope and for emotional sustenance and to define our self-worth. So instead of willfully controlling our lives and making independent decisions that serve our goals and nurture our souls, we become pain addicted and dependent on weak abusive exploitive people who do not have our best interests at heart and who trigger our fears and feed off of our power and use “love” to manipulate it from us. They become our conscious source of the pain and the unconscious source of relief to the pain no different than addictive substances, drugs, alcohol.

Cannot heal at same level as painFolks, the source of our joy is none other than us and the only ones who can rescue and relieve our pain are our own selves. Fortunately, we can heal! However, we cannot heal at the same level of thinking that creates our pain. Healing requires fully understanding why we love people who inflict pain on us and why we tolerate it.

Healing requires us to take our power back and learning to protect and honor our own divinity, reach our highest potential, be our authentic joy-seeking selves, and thrive.

Read more on living an authentic life here.

705466_cover_mockup1-1I cover these topics and more in much more detail in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read an exclusive sneak peek and review of the book and purchase a copy here.

Heal Your Children Through Yourself

th-3Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Our children will be exposed to narcissists, nasty teachers, selfish room mates as well as kind generous people every day. Healthy boundaries go in both directions and we can only teach our children how to protect themselves and to make wise choices. Why, then, should it be any worse or more dramatic because they have a narcissistic parent? Why do we, the parents, feel we are responsible for putting our children through this? Why are we so hugely emotionally vested and fearful?


Healing Takes Action

As a parent and a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I was beside myself with worry every day that not only would narcissists harm my child but that I was powerless to stop it. I learned through my healing that this was faulty learned thinking that I risked transferring to myif-you-dont-heal-your-pain child if I left it uncorrected. Along with it, I carried profound guilt, shame and trauma and believed falsely that I was an ineffective parent. This was my inner critic’s guilt and shame I carried with me from childhood that was projected onto me by my abusers! I came to learn that the pain I was carrying was not even mine and was unhealed pain that had been transferred to me generationally.

 

Read more here on dysfunctional families and intergenerational abuse.

I realized soon that focusing on my guilt, shame, pain, angst, and fear and protecting my daughter from harm, was just keeping me from healing and preventing my daughter from acquiring the full benefit of my love for her because I was not emotionally healthy and functioning authentically at one hundred per cent. Why should your children and my daughter and our relationships with them suffer because we did? Let’s explore this.

In order for my daughter to thrive (and she is), I and no one else had to own my pain and understand that I was worthy of healing and being pain free and to honestly express that ownership and my responsibility for healing with my daughter. She and I both deserved better as do you and your children, right? So I focused on my health and wellness, made a plan, and took action. I put on my big girl britches and apologized to her for my poor choices and told her the root causes and what I was doing to course and thought correct. It was not her problem to correct or take on as her own. It was mine! I can only be her mother and she had the personal right to an emotionally healthy and honest one and to be raised in an emotionally healthy home. Not only did I heal, I thrived and when I thrived, guess what? So did my daughter.

Did I make mistakes when I felt helpless and overwhelmed and lost? Of course. Did that make me a bad mother? Of course not. To the contrary, it made me an awesome one, a powerful one. Did my daughter drive me crazy through her teenage years? Of course. Did that make her a bad child? Of course not. But once again, I took on the guilt of “ruining her.” In times of stress, we go back to what we are comfortable with though it may not be effective. Thank goodness for the National Geographic edition on the teenage brain that explained the teenage years are a sort of “retarded” stage humans have to go through for normal development. What relief I had when the burden of shame was replaced with truth and empowerment.

Do Not Normalize the Abuse

Abuse victims are frequently unnecessarily conflicted about alienating the child against the other parent. Don’t ever think your children are too young to learn the truth about being victimized or exploited that you are “saying something bad about the other parent.” This is a lie that results in nothing more than normalizing the abuse, shaming the victim and adding to their pain. There is a big difference between speaking crap about a person and speaking truth about a crappy person. Always speak truth because it does set us free.

Healing is your right to act on your free will and to live as you were designed. Healing is all about you, not your husband or wife or partner and a child is never too young to learn about good and evil and what healthy relationships and boundaries are. You can tell your story to your young child in a healthy constructive manner, while holding the abuser responsible for their actions, and at the same time stay accountable to your healing goals. Absolutely you can! Take this as as example.

