A guide for evaluating and handling relationships when narcissism interferes

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Humans are naturally interested in the darker idiosyncrasies of human nature, such as sociopathy and psychopathy. In fact, understanding these disordered traits and tendencies isn’t just some sick fascination, but can be a useful tool for having healthier relationships.

Narcissism might seem to be the least scary of the disorder types, as it is often confused with other social behaviors. Many people even assume it’s a natural repercussion of the social media age. However, the Royal College of Psychiatrists identifies a person with a narcissism disorder as having the following traits:


Fostering practices that will serve your creativity for life.

Journal with paints and dried flowers and polaroid pictures
Journal with paints and dried flowers and polaroid pictures
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During the lockdown, I recorded an episode of the podcast Author Not Present, dedicated to discussing and workshopping creative writing. In this particular episode, my co-host Peter asks: How is the writing going?

At that stage, we were months into some of the most severe restrictions placed on us in the UK. We’d been limited to our homes, to going out only for emergencies, medication or food. I had decided to go freelance in December 2019, and then immediately lost all my income when the pandemic hit hard in March 2020. It was an intense period. …


What you should know about becoming a freelancer in 2020

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I decided to go freelance in late 2019. I’d been a freelancer before, but transitioned back to full time work in 2016. For many years, I worked in the arts then big tech, whilst trying to write my novel and follow my creative dreams on the side. But after plenty of time obeying my corporate overlords, I was done with ‘normal’ working life. …


How to refuel your creative centre.

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The phrase ‘Writer’s Block’ looms over all of us who dare to pick up a pen or tap out sentences on our computers. It suggests that we, the writer, have hit an impasse — we’ve strained too hard, or squeezed out every inch of creativity we had, with nothing left. Well, I have a confession to make…

I don’t think writer’s block exists.

Recently, I read the fantastic Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. In it, she talks about so-called ‘writer’s block’, and describes it like this —

“If your wife locks you out of the house, you don’t have…


Not as easy as it sounds.

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Accepting the term ‘artist’ feels like a huge step in the life of anyone who aims to be creative. Whatever labels we attach to ourselves, this one feels particularly loaded. Who gets to call themselves an ‘artist’? What does this really mean?

These are big questions, and ones it takes time to answer. But when we do accept the term for what we are doing — be it going professional as a photographer, or dabbling in watercolours, or trying our hand at a novel for the first time ever — being an ‘artistic’ sort has its share of problems. …


Cut through and get clear on communication.

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There is so much passive aggression out there these days, and most people love to blame social media for it. In my view, that’s just one factor, and the bigger one is just good old fashioned human insecurity. So if you’re coming up against the ‘pass agg’, how do you respond in an effective way?

Living in the UK, and culturally speaking, it seems to me that there are contexts in which passive aggression is seen essentially as a natural extension of politeness. …


Your guide to negotiating anxiety in the form of panic

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Warning: I’m going to discuss in some detail what I experienced during a panic attack. This might be helpful, or it might be triggering. I just wanted to let you know it’s coming.

Recently, I had my first panic attack in years.

Luckily for me, I haven’t had a lot of panic attacks in the last years, so when one comes, it stands out sharply on the calendar. The fact that I’d been panic attack-free for so long made this one particularly stark.

I had mistakenly thought that doing my time in therapy, learning the tools and techniques, would always…


Deciding what’s right for you, regardless of what might happen

Photo by Carlos Alberto Gómez Iñiguez on Unsplash

Humans are not famously good decision-makers. Particularly when we are faced with too many options. The more choices we have, the more factors we try to consider, the ‘better informed’ we assume we are, to make the ‘right’ choice. Right?

Actually, we’re also less likely to make and follow through on a decision in this scenario. To quote psychologist Barry Schwartz:

Something as dramatic as our identity has now become a matter of choice… We don’t inherit an identity; we get to invent it. And we get to reinvent ourselves as often as we like. …


Embrace happier relationships — even with ourselves.

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Some time ago now, I wrote an article about recognising the toxic people in our lives.

The other side of the coin to this article is the idea that we attract what we put out in the world. That if we act in a toxic way, we draw more toxicity to us.

How valid is that idea?

It’s not one thing or the other.

Yes, if you are behaving in a very toxic manner, you might be sending out a vibe that draws in those on the same wavelength. But that’s not always true.

We all inhabit different spaces: a home, a workplace, a family, a friendship…


Moving beyond shame and trauma.

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When we talk about ghosts, we might be referring to a supernatural something, the feature of horror films. We might laugh, consider such things ridiculous. But I’ve been thinking about ghosts a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how we are all haunted, in a way, by the past.

Memories resurface and make themselves known when we least expect it. It can be as simple as seeing a person in a particular coloured t-shirt, or hearing a name, or thoughts wandering idly as we put out the laundry. In seemingly random moments, memories resurface. We can “see” events unfold, again…

Christina Care

Emerging fiction author, London Writers Award 2020. Working on my debut novel, rep’d by Kate Evans @ PFD. Podcasting on Author Not Present.

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