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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse by Shahida Arabi

Published on: January 11, 2017
Published by: Thought Catalog Book
Pages: 354
Amazon: 4 1/2 Stars with over 100 reviews
Price: $4.99 Kindle or $13.49 Paperback

One word - AMAZING

Not long ago a friend recommended this book to me after living through another hurtful event from my ex.  At first I thought, It's just another book telling me to get over it and move on,  but after doing a little research and reading chapter 4 of the book online (20 Diversion Tactics), I decided to give this book a try and ordered the Kindle version.  I was hooked after the first chapter and ordered the paperback as well!

I took my time reading each word, highlighting important passages to me, taking notes and researching the different topics listed.  My mind was blown because it felt like reading my life only it was also giving me the answers to the questions I have been asking myself over and over.  I wish I would have found this book years ago and understood more about the world of emotional abuse.  It would have made me understand what was going on in my confusion of loving someone and given me the skills to walk away while healing from the damage.  I had convinced myself that maybe I was as crazy as my ex kept saying I was for not letting the past go and moving on, but this book helped explain why that wasn't possible and the steps I needed to make it possible.
"Healthy relationships thrive on security; unhealthy ones are filled with provocation, uncertainty and infidelity." 

I always wondered what happened to my Prince Charming, the man that would spend all night just talking, writing me poems or giving me cheesy cards.  Where was the guy that supported my choices and loved the same things I did?  Why did he stop showering me with I love you and telling me I was beautiful?  When did all that turn to put downs covered by I'm just joking.  How could he say I was fat, useless and not a real woman?  Why did he suddenly stop supporting my goals and telling me what a bad parent I was? How could he cheat on me and make me feel like I was going crazy?  If you are living like this or have, then this book may give you the answers to those questions like it has for me.    
This book is not set up as normal books would be but more of a collection of essays being a different chapter regarding the parts of emotion abuse and steps you may take to recover.  It is also FILLED with other helpful information with other books, websites and even support groups to join.
You will learn about the three phases of an abuse relationship:
  • Idealization - where you are treated as a queen, center of their universe, showered with gifts, taken on trips, praised, flattered which leaves you thinking you have found your perfect match.  
  • Devaluation - they become hot and cold, start putting you down but covering it with "I'm joking", comparing you to others, bringing in other people to the relationship, gaslighting, withdrawing and leaving you wondering what happened. 
  • Discard - leaves for another person or moves on quickly, public humiliation, convincing you that your worthless, you can't make it on your own, negative toward you, physically aggressive.
The book will go into detail about each of these phases which will help you understand how things went wrong in your relationship.  You will learn terms like:
  • Love-bombing - shallow flattery, constant texting and wanting to hang out with you all the time, which is a technique used to draw you in but doesn't last.
  • Gaslighting - technique used to convince you that you are remembering things inaccurate and placing the blame on your shoulders. This is a huge one for me and I never knew there was a term for it. I kept a journal for most of our relationship and was glad I did because it kept the facts clear.  
There is a section that will help you overcome the feelings you have when you see your partner treating someone else better than they did you and it will explain how to battle this so that you can find closure without ever getting a "genuine apology" from them for their treatment.   It will also help with the feeling that you walked away thinking you are a failure and worthless. 
Most of us are not strong enough to walk away in the devaluation phase.  I stayed for over 20+ years (between dating, marriage and after)!  We stick around through the "I love you", "I don't want you", "I want you back", "You're not what I want", "I love you, please give me another chance", yo-yo that are partners put us through without really understanding what is going on.  We just hope that one day they change their minds and see the diamond that has been right there all along while they chased after rocks. 

"Why would the same person who claimed to
love and care for you hurt you -
over and over without a hint of empathy or remorse? 
In the narcissist's world, it's simply because they can."

During my research on the subject, I found this letter  "When A Narcissist Says “I Love You” This Is What It Means",  written from the perspective of the narcissist and found it rather helpful as to why someone can say I love you so easy to so many different people at one time but can turn around and hurt the ones they claim to love.

The book will explain that no matter how many friends or family members tell you to leave, we only find the courage to walk away after facing a turning point or been pushed past our pain threshold. Once you have made that choice, the book will help you learn about NO CONTACT and help you find your power again.

It will also go into details about what you should and should NOT talk about because of what the outcome could be.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  I hand delivered to my ex what could really hurt me and bring me to my knees.  At the time, I was thinking if I told him, he would care enough about me to avoid this from happening.  Instead, he made sure to do this act which ultimately became the one thing that broke my pain threshold and pushed me into learning more about this subject.
Most importantly, there is a lot of information about the outcome of this kind of trauma and the long healing process to follow.  It goes into details about the different chemicals in the brain that are being messed with and the steps it can take to heal these so the feeling of being an empty shell can go away.  If you are in a long-term abuse relationship, it could also lead to something more major like:
  • PTSD
  • Complex PTSD
  • Narcissistic Victim Syndrome
Overall, I found this book a huge source of information on a subject I really knew nothing about.  I've already referred it to several people who I felt could benefit from the information after hearing their own stories.  It helps to finally feel like you have some of the answers to the questions you have been asking yourself over the years and to know the things you are feeling while trying to heal is normal. 
Looking over my story, I've found that even before this book I was doing a lot of these things anyway without even knowing it.  I was well on my way to the NO CONTACT, but it took getting really hurt one more time that pushed me to that edge.  Since we have a child together, I always felt we needed to be friends.  I now know this isn't the case and all it did was stop me from ever fully healing.  I was still being used as his supply when he needed a fix and now that I have cut off the contact, he will be forced to look for his supply in someone else.  
Other Books on the Subject:
No Contact: How to Beat the Narcissist by HG Tudor

Psychopath Free by Jackson Mackenzie

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