Why not present situation as a child would understand such as in a fairy tale about good and evil and put yourself in the story. Be creative. The brain is growing and processing and she is mirroring, seeing herself in you. You ARE your child’s reflection and you are teaching her how to become as she is divinely intended and to respect herself and to understand personal worth. You are teaching her to become the best version of herself she can become. You are teaching her to have compassion for her mother, the person who gave her life. You are facilitating your child to become a participant and compassionate witness in your healing and rebirth in the same way you participated and witnessed hers.

What if My Child is a Narcissist

If we marry narcissists, sadly we run the risk of having narcissistic children. You did nothing wrong. Nature did and you cannot fix it.  Empathy and lack of it are both inherited and hopefully if our narcissist children are at the lower end of the spectrum we can have some semblance of a relationship with them.

Learn more on what causes narcissism.

That, nevertheless, may not be possible if their toxicity level, combat tactics, and manipulation tactics are severe. Your safety and that of your other children always come first. If you let them, narcissists will, without a doubt, consume every single bit of narcissistic supply you give them at the expense of your other children, joy, happiness, energy, life, bank account, reputation and whatever else they can exploit from you. We also, remember, run the risk of having empathetic children who are vulnerable to their attacks as well. So we also need to protect our children and teach them to recognize narcissists, manage boundaries, and protect their vulnerabilities. Frequently, empathetic children can have too much compassion so we must focus on teaching them how to use their compassion responsibly and not become overly reliant on others for validation of their worth that makes them vulnerable to narcissistic predators. 

The best any parent can do for narcissistic children is guide them with love, compassion, moral-based teaching, and consistency and perhaps they will end up falling at the lower end of the spectrum of less harmful character traits but there are no guarantees. Managing them takes very finely honed skills that very few therapists are even equipped with and are capable of handling. If you notice lack of compassion and serious self-centeredness in them and the failure to thrive, have healthy relationships or self-soothe, and engaging in bullying, get them into competent counseling right away.

In adulthood, the best option may be to follow the TDS (Time – Distance -Shielding) Rule and minimize your time, maximize the distance with them and put shielding between you and learn how to maintain your self-preservation when around them. The rest is in divine hands.

READ MORE HERE ON HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SELF-PRESERVATION WHEN DEALING WITH NARCISSISTS

READ MORE ON USING THE TDS RULE TO MANAGE BOUNDARIES.

Your Children Will Heal Through You

Years ago, in the midst of an unhappy period in my life, my dear friend, Jim, told me, “Evelyn, It is never about the other person.” I, at the time, did not know what he meant but I never forgot that advice. Now I never forget the lesson. Here it is:

th-8Until you own your own pain and shame and get rid of it and stop blaming others for it, you will not heal and you will continue to think like a victim and transfer this angst to your children. Your children will then needlessly suffer collateral damage and abuse will be perpetuated.  This was not your pain to begin with.

 

Read more here on how abuse is perpetuated generationally in dysfunctional families.

Heed more Melanie Tonia Evans’ healing words of wisdom.

“The true remedy for getting out of this emotional charge is know who you are and have no need to defend it to anyone – especially your children. The truth of the matter is, however, that the more we get emotionally charged, the more we fight back, and the more we try to defend ourself against the narcissist, the atrocities escalate even more, and the more the atrocities work in the narcissist’s favor…There is nothing that an individual’s soul does not co-create that isn’t right for the purpose of the opportunity to create evolution and healing….heal your children through yourself.”

Read more on healing your children from Melanie Tonia Evans here.

What Makes Being Liked, Loved, Desired, and Valued Possible?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
12049632_1613466202253151_7563358611981122153_nBeing liked, being loved, being desired, and being valued are not synonymous and ultimately in a perfect world we would all aspire to and achieve all four.

But is this realistic or possible in a world where we all are different people with different tastes, personalities, needs, hang-ups, disorders, neuroses, levels of compassion, likes and dislikes, beliefs, opinions, and goals?

More importantly, we all have different levels of self-esteem, our personal confidence and belief in our own personal worth and abilities to achieve joy and to keep ourselves safe. Our self-esteem drives our self-worth and self-respect and sets the stage for us to set and achieve goals. So, self-esteem is where I would like to focus today.

