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Bead Jar Method, Boundaries, Narcissistic Abuse, Recovery

THE BEAD JAR METHOD

A VISUAL TOOL TO CHECK YOUR MINDSET
Coming out of a long relationship with a toxic person or ex can take an long-term emotion toll on your health. Stress combined with toxic situations can culminate to where we go back to that feeling of staying stuck. The Bead Jar Process is a great way I’ve found to take measure of my mind and I LOVE cancelling all that negativity and giving it back to joy (where I should always stay focused).”

Weeks, months and even years into gaining your independence you find yourself worrying about what the narc with do, say or think about something. You may even worry about how they will retaliate against you for holding them accountable or even telling them they were wrong (which most narcs can’t hear). I call this the “squirrel” in your brain. So how do you turn it off?

For me, I gave my narc enough of my life. I was ready to put him away in every possible facet to start over and start making new, happy memories and living the life I always wanted for myself. When I felt a thought coming, I would put a wooden bead in a jar. Until the day I dumped out the entire jar onto to the floor. I was livid with myself, “Unbelievable! I gave that man half a lifetime, walked away from everything in our divorce, ended up with a lifetime of debit and worse. I’m free and he’s STILL in my head. Nope, he doesn’t get my mind.”

HERE’S HOW TO USE THE BEAD JAR METHOD

What You Need:

  • Two Clear Glass Containers (I use large empty widemouth canning jars)
  • Visual Medium: Bag of Medium-Sized Wooden Beads, Buttons, Dominoes (anything will work)

Week 1 (7 Days): Filling the Negative Jar
Take an empty glass container and put a bead into the jar for every negative thought, interaction, feeling of helplessness, stress, and negative moment. Roll the object in our fingers and say it out loud before dropping it into the jar. Do this for a full 7 days (no cheating).

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Feeling bad about yourself (bead in jar)
Anger at ex (another)
Breaking a boundary (another)
Fighting with kids (another)
Being too hard on yourself (another)
Breaking No Contact with toxic ex (another)
Feeling helpless/frustrated with toxic ex (another)

Be really honest with your negative energy and take visual weight of what that looks and feels like sitting in a jar for you to deal with.

Think About/Journal:
After seeing a full 7 days of negativity in your jar, how do you feel?
What has the last week meant for your recovery journey?
What have you learned from this exercise so far?


Week 2 (7 Days): Countering Negative with the Positive Jar

Set the second empty container next to the full jar. Your job this week is to take each bead and counter that negative energy by replacing it with something positive. Return all that wasted time and negativity back to joy. Hold the bead in your hand and really think about how you feel moving this negative bead to the positive jar.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Volunteer (bead back in the jar)
Try a new recipe (another one)
Try a new wine (another)
Met someone new (another)
Take a bubble bath (another)
Love on your kids (another)
Pay a compliment to a woman who looked like she needed to hear it (another)
Pray for a friend (another)

Until, every bead is replaced with something positive.

Think About/Journal:
How does it feel to counter every negative experience with positive ones?
Did you notice a difference in your emotional well being when you focused here?
What did you learn about yourself and recovery journey after this?

My Personal Observations

I refilled that jar faster the second time. The good far outweighed the negative. And when I was done, I saw all the amazing and positive memories I had made. Instead of looking at those beads with dread, that jar gave me joy!

The exercise reminded me my life is my own. I am the only one who can control my present and my future-and I refused to give my future to someone who held my past hostage!

 

 

 

 

Boundaries, Rebuilding, Recovery, Starting Over, Survivor

KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS

UNDERSTANDING OUR RESPONSE TO STRESSES
Any weakness in defending or standing up for yourself can be used as weapon to manipulate, control and hurt you at the hands of toxic person or narcissist. Learning to stay steadfast in your decisions and setting healthy boundaries requires us unpacking why we are such pushovers.”

Journaling is one of the best ways to identify what triggers us and brings us to fight or flight mode. Sign up for a cloud-based journal app and start documenting situations where you felt you were feeling panicked, afraid, frustrated or bulldozed.

Capture four things in each journal entry:

The Situation
Really capture what the situation or circumstance was about, the topic, who was involved, where you were, and what you were discussing.

  • How did the environment make you feel?
  • Was the conversation heated or calm?
  • Do you already have a conflict relationship with the person(s) involved?
  • Were you discussing a heated or high-conflict topic? Why?
  • What were the circumstances that lead you to this precipice moment?

How You Felt
Understand how the situation makes you feel emotionally is a great layer to unpack. As you continue to journal, you will notice consistencies in your emotional response.

  • Do you feel safe or threatened?
  • Do you feel victimized in this situation? Why?
  • Do you feel angry or afraid?

Your Physical Response
Our bodies tell us a lot about how we feel about a situation. Look specifically for physical responses to the situation and log each symptom you experience.

  • Can you feel your heart race?
  • Are you sweating?
  • Do you lose feeling in your limbs?
  • Do you have a headache or migraine?
  • Do you feel chilly?
  • Are your ears ringing?
  • Are your fingers cold?
  • Is it hard to catch your breath or breathe normally?

Identify the Trigger
A trigger is the tipping point that sets off our flight/fight response. In identifying triggers, we can start to apply counter balance techniques to keep you calm, manage the situation logically, and maintain your stand,

  • What was said in the situation?
  • Was it the person’s voice?
  • Was it the topic?
  • Were you pressured to respond immediately?
  • Were you threatened physically or verbally?
  • Did you perceive a threat (real or imagined)?
Boundaries, Heart Check, Recovery, Warning Signs

BOUNDARIES START HERE

THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT 
Applying healthy boundaries is easy in theory, but that’s rarely the case in practice. As an empath, the Heart Check is something I do to remind myself when I should say “no” to a person or situation. Sometimes that means walking away from a relationship or situation completely–and that is just good self-care.”

When I’m evaluating when I should apply a boundary and say “no” to a person or situation I follow three simple steps. A Three Strikes You’re Out, approach to access how I feel about a situation and where I stand with my peace. If the situation fails the Heart Check then it’s time to be firm in my decision and stand.

Respect

This simple word means so much, doesn’t it? We can tell a lot about a person or situation if respect is involved. How do you know you are being respected? What does respect look like and feel like?

Here are a few self check questions you can ask to decide for yourself:

  • Does this person/situation value my opinion or feelings?
  • Have they demonstrated they care about my thoughts, feelings or POV before?
  • Do they speak kindly and use words that lift me up and not tear me down as a person?
  • Do they refrain from pressuring me into a rash decision?
  • Do they always get their way and care little for the consequences their actions mean for me?

Reciprocation

This means that they give you what you give them in return. Not every relationship or situation is always a 50/50 split, but it’s important that you are not always being the person compromising and giving your all.

  • Take weight of your relationship. Are you the giver and they the taker? Or does it feel equally weighted?
  • Are you tired and emotionally/physically exhausted from constantly giving your all and getting little in return?
  • Is this a friendship, partnership, or low value relationship? How much of your energy does this person/situation need or deserve from your other life demands?

Pattern of Behavior

Time is a great testament to how valuable your relationships are. Actions speak much louder than words ever could. Over time if your relationship falls more into the negative side, you know it’s time to apply some boundaries. Positive patterns bring peace, make us feel validated, valued and respected. Commitments and promises are made with full intention to be fulfilled.

Here are several questions you can apply to determine if you are in positive or negative pattern of behavior:

  • Does the person make promises they never keep?
  • Are you baited with a commitment then presented with something different?
  • How honest are they with you?
  • Do you trust them?
  • Do they often let you down?
  • Are you there for them in a pinch, but they barely show up?
  • Do they use language of affirmation or hurt?
  • Are they manipulative, controlling or demanding?
  • How does the relationship make you feel?
  • Is there a lot of tension and drama in the relationship?
  • Is it easy or hard to continue to have a relationship with this person?
  • What value does this relationship bring my life? Is it worth my investment?
  • Is this person a project I’m trying to fix? It’s not my job to fix people, and I don’t need or want another person to caretake that is unhealthy and drains me.
Cheating, Evil, Fuel Supply, Lovebombing, Toxic Behaviors, Warning Signs

STUDYING A NARC

CHRIS WATTS WAS COVERT & CORRUPT
As the details come out about the secret life of a man who murdered his wife, unborn child and two toddler daughters-the more we see the pattern of a life that was rife with corruption, lies, and dark secrets. Studying the worst narcissist breed can teach us many lessons.”

