There are times when I’ve been asked what I ‘do for a living’. This question sends me into anxiety mode. Immediately, I begin to think about what to say and how to say it! The above meme is hilarious to me, as it provides a few perspectives that many people have of writers in general. It’s also somewhat accurate when referencing what the writer thinks of themselves.
So the response I give is really simple, “I’m a writer, but I’m not paid to write”. I’m sure it’s not impossible to imagine the response to that.
I love writing. It’s a mode of catharsis for me. It helps other people too and that’s where the gift really lies. I enjoy connecting with survivors, but I equally enjoy other bloggers and their artistic talents. Admittedly, among writers there is a healthy competition of sorts, but sometimes it can be pathological too. I’m forever mindful of this, because it helps to keep me humble, therefore I will reference others work, share their insights and posts here, as well as plug their books and articles.
It’s writers that don’t or won’t share due to the bottom line in profit if they are already published or plan to do so. I consider this nothing less than selfish and mean. My perspective is that there millions of readers in the world, equally, there are as many writers who are deserving of recognition.
In creatively tampering my competitive tendency with writing, I came up with a perspective that is so, so, so helpful to me. Writing is art. It’s the work of the creative spirit within. I visualize others writing as comparable to an artist displaying their work at an art museum. What fun is it if there are only the works of one artist on display? I mean, how narcissistic is THAT? What makes going to an art festival or museum so wonderful, is that there are so many beautiful and creative minds all in one place, giving value and meaning to art itself.
There are writers I know personally, whose work I deeply respect and admire. There is no way I would ever be able to ‘compete’ with these people because they are innately gifted. What is remarkably interesting about each of the writer’s I know, is that they’re extremely empathic and enormously generous in promoting and networking on behalf of other writer’s who have not yet experienced any recognition, but for whom the writer feels to be talented. In other words, not only are they profoundly good writer’s but they are profoundly kind and generous people. Notoriety, even fame, did not change who they were.
My friend, Claudia Moscovici, is one of them. She is so noteworthy for her admiration of others work and her advocacy in promoting the artistic talents of others. Claudia knows she is a phenomenal writer, but she is not in the slightest bit selfish or arrogant. She doesn’t view her work as ‘all knowing and all being’ when it comes to psychopaths, or any other form of creative writing. She is an example to me of what a good writer really is. I try to follow her example religiously. Her generosity is a reflection of who she is as a person. I love Claudia dearly and have enormous respect for her and her work. She is the author of two books about psychopaths:”The Seducer” and “Dangerous Liaisons”. She has a blog that is fantastic about psychopaths called, “Psychopathy Awareness”.
She was an excellent mentor when I had the honor and privilege to write a couple of articles on her blog. It was so kind, because I knew I sucked! But she saw that I had potential and encouraged me to grow with my writing. What impresses me most, other than a writer’s talent and skills, is who they are as people. I’ve met several writers whose values match their writing.
Having shared that, I’d like to share the following books and blogs that I feel are really good and the writer’s who write them.. Admittedly, there are some I’ll be plugging here that I don’t know personally, but their work still stands out as unique only to them and where I’ve felt that part of who they are, is reflected in their work. They are also writers whose writing feels accurate when describing psychopaths and narcissists. They stick to the ‘guidelines’ of what behaviors are most profound and extreme in the disordered. I hope you’ll take the time to read or check them out:
1″ Without Conscience”- by Dr. Robert Hare. A pioneer in the research of psychopathy. His was one of the first I ever read about psychopaths.
2. “The Sociopath Next Door” by Dr. Martha Stout. This was one of my first reads as well. It is beautifully written with a feeling of poetic prose. Dr. Stout’s writing is profoundly empathic. To this day, it’s one of my favorites.
3. “Why Does He Do That- Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. This book is not about psychopaths and personality disorders, per se. It is an excellent book about how the mind of an abuser works and gives details about motive and intent. This is an excellent read.
4. Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist In Your Life- by Linda Martinez Lewi. This is another beautiful read in that the highly empathic ‘voice’ of the author gives you a feeling of connection. This too, is one of my favorites.
5. “Trapped In the Mirror”- Adult children of Narcissists In Their Struggle For Self- Elan Golumb. This was an excellent and honest well written recovery journey of personal self discovery after awareness that the parent is a Narcissist. It was this author’s honesty that really kept me interested in reading. Very few hit me like this one did as the child of pathologicals.
