It is wrong to silence survivors of abuse

As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and in honour of some of my followers who are also survivors of abuse, I want to do a short but very important post today about the unfortunate shaming & silencing that happens to survivors.

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It is absolutely horrendous to deny someone of their right to freely talk about their abuse and to deny them the ability to heal.Every time a survivor talks about the abuse to someone who validates them and acknowledges their pain, there is a small layer of healing taking place.

On the other hand, every time a survivor shares their story and isn’t believed, is shamed for not forgiving their abuser or is told to not go public about their abuse, it is destructive & extremely painful. It shows that the person shaming the survivor lacks empathy & understanding for the pain & trauma they have been through. It is re-traumatising and makes the survivor feel isolated & abused once again.

For those of you out there, who don’t know much about child abuse because you have been fortunate enough to grow up with healthy, loving parents please understand this:

Survivors require acknowledgement of their pain & suffering

Survivors require kindness & empathy

Survivors need to hear ‘I am so sorry for what you have been through’

Survivors need to be shown healthy lovely, healthy boundaries because they never learned these in their childhood..

Survivors DON’T want to be told to forgive their abusers

Survivors DON’T want to be told to stop talking about what happened to them just because you are uncomfortable with it.

Survivors DON’T want to be told to ‘Get over it because it was a long time ago’

Survivors DON’T need any more abuse, silencing or shaming.

Much love Athina ♥

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The importance of feeling our feelings

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If we were able to count how many times we avoided our own suffering, I think we would fail miserably..

We have all at some point avoided emotions that are uncomfortable, by distracting ourselves, by numbing ourselves and by completely ignoring what is really going on..

This makes complete sense..Humans don’t like suffering..

By avoiding pain, we are temporarily soothing ourselves so we can better cope with what is bubbling under the surface. We might drink alcohol, do drugs, eat too much food, watch too much tv or spend too much time on the internet. We might develop addictions to numerous things and not even realise it.This is how we cope and in society at the moment, a huge percentage of us are addicted to the internet. If we are feeling down, we go online to search for clues as to what might make us feel better.If we are lonely, we announce it to the world on social media to get attention, instead of just reaching out to a caring friend. If we are happy, we also go online and share it with the world, instead of just enjoying the moment.

Since the focus of this post is on uncomfortable feelings, we need to acknowledge how often we avoid them..How will we ever grow and better ourselves if we constantly hide behind our suffering?

Distractions are good sometimes, don’t get me wrong..and also connecting with people online, blogging, watching videos etc..The important thing to remember is however, that we still need to be aware of what we still need to improve or change in our lives and actually do it!

For those of us who suffer with a mental illness, it is even more challenging to not run from suffering..Especially if it is a constant part of our lives to feel really low, anxious, terrified, lonely etc..If we have a history of trauma, no matter how much we try to ‘numb ourselves’, this will eventually start seeping out..

If we have been made to feel small, unimportant or ashamed in our childhood, then this will be incredibly tough to run from or avoid..We will feel it in the depth of our being..It will reveal itself in every step forward we may try to take..No matter what we do in our life, we will never feel good enough, lovable enough, deserving enough..It is a tough reality to bare..

Avoiding our feelings gives us temporary relief but with a whole life ahead of us, this isn’t enough..

If you are suffering at the moment, then face the pain..cry…ask for a hug..have human contact..Talk to someone who will genuinely listen..Don’t bury your suffering inside a tv or by reading about how you can make it better on numerous sites….This can also become addictive..gathering information about a certain area constantly but without actually taking any actions to improve that area of our suffering, is also avoiding pain..

Yes, of course we need validation for our suffering but make sure that you are making progress..If you want to deal with your anxiety, then take active steps to improve this..Talk to a qualified Coach or Therapist..Practice daily positive affirmations..Take ACTUAL STEPS to accept and manage your feelings..ACCEPTANCE is very important but ACTION is too!

If you want to change jobs but feel too scared, then face your discomfort head on and start applying for new ones..Attend interviews..Keep trying..

If you are scared of heights but would love to go trekking, then find a way to face your fear..

The list goes on..and applies to many areas of our lives..

No matter what uncomfortable feelings you are avoiding, face them..The longer you avoid them, the longer they will remain..

We have to face discomfort..

We have to face reality..

We have to face our fears..

This is how we will grow..heal..get better

This is how we will improve our confidence, reduce our suffering and release our fears..

and lastly, if a situation is unchangeable due to our lack of control over it,  learn to ACCEPT it for what it is..

