Your Perceptions Of People Aren’t Always Accurate

People can have very strange ways of looking at things.  They clearly look at things through their own experiences, which of course is to be expected.  Many times though, people also forget that there are other perspectives.

Many of my family members have made it very clear that they think I was spoiled by my parents, & have led an easy life without a care in the world.

What these people saw & what the truth was are VERY different things.

My family saw me barely allowed to leave my mother’s side at family gatherings, & assumed this meant we were close.  They had no idea that meant she controlled my every move & I was afraid to protest.  They saw me dressed in clean, decent clothing & assumed that meant all of my needs were met.  They didn’t realize there are more needs that parents should meet than food, clothing & shelter.  It was those needs that were neglected in my life.  They also saw me as a quiet child who didn’t complain about anything, so they assumed all was right in my world.  Obviously they didn’t understand that abused children don’t usually complain.  They know that if it was discovered that they said anything derogatory about their abusive parent, they would face that parent’s wrath, so they keep complaints to themselves.  They also didn’t know I was afraid to say anything that could be met with my mother’s disapproval.

This is typical of many people.  They see things & make assumptions based on their own experiences or even fantasies rather than keeping an open mind. 

This is going to happen to you at some point as it has me, & when it does, please remember that what other people think isn’t necessarily important.  You were there, you lived the situation.  They were not.  They saw appearances only, not the truth behind the façade.  Don’t let these people downplay anything traumatic or treat you badly because they have made foolish assumptions about you. 

I have found that people who make snap judgments are often unsafe people or at the very least, very wounded people who aren’t trying to heal from their wounds.  Some distance may be the best option for you when you learn someone behaves this way on a regular basis.

Please also remember not to behave the same way as the judge-y people!  When you have been exposed to the horrors of narcissistic abuse, it can be very easy to see everyone as a potential threat.  Not everyone is a narcissist!  Sometimes people act in selfish or very inconsiderate ways because they are going through a tough time.  They are so caught up in their difficult situation that their preoccupation with it is making them behave thoughtlessly.  And, not everyone is a victim of similar circumstances to yours just because they show some similar behavior to yours.  That person who is dealing with terrible anxiety or depression may have a rather good life.  Their problem may be that they survived a brain injury that created problems with anxiety or depression even though they show no other outward signs of brain damage. 

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

When Adult Children Of Narcissists Marry Each Other

When children grow up with narcissistic parents marry, it can be incredibly challenging.  Usually, either one person is a narcissist & the other isn’t, or one is trying to heal & the other prefers staying in their dysfunction.  The last scenario seems to be the most common. There isn’t a lot of information available on the topic, which is why I opted to discuss it today.  It happens pretty often & people in this situation know how to handle it!

When you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be so incredibly freeing!  That’s how it is when you learn truth, though.  Not everyone sees it that way, however.  The truth isn’t always pleasant or easy, so many folks prefer to avoid the ugly truth in favor of pretty lies.  The pretty lies are easier & preferable to some people because they’re what is familiar.  Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt.  Sometimes it breeds cognitive dissonance in the adult children of narcissistic parents. 

That cognitive dissonance can be incredibly difficult to live with for someone married to a person who prefers to avoid it whenever possible.  When you see the truth so clearly & someone you love avoids it like the plague, it is so frustrating!!  You just want them to wake up & see the truth, but they won’t.  Instead they continue to tolerate their toxic parents abusing them & even you & your children if you have them.  They also will fight you on this topic, even if they aren’t normally disagreeable.  If you complain about their parents, they will tell you things like it’s your problem & to leave them out of it.  If this kind of thing doesn’t make you want to scream, nothing will!

I prayed about this behavior recently when it came to mind & God showed me some things.

While this behavior feels intensely personal, it isn’t.  It’s about them, their dysfunction & self preservation.

When a person has a spouse that loves them & a narcissistic parent, the spouse is the safer of the two people.  In this situation, the adult child knows someone is going to be angry & they will suffer for it.  In their minds, the spouse is the safer one.  They’ve had a lifetime of knowing just how incredibly cruel their narcissistic parent can be, so they do their level best to avoid their anger & cruelty.  It’s safer to deal with the anger of a loving spouse than a narcissistic parent, so they choose (albeit unconsciously) the safer of the two people to anger.

Unfortunately for the spouse, this means that their dysfunctional mate is going to put them in some pretty awful positions.  They’ll expect their healing spouse to tolerate whatever the narcissistic parents dish out, & when the healing spouse doesn’t, arguments are going to happen.  Even if the narcissistic parent in question is the healing spouse’s parent, the dysfunctional spouse most likely will be upset if the healing spouse is setting boundaries or even severs ties with their parent.  The dysfunctional spouse is going to minimize, excuse or even deny abusive behaviors.  This can be so difficult because the healing spouse wants to heal but also wants to have a good relationship with their dysfunctional partner.  Sadly, the relationship can only be so good while one is dysfunctional & the other is trying to heal.


If you’re in this position, you will need God’s guidance on how to navigate this situation.  He knows so much more than you could possibly know so let Him help you!  And, pray for your spouse to see the truth & be able to handle it, too.  That is what someone in that position truly needs!

Also always remember that your spouse’s reactions aren’t personal.  They’re about that person’s dysfunction.  Keeping that in mind will help you to be less hurt & angered by their behavior, which will in turn help you to deal with the situation more effectively.

Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries!  Just because your spouse is fine with being abused doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it.  Protect yourself & if your spouse is angry about it, that is that person’s problem.  There is nothing wrong, bad or even un-Christian about protecting yourself!

When you must discuss your spouse’s or your narcissistic parent with your spouse, try to keep your emotions under control.  Any anger shown on your part could make your spouse become very protective of the parent in question, which will start a fight between you.  Avoid it as much as possible by remaining calm when discussing parents!

Lastly, don’t give your partner an ultimatum to choose either you or their parent if you want to stay married.  Those who do that usually lose their spouse.  The one given the ultimatum feels their spouse is being manipulative, which naturally pushes them away & towards the parent.  Don’t put your spouse or yourself in that position.  If you end up wanting to go your separate ways, find another way to discuss it. Ultimatums end in anger & make the situation worse.

I wish you the best!

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Ways To Handle Flying Monkeys

In scrolling through my memories on Facebook recently, a picture came up.  The picture is one taken of my parents on their wedding day while they stood by my father’s car.  I originally shared it on Facebook in 2014 because I thought the picture was nice & my family might enjoy seeing it.  The car in the picture was special to my father, too, & I thought they also might remember it.  One of my cousins said something about how my father & I both love cars.  I responded that was true, it was one of the few things we had in common.  Out of nowhere, one of my aunts verbally attacked me for not trying harder to find things in common with my father.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?  If so, welcome to life with narcissistic parents & their awful flying monkeys!

Flying monkeys absolutely love to tell the victims of narcissistic abuse what we need to do, how we need to work harder for the narcissist, how we should ignore our own needs in favor of the narcissist & so much more.  The pressure can be unbearable sometimes.  It also can trigger a lot of anger, as my situation with my aunt did.  I hope to help you to find ways to help you deal with these awful people in this post.

The very first thing you should do when trying to learn ways to deal with flying monkeys is to pray.  Ask God for wisdom, clarity, strength not to cave into their unrealistic expectations & creative ways to help you to cope.  He absolutely will grant you those things!

Some flying monkeys are people who were genuinely duped by narcissist, but not many are.  Many flying monkeys are truly horrible, evil & narcissistic people that enjoy causing others pain while simultaneously acting as if they are only trying to help so no one can be angry with them.   The way to tell the difference is by listening to what these people say.  The genuinely duped are open to hearing your side & admitting that the narcissist might just be wrong.  The evil flying monkeys however have no interest in hearing your side of the story.  They are convinced you are wrong, the narcissist is right & that is the end of the story.  They have zero interest in truth, & their minds are completely closed to anything that disagrees with their views, no matter how slightly.  People like this are toxic, & need to be removed from your life.  It’s not likely that those who are genuinely duped need to be removed from your life.  They may see the error of their ways & aren’t so toxic.  Use your best judgment with them regarding whether or not to remove them from your life.

If you’re unable to remove the toxic flying monkeys from your life, it’s best to interact with them as little as possible.  If you must interact with them, share as little personal information as possible.  Telling them anything personal means that most likely, they will run to your narcissistic parent to share that information as quickly as possible.

Refuse to discuss your narcissistic parent with the flying monkeys.  Remember, the toxic ones are online interested in what supports their perspective.  As a result of that, they WILL hurt you by invalidating or shaming you.  They will attempt to force you to do what they believe you should do, such as resume contact with your narcissistic parent no matter how toxic your parent is.  Change the subject, even if it means doing it repeatedly or being rude.  Only discuss neutral topics with flying monkeys such as the weather.  Or, ask them about things in their lives.  There’s not a narcissist around that will pass up the opportunity to discuss themselves, so why not use this to your advantage?

Show no emotions whatsoever to the flying monkeys.  Narcissists feed off emotions, & their flying monkeys do too.  In fact, they use any emotions you show as proof that the narcissist is right about you, & you’re crazy, angry, unreasonable & more.  No matter how justifiable emotions are, flying monkeys still take them as proof of a victim’s mental incompetence.  Once they are convinced of your mental instability, they will use that to hurt you, so it’s best to refuse to show them any emotions that you feel.

Flying monkeys are miserable, awful people who thrive on hurting others.  Not dealing with them is the best solution, but if you must deal with them, I hope the tips in this post will help you to do so.

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About Emotional Intelligence Shaming

The definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, express, & control one’s emotions.  It also includes the ability to handle relationships with empathy & fairness.  People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are often kind, fair, understanding & tolerant of the mistakes of others while not tolerant of abuse.

Narcissists hate emotionally intelligent people.  There are many various reasons they can feel this way.  Possibly the main reason is because narcissists are very emotionally unintelligent, & therefore can’t understand the emotionally intelligent so they hate them. Narcissists understanding the emotionally intelligent would be like the average person trying to understand how geniuses like Einstein thought.  It would be impossible… although the average person at least wouldn’t hate him for his intelligence.

Another & even more likely scenario is because emotionally intelligent people aren’t easily fooled or manipulated.  Narcissists want to fool & manipulate their victims so they can get whatever they like from them.  Emotionally intelligent people have good boundaries & they understand people.  This makes it nearly impossible to fool & manipulate them.  It may happen briefly, but it won’t happen long.  This makes them very unnerving for narcissists.

For the emotionally intelligent person in this situation, the narcissist & their flying monkeys will be incredibly shaming.  They come up with all kinds of ridiculous things to say to the victim in order to shame them into compliance.  In Christian circles, often the Bible is twisted around for the purpose of shaming the victim: “If you remember, the Bible says to honor your parents!”, “Wives should submit to their husbands!” & “Love covers a multitude of sins!” are some examples of Scriptures being used to shame victims into tolerating abuse.  When Scripture isn’t used, the ridiculousness doesn’t get any better.  People try to shame the victim by saying equally stupid comments such as, “You need to forgive & forget!” “That’s in the past…”,“That’s just how she is.”, “You need to understand her better.” & “But he was abused by his parents!!”

Comments like these can create a great deal of conflict & confusion in someone victimized by a narcissist.  A person who is emotionally intelligent however, isn’t conflicted & confused.  They recognize the bad behavior for what it is, & have no problem calling out the people who say these things.  

If this happens to you, a very helpful thing you can do is remember what type of person is saying these things.  You aren’t dealing with another emotionally intelligent person.  They don’t say such stupid, heartless comments.  You also can ask God to tell you the truth about this situation, & ask if they were right in what they said.

It also helps to look objectively at your situation & ask yourself does what this person said to you make any sense?  If you can’t seem to look at the situation objectively, I know a trick that can help.  Pretend a friend has told you of this same situation happening to them.  Doing this can help you feel disconnected enough to look more objectively at your situation.  

Please remember to be proud of being the emotionally intelligent person you are.  Narcissists & their flying monkeys only criticize it because it means you see through their abuse.  Don’t accept their shame! The shame belongs to them & you have no reason to carry it!

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

Being Judgmental

Some years ago, I used to sell bath & beauty products I made from all natural ingredients.  I got an email one day about my products.  I was surprised that this wasn’t the usual email asking if I could make some specialty product or make a unique scent for some perfume that the buyer wanted.  Instead, the person emailing asked if I practiced witchcraft.  Apparently because I used natural products & openly discussed my preference for herbal remedies over man made, this person assumed I was a practicing witch, not a Christian.

Several years after that, I had met someone online.  We shared a love of crocheting, so we discussed it often.  One day, she shocked me by saying, “I know why you don’t have kids.  It’s because of your mother!  You shouldn’t let her make you feel that way!”  Since we never discussed children in depth other than I had none & she had a son, her saying this was astonishing.  She also didn’t know me well enough to make such a judgment, but she then scolded me for feeling the way she assumed I felt.

Not long ago, someone my husband & I have known for years thanked my husband for doing something for her, then told him to thank me for “letting” him help her out.

I’m sharing these strange little stories because I wanted to show just how utterly foolish judgmental people can be.  People other than witches like natural things.  Consider how many people of all religious backgrounds like a cup of chamomile tea to help them sleep.  The second person assuming my mother is why I don’t have children isn’t any better.  My mother had nothing to do with my feelings.  And as far as me “letting” my husband do things for someone else, that is simply laughable.  Having been subjected to controlling people in my life & being very aware of how awful it is, why would I do that to anyone, let alone someone I love?  Yet, in spite of the ridiculousness of these assumptions, these & equally stupid ones happen to people every day, all the time. 

While it can be easy to judge someone, that doesn’t make it right.  The Bible tells us not to judge each other.  We are only supposed to judge in a discerning way.  John 7:24 in the Amplified Bible says “Do not judge by appearance [superficially and arrogantly], but judge fairly and righteously.”  In other words, appearance isn’t everything!  Judge by the things a person does.  Their actions dictate their heart, & the heart is so much more important than appearance!  Some of the kindest people you can meet are covered in tattoos & piercings while some of the cruelest people you can meet wear modest clothing, volunteer or attend church every Sunday. 

You may think that you aren’t a judgmental person, & I hope you aren’t.  But please look honestly at yourself.  If you see a homeless man, do you deliberately avoid giving him money because you assume he will use it for drugs or alcohol?  He may use money for drugs or alcohol, that is true, but he may use it to feed his dog or get a pair of shoes since his are worn through.  He may be struggling with mental illness or lost his job then his home.  Such things don’t make him a bad person.  They make him a person with a problem.  You may be his answer to prayer, but you won’t be if you judge him by his appearance.  Whatever his story may be, if you don’t try to offer him at least a little help, that says more about the condition of your heart than it does about him. 

I just wanted to encourage you today to take a look at your behavior, & if you recognize you can be unfairly judgmental sometimes, then please change that about yourself.  Not only is being judgmental ungodly behavior, but it also steals your peace.  There is no point in weighing yourself down with opinions of people & things that aren’t even any of your business in the first place.  Focus on what you need to, & don’t worry about the things that aren’t your concern.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

Dysfunctional Thinking – Expecting A Romantic Partner To Make Your Life Perfect

Many of us raised by narcissistic parents didn’t realize something was terribly wrong with our upbringing.  We did, however, realize that we were lonely because we felt so different or even weird. 

To cope, whether or not we realized what we were doing, we created these fantasies of one day finding the perfect romantic partner.  We were certain we would find that one person that would love us unconditionally & take away all of the loneliness & pain we felt.  Certainly there was someone out there who could make everything better, with whom we could live happily ever after.  We would never argue or even disagree.  We would be perfectly compatible, like something out of a cheap romance novel.

Then one day, we meet someone who is interested in us & we put all of our unrealistic expectations on that person.  Often, that person is another narcissist, yet we fail to recognize those similarities between this person & our narcissistic parent.  Instead, we see their flaws but excuse them away, waiting on them to turn into that perfect romantic partner who will make our lives happy.  Or, we may not become involved with another person who is a narcissist, yet we still put our unrealistic expectations on that person, expecting them somehow to make our lives complete.  Yet sadly, these people don’t make us happy.  Instead, we suffer with the cognitive dissonance of our situation, wondering what is wrong, why can’t this person make me happy?!

It takes time to realize what is really happening.  It takes learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to understand that we have been through some very serious & life altering cruelty that has skewed our views of ourselves as well as of our fellow humans.  We must learn that many times, children of narcissistic parents fall in love with narcissists.  It’s normal, but dysfunctional. 

The good news though is that we can change.  We can become healthier & recognize the utter dysfunction of this situation.  We also can see our romantic partner for who they are.  If they are also narcissists, we can abandon the relationship.  If they aren’t, we can accept their normal human limitations & stop expecting them to make everything better for us.  To do this, we must be open to learning, changing & growing.

If you’re just starting to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recognize yourself in this post, please know that there is hope for your situation!  Things will get better!  Be patient with yourself.  Keep reading, keep watching YouTube videos & listening to podcasts.  Keep talking with safe people who won’t judge your situation.  Join online support forums.  The more you do these things, the healthier you will become & the better your life will be.  You also naturally will develop healthier boundaries & relationships, which includes having healthier expectations of any relationships in your life, romantic & otherwise.  Please just keep doing these things because although it’s hard work, the rewards are amazing & you deserve nothing less!

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How To Enjoy Life With C-PTSD

Electronics are a huge part of daily life.  If we aren’t scrolling through social media or responding to emails, we’re often streaming music or movies to entertain us.  None of these activities are bad by any means.  However, it can be easy to get caught up in them. 

For those of us who have experienced trauma such as narcissistic abuse, electronics can be both a blessing & a curse.

A blessing because they help us manage the C-PTSD.  Calendars & other reminders help so much when we forget things way too easily.  Mostly though, the access to information about the trauma we have experienced, ways to cope with it & meeting others with similar experiences are huge blessings.

Electronics also can be a curse.  They offer a means of escape by mindlessly playing games, scrolling through social media or surfing the net.  While there is nothing wrong with distractions, after trauma, it can be too easy to get caught up in them & avoid dealing with the damage from past trauma.  A common sign of C-PTSD is doing mindless activities like getting lost in social media or tv shows.

Today I want to offer some suggestions to get you started stepping away from electronics while adding some substance & joy in your life.

First, consider what you are doing with your time. Is your electronics time valuable or necessary?  If you are unsure, pray about it.  God will help you to see things clearer. 

If you can cut back on that electronics time, such as not needing it for your job, cut back.  There are other things you can do with your time that are much more mentally healthy & productive. 

Also consider what you are doing online.  Are you wasting time playing games or scrolling mindlessly through social media?  Are you obsessively looking for information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder?  Neither are bad activities but they can be when done too much.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  Are you avoiding something?  Again, pray if you need insight.    

If you feel you have been spending too much time staring at your phone, computer or television, there are so many other good things you can do that can add more joy to your life.

Ban electronics for a set time each day.  Don’t stare mindlessly at the television or your phone while eating.  Instead, have your meal with another person & talk with them.  If you’re eating alone, go out to eat & watch the other people in the restaurant.  Or do some of the following suggestions during your anti-electronics time.

Spend time in nature.  If you enjoy camping, go camping.  If not, wander around a local park.  Sit on your porch & listen to the birds while watching wildlife in your yard.  Sit outside at night & admire the beauty of the stars & planets.

Play.  Play board or card games with your friends & family.  Go bowling.  Play pool or ping pong.  Try crossword puzzles or word find puzzles.  Put a jigsaw puzzle together.  Purchase nice colored pencils & a coloring book that strikes your fancy.

Don’t neglect your hobbies.  What have you been neglecting?  Painting?  Drawing?  Woodworking?  Playing a musical instrument?  Cross stitch?  Crochet or knitting?  Get back in the habit of making time for your hobbies.  If you don’t have any, then it’s time to find a hobby that appeals to you.  A good place to start is by asking yourself what did you enjoy doing when you were a child?  Wandering around a craft store is also a good idea.  There is plenty of inspiration to be had in such stores for both men & women.

As useful & wonderful as electronics can be, it’s important to have balance in your life & not be too dependent on them.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

Why Complements Are So Hard For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

When you grow up with a narcissistic parent, you can’t help but to have a root of shame.  This is because shame is a very powerful weapon to help a person control another, & narcissists are incredibly talented at using it to their best advantage.

One of the many problems that shame causes is the lack of ability to accept a complement in a normal, healthy way.  I admit to struggling with this to this day, although much less than I have in years prior.  In my younger years both as a child & younger adult, if someone paid me a complement, I would tell them why what they said was wrong.  Anyone could have done that thing I did, so it’s nothing special & I’m not smart.  Or, I’m not pretty because I’m fat & ugly.  You get the picture.  I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you have behaved in much the same way.

While this may not appear be the biggest problem shame causes or even a huge interruption in life, it can be an incredibly annoying problem.  It also can compound the shame that is already there.  When you don’t know how to do something so simple as accepting a complement, it makes you feel stupid.  Most of us have been told by the narcissists in our lives how stupid we are, so feeling stupid validates their cruel criticism & adds to the shame they have made us feel.

So why do people do this?  Is it really that hard simply to say “Thank you” & go on with your day?  Honestly?  Yes.  Yes it is that hard for some people.  The reason is that complements go against our sense of self that we learned from the abusive people in our lives.  Parents in particular have a great deal of power over their children’s sense of self because they are there during their children’s formative years.  Anyway when a complement goes against that sense of self, & it triggers shame.  It goes against that sense of self, & causes a person to feel as if they have tricked someone into believing they are much better than they really are.

This is a very difficult habit to overcome, especially after a lifetime of functioning this way.  It is possible though.

As always, pray.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself & listen to what He has to say.  Let Him help build up your self esteem & to help you to see that the narcissist in your life lied to you.

Remember too, when people say something genuinely complementary, they aren’t doing so from a place of selfishness.  They are saying something they truly believe, something that comes from their heart.  You can trust what they say.

Consider what the person has said too.  Why do you think what they said is wrong?  Is that something you honestly believe yourself or is it because you were told to believe it by the narcissist in your life?  If it’s because of the narcissist, ask yourself why you would continue to believe something told to you by this person.  Narcissists lie & try to destroy their victims.  They don’t do constructive criticism, so what they said was clearly NOT meant to help you!

If you’re still struggling, ask God to tell you the truth about this complement.  Is it really true or are you whatever bad thing you’re thinking you are, then listen for His answer.  You are going to be very pleasantly surprised by what He has to say to you.

I know it can be hard, but please try to remember simply to say “Thank you” the next time someone complements you.  Countering their complement makes them feel uncomfortable & adds to your shame, so why do it?  Instead, simply thank the person who was kind enough to complement you.  The more you do that, the easier it gets to do.  And, the more you argue in favor of the complement & against the criticisms of the narcissist, the more accurately you will see yourself.  You might even start to like what you see!

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

Stop Comparing Your Struggles To Someone Else’s

One thing I have noticed a great deal of in the community of abuse survivors is comparisons.

Those without PTSD or C-PTSD sometimes think those with either disorder are weak, & shame them for being so weak.

Those who have siblings shame those of us who are only children, because they think we had it so easy growing up without abusive siblings.

Still others who were older children look down on their younger siblings for having it so easy as to be “spoiled” by the same parents that abused them.

The problem is that these mindsets make no sense whatsoever.

Someone who managed to escape an abusive childhood or abusive marriage without PTSD or C-PTSD should be grateful for that fact rather than judging others who live with these disorders.  Those without such disorders are in the minority.  The fact is that surviving an abusive relationship often causes either disorder, & it’s not very common to escape without them.  Rather than looking down on those of us you may deem weak, instead be grateful that you don’t live with PTSD or C-PTSD.  Be grateful you don’t have any idea what it’s like to live with crippling anxiety & depression, or have nightmares every night, or live with being so hyper-vigilant that your own spouse coming into the room where you are can make you feel blind terror for a few moments.  Living with such horrible things is an absolute nightmare.  Be glad you don’t suffer with this! 

If you think those of us who were only children had it easy, then think again.  I won’t say it’s easier for only children to survive an abusive upbringing than those with siblings, because each situation has its own unique challenges.  I will say as an only child, I can speak from experience in saying that being the sole focus of a narcissistic parent’s rage is a nightmare.  It’s just as bad of a nightmare as it is for someone who grows up with siblings who turn out like their parents, & abuse their scapegoated sibling.  One is no better or worse than the other, simply different.  Different does NOT mean one had it easy & another did not.

Rather than waste time comparing your experience to someone else’s, I would like to encourage you today to accept not only your experiences but the experiences of others to be valid.  Everyone who has survived abuse has seen some horrific things.  While yes, some experienced worse than others, that does not make the experiences of those who experienced less horrific abuse any less valid or abusive.  Abuse is abuse & it hurts.  Period.  Accept that.  Validate your experiences.  There is nothing wrong with this!  In fact, doing so can help you to heal.  Not doing so, & comparing your experiences to that of others invalidates your pain.  It makes you feel your experiences don’t matter.  They weren’t so bad, so just ignore them & pretend they never happened.  That mindset is incredibly unhealthy!  I know facing your demons is hard, but it also is healthy, brave & a strong thing to do.  It’s necessary if you wish to heal from the trauma in your life.  So why waste time comparing your experiences to those of other people when you can help yourself to heal?

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My Newest Mini Book!

I have just completed another mini book called “A Biblical Perspectives Mini Book: Loving Someone with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

As the name implies, this book is about ways you can help someone with C-PTSD. It also includes information on the science behind C-PTSD, symptoms & the awful emotions that go along with it.

It currently is only available in ebook format just like my other mini books. For now anyway. That may change in the future.

This book is available at the link below…

www.smashwords.com/books/view/1102949

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A Way To Cope With Dysfunctional People

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world with flawed people.  Many of those flawed people are very dysfunctional & they refuse to change.  There is no escaping them, so we all need to find ways to cope with them.

One way I have found to deal with such people is by accepting these people where they are.  Please don’t think I am saying people have the right to treat you any way they want & you should accept it.  That isn’t what I mean at all.  I mean recognizing that some people are comfortable operating in their own dysfunction & that is their right.  You have every right to protect yourself from such people, of course.  You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries.  You also have the right to distance from such people to protect yourself. 

Here is an example from my life of what I’m talking about.

For quite some time, my mother went through a phase of often telling me how good a mother she was.  She regaled me with stories of how she took such good care of me.  The stories were strange to say the least.  While there was some truth in many of them, she twisted some facts around to make herself look good.  Other times, she denied any wrong doing towards me at all.

When she first began to do this, I felt like she was invalidating the pain she caused me yet again.  First, by doing the things she did that caused the pain, then later by acting as if such things never happened or spinning the stories around to make herself look good.  And, to add insult to injury, she clearly wanted me to validate her delusions. 

Naturally, I was incredibly hurt & angry when this happened.  I literally could feel my blood pressure rise when she would start telling her tales, or if not then, when she wanted me to agree to her stories.  In time, I realized something though.  This was how she coped. 

I realized that my mother felt badly for doing abusive things to me.  Not like a normal person would though.  She didn’t feel badly for causing pain.  Instead, her actions were so embarrassing to her that she simply couldn’t bear the thought of anyone knowing what she had done.  That is why she started to reinvent the past.  She worked very hard to convince herself, others & even me that she didn’t do the horrible things she did or the events didn’t happen that way I remembered.  She spun facts around in some way to make her look good.  The fact it hurt me didn’t seem to cross her mind.  Often when she said or did things to hurt me, she looked pleased with herself, but that didn’t happen with her stories.  I think she was simply so focused on helping herself feel better, how it affected me simply didn’t occur to her. 

When these things happened, I prayed & God showed me what I told you just now.  This was how my mother coped.  Many people do this exact same thing, narcissist or not.  It is incredibly dysfunctional for sure, but it also is a person’s right to live as functionally or dysfunctionally as they want to do. Naturally I wanted better for her than this for my sake as well as hers, but there was nothing I could do to make my mother operate in a healthier way.  This was her choice & even her right to behave this way.

When I realized that, it helped me to accept my mother’s behavior for what it was.  Dysfunctional but also her right. I kept that in mind when she started sharing her stories, & I was no longer so negatively affected by them. 

I also realized that just because she wants to drag me into this behavior doesn’t mean I have to be a part of it.  While it’s true people have the right to behave badly, that doesn’t mean you have to participate in it.  I never validated my mother’s stories like she wanted me to.  Instead, I changed the subject or ended the phone call.  You too have the right to protect yourself from the awful behavior of other people. 

Accepting people where they are while not encouraging their dysfunctional behavior can make coping with them so much easier!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

PTSD, C-PTSD Pain

I read a truly interesting article recently on TheMighty.com.  The author spoke of her life with C-PTSD.  She was in a relationship with someone who pointed out how she was able to (as he described it) swallow physical pain & continue on as if nothing happened.  Apparently she didn’t realize she did this, which lead her to research why she behaved in such an unhealthy way.

Long story short, she learned that people with PTSD tend to be very out of touch with pain or very highly in tune with it, depending on their mental state at the time.  Often in times of really bad anxiety, people with PTSD experience oversensitivity to pain.  Anxiety causes the body to tense up, which certainly could explain that.  It also explains why many people with anxiety experience chronic pain in their bodies.


Interestingly though is what the author described next.  After a serious injury, her anxiety levels were very high, which triggered other pain not related to the injury.  The man she was dating then noticed how at times she’d just “swallow” the pain after a minute & go on as if nothing happened. 

This is a survival skill that can be very useful.  If you’re in a dangerous situation & can ignore the pain long enough to get yourself to safety, clearly this is a very useful survival skill!  In daily life however, it isn’t.  In daily life, it means you will ignore your pain & not take the time to rest & recover that you need.

I have realized I do this.  After my back injury at 19 when my mother threw me into a wall, although I was in constant pain of varying degrees for 10 years, there were times I was so disconnected from the pain, I wondered if people who said I was faking the pain so I didn’t have to work were right.  Maybe it wasn’t all that bad or maybe I wasn’t even injured at all.  Hardly healthy behavior!

Another point in the article is people with PTSD who dissociate generally tend to have a much higher threshold of pain than people without the disorder.  Dissociation is known for allowing a person to disconnect from emotional pain, but it also can allow a person to disconnect from physical pain as well.  This means they naturally won’t feel pain as intensely as others who don’t dissociate.

Knowing this information was very helpful for the author of the article, because it helped her to change how she thinks about her chronic pain & treating it.  I believe it also can be extremely helpful for the rest of us whether or not we have issues with chronic pain. 

Recognizing that it is very unhealthy to disconnect from physical issues helps you to have a better perspective on them.  Unless you’re in a very dangerous situation, this survival skill isn’t needed.  It’s healthier to recognize what is happening & deal with the issues accordingly. 

Having this problem myself, I also realize that there are times it feels like you should be ashamed of having a physical problem which probably contributes to disconnecting from your pain.  The narcissists that have been in my life had zero tolerance for my illnesses or injuries.  In fact, I never told my parents I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2015 because of that. 

I know health situations can be incredibly hard to handle.  Adding in this dysfunction to the health problems can make them utterly miserable.  In fact, I’m not really great at handling health issues myself.  I have found something that helps me to have a healthier perspective on health issues.  That is to remind myself constantly that there is no reason to hide the problems anymore.  My health is my responsibility, & I have every right to handle it however I see fit.  If that makes me something bad in the eyes of other people, so be it.  They don’t live in my body & don’t know how I feel.

Sometimes there will be simply dysfunctional but not narcissistic people who have no patience for others with health problems.  When dealing with them, I remind myself of the same things.  Also, when their opinion hurts because it is so negative & unexpected, I remind myself they must have some sort of dysfunction when they respond to the health problems of someone they care for in such a bad way.  Doing that helps to take much of the sting out of their thoughtless words.  It’s an excellent reminder that what they say isn’t personal.  It’s about their dysfunction, not me.

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When Narcissists Say You Should Just Turn The Other Cheek

Narcissists with any knowledge of the Bible whatsoever, no matter how minimal, often portray themselves as all knowing on the topic.  They use their so called wisdom to help them abuse their victims.  One way they do this is by convincing their victims that if they are truly Christians, they will forgive & forget anything the abuser says & does to them.  They may mention how “real” Christians always turn the other cheek.  They refer to Matthew 5:38-39 to prove their point. In the English Standard Version, these verses say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” As usual, they take this completely out of context.  When these verses are said alone, without reading the rest of the chapter or at the very least, the surrounding verses, they do sound like you should simply forgive & forget, & tolerate abuse.  Nothing could be further from the truth, however!

Matthew 7:6 also in the English Standard Version says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”  There are a couple of interesting points about this Scripture .  First, dogs & pigs are used to represent those who detest holy, sacred things in the Bible.  Second, giving these unholy ones things that are valuable & holy means they will turn on you & attack you. 

Doesn’t this sound like a narcissist when you forgive & forget?  When you forgive & forget, they don’t change their ways.  If anything, they get worse. They know they can do whatever they like without having to face any consequences. 

If a narcissist tells you that you need to forgive & forget or else you’re not a good Christian (whatever that means to them), then please remember this!  They are only saying such things to try to force you to tolerate their abuse.  It’s not true!  There is absolutely nothing good, holy or Godly about tolerating abuse, period!

What is good, holy & Godly is exercising wisdom when you must deal with narcissists.  Have & enforce good, healthy boundaries.  No, the narcissist won’t like that, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong or bad or whatever else they say you are.  By limiting or even eliminating their chance to abuse you, you are not only protecting yourself, but you’re also helping them.  They need to know there are consequences for their behavior, & they can’t always treat people any old way they want to & get away with that forever.  Boundaries also remove the opportunity for the narcissist to sin.  That is always a good thing!

It also is good, holy & Godly to remember what the narcissist has done.  Knowledge truly is power.  Whether you allow the narcissist in your life or cast them out of it, never forget what they have done!  Remembering it keeps you on guard against them & other people who behave the same way.  It also helps you to spot toxic people easily, so you won’t end up in other abusive relationships.  You also have knowledge that can help someone who doesn’t have that same knowledge.  You can give them such a gift by sharing that knowledge with them. 

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

Showing Appreciation To The People In Your Life

Entitlement runs rampant today.  Granted, narcissists lead the way with their ridiculously overdeveloped sense of entitlement, but even people who aren’t narcissistic can be too entitled sometimes as well.  This can lead to failing to appreciate people in your life, because it can feel like there is no need to show appreciation for something someone is just supposed to do.

Failing to appreciate people in your life can lead to being taken for granted, resentment, anger, depression & ending relationships.  Why let this happen when it is so simple to avoid?

Start by showing people you are grateful for the things they do for you.  When someone does something for you, no matter how small, thank them.  Make that into a habit that you do constantly.  I don’t care if the task was something small like passing the salt at dinner.  Thank the person who did that!  Your husband put gas in your car because he knows you dislike that task?  Thank him for thinking of you & saving you that trip to the gas station.  Did your best friend call to tell you that your favorite movie comes on TV at 9 tonight?  Thank her for remembering that you love that movie & for thinking to let you know about this.  People like being thanked for what they do, even for such small things.  It makes them feel appreciated & like you don’t take them for granted.

While you’re at it, return the favor to people who bless you by being a blessing to them.  Doing thoughtful little gestures for them will make them feel the relationship is balanced, & they aren’t just doing things for you.  If you aren’t sure what to do, pay attention to people.  If someone mentions wanting to read a new book, buy them the book.  If they like coffee, surprise them with a cup of their favorite coffee periodically.  If they complain about having too much to do, then offer to help them complete some tasks or at the least accompany them when they run errands.

Tell those in your life often that you love them.  Say the words often.  Growing up, my wonderful grandparents always ended conversations with, “I love you.”  I don’t remember all of the details of our final conversations before they passed on but I can promise you our last words to each other definitely were, “I love you.” 

Complement people & do it often.  Tell your loved ones how much you admire their intelligence, kind heart, fashion sense.. anything & everything you admire about them!  A sincere complement can make even a very bad day better.

Be a cheerleader!  When someone you love is struggling, encourage them.  Let them know you believe in them & why.  And, when they accomplish the thing that was originally a struggle, celebrate with them for a job well done.

In fact, celebrate whatever accomplishments they do that bring them joy no matter how big or small.  Tell them you’re proud of them or happy for them or whatever is appropriate in the situation.

Don’t just be there in the good times either.  Be there to help them through the tough times.  Listen non-judgmentally to them while sharing a pint of ice cream, offer to clean their home or go to the grocery store for them. 

Normalize showing love to every person in your life that you love.  Normalize making people feel like a priority in your life rather than an afterthought.  Normalize checking in just to say hi & see how someone is doing.  Normalize talking about your dreams & innermost, private thoughts together knowing there won’t be judgment or criticism.  Doing things like this will enrich the relationships in your life immensely & bring both you & the other people in your life great joy.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

A Suggestion To Help You Enjoy Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Some time back, I decided that rather than simply inform those who follow my work of information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & ways to cope, I wanted to branch out a bit into ways to add more joy to their lives.  Today’s post is about that very topic.

A few years ago, I learned of hygge.  It is a Danish word used to describe a lifestyle of coziness, contentment & comfort.  I haven’t done as much as I would like to with what I have learned about this concept but I’m working on it.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you today.

In order to create a hygge lifestyle, I think it’s wise to start by examining your life.  What activities can be cut back on, eliminated or done more efficiently to give you more free time?  It may help to give you a clearer picture to write out what you do.  Consider these things & eliminate what you can that isn’t productive or that doesn’t add joy & value to your life.  If some things can’t be eliminated then consider how you can reduce your obligation to or time spent on these things.  The more free time you have, the more time you can devote to the things that bring you the most joy in life such as your hobbies & people you love.

Another aspect of creating the comfortable hygge life is examining the relationships in your life.  Most everyone has people in their life in certain mental boxes.  There are the people closest to you such as your spouse, children, & closest friends & relatives.  Slightly further out are people you still care for but not as much as those closest to you.  There also may be people further out such as co-workers & acquaintances.  The farthest out should be the toxic people.  Consider all of these relationships.  What relationships are worth focusing your time on?  Which are the most healthy, loving & even fun?

When it comes to relationships, I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity.  Better to have three awesome people in life than seventy iffy people.  Keeping only the best relationships means you have more time & energy to focus on those wonderful people who deserve your best.  It may be awkward & even hard to do, but eliminating the bad relationships & focusing on the good relationships is a wise move that adds joy to your life.

What is your home like?  Your home should be your sanctuary.  Make your home that way!  I don’t care if your home is a studio apartment or a huge mansion, it can be made into a comfortable safe haven on any budget.  Decluttering is an excellent place to start turning your home into that haven because clutter is a known cause of anxiety.  Also the less stuff you have, the less you have to clean & maintain.  Keep only the things that are useful & that bring you joy.  Decluttering doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Start with one drawer, then move to another, then a shelf, then a closet.  Add things to dispose of to either a trash bag, box to donate to charity or give to friends & loved ones.  Get rid of the boxes & bags as they fill up.  If you wonder what is worth keeping & what isn’t, ask yourself some questions: if you had to move tomorrow, would this item be worth moving?   Does this item add joy or usefulness to my life?

Keeping your home clean & organized will reduce anxiety.  A little work each day can maintain a clean, organized home with minimal effort.

Invest in small changes such as a new paint color or cozy sheets on your bed.  These changes won’t require much of a financial investment but can make your home feel more inviting & comfortable.  They even can make it feel like a very different place. 

