We hear terms like narcissist, love bombing, and trauma bonding a lot on social media. But what do they actually mean? And how can you recognize the signs so you can avoid, or begin to heal from, a toxic relationship?

Get to Know Our Guest, Dr.  Nadine Macaluso

We explore these complex questions with Dr. Nadine Macaluso, a somatic psychologist and psychotherapist, in today’s episode of the podcast. Dr. Macaluso’s mission is to break the stigma of abusive relationships - and her first book, Run Like Hell, will be released this month.

How to Heal From a Toxic Relationship 

In this conversation, Dr. Macaluso shares her story of leaving her marriage to Jordan Belfort, the stockbroker infamously known as the Wolf of Wall Street, and reveals her journey to becoming a therapist at age 39 – giving us a great illustration of why it’s never too late to start something new.

Recognizing If You're in a Toxic Relationship and What to Do About It 

She tells us all about pathological relationships, trauma bonding, and love bombing while revealing how to recognize if you’re in a toxic relationship. Plus, advice for nurturing relationships, co-parenting, and spotting red (and green!) flags while dating.

We wrap up by answering questions from The Big Silence community. Nobody teaches us about relationships in school. Today, we’re all getting an essential education! 

(00:03:13) What Led Nadine to Her Therapy Career at Age 39

  • Remembering a life before smartphones
  • How her mom seeded her passion for psychology 
  • Realizing that therapy saved her life 

(00:06:55) Dating The Wolf of Wall Street

(00:09:43) Recognizing the Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Trauma Bonds Checklist
  • What is a pathological lover?
  • Dr. Nadine Macaluso defines trauma bonding 
  • How to hear and see love bombing in action

(00:14:23) How Long Does It Take To Heal From a Toxic Relationship?

(00:19:42) What Is a Trauma Bond?

  • Intimate abuse + power imbalance 
  • Unpacking the thoughts and feelings of a narcissist  

(00:21:22) Trauma’s Profound Impact on the Body

(00:22:34) Identifying Red (and Green!) Flags in Dating

  • Learning to trust, and love, another person 
  • The green flags put up by Dr. Macaluso’s husband
  • Red flags: boundary breaking, substance abuse, and anger issues

(00:25:31) Co-Parenting With a Toxic Ex

(00:27:07) What Is Somatic Psychology?

  • Listening to the body during therapy 
  • Karena’s journey to finding her voice 

(00:30:16) Questions From The Big Silence Community

  • How do I stop attracting narcissists in my dating life?
  • Why Does He Do That? byLundy Bancroft
  • How do I detach from toxic patterns?
  • Can narcissists express love?
  • The role of entitlement in pathological people 

(00:38:10) Why Everyone Should Be Taught About Relationships

  • Dr. Nadine’s mission to educate and empower 
  • Karena and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health)

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“The Big Silence” theme song written and performed byJames Nicholas Kinney.

Producer, Bobby Goldstein.

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