I was born in Brooklyn, New York. When I was in first grade, my parents decided to buy a house in Long Island, NY, which was where I was raised. A pretty suburban area compared to the city. My family, I must say are conservative. At the same time I feel my parents were way ahead of their times from most in my community, raising me with emphasis on being independent.
I am South Indian in decent, from Kerala,India, where the language spoken is called Malayalam.. which I can also speak. Growing up, my father and mother wanted to make sure I learned my roots by placing me in various Indian based traditional arts such as the classical dance known as Bharatanatyam and Karnatak music.
At the same time, I was fascinated with opera, theater and Broadway where I had spent most of my spare time in high school in the music room and have been in several musical plays. My parents were pretty strict so my social life was definitely limited but I always found a way.
I was very lucky to be in the community I was growing up in. Being a minority, and living in a all-white neighborhood, I did not experience racism. Not many can say that. There must have been only two other brown/black folk like me in the entire school district. Even if there was racism, it must have been so meniscal, that it probably flew right over my head and I didn’t even know it. I had great friends and I was active in various clubs and extra-curricular activities. I was little social bee going in and out of my neighbors’ homes where they even bought me Christmas gifts saying the gifts were left under the tree from Santa. I didn’t understand the magnitude of negativity people can have till after I left my community. It definitely was a culture shock.
Whats the greatest challenge you experienced as a teen?
I think the greatest challenge I experienced as a teenager is trying to always live up to the expectations and standards of society and culture. There are so many labels you grow up facing. “Good girls don’t do this, good girls do that..etc.” “You must grow up and become a doctor or lawyer after which you must get married at the age of 23.” Which is defined as success. If you don’t, it’s an embarrassment and your considered under achieved. Being so young, this was so much pressure. I had a love for music and the fine arts. It’s actually in my blood line, where my grandfather was a great classical musician of his time but yet this was very much discouraged for me to pursue and I didn’t.
How did this expectations transform you?
It’s more like, how did all these learned behaviors, these limiting beliefs, became the driving force in not making choices that served me right.
I was always concerned how my decisions affected others and their opinion of me. What people thought about me mattered more than what I thought about myself or my needs. I always felt if I was nice to someone, that they would automatically be the same in return. I believed the nicer I could be, the more others would like and appreciate me. Failure was not an option, not because of my thoughts of what I wanted to achieve but because of what others would think or say about me.. and I brought this thinking right into my marriage.
At your core what drives you?
In my core, what drives me is, I don’t want anyone to ever go through the pain and suffering that I had gone through and not finding relief. The questions of not understanding, the whys, the hows, the mind constantly ruminating to find solutions, the desperation. And being abandoned. It’s horrible and only those who have been through it knows exactly what I just described.
Narcissistic Abuse is a subject that many can’t clearly comprehend. It’s difficult to wrap your head around it. Unless you’re in it or have gone through it, only then can you understand the full gravity and severity of torture a person goes through. That’s why I made it my business to bring awareness, and help aid the healing process in others. I always say, “If I can do it, any one can.’
Please share with us about your marriage experience.
I got married with the same dream like thinking like everyone else does. “This is my final destination. My forever and my life.” The promises and vows said to each other are to be honored and respected. That your now life-long partner, will do whatever it takes to protect you, love you and be responsible for you in the best of their ability, and vice versa.
You would think this is a no brainer and pretty self-explanatory… But unfortunately for some people it’s quite the opposite. Especially those who always, no matter what, will put themselves first over others.
I didn’t know what even hit me in my marriage. I couldn’t understand how a person who claims they love you to the ends of the earth can hurt you terribly and beyond in the next moment. I was slowly broken down and brainwashed to think there was something wrong with me and I was just unlovable. Even comments such as, “You’re not the angel that everyone believes, I know who you truly are inside” would devastate me because I started believing it.
Many would ask, didn’t you see this before. The answer is that I was so blinded by the love bombing that I ignored and didn’t even put attention on any of the red flags that came up. In Narcissistic Abuse, there is this whole three months of love bombing that occurs also known as the idealization stage. The Narcissistic partner showers you with so much love and affection that you feel you met your soulmate. You become the center of their universe and placed on a very dream like pedestal. Once the narcissist knows they have you in the palm of their hands, that’s when they start degrading you. This is known as the devaluation stage. At this point, your so distraught and wanting the initial honeymoon period back again, plus the fear of losing your partner and your dream like relationship, that you will do whatever it takes to please them. Eventually, you will start losing yourself and your own identity.
There are just too many people going through this and not even aware of how pathological and toxic it is.
Please tell us the process you went through writing your book.
Writing my book, “My Soulmate, My Love, My Narcissist: The Healing and Recovery from a Narcissistic Relationship” took me almost three years. It was tough for me to blend the science and the emotional into layman reading so that it can benefit both the professionals and the public. Eventually I hired my editor who basically a tug a war with me had so that I can simplify my book at the same time be powerful. I’m proud that we have succeeded or more like it, that she won. I have clinicians and so many readers who have emailed me or left me reviews on how my book has helped and impacted their lives.
Curious to know what you always have in your handbag.
What I have in my handbag at all times are my sunglasses. I don’t go anywhere without them. Yes it’s fashionable, but for me, its more about the calming effect I feel when I wear my sunglasses from the sun.
What’s next for Bindu?
I have started a non-profit / NGO organization called “Hearts of Change’. This organization is formed to help stop & prevent gender based violence as well as intimate partner violence on a global level. It will educate the intense toxicity of those who are in a on Narcissistic Toxic Relationships and to help aid in the healing and recovery.