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How to Remove Almost Any Stain (Yes, Really!) PART TWO

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Stain fighters to keep on hand:

  • Ammonia
  • Aqua Net Hair Spray
  • All Fabric Bleach (such as Clorox 2)
  • Bleach
  • Dish Soap
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Oxy-Clean Powder (or similar alternative)
  • Paper Towels
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Stain Remover
  • Table Knife
  • Vinegar

Specific stain removal:

Baby Food

Scrape off any dried food with a kitchen knife. Soak item for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1-quart lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon ammonia, and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Gently rub stain from the back, then soak for an additional 15 minutes. Rinse the item, then soak in Oxy-Clean solution for at least 30 minutes, or until the stain is gone. Launder normally.

Blood

Soak the item in ice-cold water for 15 minutes. Rub stain from behind. Soak an additional 15 minutes in cold water. Check stain. If still visible, soak the item in Oxy-clean solution for 30 minutes. Launder normally, using bleach for whites.

Berries

Place stain face down on a clean paper towel. Pre-treat underside of stain with liquid laundry detergent or stain remover, rubbing the stain gently. Rinse. Soak for 30 minutes in a solution of lukewarm water mixed with all-fabric bleach. Rinse. If an item is white or colorfast, soak in the bleach solution for 15 minutes. Rinse and launder normally.

How to Remove Almost Any Stain (Yes, Really!) PART ONE

No one wants to toss a perfectly good shirt because of a stain that won’t come out! Next time, try these tried & true techniques to remove almost any stain. From blueberries to wine, these simple steps will keep your laundry looking good as new. There’s even a cute printable cheat sheet to hang in your laundry room!

Ugh, STAINS. They’re the worst, right?

And it’s happened to all of us at one point or another. You dribble coffee on your favorite shirt. Your 2-year-old decides to color herself—and her Sunday dress—with a rainbow assortment of felt-tip markers. Your husband gets a little overly enthusiastic with his barbecue sauce. Your romantic candlelit dinner leaves you with candle wax all over the tablecloth. Your little aspiring soccer player ends up with grass stains all over his brand new jeans.

In any of these cases, and certainly a whole lot more, it is easy to just want to throw up your hands and declare a total loss. Yes, it’s unfortunate, you think, but what can you do? After all, these things happen.

But while stains may just be an inevitable part of life, giving up on them doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tricks and some good-old-fashioned elbow grease, you may just be able to salvage that favorite item and save yourself both money and heartache along the way.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART SIX

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Wellness & Mental Health Skills

45. Critical Thinking + Problem Solving

If you took a logic class in college or you’ve experienced an “If this, then that” question on a test, then you’re familiar with logic. Unfortunately, it’s not a skill everyone has. Yes, this life skill is about your ability to prioritize, but it’s also about your ability to break a situation down and make choices. It’s about measuring possible outcomes and building your thinking skills to tackle life’s little bumps. To improve your problem-solving skills, try brain-training programs like Lumosity or Fit Brains. When it comes to problem-solving skills, if you don’t use ‘em, ya lose ‘em. That’s why it’s important that we’re constantly learning.

46. Synthesizing

A critical thinking skill, synthesizing is the ability to combine parts of a whole in a new and unique way. This learned skill boosts your adaptability and the way you “roll with the punches.” It’s part of the analysis and evaluation of any given situation. Think of it like a chef—you can take different components of a meal, break them down, and then put them together in a new and delicious way. In life, it’s a critical thinking skill that’s considered “higher-level thinking” … something we often slack on after high-school or college.

47. Self-Discipline: Exercise & Nutrition

The ability to discipline yourself enough to make healthy choices about your food and exercise is a learned skill.  It’s part of “bigger picture” thinking: achieving the understanding that if you eat something now, you might pay for it later. It’s about making a healthy meal for your family or taking a walk rather than hauling the kids through the McDonald’s drive-thru. No one can be perfect all the time, but when you view exercise and nutrition as self-care, rather than punishment, it helps to reframe. Start with small steps, like taking a walk or adding a vegetable to every meal, and build on the positive.

48. Self Care: Sleep & Hygiene

We get so wrapped up in caring for others we forget about the importance of taking care of ourselves. This means yes, sleep and rest, which is simply critical to our health. It also means taking time for yourself—showering, dressing in clean clothing, putting on makeup, styling your hair, or doing what you need to do to feel clean, confident and at your best. It’s funny because, as moms, even though we get after our kids to wash their hands, take a bath and brush their teeth, we sometimes get so busy we forget to care for ourselves. (Well, hopefully, we at least brush our teeth.) Give yourself a spa day or treat yourself to a luxury day at home. Learn to pamper yourself a little. Catch up on all those things that can fall by the wayside when we’re busy, like dying our hair, tweezing our eyebrows, whipping up a facial mask, or getting a pedicure. You deserve to feel good. Learn about proper sleep patterns and ways to streamline your beauty routine so you can get the most out of your “me time.”

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FIVE

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Relationship Skills

39. Listening & Communication in a Partnership

Communication in a marriage or relationship (and even with your children) is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being unselfish and empathetic and tackling difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter, as they can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other and closer to God, or they can rip us apart. Learning to think before you speak and listen more than you talk are communication tools that will serve you throughout your life and in all your close relationships.

40. Valuing & Expressing Respect

At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect. I don’t believe any of us have the perfect marriage (I know I don’t!) but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Learn to view your spouse through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that yes, may not always match your own. Understanding the underlying motivations and emotions underneath it all and respecting them as valid will strengthen your marriage.

41. Valuing & Expressing Love

Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right? WRONG. Love is about quality time, affection, expression, and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work. After all: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

42. How to Accept Compliments & Criticism

Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed, and yet, we’re sometimes crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) and we take them personally and to heart. Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve you well.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FIVE

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Relationship Skills

39. Listening & Communication in a Partnership

Communication in a marriage or relationship (and even with your children) is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being unselfish and empathetic and tackling difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter, as they can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other and closer to God, or they can rip us apart. Learning to think before you speak and listen more than you talk are communication tools that will serve you throughout your life and in all your close relationships.

40. Valuing & Expressing Respect

At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect. I don’t believe any of us have the perfect marriage (I know I don’t!) but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Learn to view your spouse through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that yes, may not always match your own. Understanding the underlying motivations and emotions underneath it all and respecting them as valid will strengthen your marriage.

41. Valuing & Expressing Love

Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right? WRONG. Love is about quality time, affection, expression, and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work. After all: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

42. How to Accept Compliments & Criticism

Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed, and yet, we’re sometimes crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) and we take them personally and to heart. Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve you well.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FOUR

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Self-Awareness Skills

32. Understanding Your Calling, Purpose & Mission

Understanding your higher purpose, your “calling” and what drives you helps set a foundation for everything you do. Crafting not only a family mission statement but a personal mission statement can help you keep your focus on your most important life goals.

33. How to Prioritize and What Your Priorities Are

We all have to learn how to prioritize the most important things each day, so we can take care of the most necessary (and often the toughest) tasks first. In the ER, doctors and nurses call it triage. It’s being able to assess a situation, size it up and figure out what needs to be tackled first. We’ve talked about it as “Eating the Frog.” Do the big, bad, tough things first and get them under control so you can move forward.

34. Understanding Your Values

Similar to understanding your mission, understanding your values (and refusing to compromise on them) will give you guidance through any decision. If honesty is one of your values, then next time you’re put in a compromising position you’ll never be tempted to lie—because you know honesty is so important to you. If family communication and connectedness is a top value, then you’ll use that to guide your decisions that affect your kids. Write out your values and refer to them whenever you’re facing a tough choice.

