Happy Mother’s Day

 

 

As the years have passed and my own journey has gone deeper and deeper, I have started seeing the truth of the past; this is beyond the wounds that impacted me as a child and later on into my adult life.  I know each journey is one that we must willingly go on ourselves, we can invite people to walk with us and they can even give direction, but it is the individual who must take the steps.  So even though my practice is walking with others, I must also continue on my own journey of discovery.

About 7 or 8 years ago I came across a Ted-Talk by Esther Perel, The Secret to Desire in Long-Term Relationships.  It was amazing, not because it answered for me how to have long lasting fulfilling relationships, it helped but there is much more I have found on this journey that benefits relationships. Plus she only had 18 minutes on the Ted-Talk so really it is just another step.

But During the video Esther spoke about 6 things that we need as base human needs, what I heard is what we all need no matter the age. These 6 things are 1) Safety 2) Security 3) Predictability 4) Dependability 5) Reliability and 6) Permanence.  The first time I heard this video and for almost 8 years after I knew that these six things were not a part of my life.  That many of the messages I received as true came from these imbalances.

As an example 18 schools in 13 years (we moved a lot) took its toll. Before my journey I used to think I was not smart because my grades were horrible. And so many people saw grades as the only guide that someone was intelligent. During my journey and starting University I smashed my belief that I was not book smart, my grades in University are phenomenal. But, my negative belief was so strong that I thought the professors were only cashing a check, they were not marking my papers, because if they were there was no way I would be getting the great marks and keeping a 3.87 GPA.

So I decided to show myself that I was not worthy of great grades, that the teachers were in fact not even reading the papers.  I submitted a paper no proof reading, no congruity in writing, it was crap.  Guess what happened? I barely passed. The professors marked what they got and I got a 61%.  So just maybe I was smart. If I worked hard, studied and did the assignment I would be rewarded not only with a future graduation, but also with something more important.  Removing a limitation that stood in my way for 38 years.

I looked at my life and it became clear, I was not stupid, on the contrary, to even pass with such movement in my schooling was impressive as hell. And when I only judged myself on one measure, I was hurting me. I believed a lie that I was constantly repeating to myself until it became my truth.

So if “I” messed up with thinking I was not book smart, what else did I see differently from the truth?

Well there is one really big oversight, that I would like to correct.

I may have not always had those 6 things, at a 10,000-foot level, and for many years that is how I saw life. Moving all the time created a lack of stability, it created uncertainty, the dependability of the environment was missing the list goes on.  Having someone who used emotions like a weapon against you in battle also had impacts.  A dad I saw, but not as much as I wanted.  Having addiction in a family like it was our family crest.

Yet, if I looked at life from the 1-foot level, for what was right in front of my eyes, if I was present in each moment there was a different truth.  One that for many years I did not see because I had a story going on in my head playing on a loop, much like the “I am not smart story”.

This is where I did have Safety, Security, Predictability, Reliability, Dependability and Permanence. On that was not in a house, a school or an organization, it was not even in that many people. But, it was in one person, my mom! A woman who everyday made sure we did have a constant something. We had her!  So on this day and the days that will come I will always be grateful because without her there is no me, without her I would have had a much different journey. And who today is my biggest cheerleader, my biggest supporter and honestly MY BEST FRIEND FOR EVER.

So for today my writing is only to say.  Happy Mother’s Day Mom I love you and thanks for being patient as I found my 6.

Love your son

Steve

Keep chasing those cars….

With Respect, Love and Admiration

6 Characteristics You Are Living with a Dry Drunk, and 3 Things You Can Do About It

In my opinion there are two types of people in recovery, the first is an addict in active recovery. This group is actively working towards a better life for themselves; they could be working a 12-step program, with a therapist or both.

I grew up in a house with two people in recovery, my mother whose sobriety birthday came 2 years after I was born. I know her actual birthdate brings her great joy, however I know her pride comes from her sobriety birthday. It reminds me of a book that I read a few years ago, part of the story spoke about celebrations within the community.  The community did not celebrate birthdays, as getting older was inevitable, you had to do nothing special and every year that date comes with little or no effort. In the book they celebrated getting wiser, and the person who got wiser, had to announce and set up their own celebration. During the celebration the person who was celebrating had to share their new wisdom with everyone else in the community.

With my mom and many other addicts in recovery we understand one thing. That sobriety or clean time is not a given. Just like growing in wisdom is not a given. Growing in sobriety, and growing in wisdom takes work every day, it takes you growing in your self-knowledge and the knowledge of the world around you. In recovery programs you call your celebration and you share your story of how you are recovering. (Maybe the writer was a 12-stepper)

The second group is an addict that has stopped the addiction but is doing nothing more, the behaviours and actions that happened when they were in their addiction continue. Within one 12-step program this person is known as the “Dry Drunk”. This person does not always see or refuses to see the work required for long lasting deep recovery.

Addicts in true recovery talk about the daily work and the daily commitment to being a better person today than they were yesterday. The addict should and needs to be responsible for every aspect of their recovery.  They speak to the damage their addiction caused to them and to those around them. They openly make amends (when to do so is safe), they speak about the 12-steps and how that journey is never completed.

The “Dry Drunks” story is usually much simpler, “I quit and I never looked back.  The behaviours that they had are still happening, the rage, the anger, the resentment, the fear and the lack of responsibility for their actions not only as an active addict but also in their current substance free life.

The joy and happiness a family feels when an addict stops is usually short lived with a dry drunk. The initial uptake of happy is quickly washed away as the fear, anger and resentments quickly come back and projected on the people around them.  I hear many people say: “I thought we were good but I am back walking on eggshells.”

6 Characteristics of a Dry Drunk

 

  1. Resentments: After the person quits they soon start to show resentment towards the person who they believe made them quit. The resentments they feel in their life, the ones that they used as a reason to medicate with the addiction are eating away at them again. Now they have nothing to make it go away so the people in front of them become the target of their own fear.
  2. Annoyed and Angry: They are angry, even though it has some control the explosions still happen and it’s always someone else’s fault. If their past relationship dissolved and they are in a new one, their anger is at their ex-partner. But sooner or later without true recovery the current partner starts to see and feel this directed at them.
  3. Normalization or celebration of their addiction: The stories they tell about being so drunk, high, or gambling are always told with excitement and with only the good times when they were the life of the party. Anything they consider shameful is not discussed.
  4. Anxiousness: In early recovery the withdrawal or anxiousness is normal and it will pass as recovery deepens. But, with someone who is stuck in their addiction they are likely to not go away or they will fully transfer to another aspect of their life.
  5. Communication shut down: Communication in recovery needs to grow, if the addict is not communicating or giving the silent treatment without explanation (I take time to myself to work through issues and meditate, but I say what I am doing and after I am done I share my learning.) Addicts who are stuck continue to fear and continue to shut down.
  6. Better than syndrome: If someone is comparing themselves as “better than” those losers at the group meeting, or my therapist is a jerk, I already know everything. Not only is this a toxic behaviour it is also someone who is not deepening their recovery.

All of these characteristics can having people who are living with the addict that stopped the substance or behaviour saying; “at least when they were using I knew what to expect.” A person living with someone who is stuck in the addiction but has stopped using tend to fear the ups and downs more now than every. Yet, they don’t understand why, because the person has stopped.  “Things were supposed to get better right?”

There are three things that a person who lives, loves or is impacted by an addict can do to support themselves and the addict.

 

  1. Find an Al-anon meeting in your area and attend it. These are fantastic resources that will give you tools and resources so you can recovery as well. Al-Anon also shows us that we are not alone, journeying with people is really important and having community that is understanding, compassionate, honest and kind. This combination alone goes along way in your own healing. Plus there are so many groups if the first one does not feel right try another one.
  2. Find a trusted therapist. In the early stages of recovery everyone requires help, not just the addict. Addiction has the ability to change people, it will unearth traumas that we may not even know we had. A therapist who has experience in addiction is important in recovery. They can also help separate what is reality and what is not.
  3. Communicate your needs and boundaries and stick to them. This is a whole lot easier if 1 and 2 are in place. Many people fear boundaries because we have been taught boundaries mean we don’t love someone, in truth they mean we love them very much.

Living with anyone can be hard and just because someone does or does not have an addiction does not mean we don’t bring a whole bunch of wounds to every relationship. However, addiction will enhance and expose those wounds to a very deep level.  Uncovering them and bringing them to the light will allow the wounds to heal, and that means we heal.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on this, has a dry drunk impacted your life?

Keep Chasing Those Cars…

With love, respect, and admiration.

Steve

 

If you like what you are reading or are getting benefit from it, I need your support, in helping many who would not have support. Healing Self does not turn anyone away no matter what they can afford. Please consider supporting the great work being done, even if it’s 2.00 a month every little bit helps to support people in need and at risk.  So visit Patreon at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault. Here you will get sneak peaks and coming soon Patron only content.

We Are NOT Anonymous

I realized late in my own recovery (7 years) there was a strong difference between anonymity and anonymous.  Anonymity is a choice made by the individual, anonymous can be a feeling and very possibly detrimental to recovery.

 

There is so much stigma attached to addiction, the idea of telling people “I am a recovering addict” is scary as hell.  Plus in the eyes of the world not all addicts face the same shame or stigma. An alcoholic today faces much different stigma vs. a gambling or food addict. 12-Step programs have been around for close to 100 years AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) launched in 1935 and other groups to support addicts in recovery have been sprouting up ever since.

But, ten years ago and 7 years into my own recovery from gambling, I started to see one of the 12 step foundations was also it’s biggest deterrent to my healing.  The foundation of Anonymous…

I started to realize that the word anonymous was hindering my own recovery; it was stopping me as I tried so desperately to become the person I knew I was meant to be.  The person I wanted to show the world, instead it kept me in a state of shame; it added lies to my life and the lives of those that supported me.  It made me feel I was some how less than everyone else.

When I removed my own “anonymous” a deeper level of healing and recovery became possible. Now for me removing anonymous was full-blown. It included removing my own anonymity, by proudly announcing, “I am a member of GA, I am a recovering addict.” Announcing this with pride is tough, I had 7 years of solid recovery so that made a huge difference in this choice.

4 Reasons Why Anonymous was Dangerous to My Recovery.

  1. Lies – As addicts we lied, even when we did not have to lie, we lied. Becoming honest is a super hard path not only because of our addiction, but also because we are taught to lie from a very early age. Anonymous meant that I attended meetings and recovered alone outside of those meetings (I know some of us have support) but for any addict a lie is a reminder that we are still in the grips of the addiction.
  2. Fear – As addicts we have lived in fear likely through out our life but for sure during our addiction. “I feared being found out”…
  3. Shame – If people know they will judge me. I was ashamed of my life and my journey under anonymous.
  4. Our authentic self. From pretty much the time we are born we are asked to wear a mask, we are asked to not be our authentic self.  Finding true recovery is about being your authentic self. Loving, honest, kind, compassionate, and forgiving to name a few.  In all cases these need to be directed inwards as much or more than they are directed outwards.

The four points above are connected for sure, and as an addict in recovery, I work on them daily. For me recovery became recovery when I started being my authentic self. I no longer hid under anonymous I removed the masks one by one. If I was going to a GA meeting, I would tell people I was going to a GA meeting.  When I find people who are full of judgement about addicts and are not safe, I make a quick choice. If they are open to understanding and removing their judgement “Shantay they stay”, if not, and they are not safe at all they can “Sashay away” (Thank you RuPaul.)

I don’t need someone’s acceptance or approval anymore, which is another reason I became an addict, I was never happy with me.  I could not accept me and so I wanted to destroy that which I could not accept.  I realized this “If I can’t love myself, how the hell am I going to love someone else”. (Yes, another RuPaul reference.)

There are some good reasons why anonymity and anonymous are important and they are required to be an action. They are not required to be who we are.

Reasons Why Anonymity is Important

  1. It was not until 1970 that the Canadian disability act came into effect. Which basically means until 1970 you could be fired for being disabled let alone long-term illness. And even though this act is in place today and it’s been 47 years there are still many loopholes that could put a person’s employment at risk, especially in the early stages of recovery, or if you are still active.  Even though in most cases firing someone for illness is illegal and in all cases unethical, the destruction to even fight these cases must be realized.
  2. Ostracized by a community.   Many community groups have very strict codes about their members or membership so someone in the community finding out could have severe reputational and emotional damage. As addicts we have already faced so much emotional and likely physical pain, adding unnecessary is unwise.
  3. The desire to belong. Most people don’t like to stand out at the best of times.  Now, standing out for something like an addiction is unfathomable.
  4. Our own personal shame. Addicts carry deep shame! They carry this shame for many reasons, like, what they were and who they became from the addiction. Not being “strong” enough to just stop. Not to forget the emotional or physical trauma that brought them to their own depths of hell.
  5. Family! No matter if the family is accepting or not admitting an addiction is hard. It’s even harder if the trauma (and it most likely is) was a result of the emotional or physical trauma at the hands of a caregiver.
  6. Add your own reason. Seriously each journey into recovery is an individual journey. Your reason for anonymity is yours.

Those 6 points are a great reason for anonymity. It’s up to members of my program and other programs to manage their own anonymity; it’s their journey.  But, maybe like me, your recovery can truly happen to a level you never imagined, if you were outwardly proud of yourself warts and all.

In closing, my group may be anonymous but I am not! I refuse to be in the shadows just to please others. With my addiction I have seen my own depths of darkness and misery, with support and with my own work I have found a beautiful way of living. I am so proud of my journey not only into recovery but also into life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or having a hard time finding recovery, I would love to hear from you just click on the contact us and send us an email.

 

And Remember! Keep chasing those cars!

With Love Respect and Admiration

Steve

 

 

If you like what you are reading or are getting benefit from it, I need your support, in helping many who would not have support. Healing Self does not turn anyone away no matter what they can afford. Please consider supporting the great work being done, even if it’s 2.00 a month every little bit helps to support people in need and at risk.  So visit Patreon at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault. Here you will get sneak peaks and coming soon Patron only content.

Behavioural Addictions! Please, Stop thinking they’re not real!

I have my own definition for addiction, the reason I use my own variation is I feel the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Psychology) misses the mark since it is built solely on criteria and except for gambling only classifies substances as addiction. Most other publications also miss the definition mark; to show this I have included Merriam-Webster’s definition below.

Steve’s Addiction Definition

 Addiction can be defined as compulsively engaging in any act (substance or behaviour) that lessens or ruins the life of the individual involved in the act. The act also lessens or has the ability to ruin the lives of those that are in close relationship proximity of the person who engages in the act.

 Merriam-Webster Addiction Definition

 1: the quality or state of being addicted: addiction to reading

2compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;  broadly  : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

 I feel being limited to simple criteria or a weak definition leaves many people who struggle with addiction problems feeling marginalized. I can guarantee that they already hate themselves for what they are doing, telling them it’s an impulse control disorder or adding further stigma of weakness is no help.

Even those that have experienced their own substance addiction or those that journey with people through recovery underestimate or judge behavioural addictions poorly. People who struggle (mostly silently out of fear) with behavioural addictions can be met with scorn, judgement or down right denial of the addictions existence.

What are some behavioural addictions that impact people? Gambling, sex, porn, shopping, hoarding, emotional, working, online gaming, work and love to name a few. Let me know in the comments if you would like to add any J.  In the DSM V only one of the above can be qualified under addiction and that is gambling. Accepting gambling (Behaviour) addiction as real did not happen till 2013. At first it was considered and diagnosed by the DSM IV as an “Impulse Control Disorder” which includes kleptomania and pyromania.

Also how do we decide what is an addiction or not? Is it the DSM? Is it Science? How about we just look at the number of 12 step programs like or modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  AA was started in 1935 long before science agreed it was a disease that had direct links to the wiring of the brain. The number of AA groups has flourished world wide, and we have other 12 step programs, that are being created by people who struggle.

Behaviour Addictions

So what makes a behaviour addiction? With my above definition it could be anything.

Why do some people select behaviour addictions over substance addictions? To be honest it is different for every addict. I am a recovering compulsive gambler I have not place a bet since January 16, 2001.  Through my own personal work I came to realize why I chose gambling. I placed my very first bet when I was 5-years-old at the horse track in Barrie Ontario. I was there with my grandparents and the night was amazing! I had so much fun.

On that night gambling was wired in my brain as something that was positive. What rewards did that 5-year-old child get that forever changed how he thought?  Surrounded by two people who loved me, we laughed, we talked and I was included. These are emotional rewards of every child.

Plus beyond the emotional rewards there was a financial reward. I turned $2.00 into $5.45 betting show in almost all the races.  In 1976 that was a whole lot of money for a 5 year old, and I was also rewarded with praise for how well I was betting on the horses.

My addiction was linked to positive feelings so when I started gambling I was escaping the perceived negatives of my life (my own unresolved trauma). Gambling brought me back to love and acceptance: For a short time at least.  But then I started to go deeper and that came with debt, so I started chasing. I was chasing the emotions of years long gone, I was chasing the feeling of love, the feeling of belonging, acceptance and as an adult I was now chasing money. Hoping to get that one win that would pay off my debt and let me bring home a large sum to be seen as the hero.

For every addict the reason(s) why can be from positive memories like mine, the addiction can also be the trauma that surrounded their childhood life.  Just think of the child that grows up with an alcoholic parent. The parent, who while drunk rages, and beats the child.  That child then becomes the raging alcoholic they swore they would never be.

Trying to place each addict in a box and wrap it up with a tight little bow is never going to happen. When the scientists did their MRI’s their PET scans of the brain of sex addicts they saw the same thing or relatively close to the same thing as an alcoholic, drug addict or compulsive gambler. (With all the latest research, don’t be surprised if Sex and Porn are added to the next revision of the DSM)

No one ever chooses an addiction, substance or behavioural. The addiction was already inside of them, be it genetic, be it trauma, honestly it does not matter.  One day I hope the science will catch up and addiction will be understood and accepted with the same definition I have at the top. Maybe then, it will no longer be debated and the resources for recovery will be applied to everyone.

Remember, not everyone who has trauma has addiction but every person who has addiction has trauma.

If you or someone you loves suffer from addiction, any addiction, reach out, seek help, there are many people who believe you, support you and will walk with you while you recover.

If you are someone who doubts the validity of an addiction PLEASE “Stop It” because one day very soon the science will get on side and you will have two choices continue to marginalize people who struggle, refusing to be “wrong”. Or you will have lots of amends to make. I honestly hope you choose amends.

If you need help because you suffer from addiction or if you have been impacted by addiction drop me a line at steven.m.archambault@gmail.comor you can text or call me at 587-577-9642.

Sending you all Love and Light please keep chasing those cars…

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

Also if you like what you are reading or are getting benefit from it, I need your support. Understand that so many people do not have the financial means to find continuous support and Healing Self does not turn anyone away no matter what they can afford. Please consider supporting the great work being done, even if it’s 2.00 a month every little bit helps to support people in need and at risk.  So visit Patreon at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault

 

I can also set up single benefactor support you can message me at steven.m.archambault@gmail.comfor this service or to support a specific individual.

The Psychopath or Toxic Persons Fan Club! Are you a Member?

 

 

No matter how much they abuse their partners, toxic people will always have a loyal following of fans clapping for everything they do. These people are blinded by shallow flattery that the manipulator uses to control them. This fan club changes often, as none of their friendships are deep or meaningful in any way. All that matters is constant attention and adoration. Anyone who fails to provide this mindless reinforcement will promptly be replaced with someone who can. — PsychopathFree

I want to acknowledge that writing on toxic personalities has been eye opening. Even though I read my first book on the subject in 2006 and read more after that, the discovery of the damage these personalities can cause has been staggering. I don’t think I fully understood the actual span of control or impact that toxic personalities hold. I always read and understood about the singular focus that the toxic personality was destroying a single person. I was not completely in tune by the wide spread destruction caused to everyone who surrounds them; even though it was written about in the books and research papers I read.

The group that until this journey into writing was somewhat lost on me was the “Fan Club”. After reading all the content I can find on the fan club group, I think that the word “fan” is harsh in some cases, and completely accurate in others. In some cases, the toxic personality has aligned themselves with other toxic personalities and yes these are true fans. However, from my research, reflection on my personal experience, and discussion with clients I have come to the conclusion that most of these “fans” are wounded unaware victims, just like their main target.

The power that a toxic personality gets is not the result of a single person, but from the group of “fans”! We currently have one of the most powerful nations in our world being run by someone who many have said fits the stereotype of someone with “antisocial personality disorder”. This has left most of us shaking our head and asking “How?”

The simple answer is the Fan Club. With this past election we can truly see the cognitive dissonance of the fan club. The fan club refuses to see the damage or immediately forgive all the hurt and pain the toxic person is causing. They believe the toxic person without question! They will justify the toxic persons behaviour; do you remember the line “it’s just locker room chat”.

The toxic person will claim they are benefiting the fan club and giving the people what they want. But, when they are done not only is the target destroyed, but also many of the fans. The fans will look to see the next saviour out of their pain. The next person who will tell them everything that is wrong with their life can be fixed by blaming the last person. The fans will likely give the next toxic person the adoration and power they want and desire thinking this time it will be different.

16 Traits a Toxic Person is Your Leader

  1. They have a grandiose idea of who they are and what they can do or have done: Listen to the stories, they are amazing, the best, or have done it all. They know everyone, because they are friends with everyone. (In lots of cases they do know lots of people “this is a big part of their hook for fans”.)
  2. Is preoccupied with talking about unlimited success, power or brilliance: We all want to follow great people and we all want success. But it’s always about them and if they are in your life you find yourself being star struck by how bright “they/you say their star is”.
  3. Demands blind unquestioned obedience: A common phrase of toxic people is “If you do exactly as I say, you will have all that I have!” With a toxic personality this never happens within the fan club, you never get what they “have”. Look around the group and see who is “truly” succeeding? Any success for the members of the fan club will be attributed to the toxic person and how in tune they were to your needs.
  4. Members of the club instantly pull away or are cut away: This may be someone who seemed like they were totally in tune with everything going on. This is a clear sign they came close to seeing the house of cards being built, they held no further value and were cut away, or they saw the damage being done and ran. They realize that running is safer/easier than standing up to the toxic person.
  5. You hear stories about how the toxic person is always the victim: It can sound like this “my “ex” did this to me and I was the perfect wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or just friend.
  6. Woe is me: In all cases the blame is always on another person and the toxic person has always been wronged. They never say what they did!
  7. Is financially exploitive: If you have money they want it, they may put others in financial risk for their own gain with promises of greatness (see number 2).
  8. Has exaggerated sense of power: Toxic personalities are always bending or breaking rules.
  9. The finish line is always changing: If you work for them, have business with them or are trying to move through the fan club ranks. They are always adding things for you to do, be, or say. If you do something they will tell you why it was wrong if you change what you said later they will tell you why it is still wrong.
  10. Takes advantage of members of the club: Beyond financially but guaranteed emotionally and in some cases sexually.
  11. Publically devalues others: If someone is being cut away they will talk behind their back, likely saying things like “they brought to much drama to the toxic persons life” or “they just did not get it what I was saying”. No matter what way it happens it will be the others person fault.
  12. Constantly boasting about accomplishments: This goes beyond basic “I am proud of me”. They will talk how everyone is seeking out their expertise (maybe even the experts).
  13. Every one else are sheep: The problem is in what they are not saying out loud “you are sheep as well”. If everyone is wrong or sheep are you not also everyone?
  14. Will be highly dependent on tribute or compliments: You or others are always saying how great they are. If they feel the compliment is not deep enough they will ask for details. They may give you compliments as well, yet when you look back you will see how shallow they really are.
  15. You have been treated with contempt or arrogance: Likely, they have chosen words or actions to hurt you. Somehow it became your fault, as you did not understand how they were really trying to help you. This is “Gas lighting” in any healthy relationship communication is two ways and both parties need to come to the table.
  16. You await orders: You find yourself always running to them for guidance and what to do next.

This list is not exhaustive at all, in most cases there is 40-50 red flags of toxic people, also toxic people may not display all of them as they have come accustomed to a certain few that work really well. I hope it helps and let me know in the comments what you would add.

 

If you are a fan club member don’t be disheartened, yes some of the things you may have done or said for the toxic persons approval had some deep negative impact on you or others. Understand the skill these people have, that we are all susceptible to the fan club role. I admit I have been taken in a few times by someone’s charm, skill and personality. Even Dr. Robert Hare, who wrote several books on psychopathy, and is one of the experts on the subject stated, “that even when he was interviewing them in prison for his research and for the book “Without Conscious”, was sucked in.” And they were already in prison.

So if you are in this fan group, you are not alone. Remember, if you are in this group, you can leave, find support and find your own healing. Any relationship with a toxic personality leaves pain in some form or fashion. So If you have questions or concerns or need support feel free to reach out to me send me an email at steven.m.archambault@gmail.com

If you like what you are reading, I would love and need your support to do the work I am doing. People who do not have the support or recourses greatly benefit from your support. Please consider supporting me through my Patreon site at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault I can also set up single benefactor support you can message me at steven.m.archambault@gmail.com for this.

 

Keep chasing those cars…..

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

Here is the link to a more extensive list of traits by Joe Navarro https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/spycatcher/201208/dangerous-cult-leaders

 

The Psychopath or Toxic Person Relationship Cycle

 

 

Idealization (Grooming) Phase

The start of all relationships comes with excitement and that is totally normal. We need to be excited, a new relationship should be happy. The idealization phase with a truly toxic person will likely be unlike anything you have ever experienced! It will be the most passionate, the most exciting, the deepest love and it will be so fast paced that you will be left in a daze. In this phase you let all normal reason go out the door; this person quickly becomes your entire world. They tell you things that you’ve only heard in romance movies, novels or your favourite love song; things that you never thought you deserved or were worthy of hearing.

Whether talking with clients, friends or other people who have been crushed by a toxic person, they say this is the phase that puts you so high on a pedestal it’s the highest of highs. Which makes the crash so much more devastating.

  • We have so much in common: In this phase it seems that everything you do, they do, every negative relationship experience you have had, they to have experienced. According to Jackson Mackenzie you will here words like “We have so much in common it’s like we are the same person”. In most cases it’s the target doing the talking and the toxic personality is agreeing and adding just enough to slip past you. Your hopes are their hopes; your dreams are their dreams; your fears, are their fears. They show you how together you can accomplish anything and they start to get you to do things that they want you to do. Remember Toxic people have a vast breadth of knowledge that only goes an inch deep, but they will make you feel like not only is it as deep as yours it is deeper and they will make you want what they have. Their emotional knowledge is only knowledge they don’t have the capability of “feeling”.
  • Love Bombing: A toxic person is unlike anything you have ever seen, constant flattery, compliments, statements of deep love; and this is only day four. They explain in great detail about how you are prettier, smarter, more in tune than their previous partner(s). The soul mate comments make it sound like it’s a whole new level of love that you never knew existed. I have read stories of people who felt the soul mate never existed but when they met their toxic partner they abandoned all old beliefs.

    On social Media, it’s only been a few days but they are already professing their love. They’re putting up posts about how connected you both are, how much you’re doing together. This is type of tactic is also used to destroy their last partner. Their “ex” is likely still not out of the picture or is on the sidelines out of your view and the toxic person is using this new “love” in the “Discard Phase”. It also allows them to run back to the ex if you get wise to them, as the ex is still remembering their own idealization phase.

    Gifts may also part of this phase, getting you to fall hard and fast, they may send things to your work daily. If it does come to the office it is to make you the centre of attention everyday. Now you are not only feeling their adoration but you are linking their adoration to that of your fellow colleagues. Even your boss’s boss now knows who you are…

Conditioning and Destruction Phase

This is the second phase and this is where you lose all of who you are, what you are and likely everyone you have as support. This phase has many facets that include: Emotional Triangulation, Gas Lighting, Sexual Manipulation,  and Isolation. They start to get you to see how the only person who has your back or can help you is them. They slowly attack your friends, family, who ever you came into the relationship with. This goes well beyond protecting those we love from other hurtful people. Toxic personalities do this with only one end in mind when you are no longer useful to them they want you to be emotionally, physically and or financially destroyed.

  • Conditioning: In this phase ex-partner comparing is the norm and showing how much better you are. What they are really doing is conditioning you to react in a certain way. For example they tell you: “That you are so much more understanding that’s why we don’t fight and the ex and I always fought”, what they are subconsciously saying is: “Don’t fight with me, because if we do fight it will be because you’re not being understanding.”

    In the idealization phase they were a constant form of support, this support is now starting to diminish and when you need their support they accuse you of being overly needy.

    If you have had a negative experience with someone in your life they will, jump on the chance to exaggerate the experience. They will not look at the bigger picture and see both sides they will show you how you have zero accountability.  This will serve them in the future when they want to take zero accountability and have you be the villain. This is also serves the purpose of eroding and destroying any relationship that is not them.

    “Testing the waters”: They will start to test how well their plan. Any resistance from the testing is met with glimpses of the idealization phase, gas lighting or rage. Once they feel the resistance has been sufficiently destroyed they move to the destruction phase.

  • Destruction: Here is where they remove or erode all the boundaries’ you once held as signs of respect. Appointments with you start to be missed or they book something over top and you always seem to lose out. Your emotions are extreme and you are being accused of being off balance, they will start to share these examples with their “fan club” preparing for the final phase. They start to provoke you slowly at first with light “kidding” then it turns into complete disdain for you and how everything is your fault. They are meticulous in bringing up your past faults (ignoring their own) to show you how horrible you really are, or how lucky you are to have them. They show how they and not you are the victim.

    Controlling your movements is another destructive tactic. If you go anywhere without them your text will light up! They will send you what seems like hundreds of texts or calls ruining any chance at a good time with friends or family. If they have not removed your support network it’s because they have covertly converted them into fans. Your friends, family, co-workers will join them and may even tell you that you are the problem and you are so lucky to have this toxic person in your life. In my practice I have heard the words “Even my mom said no one would ever love me like this person did.” This further decreases their ability to see their own self worth. If this phase has worked, you will be submissive and feel that you are nothing unless they are with you.

Discard

The discard phase can be circular in its attack. With a toxic personality unless you break free and stop all contact or unless they have totally destroyed you and see zero need in keeping you close.

They likely have another target in mind or they already have them in play. You will likely know this person and this person plays a role in furthering your destruction. They will flaunt this person in front of you saying how happy they are, posting on social media how great things are, how they read together, hike together or do the things you remember doing with them during the idealization phase. If you start to gain some strength and the toxic person feels you will cut them out completely they may run to your side and remind you of the idealization phase. They may also discredit their current target, saying how they are not you or they made a mistake. This is designed to keep you hoping at getting back together and totally under their control. The fan club will be totally unaware of this, so, if you tell any of the fan club members about this and it gets back to the toxic person (and it will) they will discredit you even further just like they did with the previous target and you during the “Idealization and Conditioning”. Saying: “See I told you they were the crazy stalker type.”

There are so many discard scenarios, how they dump you. Will depend on the relationship, were you married, common law, dating or were you just a member of the fan club who thought there would be more than just a “friendship”. What is known is the toxic person will be callous and unfeeling.

 

If you have been in a relationship with a toxic personality the destruction is everywhere. So If you have questions or concerns or need support feel free to reach out to me send me an email at steven.m.archambault@gmail.com I can even help you or even help find resources in your area.

 

Stay tuned for my next Blog on “Are You a Member of a Toxic Persons Fan Club”.

 

If you like what you are reading, remember I would love and need your support to do the work I am doing. People who do not have the support or recourses greatly benefit from your support. Please consider supporting me through my Patreon site at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault I can also set up single benefactor support you can message me at steven.m.archambault@gmail.com for this.

 

Keep chasing those cars…..

 

With Love, Respect and Admiration

 

Steve

5 Negative Relationship Traits of Toxic People!

The traits of toxic people are far reaching in each case the trait can likely be explained in normal life, but toxic people take it to the extreme. The toxic people will enhance the trait for their own personal gain. In some cases they use these traits to get you to let down your guard, they use these traits to keep you totally off balance or they use these traits to finally destroy their intended target.

I am only discussing 5 of the 30 or 40 plus traits there are so many and this writing would be a book not a blog. If you are interested in going real deep on toxic personalities I would suggest Dr. Robert Hare he is a premier expert in this field and created the testing the FBI uses on serial killers and psychopaths. Two of his books on the subject and two of my favourites are “Without Conscience” and “Snakes in Suits when Psychopaths go to Work”. A third book I have recently read is called “Psychopath Free” written by Jackson Mackenzie he is writing from the prospective of how he survived a relationship with a psychopath. The book is well written, informative and has what Jackson did to recover from the relationship. When you have been impacted walking away is just the first step, healing and recovery are key in stopping it from happening again.

Here are 5 traits and how to avoid the behaviour. Please add to the comments any traits you think that were missed or that you would like me to do further writing on. Stay tuned for next week’s blog on the three phases of a toxic persons relationship.

  • You Complete Me: Not only is this not just a line from a movie it seems to be a societal belief that “we are not whole on our own”. This belief that someone can “complete” someone else is where toxic people find their foothold in your life. Toxic personalities use this societal belief that we need people to complete us and manipulate you right from the start. They create a sense of belonging that is so deep and so quick that you quickly forget that you are a person without them. I have found this to be true in other relationships as well.

Friendships: you feel or have been made to feel that this person is some form of a saviour; they constantly point out where they have bailed you out. They will hold you close then accuse you of misrepresenting their feelings.  This push and pull in a relationship will be just as confusing as if you were dating or married to them.

How to avoid this behaviour: First and foremost understand that if you feel that someone else is your reason for being, or the only reason for your success, the problem is not them it’s you, your past wounds are coming out. To avoid being sucked in by a toxic personality, know that the only person who can complete you is you. If you feel lacking in anyway then seek out guidance to work through that/those wound(s). The most amazing defense to toxic people is to truly and authentically loving yourself. If the words “you complete me” are used it’s a warning sign. Healthy, successful relationships would have this phrase: “You compliment me, I was a whole person before we met and should we part it will be painful but I will be a whole person still.” Also if a friendship feels push and pull ask yourself what benefit are they getting from it. Likely financial will be on possible benefit but so will be a position in their fan club.

  • Past Relationship Failures are Everyone Else’s Fault: When in conversations it’s ok to have some pain towards an “ex” lover, friend or even an estranged family member, but if the toxic persons stories has everyone else was to blame, watch out! Toxic people will blame everyone else for everything. People who fall into the antisocial behavioural spectrum will use words like my ex’s were “crazy, bi-polar, psychopath” etc, and they had zero accountability in the relationship break-up. The issue is they hope you will jump on that blaming train, this is another way that they can gain your trust and confidence. If you have had a bad break-up they will show you how wronged you were and how you had zero accountability in the break-up or destruction of the relationship. I had a client once come to the realization after being in a relationship with one of these toxic people. They did say that they ignored all the gut feelings, all the red flags they took accountability for choosing the person and then staying for so long. The healing occurred for them when they forgave themselves for not protecting themselves from this destructive partner. They said: “I wanted to save them, I thought if they could just see how good I was they would change.”

How to avoid this behaviour: Look for key words in their history of relationships, name calling, demoralizing, wanting revenge. Especially wanting revenge people who are toxic plot revenge (venting about a bad break up to a friend or friends over a glass of wine is normal. But living in that pain and seeking to destroy someone is not.) If there are kids in a past relationship and they have pulled away from the kids and blame the other person for blocking their access. There are laws that work 99% of the time to make sure people have access to their kids. (Before you right in remember I said 99%) If they talk badly about the other person in front of the kids, unless the kids were adopted then 50% of your ex-partner is in those children. Not only is it not at all healthy for the kids they are basically saying I hate 50% of who the child is.

Just remember how they speak about all there ex’s because if this relationship does not work out you will be next on their list. Also their friendships seem to have no loyalty they are always talking behind someone else’s back, but when the person they are talking about is present they are put on the highest of pedestals.

  • They Believe People asked for it: This one is a variation of a few others. I was listening to a supposed therapist give a talk and they tried to make the case that we asked for everything to happen as a way to make sense of acts committed against us. A woman was expressing some childhood trauma that she endured. The therapist explained that a way to look at it was that she asked for that to happen. That she was in this place and time because she wanted to be there. This woman did not ask nor make a previous life agreement to have someone violate her boundaries. With toxic people they can always prove why the person deserved what happened especially if they themselves committed the act.

How to avoid this behaviour: In short “RUN and RUN FAST!” This behaviour is a total lack of compassion, empathy, and understanding for starters. The issue here is that a toxic person will start with small things, they will start with things that society has strong stigmas attached. As an example; they will hear a story of an addict who overdoses and blame the addict. Words like it serves them right, or on less person that the government has to support.

They will try and convince you that their behaviour in a past relationship was totally warranted and whatever they did the person had it coming. A great example is in society today with the #MeToo campaign. “What was she expecting going to a hotel room, she put herself in that position and got what she deserved. It was her own stupidity that got her there.” Any form of victim blaming is Toxic.

  • Living on the Edge: They are easily bored, weather they are constantly surrounded by their adoring fan club or they are skipping plans for something better, they are always moving and doing it with an audience. When they don’t have an audience they are posting how great they are on social media. They set up parties to celebrate themselves, and even if someone else looks like they are setting it up the Toxic person is pulling the strings in the background. They make their lives seem exciting and share openly about all the money they are making (likely not true) how spiritual they are, how successful they are.If they are in a relationship they will post or speak about how their partner did something horrific to get sympathy and support. In this case they are likely looking for their next target and at the same time discredit the current target/partner so the fan club stays unaware of who is actually the problem.

Caveat: There are people who have such low self-esteem that they need gratification from external sources; they need to show that their life is in control and amazing. This is not healthy for them and usually annoying to many as we see through the ruse, but they are not doing it with malicious intent. (Psychopaths only show low self-esteem if it serves them)

How to avoid this behaviour: There is a saying if someone or something is to good to be true it likely is. Weather they are talking about finances, relationships or even their own spiritual growth they not only have it all, they have all the answers. And if you would just do exactly as they say then you can have it too. We all want short cuts we want happiness and wealth (financial or emotional) and we want it easily or in a pill. Guess what? Life is not designed that way some things are easy and some things are hard and that’s ok when we work on hard things they can become easier. But, if you find yourself putting someone on a pedestal or being totally enraptured by them unable to see that they are human or a person with faults and insecurities just like the rest of us, likely they have done their work at creating a co-dependency. A clear sign of a toxic person is when you question them or dispute what they are saying; they will lash out and discredit you, this lashing out takes many forms.

  • Suggestions for Making the Relationship Better Always Seem to Fall at your Feet (Zero Self Awareness): Toxic personalities seem to feel that everything that must change in a relationship is up to you. Toxic people will even get outside opinions from people to show how you are the one at fault. They will present that their therapist, friends or any number of other people feel you are to blame. Once they are comfortable that they have you where they want you (meaning you won’t run from the abuse) this feedback will start to include traits they said they once loved. This is their way to gain control, this can also be done in a form of gas lighting.

How to avoid this behaviour: This is one where you really need to have instincts and trust in yourself. Two key feelings my clients have told me is “they start to feel like they are crazy”, “Like they are the most horrible person in the world”. They pick all the books you will read or the therapists that you will go to. Everything is on you! When you ask them what they did they state if you only did this they would not have done that. Just know if you are in a relationship with a toxic person you will never be good enough. Any changes you make will be met with scorn or they will tell you that it is still wrong.  If you have these feelings seek support outside of the relationship, therapists, support groups, and friends that did not come with the toxic person if you have any left.

Keep Chasing Those Cars…..

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

Stay tuned for my next Blog on “The Three Relationship Phases of a Toxic Person” there will be more traits and more warning signs.

Also if you like what you are reading, remember I would love and need your support to do the work I am doing, so please consider supporting me through my Patreon site at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault I can also set up single benefactor support and you can message me at steven.m.archambault@gmail.com for this. Also I would appreciate if you rated or liked this article it lets me know I am on the correct path.

 

 

When is a Psychopath not a Psychopath?

Honestly, without testing there is no way for someone to know for sure that anyone is a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist. Unless they walk up to you and say: “Hey, nice to meet you, I have been tested and I suffer from psychopathy! What’s your story?” And, if you have ever been in contact with one of these toxic people, you know one thing is for sure, that is never going to happen. (Unless they think telling you will get them something they want. Truly toxic people do nothing without a motive.)

What do all toxic people have in common? Toxic traits and behaviours that leave their intended target in shambles. I used the word target on purpose because that’s all the person is to them, a target. They leave the target severely emotionally wounded and in lots of cases physically wounded. Just like when I was in the military, our goal was to leave the targets wounded or dead; so I feel this term fits.

My practice is built on three healing principles “Compassion, Understanding and Forgiveness.” I do have compassion; and I do have my own understanding of why they do what they do. Forgiveness may be harder to do; as each time forgiveness is required it seems to be a little different. In some cases when I have been taken advantage of by toxic people, what I needed most to fully heal was forgiveness, not for the act but possibly for the person and definitely for myself. (Forgiveness is such a huge topic it has hundreds of books on the subject, getting into it here is likely not efficient.)

On a personal note as it comes to understanding and compassion. In the beginning of my studies I wanted to prove their was horrible people, bad people, people who chose to be a psychopath. But, what I ended up proving is that no one wanted to be born this way, no one looked up at their caregiver and said: “please abuse me! I want you to make my life so rotten as a child that I don’t trust anyone and all I want to do is hurt them so they may know one fraction of the pain I feel.” They have not fully discovered what causes psychopathy, nature or nurture but the links to childhood neglect or abuse cannot be denied. No one is certain why one brain switches in an abusive situation and another brain holds to compassion and kindness.

No one asked to be this way and in some ways they have no choice; as they do not believe in choices. For them, their life has always been controlled, their life has likely always been abusive, they as children have been manipulated so for them choice is simple. Manipulate and betray or be manipulated and be betrayed. People who suffer from these personality disorders did not ask for this life, just like someone did not ask for cancer or some other physical disease. I do feel that these traits are not something that they asked for, however those of us who have been impacted by them did not ask for it either.

With research, with personal experience and with stories from clients I have compiled a list of people who may have something else going on where these traits or behaviours can be seen and maybe misinterpreted to be an anti-social personality disorder. For efficiency this is not an exhaustive, so feel free to add any one else you think needs to be added in the comments.

Number One on my List is Addicts. I once heard Dr. Gabor Mate speak and state that: “Not everyone who has trauma has addiction but everyone who has addiction has trauma.” (Mate, 2016) The addict themselves are suffering some deep emotional wounds. They chose the addiction likely based on a soothing behaviour, it calms them, it makes their world feel good, at least in the beginning. However, they come to a point where being in that addiction starts to cause them or others pain. They will do anything to sooth their emotions. That includes hurting those they love with lies, deceptions, verbal and or physical attacks.

In all 12-step programs that I am aware of steps 8 and 9 recognize the damage that an addict does. We are told to go through our addictive life and make a list of everyone we had harmed and prepared to make amends. We are expected to make amends unless doing so would cause more harm. Addicts in 99% of the cases hate themselves for what they are doing to others, for what they are doing to themselves they just do not seem to know a better way of making the pain stop. Toxic traits are a constant in most addicts life but a truly toxic person would never make authentic amends.

The second group of people that may show traits of toxic people from time to time is “Everyone” else. At some point and time in our lives most of us have displayed self-serving hurtful behaviour. None of us are immune to acting out in pain.

If someone journeyed with us on our worst day, our most depressed hurting self and that is all they saw maybe they would consider us to be one of these labels. The difference between 90% of us and the others that fall into the diagnosable categories of Sociopath, Narcissism and Psychopathy is that we will hopefully recognize these behaviours and work at making the changes we need to heal the wound that caused this behaviour. The other difference is that when we do something wrong we “FEEL” bad, we authentically apologize (maybe) and we take steps to try and make sure that it won’t happen again (I hope).

 

Keep Chasing Those Cars….

Remember I do need your support so if you like what I am doing, if you get any benefit from it please consider supporting my work through Patreon at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault

With Love, respect and Admiration

Steve

 

Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Oh My!

A recent conversation with a benefactor and Patreon supporter about Narcissism, Sociopath and Psychopath behaviours moved me to write a series of blogs on the topic this is the first one and I hope it brings you back for the others.

I have been seeing more and more talk about narcissism, sociopath and psychopathy over the last few years. It seems everyone who has ever dated seems to have found one of these wonderful humans who is devoid from all emotional connection and only cares about themselves. The interesting fact here is the actual percentage of people truly impacted by this is 5% or less, only 1% of the population is a psychopath, and 4% is a sociopath and a high percentage of these are in jail. Narcissism holds the highest at about 6% of the population.

First with the number of people claiming to have dated, known or been in some form of relationship with a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath seems to be growing daily. I want you to think about a simple question (especially if you have been in multiple relationships with them). What makes me a perfect target/match for these types of individuals? I will answer this question as best I can in future blogs. However, one answer is they saw your vulnerabilities and they capitalized.

Before moving on I want to add a few caveats. 1) Just because you have read this, read an article or read a book on any of these traits does not mean you can diagnose someone. Diagnosing someone takes specialized testing and training. 2) I am writing this for simplicity and ease of understanding this writing and future writing can be used as reference but you may require further research on certain things. 3) I have read and studied these in some great detail but I am not a trained expert in testing or diagnosing. 4) Only trained experts should diagnose someone. (I know I said that earlier, however, it can not be stressed enough.)

I want to look at all the traits these three types of people have. That way you and I are working from very similar understandings.

Narcissism impacts 6% of the population and there is some discussion that with the increase of social media it is growing. One thing we need to understand we are all narcissists in some form or fashion. Narcissism is on a spectrum and we are all on that spectrum. Some small level of narcissism is good, but it can be displayed poorly. Let’s look at the traits that make up a narcissist, they are not in any order or order of significance. These are the 9 criteria from psychology today that are typically used to classify a true narcissist.

 

  1. A grandiose sense of self-importance.
  2. Someone who is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance.
  3. Believes they are special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions
  4. Requires constant attention and admiration from others.
  5. Has an unreasonable expectation of favourable treatment.
  6. Takes advantage of others to reach their own goals.
  7. Disregards feelings of others, lacks empathy.
  8. Is often envious of others or, feels others are envious of them.
  9. Shows arrogant behaviours and attitudes.

In each of these cases the person will show extremes in these behaviours. As you can read there may be times when we fall into this area. I think we all dream of being successful, it’s just most of us are not willing to sacrifice people to get there.

Sociopath and Psychopathy: I am putting both of these together as the difference is so minor and showing the differences is easier than listing the same traits twice. Also under the DSM 5 both of these names have been removed in favour of a singular term “Antisocial Personality Disorder”. This is one change in the DSM 5 that actually makes sense to me.   This list is not directly from the DSM 5 and again is not put in any order.

 

  1. Superficial charm and good intelligence (High Intelligence would classify mostly to Psychopaths)
  2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
  3. Absence of nervousness or neurotic manifestations (Psychopathy)
  4. Unreliability (Sociopath)
  5. Untruthfulness and insincerity
  6. Lack of remorse andshame
  7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behaviour
  8. Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience (Sociopath)
  9. Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity forlove
  10. General poverty in major affective reactions (Does not have
  11. Specific loss of insight
  12. Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations (Zero emotional understanding)
  13. Fantastic and uninviting behaviour with alcohol and sometimes without
  14. Suicidethreats rarely carried out (from my reading, this was a sociopath only)
  15. Sexlife impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated
  16. Failure to follow any life plan (Sociopath)
  17. Failure to accept any responsibility (Ever, even when caught it’s always someone else’s fault)

Sociopaths can form some emotional attachments usually to an individual and in some cases to a group or unit they belong to (Family). They will be limited and generally they will always struggle with emotional attachments. Sociopaths can be nervous and easily agitated they will give into impulses and can be seen if fits of uncontrolled rage. Sociopaths will more likely be seen as erratic and disturbed.

Psychopaths cannot form any emotional relationship, they do not understand attachments, and they do not feel emotions at all. However, they do learn to mimic emotions but only at a surface level. They can be seen as being driven, they can hold down jobs, they have disarming and charming personalities. Psychopaths are often well educated and appear normal to unsuspecting people.

Both require constant stimuli, they do not like the day to day or boredom at all. Both break the rules and feel that rules do not apply to them. Relationships can be seen as fast (multiple in numbers) and intense with either a sociopath or psychopath with extreme highs and in the end destructive lows.

Now there is no doubt that these types of disorders are highly destructive. Also anyone who has been caught in the web of people intent on doing them harm, I am sorry you did not deserve that.

There are some cases that I have seen where behaviours or traits that are listed above can be seen when someone does not fall into one of these categories. The first being an addict, yes their addiction behaviour is also destructive to people and once in recovery these traits will subside, or a person who was abused or emotionally manipulated as a child. They do not know any other way but once they receive help the behaviour changes.

Of the three personalities I would say that we come across narcissists way more. I have met plenty of people who show the extremes in this behaviour. As for Psychopaths I can think of coming across two (undiagnosed psychopaths) in my life, the first one gave me the chills in the first 5 minutes of meeting him, I wanted nothing to do with him and stayed clear after the initial meeting. The second slipped under my radar for a month but, an amazing person in my life pointed out some traits and I am grateful as I missed every sign, and because I missed these signs they had me as a target. If they had not pointed them out I can only imagine how long I would have stayed blind and the damage that would have been done. Sociopaths, well until I started doing the research these words were interchangeable so I will have to think on that one.

Watch for my next writing When a Narcissist, Sociopath, and Psychopath is Not One at all.

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

Keep Chasing Those Cars…..

P.S. If you like what you read and want early access consider supporting my work through www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault

 

References

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/hare-psychopathy-checklist-test-will-tell-if-someone-sociopath-a7439616.html

 

https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/psychopath/psychopath-vs-sociopath-what-s-the-difference/

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/how-spot-sociopath

 

https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/dsm-5-the-ten-personality-disorders-cluster-b/

 

 

The Healing Power of Hypnosis

 

For as long as people have been sick the medical profession in some cases has been at a loss to explain why. A pain that they have with no evidence of why or an illness that they have diagnoses for, but still don’t understand it or where it came from (think fibromyalgia). Environmental sensitivities or allergies that cannot be traced to family medical history or, that seemed to just showed up one day. Stomach issues that seem to flair up at the most inopportune time and go away when a doctor is in the examining room. Patients have been made to feel crazy, being told its all in their head, been told there is nothing that can be done, or been prescribed copious amounts of medications to manage the symptoms that keep coming up. They know something is wrong however, no one understands or worse no one believes.

There is research that may explain these issues. Do you ever remember someone saying? “It’s a good thing they are young, at least they won’t remember.” Guess what? They do remember, they may not have words to explain what they remember, but their body remembers and with the connection between our mind and body. Getting physically sick is the only way we know we need to work through a trauma or a past hurt

When looking at trauma we need to remember each one of us is different and each one of us experiences trauma in a different way. Understanding a traumatic experience that you as a child went through can be looking for a needle in a haystack. It could be obvious, you were adopted losing connection to the birth mother, or that you needed multiple surgeries as a newborn infant. (I am including a link to a video below that really does help understand developmental trauma.) Or it could be less obvious, mom had post partum and even though was loving could not connect in the way we needed to. Another one is that mom and dad were struggling in the marriage and impacted our ability to connect to either one, especially if dad worked to avoid home or drank as soon as he got in the door. (again this is not about blame! Just understanding what happened and how as a young child we interpreted it.

There has been much research on the impacts of our childhood experience and the health issues we experience as adults. One of the best summaries provided is from the book “Healing Developmental Trauma” by Laurence Heller PH.D. and Aline LaPierre Psy.D. In the book they speak to the five survival styles of the NeuroAffective Relational Model® (NARM). Without going to deep they are “The Connection Survival Style”, “The Attunement Survival Style”, “The Trust Survival Style”, “The Autonomy Survival Style”, and “The Love and Sexuality Survival Style”. Each one of the survival styles has a reason, which is why a book has been written on them so I won’t go into great detail here. What I have found with each of my clients is that we have parts of each of these survival styles in each of us; however, when developmental trauma is present in any of the early childhood stages we may have a stronger connection to one area.

Focusing on the first survival style “Connection” this is where some of the illness that cannot be explained may sit. According to Heller and LaPierre (2012) people who have been impacted by developmental trauma in the early phase of life (inception to six months of age) maybe impacted by many such illnesses a short list includes: Migraines, ADD/ADHD, Digestive Problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Environmental Sensitivities or Allergies, Asthma, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, or Scoliosis. This list is not exhaustive, however a longer list is provided at the end of this, but more research is always being done and this list is likely to grow. If you medical professional cannot find a reason maybe a different approach through Hypnotherapy may be something that will benefit you. Hypnotherapy has been proven through research to benefit all of the above-mentioned sicknesses.

Hypnosis can help with the problem in a few ways the first as mentioned above is the power of the mind to heal our body. When we are using hypnosis the mind is hyper focused the outside distractions are limited this allows our mind to reduce pain and even heal certain problems completely. Beyond my own personal experience I have had clients who came in experiencing chronic pain, so much so that focusing on anything else unless fully medicated was not possible. Using hypnosis pain was reduced if not completely eliminated, thus reducing or eliminating pain medication being taken. This in turned allowed them to be clearer in their thinking and able to see life in a better way, not through glasses that were in constant pain.

Hypnosis also allows people to clear their mind and body and when the symptoms were of direct result of childhood developmental trauma they could revisit those periods and work through them in a manor that was not intrusive or re-traumatizing. The ability to heal trauma comes with so many benefits that are directly related to our physical health. Healing trauma does not happen overnight, however relieving symptoms and moving through the experience has great benefit to the person who suffers.

The title makes it seem like hypnosis is what heals you. Actually, hypnosis is only a vehicle for the healing; hypnosis itself does not heal. Hypnosis centers your mind, focusing your subconscious so much that you allow your mind to heal your body, exactly as it was designed to do. This is done using a trained hypnotherapist ideally someone who is registered with IMDHA in the U.S. or with ARCH in Canada. Another great factor with hypnosis is that it can be done over the phone or Video call online. However it is just as much up to the person who suffers to allow it to work as I have said in previous blogs hypnosis can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.

Keep Chasing Those Cars

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

Here is the Video Link I promised in the Blog

Must Read Childhood and Adult Trauma related books:

Healing Development Trauma By: Laurence Hellep Ph.D. & Aline Lapierre Psy. D.

The Body Keeps The Score By: Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D.

Further list of conditions associated with adverse childhood experiences or developmental trauma include the following:

  • Frequent or Severe Headaches
  • Heart Disease including Heart Attacks
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Chronic Lung Disease (Emphysema)
  • Asthma
  • Bone Fractures
  • Liver Disease
  • Stroke D
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Disorders: sleep apnea, narcolepsy, nightmare distress, sleep paralysis
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain, Especially Chronic Back Pain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • General Abdominal Pain
  • Overall Poorer Health (Not otherwise defined, meaning more symptoms but no official diagnosis). This was further characterized by more days in bed and greater difficulty in functioning in everyday life.

“Because there isn’t any health condition that isn’t influenced by the immune system, the nervous system, or hormones, any condition will have the tendency to have flare-ups or be more difficult to manage with a biology of trauma.”(Apigian, 2018)

 

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a series of natural and normal psychological processes used in a systematic sequence to create a relaxed mental state with greater receptivity to influence and change.

That is a great definition if you are lecturing students, but really does it give you comfort? Does it reduce any fear if you have fear surrounding hypnosis? Maybe or maybe not, for me it was some more jargon that did not really say how I was going to feel better. And, it likely does not remove any blocks as to why you could need hypnosis? Or, how I can add this to my own healing, my own personal story of removing blocks that keep me from moving forward? If I was to tell you why I wanted hypnosis in my practice or why I wanted hypnosis in my daily life, maybe that will help you understand what hypnosis is and what it can do for you.

First, hypnosis can be one of the most powerful methods of creating change for a person. However, each person responds differently to hypnosis some can experience a deep state of hypnosis on their first try. They have some great immediate results in helping with their own mental health journey, or removing a block that is keeping them stuck in business. They stop smoking after one session is a great example. Others, may need multiple sessions to feel relaxed enough to work with their hypnotherapist, to have the full effects of hypnosis. Anyone can be hypnotized, if they are willing, sometimes that willingness comes from time and trust, but it can work for them.

There are many theories of exactly what hypnosis is, however so far there is no clear cut agreed explanation. BUT the ‘experience’ of hypnosis and the scientific validity of the results gained while using hypnosis do have a definable quality. It works and has worked for hundreds of years, doing a quick search on how Hypnosis has helped can show you what it can do for you.

What does hypnosis feel like?

Hypnosis is a deep concentrated state of physical and mental relaxation. When working with people who have trauma visiting that trauma is tough hypnosis allows you to visit tough memories and heal them. One of my clients states “its like watching a movie of my life, I can stop the scene, I can even redirect a new scene if I need, I can see anything and feel perfectly safe after.”

If you are someone who has a practice of meditation in their daily routine, you already have some sense of the feelings around hypnosis. The relaxed physical and mental state of hypnosis can cause either a dulled awareness where you feel like you are in a room where sound is absorbed and you can only hear what is being said, no other distraction is felt or even matters if it comes into play. There are times when you have a super focused awareness. You can see events clearly and answers you seek are presented in a way that your subconscious can integrate them immediately. The conscious mind finds it too much effort to think or notice too much, so it lets go and allows your subconscious mind to fully focuses what is being said during the hypnotic session.

I also added hypnosis because it is something we do already and we do it naturally. So if we already do it maybe we were designed to do it better. Some examples include:

  • Reading, turning the page and forgetting what you have just read
  • Driving and arriving somewhere having forgotten the trip
  • Talking out loud when concentrating
  • Daydreaming

In psychology they also refer to this as disassociation, which means, “the disconnection or separation of something from something else or the state of being disconnected.” In all the cases listed above we are disconnected from our conscious mind and are working from our subconscious. When it comes to healing we can disconnect from the pain and focus on the healing. However, we are still fully present.

 

When using hypnosis we have an increase in the suggestibility, this results in an individual’s ability to create change. When using hypnosis the sub conscious mind (the part that handles the automatic behaviors, think of breathing or heart rate) is less influenced by your own possible negative and conscious self talk and tends (over time) to accept the suggestions. I was at a seminar and the speaker talked about how or subconscious does not understand good or bad, it just accepts what it is being told as true.

So, if you feel you can do anything but use other words in your thoughts such as “Can’t” or “Failure” can you guess what words your subconscious remembers? There are those that do not understand having a great job, a great title all the while thinking deep down they are worthless. But, those that do understand this know it holds them back; and maybe one day it creates a pattern where your life falls apart.

The subconscious is running based on our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes, based on our automatic and often unconscious thinking. Do you remember when you were a child and someone said something negative to you? Has that thought has sat with you all these years? That’s your subconscious running a program off of negativity. The mind will only run the programs that you have installed.

Hypnosis helps you adopt when it is right for you different beliefs, attitudes or behaviors. It allows you to see the truth that you are not stupid, you are not alone, you are not ugly, or any other myriad of issues. It works only if you truly want it to, only if you are willing to accept what is being said and if you have found the root cause to your belief (this may take time). There is no need to fear what will happen in hypnosis considering all the negative beliefs that have already been installed into your subconscious over the course of your life without you even realizing it. The best thing for me about hypnosis is that it is drug free, and I can do it myself over time.

Most of the experiments surrounding hypnosis to date have revolved around how hypnosis impacts the mind or trying to figure out how it works. “These types of questions or research continue to bring little or no value to the field” (Reyher, 1962). The reason why they do little for hypnosis or for us because admitting something works without knowing why is not scientific or accepted. I like to say “the final frontier is not space, the final frontier which we may never fully understand is our mind.”

Conclusion

Hypnosis is a vehicle for people to tap into their mind and see the potential power it holds. The cases can speak for themselves and only you can decide weather or not the evidence supports your investigation or acceptance that hypnosis is a tool you should be using in your life. Having personally learned so many different modalities in healing and continuing to grow them I know how much benefit hypnosis has brought me.  Hypnosis may be the last healing modality you use or it may be the corner stone to your own journey of self-love and acceptance. No matter what it is still something you can benefit from.

As for science, it is without a doubt that further investigation in this field is required. The measurements to fully understand what the benefits of hypnosis is, what it can accomplish, and its ability to assist patients to heal both physically (the physical healing of pain and illness is a future writing this month) and mentally may not even exist in this time period. It seems that the current scientific method continues to raise more questions than answers. The imaging technology MRI, PET, CAT can only able to see the surface mind. Seeing the sub-conscious and the power it holds and what we can actually do in our day-to-day lives is still a mystery. At least in my opinion! But why would you hold yourself back from trying?

 

Keep chasing those cars.

 

With Love, respect and Admiration

 

Steve

Debunking Some Myths Around Hypnosis

There has been great fear attached to hypnosis since it’s formal introduction as a way to treat people who suffer from mental health concerns. Franz Mesmer’s animal magnetism was not the first time hypnosis was used in history. It was however, the first time that it was understood as hypnosis. Hypnosis’s history is full of inconstancies. First if people truly understood hypnosis then they would understand that hypnosis has been around as long as life or breathing itself. Like breathing, hypnosis is an inherent and universal trait that is shared by all human beings. (History of Hypnosis, 2012) It has only been since Mesmer in the eighteenth century that we have started to understand that we have the ability to control our own hypnotic states.

The first issue we will look at that people believe about hypnosis is that it is still seen as part of the occult. Seen as some form of black magic or even an instrument of the devil. We can actually thank Mesmer for this interpretation. According to the History of Hypnosis (2012) the magician look of the big hat and long coat as people on mass are hypnotized can be directly traced to him. Mesmer would have all the subjects tied together by a rope, which he stated the rope would allow him to pass from person to person with his animal magnetism. He would also play ethereal music on his glass harmonica. Mesmer’s flair for theatrics was not only one of the stereotypes we face today, it was also one of the reasons for his down fall.

Since that time the images of the sinister person in the movies commanding large groups, continues to be played out. During the 1880’s and the 1890’s the only place to really find anything on hypnosis was through a company out of Boston Massachusetts called “Occult publishing company”.   As time progresses you will always have people who are unwilling to give up on past thoughts. Those that will say “hypnosis is the devils work”. We will always have those that fear what they do not know, those that are unwilling to expand their own universe. However, hypnosis is not the devils work or part of some secret society. If you don’t believe in vampires how can you believe in this?

Another common problem with hypnosis is the idea that someone else has complete control over you as a client or participant. In this case not only does the movies portray this but we can also thank the stage hypnotist, the entertainer. Sure the movies show people doing crazy things, illegal things and some nasty things while under the influence if hypnosis. But, the movies show many things that are not true like kids going into a closet to visit a parallel universe and we have not removed our closets. The stage hypnotist may have another part to play in this. Over the years these shows have become more risqué to the point where they can be adult only and even held as a main draw in Sin City (Las Vegas).   We have people being hypnotized to crow like a rooster, perform some form of a partially clothed sex act or even forget their own name. Once they left the stage they can be heard saying, “If it was not for hypnosis, I would never have done that.” This statement is not even partially true. We only do what we want to do while under hypnosis no one can tell you to do anything you don’t want to, what goes against your core values. This is fun entertainment, but should not scare you away from finding a solution to problems by eliminating hypnosis as a solution.

Also according to Ivan Pavlov, famed Russian psychologist famously known for his work with behaviour modification, classical conditioning, and transmarginal inhibition. Pavlov believed that hypnosis reflected a state of cortical inhibition (Edmonston, 1981). Simply put we would do the things asked of us when we act in a way that our inhibitions are removed. Think about vacations when the kids are not around, do you act differently? If you do, does this mean you are hypnotized and not responsible? No, it’s just you can remove your masks, be someone else, or, be exactly who you really are.

Also if hypnosis could make you do all these things, if you are fully under someone else’s control, don’t you think the militaries around the world would be using it to create a group of zombified super soldiers? Or do you think the governments would not be using it themselves or banning its use from the general public? The reason why this has not happened is simple, hypnosis is a tool in which you can resist. And people who resist in the military are not that useful.

Lastly, hypnosis is dangerous. Well yes it can be especially if your operating heavy machinery, driving or holding hundreds of pounds of weights over your head while listening to a hypnosis recording. Under a licensed hypnotherapist danger is the farthest thing from the truth. If you are doing this with someone who learned the craft from a You-Tube video then maybe some self-destructive or harmful thoughts could be introduced for a period of time, that’s why doing your research on support is important.

Ideally under the care of a trained or licensed professional (IMDHA in the U.S. or ARCH in Canada) this should never happen. No matter what the profession there will be people who do bad things. If a banker steals does that mean all banking is bad? When one nurse decides to become an “angel of death” does that destroy the entire nursing profession? It was not the practice of banking or nursing, just like it is not the practice of hypnosis it self, but the person who practiced the profession.

Hypnosis may not be a miracle cure for everyone, however it has helped to many to count. On one extreme of totally dismissing hypnosis as junk science, is short sighted and irresponsible, does it work for you? Who knows until you try. The mental state hypnosis can help you get to, where you are super focused to hypnotic suggestion and learn new behaviours or integrate painful memories, does work. However, like any therapy it requires work on your part and with guidance from a therapist, healer or teacher whatever you want to call them. As effective as it is, you do not achieve miraculous result overnight, or you may be one of the lucky few who does.

Keep Chasing Those Cars

With Love, Respect and Admiration

Steve

P.S. Some people ask how they can support me or my practice. I have been doing some personal work on asking for what I need. So here is me asking. I would love your support and here is how. https://www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault Plus you do get things for your support. Beyond early access to my writing, my videos (Some stay will stay on Patreon and never go public) plus you get some other cool stuff. Then I would ask that you support my efforts through Patreon just please click on the link. https://www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault