Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary (if you can call it that.. anniversary sounds too positive) of the day I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Not really the happiest day of the year for me obviously, but at least it does make me think. Yes, I remember the awfulness of that day but it also makes me think of the good that’s come from it all.
When I realized I couldn’t tell my parents what happened to me because they would invalidate my near death experience &/or spin it around to how it affected them, that was a big wake-up call. I realized I needed them out of my life & began to actively pray about making that happen. I also realized there were other toxic people in my life that needed to go as well. Those who trivialized my experience or tried to make me think positively about it had to go. My circle of those close to me has become very small, but they are absolutely wonderful people. Quality over quantity, as the saying goes, & that is how I like it. Better to have only a few very close, good friends than a wide circle of acquaintances.
What happened also caused me to realize just how quickly your life can change & change drastically. The morning of February 27, 2015 appeared to be any other day. By the end of that day however, I was an entirely different person. Not only because of the brain damage & other health problems the carbon monoxide caused, but because coming close to death will shake a person up! Yes, I knew if I died, I would’ve gone to Heaven, so that wasn’t a problem. What was a problem is that I didn’t expect to die that day! Coming close when it was unexpected was traumatic, even though I did survive. Even now, thinking about it still shakes me up!
Coming close also showed me how quickly & unexpectedly a person’s life can end. That made me realize how important it is to enjoy your life as much as you possibly can. There are unenjoyable things that we can’t avoid of course, like getting stuck in traffic. But, there are ways we can sneak enjoyment even into those situations. Use that stuck in traffic time to listen to some good music or an audio book, for example.
Part of enjoying life for me is I also use my time in the evenings to indulge in hobbies I like. I’ve come to realize that when I don’t get creative time in, I get irritable & don’t enjoy anything like I normally do. Creative time is very important for most people, not only me. It gives freedom to use your imagination. It also gives down time that we all need in this often overly busy & chaotic life. If you don’t have a creative outlet, it may be time for you to find one. Wandering around a craft store can be a great place to start. They carry items for almost every hobby imaginable! And guys reading this, they even carry “guy stuff”, not just things for knitting & cross stitch. Many carry model car & airplane kits, stuff for electric trains, wood working & more.
I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m looking for pity because of what happened. I’m not. I just believe I learned some valuable things from my experience & wanted to share them. Although I can’t say I’m grateful for what happened on that fateful day, I am grateful for the good that came from it. The things I shared here definitely changed my life & my attitude for the better! I hope they can help you too! ❤
There are many people in the world who only want to talk about pleasant things. If someone mentions a topic that is less than happy, these people are offended. This includes the topic of abuse. They tell the person that brought up the topic to stop being so negative, it could’ve been worse, look on the bright side which is that the abuse made this person strong & other such nonsense.
Well, you know something? Life isn’t all unicorns & rainbows. Sometimes it has some very dark, evil aspects to it. Not talking about such things won’t change that fact. Being open about such things isn’t rude, unkind, bad, negative, wallowing in the past, being bitter or “un-Christian”. It’s being human. It’s also helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse so others hopefully recognize it before they are subjected to it. And, if the abusive person knows both the victim & the person the victim tells of the abuse, the other person would be wise to take what the victim says seriously. If they don’t, they may be the next victim!
Not allowing people to discuss their experiences only invalidates victims, & helps abusers to continue their trail of destruction. In my opinion, behaving this way is just as bad a behavior as the victim’s original abuser by enabling their abusive ways.
People need to be able to discuss all parts of their lives, even the less happy ones, without fear of criticism & judgment. This includes their tales of abuse & suffering. If someone comes to you & opens up about abuse in their past, let the person talk. Don’t make jokes or try to change the subject. Don’t compare their story to yours or that of someone else you know. Just let the person talk. A listening ear can go a long way to helping someone who is suffering.
If you can’t listen for whatever reason, then you can still be nice. Just tell the person it’s not that you aren’t interested, but now isn’t a good time. Find another time where you two can talk, & make that time in the near future.
Just remember, if someone trusts you enough to open up to you about something so personal as having suffered abuse in their life, don’t abuse that person further by trying to get them not to discuss the topic. Be kind & show you care.
James 4:17 in the Amplified Bible states, “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.” These are pretty powerful words, don’t you think? They made me think….
People sin every day in all kinds of ways, no matter how hard we try not to. Some by doing something extreme, such as killing another person, but most of the time it’s smaller things. How many times have you felt in your heart that God wanted you to do something, even just something small, for another person, yet you ignored it? I don’t even want to think about how many times I have been guilty of this. I don’t always let that car into my lane when I feel I should or leave a good tip to a waitress as I know in my heart God would like me to do.
There are bigger issues though & yes, they relate to narcissistic abuse. There are also times I don’t want to listen to another victim of narcissistic abuse tell me their story. I’m not proud of that but it’s true. There are times I just can’t because I’m burned out on the topic, & in dire need of a break. But there are other times when I’m not burned out that I just don’t want to offer support or even just a listening ear for whatever reason. That is being really selfish & I’m not proud of it. I also believe it’s a sin, because I know God put this person in my path for a reason.
Unfortunately I think many people are guilty of this same behavior. We need to use balance & wisdom when someone approaches us, wanting to discuss their experiences with narcissistic abuse. There are times we need to protect our mental health, such as when burning out on the topic or if the C-PTSD is flaring up. At those times we can gently explain this isn’t a good time for us to discuss the topic. Let’s talk later. Or even suggest they email you.. that way they can get it out now, but you don’t have to deal with it immediately. It’s a really good solution.
Other times, however, maybe someone needs your support & you just aren’t in the mood to discuss narcissism. I truly get that. I am so tired of this topic it’s pitiful! That being said though, if someone is suffering, it isn’t fair to brush them off just because I don’t feel like talking about a topic they need to discuss. It’s unkind, & there is already a lack of kindness in the world today.
I’ve found if I know I should be there for someone when I’m not really feeling my most supportive, there are ways I can motivate myself. Knowing I’m helping someone is wonderful of course, but there are times I need a little extra motivation I think of a little reward for myself I can do or get later. Maybe it’s a new bottle of nail polish or time alone with a good movie & some knitting. The rewards are nothing really extravagant, just little things I like. It’s amazing how silly little things like that can be so motivating. It’s a good thing though, because it helps you to do the right thing when you just don’t want to. You also get a little something you really like
When in these situations, how can you think to help to motivate yourself? Like I said, it doesn’t even have to be extravagant. Some small little thing can be surprisingly motivating. And never forget the best part of all.. you’re helping someone else who has suffered as you have.
So many people tell victims of abuse that they should forgive & forget, never mentioning the abuse again, in particular when the abusers in question were the victim’s parents. They love to quote Matthew 5:38-39 to prove their point. Those verses say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (KJV)
The problem is though that when you pull out a random Scripture from the Bible, you can prove almost any point. Other Scriptures on the topic need to be considered as well.
Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the weak and needy;
Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.” (AMP)
John 18: 22-23 “But when He said this, one of the officers who was standing nearby [a]struck Jesus [in the face], saying, “Is that how You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus replied, “If I have said anything wrong, make a formal statement about the wrong; but if [I spoke] properly, why did you strike Me?” (AMP)
Acts 16:36-37 “36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” (AMP)
These verses clearly show that there is nothing wrong with speaking out about abusive behavior! People need to learn & grow. They can’t do that if the never are told their actions are wrong & people hide abusive behaviors.
Granted narcissists are not exactly the easiest people in the world to confront or even simply talk about. They violently rage, create vicious smear campaigns to stop people from doing such things, & almost never learn when dealt consequences for their actions. However, even so, it’s still your job to give them consequences & to be open about their abusive ways. You give them chances to make healthy changes by doing such things, & that is the best thing you can do for them. What they do with those things from there is on them, but you can rest easy knowing you have done the right thing.
You also need to be open about what they have done to you, because you may be helping someone in a similar situation. Your story may open their eyes to just how bad narcissistic abuse is or inspire them to walk away.
Being open about the abuse inflicted on you also may cause some people to leave your life, but you know something? It will show you exactly who truly loves you. They will be the ones standing by your side & supporting you through your healing. Realizing how special these people are makes losing the others hurt a whole lot less 🙂
Many of you who know me personally know that my husband has been wanting to move into his late parents’ home for some time now. It caused a great deal of arguing between us. Although his reasons are smart & valid, I also had smart & valid reasons for not wanting to move. Thankfully, we were able to reach compromises about the situation, so the arguing is over.
I noticed something interesting about this when first telling people that my husband wanted to move. The vast majority of people encouraged me to move, & disregarded my misgivings.
To be honest, I felt like none of these people cared about my feelings. I felt betrayed, hurt, angry & most of all shocked. It made no sense to me at all that people I cared about would act this way.
Eventually though I realized some things.
They saw things differently than I did since they weren’t as involved in the situation as I was. Not everyone knew the ugly story of the problems with my in-laws. They couldn’t make an informed opinion because they didn’t know all of the facts.
There is also the fact that people see things through the lens of their own experience. Maybe they would like to move & don’t have the opportunity. They could think moving is a great thing, period, simply because of their situation. Or, maybe they have a good relationship with their in-laws, & can’t comprehend mine. If it was them, their in-laws wouldn’t cause them any problems, so they assume mine are the same.
Plus, people are often narrow minded, not looking at the big picture. In this case, they knew I dislike my current neighbors & have a chance to get away from them. What could be bad about that?! They simply didn’t think that the house could be run down or in a bad neighborhood, only that I have a means of getting away from my awful neighbors. (For the record, the house is in great condition & in a good neighborhood).
Thinking about all of this made me realize how similar this is to when someone opens up about being abused by a narcissist & isn’t believed.
People don’t know the whole story. They haven’t seen the rages or horrific abuse. They probably see the narcissist at their most civil, or they don’t know the narcissist at all.
People also see things through the lens of their unique experiences, as I said. If someone hasn’t encountered a narcissist, they often struggle with believing the bizarre stories of narcissistic abuse. Having been through it, I still have a hard time believing some of the things that have happened to me! How could someone who hasn’t witnessed it not struggle to believe a person could behave in such a manner?
Also as I said, people are narrow minded. Some people come from a normal family, & assume everyone has a normal family like they do. I experienced this with someone I knew years ago. When I explained some of what I’d gone through with my mother, he said something to the effect of, “You’re a teenage girl. All teenage girls have problems with their mothers.” He was a very nice person who came from a normal family. I believe because of that, he had no idea that so much dysfunction could exist in the world.
The next time you discuss the narcissistic abuse you’ve experienced & someone brushes you off, please keep this in mind. Although it’s true, many people have malignant reasons for not believing you or trying to stop you from talking about it, not everyone does. Consider the person with whom you’re dealing. You’ll know if the person is good just ill informed or is being malicious. If the person is good, I hope remembering what I said can help you not to be so hurt or angry by their behavior. If not, I hope you can get away from the person as quickly as possible!
When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you’re trained from birth to do for them. Do what? Whatever they want. It’s your job to please them in every way, to listen to them, to serve them… naturally this isn’t reciprocated because you aren’t important- only they are!
Once you’re an adult, this “you’re here to do for others” mentality sticks with you. And, other people pick up on it. Users & abusers can sniff this mentality out a mile away. Other Christians can even pick up on it & use Scripture to back up why you should do for them or other people.
The truth is that no one can help everyone who crosses their path. It’s too much! You could ruin your physical & mental health, & even ruin yourself financially if you helped every single person who claims to have a need. You truly need discernment & wisdom to know who God wants you to help, who He doesn’t, & who he simply wants you to pray for.
When you come across someone in need, the smartest thing you can do is pray. Ask God for guidance, & to show you what this person’s position in your life is going to be. Maybe it is to help that person in some way, but maybe it isn’t. Maybe your position is simply to pray for that person or to guide them to someone who can help them. Maybe you need to lead that person to Jesus. Or, maybe you need to set boundaries & refuse to help this person because he or she tends to use people & needs a lesson in the fact not everyone is here to do for them. Until & unless you ask God, you won’t know for sure. So ask! He will guide & help you!
Removing someone from your life is a very challenging thing to do even under the best of circumstances. What makes it even harder is when others criticize not only that you did it but even how you ended a relationship. It is so frustrating when you took this big step & people with no vested interest in the relationship feel the need to tell you how wrong you were. It can make you seriously doubt your decision.
One aspect of this I have experienced is being told how wrong I was for simply backing out of someone’s life rather than explaining how I feel or trying to work things out. Those familiar with the Myers Briggs personality test recognize this as the infamous INFJ door slam, even though all personalities may use it. Others call it ghosting. Whatever you choose to call it, many people call it childish, petty & even cruel when it often is nothing of the sort.
While the door slam isn’t appropriate in every relationship that ends, in many cases is it a very good option to take no matter what others may think.
With narcissists, trying to work out relationship problem is a waste of time. In fact, telling them that you are hurt when they do or say something usually just makes them do or say that thing more often.
They also have no desire to change their hurtful behavior. If something they do hurts someone, that is either inconsequential to them or it brings them joy. Trying to talk things out with someone like this is not only impossible, but it will cause a lot more pain & frustration.
Not to mention, narcissists will try to convince a victim to maintain the relationship’s status quo & can be very good at doing so sometimes. This can cause a couple of unpleasant outcomes. The victim may become confused & stay in the toxic relationship. Or, the victim may leave but carry a great deal of shame for leaving the “poor abuser” or “ruining his or her life” by ending the relationship. Another scenario can happen if the abuser & victim live together. Talking to the abuser before ending the relationship & moving out can give the abuser time to come up with especially creative & effective tactics to keep the victim in the relationship
In cases like this, it is much better for someone to leave a relationship unannounced & silently for their own mental health’s sake.
