In this edition of the True Grit and Grace podcast, Amberly Lago hosts a compelling conversation with her special guest Azadeh Atzberger, a transformation coach and three-time bestselling author renowned for her expertise in navigating narcissistic abuse and codependency. Join them in exploring the important subject of narcissistic abuse and the path to recovery as Azadeh unveils her 12 Steps for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery.
Dive into the profound journey of healing on both visceral and emotional levels as the discussion unfolds. Gain insights on achieving clarity and awakening your intuition to empower your personal growth. This episode is not to be missed, offering an inspiring dialogue that promotes resilience and elevates the quality of your life. Be sure to tune in and subscribe to the podcast for more episodes filled with inspiration.
- Embarking on the transformative journey of Narcissistic Abuse Recovery (2:34).
- Breaking free from the addictive cycle with a narcissist (11:33).
- Exploring unconditional love within the context of addiction (16:16).
- Liberating oneself from the chains of narcissism (24:07).
- Understanding narcissistic relationships and the healing process (30:28).
- Reflecting on the impact of childhood narcissistic abuse (36:58).
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(00:00 – 03:00) Amberly Lago: Hey y’all, I am so fired up because the Unstoppable Success Summit is in my hometown, Dallas, Texas this year. We are going to be coming to Dallas April 19th and 20th, 2024. So come join us. Look, success is built on relationships and this is not some big, huge conference with thousands of people. This is an intimate, a very exclusive experience on purpose so you can build those meaningful connections So you can rub shoulders with people like, oh my goodness, I’ve got John Gordon, Ben Newman, Rachel Luna, Rudy Ricksteins, Henry Amar. I’m speaking. There are mastermind members taking the stage. And so getting in the room is key and getting in the right room. can help you achieve unstoppable success. So if you spend your time with people who see your potential, you’re more than likely to reach it. So make this year, make 2024 the most unstoppable, most successful year possible. Level up your business, level up your life, get the clarity, gain the confidence, get the real tools taught by people who have already paved the way for you. and I can’t wait to see you there. So get ready to ditch your limiting beliefs and stop listening to fear and go after your dreams. Go to unstoppablesuccesssummit.com and I can’t wait to see you in Dallas. Okay, see you there. Thank you for tuning in to the True Grit and Grace podcast. I’m Amberly Lago and I’ll be sharing inspirational stories of resilience and empowering ideas to elevate your business and your life, ignite your passion and fuel your purpose. Well, hello. Thank y’all so much for tuning in to True Grit and Grace. I’m Amberly Lago, and I have a very special friend. Actually, she’s a member also of my Unstoppable Life Mastermind. And the more that I’ve gotten to know her, I love her so much. And I know you are going to love her and all she shares today, especially if you have ever dealt with a narcissist in your life or are dealing with a narcissist in your life, because she’s created I think it’s a movement. It’s called the 12 Steps for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery. She is a transformational coach. She also does coaching for couples. She’s a speaker. She’s the founder of Finally Free Life. She’s a best-selling author, and I am just so grateful to have her here. Azadeh Atzberger, thank you so much for being here, and welcome to the show. Thank you.
(03:00 – 03:04) Azadeh Atzberger: This is the highlight of my life right here, right now. Thank you.
(03:04 – 04:37) Amberly Lago: I’m so glad you’re here. And I’m so happy for all that you have coming up. Y’all she has actually taken the stage speaking at the unstoppable success summit in April in Dallas. And I can’t wait for you to share your message on stage along with other incredible speakers like Ben Newman, John Gordon, Rudy Ricksteins, Henry Amar, Rachel Luna, and some of the other Mastermind members as well. But I want to get right into it because you have overcome so much trauma in your life and also recovered from addiction, just celebrated a birthday, in fact, for addiction. And you really, especially when I’ve seen pictures of your before and now where you are today, there are so many people out there that are suffering in silence. And so I would really like, before we get into some of the nuggets that you share, and especially with your new book that you’ve created for narcissistic abuse. Could you take us back to like where you were before you got sober? And I would like to know what was that last thing, that last, you know, maybe it was a God wink, something that was like, this can’t be my life. I need help. I need to recover because I know a lot of people are struggling. I got sober in 2016 as well. Can you take us back to a little bit about how you grew up and then what was that turning point before you got sober?
