I was never just proud but fascinated with this city, the way people talk, the way people carry themselves, the little trends- but my Toronto that I grew up in was always what I wanted to put on the forefront if I ever got the chance.
Even though corporations have vast collaborations with food banks to donate food on a grand scale and they are in every position to do what we can’t do financially; it’s people like you and I that add a personal touch to giving.
There are many things you can do as an individual to stay grounded. Staying grounded is something you should do regularly to remind yourself who you are, where you could be and what you want life look like internally. A great way to live your life is one where you’re giving of your time, efforts and hands to those in need-especially those that will appreciate it!
As a high school student I volunteered at the Y and loved teaching kids sports! I designed simplified Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball activities for really young kids. I loved watching kids progress with their motor skills and confidence over a year’s time-it was so rewarding! At the local hospital I’d be helping operating room patients fill out their paperwork when they could not understand the information or did not have next-of-kin with them when they checked in!
Those moments I’ll always remember. For the last few Christmases-I would call around and sign up with different organizations to help out for soup kitchens and/or food banks and the waiting lists are so long because so many want to help out this time of year. Early last Fall, I called the Daily Bread Food Bank and asked if they needed any people and they did!
I reached out before Canadian Thanksgiving and glad I checked in a lot earlier. Just like food donations and hands, it’s better to start early. Did you know #DailyBreadTO supplies other food banks in Toronto with food/supplies/preserves? This insures that all neighbourhoods get an equal measure of what’s needed instead of running out-especially this time of year!
Apart from feeling good about helping others, the most rewarding part was seeing some of the same families every week who feed their children and are truly grateful for what’s available. Some of the other volunteers were so kind, dedicated and gracious. Once I got to know everyone, I got to hear their stories. Many people in the city are making ends meet and a few extra things make a huge difference.
The Food Bank is set up to look and feel like an actual grocery store to remove the ‘ration’ style of the Food Bank process and each customer can shop like they should. Volunteers are waiting to help bag the groceries and customers know how much they are permitted to receive!
I lived in Etobicoke for almost 7 years and had no idea that Daily Bread Food Bank was on Islington Ave! I’m writing this not to promote volunteerism or helping out during the holidays but mostly to encourage food donation all year round. Once the holidays are over-shelves are bare. Many items running out quickly are things like diapers, wipes, ensure, milk, eggs, produce, laundry detergent, toilet paper and toiletries. Anything that is used daily or weekly is so needed. After talking to so many people, when the holidays have passed, it’s tougher to retain enough stock to go round.
There are so many corporations who bring their employers in for food sorting and packaging marathons to raise money for the Food Bank and those events are always high energy with good music and live DJs! (That’s my favourite part.)
One thing I found touching was seeing patrons check labels for calories, sodium, ingredients and expiration dates. They are just as conscious about what they are eating as the next person! Give what you can of course BUT think about the health of your fellow human beings.
For me personally, food donation and donation in general has now taken on a whole new meaning. I give outside of the common holiday gift giving times, I give whether or not there’s a dire need or disaster and I try to give what’s necessary besides the usual donation items.
It was an incredible experience. Have a Happy Holiday! Have a wikked 2018!
I visit my Mom once a month. In the Summer, I usually stop by her place with nothing else except for flip flops, a sundress and shades. If I’m staying over and not rockin’ the braids (some Summers I don’t-) I need products that work as good as what I use at home. (I’m always trying out different curling custards and gels!) I had a look in the cupboards in her bathroom and just like me, she had TONS of product.
I reached in and some of the stuff was laughable. I chuckled because I saw products my Mom used to use on my hair when I was little. The products of my childhood!!! I started checking for dust and grime on the various bottles and containers because they were pushed deep, deep into the back and I opened bottles and jars to smell the contents and look for expiration dates to see if anything had gone bad. This stuff was all new!
The product was purchased a few weeks ago-maybe a few months back……If my Mom is still buying this stuff-not only is it what she is used to, but it’s got to be some stuff worth trying out. Here are the 5 items I found:
SoftSheen-Carson-Let’s Jam-Condition & Shine Gel (Regular Hold)
If I don’t feel like wearing the ‘fro, I do a sleek low bun. I do a centre or side part, get all the edges in from front to bank. It’s sticky enough to get the hair all down, a little wavy and VERY shiny! It’s great-however, depending on how much you put on it can get a little greasy. Actually, more than greasy…..my forehead was shining lol It does a good job,still!
Queen Helene-Cholesterol-Hair Conditioning Cream
With many days of extreme heat and sun…hair can get thirsty. If you’ve got low-porosity hair (What’s your porosity?) a good deep treatment might be what you need. I dumped half the jar on my hair and combed it through from root to tip before a typical co-wash. I put on a plastic cap, wrapped it with a heated towel and was left with some hydrated curl-defined hair! I didn’t think it was going to do anything with this massive amount of hair but glad I tried it out!
The Original-Mane ‘n Tail-Moisturizer-Conditioner
This is great for co-washing. Hair ends up super curly, super moist and dries well for the perfect wash and go! This doesn’t flake or dry-out on you midday. Try the LOC method with this and you’ll see how well it works. The conditioner is not too thick. If you decide to blow out your hair in the Summer, this gives a very smooth and bouncy laid bob!!!
World of Curls-Comb-Out Conditioner & Oil Sheen (Moisturizer)
This product made me laugh because this is a ‘Jheri-curl’ product. I wondered why she’d be using the ‘juice’ without having jheri curls. I sprayed it on with the Mane ‘N Tail as part of the co-washing style process and it gave a very wet and wavy look that dried that way. I checked the ingredients and one of the main ones: GLYCERIN. It’s an excellent humectant for dry hair! (Ease up on how much you use though, it can be a little greasy if it’s not applied to wet or damp hair.
SoftSheen-Carson-Care Free Curl-Instant Moisturizer with Glycerine
Of every item I tried in her stash I felt they were just okay. This is the ONE product I took home! It’s perfect! IT goes on smooth, deeply absorbs into the hair and disappears. It leaves the hair with defined, hydrated curls. It helps my thick hair dry faster and you can apply as little or as much as you like! I use this so much now that instead of buying a bottle or two at a time I started purchasing a 946 ml salon-sized bottle which lasts a few months.This product has been carried into the cooler months and still operates the same way in Winter. This product also has glycerine and can be used with a deep conditioner and/or grapeseed,jojoba or olive oil combination it looks the same every single time.
If you have a chance, check your Momma’s stash you’ll be surprised some of that stuff will never go out of style!
Post-Manifesto re-cap and I’m still reeling from the festival’s High Energy vibe. A weekend mash up of Oldskool meets NuSkool under many historical roofs and under the open sky. (RBC Echo Beach) It was such an exciting weekend to look forward to and what an unexpected show it was! (The weather was fabulous!)
The peaceful party vibes continued all 4 days! Shout outs to local lady DJs Dre Ngozi and Nino Brown alongside special guest Selecta Vashtie for throwing down! What I loved was the way all eras and genres connected to Hip Hop legacy with pride and knowledge. All events were spread out all over the city!! Local acts Tika Simone,The Sorority,Sean Leon,Derin Falana,Matthew Progress and Majid Jordan all represented! Truly a pleasure to watch and sing along!
Sitting in to chat with Brooklyn’s Sweetheart Vashtie, we get to see the other side of urban culture and what it actually took for her to build her foundation from the inside/out. Che went from the mundane to the spiritual to the video light perspective. We learned a lot about how she ‘arrived’. Her story’s amazing. In a new age of the music industry, where it doesn’t take much to be notable, we often forget about what it takes to get there. Vashtie talked about Health/Wellness, the Art of Networking, her time at the record label, her travels, her childhood and her heritage. She’s a remarkable young woman. No wonder she’s sought after! Not only did Manifesters walk away with a little bashment but they walked away with some gems for self development.
Right now as social media reigns, Che asked about her play-by-play social postings online (prior to her arrival to the T.Dot that weekend.) She talked about her reasons for relying on it so much, “I think it comes from my filmmaking, storytelling side…..I feel like if you’re watching something, you should see it all-the conversations I have with people…..from having a blog…I want to show that I’m like everyone else.I come from a generation where we just don’t share information—and so now making a connection with people with every snap (Snapchat) I feel like I’m showing what’s happening. Back then (in 1998/1999) I felt that Social Media was so strange and I’m coming from a generation where we just don’t share information….but with technology we can talk to anyone anywhere”.
With social sharing permitted at a showcase like Manifesto-all angles of the weekend were splashed all over the web and city. Yes, there were smartphone users all over the concert but the ability to capture these moments helped show the world what’s here and it’s an incredible kind of new beginning.
If Manifesto is one of many Urban Culture fixtures that collectively brought the rest of North America to look at Urban Culture they way they did this June-I’m down. What’s most inspiring is to see the crowds of people at the live concert and parties enjoying all the incredible acts! Toronto is diverse-all ages and all faces really show what a mosaic looks like united in music and I love that.
The verdict: Toronto people love music and support local acts with force. According to Vashtie, (Che didn’t have to twist her arm or nothing) J Canadians are killin’ it with talent. Manifesto you’ve come a long way, Toronto let’s keep going!
I’d never seen Avène products until I’d been to a cosmetics counter in Asia. Many Asian women use it to hydrate and cleanse their faces. They have an extensive facial and body care line and they’ve recently added YsthéAL Intense. It can be used together with the water. The water is excellent for tired,oily,dehydrated and aging skin.
When asked to try their newest product, I decided to give it a try. It smooths fine lines and wrinkles which I’m not sure I need for that just yet lol. ‘It promises to be 2x concentrated than the rest of the range’ (Concentrated it is!) It’s recommended to be used at night for effectiveness. It’s a good idea, it’s VERY concentrated.
It’s got ‘Retinaldehyde’ it restores radiance and luminosity to the skin. ‘Radiant skin is always in’ #YstheALIntense. With Summer finally here it reduces age spots, blemishes and the (Pre-Tocopheryl-Vitamin E) Keeps it hydrated.
It was much colder in May (when I received the product.) I found it really drying to the skin. Be mindful of more sensitive areas like nostrils, lips,ears and eyebrows. There is quite a bit of initial peeling and mild irritation. If you alternate days and use the product as it suggests-‘Only basic moisturiser should be applied over it if you have very dry skin’. I recommend this method for sensitive skin also.
So far I’ve used this after my Clarsonic deep-cleaning, microdermabraison or laser treatments it works VERY well. It’s great for sun damage and hyperpigmentation which is great for darker skin. The results are immediate!
The product is as concentrated as it says it is and does what it says it should do. Eau Thermale Avène YsthéAL Intense Anti-wrinkle skin renewal concentre at 30 ml retails at 55.00. Avène products are sold in drugstores across Canada. #YstheALIntense
It’s with the utmost pride that I can say Toronto’s got an organization devoted to Urban Arts & Culture. Something I’ve always supported and it’s where my musical roots came from. Artists like Maestro,Kardi,Julli Black,Ghetto Concept and Dream Warriors is what I knew. I’ll always love Hip-Hop no doubt but I turned away when outlets remained bare.
I was so frustrated that I even started a talent showcase with fellow York U Undergrad (Dj Nana) we hoped to provide a platform for unsigned hype from Singers to Battle Rappers to Poets and it ran for a minute. We even tried to start an Urban Media Arts Association-but the work and support back then was bleak.
As I took stock of the many years learning about the music scene in Toronto, I started with my first internship at what was Flow 93.5 and from there I became a NXNE and Honey Jam volunteer to promoting parties and events over at CHRY college radio station. Manifesto is the evolved and growing version of what I’ve always hoped for.
An organization like @Manifesto_TOis something to be incredibly proud of. To see artists,acts and personalities rally around an incredible festival that’s put Toronto on the map (permanently) is quite amazing. With Canadian exports like the Biebs,Drake,Tory,Party Next Door,Weekend,Tika,Slakah,Majid Jordan and the list gets longer….. we’ve got so many more to put on display!
If you haven’t purchased tickets to anything; look for something and become a part of Toronto’s rich ‘Urban Culture’ landscape. Find an art installation, find a concert.Hit up the Opening/Closing Party and Artists Panel. If Urban isn’t your thing check it out, you’ll be blown away. Here’s the website: http://mnfsto.com/
This weekend the #theSHINEprjct is pretty excited to be stationed over at Echo Beach not just as a volunteer,intern or avid concert goer but a part of the festival reppin’ Toronto at Manifesto 11. Here’s to another groundbreaking decade!
I’m proud of these ladies because from a vision they had they created a very savvy business for fashionistas wanting to spruce up their look for multiple occasions. Looking for a few dresses but don’t wanna spend more money? You get to spend more money on makeup, shoes, a handbag and hair! Not just any kind of dress-but very high quality, high fashion on trend pieces. I walked in there and it looked beautiful. Right away I saw Carrie Bradshaw’s closet. Racks and racks of beautiful dresses.Flowers,velvet,chiffon,silk. Absolutely, Amazing!
Studio Fitzroy’s assistant asked me where I was going, when I was going and what my size was. She pulled together two racks of items and offered me some Champagne. On a lazy Sunday afternoon-why not? There were dresses in the pile she gave me that I felt right away I didn’t wanna try AT ALL-but she urged me to try. I tried the ones I didn’t like first. Surprisingly they all looked amazing.The assistance is great! The two dresses I chose: For Love and Lemons Ornate Velvet Mini Dress 100.00 CAD for (4 days) and retailing at $800 and Glamourous UK’s Dynasty Dress at 60.00 CAD for (4 days) retailing at $150! Excellent choices for the holidays!
When was Fitzroy established exactly and why a dress rental biz?
Fitzroy is 5 years old, but we’ve only been a rental business for less than a year. We were previously just a regular clothing boutique selling clothing online and at seasonal Pop-Ups several times a year. Our first one was in Yorkville back in September 2011, and since then we’ve been hovering around the Queen West and Ossington area where we’ve established a good following. Over the years as social media’s influence grew, we noticed women didn’t want to wear the same thing twice anymore, and that they were sick of spending a ton of money on dresses that would just sit in their closet taking up space. So we decided to test out the rental concept and it turned out there was a huge demand. It’s more fun,more affordable,better for the environment ; just makes more sense for so many reasons, so making the switch seemed like a no-brainer!
How is Fitzroy different from the others in Toronto? (i.e. Rent, Frock, Repeat, Rent The Runway)
We definitely have our own unique style, we call it boho-glam. There are certain brands we carry that have that edgy, cool-girl bohemian vibe for sure, a very Californian / Australian look. We’re also different in that you don’t need an appointment to come in and try on the dresses, just pop in anytime during store hours!
I visited the shop while it was a pop up located on Ossington. Why go from a Pop-Up to a full-fledged shop? (the new shop is beautiful by the way!!!!!!)
We’ve been a Pop-Up for 5 years as I mentioned, trying to figure out what we wanted to do with the brand. Once we landed on the idea of rentals we knew we needed to find a permanent home for the collection and create a welcoming, intimate space where women would feel comfortable coming in to try on the dresses. We wanted to make it feel like you’re at your best friend’s house trying on dresses, and that’s the feedback we get about the space most often – it makes us so happy!
What brands do you carry and how do you choose? Do designers approach you or vice versa?
It works both ways but we are very picky and selective about what brands we carry.They all have to fit in with our unique style/vibe, and each piece needs to be something special and unique, that you wouldn’t necessarily see everywhere.
Who’s your target market? Who did you anticipate that would become your target market-any surprises with the types of customers you’ve attracted?
Our target market is largely the same as when we were a clothing store; 20 and 30 something young professional women with a packed calendar and social schedule and a great sense of style.The Queen West girl essentially. However we’ve also had lots of dresses rented by younger and older women – which we love! Fitzroy is for everyone, and we’ve had clients in their teens up to their 70s!
What kind of events do people rent dresses for?
All kinds! Weddings are the most popular in the summer when everyone has at least a few on the horizon, then there are Birthdays, Bridal Showers, Bachelorette Parties, Engagement Parties, Photo Shoots, Trips, Awards shows, Film Premieres (we were slammed for TIFF), Charity Balls, Galas or just something as simple as an anniversary dinner or date night.
Who are your fave local designers?
We love Marika Brose, we have a ton of her pieces, lots of super fun details like feathers and sequins! Also Narces has some beautiful feminine pieces and Jordan de Reuiter makes the most beautiful tulle dresses – we have a few different styles.
What are your fave fashion pieces? Dresses and fashion accessories? (A must have for you.)
My personal go to is a 70s Kaftan! I have quite the collection that i wear in summer with sneakers and big sunglasses. In terms of the shop, we love really flowy, easy to wear pieces in fun colourful prints. The racks are a rainbow of colour when you walk in, and that’s just how we like it.
What’s in store for Studio Fitzroy for 2017?
We’re working on getting in some new styles, definitely more gowns and dressier pieces and a lot more options for our large and plus size ladies. Stay tuned!
Biggie said it best. He had quite a few musical gems that he dropped before before he passed. For those that don’t know him enough in the ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ he outlines strict rules to follow…..
So let’s talk about Narc Abuse: What is that? Would you be able to recognize if it was happening to you? Ultimately it’s about supply and demand. You supply time, supply concern, supply support and are demanded always-one way,one direction.Your time is never appreciated.Your willingness to be helpful,supportive and even caring is disrespected. Attention is always granted in one way.
