Richard Grannon Spartan Life Coach

Richard Grannon The Spartan Life Coach Narcissism Support


    welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

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    LOA

    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2015-01-27
    Age : 55
    Location : Arizona, USA

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by LOA on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:17 pm

    Smile  The videos have helped me learn to stand up for myself.  I posted something on FB and my No  brother put a nasty remark and a curse word in a comment.  I will describe what happened next:
    Evil or Very Mad  I was SUPER angry and then bounce all of a sudden, I was like, "There's an old pattern! farao My body went to all the scary places affraid  and my mind went bounce

    Here is what I said in a personal message to him: "That's the second time you have posted rudeness and curse words on my wall.  My kids and friends see your mean comments to me.  Next time this happens, I will defriend/block you."  

    I was really afraid after I did that.  But proud.  cheers  I am learning that I have behaved subservient.

    My father was a brute.  My mother died of suicide when she was pregnant with her 4th child.  She was not yet 25.  My dad married a woman who did not want to be a parent, she was more interested in tennis and being popular, shopping, and showing off.  I think that perhaps I am the lucky one because I am able to get on top of this.  I used to run away and now I have come back to the scene of the crime.

    I now understand that I am going to have to really change my behavior and distance myself emotionally.  It is really strange to think that I really do not have any type of meaningful relationship with any of my siblings, I thought that we were a team.  I have been so oblivious and guilty of learned helplessness.

    It is as if I just started to see or really pay attention.  My goal is to unpack all of this craziness and take a good long look at what the heck happened to me.

    Yesterday I called my step mom ( she lives very near ) and I am attempting to get information from her about the past without completely scaring her away.  She seems to be able to handle it.  I asked her how old I was when they sent me to AZ to "Uncle Jorgens".  She said I was about 5 when I started having to stay with him.  I asked her "Why?"  I don't know the answer and I think this is the first time she has even thought about that.  But now I have a photo and she knows it.  I shared it with my 1/2 brother and even thought he promised me, he would not mention it to her, he did.  Now I know I cannot trust him.  Uncle Jorgen used to joke that I was his child-bride and that my parents gave me to him.  I still don't know why I was sent there, I told her that I was ordered to keep all the doors and windows shut, don't tough the curtains, and never answer the phone.  I sat there all day, in front of TV while he was at work. I think it was around 1971 when I stopped seeing him.  I was 10. My dad's 2nd wife is the one who raised us, and she was a hard, cold person.  She scared me silly, as did my dad.  I was locked in my room and grounded for months on end.  She hated me.  She accused me of wanting to ruin her marriage, and literally made my life hell pimping me out to babysit for her tennis acquaintances, the people she wanted to impress at the country club.  She insisted that I get a job out of the home during the hot summer in phx and she dropped me off at some mans apartment and he gave me a drink and i woke up underneath a large bed.  I waited for hours until I knew I was alone and called my girlfriend.  SHe came and got me.  I know something happened but I was not injured I dont think.  I never really felt my body in those days.  My nicknames were, "pig", "ugly" and I was told what  'great big nothing I was all the time.

    gottalaugh

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2015-01-22

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by gottalaugh on Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:59 pm

    Hello Chucky, breakaway, indigo and Laura Arizona,
    I am quite thrilled to be in this space with you all! Firstly, I hope we all realize how very strong we are, as individuals and as we come together. I know there have been countless times I have thought myself weak, duped again, so stupid, blah blah blah, yet in the core of my soul my true self hung on, fought hard, sought truth and lived to tell. You, my friends, have done the same. We get "chosen" not because of weakness but because of strength. Truly we are, we put cracks in the N's self reflection, he/she can't bear that thus comes the attempts to annihilate us. Be strong. Stay strong. You are stronger than you know and have more power than you know.
    Yes Chucky, I bet each and every one of us is an eternal optimist: hearts, roses, unicorns, sunshine,
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    Indigo

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2014-12-28

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Indigo on Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:29 am

    Hello gottalaugh, Chucky, and LauraArizona,
    Thank you so much gottalaugh for those very well put words of wisdom.  You are so right.
    LauraArizona, I'm a mess too.  I second guess everything I do and write... but knowing what you went through, I'm actually thankful for my own childhood.
    Chucky, my optimism as far as them doing the right thing is now gone with the realisation of "gaslighting" being their tactic, in addition to their total lack of empathy and obsessive need to destroy.