If you lack ideas for changing your home, look at homes in all different styles.  Something will appeal to you, & once that happens, inspiration won’t be far behind!  I love Victorian era homes, & although my home isn’t completely Victorian, I have enough of that influence to make it into a comfortable, cozy sanctuary.

Also, be sure to place pictures that are important to you around your home.  Whether those pictures are of important people in your life, pets, pictures you have taken or artwork isn’t important.  Display those pictures to add to the cozy feel of your home.

Creating a hygge lifestyle may not be the most important step in enjoying life after narcissistic abuse, but it sure does help.  Why not give it a try?

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How Dysfunctional People Respond To Genuine People

I’ve noticed that people respond very passionately to genuine people, either positively or negatively. 

I realized something else about this phenomenon.  The healthier a person is, the more positively they will respond to genuine people.  The more dysfunctional, the more negatively they will respond to genuine people.  This makes sense when you think about it….

Healthy people are genuine.  If they’re having a bad day, they won’t deny it.  They will say, “Today hasn’t been a good one” rather than pretend all is right in their world.  Not to say they’re negative, of course, they’re just being real & admitting the truth.  They also have no trouble admitting they make mistakes or have flaws.  They don’t judge others for their mistakes or flaws either. 

Dysfunctional people are very different.  They value the appearance of good over what is real.  I learned this when my father was dying, & various relatives attacked me for not going to say goodbye to him.  Their daily influx of abuse was intense to say the least.  One day, I asked God why they acted this way.  He showed me that they were operating out of their own dysfunction.  One of the reasons behind their behavior was they didn’t want to face bad or traumatic things.  They clearly never dealt with their own traumatic experiences.  They instead created this illusion that all was right in their world & everyone in our family was good.  Me not being there for my father at the end of his life threatened this delusion by showing that things were so bad, I opted not to say good bye to my father at the end of his life.  Rather than face the fact that maybe this delusion isn’t a good thing, they tried to force me to go along with their delusion so it could be reinforced.  If I had gone, they would have had proof everything was good, & could continue in their dysfunction as they had before. 


My situation with these dysfunctional people wasn’t terribly unique.  Many of my readers have said they experienced something similar with their family.  Sometimes it was when a narcissistic relative was dying, but not always.  It also happened when some severed ties with a narcissist.  They were attacked by their own family, those who should have been there to support & love them. 

To sum it up, it seems to me dysfunctional people often treat genuine people like the scapegoat.  They act like genuine people are the ones with problems, who are lying & nothing but troublemakers.

The more you heal from narcissistic abuse, the more genuine you will become.  It just seems to be a natural event.  Unfortunately, this can mean the dysfunctional people around you will be cruel to you for it. 

My hope is that you will see the situation for what it is & not change your ways!  Being genuine is a wonderful thing!  It’s so refreshing in a fake world!  Don’t try to change to please these people who are too dysfunctional to appreciate the real you.  Instead, you just do what is right.  Be genuine & if others don’t like that, remember that is not your problem.  They are functioning in their own dysfunction.  Their negativity or even abuse isn’t personal.  It’s simply a reflection of their dysfunction rather than a reflection of you.  They’re allowed to be dysfunctional if that is what they want to do.  It’s certainly not a good choice but it is their right.  And, you also have rights. You’re allowed to be functional & protect yourself from their toxicity.

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Validation For The Strong People

Usually when I create blog posts or podcasts, I try to offer information & solutions.  Today’s is a little different.  Instead, I want to offer encouragement & validation.

Many strong people who have survived some awful things experience similar treatment from the people in their lives.  Other people seem to think these people never need help either in the form of physical help (such as doing a physically challenging task) or emotional help (such as needing someone to listen after a stressful day).  Also, they seem to think that the strong person is always up to being there for other people in any capacity at any time.

I think this happens because people think if you can survive serious traumas relatively well, then you can handle anything.  They don’t take into consideration that although you survived traumas, they took a toll on you in the form of mental health problems, possibly even C-PTSD.  You may not act out during flashbacks, you may get quiet like I do, so people don’t notice them, but they still happen.  You may not tell people about your all too frequent nightmares, anxiety, depression or even suicidal thoughts, but it doesn’t mean those things aren’t still a constant presence in your life.  Minimizing or trying to hide your memory problems & hyper-vigilance doesn’t make these issues any less serious, but it does make people think they aren’t a big deal to you.  If something doesn’t appear to be a big deal to you then other people will assume that something isn’t a big deal.  In fact, once people have established in their minds that your C-PTSD isn’t a big deal, you can forget getting understanding or sympathy for it.  I have lost track of how many times people have invalidated, minimized, told me I think too negatively or even judged me for having C-PTSD because they didn’t get it from their abusive childhood.  I am hardly a unique case.  This happens all the time to many, many people.

Since many people are very visual, relying only on what is obvious & right in front of them when forming opinions, they will see you functioning well rather than seeing what is behind the scenes of a person with C-PTSD who just happens to be high functioning.  They see you holding down a job, maintaining healthy relationships, & appearing mostly happy & assume this means all is well with you.

These often are the same people who think since you are clearly doing so well, then you should be there for everyone else.  You should be the one to listen when someone needs to talk.  You should be the one who checks in on others during their difficult times, or do what it takes to keep relationships afloat.  They don’t realize that it is extremely tiring being everyone’s therapist & being responsible for maintaining the relationships in your life.  One sided relationships are always exhausting, but are even more exhausting when you’re suffering too.  Some people don’t see this though, & instead label you as selfish, thoughtless, inconsiderate & more for any lapse in your therapist & relationship maintenance duties. 

Today, I have no advice on how best to deal with this situation.  I wish I did, but this is one of those things I’ve never been able to find a good solution to.  Instead, I want to offer validation & understanding to those of you reading this.  I understand how frustrated & tired you are!  I understand how alone you feel!  It isn’t right that so much has been put on your shoulders while other people are excused from the same responsibilities!  You have every right to be hurt or angry about this.  This isn’t fair to you at all!  My heart goes out to you & you are in my prayers!  xoxo

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Celebrate Your Healing!

Some time ago, I shared something on Facebook someone else disagreed with. The way this person stated their opinion triggered shame in me because they sounded much like my mother & ex husband used to sound when they disagreed with me. The good part about this was I realized very quickly what was happening. This person didn’t intend to shame me. The way they stated their opinion was simply a trigger, nothing more. I also realized this person was wrong, but rather than blindly believe this person or get into some big debate (which I absolutely hate), I simply deleted my post.

Do you have any idea how very important this is?!!?

Until the last few years, when someone disagreed with me, I automatically assumed I was wrong, they were right & I should be ashamed of myself for thinking what I did. Growing up hearing how wrong you are about everything will do this. You naturally assume you’re wrong about everything, even when every fiber of your being knows otherwise. I’m sure many of you who also were raised by narcissistic parents can relate all too well to this. The behavior goes deep & is hard to change. Yet, I conquered it!!! That is worth celebrating!

Another common behavior of those of us with narcissistic parents is to minimize our accomplishments & not celebrate them. I always thought my parents expected me to do great things not because I was smart or talented, but just because they thought I should do those things. As a result, I learned not to celebrate anything I did because I figured I was just supposed to do those things. It took me writing several books before I created a celebratory ritual that I do once I publish a book. Prior to that, I just published a book & started another. No celebration was involved.

Some time back, after considering such things, I decided to celebrate more often & that includes when I recognize how much I’ve healed. The incident I mentioned at first almost went uncelebrated. Old habits die hard, after all. It took a few days for me to realize what had happened & that I should be proud of myself for healing to this point. When I did though, I gave myself a mental pat on the back for healing.

I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do the same.

There are going to be times when you backslide in your healing journey. We all do that. Chances are good you spend plenty of time beating yourself up for those times. I certainly do! Why not spend at least the same amount of time celebrating your successes? The more you do that, the better you’ll feel about yourself. And as an added bonus, the less the backsliding times will affect you. They’ll still annoy you of course, but they won’t be devastating.

By celebrating these times, I don’t mean you have to have a big party or anything so elaborate. If you like that, by all means, go for it! If not, that’s fine too. The celebrations can be simpler. I often reminded myself of how far I’ve come. I remember some things from my younger & much more dysfunctional days then thought of how that person is now a stranger. God has helped me heal so much, I don’t even recognize the old me. I sit with that for a while, knowing God truly has blessed me. Sure, I still have issues. I still have C-PTSD. But, I also no longer make rash or foolish decisions based on what other people want while ignoring what I want. Other people can no longer control or manipulate me. These are really important accomplishments! It took a lot of work & listening to God’s guidance to get to that point & I am proud of myself for what I have done.

You should feel the same! Be proud of everything you have accomplished in your healing. Even the baby steps count, so if you feel you’ve healed in one tiny way, be proud of yourself for that! That still took work & is something special. Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

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

Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you.  Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety.  There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.

Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life.  It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser.  Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser.  That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser.  It also leads to a host of other problems.

Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma.  In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back.  This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time.   Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.

An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance.  It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation.  This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.

Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life.  Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often.  Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common.  Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves.  This happens with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.

Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ.  These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours.  They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick.  They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain.  If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.

Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities.  Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere.  While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.

Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma.  It is a way to regain some control when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.

Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses.  No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.

Avoiding conflict is very common in those with traumatic pasts.  When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.

If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost!   The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break.  Not overnight, but they will happen.  Keep working on your healing however works for you.  Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress.  Healing isn’t a simple thing.  Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress.  Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  It’s ok!  It’s just a part of the healing journey.  Don’t give up!

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

Dealing With Critical People

Most people have little patience for the obviously foolish people, such as those people who repeatedly make poor decisions & are shocked when those poor decisions don’t turn out well for them.  The older we get & the emotionally healthier we get, it seems that tolerance gets lower & lower.  It certainly has for me.  It doesn’t take much for me to become very irritated at the obviously foolish.  One particular feature of foolishness especially irritates me though: people who are only interested in sharing their opinions while not wanting to listen to those of other people. 

The Bible even addresses this behavior specifically.  Proverbs 18:2 in the Amplified Bible says“A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity].” 

This behavior is so common in society isn’t it?  It’s all over social media but also people behave this way in person.  If you have any doubts, mention your thoughts on politics.  I don’t care what your thoughts are, there will be people who tell you that not only are you wrong, but you’re foolish for thinking as you do.  If you site evidence that supports your thoughts, then your evidence will be criticized as well as where you obtained said evidence.

One very bad thing about this behavior is it can be excessively triggering for those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.  Whether you grew up with a narcissistic parent or two, were once married to a narcissist or have had narcissistic friends, you know first hand just how critical narcissists are.  They love to pick apart every single little thing about their victims because it makes them so easy to control & manipulate.  This is clearly very traumatic for victims.  So traumatic that even years after the last episode of abuse, when someone is critical, even when that person isn’t a narcissist, it can trigger intense rage, anxiety & even flashbacks. 

Unfortunately, people like this are impossible to avoid, so you need to learn how to cope with them because at some point, you will be forced to interact with them.

The first step I have found to take is to accept that this is going to happen & ask God not only to help you accept that, but handle it when it does.  If you think you can avoid people like this, you are sadly mistaken.  That is impossible because these people truly are everywhere!  The smartest thing you can do is accept that you won’t have a choice but to encounter people like this sometimes.

This can be hard to do in the situation due to the triggering of old emotions, but if at all possible, remind yourself of what is happening.  The reason this is so upsetting is simply because this person reminds you of the abusive narcissist you have experienced.  Nothing more.  Although this situation makes you feel awful, the truth is that this person can’t hurt you or control you because you know what is happening.  You are safe!

While some people who are very firm in their beliefs periodically are open minded about listening to other input, not all are.  A person who isn’t that open minded is someone that God refers to as a fool.  There is no reasoning with a fool.  Instead, go your separate way from this person as soon as possible.  The Bible says in Proverbs 14:7, “Leave the presence of a [shortsighted] fool, For you will not find knowledge or hear godly wisdom from his lips.”  There is no point in wasting your precious time on someone like this.

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

Being An INFJ With A Broken Brain

I was going to simply write about this in my journal but since many of you who read my work have told me you share the INFJ personality with me & also have various types of brain damage, I figured putting this out there might help others too.

Being an INFJ isn’t easy.  Naturally we feel things deeper than many other people. We also see red flags of toxic people many don’t even notice & think something is wrong with us for noticing.  We’re often misjudged because we tend to be quiet around people we don’t know well & we’re naturally rather private people.  We also are subjected to some pretty ridiculous expectations, like no matter what is happening in our lives, we should always be willing to listen when people have problems & be the one to do all the work in relationships.  It also seems to me that people think we either don’t have problems or are able to handle anything, so we aren’t really allowed to have bad days or be in a bad mood. 

Even more frustrating than this is being an INFJ with a malfunctioning brain either due to a traumatic brain injury or C-PTSD or even both.  Being an INFJ with both C-PTSD & a traumatic brain injury, I can tell you that frankly, it really just sucks sometimes!  Today has been one of those times.

I woke my husband & myself up at 4:30 this morning from a nightmare that made me wake up having a particularly nasty panic attack.  It took quite some time to fall back asleep & by the time I did, it was time to get up.  A few hours later, I had a flashback.  One of these alone would be hard enough to deal with but having both in a short period of time was rough.  Add in the brain injury making my cognitive skills not function as they should & that makes everything even harder.  It’s been a really long day already & it’s not nearly over yet.

The natural inclination for INFJs in such positions is to go on as normal & not burden anyone with their problems.  I’m no exception.  I even hate writing about this when it’s not going in my journal where only I will see it.  But, for some reason, I felt I should write this out today to let my fellow INFJs know you’re not alone!

Being the rarest of the MBTI personality types, it’s just a given we will be misunderstood.  This can make you feel like a freak but just because you feel that way doesn’t mean it’s true.  Unique isn’t a bad thing at all!  Far from it!  It sure beats blending in with the crowd.  Besides, I’ve noticed INFJs tend to find other INFJs & become friends with them.  We also get along well with INFPs who can understand us surprisingly well.  These friendships are truly a treasure!

If you too have C-PTSD, I know it’s awful.  Absolutely awful in every way.  But, there is one good thing about it.  C-PTSD is not a sign of weakness like many people foolishly think it is.  Quite the opposite.  It is proof that you survived something that was meant to destroy you.  I’m not saying be grateful for C-PTSD of course.  If it could be returned to a store like a bad birthday gift, I’d say return it today!  What I’m saying is just remember C-PTSD is proof that you are an amazing person who is strong, courageous & has a great will to survive.

Lastly, if you have a brain injury too, I truly feel your pain, literally & figuratively.  Brain injuries are incredibly frustrating at best.  They cause some really obnoxious physical symptoms such as terrible headaches & seizures.  They can steal your identity, your talents, your memories & leave you feeling incredibly stupid.  They also can help you to recognize what is truly important in your life & give you the courage to focus on those things.  They can help you to gain the courage to stop tolerating people in your life who don’t love & appreciate you.  There are very few good parts of having a brain injury but the ones I just mentioned are extremely good!

I hope this post helped you to know you aren’t alone in your struggles.  Don’t forget to take good care of yourself, mentally & physically, but especially during trying times.  If other people don’t understand your natural need for self care, that isn’t your problem.  Do what you need to do! 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

A Commonly Ignored Narcissistic Behavior

The Bible has plenty to say about minding your own business & gossiping.  In the Amplified Bible, 1 Peter 4:15 says, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or a thief, or any sort of criminal [in response to persecution], or as a troublesome meddler interfering in the affairs of others;” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you.”  Leviticus 19:16 says, “You shall not go around as a gossip among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor [with slander or false testimony]; I am the Lord.” Proverbs 20:19 says, “He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with a gossip [who talks freely or flatters].”

Yet in spite of these Scriptures being very clear, many people have no problem keeping track of others, & talking badly about what they learn while snooping into other’s business.  In fact, some even act like anyone who is bothered if someone does this to them is the one that has a problem, not the other person.

Some time back, I decided to separate myself from every single abusive, awful person in my life & those who associate with them.  I blocked all means of access such as phone numbers, emails & social media.  I made one mistake.  I forgot to block the husband of one of these people.  As a result, I learned that his social media profile has been used to snoop on mine.  I doubt he would do this, so it’s a safe assumption his wife does the snooping using his profile. 

This may not sound like a big deal to most people, but to me, it is.  This person lost all rights to any access whatsoever to my life by how she has chosen to treat me.  Plus, I have no doubt she discusses her findings with someone close to her who is just as hateful as she is.  I feel very angry & violated!

This type of behavior is so common & is rarely thought of badly.  It seems to be socially acceptable to keep tabs on people on social media in particular.  And honestly, who hasn’t looked up someone, maybe an ex boyfriend or girlfriend that you’ve thought about frequently since you broke up five years ago, then told your best friend what you found out?  I think that is pretty normal & that isn’t what I’m referring to.  I’m referring to those people who routinely check out someone’s social media or if they see them at the local grocery store, follow them around & then tell other people what they learned.  That is the behavior I’m addressing & find so disturbing. 

This sort of behavior says someone is very envious.  They see someone as better than them somehow.  Maybe they think this person is more attractive, talented or successful than they are.  Rather than act like a mature adult & focus on improving themselves, instead they look for reasons to be angry with that other person & to make other people think badly of them. 

Acting this way isn’t simply unbecoming & ungodly behavior.  It is very typical behavior of narcissists!  One of the most common tactics of narcissists, whether the narcissist is overt or covert, is to tear other people down in order to make themselves look & feel better.  It can be devastating to the victim of this abusive behavior, which no doubt is why God is so clearly against it as to include Scriptures on the topic in the Bible.  Even if it is done by someone not particularly close to you, while it may not be as devastating as it is when it’s done by someone close, it really can be very hurtful & is just wrong!

My hope is that those of you who are reading this today don’t engage in this behavior, but if you do, please consider what I have said & make changes.  Whether you mean to cause harm or not, chances are, you are causing someone harm & for no valid reason.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

What The Greatest Enemy Of Truth Is

One famous & exceptionally wise quote of Albert Einstein is “blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”  This may be my favorite of all of his words of wisdom. 

Having experienced narcissistic abuse, I have seen this first hand with those who blindly believe narcissists.  They may mistakenly fall for the narcissist’s act of however they wish to portray themselves.  Or, sadly the more common scenario is people may see the real truth about the narcissist yet choose to believe the narcissist’s lies because they fit into their agenda.  Rather than admit the truth, that someone they love is an abusive person, it is more palatable to them to go along with the lies.  Whether the person in question is genuinely fooled by a narcissist or willingly fooled, many of these people have no interest in truth. 

There are also those who behave this way with other authority figures, such as political figures, activists for a specific cause or someone else in the limelight such as a famous athlete, author, actor or musician.  This is disturbing because those in public positions possess great power over a great many people.  It seems many people assume because someone is well known, they are very wise.  Sadly, they are mistaken.  Fame does not bring with it great wisdom in any area, let alone all areas!

My reason for sharing this today is that I want to encourage those of you who follow my work to remember the wisdom of this quote by Einstein. 

Just because someone like me writes about narcissistic abuse doesn’t mean that person knows everything about that topic.  I include myself in this, by the way.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder & the abuse narcissists inflict on their victims are very in depth topics with a great many layers to them.  It seems that there is always something new to learn about them.  I honestly don’t believe it is possible to know everything about narcissists & narcissistic abuse.  In my own experience, there have been times when I thought this has to be it.. I must know everything that can be known about these issues.  There couldn’t possibly be more to them.  Yet, I always found out that I was wrong & there was much more! 

Also don’t forget that no one is perfect!  No matter how much someone knows on any topic, there is still the possibility that they will make mistakes in sharing what they know simply because they are human.  Human beings aren’t perfect, so no matter how hard they try to be perfect, perfection isn’t possible.

