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!

Power Imbalance in Abusive Relationships – Part 1

th-2Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

This is Part 1 in a two part series on power imbalance in abusive relationships, common misperceptions, causes and effects of power imbalance, and how to correct them.

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

This article 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.

There is what I believe a huge misperception on the relationship between abusers and their victims. That is correct…their victims. You will read often that abuse is the need to control and take power over another. While this may be partly true, this does not accurately or completely describe the predatory aspects of abuse and the not so obvious causes of power imbalance in abusive relationships.

Dynamics of Work and Obligation in Healthy Relationships

starving soul hungerThe core to healthy relationship are healthy interactions between compassionate people who have healthy views on work and obligation. Simply put, emotionally healthy people work for what they need to benefit and sustain themselves and those they are in relationships with. We expect to periodically self-sacrifice and put in the extra effort to benefit someone else because we know if we do, we will reap the rewards as well. We also expect sometimes to not work so hard and let others put in the extra effort to care for us when we need it. We know that we are paid for the value of the service we provide to others no matter if they are loved ones, customers, bosses, or even strangers. We also work for what we need because we know and are confident we can do so and enjoy working towards our goals. It brings us joy. It sustains our life. It nourishes our souls. It makes us better people. We know that having “skin in the game” builds character. If we reap benefits that are equal to or exceed the efforts or costs to achieve them, then we are happy, content, fulfilled.

Dysfunctional Work and Commitment Dynamics in Abusive Relationships

This balance of give and take and work and obligation that fuels normal character development, relationships, and human existence becomes severely skewed in power imbalanced relationships. Why?

Because abusers simply detest putting out effort that might, even in part, benefit someone else. They can work very hard and can spend inordinate amounts time and energy working purely 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, 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! Abusers 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.

Abusers benefit from the self sacrifice and work or their victims whom they exploit for their personal gain. The victims are stuck in “hamster wheel relationships” that go nowhere and get nothing back in return for their extreme investments of pain and energy. Their efforts are unrequited. Chronic exploitation leads to chronic emotional pain and trauma, overtaxing of our pain-based emotional mechanisms. They become depleted and emotionally fatigued, depressed, and traumatized. The extreme and long-term imbalance of power and chronic invalidation are the core to the damage from abusive relationship fueled by legacy wounded thinking and skewed beliefs that originated in abusive childhoods. It is this wounded thinking and these skewed beliefs that also makes us vulnerable to these predators.

Read more here on how we inherit pain-based thinking and how it is passed from generation to generation.

Abuser Find Us and Prey on Our Vulnerabilities

Abusers find us. We do not find them. In reality, abusers aggressively and offensively target and prey on the vulnerable ones who will easily give up their power and energy to them. Abusers do this because they loathe working on self-improvement, cannot self-soothe, cannot generate their own power and get great enjoyment and emotional fulfillment from taking it from, where else? Others! As discussed above, they want all the benefits others can provide them without working for them.

The abusers shadow their pain on vulnerable victims and use them and play on their vulnerabilities so they defensively give up their power to them. Abusers learned these predatory practices from the same place their victims learned their maladaptive behaviors – in their own families. People who are emotionally fit do not readily give up their power to others. In short, they would simply not be bothered with abusers because they are confident in their self-truth and rely comfortably on their personal power and on their internal cues to define their worthiness. They reserve their self-power for themselves and others they voluntarily choose to share their power with and who treat them with respect. They monitor and protect their personal rights, authorities and divinity comfortably and confidently. They assertively would tell the abusers to go away or ignore them and the abusers would simply move on to the next victim.

Adult survivors of childhood abuse, on the other hand, suffer from low self-esteem and pain addiction because their pain-based emotions lose their protective functions, go haywire, and become toxic. In effect, when we are abused as adults, our exaggerated pain and trauma and accompanying feelings of unworthiness and defenselessness from our youth are triggered. So our shame is old unhealed legacy shame and the beliefs are false wounded beliefs our childhood abusers shadowed on us that we bring with us into adulthood.

How Do Victims Become Victors and Take Their Power Back

Abusers do not hold some magical hold on us. We are not the source of our shame that drives our self-loathing. We are, however, vulnerable to abusers who target us due to damage from overuse of our pain-based emotions. It is our toxic pain-based emotions and false beliefs of powerlessness that cause us to give up our power to abusers who trigger our pain. We also believe falsely that we must suffer to be lovable, another skewed belief we were conditioned to believe in childhood.

th-1So victims of abuse do not deserve the pain and are not powerless or defenseless to their abusers. We are not the cause of our pain and we are not responsible for it and we are not defenseless to it. We are, however, adults who are thinking like abused wounded children, maladaptive thinking we formulated  when our brains and characters were developing and when we were most vulnerable that resulted from abuse and neglect and pain inflicted on us by those we trusted and were dependent on and who were supposed to care for and love us unconditionally. It was not our pain to begin with. This is pain and distorted thinking we shadow on our own children. This is how intergenerational abuse is perpetuated.

705466_cover_mockup1-1It is time to fix our self-esteem, heal our traumas, and TAKE OUR POWER BACK! It is time to break the cycle of intergenerational abuse. And as we heal, our children will heal through us. I explore these issues in much more depth in Part 2 in this series and in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read a free sneak peek and review of the book and purchase a copy here.

Three Ways to Maintain Your Self-Preservation When Dealing With a Narcissist

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The damage from narcissistic abuse is insipid and insidious and the emotional harm from it can be traumatizing. However, do not think for one second that you are defenseless or powerless to narcissists.

Narcissists are energy vampires. They cannot generate their own power or energy. In fact, they in themselves are powerless.

We fear them because we believe we are powerless and defenseless to them. However, what we fear in reality is not really dangerous. Our perception of danger has been skewed in large part from past harmful or traumatic experiences. We fear narcissists because of what abusers did to us as children when we were vulnerable to them and felt powerless to them. We learned to readily give up our personal power and energy to narcissists and other abusers who trigger our pain and the accompanying false belief of powerlessness.