6. “Women Who Love Psychopaths”- Sandra Brown, M.A. This is one of those books that is a must read when you are just out of the relationship. Gives an excellent, if not somewhat clinical perspective of psychopaths.
7. “In The Meantime” by Iyanla VanZant. This book is noteworthy for me personally but has nothing to do directly with pathological relationships. Still, the book was excellent in describing what recovery is like. I highly recommend for personal growth in recovery.
8. “Political Ponerology” A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes”. by Andrew Lobaczewski. This book is downright frightening. I’m currently reading this again for an article I’m writing about psychopaths in society and in power. It is guaranteed to trigger. Read with caution.
“FISHHEAD”- This is one of the most profound documentaries about psychopaths in power that I’ve ever seen. This documentary features interviews with Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak. Excellent film.
YOUTUBE- While youtube is a great way to learn about things, it is also a great way to be misinformed. I don’t suggest putting a lot of credibility into youtube videos. Admittedly, I’m speaking from personal experience in having been a big fan of Thomas Sheridan, who is now known to be a psychopath himself. Please use caution in who you trust for information related to psychopaths and Narcissists.
Facebook pages and online forums- I won’t be promoting either one with the exception of one online forum that many survivors have found helpful. The reasons for this has a lot to do with the high pathological ‘traffic’ on Facebook and in online forums. While facebook pages will not get a ‘review’ that you can research online, there are online forums that you can review. I look for negative reviews from survivors of those forums.
When first in recovery, I visited many forums. There was not one I visited that did not have a pathological moderator on board and extremely triggering or triangulating and dramatic dynamics going on. I’ve mentored far too many survivors who experienced secondary wounding at the hands of pathological forums. In a survivor’s effort to garner support when the relationship ends, reading books about the disorder FIRST, as well as lining up therapeutic interventions with a qualified therapist, is the best thing a survivor can do for themselves. Reading works of those who have knowledge and a lot of education about the disorders is very helpful when scouting out places for group support.
Signs to look for in toxic pages and forums:
1. Triangulations- watch the moderators closely and how they interact with other survivors. Is there an equal amount of support given to everyone? It is all inclusive or do you see other survivors excluded from group participation, particularly NEW survivors? Any drama or backstabbing and gossip via PM or email or any other way? This is a HUGE red flag. If a moderator or page admin PM’s you and asks you to stay away from anyone on their page or forum, RUN.
2. Survivors are allowed to target and attack other survivors.
3. The information given or discussed is given in a voice of ‘authority’ and is NOT accurate -. Any deviation from what is known by professionals who have studied about or written about the disorders is a great point of reference when in doubt. Remember, there are not 700 ways to spot a pathological. The behaviors evolve over time, are extreme and result in patterns of behavior that become predictable. If you have a sense that the lines are blurred between what is not very nice human behavior and what is truly toxic, TRUST that feeling.
4. Facebook Page Admins and Forum Moderators- The moderator or page admin, encourages you to ruminate but gives no or very little information about themselves and their recovery efforts or information regarding efforts to help YOU recover. This is another monumental red flag. While ruminating is very much part of the recovery process, there is a point where recovery is no longer about them, but about US. Many moderators and page admins will create drama and encourage ruminating with constant barrages of meme’s and behaviors (often taken out of context), of the psychopath or narcissist, and little ELSE.
5. Heavy trolling- One of the reasons I do not like face book and would not consider it a source for recovery. There are many pathologicals who pose as victims and target survivors just out of their relationships. They will attack the admins as well. A favorite tactic of a pathological survivor and page admin, is to attack another admin from another page with intentional slander on the targets page, along with a host of ‘minion’ now dependent and ‘loyal’ to the pathological, who participate. This can do tremendous damage to a survivor who is extremely vulnerable as well as a page admin with who IS trying to help. If you’re confused now by this description, and this is how it feels where you’re at, RUN.
Relationships with pathological people involve a lot of drama, chaos and crisis. Pages and forums can often be Jerry Springer online! As survivors, we are somewhat addicted to the adrenalin rush involved within our relationships. There is nothing like a forum or page to further exacerbate the very thing you’re trying to avoid for yourself, in an effort to find adequate, healthy and peaceful support. This is a personal responsibility in making new choices. It isn’t always a new romantic relationship that survivors will run to or distract themselves with and Facebook admins know this. Not all are pathological, but most. Facebook serves its purpose in connecting with others, but for recovery, it’s as bad, in my opinion, as online dating.
