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An Authentic Journey: Author Jessica Anne Pressler



This is the time of year to self-reflect and really ask ourselves if we are being authentic in our intentions. This can be applied to family, friendships, and career. Let's face it, it's not always easy to be mindful of the decisions we make. A fantastic place to start would be to read the "Traitor Within," by Jessica Anne Pressler. She has established herself as a true truth teller of the lies we tell ourselves.


Jessica Anne Pressler feels that everyone has a story -- She just happened to write hers in a book. Jessica is an Ivy League-educated psychotherapist, tv personality, and author specializing in narcissistic abuse and recovery. She has taken her 30+ years of education, work, and lived experience to steer her followers clear of the path of the "Traitor Within," her first novel, set to be released in Spring 2023. Solidifying Jessica's highly viewed social media reels and monologues is a master's from Columbia University.


"Traitor Within" reads like a novel and provides readers with the tools to break the self-sabotage cycle. The creative non-fiction-themed memoir is rooted in Pressler's real-life familial and romantic relationship trauma, the importance of mental health, and the song and dance of narcissistic abuse. Jessica's intention is strong: to empower others in similar situations. Margaret Josephs (Real Housewives of New Jersey), Jessica's longtime friend and confidant, is writing the foreword and contributing to the novel's back cover.


In addition to being an author, Jessica is very active on social media. She shares reels, blogs, and assets to inspire her followers to recognize their inner saboteur and practice self-care, leading to the ultimate healing. Many influencers and tv personalities share Jessica's work, consistently promoting her uniquely nuanced take and voice. She is also a grief counselor and an advocate. She gives an immense amount of herself to helping others.


Jessica's main inspiration in writing the book

Jessica needed to still heal and do the psychological workin within. Jessica felt she was still imprisoned by various situations and while writing her story; therefore, she came up with the Traitor Within. Jessica wanted to figure out why she stayed in several toxic and abusive relationships, some for many years. Jessica wondered why she couldn't break her dysfunctional pattern. When she figured it out why she stayed for so many years and was able to break the dysfunctional pattern, she felt that she could help others do the same.


"Writing a book also allowed me to reach many more people than I could ever help in a private office setting. Sharing my intimate details will help others feel less shameful and not alone, gain insight, and see the possibility for change in their lives. In addition, I would be unable to share my story in a psychotherapist/client therapeutic relationship, and writing the books allows me to do so. " (Jessica Anne Pressler)

Tell us a bit about how "Traitor Within" relates to your familial and relationship experiences.

The "Traitor Within" is a creative non-fiction story about my struggle with staying in toxic and abusive relationships, some for many years. I reveal good, bad, and ugly, the shameful and humiliating aspects of my life, to help illustrate how my traitor within sent me down a path of self-destruction. Instead of writing a traditional book on self-help, I wrote this book in the first person and bled.


The reader will be on my journey when I fall and when I heal. I felt the only way I could genuinely help others was through my experiences, leaving no stone unturned. Although I was careful to disguise the other players in my story, I knew I had to bear my soul. I had to be authentic and share as much as possible of what I went through to help readers identify personal struggles with my own.


My traitor within was responsible for how I responded to my partner in romantic relationships. My traitor within was also created by the external voices of three strong women: my mother, grandmother, and aunt. They all became a part of me, like the blood in my veins. I watched how they acted toward their partners, heard stories of their relationships, and received endless advice on how I should work in my romantic relationships. These women were powerhouses in all aspects of their lives except with their partners. Men's transgressions and abuse were to be forgiven and forgotten, and keeping them happy was paramount.


I was also taught that no matter what happens in my romantic relationships, I am to pick myself up immediately, "carry on," and keep everything a secret. My traitor within was created by trauma from my childhood that left me co-dependent and terrified of being abandoned. That combination of these women's voices and my childhood trauma paralyzed me to leave toxic and abusive relationships.


Does the book have concrete steps to break negative patterns and what are they?

Because this book is creative non-fiction, it reads like a novel. I hope that the reader will be able to learn from my journey. The reader will live my life as my traitor within takes me down one devastating path after another until I finally gain the insight I need to change my way. The reader will witness these steps through storytelling, but it will not be spelled out as in a traditional self-help book. I will discuss these steps on social media, in my blogs, videos, and in interviews.


The first step is to be aware that A person’s traitor within is their inner saboteur. It the part of a person that will take them down a path of self-destruction. It can be an inner voice or an unconscious inner force usually developed in a person’s childhood, by trauma, messaging, and observation. (Although it can be formed at any time in your life.) Once you identify your traitor within, a person will have the knowledge and power to begin to make necessary changes in their life.


It is our lack of awareness that allows the traitor within to exist, and the awareness of the traitor within that will enable us to begin to confront and conquer her/him/they and lead a healthier and happier life. First, we identify a person’s traitor within. In doing so, we recognize there was childhood and adult trauma that occurred and that it is likely triggered in adult relationships and acknowledge that we may have been taught dysfunctional coping mechanisms by modeling and messaging, most likely in our childhood. Then, we acknowledge and accept what happened in our youth and what we felt and how we experience this now. We must understand that we were children, and it is not our fault and that these patterns were set at a young age and then reinforced throughout our lives.


