This month for Domestic Violence Awareness Month I’ve started a series to help you deal with narcissists and other toxic people, because without awareness, solid boundaries and ninja level skills to navigate these connections, they can and will devastate your financial life.
We’re talking solid narcissist repellant here, to keep you aligned and on track with creating the life you really want to be living.
One thing I’ve learned well in my forty plus years of life is that being myself, and staying aligned with my life purpose, *no matter* how scared, embarrassed, shocked or alone I feel, is the best way to stay immune to toxic people.
Toxic people don’t like truth. They don’t like real-ness. They don’t even like people being happy and thriving.
They’re almost always up to something sneaky behind your back, so the minute you look away, even for a second, they’ll pummel your life with the impressive amounts of that fighting gusto they’ve got pulsing in their veins, not giving a rat’s you-know-what about what happens to you, or your loved ones — including pets and children. They stop at nothing.
So get your spray cans out! I’m about to show you exactly what you need to keep thriving, no matter what.
Gouging You With Guilt
What you’ll notice in this series is that guilt is one of the main hooks narcissists and toxic people use to knock you off your game, so that instead of leading your life in a way that has you thriving, you’re being dragged around like their tortured prey.
As sensitive, spiritual women, we’re especially susceptible to being guilt-tripped and trapped, because we feel bad for people. We want the best for them. We want to make sure we are doing good in the world, for everyone. We also have a keen insight about human nature, the mistakes we make, and why we make them, so it’s easy for us to rise above to admit when we’re wrong, forgive, and lead with compassion.
Nothing wrong with that, right? Right!
Except when the narcissist in your life knows this, then hooks you like a fish with a level of guilt they’ll bait you into so hard and fast, you won’t know what hit you. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself in such a state of dizzy confusion, wondering how your good intentions could have ended so bad, and how you’ve handed all of your energetic, emotional, and financial resources over to them, while they leave you, stranded with nothing.
The best story I can think of to share with you around this today involves a former landlord, during a time when it felt like my hot mess express financial train was heading full force toward a bankruptcy wall—again!
This happened right after I had just generated my first $30,000. sales week in this same coaching business you’re reading this blog from right now.
It was 2014. I had rented a brand three bedroom new apartment, which I had never been able to afford before then, because my energetic frequency wasn’t used to having extra space, luxury, and certainly not newness! Dingy basement suites were more my financial familiarity zone up until then.
Being aware of your energetic frequency is key, especially your familiarity set point, because unless you know how to handle huge change like a ninja, you will ALWAYS go back to whats familiar. In this case, my energy did just that.
Until we become ninjas at dealing with situations like this though, we only know what we know. For me, this meant falling straight into a narcissist’s trap. One who knew exactly what she was doing, and how to present herself in the best selfless, giving light as she did.
Preying on The Weak
As most people new to money waterfalls would, I thought making all that money would make me the happiest person on earth. I could finally take my family on trips! I could relax about money and stop worrying so much! I didn’t have to work as hard! Yet for some reason …. I felt unmotivated. Maybe even a little depressed.
I had no idea what was happening to me! In a spurt of post-depression grandiosity, I honestly thought I had “made it”—that I was rich all of a sudden, because I was now a woman who just made what she used to make in a year, in a single week.
I didn’t realize that it would take some back and forth, some more ups and downs, some more bumps in the road to keep living as, a woman used to this kind of wealth.
So I took a dive into “doing nothing” land, which I would later learn most everyone does after coming into large amounts of money including lottery winners.
We’re human after all, right? We need a break so we take a break. We run full throttle into freedom, into living life how we really want it to be: without worrying about money ever again.
In practical terms this looked like me stopping my daily videos and blogs that I was doing to advertise my business at the time. I wasn’t stopping because I hated doing them —to this day blogs like this and creating videos for you are still my passion—I was stopping for that very natural human thing we do, that pause, while calibrating up to big change, this new financial life.