(04:38 – 06:06) Azadeh Atzberger: Oh, absolutely. And breaking the silence for others is it. There is no other way. Amberly, I’d love that we share sobriety together as well. And I go back and here’s the image that comes up is that Growing up in a narcissistic family, the system supports addiction, the system supports separation with self, the system supports glorifying the parents and the image, and it creates a normalized abandonment of self. And so I learned very early on not to even go to my parents when I was being bullied. I knew they weren’t going to support it like it and they would blame. And I remember my first overdose at 12 years old. You were like, well, well, well. And it was on diet pills, and I took so many. Because image is everything in a narcissistic family system. And I took so many, I blacked out, rolled down the stairs and woke up at the bottom of the stairs. And my parents going, what was that noise? And I remember saying nothing, nothing, because right then and there, I knew. that I’m a burden, and they’re not going to hear me. So I had to erase it. And that’s what I learned to do is erase everything immediately.
(06:06 – 06:32) Amberly Lago: And like, so basically be in denial about what your feelings were, what was going on, the love that you didn’t get the support, the protection. And I think growing up, we well, not even growing up, always a strong need for me is I wanted to feel safe and loved and worthy of being protected. So it sounds like a lot of those feelings of not feeling even worthy enough to be protected or seen.
(06:33 – 07:51) Azadeh Atzberger: Absolutely. And on top of all of that, make sure that you go along with the image of my parents, because my father’s a doctor. All my uncles are doctors. So I, and my father was a Dean helping his students become doctors. So there was no room for me having an emotion and need a want, none of that, none of that. And, uh, the next memory that comes to mind for me, Amberly is, um, stealing alcohol from a grocery store and walking over to the park, drinking it by myself and thinking and looking and looking around at all the bottles that I stole on the ground. And. That was a moment of clarity, and then the second one I had soon after that with my drug dealer boyfriend that broke a beer bottle in my face. I wanted. Him even more than the drug, because the conditioning of abuse was so familiar. Mm hmm.
(07:52 – 07:56) Amberly Lago: How old were you when you started stealing alcohol?
(07:56 – 08:27) Azadeh Atzberger: Uh, I would say probably, I mean, I would go to high school classes wasted on, on, on, on whiskey sitting in English class. So I started to cause I didn’t work. So I started to steal it from parents, then the stores, teens, 14. And I drank a lot of NyQuil and Robitussin too if I didn’t have alcohol, the whole bottle. That’s what I did just to be in school, just to be, just to be, just to be.
(08:27 – 08:32) Amberly Lago: And did anyone in school notice, did any of your teachers notice that you were wasted?
(08:34 – 09:15) Azadeh Atzberger: No. And the funny thing is and the hard thing is and it goes back to what you’re saying about breaking the silence is that nobody knows what to look for or they didn’t. Then they just kind of brushed it off because they didn’t know what to do with it. As a matter of fact, two of my teachers were flirting with me and telling me how beautiful I am. And that was the attention I was getting from my high school teachers. Mm hmm. And so the validation. Was so euphoric. That it wiped out everything else, that’s how much I needed to be seen and heard and loved.
(09:15 – 09:48) Amberly Lago: Well, so I want to go back to something you said that was just broke my heart about your drug dealer boyfriend friend broke the bottle over your head. Yes. And in that moment, what did you think? Were you like scared for your life? Or what was, cause I, you’ve shared this story with me before, but I just want everybody to hear this because it’s like, this shows the real powerlessness over addiction.
