4 years of blogging!

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WordPress reminded me of something today.

Four years ago today, I started this blog!   Wow!  It certainly doesn’t seem that long.

While originally a place where I could document my recovery journey after going No Contact with  my malignant narcissist ex-husband (and coming to terms with the upsetting realization of having come from a family of narcissists), over time it has evolved.

I’ve always included many posts covering other topics that pique my interest, intrigue me, make me think, make me feel, or make me laugh.  I like to post photographs (both ones I take and ones I don’t), memes, and cartoons.  Sometimes I just like to share random “shower thoughts.”

Over the past two years (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long), this blog has become more political.   Since Trump seems to fit the criteria for NPD or Malignant Narcissism, it wasn’t too much of a leap from writing about narcissism in general (or as it pertained to my family and other people in my life) to writing about the narcissism of a man who is abusing all of us from afar (whether we want to admit it or agree with that or not).

I feel like the first two years of immersing myself in the subject of narcissism and narcissistic abuse, and setting about my own recovery,  prepared me to better understand the much more existential and serious problem of Trumpism.

As far as this blog, I never stopped including posts about nonpolitical subjects, personal posts, photographs, and even occasionally a new article about narcissism or narcissistic abuse that has nothing to do with politics.   I cast the net wide for my own sanity, and I think doing that makes this a better blog.   It’s also more fun that way.

Here’s to the next four years!

 

 

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Lucky Otters Haven is 3 years old!

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Hard to believe, but it is!   Last year, on its second anniversary, I wrote a big two-part post describing all the ways this blog has changed, and posted photos (taken from Wayback Machine) of its evolution.   I’ve changed its look several times (though never changing the theme).

Maybe tomorrow or over the weekend, I’ll do the same again, but tonight I’m exhausted and all I want to do is eat, shower, and curl up into bed with a good book and go to sleep.

Oh, and it also just passed 2 million hits! 

Lucky Otters Haven is 2 years old! (Part two)

(Continued from Part One)

Screenshots are all courtesy of The Wayback Machine (which you can spend hours browsing — it’s fascinating in its own right).

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June 27, 2015

Several changes now.  I finally grew a brain and got rid of the appalling “Museum of Narcissism” and from here on out, the title would not change again (except for the removal of the apostrophe).

I also shifted the focus (seen in the subtitle) from “narcissistic abuse” to NPD and BPD in general, as I was beginning to grow tired of just being angry and was starting to want to learn more about these disorders (of course, narcissistic abuse has always been a staple of this blog and still is).   “Aspie” still remained for the time being.   I also had expanded the number of menu items in the subheader.   By now, my follower count was 1,041.

 

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August 11, 2015

LOH was now nearly a year old.  Some important new changes are evident.   I think it’s beginning to resemble the current look more–I’d finally removed “Aspie” from the subheader, as I now had more clarity on what my real problems were (and it wasn’t Aspergers).  Visually too, the look is an improvement, with a darker gray menu bar which made the menu items easier to read.   I probably had a few too many menu items though.  Later I had to consolidate them so some appear now as little dropdowns.  1,115 followers.

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*****

October 11, 2015

Font changes in both the headings, title and text.   The font I chose for the title and headings would not change again until last week.   Still too many menu items so it looks a bit cluttered.   1,221 followers at this point.

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*****

November 12, 2015

The second major facelift.   This new look would stay (with only minor changes) until just one week ago.  The wallpaper and header were both in a green “beehive” pattern, with the header photo-manipulated to be somewhat lighter in the middle so the simplified subhead “walking on the borderline” would stand out.   Menu items now white on black. I think overall it’s a nice look, very professional, but I finally tired of it a week ago and LOH got its third major facelift.

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March 27, 2016

Not too many changes, other than FINALLY consolidating the menu items so it looks a lot less cluttered and easier to read.   1,591 followers.

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June 29, 2016

This is the way this blog looked just prior to the facelift I did last week.   The only real change here is the subheader changed from “walking on the borderline” to “Confessions of a recovering borderline.”  (this change was inspired by my therapist telling me he thought I no longer had BPD).   There were two more screenshots taken in August, but nothing else had changed.

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Finally…

The new look is somewhat of a throwback to its original look.  I think it looks friendlier and more welcoming than the “beehive” look.