If you follow someone who shares a lot of information on a specific topic, such as I share about narcissism, please do NOT blindly believe that person is right about everything!  Weigh the information they share for yourself.  Pray about it.  Study the topic for yourself.  Consider your own experiences with that topic.  Come to your own conclusions & reach the truth for yourself.

Also, if you follow some public figure, consider the other people who follow them & how the public figure interacts with them.  If that figure encourages other people to have their own perspectives & opinions, this is a good sign.  If that figure discourages such things & even encourages other followers to be loyal to them to the point of mistreating those who disagree with the figure’s views, this is a sign this person is more interested in a following than the truth.  I once followed an author whose writing I enjoyed, but quickly realized her followers acted as if they were in a cult.  Only total agreement with her was acceptable.  Those who disagreed were shamed & treated as outcasts.  Anyone who truly wants to help other people is open to learning new information & hearing differing views from their own. 

Please just remember that no one has all the answers.  The goal of those who try to help others should be sharing the truth & helping others, not gaining blindly loyal followers.

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

15% Off My Print Books Until Friday, August 13

My publisher has been having some really good sales this year. Here’s another one. Just use code CREATOR15 at checkout when you buy any of my print books from now until August 13, 2021

Here is the link to my books:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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

Helpful Routines For Highly Sensitive People

In case you haven’t heard the term, highly sensitive people, or HSPs, are people who are especially sensitive, just as the name implies.  They also are known to have a high sensory processing sensitivity.  This means HSPs can be very sensitive to all sorts of things such as textures, loud noises, & bright lights.  They also are very in tune with other people, & are often easily stressed by tense situations & violence.  Due to their sensitivity, highly sensitive people can become overwhelmed very easily.  There are very good parts of being a highly sensitive person though.  They tend to be very creative & empathic people with good quality relationships & a deep appreciation for beauty in all its forms. 

In my experience of talking with many people who have been abused by narcissists, many victims of narcissistic abuse are highly sensitive people, which is why I have chosen to discuss this topic.

Due to the nature of being highly sensitive, life easily can become overwhelming sometimes.  Highly sensitive people need to develop healthy routines to maintain good mental health & prevent burn out.

I firmly believe a close relationship with God to be vital.  The closer you are to Him, the more peaceful you naturally feel because you know He is in charge.  He also will help you figure out ways you can avoid burn out.

Getting rest is essential.  HSPs need more rest than most people, due to their senses working so hard.  While it may not sound it, that really can be exhausting.  It’s important to get good sleep, so investing in a comfortable bed with good quality linens is money well spent.  You also may want to listen to soft music or nature sounds to help you fall asleep.  Pillow speakers can be a great investment for those who sleep with a partner.

Part of getting rest is prioritizing down time.  After a long day, it’s very important to take time to relax & decompress.  What can you do to enjoy your down time?  Pray?  Read?  Listen to music?  Knit?  Think about what helps you feel calm & participate in that often, preferably daily.

Reevaluate your schedule.  While being busy is valued in today’s culture, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  Being too busy reduces the ability to enjoy down time, can interfere with sleep & cause a plethora of mental & physical health problems.  What can you eliminate from your schedule?  Are there ways you can at least cut back on certain activities?  Is there anything you do that you can get help with doing from your spouse, kids or coworkers?

Reevaluate your boundaries.  Many highly sensitive people are so in tune with the needs of those around them, they ignore their own needs.  This clearly is an unhealthy habit!  While it’s great to be there for those you love, it’s also important to take care of yourself.  There is nothing wrong with limiting what you do for other people.  In fact, doing so is a very loving thing to do for you as well as them.

Consider your home.  Home should be your sanctuary, away from all cares of the world, where you can relax & be at peace.  Does that describe your home?  Clutter can create anxiety so if you have clutter, clear it out & your anxiety should diminish greatly.  If you aren’t happy with how it looks, make changes to turn your home into your personal sanctuary.  Those changes may be as simple as decluttering or as drastic as repainting every room.

Start journaling.  Journaling is a wonderful thing.  There are no hard & fast rules to it.  Your journal can be as fancy or as plain as you like.  It can be online only or a physical book.  You can write as much or as little as you like, as often as you like & in whatever style you like.  Some people write as if they are writing a letter to a friend when they journal or they write out their prayers.  Others draw pictures or cut out pictures from magazines & such then paste in the pages of their journals.  There are also countless journaling prompts available online to help if you get stuck. 

If these suggestions seem too much, then don’t try to do them all at once.  Start by doing one.  Add another when you feel ready.  The changes you make will help you physically & mentally.

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

When Narcissistic Parents Try To Keep Their Children, Children Forever

One subtle way narcissistic parents abuse their children as adults is called infantilization.  This means that the parents continue treating them like they’re much younger than they are.  While this may not sound so bad, it truly is because of the damage it causes.  It often creates severe anxiety, insecurity & lack of faith in one’s abilities to the point they can be debilitating.  It sets a child up for failure as an adult by making sure that child can’t do what they need to.  Even if that adult child has the ability to do something, they honestly believe they can’t.  This means that adult child settles for relationships that are at best mediocre or at worst abusive because they don’t believe they can attract good people.  Even worse, they don’t believe they deserve to be in relationships with good people.  They settle for dead end jobs or careers they hate because they don’t believe they’re smart or talented enough for anything better.  They settle for much less than they deserve in all areas.

Possibly the saddest part of this is that this particular type of abuse is rarely acknowledged.  Parents who behave this way are seen as overprotective or maybe even a bit eccentric, but not as the vicious predators that they are.  The adult child often suffers alone & their feelings are invalidated.

Narcissistic parents accomplish this subtle & sinister form of abuse in many ways. 

Starting in childhood, these narcissistic parents don’t let their child do much.  They may start to do something but their parent takes over because they say the child is doing it wrong.  Rather than let the child learn from their mistake or simply do the activity a different way to get the same result, the parent clearly sends the child the message, “I have to do things for you because you aren’t capable.”

Normal age appropriate activities are discouraged.  Attending school activities, attending sleepovers or even simply spending time with friends are frowned upon or simply not allowed.  As children get older, narcissistic parents often discourage them from working, getting a driver’s license, going to college or even moving out. 

Narcissistic parents trying to infantilize their adult children will tell their children how they feel about things.  A prime example I witnessed was when my mother did this to my father.  At a restaurant one evening, he wanted to try something different for a change of pace.  My mother told him he didn’t want that, & to order what he usually ordered.  They were both over 60 years old at that time.

Another thing they do is discuss things with the adult child that they liked when they were children & act as if they still are into those things.  They don’t acknowledge that their child is now an adult with adult interests.

Telling embarrassing stories about their adult children is another tactic designed to keep the adult child childish.  It is designed to humiliate that adult child.  When the adult child speaks up about their feelings, their narcissistic parent will shame them for not having a sense of humor or being too sensitive.

Remember how in Genesis chapter 3 how the serpent spoke to Eve to manipulate her into disobeying God?  He instilled doubt in her by saying, “Did God really say that?”  That is much like how narcissistic parents make their children feel incapable of doing things even as adults.  They often say things like, “Do you really think you can handle doing that?”  “Aren’t you a little young to do that?”  The underlying message is “You’re too stupid to do that.”  The questions are asked to make you doubt yourself & look to your parent for answers.  The more someone relies on another for answers, the more that someone can control the one looking for answers.

If you are in this situation, you need to remember what is happening.  Your parent is trying to control you.  Whatever your parent says isn’t true- it’s said for manipulation only.  You are capable!  You are smart!  You are talented! 

I also found it helpful to ask God for creative & effective ways to handle the situation.  He definitely will provide them! 

Lastly remember, never let your narcissistic parent see how they hurt you.  If they do, they’ll only do that thing again & again.  Don’t let them have that opportunity!  Act as if their words don’t affect you in the slightest bit while you are in their presence.  Later when you’re alone, you can deal with the emotions however works for you.

I wish you the best in your situation! 

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

Misconceptions About Introverts

Being an introvert means being someone who recharges through solitude & who prefers it to the company of large groups of people.  It’s really that simple, yet in spite of that, introverts are often a very misunderstood bunch.

Being an introvert myself, I have plenty of experience in this area.  One example that comes to mind is how extroverts who haven’t bothered to get to know me have mistakenly thought I believe that I’m a snob who thinks I’m much better than them simply because I’m quiet & reserved when around most people.  Another misconception is people assume all introverts are weird.  The majority of people who assume this do so simply because we don’t divulge a lot of information about ourselves to those who aren’t very close to us, so they fill in the blanks with what they think.

Those misconceptions can be annoying, but after being subjected to them my whole life, I’ve come to accept people think that way.  It no longer upsets me like it once did.  There is one misconception that still bothers me to no avail & I can’t seem to change my feelings on it however.  That is that introverts need to do the majority of the work in relationships, & when they fail to meet the other person’s expectations, they are criticized harshly for it.  I don’t see this as a common misconception for all introverts, but I have noticed it happens mostly with those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.

Those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist were made to feel responsible for that relationship.  We were to please that person at all times, be there for them & basically be & do anything that person wanted.  Even after the relationship has ended, sometimes long after, we tend to be people pleasers.  People pleasers are naturally the ones who are given the task of maintaining relationships in their lives. 

While this often happens naturally, that doesn’t mean the behavior is right.  It isn’t. 

Relationships should be full of love, care for & compassion for each other.  It’s not fair to expect a person to treat you that way if you aren’t willing to treat them the same way. Being the one responsible for calling the other person, planning activities together & everything else in the relationship is exhausting.  Those things should be shared among both people in a relationship, not only one person’s responsibility! 

If you know an introvert who hasn’t contacted you in a while, it might be time to consider your behavior with that person.  Are you expecting them to do most or all of the work in the relationship?  If so, it’s time to apologize to this person & make some changes!  If not, then rather than get angry with the introvert for pulling away, think about that person.  There are a plethora of reasons an introvert may pull away in relationships, & the reasons aren’t always personal.

