Quick Start Guide (Author Interview)


What inspired you to write the "QUICK START GUIDE: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery"? Was there a personal experience or a particular observation that motivated you?

I’ve worked as a holistic coach and YouTuber in the field of narcissistic abuse recovery for several years after I was finally able to crack the code of these experiences in my own life. In 2017, I wrote a comprehensive book on the stages of the recovery process. I recently realized that a mini book for beginners would be really helpful during the early phases of recovery, right after a person discovers that they’re in a psychologically abusive relationship—what we also call narcissistic abuse. Nowadays, there’s a lot of important information out there on narcissistic abuse, and that’s great. However, it’s common to fall into the paralysis of informational overload. Initially, there’s so much confusion and overwhelm, as well as an urgent desire to get better. People can get stuck spinning there without knowing how to begin the process and start taking action forward. In addition, sometimes people think they’re doing the work to get better, but they’re missing a key component so they feel frustrated that they’re stuck where they are. That’s why this mini book contains only what a person most needs during those key, early moments—the three most essential first steps to take in order to start moving forward on the recovery journey.

Why do you believe that many individuals who are aware of narcissistic abuse still fall into repetition cycles of toxic relationships?

It’s very common for people to feel an initial relief upon discovering information about narcissistic abuse and other toxic relational dynamics. That sense of validation is often mistaken as healing or empowerment. We often hear “knowledge is power” but that’s only partly true. Knowledge is important and it is potential power. Yet it only becomes true power when it’s put into action through the choices we make. Many people get stuck in the informational stage without taking new action, so they inevitably end up back with the prior abuser or in another relationship or situation with a new abuser due to the unresolved trauma. The trauma is frozen in the body and subconscious mind, which is why a person can consciously know a lot about narcissistic abuse yet still keep falling into these toxic relationships.

 The "Mental Ninja Mindset" is mentioned as a foundation for success in recovery. Could you elaborate on what this mindset entails and why it's so important?

I call it the Mental Ninja Mindset because it’s a state of mind that is helpful for a person to overcome the intense psychological warfare that they have experienced through narcissistic abuse. The continual abuse over time weakens mental strength, self-discipline, focus, clarity, self-esteem and critical-thinking skills. A person becomes so exhausted and depleted that they can barely get out of bed or function in the world. They no longer believe they have any control over their life. The abuse programming locks a person in lower states of consciousness where they are shut down, dissociated and defensive. Over time, this develops into learned helplessness. In that state, a person believes that there’s no way out of their predicament and they can’t transform their life. They’re unable to process new information or access higher states of consciousness such as insight, intuition, imagination, and creativity. The Mental Ninja Mindset teaches people how to start shifting their mental state—approaching the healing journey one step at a time—in order to get out of the inertia of the learned helplessness.

You discuss the challenge of one's own biology working against the recovery process. Can you provide some insights into how our biology can sometimes be our worst enemy in these situations?

We have certain survival mechanisms, or coping mechanisms, that are built into the human brain and nervous system to help us survive intensely stressful and traumatic life experiences. This is part of the body’s innate wisdom. However, when a person remains in an abusive relationship for months or years, these same survival mechanisms end up sabotaging us—encouraging us to stay in unhealthy situations and relationships. Some of these mechanisms are cognitive dissonance, trauma bonding and our mammalian biological drive for connection. When outsiders wonder why a person stayed so long in an abusive relationship, or why they went back to an abuser, or why they fell into more abusers later, it’s because of these survival mechanisms and the lack of tactical ways to override them during the healing process.

How can someone identify and combat the impulses that might be sabotaging their progress, as mentioned in your book?

By bringing into awareness some of these common self-destructive impulses, a person has the opportunity to examine their own behavior and recognize where these same mechanisms are sabotaging their progress in the healing journey and in life in general. This self-awareness is the first step to change. My message emphasizes the importance of self-responsibility as the only path of empowerment. We cannot change others, and this is a trap that many people fall into as a result of the abuse conditioning. They often desperately want to help fix or heal someone else—in this case, the abuser. People get caught in appeasement or fawning behaviors. However, that only leads to more suffering, helplessness and powerlessness. When we return to self-responsibility, we can embrace this commitment as a way of taking back our power. This means we can make new choices—shifting our own patterns that were previously leading down the path of self-destruction and repetition, and instead choosing a new path forward.

One key takeaway from the book description is the importance of breaking free from a cycle of repetition after narcissistic relationships. Why do you think most people struggle to break free, and what steps can they take to overcome this?

