Something New

As you may remember, last year, I created The Butterfly Project.  I would send people a small butterfly to remind them that they are much like the butterfly- they’ve been through a dark place (narcissistic abuse) yet emerged into a beautiful new creation in spite of the pain, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

 

I decided to make some changes to The Butterfly Project.  You can see the new website for it here: TheButterflyProject.tripod.com   And, you can check out the new facebook page for it here: The Butterfly Project  (Please feel free to like the page & share it as well as my site!  Thank you!)

 

To summarize, I decided not only to send people butterflies if requested, but also to make them, pray over the recipients of each one, attach a tag to the butterflies to bring people to the above mentioned website & leave these little critters around town in public places where they can be found easily.  My hope is that I won’t be the only one doing so- I’m hoping other people in various areas will do the same.  Information on how to participate can be found here: http://thebutterflyproject.tripod.com/want-to-help.html

 

Please consider joining me in The Butterfly Project.  I think it’s a fun way not only to help offer some inspiration & comfort to victims of narcissistic abuse, but also to help raise awareness.

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Changing Yourself To Please Others

I realized something a little while ago.

 

I went to choose some music to listen to while taking a shower.  I wanted something different, so I picked Michael Bolton’s “The One Thing” CD.  While it played, I realized I hadn’t listened to it in years.  In fact, I hadn’t listened to any of his music in years.  Admittedly, I usually prefer hard rock over soft, but even so the main reason I hadn’t listened to him years was because my husband dislikes Mr. Bolton’s music.

 

Did he ever ask me not to listen to those CDs?  Only in his presence, which really is just common courtesy anyway.  (I don’t care for bluegrass, but my husband does, so he listens to it when I’m not around.)  Sooooo…. what the heck?!

 

I realized quickly that this is typical behavior of someone raised by a narcissist.  Narcissistic parents expect their children to morph into whatever pleases them & abandon their own likes, dislikes, dreams, feelings, needs, etc.  Apparently I carried the habit well into adulthood & marriage.

 

I’m not amused.  It’s not even about the music- it’s the fact I so readily gave up listening to an artist whose music I enjoy just because my husband doesn’t feel the same way.  It makes me mad that this behavior was so ingrained in me, I did it without thinking.  My husband & I have been together since 1994.  It’s now 2016 & I just realized it.  That had to be a very deeply ingrained behavior, to take me so long to figure it out!

 

Have you done the same, Dear Reader?  Have you changed yourself for another person just because you thought it would please that person, even if they didn’t ask you to?

 

If so, then I urge you today to go back to what you were comfortable with.  If you & the other person in the relationship disagree on something, it won’t hurt your relationship!  Normal, healthy people respect each others’ differences in personality & taste.  They don’t expect someone to change to please them.  In fact, they encourage their friends or lovers to be the best person they can be, no matter how similar or different they are.  If someone wants you to change to please them, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.  It’s one of the warnings that you are in the presence of a narcissist.

 

Be the person God created you to be, Dear Reader, or as Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true.”  You will be happy & at peace with yourself.  And, those who truly love you will appreciate the real you.

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One Way To More Inner Peace & Joy

Matthew 5:44  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”  (KJV)

 

Lately, the “pray for them which despitefully use you, & persecute you” part of this Scripture has been weighing heavily on my heart.

 

Praying for those who hurt you can be extremely difficult for even the most devoted Christian.  I’m certainly no exception to that, so when God recently put it on my heart to pray more frequently for my mother after yet another difficult conversation, I was less than thrilled.  I prayed for her sometimes, but not daily.  Not even as often as it came into my mind that I should pray for her.  It was too difficult to sincerely pray for my mother since she’s hurt me so much in my life. Once in a while, fine, but that was really about the best I could manage.  Yet, God was telling me to change that.

 

In obedience, I decided to set a daily reminder on my cell phone to pray for my mother every morning.  Once I started though, I realized that daily prayer was becoming easier & more sincere.  Shortly after, God put it on my heart to add my father to the daily prayer.  Once I was feeling pretty comfortable praying for them both, He wanted me to add my in-laws.

 

*sigh*  Really?  The in-laws?  After all the awful things my mother in-law put me through?!  The nastiness of my sisters in-law, including them updating my husband on his ex for many years after we were married?!  Ok, fine.  They’re on the prayer list too, although grudgingly at first.

 

God then expanded my prayers even more, by asking me to pray daily for a former friend of mine who hurt me deeply almost six years ago.  Oh come on, God!  Seriously?!  Fine… added this person to my morning prayers.

 

Then, the icing on the cake was asking me to pray for someone who harassed me for over two years.  I did that the other night for the first time.  It was hard, but I did it.  Already, that’s getting easier.

 

I’m glad I’ve started this daily prayer, even though it was hard at first.  What the Bible doesn’t mention in Matthew 5:44 is that praying for people who have hurt you creates a deep peace inside.  I feel more relaxed & less anger or hurt when I think of these people now.  I also feel even closer to God than I did before starting this which has brought me more joy.  It’s absolutely wonderful!!

 

I know it can be somewhat overwhelming to think about doing this, Dear Reader, but why don’t you give it a try too?  It really is worth it!  Pray for the person who has hurt you a great deal in your life, just because you love God & want to please Him.  If at first you pray through clenched teeth, God will understand!  If you tell him you’re only praying for that person because you know He wants you too even though you don’t really mean it right now, He gets that too!  The more you pray, the easier it becomes, & the more peace & joy you will feel.  You will be blessed!

 

Try it today, Dear Reader.  Pray for your abuser.  Ask God to help you to do so if need be.  What do you have to lose?

 

 

 

 

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For Anyone Considering Writing About Narcissism

Since I began writing about narcissism, surviving narcissistic abuse & the awful effects on its victims, some people have told me I need to focus on writing about lighter, more pleasant topics.  It’s too negative.  People need to think about positive things, not just the negative.  I only write about what I do because I’m wallowing in the past.  I need to forget it & move on.

The truth is, I do agree with the fact that people need to focus on positive things, not just the negative.  That is all I agree with in the above statements however.

In all honesty, writing about narcissism isn’t easy.  I’m often learning something new, & it can be depressing just how pervasive narcissism & narcissistic abuse are.  I get tired of it all.  It’s a very emotionally draining topic & can be triggering for my C-PTSD.  I have to take time to deliberately refuse to focus on it to help me not to get mired down in the depressing negativity that is narcissism.

That being said, I don’t plan to quit anytime soon.

For one thing, I believe God wants me to write about this topic.  He has given me the ability to write & also to understand quite a lot about narcissism.  Not that I know everything on the topic of course- I don’t think anyone does- but I do know a lot.  My personal experiences have taught me a great deal as well as things I have read.

For another thing, when someone thanks me for teaching them something they’ve been searching for an answer for, it is incredibly rewarding.

It’s also rewarding to let people know they aren’t alone.  Since narcissistic abuse makes its victims feel so alone, learning they aren’t is a really big deal!

There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you helped to improve someone’s life.  That alone makes it all worth while!

And, in all honesty, writing helps me as well.  I’m finally validated!  Seeing things in writing somehow helps me to realize that what happened to me was real, & it was terrible.  It makes it more real than just remembering things, probably since I dissociated so much as a child.  It also helps validate me when people believe me & offer support & understanding.  That almost never happened until I started writing.  So please forgive my selfish motive but I need this validation!

If you are considering writing about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, just know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Remember that if you opt to write about it, narcissism is a terribly negative topic.  You will need to counter the negativity with positive.  Indulge in things you enjoy often, such as a favorite hobby.

Do nice things for yourself to reward yourself after writing.  Even a short blog post like this one can be surprisingly draining sometimes- reward yourself for putting forth the effort.

Make time where you flatly refuse to think about NPD or anything related to it.  Deliberately focus on something else.  Anything else.

If you opt to write a blog, write posts in advance & schedule them to publish without your assistance.  That way, if you feel inspired, you can write several posts at once, or if you feel uninspired, you can take a break.  Your blog will post anyway.  I have a lot of posts ready to go- over 3 months into the future.

Don’t feel bad for taking frequent breaks.  It’s good for your mental health!

If you choose to write a book, be forewarned- that is much more challenging than writing in a blog.  Blog posts are usually short which makes them easier to handle.  Writing a full book, however is different.  Chances are, you’ll go on a bender & end up writing a lot in one sitting, probably often, which will exhaust you.  You may plan to write for only half an hour but end up spending your afternoon in front of the computer.  Trust me on this one- been there, done that!  Writing a book about narcissism, especially if it is about your personal experiences, is an emotional roller coaster.

