My journey…


Diamonds On the InsideI started this blog in the hopes that I might be able to find a way to heal from the abuse of a Psychopath. I wanted to find ‘like-minded’ individuals, so I could know I wasn’t alone…others who had been through exactly what I had. I found them…YOU…in spades! Not only have I found other survivors of Narc/Psych abuse, but our experiences amazingly mirror eachother’s and strangely so. I was shocked, amazed and relieved, all at the same time.

Through reading and interacting with other bloggers here, my healing has taken on so many different directions. My journey isn’t just in the shadow of a Psychopath. It’s all-encompassing.

Judy’s post this morning is one that sparked a moment of rememberance (if it’s not a word, it most definitely SHOULD be! lol) http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/the-story-continues/. She and I have a lot of things in common. Not in the “we both like peanut butter” kind of way, but in our experiences, how trauma has affected both of us, and the descriptions she uses, are some I can understand. The amazing thing, is I am beginning to remember more than I have in years. I have a vast space of literally YEARS that I can’t remember. I have always been ashamed of that, and have never admitted it to anyone. I thought something was wrong with me, all these years. In a nut shell, the reason I can’t remember, is it’s tied to extreme anxiety. I lost the ability to handle extreme anxiety at a young age. Her post brought back a memory I had lost, all in her descriptions of herself. She wrote this in her post; ” I didn’t see the point of bringing up stuff that was all my fault. I couldn’t bear the thought of having any more blame laid at my feet. The burden was already so heavy.” I remember this all to well, now. How that felt, then. So much fear that I couldn’t process… I buried it away into the deepest recesses…wherever that was. Eventually I will remember the scenarios surrounding that quote above. Right now, my heart and mind remember. The events are a hazy shadow.

This journey has proven to be more than I bargained for. I want to change in ways that I won’t be a meal for a psychopath/Narcissist, ever again. That involves getting into the cob-web recesses of my heart, soul, and psyche, in order to dredge up old scars that have never been taken care of. It’s these scars that allow for the predator to pick us out of a crowd. They smell meat…even though it’s dead and rotted (in a way). To them, that translates to “weak” and “vulnerable”. A perfect target of prey. Not again.

There is something pulling me in these needed directions of healing. If it were completely up to me, I wouldn’t dredge this shit back up, in the first place. Yet…here we are. Not a fun time, I can assure you.

I am including all of you in each step… and this one is a biggy. Wonder where THIS road leads!

Why am I fighting NOW?


Trial
Trial (Photo credit: ecstaticist)

There have been several changes in me, since my experience with my X-monster. Some have caused me to question, “why?”

These are my thoughts… For that full year of nothing short of Hell, my X calculatedly and decidedly tried to absolutely DESTROY me from the inside, out. He tried (and succeeded for a time) to kill my confidence in every area… not limited to, but including confidence in speaking to others. I mean saying ANYTHING. I second-guessed everything that was coming out of my mouth. Silence…he painstakingly tried to make sure I was afraid to say anything to anyone…anywhere. Especially at work. He had me to the point that I couldn’t take a step without fear. I couldn’t be in my home, car, shopping, talking to friends, ANYTHING, without looking over my shoulder. I couldn’t speak a word without having to comb over it with a fine-toothed comb, to make sure nothing was said that would or could be twisted by him, and used against me at any given time. I failed in this, by the way, as he could and did twist everything.

One of the things about my experience that has been echoing in my head and heart are the memories of how he made me feel, look and sound when I was alone or with others. How I felt about myself. How defeated I was, and utterly so.

When I fought HARD to get away from him (finally), I believe it put him into a state of panic, since he absolutely KNEW what he was doing, trying to do…and he LOST! He failed 😀 He also knew (as I told him) my natural inclination of coming back fighting, when I grow tired of mistreatment or abuse. It took me a long time to reach that point. I didn’t get in his face, but the chosen avenue was SOOO much better! He knew I would expose him and I DID. All he has left are the pieces of his attempts staring him in his face. They scream back at him, proverbially, “YOU F’ING FAILURE!!” and he can’t STAND IT! Why is he trying soo hard to turn people against me, now? It’s all he has left to try to control my thoughts and emotions. He’s trying to cause me to be afraid, still. Not happening!

You see, I’m STILL fighting…and WINNING!