The psychological abuse that people endure in these kinds of relationships conditions them to become ideal targets of more abuse. This is especially true if a person grew up in a family system where these abuse dynamics took place. The subconscious and nervous system get programmed to perceive abuse as “love” and “home,” even though this is a distorted perception of reality. Until a person does the deep inner healing work over time, they will not realize why they keep feeling drawn toward others who treat them in similar ways. They also won’t understand their own participation in the dynamic and how they can break those patterns of ingrained, dysfunctional behaviors. This requires grit. The self-healing process after narcissistic abuse is not easy, which is why most people don’t do it, but it is worth it because things get much, much better.

Your book emphasizes practicality and tactical advice over academic or clinical approaches. Why did you choose this direction for your guide?

My background as a holistic coach provides me with a body-mind-spirit approach to the human condition and a Big Picture perspective that is often lacking in academic and clinical approaches. My life experience healing from decades of narcissistic abuse offers me a deep, personal understanding of the pain and common struggles that people go through in these kinds of relationships, as well as what is needed to heal. I provide practical and tactical tools for people based on the wisdom that I’ve extracted from my own journey of recovery after narcissistic abuse combined with my studies in holistic healing and trauma recovery. Many people have told me they weren’t able to find a therapist or other mental health clinician who could recognize or understand psychological abuse. They were unable to validate their experience and provide them with specific tools for healing. I’ve even had quite a few clients who are therapists and psychologists (some with PhDs!) who told me they didn’t recognize the abuse when it was happening to them because their training programs didn’t prepare them for this. Over the years, the people who have resonated with my message have said they felt comforted, understood and inspired by my informal way of speaking. Even though these concepts are quite complex, I speak and write my books in a way that’s more like sitting on a sofa talking with a friend who has been down that road before. I aim to have a heart-based connection with the reader, which is something that many people find soothing because they feel seen, heard and understood.

You mention the "biggest threat" to self-healing. Without giving away too much from the book, can you shed light on what that might be and how someone might begin to address it?

Essentially, the biggest threat to self-healing, and personal growth in general, is getting stuck in a state of disempowerment. In the stages of the recovery process, this correlates to the powerlessness of victim consciousness. Victimhood is a stage, not a life sentence. Unfortunately, many people get stuck in the victimhood because they don’t know how to empower themselves with self-responsibility. People often seek false empowerment. It’s common for people to get suck endlessly focusing on the abuser and what happened, seeking sympathy or entitlements as a victim, indulging in grandiosity such as “this only happened to me because I’m an empath,” becoming self-absorbed and draining other people with repetitive storytelling while being unavailable for others, developing a fiercely independent stance of “I don’t need anyone,” maintaining a rescue fantasy in order to avoid doing the work, using victimhood as an excuse for not taking action to transform their life or worse yet, using their victimhood to manipulate other people. Of all the comments I read on my social media content over the years, I would estimate that only about 25% of people who ingest information about narcissistic abuse online actually cross the threshold between the powerlessness of the victim stage and the empowerment of the survivor stage. This shift requires a commitment to 100% self-responsibility. This is the more difficult option because it requires facing things about ourselves that we don’t want to see and then taking new action.

As the author of "THE JOURNEY: A Roadmap for Self-Healing After Narcissistic Abuse", how do you see the "QUICK START GUIDE" fitting into the bigger picture of recovery for those affected by narcissistic abuse?

THE JOURNEY is a comprehensive roadmap of the stages of the self-healing process after narcissistic abuse. It’s most helpful for people who have already started their recovery path and want more understanding of the terrain so they can keep moving forward. It helps people recognize where they are in their own journey based on some common markers of each stage and where they want to go. The QUICK START GUIDE is a valuable resource for a newbie—a person who just recently discovered that they are (or were) in a psychologically abusive relationship. This mini book provides the three most essential first steps to take in order to start moving forward in the recovery process when a person is starting from Ground Zero. It helps people understand why each of those first three steps is so important and what happens if they don’t take action. It cuts through the overwhelm with clarity so people can start to see a path forward out of the darkness, one step at a time.

Finally, if there's one key message or piece of advice you hope readers will take away from this guide, what would it be?

Your choices are where you’ll find your power. People who have been abused and manipulated have been conditioned to give their power away to others. Then it’s easy to become the target of more abusers and manipulators. A big part of trauma recovery is making new choices. When we take the reins of self-responsibility back in our hands, we are able to start transforming our lives. As each of us takes on this inner commitment and does the work of self-healing, we are ending the transgenerational legacy of abuse passed down in families and contributing to a healing society. Healing the world starts with healing the self.