“To Thine Own Self, Be True” (from Shakespear’s “Hamlet”)

I had the most incredible dream last night, & I wanted to share the valuable lesson learned from it.  :)

I dreamed that I saw my car parked in front of my parents’ home.  I was a few feet away.  My car is a lovely dark green with a matching vinyl top, but in the dream, she was painted (very poorly I might add!) white on the sides & yellow on the top, hood & trunk.  Somehow I knew my mother had done this.  I was horrified upon seeing this, wondering how was I going to afford the high price of having her repainted green.  I simply said, “God, what am I going to do?”  It suddenly started to rain a bit.  A nice steady rain.  The paint started washing off my car!!  Most of it came off easily but there were a few spots that I had to scrape at with my thumbnail.  Before I knew it, there was my ’69 Plymouth, all beautiful & green again!  In fact, she looked better than ever, now that I think of it…

I woke from this dream a bit shaken, since my car means the world to me.  She once was my Granddad’s car, then my dad’s.  Dad sold her in 1979 to a junkyard, & in 2005, I found her!  Wasn’t looking, but apparently God decided I needed a big blessing, & being a car lover, blessed me with my favorite car of my Granddad’s.  So anyway, dreams where this car is messed with in any way shake me up pretty badly.

Later, I decided to figure out what this dream meant, so I asked God & immediately, He gave me my answer.

Cars represent your life in dreams.  White & yellow are colors representing purity,  innocence, joy, positivity.  Rain represents cleansing.  In the context of this dream, this all translates to this:  growing up with a narcissistic mother, she did her level best to change me into what she wanted me to be.  In fact, still tries to do this even though I am now 43 years old.  My mother likes to present herself as a wholesome, wonderful person.  She wants me to act more like her, like what she likes, dislike what she dislikes, etc.  That is why in the dream she painted my car those particular colors, to make me more like her.  The rain was a result of me allowing God to wash away what others have done to make me into what they think I should be (my mother isn’t the only one who has tried to change me, but she is where the problem started).  Me scraping off the little bits of paint that remained represented me doing my part, cooperating with God, to get the person He made me to be back.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Since many of you who read my blog, website & books are also children of narcissistic mothers, I pray this encourages you as it has me.

Narcissists try to change their children, friends, relatives & basically anyone into what they think that person should be.  I believe it is especially painful for children, because as children, we are so starved for our parents’ love & approval, we’ll do anything they want us to do.  This also sets the stage early in life for you to believe you must please other people, even at the expense of losing yourself- changing your likes, dislikes, beliefs, how you dress, how you act & more.  It’s not right!  No one should have to change so much of themselves just to be in a relationship with another person!  If you do feel you have to change to be in a relationship with someone, maybe  it is time to reconsider being in that relationship.  At the very least, it’s time to consider getting you back & being the person God made you to be!

How do you get “you” back??

  1. To start with, stop listening right now to what others say you should do, like, how you should feel or think.  Their opinions really aren’t important!  Of course you want those you love to have good opinions of you, but if they disagree with some things about you, that is perfectly ok!  No one can be pleased 100% of the time.  If they try to make you feel bad for not pleasing them, that is a big red flag saying this person isn’t safe.
  2. Ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you who He made you to be, to have the courage to become that person & to help you shed the person you became only to please others.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone.  Try things that pique your interest that you never had the nerve or opportunity to try before.  You may discover a new passion, or at the least, will start to learn what you like & don’t like for yourself rather than what others have told you that you should like or not like.
  4. Try different clothing.  I know this sounds silly, but your clothing affects your mood.  Buy clothes that make you feel good when you’re wearing them.  Better to have 2 outfits you like than 10 you hate because someone else wants you to wear them!

At first, these things can feel kind of weird & hard to do, but I can tell you, they get easier with practice.  I’m trying them myself, & have off & on for a few years now.  From my experience, the hardest thing to do is stay focused on doing things for yourself like this.  It’s so easy to slip back into the old, dysfunctional habits!  That is what happened to me- this dream made me realize that.  To avoid conflict with my husband, I’ve even gone as far as hiding the symptoms of my C-PTSD from him no matter how hard it is on me.  This dream made me really see how bad it’s been, & how it has to stop right now.

Be good & true to yourself, Dear Readers!  You are so worth it!  I pray that God will help you if you are struggling in this area.  <3

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Wet Blankets!

Good evening, Dear Readers!

I had an interesting experience a while ago…

My mother called me under the guise of telling me about a Stephen King movie coming on TV tonight.  I knew about it already, what with him being my favorite fictional author, as many of you know.  Plus it’s a new one based on a story in his book “Full Dark, No Stars” which I really enjoyed.

Anyway she took this opportunity to remind me (as she has probably thousands of times before) that she doesn’t understand what is wrong with me- why do I like scary stories?  She certainly doesn’t like them & has no idea where I got my taste in such things!  And did I know she saw the movie “Psycho” at the drive in when it came out, & it terrified her?  Have I ever seen it?  Yes, & it’s among my favorite movies.  “GASP!!  I just don’t understand what’s wrong with you!”

Same speech, different day.  As usual, it annoyed me.

I finally thought to ask God why did she feel the need to do this?  More attempting to shame me for liking an author she doesn’t approve of (even though he’s been my favorite since I was 8 & read “Night Shift” for the first time)??  He showed me that the motivation is to spoil my fun in watching this movie.  Often her comments are made to shame me, yes, but when she calls to let me know one of his movies is coming on TV soon, it’s to spoil my fun in the hopes that I’ll give up liking this “horrible” author’s works & start liking the more happy, light & fluffy authors she likes.

*sigh*  Yea, that ain’t happening.  lol

Suddenly I realized she’s done this wet blanket thing so many times, as has my narcissistic mother in-law.  When I got my first car, a cute little Buick Skyhawk, my parents took me to the dealer.  Since I only had my learner’s permit at the time, my mother rode home with me, & complained the entire way (about 10 miles).  “This car is too small!”  “There’s no leg room!”  & other untrue & snarky comments.  It spoiled my very first drive in my first car.  When my husband & I first started dating, his mother suggested she & I go to lunch & shopping.  I said fine, when?  Her response?  “You WILL be taking Eric’s car instead of yours, right?”  I was surprised & said “No, I’ll be driving mine.”  (she doesn’t drive).  She said “Oh.” & changed the subject.  This exact conversation happened a total of 3 times before she gave up since I wasn’t taking his car & insisted on taking my own.  It also set the stage for 8 long years of nasty comments about how awful my Oldsmobile was, how expensive it was to maintain & how I should just junk it, all because it simply needs a paintjob..

There were many other similar incidents with both of them, but I’m sure you get the point.

Amazing isn’t it?  Amazing how narcissists think they know best what you should like.  And, they can’t accept the fact that you might like something they don’t or vice versa.  They act like it’s a crime, or a direct attack on them if you are different than they are, or have an interest they don’t.  And, by golly, you better straighten yourself up & only be interested in what THEY deem worthy!

It’s amazing to me that any human being can be so insecure that they will hurt, anger & try to mold another person into liking/not liking the things that they do.  How is it a threat to them if you like something they don’t?!  Who cares?!  Everybody is different, it’s a simple fact of life, so why does this even affect a narcissist?!

They are simply that insecure.

While narcissists may appear overly self-confident, the truth is that behavior is to convince not only other people but also themselves that they are wonderful, special people, & not the lowly, unworthy person they really feel like they are deep down on the inside.  So, if you don’t like something they do, then they take that as you don’t approve of them.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if you like something they don’t, they also take that as you not approving of them or you thinking you are better than they are.

Narcissists simply can’t see this situation as 2 different people having different tastes.

Remind yourself of this next time the narcissist in your life insults you for not liking something she likes, or for liking something she doesn’t.  As always, her behavior speaks volumes about her, not about you!  <3

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Self-Care

Have you ever noticed how when you’re stressed or depressed, self-care becomes a huge chore that you avoid even though these are the times you need it most?

I keep realizing this.  I’ve been going through a lot of really challenging things lately, making the C-PTSD flare up badly.  I keep neglecting to take care of myself, even though I need to do so. It’s frustrating, because I know lots of things that will help me feel better.  I also know I should be doing them.  Yet, I have no clue why I’m not doing them more often.

