Sophia's Children

Being the Heartful Change in an Age of Disconnect


Skillful Communication

The Harm of Overheated Talk

“I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters—but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to... Continue Reading →

Two Grandmothers, Red and Blue

As I watched, with a heavy heart, the acute and often venomous polarization leading into,  through, and following the recent presidential election here in the U.S., I found myself thinking of my two grandmothers. My maternal grandmother, Anabel, was what... Continue Reading →

The Beauty Way of Relating

Are you feeling an growing pull towards harmony, beauty, and social artistry? Or are you noticing, or even mired in, their opposites -- disharmony, conflict, relational dysfunction -- which are seemingly over-abundant in the world right about now? I'll use... Continue Reading →

The Power of Inquiry: Loving the Questions Themselves

I'm always amazed at the seeming magic of replacing a period with a question mark. Know what I mean? If you've explored the power of inquiry -- the art of asking the good questions -- you've likely found, as I... Continue Reading →

QuoteWorthy: Sticks, Stones and Word-Power

Remember that old saying you might have heard in childhood? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” While timeless wisdom and ancestral/indigenous traditions would well understand this, modern research now also confirms that words... Continue Reading →

The Power of Graceful Receiving – #Blesstival

"Life is infused with spirit. When we receive deeply we’re receiving not just from an individual but from spirit itself."~ Sobonfu Somé Receiving deeply. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? And yet in a culture where we're taught in many ways,... Continue Reading →

Iris the Rainbow Goddess: A ‘Speaking Well’ Shamanic-Diplomat Archetype

There's a fun blog invitation afoot from Odie and OM and Sindy to 'go retro' and choose a post from the archives to re-feature. So here's a Sophia's Children retro post that's very timely right now, when we have the... Continue Reading →

Love, Spring, and the Golden Rule

"A compassionate or loving consciousness has ancient roots, but it is taking on a new importance as our world becomes integrated ecologically, economically, and culturally." "Because we now share one another’s fate, it is increasingly clear that promoting the well-being... Continue Reading →

The Ways Narcissists Get Inside Your Head – from Self-Care Haven

My Bad Hair Day, by Anissa Bryant, April 2013. Generously shared in the public domain.
My Bad Hair Day, by Anissa Bryant, April 2013. Generously shared in the public domain.

I linked to Shahida Arabi’s excellent “Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Headin my Sophia’s Children post on “When Withholding is a Toxic Tactic” (part of the ongoing Resources for Empaths & Sensitives Series).

But it’s so relevant on a number of levels, reflecting some of the less savory interpersonal dynamics that are considered normal in our interpersonal experiences at home, at work, in the community — and even moreso with a variety of research studies showing a disconcerting rise in Narcissistic behavior over the last 10-15 years.

And Narci (Etc.) tactics are well-honed and very, very effective.

They can leave even the most centered, confident, skillful, aware, and ‘successful’ people feeling spin-cycled, fogged-out, confused, upset, ashamed, and ultimately, a mere shell of themselves (as one Narci-abuse survivor, in our conversation, phrased the effects of being in a relationship with such a person).

As Carrie Barron, M.D., writes in her Psychology Today article aimed at those who were targeted by Narci-Abusers:

“Recent findings indicate they take pleasure in successful manipulations. Putting down unsuspecting, soft-hearted souls in their midst is a sport.”

In hindsight, those who became Narci-prey and were thus Narci-manipulated end up wondering, often with no small degree of internalized self-judgment and shame, “How the heck did that happen?”

Dr. Barron continues: “The transformation of a hopeful, can-do enthusiast into a dismal, wary withdrawer is a form of soul murder. But to those thus violated, take heart. Understanding the complexities of what/who you were dealing with might make you feel better.”

Even people who encounter some of the classic Narci-Abuser behaviors and tactics — if not full-tilt Malignant Narcissists or Socio/Psychopathic types — at work, at home, or in their communities (or online, for that matter), can benefit immensely from recognizing the tactic, becoming more aware, and stepping into more empowered choice rather than unconscious puppet-reaction.

So I wanted to share a couple of other links highlighting Shahida’s work from her Self-Care Haven blog.

She spotlights some of the specific toxic-tactics that, while normalized in a ‘tough love’, bully-centric culture, are actually abusive and harmful.

So it’s wise to have a look and be better able to recognize them as they come up, which gives us the option of practicing into more healthy, self-and-other respecting ways of relating (or choosing to disentangle from chronically disrespectful relationships).

I particularly appreciate that Shahida includes ‘Triangulation’ in her list of toxic-tactics to recognize, along with other common toxic-tactics like ‘gaslighting’ and ‘Hoovering’ (part of the recognized ‘stir and repeat’ Abuse Cycle), as Triangulation a common ploy and yet not as frequently noted.

Find another of Shahida’s Narci-Awareness posts here: 20 NarciPath Tactics to Be Aware of (and awareness is empowering)

Check out Shahida’s most recent Self-Care Haven post: 5 Powerful Reality Checks for Survivors of Narci-Abuse.

Thanks to Shahida, and to you, my very dear and much-appreciated readers and fellow empaths and Sophia-kindred-spirits!

Big Love,

Self-Care Haven by Shahida Arabi


In popular culture, the term “narcissistic” is thrown about quite loosely, usually referring to vanity and self-absorption. This reduces narcissism to a common quality that everyone possesses and downplays the symptoms demonstrated by people with the actual disorder. While narcissism does exist on a spectrum, narcissism as a full-fledged personality disorder is quite different.

People who meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those who have traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder  can operate in extremely manipulative ways within the context of intimate relationships due to their deceitfulness, lack of empathy and their tendency to be interpersonally exploitative. Although I will be focusing on narcissistic abusers in this post, due to the overlap of symptoms in these two disorders, this post can potentially apply to interactions with those who have ASPD to an extent.

It’s important in any kind of relationship that we learn to identify the red flags when interacting with people who display malignant narcissism and/or…

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Empaths+Sensitives Series: When ‘Withholding’ is a Toxic Tactic

That's right. Withholding as a toxic-normal interpersonal tactic. The proverbial simmering silent treatment or cold shoulder that leaves us (or others) wondering what the heck happened, what we did wrong (even if we didn't actually do anything wrong and sort... Continue Reading →

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