    Cheers all you warriors!
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    Chucky

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2015-01-20
    Age : 51
    Location : Queensland, Australia

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Chucky on Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:52 am

    Hi Champs Smile
    Sorry to be a downer, but quite often, I get so down and over trying to be strong and keeping my chin up, what do you all do to drraagg yourselfs out of it. I normally know HOW to help myself emotionally but sometimes it's Exhausting!!! And I give up and go to bed to hide.
    And one more thing how isolated are we, I resent everybody because most people i know trivalize and laugh it off. ie: oh my husband is a asshole too dear. Frustrating!!!!
    Hope you guys are still breathing xxxx

    gottalaugh

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2015-01-22

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by gottalaugh on Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:50 pm

    Champs indeed! Chucky the last message i wrote was following a 4 day coma, seriously! I had an several traumatic experiences at work last Friday, spent 2 days numb with shock then when I started to come out of it, spent the next 2+ days falling apart. Every time I go to that dark dark place I come out smarter,more self aware, stronger & often, really F~ing pissed off!!!! Oh, but I cry an ocean in the meantime!!! You are not alone! I so much want to overcome my trauma, my fears, be a Phoenix rising out of the ashes. You are STRONG! YOU ARE BRAVE! Do not mistak your feelings as weakNess!!!
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    Indigo

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    Join date : 2014-12-28

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Indigo on Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:09 am

    I got fired between my two messages...  Sad ... Laughing

    But I do also feel like I learn a lot everytime especially this time with Richard's mini-course.  
    I am able to switch my negative thinking to positive almost immediately.  It's only been a few days but I have hope.

    zorbie2009

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2015-02-01

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by zorbie2009 on Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:53 pm

    Hello all!  For the first time in my life, at age 44, I've been starting to wonder if there's something not so terribly wrong with me.   I have a younger brother (two years younger) who I was estranged from for a long time, until I had a child.  Since then, we've re-united and have had more frequent visits that were promising.  

    Recently,  he joined a church which involves taking perception altering herbs.  He also met his current wife in this spiritual community. Since joining this community and meeting his wife, our interactions have generated a lot of stress, anger, and sadness.  I haven't been able to figure out how much of it is me, how much him? This last Christmas I was so triggered by my interactions with my brother and his wife - I felt like I belonged in a mental ward.  When I came back home, in attempt to figure out whether I really do need therapy, like my brother and his wife, insisted during the holidays, I found your site.

    I am feeling like a consult with you wouldn't be such a bad idea.  

    I really appreciate your clarifications. Your videos are incredibly rich with insights.

    Thanks so much for creating so much value.
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    LOA

    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2015-01-27
    Age : 55
    Location : Arizona, USA

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by LOA on Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:34 pm

    Thank you for the kind and warm welcome, zorbie, Indigo,gottalaugh, breakaway and chucky!!
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    LOA

    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2015-01-27
    Age : 55
    Location : Arizona, USA

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by LOA on Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:58 pm

    Today I had a job interview. The first one where I did not feel like a worm. I have been treating myself for 2+ years with weed and the internet. Thanks SLC, I know you don't approve of drugs but this works for me. My changes have included major physical changes as well as mental clarity. I have lost weight and meditate almost daily and for the first time in my life I think I can really go on to a better existence. If I am successful at getting this job, it will be the first real evidence that I have, besides my own observations, that I am indeed getting better at managing cptsd.
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    LOA

    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2015-01-27
    Age : 55
    Location : Arizona, USA

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by LOA on Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:07 pm