35. How to Focus

This is twofold: first, how to focus on a task when you’re facing a deadline or when you need to get something done; and second, how to focus your direction, your actions and your goals so you’re always in line with your values and holding true to your personal mission.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FOUR

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Money Management Skills

22. How to Budget

The ability to budget and be financially responsible is absolutely vital to your life skillset. Whether you’re just starting out on getting a handle on your finances or you’re an experienced, coupon-clipping, money-saving guru, understanding your budget is the first step to achieving financial peace and security. It’s a skill we can learn from a very young age and one we should build on throughout our lives. Get started with a spending freeze or go through our Budget 101 resources.

23. How to Avoid/Get Out of Debt

Oh, debt … we talk a lot about financial peace and getting yourself out of debt. Being debt-free is a freedom like none other—but it takes a lot of work to get there. Learning to live within your means is definitely a learned skill. Learning to slay your debt is about keeping your spending in check and managing a plan to pay off your debt quickly and efficiently. We refer to it as a war, slaying, tackling and fighting because it’s truly challenging! But the amazing thing is, with a little practice, avoiding debt is a war you can win.

24. How to Make a Major Purchase

Maybe you’re about to buy a home or a car—or maybe just your first washing machine. Whatever it is, you should understand how to compare prices, how to do research via Consumer Reports, and how to make a smart purchase.

25. Balancing your bank account

This one seems so silly I almost didn’t put it in here, but then I thought about it. How many of us just use our debit card without writing things down? How many of us pay bills online or have them set up to automatically be debited from our accounts and then sort of forget until they show up on bank statements? Being able to record your expenses is a skill that will keep you in touch with your finances. It keeps you immediately accountable for what you’re spending. If you need to get a jumpstart on balancing your finances, try committing to writing things down for a month and see if you notice a difference in your spending patterns.

26. How to Use Coupons

Coupons will save you so much money! Yes, it’s a skill and it can seem a little daunting, but it’s really easy to get started. Most stores now offer e-coupons that you can clip right on your phone and then just have them scanned once you are at the register. Check with each store for their policies. With a little organization and some practice, you’ll become a couponing queen (and you’ll rarely catch yourself paying full price for ANYTHING).

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART THREE

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Survival Skills

15. How to Keep Yourself Safe

It’s natural human instinct to WANT to stay safe and avoid unsafe situations, but we see on the news and in our own lives, many people who go against that logic and put themselves in unsafe situations. This can be anything from driving home after that third glass of wine to walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood at night. Not to say you shouldn’t take risks, but you should learn to take precautions in all situations, from phoning a friend to being aware of your surroundings to just saying no.

16. Emergency Preparedness

When a disaster hits, like a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or a global pandemic like COVID-19, would you know what to do? What if your house burneWHC---7Cd down or you were in an accident? Emergency preparedness can sometimes seem extreme or scary, but having basic emergency skills and knowing what to do if a catastrophe strikes can help you gain peace of mind and keep you and your family safe from harm. And it’s definitely not too late to take action on any of these today!

17. Basic First Aid

Do you know what to do if someone has a deep cut or a broken bone? Do you know the signs of a heart attack, a stroke or a concussion? As moms, we often have to be many things, but when we have to bring out the doctor’s bag, it can be our most critical role. Pick up a basic first aid book if you feel like your skills are rusty. It’s common to panic in emergency situations, but if you’re well versed in first aid, you’ll be able to rely on your instincts and knowledge and you’ll come to the rescue with a cooler head.

18. How to Survive Without Electricity

Like emergency preparedness, the prospect of going without electricity can be a little daunting and scary. How many of us go camping? (Or backyard camping?) Being able to unplug and entertain yourself without technology or even without the use of lights, television sets, and the stove is a skill, which at the very least will get you and your family through the next power outage, and at best, will help you communicate better and get away from your cell phones once in a while.

19. How to Read a Map

With GPS available on nearly every smartphone, I know map reading is rapidly becoming an obsolete skill. But aside from having to learn this skill for the occasional digital detox, map reading is vital, even if it’s just so you can gain a basic understanding of geography and route yourself accordingly. Anyone who’s tried to navigate a subway system or spent time in a rural area with spotty data service quickly realizes the merits of being able to read a good ol’ fashioned map. Brush up on your map skills and learn to take inventory of your location wherever you are. It’s a safe practice and it just may help you find your car in that mall parking garage someday. It’s also a wonderful life skill to teach your kids who heavily rely on that GPS map.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART TWO

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Technical Skills

7. How to Use a Calendar & Schedule

The ability to use a clock and a calendar is at the foundation of time management—which is a life skill in itself. A calendar simplifies your life and helps you get everything done, every day. You don’t have to live and die by your calendar, but learning how to block off time for activities and scheduled events will make your life SO much easier.

8. How to Write

Now, I’m not saying everyone needs to be able to blog or that you need to be able to write a masterpiece at the drop of a hat, but having a basic understanding of sentence structure and written expression can take you far in life. Some people HATE writing with the fire of a thousand suns, while others feel it’s the only way they truly express their inner thoughts. If you’re of the former school, consider taking a basic creative writing class or finding a writing course online that can help you brush up on those skills

9. Public Speaking

Similar to writing, speaking—especially public speaking—can cause some of us to cower in the corner while others take to it like fishes in the water. Public speaking is not my favorite thing, but everyone can learn some helpful tips for speaking better, like remembering to breathe, being prepared and connecting with your mission and expressing it to your audience. If you’re brave and once you can, take the plunge and sign yourself up for a speaking opportunity, a talk in church, or the open forum at your PTO meeting. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.

10. Effective Communication

Whether we’re talking about writing or speaking, communication is a vital life skill that encompasses both. No one makes it through this world alone, so learning to communicate with others will help you get where you need to be in life—and it’s definitely a learned skill. It’s about expressing your needs and desires while understanding and relating to others’ needs and desires. Communicating with your spouse, your children and your friends can help you learn, grow and become stronger. It’s through communication that we form relationships and friendships, so being good at it means you’ll be successful in your interactions with others.

11. Technology 101

Okay, I still can’t always do everything on my phone to “un-tap its full potential,” but basic computer skills are necessary for life today. At a minimum, you should be able to email and use the internet for basic searches. Technology can be a powerful and useful tool that can truly simplify your life. So let go of the fear that you’ll “break” something or click on something that you can’t undo. It’s worth it.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART ONE

So what is a life skill? According to the dictionary …

life-skill (noun)

plural noun: life skills

A skill that is necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. “Sharing with a sibling can help children learn important life skills.”

 

Housekeeping Skills

1. Basic Housekeeping Skills + How to Clean

From making your bed to laundry basics, we all need basic housekeeping skills. This means everyone! Men and women, from college students to grandparents: keeping a tidy house is a life skill that ensures the health of your family, keeps you organized and able to find what you need, and saves you money so you can keep living the Good Life. If you aren’t sure where to start, try our Beginner’s Guide to Cleaning. If you need help with maintenance, try creating a cleaning schedule or start speed cleaning. To make sure you’re keeping all the bad germs out and away, especially with this virus going around, check out How to Illness Proof Your Home.

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Two Traits That Make an Empath Vulnerable to A Narcissist - Part 2

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There’s a second way we sabotage ourselves with narcissists. As empaths, we are calm, compassionate, nurturing, caring individuals who easily have vulnerable exchanges with others. We want to connect. Shallow conversations aren’t in our repertoire. Empaths can read people beyond words.

For example, I go to the grocery store that’s about ½ mile from my home called Market Street. The other day, my son and I were grabbing things for dinner, and the man who usually helps me put groceries in the car made a beeline for me at the checkout line. We discussed his daughter who lives in France and a new granddaughter that he hasn’t seen in 18 months due to COVID-19. Travel restrictions have prevented this sweet, 80-year-old man from seeing his first grandchild. I wished him well and reminded him to eat his favorite cookies from Starbucks.