So if you are considering writing about narcissism, I strongly urge you to pray about it.  Ask God if this is the route He wants you to take, how He wants you to write (blog, books, etc) & if it is, to enable you to do it.  Ask for strength, courage & wisdom, because you will need all three & more.

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Just Because A Narcissist Says You Don’t Matter Doesn’t Mean You Don’t

 

Last week, my husband came down with the flu.  A few days ago, I caught it too.  Yippie..

 

Last night, my mother called.  She said she wanted to know how hubby was feeling, but I could tell the real reason she called was that she was angry with me.  I told her he’s doing better, just not quite over it yet.  A few minutes later, before hanging up, she said, “Glad he’s feeling better.  You didn’t catch it, did you?”  (She had to know I was sick- I sound horrible!)  I admitted I did.  Her response?  “Oh.  I remember the last time I had the flu.  Do you remember that?  You took me to the doctor..”  Not a surprising response, but still hurtful that she cares so little.

 

When writing about the incident in my journal a little while ago, I realized something.  My mother makes comments along these lines often.  If I mention a problem, she changes the subject, tells me about someone who has it way worse than me (at least in her mind) or tells me how she thinks I need to fix it.  She also employs another tactic- she blatantly ignores me, a while later mentions someone with the exact same problem, & how sorry she feels for that person.

 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

 

I believe comments & actions like this are made to make me feel like I don’t matter.  She is the only important one, in her eyes.

 

Narcissists love to make their victims feel as if they don’t matter.  One reason is the lower the self esteem, the easier the victim is to manipulate.  The victim can see herself as too stupid to know better than the narcissist, or not strong enough to stand up to the narcissist.  Another reason is narcissists feel powerful when they can tear their victims down.  Having such control over someone gives them the illusion that they have power.

 

As much as the narcissist benefits from making the victim believe she doesn’t matter, the victim is hurt.  Feeling this way can contribute to a root of toxic shame, which affects every area of a person’s life.

 

The next time this happens to you, I would like to encourage you to do as I just did a while ago when writing about this incident in my journal.  Not only did I get my feelings out, but I also told myself my narcissistic mother is wrong.  I told myself that I *do* matter.  Just because she thinks I don’t doesn’t mean it’s true.  My mother thinking I don’t matter is only her opinion, not a fact.

 

The same is true for you, too, Dear Reader!  Just because someone treats you as if you don’t matter, even if that someone is your mother, doesn’t mean it’s true!  You matter!  You matter to God, you matter to your significant other, you matter to your kids (furry or human or both) & you matter to everyone in your life who loves you.  Don’t let the sick manipulations of a narcissist convince you otherwise!  You deserve better than that!  Trust that you do matter & if you’re having trouble doing that, ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you if you matter to Him.  He will do so & gladly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Being Too Responsible

One thing that is very common among those who have experienced narcissistic abuse at the hands of a parent is an extremely overdeveloped sense of responsibility.

Narcissistic parents are extremely demanding of their children.  They expect their child to please them, no matter what. The child must take care of the narcissistic mother emotionally (emotional  incest).  The child must anticipate her narcissistic mother’s every whim, preferably even before she knows she has the whim, & meet it perfectly.  If she doesn’t, the mother believes she has every right to rage at her child.  This scenario makes the child extremely responsible.  Not only for her narcissistic mother, but for anyone in her life.

Thank God for helping me, because I was absolutely terrible in this area.  If someone was upset & I knew it, I thought it was my responsibility to make that person happy.  If the person  had a need or want, it was my responsibility to meet it, even if they could take care of it themselves.  This was an awful way to live.  So much pressure!  I thank God for getting me away from that.

Learning about boundaries is what helped me the most.  Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend’s book “Boundaries” literally changed my life.  Boundaries show you where you end & others begin, which helps you to know what you are & are not responsible for.  Once you know that information, you realize it is truly NOT your responsibility to do certain things.  It takes a great deal of the burden off of you.

Leaning on God is a tremendous help too.  Ask Him to show you what to do, then wait for the knowledge that you should or should not help that person & how to go about it.  He truly will guide you & enable you not to feel guilty if He doesn’t want you to help someone for whatever reason.  God does not want you to suffer with feeling you have to fix everyone.

