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Q&A with Jaqueline Kraft Bruno, Intuitive Life Coach and Reiki Master

Jaqueline Kraft BrunoLovefraud is pleased to introduce the newest member of the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide, Jacqueline Kraft Bruno. Jacqueline is an Intuitive Life Coach, Reiki Master and survivor of narcissistic abuse. 

What experience have you had dealing with sociopaths or other disordered personalities—personally, professionally, or both?

Professionally, my experience includes working in substance abuse treatment. As a counselor, I worked with addicts and their families of all ages. I have worked in out patient and in-patient programs and as an Interventionist in private practice.

Many of my co-workers were aware of the disordered people in their families prior to beginning their careers. I was a late bloomer. I realized these disorders were prevalent in my own family as I worked with families and addiction. I was the “scapegoat” in my family, and I had come to believe that I deserved the label in my youth, but as a result of therapy and sobriety I was now a changed woman. My responses to people, who were disordered that I came across in my field, were automatic. I would fall into a pattern of behavior that was not aligned with my beliefs. I was displaying co-dependant behaviors and attitudes, towards disordered people especially.

Through the process of healing myself, working with a therapist and incorporating meditation, yoga and mindfulness into my daily life and thinking, I came to realize the source of my co-dependence was my own family of origin. I realized I was conditioned to respond to narcissists and sociopaths differently, as a means to get my emotional and survival needs met. I eagerly engaged in healing these patterns for myself. I could not stand feeling controlled or unaware of my own motives.

As a result, I stopped participating in allowing others to abuse me. I started to stick up for myself and speak my truth without apologizing for my feelings or attitudes. I started to accept myself, for better or worse, and stopped engaging in exhausting people-pleasing. As a result my entire life changed. My anxiety, once overwhelming, became almost non-existent. I no longer needed medication for ADHD. I experienced a wholeness in myself I had never experienced before, and I became passionate about helping other women who were emerging as I had and looking for a path to empowerment similar to mine. I was tired of feeling like a victim. I no longer do. I believe no one should feel like a victim just because they lack proper tools and perspective to be the hero in their own life.

How do you go about helping clients who have tangled with a sociopath?

I find the first thing most women need, prior to engaging in a therapeutic program, is validation. I don’t feel this always means I need to share my personal experience. I have found re-directing clients who have been conditioned to believe their thoughts and feelings are irrelevant is the best place to start. It’s not enough that I hear the client and reflect back that they matter. I’m supposed to do that; I’m a coach, right? It’s more important to me to start with there is no right or wrong to a woman’s thoughts or feelings. They just are. Whether I or anyone else agrees they are “right or wrong” is based on that person’s experience, not in facts. The fact is that all feelings matter. From here, we can start to look at what changes the client wants to make in how they feel, think and behave. Then we can work together to identify goals the client wants for their time with me.

What, in your experience, is the biggest issue or problem that people who have been betrayed by a sociopath need to overcome?

Continued focus on the disordered person, rather than focusing inwardly, will keep the client in “victim consciousness” and away from freedom, indefinitely. This is a delicate transition, however, and I respect that. I think it’s important for the client to emotionally vomit everything they have spinning in their brains about the twilight zone experience they found themselves in. It’s a horrible experience. Then it’s time to move towards letting go and allowing healing and change to happen.

What’s one tip you can suggest for helping Lovefraud readers recover from the betrayal of a sociopath?

Love yourself. Put yourself, your healing and your well being first and foremost. If you do this, everything else will fall into place.

 



8 Comments on "Q&A with Jaqueline Kraft Bruno, Intuitive Life Coach and Reiki Master"

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  1. Welcome Jacqueline! It is so terrific that you have overcome your own faulty upbringing and have moved on to help others. I am sure you offer deep understanding, having been there yourself.

    Welcome to Lovefraud!



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  2. Canuck says:

    Allowing oneself to stop people pleasing can be the scariest feeling. Had to work through major panic attacks to get there. Thank you for this article Jacqueline.



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  3. kendall68 says:

    Hi Jacqueline, my base family has both narcissism and psychopathy as yours does. Hence I then married a psychopath who disabled me. I have dealt with the co-dependancy and recognize the other traits in any new relationships and end the relationships when I see this. I have had to cut people from my life,(dad’s family psychopathy/sociopathy (diagnosed by a psychiatrist)and only have one person left in my immediate circle who is a covert narcissist, my mom. Her family is full of narcissism. I personally am at the point of questioning if I need to eshue my mother from my life as she is very destructive. She readily flies into narcissistic rages when I address what she is doing to me and others at the point wherein she is doing this and I point it out to her. Her answer to me is that she is too old to change and will not and that I had better leave. It enrages her when I drive her back home when she becomes hostile to me while I am driving (yelling and screaming at me in the car, blaming me for things and getting physically aggressive).

    My question to you is have you had to separate yourself from your family to survive? And is it your experience that the codependant narcissist and sociopath/psychopath always tend to coexist in relationships with each other as my family has. it can be weeks or months until I hear from my mother after she goes into these rages and I leave. she always addresses it that she is the victim of me telling her what she is doing to me or someone else as she does it. In her mind telling her that she is displaying narcissistic behavior to me (most often just me) or anyone else is severe abuse to her and her psychy and yes I state this understanding that narcissists are born from an internalized shame complex which makes them that way.

    When it is so close and you are dependent on family for support how do you interact and/or continue to have them along with their destructive behaviors in your life? Or don’t you? I would be removing myself constantly from her presence.



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    • Jacqueline says:

      Hello Kendall,

      Those are great questions. Thank you for asking and putting them out there.

      In my experience, sociopaths/psychopaths create extremes in family dynamics. In some cases the entire family is centered around the disordered family member or the disordered family member is completely out of touch with their family. In some families it can be both at differrent times.

      As for removing yourself from your family when you are dependent on them for support, it is my experience that this is a decision you must ultimately make for yourself. There are no easy answers. If you remove yourself because someone else said it is okay or it’s time, you may not be ready.

      For me, I had to come to a place where I put myself, and my self-care, first. In cases where I need to be in limited contact relationships, I must stay mindful whenever there is contact of any kind. I have found, that when I stay true to myself, I can manage on a limited basis with some. But when dependence is involved, of any kind, there are issues of giving away power. How often are you tolerating abuse because you are afraid there is no other way, or that you will not be able to survive if you don’t? In my experience, the universe/God never expects us to tolerate abuse in order to survive. Often there are other options we are afraid to look at.

      My suggestion would be to reach out to others for help. Are there support groups or programs that could help you with alternative options? This might be a good place to start.

      You never have to give away your power to survive.

      I hope this helps. I also offer free 30 minute consultations that you can schedule yourself at,

      http://www.scarletcoaching.com

      Sending you love and light, Kendall

      Jacqueline



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