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I love Ferdinand Ladera’s moody painting, and wanted to use that again, but I wanted a simple black header this time, so this time I used the painting as the wallpaper instead.    I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, but I love the look, and I like the way the dark trees appear on the right hand side.  I also changed the header fonts and think they’re easier to read, and removed the apostrophe from “Otters”, mainly to simplify the look of the title.  It’s not really ungrammatical, because I’m not the only otter swimming up from the murky waters of an abusive past.

Lucky Otters Haven is 2 years old! (Part One)

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Yes, this blog has officially entered its Terrible Twos!

In celebration of this milestone,  I’m going to be showing you how it’s evolved since it’s inception (well, actually, 4 months after its inception), thanks to The Wayback Machine, which crawls the web periodically and takes screenshots of websites so they’re forever caught in time.

While I’ve stuck with the free Twenty-Ten theme the whole time, I’ve changed its look rather drastically several times (thanks to Custom Design, which I recommend because it gives you more options than the free plan). I definitely think this blog looks a LOT more professional than it did when it was new.   But I was learning as I went along.

This is Part One of two.  I’ll post Part Two immediately after this.  Both should be up later tonight.

Screenshots from The Wayback Machine:

January 18, 2015

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This was the first time LOH was “crawled” and photographed.   At the time, I still believed I had Aspergers (self diagnosed), which explains the subheader.   Early posts of mine were a lot more angry and “narc-hating,” since I had only been No Contact for a short time.  I had far less awareness into myself than I do now.  Spiritually, I was also still an agnostic.   Reading back over some of these early posts is a little embarrassing because I’ve changed so much, but is also fascinating for the same reason.   But it was blogging that got the ball rolling on all the awesome changes I’m undergoing.   It was probably the best decision I ever made.

If you’re interested in reading these earlier posts, they can be accessed through the Archives drop-down menu in the sidebar. Just pick the month and year you want to see.

You can’t see the whole sidebar, but when this screenshot was taken, this blog had just 437 followers.   That’s still quite a few, considering it was only 4 months old!

In case it’s not obvious, the painting in the subhead is the same one I’m now using as the wallpaper.

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February 21, 2015

Not many changes.  563 followers now.

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March 18, 2015

LOH’s first “facelift”:  I rather like the cute otter wallpaper I chose and the gray color scheme is easier on the eyes (as is the title font), and the subhead is in a more eye-catching font too.  But I have no earthly idea what I was thinking when I chose to take out “Haven” in favor of the atrocious “Museum of Narcissism.”  LOL!  It makes me laugh now, but I guess I still thought of narcs as some kind of zoo creatures to be gawked at (which they certainly can be!)  I’m also not sure why I decided to put “The” in front of the title.  Whatever!   There were 679 followers by now.

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April 23, 2015

Not too many new changes, but by now I’d added the “Borderline” into the subhead title.   Due to the stigma, I’d been kind of in the closet about it at first, but had “come out” by now.  I still believed I had Aspergers though. I also notice I’d removed the idiotic “The” from the title.  776 followers.

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*****

I didn’t want too many graphics in the same post, because it slows down load time, which is why it’s in two parts.

(Continued in Part Two)

 

Lucky Otters Haven has a new look.

Sample of colorful paint. Cans of red, yellow, blue and green paint.

Boredom isn’t always the devil’s playground.     Sometimes boredom is so intolerable it can lead you to desperate actions to rid yourself of its special kind of pain–actions like, hmm…getting falling down drunk, hitting the mall and buying a bunch of stuff you don’t even want, sleeping the day away, eating an entire roll of chocolate chunk cookie dough, watching Internet porn, having sex with strangers, building a giraffe made out of toothpicks, crafting a voodoo doll of your narcissist ex (hey, if anyone has ever done this, can you post a picture of it, pretty please?), or…remodeling your blog.

So that’s what I did.   I’m too scared to change my whole theme yet (I’m still on Twenty Ten) because of my (probably irrational) phobia about losing everything or the slightly more likely nightmare of my blog becoming FUBAR, or at the very least, all my Shares and Likes disappearing. But t I did make some pretty drastic changes within the same theme: the title font, the background, the header graphic, the sub-header, and the color scheme.

I think this look is more eye catching and the fonts and font background colors easier to read.  I also think the new sub-head (up in the header graphic) fits my new focus–while I still will cover personality disorders (especially Cluster B disorders), narcissistic abuse, and healing,  I realize that only about 60-70% of my posts have much or anything to do with those topics.   I cover a lot of other topics that interest, inspire, or entertain me too, and have been doing so for awhile.  So I wanted a sub-header that might attract followers and readers who just like general purpose blogs that have a lot of different kinds of content.

I also took the apostrophe out of Otters, so now the title is Lucky Otters Haven instead of Lucky Otter’s Haven.  I think the look is cleaner, and it isn’t ungrammatical either, because I know I’m not the only otter here swimming up from the dark and murky waters of a traumatic past.  I kept the word “borderline” in there because it’s an important part of this blog’s focus and my recovery, but it’s far from being my only focus. I wanted to draw less attention to BPD being an affliction, even though it is (BPD is to Marburg Virus what NPD is to Ebola) and more to the unusual and sometimes surreal vantage point it gives me when looking at myself and this crazy, horrible, and wonderful world I find myself a part of.

I hope everyone likes the facelift and new attitude. Please feel free to let me know if you think it could be even better or even if you hate it.   I do listen to suggestions and unlike real otters, I don’t bite (well not usually, anyway).

On September 10th, this blog will be entering its Terrible Twos!

I can hardly believe it’s been that long and at the same time, it seems like I’ve been doing this forever.   That’s next weekend.  I’ll be doing a big post about all the changes Lucky Otter’s Haven  has gone through since its inception, including screenshots (thanks to The Wayback Machine) of what this blog has looked like over time since September 2014.

How I decide what to post on my blogs.

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Most of you probably know I have two blogs.  This is my primary one, and the first one I started.  It’s now a year and half old.    It’s been through a lot of changes.  It started as a blog for journaling my feelings after going No Contact with my NPD/ASPD ex, and although I still post a lot about  narcissism and narcissistic abuse, I’ve expanded the scope quite a bit to include my own disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Complex PTSD) as well as the issues of mental illness stigma and mental illness in general.   After mental illness I probably write the most about blogging.  But these days I post about pretty much  anything that interests me, and that includes reblogged posts of others.  On this blog, I post primarily about the following subjects, in roughly this order:

  • Narcissism and narcissistic abuse — both informative and experiential
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / complex PTSD — informative and experiential
  • Personality Disorders in general
  • Mental illness and mental health (including the Sunday guest posts)
  • Mental illness stigma
  • Blogging and writing
  • Inspiration/spirituality
  • Social and cultural issues
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Humor
  • Anecdotal essays and general musings
  • Book and movie reviews (related to narcissism and narcissistic abuse)
  • Everything else

 

My other blog, Down The Rabbit Hole, is now 7 months old.     The articles on LOH and DTRH overlap quite a bit, and I do a lot of double posting.   Down The Rabbit Hole has a much narrower focus (and a much smaller audience), and has now become primarily a blog to document and journal about my journey in therapy, which seems less appropriate on a blog with as wide a focus as LOH (even though I do cross-post to both blogs).

Unlike LOH, on which I generally add new content at least once a day if not more, I may only add new content to DTRH once a week or so, though lately it’s been more often than that.   While anyone is welcome to read its content (please follow if you want!), DTRH is more personal and I write it primarily for myself.     For that reason it’s written more like a journal or diary.  Some articles which are too personal or which I feel are too controversial for this blog get posted on DTRH instead.     Like LOH, DTRH has also shifted its focus since I started it, moving from my experience with various types of self-healing following some upsetting self-discoveries to actual psychodynamic therapy.

These are the topics DTRH posts about in roughly this order:

  • Experiential and personal essays about my therapy sessions
  • Articles about treatments and therapy techniques for Complex PTSD and Cluster B disorders, mainly BPD and NPD
  • Subjective observations and essays about BPD and other cluster B disorders
  • Mental illness stigma, especially BPD stigma
  • New research about BPD, NPD, and personality disorders in general
  • Mindfulness and inspiration
  • Poetry about the therapy experience/living with BPD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I blog.

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I read a very interesting article today called Pimping for Likes (thanks again to Opinionated Man, I found another great new blog to follow).  The post addresses the all too common frustrations we bloggers experience when our Likes, views or followers aren’t growing as fast as we’d all like them to and asks the question, would you give up blogging if no one read your blog?  

If you’re only blogging to be popular or attain a web presence, I think people can tell.  Your heart won’t be in it.  It won’t be honest and it won’t be engaging.   People are smart.  They will pick up on your lack of passion for your chosen topics and go elsewhere if all you care about is gaining a web presence without actually caring about what you blog about.