WHY UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HARM, FEAR AND REAL DANGER ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR HEALING AND WELL-BEING

Narcissists, in reality, however, while aggressive and revengeful, are weak and predictable. This works to your favor since this makes them vulnerable. In fact, they are very easy to manipulate.

CAN NARCISSISM BE CURED?

“Really,” you may be thinking, “how can that be?”

Because in reality, narcissists push the same pain buttons our abusers did when we were children when we were powerless to them. We bring these same fears and beliefs into adulthood. As adults, we overestimate the danger and underestimate our ability to deal with it when, if we were able to look at it rationally, we would see very clearly that we are no longer powerless to these annoying creeps. Read more here.

So our fear of them is really false? The answer is an unequivocal, “Yes!”

We can learn, with practice, to deal with narcissists easily and effectively and not be vulnerable to them or fear them. Once you are able to see them and understand them for who they really are and break through the dysfunctional illusion and heal, you will see they are really more like annoying buzzing insects or whining man and woman babies – bothersome, boring, and predictable.

Here are 3 tips to maintain your self-preservation when dealing with them:

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-4-07-22-pmBecome a “Gray Rock.” Do not give them any attention, positive or negative. Like this meme states, gray rocks do not attract attention and blend in with the scenery and you can do the same to make yourself less appealing to a narcissist.

If you do not give them your energy, they will go away. They need narcissistic supply to survive. Without it, they cannot live. Practice not reacting to anything they say or do or even thinking about them.

Read more on the “Gray Rock Method.”

Say to yourself over and over and practice:

  • I am authentic and powerful in my silence.
  • I am indestructable.
  • I show no emotion.
  • I cannot be triggered.
  • I offer no supply.
  • I am invincible.
  • I am not powerless to anything that triggers me.
  • I am not defenseless to anything that triggers me.
  • I am silent.
  • I am not angry.
  • I am boring.
  • I give no clue as to what is going on with me.

Read more on how to minimize their toxicity here.

Turn the fear triggers into annoyance triggers.

Small mosquitoWatch them and map out what you expect them to do and when. You may find it useful to write down each action and how they make you feel. Plan what you will do when the narcissist responds as you predicted. This will help to remove the severity and seriousness from the situation by showing how weak and predictable, yet annoying, they really are, like mosquitoes. It will also make you more mindful and aware of your real power. Taking action (including saying “no”) will help you reset your internal fear threshold and provide you the self power (e.g. narc repellent) to regulate your emotions before they escalate and the confidence in your ability to protect your personal boundaries. Your confidence, self-esteem, and self-confidence will soar!

Read more on how to minimize their toxicity here.

For reasons of self-preservation (not revenge), learning to manipulate them may be your best option.

Now, I DO NOT recommend this at all to anyone who is in early stages of healing. In addition, it takes time and energy and practice, and frankly, good acting skills to learn how to do this.

th-16So when you are ready and have a legitimate need to benefit, you can learn pretty easily to manipulate them by giving the appearance you are giving up your energy. You can make them think they are manipulating you. Again, I am not promoting deceit for revenge. Rather, I am promoting self-preservation.

Read more on how to manipulate a narcissist here.

I, very far along in my healing, deal with narcissists and other boundary violators like manipulators and covert aggressors and passive aggressive people all the time. I do not fear them because I know how they tick and I no longer believe I am defenseless to them. I no longer fear them because I took my power back and healed and I know how to manage them. For example, I choose to voluntarily interact with them only if I benefit. I always make sure I benefit in some way because I know that they always are using me for something. It is just who they are and it is just what they do. I view it neutrally and not with any fear or emotional investment. If I do not benefit, I do not interact with them or I give up no energy. I just shut down and say nothing. I bank on the fact that they will come back again to “win” just like they bank on others’ vulnerabilities. If and when they come back, I just follow the same rule. If I do not benefit, I do not interact and give up no energy to the interaction.

Narcissists are aggressive and potentially dangerous and can only harm you if you fear them and allow them to do harm to you. In reality, they cannot generate their own power and need yours to survive. This is why they aggressively pursue you. This is behavior they learned in their dysfunctional families. They bank on our weaknesses and only target the emotionally vulnerable, kind, empathetic, generous, conscientious, and trusting people. You can use this information to your benefit and work the interaction with them to your favor.

Read more on how to manipulate a narcissist here.

But make no mistake and do not let your guard down. A narcissist always uses another person for something they need. They are aggressive parasites. Every interaction with them is parasitic. Accept that. It is not because they like you or love you or even hate you. They need you for narcissistic supply and actively go after it. They are predictable and weak and can be managed. They, however, cannot be cured.

Codependency Does Not Cause Abuse

th-27I’d like to clarify what I think is a huge misperception on codependency, healing, victimhood, and sources of emotional pain.

Abusers find us. We do not find them and we do not deserve disrespectful, abusive, damaging treatment. There is not something wrong with us that makes us deserving of abuse or pain. Abusers abuse us because we think like victims and unknowingly give up our power to them.

Codependency tendencies and what author and therapist Ross Rosenberg now more accurately describes as “Self-Love Deficit” do not cause abuse. Codependency is a consequence of abuse because abuse mucks with our self-esteem and feelings of self-power. We learn to not trust our own selves for validation of our worth and instead turn externally to others to define us and decide what is acceptable in us. Codependency is a learned maladaptive coping mechanism that replaces what should be internal motivating behavioral controls and emotions we rely on and trust to keep us safe.

“Codependency is traced to the first five years of life from being exposed to emotional manipulators.” Listen to Ross Rosenberg’s eloquent explanations to the root causes to our vulnerabilities to abusers here.

We develop codependency in power imbalanced dysfunctional families where we learn to be dependent on others (we perceive as more powerful but who are not) rather than our own selves to define our self-worth and to validate us and as a coping mechanism to not being loved unconditionally. This has profound consequences on our emotional development! We can become notorious boundary violators ourselves! We were taught to maladapt…to adapt in the wrong way. We develop skewed beliefs about our lovability and our self-worth and where to source them from.

And as we get older, we become vulnerable to abusers or narcissists or psychopaths or bullies who are experts on homing in on our vulnerabilities and who target us! They find us and target us because this is just what they do. It is what they need to do to cope and survive. They are wired to aggressively go after others’ power because they cannot generate their own energy because they are disordered! So we become dependent on these creeps who manipulate us and do not have our best interests at heart and stay with them and feel defenseless to them because we are pain addicted and suffer from traumatic stress and chronic shame and feelings of powerlessness. We falsely believe that abusers and emotional manipulators have more power than we do to control our pain.

LEARN MORE ON HOW ABUSE SURVIVORS CAN BECOME NOTORIOUS BOUNDARY VIOLATORS!

As narcissistic abuse recovery expert Kim Saeed tells us, someone with codependency tendencies can lose sight of their own lives in the commotion of tending to someone else’s, which makes them prime targets for narcissists. In abusive relationships, they can end up loving someone who is unrestrained and they find themselves being more accountable for the actions of that person than the person is taking for themselves.

th-28So we are not the cause of our abuse because we are emotionally dependent on others. If you believe this, get this out of your heads. If you believe this, shift your thinking now because this will cause you needlessly to take on extra blame and shame that will keep you from healing. You were victimized and preyed on by emotional vampires who hunted for you and targeted you because you are vulnerable, plain and simple and they feed off of your energy. You did not ask for, are not responsible for, and do not deserve abuse or emotional pain!

An emotionally  healthy loving partner would remind you of your value and worth, support your self-assuredness, and not want you to be dependent on them. Emotional manipulators, on the other hand, victimize us. Once we deal with our vulnerabilities and heal our wounds and do self-esteem work we can make huge strides towards no longer being targets and no longer feeling powerless to these creeps and not being dependent on anyone except our own selves to define our self-worth.

There is another very important and not so obvious lesson here related to codependency and personal boundaries. Codependents can become boundary violators themselves to source from others what they need to define their worth. Read more on the importance of protecting personal boundaries here.
Kim Saeed cautions that our biggest challenge is learning to use our compassion responsibly and learning to care and help others without falling into codependent behaviors where we use others to define us, self-sooth, and cover our own dysfunctions and, in the process, enable theirs. We disempower ourselves and the person when we try to fix, solve, or make the consequences go away. We discredit and diminish our own selves when we redirect our personal power from ourselves to rescue others who do not have our best interests at heart.

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The challenge is to support people along their journey without getting emotionally vested and entangled in “fixing” or “solving” their problems for them, or covering up for them. When you do, you will have acted with true compassion for yourself and others while honoring your own and other’s personal rights, authorities, and divinity.

How Emotions Go Haywire in Abuse Survivors

 Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“…our pain-based emotions become faulty and lose their intended design functions of being reliable protective safety measures and providing depth and color to our lives. They go haywire and rather than protect us, do us more harm and our children more harm as we teach the same distorted thinking patterns to them as well. We and our children become vulnerable targets of energy and power vampires.”

th-8We are not the source of our pain. No one is. We are the source of our joy. Read this again…and again…and again.

Our pain-based emotions exist to protect us. They exist as cues, as lessons for us to put on the brakes, stop, think, course correct or thought correct to heal from wounds and to keep ourselves safe from danger and further harm.

We are not born with pain and we are not born deserving of pain. There are no “chosen people” better than us who are genetically predisposed to deserve joy more than we do. If you believe this, your thinking is not rational and needs correcting.

th-23We are born with only two fears – fear of falling and fear of loud noises. All, yes, all of our pain-based emotions (and the list is long) like shame, guilt, anxiety, grief, phobias, compulsions are learned, every darn last one of them. Some we developed in order to cope with or avoid another greater fear or pain. Our caregivers in our youth should have taught us how to take cues from our pain-based emotions, as well as our joy-based ones and showed us to self-regulate and modulate them with healthy self-coping and self-soothing mechanisms. They should have taught us to accept, use, and rely on our emotions in order to develop our divine miraculous abilities to care for ourselves and nourish our souls and mature these abilities throughout our lives to become the best joy-seeking versions of ourselves we were put on this earth to be.

Instead they taught us to believe the lies they were taught to believe that caused them and us to maladapt. Toxic pain-based thinking in our families today originated generations ago from our great great great great great grandfathers or grandmothers who suffered some traumatic experience and who never healed and shadowed their pain on and taught their wounded thinking to their descendants. Read more on this subject here.

13166007_822039794617518_5597762351778431864_nThe truth is that we are all born and designed for happiness and to feel safe, secure, and lovable. When we are abused and betrayed in our youth when we are growing at such a rapid pace, our pain-based emotions, through overuse, become toxic and our beliefs about our self-worth and deserving peace, solace and joy become skewed. We are taught and conditioned, instead, to believe that in loving relationships, we deserve pain, we are the source of our pain, we are powerless to the pain, and only those who inflict pain on us have the power and authority to relieve the pain. We may not be able to see the “good” in normal healthy relationships and sabotage them because we were not taught to relate anything positive in a relationship to love or our worthiness.

When we are abused, our pain-based emotions become faulty and lose their intended design functions of being reliable protective safety measures and providing depth and color to our lives. They go haywire and rather than protect us, do us and our children more harm as we teach the same distorted thinking patterns to them as well. We and our children become vulnerable targets of energy and power vampires.

11825868_789154231210160_5369177878722907305_n-1We can replace this distorted thinking with emotionally adaptive and healthy thinking and learn to modulate and control our own emotions and bring our self-esteem and self-worth to healthy levels. We can change our pain-seeking/pain-avoiding lives to joy-seeking/joy-filled lives, achieve emotional sobriety, and thrive. As we heal, our children will heal through us. This is how we break the cycles of intergenerational abuse.

I am committed at Yourlifelifter to teach you how to heal and recover.

I explore these topics 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 free sneak peek and review of the book 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.

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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

8 Effective Ways to Outsmart a Narcissist

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

If you are or have been in a relationship th-16with a narcissist or were raised by or among one or more, you have been traumatized by and suffered what I believe is the worst psychological and emotional abuse imaginable. The harm is immeasurable and can go on for years.

You will read over and over and over again how “no contact” is critical to your healing from the trauma and for you rebuild your destroyed self-esteem and self-worth and, for some, your broken bank accounts.

And I agree…totally. Fortunately, some of mine (yes, a herd) live far away and make it a bit easier for me.

But what about the one or ones who are not far away? What about those you have to see on a periodic or more frequent basis? What about those we must be around or those we work with and see or speak with daily or every other day or even weekly? What about those we may be in court with, at graduation, a school ceremony, or maybe even a wedding?

How do we manage those interactions? How do we make them tolerable? Should we?

I remembered at the beginning of my healing even after years of study wondering (I analyze all the time), “Can you have a workable relationship with a narcissist?”

The answer is an unequivocal, YES.

705466_cover_mockup1-1

Sam Vaknin, a pathological narcissist amongst other things, and a renowned expert on narcissism, stated that you could if you learned how to manipulate him or her or them. If Sam, a self proclaimed narcissist and expert whom I respect very much said so then it must be so. After all, I have a professional relationship with Sam. Since Sam is brilliant, extremely analytical and detailed, and based on my reading thousands of pages he (and others) have written on pathological narcissism, I can only surmise he does not know exactly how. Sam does provide excellent pointers (with a narcissist’s bias) on how to deal with them but did not provide specific “how” to tips. After all, how often would a narcissist manipulate another narcissist, right? It is possible but not probable.

So I embarked on my own mission to figure out “how do I outsmart a narcissist” and here is what I discovered:

“Use them to your advantage as they use you.”

Let’s break this down a bit further.

If narcissists need adulation and attention and feed off of our energy and we know what makes them tick, why not give them what they need in selective and effective doses if and only if it benefits you or your children.

Give them a dose of their own medicine with a spoonful of sugar!

The key here is only if it benefits you and only if you are comfortable and secure in your sense of personal power.

Small mosquitoAnd if you are, then, use your compassion and emotional intelligence that made you a target of a narcissist now to manipulate them as they did us and to balance out the power, to level the playing field, per se. Use your regained personal power to tip the scales in your favor and to turn the parasite host relationship into a mutually beneficial one and one that will minimize and prevent further harm to you and your children.

th-17Oh, the narcissist will make all attempts to take something from you, no doubt. They need to in order to survive. It is their given purpose like it is a mosquito’s purpose to buzz around and annoy you. So the goal here is to minimize the harm to you and your children using psychological narc repellant.

One thing for sure, you cannot accomplish this goal by seeking revenge on them or trying to ruin him or her or his or her reputation.

I would like to caution everyone that doing this is not advisable and probably not going to be very effective in your early stages of healing when your self-power and self-esteem are diminished and no contact is absolutely necessary to ensure your well-being. This also takes strong self-resolve, focus, and discipline and good “acting” skills. While these are honed over time, you can, nevertheless, start learning and practicing them immediately. At this point strong advocacy by someone experienced in narcissism and
narcissistic abuse recovery may be warranted and can be very useful to take some of the burden off of you, minimize your contact with the narcissist, and allow you to focus on
your healing. Remember, we should never participate in an interaction that will put us or our children in harm’s way. Seek police or legal or professional action for protection immediately.

So here are eight quick and effective strategies you can use to manipulate a narcissist and help minimize the harm they inflict on you. Note, however, that the narcissists benefit as well. These suggestions are mutually beneficially and are designed to balance power and minimize and prevent further harm to you and your children. That is the key objective here.

  1. Be strategic, not revengeful.th-14

Establish clear goals with the strongest emphasis on your long term vision of emotional freedom and health rather than short term material gains, revenge, and ego satisfaction. Money and material possessions are not an indicator of success or healthy self-esteem and can be regained and earned quicker that your emotional health can heal. Money can be a powerful motivator in the interim but may do more harm longer term if it keeps you trapped and emotionally unhealthy and suffering. Be clear that your motives during “required” interactions be based solely on what benefits you and your children and supports your emotional healing into the future.

images-3Narcissists are aggressive but very predictable and you can use this to develop offensive strategies to achieve your goals and minimize harm from them. Your choice of divorce or to stop providing narcissistic supply will instill his or her wrath and they will fight to the death to win and defend their fear of shame from you exposing the truth about who they really are to those who know them and even those who do not in the courtroom. So he or she will not hesitate to destroy you and your reputation and lie about you and recruit his flying monkeys to lie about you in court. Expect this and be prepared. Stay calm and focused on long-term emotional freedom and your children’s well-being, not short term self-satisfaction and retaliation.

Retaliation and benefit are not synonymous. Do not seek revenge or ever “go after” a narcissist, or anyone for that matter. Narcissists are energy vampires and feed off of your negative energies which keeps them on the offensive and in combat mode to defeat you. Going after them can keep you stuck, as well, in reactive victimhood mentality mode that feeds your ego-based need for revenge and retaliation rather than your long-term emotional freedom and health. Revenge, in effect, directs your feeling of powerlessness to your abuser and transfers your power to him or her, power they continue to use against you and your children. The best type of revenge is your and your children’s personal and emotional healing. As you heal, your children will heal through you.

  1. Use your compassion and emotional intelligence to your advantage.

Play off a narcissist’s predictable and (yawn), yes, boring, reactions and moods. Use this knowledge to fuel your strength and develop offensive strategies. You know them better than they know themselves. Gauge their moods and meter your actions accordingly. Be careful not to overdo it. Act commensurate with what you want to achieve. Be creative. Think out of the box.

Rather than trigger their fears and aggressive offensive actions, focus on creating an illusion that the narcissist is winning. If he aggressively goes after you, do not react aggressively. Remain calm and be soothing instead. Choose your battles carefully and be willing to lose a battle to win the war. If he or she wants the furniture, for example, keep a few pieces for yourself and not only give them the rest, tell them they deserve it. No harm done, you have fed their depraved need to win, and increased the chances they will back off and moved closer to the finish line. In the mean time, make a plan to redecorate and buy that awesome furniture you want and deserve.

  1. Only interact with them on days that things are going their way.

This is when they are the most malleable. Otherwise have no contact with them. Remember that you will always be their narcissistic supply and on their off days, they will shadow their wrath on you like they did in the past. The objective is to take actions that benefit you, not cause you further harm and that keep you on the healing track with your eye on the finish line, your emotional freedom.

  1. Avoid a battle including court at all costs.

Don’t do just what your attorney or friend tells you to do to maximize your partner’s losses for your or their personal gain and to get even. Never take punitive actions or actions that “appear” punitive. Narcissists are predictable but complex and hate to lose and to be challenged, ashamed, exposed, or criticized and will fight to the death to avoid any. Never ever ever let them see you sweat or show emotions that they can construe to the court as your emotional imbalance and inability to be an effective parent. Play nice in the sand box to tip the scales in your favor. Remember your goal and keep your eye on the prize. Be creative.

A gutsy friend told her ex that legally having joint custody would be a burden on him that he did not deserve and that he could see his son whenever he wanted. This was true and she ended up with full legal custody which was in her son’s best interest. She never prevented him from seeing him which turned out to be a few visits anyway and he backed off since he perceived he had already won the battle.

  1. th-15Give something up periodically to provide an illusion that the narcissist won rather
    than challenge them to provide a strategic upper hand.

Narcissists have aggressive personalities and have to win at all costs. If they lose, you must lose. If they win, you must lose.

But you can make the situation appear as if only he won when in reality it is a “win-win” by using strategic tactics. I know people who waived hundreds of thousands of dollars of child support since money was the narcissist’s sore spot and would keep them connected to something they needed to move away from. This leveled the playing field and minimized the conflict to them and their children. The narcissists backed off. They took action that supported their goal for emotional freedom rather than revenge or personal gain. Remember to be able to see the forest through the trees you have to keep looking for and seeking the forest. Remember to keep your eye on the finish line.

  1. Pay them compliments or give them a present.

This will feed their need for attention and adulation. Even if you are in divorce or custody proceedings, they will never pass up on a compliment that they were the best at this or that. Tell them they look great, are an expert, are the smartest or whatever pushes their egotistic buttons. Be creative. Perhaps, even cook them their favorite meal or cookies. Remember that while you may believe some of this, you are insincerely paying compliments. Do this sporadically and intermittently only if you need to. Remember the elemental word here is your self-benefit not your self-sacrifice.

  1. Agree with them even if you don’t.

This “appearance” will feed their need to be right and to win. You will know the truth but he or she won’t and it won’t matter. If your conscience makes it hard for you to actively agree, then respond neutrally such as “Geeze, that is interesting. I never heard it put that way before.” Or just nod and say “ohhhh” or “I get it.”

  1. Apologize if you feel you have to in order to get what you want even if you don’t have any remorse.

Even better, tell them you made a mistake and should have listened to them. Again, this  “appearance” will play up on their need to diminish and denigrate and their need for adulation and to win.

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I hope you find these tips useful.

Remember:

You are not powerless to these creeps and can use your compassion and emotional intelligence that made you a target of a narcissist to turn a harmful power imbalanced relationship into a more power-balanced one that minimizes and prevents further harm to you and your children.

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!

Why are Narcissists Self-Righteous and Manipulative?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

th-12Have you noticed that the most toxic people have the biggest and the most fragile egos?

Ever wondered why?

They are part of the facade, the illusion of smoke and mirrors masking a core of deep-seated shame and self-loathing and powerlessness. They are crude covertly aggressive parasitic attempts at taking others’ power for selfish self-serving purposes by those who cannot and do not want to generate their own. Oh, they may try to pass it off as power, however aggressiveness and the needs to control and charm and be self-righteousness and manipulate are not power.

Truly powerful and influentially people do not manipulate others and are not self-righteous because, simply, they do not have to be. However, generating our own power takes hard work including putting our egos aside for not only our own good but for others’ as well. And what key character qualities does this require? You got it – selflessness, conscientiousness, commitment, compassion and empathy: qualities these broken personality disordered people lack and have replaced with self-righteousness and manipulation and a sick desire to make others lose.

Read more here on narcissists, character, work and obligation.

th-10Now they cannot show their true colors to the world. Can they? How would they survive? How would they get others to give up the energy they starve for and need for emotional sustenance, for glue to mend their cracked psyches?

Of course! Why not portray a false image (e.g. ego) of charm and aggression (covert or overt) they need the world to see and prey on the vulnerable? Why not defend and perpetuate the false spineless weak persons they really are by judging others to prove their own power to themselves and to others and use whatever or whomever they can including religion to do so? Why not recruit personal assistants, “flying monkeys,” to help them th-11create the magical illusion of power and grandeur and create their own “Land of Oz?” Why not commit the worst of “sins” in the name of God, America, or Buddha or Muhammed or for whatever reason or lie they can muster to justify what is really pure depravity and evil? Why not worship false idols – their own selves!