Sometimes, introverts get overwhelmed with life & need space from everyone.  It doesn’t mean they’re angry or hurt.  They just need some space to recharge.

Sometimes, introverts just don’t think about reaching out.  Again, it’s not personal.  It may mean they have a lot on their minds, are working extra hours, have someone else in their life in need of their attention more than you, they might simply be tired or sick or for some reason reaching out simply hasn’t crossed their mind.  I am this way & got worse after a brain injury.  I don’t think about calling friends all that often.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care.  Far from it!  I do care, & think of them often.  My brain just doesn’t seem to make the connection between good thoughts of them & picking up the phone for some reason. 

If you’re an introvert & in the position of being treated as if you are responsible for the relationships in your life, know that you are NOT solely responsible for those relationships.  You have every right to set boundaries & to expect people to treat you with respect, love & compassion.  If they can’t, then you also have the right to remove such people from your life.  It won’t make you a bad person.  It’ll make you a person with healthy self respect!

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Filed under Mental Health, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

When Healthy People Vent vs When Toxic People “Vent”

I have had more people come to me with their problems during my lifetime than I can remember.  It just seems to be a fact of my life.  Most of the time, I find people usually just want someone to validate them & say things like, “I understand” or, “I’m sorry that happened to you!”  It can be draining, but I can handle that. 

Then there are the emotional vampires like narcissists who only want a listening ear.  Unlike other more functional people, they don’t want validation.  They don’t want advice.  They want to treat someone as their emotional trash can, dumping all of their negativity onto that person in order to make themselves feel better with no regard to that person’s feelings.

For a long time, I didn’t realize one of these two types of people was just using me & being toxic.  Eventually I figured out some ways to tell the difference & I hope sharing them will help you.

If someone needs to vent, often they have respect for your time.  They will ask if you have a few minutes because they need to vent.  You are free to say not now & their feelings won’t be hurt.  The more toxic the person, the less likely they will do this & the more likely they also will take up a LOT of your time.  As an added “bonus”- they won’t apologize for taking up your time when they realize they have been talking for hours.

Someone who is venting wants a solution.  If there isn’t one, they are frustrated about that fact.  A person who is toxic has no desire for a solution.  Instead, they simply ramble on & on about their issue, & every time a possible solution is offered, they offer reasons why that solution won’t work. 

Similarly, the toxic person also isn’t open to constructive criticism.  If they have done something wrong in the scenario they are discussing, they don’t want to hear about it.  They get defensive or make up excuses as to why what they did was ok & the other person was all wrong.  Healthy people are open to constructive criticism & will own up to any mistakes they have made.

If you are the listener & you try to show the speaker in this situation the perspective of someone else, a healthy person is willing to consider that.  A toxic person isn’t.  They don’t care about the other person’s perspective in the slightest, only about their own.

When the speaking person was clearly wronged, you can see the difference easily between a toxic person & a healthy one.  The toxic person will not only be upset about what happened, but will play the victim.  In other words, they will accept no responsibility for any wrong they have contributed to the situation, they will claim life is so hard & unfair for them, claim they had no other option but to be in this painful situation & more.

Toxic people in these situations also are notorious for dumping a barrage of issues at once on their listeners.  They don’t seem to notice that the listener has become overwhelmed, either.  They just keep on talking.  Healthy people don’t do this.  They vent about one issue, sometimes two, but that is all.  They also notice if their listener is feeling overwhelmed.

If you have the misfortune of one of these toxic types treating you as their trash can, my heart goes out to you!  Just remember, you have every right to set boundaries.  You can leave the room or hang up the phone.  You can refuse to take their calls if they call you often.  And yes, you even have the right to end the relationship.  Protect your mental health!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Sharing Some Inspiration

I recently caught a show on the Oxygen network about the Cleveland strangler, Anthony Sowell.  I believe the show was called, “Snapped Notorious: The Cleveland Strangler.” If you don’t know him, he was a serial rapist & murderer in whose Cleveland, Ohio home the bodies of 11 women were found. 

I found the show fascinating.  Not only because of my interest in true crime but mostly because of the surviving victims.  At the end of the episode, four victims who miraculously survived Sowell’s attacks were interviewed.  They were very strong & inspiring ladies!  I regret that I didn’t make a note of their names.  I was too busy jotting down notes from what each lady had to say to think of names at the time, but if you get to watch this show, you can find out their names.

Anyway, what these ladies had to say was so inspiring & I think also very valuable for victims of all kinds of abuse, which is why I wanted to share their wisdom.

One lady shared that she wants to start an organization called Cracked Not Broken whose sole purpose is to tell people there is always hope.  She said too that there needs to be more support for victims.  She’s right.  There isn’t much good support.  She & the other three ladies on this show supported each other though, & that is so wonderful!  I think victims of crimes & any type of trauma & abuse need to support each other because they can do so better than anyone else.  They understand the pain, the difficulties in healing, & more.  What healing could take place if more people supported each other rather than compared their traumas or minimize the traumas of other people!

Another lady stressed the importance of never minimizing your experiences.  Many victims of abuse minimize their trauma.  Since she said this, I assume victims of crimes do it as well.  It’s not a healthy thing to do!  To heal, you need to accept what was done to you for what it was, not some watered down version of it.  Then you can get angry about it & really start to heal.

She also said the only way to heal is to “get that stuff off you”.  That is so true!  Holding things in doesn’t help anyone & is detrimental to mental health.  This particular lady suggested reaching out for help.  If you are unwilling or unable to do so, there is always journaling.  That is incredibly helpful in “getting that stuff off you.”  Better yet is prayer.  God truly will help you to heal from anything!

Another lady said victims need to know they didn’t deserve what was done to them & not to blame themselves.  This happens to so many people who were victimized in any capacity.  The woman who was raped blames herself for wearing a short skirt, the person whose car was stolen blames himself for forgetting to lock the doors, the victim of a narcissistic parent blames herself for making her parents abuse her.  This is so wrong & it needs to stop.  No one can force another person to abuse them & no one deserves to be abused.  Period!

Another lady said just because the person who hurt you didn’t see your value, that doesn’t mean you don’t have value.  You are valuable!  You deserve to love yourself.  And, as you heal, take each day a step at a time.  Don’t rush the healing process.

Lastly, this same lady said one thing that helped her to heal was to keep her head up & never give up.  Clearly she knew she had no reason to be ashamed of what happened to her, so she wasn’t going to carry that shame!  So very wise!

I hope you were as inspired by these brave, beautiful ladies as I was! xoxo

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

An Effective & Wise Way To Deal With A Narcissist’s Criticisms

There are plenty of people in life who will judge & criticize you harshly for no good reason & often with no valid reason for their negative opinions.  If you’re naturally rather quiet, for example, chances are someone has thought you were a snob.  They assumed you being quiet meant you thought you were better than them, when the truth is you simply aren’t the chatty type.  When this happens, their words might sting a bit, but it’s easy to see their opinions are totally unfounded, even foolish, & not worth paying attention to.

Then there are judgments & criticisms from narcissists.

While their criticisms are equally inane, they don’t come from a place of sheer ignorance & foolish assumptions.  They project, in other words, they accuse others of doing the same things they do even knowing that other person never does such things.  This is a way they try to deflect attention off of their abusive & horrible behavior.  However, at the time it is happening, it can be extremely painful & hard to remember that.

Narcissists also criticize as a way to destroy their victims’ self esteem.  To control & manipulate, they must first obliterate their chosen victim’s self esteem as a way to make their victim pliable.  To do this, they get to know their victim & figure out what makes that person tick, what they love, what their fears are & more.  Then, they say the most insulting, scathing criticisms they can come up with that are designed to cut that victim to the quick.  Over time, that person’s self esteem is going to be severely damaged, if not totally annihilated.  As this is happening, most victims don’t realize the motivation behind the words.  In all fairness, it’s very hard to focus on such things when someone is speaking things to you that hurt so deeply.

Narcissists also are notorious for creating smear campaigns after their victim ends the relationship with them.  In other words, they tell anyone who will listen terrible things about their victim.  Those things are often at the very least exaggerated negative things but even more often, they’re bold lies created to paint the victim in the worst possible light.  Sadly, many victims lose most if not all of their friends & family at this point, because those people believe the narcissist’s lies over the truth.

Proverbs 12:16 in the Good News Translation of the Bible says, “When a fool is annoyed, he quickly lets it be known. Smart people will ignore an insult.”  These are such wise words!!  They also can & should be applied to narcissists.

It always helps to keep in mind what the motives behind the narcissist’s criticisms are.  They want to project their abusive ways onto you, control you or make you look so bad people you love will abandon you.  This doesn’t mean what they say is true.  Quite the opposite, really.  Their negative words are all about them & what they can get out of hurting you.  In all reality, they have absolutely nothing to do with you & absolutely everything to do with the narcissist.  Nothing you can say will make this situation any less dysfunctional.

There’s also the fact that narcissists use any sign of emotion, good or bad, to cause further pain in victims.  If you speak up to the narcissist to tell them that their words have hurt you, this will provide them with narcissistic supply.  They will get a high of sorts from causing you pain.  This means they will do it over & over.

Also, if you’re experiencing or have experienced a smear campaign, you know that saying the narcissist is lying about you only causes others to believe the narcissist even more.  Why speaking the truth proves their case is beyond me, but it happens.

Keeping these factors in mind, doesn’t it seem the only smart thing to do is say nothing?  Speaking up only causes a person in any of the above scenarios frustration.  It’s in your best interest to ignore the insult.  I’m not saying you can’t feel hurt or anger, because naturally you will feel it to some degree even when you know the narcissist’s selfish motives behind the words.  Deal with your feelings however works best for you of course!  However, ignore the insult as in don’t show the narcissist you are upset & don’t try to defend yourself.  It simply isn’t worth it.  And, as a bonus – when narcissists believe a particular insult doesn’t affect a victim, they abandon using it since it doesn’t get them what they want.  So ignore the insults & go enjoy your life!

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