You Are Not Alone!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Every morning, I receive an email with a Scripture in it from a Christian website.  It’s a nice way to start my day.  Today’s Scripture was 1 Peter 5:8-9:

Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Do so in the knowledge that your fellow believers are enduring the same suffering throughout the world.” (CEB)

The last sentence is exactly why i write about some of the topics I write about- to let people know thy aren’t alone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, although I knew nothing of narcissism until a few years ago, I knew something was different.  My experiences were vastly different than my friends’.  I didn’t know anyone else who acted like her or treated their children like my mother treated me.  Once I started talking to a school counselor then a couple of therapists when my mother’s abuse peaked when I was 17, I was invalidated.  The school counselor said “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” when I told her my mother would scream at me, lecturing me about what a terrible person I was.  One therapist, after meeting my mother said she could no longer see me because I was such a “terrible daughter.”  My friends couldn’t understand my suffering, obviously, as narcissistic abuse is nearly impossible to understand even when you have experienced it firsthand.

Then in 2012, I developed all of the symptoms of C-PTSD.  Suddenly, I became a different person.  I was no longer able to hide depression & anxiety as I had previously.  I started with flashbacks & more frequent nightmares.  My sleep became worse than ever- trouble falling asleep & staying asleep.  In discussing some of my symptoms, i learned a lot of people simply don’t care about them.  People close to me, not strangers.  One person even said I used C-PTSD as a “poor me” card.  I told my father that I have this awful disorder twice, & twice he changed the subject.

All of these things have meant I have felt completely alone my entire life.  it’s a terrible feeling.

Once I started writing about my experiences though, I learned that I’m not alone.  There are many, many other victims of a narcissistic mother out there!  The funny part is we all grew up thinking it was just us, that no one understood or experienced the same things.

Many of these people also have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, & many of them feel alone as well due to people close to them not caring.

it is truly tragic how many people feel as if they are completely alone!  While I know I can’t change the world, I want to use my writing as a way to reach people, to let them know they aren’t alone. I pray this blog, my website & books do just that, because the truth is, you are not alone!  So many other people understand your pain & have been through similar experiences!

I also have 2 forums available.  Both are safe places where you can talk about anything you like, gain support, be prayed for or pray for others, learn valuable information & make new friends.

Below is a link to the first forum.  It requires registration to read or post.  If you’re worried about privacy, create a fake user name rather than using your real name. I only recently started this one, so it is a bit slow as it is just starting.  Feel free to start talking though- I will respond, & I believe if a few people start talking, others will join & there will be a snowball effect.

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

This link is a link to my fan group on facebook.  I gave up my fan page for two reasons: one person used it as a means to harass me & privacy for my fans.  This group is a closed group, which means that only other members can see what you posted in the group.  No one else.

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

I want to stress, both groups are private & safe. I hope to see you there soon!

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Triggers And Coping With Narcissistic Games

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I had a strange call from my parents last night.  I realized some things from it that I’d like to share with you today..

Last night, my husband was on the phone for a while.  When he hung up, he told me my parents had called but he hadn’t clicked over because of not wanting to interrupt his other call.  Shortly after telling me this, our phone rang & my parents’ number popped up on the caller ID.  I answered it.  It was my mother.  She said that my father had been trying to call but couldn’t get through, so SHE had to call (always she does things right when others can’t yanno- typical narcissistic behavior).  She said for me to hang on & she’d get him.  Ok.. this was odd, I thought, plus the tone in her voice sent shivers down my spine.  Probably anyone else who heard it wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but it made me feel like I was a teenager again, waiting on my mother to scream in my face & accuse me of awful things I hadn’t done.  The tone basically said, “I’m being civil because there is a witness, but just wait until we’re alone.  All the immense disgust & hatred I feel for you will come out!”  *sigh*

So then my father got on the phone.  It turns out he has a new health concern & is going to get it checked out on this coming Monday.  He asked if I could take him to the doctor nearby in Annapolis.  I said fine.  (It isn’t- it interrupts my routine which makes me extremely anxious- but to take care of his health, I’ll deal with it).  I asked for details & he said that he & my mother would be by to pick me up around 9:45.  HUH?!  I asked why do I need to be there if she is driving him?  I assumed I’d be driving him since he isn’t allowed to drive after last month’s mild stroke.  He said she claims she can’t remember where the office is.  Ok, but how about getting directions?  It’s super easy to find!  It’s 8 turns (including turning out of their driveway & into the doctor’s parking lot) to find this place from their home.  Something felt very fishy & with a little prayer, God showed me what was going on.

My mother is angry with me because, being the “horrible” person I am, I set a boundary with her a few weeks ago as I’d mentioned in another blog post.  She decided to feign being clueless about where to to in order to get me alone so she can dish out her narcissistic rage.  She also knew I would go, because if I don’t, she will claim she can’t take my father to this important appointment, forcing him to miss it.  She will enjoy having me trapped in her car with no means of escape, & trapped with her at the doctor’s office for that purpose.  She loves to let me know what a horrible person I am, how crazy I am, how wrong I am for liking & disliking the things I do, what a piece of junk my car is, etc. in public places now, because if I speak back to her, I will look like the unreasonable daughter abusing her dear, elderly mother.  Her car is another good place for her, because I can’t escape.  The days of her screaming these things in my face are gone now that she is no longer bigger & stronger than me.   Those days are now replaced with quiet, scathing disapproval & verbal abuse in an attempt to bait me into looking like a raging lunatic.  Thank God, I am well aware of this game & know what to expect.

So what did I learn from this conversation??

First, I learned to appreciate triggers.  As painful as they can be, triggers also serve a purpose.  When something makes you feel afraid or angry as you felt as a child, it makes you feel that way for a reason!  It’s a warning that something isn’t right.  My mother’s tone of voice mentally took me back to the days I was a teenager & suffering the worst of her abuse.  God showed me that the familiar tone of voice was to warn me a narcissistic rage is in my near future with her.  (Something I will remember regarding future triggers!)

I also learned that I really have learn to prepare better- it’s only good self-care!  Normally in these situations, even when I have known something was brewing, I failed to prepare.  My husband suggested I take an mp3 player with earbuds so I can escape into music if it gets too bad.  A very wise idea that hadn’t occurred to me!  An idea that I had was to contact friends & see who may be available during that time so I can leave if need be.  Someone can come pick me up if I need to walk out.  I’m in the process of finding someone now.

Triggers can serve as a very good warning that something is about to happen that we need to prepare for, such as last night’s call from my parents.  If you, too, have a narcissistic mother, triggers can benefit you as well.  Pay close attention to them.  If you are unsure why her tone of voice or body language triggers fear in you, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to know.  He will!  And, once you realize what the trigger was about, prepare to the best of your ability.  Unfortunately, all narcissists can catch their victims off-guard sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid much of their cruelty.  Again, ask God for help if you need to, & He will show you very creative & effective ways to cope.

Although often severing ties with a narcissistic personality disordered individual is best, sometimes it simply is not possible, or you know in your heart it isn’t right for you at this time.  With prayer & help from God, you can learn ways to cope with a narcissist.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.

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What Happened To Empathy And Compassion??

I read something very disturbing on facebook this morning.  It was triggering for me, so read on with caution…

One of my friends on there is the daughter of a very precious friend of mine who passed away a few years ago.  This morning, she posted that her brother just committed suicide.  He hung himself with his belt.  She later wrote that their father would beat them as children with his belt, & he was always depressed.  This poor young man must have had a very difficult life.

As if this fact wasn’t tragic enough, some of the responses she got infuriated me.  People told stories of someone they knew who took their own life, or said how sad this made them.  One responder even called her brother selfish for doing this.

Selfish?  Really?  Obviously this person has absolutely no idea what it’s like to be suicidal.

To be suicidal is to be in the most lonely, depressing place imaginable with no signs of escape or that anyone cares you are there.  You believe suicide will end your suffering, & end the burden you place on your loved ones.  Logically, it seems like suicide is the only means of making things better.  After all, you rationalize, it’s not like anyone would care if you were gone anyway, & they might just be relieved not to have to deal with you anymore.  You honestly believe you are doing the world, especially those you love, a favor by killing yourself.  There is nothing selfish or cowardly about suicide.

Living with C-PTSD, I think about it often.  In fact, I have for most of my life.  Thankfully, I’m aware that suicidal ideation is a normal part of this awful disorder, so I won’t follow through with my thoughts.

Being suicidal is the worst feeling in the world, I believe. Then to have this young man’s suicide brushed off as if it was a stupid, selfish action like gambling away rent money, or something to be compared to others’ situations infuriated me. I realize in difficult situations, most people don’t know what to say.  Rather than admit that simple fact, they often end up saying something ignorant, stupid or extremely hurtful. The truth is, however, most people would rather hear something like, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I don’t know what to say about it, but if you need me, I’m here for you.” than to hear some anecdote, how much worse someone else has it, or even “You should be glad his suffering is over now & he’s in a better place.”  Comments like this are extremely painful!  How would you like to hear that you should be glad your loved one who died yesterday is gone?  Wouldn’t that hurt you?  Then it will hurt someone else too!

Please just think about what you say to someone in time of suffering before you speak!  Don’t just blurt out cliches,because they come across as hurtful & insensitive.  The last thing someone in a dark place needs to hear is something  that will hurt them.  Offer to listen, to pray with & for that person, to handle some chores they need done, to run errands for them or even cook for them.  Encourage them to grieve- there is no other way to come to grips with a loss other than to go through the grief process, no matter how long  it takes.  Use common sense when dealing with people who are suffering- if it would hurt you if someone said or did something to you, then it will hurt them too, so just don’t do it!

And, when it comes to someone who has killed himself, please don’t judge!  You have no idea what went on in that person’s mind to push him over the edge.  You don’t know what happened in his life, or how things affected him. You have absolutely no right to judge or criticize that person!

I really hope this post doesn’t sound like my friend’s tragedy was simple fodder for my blog. That certainly isn’t the intent. I just want people to think before they comment on situation involving someone they care about.  Suicide is a topic near to my heart as well, & having been called selfish as well, hearing another person called selfish who not only considered suicide but followed through breaks my heart.

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

Distractions

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I was just thinking about something.

I was thinking of some of the reasons I have to be grateful.  It’s a practice I think everyone needs to do often.  Yes, it can be hard, especially when, like me, you have C-PTSD & your brain is already so “full” (anxiety, hyper-vigilence, flashbacks..) it can feel as if one more thing won’t fit in there.  However, that is exactly why it is good to distract yourself from the bad things sometimes, & think of positive things.

Also, if you focus on negative things such as the events that caused the C-PTSD, your symptoms or even learning about why your abuser did what she did to you, it can consume you.  I learned this when I was writing my last book, “It’s All About ME!  The Facts About Maternal Narcissism.”  While writing a book, I pretty much become obsessed for a while.  I think about what I’m writing non-stop, so I can put my best into it when working on a book.  This book was no exception, however the topic of the book was a very challenging one.  I learned so much about Narcissistic Personality Disorder while writing the book!  I felt as if God opened my eyes & I was seeing so much more about it than I ever could’ve imagined.  While that was great & I think it gave me a very good book, it became overwhelming often.  I took frequent breaks, but I don’t think frequent enough or pampering enough.  I saw things in a new light with my own mother & father too.  I had more nightmares than usual.  My sleep was terrible.  I lived & breathed NPD.  By the time the book was finished, I was deeply relieved.  That was in September, & I haven’t even thought about what book to focus on next as I still feel like I’m recovering from that time.

Learn from my mistake!!

If you are going through a hard time or have C-PTSD like me, distract yourself often.  If you care for someone who is ill or elderly, again, distract yourself often.  Fun distractions will help you tremendously!  They will help you to keep a more positive attitude & not become overwhelmed with negative things.  They also will help you to rest better at night, & be more relaxed during the day. Basically, they will help you to be the best “you” that you can be, which benefits you as well as the other people in your life.  You won’t be of any good to anyone if you are tired, depressed, anxious & negative.

And, if you have C-PTSD, then you are well aware how common suicidal thoughts are.  This is especially important for you!  It can be hard to fend off such terrible thoughts even when you know it’s just the disorder talking rather than what you really want.  I have found that distracting yourself during those times to be especially important.  If thinking of the good things in your life isn’t powerful enough, do something else.  Go shopping & get yourself a little something special.  Go to a museum or the zoo.  Take yourself out for a nice meal, or go with someone you love.  If agoraphobia is an issue, go for a drive in the country or near the water, alone & enjoy the beautiful scenery.

What ways do you have that you can distract yourself during hard times?  What things are you grateful for in your life that you can focus on today?

To help get you started, here are some things that I thought of earlier that I am grateful for..

  • I’m grateful for my family.  My mother wouldn’t let me be close to anyone in my dad’s family when I was a kid, so I have been getting to know some of my relatives for the last almost 15 years.  I am very grateful for the new relationships/friendships I have.
  • Along those lines, I’m grateful for the nice long talk I had with one of my cousins last night.  He’s a great guy, & I’m glad to finally be able to get to know him.
  • I’m grateful for my furkids.  My babies are incredibly sweet & loving.  They are awesome as well as cute as can be.
  • I’m grateful God sent my cat, Punkin to me.  The poor little fellow has PTSD (I saw him have a flashback  once – WOW!), so we are able to help each other when the symptoms get bad.  We understand each other so well since I learned what was happening with him.
  • I’m grateful for this time of year.  Fall is my favorite season.  I am LOVING the beautiful colors of the leaves & the nice temperatures.
  • I’m grateful for having some amazing friends.  They’re supportive & caring.
  • I’m grateful for the old friends I’d lost touch with, but then caught up with on facebook in recent years.  They are wonderful, & most haven’t been scared off by me having C-PTSD.  Instead, they have been non-judgmental & supportive.

I also have some plans for nice distractions for this weekend…

  • It’s the Halloween season, which means scary movies I love are on TV!!  I basically plan to be a couch potato until November 1 & enjoy the movies!
  • My husband’s birthday is on Sunday.  Since he’s working that day, we are celebrating later today.  We’re going to a local car show we both enjoy, probably getting dinner out, & after that, maybe playing some video games or watching more scary movies (he enjoys them too) & having some birthday cake that I made him.  We may even go for a drive to enjoy the fall scenery (which he also loves).

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Coping With Flashbacks, Body Memories & Panic Attacks

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

A couple of days ago, I had a really rough afternoon.  I had 2 flashbacks.  Well, kinda 3 actually since the first 2 were one right after the other.  Not fun at all.  It made me glad wordpress lets you schedule blog posts so I could take a couple of days to just relax & heal!

I thought about it last night & thought it might be a good idea to post some ways to cope with flashbacks, body memories & panic attacks since coping with them all involves pretty much the same things.

First, I’ll explain each one for clarity’s sake.

Flashbacks are when a traumatic memory comes to the forefront of your mind, & you feel as if you are reliving it.  The memory threatens to overtake you- the fear, anger, the sorrow overwhelm you & it can be nearly impossible to tell reality from the memory.

Body memories are quite similar to flashbacks, except instead of you feeling the emotions of the traumatic memory, you feel the physical sensations.  You may not even remember the traumatic event, only how it made your body feel.  If you were in a cold place when it happened, for example, you may suddenly feel cold even though the temperature is 75*.

Panic attacks are anxiety related, & happen when anxiety becomes too much for your body to handle.  Suddenly your heart races, your blood pressure rises, you become increasingly agitated, & you may feel like you’re having a heart attack.  (I was sure I was having a heart attack when I had my first panic attack in 1996.)  The attack may last a few minutes, then gradually dissipates, & you feel drained for the next day or so.

While flashbacks, body memories, & panic attacks are all different, I’ve found ways to cope with them successfully are quite similar.

All three require something to keep your focus on the here & now, where you are safe.  To do this, you need things that involve your senses.  Strong scents & extreme textures seem to work best for most people.  I like the scent of lavender (it’s also used in aromatherapy to calm anxiety) & Sweet Honesty perfume.  When I was quite young, my paternal grandmom gave me a bottle of that perfume, & I’ve loved it since.  It brings back a memory of her, plus it’s a fairly strong scent, so it helps keep me grounded.  I have 2 small vials (the type perfume samples come in) with each scent in them & keep them handy at all times.  Regarding textures, I like something either extremely soft or very rough.  Focusing on how those textures feel helps to keep me focused on the “here & now” rather than the traumatic memory or anxiety.  Snuggle a stuffed animal, touch some rough carpet, hold an ice cube in your hand or snuggle up in a very soft sweater or blanket.

You also can focus on what is around you.  Focus on whatever details are around you.  If you’re at the park, for example, focus on the feel of the breeze blowing on your face, or the shapes & colors of the leaves on trees.  If you’re sitting on a chair, really feel the texture of it & focus on it.   Whatever you can do to keep your mind not focused 100% on the flashback, body memory or panic attack  helps to take some of its power away.

Remind yourself that you are safe.  The trauma isn’t happening to you again- it’s only a nasty memory that can’t hurt you.  If you’re near a mirror, look at yourself in the mirror & reassure yourself that you are safe.

Don’t close your eyes.  This can make it harder to distinguish reality from memory during a flashback.

Breathe slowly & deeply.  In & out through your nose.  Feel your chest & stomach take in the air, then slowly release it.  Be aware of when your heartbeat slows as you calm down.

Create a small container of items that can help you during these situations.  Those small vials I mentioned that are used for perfume samples?  Get a couple of them & fill them with whatever scents help you to feel safe or bring back a happy memory.  Include something that feels good when you touch it as well, such as a small river rock or polished gemstone.  Keep this small bag of items with you at all times so when flashbacks, body memories or panic attacks happen, you can be prepared.

As frustrating & painful as flashbacks, body memories & panic attacks can be, there are some ways to cope with them.  They can be managed!  Above are some ideas that can help you, & I hope will inspire you to come up with some more ideas of your own.

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Helping Someone With C-PTSD

Helping someone with C-PTSD isn’t easy for either you or her.  The symptoms are so frustrating, & can be embarrassing.  Mood swings, extremely high anxiety levels & muddied thinking are not fun to live with or manage, nor are they fun for someone to witness.

If you live with a partner who has C-PTSD, your life isn’t easy either.  You are living with someone who just wants to be “normal” but can’t be due to this disorder.  You are affected, too, by the awful symptoms.  Watching someone you love suffer yet not knowing how to help is a terrible & helpless feeling.

Below are some ways that you can help your loved one who has C-PTSD.

  1. Research this disorder.  Learn all you can about the symptoms & treatments.
  2. Ask your loved one questions.  Just be sensitive in how you ask questions.  Avoid sounding judgmental or critical.
  3. Show her that you are interested.  If she complains of nightmares, ask what they were about.  If she says she doesn’t feel well, ask why.  She needs to know that she can talk to you about her battle with C-PTSD without fear of you judging her.
  4. Don’t expect her to control symptoms 100% of the time.  As much as she may want to, she can’t hide all of her symptoms all of the time.
  5. Don’t pressure them in the recovery process.  There’s no time schedule. And remember, most people with C-PTSD or PTSD never recover, they only learn to manage their symptoms.
  6. Help her to feel loved, without expecting loving gestures in return.  She probably will offer them often, but there are times she won’t feel able to do so.  It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you- it means she has C-PTSD.
  7. Try to be helpful & supportive.  Do what she asks promptly, & try to anticipate needs.  Be observant.
  8. Offer distractions.  Suggest going out to dinner, or going to a movie, or some other activity she enjoys.  Focusing on this disorder constantly is simply depressing!  Distractions help both of you from becoming too depressed.
  9. Try not to smother her.  Be there, but if she wants to be alone, leave her alone.
  10. Find support for yourself, too.  Talk to a counselor or friend you can confide in.
  11. Take breaks.  You need to take care of yourself so you will stay healthy (physically & emotionally) & so you can be strong for her.

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Empathy vs Apathy

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people who have shared with me that no one cares about the trials they’re going through.  Some have health problems, very serious ones at that, yet even their own families don’t care.  Or worse yet, their own family members accuse them of faking their illness for attention or for drugs.  Others have suffered great loss, even including death of a loved one, & are reminded frequently that they need to get over it (as if that’s possible when losing someone you love?!).  And still others have endured abuse, either at the hands of their parents or a spouse or both, yet people in their lives act as if it’s no big deal.  They say heartless things like, “Shake it off & move on!”  “What’s wrong with you?  That happened a long time ago- you need to get over it.”

This kind of thing sickens me.  It makes me lose what little faith I had left in humanity.

It also clearly shows the difference between empathy & apathy.

According to merriam-webster.com, empathy means, “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings.”  Also according to merriam-webster.com, apathy means, “the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state  1:  lack of feeling or emotion.” 

Empathy should be running rampant in society, especially considering how much suffering is happening constantly in the world, yet instead, apathy seems to be an epidemic instead.  It’s truly sad.

There is such a thirst for compassion from people who are suffering, yet instead they are met with apathy & indifference.  Or, possibly even worse yet, comparing their pain to another’s.  Comments such as, “That’s not so bad.  I had it much worse than you.  You should be glad you didn’t go through what I did!” can be devastating due to their invalidation of one’s pain.

I want to encourage you to work on being more understanding & empathetic.  There is such a great need for empathetic people, & empathy also seems to promote more empathy from others.  (You will get empathy in return for giving it from most people.)  You can’t help everyone in the world of course, but you never know how much you are truly helping another person.  You may be like the first ripple in a lake- one tiny ripple creates more & more ripples that go out into larger & larger circles.

Displaying empathy will help other people, often more than they can put into words.  Why not try it today?  Empathy is also in the BIble- God commands His children to show empathy to one another.  See the following Scriptures…

Matthew 7:12“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (ESV)

Ephesians 4:32ESV “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (ESV)

Romans 12:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (ESV)

How do you develop empathy?

  1. The most important thing you can do is listen (without interrupting!) to those who are speaking to you.
  2. Watch the other person’s body language for cues on how they truly feel.
  3. Ask questions during the conversation to gather more information.
  4. Consider the other person’s life experiences that help to form their perspectives.
  5. Imagine how you would feel if you were in that exact same situation.

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Birthdays For The Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Mother

I was talking recently with a good friend of mine who is also the adult daughter of a narcissistic mother.  She mentioned her birthday is coming up & how much she dreads the day.  It’s a trigger of painful memories & her parents use the opportunity to try to make her feel guilty for not tolerating the abuse anymore.

Wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, huh?  Sadly, she isn’t alone.  Many adult children of narcissistic mothers go through something similar on their birthdays.  A day that is supposed to be fun & celebrated turns into a day of misery instead.

My seventeenth birthday was among the most horrible days of my life.  My mother destroyed the little gifts that my first boyfriend/now ex husband gave me because she hated him so much.  She made me clean up the mess, & blamed me for “making” her do that.  I later told my father about it, & he went to speak to my mother about her actions.  She screamed at him for interferring, telling him to mind his own business, then when she was done with him, she screamed at me for tattling on her.

From that day on, I hated my birthday & tried to ignore it every single year.

Then in 2010, an old friend of mine sent me a message on facebook, & asked what plans I had for my birthday.  I told him none.  My father was sick & I thought I should be available in case he needed me.  (I never told him about my seventeenth birthday fiasco.)  He kinda chewed me out for not having plans & said I should do something for myself, even if it was just pick up my favorite lunch from somewhere.  Something clicked inside me & I realized he was right.  I thought about it & was angry that I let my mother steal so many of my birthdays.  I decided no more, & instead created a birthday ritual that I’ve done each year since.

The weekend closest to my birthday, preferably on Sunday, hubby & I go to our favorite place- a tiny bar on the water in a nearby town that is often quiet on Sundays.  I invite friends to come, & whoever can, joins us.  It’s never more than maybe 5 people or so, so I can handle the company.  I always say no gifts or cake but I get them anyway because I have awesome friends.  lol  We hang out, get something to eat & drink, listen to the jukebox (which is full of some really good old classic rock & 80’s music!) & watch the ducks & geese on the beach.  It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a very nice time.

What about you?

Do you realize that by not celebrating your birthday or even dreading it, you’re giving your narcissistic mother the power to steal your joy?  She doesn’t deserve that kind of power!  She has had more than enough power that she has abused over you!  You however, you deserve to have a fun, happy birthday celebrated with people who you love & who love you back.  Or, if you want to spend it alone, you deserve to spend it doing whatever you like to do that makes you feel pampered.  Or do both- party one day, alone time another.  It’s YOUR birthday, & that means YOU should celebrate it however is the most fun for YOU!

I know you can’t forget the bad birthdays, nor should you.  They are just a small part of what has made you the person you are today.  However, they shouldn’t be allowed to be the reason you continue to have bad birthdays.  You deserve so much better than that!

So what can you do to celebrate your birthday in a way that is fun for you?  What new traditions can you create?  What gift can you give yourself?  Is there a special meal you don’t indulge in often because it is too fattening, unhealthy or something that you can indulge in on your birthday?

I encourage you to think about these things, & create a new, positive & fun birthday ritual for yourself!  You are worth it!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

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