You feel like you’re running on empty eventually…….the situation forms itself like a kind of heavy reliance “on drugs to boost self-esteem at the expense of the people around them.” Doesn’t make sense does it? It’s a substance/dependency issue, it could be a psychological issue, it’s a trauma issue, it’s a spiritual issue. For some people this is their reality for most if not all of their lives. For others they have a chance to change. It comes with a HUGE realization and a whole lot of reflection to create this kind of awareness.
This is probably one of the most pervasive articles I will ever write on this blog. My Stepmom didn’t want me to write this. She actually wanted me to focus on more ‘positive things’. This is a positive story, I promise! I wish I understood this in the past the way that I understand this now. But by sharing this story-I hope it helps the right people. Everyone has a story. This is mine. By sharing this story I intend to make this blog a little more personal. This is what ‘The Shine Project’ stands for………to inspire with passion.
When you are not able to recognize narcissistic abuse for what it is-unhealthy,dark,covert,twisted,confusing and destructive you may go on the rest of your life not understanding why you are served this dish repeatedly. You start to see that you are victimized unknowingly. Recognizing this pattern of abuse has helped me in many ways and has played a part in my life over and over.You won’t see visible scars but the damage is there. The abuse can often continue well after the public has moved on but the abuse replicates over and over again. To the general public this abuse is not apparent but when the abuser finds ways to direct the abuse towards you- they’ll use ways that most people won’t know or fully understand.When the victim reacts is what people see. IT has not only made me stronger but has had me recognizing what it is when I see it NOW and I get it. And I’m not here for it anymore……Sooooo how do you know you’re being abused or you’re in an abusive situation?
-when progress in areas of your life is thwarted by people around you with distractions,interruptions,diversions:family can do this to you (surprise! that’s abuse)
-using money,backhanded flattery,favours to sway your opinion when you begin to realize that the situation isn’t healthy, safe or real. (Family can and will do this-it’s deep covert abuse)
-when recent situations trigger memories of abuse in your past-abandonment,physical,emotional,verbal (all together they cause anxiety you may not be used to (you’ve been abused or have been in abusive environments.)
-when those around you dislike you and say they want to help but they don’t (it’s abusive)
-when you second guess people and their intentions towards you (you’ve been abused)
-when friends and family members cover the abuser’s actions and mishaps towards you “enabling”(that abuse)
-when you are subversively compared to another person or family members to show how much better or worse you are (it’s manipulative abuse)
-when the things that make you unique and damn amazing are projected as weaknesses….Are you mocked,mimicked or copied? Often times the abuser hates the good things about you and may twist those things to make those qualities look bad. (deep covert abuse)
-when you’re told to forgive, let it go, don’t take it personal, you’re too sensitive or you’re imagining things (sorry, it’s abuse-yo, don’t second guess your intuition.) #gaslighting
-if you find this article online, see some key phrases or words that make you continue to read this article……chances are (you are in an abusive relationship or have been abused.)
-when the abuser has others around them whom they share techniques on how to abuse you if you notice the same situations happening repeatedly (you’re being abused)
-when the same cycle repeats over and over again….most narcissistic situations aren’t unique. The pattern is the SAME with no resolution. They seem to all behave the same,we all have narcissistic traits. This is different though. (It’s abuse at the DEEPEST level-it’s probably gone on for waaay to long!)
Growing up in a narcissistic home is quite interesting because as you grow, you know something isn’t right.Surrounding yourself in narcissistic environments though?….. You look at other families and see that something is off BUT you can’t quite put your finger on it. (Every family is different.) As a child I was VERY observant and I wondered why my home environment was off. Everything looked great but the dynamic was strange. By learning to observe/feel people in their fear, anger, happiness or emotional detachment-I knew so much. Why didn’t I do anything to guard myself?
Where does ‘narcissism’ come from?
This word’s been thrown around lately when talking about the newly inaugurated president of the U.S. You’ve read about the Greek Myth…. a handsome Greek youth Narcissus who falls in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Although the story talks about ‘vanity’;narcissism runs much deeper than self-admiration. It’s more a maligned sense of self-worth thriving off of the addiction or supply of (admiration,reverence) from others. The supply can be material, physical,emotional or other. A narcissist needs very specific types of others to make sure his/her whole self can function. Without the supply there is no individual. Without that constant supply……..things get ugly. It’s just the world we live in. Once you’ve made peace with this. It’ll be okay.Narcissists are ‘created’. Depending on one’s early upbringing (the most crucial time in a child’s life) there is not much that can be done to change unless they understand that they have a challenge and WANT to change. Did you know that a narcissistic personality disorder is a personality type? It is often developed as a coping mechanism in children by age 12 who may have had a traumatic life or an entitled childhood. Sometimes parents are too busy, too unaware, too wrapped up in their own issues to make sure kids are taught healthy boundaries and either the child becomes a victim who doesn’t set boundaries with people or a predator who plows through the boundaries of ‘nice’ or ‘kind’ people. When the two dynamics cross paths it’s not a great combination. Usually the end is the worst when the victim realizes what has happened. On the other spectrum…..a child that is victimized while growing up can uncover an ’empathic’ or ‘hypersensitive’ side to them. They can sense environments,vibes and nuances. These nuances actually protect you from saying more than you should about yourself or doing more than you should for your own personal safety. (and privacy is absolutely okay.)
In both situations,children must find ways to adapt and cope. In one situation a false self is created to separate from their reality. In another case the child finds ways to ‘get along’ with everyone so that they can co-exist with other people (and eventually walk on eggshells-especially when the situation isn’t healthy.) Empaths always see the good in people and tend to see the world in a VERY positive way. (Cue rose-coloured glasses) They often notice things; but still want to hope for the best. If a situation isn’t going so well they try to sort it out or the biggest thing they don’t vocalize the problem because they don’t want to create chaos. Narcissists tend to see the positive point of view as stupidity,weakness or absolute lack of knowledge.This is where the covert or overt abuse comes in. A narcissistic individual creates a self and needs tools to make sure that this self exists in the real world but within that world there is trauma,anger,darkness,hatred, shame and deep pain from their past.
How do the two mix together? Let me discuss. We’ll start with family-usually this is where the first situations related to abuse start. My father felt he had a VERY tough childhood. He felt abandoned as a child. He was the last of 8 kids and again felt he was not ‘tended to’.He has always said he was treated like the Black Sheep of the family. The other siblings within the same family unit didn’t see it that way. They all felt that he was loved and given the care he needed and spoiled even- being one of the youngest-they thought he was lucky because he was permitted to do whatever he wanted.With so many older siblings, parents don’t have to really do anything with that child right? Either way-a narcissistic child is created by either being treated as entitled (The Golden Child) and given everything they want or by being given very little and neglected. (Either way the outcome is no good.)
Fast forward to the very near present. He tried to cover his feelings of inadequacy by getting married, having a child (children), getting the material goods (the house, the degrees, the luxury cars-everything to keep up with the Joneses’). All of which just made things look ‘normal’ but those were all surface bandages to temporarily patch up a soul that really didn’t know where it belonged and never healed from the lack, pain and suffering he says he experienced. The problem with a person like this is that they damage things, relationships and situations around them. Everyone around them is altered because either their family members walk on eggshells and enable their demands OR they abandon the abusive family member to save themselves.Children usually fall into the ‘eggshell’ category because underage children can’t always walk away from parents and parents are supposed to build strong foundations and teach healthy boundaries. But if one parent is trying to keep the peace or protect themselves the privacy/boundaries of children become completely eroded.
I was altered in a few ways-I went more into myself and became driven to succeed (especially when the abuse directed at you is designed to hold you back.) at whatever I did. I became very, very self-sufficient and even now have a hard time relying on others and even if I do it means I REALLY need the help. Sometimes I’d rely on others not knowing they were abusive and I trusted way more than I should have. The downside….I give more than I should-even when I’m given VERY little. I always hope by giving more to to others-that a rough situation will change.When my intuition kicks in to alert me to something that doesn’t seem right-I used to tell myself I’m being too critical.This comes from the dynamic of giving to make things ‘smooth’ and to ‘go along to get along’. This dynamic with a manipulative person starts with me and ends in shambles. Once I decided to make the change and put myself first-I started to see soooo many things. Things you wish to un-see or un-feel. It is always a tornado. Narcissists RAGE once they are met with a boundary setting action. I’ve understood for the last time and it will NEVER happen again.As a child of narcissists its a mixed bag because it makes you tough,sensitive,ambitious and a ‘go along to get along kind of person’. The downside is that throughout your life you are targeted (or put yourself around people) who dislike those things about you-and eventually you think the relationship you have with anyone can be fixed with patience or sacrifice or hope or mediation or attention or communication. Over time, people around you ‘take advantage’ of that sensitive side. By even speaking up and voicing your opinion you become a target. If they give something big or small to you-you are a target. This is the portion of the friendship or family dynamic where boundaries are eroded. What you give may never be of value to them the way it is to you. And when you enforce your position it’s a loss.
For the past decade or so I’ve had so many friendships that just died or that I’ve walked away from and for months even years I wonder what I’ve done….and I realize that I don’t see the signs early enough and that I’m reliving the dynamic of my childhood over and over again. The last 3 years have been trying for me because I’ve wanted to tackle this situation for so long. And as this identical dynamic had been playing out in 5 or more directions, I finally understood that I was constantly walking into VERY poor situations. You see ‘red flags’ but you subtly ignore them. In most of these situations I’d been discarded and in a portion of them I’ve had to walk away.Once this happens you take apart the scenarios so you can see why….once you see why you don’t need to alter your point of view and walk on eggshells. The information comes to you and just realize it.
With a manipulative or narcissistic person you could start out being yourself-kind, warm,giving,sympathetic,genuine,open,helpful and outspoken but by the end of it……..all the things that attracted the person to you is used against you. During my childhood I was called all kinds of names by my father to control my actions and thoughts. I was ‘labelled’ selfish for thinking of myself. I was stalked often to and from school or at jobs (up until VERY recently) but it was what I thought was a ‘strict upbringing’. And the number one thing that really hit home was that I was silenced for being outgoing,chatty,talkative,creative. I was told ‘writing will get you no job,stop writing’. Fast forward to the future the same thing happened again. When you live under those circumstances you become ‘agreeable’ or ‘independent’. It always feels like two extremes. When this happens it’s time to move away from that.I’m fiercely independent but raised to be an agreeable individual.I’ll work with you. But when boundaries get eroded. This is when the truth shows up. My father hated when I talked to people. He hated when I took care of my own financial needs. He hated me doing for myself. He wanted to silence my ability to share with people. It was hard to handle because I don’t look for the attention-I just speak my mind and talk about what I love and until this day….I’m still like that. Imagine when you do for you and your called ‘selfish’ but then when you’re forced to be completely dependent you’re given terms and conditions to have ‘nothing’. It’s a twisted dynamic. But for some you become STRONGER for it. And this is what narcissists don’t understand.