Every day, when I feel that familiar pang of fear or discouragement, it reminds me of EVERYTHING he tried to do to me, and cause to erupt inside of me. It makes me angry, and more determined to PROVE HIM WRONG! So, I step where I haven’t before. I have learned to hate the fear that was my closest confidant when growing up. I hate it, plain and simple. It reminds me of his controlled, controlling and twisted nature. It reminds me of everything he did to me, and the patient, calculated steps he took to do it all. He was trying to brainwash me for whatever reason. I caught on to his ultimate goal for me, and started SWINGING.

I am NOT the defeated person he tried to portray. I am NOT the weak individual that he tried to convince me of. I am NOTHING that he tried to force me to believe. Daily, I set out to PROVE him to be…UNDENIABLY, 100% FULL OF POOPY!!!

You see, he actually did me some good in the long run. Before, I was paralyzed by fear (at times) when I saw something I wanted for myself. Afraid of trying. Afraid of my own shadow and others’ anger toward me. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of being anything other than a whipped puppy dog.

He made me hate my own weaknesses to the point that when I feel that “fear” or “discouragement”, I instantly stand taller, dig in my heels and FIGHT BACK! You see, he gave my own weaknesses an evil face. His.

Without him I would never have found that courage.

Believe me, I don’t have any sort of respect or admiration for the Monster, and what he’s allowed to come out of me in the end. I hate him for it. There…I actually was able to SAY it! I HATE HIM FOR IT! It was through his abuse and hurting me, that I have been given the ability to FIGHT BACK!

I’ll probably always be in this fight. Proving him wrong. Not allowing him to win…EVER. Every day is a decided step. Every day is a bit unbalanced, yet I am finding more balance (I think).

This is apparently another step in the healing process. Eventually, I will outline each phase. Maybe that will be my “one-year” post.

Believe it or not, I hate each day that I have to take those steps. It’s not the actual “steps” that I am taking, but the fact that I’m doing it out of anger, instead of the goal of bettering myself…though that WILL be the outcome either way. It’s because I still see his face, hear his voice…his taunts, his attacks, his attempts at changing my thinking and views of him, myself and everything in between. It’s because HE IS STILL (in a small way) controlling me that I’m fighting back. In that, I hate this part of the process. I want to feel confidence in each step, rather than the potential defeat looming in the background, if I don’t. I don’t want it to always be ME proving him WRONG that I decide to try anything.

If I don’t end this post now, it’ll go on forever. The end.

peace 😀

Fear…


Mountain - Alaska's Denali
Mountain – Alaska’s Denali (Photo credit: blmiers2)

This morning, I was visiting another blogger’s page. In it she expresses the feeling of overwhelming anxiety, and at the edge of a cliff in her life right now (thank you, Judy http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com). What is so significant about this? I realized a few things about transitions and changes in my own life.

We (I believe this to be the case with most of us) have been conditioned to act or react in a certain way to things we are afraid of. Some face their fears head-on, seemingly without a second of doubt or feeling unsure in their own world. I would LOVE to pick those folk’s brains for a bit and find out just how they do it! But then again, I wonder if they actually do feel unsure during those times, and are just used to pushing through the anxiety to see to a desired end. That seems more realistic. Maybe it’s because that is exactly what I’m trying to learn for myself. Others freeze in step, afraid to face the mountain ahead. When that person sees the insurmountable size of the mountain, in an instant a sense of dread comes upon them. Anxiety, fear, predicting each step and the obstacles they will face…all without ever actually taking a step. The imagined scenarios are enough to cause some people to turn back…even if there is a pot of gold on the other side. It’s easier to face the loss (after all, it’s what we are used to) than to face the “unknown” in each step to make it over that mountain. I am one, who’s natural inclination is to FREEZE in-step. It’s a battle every day. It’s also one, that I am working at learning to conquer.

Does that mean I’m overcoming the fear? Not really. The ‘unknown’ almost petrifies me on a daily basis. I allow myself to take in the potentials. But I know there’s a better life ahead, when I take my first step. I struggle to move my foot for the first time. It’ll probably be a forever battle for me.