I was eating the best food, I didn’t care how much it cost. I had a personal chef who came by every morning to make food for me, housecleaners, an online assistant. I even hired a personal masseuse for my aging cat 🤣😂🤣😂
So when I say I went full throttle in the opposite direction of how I was used to living my whole life, I mean I REALLY went for it. All the way, baby!
And while in hindsight I see this as a necessary part of my process, it of course landed me in a financial state that was a perfect match to my familiar energetic set point before I made all of that money: BROKE AF.
And in that process? I ended up in a long “freeze” mode trauma response because I did not know how to live this way. With each day that went by, of me not generating more income, I invited my old worry, stress, survive-mode frequency back into my energy and life. I was too used to the fight, the struggle, the worry. I was too used to my familiar scarcity-based relationship with money, that shock took over and ate me up completely in the process.
Aside from coaching my clients behind the scenes, I stopped showing up to do all my free things that I had so loved doing to help people on my public forums, which is how people found out about me and my business. I shut down, and found ways to escape the feelings that were coming up for me -the confusion, the questioning myself, the shame because I had changed so much, the shock around discovering that making money wasn’t everything I had hoped it would be, then wondering if there was something inherently wrong with me then.
I copied with these feelings by using scrolling on the internet and Netflix SO HARD that four months went by, of me living off the sales I had just made, not generating any more income.
Six months later, I had no money left to pay my rent. Or my car. Or a mover when an eviction notice appeared on my door. I had never even seen an eviction notice before, let alone with my name on it – so imagine how confused I was, knowing I was a woman who had generated most peoples annual salary in a week, yet here I was.
In a strange way, there was relief being back in my familiar zone. I knew what to do there. I was best friends with money panic, worry, struggle. I was used to being poor single Gina who had nothing and needed help. So my beloved friends helped me move to a lovely home on the Sea to Sky highway, with a couple who appeared to be doing well in life, had kind hearts, and said they were renting out a room in their home “because they had so much space and never used it, and just wanted to do something great for their community.”
(Narcissist alert! 🚨 Narcissist alert!)
Enter Sneaky Landlord Who Stopped At Nothing To Get Her Way
If you’ve been watching my ten years plus worth of blogs and videos online, you’ll know It takes a lot and I mean A LOT for me to “out” someone. It’s not my style to gossip, or name names, because my aim is always to take the high road, and present content that serves the highest and greatest good for us all, yes, even narcissists. I really do hold a utopian vision for the world, and take my role of contributing to this so seriously, that I’ve dedicated my entire life to it.
Yet some stories, usually the ones that seem too wild to be true, have just got to be told, right? Because sharing them IS what serves our highest and greatest good. Sometimes naming names, telling our stories out loud, shamelessly is the exact medicine to heal the sneaky hiding that is so typical of toxic connections. We get to do that, if that feels right to us.
Naming names or not though, sharing is healing because if there’s one thing to know about toxic people in our lives, they’re like any other person or being we encounter, in that they’re always here to teach us. To show us something we’re not seeing, then guiding us firmly back to our inner truth, which, when we live by, guarantees us a thriving path in life, financially and otherwise.
So this is one of those stories, and without naming names, that still needs to be shared. Let’s just say that Mrs. Lovely Home and her husband blessed me with a lesson I’ll never forget … one that could not be more entertaining if I tried. Even the most pathological liar telling this story wouldn’t need to embellish on this one.
Except embellishment is all this couple did, I would learn during my four months living with them. They were not generous enough to donate space to someone in the community at all, it turned out. They were about to go bankrupt, keeping a facade of high class life to their friends and neighbours, and doing whatever it took to get what they wanted from their room-and-board situation. With narcissists, top of the list of their desires is always: drama! Also known as narcissistic supply.
Now, I’m all about hot financial messes. Experiencing them, learning from them, sharing about them, even celebrating the lessons in them – but this toxic deception and the drama that ensued took everything to a new level in my dealings with people in general, let alone a landlord.
