Tina Schermer Sellers is the author of the book, Sex, God, and the Conservative Church: Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy. She is a nationally known speaker on religious sexual shame. She has a PhD in clinical sexology and is an associate professor of sexuality and director of medical family therapy in the Department of Psychology, Family and Community at Seattle Pacific University, in Seattle, Washington. Tina serves on the board of The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and is a Co-Creator of She Is Called – a Leadership Collective for Women. She is also the founder and Medical Director of the Northwest Institute on Intimacy.
Melanie Tonia Evans is the author of You Can Thrive After Narcissistic Abuse. She is a healer, author, and radio host considered to be the world’s leading online authority on narcissistic abuse recovery. As a survivor of Narcissistic Abuse herself, she is the founder of Quanta Freedom Healing (QFH) and the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP). Through her programs, Mel has helped thousands of people worldwide – there are now over 20,000 graduates of the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program who are presently Thriving in abuse-free lives.
Teal Swan is the author of the new book The Anatomy of Loneliness: How to Find Your Way Back to Connection. She has a huge and dedicated fan base; she rose to fame through her YouTube Ask Teal series. Teal Swan was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is a survivor of severe childhood abuse. Part of her journey involved, as she puts it “disappearing into loneliness by shamanic journeying in Central America, where she decided to look the devil in the face. Today she uses her extrasensory gifts as well as her own harrowing life experience to inspire millions of people towards authenticity, freedom and joy. Her worldwide success as a modern spiritual leader has earned her the nickname “The Spiritual Catalyst.” She is the bestselling author of three books; The Sculptor in the Sky, Shadows Before Dawn and The Completion Process.
Have you ever wondered why you’ve been feeling more anxious or depressed in the past couple years? Having more trouble sleeping? Feeling confused or overwhelmed by behavior that you can’t make sense of? If so, you may be a victim of “narcissistic abuse.” Author and counselor Meredith Miller, an expert on the subject (and recent guest on my Pathways Radio podcast), believes Narcissistic Abuse (NA) is a leading cause of loneliness, anxiety and depression in the world today, silently happening across interpersonal, familial and societal levels.
A silent pandemic of narcissistic abuse appears to be growing at exponential rates, as it’s being normalized by media and entertainment industries rewarded by corporations and institutions, and so shamelessly modeled by our bullying leader. One of the key markers is lack of empathy.
Miller writes, “We are living in a world run by the narcissistic and sociopathic values of many corporations, governments, schools, religious and spiritual organizations.” On the island of Maui, Monsanto is a perfect exemplar of unbridled narcissism in the corporate sector … putting profits above the health—and the democratically expressed will—of the people.
NA is one of the most insidious injustices because it leaves its victims less able to trust others, or their own judgment. Narcissists emotionally manipulate others through language designed to assert greater control. They make people feel helpless and isolated in order to foster a sense of dependency. Hallmark behaviors include verbal abuse, manipulation, emotional blackmail, lying, gaslighting, bullying and withholding. Statistics indicate 15% of population has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), but it is under-reported as these are not people who seek therapy.
We all have experienced narcissism, which is a natural stage of life…. for a two-year-old. Clearly, it’s a stage we are meant to outgrow with the help of decent parenting. But what if one or both of our parents is narcissistic or otherwise dysfunctional? Such families operate according to an unspoken set of rules. Children conform to these rules, but never cease being tormented by them because the rules block emotional access to their parents … and themselves. They become invisible—neither heard, seen, nor nurtured. Boundaries dissolve and they are used (or abused) to suit their parents’ whims.
Even if we’ve been free of NA in our families of origin or intimate partnerships, we are all experiencing narcissistic abuse these days, because our president has NPD. Gaslighting describes how narcissists try to make people think they are the crazy ones if they believe their eyes and ears. An narcissistic abuser like Trump is a master at gaslighting, constantly lying to deceive and scam or just to throw us off balance. It’s not hard to feel the depressing impact his deranged leadership is having on mental health in the USA and worldwide.
How can we heal from narcissistic abuse? What are antidotes to such self-centered madness? First, we need to have compassion for all of us having to deal with NA. Develop self-acceptance and commit to letting go of our own self-destructive habits and complicity. Deliberately practice empathy and compassion. Avoid giving special attention to the abuser or taking him seriously (perhaps this means taking a “news fast” for a while) in order to rebuild an internal sense of safety. It’s never too late to redefine your sense of self and commit to creating new and better boundaries. And vote for responsible government in 2018.
Meredith Miller is a coach, author and speaker who helps people to self-heal after relationships with psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. Her mission is to bridge the gap between trauma and purpose. She teaches the mindsets, tools and actions to help others recover after narcissistic abuse. She is the author of The Journey: A Roadmap for Self-healing After Narcissistic Abuse, and Freedom from the Story: From Trauma to Passion & Purpose.
Carolin Hauser-Carson is the author of the new book, Blossom: 7 Steps to Sexual Healing. An internationally-recognized speaker and teacher on the subjects of spirituality, healing, and women’s empowerment for almost two decades, Carolin combines her knowledge to help women (and brave men) to have abundant, love-filled lives that flow with a sense of ease. Her work is based on the intersection of where the human body and experience meets past–and even ancestral–trauma, and shows how each individual’s authentic and true self is the source of one’s own good – a place of unlimited abundance, creativity, courage, and joyful existence.
Maryalice Coleman is author of the book, Shatter Shame and SHINE, Transformational guidance for women silently struggling with their childhood abuse, and trauma issues and those who think they are not. An inner life coach, mentor, and workshop leader, her passion, compassion, and effectiveness in supporting women around the world to heal their lives and fulfill their dreams, springs from her own profound recovery from the pain of childhood abuse and the effects of living by default.
Our guest this week on Pathways is Kerry Cohen, author of the book, Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity. Kerry is the author of nine books, including Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity. She writes and has a private psychotherapy practice in Portland. Kerry is available for one-on-one writing instruction and therapeutic consultation for issues related to promiscuity.
ANA FORREST is author of the new book, Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit. She is an internationally recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. In her search to become a better healer and teacher, she studied Native American medicine and ceremony, Homeopathy, Hands-On Healing, Martial Arts, Psychotherapy, and Regression Therapy. Ana is a well-known contributing expert to Yoga Journal and other national wellness publications. She has journeyed to India, Nepal, Costa Rica, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and throughout Europe and the United States and currently teaches internationally at yoga conferences, workshops, and teacher trainings. Ana is on the board of Advisors for the Foundation for Athletic Research & Education (F.A.R.E. Play)and is an instructor for continuing education at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. She lives on Orcas Island, Washington.