I remember dreaming (a few times, as this was a repetitive dream) of suddenly standing on the edge of a cliff. The distance to the bottom was hidden by clouds, so I only imagined how far down it was to the bottom. I felt exposed. I was horrendously afraid. The dream always ended the same way…I fell on my stomach, holding onto the edge for dear life, unable to move. I’d wake up that way, feeling that same fear for some time. I was afraid of falling over the cliff. The fact that I couldn’t actually SEE the bottom, really scared me. I didn’t want to find out what it was like to fall that “far”. The clouds indicated that I was high…VERY high. In reality, though it was a dream, it was my own fears coming out in my dream. Looking back, I (thanks to my friend) am able to get a better view. The distance to the bottom might not be more than a few feet, instead of thousands of feet with a very abrupt stop at the end. Not so much to be afraid of, after all! 😀

I’ve always been afraid of the unknowns in my life. More in the ones that would make me feel or look stupid. I was afraid of being belittled, demeaned, made fun of or punished. The fear was so powerful throughout my life that I’ve NEVER followed my OWN dreams. Instead I imagined the failures ahead, and decided “this life isn’t THAT bad, after all” and allowed the unknowns to control my future. There have been situations that, in spite of all that fear, I had to speak or act on what I knew was right. Since my experience with a psychopat over the last year, those fears have multiplied exponentially. Just turning in my 2 week notice to boss #2, was excruciating…but the life I knew I would have WITH that second job in it, would be stunting…wasting…painful. Knowing what ACTUALLY laid ahead, was more excruciating than the step of turning in my resignation.

A small victory.

This blog is my own personal journey of healing…apparently in EVERY aspect. I notice the areas that my X-monster has debilitated me, even more than I was prior to having him in my life. I recognize that before him, these areas needed attention. They needed to be changed. Now, since he’s caused the unsurety that was conditioned as a small child, to grow stronger than ever, the battles ahead are bigger, but not unconquerable.

Each day presents a new cliff. A new ledge where I COULD lose my step and fall. Now, a dose of reality… What would actually happen if I were to take the first baby-step off of that proverbial…PROVERBIAL…cliff? Will I fall to my demise? Or will I, MAYBE, get a bump or a scrape on my knee? Actually, what I HAVE been finding are little successes. Little battles crumbling at my feet, and my own flag of pride being flown where the “cliff” once stood.

Winning the contest I was so afraid of losing (not the contest, but falling on my face, again not being able to have confidence)…more afraid of having to face my X, IF he showed up, was one of these victories. I took the step anyway. Was I scared? Yes, I was shaking more and more as the days went by. Did I imagine pretend scenarios of failure in every aspect? Oh GAWD yes! What happened when I took that step off that cliff? I sang with confidence, and in the end took home the grand prize of $500, which I needed to pay my rent. It wasn’t such a high cliff, after all.

Every day presents a new one. Every day presents an opportunity to fall or fly. Every day, I’m afraid again, yet I still take that one…small…step… (EEK!)

What is your cliff? Your Mountain?? What are you afraid to face? What would happen if you took that step? You might fall, yes, but chances are you won’t be killed when you take your first step. You might find that with each step, the path toward your “pot of gold” (whatever your “gold” might be) becomes clearer and surprisingly easy. If the only way out is to step off the cliff, then you might land on a cloud that takes you the rest of the way…or fall 2 feet down, onto a path with a cool creek beside it. Unicorns to lead you, etc…I know, that’s goofy 🙂 But, the difference between the fear of the unknown, vs. what happens when you walk in spite of the fear, is that drastically different. Unicorns. Yup, I said it…

One foot in front of the other…breathe in…breathe out… As you continue in YOUR journey, you will find that each of your fears will fade, one by one, and you will find more and more victories 😀

Remember…keep your feet moving!

Introspection and Extrospection…


Over the past few days, I have had the thought to write a blog about these two definitions.  It’s not because I’m some language buff, but because they both have played a significant role in my life, as well as my exodus from my X-monster. Others can call this “ruminating”, which also fits (embarrassingly). Either way, it’s a great skill to learn which can also be quite painful. I’ll explain later.

I was going to counseling last year and sadly, I had to quit going due to finances. My counselor is a wonderful person, though I’m not sure if she could help me in the long run. Everything I would go through and learn in the months after, have been due to the art of “Introspection and Extrospection“, and speaking with everyone here…others who have gone through EXACTLY (it’s so precise, it’s amazing) as I have. I just don’t know if she would have been able to, as I figure out things and learn on my own. It sounds haughty and egotistical, I know. It’s not that at all. It’s my natural inclination.In a few of our sessions, I would explain the things I had learned the previous few weeks about myself, and she would look dumbfounded, smiling, and exclaim, “What you have learned in such a short time, would normally take me MONTHS to bring out in a person. I’ve never known anyone like you”. It’s not an ego-boost. It was more of an eye-opener for me. Most people (I assume) haven’t learned this art. I have, by some unknown desire to fully understand. The thing is, it’s what I’ve learned as I’m walking through life, noticing my internal and external reactions to certain scenarios or ‘happenings’. I notice my own natural reactions to things, then I ask the question, “why am I reacting this way?” Next, I continue mulling over the previous events until I have analyzed them into a neatly formed parallel. I get it. I understand the why’s and what for’s. The next step is figuring out if the reaction is normal or unbalanced. If it’s unbalanced, I try making steps to correct it. If the reactions place me in harms way, I walk away from the situation, entirely.

Much of what I went through with my X, could have and SHOULD have been avoided…like the plague he IS. You see, I noticed what he was causing to erupt inside of me. The fear, the turmoil…the FEAR…and lastly, the absolute confusion, which I am still moving out of. Did I mention the FEAR?!

I remember a phrase that my dad used, while he and I were talking one day. “…You can’t see the forest for the trees”.

At first that phrase really struck a chord with me, though I really didn’t understand it. As I am well known for, I began picking it apart. I was able to paraphrase it into a more understandable definition… The ‘forest’ represents the BIG picture. The trees represent everything going on around you, what you are dealing with, personally, in your life. What happens when you are in a literal forest? All you see are the trees. You have no way of completely knowing just how LARGE the forest is…until you walk a significant distance away from it, and can see the vast expanse it is! Life… A whole myriad of trees, and only one BIGGER picture. How do you place yourself outside of the forest to see it?

Not many people will come up to you with an eye-opening statement that will tell you the situation you are in, is dangerous and stupid. We might have a few very close friends who are not afraid to be that open with us. The fact is, most won’t because they don’t want us being angry with THEM! Who’s left to tell the difficult stories and facts? Just us.

Please bear with me, here. I’ve never put this process in writing before, so it’s a little difficult…

It begins with noticing the (as it pertains to a toxic relationship) internal pang; the nerves going into overdrive in an instant. Introspection is allowing yourself to notice it, and work to understand it. Anxiety, feeling afraid or anxious. It’s indescribable and undeniable, but begs to be recognized and understood. “Why do I feel like this? It’s awful, uncomfortable and excruciating.  Well, I felt that way…it’s anxiety, I think. What caused it?” Then you think about the moments, prior… From the outside looking IN… Extrospection: You remember the instant that he verbally demeaned you…made you feel like the slut…insignificant…or flat out YELLED at you for absolutely NOTHING related to that moment. Nothing real, nothing from any base in reality, but you suffer for it. Extrospection lets you realize that what he is doing is abusive, and he’s psychologically controlling you. It’s everything that other’s should say to you, but are unable because you’ve all but shut your friends and family out of your life. Extrospection also allows you the ability to understand the why’s of HIS behavior! Why he’s chosen to treat you “that” way. You can see the forest because you’ve developed the ability to look at your situation as if through someone else’s eyes. That’s what I was able to do from the beginning.

The problem here is that, as I did in a new relationship, you second guess what you KNOW TO BE TRUE! Because, after all, he’s sweet, caring, understanding, a complete gentleman, yadda friggen yadda… It’s here that the art you have learned is placed on the back-burner. Know, however, the skill DOES become second nature if you practice it on a regular basis. I practiced it as a young child, on through adulthood. It was CONSTANTLY echoing in my ears (more like screaming), and eventually I was forced to pay attention. Introspection is almost a twin to conscience. It makes you a better YOU. Extrospection allows you to protect yourself from harm, by allowing you to see the big picture.

Introspection allows you to understand the wrong behaviors and reactions of your gut that you have. Extrospection allows you to recognize a situation or scenario that is harmful (or beneficial) to you. The two together allow for FULL understanding of the situation or scenario.

The trick is, to listen. Follow-through with what your instincts are saying to you. If your gut is in “fight or flight” mode…LISTEN! Its there for a reason. You don’t understand it? Can’t believe that you actually might be right?? Trust me, trust yourself, trust your gut…

YOUR ARE UNEQUIVOCALLY, 100% CORRECT!!!

Introspection: (dictionary.com)

observation or examination of one’s own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself.

