You Scream–Narcissist Accuses You of Losing Control

Narcissistic personalities are master manipulators and control artists. Observing them from a detached angle is like viewing a master painter make fine, perfect brush strokes across his canvass. The application is flawless and effortless.

Spouses and children of narcissists are frequently ambushed by these masters of mood. They know how to read your nonverbals and record every tonal nuance of your voice. They are particularly skilled at activating your lowest emotional depths when you are feeling the most vulnerable. They intimidate and humiliate you on your core psychological issues. If you have severe abandonment issues, they threaten to leave you. If you cry easily, they work on your tender heart and watch you tear up and flow. They provoke feelings of anger and helplessness in their spouses by accusing them of lying, being duplicitous or betraying them.

They hit you over and over again until you can’t hold it in any more and start screaming at them. You hear your voice reaching shrills and are shocked by its volume. When everything is quiet they stare at you coldly and say: “You have no self control. What the hell is the matter with you?” You shrink and feel so small that you want to disappear and never come back. On the heals of this attack they insinuate that you are “crazy”  meaning that you have something very seriously wrong with your psyche and thinking processes. They convince you over time with these tactics that it is you who are severely disturbed. Spouses of narcissists and children of narcissists speak of the role that was given to them as the crazy, the mixed up one.

It is the narcissistic personality who is disturbed and bubbling with rage of Vesuvian proportions. When he/she accuses you of losing control, he is projecting these powerful feelings on to you. After all, in his eyes you are the inferior, the weaker one. According to his enormous ego, this individual has command of your life.

Break this cycle of abuse by first recognizing and understanding the true nature of the narcissist. This personality is deeply ingrained and very unlikely to change. The narcissist with all of his self absorption is consciously unaware of his internal psychological processes. These individuals tend not to awaken from the psychological belief that they are the perfect ones and others are at their disposal for exploitation and control and use as narcissistic supplies who will adore, obey and serve them.

Once you have this understanding your perspective changes. An  essential part of this awakening is becoming self entitled to be treated with respect, empathy and caring. A program of self care must begin with the first step. This is foreign to those who are married to narcissists and children of narcissistic parents. Self care means that you get the sleep that you need, eat nourishing food that you enjoy, exercise that works for you. Spend time calming the body/mind through any number of methods: guided meditation on You Tube, cd’s, etc., practicing gentle hatha yoga with emphasis on breathing through the nose. Bring beauty into your life each day in the smallest forms that make a huge difference. Enjoy each moment when you are outside and observing nature–even tiny gnats, the tweets of hummingbirds, the winds in tall grasses, the dancing of tree limbs. Trust your evolving self that is growing and becoming self sufficient and more grounded each day. Healing from the narcissist is not a straight line. It occurs over a period of time that is different for each person. Be patient and loving with yourself. You deserve it.

 

 

Posted in Children of Narcissistic Mothers, Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, Divorcing Your Narcissist | Tagged | 7 Comments

Healing from Narcissistic Mothers

I have a special place in my heart for daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers. When we are very young, we must survive the parents we were given–our mothers and fathers. Mother is the one we are told that we can always turn to for comfort, protection, empathy, kindness and appreciation of ourselves as unique individuals.

Narcissistic mothers are non-parents. They are incapable of emotional and psychological intimacy. They cannot attach and bond with their children appropriately. They use children as puppets to mirror them; they discard the child or scapegoat him or her. They are very cruel and dismissive and cause great pain to their children–even the youngest child.

At some point you know that your mother cannot and will not and did not fulfill your deepest needs. This is a time of reckoning where you know that you must act for yourself and learn to nourish and take care of yourself first. This is not selfish; it is essential.

This self healing begins with small steps. Make sure that you do the essentials: get the sleep that you need and deserve; food that keeps you healthy; surround yourself with individuals you trust and are present for you. If you have a spiritual practice, keep it going. If you don’t, define spiritual in the way that has meaning for you–Find peace in Nature; feel softness and respite in your solitude; listen and embrace the music you love; write spontaneously and let it flow naturally; grow small plants that you watch thrive; cook and use all of your senses to enjoy the beauties of this act; exercise in the way that works best for you.

Be patient with this process as a mother to yourself. Learn that you deserve the full freedom of being authentic, spontaneous, joyful, very funny and that you have access to all of creative gifts–They are boundless.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Telephone Consultation

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Narcissist’s Money Lust

We all have some lust in our hearts–for gorgeous clothes, sex, delicious food, exquisite jewelry. Many narcissists are obsessed with money lust. They are thinking about how much money they have, how to get more of it, how to keep it away from others, whom to manipulate to get more, including family members to take theirs. Money is their substitution for love, warmth, affection—for being authentic and human. Having as much money as possible, even stealing it away from family members, is the narcissist’s constant goal. Thoughts about obtain more money never leave this person’s mind. Having lots of money makes them feel more entitled, superior to others, like a winner. Moneyed narcissists are always looking down on others who have not “made it.” It isn’t knowledge, wisdom, inner peace or insight they are seeking. It is knowing that they have achieved their greatest goal—being able to have whatever they desire and to attract other people whom they can easily exploit to satisfy their money lust. One of the common scenarios is for one of the siblings, male or female, to ingratiate the mother or father who is holding the wealth, to become the confidante, the favored trusted one. This is done over many years and is well plotted. Slowly and surely this sibling becomes the executor of the parent’s will, convinces the mother or father to bestow upon him/her the largest amount of the inheritance (leaving the other siblings with a minuscule portion of the total). The narcissistic money luster puts tremendous pressure on his parent if that is necessary to seal the deal for himself. He has no conscience and is just waiting for the parent to die (the sooner the better) so that he can carry away the entire estate and leave the scene to lead a life of pleasure and comfort. These greedy narcissistic siblings often abandon their own children and of course their spouses to move on to a life of elite uxury. They never look back and view the psychological and monetary destruction they have left behind. . They have gotten what they have wanted all of their lives. Despite this great victory the narcissist continues to experience the money lust deep inside his bones and is ready to pursue other unethical and often illegal financial misadventures. One of them is marrying a wealthy partner, causing them horrible stress and making this person to become psychologically dependent on them and at their mercy. The obsession to seek, obtain and control the fortunes of others never abates. It would be like trying to change the rhythm of the tides or the curvature of the earth. The narcissist never stops victimizing others, disrupting their lives, leaving them without monetary means, causing them unbearable distress and worry. Learning about the narcissistic personality provides you with the insight to recognize these money vultures quickly. You will sense their vileness, like a noxious odor in the air. You will know what they are after—your financial resources, your social connections to people of means. Study narcissistic money vultures in-depth. Identify them quickly. Show them the door immediately. If you are involved with one of them, learn to dis-entangle yourself. Pursue your creative gifts, learn to develop inner peace through calming the body and mind. Sharpen your insight and pay close attention to your intuitions. They are coming through all of the time. We need to practice receptivity to these invaluable messengers of the truth. Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D. Email: lmlphd@thenarcissistinyourlife.com

Posted in Children of Narcissistic Mothers, Narcissistic Personality, narcissistic siblings, narcissistic spouse | 11 Comments

Narcissistic Psychotherapists Cause Psychological Damage

Many people hold those who have clinical psychology credentials, professional experience and esteemed reputations in high regard. (This post refers to male and female mental health professionals). There are many fine, gifted, empathic and highly ethical psychotherapists. I am specifically talking about psychotherapists who are narcissistic personalities. The narcissistic psychotherapist (psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, psychologist, etc.) can do substantial even grave psychological and emotional harm to his clients. These individuals project their self loathing, raw rage, humiliations, feelings of worthlessness on to clients who come to them in crisis. The narcissistic psychotherapist has boundary issues and in some instances may suggest that you have a dual relationship–that you become friends and acquaintances. There are clinicians who will ask to see you outside of the office or those who make seductive, inappropriate remarks about your appearance and others who demean and humiliate you with their cruel, harsh words. Those who come to therapists are often in a state of desperation, confusion, emotional chaos, severe anxiety or deep sadness and depression. You are placing yourself in the hands of someone whom you believe and assume has done the necessary psychological inner work on themselves to know their deepest core issues. When you unwittingly choose a narcissistic therapist you will not be getting the treatment that you deserve nor will you make progress toward identifying and resolving your key issues. Rather, you will become the victim of the therapist’s psychopathology. Ironically, the client in this instance is “paying ” the psychotherapist so that he or she can treat you any way that suits them. Some of these individuals have issues with impulse control, will shift into a dark ugly mood and project hurtful unconscious contents on to you. I have spoken with many clients who have been the recipient of these hostile attacks. Some believe that this is their fault and internalize these cruelties.  Say “No” to your old voice of self criticism. Stand up for yourself and your healing. If you sense or intuit that a therapist is a narcissistic personality, show yourself out through the door of freedom. Trust your powers of observation and deep intuition. This is an essential part of your psychological and emotional healing. You will find a psychotherapist who is worthy of you, can understand and empathize with you and with whom you can form a solid healthy therapeutic alliance. Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D., author of Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life.