Not all relationships are abusive, though, & sometimes a person wants to end it simply because of personality differences, moral differences or even religious beliefs. In cases like that, sometimes leaving a relationship silently still may be a viable option.
If someone repeatedly hurts you, you tell them they’re hurting you & they continue to hurt you, they have to know why you’re ending the relationship. They don’t need you to explain yourself yet again. There is no point.
No one should have to explain to someone how to be a decent human being, especially repeatedly. Some people seem to have no clue how to be civil, let alone polite, & are content with their behavior. They say things like, “This is just how I am.” Explaining why you want to end a relationship with someone like this is most likely going to be a waste of your time.
Obviously, people are very different so you need to consider your options seriously when ending a relationship someone. If the person is reasonable, explaining why you’re ending it is a good option. That person may learn that they need to behave in a healthier way. And, who knows, they may teach you something about your own behavior as well. If the person in question isn’t reasonable though, quietly walking away probably is your best option.
Recently, God told me something fascinating. “To narcissists, fear plus obedience equals respect.” I thought this was fascinating & it made a lot of sense! Narcissists clearly have no grasp of what true respect really is. They also have no grasp of how to get respect. What they do to get their so called respect is nothing like what most people do.
Most people realize you can’t demand someone respect you, you have to earn their respect. Narcissists don’t think that way. My mother used to tell me, “I demand respect!” Didn’t work… I had very little respect for her.
Also, most people don’t try to force someone to do anything. They go on about their lives not trying to force someone to respect them. They instead do things that earn people’s respect such as helping the underprivileged or homeless. Narcissists don’t care about doing good deeds to earn respect. They believe that they’re entitled to it no matter what.
I also thought at first that this pertained only to overt narcissists. They have no problem yelling, cursing, demeaning, invalidating, intimidating & using physical force on a victim to get whatever they want. It can be easy for people to become intimidated by such things & become obedient to the narcissist.
As I thought about this, God said it goes for covert narcissists too. They may not be so obviously intimidating, but they truly can instill fear in their victims which makes them obedient. Their weapons are quieter, such as using guilt, shame, acting disappointed & the silent treatment, but they are effective nonetheless. That also made sense. A victim may not be afraid of a covert narcissist screaming at them or hitting them, but they do still fear the covert narcissist’s quiet wrath & will do about anything to avoid it. Fear & obedience.
I also wondered how narcissists know to do what they do. I mean, they’re not exactly insightful. Yet somehow they also know what to do to each unique victim to get what they want. How do they all know that fear & obedience will get them their so called respect? God answered that question too. He said the devil tells them things. Apparently he & his demons basically whisper things to them, & the messages are kind of like a subliminal message. These messages are spoken quietly & subtly, so narcissists think they are their own ideas. They’re also simple, along the lines of “If you scream at her, she will do what you want” rather than explaining more complicated details, such as fear & obedience equal respect.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that narcissists are helpless against the devil’s will. They aren’t, but they choose not to ignore him. Repeatedly doing the devil’s work has shut down their natural empathy & their willingness to listen to God. 2 Timothy 2:26 in the English Standard Version, it says, “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” Clearly, people can choose to reject doing the devil’s work.
I’m telling you this in order that you may understand what you’re dealing with regarding narcissists. You aren’t dealing merely with an obnoxious person when you deal with a narcissist. You’re dealing with an evil spirit wanting to hurt you. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Remember what exactly you are dealing with, Dear Reader. Learn about spiritual warfare, & most importantly, stay close to your Heavenly Father. All you have to do is ask Him & He will gladly help you in any situation, including this one.
Many people tell those of us with C-PTSD some pretty stupid, insensitive & even invalidating comments about our disorder. It’s utterly frustrating how people can say things like these & think it’s ok or even that they’re being supportive. It’s also frustrating how sometimes when these things are said to us, thanks to our disorder, we can’t think of what to tell these people about why this is a bad thing to say.
Below are some frequently used comments & retorts to them. Feel free to share this post with anyone who you think can benefit from reading this.
“I know how you feel!” I don’t think so. C-PTSD is a very weird & painful disorder. You can feel like you’re going crazy when symptoms flare up. You also can be suicidal. Even two people with C-PTSD can experience their symptoms differently.
“I think a lot too.” Really? You think that’s what C-PTSD is? No. There is a big difference between the average person thinking a lot & C-PTSD. When a person is “always thinking”, they can control it at least to some degree. Good luck doing that with the thoughts that come with C-PTSD. There are ruminating thoughts which are thoughts that play over & over again. There are also intrusive thoughts, which come to mind at any time, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. We also can’t forget hyper-vigilance, which is being completely focused on one’s surroundings in an attempt to spot any hint of danger to our physical or mental health. These things are awful & often impossible to control.
“Everyone has nightmares!” True. Everyone does have nightmares. Not everyone has nightmares nightly or almost nightly, often even multiple times in a night. Not everyone wakes up in a blind panic from a nightmare, either. Not everyone has nightmares about utterly bizarre things that stir up similar emotions to the traumatic events they have survived.
“You need to stop thinking about the past.” Well, thank you for that insight. I never thought about that! *sigh* Those of us with C-PTSD want to stop thinking about the past, but our brains won’t let us!
“Everyone has flashes of bad memories.” Flashbacks are so much more than that. They’re bad memories that feel like they’re happening all over again. They can make it very hard to discern between the memory & reality.
“Think happy thoughts!” “Be more positive!” C-PTSD isn’t about thinking too negatively. It’s an actual mental disorder. Our brains were broken due to the traumas we survived. The damage means we can’t control our thoughts like someone without C-PTSD can.
“You need to see a counselor!” It’s not that easy! Not all counselors understand C-PTSD. Also, not all counselors understand the best ways to treat people who have suffered through trauma, period, let alone multiple traumas. There is also the fact that many of us have tried counseling, only to find some counselors are as toxic as the people who abused us in the first place, so we have a strong lack of trust in those in the mental health field.
“You just need to take a pill.” Also not that easy. Do you have any idea how many anti-anxiety & anti-depressants there are available?! I don’t but I do know that it’s a lot! There are also varying classes & strengths of these medications. Most also take at least about two weeks to start working, so you may take something for a long time before seeing any changes, good or bad. Finding the right dose of the right medication can be a very long, frustrating task.
“It’s all in your head!” Well, C-PTSD is a mental disorder. Where else would it be?
“You can’t have C-PTSD! You weren’t in the military!” Maybe not, but C-PTSD doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone exposed to any traumas for an extended period of time. While it happens to many prisoners of war, it also happens to those who survived child abuse or domestic violence.