6. Pay attention to your physical and emotional reactions-If you choose to find support on a page or forum, please pay attention to your body and feelings. Oftentimes, our bodies are the first to tell us that something is wrong. Tension, hyper vigilance, deepening depression, extreme anxiety, adrenalin rush, a feeling of dependence or addiction developing upon the page admin or forum moderator. Your bodily reactions can tell you a lot about what’s going on around you. PTSD, from my perspective, is a built-in alarm system. If you find yourself reacting a lot on the page or forum, this is a red flag! Also, if the page owner or forum moderator is about your health and well being, you will feel this as genuine. It can take awhile after getting out of your relationship to discern this. Eventually, you will develop a sense of repulsion to drama and to chaos. Support should not feel confusing, hurtful, stagnating, anger provoking or pathological in any way.
7. Donation links, advertising for blog profit, paying survivors to provide ‘services’.-This one is a really difficult one for me personally. I do not see anything wrong with someone who makes a living from writing books or helping survivors. We all need to survive financially and some people really DO have a gift and deserve to make a living from it if they can. Kudos to those that have and do. Many of us don’t make a living from what we do. It’s long hours, and a lot of hard, emotionally draining work, particularly if you’re highly empathic and highly sensitive. Dealing with others pain day in and day out, really takes a toll. BUT, I do this work because I love it. I feel blessed in many ways, because I get to write and help others in pain. The pay off is when they begin to heal.
Some people think that what we do is easy peasy. It is so far from that, I assure you. Anyway, many of us who blog, also have donation links attached. Some of us request from time to time, but believe it or not, survivors often request to donate. I do not, and will not, slam those who also have donation links on their blogs because I understand the time and effort it is to do what we do. Other survivors have written books, run forums that make a profit through advertisements, survivor donations etc. Frankly, I’m not that creative in the technical sense. All one need do, is look at the list on Amazon to see the plethora of survivors and books they have written.
But what I have seen, is survivors who are making profits and who change as people when their profit margins and ‘following’ increase. I’ve seen survivor exploitation that really angers me. I’ve seen things written that start out as a survivor’s own experience with pathologicals and what their perceptions were of the relationship and turn into ‘facts on what pathologicals do’, a change from a survivor simply sharing a story to ego taking over making them ‘authority’. Egos inflate as the dollars come in.This is the very thing that frightens me with recognition and/or offers I’ve received in the past. I fear ‘turning my stuff’ into a business. Business is so incredibly pathological and toxic these days, it’s hard to work within a corporate perspective and mind. I’ve seen money corrupt people, even survivors. Once they become ‘infamous’ in their worlds, I don’t recognize them anymore.
While I struggle with wanting validation and recognition with my work, I’m also terrified that it would change me. In some weird way, it’s why being poor is better than having money or competing for books sales. What I have seen, reminds me of why I’m here in the first place. I never, ever want money or competition to create a situation where I lose sight of what’s really important here: the lives and recoveries of every survivor who visits. I want to be the example of my friend, Claudia. She never changed with book sales. She never ever talks about it, although we have discussed it in the past but in reference to other things. So if you feel like donating, that’s great and it’s definitely helpful to me, but what really makes me happiest, is to see survivors growing and finding a measure of peace. That’s what it’s all about.
Which brings me to my next list of referrals: Blogs
1. Let Me Reach- by Kim Saeed.- This is a fantastic blog. Kim is not only a very talented writer with HUGE potential, but she breaks down narcissism with strategic ease. Her ability to analyze, combined with her loads of empathy, make this blog essential and critical reading. While I know that survivors will have varying reading preferences (thus the importance of many blogs), Kim is one of the few whose voice is compatible with her written word. One of my favorite author’s and book is Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door’. Martha’s voice is compatible with her empathy. It is distinctive and easily recognizable because of her unique voice. This is exactly how I felt when I read Kim’s blog and is the very essence of her talents. Please check out this blog when you get a chance. For those of you who are HSP’s or tend to have high levels of empathy, as well as want precision in breaking down the disorders to a shocking level, Kim’s blog is THE blog to read.
2 Opinionated Man- No, he is not writing about pathologicals. But this blog is a bright spot in my day when I want to read something that gives me a nice break from writing about the disorders. He too, has a distinctive voice, and with his wide variety of blog post subjects, as well as his raging and sometimes off-putting honesty, OM is a breath of fresh air!