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

5 tips on healing codependency & dysfunctional relationships

This video is the 2nd one of my codependent series on my Youtube channel.

It is mostly informational in text, with the help of a few cute characters! Just the way I like it! ♥

Feel free to re-blog or share 🙂

I love cute things and music…so here you go ♥

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Codependents & Narcissists in a relationship. Why are they so attracted to each other?

Happy Monday to all of you! It’s the 1st of August today and time seems to have flown by so quickly!

Today’s post is about another topic very close to my heart, due to my own healing journey from codependency to healthy love. It most definetely wasn’t easy to get to where I am. It required perseverance, determination and a little bit of hope.

To heal from dysfunctional relationships & codependency, there are 5 steps that are important to take.Having a therapist who specialises in healing from codepedency, is important in guiding you.

  • The first step is becoming AWARE that your choices or actions are dysfunctional.
  • The second step to changing dysfunction is understanding the source of the dysfunction, so where did it come from?
  • The 3rd step is grieving the loss of a healthy childhood. An abusive childhood usually leads to poor choices in relationships & life in general. Without a stable & nurturing childhood you never learn healthy love, healthy boundaries & your emotional regulation is damaged.
  • The 4th step is understanding the complexity of changing self-defeating behaviours & changing certain defense mechanisms, that protected you in your childhood but no longer serve you in adulthood. It takes time, patience and self-compassion.
  • The 5th step is actually trying out new relationships when you have made progress in your healing. You have to make a few more mistakes and discuss these with a therapist by your side, so you can see where you went wrong and how to improve this next time.

When I first found out I was codependent back in 2008, it was like the blindfold was taken off my eyes for the first time. Before learning this, I had a suspicion that something wasn’t right in my relationships but I had no idea how to change this.

I felt like I was in an emotional maze and had no idea which way to go. Everytime I thought I was making better choices in regards to who I was in a relationship with, the more unbearable the heartbreak became.I desperately wanted to be loved but wasn’t able to figure out this painful puzzle! At some point I was so exhausted from the traumatic end of each relationship & the subsequent self abandonment, that I decided to move countries! I wanted a new start…I hoped that I might meet my future husband if I moved away but I never in a million years thought I actually would..Sometimes you need a little bit of luck too!

When I moved back home to Greece after 11 years of living in the UK, I was met with more drama, a flare up of my CPTSD and a father who abandoned me over and over again. I was back in therapy again with a new therapist and was finally diagnosed with CPTSD. I was told both my parents were ’emotionally handicapped’ but that therapist never told me my parents were narcissistic. Maybe she decided at the time that it wasn’t relevant to me.

Despite this she looked after me very well. Each step I took into uncertainty, she held my hand.

I was also entered into a group psychotherapy group and it was extremely beneficial. I was in a group with 5 other people that also had similar backgrounds and it was very healing.

Support is crucial in healing. Without all this I would never have made progress.

The video above is a simple explanation (I hope) of the general dynamics of a codependent & narcissist in a relationship. Maybe you will see yourself in this and get curious. If you do, then please connect with me and I would be happy to have a chat with you.

Please feel free to re-blog this post so it reaches more people! Thank you 🙂

Much Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Speak your truth..

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Speak your truth, be yourself and if people don’t accept you then it is their loss, not yours!

If people don’t value your reality, your kindness, your honesty then they don’t deserve your time or your love.

When speaking your truth, have you ever felt overwhelmed with emotion? What has the emotion been? Anger, frustration, sadness, loss, disappointment?

The worst of all these for me was always frustration and then deep sadness..

When talking to a narcissistic parent, you feel all of these times 10!

Continuing to speak your truth despite the pain, frustration, loss and anger is very important…Don’t ever let anyone keep you silent..

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

New YouTube videos-Love addiction

This is the 2nd blog entry I am doing on love addiction, as I know how much of a struggle it is for many of you. I created 2 Youtube videos that cover the most important areas.

Pleae note that there are 2 types of 12 step programmes for love addiction.

One is called Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA) and the other is called ‘Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous’ (SLAA).

I hope you find these useful!

Love Athina ♥

 

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Are you a chronic over-explainer?

Where does over-explaining stem from?

People naturally feel the need to make sure their point of view is clearly understood when in conversation with someone else. Nobody wants to be misunderstood when expressing an opinion or thought.

What happens however when someone feels the need to always over-explain something?

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Is this something that stems from an underlying anxiety, that they will be misunderstood?

Yes

Is this also something that happens because in the past they might have been misunderstood quite a lot and for this reason they have to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Absolutely..

Does over-explaining ever make you think, that the person doing the over-explaining, must think that the person they are over-explaining to must be stupid. Does this make sense?

I have been on both sides of this. I have over-explained to someone who got what I was saying from the first sentence and said I didn’t need to explain further. They said, I am not stupid, I get it. I have also been over-explained to and could immediately tell that the other person was anxious and insecure about something.

In my experience, many individuals who suffer from low self-esteem or people-pleasing, have an almost compulsive need to over-explain. This usually stems from childhood abuse, where either 1 or both parents were unable to meet the child’s needs and were unable to understand the child’s feelings. If parents don’t have empathy, are self-centered and dont have the ability to genuinely listen and understand, then a child will chronically feel frustrated, misunderstood and alone.

Have you ever tried to explain a simple concept such as sadness or feeling alone to a person who lacks empathy?

The reply is usually uncaring and hurtful.

Have you ever tried to reason with someone who has a low IQ and has intellectual disabilities?

They are not able to understand certain simple concepts because they just aren’t able to and if you insist on trying to make them understand, you can make yourself feel crazy with frustration.

When does over-explaining become chronic?

This usually happens when someone is unable to simply state something, that doesn’t need explaining, to someone who hasn’t even asked for an explanation. It becomes chronic when a person feels the need to explain in great detail and repeats themselves over and over again.It becomes chronic when it is a habitual thing that someone does all the time, even with people that are understanding and empathetic.

The particular thing I would like to highlight in this post, is that over-explaining becomes habitual for people who have suffered narcissistic abuse. If you are constantly around someone who makes you doubt yourself by gaslighting you, who doesn’t validate and understand your feelings and always tries to manipulate you, then it is only natural that you will be chronically frustrated when communicating..

I would love to hear your thoughts on this..

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Much Love Athina ♥

The stages of healing-Victim, Survivor, Thriver

For those of you healing from child abuse (narcissistic abuse), this video includes the differences between each healing stage, as listed by Barbara Harris & Charles Whitfield. I found this very useful in my own healing. I am luckily mostly thriving now, with the exception of a few hiccups, here and there. Where do you see yourself on your journey of recovery?

If you find this video useful in any way, then please share on social media ♥

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Dealing with elderly narcissistic parents

As narcissists start ageing, things actually get much much worse.When they are no longer able to charm others with their good looks, good health & successful business, they start losing control over others and their mask starts to fall.

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Narcissistic people live their life as pathological liars and bullies, so as they age further, instead of maturing, they just get worse. They become more demanding, more cruel and more horrible in their elderly years.They still try to manipulate others but aren’t very good at remembering the lies they have told, so people  catch them out in their lies.Their immaturity and tantrums become even more evident and healthy colleagues,friends & family start distancing themselves even more.

If you are someone who is emotionally struggling with an ageing narcissistic parent, just remember that you don’t owe them anything. You didn’t ask to be born into a family that was abusive. You don’t have to look after them when they are dying or when they are seriously ill. As a healthy son or daughter, your love is unconditional so they might exploit that for their own gain and still treat you like crap.

No matter what you decide to do, don’t do it out of guilt or because you feel you owe them for providing you with food and shelter.

You always have the right to walk away and look after yourself first.It doesn’t mean you stop loving them. It just means that you put your own health first.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

What is hoovering?and why you have to protect yourself

 

A lot of my posts recently are dedicated to dealing with dysfunctional relationships. I don’t want to lower your mood by any means, but feel it is important to talk about issues that are more common than people think.

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For those of you who have unfortunately experienced dysfunctional relationships in your private life, you might have heard of the term ‘silent treatment’. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, usually will shut people out that they are supposed to care about for long periods of time. This usually comes after an argument where the victim (spouse, partner, family member, friend) says or does something that the narcissist doesn’t like. This can be anything from a simple disagreement, to a criticism or to just refusing to do what the narcissist wants.

When the narcissist isn’t getting his/her way, he/she will use the ‘silent treatment’ to control his victim.

The silent treatment is a form of punishment, a way of attempting to control a partner or others into doing what he/she wants them to do. It’s a withdrawal of approval, and can generate much fear in people who are vulnerable to this.

Giving people the silent treatment means that a narcissist shuts down to them, closing his/her heart and refusing to interact with them or acknowledge their presence. He/she acts as if they’re invisible, not responding to them at all or giving them a very minimal and withheld response.

He/she hopes that in treating them this way it will give them the message that they have displeased him/her. They have done something wrong in his/her eyes and deserve punishment, deserve to have his/her “love” taken away.