Using Light to Live in the Shadows

Chris Watts is a man who was living his life in the dark shadows. An extreme narcissist, he used his marriage to a kind and beautiful woman to hide the dark second life he was living behind her back. He used his marriage to hide random hookups with women he met on Tinder, where he had “rough sex” and shared secret “rape fantasies” with one-night stands. One woman who came forward told police he had been so rough with her, she refused to ever see him again. He also used his marriage to hide the gay sexual relationships he was having with a male escort for nearly a year. He smeared his wife to family and friends, lied to targets about the reality of his life to gain their sympathy and make them feel sorry for him. At every turn, this narcissist made himself look like and seem like the vicitm-when the the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

How does one person weave such a web of lies? It’s not as complicated as you may think once you understand how a narcissist functions, operates and their tactics. Rule number 1 for any narcissist is to NEVER GET CAUGHT.  Every tactic they take is to avoid discovery at every cost.

A Primary Supply Source as Cover
A narcissist is about the fake facade. They want you to see them as one way, when they are actually a different person behind closed doors. Often narcissists choose smart, kind, beautiful/handsome unknowing spouses so they can use their marriages as a way to hide their covert activities. If a narcissist is married to a great person, they couldn’t/wouldn’t possibly be cheating or lead a double life. Why would they?

Sneaky Apps to Cover Up Tracks
Police found nude photos of Chris Watts’ new mistress Nicole Kessinger in a secret app on his phone called Secret Calculator. This app is meant to look like a calculator, but hides a vault of secret photos and videos behind a fake front door (porn, lovers, etc.). Narcissists LOVE souvenirs of their prey. They take mental fuel supply from reliving their conquests or their sneakiness. If they took the photos or videos without permission, even better! You can bet a narcissist is not only cheating, but the incriminating evidence isn’t very far from their phone.

Here are a few other apps cheaters love to use:
https://www.datingadvice.com/online-dating/apps-for-cheaters
https://www.yourtango.com/2017306520/best-apps-have-affair-not-we-encourage-ithttps://www.laptopmag.com/articles/best-apps-for-cheaters
https://www.thetalko.com/12-cheating-apps-you-dont-want-to-find-on-his-phone/

He Gathered Blackmail Material to Devalue His Targets
Chris Watts was taking nude photos of his lovers. Why? The answer is simple. When he gets bored with his new target and decides to devalue them and discard them, he has plenty of juicy blackmail material to threaten his victims with. He might use this lovely information to extort money from someone, accidentally post nude photos of them at work, or send pictures to their child’s school. For a narcissist, no evil is ever out of bounds. The intel is assurance the narcissist can do with the victim whatever he feels like doing without threat of getting caught or being sold out. A person being threatened would never dare to tell his wife the truth. It’s a safety net the narcissist will never get caught.

He Smeared his Wife
Why does a narcissist smear the person he’s in a committed relationship? It’s about power. It’s also about careful power shifting and positioning. If the narcissist can make people believe the kind and good natured person he is married to is a monster in disguise-he knows who in their circle are easily manipulated and will believe anything he says. It’s a way to recruit the flying monkeys.

It’s also a tactic to keep the victimized spouse/partner trapped in the abusive relationship. If the victim tries to tell anyone of these cronies about their experience, the gullible monkey will send her back to her situation without ever asking for the truth or facts of the situation (because the narcissist has already sold his fake version of the truth and they already believed it).

People who are ripe for cronie-hood are family members you had a falling out with, former friends, jealous coworkers, or even friends who are envious of your life. A clever narc will have monkeys in every social and friend circle the victim is in. Essentially surrounding them with saboteurs and people trying to derail and harm the victim.

