relationships

Mini and Mighty Miracles

This morning as I got ready for vinyasa, I was looking at myself in my floor length mirror, as usual, trying not to notice any perceived physical flaws. I knew I was craving yoga and the dose of self-esteem I always receive when completing a practice. I was heading out early, thinking I wouldn’t see anyone I knew, so I didn’t do anything extra (as basic as they come for a Sunday morning). I actually had some eyeliner smudge still under my eye--a classy, and classic look, if I’ve ever seen one.

 

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Per usual, I got there about 20 minutes ahead of time. I like to meditate, stretch and claim my queen spot at the top of the class. My practice has gotten so much stronger in the last few months as I’ve focused back internally. I haven’t thought of him much lately, but sometimes when I’m in this studio, his image flashes in my head. We used to practice here together. I brought him here. ‘Breathe it out’ I said,‘*Put your crown on, he belongs to the past and that is where I bless him and ask him to stay.”

As I continue to stretch I turn my head to the right and unexpectedly meet his eyes, just briefly. It was as if the mere memory of our past had materialized him into the room. He shoots me an obligatory half smile and I automatically turn my head in the other direction. “Fuck,” I mouth silently to myself. I haven’t laid eyes on him in almost 6 months. He puts his mat behind mine, a little to the right. ‘There is the whole big, empty room,’ I think, ‘and he is posting up right there?’ Breathe, I say. Breathe, send love and release.

I went inward, asking for my strength to be present, asking for my spirit to be powerful and for my guides to be vigilant. I felt a space clear around me and I sat up, looked myself hard in the eyes and silently repeated my mantra, “I love you Nikki”. It was in that moment, as I allowed my eyes to land on his mat for a split second, that I realized what a shift had occurred inside me. I didn’t feel anxiety or sadness; not longing or anger. Like a person who existed only in your dreams; a hazy memory, just out of reach as the sun begins to rise. I can remember loving you and knowing you, yet as we share this physical space, I feel no surge of that now.

I had anticipated when we would run into one another, as exes inevitably do; I would've looked gorgeous, perfect, and preferably, would have a total fox with me. I would’ve felt vindicated, pity and complete closure. The Universe plotted otherwise. We collided where we first met, on our mats; how poetic.

I was stripped down, sweaty, vulnerable and alone. No defenses at my ready. And, I felt as if I was standing in my complete power in that moment.  Everytime I lifted my head throughout that hour, I looked myself directly in the eyes and held a steady gaze. It was better than I imagined, because he started to fade into the backdrop. I stopped seeing him, or even feeling his presence. I remember once he had told me that the goal after a break up is to feel absolutely nothing for your ex, then you know you’ve “won”. I don’t care much about winning or how I feel towards him; what I do care about is what I experience when I meet my own eyes in the mirror. And by the end of class, I had a ridiculously giddy smile on my face. I was completely free.

I had prayed for a miracle to untether me from him. Today was the day that I was able to graciously realize that my prayer had been answered. I sent up so much gratitude during savasana for this gift. I sent him love and I sent myself love.

When I was in the middle of that hurricane, I couldn’t have imagined a day where I would’ve experienced this and yet here I am. A Course in Miracles teaches us that “...forgiveness is the only gift I give because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give, I give myself”. I have repeated and practiced daily forgiveness and giving it to God. Turns out that this actually works. I have forgiven myself for the transgressions I committed against my spirit and I have atoned for those. He just happens to be a byproduct of that forgiveness and I am happy about that.

Our final chapter had been written and the closure that I thought I needed was just waiting for me to pick it up (like spiritual dry-cleaning). The Universe had conspired enough for today, and as we rolled up our mats and made our exit, I felt calmness in my heart. There was no drama and no gestures. I hardly noticed him getting up to leave. My focus was on me, on the joy I felt rising in my body. Miracles do happen, I thought. Everyday and in the slightest of moments. Just keep your eyes up and your heart open, and mini and mighty, they will appear. They are meant for all of us.

