In the matchmaking world, dating apps are definitely vilified. I get it. Dating apps can be dangerous. And they can be a massive waste of time. Plus, some people are just too sensitive to deal with the exposure and rejections. So, yeah, there are a lot of downsides to dating apps. But the truth is, most singles are using them. And I know from my own personal experience, as well as the experience of my clients that it is still possible to meet someone on apps. I’ve spent literally thousands of hours on apps recruiting potential matches for clients, so at this point, I basically have a PhD in dating apps. But why do some people seem to rock dating apps and always find a relationship, while others are just wasting their time? If you’re interested in learning how to find a relationship on dating apps, read on because I’ve broken it down for you in 6 simple steps.
1) Know What Your Dealbreakers Are
To get what you want, you first have to KNOW what you want. It’s amazing to me how many singles I talk to who literally have no idea what they are looking for in a partner. I call this the spaghetti method. They throw a bunch of spaghetti (or swipes) at the wall and just go with whoever sticks around.
This is not an effective strategy for finding a long term partner and it’s the number one reason you and all of your friends are burned out from dating apps.
To actually be successful online dating you need to be laser focused on what you are looking for. I know a lot of people haven’t really thought about dating this way and are probably scratching their heads. If you have no idea what you’re really looking for, the easiest thing to do is to start with what you don’t want.
Let’s start backwards. Think back on your last relationships. Why did they end? What didn’t work? What are the aspects of those relationships you are absolutely not under any circumstances bringing into your next relationship? These are your dealbreakers, Know them. Own them. Do NOT bend on them.
Some examples of dealbreakers might be:
-Poor relationship with money
-Lack of work ethic
-No passions or dreams
Now do your list!
2) Be Honest About What Your Want
A huge trap I find women falling into is that they want a relationship but they don’t want to own that fact. When did it become uncool to be honest with people about what we want?
This is what I see happening. A woman knows she wants a relationship. She does not ever tell the guy she is dating this fact, assuming that he knows what she wants and that he feels the same way. Eventually, she stops seeing other people. Friends ask her if they have had the talk about exclusivity. She says, “No, but I know we are serious and he isn’t seeing other people. Why would we need to talk about it?” He is, in fact, seeing other people and has no desire for a relationship.
Broken heart ensues.
Here’s the thing, we are all adults. And dating apps are a mixed bag. If you want a relationship, you need to be honest about it. And you need to actually ask people what they want. Personally, I recommend having this discussion before you meet someone. A lot of singles tell me that is too awkward. Sometimes being an adult means pushing through awkwardness in order to be true to yourself and get what you want. If the person you are chatting with is also looking for a relationship, they will be honest and you can move forward with more comfort. If they are not, they will be honest and not go out with you.
If someone decides not to go out with you because you aren’t looking for the same things, don’t look at it as rejection. They just SAVED you time and potential heartache.
Another trap women fall into is they want to date someone but that person does not want a relationship. The woman for some reason thinks, “Oh, well if we start having sex he will eventually want a relationship with me.” No, he won’t. And you will end up heartbroken, having wasted more time & energy on a dead end.
The truth will always come out in the end, so let’s set the tone for all of our relationships and start being honest up front.
3) Don’t Try To Impress Anyone
Oh man, I was sooo guilty of this in the past. Some of us treat every date like a job interview. We are on our best and most polished behavior. Sure, we blur the lines and fudge details a bit, but who doesn’t in a job interview? We smile, nod, fake laugh, then go home hoping we get an offer.
But wait, where was our real personality? Did we take the time to figure out if we even want the job?
So many women see a relationship as the end goal and will do anything to get there. But being so focused on their goal, they forget to play the field. They forget to test the water to see if they could actually be compatible and happy with the person they are on a date with.
You aren’t trying to impress anyone here. You’re trying to see if your authentic selves can create joy and harmony in a relationship. Pretending to be someone you are not will not lead to a lasting connection. When the truth comes out, it will just leave both parties confused and disappointed.
4) Keep An Open Mind
While having no deal breakers or standards is a huge problem on dating apps, the opposite can be just as much of an issue. I have worked with a lot of clients who had obsessively specific requirements and absurdly high standards.
“Must be 5’2 or below, brown hair, brown eyes, dark skin tone, Jewish, good sense of humor, works in medical field, size 2 or below, great in bed.”
“6 foot or above, makes more than 300k a year, lives in the city, but prefers country living, eats all organic, prefers to eat at home, but also appreciates fine dining, likes to cook, but lets the woman do most of the cooking, must have a spiritual practice, but not a religious background, only flies first class, works remotely, philanthropist, aware of current events, does not hunt or own guns, no strong political leanings, but still follows politics.”