Until then it was just straightforward friendly landlord tenant connections for me . . . but the day the dishwasher flooded, showed how all those stories we hear in the news about nightmare landlords, really do happen…and I was about to walk into my first experience with one.
The first month of sharing a space, including the kitchen, dining area and yard, went really well I had my own upstairs area, with a bedroom, bathroom, and a small living room. It was an open concept so every time I left my bedroom or sat in the living room, I was exposed to the open living area. Despite hearing each others conversations and televisions, it was harmonious. They both commuted to 9-5 jobs so I had the house to myself most of the day.
It was 1.5 months in that drama flared.
“You’re going to have to move out,” Ms. Lovely Home said. “We have to tear up the floors, because the water has rotted out beneath them, and we can’t live here while the renovations are happening.”
Sheer panic ran through my bones. I did not have the skill to soothe myself, to keep my nervous system calm enough to handle unexpected situations. I was still trying to calm down after receiving my eviction notice at my previous rental. The crashing down of my financial life after creating the greatest success of my life, doing what I loved, was still processing through my system. I wasn’t ready for this news. I didn’t go on the attack, of course, but I was confused.
“Oh dear. Okay, well will I get my rent I just paid you back then please? I need to find a new home, money for moving, a damage deposit, so could use all the help I could get.”
“Sorry, we can’t give that back to you. I just need you to move ASAP.”
I had a sneaking feeling that this was all staged somehow, that while the only thing they complained about was my loud TV, which I was still addicted to watching and using to numb out all the stress in my life, that they just didn’t want me there anymore. I didn’t have any proof, so I dismissed the idea mentally, but this feeling never went away for the rest of my stay there.
And for good reason! While I went into full-on panic mode, burning out my adrenals further, depleting my finances to the point of near ruin (again!), Ms. Lovely Home went to work. And I do mean WORK!
Somehow, amidst our lovely breakfasts together, her continuous invitations to join her workout classes, book clubs, and being the “daughter she never had” (she actually had a daughter, but they never got along to her satisfaction), she turned on me. I was now the enemy, and I don’t say this lightly. Here are the lengths she went to, behind my back, to get me out of there, while I was out searching for a new home, with no money, no energy, and no awareness of my rights as a tenant.
- She put the house up for sale, telling me it was “just a front” to see what they could get for it. They weren’t planning on moving at all. They just wanted to see. (I mean, the lengths we go to as humans, to avoid admitting when we’re in financial trouble, right?!??)
- She had large machinery like dryers and jack hammers running almost continuously, so basically started the very renovations she claimed we could not live with, without any notice to me, despite our sharing a home, and the kitchen being the centre of the open concept layout of the home.
- She phoned my previous landlords who had given me that eviction notice, and had lunch with them! They have since become very good friends, emailing me as a group and showing up with smirks on their faces to my eviction hearing at the courthouse, where I have long since paid off the overdue rent that was owing in that brand new three bedroom apartment. True to their toxic nature, unhealthy people do bond, triangulate, and use smearing as a tactic to stay together, in a connection based in dishonest, misaligned, soul-sucking (instead of life-giving!) roots. In this case Ms. Lovely Home’s illegal search of my name through her law firm.
- She accused me of lying about my family background, because she found a Silvestri Property Development firm and phoned them to ask to speak to someone in my family, but nobody in my family worked there. She was told it was the “wrong Silvestri family” because it was! There are more than one family with this last name, but she didn’t take the time to locate the right one, to actually speak to my family. Instead: attack, attack, attack!
- She started researching me with a vengeance. She worked at a law firm as an assistant, but used her position illegally to search my name, previous landlords, credit information, and even my family background, then launched an attack on me personally, to raise the pressure in that home to a boiling point, to get me out.
The Guilt Storm
As she started shooting each of these bullets at me, guilt overwhelmed me.
When I saw the real estate sign on the front lawn, asked her about it, then she unleashed in an emotional rage onto me that it was me holding her up from being able to move forward with anything to allow her to improve her house?