(09:49 – 10:59) Azadeh Atzberger: and the familiarity of the energetic connection to a narcissist and abuser psychopath. I when he broke the beer bottle over my head. I was getting out of the car to run away from him, and all I could see was. A shower of blood, and I couldn’t see I was trying to wipe the blood off my eyes. He took off. He took off. God shows up in the most delicate and powerful times to split the way for us. He did it in front of a ranger, park ranger, that immediately called and reported it and took me to the hospital. He got pulled over, sent to jail. I got sent to the hospital. And and you know what? When he got out of jail. I went looking for him. For the drugs and him.
(11:00 – 11:53) Amberly Lago: Well, I think when you’re with a narcissist, it is a drug of some sort, because you’re craving that attention. They will make you feel like you are just their everything. They will say all the right things, do all the right things, And then they come and just knock you down and literally knock you down, pull the rug out from underneath you. And then you crave that, that love from them is a drug in itself. And I’ve heard this often breaking the addiction to a narcissist is often harder than Coke or alcohol, cocaine or alcohol, or any of that. So how did you start to see the light and bring God into your life and start to break the cycle of addiction and overcome the trauma?
(11:53 – 14:22) Azadeh Atzberger: Yes, I, after that incident, When I went around him, I saw my body. I saw myself for a second. Every movement he made, I would shake and, and just, and I thought, I can’t live like this. I can’t be like this. And he was hiding my clothes, my shoes to where I was just in a t-shirt in a hotel room. And I thought, I got to get out of here. This isn’t going to work. I got to find a way out. And so I walked over. This is when we had payphones. So I was twenty nine years old. So we’re talking twenty three years ago. I walked over in a T-shirt and no shoes to a payphone and called the place. And it’s no longer now, but. A place called Casa del Cerro, which means house on the hill. And the woman answered the phone. She had met me before trying to get sober. And she said, Azadeh, come home. She didn’t care what nationality I am, because remember, we were at war with Iran. She didn’t care that I didn’t make it last time I showed up. She didn’t care. She said, just get here. There’s a bed for you. I had never seen or heard love like that ever. I saw my parents do it to my cousins. I saw them do it to my brother. I, in my family, I was the throwaway. So I said, OK, come and save that bed. No shoes. T-shirt, long T-shirt, because he was doing his psychopath things and hiding stuff from me. I told him this. I said, listen, because I knew he had a car. I couldn’t get on a bus like that. I said, drive me to my parents’ house. My parents left me two hundred dollars. If you get there, we could go buy more drugs. He’s like, all right. So he drove me there. All I had to do is get to my parents’ house and then I could have my mom drive me to detox. because she had, you know, kicked me out and wanted nothing to do with me. And so he drove me there. I jumped the fence and I said, yes. And then I called him waiting outside and said, listen, the cops are coming. You got to go.
(14:22 – 15:02) Amberly Lago: Boy, that was really smart of you to think of all this. I got, we can go get money up. Nope. The cops are coming. You got to go. And so, well, I think like I’m sitting here thinking, well, my goodness. So your mom drove you to rehab. On that drive to rehab, you’re thinking, OK, I’ve escaped him. I get to go to rehab. What did your mom say to you as you were driving as she was driving you to rehab? Was she supportive at all? Was she upset? Was she cold? What I mean, at least she drove you to rehab. I hate.
(15:02 – 15:37) Azadeh Atzberger: Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. And that’s the thing about narcissists. It looks like it’s support, but it’s really an agenda. because you cannot you cannot expose them or shatter their image. You cannot. So she drove me there and now I got away from them. So I got away from the streets, the narc, abusive husband or boyfriend, the drugs, the alcohol, the meth, the pills, the pot, all of it. And I stayed there and it was free.
(15:38 – 15:43) Amberly Lago: Well, did you go through any kind of like a withdrawal or anything like that when you got there?
(15:44 – 16:53) Azadeh Atzberger: Absolutely. The cool thing about back then, alcoholism was not a diagnosis yet. So rehab, it was free. You go, you get food stamps, you do chores, you do three meetings a day. That’s how I got sober. I lived there for 90 days. That’s that’s what it took. I really don’t think Amberly I could have just gone started to go to Alcoholics Anonymous and gotten sober. I needed to be away from the world for 90 days. So anyways, yes, I I got there and they just embraced me. I fell to my knees. I’d never seen love. And that’s the first time I saw unconditional love is from other addicts, prostitutes, pimps, excuse me, that are trying to clean up their life. Those are the people that the binge eaters, the prostitutes, the drug dealers were the ones that embraced me. and grabbed me, didn’t ask me, oh, what do you think about the Iranian hostages? They didn’t care. They were just like, we got this. Stay with us.