Of course, what he/she is taking away is not love at all, since love is unconditional. What he/she is taking away is his/her approval, and for approval-dependent people, it is a powerful form of control.

When the narcissistic person decides that the silent treatment is over, usually because they need something from you again, they will then start to use what is known as ”hoovering”.

What is hoovering?

Hoovering is a technique that is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, and is used by Narcissists (and other manipulative people) in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them. Hoovering is often done after the silent treatment is given or the victim has left them. This behavior often starts off subtle and unassuming, and is done through voicemail, text messages, email, phone calls, notes, other people, or through any other form of possible communication with the victim. Because the Narcissist knows the victim’s weak spots, they will generally tend to target these areas in order to reopen communication.  Once communication is reopened, the Narcissist generally promises change–which never, ever happens for any length of time.

  • Text messages pretending to be concerned: “How are you?”, “Hey, I’m thinking about you”, “I know things didn’t work out, but you really do mean a lot to me. I just want you to know that.”
  • Text messages acting like nothing happened: “Hey stranger, long time no talk” or “Hey what’s going on?”
  • Text messages on or about special occasions/holidays: “Merry Christmas”, “Hope you are having a good birthday–wish I could be there”, “Are you going to Molly’s wedding next weekend? If you’re going, I won’t go–I don’t want to upset you.”
  • Text messages about the kids (especially if they’re not his): “I was at the park today and saw a cute kid that looked just like Jason. Just wanted to say I miss you guys.” or “I know you hate me, but please tell Ava that I wish her a happy birthday and I’m sorry I can’t be there.”
  • Text messages about an upcoming event: “Hey, I know you said you never wanted to talk to me again, but Disney on Ice is this weekend, I was thinking about taking the kids.” or “Aerosmith is playing next weekend and I have an extra ticket–you wanna go?”
  • Text messages about things you like to do that he’s never been interested in doing with you before: “Hey, there’s a vegetarian cooking class this weekend, you wanna go?” or “Wanna go wine tasting this weekend?”
  • Text messages about bogus family illnesses or some sort of crisis (including his own): “I think I might have cancer, can you talk?” or, “OMG my mom just had a stroke.” or “What does a heart attack feel like? My left arm really hurts,” or, “I can’t handle this anymore, I’m going to kill myself.”
  • Text messages that are supposedly meant for someone else, but sent to you by mistake: “See you in ten minutes xoxo” (Supposedly for his current girlfriend–sent to upset you.) “The boss just moved the meeting to Wednesday at 3pm.” (Supposedly for his coworker–sent so you feel a sense of obligation for the coworker.) Or, “Sam called and said John is in the hospital and to call him immediately.” (Supposedly sent to someone else, but sent to you so you feel a sense of urgency to get back to him.)
  • Text messages that are guilt or pity inducing: “Can’t we work this out? Please give us another chance.” “What about the kids? You know how hard it is having divorced parents–why would you want to do that to them?” “I have a lot of issues. I get that now. I’ll get into therapy. I promise.” “My alcoholism is out of control. I need help.”
  • Text messages about sex/deep connection: “I miss snuggling with you.” “You always be the love of my life.” “You are my soul mate, I’m sorry I let you down.”
  • Text messages that attempt to flip the hoover back on you: “Did u just text me?” or “Did you just call me?” or “Did I just see you drive by?”
  • Text messages, when all else fails, making bogus accusations to get some type of emotional response:  “Why are you calling my mom and bugging her?” or “I just found out you cheated on me.” “I’ve moved on. You need to quit stalking me.”

All of these examples are just one big fat manipulation for you to open the door and let them back into your life. Don’t fall for it!

Source: http://narcissistsupport.com/narcissists-hoovering-techniques/

So far, in my personal life I have had recent contact from my narcissistic father, after a year of the silent treatment. Luckily I have decided on ‘NO CONTACT’ and even though it is still incredibly painful to see how destructive and insensitive my father is, being in control of what happens has been incredibly powerful in my recovery.

I have received 2 voicemail messages so far : Wishing me Happy birthday and asking me how I am.

I haven’t replied to either of them, as I know he doesn’t genuinely mean them..

He using ”Hoovering” as I am the only person ‘he thinks’ will help him. He is abusing my unconditional love & kindness to get his needs met.

Luckily I am recovered and will no longer play a part in his games.

Have you had an experience similiar to this? If not, do you have any friends that might benefit from this information?

Please re-blog this post if you think it could help someone.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.