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*’Put your crown on’ is an adaptation of a quote from James Baldwin “Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it”

 

Interested in learning more about "A Course in Miracles"? Click the link below to learn more about my upcoming book club!

 

 

I Am A Force

Today I had the first glimmer of my old self. I woke up this morning and although I was still hit initially with the pain, it subsided more quickly. I actually slept last night. I actually ate yesterday. I’ve been hearing messages from my helpers and guides about this relationship and what it means for me. That it is a launchpad. A divine gift. It was a traumatic force that made me wake up. I have choice again. Detoxing from him will take some time, and I can already feel the love in my heart return. I have more compassion for what I traversed. I’m remembering who I am without him.

My higher self, my divine awareness is flickering back on. I went out to dinner with a girlfriend and laughed last night. I teared up knowing my best friend is having her baby today. I am making plans to travel, move, create. These are bits of me that I put on a shelf to create as much space as possible for him. It is beginning to stop being about him, finally, and starting to be about me.

I don’t pretend that I’m okay yet, because I’m not. I am forever changed. I wept for most of yesterday, on and off. It feels like a Great Purge. Sobs leaving my body. His energy that still feels like it is in me, on me, lives in my space, escaping with each tear or breath released. He infiltrated my life, my head, my heart. You don’t just move on, you have feel it. I have to feel it. I have to experience this in order to walk away completely. I can’t numb it nor do I want to. I want to feel my truth. Also, smudging helps :)

I have been reading a lot about people who treat others like this and how it affects their “victims”. I dislike that word greatly. It implies powerlessness and meekness. I am neither. Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a force. Never down for long. A nurturer and a protector. A seeker. Resilient AF. I called in this experience with this man for a reason. I needed him to illustrate something for me. I allowed myself to accept pain from another person and called it love. Make no mistake, though-I accepted it. I welcomed it. He mirrored for me the emptiness in myself that I get to heal.

The idea of betrayal is one of the most archetypal stories on our planet; a person you trusted and loved abuses those sacred feelings and forces you into one of the darkest moments of your life (basically every Disney movie ever). The darkness demands that you examine yourself and what you are capable of. You either crumble or rise; you redefine faith and self. You shed the old beliefs of limits and step into the version of you that you were always destined for. This is Universal. This is mine and I am grateful for it.

For myself, for my clients, for anyone who reads this--the power in this story is not about how he ruined me. Because he didn’t. It is about the Rise. It is about the fucking Holy Rise from true darkness. That is my truth today and I’m sending you all true love on your own journey on your own Rise.

 

Current resources that I am leaning on and highly recommend:

Leaving A Narcissist: Day 7

I have woken up every morning since finding out, wincing. As if someone has poked my brain with a stick or found the spot in my brain that contains every memory of us and touches it as soon as I regain consciousness. We were together since July of 2016.  Even though he was still technically with his girlfriend, he was REALLY with me. At least, that was what I believed.

Everyone in my life knows, because the only way out of living a complete lie for 17 months is to be grossly honest. I know not everyone likes it; I know not everyone gets why I’ve decided to share this with the world, but when you’ve lived under the regime of the Prince of Lies for so long, it seems as if they only way to take back any power is to reveal the truth. And to have witnesses bear that and validate it for you, as I need people to help me reconnect with True North.

I am a therapist and a coach, I help people see their truth for a living. How could I be so skilled in assisting others and be so lost in my own life and relationship? Great question. How could I stay with a man so long that kept me hidden, gave me so little, told me nothing but lies, and gaslighted my reality? When you are “chosen” by a narcissist, you feel as if you have won the GD lottery. You are groomed, carefully, slowly, calculating. Our rules were laid out early and clearly and because I loved him so deeply, I agreed.

I tried to end the relationship with him. I asked him to let me go. I asked him if there was someone else he loved. I asked him to not make promises he wasn’t going to honor. I told him that I wasn’t going to do this sick dance anymore. I wondered why someone who looked so together on the outside, was so lost on the inside. I didn’t understand his truths. I knew he was lying to me about things and I didn’t push him on it because when I did he would pull away from me, sometimes for a whole day. It was my punishment for questioning the rules we both agreed to. When I would challenge him things, he would blame his mother, the death of his father, me for being too needy and never satisfied. He cited this as a reason that he didn’t love me the same way was because he felt as if he could never please me.

He would railroad the other women in his life and then tell me I was special. He would talk behind everyone’s back that we both knew and cared about and then would be charming and sweet to their face. I wondered what he said about me when I wasn’t there; and in actuality, I was more afraid that he wasn’t talking about me rather than saying anything negative. I worried I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough or popular enough for him. I worked on all those things consistently to prove to him that I was his perfect match.

He broke up with me in May, but never left my side. The longest we ever went without talking was 5 days, and that was in October of 2017, because I was finally finding my backbone again. He became frantic at that point and begged to come over and talk to me. I thought he was coming back to ask me to marry him. That is laughable looking back.

He never gave me a reason for breaking things off in May, only that he felt he had to work on himself around the grief of his father and his relationship with his mother. Like a good little girl, I instantly jumped to support him and show him that he still needed me. I begged him not to go and to let me love him while he did this work. I knew it was off, but I was addicted to him. He kept me close enough to make me still feel as if I “got a piece of him” but so far away that I could never find out who he really was and what he was really doing.

He was my only sexual partner during the entire time I knew him and I was obsessed. He told me that I was the best lover he ever had, that I taught him how to be “good”. Before and after every time we had sex, he would make sure to remind me that it “meant something”. I soon got irritated with this, because when you’re in a relationship with someone you love, you don’t have to tell them that having an intimate relationship “means something”. The reason the sexual component is so intense with a narcissist is because it is truly the only way to feel as if you are receiving any intimate contact with them. They hold you at bay, compartmentalize you and distort your reality in every other facet of life, that sex just becomes the quickest and easiest way to feel loved by them.

My friends and family watched from the sidelines, trying to pull me off him. They told me that he was too broken or something was off. They told me he was image obsessed and demented for starting a relationship with me while he was still living with someone else (this also makes me demented, I realize). But his promises of marriage, family and a life together kept me there. I wanted those things with him. I wanted to be his partner. I wanted to feel chosen by Jason. And he would tell me things like:

“you’re my muse for life”

“You are the reason I get up in the morning”

“you will always be mine”

“I have never been as attracted to someone as I am to you”

“Our babies will be so cute”

“I miss waking up next to my Nik”

“I’m putting all my effort into fixing myself so we can be together and live our life the way we want”

“I will always take care of you”

“You are my safe spot”

“No one knows as much about me as you do. You know me better than anyone”

“Pick a week and we can go to Mexico”

“I would rather go to Spain with you”

“I’m selling my house and then we can find a place and rent together before we buy our next house”

“I can only relax when I am laying next to you”

“It has never crossed my mind that we won’t eventually be together”.

A snapshot of why I stayed

A snapshot of why I stayed

 

And this is the tip of the iceberg. He made me feel as if I was the ONLY one that mattered, but these moments were stretched out, weeks between these professions of love. Crumbs that sustained me for over a year. I was addicted to the surge of love I would feel and I would chase that high. I tried to date other guys, but no one could compare to Jason. He was perfect in my eyes. When I told him that I had started to date again in September of 2017, he freaked out. He told me he was physically ill and couldn’t stand the thought of me being with other guys (even just for dinner). I thought this meant he was coming back to me, for real this time. It worked, I thought! The oldest trick in the book, dating someone else to get the attention of the guy you really love and want. No, it did not work. Because he came back just enough to reclaim my attention and I dropped all those other men. He said he was giving me his full attention and commitment and I instantly felt guilty for seeing other people (even though he had broken up with me, again). I told every one of them that I was back with my ex-boyfriend. We were actually dating again. He actually took me out to dinner at Martina, he actually slept over (mind you, this happened once). But soon, we were back to the same cadence. He wouldn’t call me his girlfriend, he was more and more elusive with his time, he wouldn’t give me straight answers, he was less affectionate on the phone, the time gaps between our conversations grew more and more. It felt like I was crumbing for less and less, and I was so exhausted. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted from this relationship with him. I was so fatigued and so twisted up inside I decided to take a trip to get away from him.