(16:55 – 17:34) Amberly Lago: And I think that’s what we all truly want is to just belong, to be a part of, to feel like we’re loved and accepted and feel safe. And so you’re in a safe place. You have people that are embracing you. They’re accepting you. Was it hard for you to accept your what you had done your addiction and and start to say I hey I’m an alcoholic and addict and I’ve got some a lot to get through was that hard for you not at all not even a second I’ll be whatever you say if I keep getting this acceptance and love
(17:34 – 18:15) Azadeh Atzberger: And I went back to your question, three weeks of withdrawal where I literally just slept. I just slept and they came in and would check to see if I was breathing. Bring me a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Coming off the streets in meth, I had barely slept for days. So I slept for like three weeks and I had no problem saying I’m an alcoholic, no problem saying I’m a… Who cares? I’ll say whatever. Get me out of this life. Get me out anything. So I, I know a lot of people struggle with that. I didn’t. And I don’t at all. That’s that’s me. That’s that’s the love I needed.
(18:17 – 18:21) Amberly Lago: So what are some of the things that have helped you stay sober?
(18:21 – 18:54) Azadeh Atzberger: Oh, wow. Um, I’ve literally have had a team holding me up. I got it. I got to be I got this was not done. But any stretch of the means myself tons of woman And God raised me in these past 22 years. So help support community 12 step work on and on and on. I mean, I’ve worked the steps probably like 30 times because I wanted the high and the love and the connection to God so bad.
(18:54 – 18:59) Amberly Lago: Right. Did you have a relationship with God before you got sober?
(18:59 – 19:12) Azadeh Atzberger: No, I was raised atheist. My parents were very hardcore atheists, so I came to God in purity. That was the only thing that was not poisoned in my life was God.
(19:12 – 19:35) Amberly Lago: So when you, when I got sober, the first thing that my sponsor asked me was, she said, do you believe in God? So did your sponsor or did they ask you if you believed in a higher power or, you know, something bigger than you or a god of your own understanding? What was the god of your own understanding?
(19:36 – 20:31) Azadeh Atzberger: Yeah. The God of my understanding, I was, it was, it started with the clarity that would pop in and out of my thoughts during my addiction and on the streets, but my sponsors, I just borrowed theirs, but through the 12 steps. And that’s why my 12 steps on narc abuse is so powerful is that I bring and activate emotional um triggers with god holding you so you can heal because we can’t heal just on knowledge alone so back to your question is i borrowed theirs and through the 12 steps mine was birthed and evolved i’ve never had i mean i get mad at god but that’s the only thing that’s been the most beautiful blemish less part of my life which is perfect because that’s exactly what I needed.
(20:31 – 22:38) Amberly Lago: Mm-hmm. Well, let’s talk about the 12 steps of narcissistic abuse recovery. And I love that, you know, I really feel that if everybody did a 12-step program, we would all be better humans. I mean, it just helps you become it. It helps you look at your own defects and turn those into assets. It helps you heal. It helps you have the spiritual connection. It helps you go be of service to others. it helps you take inventory of what kind of person you are and what you’ve done. So I love that you’ve modeled this from the narcissistic aspect after the 12 steps. And I would love to talk a little bit about some of, if we can go through some of the 12 steps, cause you and I’ve talked, and this is like a movement because to break free from a narcissist, and I’ll just say this, you know, a lot of times, We grow up with being raised a certain way. And then we pick people in our lives, partners, husbands, boyfriends in our life. that are exactly like one of our parents, you know, and we like, Oh, I’m, I’m, I’m not going to marry someone that’s emotionally unavailable, or I’m not going to marry a germaphobe, or I’m not going to marry, you know, a narcissist. And so we go after someone and we think, Oh, well, this person’s different, but they’re not, they’re the same. They might be wearing like a different costume. but I’m like, why is this guy I’m picking? I kept choosing alcoholics before I became an alcoholic. I could spot an alcoholic in a room and be like, I want you, I want you that’s emotionally unavailable and I’m going to try to fix you at the same time, you know? So, I mean, how did you start to break free? First of all, before we get into your 12 steps to narcissism, how did you start to break free from picking a narcissist in your life and then come up with these 12 steps for narcissistic abuse.