He Was an Expert at Playing the Victim
We saw in our Facebook post today how Chris Watts used clever lies to to frame his wife as an abuser when she was the victim! He told his parents she was abusive, told lovers he was in a loveless marriage. . .all clever lies to make the targets feel sorry for or empathize with the narcissist.

He Used Future Faking to Lure New Targets
Chris Watts used big dreams about his future with his new mistress. He talked about starting a life with her, “starting over”, and being truly happy. He sold her lies about a new home (when his current home was behind on payments) and living a lavish life of travel and leisure (when he was in severe debt). His lies worked so well, his mistress was Googling wedding dresses after only dating Chris for a few months (and she had no idea he had gay lovers or was meeting randoms for hookups on Tinder).

The Red Flags

  1. RUN IF HE TALKS MARRIAGE FAST
    Be wary of potential suitors that push for commitment too soon or mention marriage unusually fast in the relationship.
  2. TRUST IS EARNED
    Ask a lot of questions about a suitor’s past, present and future. Ask them about former relationships, then investigate and do your own homework.
  3. DO A BACKGROUND CHECK
    You can purchase applications that run reports on residences, former spouses, and even criminal activity. Do your homework and protect yourself.
  4. DO NOT RANDOMLY HAVE SEX WITH STRANGERS
    It sounds simple, but in today’s random hookup world of Tinder, Bumble, Match, Plenty of Fish, etc. there are plenty of narcissists in disguise picking their victims like they are eating from a menu at the flesh buffet. Many of these narcissists are not “well” when it comes to sex. They are dark, sadistic lovers who use pain to shame and abuse one-night lovers. They also care little about protection or spreading the STD they are likely carrying.
  5. IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS
    If you are given expensive gifts, fancy trips, and lavish luxuries early in your relationship-these gifts are not free! A narcissist NEVER gives anything without repayment. If it feels too good to be true, it is. There are NO PRINCE CHARMINGS in the world and fairytales are fake. If he is working too hard to be your knight in shining armour-run!
  6. STOP LOOKING FOR VALIDATION FROM OTHERS
    A narcissist can read you like a book. If you love being complimented or seek approval from others, a discerning narc will know you will make a great new target. If you are confident of who you are in your own right, a narcissist will want nothing to do with you. A narcissist can’t stand confidence or anyone who has the ability to stand up for themselves and tell them off.
  7. IF SOMETHING FEELS OFF, IT IS
    If you’re gut is telling you something smells fishy, it most definitely is. You need to trust that instinct and investigate the truth or feeling enough to have the courage to walk away from a toxic and abusive person.
Dating, Evil, Love, Lovebombing, Manipulation, Red Flags, Warning Signs

THE GREAT CON

THE LOVE TRAP
Narcissists are great actors. They pretend to feel and experience love all the ways you do. Once you give your heart to a narcissist, they believe you are giving them absolute permission to do with it whatever they like. “

Empaths are uniquely wired and believe the entire world thinks, acts, and believes in the basic rules of fairness and morality. The reality is, there are evil people in this world who seek to destroy and disrupt all of this. Narcissists prey on kind hearted and genuine people to use and destroy. They use love as weapon to inflict pain and it’s one of their best games.

You Feel Everything
The Narcissist Feels Nothing

An empath is a truly real and honest person. We wear our hearts on our sleeves. We care for everyone, want everyone to be happy and to feel loved. What we feel is real, true and authentic. The idea of “faking” how we feel about something or someone is counterintuitive to our natures. We are healers, teachers, mothers, nurses, minsters, and caregivers. When we love, we love deeply and for a lifetime.

A narcissist does not feel the same way an empath does. Narcissists view feeling anything as weak. They smell your “feelings” a mile away. It’s a stench of weakness they follow like wolves hunting prey. They believe allowing your emotions to rule your mind or thoughts is infantile and shows a lack of their intelligence and control. A narcissist is ruler over emotion and would never let love get in the way of their sick joy ride, but they know how to fake love to get you to fall for them.