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
When she started renovations despite by law having to make sure her tenant is in a new home? Then constantly told me I was in the way, when I went to the kitchen for meals or a snack?
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
When my previous landlords told me they were now friends with Ms. Lovely Home and found out who I really was.
Guilt, guilt, guilt (and shame!).
When she told me she called around for Silvestri-owned companies she found on the internet, and accused me of lying about my family owning a property development business?
Guilt, guilt, guilt – even though it came out in the end that she did not call the right company, I still felt guilty, because of past unhealed trauma I was carrying inside of me, centring around not being good enough, and everybody else around me knowing better than I did. I was in the habit of questioning my every instinct, to the point where I believed her words, which in hindsight could have very well been lies, around her authority that she presented from having worked at the law firm for many years, and for having a wealthy family.
This guilt compounded inside of me, completely overwhelming me, to the point I would have done anything she asked of me, just to make it stop.
I wasn’t yet at the point where I could know that no matter what anybody else–particularly people like this–say or do to me, that it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me, or that I did anything wrong.
That’s what guilt is! A feeling that arises when we feel we have done something wrong. So unless we’re strong enough to value our own instinct and opinion around what happened, toxic people will pummel us with their version of things, until we are literal mush.
Shame is even more lethal, because it attacks our identity, which is our sense of who we are, as in the example above when my previous landlord told me they discovered who I really was.
As you’ll see even more of in a moment, toxic people go to great lengths and heights to do so, putting on quite the show – but in the end, if we stay true to ourselves, and who we are, and communicate with kindness, which I always did with her, then the manipulative, destructive game along with all the secrets the toxic person was hiding are unveiled in time.
Trench Coat Meeting – I Can’t Make This Stuff Up 😂
Ready for how this story ends?
Eventually, I found a new place, in a home that ended up being connected to this landlord, who were now besties with my previous landlords who gave me that eviction notice, therefore sealing the deal on a whole army of landlords against me 😂 but before I realized I was amassing a landlord army to work against me, this happened right after I moved out into my new place.
“Gina, I cannot give you back your security deposit until we meet in person, and sign some papers.”
The last thing I wanted to do, was see these people again, after all I had been through with them, but I went to Safeway in West Vancouver, as requested by Ms.Lovely Home.
“I’m in the meat department” was what her text said, shortly after I arrived.
I kid you not, what happened next was like living in a James Bond film! Ms. Lovely Home, in all her executive home prissy-ness, showed up in a grey trench coat, slapped a sheet of paper on the meat counter, and handed me a pen with her best “do it or else” expression.
Weirded out, a little scared, and trying not to laugh all at the same time as I was, I knew enough to read anything before signing. It basically said that by me accepting the check for the security deposit, that she and her husband no longer owed me another dime, for anything, at all, no matter what. She even added a clause that this new agreement would override any other agreement we may have made, which I felt was odd, and brought back that scummy feeling that kept haunting me the entire time I lived with this couple.
But as clean-hearted, neurotypical humans do with toxic types, we just do whatever it takes to cut the connection loose, so we can get back to our calm, joyful, peaceful lives, as quick as possible. So I signed it, in my desperation for the security deposit, which I believe was around $600. but felt like $20,000. to me at the time.
I handed her the signed document, she handed me my check, and I never saw her again.
Moral of the Story
To this point, you may be wondering: “Is Gina using this blog space just to complain?” I get it, I can see that … but I’ve been saving the plot twist for last here.
The truth all along was, that by law, she had to pay me at least two months worth of rent for me to find a new home, and get set up. She knew this the whole time, which is why she got me to sign that document, and why she set up a parade of drama to keep me off centre and distract me from figuring this out.
This is what narcissists do.
This is how narcissists and toxic people roll.
They go on the attack to avoid facing the truth about themselves, or being found out, at all costs.
