Navigating narcissistic relationships at home with Dana S. Diaz

An interview with Dana S. Diaz, a realtor in Illinois, about her home and book “Gasping for Air: The Stranglehold of Narcissistic Abuse.”

Watch or listen to the full Homelife for Extraordinary Impact interview on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and other major platforms.

Connect with Dana on Facebook, TikTok, and her website.

I am a wife, cat mom, and proud mother of a snarky twenty-year-old son, who lives in a rural area about ninety miles southwest of Chicago. After developing physical ailments as a result of the emotional trauma of life-long abuse, I finally made changes to my life and lifestyle to reduce the stress and toxicity that caused my illness. I share my story in my newly released book Gasping for Air: The Stranglehold of Narcissistic Abuse.

Dana S. Diaz
What are some of the places that have most felt like home for you?

As a victim of abuse, places don't hold the feeling of home so much as people do. So, for me, my soul is most at peace when I'm with my husband, regardless of where we are. However, I do feel at home when I've visited my family's native Puerto Rico. There's something about the clear water and the sound of the waves and the feel of the sun on my skin that makes my heart happy. A good Pina Colada helps too!

When home is going really great, what does it look like and feel like? How do you feel?

Good home life involves spending time together and smiling, hearing laughter, and feeling a sense of safety and security to be ourselves.

What are the things that throw your homelife sideways? How do you feel when that happens?

Everyday stresses like work, family drama and conflict can throw homelife off. It feels unsettling when that happens because it upsets that safety and security we thrive in. When that happens, my husband says, "Don't let the water in the boat!' It's great advice to maintain perspective.

What are important daily, weekly, or regular rhythms important for you to keep a great homelife?

It's important for everyone in the household to take care of themselves, so they can best take care of everyone else. I, for example, am a very structured person who requires alone time and exercise, and I also get overwhelmed when I have too much on my plate. So, I make sure to wake up early and use that first hour alone to have my coffee, make a plan for the day, knock out the few things I can cross off the list (like paying bills, responding to emails, etc.), then I exercise to get my endorphins flowing. My husband wakes by then, at which point I'm ready to help him prepare for his day.

Aside from that, a great homelife requires positive dynamics between everyone in the household. You have to spend time together and share life's successes and struggles, and support each other through it all.

What’s a prized possession of yours or one of your favorite home purchases?

Tough question! I'd say my engagement ring is my most prized possession. It's a diamond heart on an infinity-shaped band. Considering what I'd been through in the first half of my life, my ring is a constant reminder that it's never too late to love and live your best life. No matter who you are, you can give and receive love, and like the Beatles sang, "Love is all you need!"

Dana has an important story to tell about narcissistic abuse. Coupled with her expertise in real estate, and we enjoyed a surprisingly light and delightful conversation—even if the topics were heavy at times. Listen in for her powerful personal story and her tips on negotiating among your family/partner when buying a home.

Thanks for an insightful conversation, Dana!

Until next time,

– Matt Barrios (LinkedIn, Instagram, & Twitter)

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