It is essential to be compassionate, empathetic, validating and nurturing to yourself, and set appropriate boundaries to feel safe. It is like becoming a good parent to yourself. It is so vital for a child to feel loved and safe. Not feeling that is trauma. Journaling is quite helpful for a person to become objective be able to witness their dysfunctional thoughts. These thoughts were likely what you heard in your childhood. It will also help you connect your feelings with your thoughts. This is not easy work and can be quite painful and may be helpful to speak to a mental health professional while going through this process.



Was writing the book a cathartic experience, and what did you learn about yourself?

Yes, it was cathartic. As I edited my book, I realized how much growth I had from one edit to the next. There were abuse incidents that I thought were my fault until this past year or two. It takes time to undo my distorted thinking. I needed to be objective, which is why I love journaling. I needed to feel safe. I needed to release my shame. I needed to stop doubting myself. Most of all I needed to get my traitor within out of my head and heart. I needed to reparent myself. I grew, and I continue to grow. It is a lifelong process. I am finally my authentic self and able to set healthy boundaries. I hope to pass that on to others.




How did you feel after finishing the book?

I am ready to give birth and help others by telling my story. It has been a long road, but the story was not prepared to be told because I needed to grow until now.


Does the "Traitor Within" offer concrete steps to break the Traitor Within and what are they?

The first step is to be aware that A person’s traitor within is their inner saboteur. It the part of a person that will take them down a path of self-destruction. It can be an inner voice or an unconscious inner force usually developed in a person’s childhood, by trauma, messaging, and observation. (Although it can be formed at any time in your life.) Once you identify their traitor within, a person will have the knowledge and power to begin to make necessary changes in your life.


It is our lack of awareness that allows the traitor within to exist, and the awareness of the traitor within that will enable us to begin to confront and conquer her/him/they and lead a healthier and happier life. First, we identify a person’s traitor within. In doing so, we recognize there was childhood and adult trauma that occurred and that it is likely triggered in adult relationships and acknowledge that we may have been taught dysfunctional coping mechanisms by modeling and messaging, most likely in our childhood. Then, we acknowledge and accept what happened in our youth and what we felt and how we experience this now. We must understand that we were children, and it is not our fault and that these patterns were set at a young age and then reinforced throughout our lives.


It is essential to be compassionate, empathetic, validating and nurturing to yourself, and set appropriate boundaries to feel safe. It is like becoming a good parent to yourself. It is so vital for a child to feel loved and safe. Not feeling that is trauma. Journaling is quite helpful for a person to become objective be able to witness their dysfunctional thoughts. These thoughts were likely what you heard in your childhood. It will also help you connect your feelings with your thoughts. This is not easy work and can be quite painful and may be helpful to speak to a mental health professional while going through this process.


What was the creative process like? Is it something that you would take on again?

I am not formally trained as a writer; I took only one English class in college. The evolution of my writing mirrored my personal growth. What started almost two decades ago as a factual textbook-form study in classic themes, fear of abandonment, attachment theory, and childhood trauma matured as I did. The book has developed into a brave and no holds barred tale of a trained psychotherapist caught in recurrent graphic, often erotic scenarios and blind to her lurid fate. It was only during the past several years that I finally gained insight into my dysfunctional repetitive patterns and developed the traitor within model to discover why I kept repeating my destructive habits. Even now, as I do the final edit with the help of my editor, I have continued to gain insight and increase my writing skills.


I already have an idea for my next book. I have worked as a hospice social worker for the past sixteen years, and I intend to write a love story that begins later in life, and one of the partners will die in the story. I will follow the living partner's life after, discuss their grief and how they cope, and touch on life after death spiritually.



Why is reframing the mind so taxing yet so crucial?

Reframing is used to change how people think, feel, and behave, mainly to change negative thinking to more positive thought patterns. It can be taxing to reframe, and you may attempt to undo patterns of behavior, thinking, and feeling that started in childhood or for many years. It is crucial because a person will continue their unhealthy thinking, behaving, and feeling patterns if they do not make these changes. This should be done with a mental health professional ideally. To begin this process, a person needs to acknowledge their childhood and adult trauma, childhood and adult wounds, triggers, dysfunctional messaging and modeling, and reinforced repeated patterns. I recommend doing this with a psychotherapist or other mental health professional because you may be dealing with unresolved trauma and dysfunctional patterns. CBT, cognitive therapy, and Imago therapy are excellent examples of therapy that would help someone


Did you feel vulnerable writing the "Traitor Within?"

I did bleed. I did expose everything. I have been so focused on getting the words on the page that I expect to feel more vulnerable when the book is released. I was emotional, though; when I wrote certain parts of the book, I cried writing it and editing it. So yes, I was vulnerable.


What do you hope people take away from the book?

My ultimate goal is to help as many people as I can begin the process of understanding and overcoming their self-destructive patterns that are driven by their inner saboteur, who I have named the traitor within. It is crucial to understand that the importance of a model of traitor within allows the distance to understand there is no personal fault and no blame. Once there is an awareness of who this traitor is, then this is the first step to empowerment.


Although I tell my story, my model can be applied to anyone with a voice or an inner force that has led them down a path of self-destruction. With my education, experience, and honesty, I can genuinely help others. I hope that people will benefit from my trials and tribulations to avoid the pain that I have endured and help readers realize that they are not alone and there is hope for change.




To keep up with Jessica Anne Pressler, you can follow her on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/jessicaannepressler/

https://www.jessicaannepressler.com





























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