I hope this post helps you to have a good response the next time someone invalidates your experiences with C-PTSD. xoxo
When you first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one of the first things you will see is many people preaching the value of no contact. It’s true, no contact is often the best solution when dealing with narcissists, no matter what role the narcissist has in your life. They accept no responsibility for their abusive ways, they have no empathy so they don’t care about the pain they cause, & they are more than happy to use & abuse anyone in order to get whatever they want. In other words, they aren’t the kind of people with whom you can work things out.
No contact is a very serious issue, & should NOT be taken lightly. Yet, there are people out there who treat it as if it’s no big deal. You can recognize them easily. They’re the people saying, “Just go no contact” if you mention your narcissist’s abusive behavior. They act like there is no excuse whatsoever to remain in that relationship, & something is very wrong with you for staying.
People like this are not good if you’re in the place of considering going no contact. The reason being people who say this can make a victim feel shame for not wanting to end that relationship or not having the strength to do it just yet. That shame may make them feel horrible & muddy their thinking. It is NOT helpful! This is NOT what anyone considering no contact needs! People in this position need support, love, understanding & even objectivity in the people surrounding them to help them come to whatever decision is right for them.
There is another brand of the “no contact” crowd out there that is even more dangerous. These are the people who say your family is toxic as soon as you say anything about them that is less than 1000% positive, & you don’t need them in your life. People like this are either highly sensitive due to their own abusive pasts or they’re manipulative. One example is someone I knew who sold her home & gave the money to a fortune teller. This fortune teller told her that her parents were toxic, & she needed to get away from them. She should sell her house & give the rest of the money to this fortune teller. The lady’s parents were about as un-toxic as you can get, but she listened anyway. The fortune teller ran off with this lady’s money as soon as the house was sold.
My point of all of this is that you, Dear Reader, need to be wise with people who say, “Just go no contact”. Think about it for yourself before you decide to do it. Is the person telling you this someone who knows you & the other person? Does this person have experience in similar relationships? Does this person have anything to gain if you sever ties with the person in question? Remember, abusive people isolate their victims, so there is a distinct possibility that this person could be abusive & trying to get you away from someone who isn’t abusive (like the fortune teller in my story).
I’m not trying to talk you out of no contact, far from it. Like I said, in many abusive relationships, it’s the only option. What I am trying to convince you to do is to pray & consider it seriously for yourself while not blindly listening to the advice of other people. People who give advice on this subject may not have your best interest at heart, or know enough about your situation to give good advice. Consider what they have to say, but if it doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling.
Growing up a scapegoat is a nightmare. You can do absolutely nothing right. Any & all family problems are blamed on you, whether or not you actually had any responsibility in them. Doing this allows the abusive family members to maintain their illusion of normalcy because in their eyes, clearly you are the problem. Your family lies to & about you constantly, causing you to have no decent relationships, especially within your own family. You’re on the receiving end of all of your family’s scorn & abuse, yet if you say anything about this, it only gets worse for you.
You hope that once you turn 18 or move out, things will get better. You aren’t living under the same roof as your dysfunctional family or at least you’re able to escape home which is helpful in minimizing exposure to these awful people. That is all it does though, minimize exposure. They still abuse you.
Being a scapegoat can feel like you are in the worst position in the world with no hope of ever experiencing freedom, but believe it or not, there is some good that comes with a scapegoat.
Scapegoats are known for being the black sheep of their family. They’re different in that they want to learn & grow. They don’t want to continue the pattern of dysfunction that runs in their family. Standing out from this crowd is a good thing!
Scapegoats are also known as truth tellers. They are usually the only ones in dysfunctional families who aren’t concerned with their family’s reputation. They are more concerned with the truth. They are incredibly brave, because telling the truth about your dysfunctional family is so hard. Dysfunctional families can’t handle people knowing the truth about them, so if one of them divulges it, that one must be punished. They will attack this person & smear their good name. They will treat the person as if they’re crazy, & none of what they claim happened actually happened. They will abandon the truth teller when they need love & support the most. They do all of this because protecting their family’s reputation & their delusions of having a big, happy family are more important than the scapegoat’s mental health.
Interestingly, the rejection of the scapegoat by his or her family can make the scapegoat intensely appreciative of good relationships. They highly value their friends & romantic partners who aren’t abusive, & don’t hesitate to let them know how loved & appreciated they are. This makes them fantastic friends & spouses.
Due to their experiences, scapegoats also have great empathy. Having known intense suffering, they truly understand what it’s like to suffer, & don’t want others to feel as they have. They want to help others too because they know what it’s like not to have help when in need. They are often some of the kindest people you can meet.
Also due to their experiences, scapegoats often think differently than most people. Their different perspective can be very helpful for them as well as other people. They give unique & often very helpful advice or simply offer a perspective that someone never considered.
As adults, scapegoats also often become advocates for victims of all kinds of abuse. They help to raise awareness, to educate & even offer comfort to other victims.
In telling you these things, I’m not saying that if you were the scapegoat in your family, you should be grateful. I really am not sure such a perspective is healthy. That being said, I do hope that you recognize yourself in these good qualities. You should be proud of the person you’ve become! All of that abuse was meant to destroy you, yet it did nothing of the sort. Instead, you became the wonderful person you are today. Be proud of your strength, courage & wonderfulness!
When dealing with narcissists, often there is no right answer. They are masters at creating no win situations, & even when they aren’t actively creating one, they seem to come up anyway. For example, think about no contact. In a sense, it’s the right solution. It’ll protect you from further abuse & give you the space you need in order to heal from all you have endured. While those are certainly great things, no contact also means a close relationship ended & on a bad note. Clearly this isn’t a really good thing, even though the good outweighs the bad. The only other alternative is to continue in an abusive relationship, so a person is limited to two choices, neither of which is particularly great.
Many things with narcissists are like that. Setting boundaries is another example. Yes, setting boundaries is a good thing & it is necessary, but at the same time, it starts a lot of problems with narcissists. Since they don’t respect anyone’s boundaries, when someone tries to set them, they get angry & even more abusive. The only choices are begin to set boundaries & deal with more abuse at least temporarily, or do nothing & suffer anyway. Neither answer is really a right one.
Often, the best you can do with a narcissist is choose the least wrong answer.
While I know this sounds depressing & hopeless, I don’t mean it to. Once you accept this, you can feel less stress & anxiety in your dealings with the narcissist.
Accepting that there really isn’t any right answer helps you to understand that no matter what you do, there won’t be a good, healthy or functional solution. There is nothing you can do to make that happen. It’s beyond your control. This can be very freeing! It helps you not to beat yourself up because things haven’t worked out perfectly. You accept that sometimes a person’s best just isn’t good enough, & that’s ok.
It also helps you because you learn to keep your expectations realistic with the narcissist. You know that the narcissist is going to be angry or upset no matter what you do. You will have a good idea what to expect rather than thinking that this time will be better. You also can prepare yourself for whatever is going to happen.
Accepting this truth that there are only less wrong answers with narcissist also helps you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what you need to do & how to do it. You feel much less pressure to make everything right when you know that no matter what you do, you’ll be wrong anyway.
When you know that the narcissist will say you’re wrong in whatever you do, it’s also much easier to think of yourself instead of only him or her. You develop a mindset something like, “Well, if I’m going to be wrong anyway I might as well get something out of this too.”
In all honesty, sometimes the fact there often isn’t any right answer also will make you sad. That is totally normal. It isn’t exactly the most cheerful fact of life, after all. But, if you can look at it in ways that benefit you, it really can help you.
I also found that a quote from Captain Picard from the old tv show “Star Trek The Next Generation” to be comforting. “It is possible to commit no mistakes & still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” I know, I’m a nerd quoting this show, but the words are very wise & very comforting. Definitely worth remembering, in particular when dealing with a narcissist.
People often don’t understand what it’s like sever ties with parents. It’s easy to understand how shocking it can be to some people. I want people who don’t understand to understand, & I hope to help them to do that with this post.
Looking from the outside in, most people don’t see an abusive family scenario. They see attentive parents & well behaved children. They see parents who are successful at their chosen careers, kids getting good grades in school, active in sports or other after school activities & their parents supporting such things.
They don’t see what happens behind the scenes, though. Screaming, raging, sometimes even physical assaults. Then there are the scathing criticisms said so often that it destroys the child’s self esteem. There also is the fact that narcissistic parents do their level best to destroy their child’s identity & recreate the child into whatever it is they want. The child’s personality, likes, feelings & even morals mean nothing to that parent, only what the parent wants is what matters. While this may not sound so bad to someone who hasn’t experienced it, I can tell you from my own experience & that of others I have spoken to in similar situations, a child in this situation often considers suicide as it feels like the only means of escape.
When the child in this situation grows up, often, that child who is now an adult learns that their upbringing wasn’t normal. They witnessed other people with kind & loving parents. They have friends whose parents bought them their first car when they got their drivers’ license instead of fighting them getting a license & car. Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.
Things like this often make this adult child look for answers. Frequently many abused adult children learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this time.
Suddenly, so many things make sense! The abuse, the belittling, the manipulation, the control. Then they learn there is almost no hope whatsoever of changing a narcissist. Explaining that their actions hurt only encourages them to do those things more.
After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option. Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.
Eventually, they do sever ties though. Suddenly people they know, or barely know, come out of the woodwork to tell them how terrible they are, how they need to fix the relationship, how badly they’re hurting their parents, how selfish they are & more. The guilt is horrific & people like this make it even worse.
There is also the devastation of betrayal, because most of these people are people you never expected to side with anyone who abused you. Actually society in general often sides with parents in these situations rather than the children they abused.
People assume estranged children hate their parents, & treat them accordingly when nothing could be further from the truth. People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact. They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either. They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.
This is what happens when someone goes no contact with their parents. This was my experience as well as that of so many others I’ve talked to. If anyone thinks no contact is easy or taking a cowardly way out, they are utterly mistaken. It’s the hardest decision I ever made, yet also the best one.
Narcissists have secrets that they hope will remain secret indefinitely. Learning these secrets can help you when you must deal with a narcissist or to sever ties with them.
One of their biggest fears is that they will be forced to be held accountable for their actions. Document EVERYTHING the narcissist says & does to you. Save voicemails, text messages, emails, screen shots, etc. Save these items to cloud storage or email them to yourself & save on the server rather than on your phone & computer to be sure they aren’t accidentally lost. Don’t forget to hide the access information from the narcissist too! This documentation can work to your advantage if you need to go to the police, go to court or get a restraining order. It also can make a narcissist afraid of being exposed, damaging their reputation. Mention discussing their behavior with someone, for example. No doubt the narcissist will immediately tell you what a horrible person that is you’ve been speaking with in an attempt to make you stop speaking to them. This fear of discovery means they may discard you quickly, freeing you of their abuse, so don’t hesitate to drop hints about documenting their behavior.
Acting indifferent to a narcissist is devastating to them. Narcissists love attention, be it good or bad. Showing a narcissist that nothing they do affects you is utterly devastating to them. Narcissists feed off of emotional responses, so by denying them that, they will get bored & leave you alone. If you must deal with a narcissist, show no reaction whatsoever to anything they do. If you have ended the relationship & they’re trying to harass you, never respond. Any response will be their fuel to try to hurt you further, so deprive them of that fuel!
Any attempt from a narcissist to lure you back into the relationship isn’t because they truly love & miss you. Instead, it is so the narcissist can abuse you further, then end the relationship on his or her terms. Narcissists must be in control & you ending the relationship removed their control. This infuriates narcissists! They usually do whatever they can to rekindle the relationship. They try to lure their victims back with false promises of change or they even try scaring them into resuming the relationship. Once the victim is back, the narcissist abuses the victim even worse than before, then discards the victim.
You are nothing more than narcissistic supply to a narcissist. Narcissists don’t see people as human beings. They only see them as tools to be used however the narcissist sees fit. This is why they are able to abuse & throw away people so easily. People mean nothing more to narcissists than a screwdriver or hammer.
When a narcissist tells you someone else is much better than you, what they mean is that person has fallen for their act. This other person hasn’t caught on to what the narcissist really is yet, so they provide good narcissistic supply. In the eyes of a narcissist, that makes this person better than you.
Narcissists will apologize, but it won’t be a sincere apology. Narcissists prefer to control without resorting to apologies, but they will if they think it will get them what they want. There are big problems with narcissistic apologies, however. They never accompany the narcissist accepting responsibility for their behavior & making appropriate changes. As if this doesn’t prove enough that the apology isn’t genuine, their words do that too. They say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or, “I’m sorry you think I did something wrong.” These fake apologies are meant to pacify a victim by saying, “I’m sorry” while not accepting any responsibility for the bad behavior.
Narcissists will use your empathy against you. Covert narcissists in particular have no problem making you feel sorry for them if it will accomplish their goal. They do this in various ways. One way is apologizing for their actions but offering excuses such as “I was just trying to help!” or, “I didn’t know that would upset you!” Adding such comments onto an apology is meant to make you accept their abusive behavior because their excuse makes it ok. You are supposed to feel ashamed for being upset about their abusive actions, & accept that behavior again.
Keeping these things in mind can help you cope when you must deal with a narcissist.
Often a physical injury results in a scar. Did you ever think about the fact that psychological injuries also result in scars? They may not be so easy to see like physical scars, but they are there nonetheless.
PTSD & C-PTSD are scars that result from exposure to extreme trauma or multiple traumas. The traumas were so bad they literally “broke” a person’s brain, causing physical changes, that create some very difficult problems to cope with.
