Category Archives: the reckoning

11 Signs You’re The Narcissist’s Worst Nightmare

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By Shahida Arabi

1. You used the pain they gave you as fuel to create your greatest victories. Whatever adversity you went through due to this person, you’ve used it as a platform to rise higher and become more bold than you’ve ever been. Time and time again, you’ve channeled the toxicity of their actions into your success. Everything you learned from this relationship has been used to rebuild your life, redesign yourself and come into your full power.

2. You know how to self-validate. Narcissists love making their victims dependent on them for validation and approval. When a victim is able to self-validate and knows deep within how beautiful, successful, talented and worthy they are, it’s deeply unnerving to them. They are drawn to our confidence because they want to squash it and establish their so-called superiority. Fortunately for you, your ability to self-validate allows you to move on from a narcissist’s mind games without so much as a second glance. You don’t need their approval, because you already approve of yourself.

3. You don’t wait for answers – you give yourself closure. Rather than waiting around, pining for the narcissist to acknowledge everything you had together, you were able to give yourself closure and leave your toxic partner, friend or family member in the dust. This means no matter what they put you through, you’ve been able to walk away with your head held high in dignity. Despite any lingering self-doubt, you know deep down that you are better off without this sick and toxic person in your life.

4. You have support and you know how to support yourself. You have a healthy, thriving support network of people who love and care about you. You know when to reach out for help when you need it, but you also know how to self-soothe and take care of yourself. Your coping skills are top-notch. If you need to meditate, you do so. When you need a good runner’s high, you’re the first one on the treadmill. Whether you need to engage in self-care by taking a yoga class, attending a counseling session or taking a digital detox – you know exactly where to go to better care for yourself.

5. You’re independent – whether it be financially, emotionally, mentally, or socially – or all of the above. Narcissists rely on any void we have in our lives so they can temporarily ‘fill’ that gap before terrorizing us. However, your independence makes you a terrifying target not to be messed with, because they know you can survive on your own and can leave at any time. Whether it’s because you make your own money, have a thriving career, live on your own, have a good group of friends or don’t rely on anyone to define you (or all of the above), you’ve got it going on, all by yourself and on your own terms.

6. You pick up on manipulative and exploitative intent – and you make it clear you won’t tolerate it. When you pick up on the conniving, selfish motives of toxic people, you’re immediately turned off. You can’t even fathom wasting more time and energy on these people. Rather than working hard to cater to their needs or bend over backwards to catch up to their moving goal posts and expectations, you remove yourself from the equation altogether. Silence is your best friend and you cut off contact with people who seek to deplete you more than they support you. When you’re done, you’re done, and there’s no looking back.

7. You’re resilient as hell. You’ve come a long way on your journey to freedom and that means you’re not willing to give up, no matter what happens. You didn’t come this far just to come this far. Whatever’s in your way better watch the fuck out, because to you it’s just another obstacle to overcome on your way to freedom and success.

8. You can manifest amazing things in your life. Whether it be meeting your professional goals or finding the love of your life, there is no limit for you. You have gone through so much adversity that you are determined to reap the rewards of your hard-earned wisdom. And time and time again, you do.

9. You know your worth, so you’re always receptive to something better. You know you deserve better and you know you have options. As a result, you close yourself off to the toxicity of the old and become receptive to a future that’s bigger, better and brighter. You don’t push good things away – you welcome them with open arms, because you know you are worthy of it all and more.

10. You speak your mind and you’re a badass about following through with your boundaries. Narcissists and similar-minded toxic people try to rob us of our core values and erode our identity. Because you stand so firmly in your truth, you make no compromises when it comes to what’s important to you. If something doesn’t sit well with your integrity or beliefs, you’ll cut the ties with it fairly quickly because your personal character is of more value to you than a superficial relationship that would require you to sacrifice it.

11. You can reframe just about anything into your highest good and the greater good. The wisdom you gain can help others and you know it. You’re well aware that the obstacles you face can lead to personal development. Whether it be narcissistic abuse or another form of adversity, you’re willing to see what can be learned from each and every experience you have because you know it can be channeled into something greater. You know the best is yet to come.

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About Shahida Arabi, Bestselling Author

Shahida Arabi is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University graduate school, where she studied the effects of bullying across the life-course trajectory. She is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of three books, including Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself, featured as a #1 Amazon Bestseller in three categories and as a #1 Amazon bestseller in personality disorders for twelve consecutive months after its release. Her most recent bookPOWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse, was also featured as a #1 Amazon best seller in Applied Psychology.

She is the founder of the popular blog for abuse survivors, Self-Care Haven, which has millions of views from all over the world. Her work has been shared and endorsed by numerous clinicians, mental health advocates, mental health professionals and bestselling authors. For her undergraduate education, Shahida graduated summa cum laude from NYU where she studied English Literature and Psychology. She is passionate about using her knowledge base in psychology, sociology, gender studies and mental health to help survivors empower themselves after emotional abuse and trauma. Her writing has been featured on The National Domestic Violence Hotline,  Salon, The Huffington Post, MOGUL, The Meadows, Thought Catalog and Harvard-trained psychologist Dr. Monica O’Neal’s website.

Survivor Poetry: Invisible Girls Will Inherit The Earth

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This Is For The Invisible Girls By Shahida Arabi

This is for the invisible girls
The ones society sought to erase
From their narratives.
Invisible girls who bloom into magnificence
where no one can see them.
Their petals reach far and wide beyond man-made fences,
yearning to be held
But meet only the thorns
Of creeping hands and lecherous gazes,
Envy and disdain, indifference and blame.

They wrap invisible girls in black curtains,
Shut the windows around their bodies,
Press their fingers against their lips
Pay for their silence.
Keep quiet, they say.
Your body is a loaded gun,
We need no triggers here.

Sometimes the problem is that invisible girls
Are too visible, too powerful, too fierce.
The world likes to box them in to contain them.
Your beauty is a silhouette, they lie,
to manage their storm.
We crown only suns.

Your soul is a maze, easy to get lost in, we can’t keep track
of what you call home. We don’t know where your beauty belongs.
Glorious and unusual, but you are not welcome,
They whisper. It’s not like the beauty we’re used to,
we cannot accept you.
But there’s a tremor in their voices,
an uncertainty in their gaze,
as if to turn their eyes away
from the eclipse.

The beauty of invisible girls
is treated like a crooked house, filled with only lanterns and tiny flames
Lighting the way, but no one dares to climb the darkness
Fifty stories high just for the splendor of the view.
Invisible girls
are either too much or not enough
so they melt their words into wax,
blowing them out like candles before they’ve even begun to ignite,
treating their thoughts like black holes rather than stardust.

Invisible girls are so larger than life
they are taught to hide themselves,
trained to become the shadows lurking on the walls.

Invisible girls cradle unspoken truths in their mouths,
Choke back the broken promises
In the back of their throats

As they watch their more esteemed sisters become
Homecoming queens, as they swallow the lies they are fed
About their worthiness, equating their beauty to their value
and their womanhood to weakness.
As they learn to smile through infinite violations and transgressions,
invisible girls shrink, dim their light, play small,
learn the art of biting their tongues.

They forget they are the ones who bring forth powerful verses
Create new worlds with just their hands.
But for years, they watched others star in the stories they’ve written –
using their scars for their own gain.
Invisible girls are the bearer of secrets
Ones that could expose everything –
How the hierarchy is built on glass houses
Just waiting to be shattered by their footfall.

But you have to know this.
Invisible girls eventually awaken from their deep slumber.
One day, they will all dare to take up space.

They will learn how to crawl out of the tombs
they’ve been buried in
They will learn how to walk on fire,
they will learn how to tread water,
With no more stones in their pockets weighing them down.

Invisible girls will rewrite the stories others have written for them —
Transform the rage buried in their throats
Into gold.
They will leave the cages that were forged for them
So their bodies can finally dance
in the spaces they were once shunned.

One day their uncommon beauty will be allowed to grow, tangled like vines
Feasting on the very walls that once contained them.
Their strength will be unyielding,
When they realize the world turns for them too.

One day they will flee
Into the forests where they were birthed,
Reclaim their abundance.
Breathing in the light for the first time, they will soak up the moon
Greeting them through the gaps between wild trees.
They will bathe in the water that was always theirs,
Drink in their reflection,
Finally quenching their own thirst
Rather than catering to everyone else’s hunger.

For so long, invisible girls have felt the fire in their bones
watered down by the disappointment of knowing their gifts were not seen,
their voices were not heard, their stories not read.
They bore witness in silence, watched as others who met some arbitrary ideal
were chosen to represent what beauty and power meant.
Now it is their turn. It is time for invisible girls to inherit the earth.

One day, they will howl at the full moon,
unearth their crowns
dethrone their oppressors and
finally see themselves in the stars.

When the revolution comes,
Invisible girls will learn to melt fire in their palms
Learn to tame the rivers with their fingertips
Learn to call forth the rain with their lips.
With their voices,
Invisible girls will bring the wind
And the earthquakes.

Invisible girls will learn when they are no longer imprisoned
That the bars surrounding them
were never meant to trap what no one wanted to see.
Rather, they contained the light everyone was fearful of.

The world made cages out of their spirits, their hearts, their bodies —
So that invisible girls could never learn the power of their visibility.

There is raw magic when
Invisible girls finally get their reckoning.
When they are seen, when they are heard,
When their stories are finally told —
Their minds bear a universe
No man can hold.

–Shahida Arabi

Featured Image Source: Zulmaury Saavedra 

Why the Women Society Calls “Damaged” Are the Most Powerful

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By Shahida Arabi

Originally published on WITCH magazine. 

Here is a truth you often don’t hear: traumatized women have the potential to become the most powerful people in this world.

The most ignorant members of society call this type of woman “damaged.” But she is the most powerful type of woman there is.

What they forget is that survivors have the most dangerous advantage of all: resilience.

When you try and you try but you can never bring a woman down, you’ll know there is no going back. Don’t fool yourself. You could never defeat her. You never will.

This is the woman who will always rise from the dead; Lady Lazarus, after going through hell and back.

This is the woman who has burned her feet in the flames time and time again and always lives to tell another tale – even if she has to crawl back to life.

She was never given love or approval on a silver platter, so in order to survive, she had to love herself in a way others could only dream of. She fought tooth and nail for her own self-acceptance.

No one coddled her as a child or told her pretty things; she had to fend for herself each step of the way. She knows she can survive because she already has and will again.

When someone tells her, “You can’t do it,” she says, “Watch me.”

She is fiery light birthed out of wintery darkness. Brought into the underworld by Hades, Persephone brings forth spring and rebirth when she reemerges finally from the cold.

She owns her shadows and seamlessly weaves them into the fabric of her freedom, creativity, imagination and independence.

All of her life, she was given every evidence of human cruelty and the evil people were capable of. She understood early on that the monsters people dreamed of existed in human skin.

She lived all of her nightmares in high definition. She was given every reason to give up, handed every justification to never believe in herself or anyone.

But there is raw magic in the ways in which she cultivates a faith in herself, to manifest the dreams that her soul was meant to bring forth. Despite it all, she still conquers.

She still survives and thrives.

The “damaged” woman is capable of immense manifestation not just in spite of, but because of the traumas she has gone through.

There is no one more motivated than a woman who has constantly been told what she cannot do or who she cannot be throughout her lifetime.

There is no one more determined to succeed than someone who has nothing left to lose.

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image source

The “damaged” woman doesn’t sign up for the hardships of her journey – but she plays the hell out of the cards she’s been dealt.

The “damaged” woman is not damaged at all – she is wounded, and in channeling and healing her wounds, she becomes the source of incredible energy, the site of unbelievable potential for abundance and change.

She possesses the power to use her wounds for the greater good and her highest good.

She builds her own success and becomes her own rugged hero; tends to her own scraped knees.

She uses every stone thrown at her to build the foundation for her empire.

Brick by brick she builds – and despite every attempt to tear her walls down, she rescues herself again and again.

Despite it all, this type of survivor may still face hatred, envy, greed from those around her. They try to tell her she is too damaged to soar.

See, when the women society calls too “damaged” perform better than those who never were, it tends to upset the status quo.

As a result, she becomes the survivor of countless witch hunts, the target of many persecutors. Yet when they try to burn her at the stake, she does what comes naturally: she resurrects herself.

After all, nobody suspects that it is the wounded woman who has more power inside of her than the bullies who appear to overpower her.

They laugh and ridicule the mute warrior, the one who seems to never fight back.

But here’s the thing about this type of woman: she observes.

She learns how to pick and fight her own battles. Her spirit may be broken, but it is relentless. She perseveres, bit by bit. She takes it all in.

Perhaps she stays voiceless for years. For her soul, it may seem like for centuries. This is an ancient wound, one that seems to follow her from generation to generation.

Yet at some point, it comes time for her soul to fight back in order to survive. It comes time for her to rise.

She stays silent for so long that when she finally speaks, the world erupts and cracks wide open.

Her pent-up magnificent energy, born and bred in the pressure cooker that she calls life – is that of lightning.

Where once hopelessness was her default, now abundance becomes her birthright.

Where once she was timid, she now unleashes thunder in every action and word that she wields like a sword – and with it, she always brings a storm.

Now when she creates, she creates new worlds and transforms and manifests on a level that cannot be recreated by someone who never had to struggle to survive.

When you hear the voice of a powerful survivor and the will of a warrior  – there is nothing you can do but to stop and listen.

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She is the voice of a million lifetimes lived.

She is the voice of the hopeless and the powerless when the fire is brought back to their eyes. She is the harbinger of the justice that the voiceless have longed to hear and feel and touch.

Regardless of how much you try and how it may seem, you can never truly bring a survivor like this to her knees; she already knows the value her scars bring.

She knows how to fill the cracks between her wounds with gold.

She knows how to transform each bitter word cast upon her into an iron-clad will that will set her and other caged birds free.

You can’t ever defeat a “damaged” woman, because she knows exactly how to save herself.

Copyright © 2017 by Shahida Arabi. 

All rights reserved. No part of this entry may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author. This includes adaptations in all forms of media.

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