MY son asked me when Bob walked away, “How in the world do you know all that?” As empaths, we have a deep need for connection. I asked Bob several months ago how he was doing, and his response of “fine” wasn’t convincing. His nonverbal cues indicated a lot of pain. So, I started asking questions.

This is a sweet story, but compassion and the need to connect with others can get empaths in trouble.

Take a narcissist who needs to learn as much as that person can to hold it over your head next time you get in an argument. Maybe you and your mother disagreed and you’re estranged. You haven’t spoken to her in 5 years. You share this with a narcissist to show your vulnerability and that you trust this person. A toxic person may not share back, but you feel better because you feel like you’ve connected.

Empaths often divulge too much information too soon in conversations to connect. We don’t wait on someone to earn our trust. We just confide. We think the other person is as trustworthy as we are.

Sadly, life is full of people who aren’t worthy of your secrets. They don’t have your best interest in mind. You can’t safely confide in them. We must become more diligent with whom we share our biggest fears and failures. With a narcissist, it almost always comes back to haunt you.

Why did I share with Bob? If you look at the story, I didn’t and haven’t shared much at all.  I listened.  I gave Bob empathy and gentleness. Is he a narcissist? I don’t think so, but I don’t know so. I can be kind without giving him the gift of my secrets.

Here are some ways to protect yourself and your vulnerability:

  1. Wait to be vulnerable until someone earns your openness. Ask yourself, “Is this person trustworthy?” and “Does this person talk badly about other people?”

  2. Watch and see if this person demonstrates integrity before getting any closer. Ask yourself, “Have I witnessed anything that is a red flag?”

  3. Trust your intuition. If you are nervous or uncomfortable around this person, evaluate how much you want this person in your inner circle, especially as a keeper of your secrets.

The Bible verse Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” And sometimes this means guarding what we share. And more importantly, with whom.

Two Traits That Make an Empath Vulnerable to A Narcissist - Part 1

I have a couple of stories to tell you. The one now is a little darker, and the one near the end of this article might make you smile. However, both illustrations have important lessons.

I have a client I’ll call Allison. Allison has been married to a narcissist for over 30 years with no plans to leave him. Her sons are moving in with her again as they get started on the next chapter of their lives, and Allison doesn’t want to disrupt the family. She just wants peace.

Her husband has been vacillating between operating as a love-bombing machine then evolving into a demeaning, devaluing, passive-aggressive fiend. One minute he tells her she’s amazing and he couldn’t live without her. The next second he’s telling he’s using religion to dictate what kind of wife she should be.

Anyway, she reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if she should get a private investigator. To understand exactly what she is dealing with.  My answer? Yes.

I say this because as empaths, we want to believe the best in people. We look at life and others through our rose-colored lenses of kindness, empathy, and understanding. We often focus on our own character development, and we try to find the best in everyone else, no matter how many red flags we see in another person’s character. We want to love someone until they don’t hurt anymore. We want to fix it. We want to come to the rescue.

For years, if not decades, Allison thought her husband would never cheat, steal, or lie. Now, after looking at him through clear lenses of reality (with me holding her hand), Allison thinks her husband might be having affairs. She also wants to know if he’s spending exorbitant amounts of money on things she doesn’t know about.

You might be saying, “Wow, Laura, you sure are badmouthing her guy.” No, I am going by what we know about narcissists. They feel entitled to whatever they need. For many, that’s unlimited lovers, sex, money, attention, and adoration.

What would knowing more do? What if a private investigator followed Allison’s husband around and investigated his finances?  It would give Allison knowledge. It would give her clarity. It would give her more direction on her future. You can ask the narcissist to divulge these things. But also ask yourself, “Will I get the truth?”

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What Do Narcissists Want? Part TWO

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Narcissists often look for partners who show:

  • Empathy
  • Kindness
  • Determination
  • Loyalty
  • Happiness
  • Perseverance
  • Confidence
  • Forgiveness
  • Self-sacrifice
  • Accommodation

5. Narcissists want to control.

It helps assuage the narcissist’s pain underneath the false sense of self. If they can control you and your relationships then also deprive you of your financial freedom, then in their minds, they have won.

There are some things you can do to make a relationship with a narcissist easier:

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What Do Narcissists Want? Part One

The snowstorm that ravaged Texas a few weeks ago took us all by surprise. I had no electricity, including heat, for three days, when temperatures plummeted close to zero. Then, the natural gas company sent texts to millions of Texans urging us to conserve gas when using fireplaces or stoves.

The extreme cold ruptured pipes, causing major flooding inside homes and businesses. Many people suffered, trying to stay warm.

For me, there was one disruption that caused me to shiver, and it was a shock provided by the narcissist in my life. My ex-partner, Shane, had issues with his pool equipment, as did I.  Shane texted me and offered to come to look at my apparatus for damage and get me on the list for repairs.

It would be nice to trust this gesture, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, history has proven differently when it comes to narcissists. You can’t take their actions at face value. There is almost always an ulterior motive.

I began to ask myself, “What does he want?” I’ll share my assumed answers to that question at the end of this article. But first, let look at the common needs of a narcissist.

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How Long Does It Take To Heal? PART THREE

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To help move through the stages of grief, it’s important to get help to do so. Here is a list of what many survivors do to move through the healing process.

  1. Find a therapist specializing in narcissistic abuse recovery
  2. Find a recovery coach
  3. Join support groups
  4. Write in a journal daily
  5. Work with a spiritual healer or minister
  6. Attend Divorce Care

The more you invest in your healing with time and effort, the more quickly you should feel better.

I have some final thoughts on life without the narcissist that you need to remember as you heal.

One is that life with a narcissist will not be how life “should be.” Ever. A narcissist cannot provide that and doesn’t want to provide what you need or deserve. For almost any narcissist, that would mean sharing, giving, and showing empathy. It’s not going to happen, most likely. In most cases, narcissists aren’t capable. In rare cases, if they have the capability, they don’t want to do the work a healthy relationship takes.

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How Long Does It Take To Heal? PART TWO

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Denial – is the first stage of the grieving process. Denial helps us cope. Without denying what has happened, the world would feel meaningless and we would feel hopeless. Denial helps us pace ourselves as we move through the process of letting go.

Anger – is the second stage of the grieving process. You may find that you are angry at friends, family members, strangers, and others.  The anger will also come and go. It is rooted in your heart and soul from the narcissist, but it must escape your mind and body, so let it out. Do your best not to injure others when you are angry.

Bargaining – This stage is where survivors once again turn the magnifying lens on themselves. We bargain with God and ourselves, asking, “What can I do so this turns out to be a bad dream? What did I do wrong? If I correct my errors, can we go back to how things should be?”

Depression– The website grief.com sums up depression accurately. The website reads, “After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss.”

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How Long Does It Take To Heal? PART ONE

Many narcissistic abuse survivors approach me and ask, “How long does it take to heal?” They often add, “When will the pain stop?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  There are many layers to healing, and there are several stages of grief. A healing timeline can be long or short, depending on how much work we put into feeling better.

First, let’s look at why it’s difficult to heal from narcissistic abuse. One of the biggest reasons is the trauma bonds that we develop with a narcissist.

Trauma bonds are emotional attachments developed out of toxic relationships, particularly when there’s a cycle of abuse. The devaluation then intermittent positive reinforcement causes trauma bonds to grow stronger as time passes. These bonds can happen after days, weeks, months, or years of abuse. It is important to understand that not all abuse survivors have trauma bonds.

Another reason it is difficult to heal from narcissistic abuse is that we are mourning a dream and not reality. The narcissist has taught us to live in their reality, then when we crash into the real world, it’s a big letdown. A narcissist’s abundant charm and empty promises lead us to live on endless hope for a better future.  When we are confronted with the truth of our life as it is, it hurts deeply.

When we learn that the relationship with a narcissist is over, for any reason, we begin to go through the five stages of grief. Elizabeth Kubler Ross, MD, did years of research into the grief process and healing. The stages for grief according to Kubler Ross are:

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The Style-Upgrading Power of Shoes and Accessories PART THREE

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Purses

It’s easiest to find an elevated purse, because while it’s still functional, it’s not literally hitting the pavement like your shoes are. Purse designs can be even more creative because they won’t be getting dirty and wet in the same way that footwear does.

Let’s look at this plain leather cross body: it’s a good mid-size purse made of leather, so it’s durable (though also heavy). It is somewhat plain, too.

 

You can find something just a little fancier, like this purse that has a V-shaped flap and extra zipper decoration on the front.

 

Even fancier, there’s this Aldo purse with a chain down the middle and a huge puff ball attached to the handle (that’s easy to take off if you prefer).

 

There are also casual two-toned purses, like this white and brown one that comes with a scarf tied around it. (Of course, you can tie your own scarf around the handle, too!)

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The Style-Upgrading Power of Shoes and Accessories PART TWO

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Shoes

Here are some very nice-looking Chelsea boots. These are a neutral black, seem to be of good quality, and are very simple.

However, you can upgrade the look by finding Chelsea boots with some interesting detail, such as a more pointed toe, a two-toned style, or a different texture.

You can upgrade any boot with some interesting details. Even boots that are very casual, such as combat boots, can be elevated.

Belts

Belts are easily elevated with different textures and buckle shapes. Do you remember a few years ago when the Gucci double-G and double-circle belts were so popular? Those double-circular designs added interest while still keeping the belts relatively minimalistic. Of course, you can always go for a big, statement cowboy buckle, but that’s a different look. If you’re not looking to wear a statement belt, and instead want a neutral belt that can blend into a cohesive outfit, look for one with small details, such as a belt buckle that’s oval, braided, or tortoise-shell.

Faux-snakeskin or leopard-print belts add texture and pattern while staying neutral.

The Style-Upgrading Power of Shoes and Accessories PART ONE

Sometimes we hesitate to buy accessories with special details when we’re trying to build a cohesive wardrobe and get more wear out of our pieces. Buying shoes, belts, gloves, hats, and purses in coordinating neutral colors is a great way to make sure this goes with that—a camel-colored hat will go with your brown parka, and it can also coordinate with a future jacket you may get, such as a purple peacoat. We might tend to avoid accessories with pops of color that could get in the way of that coordination: a camel-colored hat with yellow accents would not coordinate quite as well with that purple peacoat. But even when avoiding pops of color, you can still find accessories with details that elevate the look without making them clash with other items. And it’s worth it for the style payoff: the more interesting design details an outfit has, the more elevated it feels, even when the main pieces are very casual.

Try looking for items that have:

  • Two or three colors in the same family (such as two shades of brown)
  • Layers, like an extra flap, tab, or some kind of decoration.
  • Decorative seams or embroidery that aren’t in a contrasting color but that are still visible against the material.
  • Interesting laces, chains, or straps—ones that are thicker, thinner, or shinier than usual.
  • Bows, ribbons, fringe, feathers, or tassels in the same color family.
  • Hardware, such as buckles or rivets in gold or silver.
  • Neutral patterns, such as leopard print or tortoiseshell.
  • Elements of texture, such as suede, leather, velvet, various faux snakeskins or fur, or other textured elements.
  • Cut-out designs, such as small dots or circles, flowers, or scallops.

To give you some more ideas, here are some suggestions for upgrading classic wardrobe staples with small details—and a few outfit ideas for taking your coordinating wardrobe from good to glam.

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