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!

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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!

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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“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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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..

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Logic vs. Narcissistic Games

Recently I realized an effective way to put an end to narcissistic games: ask logical questions. I realize that sounds silly, but I’m telling you, it works!

When the narcissist in your life starts their games, whether it is gaslighting or simply being hateful, immediately start asking logical questions, & watch the narcissist become confused & stop what they are doing.

Some good questions you can ask are:

  • “How is that supposed to help?”
  • “What exactly do you mean?”
  • “I don’t understand..explain that?”
  • “What are you trying to say?”

Once you ask your question, wait for an answer.  The narcissist won’t know what to do!  They may ignore your question totally, but you can be sure of two things: 1- she heard what you said, & 2- she will stop what she was doing.

I have done this recently, & have found it to be not only effective, but funny as well.  It’s funny watching someone who is usually so confident in their talents in manipulation & cruelty suddenly become flustered.  They are so shocked when someone doesn’t just blindly let them get away with what usually works, especially when it’s the person who usually does let them get away with things.

Doing this also helps you to take back some power, while taking away some from the narcissist.  When she realizes her games or cruelty aren’t working, that takes power from her. The bonus is at the same time, it gives you power & confidence.

The next time you’re dealing with a narcissist, I would encourage you to try asking questions.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Projection & Narcissists

Have you ever heard the term projection regarding to how it relates to narcissists? Projection means that whatever they are doing, they project onto another person, accusing them of doing. For example, narcissists are know liars. Often they accuse others of lying to them while defending how honest & trustworthy they are.

Narcissistic mothers are no exception. They love to project, especially onto their children. The child of a narcissist isn’t viewed as the child of a normal, healthy person is. Most people view their children as separate human beings, with their own wants, emotions, personality & more. Narcissists, however, view their children as tools to be used in any way they see fit, not allowed to have their own wants, emotions or personality. Their children are not allowed to have boundaries. A narcissistic mother has no problem reading her child’s diary or snooping through her personal belongings. Nothing is off limits to the narcissistic mother, so why would projecting her flaws be?

I think another part of projection is also when a narcissist criticizes something about you that she wishes she had or could do. My mother is quick to criticize long hair on women, no matter how beautiful it is, yet has always complained that she can wear her thin, fine hair in only one, short style. She also has ruthlessly criticized my furkids, I think because they don’t like her & are very devoted to me.

Projection doesn’t stop just because a child of a narcissistic mother reaches adulthood. I haven’t heard of one narcissistic mother yet who has given up projection just because she is older or her child has grown up. My mother still gets on me about my weight, as she has my entire life, even though she is a lot heavier than I’ve ever been.

So how do you deal with this frustrating thing called projection?

The best way I’ve found is to remember what projection really is- a dysfunctional coping tool for a narcissist to use to deal with her own shortcomings. Remembering this helps to take some of the sting out of her cruel words, because you know it isn’t a personal attack- it is simply her own dysfunction. It still will hurt or anger you though, as it should, because it is unfair of her to use you in such a way.

Once I learned about projection & realized it was about her dysfunction rather than me, I’ve felt pity several times for my mother when I have caught her doing her projecting. She does it so often, she must truly feel awful about herself. It’s sad when you think of it. However, feeling pity doesn’t mean that I should try to make her feel better about herself. With a narcissist, attempting that puts you in the position of being responsible for her self-esteem, iffy as it may be, & she will use you up in order to gain the coveted narcissistic supply that improves her self-esteem. Please remember that if you too feel any pity.

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Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

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Controversy & Friendships

There have been a great deal of controversial things happening in the world lately, such as same sex marriage becoming a nationwide right. People often have extreme feelings on controversial issues.  So extreme in fact, many friendships have ended due to people disagreeing with each other.

This makes me sad.  I don’t understand why people won’t respect each other’s opinions.  Agree to disagree, if you will.  You don’t have to agree on every single thing to have a good relationship. No two people will anyway, because God made everyone an individual, with unique tastes, thoughts & feelings.

Disagreeing with someone’s views on a topic doesn’t give you the right to force your views on them.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether it’s right, wrong or indifferent.  If God Himself doesn’t force people to do anything, what makes you think you have that right?

I’m hoping, Dear Reader, that this doesn’t describe you. But, if it does, I pray God will help you to become more gentle & understanding in your behavior.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of harsh words due to a differing opinion, I’m very sorry.  It’s hurtful, I know.  If you haven’t lost your friend because of your views, but you two disagree, it may be a good idea simply to avoid discussing the topic.  If you have a good friend, yet you both feel strongly on different sides of a topic, why let that one thing hurt your friendship?  Agree to disagree.  Simply accept that you both feel differently on the issue at hand, & don’t discuss it anymore.  This really works if both people value the friendship & are willing to do this.  I’ve done this myself in my friendships, usually with good results.

Sometimes though, it doesn’t turn out as well.  Some people are so determined to make sure you hear their opinions & change yours to theirs, it will ruin a friendship.  They always remind me of this one dream I had last year.  I wrote about it here if you’d like to read it.  I’ve been in that situation too, & it really hurts.  A few years ago, I ended a friendship of 20 years because that person only cared about what he cared about, nothing else mattered, even hurting me.  It still hurts to this day.  Unfortunately in these situations, you’re going to hurt.  It’s just a fact.  All you can do is nurse your wounds, & appreciate the good, caring friends you have who are willing to accept you even if you differ on opinions.

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Thinking Of Making Some Changes

Lately, I’ve been thinking.  (Scary huh??  lol)

I really would like to be able to expand the topics I write about.  In all honesty, I’m tired of thinking so much about narcissism.  Not that I want to quit writing about it entirely of course- I’d just like to talk about other things sometimes too.  Be a bit more diverse

I’ve asked God to guide my writing.  I ask God to show me what to write about (admittedly, probably not as often as I should..) which is where my blog & book subject matters come from.  I’m going to be praying more about this topic though & would appreciate your prayers as well.  I’m sure this urge to cover other topics isn’t only me- it’s God guiding me, probably preparing me for something else that is on its way.

I’ve started a little.. I’ve decided once my current book on recovering from narcissistic abuse is done, my next book project will be finishing the fiction book I started a few years ago.  That book is maybe one third done..it’s time to finish it.

I also added some information about my experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning on my website.  I’ve read a lot about it since I went through it last February, & what has struck me as truly sad is how many others who have been through it feel so isolated.  People don’t seem to grasp just how serious & horrible it is to live with the disruptive symptoms.  Writing about it is my attempt to help these people feel less alone, & less crazy.  It also seems to have helped me a little to write out my experiences.  (Bonus for me!)  If you know someone who has suffered through carbon monoxide poisoning or you would care to read it, then click this link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Carbon-Monoxide-Poisoning.php

Maybe I could write some about natural/herbal things.  I know many people associate such things with casting spells & such, but I don’t.  I believe God created herbs & plants with the properties they have for a reason & for our use.  Why shouldn’t we benefit from them?  I love herbal remedies & beauty recipes.  I’d love to share what I know as well as learn from others.

If there are other topics you would like me to write about, I’m open to suggestions.  I may not use them, it will depend on what I believe God wants me to do, so please don’t be offended if I don’t write about what you suggest.   Anyway feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments of this post, or email me at:  CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com  I look forward to hearing from you!  :)

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For Everyone Who Reads My Work

I just wanted to take a moment today to talk to all of you who read my blog, & to extend a very warm welcome all of my new followers!  I can’t thank you enough for following my blog- it is very humbling & flattering when people read what I write.  I never take anyone for granted, & truly appreciate every one of you who follow my writing.

Even more humbling & flattering are all of the wonderful comments I’ve received lately about how my work is helping people from old & new fans.  Thank you so much everyone!!

I honestly never expected to write about the topics I write about.  God led me in this direction, & it’s not an easy one.  Some days it is extremely draining emotionally & physically, thinking so much about such a horrible thing as NPD & all of the problems it has caused me.  But, when I learn that what I write is helping people, that makes it all worth while.  Your kind words & desire to read what I wrote motivate me to keep going, as well as to keep learning & growing, partly so I can share what God teaches me with you.  Thank you everyone for helping me to fulfill the call God has put on me, & also to help myself heal.  Sending all of you much love, & praying for you too.  xoxo

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Dealing With The Flying Monkeys

Usually when I write, I focus on healing from narcissistic abuse or narcissism. Today I would like to take a side trip & discuss the narcissist’s flying monkeys.

I’m not entirely sure who invented that phrase, but I think it was Dr. Karyl McBride, author of the wonderful book for daughters of narcissistic mothers, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” Anyway, the line was taken from the movie, “The Wizard Of Oz.” Remember the wicked witch who sent her flying monkeys out to do her dirty work? I think it is the perfect way to describe these people!

Flying monkeys are those who side with the narcissist. They think she is a great person, & you obviously have the problem if you can’t appreciate her. If you have a disagreement with your narcissistic mother, this person will come out of the woodwork, & tell you things like how great she is, how hard she tries so hard with you, & how you need to do (fill in the blank) for her because it’s the least you can do for your own mother. My mother has a flying monkey who isn’t quite so bold, but occasionally during one of my mother’s silent treatments, will email me with some lame excuse attempting to make me call or see my mother.

Simply put, flying monkeys are the evil minions of narcissists, &, much like their “wicked witch,” their behavior is also abusive.

Invalidation is abuse, & this is what flying monkeys do best- invalidate your pain, invalidate your boundaries, & invalidate anything you have to say. They also think they know best, & you should blindly listen to them, ignoring your own thoughts & feelings. (Sounds like a narcissist, doesn’t it?) In fact, they remind me of a dream I had a few months ago. I wrote about it in this post. Flying monkeys often will do anything, no matter how ridiculous they look or how much damage they do to the relationship with you to make their feelings & views known to you. They are just like that little sedan in my dream.

While I honestly believe many flying monkeys do what they do out of ignorance, probably even with good intentions, that doesn’t make their behavior any less abusive. They are narcissistic enablers, paving the way for the narcissist to wreak havoc.

If you are able & willing, cutting them out of your life may be your best option.

If you are unable or unwilling to cut the flying monkey out of your life, you need to have some very strong boundaries in place. They need to know that discussing your narcissistic mother is not an option. There are plenty of other things you can discuss- shared interests, current events, the weather, sports.. find other things to talk about- it’s pretty easy to do. If the flying monkey can’t handle this, then leave their presence or hang up the phone.

If the flying monkey is a part of your life on social media, don’t discuss your narcissistic mother on social media. Or, if you do, block the flying monkey from seeing those posts along with people that also know the flying monkey. I have a list of “acquaintances” on facebook. Generally when I post, or this blog posts to my facebook page, it posts to “Friends except acquaintances”. The acquaintances have no idea what they are not seeing or that they are blocked from seeing certain things.

Most importantly, don’t let yourself be swayed by the flying monkey! They can be very convincing sometimes, I know, but only do what you know to be right for you. My mother’s flying monkey told me once that my mother said how proud of me she is. Something I never once heard from my mother, & frankly would love to hear. No doubt my mother knows this which is why she told the flying monkey that. Or, the flying monkey knew it & lied to me about my mother saying it. In any case it was hard not to be swayed & want to work on our relationship after hearing that. I knew in my heart though that things wouldn’t improve with my mother no matter what I do since she’s a narcissist, & besides- I’ve always been the one to work on this relationship. It’s not fair & I’m very tired of being the one who does all the work! If she isn’t willing to put forth some effort, our relationship never will change. (I’ve been blamed for it being so bad by flying monkeys who fail to realize these points, by the way). Anyway if I had allowed myself to believe the flying monkey, can you imagine the huge amount of, well, crap that would have followed? My mother would’ve known the flying monkey was an effective weapon, so she would’ve been used more often. She also would’ve enjoyed the control she had over me, knowing she made me start working on our relationship. And, me working on things would have proven to her that she is right, & can treat me any way she sees fit. When your flying monkeys sweet talk you, then please keep my story in mind. Think about the scenarios that could follow if you went along with their wishes. Is anything worth going through what would happen if you obeyed the flying monkeys?