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Narcissists Feel Great–They make Others Feel Miserable

Getting too close to a narcissist, particularly if you marry one or are one of his/her children, can cause you to become ill—psychologically, emotionally or physically. It could take some time but eventually your life will be turned upside down and your stress levels will increase and your life will become more difficult. There are exceptions—those who buy in to the narcissist’s delusions and become true believers. Many of these individuals are narcissistic themselves or hangers on who are too impressed with the narcissist’s power to manipulate and overwhelm people to get what they want. They believe in trickle-down–that some of that over-confidence and extreme self entitlement will rub off on them. Those who live with the narcissist who are on the receiving end of the harshest of treatments. They survive behind the gates of a harsh ruler. They may be leading a decent lifestyle on the surface but there is no comfort, empathy, kindness or understanding from this dictator. Some narcissists buy off their marital partners so that their image is protected. I know of several narcissists who have given their wives “shut up” money after they have been exposed of infidelities. These women go along with this program because they are terrified that if they leave or are shut out they will be living in more reduced circumstances. They have gone down the road with the narcissist too long to pull away now. These spouses pay a very high price for their decision. They are not free to lead their own lives. Their thinking is constrained –they are constantly at the call of the outrageous demands of the narcissistic spouse—day and night. When they comply, it is not good enough. Even if they are very ill, this is no excuse for the narcissist. He demeans them, calls them weak and worthless. Some spouses force themselves, regardless of their emotional, psychological or physical state, to be ever-ready for the phone call, the scream, the threat that will come at any minute. They must be ready at all times to serve this tyrannical person. These ugly scenarios occur all of the time–they just aren’t public. Some women are physically hit by their narcissistic spouses time after time. The feeling of threat throughout the household is palpable at all times. This is a toxic atmosphere for raising children. Their father is a cruel patriarch who is only interested in how perfectly they produce perfect school grades, how well they perform athletically, if they have music talents or dramatic talents that can be exploited as narcissistic supplies to the father. How much is misery worth? Are you willing to exchange your peace of mind and well being and that of your children, for the lifestyle. When will the time come when you have had enough. Will it take getting physically ill to make the decision? Will it involve your child’s stress level becoming so high that he/she can no longer function at school? Are you willing to exchange your identity, inner self, peace of mind, the opportunity to express and be your true self and use all of your creative gifts for the outer trappings of the narcissistic lifestyle. What we know for sure is that these individuals do not change——ever! This is a life sentence for you and you never know when you will be discarded and/or replaced with someone else who is younger, prettier, more compliant, a better puppet. Take a long view of your life. You have much to contribute. You deserve to express your ideas, feelings and to use all of your creative gifts in freedom. Think about the lives of your children. They know that you love them and will protect them. For you, this can be the time of reckoning–changing your life, separating yourself from the narcissist to reclaim you own identity.

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Narcissists are Shameful but Shameless

Shame is an uncomfortable emotion most of us experience. When we are shamed, we feel like we want to disappear, to become invisible. Shame is an intolerable feeling. We are humiliated and feel very small, even non-existent. Children who have been shamed by their parent (s) often carry these feelings into adulthood. Deeply ingrained shame can lead to a sense of inadequacy, unworthiness and not having a solid resilient sense of self.

The narcissistic personality is the opposite. (This post refers to male and female narcissists.) He or she can commit the cruelest acts and say the meanest words to another with the intention of hurting them and feel absolutely no shame or guilt as a result. A narcissist can watch the withering blows that his raging has on his victim and not even blink. He views this person as weak and insignificant, someone who is worthless. Narcissists have no sense of limits. They lead their lives without the borders of decency, compassion or conscience. Their speed on life’s highway is always full throttle even when their malicious and careless behaviors psychological, financially and emotionally harm the lives of others, even their own families. Narcissists go to any lengths to get what they want. If a sibling is in the way of their collecting on a parent’s will, they will make sure that they become very cozy with their elderly relative, spread convincing lies about the brother or sister and successfully pressure the aging parent to let them take charge of all of their financial matters. This happens all the time.

Narcissists are particularly shameful when it comes to personal, intimate relationships, including marriage. To most narcissists, marriage is not a true union—it is a one sided business deal. Narcissists write their own marriage vows–“I will do what works for me. When you (my spouse) no longer fulfill my needs or desires or my narcissistic supplies, I will discard you without notice.” This is the unstated but true marriage deal that one makes with a narcissist. Even if a marriage lasts for several decades you can be sure that the narcissistic partner is doing a lot of “sexual free-lancing” on the side. Narcissists are highly skilled at juggling women. If the narcissistic partner is exposed, he tells an easy lie and moves on.

Narcissists are not good parents. They are too self absorbed, greedy and self entitled to give their attention and care to a small child. They will make sure that the family photos are seen by all of those who count. This is part of their elaborate image that must be perpetuated. They are not hands on parents. Children of narcissistic parents often speak of how they were abandoned, forgotten or never remembered. Mother or father was too busy working and having a good time to be with kids. Some narcissistic parents buy their kids off, offering them gifts rather than affection, attention or empathy. The narcissistic parent believes that he is a good human being and has done everything possible for his children.

In some instances the narcissistic mother or father chooses one child who is a standout–pretty, handsome, very bright, talented–to be the perfect reflection of themselves. They mold this child in their likeness and believe that he or she can do no wrong and is superior to the other children. Unfortunately, some of these children become narcissists who grow up to be shameful and shameless, cruel and duplicitous like their parent (s).

Become knowledgeable about the narcissistic personality. Appreciate who you are as an individual. Draw clear psychological boundaries, especially with narcissistic personalities. Take very good care of yourself. Use your creative gifts. You will find and nourish relationships of genuine caring and trust.

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Sociopathic Narcissists–More Dangerous Than You Think

The narcissistic style has been co-opted by a growing part of the American population. The media and entertainment business, the powerful influence of peers on growing children and the lack of true quality time given to their children by narcissistic parents are all part of this equation.

There is a collective self absorption and selfishness that has become the norm in many circles. There is an absence of sensitivity to the needs and suffering of others, especially those who are judged as not fitting in to an elite group. Their differentness is derided and scorned through gossip and shunning.

There is a deep fissure, a social and psychological divide that is growing exponentially. If you are materially successful, have all the right contacts, and present an image of external perfection, you are preferred even chosen. If you don’t have the impeccable image, the high professional status, you don’t make the cut. Large swaths of today’s society have been taken over by narcissists and their deluded followers.

Grandiosity, lack of conscience, ruthlessness, lack of empathy, deception and manipulation have become tools rather than bad character traits. This is especially the case with sociopathic narcissists–those individuals who have the narcissistic personality structure and also share many characteristics of the sociopath. These traits include a careless disregard for other human beings, including chronic extreme verbal abuse and stress perpetrated upon spouses and children. Sociopathic narcissists purposely seek out ways to delude and control those who will profit them materially, socially and professionally. They are gifted at leaving others “holding the bag” while they abscond with the profits of some else’s labors. Leaving another person’s life in shambles or even their entire family is of no concern or interest to the sociopathic narcissist who has adroitly moved ahead to his/her next cycle of acquisition and control.

I am in communication with a number of victims of narcissistic abuse. There is a callousness in sociopathic narcissists that overrides any authentic humanfeeling. In fact if you get in their way, don’t pay attention to the cues that are speaking to you clearly, they will cut you down professionally and emotionally. Sociopathic narcissists are rarely brought to justice. They surround themselves with covens of cunning attorneys who do their bidding around the clock.