Depression is a scar resulting from living through the horrors of emotional abuse. The constant berating, gaslighting & more of emotional abuse created depression that can last even long after the relationship has ended.
Anxiety is a scar that comes from living with someone, either a parent or a spouse who is demanding, highly volatile & unpredictable. The constant feeling of walking on eggshells in an attempt to avoid angry outbursts creates anxiety that can last a lifetime, whether or not the volatile person is still in a victim’s life or not.
These scars are incredibly difficult to live with, I know. I live with C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse I’ve endured. It is a horrible disorder to live with but for me, the anxiety & depression are probably the worst parts of it. It could be very easy to get caught up in the heartbreaking, discouraging & unfair nature of it all. Honestly, there are some times that happens. However, there are also times it doesn’t happen because of the perspective I try to have on these scars. My hope is this information will help you too.
Scars remind you of what you’ve been through so you retain what you learned. Having survived narcissistic parents, an ex husband, in-laws & countless so called friends & family, naturally I’ve learned a lot. That’s a good thing, because now I spot unsafe people easily. I know quickly either to avoid them or to have firm boundaries in place if I must deal with them. I also know when they are attempting to manipulate me, & avoid falling for their games.
Scars also remind you that you survived something that was meant to destroy you. This can be really hard to remember when you’re facing suicidal thoughts, flashbacks or paralyzing anxiety or depression, but it’s true. The goal of narcissists is to destroy their victim emotionally. (If they can tear a person down enough, that person will be easy to bend to their will, so it just makes sense that is the goal of narcissists.) You survived that! Yes, you still have issues from it but who wouldn’t?! You survived something really terrible, & that is the main thing!
What I think is the best part of all is that scars also are an excellent reminder of God being by your side, through this “valley of the shadow of death,” so to speak. Remember Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;” (KJV) Your scar is reminder that although you went through something utterly horrific, God was by your side the entire time helping you to survive. He loves you so much, & your scars are a reminder of that wonderful fact.
When you have problems because of the scars you have as a result of surviving narcissistic abuse, please try not to get discouraged! I know it’s hard, but you can do it. Remember the points in this post. Be gentle & understanding with yourself. Acknowledge your feelings & accept them. If you feel things like you’re damaged, a burden to your loved ones or other negative things like that, remind yourself that they are simply old beliefs stemming from narcissistic abuse. And, most of all, lean on God. Pray often. Ask Him for comfort, strength, wisdom, guidance & anything else you can think of. Remember, He was there with you “through the valley of the shadow of death.” He is still with you!
When most people think of an abusive person, they think of someone who is physically abusive, such as the man who beats his wife & children. Some may also think of a verbally abusive person, too. There is so much more to abuse than these two methods, however! Narcissists often use the following tactics, so it’s wise to be aware of them.
Forcing a person to do something they don’t want to do is abuse. This can include anything, such as following unreasonable rules, looking a certain way or even performing sexual acts. The forcing can be accomplished in many ways, like withholding money, using intimidation, guilt or shaming or simply telling the victim there is no choice in this matter.
An extremely possessive & jealous romantic partner is being abusive. Almost everyone has a little bit of possessiveness & jealousy in them, & that is normal. Being upset someone flirted with your spouse is bound to bring out that jealous streak. What is not normal in that situation is if someone becomes enraged at their spouse, accusing them of having an affair with the person who flirted with them or even resorting to physical violence. When your partner’s jealousy makes you afraid to speak with anyone your partner doesn’t approve of, this is a sign that their behavior is abusive.
Giving no privacy is abusive. Unless you have given someone a valid reason not to trust you, such as if you cheated on your spouse, there is no good reason for you not to have privacy in your relationships. It’s healthy for each person in a relationship, any relationship, to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Each person should be able to trust that the other person won’t snoop through their emails, phone, purse, etc. Snooping makes a person feel guilty & paranoid about everything, even when they have no reason to feel that way. It’s a miserable way to live!
Isolation is abuse. If the other person you’re in a relationship with tries to keep you from seeing your friends & family, this is a huge red flag! Abusers of all kinds like to isolate their victims as a means of being able to control them. Isolation limits the information, help & support a victim can receive, which makes them easier to abuse.
Intimidation is also abuse. My ex husband used to punch walls sometimes when he was angry with me. He even told me that I was lucky he hit the wall instead of me, because that was what he wanted to do. Intimidation also can come in the form of someone telling you that they’ll tell everyone you know private things about you & that no one will want anything to do with you after they know those things.
Keeping you from accessing any money is abusive. Naturally parents don’t allow their children to access their bank accounts, but they also don’t restrict their children from working. They also don’t expect their children to give them most of their paycheck for rent. A spouse that refuses to add your name to bank accounts or credit cards, or prevents you from working is also being abusive.
Using religion to force you to behave as they want is abusive. Spiritual abuse seems to be on the rise. It can come from those in the church, spouses & even parents. Spiritual abuse is when someone tries to manipulate your behavior by twisting Scripture around to justify their abusing you or manipulating you into doing what they want. This is one more reason I believe it’s wise to have plenty of knowledge of the Bible. People who spiritually abuse can be quite convincing with what they have to say. The best way to combat this is to have knowledge of the Bible & a relationship with God.
Just remember, Dear Reader, anyone who shows these behaviors is being abusive. Don’t tell yourself it’s no big deal, it doesn’t mean anything or any other excuses. These behaviors are abusive & you have every right to protect yourself!
Those of you young men & women who are still living at home with your abusive parent (or parents), this post is for you today.
You are in a rough place, as you well know. I’ve been there too, & I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Until you can move out, no doubt you could use some advice to help you cope.
I hope those of you reading this share my faith. Knowing God has been the most important part of my life, including helping me to survive the abuse. When I was living with my parents, however, I didn’t believe in God because of the abuse. No doubt many of you feel the same way & your parents also have misused religion as an excuse to abuse you. Please know that God is nothing like what abusive parents say He is! He is loving & kind, & will gladly help you through this! If you’d like to learn more, click this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/salvation-through-jesus-christ/
Learn everything you possibly can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The more you understand it, the more it will help you to figure out ways to cope with your parent’s behavior. It also will help you to remember that you are NOT the problem, your narcissistic parent is. While that may seem obvious when you first learn about NPD, narcissists can be very manipulative. Even to the point of making others believe they are the real problem in the relationship. That happened to me with both my parents & my ex husband. I honestly believed I was the problem in spite of them clearly being the abusers. Not only did I feel awful but they used that as another way to control me. Since I thought I was so awful, I trusted them to tell me how to be better. Learn from my mistake! Abusers are always the problem!
When dealing with your parent, try to show as little emotion as possible. The reason being narcissists use people’s emotions against them. Are you happy? The narcissist will try to make you sad. Are you sad or angry? The narcissist will try to make you sadder or angrier, then tell you that you’re crazy because of how you feel. Always remain unemotional around your parent.
Save up money as best you can. Be frugal with your money & save as much as you can, because you are going to need quite a bit to get a car & to move out. Also, stash your money somewhere where your parent can’t get to it. Many narcissistic parents steal from their children, so you need to be careful about where you hide your money.
Move out to somewhere safe as soon as possible. A roommate helps financially, so that may be an option. You’ll need someone who has a steady job & is responsible, as well as someone you get along well with. Some folks rent out rooms in their home, too. Or, maybe a friend or relative would let you move in with them. Consider your options & make plans as best you can. Don’t share your plans with anyone that might tell your parent about them, however.
If at all possible, buy what you can to prepare for moving out. If you plan to live with a relative or rent a room, you probably won’t need much. A bedroom set, toiletries, towels.. things like this. If you have a friend or relative that knows your situation, they might be willing to hold these items for you until you need them so your parent doesn’t find out about your plans.
I know all of this must seem overwhelming, but really you got this! You have survived so much up to this point which shows you are strong! You can do it!!
I know it seems like it’s only you. No one else is still sticking it out with a narcissist in their life. You probably even feel ashamed & like a coward for not ending the relationship when so many other folks have. Today I want you to know that it isn’t only you, you have no valid reason to feel ashamed, & you aren’t a coward!
So much information says, “Just go no contact” when it comes to narcissists. They make it sound so easy, as do many survivors of narcissistic abuse. The truth of the matter though is no contact isn’t easy!
It isn’t important whether the narcissist in your life is a friend, romantic partner or even a parent. Ending any relationship is very sad & painful. Although that usually is the best solution & often the only one when dealing with a narcissist, even that doesn’t make this an easy or less sad solution.
There is also the fact that narcissists don’t usually abuse strangers. They abuse those closest to them. Ending a relationship with someone you have known for a month isn’t so hard. Ending it with someone you have a long history with however is really tough.
Don’t forget too, that narcissists can behave very well when they want to. It can be so hard to leave someone who has the ability to be good to you! Most people want that good version to come back & are willing to hang in there in the hopes it will happen.
If you believe no contact is the right solution for your situation yet are having trouble taking that step, please know you’re ok. Really! No contact is such a difficult move to make. It often takes a great deal of time to work up the inner strength to end an abusive relationship. Narcissists do their best to destroy their victims’ self esteem. Once that happens, it takes a lot of time & work to rebuild that self esteem to the point of being able to leave the abuser.
If you’re living with the narcissist in your life, maybe you are in the unfortunate situation of being financially dependent on this person. It happens more often than you may realize. Narcissists abuse in every possible way, even financially. They often spend all their victim’s money, run up the victim’s credit cards, create a great deal of debt in the victim’s name then refuse to pay is in order to ruin the victims’ credit & even force a victim to sign their paychecks over to them leaving the victim destitute.
None of these scenarios are your fault. Sadly they are very common.
You will know when & if the time is right to end the relationship with the narcissist in your life. Until that time comes, there are some things you can do to make your situation a bit more bearable.
Always remember to pray. Ask God for help. Ask Him to give you creative & effective ways to deal with the narcissist. Ask Him to help you by giving you whatever you need to go no contact.
Never forget that the primary motivation of anything a narcissist does is narcissistic supply. The less supply you provide, the more likely the narcissist will leave you alone. Think about this person- what provides him or her with that supply? Stop doing those things. Your anger provides supply? Never show the narcissist you’re angry. You looking your best provides supply? Then let yourself look sloppy sometimes. No doubt you can come up with a list of things that provide this person with narcissistic supply & ways to stop providing it.
One tool I found to be quite useful with narcissists is asking logical questions without showing any emotions. You can say things like, “I don’t understand what you mean. Would you explain that?” “Why do you think that is a good idea?” Asking these kinds of questions in a calm manner flusters narcissists. It shows that you’re onto their manipulation, but in a manner that they know if they get mad at you, they’ll look foolish. Since narcissists hate the very thought of looking bad in any way, chances are good they will change the subject to avoid this conversation.
If you don’t know much about boundaries, then it is time for you to learn. You have every right to have reasonable boundaries, such as being able to say no without inciting rage. You also don’t have to explain your boundaries. Doing so only encourages a narcissist to try to convince their victim why their boundaries are wrong & instill doubt. It’s best to state your boundaries without explanation.
Also never forget that the way the narcissist is treating you isn’t about you. It isn’t personal at all. I know it feels that way but the truth is the narcissist behaves this way because they have issues. It isn’t because you deserve to be treated as they are doing. Remembering this can help to take some of the pain out of their abusive ways.
Lastly, if you are able, low contact is a very good stepping stone to no contact. Only deal with the narcissist when you feel able to do so. Give yourself permission not to take every single phone call or visit the narcissist every time he or she demands you do so. Sometimes, narcissists in this position will initiate no contact with their victim since the victim is no longer a good source of narcissistic supply.
Remember, no contact is a very big decision. There is nothing wrong with you for taking your time about making that big step. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise! You will know in your heart when the time is right & have the ability to do so!
Narcissists love to hurt their victims. It gives them a feeling of power, control & superiority to be able to affect victims as profoundly as they do, so it’s no wonder they do it so often.
Narcissists have a vast collection of ways to cause their victims pain. Following is a list of some of their favorite methods used to accomplish this. Some of these methods are quite subtle, & may not even seem abusive at first, but they absolutely are.
If you want validation, count on the narcissist to withhold it from you. Narcissists won’t tell you that you did a good job or that you’re right about something. Withholding validation is a form of invalidation, & is done to let you know how unimportant everything about you is.
If something important is going on with you, whether it is good or bad, you can expect a narcissist to steal the spotlight somehow. They may invent a crisis or pick a fight with you. If something bad is happening to you, they may steal the spotlight by talking about how the event affects them. My ex husband & father did this constantly. I ended up comforting them rather than them comforting me.
If you need help with something, you can expect the narcissist to resist. Either he or she will disappear completely or will help but do things in a lazy, sloppy way. If this person does help you, the help most likely accompanied by a great deal of complaining or letting you know what a huge sacrifice he or she is making & how you should appreciate it.
If you’re sick or injured, you can count on a narcissist to disappear or act annoyed with your suffering. Since they lack empathy, they won’t care about how awful you feel. They most likely will trivialize your suffering on the off chance they acknowledge it. And, if the narcissist in question is your romantic partner, don’t think your illness or injury will have any affect on your sex life. You still will be expected to perform as normal, no matter the state of your health.
If you want sex from your narcissistic partner, you can count on the narcissistic partner to claim to be too tired. They must be in control in every area, & that includes your sex life. They also don’t care what their victims want in any area.