Extrospection: (dictionary.com)
the consideration and observation of things external to the self; examination and study of externals.
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Hullabuloo… (couldn’t think of a better title)


Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, A...
Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, August 2006. Shot with Nikon D70s in Ikelite housing, in natural light. Animal estimated at 11-12 feet (3.3 to 3.6 m) in length, age unknown. Français : Photographie d’un Grand requin blanc (Carcharodon carcharias) de 3,5 mètres environ, prise à l’île Gadalupe en août 2006. Matériel : Nikon D70s dans un caisson étanche Ikelite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An update about giving boss #2 my notice…

Everything went better than I expected. My #2 boss handled things ok. Of course, he was upset…though he didn’t yell. (Thank YOU!) He was relieved that I wasn’t planning on leaving him high and dry, and that I would give him the time to replace me. It’s going to be a difficult 2 weeks, but I’ll do it. I’ll just need some extra sleep!! 🙂 Yesterday, for instance, was a 14 1/2 hour day between both jobs, as I was called into work early RIGHT AFTER doing 4 hours with the other job. I had just gotten home, fed Myrtle the turtle (and the friggen gold fish that she’s decided are her friends) and let the dog outside. My boss called me in to help because (of course) they were short-handed. I hopped into the shower and was out the door in 1/2 an hour (in my primary job, there is no need to try to look like a beauty-queen…). I handled the long day alright, though I was pretty tired when I finally got home.

In giving my notice to boss #2, I realized something that I do habitually, which is also something that marks me as a target for abuse. I anticipate the “other foot”, the proverbial “bomb” drop, the “sh** hitting the fan”…you get it :D… and I automatically turn into the (you guessed it) jelly-fish! I’m a peacemaker by nature. some anticipation is healthy. To allow it to consume you, is most definitely NOT! As I anticipated hearing his anger, predicting what he might do and say, I automatically calmed and quieted my voice, instead of speaking with determination and confidence. I’ve learned that it’s the best way to calm the savage beast, normally. Unfortunately it also sweeps issues under the carpet until they grow, fester, and become something humongous! In my case, I believe it’s what gave my X the ability to control and manipulate me. He recognized this weakness in me, and exploited it with great cunning and skill. He knew I had a difficult time standing up for myself. I don’t like to make waves, so my chosen physical/emotional motto has been “understanding first”. As I have said, some is healthy. When it’s imbalanced and used to manipulate you, of COURSE it’s not healthy!

In my experiences and exodus over the last year, one thing I have determined is I will NEVER  ever go though that  AGAIN! I want and need to identify what makes me a visible target to this type of individual –the Psychopath/narcissist– deal with it in a healthy way, and make changes where possible. The peacemaker approach is a good one to have but, if it’s imbalanced, it becomes food for the Psychopath. He thrives on that type of person. He sees that type response as a “win” for him. Sam Vaknin calls it a source of Narcissistic Supply. I don’t know about you, but I view the “supply” as food for the psychopath…and I want to see him STARVE! The sad thing is I should have learned all of these things: how to react in a healthy way, how to stand up for myself, and especially how to carry myself with confidence in EVERY area, during my growing years. Instead, I was taught that the Man had the last word. If he’s angry, you stay quiet. Always respect other’s wishes, to the point that your needs are ignored. These are the lessons I learned. Jelly-fish. How to be a victim for the rest of your life. How to constantly be in a state of “starting over” if you DO have the guts eventually, to get away from an abusive situation.

I’ve had enough of this life-style! I have to relearn EVERYTHING I was taught, so I won’t be a target of a Psychopath ever again! So I won’t be a target of manipulation and abuse in any way, ever again.

One thing I can thank my X-monster for, is FORCING me to recognize the hard things about myself, teaching me that evil people DO exist in life, and that those evil people pray on those they perceive as WEAK. If you are naturally prone to high levels of empathy, you are MOST targeted! If you are nice, understanding, somewhat naive, and have been abused in your childhood…you can count on being targeted. The Psychopath is like the great white shark. They can smell the blood (spot those with damaged psyches) from miles away (in a crowd of people), target and attack the victim, once chosen, and enjoy a great meal (Narcissistic/Psychopathic supply).

My goal is to change enough that I’m not an obvious meal to them. So I can be just a part of the crowd…blend in with other pseudo-normal individuals. So I don’t ever have to experience that type of hell again.