(22:38 – 25:03) Azadeh Atzberger: That’s yeah. And I’m with you 100%. I’ve picked bosses, friends, and boyfriends in recovery that patterned the same dynamic. And I showed up the same ways I did as a kid, different name, different. So, um, you know what? It’s just like when I got sober, Pain is the admission to a new life. Pain is the admission to a new life. I had to get down to how I showed up and what I allowed and what I endured and what is real and what is back to the conditioning of tolerating thinking abuse is love. I traveled multiple 12-step programs. I’m still currently an Al-Anon and AA member. I did the 12 steps because I thought, here’s the thing, I thought I was the problem. I thought that I have to fix it. Well, it turned out that that happened to be true. Then I couldn’t see that I thought I had to keep changing to fit their dynamic. And so what happened is through unbelievable amount of pain, unbelievable amount of just enormous grief, I had to say boring and calm is the way to go in relationships. You know, not the excitement, not the intensity that I think is intimacy, not the firecracker drawing me to them. In fact, I had to also learn that when my gut dropped, it wasn’t that it was a soulmate in a connection. It was my intuition saying run the other way. Mm. That’s good. Right. And I’m here to tell you And I said it again, I’m going to say it again. Healing is absolutely not just knowledge. That’s just the beginning. We have to heal on a visceral level, emotional level. And the 12 steps to this NARC workbook that I’ve created ignites questions and goes right into the gut and the soul to activate an emotional reaction.
(25:05 – 25:59) Amberly Lago: So it really gets you intentional about taking a good hard look at yourself, what you feel, your intuition. But also, I love what you say about healing is not just knowledge, like it has to be applied. And I do believe that it’s a spiritual condition too. For me to stay sober, it’s a spiritual condition. And so if you don’t mind, can, can we go through some of those 12 steps just to get, you don’t have to go through all of them, but like, like where would someone start if they’re in a relationship where they’re with a narcissist and they want to break free, they want to break free, they want to start to build their own confidence and self-worth and have a fulfilled life, but free of all the drama and the abuse and neglect and pain, where do they start?
(25:59 – 27:37) Azadeh Atzberger: That’s the best question, Amberly. And it falls in line with everything else. We have to break the denial and the feelings and look at the facts. I am in a narcissistic relationship or I have been, we have to admit. and stand solid on that first, because if we are still, oh, I’ll change, they’ll change more false hope. We, we, we’re still stuck. So the first step is just like we admitted we’re alcoholics. We have to, that’s my first step that I wrote. We admitted that we are in or have been in a narcissistic relationship. Once that’s established, then we have paved the way towards the rest of the healing. You know, some people can’t leave, some people have to stay, but you can. Here’s what I did. You can admit first and second, start building a life on the side. I know that sounds shady. I know that sounds dishonest, but you’re breaking down. Whatever it takes, start saving money on the side, get support, get healing, get until you can leave. There are so many ways. I literally escaped with my three dogs and my husband middle of a night. middle of the night left the system. I went back into the system, my family system, and almost drank. I have not wanted a drink since I got sober because I found healing and it was through that first step.
(27:37 – 27:46) Amberly Lago: But when you got around your family that was so narcissistic again, it triggered you to want to almost lost your sobriety.