3. Narc Raiders Blog- This blog is run by my one of my dearest friends, Betty LaLuna. She is sharp as a knife, and is not only refreshingly open and honest, and at times brutal in her analysis of narcissists, she also has a distinctive voice. Betty has a no nonsense perspective that literally pushes you into analysis, not only of the narcissist but of yourself. A highly perceptive, highly intuitive woman, she has a spiritual side to her that is reflected in her work and in her thoughts and opinions. This is one brilliant lady and one, that in my opinion is long past deserving of major recognition and validation in BIG ways for her hours and hours of dedication, not only to survivors, but to her own continued personal and spiritual growth. I absolutely love her and I know you will too!
4. Psychopathy Awareness- This is Claudia Moscovici’s blog. I’ve said much about her already. Her blog speaks for itself in its brilliance and artistic efforts.
5. PsychopathFree Forum- No, it’s not a blog, although Peace has books and articles out. I”m more likely to promote his forum. I really liked the ease of use, the articles written and the moderators seem to be pathological free! I’m extremely wary of forums, but if you must be part of one, in my opinion, this is the safest you will have online. Peace is a very nice person and is brilliant with the business portion of all of this. He seems to be maintaining a nice balance and a good life for himself. I’m very proud of him and how far he has come in recovery. Still, as with any forum out there, utilize caution.
6. Sex, Spirits, Soulmates and Chocolate- Ivonne’s Journey. Well, say that ten times real fast! Ivonne is a great lady. Her blog is very, very intense reading about her relationship with her ex-Narcissist. She is very honest and her journey shared can be very overwhelming at times. While it’s an incredibly heavy read and sometimes can be triggering, her personal journey is outlined nicely. I think one of the reasons it is so powerful in reading, is not just for her remarkable honesty and depth, but so much we can relate to with the disordered one and their tactics, in this case, delivered upon Ivonne personally and shared with us as if we are there too. It’s an roller coaster of emotions in reading. Trigger warning, but still a must read!
7. Scott Williams- This is one therapist extraordinaire. I don’t read his stuff much anymore, but I highly encourage reading his blog. Scott has a distinctive voice as well and a very powerful one. I’ve yet to read one of his posts that does not have me reacting. I find it too triggering for me to read, as it provokes a lot of guilt for me! Which is code for, I’m not healed enough yet to read it without falling to pieces. Scott is a very healthy minded individual and he has a great deal of compassion for his clients and his readers. He’s also a therapist I would recommend for therapeutic intervention. A survivor would definitely get a lot of work done if they are prepared to deal with their stuff. He is knowledgeable about Narcissists and understands the grief and trauma that befall survivors, but is also committed to the survivor who is committed to working on themselves. Perhaps he is triggering to me as he reminds me of my own therapist, who sees right through my BS and is willing to call me out on it. It’s why I hired her, but once a week is enough for me!
8. Free Psychology- This is a great blog. The articles are extremely informative and interesting.
9. After Psychotherapy- This blog is run by Dr. Joseph Burgo. Dr. Joe is a survivor of a Narcissistic mother. Dr. Joe is a very painfully honest therapist. He offers online therapy, which might be of interest to you if you can afford him. I think he is well worth every cent. His posts really make me think. Some of them can be very triggering as well. I read with caution. If you’re a survivor who is looking for therapy and you would prefer an online therapist I highly recommend Dr. Joe. I know many people are struggling and can’t afford therapy or do not have insurance. Truthfully, because I could never afford Dr. Joe’s services, I didn’t look to see if he takes insurance. At any rate, his blog is also another to check out if you’re looking for a professional point of reference when it comes to the disorders.
10. Phil Ferreirra- The Story of My Twin Boys Oliver and Oscar Ferreirra- Of my top ten faves, I chose this one. This blog is still relatively new to me, but it is absolutely heart wrenching. I chose it because Phil is also a male survivor of female disorder. He is enduring hell at the hands of his ex wife, who is trying to prevent him from seeing his two sons. It’s rare that I see a blog with a male survivor at the helm as writer. The last blog I saw from a male survivor, is the one who took his own life in December. Won’t you please check out Phil’s blog and give him your support?
There are ten more I would like to share with you that are personal favorites. I’ll leave that for another day! More books too!
Enjoy and be careful out there!
Onward and upward!