There are lots of wonderful bloggers who don’t have many followers or views.   That’s not because their blogs are bad.  It’s because either they haven’t been blogging long enough to attain a web presence, or because the blogger is mostly writing for themselves and isn’t actively trying to promote their blog.  Some people don’t care about popularity.   And there’s nothing wrong with that.  They’re blogging for the best of reasons–because they love to write and blogging gives them a voice and a way to express themselves. .

It’s the reason I blog.   I really can’t think of anything I love doing more.   It’s also been very healing for me.  I’d keep writing and blogging even if I was the only person in the world reading my posts.  But I’m only human and it can be very discouraging when you feel like your online voice is falling on deaf ears.  At first, it was frustrating when I’d spend a couple of hours perfecting a post, choosing the perfect picture for it, editing it and re-editing it, and then post it, only to get no likes and only a few views.

Here is a post I wrote when this blog was less than two weeks old, when I had a whopping 12 followers and hardly any views. It makes me laugh to read this now, but I’m sure most new bloggers can relate to these feelings of frustation:

https://luckyottershaven.com/2014/09/18/im-frustrated/

It was the first time Opinionated Man reblogged a post of mine.  With his 50K plus followers (at the time; now he has nearly 60K), he seemed like a blogging God to me. Because of his generous nature and willingness to help new bloggers succeed, this post (which sounds very whiny to me now) wound up getting a ton of views, Likes, and comments, and I got my first sizeable batch of new followers.  What a great way to start your blogging career!

Although being popular isn’t my primary reason for blogging, I have to admit I’ve come to care about this blog’s growth too.    There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it doesn’t become your main reason for blogging.  I’ve been blogging for a year and a half now.    During that time, my stats have grown steadily, to the point where I’m averaging 50K views a month.  A year ago I never would have believed it.

Source: http://luckyottershaven.com.webstatsdomain.org/

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a little help along the way,  thanks to other, more popular and established bloggers reblogging or linking to my posts.   I learned about sharing to social media (something I was reluctant to do at first) and linking to other blogs.   I’ve made a lot of friends among other bloggers and we’re like a big community who help each other get seen.  Yes, of course there is envy among bloggers, but fortunately I haven’t seen too much of it and for the most part, there’s more of a desire to see your fellow bloggers do well than to see them fail.

There are blogs far more popular and successful than mine.   This blog is really pretty small potatoes, but watching it grow is still incredibly encouraging and exciting, like watching your baby grow up.    It’s a heady feeling when you type a few words into Google and see your own blog come up at or near the top.    Although I would still blog even if I only had 10 views a month, these incremental rewards have a way of motivating you to keep writing even more.  It’s also very cool being in a position now where I can begin to help other bloggers the way I was helped when I was new.   It’s wonderful to be able to pay it forward and help others get more of a web presence.

I’ve been accused of caring too much about my stats.    Maybe it’s true.  Watching my stats has become one of my favorite hobbies, but maybe that’s because I’ve always been a numbers junkie.   The growth of this blog didn’t just happen on its own though. I had to work hard at it, and the hardest part for me was getting over my fear of sharing posts to social media.  I don’t have enough of a Google presence to just sit back and let things take off on their own.   I have to keep working at it, keep sharing, keep connecting.   It’s almost a full time job.   Even so, while watching my views  and web presence increase is a nice side benefit of blogging, it’s not the reason I blog.

If you only blog to see your stats grow, and care nothing about what you write, not only will people be able to tell your heart isn’t in it, but chances are you’ll get discouraged and give up the minute your stats take a downturn.  I’ve had slow months and a few with no growth at all. It hasn’t all been a smooth ride uphill.    Some of my posts that are personal favorites just don’t seem to resonate with others that well, while other posts that I could care less about, seem to take on a life of their own. It’s always a surprise seeing what others like and what they don’t.  You can certainly try to concentrate on writing more of the types of posts that seem to resonate more with others, if being popular is your thing.

My other blog, which documents my journey in therapy, is nowhere near as popular as this one. It hasn’t really grown at all since I started it in August, and that’s okay.     I don’t share most of the posts on that blog to my social media and I don’t promote it at all.  I only write about 1 – 2 posts a week for it, while I write every day on this blog.    It also has a much narrower topic focus, while this one covers a much wider range of topics.  I figure, if people want to read the posts on my other blog, they will find them, but I don’t worry about it too much or try to call attention to it.   I mostly write it for myself.

In summary, I blog for four reasons, in the following order.

  1.  Enjoyment, love of writing/blogging
  2.  Self-therapy and healing; giving myself a voice.
  3.  Community with my readers and other bloggers; helping others
  4.  The thrill of increasing web presence.

So.  Why do you blog?

Lucky Otter’s Haven has a Facebook Page!

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I finally added a Facebook page, so I can share articles on Facebook without them being attached to my personal account.   I also hope to build a community there of people who read this website.  If you like this blog, please Like my page too.    Also, please feel free to share this post to your own social media so the word gets out.

https://www.facebook.com/Lucky-Otters-Haven-198937720462352/?fref=ts

I just added a Facebook Like Button to the sidebar.

Lucky Otter’s Haven is growing up!

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Graph showing how this blog has grown since October 2014 (September 2014 is not available but was even lower than October). I remember thinking 50 views a day was a big deal (that’s about where “Down The Rabbit Hole” is at right now, but I don’t ever expect that blog to ever have the same draw as LOH, because it has a much narrower focus than this one and a much more limited audience.)

The abnormally high views for May were due to a controversial article that attracted an undue amount of negative attention. Controversial articles do get you seen! (But I hate having haters).

The numbers at the bottom are for September 2015, highlighted in orange on the graph.
Click image to enlarge.

I’ve been reluctant to post the good news about my stats, because it might make me seem too narcissistic, but hell, I’m proud of this, and I want to brag! I think anyone would want to crow a little.

This month, I probably won’t quite reach 40K views, but it will be close enough.
This blog now averages well over 1,000 views a day and is creeping up into the neighborhood of 1200-1300 per day in the past few weeks.

I can actually afford to get a bit lazy sometimes now. I’ve reached the point, after a little over a year of blogging, where I need not even post new stuff every day for LOH to continue to get hits and new viewers. That’s because a few of my articles have become self-perpetuating magnets to this blog. In other words, several articles (some posted quite a long time ago–many of them are listed under “Most Popular Posts” in the sidebar) are now appearing at the top of Google for related search terms, so whenever people use those search terms in Google my articles are the first ones they see. The continued views keep them at the top of Google so they continue to get hits every day.
That’s why using appropriate search terms (tags, categories, and making sure the term is somewhere in your title) is so important. I’m learning all this stuff as I go along.

This is good, because it’s a motivator, and those of you who follow LOH know I haven’t been feeling particularly motivated lately. So this helps!

Now I can set some goals. WP’s November challenge (Nano Poblano or whatever it was called last year) is looming on the horizon and that will motivate me to post every day, the way I have been until recently. It’s my hope that by the end of this year (where did this year GO, anyway???), LOH will be getting 50K or more views per month.

It also is great that the views/viewer ratio is about 2:1. That means that for the 32.4K views I have for September so far, there have only been 16K viewers, which means viewers are looking at more than the one article they found by searching on Google (and other search engines). They are finding reason to stick around and look at other things too.

This kind of made my day. 😀

Guess who’s one year old today!

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It’s hard to believe that this blog, which I started on a whim one year ago today, was just the beginning of a life changing journey that would take way too long to detail here.

In one year, Lucky Otter’s Haven has achieved the following milestones:

187,101 views
87,188 visitors from 177 countries
1,012 posts
1,183 followers

LOH has been viewed most often by:
1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Canada
4. Australia
5. Germany
6. Netherlands
7. South Africa
8. India
9. Ireland
10. France

Top 10 posts (2015 only):
1. A Match Made in Hell: Narcissists and HSPs: 8,980 views
2. 20 Songs About Narcissists (#11-20): 7,999 views
3. 20 Songs About Narcissists (#1-10): 5,503 views
4. Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissists: 4,868 views
5. Famous People Who Have NPD: 3,838 views
6. The Distinctive “Look” of Psychopathy: 3,394 views
7. Why You Should Never Jump into a New Relationship After Narcissistic Abuse: 3,278 views
8. Do Narcissists Cry? 2,317 views
9. 12 Weird Things You Might See a Narcissist Do: 1,942 views
10. 12 More Songs About Narcissism: 1,620 views

Baby picture (what LOH looked like in January 2015):
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