Have you ever done this too?  For some reason, it seems to be human nature.

Self-care is of the utmost importance, but no more so than during challenging times.  It’s easy to neglect yourself during those times, but focusing on even just simple ways to be good to yourself is so rewarding.  Walking barefoot in the dewy grass, listening to bird’s singing early in the morning, sit by a roaring fire with a mug of herbal tea or glass of wine on a snowy evening, a bubble bath, playing with/snuggling your pets or buying that new book you’ve been wanting can help to improve your mood.

Also don’t neglect a beauty ritual, Ladies!  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate.  I personally keep mine very simple.  I exfoliate my skin often in the shower with my own concoction of equal parts ground oatmeal, cornmeal & salt, then follow this with a nice lotion.  I use shampoo & conditioner that I love, & hand & nail products that soften my hands & strengthen my nails.  Frequent manicures/pedicures also are part of my beauty ritual.  These little things help me to feel pretty, which is always good for the mood.

The next time you’re going through some stressful times, I hope you won’t push your self-care & beauty rituals to the back burner again!  You are worth it!  Take good care of yourself!

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To Stay In Relationship With A Narcissist Or Not

I’ve liked quite a few pages regarding narcissism on facebook.  This morning when I got online, several of those pages were singing the praises of having no contact with the narcissist in your life.  “It’s the only choice you have!” they say.  While that sounds logical, & often is the best choice, sometimes for various reasons, there isn’t an option to have zero contact.  Sometimes, people had children with a narcissistic partner, & while they can separate or divorce this person, they still have to have some contact due to having children with this person.  Others may live with an elderly narcissistic parent & they can’t afford to move out.  Still others may be in a situation like mine where I have chosen to limit contact drastically because I don’t feel severing all ties is the right choice for me at this time.

People who are unable or unwilling to go no contact are the people I want to talk to today.

Please, please, please- don’t let anyone pressure you into going to contact with the narcissist in your life.  No one knows your situation like you do, nor do they know what you are able to handle.  You alone need to decide when & if booting the narcissist out of your life is the right choice for you.  And, when making that choice, you need to think & pray about this situation carefully.  Never make this decision in the heat of the moment, because you may regret it later.

If you decide not to cut ties with the narcissist, there are some ways to deal with them.  Granted, there will always be frustration, hurt & anger when dealing with any narcissist, but you can cut back on these things.

  • Remember, the narcissist’s hurtful behavior isn’t about you- it’s about her.  Her lack of empathy, judgemental ways & verbal abuse are all on her.  They don’t mean there is anything wrong with you!  Don’t believe her when she tries to make you feel bad, ugly, stupid, wrong, crazy, etc.  Know your worth, & don’t let her determine how you feel about yourself.  No one so dysfunctional should determine your self-worth!
  • Set & enforce strong boundaries, & be prepared for them to be met with hostility.  Narcissists don’t like anyone trying to have boundaries, since they like to overrun them.  She will  be angry with you for daring to have boundaries, & will try to make you feel crazy or selfish.  She may even give you the silent treatment to punish you for doing so.
  • Prepare for what you know she will do.  For example, I know my mother hates my car.  It once belonged to my granddad (her father in-law), & later my father.  She will criticize it at any given opportunity, often by saying “I’d never own a car that YOUR grandfather owned!”  At the moment she said it, I was too angry to think of it, but later I came up with the perfect comeback- “Really?  You owned this car for 3 years.  Could’ve fooled me.”  What nasty thing does your narcissist do often?  Think of a good way to counter it!  Ask God for some creativity- He’ll give it to you!
  • Keep calm in the presense of the narcissist.  Don’t let her see your anger or hurt- she will feed on such things & become crueler.  Stay calm until after you are no longer in her presence, then pray, vent to a safe friend or relative, journal or whatever helps you get out the anger & hurt.
  • Get good at self care.  Dealing with a narcissist is exhuasting, physically & mostly mentally.  Take care of yourself.  Get plenty of rest, do things that restore yourself, nurture your relationship with God, participate in relaxing hobbies you enjoy, spend time with people who genuinely love & care about you.