They want all the benefits we the virtuous folks work for and that the narcissists feel entitled to such as love and marriage and children and recognition without any of the work! In fact, they hate self-improvement! This is why they flock to and frequent churches and religious communities and politics and even companies and “do good” fund raising organizations that are driven by unethical “group think” cultures.

Read more here on narcissists, character, work and obligation.

th-13Now, evil lies on a long spectrum, however evil is evil. It is like being pregnant. You are or you aren’t and being a little bit is irrelevant to the greater purpose. So rather than work to become virtuous people of integrity and character and develop grace, tolerance, kindness, and generosity (which they loathe doing, by the way), these depraved people mask their weaknesses and prey on the vulnerabilities of others who truly are people of virtue.

Read more here on why people are evil.

This is why they target the most vulnerable people like empaths and trauma wounded victims of childhood abuse who they can play like a fiddle. Folks, it is no coincidence that all the adult victims of narcissistic abuse were also victims of childhood abuse and have low self-worth. In fact, they target and bank on the kindness and compassion of the conscientious ones to provide the energy they need to keep their depravity going because they have no desire to change. They like themselves just the way they are.

Read more here to understand who narcissists target.

Read more here on what causes malignant narcissism.

They con us to believe their lies, shadow their pain on us, and parasitically feed off of our energy and our compassion and empathy. And yes, they leave us trauma ridden, emotionally starved, emotionally fatigued and depressed and believing we are defenseless and powerless to them and that we are the source of our pain and they are the source of our joy. They try to turn us into them and them into us!!

This is the core to victimhood from narcissistic abuse. The same principles apply to bullies! However, we can heal and recover. We can repent our “sins” and self-correct and course correct, break the pain addictions, and take our power back.

They cannot.

We can learn to release our repressed pain and trauma and resolve our false feelings of defenselessness to them and build our self-esteem and learn to hang tough in our truth and modulate our triggered pain and regulate our fear based emotions.

They cannot.

We can come into truth.

They cannot.

They will then no longer target us and we will no longer fear them and give up our power to them or rely on them to validate our self-worth. This is how we take our power back. This is how we thrive. This is how good wins over evil! You can learn and read more in my book Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors.

Empathy: Is It a Gift or a Curse?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

imgresHere is a message to empaths referring to their abilities as a curse: “Tsk tsk tsk!” Your abilities truly are gifts but can falsely appear as burdens if you were taught to look at them as oddities or vulnerabilities or weaknesses or reasons to let others use them for their benefit.

Cognitive dissonance causes people to believe and to be emotionally comfortable with only what “makes them right” and with what does not challenge their beliefs or ego or trigger their fears. It also makes people intolerant of people’s differences that, well, make them feel uncomfortable. Cognitive dissonance in others is what makes them uncomfortable with empaths’ differences.  Similarly, empaths can also suffer from cognitive dissonance that can make them uncomfortable with and intolerant of their own unique qualities. While our emotional intelligence and sensitivities cause us naturally to challenge our beliefs and temper our egos which are healthy, we also have to learn to accept, trust, honor and comfortably rely on them and not fear them (as our childhood caretakers should have taught us).

So while being an empath can be demanding, we can learn with self-focused effort and care to manage our natural and divine abilities and acknowledge their value, power, and strength rather than succumb to them. These are gifts and abilities that we need to not only use responsibly but also responsibly honor and protect.

Being an Empath is Rewarding and Challenging

To be born an empath is a gift because you were born with the ability to see truth and beauty in others! However, it can come with many challenges. We are natural energy receivers and have high emotional intelligence so we also can “feel” others’ distresses and insecurities and can have an innate desire to relieve them or expose them (whether we want to or not) and even when it may not be in our best interest to do so. We are born with an overabundance of compassion and energy. We can also become very vulnerable to abusers and have a high tendency towards codependency. Read more here.

14463279_1276822885683757_5551024342412853674_nEmpaths also have a natural ability to see and absorb truth that can be discomforting to them especially when they are around inauthentic and toxic people. Diane Kathrine points out in her enlightening article that empaths can easily see and reveal the sides of people’s personalities they are trying to hide. Empaths can wear other people’s truth like the mask they hide behind; even if they are consciously unaware that they are doing it. They can readily know when others are not being authentic and even when they are lying. Unaware empaths may mistake others’ mirrored insecurities as their own and believe falsely that others’ pain is theirs. They also may have no idea that what they feel, they can then project and reflect back. This ability can bring up intense feelings in others and also cause them to dislike empaths.

Case in point…..even as an adult, my father told me that I was crazy when I told him that the priest at the local Greek Orthodox church I frequented made my skin crawl. I became physically sick in his presence and he would avoid all eye contact with me. Many others told me I “should not feel that way.” This priest made his own rules and, for example, would not allow me to take communion since I was married by a non-orthodox minister. My father told me to ignore him until several years later my father read in the national news that Father Pappas was defrocked for allegedly having sex with men and women (he was Greek Orthodox and married by the way) and claimed in his letter to the bishop (that I read very carefully) that his “zeal for perfection” made him do it.

Empaths Need Focused Self-Care and Self-Compassion

Empaths need to be very mindful of their unique needs and develop and hone their self-care and self-compassion skills lots more than the average person. Empaths can become emotionally fatigued from taking in too much energy and from giving up too much. Some can even become rattled by sleeping in the same bed with another person. We need more down time and alone time to decompress and to recharge our “emotional batteries.”

Help can be a relative term to empaths who typically can have an overabundance of compassion and strong codependent tendencies. Helping others can frequently facilitate exploitation if they are not careful whom and where they focus their help and assess their real motives for doing so. Is it really helping or are you serving a personal need to rescue others and make things that are broken right again? No one can change the ungrateful but empaths can work on their self-esteem and learn to use their compassion more responsibly and focus it on those worthy of and who value your help, compassion, and generosity. When you do, the number of ungrateful people you help goes down immensely and the number of grateful ones increases. So empaths can benefit tremendously with self-esteem work and assertiveness classes that will help them to use their compassion more responsibly, manage personal boundaries, and rely more comfortably on their own selves rather than others for validation of their self-worth and to moderate their compassion.

Sign up here for free self-esteem building tips.

Empaths dealing with codependency issues may also fear being alone that triggers their fear of abandonment. There is a big difference between being single and living alone and being lonely. You can be with someone who invalidates and neglects you and disrespects you and never feel lonelier. So empaths must learn to embrace solitude. Living alone also can support our emotional healing and health.

Learn more how living alone can support emotional healing and health.

We are prone to anxiety from emotional fatigue so we must mindful of our sensitivities, consciously work to minimize toxicity, modulate our need to fix and rescue, and simply rest. Something as simple as hugs or touches or love from animals or the beauty of a painting can help empaths feel safe and assured in their own bodies again. I, for example, have learned to not sit in the middle of movie theaters or restaurants. Doing so brings me angst. I do not defend my position or wants. I just always do so or I will wait for a table or go early to the theatre or book my seats way in advance. I have learned to shut down my energy, sort of like hibernating with my eyes open in the presence of energy vampires and inauthentic people or simply leave the room rather than like in the past, feeling overwhelmed and powerless and defenseless to them. I no longer fear them. They are like annoying mosquitoes to me so I administer psychological insect repellent.

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Learn more here on how to deal with toxic people.

 

images-1We must learn to trust and rely on rather than be reactive to our emotions. We can do this by not rushing to judgment when our emotions are triggered and learn to patiently process them. I, for example, learned to put in extra effort to moderate my overabundance of compassion and empathy. I pay extra attention to my natural drive to fix others and rather than reacting impulsively when I see people or things that are “broken,” I take rational actions by stopping, thinking, and evaluating my options that include “doing nothing.” I focus most of my attention on ensuring I am not making others’ problems my own and help only when someone truly is lost and needs help rather than is not being accountable to his or her own responsibilities or goals.

I learned how to say no and not defend it and own it and follow through when I say yes. Whatever I decide is final and I do not second guess it or criticize myself for my decision or wait for someone to validate it. I simply trained myself not to because I learned to rely and trust on my emotions and my judgment which history has dictated are pretty much spot on.

I have also learned to use simple tools to not be impacted or to feel overwhelmed around toxic and inauthentic people and energy vampires by following the 3 simple steps in the Time – Distance – Shielding rule:

  1. Minimize your time with them.
  2. Maximize the distance between you and them.
  3. And put a shield between you and them.

Learn more here on how to deal with toxic people.

Your Empathy is a Gift – Embrace it!

imagesBeing empaths is who we are and we can’t change it, but we can accept ourselves without judgment and learn how to use our compassion more responsibly as well as tolerance for our own wonderfully unique and beautiful differences and learning how to use them effectively and protect them. There has never been and will never be another person like you in the history of the universe. We have been blessed and need to nourish and respect and honor and embrace our special gifts that not only add to our individual divinity but bring compassion, kindness, and caring to so many others who authentically deserve and need it. They are part of your authenticity and beauty and your unique divine design. So, hang tough in your truth and own, honor, care for, and protect these magnificent gifts you are uniquely worthy to possess!

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.

Narcissistic Harm by Proxy

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“People who sincerely care about you will actively listen and follow. Those who don’t will not. Healing is a time of self-evaluation that provides a great opportunity to clean your closet of legacy unhealthy relationships that are supporting the narcissist’s dirty dealings and preventing your healing and hindering your happiness.” 

I read frequently from viewers here and at many other sites who maintained no
contact but watching their children and friends be targeted continued to cause th-1them great fear and pain.

They also experience great pain from those they believe care about them who do not believe them or “do not want to get involved.”

Narcissistic harm by proxy perhaps?

No contact with abusers and especially narcissists is critical to healing. Narcissists, however, frequently target their own children and others you love and use them as pawns to get to you, their primary narcissistic supply. After all, if they cannot have our love and attention, why not settle for our angst, contempt and negative attention by using those we love and care about the most and turning them against us? Negative attention is attention after all, right?

What can we do to support the no contact rule for ourselves and protect ourselves AND our children and others we care about under these circumstances? Personally, this was my greatest fear for my child and my greatest challenge.

But no longer.

Here are some tips and recommendations that I use that I hope you find useful to keep you, your children, and loved ones on a path of emotional health and safety and your relationships intact.

  1. We have options and choices ALWAYS. You are no longer a victim or a target of what the narcissist COULD do in your personal relationships. You can only remain a victim or target if you continue to live in fear. There is a huge difference between REAL danger and fear of what COULD harm you. Remember always to call the police immediately if you are in any real physical danger or threat of physical harm. Use the legal system to acquire restraining orders if needed.
  1. You can also only remain a victim or target if your self-worth is not strong and is dependent on validation from others. This is no longer the case. We learn to use our compassion and empathy, what attracts narcissists to us, to benefit and protect us. Your innate emotional intelligence and new knowledge on emotional health and boundary management provide you with renewed personal power founded on new truth.
  1. The new family dynamic provides you opportunities to use your renewed personal power in your children’s and your favor. You most likely were raised in families where there were no boundaries and healthy rules of engagement or regard for your personal rights or authorities. I call this the “family amoeba,” the family glob. The glob no longer exists and has been replaced with new relationships and dynamics. Your spouse is no longer your spouse, rather the Ex. Your children are still your children. You are still the parent. Those, now, remember, are three or more DISTINCT relationships you are engaged in and that you have the right and authority to manage as you choose with newly established boundaries and the rules of engagement that support emotional health.
  1. Remember your personal power includes the ability to parent and educate your children and influence and educate your loved ones. Teach your children, friends, relatives EVERYTHING you can about narcissism and how to protect themselves from harm. This is an insipid and insidious disorder that needs to be brought into everyone’s levels of consciousness. Share with your children, no matter what their age, EVERYTHING you have learned, signs of narcissists, and especially how to manage and protect personal boundaries with everyone including you and the other parent. TELL THEM THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARM OF ABUSE AND YOUR CHILDHOOD AND UPBRINGING. Teach them self-respect by demanding it in all your personal interactions and paying honor to your own personal rights and authorities. People who sincerely care about you will actively listen and follow. Those who don’t will not.