How They Do It

A narcissist knows once he has you in his clutches and has checked all the boxes to make you fall in love with him-you are ripe for whatever he has in store next. They apply one or all the tactics to lure you into the love trap.

Lovebombing
A narcissist will make you feel like you hang the moon. They will swoon you, woo you, and make you feel you walk on water. They will ooze charm and compliment you on everything. They will tell you constantly how much they adore you, are attracted to you, how much they want you and how you are perfect for them. They will make you believe they are “the one” and will do anything to convince you. During this stage of the relationship NOTHING is too much. Expensive gifts, lavish trips, you can have anything your heart desires. . .but it comes with a price.

Future Faking
A narcissist is perfect at telling you exactly what you want to hear. If your dream is to be married and have a big house full of children, the narcissist will tell you how he is looking at a home to build a future for you. He will carefully seed thoughts in your mind about marriage and having a family. He will tell you it’s his only wish and you are his dream come true to share it with. This is all a lie to get you to fall more deeply into their trap of deception.

Mimicry
This is a sneaky tactic a narcissist uses to make you think you are “made for each other.” Narcissists carefully study their victims. They use social media and other outlets to research you, learn about your friends, your family, hobbies and things that make you happy. They take this intel and feed it back to you, pretending to share your same interests and dreams.If you posted last year you love skiing in Aspen, the narcissist will be an avid ski fan and pepper your conversations about how beautiful Colorado is in winter with fresh powder. The narcissist wants you to believe you are one in the same. That you reflect him, but the narcissist is just a clever spy who studied your life to mimic and feedback to you the things you care about.

“Trust Me. I’m different.” False Bonding/Trust
A narcissist will use all the techniques above to create a false bond with you-fast! This is one of their greatest cons. The narcissist wants you to feel safe and will tell you whatever you need to hear to believe he is an exceptional person of the most upstanding character. They will tell you they are “old fashioned” and value monogamous relationships, when they are misogynistic and highly abusive. They will tell you they are Christian, when they use scripture to break women of faith. They will tell you they have never online dated, when they have multiple accounts on numerous dating and porn sites.

The narcissist is one of the most dangerous people to extend trust before it’s been earned. If you let your guard down quickly and feel a false sense of trust, the narc knows he has you. You are putty in his hands and your boundaries are about to be tested and retested to the breaking point.

Good Deeds Tally Sheet
The narcissist will go to great lengths to proof his superhero love for you. He will help a sick friend of yours. Do favors without asking anything in return and will seem like a kind and thoughtful person to the unsuspecting eye. Secretly, the narcissist is keeping score. Every kind thing he does now, he will expect to be repaid later. No good deed ever goes unpaid-ever!

Irresistible Attraction
Narcissists are generally great lovers and it’s because they have had a lot of practice with their craft. They know exactly how to seduce, entice and entrap to make sex feel like the spiciest romance novel. They want you to be addicted. The sex so great and so wonderful you are just completely snowed over so you will do anything, anywhere with them. Be warned this is giant trap.

Pushing You Away
They will triangulate you with their work, friends, other lovers and do whatever it takes for you to prove how much you want them or need them. They want you to compete for their time and attention.

Boundaries, Narcissistic Abuse

RECOVERY

NARCISSISTS DON’T KNOW BOUNDARIES. 
A narcissist believes they are above everything. That the rules don’t apply to them. When you leave a toxic relationship with, it’s important to draw safe and healthy boundaries for yourself-especially when coparenting. Stay vigilant and stay strong. Know whatever boundary you set, they will ignore or tear down, but you rebuild. Here’s how to do it.”

The Narcissist Believes You are the Same Person
A narcissist  just can’t seem to understand why you left in the first place. After all, they were the ideal catch for anyone and the thought you leaving makes them both envious and angry. The narcissist believes because they are more superior and in total control of you and your actions. When you expressed free will and left, you didn’t have the right to leave. They see you as their property. You can do anything, think anything, or go anywhere until they have given you their permission. As the narcissist is someone who sees himself as never changing, the thought that you could change your mind or evolve as a person is beyond them. They continue to see you as the helpless victim and never as someone with free thought and free will of your own. Use this to your advantage.