Are you or have you been in an emotionally abusive relationship? Have you felt controlled, demeaned and belittled? Do you feel confused, inadequate and anxious all the time? If you are or have been in a relationship with a psychologically abusive person, you will benefit from specialized therapy by understanding and addressing the following symptoms of what is sometimes referred to as "narcissistic abuse":
These are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Psychologically abusive relationships are not ‘normal relationships’. They are traumatizing for the victim. Repeated exposure to a cruel, controlling, harsh and vindictive partner is traumatizing, often triggering the "flight, fight or freeze" fear response in the survivor’s brain. Relationship trauma requires a specialized recovery approach.
"Narcissistic abuse" is a form of emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by a person who is mostly likely on the pathological narcissism spectrum, such as narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality, malignant narcissism, and/or psychopathy. Joanne's focus is not on the pathology of the toxic person but rather with the healing of the survivor.
Narcissistic abuse masquerades as love but is a sinister, gradual, and deliberate erosion of a person’s sense of self-value. It is both emotional and psychological abuse intended to undermine a person’s identity for the singular goal of achieving dominance for personal gain. It often involves patterns of manipulation, intimidation, emotional bullying, power and domination, deceit, egocentricity, stonewalling, guilt and shaming, rejection, gaslighting, financial abuse and jealousy.
Narcissistic abuse is a serious public health issue. Even though it is believed to affect more people than clinical depression, public awareness and research on the issue is minimal.
I offer specialized therapy to help people who are still in a pathological relationship as well as those who have left, to unravel the complicated, painful, and often terrifying task of recovery. I provide evidence-based treatment methodologies to help survivors overcome pain, anxiety and depression, heal shattered self-esteem, "re-wire" the traumatized brain and empower themselves so they can transform their lives and become confident, happy people who are capable of experiencing healthy love relationships.
As you know, I am passionate about the transformative power of expressive arts and creativity. I also love to find beautiful imagery and empowering quotes, and especially enjoy inspiring art, mugs and cards, so I thought it's about time to make my own. What do you think of "Do you suppose she is a Wildflower?
If you have been in a relationship with someone on the narcissism personality spectrum, you are undoubtedly struggling with low self-esteem, low mood, anxiety, confusion and are having great difficulty overcoming the ordeal of the relationship.
Fortunately, specialized treatment can help people who have been traumatized by such relationships, as long as the therapist is fully aware of the effects of narcissistic abuse. The danger is that if the practitioner does not have a full grasp of the insidious nature of narcissistic abuse, and minimizes the soul-destroying effects of it, there is a chance they will underestimate the severity of the problem, not have adequate training and tools to intervene. In a worst case scenario, therapists can traumatize a client further by invalidating their situation or symptoms (similar to the gaslighting experienced at the hands of the narcissistic abuser).
Julie Tenenberg, a therapist who specializes in victims of narcissistic abuse, describes this danger most succinctly: “This population is manifesting shame, guilt, self-neglect, and physical symptoms of trauma. They need a witness who is sensitive, not critical or dismissive, someone who will not reenact the narcissistic response.”
The solution? Make a careful and critical examination of your therapist . If you have the sense that this individual does not fully understand the devestating effects of narcissistic abuse and appears to invalidate the severity of the abuse, or does not have the tools to help clients recover from the trauma, move on to someone who is better versed on the issue.
Read more about vetting your therapist here.
Today I am digging into my fabulous new art kit I received as a Christmas gift! I find creative projects to be soothing, cathartic, and a great way to express myself.
According to art therapist Cathie Malchiodi, "Art has the potential to transform lives and often in profound ways; research is demonstrating that art improves not only our quality of life, but also is effective in reducing pain, fatigue and stress and increasing cognitive abilities and emotional well-being."
I couldn't agree more.
Do you enjoy creative projects? Do you creativity helps to manage stress and improve emotional wellness?
Estrangement in families doesn't "just happen".
In a study published in the journal Australian Social Work, 26 adults reported being estranged from parents for three main reasons: abuse (everything from belittling to physical or sexual abuse), betrayal (keeping secrets or sabotaging them) and poor parenting (being overly critical, shaming children or making them scapegoats). The three were not mutually exclusive, and often overlapped, said Dr. Agllias, a lecturer at the University of Newcastle in Australia.
Check out the full research study here:
Today I'm starting How to Rewire the Traumatized Brain, a course by trauma guru Bessel van der Kolk. More recovery tools to help my clients heal from narcisstistic abuse. Check out the description:
This weekend I'm heading over to The Word on the Street book festival to listen to Dr. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain that Changes Itself. Dr. Doidge is a forerunner in the field of neuroplasticity and the human brain's ability to heal itself, even after trauma. Very exciting! Here's the write-up from the brochure:
The Brain’s Way of Healing
Now a New York Times Bestseller!
The bestselling author of The Brain That Changes Itself presents astounding advances in the treatment of the brain problems of many kinds
Winner of the 2015 Gold Nautilus Award in Science & Cosmology.
In The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge described the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years: the discovery that the brain can change its own structure and function in response to mental experience—what we call neuroplasticity. He showed that not only does the brain alter our mental experience, but that mental experience can alter the very structure of the brain.
His revolutionary new book shows, for the first time, how the amazing process of neuroplastic healing really works. It describes natural, non-invasive avenues into the brain provided by the forms of energy around us—light, sound, vibration, movement—which pass through our senses and our bodies to awaken the brain’s own healing capacities without producing unpleasant side effects. Doidge explores cases where patients alleviated years of chronic pain or recovered from debilitating strokes or accidents; children on the autistic spectrum or with learning disorders normalizing; symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy radically improved, and other extraordinary recoveries. And we learn how to vastly reduce the risk of dementia with simple approaches anyone can use.
For centuries it was believed that the brain’s complexity prevented recovery from damage or disease. The Brain’s Way of Healing shows that this very sophistication is the source of a unique kind of healing. As he did so lucidly in The Brain That Changes Itself, Doidge uses stories to present cutting-edge science with practical real-world applications, and principles that everyone can apply to improve their brain’s performance and health.
Nonfiction Brave New Word Tent at 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM