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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


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(Example of healing self talk and the power of journal writing. Printed with permission)  *pix

Christmas is coming, and I’m alone. I feel abandoned by a world of people who are happily busy in gayety and plans for more.

Is this true? Do my feelings reflect reality?

My family is punishing me for not being obedient. I am stretching my heart and mind into realms that intrigue me and offer me new satisfying direction. That's belittled.

I’m not included in celebrations. I’m invited to events with 20 minutes notice. I don’t respond.

I am no longer stripping myself of energy, time and money to perform people pleasing behavior for people who are never pleased.  And I feel frightened, alone and sometimes desperate.

But I will go to the ballet with my friend this week-end.  I will have a long chat with my friend in the morning. I do go to parties given by colleagues. I am going out of town for a joyous week with friends.

Still, I miss the sense of deep, caring, family companionship. But that companionship was in my mind. The reality was that I shopped, packaged and wrapped alone. I brought the completed sack of gifts as my Christmas offering and put them under the tree alone. Children with happy greedy faces watched, and that was fine. Until, as the years went by, it wasn’t fine. The young faces looked strained, and the older faces looked more and more judgmental.and dismissive.

I got tired and lonely when I was with them. Gifts I gave to the adults were criticized or laughed at. Gifts I received were irrelevant or were gifts of promised future activities that never materialized. Spa days. Luncheons. Trips to museums and libraries. I got the promises in cards but not the actual delivery.

This loneliness and aloneness I feel now, is it any different from what I felt when I was with them?

OMG! It’s the same feeling! This sorrow and isolation might be better because I can feel these feelings without pretending that I don’t. I don’t have to smile and try to look like I was happy and having a good time. This trembling in my wrists. This hollow in my chest. This throbbing behind my eyes. This choking in my throat. This feeling of being on the outside, valueless and ignored is not because I miss them. This is what I feel when I’m with them.

My revelation. These feelings are a hangover. I can explore them, address them, dissolve them and move on. It’s hard, but it’s possible.  I’m not lost.

I’m claiming my own experience. Coming out from the shadows of their experience where I did my best to conform, obey and please I’m now in a new space. My space. I can create and invite and explore and give based on my authentic heart. I do have friends I care about. I care about people and bring value to the world. I do have interests I follow with enthusiasm. My creativity is coming back. I feel more alive.

Suddenly I feel a compassion and tenderness for the narcissists in my family as the distance between us increases.  I can love and not be sacrificial. I can care and still plunge into my own opening vistas of welcome experience. I have the strength and power to recognize the source of my pain and move away from it. I can maintain my energy and deliver it to what I consider worthwhile destinations. No more pouring myself into demanding emptiness.

My pain will come and go. I trust that as I heal, pain will lessen and life energy will increase.

If I’m with my authentic heart I’m not alone for Christmas or any other time.

(I’m not including a case history or analysis of this journal entry. As it stands I think it may speak to others in or emerging from the grip of a narcissist. The writer doesn’t reveal gender. This is an open story and perhaps a needed Christmas present for many. Joanna Poppink)

*pix Fire Heart  Image by Gloria Williams from Pixabay   Attend to the sensations of your physical heart. They are connected to your emotional heart.  If your physical heart burns, respect the feeling. Bring it to consciousness. Move away from danger. Let heart fire burn away the nets and weapons striking you. Rest easy knowing your authentic heart will guide you if you attend and respect its messages. Joanna Poppink

Psychotherapy with Joanna

Links to Explore

Dr. Les Carter: youtube channell on surviving narcissism. I recommend Dr. Carter's many short, concise, warm and clear discussions and descriptions of the narcissist and how recognize, cope or leave the controlling narcissist in your life. 

How to Spot a Narcissist by Samuel Lopez de Victoria, Ph.D.  quiz, "Are you a narcissist?" included.

Psychotherapy with a Narcissistic Patient Using Kohut's Self Psychology Model

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