Six things I wish someone had told me.

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Confession: I have spent more years than I’d like to admit as the source of narcissistic supply in many of my relationships. This was a pretty hard pill to swallow. But as part of the healing process from my divorce in 2018, I have been learning as much as I can about the patterns of narcissistic abuse and how to protect myself from it.

In the past year, I’ve read just about everything there is to read on the cycle of narcissistic abuse: how narcissists got the way they are, how they appeal to their victims, the danger of the…

You are already whole.

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Dear Uncoupling Person,

Here’s something you need to know: when you have been in a long-term, intimate relationship with a person for many years (and you may even have thought of this person as “your person”) you will have grown accustomed to many intimacies—physical, emotional, intellectual. Even when you were lonely in the relationship, even when your partnership was stretching and cracking, even when you acutely felt the distance, there were casual, assumed intimacies you were so used to that you didn’t even notice them.

Then, the relationship ends (perhaps unexpectedly), and this person you decided to trust above all…

Or, what to always do BEFORE you start writing.

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This pandemic has kicked my creativity in the ass, and I know I’m not alone. After quarantine started, I spent a solid month just losing time. I’d wake up exhausted after having slept for 9 hours, and by the time I’d roused myself and had my coffee, it was sometimes as late at 11 am. For someone who considers herself a morning person, this was totally out of character for me.

Figuring out how to create consistently can be challenging at the best of times. During the worst, it can feel impossible. …

And what to do instead.

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When I had my first miscarriage, I thought the worst was over—I didn’t know I’d have three more before I gave birth to my son five years later.

When I left a dysfunctional, badly-paying job, I didn’t know I’d go on interview after interview, using up my savings and relying on my new boyfriend to cover our rent before I finally landed a job after almost a year of searching.

When my first marriage ended, I thought I’d learned my lesson and would be better at relationships the next time around. …

Do you know where your boundaries are?

photo by the author

I can still remember the first time someone told me I was bad at boundaries. I wish I could say I got this advice in therapy, or at least that it came from a self-help book, but I received this little nugget of constructive criticism from a facilitator at a customer service training.

I had burst into tears at work — again.

And this time it wasn’t even because of something that had happened to me, but because of something that had happened to a co-worker.

Whom I had just met.

That morning.

In the course of the training.


I’ve learned the high cost of neglecting my professional boundaries.

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About a month ago, I accepted a job that, deep down, I knew I would ultimately hate.

I talked myself into it because I believed it was a great job — a type of technical writing that, while dull, was never-ending — I could take on as much as I had time for and would be sure of getting a regular paycheck.

I notified one of my regular anchor clients that I wouldn’t be available for as many hours per week. I devoted a significant amount of time each day learning a new drafting and editing system — totally unique…


Erin Michelle is a book coach, writer, & editor.

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