If you’re talking, chances of the narcissist interrupting you are excellent. It keeps the focus on them because a person who is interrupted naturally stops talking to let the interrupting person talk.
If you’re lonely, you can expect the narcissist suddenly to be too busy to spend time with you. The same goes if you need to talk to him or her about something. If you decide to spend time with someone else, the narcissist will become angry that you didn’t just wait to spend time with him or her. You will be called unreasonable, impossible to please or something similar.
If you want to drive somewhere when you & the narcissist go out together, count on your driving being criticized either actively or passively, no matter how safely you drive. Actively criticizing it is easy to spot. They tell you that you’re driving too fast, tailgating or other similar comments. Passive criticizing isn’t so easy to spot. It’s quieter & more covert, such as bracing themselves as you approach a red light or stop sign or cringing as you drive. I believe the passive criticism is even worse, because if you say something, the narcissist has plausible deniability. He or she can say things like, “I never complained about your driving!” “I never said you were speeding!” Before you know it, you easily can end up apologizing to the narcissist.
When you witness these behaviors from the narcissist in your life, remind yourself that they are abusive! You aren’t unreasonable or wrong or impossible to please. The narcissist is trying to hurt you. Don’t let that happen! Remind yourself what is happening so you aren’t hurt by their ridiculous & abusive behavior.
Narcissists love to manipulate & control their victims. One way they control their victims is to make them feel powerless, as if they have absolutely no control over any aspect of their own lives.
Feeling completely out of control & powerless is a horrible way to feel! It saps your joy & makes you feel utterly hopeless. Being depressed & hopeless may make you miserable, but it also will make a narcissist feel wonderful. This is because they have control over you & know you won’t do anything about it.
Don’t let the narcissist in your life get away with doing this to you! Take your power back! You can do this!!
As always, I recommend you start with prayer. God will be glad to give you whatever you need, be it insight, strength, courage or anything else. Let Him help you!! You need every advantage you can get where narcissists are concerned, so why not let God help you?
If you haven’t done it already, start learning about boundaries. You need to have very clear views on where you end & the narcissist begins, because one way narcissists remove a victim’s power is by blurring those boundaries. Victims often feel responsible for the narcissist in ways that they shouldn’t. As an example, narcissists make victims feel responsible for their feelings & actions. How many times has the narcissist in your life said something like, “You made me do that!” “I wouldn’t be so angry if you wouldn’t have said/done what you did!”? I would guess you can think of many examples. I certainly can.
As you learn about boundaries, you’ll need to learn some new & even creative ways to say no to the narcissist. Always remember, normal ways to set boundaries don’t work with narcissists, so avoid saying things like, “Please don’t do that.. it hurts me when you do that.” Admitting the narcissist’s behavior hurts you only provides narcissistic supply which means they’ll do that thing over & over again. Instead, say things like:
- I’m sorry. I have other plans.
- I can’t do that.
- I can’t make it that day.
- I’ll consider what you suggested.
- That isn’t going to happen.
- I’m not interested.
- Thank you, but no.
- No (without any explanation, simply saying the word).
There are also other things you can do to help yourself to regain some control. Start small. Organize your purse, a desk drawer, your car’s glove compartment. Work up from there onto something larger, maybe get rid of some clothes you no longer like even though the narcissist likes them. You also could paint a room or replace a piece of furniture. Keep taking back your power, little by little. The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the less you’re willing to settle for someone taking away your power.
Naturally as you do these things, the narcissist is NOT going to be happy about it. Most likely, the narcissist will realize that a rage will make him or her look bad, so that won’t happen. Instead, probably there will be passive/aggressive behaviors such as giving the silent treatment. Invalidation is also common. The narcissist may act as if there is something wrong with you for liking whatever it is you did that took back some of your power. Criticism certainly is going to happen. The narcissist will let you know that whatever you did was wrong, stupid, a waste of time & anything else negative they can think to say.
When the narcissist acts this way, always remember that it says more about the narcissist than you. Normal, functional people encourage others to be independent & have good boundaries. They also aren’t threatened by such things. Only unsafe & even narcissistic people are threatened by such normal, healthy, behaviors.
Dear Reader, you can do this! You can take back your power!
General anxiety & anxiety associated with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD, are very different. Generalized anxiety involves things that might happen. What if I get fired? What if I get into a car accident? Anxiety that stems from C-PTSD is nothing like that. For me, I seldom even know the cause of my anxiety. I just feel crippling anxiety with no clue why.
One aspect of this anxiety that has baffled me the most is sometimes when I wake up, either during the night or first thing in the morning, it attacks. It comes in these awful waves where I feel like the anxiety is going to overwhelm me, then it passes, then it comes back again & passes again. This happens usually for a good half hour at least until eventually the anxiety just stays away until the next time. For quite some time now, I’ve tried learning what this is about with no luck… that is until recently. I wanted to share what I learned since I have no doubt many others live with this obnoxious phenomenon, too. If you’re one of the “lucky” ones like me, I hope this helps you.
After having survived trauma, in particular repeated traumas, your brain knows the worst case scenario. It’s seen some really ugly things, up close & personal, & quite frankly does NOT want to go back to that. Understandable, of course. The problem is the brain will do anything to avoid this, & can take things too far.
The traumatized brain is in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze. Sometimes, the brain acts like it believes danger is about to happen at random, such as I mentioned happens to me when I first wake up. Whether danger is actually there or not, it thinks danger is lurking & triggers the fight, flight or freeze responses kick into overdrive. It’s kind of like car alarms when they first became popular in the late 1980’s & early 1990’s. They were so easily triggered that virtually nothing could make them sound. This is like anxiety in a brain that’s experienced repeated traumas.
And good luck at this point convincing your panicked brain that no danger exists. It knows better because it’s seen some pretty terrible things. It won’t be reassured that there is no danger because of that.
When this type of anxiety kicks in, you can handle it. I know it’s hard, but it’s possible.
Remind yourself of what is happening, that this anxiety is only a symptom of C-PTSD. It isn’t a sign that there is any potential danger. It’s a symptom of a brain that has been broken due to experiencing horrific traumas. Nothing more. Maybe think of it like a toothache. If you have a cavity, your tooth will hurt until you’ve seen the dentist. If you don’t know that you have a cavity, that pain will scare you. However, if you are aware of having a cavity, the pain will still hurt of course, but at least you won’t be scared because you know why you have the pain. When you know what is happening, it can make it much easier to cope with a difficult situation.
Try to understand why the anxiety is so bad. You may not be able to figure that out, but hopefully you can. If you can, then you can calm the anxiety by figuring out a solution to the problem or reassuring yourself that the problem isn’t so bad.
Never forget to pray, too. God understands us even better than we understand ourselves. When you don’t understand why the anxiety is happening or how to calm it down, He will. Let Him help you! He will be glad to!