(27:46 – 28:32) Azadeh Atzberger: It was 2 a.m. and I cried out to God. I said, it is now getting closer and closer as an option. Help me God now. And he broke it just like that. And if I may, if I may just say, because I’ve been in program and sobriety so long, I remembered a verse that said, The only the the only way out is through a higher power. Higher power is the only way out. And that’s when I went, God, help me. It’s getting closer. And it was out. But that’s when I had to see I want to get loaded around these people. And they’re my family. I never wanted to do that. And this was when I was 16 years sober.
(28:32 – 28:37) Amberly Lago: Wow. This is when you were 16 years sober, sober.
(28:37 – 29:13) Azadeh Atzberger: I wanted a drink at 2 a.m. And I knew exactly where the alcohol was because I was around narcissists and dysfunction and abuse again with my husband and dogs. And so, again, it was back to God. And the 12 steps that I’ve created brings the spiritual strength we need. We are not enough alone. We can create, we can have formulas, but if there’s no power, true power in it, we’re not gonna transform. I’m just gonna say it. That’s my story.
(29:14 – 30:42) Amberly Lago: Well, everything that you just shared reminded me of something that I read this morning, and I’m sure you’ve read this, but it says it’s somebody was struggling in the middle of the night. It’s a story in the back of the big book, and somebody was struggling in the middle of the night. They tried to call, they wanted to drink. They heard all their friends next door at a party and they got really scared, really close to drinking. And they called their sponsor. The sponsor didn’t answer. And that’s kind of your lifeline. And they started like kind of freaking out and went back. And they said, they prayed to God. And he said, well, buddy, I guess there’s just you and me. And believe it or not, it worked. Those simple words worked. Something happened. A little peace came over me. Anxiety left. And then I lay down and fell asleep. I slept well that night. The first good sleep in a long time. That feeble request to God worked. I was honest and really wanted God’s help. From that day on, I knew that I had found a higher power and that he would help me. So what you just shared reminded me of that and. I think that acceptance too is key because it allows us to ask for help, but also allows us to take action steps in the right direction to make our life better. So first is, yeah, accepting that you are in a narcissistic relationship and then what can they do next to start taking the actions.
(30:42 – 32:17) Azadeh Atzberger: And this, and you just, when you, thank you for reading that because that book, The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I used to sleep with it to learn how to live. And now it’s literally tattooed in my brain and I’m forever grateful. The only defense is from a higher power. And that’s what your story is in mind. But back to your question about the 12 steps, the first step is admitting that we have or are in or have been so we can literally I did that so we can literally heal any old dynamics as well that may not be present today. The second step is we courageously stand to dissolve cognitive dissonance. And I have a prayer, an exercise, and some description on step two. And what hits home, the hit home for me that I shared in my 12-step workbook is on step two. You gotta see and take the magic glasses off in this relationship. what is it i want to see about this person and what’s really real about this person if you can sit with that you will dissolve the cognitive dissonance in your brain because you have been conditioned to believe that they’re great and they’re changing and it’s awesome and there are red flags that pop up oh my goodness i remember
(32:19 – 33:05) Amberly Lago: with, with my ex-husband, there were so many red flags and I just chose to ignore them. And, and, or, and I was like, wow, they’re terrible to their mother or man, they’re so mean to other people. Well, but he’s really nice to me. Well, before long it turned on me too. You know what I mean? And so, yeah. And so it, I think what you just described is like, Be aware of what’s real and be aware of those red flags and how you’re, like you said, your gut dropped, like that’s your intuition. I learned to really ignore my gut and really learn to that, you know, I didn’t have intuition. And I’ve learned to listen to it more. Our guts never lie.
(33:05 – 34:04) Azadeh Atzberger: It’s our God consciousness. It’s warning us. You’re right. You’re right. That’s what we do. We turn red flags green. And that’s, I’m coming back to step one again. that I believe is hits and covers everything is that or have you been in a narcissistic relationship because you’re not in one and you have been in one, you should go through this because it’s back to childhood grooming and conditioning to deny the red flags. So we so I’ve I’ve developed this process with God so that you can literally look at all relationships, not just the one you’re in. because you can leave the one you’re in. And if you don’t have a radical transformation and a healed mind, you will have another one. It could be a little old lady in a grocery store. It could be your coworker. And it’s up on the it’s it’s ramping high.
(34:05 – 34:09) Amberly Lago: Do you think narcissists can change their ways?
(34:09 – 35:18) Azadeh Atzberger: Who they are the excellent question excellent question So my research and my experience tell me this Because I have aging narcissistic parents One both my parents are nurse narcissist my father’s a covert narcissist my mother’s an overt and and the culture is narcissistic. Now, studying the family dynamics and all of them, 99.9%, they don’t change. They don’t change. And however, though, because it’s on a spectrum, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic traits, NPD, if they have less with age, they may soften a little. or they can get worse. But in my experience, the patterns are the patterns and because they’re entitled and they don’t believe they need help because they think they are God, they don’t change. The best thing, the best thing is to go no contact and leave.
(35:18 – 35:21) Amberly Lago: The best. So do you have contact with your parents?
(35:21 – 36:57) Azadeh Atzberger: I do. And it has been a 10 year revisit, retry, redo, try this, pull back, go no contact, little contact, some contact. And because of God in my life, I have developed what works and keeps my mental health at bay. And what I do, you guys, is I have very low contact. I do not. This is the number one. And please take this home. The number one. If you have to be co-parenting, if you have to have an aging narcissist, you do not. Share your emotional vulnerabilities. You just don’t. I don’t. I do for them what they can’t do. Computer paperwork. I’m seven hours away. I don’t hang out. I do not have physical. I have physical boundaries that I do not sit with them. I’m not going to sit in a room with them because because of that 16 year sobriety where I almost drank. wanted to desperately. And so I have developed what works for me and keeps me safe and at peace. However, sometimes I go a little over and I can feel it for 24 hours, get re-triggered where I have to kind of bring my triggers down. because this is my childhood nurse. The most lethal narcissists. His parents, second is marriage, third is boss and friends, the most lethal parents, because you were trained and groomed that this is love. Mm hmm.
(36:58 – 37:17) Amberly Lago: Right? Yeah. Well, all that you’re sharing is just pure gold. And I know we’re running out of time, but can you share a couple of the other steps or some things that people can do today to try to just break the cycle or get out of the relationship?
(37:18 – 37:32) Azadeh Atzberger: Absolutely, absolutely. There is on step, I believe I put it in in six is that because we’re conditioned to self blame and self doubt so much. I crack that whip a little bit too.
(37:32 – 37:36) Amberly Lago: So what I do is I love that whip a little bit too.
(37:40 – 38:30) Azadeh Atzberger: Because because we have to address everything is that I help determine the truth from the false, because whenever we stood up for ourselves or addressed it or took care of ourselves, we went back into guilt and self-doubt or self-blame. You know, we set a boundary and then run and fix them. you know and so I have a one two three step in my workbook where you see the abuse what you did and then connect back to yourself that what you did was accurate in protecting yourself setting a boundary leaving like you did the marriage because a lot of times people will go back and and go back into self-doubt so And I know we got to go. I just want to say that I wrote this in a parking lot while my husband was getting eggs at the grocery store. It was a God download like that.
(38:30 – 38:48) Amberly Lago: And I remember you messaged me and you were like, yeah, Amberly, you won’t believe this. I just wrote this while I was in the parking lot getting eggs and it’s going to be a movement. It’s going to just change. I was like, what is it? And you sent it to me. I was like, wow. Yeah. I love this. Yes.
(38:49 – 39:23) Azadeh Atzberger: Yes. Oh gosh. I just, um, I pray for everybody to, um, have healthy relationships because they do make or break you. And especially if you’re an addict and alcoholic, your sobriety is at stake in these relationships because you have to drink and use to endure and tolerate. So if you, and I’ve seen so many people die and relapse because of these dynamics, So I pray my prayer for you is there’s always a way out. There’s always a solution. And damn it, you’re worth it.