Our self-esteem fuels everything we do and directs how we perceive other things and people. If our self-esteem is healthy, we are clear on our self-worth. This means we rely on ourselves confidently for validation of our personal value because we know what we are capable of doing, know we are worthy of joy, and set goals to bring us joy that we know we can achieve. When we do not achieve our goals or are unhappy, we do not hunker down in shame and look for others to soothe our disappointments. But we do take action and thought correct or course correct or get the advice or assistance to achieve our goals and, in short, makes us feel good about ourselves. We do not take “no” for an answer when it comes to achieving our goals which sustain our joy, success, and emotional health.

th-22

So the role of other people is not to merely validate us and soothe our pain we do not think we can reliably handle. Their role is to complement us and to share our joy and personal power with. We do not need anything from them because we are self-sufficient. It is the connection with others whose truth aligns with ours that ignites us! We choose to love or be with others because their self-esteem, their truths, align with ours and we have each other’s best interests at heart. Alignment of truth including common values, goals, and levels of integrity is what makes a person desirable, likable, lovable and valued to a person with high self-esteem. And our self-esteem, reliant on our self-worth and personal integrity, are what makes us lovable to ourselves. Healthy self–esteem not only makes being liked, loved, valued and desired possible, it also helps to sustain our emotional health.

12744552_10153491263859895_1023025528576497643_nPeople with high self-esteem are clear on their lovability and the level of respect and honor they deserve and expect in any relationship, be it personal, family, or work. People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, cannot readily look internally for validation of their personal worth and typically are pain addicted due to abuse or trauma or possibly even suffering from something worse.

Interestingly enough, victims of abuse and the abusers themselves both use other people to soothe and ease their chronic pain. The main difference is that the narcissists and psychopaths do it offensively (knowingly with intent to harm and no remorse) and abuse victims do it innocently (unknowingly with no intent to harm). So being in a relationship with an abuser is not a relationship of alignment of truths, it is an alignment of lies and pains and needs. It is a relationship between a predator and its prey, a parasite and its host.

“Alignment of truth including common values, goals, and levels of integrity is what makes a person desirable, likable, lovable and valued to a person with high self-esteem. And our self-esteem, reliant on our self-worth and personal integrity, are what makes us lovable to ourselves. Healthy self–esteem not only makes being liked, loved, valued and desired possible, it also helps to sustain our emotional health.”

Relying on other people to define your self-worth or to soothe your internal pain is not self-esteem and will lead to emotional fatigue, chronic pain, sadness, and depression. It keeps you vulnerable to the narcissists and psychopaths, the emotional vampires who need your power and energy to survive.

th-17The point here, folks, is that in terms of being liked, being loved, being desired, and being valued, IT IS NEVER ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON defining your acceptability and our worth. It is about you developing your own self-esteem, your own truth, gauging it accurately, upholding that truth and finding others whose truth aligns with yours.

Read more here on how learning to enjoy living alone can build emotional health.

So I am committed here at Yourlifelifter to teach you how to release your pain, build your self-esteem, take your personal power back and thrive. You can and will heal.

Narcissistic and psychopathic manipulators, emotional vampires and abusers cannot.

How Emotionally Fit Are You?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Our sustained happiness is a sign of th-2emotional fitness just like our blood panel, cholesterol, and blood pressure are signs of our physical fitness.

When we are happy, our emotional needs are met and motivate us to set and achieve goals. So our feelings are indicators of our emotional well being and what we need to work on. Conversely, not meeting our emotional needs and being unhappy or anxious for prolonged periods of time can lead to emotional fatigue and exhaustion and for some, depression and even trauma.

Our happiness is a product of and dependent on the state of our self-esteem. Self-esteem is an implicit judgment that every person has of his or her ability to face life’s challenges and solve problems and of their right to achieve happiness and be given respect. Self-esteem is a conscious decision we make and reflects confidence in our abilities to take risks, love and be loved, protect ourselves and achieve goals that bring us joy and that we know we deserve.

th-1Healthy self-esteem allows us to rely on ourselves for validation of our self-worth because we know what we are capable of doing, know we are worthy of joy, and set goals to bring us joy that we are confident we can achieve. When we do not achieve our goals, we do not hunker down in shame but rather we course correct or get advice or assistance to achieve our goals. The role of other people is not to validate us or rescue us. Their role is to complement us and to share our joy with. We do not routinely depend on others because we rely on ourselves and cues from our internal gauges to define who we are and our level of happiness.