So I went to Bali. Before I left, he again, came over and told me we needed to end it. This scene is so familiar in our relationship that it didn’t even phase me. I think I may have actually rolled my eyes. And I was done. I told him, “Fine, let’s take these two weeks I’m gone and give each other some space.” And he agreed, but did not follow through (and neither did I-I’m a fucking Jason addict). Me being gone was like a renewed sense of desire; he FaceTimed me EVERY day, twice a day when I was Bali. He would text me non-stop. He was all of a sudden enamored and in love with me again. He talked about our future; our upcoming trips, our plans for when I got home, how much he missed me and loved me and couldn’t wait to see me. I was so happy. I was so encouraged. Again--oldest trick in the book, start focusing on yourself and your dude will open his eyes and finally see the light. No, he did not see the light because there was never a light to see between us.

The entire time that I was in Bali he was with her. His actual girlfriend. The girl that he brought around his friends. The girl that he brought to the State Fair, 4th of July, Christmas parties. The girl who would come to his house and cook for him. The girl he brought to his family home in Florida. The girl who was living the life with him that he promised me. He’s actually been with this woman for quite some time. The earliest marker that I’ve been told is October of 2016, when he text a mutual friend and asked about her. He took her out for dinner in May to celebrate her divorce. They’ve been on vacations together. He’s met her children. The list is sickening. This is why I wince when I wake up. The wince is about starting to marry what I believed to be true and what the actual reality of his life is, and how big I compromised my life for him. The contrast is so great that it is painful for my brain to process and accept. I am on Day 7 of finding out who Jason really is; it is not easy to realize that man you loved was an illusion. It is not easy to experience the emotions that come from ending a relationship with a true, living breathing sociopathic narcissist.

I realized and continue to realize through this unfolding process that I have undeniable codependent traits. That I devalue myself in my relationships with men. That I have soul searching to do while I pick up these pieces and go forward. I am so inspired and encouraged by making connections with other women that he has done this to. Simultaneous to me, before me, and whoever may come after me. I am here. I understand how you feel. We are stronger together and he is true criminal against women. He sins against our minds, bodies and hearts. He is a thief in the night. Although I have only known about his true character since Wednesday of last week, I already know of 4 other women besides myself that he has treated this way in the less than two years I knew him (and I’m sure that is just the beginning).

I write because I feel stronger when I write. I share my story because I’ve kept it inside for so long. I’ve protected him, sinned against myself, excused his behavior, compromised every part of me to be good enough for him. I know that he was a lesson that I needed to learn and someday I will understand it more fully. I know that I will continue to write and process and hope that it finds its way to whoever it is meant for. Right now I have gratitude for the beauty of truth. Painful, gut wrenching beautiful truth.

To myself and the Other Women I have hurt throughout my relationship with Jason:

I love you

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you.

 

Hell Hath No Fury...

Love and Rage

Love and Rage

Do you know what the feeling is like to know that the person you love (or loved) is in love with someone else and has been lying to you for God knows how long? Do you know what it is like to drive over to your best friend’s house and have them tell you that they have not one but three people who can confirm this? Do you know what it’s like to then have your partner, who only hours ago you were talking to and flirting with, disappear,  because he so desperately wants to control the situation and cannot handle the realness of what is happening?

I saw him hugging, snuggling and kissing her on a boat on 4th of July earlier this year. I snapped because we had just had sex the night before and although were supposedly broken up, we really weren’t. I told him that I never wanted him to talk to her again. Her name was the name. Her name was the name that came out of his mouth yesterday when he said he had struck up a “friendship” with her at the gym. I lost my breath. That’s how we met. That’s what he said about me for months. The questions and my breath quickened; rapid fire and non stop. My fingers were sending texts and pressing “call” on repeat. 10 times. 15 times. Fuck, I'm that girl. No response.