There is more wrong with both of these list than the fact that they are obsessively specific. The main issue is that these attributes have nothing to do with whether this person with make a good partner. Both of these lists are so specific and focused on the superficial they will inevitably rule out great matches who are partner material.
Both of these people will be disappointed by anyone they meet and are likely using their absurd requirements to cover up an avoidant attachment style and pain from previous relationships. I mean really, how many people can actually meet these standards.
One of the dangers of dating apps is that it’s easy to rule people out based on the superficial. But those aspects do not tell you whether or not this person will be a good long term partner for you. Focus your energy on getting to know people and what they bring to the table as a life partner. Sure, maybe he is 5’8, but he also invests his money wisely, has a great sense of humor, works on himself, and will make a devoted father. What is more important to you?
For more on putting together an authentic, soul based list, check out my article here.
5) Be Willing to Walk Away
So you’ve invested a few dates, or even a few months in someone, only to realize they aren’t really what you are looking for and violate one of your deal breakers. What do you do? Without hesitation you walk away. Saying no to what you do not want is a huge step towards manifesting what you do want.
So why do singles struggle with this step so much?
For one they are already emotionally involved. Attachment happens just through spending time with someone, but if you’ve already had sex your bonding hormones have kicked into overdrive and are telling you to stay put. It’s one of the major reasons I tell my clients to wait to have sex until they have established exclusivity. The reality is, it’s harder to walk away once you have had sex. But if you are serious about finding a long term relationship, you have to walk away from anything that does not serve you.
6) Set Boundaries
Yes, of course with the people you are dating. But I also mean with yourself. If you are on dating apps for hours every day and responding to messages whenever they pop up, you are going to get burned out. Plus answering messages after 10 pm starts to send the wrong message to potential suitors.
One tool I recommend in my free ebook, Mindful Dating in the Digital World (download here to learn more on how to find a relationship on dating apps) is to set office hours for when you are available on dating apps. Limit yourself to one hour of swiping a day. And while you are using the apps, actually give them your full attention. There’s nothing worse than watching a movie or grabbing a coffee with a friend only for them to spend the whole time swiping and responding to messages. That’s just shortchanging your friends and the guys you are messaging.
Set aside limited time to swipe and respond to messages. Trust me, this will help keep you focused on the task at hand, i.e. finding a partner, rather than using dating apps as a way to fill your time when you’re bored or make you feel good about yourself when you’re feeling down. Both of those things are tempting distractions that will get in the way of finding a relationship.
How to Find a Relationship on Dating Apps: Making it Work for You
It might seem like I’m laying out a bunch of rules here. And trust me, I know there’s already hundreds of books and articles filled with rules for dating. But the main point I’m trying to make here (and in all my work) is self worth. All of these rules are about putting yourself, your needs, and your heart first. When dating, it’s easy to put your desire for a relationship before everything, but that will never work when it comes to manifesting in a high quality, serious relationship on dating apps. That’s how you end up losing yourself in a relationship.
Put your needs first, set clear boundaries and communicate them, take the time to learn about yourself and figure out your needs in a relationship. Be a person who values themselves. Be honest. Be authentic. That’s all you really need, despite the hundreds of books out there.
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I am super excited to share this interview with my matchmaker friend and colleague, Justine! Like many of us, Justine was saddled down with 66k in debt after finishing her Master’s. Too many of us end up in debt after finishing school with no idea how we are going to pay it off while working an office job and living in an expensive city. It can start to feel like a burden we’ll never escape from.
Justine was able to pay off 66k in debt in under a year while traveling. I think what’s so amazing about Justine’s story is she shows that you can make smart financial decisions, not despite the fact that you’re traveling, but because you are traveling. Justine paid off her student loans because she was able to use travel to reduce her cost of living, while creating a life of more freedom for herself.
Read on for more about Justine’s travels and how she paid of her student loans while living as a digital nomad!
1) Tell us a little bit more about you! What do you do?
Hi! I’m Justine Luzzi, I do a few things! I am an Intuitive Reader + Teacher, helping awakened and sensitive souls navigate this crazy world! I also just started a new coaching venture focusing on Conscious Love & Healing from Toxic Relationships. I’ve been a virtual matchmaker for a long time now, but my bigger mission involves teaching the world what authentic and universal love feels like.
2) What inspired you to travel for 4 months? Why South East Asia?
I have always dreamed of being location independent. Traveling has always been a passion of mine. Needing permission from someone to physically do my work elsewhere felt really limiting. Four years ago I had a corporate job in digital marketing, that could have been done 100% remote and they wouldn’t let me work from home one day a week. I felt trapped.