I cry “Uncle”


I’ve been fighting to keep my second job. There’s no doubt about that. With the Psychopath at my heals and the Narcissist in my face, trying to steal it from me, it’s been quite the ride. Even now, they haven’t won. I lied and asked my second boss to join in that lie, in order to see where THEIR lies would go. It became apparent that the Narc (I fully believe her to be) was playing the “divide and conquer” game, in order to snag my job away from me. The Psychopath still hasn’t hung himself (figuratively) in his attempts yet, but he most definitely WILL! If he is frustrated enough, he will talk, talk, lie, lie, lie, scheme…you get it…until he is confused in his own attempts. He WILL expose himself for what he is. It’ll just take time.

She didn’t speak about needing a second job until I mentioned that I had one, and with whom. I believe it was all in jealousy on her part, that she tried to scheme against me. I’ll never trust or coddle her again. Now that she believes that my second boss decided to let me go because of her lie, she’s been all “nicey nicey” with me…pretending to be my friend. I’m cordial toward her and appreciative when she does something nice for me, but that’s where it ends. I do NOT trust her nice gestures or anything about her. I see her as much as a threat as I do my Psychopathic X. Nothing good in either of them.

With all of their attempts to harm me at work, they still haven’t won. I have :D.

I’ve been getting up 4 days a week, at 4:00 am to work 4 hours with my second job, then going onto my primary job and closing the store…getting home anywhere from 9pm to 9:30 pm. If you do the math, that translates to “not much sleep” after trying to FALL asleep! Down time? Days off?? Pretty much non-existent. I have been absolutely EXHAUSTED!

With that exhaustion, I, unbeknownst to me, was also dehydrated. Judging from the pain I was in yesterday, pretty severely.

I woke up with every joint hurting… hips, back, arms…then it gravitated to my head all at once. I had my first full-blown migraine in 20 years!!

I had to call-in to my primary job. I could barely move. My boss called me back and told me to come in anyway as they were already short 3 people. In my job, that means a severe shortage and I am the only other cashier besides the Narc. My boss was kind enough to allow me the time to try to get the pain under control. I missed half my shift, but was able to continue to work. I was a little weak and dizzy, but I functioned ok.

Now, translation: I CRY UNCLE!!! I can’t place my primary job in jeopardy because I need more money. I will give my 2 weeks notice to boss #2 today. I feel bad for doing that, because I know the struggle they are having in this new contract. Passing security checks for a new employee is grueling and time-consuming. It will probably take more time than 2 weeks to replace me. I have to put myself in a place where I can’t let myself be concerned with it.

This will be a growing process for me.

I have to find the courage to face my boss (#2) to GIVE him my notice. He has a bit of a temper, as does his sister/co-owner. A man’s temper is one of my MAJOR triggers to put myself last, and allow someone else control over me. This is where I am at my weakest. He appreciates someone who can be up-front about issues. I only hope he shows that side, and not the temper.

I held a second job for about 6 months when I got hired for my, now, primary job. I wasn’t so exhausted then. The reasons for this, I believe are: 1) My relationship with my X has taken a toll on me. I don’t have the stamina I did 2 years ago. 2) My job at the gas station was 2 days a week, on my days off from my primary job. I slept, I functioned, and did ok. I went 3 weeks without a day off at one point. It was ok, though I really appreciated it when my day off finally came!

I still need the extra paycheck, but I need my health more. It’s time to face the piper, cry “uncle” and take my losses…and in this case, my GAINS! 😀


Extremely important rules. It’s everything I learned through experience. Wish I had these drilled into my head before I had to live the life!! Would have saved me a whole world of confusion and HELL!

Psychopath Resistance

By Dr. Martha Stout

The Sociopath Next Door

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Accept that some people have no conscience; that there are evil people in this world who do not act out of concern or love for another.
Listen to your instincts — labels (professional roles) do not make a good person. Look carefully at someone who “carries” a professional label, judging whether that individual’s behavior fits what is expected of that professional role.
Practice the rule of threes — One lie or broken promise may be a misunderstanding, two lies may involve a serious mistake, three lies — the individual is not trustworthy. Stay away from that individual.
Question authority.
Suspect flattery — when someone flatters you excessively, telling you how much they appreciate you or like it when you visit or how much they enjoy your conversations.
Redefine your concept of respect — respect must be…

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