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How Understanding Abusers Can Be Beneficial

I have read in some places recently that it isn’t necessary to understand what is behind an abusive person’s actions. All that matters is he or she abused you. This hasn’t really sat right with me.

I’m certainly not saying you have to excuse your abuser’s horrible actions away, because there is no excuse to abuse. I’m also not saying you need to really, truly understand exactly what made the person act as they did (especially in cases of being abused by a narcissist- who can really truly understand why they do what they do?!). However, if you understand a little about the abusive person in your life, it can benefit you greatly, because you can truly grasp that the abuse was not your fault.

So many victims of abuse tend to blame themselves. How many children of narcissistic parents grew up hearing that it was their fault their parents acted the way they did, & still believed that nonsense well into adulthood? I certainly did. My narcissistic mother blamed me for making her act as she did. If I wouldn’t have been so bad, she wouldn’t have had to use “tough love” (what she called her abuse) on me. I believed I was a bad person for most of my life as a result, & if I could have been better as a child, my mother wouldn’t have abused me.

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder has helped me more than I can say. I finally have an answer to why my mother treated me as she did, & the answer isn’t that I was a bad kid! The answer is that she learned early in life that acting in this incredibly dysfunctional way got her whatever she wanted- attention, control, or the freedom to do anything she wanted. That has absolutely nothing to do with me! She wouldn’t have been kinder or loving to me if I had been a better daughter! No matter how I acted, my mother would have treated me exactly the same way- abusively.

I have known about NPD for I think four years now, & in that time, I have learned a great deal. Even so, I still read any information I can find on it. Why? For one thing, NPD seems to be a bottomless pit. Just when I think there can’t be anything left to learn, something else shows up. For another thing, reading about it often is a very good reminder that what happened to me isn’t my fault. In spite of the wealth of knowledge I have on this topic, I still battle wondering what I could have done differently, or did I do something to make my mother abuse me. Granted, those times are very few & far between now, but every now & then, they still happen & have to be dealt with.

Many people I have spoken to who have been through narcissistic abuse read constantly about NPD & surviving narcissistic abuse. Like me, they have been told they are too focused on NPD or being too negative. I disagree- reading about NPD is extremely beneficial to its victims! That being said though, as I have written about many times, it is equally vital to take breaks where you refuse to think about NPD or the abuse you endured. The negativity & evilness of NPD can depress you greatly, so breaks are of the utmost importance.

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Rejoicing In Yourself

I was watching Jesse Duplantis on tv last night.  He’s my favorite tv preacher- so educational, down to earth & funny.  He mentioned a Scripture in his sermon that I never really thought about before:

Galatians 6:4 “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”  (NKJV)

He said exactly what I was thinking after reading it- “How often do you rejoice in yourself?”  And, I answered the question with a resounding not all that often.

This made me a little sad since not all that long ago I wrote about celebrating your victories in this post.  I really tried to do it, & do it more than I ever have.  Still though, not all that often.  Since I’m not a hypocrite writing what you should do without doing them myself, I’m going to use this as a reminder to celebrate the little things more often.

Celebrations don’t have to be big, fancy affairs either.  Stopping for a moment to bask in the feeling of a job well done is wonderful.  It helps to imprint the good feelings inside you.  I like prizes too- getting myself a small gift for accomplishing something.  I love pocketbooks, so sometimes it’ll be a new one or a random prize from the local thrift stores I like.  Maybe a little piece of costume jewelry from ebay or a new bottle of nail polish.

Doing little pampering things is also fun.  I love love LOVE manicure/pedicures.  Bubble baths are also nice.  Getting a cup of iced coffee or a snowball is a fun summer treat, or buying a new flavor of herbal teas to enjoy on a cold evening works in the winter.

And what you celebrate needn’t be anything huge.  I reward myself after doing housework.  It gives me something to look forward to after completing a task that I’m less than thrilled with doing.

Whatever you do, just be sure to do little things to celebrate yourself & do it often.   You deserve it!

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You’re So Much More Than Someone Who Survived Narcissistic Abuse!

Sometimes I feel like all I am is a narcissistic abuse survivor.  Writing about this topic is not for the faint of heart, & certainly not what I expected to be doing as an author.  But, I feel this is what God wants, so I’m obeying gladly.

Even so, there are still some times that I feel like that’s all I am.

When I got carbon monoxide poisoning last February, I came pretty close to death.  It caused me to do a great deal of soul searching. Among other things, I thought about this & realized I pretty much had become just someone who survived narcissistic abuse.  Frankly, it was depressing.  Surviving a narcissist with your sanity in tact is certainly something to be proud of, but even so.. what about other things?  I’d lost some things I once enjoyed- for some reason, knitting & crocheting became uninteresting to me instead of hobbies I once loved.  Thanks to the C-PTSD, reading has become hard for me as my brain feels overwhelmed if I look at the pages in a book too long.  I felt empty.

I often write about the value of taking breaks from your healing & learning about narcissism.  You simply can’t focus on such deep, heavy topics constantly & maintain any joy.  I think it is equally valuable to take time to get to know yourself though.  Truly get to know the person God has made you to be.

I have focused on this quite a bit since February.  It’s turning into a very good thing.  Getting to know me has helped me to be more comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve begun to take better care of myself with less guilt.  It has helped tremendously in reducing my anxiety levels as well.  I realized this recently at the doctor’s office.  A nurse suggested Weight Watchers for me.  Weight has been an issue for me my whole life.  My mother has always criticized my weight, even when I was thin.  So much so, I had eating disorders starting at age 10.  Now, I’m about 20 lbs overweight, & some people in the medical field act like I’m more like 700 lbs. overweight.  This nurse was one of them.  That situation used to trigger a lot of anxiety & shame in me but this time I felt fine.  I told her no & ended that conversation.

The best part of getting to know myself is my relationship with God has become much more comfortable & open.  There always was some shame in me asking for things I needed.  So much so, I’ve always prayed more for others than myself.  That is balancing out more all the time.

I have learned that I am not only someone who has been through narcissistic abuse, but also am a child of God, a wife, a mother to some super amazing furkids & a person who is gaining some diverse interests.  I have been forcing myself to step outside my comfort zone & explore things, which has led to learning some new interests.

Dear Reader, please do as I have done, & start to get to know yourself too.  You are a wonderful person, & you should appreciate that about yourself.  You are so much more than you were told you were.  Find out who you really are.  Get to know the new you & embrace that person!

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Meet The Newest Member Of The Bailey/Rug Family!

This beautiful little lady is Minnie Rose…

Minnie Rose

Is she not the prettiest little diva kitty?

I thought that I’d share her cuteness with those of you who follow my blog since so many of you are also die-hard animal lovers like myself.

Minnie Rose is about 1 year old (I think a little under a year) & a dilute tortoiseshell.  True to the tortie nature, she’s very quirky & talkative, & has the sweetest, softest little meow!  She’s a real purr machine too- a little rub on the head & she’s purring happily.  She’s never been around other cats aside from her birth family, so she’s had a little trouble getting used to having a big family.  I’m proud of her though, as it only took her about a week to come out of her shell.  She’s a little skittish around the other cats still, but it’s improving drastically by the day.

She is so funny- she chose her name!  She hid for her first few days, so I didn’t really get to know her well enough to name her yet.  I could see the inner diva, & was thinking of possibly calling her Aretha, after Aretha Franklin.  As I got to know her better though, I thought she seemed more like a Minnie.  She wasn’t impressed.  On a whim, I called her Minnie Rose- my great grandmother’s name.  Immediately her entire demeanor changed!  She became relaxed & more confident.  Since then, Miss Minnie Rose has been coming out of her shell more with each passing moment.  It’s a beautiful thing to see!

The other cats & dog love her already.  Luke, one of my Norwegian forest cat mix boys, is quite protective of her.  Punkin, my young orange tabby, has quite a crush on her- he howls that tom cat howl when he’s around her.  Chester, my 8 year old tuxedo, flirted with her when she hissed at him until she relaxed completely.  Sabrina, my 3 year old black medium hair girl, & Valentine, a 5 year old tortie, are on very friendly terms with Minnie Rose.  The other cats are giving her space until  she is more comfortable, I think.  Dixie, my 11 year old American eskimo dog was playing with her a couple of days ago.  It’s been so awesome to see everyone welcoming Minnie Rose into the family so lovingly.  *shameless furmom brag moment*

Minnie’s former owners said she hid a lot under the bed.  I think she was hit too, because if I move too quickly or she hears an angry tone of voice, she flinches.  She is flinching less though, & I think it’s because she is realizing she’s in a safe, happy, loving home now.  That’s making her more confident

I’m looking forward to many happy, fun years with little Minnie Rose.  She is already a blessing to our little family.  :)

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The Past – Wallowing Or Helpful?

So many people say you’re just wallowing in your past if you talk about being abused.  I am sure some people are wallowing- it is a very hard thing to move past, being abused, especially if your abuser was a narcissist.

However, I do not believe that this describes the majority of people who have survived abuse.   Judging from not only myself but many people I have met, we have a much different reason for discussing the abuse we have been through.

Talking about painful experiences brings them into the open, where they can be analyzed & even become learning experiences.  Talking about them brings healing.

When I was growing up, I was never allowed to discuss or question the abuse I was going through.  I was supposed to tolerate it quietly & change into whatever my mother wanted me to be at that moment.  Now though, as a woman in mid life, that does not work for me. I have been through too much.  Talking about it breaks the hold over me being abused once had.

Looking into the past helps you to set yourself free from the abuse that has been done to you.  It allows you to question things that you could not question at the time they were happening. It allows you to confront the lies you were told, & discover the truth.  It also allows you to grieve for the horrible things done to you over which you had no control.  (Grieving is necessary if you want to move on.)

Looking back at the good things helps you as well.  Remembering good times helps to brighten your day.  Lately, I often think of the fun times I spent as a child with my great-grandmother.  They always make me smile, as she was a lovely woman.  Remembering good times also can help you to understand why you are the way you are.  You get to know yourself when you pay attention to those things that make you happy or sad, or the things you like or don’t like.

Once you deal with things in your past, you have less desire to look backward towards the bad things.  The bad memories also won’t interrupt your thoughts as often.  Good memories will occur more often than the bad.  Making peace with your past helps you tremendously in the present.

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God Gives Families To The Lonely

When you start talking about the painful effects of surviving narcissistic abuse, often, people will abandon you. Friends & even family may suddenly not call so often, or they may sever all ties with you. For whatever reason, many people have a very low tolerance for abuse victims, especially victims of narcissistic abuse.

While this certainly is painful to experience, I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader. God understands your pain & loneliness. Psalm 68:6 says, “He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.” (TLB) That is certainly true! I have experienced this firsthand.

Upon separating from my narcissistic ex husband, every friend we shared abandoned me with the exception of one friend & his wife.

Years later, once I began talking about the narcissistic abuse I experienced growing up, many people, including those in my own family, didn’t believe me. Others trivialized what I went through & refused to let me talk about it.

When C-PTSD manifested itself in my life in 2012, not did very few people close to me believe that I was very sick, I was accused of using it as an attempt to make people feel sorry for me. Another person told me I needed to “get over my childhood hurts.” She said she had them too & she got over them, so I should too.  (Obviously, she was never abused by her parents.)

The way people acted hurt me terribly. I felt utterly alone many, many times. Being an introvert, I don’t usually mind being alone, but being invalidated, mocked & then abandoned by those I thought I could trust still hurt me deeply. Thankfully, God knew this, & sent some wonderful people into my life. I now have a new family of sorts- friends who genuinely care about me, support me & understand me. The members of my facebook group are among the kindest, most genuine & caring people you could ask to meet. I started out the group thinking of them simply as fans, but I realize they are also friends. They pray for each other & me. They have supported me during painful, hard times, without expecting anything in return. They are more like a family rather than just a facebook group.

If you are in the painful position of being rejected because of narcissistic abuse, you’re not alone. Really! God loves you so much, & is always with you. And, He will give you a new family. They may not be related by blood, but that is OK! Family is more about who loves you than who shares your genes.

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

You Might Be A Narcissist If…

I freely admit it.. I have a very twisted sense of humor.  Thankfully, so do those close to me & I hope also those of you reading this.

For some odd reason today, I thought about one of my favorite comics ever, Jeff Foxworthy.  I love his “you might be a redneck” jokes.  They always strike me so funny.  Partly because I see a lot of myself & others I know in them, but also because they are simply hilarious.

As his humor popped into my mind, I thought there should be something similar with narcissism.  I mean, really- this topic is extremely dark & can be very depressing.  Sometimes you just gotta laugh so you don’t get mired down in the darkness of it all.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

So, in Jeff Foxworthy fashion, here’s a list I just thought of for “You might be a narcissist” jokes.  Feel free to add to it in the comments if you like.

  You might be a narcissist if:

  • you interrupt someone who’s pouring their heart out to tell them how wonderful you are for listening to them.
  • you’re holding onto a grudge from 1984 because that is when someone said something negative about someone & you think it might have been about you.
  • you can turn any topic of conversation back to you- movies, global warming, politics, weather, a neighbor’s co-worker’s cousin’s goldfish dying….
  • you think people you know don’t fully appreciate your awesomeness.
  • you think this post is about you.

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Narcissist Project Their Flaws & Insecurities Rather Than Admit To Them

Many narcissists will  accuse you of doing some heinous act that you have never done, yet they do on a regular basis.  Or, they treat you as not good enough, which is how they truly feel inside.

  • My narcissistic mother often accused me of being cold & unfeeling.  She has no genuine empathy for anyone- she only can fake it periodically.  (for people other than me- she can’t even fake it for me)
  • A narcissist I once knew stopped speaking to me because she said I lied to her.  I didn’t lie to her once, yet I caught her in countless lies over the years.
  • My narcissistic mother in-law always let me know she didn’t approve of or like me, & she was very disappointed I married her son.  From what my husband has told me, her mother in-law never approved of her, even to the point of wanting to adopt her first born rather than let her raise her own daughter.

Does this type of behavior sound familiar to you?

Scenarios like this are  very common with narcissists.  Unlike the average person, narcissists lack the desire to look honestly at themselves.  They can’t handle the fact that they have flaws or insecurities.  They refuse to work on improving themselves, & instead prefer to accuse others of doing the bad things that they do.  This gives them a way to vent their anger at these flaws without accepting them about themselves.  Pretty sick, huh?

The reason I’m sharing this with you today, Dear Reader, is so that you understand when this happens, it has nothing to do with you.  It has everything to do with the narcissist though.  The narcissist is only trying to make herself feel better!  Just because she says you are stupid, ugly, or whatever doesn’t mean that is true- it means that is how she feels about herself.  Do NOT believe her vile words for a moment!

Also, listen to the things the narcissist accuses you of doing.  If she says you’re a liar, dishonest, cheating on your spouse, stealing.. you can safely bet that she is doing exactly those things!  Paying attention to the things she accuses you of can help you to figure out what she is capable of doing.

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Confronting Narcissists

Have you ever tried to confront  your narcissistic parent on their abuse?  If so, you know the frustration.  Nothing changes & you walk away feeling completely confused.  You even may have ended up apologizing too, when the fact is you didn’t do anything that warranted an apology!

Confronting narcissists is never an easy thing.  They employ so many tactics to avoid the attention being on their bad behaviors.  It often gets so frustrating, you prefer just to let the offense go rather than deal with the games & gaslighting.

Some narcissists will accuse their chilld/adult child of various things to deflect the attention off of them.  They may say their child is ungrateful, a smart mouth, mean, cold, spoiled, a brat, or other awful things.  They also may claim to be doing things for the child’s benefit.  My mother used to claim since I was such an awful child, she had to use tough love on me.

My mother in-law likes to pretend to be the victim when she is confronted.  My father too.  This is a very common tool of the covert narcissist, since they so love the “poor me” or martyr role.  When my father was due to come by my home a few weeks ago, alone, my mother came with him.  He made it to the door first.  Without even saying “hi,” he immediately went into explaining how he had no control over her coming along- it wasn’t his fault.  Really?  She was driving- he voluntarily got into her car!

Overt narcissists may not play the victim so quietly, but they will play the victim.  They will accuse you of being SOOO mean to them!  “After all I do for you, this is the thanks I get?”  “You don’t appreciate all I do for you!”

Some more overt narcissists will meet your confrontation with rage.  When I was a kid, my mother would meet my confrontations with screams &/or accusations &/or trying to hurt me.  When I was probably about 12, she & I were coming home from  her mother’s home.  She was mad at her mother & yelling as she was talking about other things in the car so loud, there was a slight echo.  It made my ears ring.  I asked her if she could talk a little quieter, & she screamed even louder & mocked me for complaining about my ringing ears until I was in tears.

Many narcissists refuse to apologize at all, but the ones who do often employ the passive/aggressive type of apology.  “I’m sorry you got upset.”  “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.”  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are said, the fact they believe you’re at fault is clearly implied.  If you mention that, you will be on the receiving end of either tears or rage, because they did say they were sorry after all!  Nothing they do is good enough for you!

Still other narcissists will talk non stop, making excuses for their outlandish behavior or talking in circles until you are completely confused.  They also may use gaslighting at this point- “That isn’t how that happened!”  “That never happened!”  “I never said that!”

Until you are very accustomed to these tactics, chances are you’ll be confused, angry & unsure exactly why or even apologetic to  the narcissist for their bad behavior.  Being aware of such tactics will help you when you have to confront your narcissist.  You will be aware of what they are doing, & can deal with it accordingly.

The best way I know to deal with these things is to avoid them as much as possible.  Not always a good solution because narcissists are already allowed to get away with too much.  Most people instinctively placate them rather than deal with these kinds of situations.

Unfortunately though, there will be times when avoiding a confrontation isn’t wise.  Before confronting her, pray.  Pray a lot, asking God for wisdom & the right words to say.  During those times, remember these tactics.  When the narcissist begins to talk in circles, bring the focus back to the original topic.  Same for if she plays the victim or gets angry.  You can say things like “I understand, but the fact is, I won’t put up with that behavior.  If you do it again….”  Keep firm boundaries in place, primarily staying on topic.  Stay calm- any sign of you being upset will only serve to fuel the narcissist.  She’ll see she can upset you & push to do it more.

Most importantly though, besides prayer of course, is to work on your own emotional healing.  The healthier you are, the stronger you are & the more self-confident you are.  When you are self-confident, narcissists know they don’t have much of a chance at winning with you & either give up easily or fight so hard, they look ridiculous, realize it & then give up.

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