Knowing how to deal with a narcissist involves letting go of the expectation that you will ever have a normal, healthy relationship.

Your boundaries will be crossed.

You will be given intermittent and inconsistent attention, love, and support.

Worse, in your attempt to survive the bond, you may blame yourself, isolate yourself, and become entirely emotionally dependent on someone who is not equipped to emotionally sustain themselves, much less you.

At this point, it’s indisputable that the only sane advice related to this subject is: leave. But maybe you are in a relationship with a narcissist and cannot imagine leaving. Or maybe you co-parent with a narcissist, live with one, or are in the presence of narcissistic family members, friends, or coworkers.

Like many people, maybe you find yourself routinely surrounded by narcissists despite recently dumping a narcissistic friend or partner. I would never advocate staying in an abusive relationship.

This is not a post about how to grit your teeth through abuse.

The purpose of this post is to help you protect your own emotional ground until you can untangle your own triggers from the actions of a toxic and person in your life.

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After writing my last post on husband material, I got a lot of requests from my male readers to write a post on wife material – how to find it, attoract it, and keep it. When I started to write, I realized that I was pretty much writing the same post (this is why I wrote in the husband material post that “my writing is for all genders and orientations so please, sub where you need to”).

Coaching clients all over the world and connecting with so many of you on social media and email has taught me that no matter what gender, relationship dynamic, or orientation… it really is the same bullsh*t.

It’s the same pain, the same heartbreak, and the same fears and insecurities… just different body parts. Our emotions are what connect us all. They blur differences that are the source of a lot of unnecessary judgment and obnoxious reactivity.

I write from the perspective of a straight woman because I am one. It would be inauthentic of me to try and please everyone or to write from another angle, but what I write about is universally applicable.

A selfish, emotional bum is a selfish, emotional bum. No matter what gender they are… they’re lame.

A toxic relationship is toxic. No matter what the orientation or dynamic is… it’s unhealthy.

So for this post, I want to address my male readers and also, my female readers based on what I’ve been hearing from men.

While I’ve been writing my book, I have interviewed hundreds of men from all walks of life: professional athletes, single fathers, students, entrepreneurs, stockbrokers, artists, celebrities, retirees, you name it. One of them has had such a wild life, there is a movie based on his professional and sexual exploits. Some are married, others divorced, but the majority of them are single.

Over the last week, I called up a (very diverse) handful of them.

“How do you know when a woman is wife material?”

“What is it for you that separates one woman from the rest of the pack and puts her in a league of her own?”

I didn’t care about political correctness. I wanted real answers because what I was seeing online… “you’ll know she’s wife material if she likes to cook in lingerie and loves to watch sports!” wasn’t cutting it. Trash like this breeds misery. It makes everyone feel like they’re not being, getting, or worthy enough of it. Our relationships then become transactional performances instead of intimate connections.

And we wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.

After a few days, I was able to narrow the answers down to ten wife material qualities that these men shared with me. 

I hope that in reading this list, ALL of you can get the affirmation to never settle and stop going for what will garner more high-fives from your friends, your family, your culture, or society than genuine fulfillment in your heart.

Choosing yourself over what checks the proverbial boxes and looks good on paper is a level of power, indifference, happiness, and freedom that most people will never have the courage to experience. Their fear won’t allow it.

Luckily for you and me, this is no longer our reality.

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I’ve made all my best decisions hurt. I’ve bounced back from heartbreak with stunning results. My whole career is based on the processing of grief and the wisdom within it. I know what you are thinking as you sit there with your broken heart, “Go blow it out your ass, braggy!” Ha. I get it.

You are in no mood for yet another think piece about the virtues of being crushed by love. It sucks, that’s it, goodbye! Ok, I don’t disagree but you started reading so some part of you must want what I have to offer.

You want to know why heartbreak is good for you.

To be fair, rejection in the form of removed love is a sting like no other. All that was valuable about us now seems gone. The world as we know it seems cruel and unyielding and all we want is to feel love again. The hours drag by as we replay every mistake we made, blaming ourselves relentlessly for things we couldn’t have helped. We pummel ourselves with unanswerable questions.

“Why would they say this if they meant that?”

“What did I do wrong?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

We wait for messages or texts that never come, our value dropping with each passing moment. We are debilitated.

We can’t outrun it. It’s interminable.

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This post is an open letter to you. The you that has had it with being nice at the expense of your self-respect. The you that feels ashamed and insecure; beaten down by everyone and everything that you work so hard to uplift. The you that gives people credit that they have not earned. The you that feels defective. The you that feels forgotten. The you that has lost faith. The you that does not believe “husband material” is anything more than an urban myth at this point. The you that feels invisible. The you that doesn’t think she can hold on much longer. This is for you.  

You have time, but you no longer have one minute of it to waste.

It took me over two decades to realize I had given more power to the opinions of others than I ever did in coming up with an original thought of my own.

Nothing feels worse than not knowing who the f*ck you are. Nothing feels worse than allowing toxic people to create an identity for you. Nothing feels worse than having to tolerate your way through life; having to pretend to be someone you’re not because it hurts less than being abandoned.

Nothing feels worse than no standards.

The turning point is when you realize that you actually have all the power that you think you lack. You have the power of choice.

Not after you buy a ticket to a seminar or purchase a course or subscribe to a mailing list… Now.

You are one decision away from a new identity, a new life, and a new you. You are one decision away from attracting the husband material that you have all but given up on. You are one decision away from losing all of the emotional weight you’ve gained and unclogging your relational arteries once and for all. You are one decision away from (finally) exhaling.

You will no longer be held back by the opinions of your family and friends, your background and religion, your coworkers, your ex, and most important… the cynical audience in your head. The audience that convinces you to get back down every time you so much as try to get up. You are about to give that audience the most dignified middle finger of all time. 

Not being able to find true friendships, true love, and husband material is the result of you giving your power away. It’s time to take it back.

You are damaged, but not defective.

You are down, but not defeated.

There is a big difference.

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Compassion is a beautiful word. It is a form of love. Love in action.

It is our ability to show love through caring, supporting, and being there for others, especially when they are in a tough place. It is kindness, in all its glory.

Compassion is reaching out to those who need love. Who are in pain. Who are suffering. Who are feeling alone. It is giving friendship and concern – wrapped up in gentleness. It is offering empathy and giving a voice to those who cannot express their grief. Compassion is soft, considerate, tender and radiates warmth.

I am going to begin by asking you, do you think you are able to look at yourself through compassionate eyes?

Are you able to treat yourself with compassion when life gets hard – when you are alone and struggling?

These are rhetorical questions because you only need to share the answer with yourself. But these are important questions, because many of us are much better at offering and giving compassion to others, and not so much for ourselves.

Compassion is also a form of self-love. I have decided that some of the most beautiful souls who walk the earth, often struggle with self-love, because they have (wrongly) learned their “value” from others.

The truth is – we are full of love. It enables us to give, and we are also meant to receive it. Compassion – the outward giving of love and kindness when someone is in a dark space, is truly a beautiful thing.

If you struggle with showing compassion towards yourself.

If you have a huge capacity to be there for others and yet, in return, receive a lack of appreciation no matter how many times you have been there:

This post is for you.

 This is the day you are going to learn how to give yourself the compassion and support that you can so readily give to others.

There’s a list here, so print it out and stick it on your wall if this is something you need to practice.

Screenshot it and read it daily. And watch as your life slowly transforms.

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Knowing how to love yourself can feel impossible. Even more so when you hate the crumb-tolerant doormat you’ve become – to fake friends, selfish partners, your boss, toxic family members, and most tragically… the cynical audience in your own head.

When I was in sixth grade, I signed my own yearbook in four different types of handwriting. I wrote notes to myself saying how much fun and amazing I was. I even included inside jokes and went on about sleepovers and fun memories that never existed. These notes were supposed to be from my really good/cool friends that went to another school.

The most heartbreaking was writing a note where I pretended to be a popular boy who wanted to date me.

Why did I do this?

Because it was the only way I could emotionally survive the reality of absolutely no one wanting me.

At that young age, lies and creativity were the only way I could cope with my shame. The anxiety I would get when I had to ask one of my classmates to sign a yearbook that was totally blank (except for a few signatures and notes from teachers) was too much. All I ever wanted was to be wanted, accepted, beautiful, impressive, and enough. Five things that I never fully felt at home.

This behavior continued in many different ways as I got older. And because deep down, I knew how fake I was, I lost all respect for myself (which eventually, led to self-hate).

As long as you lack self-respect, you will never have respect for anyone who genuinely respects you. No matter how much you claim to want and deserve it.

We like to think that a lack of self-respect can coexist with, and even be extinguished by, an abundance of true love but it can’t.

If you don’t respect yourself, getting genuine love from another person will never feel “right.” It won’t feel nearly as valuable as getting disrespectful attention from people who are just as incapable of genuinely loving themselves.

Knowing how to love yourself is not hard.

Self-love is nothing more than consistently having your own back because you regard yourself as a person of value.

It’s about gaining confidence from your ability to act on how worthwhile you know you are.

It’s about understanding that anyone who makes you feel worthless does so because they can’t tap into their own worth.

The hard part is not self-love.

You came into this world loving yourself and thinking that you were more than enough. The hard part is having to cut through all of the hate that’s accumulated for an adult that you don’t like, love, or respect.

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