If you live each day
accepting these truths about yourself
and keeping them in mind…
and you commit yourself to protecting them…
and use them to measure the health of your relationships…
You will not find yourself
being taken for granted, used, invalidated,
disrespected, devalued or manipulated
You were born with normal human emotional needs
you have the right to be in
mutually fulfilling relationships that meet these needs:
The need to be loved.
The need to be valued.
The need to be trusted.
The need to feel worthy.
The need to be accepted.
The need to be listened to.
The need to be supported.
The need to be respected.
The need to be understood.
The need to be appreciated.
The need to be acknowledged.
The need to feel capable and competent.
The need to feel clear (and not confused).
The need to be safe, both physically and emotionally.
You were born with these basic human rights
they still belong to you today:
You have the right to say no.
You have the right to make mistakes.
You have the right to change your mind.
You have the right to ask for what you want.
You have the right to express your opinions.
You have the right to be listened to respectfully.
You have the right to change your life situation.
You have the right to choose how you live your life.
You have the right to decide what your priorities are.
You have the right to have your boundaries respected.
You have the right to choose who you share your body with.
You have the right to choose who you spend your time with.
You have the right to set limits on how you will be treated by others.
You have the right to experience your feelings and to express them, if you want to.
You have the right to walk away from relationships that you determine are not good for you.
You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect by everyone you come into contact with.
You have the right to your own needs and feelings, and to have them be as important as anyone else’s.
You also have the right to have these basic human rights, and you have the right to stand up for them.
You deserve nothing less.
Yes, you—despite what anyone has ever told you,
and despite whatever you’ve experienced in your life that seems to tell you otherwise.
You deserve nothing less.
Anyone who truly values, respects, loves and cares for you will give you nothing less, and they will expect nothing less from you.
Accept no excuses.
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BOOKS BY ADELYN BIRCH
“I am being honest when I tell you I’ve read many books and articles, talked to my friends and counselors, and nothing has helped me like this book has.. This book has done what two years of counseling could not.. I am so grateful to have come across this book and will forever be thankful that I did.”
42 thoughts on “REBOOT!”
You’re welcome, Kay.
You can go far with a respective attitude, and further without using violence
Violence is a dead end. It’s used by people who aren’t capable of more—such as being truly intelligent, having compassion, or being capable of creating something that would be a positive force in the world or even in the lives of those closest to them.
Thank you! I needed to her this right this very moment!!
Wonderful! I’m happy to hear it, Stephanie.
Learning to value who you are is a process. I grew up being told I was just a baby machine, stupid, fat and ugly. Not because I was any of these things but because I lived with an emotionally abusive father. I have spent many years making choices based on that information. Today I see it for what it was and know that I am every bit as smart, loving and kind as the next person. We allow others to abuse us until we gain a voice. I have gained mine, never again.
Wow, I’m sorry to here that, Nancy. How terrible to tell someone those things as they grow up. The only significant difference between us was the family we were born into. If we had another family, we would have had different beliefs, and a different life (I’m not saying better—only different). I’m so glad you’ve gained your voice!
Had did you regain your voice? HELP PLEASE!
Hi, Nicole. As Nancy said, “learning to value who you are.” That’s how you regain your voice. The things an abuser tells you about who you are are not true; they only say these things to be able to control you by making you believe that you’re less than you are. Valuing yourself means having a strong sense of self-worth. It’s about who you are, not what you do or what anyone else thinks or says about you.
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is your relationship with yourself”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
This is great, Adelyn! I have printed it for myself and shared it on Facebook to friends and family. I plan on reading it repeatedly….
Good, I’m glad it was meaningful to you, Christine!
Just what I needed to read today – so tired and worn down with this oppressive marriage that I have fought to keep alive to raise my two precious babies in – not worth it! No left dignity left in this marital union. No fight to keep it alive – the other side just wants to have sex. The marginalizing, the putdowns, the insults, the gas lighting have all but ended this union. Without the requisite dignity in this union I am done. Nothing more to say. Period!