Healing is a time of self-evaluation that provides a great opportunity to clean your closet of legacy unhealthy relationships that are supporting the narcissist’s dirty dealings and preventing your healing and hindering your happiness.

You Shouldn’t Feel That Way

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-3-08-31-pmEver heard “you shouldn’t feel that way” or “don’t feel that way” or my favorite, “get over it.” This is the single most damaging things anyone could say to another human being. And this is why.

Our feelings and emotions and even our pain-based ones are here to protect us! Our feelings are our internal cues we need to gauge the external world we live in including those who respect and honor us and our personal boundaries and those you don’t.

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Our pain-based emotions like guilt, shame, fear, and sadness exist to protect us from harm by causing us to “put on the brakes,” stop, think, and course correct and choose a “safer” path. How do blind and deaf people dream? Of course, in emotions because it is in feeling that we become who we are and dreams are where we “practice.” So our dreams are not all pleasant ones but they reflect our unconscious maturing of our emotional capabilities.

It is the role of parents or caregivers to teach children to trust and rely on their emotions – to become emotionally healthy integrated human beings. When they do not such as when we are neglected and abused, we are taught to betray our own selves and NOT rely and trust our own selves. Our pain-based emotions become toxic rather than serving their protective functions. We are conditioned to not source our personal power and to believe falsely we deserve the pain and are powerless to it.

This is the core to the damaging consequences of all abuse and in particular, emotional invalidation.

READ MORE HERE ON HOW EMOTIONS BECOME TOXIC IN ABUSE SURVIVORS.

20245415_1521798901175880_7119720137647714483_nNot having our emotions validated is called “invalidation.” It is the worst of abuse and the core of narcissistic abuse! If we grow up without having our emotions and feelings acknowledged regardless if we have the best of everything or not, we learn to suppress rather than trust and rely on our emotions. We learn to distrust rather than trust our internal protective mechanisms. We develop chronic uncertainty rather than confidence in our abilities that prevents us from reaching our true potential. We become reactive to situations and people and become dependent on others rather than ourselves to define our worth and soothe our discomfort. We become shame addicted and suffer from exaggerated self-loathing, self-hate, and self-sabotage. We believe falsely that we are the source and cause of our pain and believe we are powerless to alleviate it. This is all a lie!

We are feeling defective pain-based emotions resulting from the pain and shame that our abusers projected onto us when we were defenseless and dependent on them for safety and security and validation. The consequences?

We abandon our own selves! We bring thinking that served to protect us when we were children into adulthood where the thinking no longer serves us but, rather, harms us. We believe falsely that only those who cause the pain have the power to alleviate it. Again, this is all a lie.

Cannot heal at same level as painWe cannot heal at the same level of thinking that causes and sustains our emotional pain! We become self-critical people pleasers with chronic low self-esteem and victim mentality. We not only let others routinely violate our personal boundaries but also ourselves become notorious boundary violators. We become clueless to where our and other’s personal rights start and finish.

Without healthy functioning emotions we have no reliable internal cues to gauge our self-worth. We end up reliant on others who do not have our best interests at heart to gauge our personal value, our personal worth. We become emotionally starved. We become rescuers and do not learn to use our compassion responsibly. We become vulnerable to emotional predators including narcissists, bullies, incompetent politicians, and con artists who know how to play on our vulnerabilities like a fiddle!

This is a primary root cause of emotional exhaustion, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma addictions, codependencies, chemical addictions, low self-esteem, low self-worth, phobias, fears, pain addictions, intergenerational abuse, illnesses, personality disorders, depression and even many health and autoimmune disorders.

If you are suffering from any of these or are just emotionally fatigued or just plain unhappy and think you had a great upbringing, think again. You are fooling yourself and are in denial. It is time to tap into the root causes of your suppressed pain, release it, learn what triggers it, and learn new coping mechanisms to handle your emotions and extreme emotional dependence on others before the pain escalates. It is time to break your pain addictions! It is time to take your power back.

705466_cover_mockup1-1I explore these issues in much more detail in my book Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors

It provides a step-by-step “go at your own pace” recovery plan including lessons, tips, tools, and workbooks to help your recover from your pain addictions and your false beliefs of powerlessness and defenselessness. It will teach you how to take your power back and thrive. You can read a free sneak peek and review of the book and purchase a copy here.

The answers lie within! I am here to help you in your search! It is an honor to do so.

Yourlifelifter Launches New Website

Alexandra Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Yourlifelifter Banner

Yourlifelifter, a web-based life-coaching and information center that supports emotional health and well-being is happy to announce the launch of its new website at https://yourlifelifter.wordpress.com to complement its growing Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/yourlifelifter.

Yourlifelifter is successfully helping tens of thousands of people from across the globe address life, career, self-esteem, and emotional health issues.

Included on the website is the Yourlifelifter Blog and a new and growing product line that includes life coaching and career coaching services, Sevenpoint2 and  Earth’s Living Clay nutritional health supplements, essential oils, and Melanie Tonia Evans’ Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program.

Evelyn Ryan, the Founder of Yourlifelifter, is the author of Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors that is scheduled to be released for international distribution in Summer 2015.

Welcome to the Yourlifelifter Community!

Thank you for your continued support.

Together we heal! Together we thrive!