    The job interview went well. I feel so differently about everything...I can hold on to my concentration and not fall into emotion easier. It seems that when I test out the theory that I have value and can belong somewhere, it seems to work. I will hear soon if I get another interview. I don't have high hopes, I am not going to jinx it. Fingers crossed.
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    LOA

    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2015-01-27
    Age : 55
    Location : Arizona, USA

    Bwahaha

    Post by LOA on Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:47 pm

    Razz Razz Razz No, I didn't get the job. It has been a good learning experience for me though. First what happened is that I realized with the help of my husband that it is no big deal. I am doing the course work and meditating. I have found that lifting weight at the gym is THE BEST thing for my body&mind.
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    LOA

    Posts : 12
    Join date : 2015-01-27
    Age : 55
    Location : Arizona, USA

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by LOA on Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:53 pm

    Hey Indigo, there is a BETTER job or situation in your future. Just list all that you want for your job and focus on the positive.Basketball
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    Warrior Princess

    Posts : 4
    Join date : 2015-02-12
    Age : 50
    Location : Tasmania

    Introduction

    Post by Warrior Princess on Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:08 am

    Hello. Im not sure if this is how I get started as I am a forum virgin... About me .... I am not all that computer savvy but life is full of little adventures. I am a 48 year old Diversional art therapist and love this work. One would think that when you work in mental health you would see the signs. I have noticed that many of the people I get to work with are not usually the mental ones but the by product of exposure to narcs. I am a qualified counselor but have had to give that a rest for a bit due to me sorting me out. I became very very unwell due to the games being played with my head.  I found  the YouTube  videos while trying to figure what the hell was going on with my brain after ending a 10 year thingy with a psycho. I have had other narc relationships and wanted to know why I kept ending up in them. Now I know..... Thank you . your vids helped clear things up. It has been 6 months and have been enjoying life with a different out look. The psycho has begun to recontact.Everything he says is so fucked up its amusing...NOW.....It is making him very angry as I will not respond to his efforts to reel me back in. Social annihilation is on the agenda at the moment. Very funny as he made sure I was isolated while with him. Thanks to your wisdom and a hell of a lot of self evaluation and healing I now have a different outlook and am making better choices. woo hoo Look out . Each day is getting better but still have the stupid dick running around in my thoughts. I guess it will eventually get better.
    Many thanks
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    gigiminer

    Posts : 63
    Join date : 2014-08-17
    Age : 54
    Location : Upstate NY

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by gigiminer on Wed May 06, 2015 11:58 am

    Although I'm not hiding my identity, I am hiding my general research and participation in such things atm. Living with the person and since he's taken to hacking and monitoring my activity, I am being careful. Tho' I guess not that careful since I'm doing this. Very Happy

    Started the course - Thank you for creating it. It always helps for us americans with slight accent fetishes when the person talking is British. I think that's a whole different forum. Very Happy

    I've written, done public speaking, taught classes, and of late, totally hidden away as a result of my relationship. It's taken me a bit of time to realize what was happening as it was "all my fault" for so long. But...baby steps. Thus, trying to get out here in the "real" world a tad more in spite of being an introvert.

    I feel like I need some Bond music playing in the background while I do all this.

    Undisclosed87

    Posts : 4
    Join date : 2015-05-09

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Undisclosed87 on Sat May 09, 2015 9:20 pm

    I am an American and gigi's story sounds oddly familiar.

    "ditto"


    Last edited by Undisclosed87 on Sat May 09, 2015 9:22 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : I wanted to edit. Gets me high.)
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    jazzycat

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2015-05-09
    Location : United States

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by jazzycat on Sun May 10, 2015 12:47 am

    Hello.  I found Richard's videos about a month ago while trying to learn about NPD.  My ex keeps telling me I'm a narc- he sends me videos and articles to read about NPD- but after learning about it I really don't think I am.  I want to know, though.  I know there is something wrong with me *now* (after being in a screwed up relationship for 10 years) but I don't think that's what it is.  I think I have fairly severe PTSD.  In watching many hours of videos and reading much material the past few months, I think my ex is either covert NPD or (more likely) BPD, or maybe a combination of the two.  I'm seriously confused though.  Have I been abusive to him?  Yes.  Was he abusive to me?  Yes.  In looking back over our relationship, I know I wasn't always thus.  I didn't start out being abusive to him.  I developed certain behaviors after years of being with him in order to protect myself.  