I hope these tips help you if you are unable or unwilling to sever ties with the narcissist in your life.  <3

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Responding vs. Reacting

Good morning, Dear Readers!

As I mentioned in my last post, last Friday, my mother called, & as she so often does, attempted to push my buttons.  A part of me wanted to just jump through the phone & smack her.  I mean really- trying to shame me by acting like I’m the only person in the entire world who likes Stephen King’s writing just because she doesn’t like scary stories?  Sheesh..  how stupid!  Anyway, I refused to show her I was angry, because that only pleases her & makes her meaner.  Instead I either pretend I didn’t notice the snide comments, or respond calmly albeit a bit sarcastically.  With the Stephen King comments, for example, She ended her tirade with “I don’t know where you get your taste in books!  I don’t like anything scary!”  (she likes fluffy, light stories only) In a somewhat cheerful tone, I simply said, “You obviously don’t know any of us Baileys then.  There is not one Bailey I know of who doesn’t like scary stories.  Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker- you know, the GOOD authors.”  My mother responded by changing the subject.  HA!  She wasn’t amused that I didn’t respond in anger & I made a valid point.

My point of telling you this is that there is a very big difference in responding & reacting, & if you have a narcissist in your life, then you need to learn the difference!

What I did in the above story is respond.  I know this is a topic that comes up often (it’s an attempt to shame me for being different than her), so I have learned to prepare my responses ahead of time.  I maintain an air of calmness, even though inside I may not feel so calm, & speak my peace.

Reacting is much different.  Reacting is what you do when you don’t think or prepare ahead of timem.  When someone pushes your buttons, you react by yelling at them.  This is what narcissists want you to do- they feed off of the fact that they have so much control/power over you, they can make you so angry or even lose control.  If they can make you look crazy by yelling at them while they stay calm, all the better for them.  They get that power, plus they make you doubt your own sanity.

See the difference??

If you too have a narcissist in your life, then you need to master the art of responding & lose your reaction for your own mental health.  In order to do this, you need to know your narcissist.  What topics does she frequently bring up to hurt you with?  Does she use the same method with several topics?  How does she expect you to react to her antics- with anger?  Tears?

Once you know what to expect, that is half the battle!  From there, you can prepare various ways to respond.  I do this by asking God for help.  Help me to stay calm in her presence & help me to say creative things to let her know her game isn’t working- I’m not ashamed of myself for being different or feeling guilty because I don’t agree with her or whatever her evil goal is.  It’s worked wonderfully too!  Usually things just happen & I haven’t prepared myself other than to pray before seeing her.  My recent response to my mother’s nasty comments because I like Stephen King’s work was one of those incidents.  A few days prior, as I wrote about in this blog entry the other day, I learned that saying, “well ain’t that nice” was also effective, & it was also a spontaneous event.

Learning to respond rather than react has been very beneficial for me.  It has eliminated many topics that my mother used to use to try to hurt or invalidate me with.  It can do the same for you!  I doubt there is ever a way to completely eliminate all of a narcissist’s weapons of verbal destruction, but this one will eliminate plenty of them! I encourage you to give it a try.  What do you have to lose??

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My Narcissistic Mother Fired Me! Setting Boundaries With A Narcissist

Good morning, Dear Readers!

It looks like my caregiving days are over with my parents.  My mother called me the other day & told me how my father’s health has suddenly taken a turn for the better.  He was doing a little light yard work & other things.  She asked him if he could resume doing the laundry (she claims her back is too bad to carry the laundry or maneuver those basement steps).  She told me he said sure, he can do it, so I don’t need to come by on Sundays anymore.

I’ve been fired!  lol

I’m not sure I believe that my father is suddenly doing so much better than he was.  It hasn’t even been one month since he had that mild stroke.  He’s had really bad dizzy spells & weakness since.

I have a theory on his sudden “miraculous healing.”  My mother would rather make him suffer (she knows he won’t disobey her) than respect the boundaries I put up last Sunday.

As I mentioned before, I told my parents last Sunday that I have arthritis in my knees & climbing their basement steps to do their laundry in addition to doing my own thing hurt me.  Going in, I knew it would, but didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.  This meant I wasn’t sure how reliable I was going to be in my helping them (when dealing with this situation with a narcissist, turn it around to how it affects them!).  My mother has said for years now she wants her washer & dryer moved upstairs, yet has continually dragged her feet on accomplishing this task. I offered to help clear the spot where she wants them, & help get this task done.  She said she couldn’t do it, had (lame) reasons why, & deflected off the topic.  (When my husband spoke to her on the topic, she even brought out the crocodile tears!)  When I said my knees were bad, she shut me out entirely, so I spoke with my father on the topic.  I said if they won’t get the washer & dryer upstairs, then I have a number for the county.  A social worker will come & evaluate their needs, & let them know what sort of help they qualify for.  Even if they don’t qualify, I have more numbers for home health care aides who aren’t very pricey.  My parents don’t need much help, so it wouldn’t cost much at all for a little help.  My father was all for either solution, & since my mother wouldn’t listen to me, he said he would talk to her.  Apparently he did…

When my mother called on Friday, she said my father told her I have bad knees & asked skeptically, “Is that even true?”  WHAT?!  I told her yes, & as I’ve said many times, I’ve had arthritis in my knees since 2002 when I was 31.  She asked if the doctor was talking knee replacement, & I said I haven’t seen a doctor in years about it because I don’t have insurance. She then told me how if I would just lose weight, it’d help.  I was shaking at this point due to an emotional flashback.  Growing up, my mother was so hard on me about being “fat” (even though I wasn’t), I developed anorexia when I was about 10 & it later morphed into bulimia which I lived with into my teens.  At 43 years old, I was shaking with fear & anger just like I did as a child, waiting for her to say the terrible shaming things she used to say to me about how fat & gross I am.  Thankfully, it didn’t happen.  Instead, she went on to tell me how much worse others in her family have it with their knees & how a knee replacement is no big deal (bet she’d feel differently if she had one!).  The rest of the conversation was not any better.  Constant snarky, cruel comments followed, criticizing all kinds of things about me.  The volume of the criticisms was impressive, even by my mother’s legendary standards.

This is my mother’s new narcissistic rage.  Gone are the days of her screaming in my face, calling me awful, degrading names as she did when I was a teenager.  Now that she is older & frailer, & I am stronger than her, she won’t do that.  Instead, she uses the common weapons of narcissists- invalidation, criticism, gaslighting- as often as she possibly can work into the conversation.

Why the rage?  Because I set boundaries.  Rather than seeing them as me taking care of myself while also trying to take care of my parents as any emotionally healthy person would, she saw it more as me being disobedient or disrespectful to her.  She is so accustomed to being blindly obeyed by everyone, that she simply cannot handle someone not obeying her wishes.  I think the plan was for me to continue doing for my parents, & ignoring my own physical pain.  She loves to be waited on, just like her mother, & she believes I owe it to her, as her mother also believed of her children & grandchildren.

Anyone who thinks their narcissistic mother will mellow with age is sadly mistaken.  Yes, it can happen, but it is rarer than the spotted owl.  In my personal experience plus what I have heard talking with other daughters of narcissistic mothers, they get meaner.  Just because they don’t scream in your face anymore doesn’t mean they are nicer!  Getting older only means their tactics change.  They are still as evil & hurtful as they ever were.

On a positive note, I did get an inspiration for another blog post out of that awful phone call that I’ll share tomorrow.  It’s full of good information that can help you in relating to a narcissist.

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Changes

Happy Saturday, Dear Readers!

This has been a somewhat sad day for me.  I shut down my facebook page.  Kept my personal one, but shut down my writing one.  Due to someone harassing me for just over a year now & using that page to contact me, I felt it was best to shut it down.  This has made me a bit sad.  But, in a way, I’m thinking this may be a good thing in a way.  I have a group on facebook where my fans & I can interact.  We talk about all kinds of topics including animals, abuse & related issues, Christianity & naturally narcissism, & share some laughs.  It’s a nice little place, so if you’re on facebook, I’d love it if you’d come check it out.  If you aren’t on facebook or don’t care to join groups, then please check out my forum.  It’s very quiet as it is just starting, but I hope it will pick up the pace quickly.

Both the group & forum are going to be very safe places.  I will police them to be sure troublemakers are removed as soon as they join.  Both also offer some privacy- on facebook, the group is closed, which means although others can see you’re in the group, no one but members can see what you post.  And, the forum?  Only other members can see your posts. I strongly suggest creating a false name as your user name so others who do read your posts won’t know it is you posting if you want annonymity.

I hope to see you soon!  :)

Here is the facebook group link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

And, the forum link.

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

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You Matter!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

The other night, I had a very strange dream.  I was with a small group of people.  I got my wallet out of my purse, & found a nice little amount of money in there I didn’t know I had- I think it was around $65.  I quickly stuffed it back in my wallet.  I then went to get something from my car’s glove compartment, & found an envelope with more money in it.  I think around the same amount but I’m not sure.  I quickly hid it back in the glove compartment, nervous the other people around me would know I had it, then woke up.  The dream was baffling, so naturally I prayed about it as well as looked up the symbolism of money on that dream interpretation site I like so much.  It said money represents self worth, values & self confidence.  Finding it symbolizes your quest for love or power.  This didn’t clarify anything for me.  lol

This morning as I was waking up, immediately God showed me what the dream meant.  I have been accepting the opinions of others that I don’t matter lately, & I need to stop allowing their false beliefs into my heart.  I need to guard my heart & my self-esteem as I hid the money in that dream.   As an example, as I’ve mentioned here, I told my parents my bad knees don’t like me going up & down their basement steps to do their laundry.  Either we need to move their washer & dryer upstairs (as my mother said she’s wanted to do for years) or get some help.  My father agreed with me.  My mother however?  Ignored every word I said.  This gave me the message what I want & feel isn’t important- I don’t matter.  Unfortunately I am so accustomed to this kind of thing happening I reacted automatically as I always have- by assuming I’m not important.  In fact, I was considering dropping the topic with her, & putting up with my own pain rather than pushing the issue.  Not now, though!  Thanks to God revealing what this dream meant, I realized what was happening & just how bad it’s gotten.  I usually try to take care of my skin, hair & nails often as these things make me feel pretty.  I haven’t been doing anything really good for me.  As a result, my skin & hair are dry & nails are short.  Not feeling so pretty right now!  I haven’t done well with self-care this week either, & it shows.  The C-PTSD is flaring up big time- my anxiety levels have been crazy high, depression terrible, my concentration is almost non-existent & sleep problems are even worse than usual.

Anyway, I think this is a common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, feeling as if we don’t matter.  Everyone else is more important, because we were raised from day 1 to take care of the needs of the narcissist.  Your job is to make sure that your narcissistic mother is happy, that you are doing whatever you are told, that you don’t make any waves or else you may face a dreaded narcissistic rage.

Sound familiar??  I bet it does if you were raised by a narcissistic mother like I was.

So what to do about this?  It’s time to study what God has to say about His children.  Years ago, I did just this, then put what I found in one of my books.  I since put it in another couple of books & on my website.  Here is the link:

Affirmations

I strongly recommend you read over this page, & let what God says about you get deep into your heart.  This is all what He said, I only put these things together.  Let God’s word heal your heart.  There is truly healing power when He speaks, whether it is in the form of the written word (such as in the Bible) or if you are fortunate enough to hear His voice speaking to you.  God’s word always heals.

If you’re reading this & suffering with this same problem of feeling as if you don’t matter, I’m praying for you.  No one should feel this way!  You matter!  God loves you, & made you for a purpose.  <3

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Lessons Learned & Question Answered

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d share some things with you today…

I am gaining a new appreciation & respect for dreams as of late.  All of my dreams seem to have some valuable message in them these days.  I seldom understand them immediately, so I look up various symbols on my favorite dream interpretation site, http://www.dreammoods.com, jot notes down, ask God what it all means & wait for His answer.  It comes fairly quickly & is always eye opening.  God truly speaks to us via our dreams!  You would be wise to start paying attention to yours as well.

I also learned something valuable Sunday while at my parents’ house.  In typical narcissistic mother fashion, my mother tried to shame me for liking a couple of things she doesn’t like.  Obviously, something is wrong with me because I’m different than her yanno!  lol  As she was making absolutely certain I knew this, a joke I absolutely love popped into my mind…

These 2 proper Southern belles were sitting on a veranda, drinking mint juleps & talking.  The one said to the other,

“You see this diamond necklace?  My husband gave that to me when we got married.”  

The second said, “Well ain’t that nice?”  

“You see this pearl bracelet?  My husband gave that to me when our son was born.”  

“Well ain’t that nice?”

“You see that Jaguar in the driveway?  My husband gave that to me for our anniversary last week.”  

“Well, ain’t that nice?”  

“Speaking of anniversaries, you & your husband had one recently.  What did he get you?”  

“He paid for me to go to charm school.”  

“Charm school?  What on earth did you learn there?”  

“I learned how to say well ain’t that nice instead of who gives a ****?”  

As my mother was finishing up her shaming me because I said I kind of like mincemeat pie & she doesn’t, I simply said, “Well, ain’t that nice?”  My mother is from PA- a northern woman through & through- so she just looked at me funny when I said that, & changed the subject immediately. My father, however, is from VA, & thoroughly Southern.  He knew what that meant even though I’ve never told him that joke, so he snickered a bit.  I realized saying that joke’s punchline worked very well for me.  I was able to tell my mother her opinion means nothing to me in a respectful way, & she stopped that shaming thing that irritates me so badly.  I’m thinking “well, ain’t that nice” is going to be said a LOT in my near future.  You may want to try this one with your narcissistic mother too.  ;)

Speaking of my parents, I’ve had several people ask me lately why I’m helping my parents out.  Considering how poorly my mother has treated me as I’ve been helping her plus my own health issues, why even try?  I thought I would answer this question here.  I guess it’s because I’m my parents’ only child.  They don’t have any other family they can rely on besides me.  Yes, they can hire help (which I’m working on getting that going- I can do some, but more help would be very nice), but I want to at least try to help out.  This has been a learning experience for me, too.  I’ve come to realize I was thinking more like their child instead of their daughter, & am changing that.  I’ve gotten stronger with setting/enforcing boundaries.  I’m learning new ways to cope with nastiness & gaslighting (such as the “well ain’t that nice” comment).  I’m also getting better at self-care out of sheer necessity.  I’ve found local resources that may prove to be valuable to them as well, so while they are not in dire need of a lot of help at the moment, if, God forbid, that happens, we will know where to turn.  So, as difficult as things are, at least I’m getting some good from it while providing them with the help they need.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Interesting Revelations

Good evening, Dear Readers!

I’ve been thinking this afternoon & decided I’d share my thoughts with you. Seeing things in writing helps me clarify things in my mind anyway, & I’m hoping this post will help you as well.

As I mentioned, the last time I helped my parents out was a very difficult day. My narcissistic mother found a new way to degrade me that was so low, I don’t even want to discuss the details. She also knew I was in pain- while helping hubby use the log splitter the previous day, a good sized log landed on my left foot- yet she insisted I do at least 3 loads of laundry & make a couple of extra trips to & from their basement. Oh, & she also insisted on telling me all about the problems she has with her feet, interrupting me explaining what happened to my father.

Stupidly, I put up with it all too. Silently. I did set a boundary on the laundry as she wanted me to keep going, but for some reason, I tolerated the rest. I’ve been kicking myself since.

This is nothing but bullying behavior from my mother. It’s also nothing new to me. My mother has bullied me my entire life. A girl in junior high seemed to think it was her job to bully me from seventh through ninth grades. Another girl did the same briefly in seventh grade. Even my father in-law tried bullying me (like he has done to the rest of his family) occasionally during the first few years of my husband’s & my relationship. And, currently, someone who has been harassing me for the last year periodically uses bullying behavior as well.

Bullies don’t scare me at all, since I am so accustomed to them. I know they are nothing but immature cowards at heart who back down immediately once confronted. My mother is no exception. I’ve made her back down before when calling her out on her actions.

I also realized since that day at my parents’ home, I haven’t been myself at all. I’ve been withdrawn & depressed. My husband keeps asking what’s wrong, & I tell him I’m fine, refusing to show any emotions. I also tried to make him happy when he was in a foul mood yesterday rather than let him work it out on his own. Ridiculous! I know that my behavior is partly because I don’t want to hear his assessment of my situation, but there is more to it. I realized I have reverted back to my childish survival mechanisms.

Tolerating the bullying from my mother is what I knew to do as a child to avoid her anger, shaming me, disappointment, etc. It kept the peace. It’s also a reflex for me to do. I also know that showing any anger at her bullying will only feed her- the more hurt or anger I show my mother, the harder she tries to push every button I have, & the happier she is.

I also realized something else- I’ve been trying to make myself invisible (like I felt I was in childhood) by not bothering anyone with my feelings. WHY?! I asked God this because it makes no sense! Emotions are a part of everyone. God gave them to us, so how can they be bad? Immediately, He began to show me some things. I found it interesting because they reminded me of the dream I had recently where God showed me I need to move away from old ways of thinking. (see that post here: http://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/another-interesting-dream-to-share/ )

When I was in the eighth grade, there was an after school dance coming up. All of my friends were asking boys to the dance. I was uncomfortable with the thought of it, but since they were doing it, I figured I should too. At the end of a school day, I asked a boy who it turned out had been asked by several other girls. I was embarrassed, & later my mother saw me crying. She demanded to know what was wrong, & I didn’t want to tell her. Finally after her continued pushing, I did tell her. She told me no man would ever want me because I was so pushy & this was no big deal, stop crying. She acted like I was bothering her with petty problems by sharing this with her. I had always known it’s best to keep my emotions controlled, but this cemented that belief in my mind. I rarely showed any emotions to my mother again except when her abuse was exceptionally bad.

As an adult, there have been a few episodes with my husband where he too has shamed me for feeling certain things. For example, when we first got together, I learned he liked pancakes. I don’t, so I had no idea how to make them. I learned, but frankly, I stunk at it. I would get frustrated sometimes when trying & slam a kitchen cabinet door or something. He then would come into the room, say something like “tsk tsk.. soooo much anger,” then walk away, shaking his head. Also, when I got mad at his mother for her constant verbal abuse, snooping through my purse, criticizing my pets & family, he would tell me I had to understand her better or “be the bigger person” & ignore it. Basically, these behaviors of his showed me that something was wrong with me for having the feelings I did, & I shouldn’t bother him with those petty things. After years of this kind of behavior, it cemented in my mind that I need to keep my emotions from him as well.

Can you relate??

No one needs to tolerate bullying, but especially from their own mother! How ridiculous is that?! What kind of sick woman tries to hurt & intimidate her own child? A narcissist, that’s who. “Honor thy mother & father” does NOT mean tolerating abuse in any way, shape or form. There is nothing good or holy about that. How does anyone benefit from being mistreated or mistreating others? However, it is loving to put an end to such behaviors & making the abuser face uncomfortable consequences for her actions. God’s kind of love wants what is best for others, & that sometimes means confrontation or setting & enforcing boundaries.

And, if you too have been made to feel ashamed of your emotions or like you need to be invisible too, I am so sorry for what you are feeling! I know how miserable this is! You do not need to hide your emotions another moment. You have every right to feel them & process them however you need to. They are a part of you, a part of what makes you the unique person you are! Granted, it’s unwise to share your emotions with just anyone (such as narcissists or even plain old judgmental people), but there is nothing wrong with sharing your feelings with safe people.

As for me, I’m angry right now about this, & odd as it may sound, I think it’s a good thing. As the Bible says, be angry yet do not sin, so I won’t allow it to make me behave foolishly. I will, however, allow my anger to give me courage the next time I help my parents out. I will not allow my mother to bully me anymore, & I will set & enforce some strict boundaries. I also will not allow her to mock or invalidate me again either. If it comes down to it, I will walk out of her house. There is really nothing she can do to hurt me anymore.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism