Illness & Injury In Adult Children Of Narcissists

As many of you know, I got very sick in February.  My fireplace’s flue wasn’t functioning right, which resulted in me getting carbon monoxide poisoning.  At its height, I passed out, hitting my head on the log holder beside the fireplace, passing out for around 20 minutes & getting a concussion.  It’s been a long six months living with all the symptoms, & I’m still getting used to them.

A few days ago, I felt really bad because of it.  Everything on my body ached, especially my head, I was exhausted even though I hadn’t done anything tiring, my moods were all over the place & I kept forgetting things.  Yet in spite of the obvious & annoying symptoms, I wondered if I was faking them!

This baffled me.  I don’t know how to convince myself of the body aches or make myself moody.  Besides, I was home alone- no one knew how I felt.  What would be the point of faking it with no witnesses besides my cats & dog?!  They weren’t going to tell anyone anything.  So why would I think this?  I didn’t even get to ask God before He started showing me some things.  I believe what I learned may help you as well.

God reminded me of many things that I experienced that invalidated any suffering I felt when sick or injured.  There are many more but here are a few examples:

  • When I was 5, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me.  To get away from her I hit my head on the edge of the bookcase headboard on the bed.  She called the pediatrician who saw me then sent me to the ER.  I ended up with several stitches & had lost a lot of blood.  To this day, my mother says how hard that episode was for her.  She also complains that when she took me to the mall after leaving the ER (WHY?!) I wanted new crayons & I already had so many.  Seriously?  $1.50 on new crayons after that experience shouldn’t have been a big deal.
  • In elementary school, I hurt my foot in gym class, & my mother wrote a note excusing me from gym.  That teacher told me I’d never amount to anything if I refused to participate.  I was a failure, lazy & other cruel things.
  • In fifth grade, I got the chicken pox.  For whatever reason, it lasted 2-3 weeks & I was utterly miserable the entire time.  My mother complained about being “stuck in the house” because of me, so my parents & I went out to dinner while I was sick.  She told me to tell my friends she was taking me to the doctor if anyone saw me in the car as she drove out of the neighborhood.  I never saw a doctor, by the way.  She did get me two presents during that time, which made me think she actually did love me.
  • Towards the end of ninth grade, I hurt my foot.  One weekend several days later, my mother wanted to go window shopping & I said I’d rather wait in the car.  She brags that she knew if I wouldn’t go shopping, I had to be in pain, then she got me to the doctor a couple of days later.   She later complained about how her mother’s day was ruined that year because I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back.
  • During that time on crutches, my class was to visit the local high school to see where we were attending school the following year.  My mother sent me to school that day, even knowing how big that campus was & I was on crutches.  Then while trying to keep up with my classmates, I stopped using the crutches briefly & a classmate made fun of me “faking” it.
  • When I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, I had pain for 10 years.  For those 10 years, the only people who believed I was in pain were my chiropractor, my ex husband & later my current husband.  The doctors, others I knew & especially my mother said I was faking the injury to get out of working, I was lazy, & I had a low threshold of pain.
  • In 2010, I lost several furbabies & was under a lot of stress.  I got the flu 3 times, probably from the stress compromising my immune system.  My mother & another person said it was my fault for not getting a flu shot.
  • Last year, as my father was recovering from a stroke, I volunteered to help my parents get things done around their home on Sundays.  Unfortunately, the arthritis in my knees didn’t appreciate it & I had to quit.  I told my mother this & she ignored me.  My father listened & understood.  He mentioned it to my mother who called me & asked if I “really had arthritis like my father claimed.  Had I even seen a doctor about this”  Just one of many times she’s doubted I had something wrong with me.
  • I’ve been insulted for how bad my memory is & how hard a time I have finding the right words sometimes even when the other person knows what causes these problems.  (C-PTSD made these things bad, but the carbon monoxide poisoning & concussion made them much, much worse.)

Incidents like these instilled some false beliefs in me:

  1. My pain or illness wasn’t as bad as other people’s.
  2. My pain or illness didn’t matter, but other people’s did.
  3. I shouldn’t bother anyone with any illness or injury.
  4. I just want attention, so I fake illness or injury in an attempt to get it.  I’m not really sick or hurt.
  5. On the off chance I really was sick or injured, it was all my fault & I’m weak.  I deserve whatever I get.
  6. I don’t deserve to have help while recovering.
  7. If I don’t look sick or have other solid, irrefutable evidence of illness or injury, then nothing is wrong.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I believe, set the stage for me to believe these ridiculous ideas easier than if I’d had a healthy upbringing & had normal self-esteem.
I never realized any of this until a few days ago.  These false beliefs were so deeply ingrained in me that it took me until age 44 & healing from a life threatening situation to understand why I handle things so poorly when I’m sick or injured.  Aside from wondering if I’m faking whatever the problem is, I try to cover it up so nobody knows I have the problem.  I also trivialize it.  For example, when I broke a toe last year, I said, “It’s just a broken toe.  No big deal” even though it was my big toe (which surprisingly sees a lot of activity) & a year later, still hurts often.  I also never used crutches or sought medical care.

Dear Reader, please learn from my mistakes.  If you too have a hard time admitting you’re sick or hurt when you really are, ask God to show you why.  Chances are, you have stories similar to mine.  If so, it’s time to reject those false beliefs that cruel people instilled in you.  You are allowed to have problems, you are allowed to ask people for help in your time of need.  You aren’t weak or looking for attention if you’re sick or injured- you are simply sick or injured!  Your pain is just as bad as other people’s & just as valid as other people’s.  There is nothing to be ashamed of if you get sick or hurt.  It happens to everyone at some point in their lives.

1 Comment

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

What’s On The Inside Shows On The Outside

Have you ever read the Oscar Wilde book, “The Picture Of Dorian Gray”?  It’s an incredible story of Dorian Gray, who commissions a painting of himself.  The painting ages while Dorian stays young.  Also, Dorian is known for being an exceptionally handsome young man.  The painting grows ugly as well as old, because all of the evil inside Dorian doesn’t manifest on himself, but on the painting instead.  Every time Dorian does some horrible deed, the painting grows more & more grotesque.

The story is beautifully written & among my favorite books ever.

This book came to mind recently.  This got me to thinking about how what is on the inside shows on the outside.  We aren’t as fortunate as Dorian, having a picture of ourselves age & show the ugliness inside while we stay attractive.  What is in the inside truly shows on the outside.

I remember my maternal grandmother.  Her eyes were stone cold & I think quite unsettling.  Her smile always had a forced look to it.  She was a narcissist & a very cruel person.  Yet, my paternal granddad, who was a kind, loving, giving, Christian man had very warm eyes & an equally warm & easy smile.

I believe knowing that what is on the inside shows on the outside is a good thing.  It can help you to figure out who is a good person & who isn’t.  Words aren’t always a good indicator of what someone is like, because people can (& do) lie.  Actions can be done out of obligation, desire to make a good impression or other selfish motives.  Body language & facial expressions are a very good indicator, I think the best, of a person’s heart.

I look for people with a very easy, ready smile.  Fake smiles are a big red flag with me.  A smile that looks like the person smiling is in physical pain or hates to smile always tell me something is amiss with them.  (Granted, we all have off days & smiling isn’t easy, but that is not usually the norm.)

If someone’s eyes are so cold that you have trouble making eye contact, that is another good indicator something is wrong.  Have you ever noticed the eyes of a serial killer?  Check it out sometime.  John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer & The Green River Killer (his real name escapes me at the moment) all had very dead eyes.  Their eyes creep me out!  People with a little sparkle in their eyes & who gladly make eye contact are who I want around.  Those people tend to be kind & honest, which are two very important qualities.

I know this post is very different than my usual ones, but I hope it helps you anyway.  :)

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Should Narcissistic Parents Reap What They Sow?

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Have you ever thought about how this Scripture applies to your narcissistic parents?

It seems to me that many adult children of narcissistic parents try to interrupt this natural event.  Many refuse to discuss the abuse they endured when they should be more concerned about the damage done to them than their parents’ reputations.  Others spend their entire lives trying to please the unpleasable narcissistic parent instead of setting healthy boundaries & ignoring the personal costs to themselves.  Still others will move their elderly narcissistic parent into their home, allow her to upset every member of the household & face no consequences for her actions.

Narcissistic parents train their children very well in many ways, but possibly the most impressive area is when they train them to take care of their parents at any & all costs.  No sacrifice is too big for many children of narcissistic parents. even though the parent acts as if no sacrifice is big enough.

This is not good!  People learn from reaping what they sow, which is why God wants us to reap what we sow.  And yes, even narcissists can learn from consequences.  They need to have consequences if there is to be any hope of them changing.  Giving them consequences is also good for you, because it breaks the unhealthy, dysfunctional patterns you have lived in for so long.

I know it can be hard to unlearn the lifetime of training you received from your narcissistic parent, but it can be done.  First & foremost, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do & how to do it & for the courage to do this.

When situations arise, remind yourself of the truth.  For example, the truth is that it’s not your job to protect your narcissistic mother’s reputation!  If someone asks you something about your mother & the truth isn’t necessarily pretty, tell the truth.  I’m not saying be disrespectful, bashing her, or calling her names of course, but you can tell the truth in a matter of fact way, even if the truth isn’t pretty.

Another situation could be when your narcissistic mother is elderly & in need of care.  The truth is it is up to you whether or not you are her caregiver.  Many adult children of narcissists don’t help their elderly parents & have peace about their decision while others feel the same peace about caring for them full or part time.  It is a very individual choice that only you can make.  (If you opt not to do hands on care, though, I would recommend helping them to find proper help. There are many great resources out there that can offer help through your local Department of Aging.)