Good for you, Me. What’s on this page is a powerful reminder, and shows us how far off course we can be led in an abusive relationship. I wish you and your children all the best!
This should be taught in high school and college.
This information woke me up to the truth that I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive long term marriage. I hung in there seven more years trying to “change” him. A marriage counseler had the guts to tell me when he left the appointment in a huff that he was not capable of being a true partner and that I had a right to be happy. That set my freedom in motion but the damage was deep and I walked right from the fire into the frying pan to another toxic and abusive partner. By the grace of God, and a determined spirit, I vowed to heal my early childhood wounds and love myself for the first time. I spent time alone, stayed away from dating and learned how to give myself the value I deserved. When I joined the dating world it was so easy to identify toxic red flags and walk away the first sign of not being treated well. This is so empowering to begin to trust myself and have strong boundaries to protect my loving heart.
Thank you for your very important article!
I agree, it should be taught in school, every year. I’m sorry you were in an abusive marriage and relationship, but glad to hear you’ve awakened to the truth. Taking time off from relationships is so important after an abusive one ends, and using that time wisely to learn and heal and come to love and value yourself. You’re right, it’s easy to see the red flags of toxicity after doing so. I’m thrilled to hear that you feel empowered and you trust yourself, and that you have strong boundaries!
As man who has been manipulated and abused, I find these posts to be equally enriching and powerful. Keep up the meaningful work.
Thank you, Chris! I’ll do my best.
you’re welcome, Laura.
I have read all the books and now I am turning 70 and I live alone. He is happily married to his next victim.. I know that if I stayed married to him I’d be dead. When he left me without any explanation other than we’d both changed and he just didn’t love me anymore. He neglected to tell me he was having an affair and had his next victim lined up. That was three years ago and I am so lonely and sad. I have been to therapists and am on anti depressants and sleeping pills. My children and grandchildren love me but even though it was a sick marriage, I miss having someone to love. I’ve joined clubs but they were all women. I have lots of friends but it’s not the same. I even tried on line dating but found no one. My mother was a narcissistic psychopath and I could never please her so I married a man just like her and that’s my story. My whole life was a mistake. Now I have osteo arthritis and many issues with my health. I keep very busy and active so I won’t think so much. Any suggestions?
Hi, Joan. I feel so bad for you when you say your whole life was a mistake. It may feel that way to you right now, but I don’t think it’s true. You have children and grandchildren, and a lot of friends. You feel lonely, though, without a man in your life. You may still meet one at some point, but it is possible to be content in the meantime. It sounds to me that you have a lot of blessings in your life, and one of them is that you’re free. You no longer have a narcissist or psychopath abusing you and controlling your emotions. I forgot who it was that said, “Happiness isn’t getting what you want; it’s wanting what you have.” I think it would be very helpful to write a new story for yourself. When you tell yourself such a negative story, as you’re doing now, of course you’re going to feel depressed.
You can’t change the facts, but you an change what those facts mean about you and your life. Would you please read my post, “Want To Reclaim Your Power? Re-Write Your Story!”
Doing so is a highly effective way to re-frame trauma and overcome the depression and stress that go with it. Narrative Therapy uses this method; perhaps there’s a therapist in your area that has training. Another suggestion is to see a therapist who specializes in trauma; they should be able to help you, too. You deserve to be happy, and I wish you all the best xx
Joan, I would like to offer you my thoughts. You and I are of similar ages, and have experiences in common. My mother was an unloving narcissist, and yes, I married a man just like her. He played around during the early years of our marriage, which I did not realize until later. He was verbally abusive, and having grown up with similar abuse I could not recognize it as such. Slowly, over the years, I began to recognize my worth, my value as a human being, and as friend to my friends. I began to establish boundaries, and to call a halt to the abuse, as far as possible. I have chosen to stay in the marriage as my husband is now elderly and ill. … Last year I was entrapped by a sweet-talking psychopath! Because I considered myself a srong woman, not vulnerable to such seduction, I let down my guard, and was caught in those bonds that they drive deep into our souls, before I knew what had happened. It was a devastating and damaging experience. Finding this blog saved my sanity and perhaps my life! … Now I am priviledged to try to pass on my experience, and hope, to other women who have been victims too. … Joan, I will tell you right now, you are very blessed. I know that sounds crazy, but let me explain: Your husband may seem “happily married”, but that is because he now has a nice fresh victim to abuse. You may think you are alone, but you have friends! These are our precious treasures! So many victims of narcs and psychopathic predators are truly alone, isolated and friendless, without support or hope. You have joined clubs, which is very resourceful. Look again… we women are sharing our lives with each other in ways that we cannot do with men. We have a, inborn longing to share our lives with men, and perhaps you will again, but in the meantime I implore you to reasssess your situation. Your life is very far from a mistake: You have lived through traumas and trials that allow you to offer help and support to others who suffer, and to give that most precious and valuable gift of all: The words, “I understand!” That is what Adelyn offers here… understanding, support, hope! I promise you, if you will quietly reevaluate your life now, and realize the wealth of wisdom you have to offer, and the blessing that are your friends, you will begin to heal. ANd you will recognize your own worth, and set healthy boundaries too. It is never too late, we are never too old, we are never without gifts to give to others. You have paid a terrible price for your wisdom, as many of us have. Now you can justify it all by helping others. Please believe me, you have a useful and full life right within your grasp, and perhaps, when you aren’t looking, real love will come along too… it has often happened you know! … Sending loving thoughts to you… Pass them on! xx
Thank you, Linda
hey dear. I’m not sure where to start, but my heart goes out to your pain. I can’t imagine how terrible that must feel to feel that way about your entire life :/ I’m sorry :/ You don’t deserve that….you are wonderful just by being you. And even though it feels like you made so many mistakes. You didn’t. You didn’t make any mistakes. None of it was for nothing. None of it was because you are bad. You are good. Very good and strong. So so very strong to have been able to get through so many years of so much pain. You will find happiness. Deep within. It’s still there underneath everything. Beating within your very heart right now. You are still alive. Still breathing. And even though it may feel like you gave away your entire life to unhappiness. You are still here and you have more left to live. More time left to wonder. More time left to feel peaceful and to find joy in the little things. Hush now dear because all that pain you carry. Its not your fault. Find your self a quiet space in your life to just be. To just feel. To just allow those rivers of pent up pain and fear and regret to fall away. What is it that YOU want to do now. What is it that you find peaceful and enlightening and joyful. Wake up in the morning and open the curtains for the sun. Let it warm your heart and let the wind whisper in your ear. It’s time dear to live finally for yourself.
So much empathy and kindness in your words, Anon.
I know though that THAT may not seem possible right now. After all that you have been through. And I feel like simply at this time you just need some blessed understanding and quiet time to just breathe after all that has happened. So just give yourself time. Give yourself time to just mourn your losses. Make yourself a safe little place where you can just rest your weary heart for as long as you need. You’ve been through so so much and all you need right now is love. it wasn’t your fault, love. None of it. I promise.
Happy Women’s Day!!
Happy Women’s Day to you too, Brightie! Nice to see you!
I’m definitely doing a “reboot” after leaving my relationship. I didn’t experience any of the worthiness, respect, validation, appreciation or love in either of my marriages. I unfortunately married similar men. I knew when my 2nd relationship ended that the common denominator was Me. My mission now is to understand why I ended up with these types of men and to really understand that I do deserve better because in my core, I don’t believe I do. And I have to fix that. I want to be “predator-proof”. That’s my mission now. Thank you for all your encouragement, and the information you make available. A lot of lives are better for it.
I’m sorry to hear about your marriages; it’s no surprise you feel the way you do after two experiences of being devalued, Miss Lissa. You do deserve everything listed on the page, and more. It’s really good that you are on a mission to understand. I was, too, and I found therapy was very helpful. I went way beyond my experience with the P and I explored all of my relationships as far back as I could remember (3 or 4 years old), and amazing things were revealed! Once you come to believe you’re worthy and deserving—and you refuse to accept any excuses for having your rights and boundaries trampled and for having your emotional needs go unmet—you will be as predator-proof as possible. Thank you so much for your kind words, and best wishes to you as you reboot!
Adelyn I cannot begin to tell you how grateful i am for all that you do on this blog for me and every other woman reading here.This list of needs and rights is really an eyeopener for me.So many of us having suffered from varying degrees of emotional neglect at the best and violent abuse at the worst had no idea what abuse meant. It is only after reading and rereading your posts that i for one began to understand just what i had gone through in a toxic relationship with a man i now recognise to be incapable of empathy. Now four years out of a relationship i can truthfully say that i have never felt happier. I have my children, my business and my own home, and most important my family , friends and my FREEDOM.
Linda you are absolutely right when you say that happiness is a matter of perspective. I too feel that having never known a healthy, relationship with a loving man, i have missed out. But then i thank God for all the other blessings. When he closes one door, he opens many more.
And then there is always hope. who knows what tomorrow may bring. Thank you both Adelyn and Linda for your words of wisdom and support and for the good work you are doing here.
Thank you, Ann! It makes me very happy to hear this blog has helped you. I’m also glad to hear that you feel content and happier than ever! All the best to you.
What a joy Ann, to read your comment! Yours is the perfect gift of hope to someone wondering if she (or he) will ever know happiness and fulfillment in life. Thank you sincerely for your words… they will have wings now, to reach someone who needs them! xx
I realized I was a psychopath 10 years ago. Is there any hope for a real cure? I do not know how to get it fixed and only make things worse every day I live.
Tim, I’m sorry your life is getting worst every day! Please go to a qualified psychotherapist who can give you an accurate diagnosis (in case you are mistaken) and who will follow up with an appropriate treatment plan. Best wishes.
i agree in all you say
so why dont i have the strength to tell him too go forever?
Because you’ve been manipulated into being addicted to him: The Most Powerful Motivator on the Planet ~ Intermittent Reinforcement
And because his devaluing you has caused you to devalue yourself. If your sense of self-worth was intact, you wouldn’t stay with him. Also, their lack of respect for us makes us lose respect for ourselves. You know you should leave because he treats you badly, but you stay anyway, which makes your self-respect plunge to new lows.
You must make a commitment to yourself and take action in your own best interest, no matter how difficult that is right now. You have to rescue yourself. You’ll be doing it later anyway, so why not do it today? Just bite the bullet—take a deep breath, stand up straight, and cut this parasitic entity out of your life. It will take time to get him out of your soul, but at least you’ll be on your way. Best wishes to you.
I just got out, as we speak….this morning, of a realtionship that was turning insulting and belittling…..after 3 months of bliss, sweetness and love bombing….We live 2 and a half hrs a part and I have my own place, which makes it a little easier. At the first yelling ,in a restaurant, I went to the restroom and burst out in tears and upon seeing myself in the mirror I thought” would I tolerate anyone to speak this way to my wonderful grandaugher K. ??? of course not, I would let him have it and tell her to run….and I would beat the crap out of him if I could get away with it!! So this morning, I drove away and I will never see him again, but I must say, It took a few more days filled with his great /fake tenderness and endless compliments….but I did it.
Good for you, Danielle. Stay strong!
Hello, I am so glad to read your answer, but Ino longer get notifyvia my e-mail? I Signed up again, just in case
I’m sorry about that, Danielle! I had a major glitch with the comments a couple days ago. They all disappeared from the site (MAJOR DISASTER!) and when I fixed that problem, I don’t think the subscriptions to the replies came back with them :-( Please let me know if you got notified of this reply via email, OK? Thank you!
This post means so much to me. I return to it often, each time with the hope of internalizing the words so that they negate and replace in my mind, all the false beliefs I have held for too long.
It’s the kind of a post to return to again and again; that’s why I put the “REBOOT” button on the sidebar throughout the site, and made it into a page. These are universal truths that we’re born with and that can’t be taken from us. They can be ignored and trampled, but never destroyed. Even if they’re covered over in lies, they’re still there. That’s why they resonate with you.
thank you Adelyn, i wrote to him this 5 am…….that i was not coming back. that the man i loved did not exist. he just replied OK…just OK…thak you 4 the article. i just read it. it helped a lot. You will not believe what he said…during early love bombing!!!!! How do I find a women group?
You’re welcome, Danielle. I am so glad to hear that you told him you’re not coming back! You took an important stand for yourself! I’m sorry (but not surprised) at how he responded. It’s just one more thing that shows his real nature, but I know how much it hurts to find out how little they really care. “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow.” (Leo Tolstoy)
Feelings of loss and grief after the psychopath is gone
Hmmm… how to find a women’s group… you might want to consider a support group at your local DV organization; I’ve heard people say good things about them. Or you might check meetup.com. Or do a Google search for women’s groups and include the name of your city. If you’re religious, maybe see if one of the churches in your area has a group. I hope you find a good one.
What are the signs of someone that is in a contoling marrage and cant have my bank card in my possestion basically have to ask for things with my own money. Never lets me be alone with my women freinds.Basically I dont feel like a wife more like his child.
One sign, which you said yourself, is being treated like a child. Other signs are those you gave in your comment on the Stories page: wants you in bed when they go 2 bed wont let me have no money and keeps my bank card wont let me hang out by myself with a girlfriend wont let me buy things with my own money and doesnt cost more than $8.00 and arguues with me about buying coffee that last me up to 3 to 4 months and does what he wants when he wants gets mad when I get upset with them because I dont want to have sex when he wants it.
You are being controlled. You are being abused. Get away from this abusive asshole at once. Today. Unless you want to live in a prison, under a microscope, without any freedom, without any rights, while you slowly lose yourself—your self-worth, your confidence, your health, your spirit, and everything that makes you YOU. This man does not love you. He sees you as an object, as property. Her cares nothing for you. The only answer is to leave today. He will not change. A “man” who treats a woman like this has a problem that defies change.
I wish you the best of luck, Tammy
Thank you for your wonderful website! I am 9 weeks out of a relationship with a psychopath. We have 3 young children that I am fighting to protect from his manipulations. I also have 6 children from my first marriage that he continues to malign and damage. My healing will come in time. The knowledge found here on this site and other resources is helping me heal and grow. But how do I teach and protect my children? Almost 50 years of my life wasted on psychopathic men (my father, my first husband for the next 20 years, and my last relationship of 10 years). I will not be sucked in again! But what about my children? This is all they have seen in their lives. We talk, talk, talk and I have a close relationship with most of them. Sadly, I am pretty sure one of my grown sons is now a psychopath or maybe even a sociopath. Some of them are in counseling. It is a shame that this is not taught to our young people. Maybe you could write a book? :) I have 6 daughters that will be marrying some day. I must somehow help them to learn to identify healthy men and healthy relationships and have the boundaries and self-respect needed to stay away from bad ones.
Thank you, LilMe, I’m so glad you like the website! I’m sorry to hear about the psychopaths in your past, and understand your quest to keep your children from the same fate. I don’t have children, but if I did what I’d teach them is this:
1. The material on this page, which is the foundation for everything; good self worth, boundaries and healthy relationships.
2. Boundaries, to protect what’s on this page (you may want to read my book on boundaries, which is especially for people who’ve been through the mill with psychopaths).
3. Teach them to recognize invalidation! Start with the article on this site, “Invalidation: I refuse to have this discussion!” Silly name, but good information—invalidation often goes unnoticed if we’re used to it, and it’s a hallmark of a lack of empathy.
4. Teach them about empathy and why it’s the basic requirement for a healthy relationship (there can be no real connection without it). Start with the article, “Empathy: What it is and Why you need it.”
5. Teach them how to trust.
6. Teach them to treat themselves with self-compassion, which is considered more important even than self-esteem. Basically, the former is about our inherent worth and humanity, while the latter is based on our achievements.
I commend you for your commitment to keeping your children (and yourself) safe and happy, and I wish all of you all the best!
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