Resilience Building for Stella Reddy

The following are some of what I have to do to recover from the nasty Adult Tenant Bullies Smear Campaign. I had to resolve to rebuild my emotional, and intellectual, resilience.

I must rewrite the story the Narcissist Adult Tenant Bullies have written for me.

Think of positive affirmations and mantras to build immunity against toxic adult tenant bullies who attempt to tear me down.

I am rewriting my narratives and recognizing how extraordinary and unique I truly am, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. I am rewriting the story given by Bullies in my mind and in my life, replacing it with my own. I am kicking their actions against me out of my life, moving on and focusing on what makes me happy.

I spent my career living in a bubble. I didn’t pay attention to the outside world too much, as it didn’t affect me and my life. I lived where I worked. As you know, your brain can only hold so much and I had enough with health, work, and personal life. I didn’t read the news and didn’t pay attention to the outside world unless it affected me. I didn’t really feel the need. So, yes, I was naive and I don’t mind. I was looking after myself in that I knew I could only take on so much. I had no interest in anyone’s life besides my own, as it was busy enough for me.

I didn’t have many friends, the hours of my job, and being too tired at the end of the day to go anywhere and socialize with others, especially after dealing with people all day anyway. This smear campaign didn’t really do anything to my personal life, as I didn’t have much of a personal life to ruin. The friends I did have, still do, all worked in rentals so knew what tenants were like anyway and knew what they were doing.

The job of a building superintendent is very long hours, always being on call and not feeling safe to leave, in case something happened. It isn’t a job where you can have a great social life, as it takes up too much time. I always had a cell phone and it rang at all hours of the day. If I had a family event, I went alone so my hubby to stay at the property, just in case. There is nothing worse than sitting down to dinner somewhere and getting a call that their toilet is clogged, or they forgot their keys and need to get into the apt. or they have a leak somewhere! We learned early on that if you don’t want to get interrupted, don’t go, as it never failed.

I never lost anyone over the antics of these Adult Tenant Bullies, as I had no one there to lose. The people in my life then, and now, are who I allow in it. I didn’t care about my social life, my life was my job.

I spoke about rumination in previous posts and wrote about how I was stuck in it, like a rollercoaster with their nasty vicious words about me going around in my head and I couldn’t stop it. I had to get out of it and it is because of writings like this, that helped me get where I am now in my recovery. The book I am currently reading uses science to show you what Narcissistic Abuse is and explains narcissism in great detail and how to recover from it.

I challenge my thinking every day and remind myself just whose life I am living and who I am living it for. I gave too much of myself to my jobs and to the property owners I worked for. I am getting rid of those habits of making someone else’s needs more important than mine. I got sucked into an Abuse Cycle at that property, stuck between these tenant bullies, other tenants, the property owners, and myself and my family. Not anymore. I gave into the needs of others, all the time, and ended up in this place as a result. Never again.

Below, is an excerpt from a book I am reading, Becoming the Narcissist Nightmare by Shahida Arabi. 

The Three R’s: Challenge the Rumination, Redirection to Something Better, and Rejuvenating a Sense of Self

1. Challenge the Rumination

Challenge your irrational thoughts and beliefs. Rejection makes us vulnerable to cognitive distortions, inaccurate thoughts, or beliefs that perpetuate negative emotions. When we feel rejected by others, we may engage in “Black and White” distortions where we perceive ourselves or the situation as “all bad” or “all good.” We may also participate in filtering, where we exclusively focus on the negative details of an event rather than the positive ones. Most likely, rejection will lead to some amount of personalization where we attribute the blame of someone else’s negative toxic behavior to ourselves, as well as overgeneralization, where we interpret that one event of rejection as evidence for a never-ending pattern unlikely to change.

Our “explanatory style” of how we respond to people who reject us, especially if they are abusive or toxic is important to our well-being. Whether we see these events as proof of something that is wrong with us, or as proof that whoever has rejected and mistreated us has something about them that is incompatible with our needs and wants, is paramount to how we approach life moving forward.

What do you think happens when you carry around these false beliefs about rejection being equal to your self-worth? Most likely, you end up with a partial or full-on self-fulfilling prophecy, because cognitive distortions tend to affect our perceived agency in navigating constraints and opportunities in our daily lives. If we think we can’t do it, we often don’t even bother trying – we don’t get the job because we don’t believe we’re qualified to even apply for it. We don’t achieve healthy relationships if we believe we’re not good enough. We may end up having a never-ending pattern of bad luck in relationships because we sabotage ourselves in ways we may not even be aware of and maintain connections with toxic partners. Rejection can prompt us reject ourselves under these false assumptions and subsequent actions.

Try this exercise. Start by writing down a list of ten negative, false beliefs you hold about yourself, the power of rejection, and its connection to your perceived self-worth. These can include beliefs like, “Rejection means I am a bad person,” “If someone rejects me, it means I am not good enough,” or “I need people’s approval before I can approve of myself.”

Next, write down ten reevaluations next to these beliefs. These include thoughts that challenge the beliefs or provide evidence against it, like, “Rejection is about the other person’s expectations and preferences, not about my worth as a person,” or “I can feel good about myself regardless of someone else’s perception of me.” If it proves helpful, try to think of examples where these challenges were true. For example, you might think about how someone else’s expectations for a relationship differed from your own and shaped his or her rejection of you (or more accurately, the relationship itself).
Or, more importantly, you might remember a time when you yourself rejected someone, not because of his or worth, but because of your own needs, wants and preferences. Putting yourself in the rejecter’s place enables you to gain a broader perspective that resists personalizing the rejection and helps you to move forward. You’re essentially reminding yourself that everyone, at some point, gets rejected by something or someone, and it’s not an experience exclusive to you or indicative of how much you’re worth.

2. Redirection to Something Better

Rejection doesn’t have to be a negative thing – it can be a positive release of your efforts and energy, and a redirection towards something or someone more worthy of you. What are the ways this specific rejection has freed you? Have you gotten laid off from a job and now have the opportunity to work on your true passion? Has the ending of a relationship enabled you to take care of yourself more fully and opened up time and space for friendship, travel, and new career prospects?

For every rejection, make a list of new opportunities and prospects that were not available to you prior to the rejection. Whether they be grandiose fantasies of what could be or more realistic goals, this will help train your mind into thinking of the infinite possibilities that have multiplied as a result of your rejection, rather than the limiting of possibilities we usually associate with the likes of rejection.

3. Rejuvenation of the Self

Remember that there is only one you and that a rejection of your uniqueness is a loss on the part of the rejecter. We’ve heard this phrase, “there is only one you,” time and time again but what does it really mean? It means that your specific package – quirks, personality, looks, talents, dreams, passions, flaws can never be completely duplicated in another person. You are unique and possess a certain mixture of qualities no one else on this earth will ever be able to replicate even if they wanted to.

Embracing our uniqueness, while depersonalizing rejection, enables us to remember that rejection can be a redirection to something or someone better who can appreciate us fully.

Whoever rejected you has ultimately lost out on your uniqueness – they will never again find someone exactly like you who acts the way you do and who makes them feel exactly the way you did. But guess what? It means someone else will. Another company will benefit from your hard work, perseverance, and talent. Another partner will enjoy the beautiful qualities that make you you – your sense of humor, your intelligence and charisma. Another friend will be strengthened by your wisdom and compassion.

You are a gem and you don’t have to waste your precious time attempting to morph yourself into anything else but you just to get someone to “approve” of your unique brand. You are who you are for a reason and you have a destiny to fulfill. Don’t let rejection detract from that destiny. Let it redirect you to better things, remind you of how special you truly are and rejuvenate your sense of self rather than destroy it.

A funny thing happens when we begin to radically accept ourselves for who we truly are: we begin to see people for who they really are rather than attempting to fix them or please them enough in order to convince them to change.

Once we’ve started eradicating the bad habit of people-pleasing and started cultivating personal boundaries, we’ll find it a bit easier to come to terms with some of the harsh realities of toxic people and their agenda. When we have a healthier perception of boundaries, we begin to practice a form of healthy detachment that counters the enmeshment style of relationships that often leaves us merging our identity with the identities of others.

Healing challenges us to accept 7 Inalienable Truths about Narcissistic Abuse and practice that healthy detachment that is indispensable to recovery.

Let’s Recap: 7 Inalienable Truths About Narcissistic Abuse
1 Your partner is unlikely to change. A sense of entitlement and false sense of superiority is intrinsic to a narcissist’s disorder.
2 No amount of love, compassion or empathy on your part will cause them to change.
3 There will be times when you reconcile the cognitive dissonance about your partner by romanticizing the good aspects while dismissing the abusive ones. Aside from trauma bonding, this is what usually keeps survivors in the cycle of narcissistic abuse.
4 In order to truly detach from your narcissistic partner, you will have to do the opposite: reconcile the cognitive dissonance by seeing the abusive self as the true self, and the good aspects as part of their charming, false self.
5 You may be addicted to your narcissist through biochemical and trauma bonding, which can cause relapse, but recovery and healing are possible. In order to move forward, you must continue to forgive yourself while still remaining committed to your goals.
6 Although there are universal steps and milestones many survivors go through on their journey, there is no “one size fits all” plan for healing nor is there a timeline for when healing should magically end. We are always learning new things along the way and healing and uncovering new wounds. Each survivor has unique needs and it is usually a combination of both alternative and traditional healing modalities that tackle mind, body and spirit, that enable them to heal some of the trauma.
7 You are not alone, although you may feel you are at first due to the smear campaigns, the isolation and the alienation you feel, as well as the invalidation you may receive from your supposed support network and society. There are millions of survivors out there, just like you, and many are rising to speak up about their experiences. One day, you may be one of them too. Perhaps you already are.

• Stop seeking their validation and approval. Validate yourself and congratulate yourself on a daily basis for every awesome thing you do.
• Start saying “no” to things you really don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do.
• Start standing up for yourself every time someone tries to bully you or put you down. It’s not acceptable anymore.
• Have a sense of humor about your flaws and weaknesses while maintaining a balanced view of your strengths and values. That way, when someone tries to put you down, you can have a laugh instead of giving some toxic person satisfaction that they’ve hurt you.
• Use kickboxing or martial arts as a way to release pent-up anger towards the bullying you may have experienced in an abusive relationship or throughout your lifetime. Physically manifesting your power can go a long way in convincing yourself how powerful and strong you truly are.
• Spend enjoyable, pleasurable alone time and make it a nonnegotiable part of your self-care contract. Whether it’s a hot bath, a jog, a hot yoga class or time for writing, turn off your connections with the world and give yourself a “me” only date invite to something relaxing or somewhere new. Spend time with the most valuable person in the world – you.

Eradicating People-Pleasing Habits
Symptoms of being a people-pleaser include but are not limited to: saying yes when you really mean no, allowing people to trample all over your boundaries on a weekly basis without asserting yourself, and “performing” character traits or behaviors that do not speak to your authentic self. Can cause high blood pressure and stewing resentment that festers for years until the “last straw,” at which point, sounds of an explosion erupt. You’re so tired of being Jekyll all the time you become the worst version of Hyde possible to let out all the steam that was simmering within all along.
Jokes aside, people-pleasing is becoming a sad epidemic in our lives, and it’s not just restricted to peer pressure among teenagers. We’ve all done it at some point, and some amount of people-pleasing might even be necessary in contexts like the workplace. However, people-pleasing can be a difficult habit to eradicate if being compliant is something we’ve been taught is necessary to avoid conflict. Think of children who grow up in abusive households: if they’re taught that whenever they displease authority figures they will be punished just for being themselves, they may be subconsciously programmed to navigate conflict similarly when it comes to future interpersonal relationships.
Adults can engage in people-pleasing to an unhealthy extent, to the point where they engage in friendships and relationships that don’t serve their needs, fail to walk away from toxic situations, and put on a “persona” rather than donning their true selves because they are afraid of what people will think of them. This can keep us in overdrive to meet the needs and wants of others, while failing to serve our own needs and wants. People-pleasing essentially deprives of us of the ability and the right to engage in healthy self-care.

People-Pleasing, Abuse and Self-Care
People-pleasing of course becomes more complex in the context of abusive relationships where the dynamics are so toxic that it’s difficult for survivors to simply walk away when faced with cognitive dissonance, Stockholm syndrome and gaslighting. At this point, it’s no longer just people-pleasing but the misfortune of being caught in the midst of a vicious abuse cycle.
However, people-pleasing does make it easier to ignore red flags of abusive relationships at the very early stages especially with covert manipulators. We can also become conditioned to continually “please” if we’re used to walking on eggshells around our abuser. This is why knowing our own boundaries and values is extremely important in order to protect ourselves and listen to our intuition, especially when it’s screaming loudly at us. Minimizing people-pleasing is also vital in the process of going No Contact with our abusers.
Part of healing is reframing the way we think about pleasing others versus pleasing ourselves. Here’s a revolutionary thought: what if I told you that your needs and wants were just as important as the people you were desperately trying to please, if not more? What if I claimed that your entire existence – your goals, your dreams, your feelings, your thoughts were in some way valid and needed to be addressed? Just as valid as the friend you’re trying to impress or the parent whose approval you seek?

People-pleasing and Rejection
We all seek approval at times and many of us fear rejection if we dare to show our authentic selves. By trying so hard to avoid rejection, we end up rejecting ourselves. The problem arises when this becomes a consistent habit and leaves us vulnerable to manipulation, exploitation and codependency. When you’re not honoring your authentic self, you’re depriving others of the chance to see the real you, the right to judge you on your own merits and not the persona you perform.
Remember that rule on airplanes about parents putting on their oxygen masks before they put the oxygen mask on their children? Well there’s a simple reason for that – we have to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others. If we exhaust our own reserves to the point where we have nothing left, we won’t be helping others at all.
The first step to minimize people-pleasing is to radically accept the realities of how inevitable rejection is. We cannot and should not try to please everyone. Some people will like you. Some people will dislike you. Others will outright hate you for their own reasons and preferences. And guess what? That’s okay. You have the right to do it too. You don’t have to like everyone or approve of everyone either. You have your own preferences, judgments, biases, feelings and opinions of others too. Don’t be afraid of that, and don’t fear rejection. Instead, reject the rejecter and move forward with your life.
You cannot let people-pleasing detract from the real you – by working so hard to gain the approval of others, you inevitably risk losing yourself. You become a puppet led by the needs and wants of various puppeteers. In the most extreme cases, people-pleasing can cost you your mental health and years off of your life. So stop cheerleading bad behavior and start cultivating your authentic self!

Tools to Minimize People-Pleasing
Start to minimize people-pleasing today by getting together a list of your top boundaries and values which you will not allow anyone to trespass in intimate relationships or friendships.
You can use this boundaries worksheet to write down ways in which your boundaries have been crossed in the past and the actions you can take to protect your boundaries in the future.
Here are also some recommended readings on boundaries, values and people-pleasing which I hope will be useful to you.


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