    He accuses me of gaslighting him, but if I am it's unconscious on my part (and from I understand about gaslighting, it's a tactic that's used to intentionally confuse the victim in order to gain an advantage over them, and one would need to be conscious of doing it in order to gain that advantage), and I'm pretty sure he's been doing that to me for years, because throughout this relationship, every time we argued (which could go on literally for weeks), I would end up wondering "wth just happened?"  I could never put my finger on it, and it was confusing as hell.  Arguments became so twisted around that I literally didn't know what was going on, and his IQ is sooo high that I can't compete with that.  (not that I'm an idiot because I'm not.)  I used to think it was because he had a better command of the english language than I did, and that he knew how to formulate arguments and debates better than me, but now I don't think that's the case at all.  I should also add here, his mom is NPD, and he's told me at least one of his exes was NPD, so that gives me pause.  I'm thinking maybe he needs to believe this is true in order to cover up his borderline personality disorder (if that's what his problem is, I'm not sure but I think that might be it).

    We went to 2 different psychologists over the years, one who was more sympathetic to my POV and one who was more sympathetic to his, but I don't want sympathy, I'm interested in actually learning what I'm doing wrong and finding a way to fix it.  (I had a therapist once who would tell me when I was acting like a victim, and she helped me more than any psychologist I ever went to.)  We've also had 3 or 4 people mediate for us to try and help us communicate better (I always thought our problems were simply communication issues that could be fixed if we learned how to communicate with each other.  I was wrong.)  Anyway.  

    Glad to be here amongst people who are going through something similar. I'm hoping maybe we can all learn from one another.  Cheers.

    Undisclosed87

    Posts : 4
    Join date : 2015-05-09

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Undisclosed87 on Sun May 10, 2015 1:06 am

    " I used to think it was because he had a better command of the english language than I did, and that he knew how to formulate arguments and debates better than me, but now I don't think that's the case at all.  I should also add here, his mom is NPD, and he's told me at least one of his exes was NPD, so that gives me pause.  I'm thinking maybe he needs to believe this is true in order to cover up his borderline personality disorder (if that's what his problem is, I'm not sure but I think that might be it)."

    He knows how to manipulate a conversation to make him look unculpable and you the aggressor.

    "We went to 2 different psychologists over the years, one who was more sympathetic to my POV and one who was more sympathetic to his, but I don't want sympathy, I'm interested in actually learning what I'm doing wrong and finding a way to fix it.  (I had a therapist once who would tell me when I was acting like a victim, and she helped me more than any psychologist I ever went to.)  We've also had 3 or 4 people mediate for us to try and help us communicate better (I always thought our problems were simply communication issues that could be fixed if we learned how to communicate with each other.  I was wrong.)  Anyway."

    You're not a victim. You just wanted to be with someone who knew how to enjoy a relationship. Any therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist pushing that on you is not a professional.

    He wants to have a pleasant successful emotional relationship while at the same time still be his own narc superstar not having to change his behavior to be kinder to you. He's protecting that "right". If he's not willing to change, you might as well let it go. This maybe what you don't want to hear but trust me, It's your only option unless he gives and decides to change on his own for himself.

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    Neowuf

    Posts : 13
    Join date : 2015-05-23

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Neowuf on Sat May 23, 2015 4:16 pm

    Hi There !
    I found the videos on youtube, and did some research and found this forum Smile
    I have a narcissist/psychopath father, he´s 80 and Im 32. Crying or Very sad
    I have many fears, Im isolated and cant get my financial independence to run away from here.
    My virtual life is my only life, I have no real life anymore.. Im just a object on real life
    Im doing art to keep my sanity, if anyone want to check is neowolf.deviantart.com
    hope I can get help here, its now one week Im looking for info about narcissistic/psychopath, its been a eye opener so far Razz
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    gigiminer

    Posts : 63
    Join date : 2014-08-17
    Age : 54
    Location : Upstate NY

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by gigiminer on Sun May 24, 2015 9:06 am

    Hi Neowuf...welcome. It's really quiet here. But...I'm glad you're doing your research. It's not easy. But just the gathering of information does help - at least it helps me. I hope you start to feel stronger as you learn more and more.