People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, cannot look internally for validation of their self-worth and typically are pain addicted due to abuse or trauma or possibly more severe psychological issues. They also have high tendencies towards codependency. Other people become sources or solutions to their pain.

Here are some characteristics of those with high self-esteem. Which ones do you possess? Which ones do you feel you need to work on to achieve emotional “fitness?”

th-3People with a healthy level of self-esteem:

  • Are self-reliant on themselves to define their self-worth and for affirmation of their thoughts and ideas.
  • Can use their compassion responsibly without routinely self-sacrificing their personal needs, rights and authorities for others.
  • Set joy-seeking goals they know they deserve and are confident in their abilities to achieve them.
  • Understand well what their personal boundaries and authorities are and understand their right to have theirs honored and respected.
  • Practice self-care, kindness, and nurturance including self-compassion when they are in emotional pain or are distressed.
  • Can assertively defend their personal boundaries and respect others’ personal boundaries.
  • Firmly believe in certain values and principles, and are ready to defend them even when finding opposition, feeling secure enough to modify them in light of experience.
  • Are able to act according to what they think to be the best choice, trusting their own judgment, and not feeling guilty when others do not like their choice.
  • Do not lose time worrying excessively about what happened in the past, nor about what could happen in the future. They learn from the past and plan for the future, but live in the present intensely.
  • Fully trust in their capacity to solve problems, not hesitating after failures and difficulties. They ask others for help when they need it.
  • Consider themselves equal in dignity to others, rather than inferior or superior, while accepting differences in certain talents, personal prestige or financial standing.
  • Understand how they are an interesting and valuable person for others, at least for those with whom they have a friendship.
  • Routinely set and achieve goals to fulfill their spiritual, financial, career, community, relationship, and health needs.
  • Identify and resist manipulation, collaborate with others only if it seems appropriate and convenient.
  • Admit and accept different internal feelings and drives, either positive or negative, revealing those drives to others only when they choose.
  • Are able to enjoy a great variety of activities.
  • Are sensitive to feelings and needs of others; respect generally accepted social rules, and claim no right or desire to prosper at others’ expense.
  • Use their compassion responsibly to their and others’ benefit.
  • Can work toward finding solutions and voice discontent without belittling themselves or others when challenges arise.
  • Are tolerant of other people’s differences including differences of opinion.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 10.26.25 PMAnswering these questions can help you gauge your level of emotional fitness and where you need to focus and set some milestones and goals.

Register here for a free 14-page report of self-esteem building tips and exercises that can help you build your self-esteem, become emotionally fit, and improve your overall wellness and happiness.

Incompetents May Not Know They Are Incompetent

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
It is well understood, proven, and th-29documented that to achieve goals we need to identify and deal with the obstacles that prevent us from achieving them. Some refer to these obstacles as “risks.” One of the primary obstacles or risks, we may have to deal with is the lack of knowledge, skills, or abilities we need to achieve the goal. Obviously we need the credentials to be a doctor, for example, that we would acquire through extensive education and training. The same principle can be applied to anything we desire to achieve.

It imperative then, to be able to identify what we don’t know so we can fill the gaps or even take advantage of opportunities that are afforded us.

What about incompetents? Where do they fit into the risk-based model for goal-setting?

They (especially since I worked for 35 years with some of the brightest people in the world) have puzzled me for years since to me they stand out like sore thumbs. But they do not seem to know who they are?

But we do.th-30

They are the ones who hardly ever create or deliver anything on their own and manipulate others and put their names on other people’s work.

They never take a class in anything unless they are forced to take one.

They act like they are experts in their fields when it is obvious to most they absolutely are not.

They are also the know-it-alls we meet everyday who really know very little and add little value.

In trying to address these questions, I come upon a possible answer, the Dunning-Kruger effect.