They cannot bear seeing their facade come crumbling down – in this case, all she tried to use to cover up the fact that she wasn’t Ms. Lovely Home living the perfect life she had presented to her friends at all. Her marriage was a mess, they argued constantly. She was crushed by none of her family relationships feeling good or healthy. She was on the verge of bankruptcy, despite all this fronting, living in one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the Vancouver area.
What I Did To Keep Thriving and What You Can Do With Toxic People, Too
Despite my pure exhaustion from this situation, I had learned enough at that point to know, that fighting toxic people gets you nowhere. “You can’t win with crazy” was something my Mama always told me, and it stuck with me.
When I say they will go to any length to avoid facing truth, I mean any length – prisons are chock full of murderers with narcissistic personalities, for example – so a necessary question to ask ourselves when faced with defending ourselves and our property, which are both valid rights and concerns, is: “Am I willing to pay the price this fight will cost me?”
And if you say yes, then be prepared to fight to your death, because the most powerful thing I’ve learned when dealing with toxic personality types is that the faster you can let go, detach, and release, the healthier you will be, which means the greater your chances are of staying aligned with your true life purpose, which holds your true financial destiny.
If you’re a justice warrior here to right a wrong you see in the world, then you go for it – just make sure you’re aware, you protect yourself and you learn the Ninja level mastery skills required to battle these master fighting types down. My dear empath readers, students, clients and apprentices usually have the hugest hearts, always ready to protect and fight for the innocent, but aren’t always ready for the fight that inevitably ensues.
So how I resolved my situation in the end, was to … but speaking up about it in a public manner now, is me delivering what I feel is the highest and greatest good to come from this situation with the world. It’s not revenge, it’s not manipulation (aka trying to get something), nor is it venting – I’ve long let go of all the emotions associated with this situation.
What I was left with was what my Nonna always called the “gift behind the devil’s wings” – an extra energized and renewed sense of my purpose, my ability to focus on it, and a powerful reminder to always invest more energy on what I want to create in the world, instead of fighting down, trying to change, fight, or even protect against anything that is not on my life purpose path.
This is how we stay thriving, financially, and otherwise.
Staying connected to our purpose, means staying connected to our heart’s desire. As sensitive spiritual women, it’s important to maintain our sense of who we truly are, women who lead from the heart and want the best for all beings.
So regardless of how sour this connection ended up, I was able to recover and maintain my sense of self, which as you can see, was not as strong as it was before this situation. I was way more insecure and susceptible to narcissistic games before this experience, and I’m stronger, wiser, more aware, and have a more powerful sense of who I truly am, and I’m proud of that, more than ever before today, because of this experience.
Everything that happens, happens for us. There’s a gift in every situation. So even when you take time to recover, untangle, or make sense of it all, when you stay aligned with your heart, your gut instinct, your truth, and stay on your life’s mission, you will keep thriving.
I’m right here with you!
IN A CRISIS? PLEASE NOTE THAT BECAUSE I AM A SOLO BUSINESS OWNER WHO DOES NOT OFFER 24 HOURS A DAY CRISIS OR EMERGENCY SUPPORT, I STILL WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE *NEVER* ALONE AND I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW MUCH SUPPORT IS OUT THERE FOR YOU.
If you need urgent medical or psychiatric attention, need help in an emergency or are in crisis:
Visit your local emergency department, general hospital or call 911.
Call your local non-emergency police phone number and ask for victim services.
Google “domestic violence women shelter” for your area – they are open 24 hours and their staff is always ready to handle crisis phone calls.
Call a CRISIS HOTLINE – they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – there are always warm hearts there to hear you and talk to you. They *really* do help! Here is a list that I have researched for my area:
-Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 416 863-0511; Toll-free: 1 866 863-0511
-24 Hour Rape Crisis Line: Call 604-872-8212 for free, confidential, phone based crisis intervention, information, and referral.
-Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre: Call 604-255-6344 or toll free 1-877-392-7583 for confidential, immediate, emotional support, information, referrals, and hospital accompaniment. Available 24 hours a day.