    Darren

    Posts : 1
    Join date : 2015-05-24

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Darren on Sun May 24, 2015 11:44 pm

    Admin wrote:thanks and welcome to the forum

    Hello: My name is Darren.

    Is this forum still active? If so where should I select to enter the growth sections for a people pleaser.  

    ..BTY: just got out of a relationship with who I believe was a covert narcissist / histrionic.  I was drawn in by her helplessness and cry for rescue. She needed me and treated me like a king. She wanted to move in with me and was gorgeous. At first things were great even mind blowing amazing. Then after 2 months the crazy started to happen and I could do nothing right and was always the cause of her unhappiness. but, she would stone wall me if I asked what could be done to improve things between us..  and then suddenly she would repeat how wonderful and exciting her new man lover (who was married ) was for her. I never experienced so much pain and confusion even about doubting myself worth and sanity..

    Any ideas where I should start?
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    Richard Grannon
    Admin

    Posts : 33
    Join date : 2013-12-11
    Location : Portugal

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Richard Grannon on Mon May 25, 2015 3:25 pm

    Hi the forum is active, but I spent the last 2 months moving house/country.
    Im settled in and internet is on so... here I am.

    Do you want me to set up a section just for people pleaser/co-dependency issues? Can do...
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    3029040

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2015-05-26

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by 3029040 on Tue May 26, 2015 3:42 pm

    Hello,

    I've found myself here because I am trying to break off a 4 year long relationship. I am 25 years old female.
    I'm not sure which one of us is the narcissist (I suspect we might both be), but there have been ups and downs in the relationship for at least 2 years now, and after we've recently moved together, I realised I am not able to imagine any kind of future together. I also don't find him sexually attractive anymore, a problem which I had tried to work on, but without any success. And although this should not be a top priority in a long-term relationship, for me this was a big problem.

    My situation has been also difficult lately because:
    a) 3 months ago we moved to another country together (because of me - I found a job here, and although I said I wasn't asking him to go with me, he did, even though he didn't wanted to move),
    b) I am extremely intimidated by social situations with new people, which has had a serious impact on me in the last 3 months (I didn't know anyone in the new place when we had moved in),
    c) I had been having serious communication issues with my new work supervisor (who was about the only person I had to report my work to), and I didn't know why that was, so I assumed this might be because of my cultural/language differences or my problems with socialising, but last week I was notified that he had been signed off work and is now in a hospital, diagnosed with a mental illness called 'mania', which apparently was making him hard to communicate with,
    d) Since me and my partner were moving from another country, the agency required us to pay rent for 6 months in advance, and now I don't have enough funds to move out, at least not right now,
    e) When I told him I want to break up, he wanted to change/repair the relationship, but I just didn't see that working out. After a while of being civil, since we're living together, (but there wasn't any going out/having sex/ spending time together), he assumed we are back together. Although I did hug him a few times when he seemed very sad and I felt guilty. When I repeated that I wanted a break up, he said he was depressed and that I had kicked him at his lowest. One evening he threatened that he would commit suicide, but I think it just slipped his tongue and he didn't really mean to say it. Nevertheless I've been checking up on him lately, because I am worried, even though I would prefer to stay no contact.

    In a way, I think he might be a narcissist, because I often found myself manipulated by him making me feel guilty, and consequently changing my decisions. Also, he made me do all his decisions for him and then accused me of choosing the wrong option afterwards.
    On the other hand, I am the narcissist because I do view him as a safe-person and am very afraid of being single again. I feel I am only a complete person if I have someone, and that I will face social judgement if I am single again. I have dragged this for too long, only for my own insecurity reasons, and without regards for his feelings.