I began to do some healing work on myself, and realized, I needed more freedom. I quit that job, and looked tirelessly for remote work that would suit my new venture in life. I found it with virtual matchmaking and intuitive card readings. When my lease was up in NYC, I threw out most of my stuff (it was old anyway) and booked a flight to SE Asia. The plan was Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, and Malaysia.
My connection to SE Asia was solidified when I took my first trip to Thailand in 2013, so I made the decision to start my digital nomad journey there. As my fellow travelers know, not all travel plans pan out exactly the way you envisioned it. While in South East Asia, I made it to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and Siem Reap + Phnom Penh, Cambodia, but after two months in Asia, trying to accommodate my clients in EST timezone started to take a toll and I knew I needed a change.
I decided to spend the remaining months of my trip in Europe where the time difference was much more doable. I spent most of my time in Athens, Greece and Belgrade, Serbia.
I had planned on spending more time as a digital nomad, but the greatest city in the world, NYC, was calling me home. I also started to feel unsettled being in a different time zone, different language, different currency, every few weeks.
3) A lot of people think spending 4 months traveling sounds like a bad financial decision, but you were actually able to pay off all of your student loans (66k!) that year. How did you make that happen?
I lived so cheaply! As a New Yorker, I’m used to a high cost of living. Living in South East Asia and Eastern Europe was actually super affordable! I’m also a travel hacker. I used my credit card points for great deals, ate a lot of street food, and checked travel blogs for the best deals.
The idea that traveling is expensive is just a limiting belief. I lived like a queen and most of my expenses for the month were not more than $500 USD. I was able to save a lot of money and throw it towards my 66k in debt. 3 months after I got back from my travels, I was able to pay everything off!
4) How did travel change your outlook about your life or career?
It changed so much of my outlook. As Americans, I personally feel we have an obligation to leave the country and live how others live. To me, this creates a lot of empathy, gratitude, and inclusiveness. I love feeling like I’m the minority, and not fitting in. It teaches me a lot about humility.
It has also taught me a lot about work-life balance. I’ll admit, I did work a lot while I was traveling, so it was challenging. Some days I had a 10 hour day and never left the Airbnb, except to grab food. But it is important to understand that you don’t have to be in a cubicle being micro-managed to do great work. We’re not caged animals. If a company has hired you to do their work, they need to trust that you will do it. I had a lot of trust from my employer, and that’s one of the things I loved about my company.
I also want to add, it’s OK to get sick of this lifestyle. I found myself beating myself up a bit when I wanted to come home. It’s hard being on the road so much. It’s OK to crave stability. Just lean into what feels good.
5) What advice do you have for anyone who wants to become a digital nomad?
Sooo much. First, don’t make plans so far in advance. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Let it flow. Be realistic within 2 weeks time, but you can’t be that rigid. You don’t want to book an entire place for a month to find out they have bed bugs (that happened to me in Ho Chi Minh). Be alert- pay attention. I tried to cross the Vietnam border by bus with an expired passport- not pretty- I owe everything to the English-speaking bus driver who sorted everything out. Book enough time in a place that allows for a 40-hour work week AND exploring. Oh, and have fun and be curious 🙂
Feeling inspired? You can learn more about Justine and connect with her at her Youtube Channel.
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When I was introduced to Alexis Smart Flower Remedies (through the Expanded Podcast with Lacy Philips), I have to admit, I was intrigued, but skeptical. The idea that consuming a flower essence could unravel years of trauma was definitely appealing to me. At the time I thought that healing required difficult labor, thousands of hours at the therapists office, and hard won breakthroughs. Although I was hesitant to order some of her remedies, I was eager to believe that plants could help us heal our emotional upheaval and trauma more quickly. But when I went in search of an Alexis Smart Flower Remedies review written from personal experience, I couldn’t really find any. So I decided to start experimenting with her remedies and write a series of totally honest reviews for people like me–intrigued by their potential, but skeptical.
This article is a review specifically of Whole Hearted, however, I have worked with seven of Alexis Smart’s other remedies and will include some of my insights from these other experiences. Reviews for other remedies in the same product line will be coming soon! I also want to highlight that I am not sponsored by or affiliated with Alexis Smart in any way, nor am I an expert in Bach Flower Remedies.
This Alexis Smart Flower Remedies review is based almost entirely on my personal experience but also includes insights reported back to my from some of my clients or friends who have taken these remedies. Your experience may be entirely different! What happened while I was on this remedy is more a reflection of my internal state at the time and what the remedy was bringing up to heal, rather than a reflection of the remedy itself. I tried to be as detailed as possible in this review, so it is a bit long, but it definitely contains a lot of useful information if you are thinking about experimenting with Bach Flower Remedies.
What is Whole Hearted?
Whole Hearted is a flower remedy designed by Alexis Smart in the tradition of Dr. Edward Bach. Dr Bach discovered the healing power of flowers in the 1930s after witnessing the trauma, and what we now know to be PTSD, of soldiers returning home to Britain from the trenches of World War I. He felt intuitively that if their emotional stress could be treated, the body would be able to heal itself. Dr. Bach eventually created a system of vibrational medicine using the flowers growing around him, after he left his London practice and moved to the English countryside.
Each of the flowers used in the remedies has a unique energetic imprint the resonates with a certain symptom or experience in the energetic or emotional body of the patient. This resonance is what delivers the healing.
After you order a remedy from Alexis Smart, it will arrive within 10 days in a blue bottle with a dropper. They are made of spring water and flower essences, with brandy used as the preservative. If you have issues with alcohol you can order them alcohol free as well. To ingest the remedy, drop four drops under your tongue, four times a day. Consistency is key!
Whole Heart is one of what Alexis Smart calls the Foundational Formulas. She explains on her website, “My Foundational Formulas heal you at the deepest level. Foundational Formulas are designed to heal old wounds, which may be the cause of current suffering. Trauma, grief and fear can leave lasting impressions on the body, mind and emotions. Often, we may not even realize we have been effected by an event, because the symptoms we are presenting may be seemingly unrelated.” From what I understand, if you are new to flower remedies, it is best to start with one of the Foundational Formulas.
In Love vs. Whole Hearted
Before using Whole Hearted I had used In Love, Soul Purpose, and First Aid Kit. I found In Love to be very intense. While using In Love, I had an emotional “breakdown to breakthrough” on day 10 of using the remedy. Leading up to that, I had felt the remedy working on me on both a physical and energetic level. I had a similar experience while on Soul Purpose, also on day 10, but it was slightly less emotionally intense. On both remedies, I felt it ramp up until day 10 where I had the “breakdown,” and purged a lot of emotions through some pretty hardcore crying accompanied by a revelation. After day 10, I felt burned out, but my energy levels gradually picked up and I felt a gentle come down from the remedy over the next 20 days.
Alexis Smart recommends taking Whole Hearted, then In Love. But for whatever reason I felt pulled to In Love first.
After I took In Love I got a lot of feedback that I should have started with Whole Hearted. I have to say, I’m really glad I didn’t. Whole Hearted was such an intense experience for me and so physically embodied, if I hadn’t already experienced a Bach Flower Remedy, I would have been deeply freaked out.
So far, Whole Hearted has been the most physically embodied remedy I have taken. Yes, the purging can be intense, but it’s by no means negative. These plant allies are deeply loving and give us the experience we need at the time. They only give us as much as we can handle, so if you are experiencing it, it means you can handle it.
My Experience with Whole Hearted
I decided to take Whole Hearted because of a dream. I dreamt that a doctor was holding up X-rays of my chest and said, “You have cancer of the heart. It’s from your job.” At the time, I was going through a breakup and dealing with a really toxic work situation. I took the dream as a warning and decided it was time to cleanse my heart.
As I mentioned, I had a very intense experience with Whole Hearted. Coincidentally, taking this remedy also fell in between a solar and lunar eclipse AND Mercury retrograde. I was feeling highly activated at the time and some of the physical symptoms I experienced might have been related to the eclipses as well as the remedy.
The remedy started really working on me around day 7. I had body pains and aches, mostly in my back, and started to feel deeply, deeply tired. At night it felt like energy was rolling off of my body and had intense dreams. I also experienced a horrible stomach ache, plus pain in my chest. One night while falling asleep I intuited that the pain I was experiencing was guilt trapped in my body. Hello, Catholic Guilt!
On night 8 of the remedy, the pain in my heart was so intense, if I hadn’t known what was happening, I might have taken myself to the hospital. It felt like my heart was literally on fire. If you’ve seen The Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini (pic below), that is a perfect representation of what the pain in my chest felt like.
My body was completely exhausted, but I still had a kind of restlessness in my limbs, sort of like Restless Leg Syndrome. I was up most of the night with chest pain and nausea. But I did find that putting a piece of selenite against my chest really helped with the pain.
It was a tough night, but I woke up in the morning feeling surprisingly refreshed despite getting only a few hours of sleep. Around 5pm I got sleepy again and took a three hour nap. After 11pm I started to feel the physical restlessness mixed with deep exhaustion again, but that night was less intense.
Around day 11 or 12, the remedy did seem to settle down and the restless nights, as well as the physical symptoms eventually disappeared.
I took this remedy because I knew that I needed a cleansing of my heart space. Well, that is definitely what I got!
For me, Whole Hearted felt like a remedy to get to business clearing blocks. However, the clearing felt multidimensional. I definitely had a lot that needed to be cleared from my life, but the healing also felt deeper, like I was clearing from past lives as well. While experiencing the emotional purging with other remedies, I was able to pinpoint what was being cleared. But with Whole Hearted, it was just waves and waves of pain I couldn’t necessarily pinpoint.
I definitely feel like a lot of pain was released from my heart space as well as my stomach. This remedy has been the most effective tool I have ever used for clearing the heart chakra and releasing trapped pain. I can’t imagine how many thousands of dollars I would have had to spend in therapy to get this kind of emotional release. I definitely feel confident saying in my Alexis Smart Flower Remedies review, these remedies are well worth their cost of $42.
Everyone’s experience with these remedies will be slightly different. In my experience, it took several days before I started feeling Whole Hearted, but my friend and colleague Dorothy Stover, felt it almost immediately. She told me, “Within 24 hours of taking Wholehearted I felt a massive pain in my chest. I knew it was grief from my mother dying the year before. I used meditation and continued with Whole Hearted accordingly to release the grief. Within a day, the pain in my chest was gone. By the end of the bottle I felt lighter and ready for my next step in life. It wasn’t a big shift. It was subtle and a gentle nudge.”
Like me Dorothy is a big believer in flower remedies. You can read her Alexis Smart Flower Remedies review here.
Tips When Taking the Remedies
Avoid Intense Exercise.
Personally, I found it’s best to avoid intense physical activity. While on In Love I made the mistake of hitting the gym for a super intense work out then going for a sweat in the steam room. I was already purging pretty hard from the remedy, but the added purge of my workout plus sweating it out in 115 degree temperature was way too much for me. I started to feel really emotionally overwhelmed and decided light yoga and stretching might be a better choice while on these remedies in the future.
While taking Whole Hearted, I definitely had the urge to workout because my body was shedding so much anxiety and excess energy. However, I also found that I was having body aches all over and was exhausted to my core. It was a similar feeling to having the flu. Despite the random surges of energy, I felt hitting the gym was out of the question.
Choose the Right Remedy.
Not every remedy will work for you 100% of the time. The remedies respond to your vibration and current emotional state. If you choose a remedy that isn’t a match for you, you likely will not feel anything. Use your intuition and read the descriptions in detail to pick the right one.
If you take one of these remedies and don’t feel anything it’s either that you chose the wrong remedy or you were inconsistent with your dosage. You have to take these remedies four times a day, every day for 30 days to feel the full effects. If you keep forgetting to take the remedy you likely won’t feel anything, so set a timer on your phone to remind you.
Alexis Smart Flower Remedies Review Final Thoughts
I am no expert on vibrational medicine, but I have found the flower remedies are able to gently enter my energetic field and begin peeling back layers of pain, shame, and programming, revealing my authentic self below. They bring to the surface that which I have been hiding from myself. Things I would not have been able to reach with therapy alone. For me, it has always felt like these remedies are deeply intelligent essences that remove blockages and allow my being to find its own healing within. When I am on these remedies, I also feel like I can see my life from a totally novel perspective. Who knows, maybe I’m seeing things from the point of view of our plant allies.
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Have you ever wanted to talk to an ex after a breakup to get “closure?” I’ve heard a lot of women say this, and while I don’t believe you should rely on another person for closure, speaking to an ex (after much healing and time apart) can be helpful in your own healing journey. But when it comes to breaking up with a narcissist, they will never change or mature, so it is absolutely imperative that you find a sense of closure within yourself, without your ex’s participation.
So what is closure and how to you get it when breaking up with a narcissist?
Closure means the wound has healed. Maybe not perfectly or completely, but enough that your energy isn’t pouring out of it on a daily basis. That takes work! The word closure actually comes from an Old French word meaning barrier, fence, or boundary. When it comes to breaking up with a narcissist, closure has a lot less to do with healing face to face conversations and a lot more to do with creating boundaries that keep you safe so you can find healing within yourself.
Closure comes from within. If you are relying on someone else to get closure, it’s likely never going to happen. Image someone stabs you and you have a huge bleeding wound. You know you should go to the doctor to have it sutured, but instead you say you are going to wait until the person who hurt you goes through medical school and learns wound care before you get medical attention. That’s kind of like what relying on your ex for closure is like, especially when that ex is a narcissist.
Narcissists often use “closure” as an excuse to reenter your life, so it’s important to have a plan in place for your safety, healing, and closure. Read on for a detailed 5 step plan for getting closure after breaking up with a narcissist.
Go No Contact
When breaking up with a narcissist, it’s important to understand closure and what it really is, because your illusion of closure can easily be manipulated by your ex to keep the door open on your relationship.
One of the aspects of narcissistic abuse that makes the relationship so exhausting and damaging, is that narcissists are experts at getting you to let them back in, no matter how much they have hurt you.
Remember in the beginning when they bombarded you with love and gifts? When you thought, wow s/he might just be the one. When you were bragging to your friends about how you were dating the most romantic person ever? That was the fairy tale before the nightmare. But when it comes to breaking up with a narcissist, they will pull out all the stops, and then some, to get you to let them back in. They will tell you they are addressing all their flaws, they’re in therapy, they will tell you a sob story about their childhood trauma. They will promise to never hurt you again and threaten to kill themselves if they do. They will say all of these things and more all while buying you expensive jewelry and making you the most romantic dinner you’ve ever seen.
But how did you end up back at dinner with your narcissistic ex? Maybe they wore you down. Maybe they begged. Maybe they said something like, “I don’t want to get back together, I just want to talk. I’m in therapy and my therapist thinks we could both use some closure.”
That makes sense! Closure is healthy, right?
When it comes to breaking up with a narcissist, you need to know that closure is an illusion. Closure is the crowbar they use to pry open the door back into your life. Closure is something you are going to have to find on your own.
That’s why it’s so important that the first step of getting closure after breaking up with a narcissist is going no contact.
Set Up Safety Precautions
Think of it this way. A narcissist is an addict, validation is the drug, and you are the supply. Have you seen the crazy things addicts do when they are cut off from their supply? You need to think of the narcissist as a dangerous junkie who wants to use you to get their fix. It is important not to downplay the fact that leaving a narcissist and going no contact can become a dangerous situation.
It’s hard to focus on closure and healing when you are afraid for your safety. You need to put safety measures in place for your peace of mind, as well as your physical and emotional safety. Here are a few suggestions.
–Change your number. Even if you block a narcissist, they will find ways to contact you. They will buy burner phones or have friends reach out. To really cut off contact, you might need to change your number completely.
-Set all social media to private and change your handles. The narcissist will create new profiles to digitally stalk you and leave hateful comments on your posts. Set everything to private and don’t approve people you don’t know. You may also want to change your handles so the narcissist can’t find you and continue to keep tabs on your life. Also keep in mind geotag usage. You don’t want to tag yourself at a location if you are still there and you don’t want to tag yourself at the same place multiple times. The narcissist may start hanging out at that place hoping to run into you there.
-Alert security. If you live in a neighborhood with security or an apartment building with security or a doorman, let them know. Share with them that you have an unstable abusive ex. Show them the person’s pictures. Ask that this person not be allowed in under any circumstances. Many security professionals have dealt with this situation before and may have some added insights or security precautions they can recommend.
-Get an alarm system. Easy, not very expensive, and will help you sleep better at night. You can also ask the alarm company if they have any additional recommendations.
-Move. I’m not saying you should sell your house and move to a different state, although some women do end up doing that. But it may be possible to move. If your lease is up, don’t renew. If you live in an apartment community you may be able to move to a different unit. Ask your management company if this would be possible. Explain the situation, share any documentation including letters from your therapist and paperwork from the police. They may be able to help you out and let you move into a different unit.
-Consider a restraining order. You will need to work with the police on this and you will need evidence. Do not delete any messages your ex sends you, as tempting as it might be. A restraining order is not a foolproof strategy, but it will set a very serious tone to your ex and provide the evidence you need to carry out some of these other strategies. It can also enrage your ex and cause them to lash out, so please be sure to have security measures already in place.
These strategies may seem time consuming and even expensive, but you can’t put a price on your safety or peace of mind. You have been making the narcissist the center of your world; it’s time to put your wellness and safety first in a concrete way.
Work With A Domestic Abuse Center
You may think that sounds dramatic and unnecessary. Maybe your ex was only emotionally and never physically or sexually abusive, so why would you go to a shelter? It’s a misconception that abuse shelters are just for those who have been physically abused. A domestic abuse center assists men, women, and children, gay or straight, who have dealt with any kind of intimate partner abuse, whether that be physical, emotional, or sexual.
Contacting your local abuse shelter or domestic violence help center is a huge step towards getting closure. Having been abused by a narcissist, you likely have been gaslighted. That means there is a small part of you that may still be wondering, “What if I am crazy. What if he really is just trying to love me?”
Talking about your situation with a professional is going to be one of the most validating experience of your life. It will knock that self doubt right out of your head. When I was trying to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist, a friend’s mom put me in touch with a counselor she knew at our local abuse shelter. The counselor called me and asked, “Does he tell you he loves you to death?” “Yes.” “Then you better believe him.”
Never before had someone voiced and validated my fears so clearly.
Her saying that changed everything for me. She then walked me through how to leave, the plan I needed to make on how to escape, and how to do so with the least amount of risk to my safety. I truly would not have been able to leave without this support.
Your local domestic abuse center is also going to be able to recommend resources to you for your physical safety, as well as emotional healing and closure. Most can provide therapy with one of their counselors in house, often at a free or reduced rate. But if they are unable to do so, they will be able to recommend the top experts in your area.
If you are unsure of who to reach out to or are unsure if you are experiencing abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Again, this comes back to validation. Validation is such an important part of the process because being in a relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a profoundly invalidating experience.
Educating yourself, whether that be through reading, working with a therapist, or attending a 12 step group, will help you close the door on this relationship by creating space between your emotional involvement and your psyche. By understanding NPD through a clinical lens, the next time your narcissistic ex tries to use a classic tool of manipulation, you will be able to recognize this behavior as a symptom of his/her disorder. You will have the insights of renowned experts and therapists validating your experience. You will be able to breathe and seek out one of the tools you learned through your research, rather than getting sucked back in. This isn’t a perfect practice, but overtime you will be able to use your research to shift your perspective and your response.
Educating yourself isn’t just validating, it is also going to help you better understand your ex, yourself, and your dynamic. When you really integrate the understanding that your ex isn’t just manipulative or flawed, but actually suffering from a personality disorder that most therapists agree is incurable and nearly impossible to treat, I promise it will be a lot easier to have compassion for the both of you and walk away.
I recently put together a list of books I recommend to my clients who are breaking up with a narcissist. You can find that list here.
Go All In On Healing
One of the most important aspects to getting closure after breaking up with a narcissist is learning to put yourself first. The narcissist likely demanded your undivided attention, guilted you for having friends or hobbies, and made their emotional outbursts the center of your universe. Your relationship with the narcissist has likely robbed you of your relationship with yourself.
Maybe the most healing thing you can do right now is vow to fix that. Take a moment to promise yourself to put your wellbeing first now, no matter what.
I have seen women who due to a lack of awareness, education, and healing have dated narcissist after narcissist. Truth is, I have been that woman. And if your attraction to a narcissist stems from unresolved childhood trauma, there is a real risk that could happen.
That’s why the moment you realize you are in this dynamic you have to go all in on your healing. Many women are pulled into this dynamic with a narcissist due to childhood trauma. Many were raised by a narcissist or co-dependent parent. Sometimes people who tend to be more empathic are easily drawn in by a damaged narcissist. The point is, you not only have to heal from the trauma of this relationship, you also have to be willing to turn inwards and find out if there was any trauma that drove you to this relationship.
By no means am I trying to blame the victim here. What happened to you was horrific and not your fault. What I am saying is that the process of self discovery and healing that can come after leaving a narcissist can be deeply empowering especially after such a disempowering experience. It may be painful, but looking inward with ultimately free you from this dynamic and open up space for life altering healing.
Ultimately, the tools you use for healing will vary depending on what works for you and it will take a lot of experimenting. For me, I found hypnotherapy, Theta Healing, and homeopathy to be my go to strategies.
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Is becoming an expat or digital nomad the best thing you’ll do for your personal growth and career development? Probably! Does that mean it’s easy? No, why would it? Travel pushes you far outside your comfort zone, that’s how it forces you to grow. Living abroad as a lifestyle essentially means you are committing to be pushed on a near daily basis. But it is a lot easier with help from the DN who went before you! Read on for the most common mistakes new digital nomads make.
Wanting To See The Whole World Right Away
Of course, we all got into this lifestyle because we want to see the world! But when you first begin your digital nomad journey, it’s better to pick one location to call home for a few reasons. For one, when you move to a new country, it’s common to suffer from transplant sickness (read my post on transplant sickness and how to avoid it here) and too much travel makes it worse. Taking time to settle in somewhere will also help you move through the inevitable homesickness, while developing deeper friendships and connections (not making friends with locals is another of the most common mistakes new digital nomads make!)
Chances are you have never worked remotely or with little to no management before. It’s going to take some time to adjust and find your grove with work. Constant travel will interrupt you every time you start to get in a flow, leaving you feel fried and like you’re falling behind.
Finally, travel is expensive. Settling down, getting into a flow, finding an affordable place to rent or buy long term is going to save you money. When you first get started, cash flow can be inconsistent. Especially, if you are freelancing or starting your own business. There is nothing worse than the stress of travel, compounded by feeling pressed financially and the rigors of starting a new career. Trust me, I’ve been there.
So chill out and stay in one place for your first 6 months to a year. That doesn’t mean weekend trips and holidays are out of the question! It just means you should have one place as home base instead of moving to a new country every week. Sometimes you need to take the time to build a foundation for your dreams before you start living them.
Being Afraid To Invest
When I first became a digital nomad I was working as a freelance writer. I had some background in writing, but not in copywriting, WordPress, SEO, or social media management. All important skills that can help you make a CAREER as a freelancer. If you’re like me and went to a liberal arts college, these are not skills you were taught. I was super resistant to investing much time and money into learning those skills, which means my income basically plateaued and I ended up leaving freelance for a remote job. It wasn’t until much later that I invested money in learning those skills and as a result was able to improve my career & income and start this blog!
But investing doesn’t just mean investing in yourself. Living in an emerging market is a great opportunity to become a first time homebuyer, eventually creating a stream of passive income for yourself through short or long term rentals. As a DN you might find that you’re saving a lot of money compared to your lifestyle before. Make some of that money work for you to create passive income long term through investing in the stock market, both in your home country and in emerging markets.
Choosing An Expensive Location
Becoming a digital nomad is a wonderful journey, but travel is filled with stress, culture shock, and growing pains. The last thing you want to do is add financial burdens to the mix. I know a lot of us dream of London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, but these locations are pretty expensive as far as expat life goes. Overburdening yourself financially is one of the most stressful mistakes new digital nomads make. My suggestion would be to find a location that is expat friendly, but with a much lower cost of living than where you already are. Some less expensive alternatives might include Cluj, Romania; Porto, Portugal; or Florianópolis, Brazil.
Long term, consider how you can invest the money you save back into your business, skill development, or even real estate, making your digital nomad lifestyle financially smart and viable long term instead of a crazy idea you had in your 20s.
Not Knowing Your Worth
So many people I know who take up remote work are so desperate to leave the 9-5 they settle for any gig that comes their way. Often this leaves them cash strapped and desperate, so they settle for another poorly paid position/gig again. Then again. It becomes a toxic cycle they just can’t beat.
Too many DNs have the wrong perception of remote work. They think if a company lets you work remotely, they are doing you a favor. Wrong. Companies save money by hiring remote because they don’t have to house them in office. Studies have found that remote workers also take far fewer sick days saving organizations big $$$. AND remote workers help companies save money and time because they require virtually no micromanagement.
A recent report from Gartner found that remote work has grown 400% in the past decade as companies realize hiring remote saves them money and helps them attract top talent. Gartner also found by 2021 companies will be able to hire 40% work employees thanks to the money and space saved with remote workers.
A company is not doing you a favor by letting you work remotely. Believing they are is not only a major mistake new digital nomads make, it will make you come across as desperate. Desperation is major turnoff for hiring managers and potential clients. Shift your mindset. Remote work is a win-win arrangement for both parties. 400% growth does not happen as a “favor.”
So all that being said, do not make the mistake of devaluing yourself. Know your worth and work constantly to improve it. Don’t settle for less than you deserve or need to make your lifestyle a reality.
P.S. If you’re struggling with under earning, this book was a game changer for me.
Truth is, being an expat can be lonely. You find that you can’t relate to people back home and new friends are constantly moving away. One of the really common mistakes new digital nomads make (especially before they move abroad) is thinking that being a DN is an endless party. It’s not uncommon to get depressed after the 6 week mark of moving abroad or near the holidays. But even if you are an introvert, don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself.
For me, a hardcore introvert working from home, it was so easy to isolate. It’s actually one of the reasons I moved back to the US. I felt that every time I got close with someone they moved!
But isolating will harm your mental health and your career. One of the hardest things about growing a career as a DN is networking. You need to get out there and meet people every week at events, coffeeshops, and informal meetups.
The best thing I can suggest is working from a co-working space. Not only will this provide a sense of routine and boundaries to your work day, it will also help you to build a personal and professional network. It’s a great way to land freelance gigs as well! When you feel yourself starting to slip into homesickness, depression, or isolation, using a co-working space to socialize and provide structure to your day can go a long way. In the end it is definitely worth the investment.
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