Human nature is both dark and sublime. There are individuals alive today who are giving, selfless, warm, empathic and such a joy that they bring a great light into our lives. We are psychologically held by their deep authenticity and boundless personal generosity.

 

 

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Stop the Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse and Win

Narcissistic abuse is often generational. It is not genetic. Studies have not shown that there is a genetic marker for this severe personality disorder. However, with many individuals there is a destructive cycle of repetition that occurs. From narcissistic mother to narcissistic husband–from narcissistic parents to narcissistic wife–from narcissistic siblings to narcissistic spouse. There are many other combinations and permutations of these painful psychological patterns.

Having a narcissistic parent is one of the most difficulty psychological legacy you can have. You grew up without a parent who was capable of love, who blamed you for everything that went wrong (according to them) who undermined your taking initiative for yourself, who dismissed your feelings, even made fun of them and told you that you were weak and even crazy. You had a brother or sister who was venerated and adored because he or she was being groomed to be the family star–the chosen one–a young lord or lady of the manor. You were not even second best. In some cases when the narcissistic rage went out of control you were a punching bag–in some instances, literally.

After leaving this house of desolation you found someone you loved. You were swept up by the charm, the energy, the attention you were getting from this special man. It was like a fantasy that had come true. He was too good to be true but you were going for it. Sometimes early–for others late–into the marriage you recognized that you were married to a narcissistic personality. After years of suffering under his bubbling rage, outrageous demands and threats, lies and multiple cruelties, you divorce the guy. He doesn’t make it easy but you walk away to re-establish your life. Some of those who leave the narcissist benefit from excellent psychotherapy. If you decide to take this route be sure to do all of your homework. There are a some narcissistic psychotherapists who are out there for the money, even individuals who collect retainers in advance. Working with a strong therapeutic alliance with a gifted therapist can help you through the transition to becoming a person on your own again. Even if you have had a solid career throughout the marriage, there are adjustments to be made in your new role of running your own life completely without the narcissistic baggage. Give yourself credit for stopping the cycle of narcissistic abuse you have endured all of your life starting with the narcissistic parent. When past memories come to the surface especially those from childhood , be kind to yourself and recognize there and then that you are not to blame for having a narcissistic parent and that you were ripe to marry a narcissist. Let go of this past—do not let it hinder you.

Energize yourself in the new life you have chosen. No one can ever tell you how to lead your life again. You have won. Now use all of your creative gifts to the max and beyond. You will find friends and a support group of those who are not living in delusion like the narcissists. When you meet a narcissist you will recognize him/her immediately. Keep your distance—you know what they are all about–Using you to get what they want. Your life is different now. Some of those who prevail send out the message to others that they too can be free without excuses or guilt. Rev up your intellectual and creative engines. You are rediscovering your real self.

 

 

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Narcissist’s Secret Envy

Narcissists, especially those who are highly successful, appear to glide smoothly through life, taking everything they can. They cheat people and get away with it, lie at every turn, manipulate everyone in their circle, especially family members, psychologically harm the most vulnerable around them and still are not brought to judgment. If they are very high level narcissists most of those who venerate these highly entitled individuals give them a pass despite all of the pain they cause others. With all of their professional triumphs, constant adulation and financial success, narcissists secretly envy what they perceive they cannot have. Envy is a feeling of unease that becomes an obsession of coveting another’s success, possessions, public image and importance. People keep their envies secret. Narcissists would never share these feelings with anyone. We see this envy in their blood thirsty competitiveness. If they are worth hundreds of millions, they seek billionaire status like their brothers and sisters in this special enclave. Many narcissists are all about money. I have had the displeasure of sitting next to a high level narcissist at a dinner event. Besides a running litany of self, he spent most of the evening talking about money—his status and power, how clever he had been at acquiring money and his grandiose vision for accumulating larger sums and multitudes of material possessions. Conversations with narcissists are always one way streets—they do all of the talking and bragging. You cannot get in a word without being rude. If you manage a half sentence, they will interrupt you and move back to their favorite topic—themselves. Narcissists secretly envy what they cannot have. On an unconscious level they know that they cannot ever have an authentic relationship with anyone, even their own children. This obsessive need is played out in their chronic restlessness and frenetic acrobatics from one relationship to another. Narcissists crowd their lives with constant activity that will bring them an abundance of narcissistic supplies, particularly praise and adulation. Envy fuels the narcissist’s rage. If he loses an important contract that is feeding his narcissism or is overlooked for a power position he has prized, the narcissist flies into a fury. He despises and envies the individual who bettered him. The narcissist doesn’t have any real relationships. Empty, shallow and alone, he leads a counterfeit life, unable to create a warm meaningful connection with anyone. Having people in our lives whom we can count on and care about us deeply, have our welfare uppermost in their minds and are supportive of our growth as individuals is invaluable—worth more than every possession, material acquisition and accolade that the narcissist ever received. His/her world is delusional and inauthentic. Your daily life is a testimony to your personal healing and growth, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually in the way that you define this. As you leave the narcissist behind feel your heart open, sense your creative juices flowing and be grateful to yourself for all of your hard work done with great integrity.

 

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Immunizing Yourself Against Narcissistic Abuse

Our physical immune systems are a wonder. If we maintain them, they are constantly fending off diseases and infections of all kinds. We are in charge of our immune health. We learn how to eat foods that will support the immune system and avoid others that will suppress our powerful defenses. Our daily habits strengthen the immune system. The exercise that we do on a regular basis boosts our immune systems. Making efforts to get quality sleep is another source of strengthening this  protective function that enhances our physical well being. I use this example to explain that we can develop an immunity to further narcissistic abuse. Of course if we don’t have a professional obligations to be around narcissists, we avoid them. They are a toxic presence. There are growing numbers of narcissists every day. We find them in our spouses, siblings, parents and with our bosses and co-workers. The narcissist has no incentive to change. At this time of growing acceptance of narcissists in our current society, we have to learn to deal with them. They are not going away and they have no reason to change. They experience themselves as perfect and others as inferior and defective.

We build psychological immunity by first understanding and appreciating who we are. It is not the sum of our accomplishments in the world. It is based on the strength and integrity of our character and our capacity to know and seek the truth. It is recognized in our efforts to move beyond the compelling narcissistic delusion that you can be ruthless, cruel, merciless, without conscience and destroy others as long as you win.

Don’t be surprised at the number of people who follow and are true believers of narcissists. They crave being a member of the inner circle even if they are infrequently thrown crumbs or are honored to kiss the ring of the anointed. They have thrown away their identities, strapped themselves to the narcissist for the E ticket ride. They will do anything to be identified with this person. They believe that he or she is a good human being because of outside trappings and the wielding of power over others.

The focus is on developing and evolving as an individual who is solid and strong. Some who have been victimized find that psychotherapy is helpful in building a therapeutic alliance with a professional and developing trust, being heard and understood. If you go in this direction, do you research and trust your observations and reactions to prospective therapists. Remember you are hiring them to help you with your life.

If you are verbally attacked by a narcissist who is a family member, an acquaintance, an ex-spouse, learn to detach from their inappropriate, incendiary comments and criticisms. First, you don’t have to respond to such cruelty in the first place. Some statements are so delusional that they do not deserve engagement —silence on your part can be golden, when the narcissist knows you mean it. There are times when you make the decision to defend yourself. There are many replies to toxic questions and queries and cruel statements. Make your statement clear and short. Do not re-engage the narcissist. That’s what he’s waiting for—to pull you back in. One good response to inappropriate queries is: ” I don’t respond to personal questions.”

One of the best ways to immunize yourself is to create an internal space inside that cannot be penetrated by the attacker. Develop habits and routines that you consistently use to quiet your body and mind. Regular exercise that works for you is one of them. Getting sufficient sleep and eating good foods strengthen the body, mind and psyche. Following your creative track is inspirational and empowering. It separates you further from the narcissist’s arrowed quiver of recriminations, manipulations, deceptions and blatant cruelties. Learn to go within, using a way of  stilling the mind that works for you. It can be a form of guided meditation, chanting, gentle yoga with emphasis on the breathing, keeping a private journal, etc. Develop a small but faithful support system. These are people you can count on when you are discouraged, worn out, burned out and when you feel alone. The listening ear of a supportive person is one of the most powerful forms of psychological immunization you can have.

Search for and follow your dreams. Allow you mind to move unchoreographed and free. You will be surprised at the results of this practice.

 

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