(39:23 – 39:53) Amberly Lago: You’re worth it. And sometimes that’s all we really need to hear is a voice like yours, encouraging someone to say, you can do this. I did it. I got through. And then what is the last step of the 12 steps so people can leave with something positive that they can do besides run out and we’ll give them the information where to get this workbook. But what is the last step, something that somebody can do today to break this cycle?
(39:53 – 40:35) Azadeh Atzberger: The last step that they can do to break the cycle is, gosh, there’s so many. I’m going to say this. The last step is that you have to get a fight attitude for yourself and shift the hope from them to your own happily ever after story. And I promise, I promise that whatever pain you are in, The rainbow is at the end. You don’t see it. You don’t know it’s there. I’m here to confirm that there is a rainbow for you on the other side.
(40:36 – 41:50) Amberly Lago: Oh, I love that. And that you just reminded me of a post that I did this morning, um, where I was literally talking about, um, I’ll just read it. I’ve said, yeah, the hard things lead to good things. Easy doesn’t make you proud. And I know it’s hard. It some days, even though I’ve been sober for a while, um, it, some days are still hard and I have to go back and get in the middle of my program and my friends. And the seasons that test your strength, the decisions that require courage, and the times that are uncomfortable lead to your fulfillment. And I just said, I ended on this year, don’t run from the hard things or fear run towards them. So, you know, yeah, it might be hard to feel all the feelings and to take a good hard look at yourself and your relationships, but it’s also where transformation starts. And so, um, I love that you’ve created this so people can get out and be free. And so where’s the best place that. They can find the workbook, find you, and so they can just find out more information about your other books as well.
(41:51 – 42:23) Azadeh Atzberger: Yes, definitely. All my books are on Amazon. Follow me. So this workbook is on Amazon as well. Follow me on at break free rise and rebuild because I also just created a freebie on how to leave a narcissist step by step. So you plan success and not go back because that’s another thing people go back so many times. And so follow me there. My books are on Amazon. And, um, and what’s your website? Finally free life.com.
(42:23 – 44:38) Amberly Lago: Awesome. Thank you so much. I love you so much. I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you. And I’m so excited to see you rock the stage in Dallas. You guys, you have got to come meet this lady in person. And see, I want to hang out with you. So come to our event in April in Dallas, it’s April 19th and 20th. And for the Mastermind members, we have a special day planned and brunch on the 21st as well. But it’s in Dallas and you can find out more information on that on unstoppable success summit.com. I had to get that straight. So Come, come see us at the event. Um, we’re planning all kinds of amazing stuff. And I think the biggest thing that has helped me to with everything in life to stay sober, to, uh, with entrepreneurship, um, with being a mom is really accountability. My, even my spiritual practice is with accountability. And so come to this, you know, event and have some accountability, get step by step action, steps for you to go after your dreams. And I think that’s what we need more than inspiration and motivation because that’s fleeting. We need some clarity to build our confidence and to have that accountability. So come, this is an intimate experience. This isn’t some huge conference with thousands of people. It’s intimate on purpose so you can make meaningful connections. And our last event, woo, God was present. I mean, it was incredible. So I know God is going to be present with us at our event in April too. But Azadeh, thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope. And everybody, thank you for tuning in. I appreciate you. Make sure you’re subscribed. to the podcast so you don’t miss upcoming episodes. We’ve got some other big guests coming on. And I just want to thank you for making this podcast the top 1% podcast. That’s because of you and you listening. So thank you. Azadeh, I love you. Thank you so much for sharing so much gold, pure gold.
(44:39 – 45:05) Azadeh Atzberger: Oh, you’re so welcome. I love you so much, Amberly. And just a quick comment about the event in April. You guys listen to me. It is who you’re around that you change. Grab a friend and come and come, because when you’re around right minded, right energy people, right, there’s a freebie change right there. That’s a freebie change.
(45:06 – 45:25) Amberly Lago: Oh, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I believe that success is built on relationships for sure. Yeah, yeah. So we hope to see y’all there and hug your necks. Yeah. Okay. And thank you. And I will talk to you guys. I’ll see you guys next week.