Also, I have noticed that feelings are no exception to this rule of reaping what you sow.  My feelings have dwindled greatly for my parents after a lifetime of narcissistic abuse.  I used to beat myself up for this, telling myself I was a terrible person & a terrible daughter.  During prayer one day though, God told me they are reaping what they have sown, & I’m not a terrible person.  They haven’t sown many good, loving seeds with me so they are reaping a harvest of indifference in some ways from me.  It  is completely normal to feel the way I do.  If you feel the same, please know that you are normal!

Dear Reader, I urge you to let your narcissistic parents reap what they sow.  They won’t like it, but if God allows certain things to happen to them, it must be for a reason.   Let Him allow what He knows is best to happen.

Leave a comment

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

Free To Be You

I have learned that something rather magical happens to many folks when they hit 40.  Suddenly they no longer have the patience for abusive people & will confront them on their behavior.  They become more outspoken without being hurtful, & more free with their praise.  They begin to practice self-care for the first time.  They are more compassionate & caring, because they have seen & been through some pretty rough things.  They finally are freer as well.  Free to be themselves, & free to do as they like without caring about the criticisms & judgments of others.

It’s a wonderful thing!!

If you aren’t 40 yet or if you passed 40 without experiencing this, don’t think you need to be 40 to experience this.  It’s never too early or too late to improve yourself!  Ask God to help  you change however you need or want to.  He will do so gladly.  He wants you to be happy & if changing will help you accomplish that, He will be glad to help you.

Also think about some things & ask yourself questions.  You don’t really need to worry about what other people think of you, so why does it matter to you what others think?  Are you putting others before yourself constantly?  Why?  If you were raised by a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you believe (as I still battle with sometimes) that everyone else is more important & you don’t deserve to do good things for yourself.  That is a lie!  You DO deserve to do good things for yourself & take care of yourself.  In fact, if you want to help others so much, you need to take care of yourself.  If you don’t, you won’t have the physical or mental strength to help other people.

Do some soul searching.  Ask yourself the tough questions like the ones in the previous paragraph & honestly answer them.  You may surprise yourself.  You also will become aware of some  changes you need to make to help yourself live a happier life.

1 Comment

Filed under Narcissism

Stop Expecting Perfection From Yourself

I think all adult children of narcissists do is we expect perfection from ourselves, especially where our narcissistic mothers are concerned.

Once we learn about NPD, we become more aware of our narcissistic mother’s tactics.  We seem to think once we are more aware, we should never fall for her tactics again, we shouldn’t slip up or go along with her games.  Now, we know better & that will not happen ever again!

If only!

While that sounds good in theory, there are going to be times we slip up.  We’re only human after all, & we’ll make mistakes.

I’m not immune to this either.  I wish I was.

The last time my parents visited, I tried to distract my mother from some nastiness by showing her a tote I just crocheted.  I created the pattern myself & thought it turned out pretty.  So have others who have seen it. Plus, she loves crocheting- she’d just mentioned it a moment before, which is why I thought of my bag.  All she could say when she saw it was to ask what it’s for.  I said for shopping.  Then she said “I’ve seen women using purses that size- they’re going to regret it when their backs hurt later in life!”  I mentally kicked myself at this point.  How could I be so stupid?!  I designed it & it turned out well- of course she would have something nasty to say & to distract from my project!  I don’t think she’s ever created a pattern, I’ve created several- it’s natural for her as a narcissist to trash what I’ve done.

This happens all too often, & also too often, I beat myself up for failing.  I write about narcissism- I should know better!  People want to read what my experiences are & how I handle things, & it’s embarrassing to admit how often I screw up.  People expect better out of me because of what I write about.  How can they look to me for answers when I make so many mistakes??

I realized a few things though, & I pray sharing them with you will help you to stop beating yourself up like it is helping me.

Learning about narcissism is a fantastic thing.  It really can help you to become aware of what is truly abusive behavior & even ways to avoid it.  The fact is though, that learning about it isn’t a cure all.  If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there still will be times she hurts you or manipulates or controls you.  Thankfully those times will be less, but they still will happen occasionally.  When they do, you need to NOT beat yourself up over it!

Dealing with a narcissist is never an easy thing.  They are masters of gaslighting.  They are also masters of reading people & abuse.  If they realize one abusive tactic isn’t working, they’ll simply pull another out of their bottomless bag of evil tricks.  There is no end to the evil things they can do.  How can you expect to handle them perfectly when many times, they surprise you with their outrageous & hurtful actions?  Besides, your narcissistic mother has had your entire life to train you to behave as she wants.  You’ve only known about NPD a comparatively short while.  How can your brief time of knowledge compete with a lifetime of training?

You are NOT perfect!  If you were, you wouldn’t need Jesus.  Accept the fact you are going to make mistakes sometimes, even where your mother is concerned.  It’s ok! If you’re having trouble with this, ask God to help you.  He will help you to stop being so hard on yourself.

Leave a comment

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

If You Don’t Think Narcissistic Abuse Is So Bad, Then Read This

There are so many people who think growing up abused by a narcissistic parent isn’t a big deal, we need to get over it, stop wallowing in the past & feeling sorry for ourselves.  Today’s post is for them.

And, Dear Reader, if this post doesn’t describe you, feel free to show this to those in your life it describes if you think it will help them to understand just how destructive & evil it is.

Below are some of the problems that narcissistic abuse can cause.  If you have not been the victim of narcissistic abuse, I hope you thank God at the end of this list that you don’t have to live with these problems.  I live with every single one, & it is extremely hard.

Constant self doubt.  Narcissists are experts at gaslighting (distorting reality) which leads victims to doubt themselves constantly.  Narcissists state what they say as if it was the gospel truth, & when a person hears something, especially something said so confidently, over & over, they tend to believe it.  Even if it is something they can see clearly & plenty of evidence points to what they see is right, they learn to doubt their perception of reality & believe the narcissist.  Even once away from the narcissist, they tend to believe other people over themselves due to not trusting their own perceptions & feelings.

— Low self-esteem.  Since insecurity is at the root of narcissism, narcissists love to make others feel as badly about themselves as they do.  No matter how beautiful, talented, compassionate or intelligent you are, by the time a narcissist is done with you, you’ll be convinced you are the ugliest, most selfish, useless & stupid person ever to live.  Any shred of self-esteem is destroyed, & done so in such as way as not to be obvious.  Narcissists rarely tell you outright you’re stupid, for example.  Instead they prefer to imply it. ( “A smart person would’ve known that!”)  That way, if you confront them, they can reply with something like, “I never said you were stupid!”
“I don’t know where you get these ideas of yours.” ” You’re reading into things!” or something similar.  Gaslighting at its finest…

Anger.  It’s only natural that after living through narcissistic abuse, you’ll be angry.  It’s unfair, destructive & hurtful.  Then those who you tell often invalidate your pain or don’t believe you, because they are fooled by the narcissist’s “good guy” act.  Anger is very normal under the circumstances.

— Self destructive or self harming behaviors.   Many people who survive abuse do things that are self-destructive.  They can make poor choices such as choosing abusive romantic partners, or they can engage in binge eating or cutting.

— Dissociation.  Dissociation is a survival skill that many people use to get through traumatic events.  Women who were raped often describe it as feeling as if they left their body while the attack was happening.  When you are abused, you often dissociate.  I thought I was just day dreaming all my life, but I later learned I’ve been dissociating all this time.  Sometimes I just get lost in my own mind & emotionally pull away from those around me.  It often happens during traumatic situations, but sometimes it does not.  It just happens out of the blue.

— Depression.  Depression is very common as well.  It’s hard to be happy when you feel like an utter failure, when you are certain everything you do/feel/think is wrong & when all you hear about is your faults.  Sometimes, the depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts.  Yes, it really can be that bad.  I spent much of my life suicidal as a result of narcissistic abuse.

— Guilt.  Even knowing a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there are still times that I feel guilty for disappointing my narcissistic mother.  She is obviously disappointed I’m an author, she hates my house, car & that I haven’t “given her grandchildren”, & is even embarrassed by the fact I don’t speak to my in-laws (narcissistic mother in-law- I can’t deal with her verbal abuse).  In spite of the fact I know these things are all right for me, occasionally, I feel guilty for disappointing my mother.  This is typical.  Children raised by narcissists feel responsible for everything, & that includes the happiness of their narcissistic mother.  If they disappoint her, not only do they face her rage, but also the guilt for “failing”.  Unfortunately this means they carry the guilt into their adult lives, so even when they know better, sometimes they still can feel guilty when they shouldn’t.

— Attracting abusive people.  Once you have been abused, it seems like other abusers seek you out.  Being beaten down so badly by a narcissist is no exception.  Other narcissists will see you as a potential victim.  Thankfully, the more you heal, the less this happens, but it still happens periodically even when you have been focused on your healing for a long time.  You end up being on your guard when meeting new people or else you fall back into old, dysfunctional habits.

— Aches, pains & illnesses.  Have you ever noticed that most narcissists are quite healthy, yet their victims are often sick?  I believe this is because of stress.  Narcissists rarely feel stressed, as they put everything unpleasant on others.  Their victims, however, are under constant stress because they must appease the narcissist & anticipate her needs 24/7 at any personal cost or else face her volatile  rage.  Ongoing extreme stress causes a multitude of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease or even diabetes.  And, depression can cause aches & pains with no physical cause.

— C-PTSD.  Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very common among victims of narcissistic abuse.  The ongoing, constant trauma of gaslighting, verbal abuse & the rest of the evil that is narcissistic abuse can cause physical changes in the brain which results in C-PTSD.  Basically, this means your body is in a constant state of fear.  Pete Walker, author of “Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving” states that we have a fear reflex of fight, flight, freeze or faun.  Living in a constant state of fear means you will have one of those responses, like it or not, when fear is triggered.  For example, when my mother tries to control me as she did when I was a child, my natural reaction is faun- I do as she says & ignore my own anger at this unfair treatment.  It takes conscious effort on my part not to behave this way.  Plus, C-PTSD includes extreme anxiety, depression, flashbacks, damaged short term memory, sleep problems, nightmares & hyper-vigilance (an extreme awareness of your surroundings & potential danger).  I have had C-PTSD since 2012, & frankly, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Living with the symptoms every day is sheer torture.

I would hope after reading this that your eyes are now opened to the truth about narcissistic abuse.  It *is* a big deal.  It *does* change your life.  It has nothing to do with not getting over things or self-pity.   The symptoms are a normal result to very abnormal circumstances.

12 Comments

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

How Functional Are Your Relationships?

Twenty-five years ago today, on August 23, 1990, I met a man that I dated briefly.  We were together for exactly 3 months when I broke up with him.  The brief time together was life altering for me & not necessarily in a good way.

I was 19, & he was 28.  He had a lovely old house on the water & a good job.  He said he was close to his family, even though they lived far apart.  He had a way about him that gave the impression he had it all together.  Since I’d just moved out of my parents house only months before, I was hungry for stability.  I figured he was a good, stable man & I’d be happy with him.  After all, my friend said she thought so.  I didn’t trust my own instincts that said I should run, & instead listened to her.

I’m not saying he was a bad man, but he had some problems.  He was extremely jealous, which was a problem since I worked with mostly men.  He treated me as if I was stupid & he was much older & wiser, which really got on my nerves.  He was extremely controlling as well.  In fact, so much so, we ended up engaged because he said I would marry him.  No romantic proposal, no ring- just a command.  After 3 months, I was tired.  I’d have enough control games from my mother, so I decided no more.  I broke up with him on November 23, 1990.  He screamed at me for hours, telling me how much I’d regret it, he was a good guy, I was ruining his life, I made a big mistake, etc.  I even thought he was going to hit me once but my cat Magic put a stop to it by scratching him while his dog got between us.  That event left me feeling incredibly guilty for many years.  Every August 23, I would beat myself up for ruining Mike’s life.

Then in January of 2014, I read on my county police facebook page that this man was dead.  He shot his gay lover then himself.  I also saw in that same article that he had a felony weapons charge from the week before his death.  His mug shot was on the article, & obviously the years since I’d left him had been very hard on him.  He looked very different- much harder & older.  So much so that I didn’t even recognize him.

It really shook me up.  It took me months before this information sank in.  I lost the guilt & got very angry at myself for not knowing what Mike was really like. I also got angry at him for treating me like I was the only one with problems when clearly he had plenty of issues himself.   I was always wrong.  I was crazy.  At least according to him.

Since, I have come to accept what happened & am no longer angry with him.  I now appreciate the few good things that came from that brief relationship, such as him getting me into classic rock, especially the Eagles & Styx.  I also was able to adopt Magic because of him, & he even named him.  He also was the first person to truly grasp how cruelly my mother treated me.  We had my parents to dinner one night & my mother was insulting me at every turn.  Mike was truly upset by her behavior, & apologized to me for doubting when I said she was abusive.

I realized though, that this man wasn’t the only person in my life who was like this,  however.  I think it must happen with many adult children of narcissists.  I think we attract dysfunctional people who try to put their dysfunction on us.

My ex husband always said I was wrong.  Every argument was my fault.  If he got mad at me & punched walls, I made him do it.  I was unreasonable for wanting for him to stop running up credit card debt or depending on his mother to bail him out financially.

The friend who thought I should go out with the man I mentioned?  She was in control of our relationship.  Period.  She would not hesitate to guilt trip me if I didn’t do what she wanted.

I had another friend while married to my ex who talked to me as if I was dumb as a box of hair.  Always wanted favors from me too, & rarely did anything in return.  She once chewed me out for not calling her back in a timely manner, even though I didn’t get the message until hours after she called.

I would like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do something I didn’t do when I was in these dysfunctional relationships.  Look at the people in your life, especially the critical & needy ones.  How do they treat you?  Do they blame you for everything?  Are you always the problem?  Are you supposed to do for them while they don’t need to be there for you?  Answer such questions honestly.  You may realize that you need to end some toxic relationships.  If you realize you need to do this, ask God for help.  Ask Him to give you the strength you need to end the relationships & the wisdom on how to best handle the situation.

3 Comments

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

About Control Tactics Of Narcissists

I realized something interesting during a recent visit with my parents that I thought I should share with you, Dear Readers.

My mother has become increasingly controlling lately.  My father wanted to visit me alone recently, & she told him & I both that “his days of doing that are over.”  She comes along, period.  My father has some serious health problems & was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so you might think this is a caring gesture on her part, not to let him drive or be out alone.  However- he goes to his doctor appointments alone, because she claims he won’t let her go with him.  So obviously, this is about control, not concern for his well being.

As she has seen her tactics working with him, she is attempting to be more controlling of me as well.  They day my parents came by my home, she started showing this before they left their house.  She called on their way out to tell me I needed to be waiting outside for her so we could go to lunch.  I needed to watch for her car to drive past then go outside (from their place, you have to drive past my house, go to the next traffic light & make a U turn then drive about 1/4 of a mile to get to me).  I listened to her give me my orders & promptly ignored them.  I’m 44 years old- too old to be bossed around by my mother!  While they were at my house later, she tried little things to let me know she was in charge.  For example, I always sit on my love seat, usually alone or with a couple of cats around me.  She insisted on sitting beside me, crowding me a bit.  She is very fond of stealing my seat- I think it gives her a feeling of power, like if she sits there, it means she’s now in charge in my home.

By the time they left, I was livid.  Livid how she treats my father then complains to me how she doesn’t understand why he thinks she’s “bossy” (Seriously?!).  Livid she thought it was acceptable to treat me more like the hired help than her daughter.  And to be honest, still angry that I can’t tell her about my own health problems I’ve had for six months & expect any empathy or understanding.

Later when speaking with my husband about the visit, I had a thought.  Since my father is now even more under her control, I think it has given her a tremendous amount of confidence, & she thinks she can control me as well.  She fails to realize just because he is weaker now doesn’t mean I am as well.  Looking back over my life, it seems like when she increased her control over one of us, the other one had to suffer with more control as well.  I wish I’d realized this sooner!  I would have been more prepared for her control games on her last visit if I had.  Instead, I was taken by surprise.

I don’t know for sure if other overt narcissists are this way or not, but I would guess some are since so many narcissists use very similar means of abuse.

Pay attention to your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader!  If she is able to control your father (or a sibling or a friend or anyone) more lately, you may be next in line.  Remember to keep & strictly enforce your boundaries!  Don’t give her an inch no matter what, or she’ll take a mile (or ten…).  Protect yourself & never let her control anything about you.  You do not need to be controlled by anyone!

Leave a comment

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

On “Allowing” Narcissists To Abuse You

Have you ever heard that you allowed someone to abuse you, that you gave that person your power or some similar statement that blames you for being abused?

I don’t understand why people feel the need to say such invalidating, cruel things!

While yes, you can stop some abusive actions, you can’t stop them all, especially when it comes to narcissistic abuse.  It is an exceptionally complex type of abuse.

Narcissists tear down their victims, & often make them believe they are getting what they deserve or the narcissist is doing what she does for the victim’s benefit.  Growing up with my narcissistic mother, she had me convinced that she was a good mother, always doing what was best for me.  When her abuse hit its peak when I was 17, she said she was “exercising tough love on me in order to save me from myself.”  I fought back verbally, protected myself from her physical attacks, told her she was hurting me, & more but nothing improved.  In fact, things got worse.   It was much the same with my ex husband.  The worse our marriage got, the more I tried to please him or stop him from being so hurtful, & the worse things got.  He became meaner & more degrading.

How can anyone think I allowed this, that I gave these people power over me?

Dear Reader, I’m sure your situation is much like mine.  You have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, & certainly not by choice.  Maybe you grew up with a narcissistic parent (or 2) or have been married to a narcissistic spouse & unable to afford to move out.  You probably even tried to please your abuser but nothing helped.

These situations are terrible, but not because you did something wrong.  They are terrible because the actions of narcissistic people are terrible, period.  Never let someone make you feel as if you are to blame for being the victim of a narcissist.  You did nothing to deserve it, it is not your fault for making the narcissist abuse you & no one can stop them  from abusing.  (Setting boundaries & enforcing them definitely helps a great deal, but it won’t stop them entirely.)  Narcissists abuse because it makes them feel better about themselves, providing that narcissistic supply, not because it has something to do with the victim or what the victim does.

3 Comments

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

Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Anger is a very normal part of life, yet also a difficult thing for many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Growing up, we were not allowed to express emotions, good or bad, but it often seems as if anger is the one that receives the most ridicule if we express it.  As I’ve said before, my mother always accused me of having that “Bailey temper” as she calls it.  She said that her family doesn’t get mad like my father’s family does.  Which seems to be true- from what I’ve seen, they just stuff that anger inside & pretend it’s not there.  Yea, that’s healthy…. lol

If you too were raised by a narcissistic mother, I’m sure you heard some similar shaming comments if you showed any anger as well.

The fact is though that anger is going to happen.  As you heal from narcissistic abuse, it is definitely going to come up.  As your self-esteem improves, you finally realize you didn’t deserve the terrible things that were done to you, & it makes you angry.  You realize too that it wasn’t your fault you were abused, which also makes you angry.

Holding anger inside at this point becomes very difficult & even impossible.  That is actually a good thing because it is detrimental to your physical & emotional health.  It can cause anxiety & depression.  It can cause high blood pressure, kidney, heart & digestive problems.  Even knowing such things, it can be hard for the adult child of a narcissistic parent to find healthy ways to release anger.  At first, it can be downright terrifying.  She may feel that if she lets a little anger out, she’ll end up losing control of it all & hurting herself & others.  She also may feel that if she lets it out, she’ll never stop being angry.

Dear Reader, these are simply not the case at all!  Anger is a powerful emotion that needs to be heard.  It demands to be heard in fact.  Even so, there are healthy ways to deal with it.

Some people recommend the chair method.  This involves standing in front of a chair, pretending the person who hurt or abused you is in that chair, & telling them everything you feel inside about them & their actions.

Some people beat up pillows.  It’s a good physical release, & you can’t hurt a pillow no matter how hard you beat it.

Others swear by writing letters they never send.  I have done this with a great deal of success.  I let it all out in the letters, then usually I burn them.  I found something very therapeutic about watching the letters burn.  It’s like my anger went up in the smoke.  I also kept a couple of them, which helps to keep me remember why things are the way they are.  Reading over my letter helps me if I feel weak & wanting to fix things with my mother.  It helps remind me that I can’t do all the work- fixing a relationship takes 2 people.

Journaling is akin to writing the letters.  No one is going to read what you write, so what better way to let it all out?  Although I love the feel & look of a pretty paper journal, for privacy sake, I use an online, password protected one.  I am certain no one would be able to read it, so when I need to get anger out, I let it all go in the journal.

Perhaps the most effective way I’ve found to deal with anger though is by talking to God about it.  He is such a wonderful Father.  He listens without judgment or criticism & offers you comfort.  He also helps you to purge all of that anger from you, so you no longer stuff it deep inside.

The next time you feel anger, I encourage you to try one or more of the suggestions above.  They really will help you tremendously.  You’ll feel so much better once the anger is out from inside you.

2 Comments

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

Children- The Possession Of The Narcissistic Parents

To most parents, children are thought of as a blessing.  The parents watch with fascination as their baby grows into a young woman with her own likes, dislikes, talents, beliefs, feelings & calling in her life.  It is a blessing to them when she grows up & leaves home, as difficult as that may be for them at first.  Even though it can be hard, they embrace this new direction their life as a parent is going & enjoy it.

This is not the case with a narcissistic parent.  Not even close.

Narcissistic parents view their children as possessions.  Possessions to be used however the narcissistic parent sees fit.  Many narcissistic mothers tell their child what & when to eat, what courses to take in school, what career to get into once she’s out of school… this leads to a child who is very insecure.  How can she think for herself if she was not even allowed to decide whether or not she’s hungry?  How can she get to know what she wants if she isn’t even able to choose what courses to take in school?

As this child grows up, she feels unable to make decisions.  It’s not like she ever had practice at it growing up like most kids get.  I have been the same way, & it can be frustrating!  Mostly I have gotten over this but still there are times I simply cannot make a decision, even about something silly like what I want for dinner.

This takes time to conquer.  It takes time to heal & to get to know yourself too, which are the things that will help you in this area.  Even so, don’t give up!  Just keep on, keepin’ on.  You can heal from this!

6 Comments

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

Going No Contact With A Narcissist

Deciding to end a relationship is not an easy choice, especially when the other person is a narcissist.  After months or years of gaslighting, you doubt your perception, wondering if this is actually a good idea in spite of the glaring evidence that says it is.  Plus, you are well aware how vengeful the narcissist can be, which scares you.  If the narcissist is your parent, there is a whole other area of guilt & “what if’s” that you will experience as well.

Once you end the relationship, the narcissist won’t take it well.  This kind of rejection creates a narcissistic rage, which we all know is never pretty.  Chances are, she will lie to others about you, probably even going so far as to make herself look like your victim.  This may hurt when others believe her lies or cut ties with you, but the thing to remember is those who truly love you won’t believe the lies.  The ones who believe them & abandon you?  You don’t need them in your life anyway.

She also may stalk you, threaten you, or vandalize your property.  The only good part of this is that you can get the police involved.  The law will force this person to leave you alone or face jail time.

Most narcissists, however, think they can outsmart the police.  They think they are too smart to do something obvious as slashing your tires, for example.  Instead, they take the most cowardly route to harassing you, & do it via text message, email or social media.  Vague social media posts referring to “someone” doing “something mean” to them are a favorite, because they offer deniability.  “I wasn’t talking about you!”  “You read too much into things!”  Bonus- if you believe it was about you, they believe they can make you think you are going crazy.

As annoying as these childish behaviors can be, the best way to handle them is to simply ignore them.  If you think it’s impossible, I beg to differ!  I’ve found it to be surprisingly easy, keeping some things in mind…

Always remember, vengeance belongs to God, not you.  Someone trying to hurt you angers God, & He is a protective father.  Let Him deal with the problem & He will do a much better job than you ever could.

This person wants to be sure you think about her as much as she thinks about you, which is why she is harassing you.  Don’t you have better things to do with your time than to think about someone so dysfunctional & evil?

The narcissist isn’t worth it.  Why waste your peace of mind & joy focusing on someone like that?  Ignore the person & enjoy your life.  Life is too short to waste on such useless matters.

Responding in any way provides her with narcissistic supply.  Refuse to provide it in any way, shape or form.  Providing supply by acknowledging her actions or getting angry with her only fuels her rage & will escalate her awful behavior.

Narcissists love to use fear & guilt to control their victims.  If you show no fear or guilt, they can’t control you.  Ignoring their actions shows you feel neither.

Narcissists can’t handle apathy.  Love them or hate them, & they are happy.  Pretend they don’t even exist?  Their little heads may explode.  lol  If you do this, eventually they will get bored with trying to win some attention from you & move onto a new supplier.

Lastly, don’t forget to document everything & I mean EVERYTHING.  Save all the emails, texts, social media posts.  Take pictures.  Write down what happened, who was there & when it happened.  If you decide to talk to the police or the narcissist does end up breaking the law or cyberstalking laws change, you will have plenty of evidence to present to the police to show your side of things.  I have saved emails, texts & screen shots from up to two years ago from someone who has been harassing me, & will continue to save them indefinitely.

Leave a comment

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

Love Changes, & Not How You May Expect It To

I’ve experienced a very odd thing a few times in my life.  I would guess I’m not the only one who has dealt with it so I thought I should write about it.  Sometimes, after being treated very badly by someone, the love & compassion I once felt for that person died suddenly.  This doesn’t mean I wish someone harm or harbor any anger towards them- it just means I feel nothing.  It’s indifference, which I believe is the opposite of love.

As I write this, my mother in-law is in the hospital.  I wish I could say I was concerned, but I feel nothing other than concern for how this situation will affect my husband.  This sounds terrible, doesn’t it?  But, the fact is that for the first eight years of our relationship, she was extremely verbally abusive to me & that took a toll on me.  Then one night in 2002, she called to talk to my husband who wasn’t home from work yet.  She screamed at me because he was still at work & for his allergies that were flaring up.  That wasn’t even our worst conversation, but still, something in me shut down as she was screaming.  I wasn’t even angry- I just felt nothing for her at that point.  I haven’t spoken to her since & have no desire to do so, even though she isn’t doing well.

Something similar happened with someone else I was close to.  She once told me out of the blue that I needed to get over my “childhood hurts”.  It was the last of several similar hurtful comments she’d made over the years, & it killed the love I’d once felt for her.  When she died about a year later, I felt virtually nothing.

No one seems to talk about this sort of thing.  It seems acceptable to say you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, but not to admit that the love you once felt for someone died because of their hurtful, abusive behavior.  However, I think it must be normal.

Everyone has what I think of as a love account for each person in their life.  It’s like a checking account, except it doesn’t hold money, it holds love.  Gentle, sweet, thoughtful actions put love into the account, while harsh, thoughtless ones take love out of it.  If someone is good to you, that account stays on the positive side, building up a good balance.  Yet, if someone is cruel to you, withdraws are made.  If too many withdraws are made, your love account balance can go into the negative.  At this point, hopefully that person will flood you with loving gestures in an attempt to repair the relationship & bring the balance back up.  If he or she doesn’t though, this is when your love can die for that person.

If you have experienced this too, Dear Reader, please know you aren’t alone.  I’ve been there!   Don’t beat yourself up for it.  You can ask God to help you to restore the love you once felt if you like, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t.  He hasn’t with me.  I have learned to trust Him.  Maybe this happened because it was time to end the relationship.  Or, maybe if the relationship continued as it had, things would have gotten worse.  I don’t know, but I do know to trust God in this area.  He truly knows best.

4 Comments

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

Balance Is Healthy

In life, many people say out of balance things, such as always look for the positive or always listen to your heart. While this may sound good, it isn’t healthy. Sometimes, there is little or no positive to be found, & that is fine. Valuable lessons can be learned in negative circumstances, not just positive. And, listening to your heart is always wise, but logic must intervene at some point too. I know if I listened to my heart only, I would never accomplish anything around my home- I’d spend my time writing, being creative, playing with the furkids & such without doing laundry or cooking. While that sounds amazingly fun, it’s also amazingly impractical.

I just wanted to take a moment today to encourage you, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your life. So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse have trouble in this area. We often put others ahead of ourselves even when it isn’t best for anyone involved, we give at the expense of our own selves or we even can become obsessed with learning about narcissism since it finally gives us the answers we’ve been seeking.

Think about your life- what areas are out of balance? Do you listen to your feelings over logic every time? Do you always make sacrifices for others while expecting nothing in return? Are you a workaholic? Do you read non-stop about narcissism?

Please stop those out of balance behaviors! Balance is a good thing- it helps you to stay happy & healthy, two things you deserve. While working or doing for others are certainly admirable, you still need breaks from doing them. The same goes for learning about narcissism. You absolutely must learn about it if you wish to heal from narcissistic abuse, but even so, take breaks where you refuse to think about it sometimes. Narcissism is such a deep & negative subject- your emotions need breaks from thinking about it so you don’t plummet into depression.

How do you achieve balance? To start with, ask God to show you what areas you need to improve. Make any changes you know you need to do. Also, ask God to show you if you need to make further changes & to help you to do so.

If you are close to someone who is also out of balance, you could see if this person wishes to be an accountability partner. You could be accountable to each other, discussing your situations & what you are doing. You could pray together, too.

Listen to your heart. If you feel resentment or dread regarding certain tasks, that is for a reason. You may be focusing too much in that area.

Learn about boundaries if you haven’t already. Learning to set & enforce healthy boundaries will help you so much.

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

Why Christians Should Love Animals

I’ve been noticing something disturbing lately.  So many Christians openly hate animals.  This bothers me terribly, because there are so many Scriptures that show God loves the animals that He created & wants people to care for & appreciate them.  Some examples are:

  • Proverbs 12:10  “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”  (KJV)
  • Ecclesiastes 3:18-21  “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.  19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (KJV)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?”  (KJV)
  • Psalm 145:9  “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”  (KJV)

These are only a few examples.  There is much more in the Bible on the topic of animals.  I found enough for me to write a book on this topic several years ago.

It hurts my heart that so many devoted Christians openly hate animals, hunt only for sport or even think humans are so much better than animals.  Ecclesiastes 3:19 clearly shows people are not better than animals.  Read that verse again: “19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) (emphasis added)

How can anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian truly feel this way about animals after reading that Scripture??  Yet, many people do every day & harshly criticize those of us who feel differently.

It’s simply wrong.  Obviously, God loves animals.  After all, He created them.  Hating them is no different than hating other people.  Personally, I’m not fond of bossy people, but that doesn’t mean I hate them or wish them harm.  If I did, I would be criticized for it.  “Love your neighbor as yourself,” people might say.  However, if I hated animals, hunted them only for sport, called them “just dumb animals”, etc. most Christians wouldn’t bat an eye.  Do you see how wrong this is?

If you are one of these people, I urge you to reconsider your position.  I’m not saying you need to become a vet or stop eating all meat.  Instead I’m suggesting you give animals a chance.  They are intelligent, caring, empathetic companions.  Get to know some animals, maybe friends’ or relatives’ pets.   I have 10 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch, all of whom make my life better each day.  This morning, for example, I sat on my bed.  I’m having a very bad day, & I just needed a few minutes to refocus.  My cat Zippy joined me, showing me a great deal of love while purring loudly.  He often is the first one to show he cares if I am upset, sick or even having a flashback.  In fact, after becoming very sick in February, he has become my shadow.  Once I got home from the hospital, he didn’t leave my side for a good 2 days.  Since, he stays close to me at all times, watching me closely.

Animals can teach you so much, too.  I learned how to be a good pet parent from my first cat, Magic who was a naturally loving father.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat, taught me not to take the little things for granted, but to appreciate them instead.  Jasmine, my snowshoe siamese, had 4 strokes in her final 2 years of life, & watching her fight to regain her faculties after each one was an inspiration.

God has blessed humanity with a wonderful gift in animals.  I would like to encourage you today not to take that gift for granted.  Instead, appreciate it & have fun with it!  Animals truly are a gift from God in many ways.

2 Comments

Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Judging Others

Matthew 7:1-3 states,  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (KJV)  Yet, it seems to me not many people really take this Scripture to heart.

I’ve been noticing this on facebook lately, regarding two popular issues in particular.  As many of you know, Cecil the lion was killed in a protected area illegally by a trophy hunter.  Also, Planned Parenthood has been accused of selling parts of the babies they aborted for profit.  (sorry- I haven’t read much about either so I can’t provide better details).  Granted, both are terrible issues.  Neither situation should have happened.  Naturally, people are very passionate about both issues.  People also are very judgmental about people’s feelings on these issues.

I’ve seen many posts from folks upset about Planned Parenthood criticizing those upset about Cecil the lion.  “It’s just a lion!”  “Who cares?  It’s just a man eating beast!”  “Children being slaughtered & their parts sold is more important!”

This has been bothering me because it happens every day with all kinds of issues, not only these two.  They are simply a recent example I’m using.  People aren’t tolerant of the simple fact that people have different passions.  It’s how God made us.  Someone like me with a lot of pets is naturally be more upset over trophy hunting an innocent, majestic lion than the horrible practices of Planned Parenthood, whereas a mother with seven children naturally will be more upset over Planned Parenthood’s actions than the lion’s death.  This does NOT mean one of us is wrong!  It simply means we are different people with different priorities & passions.

Not everyone is going to feel the same way, & that is fine!  People need to accept that about you just as you need to accept that about them.  You don’t have to agree with someone 100% to be in a relationship with them.  I have friends who are very interested in politics while I couldn’t care less about it.  We may discuss politics slightly but that’s all, & we’re fine with that because we have other common interests.  I have other friends who like animals but aren’t as obsessed with them as I am.  The same thing happens- we may discuss animals slightly but that is fine because we too have other common interests.  My political friends aren’t offended that I don’t share their passion & I’m not offended other friends don’t share my animal passion.  We accept each other’s differences without judgment.

I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do the same.  Accept the fact no one shares your same passions.  Even if you do, chances are you’ll both handle it a bit differently anyway.  Instead of judging, just accept the fact that God made you both differently.  If your friend feels strongly about an issue, maybe try to learn some about it.  You may discover a new interest or at least learn a little.

6 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

I have been asked quite a few times how long it takes to recover fully from narcissistic abuse. I believe it to be a lifelong battle, unfortunately. However, I don’t want to discourage you with that, because there is good news. Although it can be a lifelong battle, it does get easier!

You will stumble sometimes, but even so, you are constantly getting stronger as you heal. The more wisdom you gain about NPD & the effects of its abuse, the more strength it gives you. You finally realize it wasn’t your fault, & that you’re suffering the normal effects of abnormal treatment.

The dark times of depression come less frequently & don’t last as long when they come.

There are times you feel stuck, as if you are always going to be depressed, anxious, or feel like you’re going crazy. But, the longer you have been healing, the less frequently those times happen. They, like depression, won’t last as long on the rare occasions when they happen.

Your self-esteem soars. Sure, sometimes you may backslide into feeling like the worthless piece of garbage your narcissistic mother always said you were, but at least that isn’t how you constantly feel anymore. They’re merely fleeting moments. When you realize this dysfunctional thinking is happening, you remind yourself that isn’t true. Healthy self-esteem also stops the dysfunctional people-pleasing at your own expense ways many children of narcissistic parents possess.

You try to practice good self-care rituals- prayer, relaxing activities, participating in fun hobbies. Granted, sometimes you let your schedule get too busy, but the healthier you become, the quicker you are to realize this mistake & make the appropriate changes.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to change how you think about your recovery. While it may be a lifelong battle with no definite end, try to focus instead on the good that comes during your healing. Focus on each baby step, every bit of progress you make. Your narcissistic mother tried to destroy you, but she didn’t! You are like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Little by little, you are getting healthier & happier. Maybe right now you aren’t where you want to be, & feel like you have a long way to go. How about instead focusing on how far you have come? You are no longer that wounded, dysfunctional little child, but instead are a grown woman who is getting stronger & healthier each day!

8 Comments

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

Healing Changes Relationships With Narcissists

Healing from narcissistic abuse is good for you.  You learn & you grow.  You become more peaceful & happier. You become well equipped to deal with abusive & narcissistic people when they cross your path.

I’ve noticed that something else happens- the narcissistic parent doesn’t really know what to do with you.  Narcissists simply have no clue what to do with someone they can’t control.

I was thinking lately about the relationships with various narcissists I’ve had in my life.  The healthier I got, the more they changed.  One dumped me, claiming I lied to her when I hadn’t (in fact, she lied to me many times).  Another suddenly became a victim when I refused to put up with her games, even sending her daughter to verbally attack me.  Even the relationship with my parents has changed drastically.

It used to be that my parents would call me often.  My mother daily, my father a few times a week.  We got together often, usually going to lunch or dinner.  Then I started learning about narcissism & healing from its abuse.  The communication became less & less frequent.  Now, I honestly don’t remember the last time I went out with my parents.  The last time we spent a lot of time together was when my father was in the hospital last December.  They came to my home to visit me in April just before my birthday, but since my mother was behaving so poorly & I felt sick, I made them leave after only a short visit.  As for the phone calls?  My mother called me once asking me to look something up on my computer for her (my parents don’t own one) & couldn’t get off the phone fast enough, then called a second time earlier this week for about half an hour.  My father calls about once every week or two now, & the calls never last more than about 10-15 minutes where they used to last at least 30.

I had decided on going limited contact with my parents quite some time ago, but apparently healing has made this happen anyway.  I think that’s pretty cool!

Healing has been tremendously helpful not only for me, but also in the relationship with my parents.  Not only do I have to deal with them less often now, but they have moments of being civil with me now since I won’t tolerate the nastiness anymore.  As narcissists, I know they’ll never be respectful like most people are, so I think of these moments when they’re civil as progress.  It’s more than I  ever expected.

Granted, there are times when a narcissistic mother will become enraged by her daughter’s healing.  She will lie about her daughter so she can cut her out of her life without anyone questioning it.  However, it doesn’t always happen this way.  Sometimes, what has happened with my parents happens with other narcissistic parents as well.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, continue to focus on your healing.   It will benefit you immensely & it will change how she relates to you.  It may improve your relationship with her as it has mine.  At the very least, you can be sure she won’t attempt to control you so much, because she knows she can’t.  The interesting part about that is although it will make her angry, she won’t be able to take it out on you.  You’re doing nothing wrong, so she has no reason to rage unless she wants to look foolish, & we all know narcissists will do anything to avoid looking foolish.  She may give you the silent treatment, but that isn’t such a bad scenario- it gives you a break from her drama for a while!

Leave a comment

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

Disliking Birthdays & Holidays

Recently I was talking with one of my readers about holidays. She mentioned Mother’s Day in particular, & said how much she hates the day. Obviously, she has a narcissistic mother. Anyway, she said she has been working on changing her attitude & focusing on enjoying the day with her children, because she doesn’t like feeling this way about the holiday. It hasn’t gone well. Even after several pleasant Mother’s Days, she still isn’t a fan of the day, & felt guilty about her “failure.”

From my experience, I have seen this as a pretty common scenario for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. Not just with Mother’s Day, but birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or other special days.

I’m no different. After countless awful birthdays, Christmases, & Thanksgivings, I couldn’t care less about those days. I have tried to enjoy my birthday at least, celebrating with friends each year for the last few years. It has been fun, until this year when I was sick & unable to celebrate. Also, my husband wasn’t able to leave work early like he was supposed to be able to do. We were going to spend the day together. Instead, I wasted my day waiting on him to come home instead of enjoying myself. My old feelings of wanting to ignore my birthday came back with a vengeance as a result, & I realized it may be permanent this time.

While aiming to have a positive attitude about days that have been bad for you is certainly a good thing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, the best you can do is learn not to hate the day. I don’t mean to sound negative, just realistic.

I’ve heard that it takes ten praises to eliminate the negative effects of one criticism. Honestly, I think it takes more. I also think that bad holidays are much like that- it takes a lot of really pleasant holidays to change your negative feelings. I also think that one negative one thrown in with the good ones can hinder changing how you feel. It can set you back.

The reason I am telling you this, Dear Reader, is so that you won’t feel guilty like the lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post if your attitude isn’t better. Unfortunately this happens sometimes due to bad experiences, & beating yourself up about how you feel won’t help you improve your attitude! If anything, it only makes it worse.

So, Dear Reader, if you are dreading holidays or your birthday, I truly wish you the best with learning to enjoy those special days! I pray you will be able to do so! However, if you are unable to, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Unfortunately it happens sometimes. Just know you are not alone in how you feel. xoxo

Leave a comment

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

Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

Leave a comment

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

It’s All About Them, Not You

The more I learn about narcissism, the more clearly I see one thing- everything is about the narcissist.  Every single little thing can be traced back to benefiting them in some way.

While their victims feel attacked, invalidated & abused (& truly, they are), the fact is that was not the main goal of the narcissist.  Their goal instead was to do something to make them feel better.

Insulting you makes the narcissist feel better.  It builds her up to insult you.

Gaslighting you gives her control, which provides her with narcissistic supply by making her feel powerful.

Seeing you angry or crying also makes her feel powerful.

Although many people think narcissists don’t know they are hurting others, they do.  Sometimes they actually feel guilty about it.  When that happens, & they try to pretend they didn’t do that bad thing, or find ways to justify their  abusive actions, although it hurts you, that was not their goal.  Their goal was to appease their own guilt.  They don’t care that you were hurt, so long as they feel less guilty.

Never ever forget that every single thing a narcissist does is all about her.  Even if she is helping you, it isn’t to be a blessing to you- it is to make her feel good about herself for being so generous & kind.

If you are dealing with a narcissist in your life, you need to remember this fact about them.  It will help you tremendously.  Remembering that what they do isn’t personal will help you not to be as hurt or angry when they do things to you.  Sure, there will be some times that you feel hurt or angry no matter what, you’re human after all, but at least if you keep this in mind, those times won’t be your norm anymore.

Remembering that it’s all about them will help you to keep your focus on how to best deal with this person rather than getting caught up in emotions.  It’s very hard to try to deal with a narcissist when all you want to do is cry or smack them.  If you can keep your emotions in check, it is much easier for logic & wisdom to function.  It’s also easier for you to remember to pray & to hear God’s voice clearly as He guides you in how to deal with this person.

The next time the narcissist in your life hurts you, I encourage you to tell yourself- it’s all about her!  This isn’t personal,even though it feels personal.  It truly will help you!

3 Comments

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

Retroactive Justification & Other Dysfunctional Coping Skills Of Narcissists.

My mother recently ended her silent treatment.  She barely spoke to me for several months, & as usual, I don’t know why.

It was an interesting conversation to say the least.  Among things she said, she asked me if my ex husband ever hit me & I said he did, once.  She never asked how badly I was hurt, just said if she would’ve known she would’ve called a lawyer.  (*sigh*  She did know- she saw me all bruised immediately after it happened & made sure I knew she didn’t care in the least.)  Then she said, “His family was really religious though, weren’t they?”  I said no, his mother was.  “So it was his father that was abusive!”  Not really- more neglectful than anything & wasn’t there much since he was an over the road  trucker.  She went on to say no one should be abused, it’s not fair to abuse people, abusers are bad people & other drivel.

Later that night, I’d been thinking of this part of the conversation & wondering why she was trying to justify my ex’s actions.  I couldn’t come up with an answer for that one.  But, I do believe that she was saying he was a bad person to justify why she abused me so badly when I wanted to date him when we were teens.  In her mind, if he was a bad person, she was right in doing the horrible things she did to me in an attempt to keep me away from him.  She used to tell me back then that she was saving me from myself, & probably this could reassure her that it was true.  I thought of this as a sort of retroactive justification for her crazy, abusive behavior

As my narcissistic parents have gotten older, I believe they are trying to cope with their abusive actions.  Normal people would see the error of their ways, & apologize. They may even do something to try to make it up to their victim.  Narcissists however, do nothing of the sort.  They find alternate coping skills, because they refuse to accept the fact that they made mistakes or did cruel, hurtful things.  While you hear plenty about their most common coping skills like projection, there are others you rarely, if ever, hear anything about.

Some of those lesser known dysfunctional coping skills are:

  • Retroactive justification- like my mother just did regarding my ex husband’s abuse.  Finding a reason why they were right to be abusive after the damage is done.
  • Reinventing the past into something nice- things didn’t happen the way you remember, according to the narcissist.  They happened in a much happier, more pleasant way.  My mother loves to talk about what a great mother she has been to me.
  • Denial-  “That never happened!”
  • Selective memories- Only remembering the pleasant things, never the bad.  “I don’t remember that at all…”
  • Creating excuses- “you made me do that!”  “If you wouldn’t have done ____, then I wouldn’t have had to _____”  “You were a very difficult child.”
  • Making themselves the victim-  “I tried to stop your mother from hurting you, but she wouldn’t stop.”  “He’s so much stronger than me.. there was nothing I could do to stop him.”  “It was so hard on me, what she did to you”
  • Feigning incompetence-  “I just didn’t know what to do.”
  • Feigning ignorance when they knew what was happening- “I had no idea she was doing those things to you!”
  • Constant chatter- Both of my parents are  very talkative, but especially with me.  They actually listen to others, but with me, it is pretty much non stop chatter & ignoring anything I say, especially my mother.  I believe having an audience not only provides them with the coveted narcissistic supply, but also means I won’t have a chance to ask questions about why they did the things they did.
  • Looking for comfort from you, the victim- my father is especially good at this one.  When he finds out I’m experiencing a crisis, he wants me to reassure him that I’m ok & all will be fine.  If anything comes up in conversation about abusive things my mother has done to me, it’s the same thing- he wants reassurance that I got through it ok.  Twice I tried to tell him about me having C-PTSD, & twice he changed the subject.
  • Money- my parents never were overly generous with money with me, but in the last few years, they have been very generous.  I’ve never asked my parents for help, but they have volunteered it several times during tight times for me.  I believe it’s to appease their guilt.

So how do you handle these incredibly frustrating coping skills? (And yes, you are going to have to figure this out, because narcissistic parents WILL force you to deal with them at some point.)

In my experience, I decided to let them have their coping skills rather than try to get them to face the truth.  Nothing you can say or do will give them a “light bulb” moment.  They’ll never say “You’re right!  I never should’ve done that to you!  It was wrong & I’m sorry.”  So why try?  It’ll only frustrate & hurt you.  Instead, I’ve found it’s best for me to allow them to have their dysfunction.  Besides, I know in my parents’ case, they aren’t very strong emotionally- I don’t know if they could handle facing the ugly truth about the awful things they’ve done.

While allowing them to use these coping skills, at the same time, I refuse to validate them.  My parents have often wanted me to confirm their false beliefs, & I refuse to do so.  I also refuse to acknowledge that they were incompetent, innocent, ignorant, had to do what they did, or the real victims.  I may allow them to have those false beliefs, but I refuse to validate them & participate in the dysfunction.

When my parents want comfort from me about my problems, I flatly refuse to give it.  I ignore them, or change the subject.  If it gets too bad, I’ll say, “I’m the one with the problem.  I can’t comfort you when I’m the one who’s got the problem & am trying to figure out what to do about it.”  (notice I neglect to admit I’m hurting or any feelings- this is because if I said I felt badly, it’d feed their narcissism.  They’d end up hurting me even more.  Never ever admit your feelings to a narcissist!)

As far as the incessant chatter, I’m not very talkative anyway, so it works for me not to have to create conversation.  Besides, sometimes they do have very interesting things to say.  Like most narcissists, my parents are very intelligent.  Their conversations at time can be quite interesting.  My father knows a great deal about WWII & the War Between The States.  He also was a drag racer in the 50’s-60’s.  My mother knows quite a bit about varied topics, & enjoys crafts.  I enjoy crafts too, so we can have some good chats about crafts we like.  It can be a good thing when you can just sit back & let them do the talking, because you don’t have to try to come up with topics that won’t start an argument.

Even knowing how to handle these dysfunctional behaviors, I still come away hurt or angry sometimes.  My mother discussing the time my ex hit me made me physically ill for that entire day & the next, plus triggered a flashback.  But, the good thing is this sort of thing is a rarity.  Understanding their coping skills & finding ways to cope with them means this sort of thing isn’t the norm anymore.  I no longer leave every conversation with my parents feeling devastated.  In fact, understanding these things mean I usually only feel a bit frustrated or sad that things aren’t better.  That is a thousand times better than feeling devastated or physically ill each time!

This really is about the best you can hope for when dealing with narcissistic parents.  Probably this is partly why so many people think no contact is the only answer.  While it is in many cases, sometimes no contact is impossible or not the desired result.  My prayer is information like this will help those of you still in relationship with your narcissistic parents.

4 Comments

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

“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

5 Comments

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

Telling The Truth About Narcissistic Abuse

Growing up, I think my situation was very typical of many children who have narcissistic parents in some ways.  Mainly in one way- secrecy was of the utmost importance.  My mother never clearly said don’t tell anyone what she was doing to me, but somehow, I always knew telling would be a big mistake.

When I turned 17 & wanted to start dating, her abuse magnified.  She was losing control of me & was less than thrilled with that fact.  That is when she began to scream at me on a daily basis, making sure I spent my school & work lunch breaks with her, & she even had someone at my school report to her daily what I did during the day when she wasn’t around.  It was a bad, bad time for me.  I tried to talk a little about it to friends & even a school guidance counselor.  No one was any help, so I sought out a therapist who turned out to be even less help.  I found out I was completely on my own.

My mother often said during that time that I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry.”  I failed to realize at the time that it was *her* dirty laundry, not mine.  I did realize though that telling the truth about the abuse she put me through was a bad thing.  When she learned I’d talked to anyone about what she did, she would rage worse than usual.  More screaming at me would follow, telling me what a terrible person I was, she was only doing what she did to help me, since I was so unreasonable she had to practice tough love on me, & more garbage.

As a result, I learned to keep quiet, not discussing what she did to me.  I lived in fear that she would learn if I’d said anything about her.  Plus, I also felt I was to blame.  I believed her lies about what a terrible person  I was.  I must have been terrible to make her treat me so badly- what other reason could there be for what she did, I thought.  Telling also felt disloyal- I felt like I was betraying my mother if I told what she did.

Eventually, I had to talk about it.  I lived through hell with her, even as an adult, & couldn’t keep it bottled up inside anymore. My emotional health was a mess.  I had to talk about it & start to heal.  It was hard to do.  For years I continued to feel guilty for “airing our dirty laundry.”  It finally clicked though a couple of years ago… I felt God wanted me to write & publish my autobiography.  That task was very daunting- once you write a book & it’s published, it’s out there for the world to see.  Having a website is one thing- my parents don’t even own a computer, plus I could take it down if I was so inclined, so that wasn’t too intimidating.  But a book?!  That was terrifying!

To write the book, I finally had to get rid of those dysfunctional thoughts about sharing what happened to me, & God helped me tremendously in doing so.  He showed me the real truth about discussing narcissistic abuse.

He showed me that talking about it isn’t being disloyal or dishonorable- it’s simply telling the facts.  I have yet to embellish anything.  I tell things as they happened.  I never try to paint my parents in a bad light, although I’m sure the stories I tell do just that since they’ve done some bad things.  I try to keep the way I phrase things as respectful as possible.

He also showed me that although I wasn’t a perfect child, I was good & I did nothing to deserve what happened to me.  I never got into trouble or did drugs.  I cut a few classes in high school (which my parents never knew about), but still maintained honor roll grades.  My worst sin was sneaking behind my mother’s back to date the man who is now my ex husband.  Granted not a good thing, but not the worst thing I could’ve done either.  I only saw him at school & work so we didn’t see each other much.

God showed me too that there is nothing my parents can do to punish me anymore.  My mother can’t show up at my job again & scream at me for the whole population of the place to see (that was humiliating!) or force me to listen to her tell me what a horrible person I am for having my own thoughts, feelings & needs.  If she tries to scream at me now, I’ll either leave, hang up on her or kick her out of my home.

Accepting these truths will help you tremendously in your healing as well as your ability to talk about what happened!

And, I found a quote that helped me tremendously in writing my autobiography.  Anne Lammont said, “You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  It’s very true!  What happened to you at the hand of your abusive narcissistic mother is YOUR story.  You have every right to share it with anyone you like.

I believe discussing narcissistic abuse to be a calling from God.  You have to respect His calling more than fear your parents’ retribution.  You aren’t betraying them by talking about it.  You aren’t being a “bad daughter” either, so long as you share things in a respectful manner.  If you believe God wants you to share your story, then share it!  Not everyone is going to like it, but that isn’t your problem!  Sharing your story will help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the damage it causes.  It will encourage others who have been in similar situations.  It lets people know they aren’t alone to read stories similar to theirs.  It also helps reassure people that they aren’t crazy, bad, wrong, etc.  It wasn’t their fault, & your story can help people to learn that.

Share your story, Dear Reader, however you believe God wants you to share it!  xoxo

8 Comments

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

Sensory Flashbacks

The last few days, my C-PTSD has been flaring up.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I’ve been especially moody, anxious, depressed, & having more nightmares than usual.  Then last night, I had a very odd experience.

My husband & I were lying in bed, watching tv.  He was starting to nod off, &  I was relaxed, hoping to go to sleep soon, when suddenly I smelled coconut.  Immediately, an ex boyfriend of mine came to mind, as he used coconut scented air freshener in his car & I felt extremely anxious, almost to the point of having a panic attack.

A little background on this boyfriend.. I dated him in 1990, when I was 19 & he was 28.  I wasn’t in love with him, yet he told me I would marry him (no proposal, just a command) & we’d have lots of kids (another command).  He was controlling, jealous & angered easily.  I was not happy in this relationship at all & spent most of our short time together anxious, miserable & trying to avoid his anger.  The night I broke up with him, he spend hours screaming at me, telling me how stupid I was, how great he was & how much I’d regret leaving him.  Fast forward to January, 2014.  I read on my county police’s facebook page that he shot & killed his boyfriend, then himself.  I had no clue he was gay or capable of murder.  It was very traumatic when I realized the kind of person he was & how utterly clueless I was to that. Even looking back, I don’t recall any signs of him being gay or that dangerous.

So back to last night…

As I lay there, smelling coconut, it quickly turned into an actual emotional flashback.  I felt like I was 19 again, back in his home & full of anxiety.  No specific event played out in the flashback, only the awful emotions that were a daily part of our relationship.  Eventually it passed & I was fine, just tired & emotionally drained.  I went to sleep a little while after this.

This morning I prayed about it & the term “sensory flashback” popped into my mind.  I did some research online & found very few details.  At least what I found was somewhat helpful.  Sensory flashbacks involve the senses, such as feeling someone is touching you when no one is.  They are not very different than the typical type of flashback in that you feel like you’re reliving a traumatic experience.  Last night, I had a hard time telling reality from flashback, just like during a typical flashback.

Dealing with a sensory flashback seems to be about the same as dealing with other flashbacks.  You need to ground yourself- touch something, smell something, taste something.  Something that is strong to the senses helps to keep you grounded- hold an ice cube, smell lavender, taste a little lemon juice.  Something that basically “assaults” your senses will help you to stay grounded.

Focus on deep, slow breaths to help you to avoid hyperventilating.

If this happens while you are away from home, try to find somewhere safe to work through it.

Don’t beat yourself up for this.  Many people have flashbacks.  It happens sometimes when exposed to trauma.

Be understanding & gentle with yourself.  Flashbacks can leave you feeling very tired & drained for a couple of days.

Leave a comment

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

Why Adult Children Of Narcissists Date Or Marry Narcissists

Adult children of narcissists often date or marry narcissists, much to their frustration.  I did- my ex husband was quite narcissistic.  When I realized how much he was like my mother, it baffled me why I married him.  I thought I was stupid.  How could I marry someone so abusive?!  I just got away from my abusive mother a few months prior to our marriage, I & wanted peace.  How could this happen?  Looking back, I understand why this happened.  I think it was pretty normal under the circumstances.

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you have no real idea of what love truly is.  Since parents are supposed to love their children, you assume your parents love you… even when they abuse you.  You end up thinking love equals criticism, yelling, invalidation, etc.  You think people who act this way genuinely love you.  You may even avoid those with healthy boundaries & who offer praise & compassion because they are so unfamiliar to you.

Narcissists are boundary squashers.  Normal, healthy people respect boundaries, but not a narcissist.  I’m not sure they even see boundaries.  Or, if they do, they seem to take it as a personal challenge to bust through them. They will wear you down.  When my ex husband first asked me out, I said no.  He kept pushing & I kept saying no.  Eventually he wore me down.  I gave in even though I wasn’t attracted to him & I knew how angry my mother would be that I wanted to date someone.  He even wore me down enough to marry him two years later.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you are deprived of attention & love.  You become desperate for it.  This desperation puts off healthy people, but it attracts narcissists.  They realize that you will do anything or put up with anything because you are so desperate.  They see you as an easy target.

Narcissistic partners are very good at convincing their victims that their abusive behavior is actually loving behavior. Being so desperate for love, it’s very easy for a victim to believe this.  Narcissists know this & take advantage of it.

If you too have fallen into this trap of dating or marrying a narcissist, then please don’t beat yourself up for it.  It’s a very common thing.  Instead, consider it a learning experience.  I know that is hard to do, but it’s possible.  I did that for years after divorcing my ex husband, but finally realized that he was a predator taking advantage of someone very damaged.  I was so damaged then that I didn’t realize this was what was happening.  The good part is I had the sense to get away from him, & I know that if my current husband & I weren’t together, I’d never again date, let alone marry, another narcissist.

Leave a comment

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

Narcissists Lie, Especially To Themselves

One of the most intriguing things I’ve noticed about narcissists is watching one lie in order to convince herself as well as others that something is the truth.

There was a show on TV a few years ago called, “Lie To Me” that I just loved.  It was about a deception expert- basically a human lie detector.  He would work with the police or military or whoever to help solve mysteries, because he was more able to detect lies than an actual lie detector.  The show was fascinating not only because the stories were interesting, but also because it was really educational.  It taught me about micro expressions- the fleeting expressions people make without being aware of them.  It also would show examples of various faces of people expressing various emotions.  Cool stuff if you’re interested in psychology like I am.  This show taught me a lot about how to detect the truth about people.  Body language & facial expressions are much more reliable than the words they speak.

A few years ago, after watching a marathon of “Lie To Me” on netflix, my husband & I went to dinner with my parents.  While my father was away from the table, my mother was telling my husband & I that my father had just recently gotten rid of his cell phone- gave it to a neighbor lady.  She said she had no idea why he did that, what was wrong with him?   She even paused for a moment after she said that, as if allowing it to sink in.  I quickly realized what was going on…

I’d given my father a cheap cell phone a few months prior, because he complained that my mother spent so much time on the phone, he couldn’t use it often.  She has a cell, but keeps it in her purse.  I thought a simple, cheap cell phone might work for him- it’d eliminate the conflict & it was only about $15/month to maintain.  From day one, my mother was mad he had this phone.  She griped at him & I both about how he didn’t need a cell phone, how it’s a waste of money, he’s ALWAYS buying minutes for it (yea, once a month..),  he spends too much time on the phone & other nonsense.  He finally was so tired of her complaints, he gave it away to get her off his back.  My mother was glad he got rid of the cell phone, but did not want to be to blame for him doing so.  Her solution was to lie & try to convince herself, my father, my husband & I she had no idea why he got rid of it.  To admit she nagged him into doing so would make her look bad, & no narcissist can handle looking bad in any way.  Lying this way was the best way to handle it, in her mind.  Eventually it worked- she is currently convinced she has no idea why he got rid of his cell phone.

My mother isn’t the only person I’ve seen do this. (Her display was only the most obvious one.)  In fact, I think it’s a pretty common thing among narcissists. After all, they’ll do anything to prevent them from looking bad.  My mother also will talk about what a great, loving mother she was to me.  She also has bragged about how upon meeting her, my one parakeet loved her very much (that didn’t happen) & how much my furkids love her (they don’t even like her).  She has even said that she can’t keep rescuing me because if she does, I’ll never learn (my mother has not one time “rescued” me in my entire life).  She is again trying to convince herself that her lies are the truth.

Unfortunately, I think this phenomenon is a coping skill that narcissists use when the truth is too ugly for them to bear.  They simply cannot bear to look anything less than perfect.  They especially can’t handle admitting the truth that they were horrible & abusive to their own child.  I wonder if the reality of how much damage they have caused would cause them to emotionally & mentally collapse.  I find narcissists to be rather weak people, & believe that is a very distinct possibility.

When these situations happen, I know they can be frustrating & hurtful.  It especially hurts when your narcissistic mother brags about how much she’s done for you.  When this happens though, please do your best to remember, this is how she chooses to cope.  Yes, it’s hurtful to you & yes it’s dysfunctional, but it’s her choice.  Unfortunately, she has the right to exercise this ridiculous behavior.  However, that doesn’t mean that you have to condone it.

When my mother brags about how good she’s been to me, I refuse to give her the validation she is seeking.  I won’t say a lie is the truth just to support her dysfunctional coping skills.  However, I also don’t tell her she is wrong.  She can have her delusions if she wants to, just don’t expect me to agree with them.  I get around validating her by saying things like:

  • “I don’t remember that.”
  • “Uh huh” (shows I’m listening but it’s non-committal)
  • changing the subject

Unfortunately this coping mechanism of hers still hurts sometimes, but I have noticed that it hurts much less than it once did.  Once I realized that my mother’s bragging about her fantastic mothering skills is all about how she copes with abusing me, it took much of the sting out of what she said.  I think this is because I realized although she is refusing to invalidating me & refusing to accept responsibility for it, she knows what she has done.  What she did bothers her enough that she feels the need to deal with it, & this just happens to be her way to cope, dysfunctional as it is.

7 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

An Important Point About C-PTSD & PTSD

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine on Facebook.  He’s a former soldier with PTSD.  I saw just how hard he can be on himself for not perfectly managing his symptoms, & it broke my heart.

On July 4th, he went with his wife & kids to see fireworks.  Like many vets, this isn’t an easy thing for him.  This year though, he got through just fine with some help from his family.  He was proud of himself, as he should have been.  The next day he was due to go to the beach with his family but had such bad panic attacks, he couldn’t go.  He said some pretty bad things about himself for not having control over the panic.  He said he felt he should be able to conquer this, but he couldn’t, & was extremely hard on himself over it.

I realized I do the exact same thing when my symptoms flare up sometimes.  I try not to, but there are still some times when I tell myself I’m worthless, stupid & a host of other things.  I think a lot of us with C-PTSD or PTSD do this exact same thing.  That doesn’t make it right though!

C-PTSD & PTSD are actual brain injuries & the symptoms are not caused by faulty thinking or beliefs like many people think.  The symptoms come about because the trauma(s) a person has endured is so bad, it caused physical changes to some parts of the brain.   Expecting to be able to control the symptoms perfectly is just not wise. It’s like trying to control the symptoms of a sprained ankle.  Not going to happen!  How can you expect to control physical injuries?  It’s impossible!

If you have C-PTSD  or PTSD, then you know you have good & bad days.  Good days are like my friend’s fireworks experience this July 4th.  When you can manage your symptoms well, it’s a very good day & you can feel on top of the world.  Bad days are the polar opposite, & you often feel like the most worthless human being alive.  Unfortunately though, both good & bad days happen.  It’s only natural.

When the bad days happen, I really think it is best to avoid beating yourself up over them.  No good can come of it!  Beating yourself up only makes you feel worse about yourself.  It also can make the anxiety worse.  It makes you feel even more depressed.

Instead of beating yourself up, then why not accept the fact that days like this happen?  You obviously can’t control them, so it’s not like they’re your fault.  Accept that they happen,& do the best you can do to manage the symptoms as they arise.  Sometimes your best may not be very good, & that’s ok too.  It’s just part of having such an awful disorder.  Also remember, this disorder doesn’t define you- it is simply a sickness.  You are NOT your disorder!

4 Comments

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

My New Book Is Available!!

I finished my latest book, “Life After Narcissistic Abuse: There Is Healing and Hope”!!!  YAY  ME!!

This book is all about describing the variety of symptoms survivors of narcissistic abuse experience, & offering some suggestions on how to cope with & heal from them.  I have learned a lot in the last couple of years about this topic, especially in the last few months, & put it all in this book.  God has showed me so much, & I’m praying what I have learned will help others as well.

If you’d like to check it out, you can see it & all of my books at  www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

Leave a comment

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

Trauma Changes You

You can’t experience trauma without changing.  It’s only natural that when you experience something life altering or even life threatening that you change.

I’ve had 5 nervous breakdowns to date, & after each one, something about me changed.  After the first & second ones, I got even better at stuffing my feelings.  No one cared what happened, so I took that to mean I needed to not bother anyone with my ‘trivial’ problems.  (You can tell I was surrounded by narcissists at the time & not a Christian..)  After the others, I realized that even if no one cared but God & I, I cared, & needed to take better care of my mental health.

After coming close to death with carbon monoxide poisoning in February, I gained a new strength.  Although I still have problems with anxiety, I refuse to sweat the small stuff as much as I once did. I now get angry quickly & set boundaries immediately if someone mistreats me rather than trying to be understanding.  Oddly, even my eating habits are different.

When these changes first happened after my first two nervous breakdowns, I ignored them.  Then I began to realize that they are happening for a reason.  God is using negative circumstances to get my attention.  I started asking Him to show me what I need to learn, & those prayers were answered.  The information has been very valuable.  I’ve learned I like the new me.

If you’re reading this post, it is safe to assume you too have experienced trauma, most likely narcissistic abuse, since that is what I write about most often.  As you are healing from it, you’ll realize that you have changed.  You may feel differently or think differently.  That is perfectly fine!  Don’t worry about it or beat yourself up over it.   Why not just get to know the new you?  Take the time to really pay attention to how you feel or think.  Get to know the new you as if you were meeting a new friend.

The changes happened in you for a reason, & chances are, because they needed to happen.  While I don’t believe God makes bad things happen, I do believe He will use them for our benefit.  If you are unsure of what good has come from the trauma you’ve experienced, just ask God to show you.  He will help you..

14 Comments

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