He is in Florida right now, and I remember FaceTiming him a year ago when he there; we talked about what this new year would bring and how we were going to build this beautiful life together. But it was anything but. That is the thing with a narcissist; they are so good, you don’t even know it’s happening until you’re drowning. 

“She’s going to Florida to meet him” the text came in last night from my friend (all confirmed through reputable sources). “They’ve been dating for at least two months, if not longer. She’s telling her friends that their going to get married and they’re in love”. Cracking, breaking, the earth splitting open for what feels like an unending period of time. Still no response from him; except to tell me how I was being out of control. Uh, yeah you bet your fucking ass I’m out of control. But that is unacceptable and he won’t speak to me until he, ahem, they return on Saturday.

I never understood the old cliche “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” until yesterday. Until that moment I heard her name. Until I felt that visceral pain in my body like it was being shot, my skin and organs being shredded. I feel anger like I’ve never experienced before, I’ve acted in ways that are out of my body. The level of betrayal and dismissal from someone only a day ago said “I love you babe”. Disposable like I never mattered to him. Everything is being run through a sieve: lie or truth? lie or truth?

People wonder how smart, beautiful, confident women stay in bad, emotionally abusive relationships. It happens everywhere, and almost every woman has a story (or two). This was/is particularly devastating and I don’t have enough space right now to process and share everything, but this man is smart and calculating to a degree I’ve never witnessed. I do have enough clarity to know that I am not the crazy one, I did not expect too much (or anything actually), I only loved without logic. 24 hours ago my world changed in a way that I honestly didn’t ever foresee. He promised me he would never hurt me. He promised me we would be together. He promised me a partner, a lover, a life, babies, adventure and love. He promised everything that I wanted to hear. And he left me with a dial tone.

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Reconnect With Your Voice

Build your dream house.

Build your dream house.

Reposted from previous blog. Original post from May 24, 2016

Recently, I had a moment in which I realized that I had been denying my inner voice. It came suddenly and fiercely. Long story short, I had been dating someone that I was passionately attracted to, and yet knew there was something off. On a daily basis I had been shoving down that voice that said, “This isn’t right”. I wanted so desperately for things to be perfect between us. Reality was far from that—and no matter who told me what, until I was ready to see it, it didn’t matter. He ended our relationship in an incredibly painful way, and even in that moment of visceral ache, I was released. Released from this incredibly denial and dishonesty that I had been prioritizing for 18 months. I was able to start to step into this place of authenticity and truth. I want nothing more than to take this lesson and spread it like gospel. Please know that I understand the pain associated with stepping into your truth, and I also know the light. 

I actually had a totally different introduction to this post, and it seemed less than authentic to begin from a place of authority. I am human just like you; I cry, I bleed, I love and I learn. I wanted to share this with you to start from a universal truth, that we are all in process. I can speak from a place of expertise, yet also from a place of student (and life just handed me a elephant sized lesson…thanks life :)). 

The way I integrate this lesson with my clients is that I askthem to honor how “not knowing” or ignoring their voice has served her up until now. I come from the belief that all our actions and belief start from a positive intention, and we must recognize what that is! Often, coping skills or defense mechanism do serve us, and then, at some point can become destructive or unhelpful. 

An example of this is passive aggressive communication. Passive aggressive means that you say something in order to avoid a conflict, however you are desperately wanting the other person to understand your frustration, anger or fear. Where I come from (Minnesota), this is the “normal” way to communicate, and anything outside this realm is considered rude, abrasive and unacceptable. The positive intention is to keep the peace, to manage and have happy relationships. Unfortunately, the result is the exact opposite! I cannot tell you how many people I’ve seen in therapy wanting to improve relationships, set boundaries and feel more congruent with their inner and outer message because of this pervasive style of communication. 

My goal and advice in each of these moments that clients come to me is the same: use your voice. Start slowly and begin to get familiar with what is in your heart; what is it that you actually want to communicate? What are you actually needing from yourself and those around you? What is your fear in embracing your truth? Begin to ask these questions and your brain will start the retrieval process for the answers (crazy, right)?

Often, our fear in embracing our voice, saying our truth, stating our needs, is that:

  1. We could possibly upset someone else and then their view of us will change
  2. As women, we will be seen as bitchy, rude, unlikeable or abrasive,
  3. It is not okay to ask for your needs to be met; you will be labeled as selfish, which apparently is a punishable offense. 

I want you to start to challenge some of these inner beliefs; are these really serving you? How might life be better if you stated what was really on your mind? How might your relationships improve if you allowed people to know the real you? How might your mental, spiritual and physical health improve if you started to ask for what you need and then allow it to enter your life?

I can tell you from personal and professional experience that relationships can grow exponentially through conflict. And not aggressive fighting, yet dialogue and allowing someone to know you, challenge you and encourage you to see something from a different perspective. How many times in your life has someone given you feedback that has shifted your perspective and made you a more productive, loving, kind person? Do you remember the gratitude and excitement you felt with this new revelation? Connect with this and allow yourself to engage more frequently with real discussions with the people you care about. 

Below are 5 easy, fun and achievable ways to start to use your voice, because your words, thoughts, feelings and desires are so important! Don’t let one more day pass where your voice is unheard!

  1. If you are angry, upset or frustrated with someone, speak out loud the words you would say to them. I often will tell clients to get it out in their car, in their bathroom in front of their mirror or when they are by themselves, where they don’t have to edit one single word. The point of this is not to actually cultivate your message, but to allow your emotions out! Let yourself say the things that you might NEVER actually say to that person. Engage with your feelings, so that you can come closer to a balanced message when you actually talk to this person.

  2. Get familiar with your emotions! Ask yourself “What am I feeling right now” and then LISTEN! Make efforts to understand your patterns of emotions and then record them in a journal or a note on your phone. Once you start to notice what feelings are coming up frequently, you can find ways to process them and approach the situation differently.

  3. Redefine the word “selfish”. I cannot tell you how much I despise this word; it is shaming and denies people (mostly women) the most imperative self care that they need. Self care is what we all need to move through this world; the things that give us energy, fill up our bucket and allow us to show up as the best versions of ourselves. I want you to pick one thing that you would have previously defined as selfish and do it anyways. This could mean, making your favorite dinner (even if you partner doesn’t like it), going to yoga in the middle of the work day, buying that purse that you’ve been eyeing, going out to brunch with your girlfriends, spending an hour a week in meditation or journaling. Replenish your spirit and you will be able to offer the world 10-fold what you think you’re capable of.

  4. Schedule a difficult conversation. We all have that one (or maybe 5) people that we’ve been putting off an uncomfortable conversation with. Stop delaying and text them immediately to meet for coffee, a drink or a Skype date. Write out what you want to say to them and always come from a place of love. Use “I” statements to diffuse any defensiveness. Be ready and able to own your own shit. Remember the goal is to use your voice; if the relationship also improves that is a beautiful bonus. It will not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever was. It is worth it and you will remember that feeling going forward-it will ripple out and allow you to have more authentic, vulnerable and valuable relationships with people you love.

  5. Reestablish or reconnect with your identity. When was the last time that you really thought about who you are as a person? What are your values, your desires, your goals, your fears, your losses? If someone asked you, “who are you?”, what would your response be? Spend 10 minutes a day for the next week journaling about these 7 topics:

    1. Values
    2. Relationships
    3. Goals
    4. Career
    5. Fears
    6. The Biggest Dream I Could Possibly Dream Is…
    7. What I Want for My Future Is…

I cannot wait to have you get started on these amazing steps towards rediscovering your TRUE voice! Believe me when I say, I am walking this journey too and will share my trials and victories. Take the chance to be happy and connect with the truth that you, and everyone, holds within themselves. 

 

Celebrating a bitching blog post!

Celebrating a bitching blog post!

Be Well My Friends,

Nikki