    (I'm sorry for writing such a long post. )
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    jazzycat

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2015-05-09
    Location : United States

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by jazzycat on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:56 pm

    Undisclosed87 wrote:" I used to think it was because he had a better command of the english language than I did, and that he knew how to formulate arguments and debates better than me, but now I don't think that's the case at all.  I should also add here, his mom is NPD, and he's told me at least one of his exes was NPD, so that gives me pause.  I'm thinking maybe he needs to believe this is true in order to cover up his borderline personality disorder (if that's what his problem is, I'm not sure but I think that might be it)."

    He knows how to manipulate a conversation to make him look unculpable and you the aggressor.

    Yes, I do believe this is true, at least to a certain degree.

    "We went to 2 different psychologists over the years, one who was more sympathetic to my POV and one who was more sympathetic to his, but I don't want sympathy, I'm interested in actually learning what I'm doing wrong and finding a way to fix it.  (I had a therapist once who would tell me when I was acting like a victim, and she helped me more than any psychologist I ever went to.)  We've also had 3 or 4 people mediate for us to try and help us communicate better (I always thought our problems were simply communication issues that could be fixed if we learned how to communicate with each other.  I was wrong.)  Anyway."

    You're not a victim. You just wanted to be with someone who knew how to enjoy a relationship. Any therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist pushing that on you is not a professional.

    He wants to have a pleasant successful emotional relationship while at the same time still be his own narc superstar not having to change his behavior to be kinder to you. He's protecting that "right". If he's not willing to change, you might as well let it go. This maybe what you don't want to hear but trust me, It's your only option unless he gives and decides to change on his own for himself.


    Just to clarify, the woman who told me I was acting like a victim was a shaman and a very powerful healer, and also a polarity therapist; she was not a psychologist.  (I always do better with alternative healing methods than traditional ones.)  And she never said I *was* a victim, she told me I was acting like one.  And she was right.  I found her directness very refreshing and also extremely helpful.  I'm a very strong willed person (I consider myself to be a warrior, I studied martial arts and was a bodybuilder back in the late 70s/early 80s, before it was mainstream for women to do those things), and I need someone who will be completely honest with me, and who will call me on my s**t.  

    As for all the other stuff around our relationship, I remain very confused.

    At any rate, thanks for the response.  It's very much appreciated.  <3
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    Warrior Princess

    Posts : 4
    Join date : 2015-02-12
    Age : 50
    Location : Tasmania

    Re: welcome to the forum, introduce yourself :)

    Post by Warrior Princess on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:10 am

    Yes please on the people pleaser section.
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    cygnus_olor

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2015-08-02

    The Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor): The "ugly duckling" finally amongst other Swans. :)

    Post by cygnus_olor on Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:24 am

    Hello... Though introducing myself is taking a lot of determination to follow through on, I am grateful to be here.

    I've used the name Cygnus Olor for the Mute Swan which seems appropriate, particularly since I'm still living the "ugly duckling" life. Finding this forum has provided a strange sort of comfort. Though I wish none of us had reason to be here, it eased some of the hardship to know I'm not alone. I made myself take the time to read what so many of you have shared. I kept getting nervous, but I managed to read almost all the introductions.

    Thank you for helping me to sense there's some solid ground ahead, that I can dare to hope. Nothing about me and the life I live seems to make much sense to me, despite all the reading and researching and learning I've done. Without exaggerating at all, I'm sure I've read for thousands of hours over the years, trying to learn my way out. And I really have learned some wonderful, valuable information - but none of it has helped me to start living the life I was meant to lead.

    I've vacillated so much, for so long that I find it hard to recognize the me I seem to have become. I think the greatest disappointment has been in myself. So this is me trying to correct that. This is me, The Mute Swan or Cygnus Olor, learning how to live as a Swan instead of the ''ugly duckling'' I've been taught to be.

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