Feline Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Did you know that animals can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? 

I’ve been a cat mom since 1990, & was oblivious to this fact until today.  My littlest guy who is around 7 months old, Punkin, suddenly attacked my dog, Dixie this morning after she accidentally startled him.  Thankfully, she is fine- his claws weren’t out.  He’s never done this before, & the whole incident upset him even more than her.  He was immediately sorry, which showed me the attack wasn’t meant to be vicious.  It all was very strange, & I wondered if it was possible he had a flashback.  A little searching online showed me there is such a thing as feline PTSD. 

I met Punkin at around 3 months old last April 23.  He showed up in a local lady’s yard, meowing loudly, looking for help.  I have no clue what happened in his life before he showed up in her yard, but I do know something unpleasant & involving a dog happened.  He’s been leery of Dixie from day one, in spite of her giving him her favorite toy upon meeting him.  Until today, I had no idea just how bad it was though.  I saw some odd behavior but for some reason didn’t think about PTSD.

Cats with FPTSD share many symptoms with their human counterparts such as an exaggerated startled response, hyper-vigilance, nightmares, a fear of being abandoned & depression.  Factors that can cause FPTSD are accidents, abuse (either witnessing abuse or being abused), being in a life threatening situation, abandonment or living in a shelter.  If your pet shows these symptoms, he or she may have PTSD.  It is usually diagnosed in dogs in the military or who work with the police, but it happens in other animals as well who haven’t seen military or police duty.

Also like their human counterparts, their symptoms can be managed, but not cured.  Keeping a peaceful atmosphere in your home, avoiding loud noises & creating a safe place with toys & something that smells like you are said to help.

As for my little man?  As soon as I finished reading, I picked him up & told him I understood, I love him, & that he’s safe here.  I also told him Dixie is no danger- she’s a wonderful dog.  I put him on my bed about 3′ from her.  He looked sheepishly at her, & laid down about 1′ from her, which is his norm.  I also told Dixie to please, try not to startle him, or he could attack again.  Hopefully all will be fine now…we shall see! 

It’s interesting though- things make sense now.  Punkin hates closed doors, or being left alone (even if only for 20 minutes to take a shower).  He’s very clingy with me.  We clicked right away- we just get each other so very well.  And, Zippy adopted him immediately & became an awesome daddy/protector/best friend. 

Here’s Punkin, snuggled up to his big buddy, Zippy.  :-)

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My New Forum

Today I got a couple more emails from people looking for advice. I just can’t counsel people- I’m not qualified. Plus, mentally, I get drained & sometimes I get physically sick from talking with people about their problems. It isn’t that I don’t care, it is that I just can’t.

My solution was to create a forum. Here is the link:

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

Now anyone can access my forum, & hopefully find the answers they’re seeking. As far as privacy goes, I made the forum so anyone who wants to read it needs to register. I still want to suggest using fake names though, just in case you are concerned with anyone you know realizing you’re posting in this forum.

Since I just started it about 10 minutes ago, it’s quiet, but feel free to come on by & introduce yourself! I look forward to seeing you there!

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

Prayer, Please..

Good afternoon, Dear Readers.

I would like to take a moment & ask for your prayers today. Not many of you know this, but this past January, I learned an ex-boyfriend of mine shot & killed his boyfriend, then himself. I would like to ask you to pray for everyone affected by this tragedy. No doubt his family are still trying to come to terms with what happened. And, I can only imagine the anger & shock his boyfriend’s family must still be feeling.

This has come to mind because it was this day in 1990 that I met my ex. I wonder what happened in his life since I last saw him that brought him to such a dark place. He had been arrested a week before his death, & the mug shot that was online & in the local papers showed someone who has been through a very hard life. Someone who looked at least 20 years older than he really was, & I didn’t even recognize.

So anyway prayers for those affected by this senseless tragedy that has affected these 2 families would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!!

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Not All Abuse Shows On The Outside

I’m not a gambler, but I would be willing to bet that I’m not the only one who has wondered why they have so many issues. After all, other people grew up with abusive parents too & they are mostly ok…

For some odd reason this thought popped into my mind a few days ago as it does periodically. That night, I quickly realized it’s no wonder I have C-PTSD & other mental health issues.

Just after 9, my father called. It was the second night in a row he called that late. I didn’t answer the phone. As I’ve told him, I like evenings to myself, plus by 9, I want to be in bed, ready for sleep. I have tons of sleep problems (insomnia, nightmares, waking up without being able to fall asleep again) so I figure if I can fall asleep early enough, maybe I can get enough sleep to function by the time I get up in the morning between 7-8. I thought maybe he’d get the point & call back the next day at a decent hour, or I could call him back the next day. Nope. Between my home & cell, he called I think it was 13 times in the next hour. Then at almost 11, my cousin who lives 450 miles away called. I answered his call because he never calls that late. He said my dad asked him to call me & have me call him. I was beyond livid. There was no emergency! This was all about control. Trying to force me to talk to him when he wanted, not when I was available.

The next morning, my father called me before 8 a.m. He said he was worried about me since I didn’t answer the phone. So worried in fact, he called my cousin & my in-laws. My father knows I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002, yet he dragged them into this mess. Fantastic..I’m now wondering what is going to happen with them.

During that call, I had to set my boundaries, YET AGAIN with my narcissistic father. And, during him acting like something was wrong with me for being upset, I realized that it’s no wonder I have mental health problems. This nasty ploy for control is far from the first head game I’ve been subjected to by my parents. They have done this sort of thing my entire life.

When you’re beaten up, you have bruises & broken bones to show for it. People see your injuries, & reinforce that it was wrong for someone to hurt you. It is ok for you to be angry in these situations- people even encourage it.

But, when you are psychologically abused, such as by a narcissistic parent, you don’t have obvious wounds. They think whatever you’re experiencing is no big deal, or no parent would hurt their child, or some other faulty thinking that invalidates your pain. Plus, you have your narcissistic parent regularly practicing gaslighting on you, manipulating, controlling & invalidating you at every turn. The combination of these things can lead to you feeling as if you are crazy, wrong, evil & much more. It also can lead to such very serious conditions as depression, anxiety & Complex PTSD. These problems don’t mean you are weak, crazy, flawed or whatever- it means you have been through a great deal of traumatic psychological abuse! You are OK!

No one escapes psychological abuse, especially at the hands of a narcissistic parent, unscathed. Even those who seem like they have it all together, still have some issues. They are just better at hiding them than other people are.

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My New Book Is Almost Ready For Publishing!

Good news!

My current book, “It’s All About ME! The Facts About Maternal Narcissism” is almost ready for publishing in print & ebook forms! I am hopeful to have this done in the very near future. I’d like to say within a few days, but since I never know how I’m going to feel (thank you, C-PTSD), I’ll say within a couple of weeks instead just to be safe. I will post when it is published, & share links of where the books can be purchased.

Thank you everyone for your support & encouragement while writing this difficult book!

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

A Sad Legacy – The Death Of A Narcissist

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I’m sorry for being missing in action. It’s been a crazy week, but I think all is settling down now & I can get back to writing. At least I sure hope so!

My husband & I were out this past Saturday, & at the last minute decided to stop by a local cemetery. His brother is buried there, as are a former classmate of mine & my mother’s mother. We visited his brother first. It was a painful few minutes- my husband was close to his brother, & his death from AIDS was a painful thing to witness. Then we visited my former classmate, Scott, who died only 4 years after graduation in a car accident. Scott & I weren’t close, but even so, his death was very sad. He was a good person, & died so young. Then we went over to my grandmother’s grave. I felt nothing as I stood there, looking at her bare gravestone- a basic metal plaque with only her name & dates on it. She had no flowers on her grave, nor did I have any desire to put any on there, although I did wish I’d taken some to my late brother in-law & classmate.

I got to thinking after we left. Hubby’s brother has a basic marker- his parents are the very no frills type, so this makes sense. Yet even so, it says “beloved son” on the marker along with his name & dates, & flowers were put on his grave recently. Scott’s family went above & beyond- they got him a huge marble plaque that covers his grave. A lovely poem is on it, Scripture & a picture taken not long before his death along with his name & dates. There are always flowers on his grave, even though he’s been gone since 1993. I even thought about my paternal grandparents. Grandmom died in 1996, Granddad in 2003, yet there is always evidence of someone having been at their graves. They also have a lovely, ornate joint headstone.

And then, there is my mother’s mother.

A basic plaque with only name & dates on it marks my grandmother’s grave. No “beloved mother” or any Scriptures. She didn’t even have flowers in the vase. It made me a bit sad thinking that no one showed love for my grandmother, including me, which made me feel rather guilty. Then I got to thinking about some of the things she did to me. My grandmother was a narcissist, which is obviously where my mother learned her narcissistic ways. She was an evil, cruel woman who cared nothing for anyone, not even her own family, other than what they could do for her. I also remembered how she once saw one of my cousins crying, saying how much our grandmother hurt her once, & she turned away from my cousin, indifferent to her suffering. Countless times, I saw my grandmother hurt my mother with her cruel words & try to start trouble between my mother & father. When my grandmother died, I was upset, but not because I missed her. It was because our relationship was such a waste- she hated me & didn’t mind letting me know that. I was actually relieved when she died, not sad. She had stopped speaking to me a year before, never telling me why. I always waited thinking she would suddenly call, acting like nothing happened, & wanting something from me. When she died, I felt relief knowing that couldn’t happen.

Thinking about all of those things, it makes sense that there is no love shown to my grandmother by putting pretty flowers on her grave. It also looked as if no one has been to her grave in a while as the grass around her grave marker was somewhat overgrown. I didn’t go to her funeral, but from what I heard, there weren’t a lot of people there, nor was there a get together after.

How very sad that few people can be affected by someone’s death. What a legacy to leave! It also reminded me of the Scripture in the Bible that says, “what a man sows, that also shall he reap.” My grandmother sowed a life of discord & heartache, & she is still reaping a harvest of indifference.

I decided to write this out for those of you whose narcissistic mothers have already passed on, are elderly, or if you are thinking about what may happen when your narcissistic mother passes away. My prayer is when that time comes, you don’t feel guilty for not wanting to take flowers to their grave weekly or even for being relieved they are gone. You reap what you sow in life. No one is immune to that law, including narcissistic mothers. After years of abuse at her hand, do you really think you will feel sad for losing her? It is truly a sad legacy, leaving behind a child or grandchild that is glad you’re gone, but it is also a natural occurrence in abuse cases such as with narcissistic mothers.

Also remember when that time comes, you aren’t alone. I dare say most adult children of narcissists feel the same way, but are afraid to admit it to anyone for fear of being judged. If you have someone safe to talk to, then by all means, please talk to them about how you feel. If not, then write it out. I wrote my grandmother a letter after she died, & left it under her grave marker. No one knew I did it at the time. It helped me tremendously, getting out my feelings, even though I knew she obviously never would read it.

Pray about what you’re experiencing too. God can handle hearing it, & knows what you’re feeling & thinking anyway. You can’t shock Him. And, He will comfort you & heal your pain. <3

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Depression And Suicidal Thoughts

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

By now, I’m sure many of you have heard about Robin Williams’ untimely death yesterday. It’s such a great tragedy when someone commits suicide. He seemed like a good man, & was a wonderful actor. I loved his more dramatic roles, such as in “Awakenings”, “What Dreams May Come” & “Insomnia.” He was very talented! I pray God comforts all affected by his tragic death.

My hope is that this sad situation will help to raise awareness of mental illness, depression & suicide prevention & help to remove the stigma of such things. These things should never be taken lightly or mocked, yet sadly they are.

I have spent more time than I care to admit in my life suicidal, & I can tell you, it is a terrifying, dismal place to be when you are in that depth of despair. It feels as though there is no escape other than death, & death seems to be calling you. There is no hope, & no desire to go on living. After all, you believe no one will care if you’re gone anyway, so what is there to live for?

If you are suffering with depression, PTSD or C-PTSD, you know these feelings all too well. Please, please PLEASE do not act like they are no big deal! Talk to someone! If you don’t have someone safe to talk to, there is always the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Their phone number is 1 (800) 273- TALK. Someone is waiting to talk to you there who can help you. Please call them. You are here for a purpose! God loves you as you are, & wants you to be here at this time to fulfill a special purpose that only you can fulfill. You may not feel it, but you are greatly loved, & the world would not be the same without you!!

If you never have battled suicidal feelings, you are truly blessed! Chances are, however, that you may deal with someone who is at some point in your life. Please be gentle, supportive & understanding when talking with them. Listen to what this person has to say. Don’t give them useless advice such as “think happy thoughts.” Being suicidal is much more than thinking negatively. Don’t judge them, & offer input only if you are asked for it. Try to see what the person is saying through their eyes, not yours. Display unconditional love, empathy & support. Pray with this person & for him or her.

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Some Thoughts On Anger

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I just read something that said “Never remain silent if someone you suspect is being abused!” I also read something else that encouraged people to speak out against abuse by telling their stories. Something clicked in my little mind when I read both of these things…

I haven’t discussed much publicly about my relationship with my in-laws, because I didn’t want to take a chance on upsetting or embarrassing my husband. As I’ve been writing my current book about maternal narcissism, my narcissistic mother in-law & all she put me through naturally has come to mind. A lot. Even though I really hadn’t thought much about her in a long time since I stopped speaking to her in 2002.

As a result, I am very angry with her right now. Even to the point I hate her instead of feeling my usual indifference. I truly detest the feeling of hatred for anyone!! Thankfully, I know I will forgive her & it will be gone soon, but right now? Yuk.

I think silence about abuse serves so many purposes, none of which are good or healthy, & all of which only benefit the abusive person. Growing up, my mother demanded absolute silence from me regarding what she did, & if she even suspected I was telling anyone, even my father, about what she did to me, I was screamed at & berated. My mother was protected & allowed to abuse me by no one knowing what she did at home, & me acting as if all was fine so no one would be suspicious.

Something else happened during that time, too, that I just thought about today. (And yes, it does connect to my mother in-law, I haven’t forgotten!) Part of maintaining the appearance of normalcy & keeping her abuse a secret meant that I was never allowed to be angry about anything, but especially being abused. If I showed any anger, or even frustration for that matter, my mother told me I have “that Bailey temper” & shamed me for it. (Side note: my family members don’t really have bad tempers. Yes, they get angry sometimes, but doesn’t everyone?! They aren’t destructive or foolish when angry.) As a result, I learned early in my life not to get angry- to stuff those feelings down & ignore them. I have carried this dysfunctional pattern into my adult life, only getting really angry a few times & calming down pretty quickly in the twenty-years I have lived out of my parents’ home.

Until today.

I realized the extent of how badly I have done this burying anger thing today. I do it without thinking about it, it’s just an automatic behavior. So much so that although my mother in-law has obviously hated & mistreated me since we met, I never got really angry with her until today. Sure, I got mad sometimes, & my husband & I fought about her, but the anger was usually short lived. It didn’t help he didn’t like me getting angry with his mother, & would get mad at me for what she did. Today I thought of some of the evil, narcissistic things she has done to me over the last 20 years I’ve known her, & for the first time, I have felt rage & even hatred for her. Somehow, I finally gave myself permission to be angry at her today. I really realized how devious & evil some of the things she has done to me are, & how I did not deserve any of them. It’s scary being angry as I’m not accustomed to it, & I’m not liking hating her. Yet at the same time, it kinda feels good to get angry for once. To realize I didn’t deserve any of her abuse, too. The anger is certainly justified- I could tell some stories that would curl your hair!- & long overdue.

The point (finally, huh? lol) is that I am willing to bet that it isn’t just me. That others of you raised by a narcissistic mother also learned early on to bury your anger, either to help create the illusion of normalcy or so your mother wasn’t “inconvenienced” with your anger. Or both. But I want to tell you today that this is NOT healthy! You have a right to be angry when maddening things happen! You have a right to be angry when you’re abused or mistreated! I like what the Message translation of the Bible says :

Ephesians 4:26-7

” Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”

It is ok to be angry! It is NOT ok to hold in that anger or ignore it, & allow others to treat you badly. This is NOT healthy physically or mentally! It is perfectly ok to be angry sometimes, so long as you don’t sin, & you are willing to forgive your abuser/offender when you are ready to do so. I know, this isn’t popular thinking in Christian circles, but I firmly believe I am right about this topic. How does not getting angry with someone who hurts you a good thing? Not only do you end up hurting physically &/or mentally from holding in that anger, but the person learns it is acceptable behavior to hurt others.

Give yourselves permission today to be angry sometimes. It’s truly ok! God will not hate you or strike you dead for being angry with someone who has hurt you. So get angry when it is appropriate, deal with that anger accordingly, & forgive that person when you are ready & able.

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“You Need To Do Something!”

Why is it when people hear you say something about your abusive parents, they say that YOU need to fix it rather than saying something to your abusive parents? That never fails to amaze me.

Yet again recently, I heard another comment along these lines. It was only one of MANY I’ve heard over the years, & when I thought about that, it really ticked me off. Over the years, I have heard things like, “YOU need to make things better with your parents” or, “YOU need to get into counseling so YOU can figure out how to fix things with your parents!” more times than I can count. The truth is I have tried to make things better with my parents, & even got into counseling when I was seventeen to try to figure out how to make things better with them. I have done all the work while they have done nothing.

Time & time again, I have tried talking to my parents about how their behaviors hurt me, & they don’t make any changes. They don’t listen to me enough to hear what I have said, nor care enough to change anyway. Two examples popped into my mind- I told my father that it really hurt me badly to hear him complain about my mother & their bad marriage to me. He said, “Oh ok. I’m sorry. But-” then he went on to complain about her for another forty-five minutes (I timed it). Since, he has not stopped griping about his marriage problems to me every time we spoke, aside for a short two month period after his sister spoke to him on the topic. Suddenly, he was right back at it again, though. The other example is with my mother. She insults my cats when she sees them. This one is too fat, that one too affectionate, etc. I have told her over & over again to knock it off, yet she didn’t. One day on the phone, she asked if she ever offended me with something she’s said about the cats. *sigh* I told her yes & reminded her that I’d told her to stop it. She was shocked- she claimed she had no idea I was upset, let alone said anything to her.

So please tell me – why I am the one who should do all the work on a relationship with these people?

All relationships are a two way street, whether they are friendships, romantic relationships or a parent & child relationship. Any relationship that is one sided is not healthy! Even healthy relationships may be a bit one sided sometimes, but when that is the norm? It needs to stop, otherwise anger, bitterness & resentment build up in the one who does all of the giving. That person also can lose self-esteem, because she may learn she is simply around to be used.

Don’t take those guilt trips when people tell you that you need to fix things with your abusive parent(s). I don’t, & I don’t believe I am being a bad person for it! You have every right to expect to be treated with civility & simple respect & courtesy, just like every other person. Doing all of the work in a relationship, even with a parent, is NOT civil, respectful or courteous to either person involved.

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Safe vs. Unsafe People

Good day, Dear Readers!

Over the last few years, I have reached the end of my tolerance for dealing with abusive, selfish, manipulative or narcissistic people. Having dealt with a couple of people like this recently, I thought I’d share some ways to recognize safe people vs. unsafe people.  So many people who have survived some type of abuse often attract unsafe people, & have trouble recognizing safe people.  I was that way too, but have learned the difference.  I hope this post will help you to learn the difference!

Safe people respect your time- they don’t assume you are going to wait for them to call or show up at a certain place. Unsafe people, however, have no respect for your time or life.

Safe people ask, rather than make demands. Unsafe people are entitled, believing they deserve whatever they want or need, even at the expense of others.

Safe people do not jump to conclusions. For example, if you don’t answer the phone, they don’t call you back 15 times in a row. Safe people assume you are unavailable, & either wait for you to call them back or they call you back several hours later or the next day. Unsafe people call you back repeatedly, assume you didn’t answer the phone because you are mad at them, or try to make you feel guilty or get mad at you for not answering their call. That is a control tactic- forcing you to deal with them on their terms.

Safe people aren’t judgmental & critical. They don’t say things like, “well if I were you, I would-” or judge or criticize you for decisions you make, things you like, etc. Those are invalidating behaviors are cruel!

Safe people help & support you, rather than mock you or tell you how your problem affects them. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, as I have experienced this many times. The day my dog, Danya, died suddenly & unexpectedly, while my husband & I were trying to gather his body (he was over 100lbs- not easy to move him!) to take him to the vet’s for cremation, my mother called. I told her what happened & what we were doing. She went on & on about how upset she was over his death, not asking once how my husband, I or our pets were doing.

Safe people don’t expect you to be their “trash can.” What I mean is when a person dumps all of their problems on you, & expects you to listen to whatever they want to talk about while ignoring anything you have to say. That is being a trash can. Unsafe people do this trash can thing all of the time.

I hope this helps you to recognize the safe, good people in your life. Remember, you deserve to be surrounded by safe, loving, compassionate, empathetic people. You do NOT deserve to be abused & mistreated!

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