David Dunning and Justin Kruger identified a problem in the perception of incompetents that causes them to overate their abilities and not be able to recognize mistakes. This can weaken the real competent folks’ self-confidence, since they may falsely assume that others have equal abilities.

David Dunning and Justin Kruger were awarded the 2000 satirical Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for their report, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.”

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from imagined superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes. Illusory superiority causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. Metacognition is defined as “cognition about cognition,” or “knowing about knowing.”

Kruger and Dunning proposed that, “for a given skill, incompetent people will:

  1. Tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
  2. Fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
  3. Fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy; and
  4. Recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill.”

So the incompetents are not ABLE to know what they don’t know so they can’t and don’t work to fill the gaps and in the process, negatively impact the self-confidence of the real competent folks. The incompetents hardly ever take classes so how will they ever recognize their lack of skills, knowledge and abilities?

Dunning and Kruger, however, did not discuss what causes this screwed up perception but like everything, genetic predisposition and one’s upbringing are most likely at the top of list. The ignorant beget ignorance, perhaps?

Or is this another group of personality-disordered folks who act normal, manipulate others, and do immeasurable harm to others in the process?

Again, we need to recognize these broken ones and learn how to protect ourselves from being violated or harmed by them.

I will continue to write about practical ways we can protect ourselves from these and other emotional vampires in the Yourlifelifter blog at https://yourlifelifter.wordpress.com and Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/yourlifelifter and would appreciate your feedback.

Methods to deal with our limitations and fears, set goals, and acquire skills, knowledge and abilities to achieve them are available in the self-help and life coaching products offered at our website at https://yourlifelifter.wordpress.com

How Do We Nourish Our Own Souls

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“We cannot see our souls or what we call our self-esteem. However, we know that our souls need to be nourished consistently to sustain our joy.”

starving soul hungerTruth is again on my mind like usual or more accurately “the search for truth” and its role in nurturing our souls. Here are my thoughts:

We cannot see our souls or what we call our self-esteem. However, we know that our souls need to be nourished consistently to sustain our joy. We are designed for happiness, however we are also designed with built in mechanisms to protect us from harm. Our emotions even our pain-based ones like shame and sadness exist as gauges to guide and protect us and to keep us safe. When they function properly and our filters are intact, we confidently take cues from them to either course correct or thought correct and take actions that remove us from harm’s way and teach us to avoid that “bad” thing again in the future. Positive emotions, on the other hand, are cues that our actions and thoughts are serving us well.

images-4Once our souls are nourished, we feel complete – happy – content – valued. We know how being liked, loved and desired makes us feel. We set and achieve goals because we know how achieving them makes us feel and that we are worthy of the outcomes. And when our souls are not nourished or are depleted such as from abuse, overwork, and invalidation, we feel trapped, inadequate, and become unhappy, emotionally fatigued, depressed, sad and, even worse, traumatized.

When our souls are routinely starved, we also run the risk of 3 things:

  1. Believing falsely we are the source of the ensuing pain and discomfort; and/or
  2. Blaming something or someone else for them; and/or
  3. Feeling unsafe in our own bodies.

All harm us more because they cause us to feel more pain and stop us from taking action that we need to learn from and that nurture us and sustain our joy.

imagesWe, folks, are NOT the source of our pain. We are the source of our joy. And we own and are responsible for regulating our emotions including our pain. Other things or people can only trigger them. However, our emotions become overly taxed and go haywire after extreme emotional neglect and pain that can make us feel unsafe in our own bodies. Our lives becomes a cycle of creating pain and
trying to alleviate pain we believe falsely we are powerless to. We become victims and reactive to life relying on others who do not have our best interests at heart rather than ourselves for answers and to define our self-worth.

imgres-7This is no secret as what some want us to believe. As a matter of fact, this cognitive based school of thought was founded by Christian Larsen in the very early 1900’s over 100 years ago and now most of his books are free to the public!!

And, yes, our parents or caregivers should have taught us this. In their defense, If they did not, then they were also not taught how to as were their parents ad infinitum.

12049632_1613466202253151_7563358611981122153_nWell, then, how do we nurture our souls?

The answer is pretty simple and is no secret. Here it is!

  1. Unlearning the thinking that makes us addicted to pain;
  2. Surrounding ourselves with others who reflect back to us the nurturing TRUTH our souls need to flourish;
  3. Honoring the value of that truth through self-compassion and self-care;
  4. Learning we are worthy of the effort;
  5. Learning we are worthy of the happiness; and
  6. Reflecting our authentic nurturing truth back to others with love, kindness, and compassion to help them nourish their souls.
  7. Repeating 2 though 6 above.

10592670_618439154966040_3348146276018635085_nThis is how love and life are supposed to work…this is also what abuse, narcissists, emotional vampires, and poor parenting ruin for us. The world is currently in crisis because we have a pandemic of starving souls.

I am committed here at Yourlifelifter to show you how to achieve these objectives and nurture your souls! And as you heal, your children will heal through you.

Be sure to sign up for my FREE self-esteem building tips and tools that can help you make huge strides in your recoveries.

You are all worthy of the effort.

I am honored to support you in your journeys!

Self-Compassion and Self-Care Are Fundamental to Emotional Health

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

images-3Most victims of childhood abuse (includes neglect and emotional invalidation) suffer into adulthood and become adult victims of adult abuse. Our self-esteem and personal identity and understanding of our self-worth suffer. We may have been punished for even attempting to care for ourselves. Consequently, we can feel shame for even taking care of our basic human needs. This vulnerability can be exaggerated in empaths who are predisposed to caring for and feeling responsible for others’ happiness.

We do not learn how to use our compassion responsibly and overcompensate by giving of ourselves too much and letting others who do not have our best interests at heart violate our personal boundaries and dishonor us. We allow them to control our emotions rather than we regulating our own. We bring this skewed thinking learned in childhood into adulthood and learn to neglect our own needs.

12651288_953089158121439_8456393630455492212_n-1Self-care and self-compassion are needed for healing because they “neutralize” the toxic emotions and empower ourselves to learn how to regulate our emotions again. These are good “habits” that relieve the pain and help us assimilate and reconnect with ourselves again. So, in effect self-care and self-compassion allow us an opportunity to witness our healing. They allow us to actively participate in our own healing and regain trust in ourselves and feel safe and secure in our own bodies. Self-care and self-compassion allow us to nourish our souls and are also critical to building self-worth, self-assurance and self-reliance and feel like “ourselves” again, not the pain addicted wounded versions who rely on abusers and manipulators who do not have our best interests at heart to alleviate our discomfort.

We CAN learn how to replace these old “harmful” habits with those that are self-serving to our emotional health and personal joy. We can learn to use our compassion responsibly and learn to focus our compassion and self-care more on ourselves.

“What?” You may ask. “How am I supposed to learn how to do that? I have trouble even saying no.”

Well…like anything, by learning how to and by practicing.

Here are some helpful tips that can help to get you on the right track. And remember PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Use the tips that work for YOU!!!

  1. Pay attention to your own needs and wants. Get out of your head and learn to listen to and heed your bodily cues and emotions that exist to protect you.

Listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you. For instance, if your body is telling you that you have been sitting down too long, stand up and stretch. If your heart is longing to spend more time with a special friend, do it. If your mind is telling you to clean up your basement, listen to your favorite music, or stop thinking bad thoughts about yourself, take those thoughts seriously.

  1. Take very good care of yourself…..ALWAYS!!!!

images-4As you were growing up you may not have learned how to take good care of yourself. In fact, much of your attention may have been on taking care of others, on just getting by, or on “behaving well.” Perhaps you were even punished for thinking about and caring for yourself.

Begin today to take good care of yourself. Treat yourself as a wonderful parent would treat a small child or as a very best friend might treat another. If you work at taking good care of yourself, you will find that you feel better about yourself and you will learn you are deserving of your own self-care and learn self-reliance that will feed your self-esteem and self-worth.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods (foods containing a lot of sugar, salt, or fat). A healthy daily diet is usually: five or six servings of vegetables and fruit, six servings of whole grain foods like bread, pasta, cereal, and rice, two servings of protein foods like beef, chicken, fish, cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
  • Exercise. Moving your body helps you to feel better and improves your self-esteem. Arrange a time every day or as often as possible when you can get some exercise, preferably outdoors. You can do many different things. Taking a walk is the most common. You could run, ride a bicycle, play a sport, climb up and down stairs several times, put on a tape, or play the radio and dance to the music–anything that feels good to you. If you have a health problem that may restrict your ability to exercise, check with your doctor before beginning or changing your exercise habits.
  • Do special personal hygiene tasks to pamper and make you feel better about yourself such as a bubble bath, special hair conditioning or styling, manicures and pedicures, and teeth whitening.
  • Have a physical examination every year to make sure you are in good health.
  • Plan fun activities for yourself. Learn new things every day.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. You may be so busy, or feel so badly about yourself, that you spend little or no time doing things you enjoy such as playing a musical instrument, doing a craft project, flying a kite, or going fishing. Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Then do something from that list every day. Add to the list anything new that you discover you enjoy doing.
  • Get something done that you have been putting off. Clean out that drawer. Wash that window. Write that letter. Pay that bill.
  • Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities. For instance, if you are good with your hands, then make things for yourself, family, and friends. If you like animals, consider having a pet or at least playing with friends’ pets.
  • Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself. If you have little money to spend on new clothes, check out thrift stores in your area.
  • Give yourself rewards for being a great person such as listening to your favorite music or reading your favorite books or taking a trip to a museum.
  • Spend time with people who treat you well and make you feel good about yourself. Avoid people who treat you badly.
  • Make your living space a place that honors the person you are. Whether you live in a single room, a small apartment, or a large home, make that space comfortable and attractive for you. If you share your living space with others, have some space that is just for you, your own personal “slice of heaven” where you can keep your things and know that they will not be disturbed and that you can decorate any way you choose.
  • Display items that you find attractive or that remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life. If cost is a factor, use your creativity to think of inexpensive or free ways that you can add to the comfort and enjoyment of your space.
  • Make your meals a special time. Turn off the television, radio, and stereo. Set the table, even if you are eating alone. Light a candle or put some flowers or an attractive object in the center of the table. Arrange your food in an attractive way on your plate. If you eat with others, encourage discussion of pleasant topics. Avoid discussing difficult issues at meals.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills. Take a class or go to a seminar. Many adult education programs are free or very inexpensive. For those that are more costly, ask about a possible scholarship or fee reduction.
  • Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself like going on a diet, beginning an exercise program or keeping your living space clean.
  • Do something nice for another person. Smile at someone who looks sad. Say a few kind words to the checkout cashier. Help your spouse with an unpleasant chore. Take a meal to a friend who is sick. Send a card to an acquaintance. Volunteer for a worthy organization.
  • imgres-3Make it a point to treat your self well every day. Before you go to bed each night, write about how you treated yourself well during the day and how you will treat your self tomorrow.
  1.   Learn how to manage boundaries.

Abusers and exploiters and bullies and especially narcissists are masters at pushing pain buttons, making people feel powerless, and getting people to let down their boundaries and getting them to give up their power to them. In fact, they enjoy doing it. They use charm and love as their camouflage. We become unknowingly complicit in our own abuse and exploitation. We innocently expose ourselves to some of the worst abuse and harm imaginable.

12654645_941891752514920_7863427450412629576_nPart of healing for those who were victims and continue to be susceptible to their attacks, then, is learning to maintain and protect your personal boundaries so you are not vulnerable to emotional predators.

Unfortunately, there is no electronic monitor like a home protection system you can purchase to warn you of impending “emotional” predators and attacks. However, you can strengthen your own internal monitors and learn new skills including honing your narcissist radar otherwise known as “NADAR” and honoring and “feeling” for and caring for your own wants and needs with compassion and defending your personal rights and authorities. These include assertively expressing what your rights, authorities, needs, and feelings are and recognizing and regulating your own emotions especially your pain-based ones and learning when they are triggered and who routinely triggers them. Just as important, then, is knowing WHAT makes you happy.

Read more on managing personal boundaries here.

Abuse survivors can also become notorious boundary violators themselves. We in healing must learn not only to manage our boundaries but also to respect other’s as well. People who are heavily dependent on others for self-worth particularly may have a hard time sourcing their own power and learning self-reliance. Codependents have learned to routinely not only let others violate their boundaries but also to violate other’s boundaries to source from them what they need to define their worth.

Learning boundary management by re-learning what personal rights are and where healthy authorities and boundaries start and finish will help you replace maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, and actions with healthy ones and help you make great strides in your healing.

  1.   Learn assertiveness skills including how to say “no.”

Learning assertiveness skills will not only protect your personal rights that support your self-esteem and self-care but will also help you keep your cool and prevent you from being manipulated and abused by those who push your pain and shame buttons. These skills can help immensely in boundary management that support and sustain your emotional health and mutually respectful and loving relationships.

  1.   Learn how to set and achieve goals.

Once you do be sure to develop your personal action and accountability plan, your life’s road map to achieving your goals and getting where you want to go and getting back on course when you “get lost.” Remember that your character, people skills, personal limitations, emotional makeup, and motivation level will impact achievement of goals. Mentors and coaches can help you generate your action plan, monitor your progress, hold you accountable, and develop alternate courses of actions when you hit roadblocks.

Are You Struggling with Figuring Out What You Really Want?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Reposted from April 2014. Excerpted from I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher as modified by Evelyn Ryan.

                              To love a life that is exciting and fulfilling, you can’t do what’s “right,”                                                   you have to do what’s right for you. ~ Barbara Sher

th-33Are you personally struggling with figuring out what it is you really want? Are you “stuck in the muck?”

I am.

I have no emergencies in my life to address and no “fires” to put out.

My only daughter and child will be graduating soon and will be off to college.

Everything in my life has changed unexpectedly and I do not know what to with myself now.

Can you relate?

If you can, how do we get “unstuck from the muck” and deal with this dilemma?

Don’t panic.

You are fine, I am fine. We are fine. The answers are inside us.

th-32They are just blocked and we need to unblock them.

Simple. So do not judge yourself and accept that you DO have the answers. Do not let this blur your vision and make you bitter or sad.

This is NOT A TEST that we pass or fail. You, we just have to be curious and search for the answers with positivity, humility, patience and kindness for ourselves…as we would guide a child. We need to identify the inner conflicts, that inner voice, those invisible limiting beliefs that prevent us from making a change and pursuing what we really love.

Do not let inner conflicts or fears cloud your judgment and lead to despair. Do not “what if” yourself to death or catastrophize which can scare you to death or lead to depression.

So what could be blocking us from creating a clear vision?

Is it fear such as fear of lost income, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of being trapped, fear of uncertainty?

Do you feel you’ve done it all or are too young or too old to pursue that goal? Is that goal too big for you?

Or perhaps your life has changed, like mine and you don’t have the first idea how to redesign your life? Or perhaps this is the first time you have had to focus on yourself?

th-31Well, I am personally struggling with creating direction and goals. Everything is going pretty well in my life and I do not really NEED anything. I am also pretty well adjusted and don’t need any internal “fixing.” My challenge is that everything in my life has changed and I have to start a new one at 56 years old!

So the real question we seek to answer is this…

What would our life be and look and feel like if we had no obstacles?

So as I seek the answers, I shall continue to share the lessons I learn with you.

And together, let us find the answers that work best for us individually and help us on a path to figure out what we love and pursue our goals, achieve inner peace and contentment and be the best that we can be.

“The universe is not going to see someone like you again in the entire history of creation.” Vartan Gregorian

Yourlifelifter is Now Offering Life Coaching and Career Coaching

Emotionally fatigued? Scared? Stuck in your job or career?

Need direction?

Has therapy not worked for you?

Get PERSONALIZED coaching from Certified Professional Life Coach, Career Coach, and Abuse (including narcissistic abuse) Recovery Expert, Evelyn Ryan.

Evelyn tailors coaching to YOUR individual needs and goals!

Life Coaching packages include:

1. FREE self assessment.
2. FREE half hour session with Evelyn to review results.
3. Unlimited emails.
4. Compassionate accountability to healing goals from someone who has been where you are and who has successfully healed.
5. Unique recovery approach with a 20 year success in addressing hidden traumas.
6. Flexible packages and schedules to meet your needs
7. Worldwide correspondence how you choose by telephone and/or Skype.

For more information on life coaching packages and to request self assessment questionnaire, click here.

For more information on career coaching packages, click here.