For others i’ll even offer up information,advice, a helping hand, an ear, a shoulder, a platform,direction,pointers to help others. But what I get are crumbs. The crumbs from the manipulation. Within the family the crumbs you’re given are not because they can’t give. They want to control how much they give, when they give and to some extent how far they think you can go successfully if they give or take from you. It’s about power and control. If you have a parent like this-you learn to find your way. Parents can physically be present but offer so little emotionally.How could you want to continue giving to someone like that? HOW? I’m learning to not do so much anymore and re-direct it in a way that’ll be beneficial to me. But what happens when you’ve got to spread your wings? I ended up having to provide him (My Dad) with supply (admiration,attention,constant agreement,zero point of view) and at the same time (fend for myself because there’s so much I wanted to do for me.) It’s hard to be self-reliant when your family member is thwarting your ambition…….Some of this shit was way beyond my years. I understand it now BUT growing up I did not understand how to articulate this dynamic to anyone. It made me grow up fast. He would try to make it up to me in other ways (Money?) terrible bait. Compliments? Terrible bait. And most importantly erase the things he did. (You can’t erase the abuse that happened.) Either way it’s still all about MANIPULATION and CONTROL and by adulthood you’re so used to doing for yourself and you wise up about what it means to be manipulated.
By 12 years old I became ‘shy’ and ‘reserved’ but the one thing that remained with me was my ‘intuition and ambition’. As a young adult when friendships would reach the ‘discard’ stage which is unheard of in my world (as I cherish friendship). I’d panic trying to figure out why and how and to provide solutions and find out what I could do to ‘fix’ things…..but when you’re dealing with a narcissistic situation you can’t fix anything. You were meant to be discarded once you ‘think for yourself’ and ‘choose for yourself’ or ‘voice your own opinion’ or ‘don’t do as I say’. I did well in school, did all chores, got a job, paid for my own tuition to not have to depend on my family; but it just wasn’t enough. To a narcissist you are not your own entity-you’re a part of the hand, you’re a finger controlled by the hand. Remember: You ARE not someone’s hand. You have your own hands right? When you try to work together and ‘get along’ it only works when you follow the rules as laid out to you. As this ‘formula’ expired, I’ve had to walk away. I used to give it time and re-visit to fix things over and over again and each time the covert abuse was worse. And I had to learn how to do it with personal relationships also. As soon as you begin to expand or your self-identify shines through with a narcissist or in a narcissistic situation you’re doomed. And that ain’t right. No one deserve abuse.
Over the years as I matured I started talking to older family members who knew my Dad from the early days and I realized that they hid so much from us children. They even covered a lot of information from my Stepmother when she married my Father. My biological Mom and Dad had such an aggressively intense and veneered relationship. A union with two disordered Narcissistic people may look good on the outside but that marriage was filled with issues and didn’t last.My Dad never wanted anyone to find out about the way he REALLY treated others. The reason for this is because they all knew my Dad had extreme challenges and they didn’t want to ruin his chances of getting remarried so that he would no longer be their problem. It’s so tough dealing with someone who can only survive off of ‘supply’.In some ways I thank my extended family today for their decision to hide the info because my Stepmother came into my life when I was really young and that she stayed. On the flip side family willing to step forward directly would create a feeling of trust and perhaps less damage. Our family is TIGHT. My siblings who I love so much-we’re like three peas in a pod. The downside to covering up for someone this way is that the victim is made to feel like they did something wrong or that something isn’t right with them. And it (my hunch) was always absolutely right. Sometimes in a manipulative situation it doesn’t matter what you do. My Stepmom happens to be a tenured Psyche Nurse and because we’ve been through this as a family unit-we all understand how this has each affected us. We still talk about it now. She endured so much to keep our family together. She endured tons of emotional and physical abuse that she probably doesn’t talk about today but she’s healed and she’s made our family stronger because of it.
Without darkness especially with a person who writes,like myself-your writing material doesn’t have any depth. You must have a good measured amount of experiences you can share to touch lives in different ways. I started a section on my old blog (Health/Wellness) in hopes of writing about health regimes,protein powders,shakes,foods and all that but GOTDAMN……2016 had me understanding that I will be writing about way more than that!When something like this happens to anyone…life is seen so differently and the most amazing thing does occur out of some bad/uncertain times:you come out of the fog and and see things as they are not as you hope for them to be. Not only do you see things as they are-you become reflective and gain absolute clarity with work,family and friendships among many things. Along with absolute clarity you realize your intuition is STRONG. And not only that-you realize how much your story,your path,your destiny,your ideas and experiences can create an effect that changes your life forever. Bad or good. If you look at what’s happening in the U.S.-people who would never align themselves with certain groups of society are coming together to speak up about Human Rights, Immigration, Health Care and even how they can improve society. That would not have happened if they weren’t shown the new direction their country is going in. Trump’s pending absolute control (self-centred nature) is forcing people to see the reality of what they’re about to face. It’s ironic.
An empathic and highly sensitive person with a bold personality and ambition is not a bad person but can be targeted for ‘destruction’. To be ‘destroyed’ means that you have a chance to grow and expand. Your true qualities-things that make you good; are a bittersweet combination in a Narcissistic World.Narcissism is deeper than posting selfies on Social Media. Being abused when you are strong is hard to see on the exterior but it’s there. As a survivor of abuse one becomes more reflective, more introspective, more aware-hobbies, dreams and wishes now become even more REAL. I don’t wish this on anyone but when you do experience something like this as frequently as I have- you become a changed person,a stronger person and a more EMPOWERED individual. Knowing yourself and re-asserting your identity forces you to truly seek very little validation from anyone. Self-care becomes more important than any other priority. And to prioritize oneself is not selfish.
I write this not to be further victimized OR not to be given sympathy but for those who have not yet understood what they’re going through and needs that stepping stone to open the door and understand what it is to be set free. So many unanswered questions may even swirl around in your mind about what this/that was……Narcissistic emotional abuse is more common than you know. Know that you’ve been groomed for awhile before all THIS happened.Sadly, Social Media is a breeding ground for abuse BUT if it wasn’t for the many online communities-I wouldn’t know or understand this.So Each One, Teach One right? Just read up after this blog post and you’ll see what I’m saying.
I’ll leave some of the excellent sites and Youtube channels by those from the online Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Community so you can discover more.I can’t explain all of this but the more you look up key phrases you’ll see that plenty of people have been searching for answers…just like you! Tons of Youtubers (regular Joes and Janes share their experiences and experts within the industry share a lot of useful and eye-opening information.)
Some would say that being open on the world wide web means you expose your weaknesses or blah, blah, blah BUT by putting it out there in writing you can understand who is reading your material and what it’s being used for.There are many perspectives to this subject but I’m simply speaking MY truth. With that being said: this article serves as a milestone for a closing chapter in my life and a new ass BEGINNING! Imagine being able to manifest what you DO want in life. Imagine being stuck at the same level and knowing you can be your better self year by year. Imagine being able to compete with you and only YOU and where you were 3-4 years ago and top that. You can! Sometimes abusive situations and low vibrational thinking hold you back. There reaches a point also where all that negativity and bullshit can just push you forward. It’s only until I looked back the last 15 years that I was the common denominator in all the abusive situations I’ve encountered. Being nice isn’t always nice.Being nice can even cost you your life. Sooooo through growing pains, I’ve come to understand that it’s been due time to change.
Going through repeated abusive situations (during my childhood up until recently) often slowed me down and I would fearfully choose not to reach outside of constraints or limited perceived boundaries within toxic situations and people…..Thankfully, I understand it and I’m even stronger now.A lot of the narc abuse stories tend to fall in a few categories:
‘Narc’ family units (this is how it all begins-where children can and do become victims or much later on abusers),‘Friendships’,’Peer Groups’,‘Dating’,‘Married Couples’,‘Romantic Interests’,‘Workplace Bullying’,’Bullying’,’Partners’, ‘Neighbours’, ‘Co-Workers’, ‘Roommates’,’Bosses’, ‘Landlords’,’Hospitals’,’Schools’Nursing Homes’,’Employers’,’Business Partnerships’. (I put quotes around everything because these roles are sometimes fluid in an abusive situation and most of these bonds aren’t real. They are not so defined they can shift around sometimes you don’t even know…..this is how the abuse works.)
Since I’m all about the Social Media….how I discovered this phenomenon is by Google searching for these words. Have a look at the hashtags below for a minute-look at them anywhere…on Twitter,Instagram,Tumblr,Facebook and watch the amount of stuff that pops up. For something I’ve never formally heard of-there’s mass amounts of info out there. For something I thought I never heard of-I know this damn too well. To see that much info was jarring BUT to know that our world’s societies are being run and affected by this epidemic makes me wonder how many scenarios are triggered by this.(cue:recent elections in the U.S.) Stats say that 6.2% of the world’s population suffers from this PD. It’s much higher. That’s 1 in 6 people around you and I. So how many people do you think suffers at the hands of this? I am no researcher but that’s a hell of a lot.
A victim (scapegoat) in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesn’t know what’s being said about them during the relationship, most often they have no idea what’s going on but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after they’ve been discarded or when they walk away. Sometimes it’s revealed in earlier conversations ‘when things are good’.And you still don’t even understand what’s happening because you don’t live life to manipulate people. Other times people around the victim may suggest or imply to see if the victim recognizes what’s happening. They (enablers) often refuse to speak up for fear of becoming a target like the victim OR they want to watch and see a victim ‘become unraveled’ OR they don’t see how bad the abuser really is.It’s like free entertainment. The truth is:If this is happening around you with family, you now understand what you are dealing with and its hard but straightforward to remove yourself from the situation completely.
Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with them. Once they feel or see that you are beginning to notice that you’re being manipulated and it’s not successful anymore-they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired or pretended to admire about you in the first place. This occurs when you no longer want to join in on the game created when you didn’t know what was going on. This is when the smear campaign begins, or (at least when you become aware of it.)
Advice to get through this type of situation:
Hunker down and let it rip. You spend months or weeks, years even-trying to prove to those around you that you are not guilty or innocent or not at fault or have not done anything that the rumours suggest. Oftentimes it takes awhile to understand and realize that it’s a waste of energy. Listening to the rumours can allow you to understand what is really going on and where it’s coming from. Can’t be hurt and offended by something that isn’t true right?
Know your square (not circle.) A square allows you to see all corners to know who really has your back and who never did.It can give you a slow but gradual fresh start in the right direction.
Expect a smear campaign, a ‘Hoover’ or possibly 4 of them. The smearing happens much earlier than you think. Often times when you start to understand what’s happening around you back track 6 months to year. (That’s when the devaluation started.) The Hoover (like the vacuum cleaner) is used to suck you back into the relationship (to fix things? not really). It gets worse. It’s just more and more abuse.
Tell your trusted family and your really close friends like family. Often times they might’ve been through it before so they’ll know exactly what’s happening.Sometimes family is aware of the abuser but no one speaks up. If you trust the family member enough to talk they will give you some insight about dealing with the person. And if they don’t understand at all….they love you, they’ll be your support system once all the shit flies. This is not something to discuss with just anyone. The person abusing you may not be the best person to talk to either.When they know how you feel and your general way of thinking which is more on the human side they’ll manipulate even more.It’s no use. Be discerning. Once you know you just know. As Narcissists get older they get worse. To my Step(MOM): thanks Mom, you’re a blessing! Crystal, thank you!
Don’t be alarmed if you are being watched at the places you frequent or your place of employment. Sometimes people within the family or circle want to see if you are balanced, crazy (like the rumours suggest) or healthy and take information back to your abuser. Also, they don’t want anyone to know that you’ve realized what they are. If you feel you are in danger; report it to the police. In the past I did.
Have a strong spiritual foundation. Believe in something (yoga, meditation, prayer,church,volunteerism,singing,writing,dancing) it helps you see past the smoke and mirrors and focus on what’s TRULY real and important. The world we live in is changing at a rapid pace. Don’t let anyone mock your willingness to embrace spirituality. This is a natural part of life and through spirituality, the best of your inner being comes alive and will propel you to heal and help others as well as yourself.
Curiosity doesn’t kill. Sometimes you need to find out more about what’s happening around you and it can’t happen by asking questions. Sometimes you wait to see who will tell you something so you can have a better understanding.Sit back and just observe.Don’t absorb.Truth shows itself without you having to do anything.
Anything you post online or say to your abuser will be used against you. You still have to live your life. As long as you understand this you won’t be as shocked when it does happen.Don’t allow yourself to be silenced by anyone. You’re not a bad person.
It takes time to heal and be who you were before this happened. You will get better, you will heal, you will laugh again. They say it takes about 18-24 months to heal.It really depends on who you surround yourself with.You’ll be stronger;trust me-this has nothing to do with being at the gym. But being at the gym will help you get through this stage in your life! Focus on you passions, what makes you happy, what makes you feel at peace, what you are good at, what feels good-those things will help you achieve success!You’ve been through stuff before this and you have much more to experience in life.
If you’ve got something going for you-your smile, your harmonica skills, your shoes,your blog, your voice,your attendance schedule,your eyeshadow,your clothes- whatever. You will be a target. Understand this and still be YOU. My biological mother hated my love of PR and communications stuff.She hated that I worked hard. She hated my ambitious nature. She pretended she was interested but secretly loathed it. She hated when people took a genuine interest in me. It used to happen all the time when I went out with her. I’m glad I got to know her much later on in life but I got to see what I would’ve gone through as a child. And more importantly she envied my life. (I love travelling,I work hard,I love the music scene,I love this blog,I love networking,I love knowing all types of people) Hobby type things may seem like a waste but if you want to build something it’s what must be done, build on those things. What she didn’t realize is how much I suffered growing up with a disordered parent and how hard it was to grow up under the same roof with one.Narcissists won’t ever admit or acknowledge how hard it is to live with them. They take you through one hell of a journey. Sometimes they are aware of what they do, and enjoy it,sometimes it’s habitual. Either way, YOU survived!
Have hope (they don’t want you to) have it anyway. It makes for a better environment.Once you recognize the repeated patterns you’ll have your many A-HA moments and the reality of the situation sets in. Place that hope in the right people and of course first and foremost in yourself. This abuse, if you survive it IS meant to strengthen you and help others. It’s not selfish it’s an act of self-love.
Know Yourself Don’t let anyone force any kind of circumstances,distractions,potential partners, ideologies on you.Don’t let anyone try to erode your privacy. Know how you feel, know who you are,know what you see, know what your purpose is and most importantly stay grounded. You become familiar with how this energy and attitude feels. This situation will pass-it’s rough when you start to understand things as they happen. In the end the only person you can be responsible for is you!
Being Discarded is A Blessing It forces you to face reality. You start to see all the ways you were treated and abused. It’s not a loss. You are being set free-the only thing left is to process the occurrences. You begin to set boundaries so you aren’t manipulated in the future. You develop a thicker skin and become EVEN more self aware. You learn to detach from the outcome of situations and stop holding on to people or things that can never change. You grow and become more expansive.You look at things with a discerning eye. Most importantly you see things you don’t want to be in and change direction. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to truly understand this dynamic and can move forward towards my future. Your intuition will show you what a discard and a manipulation looks and feels like. I want to have a family and partner of my own but I absolutely do not want to re-create the dynamic of my past again! Healing from deep-rooted emotional abuse ensures that another cycle of abuse doesn’t happen with another generation of adults. Kids don’t deserve that kinda life-it’s easier to raise a child than to change an adult. Parents: If you sense you need more assistance raising your kids- get help. Engage with your kids in a healthy way. Be mindful of who they hang around with. Make sure that they aren’t becoming abusive towards others also! Build experiences with them. Get healthy with your past. Children often subconsciously re-create the patterns they see with their parents. If you stay they think it’s okay to stay and work out that friendship, relationship or toxic situation. If your partner is on the abusive side-GET OUT! (This includes covert, physical,sexual and verbal abuse.)
Have you seen a trusted and highly sympathetic friend about your past and or current situation? Please know this:Highly sensitive persons (HSPs),Doers,Fixers,Helpers,People Pleasers-make excellent targets. We seem like push overs to many. People don’t understand that those are strengths. As a Highly Sensitive Person you can lose yourselves in a narcissistic world. They will project their negative feelings onto you. That’s what they do. Don’t be sad either. Understand that once you recognize the patterns you’re free. You can start a new life deeply rooted in truth and REALITY.Yours.
If you are newly discovering what has happened to you, I’m sure all of this is overwhelming. Start looking back. Reflect a little, reflect a lot…spend time on your own. Start a journal.Find a new shitload of hobbies. Revive healthy friendships. That dream you’ve always wanted to achieve and take the steps to make it happen. Once you find stuff to do you begin to grow and new opportunities, experiences and people come into your life! I’ve been bumping into super duper old friends from back in the day and re-connecting. Some of those old and new friends have helped me out sooo much!!! Shout out to ya’ll!
Here are some of the awesome expert abuse survivors and Youtube communities online.
I’m overjoyed nothing happened to me physically and that I’m GOOD-not many people overcome this type of situation because it can be dangerous. What this situation does is that it catapults you to the next level in life. I think what spurred this article was the shock of really making a strong effort to change the way I looked at things and I became more aware that I was actually IN a series of manipulative situations and choosing not to participate anymore. Am I narcissist HELL NO. I do like to share my knowledge and interests and do like to create exciting experiences to make life more amazing! I understand what makes me who I am and it’s absolutely okay to exist around people who would love for me to play small.
By the time this article goes live on this new blog design, January would’ve come and gone……..I wrote this last year (2016) Here’s to a more musically inspired and powerful 2017!
Read up on this,
Start From Scratch,
Explore New Things,
Get help from the right places and people,
If it don’t feel right it probably isn’t, (and if it’s right you’ll know)
Remember the Good Things about Yourself,
You’re not a Victim,
(Nobody Needs to Feel Sorry for You-not even You.)