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Illness In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Many of us who survived narcissistic abuse have trouble with being sick or injured.  We repeatedly have heard statements like,  “Others have it worse so you should stop complaining!”  “That’s no big deal.  What I have is so much worse!”  “You have a bad back?  It’s nothing compared to mine..”  These kind of things sink in.

As I’ve mentioned here before, last February, I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & when I passed out, hit my head, resulting in a concussion.  Since that time, I haven’t fully recovered, & may never do so.  In spite of that knowledge & the symptoms I live with on a daily basis, there have been plenty of times I wonder if I’m faking it.  My husband was floored when I told him that, & he said it’s impossible- I even look different when the symptoms are really bad & I can’t fake that look.

I firmly believe my irrational behavior is a direct result of being raised by a narcissistic mother.

As a child, I rarely saw a doctor or dentist, not even when I experienced anorexia when I was around 10 years old.  Fevers didn’t mean anything, I was fine according to my mother.  She made sure I knew it was hard on her if I had a problem.  Mother’s Day, 1986- I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back.  She has complained since that she had to sacrifice her Mother’s Day waiting on us hand & foot, it was such a hard time for her.  As an adult, any problem I have, she doesn’t believe.  I have had arthritis in my knees since 2002.  I told my father that was why I couldn’t do more to help my parents out sometimes around their home.  He told my mother & her response was to call me later & ask if that was even true.  Have I even seen a doctor?  Did she say I need a knee replacement?  That’s all I need- to get my knees replaced, it’s no big deal.  For 10 years I lived with back pain she caused, yet she accused me of faking.  She would slap me in the back or hand me something heavy every time she saw me.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  If so, please know I understand your pain & frustration & that you are ok!  This is a normal reaction to an abnormal lack of empathy.

I know it is maddening when you are raised this way & as an adult, you don’t even believe yourself that you are sick or injured.  The doctor said you have a problem or you feel the pain, so why do you doubt it?  Then add in feeling that you don’t deserve to take it easy when you need to because someone else has it worse, & you really feel awful.

It’s time to start rejecting what the narcissist says.  Remember, they say nothing to help others- everything they say & do is about themselves.  Your narcissistic mother accuses you of faking your illness?  That’s because she is projecting her bad actions onto you.  She’s faked an illness before.  She says what you’re experiencing is no big deal?  It’s because she doesn’t want to be bothered with your problems, because it doesn’t provide her with the coveted narcissistic supply.

Trust the symptoms are real.  How could you fake them anyway?!  You aren’t doing this for attention or sympathy!  Narcissists do that, not normal, mentally stable people.

Another helpful tip is to read about the disorder or disease you have.  It helps make it more real.  Once I read about Edgar Allan Poe’s experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning, it helped me tremendously!  I realized that someone else felt the exact same way I did, I wasn’t crazy & I wasn’t making anything up!

While you are coming to accept what is happening, also don’t forget to ask God to heal you as well.  He wants you to be happy & healthy!  Allow Him to do that for you!

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A Helpful Tool For Responding In Difficult Situations

Much information I’ve read about Alzheimer’s stresses the importance of treating the patient with respect.  They are more frustrated than you because they can’t remember things or function like they once did, & your lack of respect will upset them even more.  One article gave a very valuable tip for the caregivers that is also extremely useful for dealing with difficult people in general.  Although I have mentioned it before, I want to stress it again because I believe it is extremely valuable.

Rather than reacting out of emotion, take a moment to take a deep breath, think, then respond instead.

Reacting is done without thinking while responding requires thought.  Reacting causes stress & disagreements, where responding can avoid them.  No matter how functional or dysfunctional your relationship, or whether or not the other person has an awful illness like Alzheimer’s, responding is always better than reacting.

As I’ve mentioned, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in July of last year.  Also as I’ve mentioned before, Alzheimer’s & dementia exacerbate narcissism in a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Dealing with him has become very difficult sometimes even though the disease hasn’t progressed too badly yet.  I have found the pause to take a deep breath tactic very useful for dealing with him.  As an added bonus, I learned it’s also useful in dealing with my narcissistic mother.

Deep breathing is relaxing, plus the pause gives you a moment to calm down your anger.  Both really help in dealing with narcissists!

This technique also helps me to deal with the frustration of flaring symptoms that accompany C-PTSD like having trouble finding the right words.  The brief pause often means the word comes to me when it wouldn’t during moments of frustration.  It also can help to trigger remembering something that was lost a moment before.

It also helps my marriage.  Thanks to the C-PTSD & a brain injury, I can be very moody & irritable.  Unfortunately there are times I have snapped at my husband for no reason, but I have found this technique helps to cut back on those times a lot.  If we’re talking while I am irritable, I stop & take a deep breath.  It helps me to have more control, & not snap at my poor husband.

No matter the status of your relationships or your mental health, I hope you will consider what I have said & begin to employ this technique.  It really can be helpful in even the most challenging of relationships!

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Why Does It Feel Wrong To Tell Your Story?

Those of us who have been through abuse tend to feel that we are doing something wrong by telling our story.  We may even wonder if we are making things up because so few people truly believe what we’re saying.  (Having your feelings invalidated or told you’re exaggerating truly can make you doubt the reality of what happened to you.)  Things like this tend to keep us quiet.

However, the fact is that we have every right to tell our stories, & by the way, no, we didn’t make it up.  So why do we feel this way?

Victims are groomed by their abusers to keep the abuse a secret.  To tell anyone about it would incur a terrible wrath.  We learned early on that it is better to stay quiet than to talk about it.  When my mother suspected me of telling someone what she was doing once, I was shamed deeply for “airing our dirty laundry.”  When I got myself into therapy to figure out how to deal with her, she demanded to know everything that I talked about with my counselor.  It became much easier not to talk about it than to deal with her wrath!

Abusers also groom their victims to doubt themselves, while only believing the abuser.  It’s called gaslighting or crazy making.  Abusers do their best to determine their victim’s reality.  This makes it easier for the victim to accept abuse, because although a part of them realizes it is wrong, they are told it is acceptable so much that eventually that false belief overrides their belief it is wrong.

Being too afraid to tell your story when you feel it’s time to share it also means you are carrying your abuser’s shame.  It’s not your shame!  You have done nothing wrong by being abused!  The one who abused you is the one who should be ashamed!  It is not your job to feel the shame for her even if she refuses to feel it herself.  Remind yourself of that often, & the shame will lift.

You have every right to tell your story if you want to do so.  It is your life & your story.

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Narcissists Are Predators

Like true predators, narcissists are very good at knowing when & how to attack their prey in the most efficient way possible.

One of their tactics is waiting until their victim is tired or sick.

If you’re tired or sick, you are less likely to be able to defend yourself properly.  You don’t think as clearly, so your boundaries may be more lax. Unclear thinking also means you may not know how to handle the situation, so you automatically slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  You may tolerate a lot more than you normally would since you don’t have the physical or mental energy to argue.

When I was sick in bed with the flu a couple of days after losing my cat, Vincent, my mother called.  Knowing that Vincent had been my granddad’s cat before he died, she mentioned this.  She said she heard Vincent died (my father must’ve told her), & he’s better off.  He was so much happier with Granddad than he ever was with me.  He never was happy with me.  Normally, saying such incredibly cruel things would’ve caused me to completely lose my temper & say bad things I would need to repent for later.  Instead, since I was exhausted, feeling horrible & grieving, I just cried.  I couldn’t even speak.  Not only had I lost my beautiful baby, but it was kinda like losing my Granddad again since Vincent not only was his cat, but was a lot like him.  It was devastating, & her words made it more so.  I gave my mother just what she wanted with my reaction- proof she hurt me.

Another time several years ago, my parents came by for a visit.  My anxiety levels were so bad, I kept vomiting.  My mother didn’t care, even when I told her I was sick & needed to rest.  Instead, she treated me like dirt & insulted my furbabies while refusing to leave my home.

These are just two of many, many examples I have.  I bet if you think about it, you can think of several times your narcissistic mother treated you the same way.

So how do you deal with this obnoxious problem?

The best way I’ve found is to avoid your narcissistic mother when you are sick or tired.  Also, don’t forget to prepare- if you know you’re going to see your mother tomorrow, rest up today.  Rest & pamper yourself however you like.

When that is impossible, do your best to set a time limit on your visit or call with your mother.  If you’re having trouble with that, have a friend call you at a prearranged time telling you she needs you now.  Admittedly, this isn’t the best solution, but so you aren’t lying, tell your friend you would like to hang out for a little while or grab some lunch or whatever you feel up to.  Also, have a code word.  For example, if she calls & you say, “My mother is here” she knows it’s time to tell you she needs to see you immediately.  If you say “My mom is here” she knows you’re ok & she doesn’t need to intervene.   It’s a good “in case of emergency” solution if nothing else works.

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Are You Someone’s Trash Can?

Ever since I can remember, most of my relationships have been unbalanced.  I’ve been the one to do the bulk of the work.  It started with my parents.  Both came to me with complaints about their marriage or involved me in their fights or for me to help them feel better if they were upset.  As I made friends, they often came to me with problems or needs, & expected me to listen or meet those needs often without so much as a thank you or even asking how I am.  Yet, if I had a need or problem, I was on my own, unable to count on them for any help.

 

This was simply a way of life.  Until recently.

 

I’d realized this was a problem several years ago, but had no idea what to do about it or even if I should do anything about it.  After all, people need someone to talk to & there isn’t a great deal of empathy in the world.  I thought maybe I needed to just suck it up & continue on this path.  After all, so many said, “I can’t talk to anyone else about this problem!”, “I feel so much better after talking to you,”  “You’re the only person who  understands- I don’t know what I’d do without you” or someone close to the person would say, “You need to stay strong for her/him!”  Those phrases made me feel obligated.

 

Then last year I got sick.  Coming close to dying changed me.  No longer could I listen without having a significant physical reaction.  For a short time, certainly, but not for a long time or even frequently.  Suddenly I no longer felt a bit tired & drained after listening to someone talk about their problems.  Instead, I now feel absolutely exhausted, sometimes for days.  I also realized I felt a new resentment when I was expected to listen to someone who couldn’t even ask how I was doing or changes the subject or interrupts if I start to talk.  I also became very angry when someone would expect me to listen to them, offer comfort or advice without so much as asking if I was busy before taking up my time.  I felt disrespected, taken for granted & much like their personal trash can.

 

Have you ever felt that way?  Like someone’s personal trash can?  It’s a very unpleasant way to feel isn’t it?

 

Those who survive narcissistic abuse are often very compassionate, caring people. We know what it’s like to hurt, & want to help other people not to hurt.  We also are people pleasers, because we were raised to please a narcissistic parent.  People pleasing becomes a habit.  As a result, others tend to take advantage of us.  They expect us to help them or listen to them without offering anything in return.  We can become their personal therapist.

 

While it’s great to help people & listen to them if they need to talk, it’s unfair when it’s one sided.  Relationships should be balanced.  Maybe sometimes you do most of the giving but there also should be times when the other person in the relationship should do most of the giving.

 

Being the trash can also leads to unnecessary stress in the listener.  The talker is the one who gets to dump all of his anxiety, anger or hurt onto the listener, basically freeing the talker from much of those negative emotions & turning the listener into his personal trash can, catching those negative emotions.

 

This also leads to resentment from the listener.  Eventually, the unfairness & stress of the situation will kick in, & the listener will be tired of being the trash can.  She’ll be angry & tired, & she has every right to be.

 

To handle this, I think the best place to start is with God.  Talk to Him about how you feel & ask Him what to do.  Then, do as He guides you to.

 

Remember, there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.  You have every right to tell the person who wants you to listen to them that now isn’t a good time, you have a lot on your mind & need some time to yourself, or even simply no.  You need to do this for your own mental & physical health.  Plus, doing so can be good for the talker as well.  He needs to look to God & other people for help.  You can’t be his savior!  By you being there all of the time, basically you’re in the position that God should be in in his life.

 

 

 

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

Narcissists & Envy/Jealousy

I’ve been listening to music today.. a CD my father recently gave me of Conway Twitty’s songs from early in his career.  I remember hearing some of these songs when I was a little girl riding in my father’s car, which is now my car, & they make me smile.

(A little background- I have my granddad’s 1969 Plymouth Fury.  He gave it to my father when his car was stolen in 1975.  My father sold it to a guy who owned a local junkyard in 1979.  In 2005, I went to a flea market & saw a gorgeous ’69 Fury & fell in love.  I assumed it was simply a twin to Granddad’s.  Hubby suggested I leave a note on the car saying I’d love to buy it if the owner wanted to sell.  He did!  After some trouble with our mortgage refinance that had our money tied up briefly, we finally were able to get the car.  The first time my father saw it, he said “That’s my car!  That’s not a twin!”  He soon brought me the VIN from his old records.  We compared it to my car’s VIN & found it to be the same car he owned 30 years before!)

Back to my story…

To this day, my mother does NOT believe that is the same car.  She also will trash my car at every opportunity.  My “favorite” was when she told me, “I would NEVER own a car your granddad owned!  HARUMPH!!!”  I was too angry at the time to think of it, but I wish I’d thought to remind her that she did own a car Granddad owned- this same Fury, for about 4 years.  Also, my father has told me she has told him I’m lying- that isn’t Granddads’s Plymouth.  The VIN doesn’t lie- it’s put on at the factory.  My father couldn’t have known it to recreate it- it’s somewhat hard to read & he never looked at that before bringing me his old car records to compare his VIN to mine.

So why the nastiness?  It’s only a car.  Not like my driving this beautiful old critter affects her in any way, right?  When I thought about it, I realized how cruel my mother can be about other things.  She criticizes my writing viciously, which is one reason I don’t discuss it with her anymore.  She has said it’s “trash no one wants to read” & “a waste of time.”  When I’ve done editing work, “anyone can do that!”  She also viciously insulted my furkids for years, knowing how much I love them.  Why?  I assume because they are very friendly, loving & well behaved.  Her cat?  Hides when people come over & is very skittish.  (I love her cat, but she is very different than mine)

Narcissists are extremely competitive.  They have to be the best, the most talented, the prettiest, the most special.  If you are better, more talented, etc. than them in any way, no matter how trivial, you can count on being criticized.

Does this sound familiar to you?  Is your narcissistic mother this way too?

At first, I know it can be hard to accept.  Normal, loving mothers want what is best for their child, no matter the child’s age.  They want her happy, healthy & successful, even if that means the child does better than the mother.  Narcissistic mothers, as usual, go completely against the norm, making their behavior hard to accept.  Often, their daughters feel they should make their performance “less than” or give up completely in order to please their mothers.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to enjoy your successes, in spite of your wicked narcissistic mother!  Her jealousy is HER problem not yours!  Enjoy the blessings & talents God has seen fit to bless you with as much as possible.  God wants you to enjoy such things.  That is why He gave them to you!  You must deserve them, too, otherwise He wouldn’t have seen fit to give them to you.

 

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For My Fellow Animal Lovers Who Have Lost Furbabies

Tomorrow is a day I can’t forget.  On January 21, 2007, I lost my sweet cat, Magic.  He died quietly in my arms after over three years of dealing with heart problems, which was twice as long as vets expected him to live.

 

Magic was very special.  Not only was he my first cat, but he was also my soul mate.  He was extremely in tune with me.  He defended me when people were cruel to me.  He comforted me when I was sad & snuggled me when I was happy.  He was extremely intuitive, intelligent, fun, caring & a wonderful surrogate daddy to the other cats & dogs.  It’s hardly a surprise that after his death, he was still special..

 

One day not long after losing Magic, I was listening to the soundtrack from the TV show, “Touched By An Angel.”  Wynonna’s song “You Were Loved” came on.  God spoke to my heart & said, “This is your & Magic’s song.  He wanted you to know that.”  Even now, I cry when I hear the song, remembering that precious moment.

 

That wasn’t even the first time something like this happened.  In December 2001, I experienced my first kitty death.  My sweet boy, Bubba died from FIV & emphysema at only age 9.  God gave me Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” two days later.  In 2002 after Sugar died suddenly & completely unexpectedly, God told me the same thing about Lonestar’s “Not A Day Goes By”  There have been other songs too.  In December 2010 when Vincent died, on my way back from burying him, the song “Someday We’ll Be Together” started going through my mind.    God told me that was Vincent’s & my song.  A similar thing happened the following year when Jasmine passed, except the song was Aerosmith’s “Angel” & in 2014 when Georgie passed with Steelheart’s “I’ll Never Let You Go.”

 

My point in sharing all of this with you, Dear Reader, is to reassure you.  Not only people go to Heaven or Hell.  Animals do as well!  Mark 16:15 says to preach the Gospel to all creation or to every creature in every single translation I’ve seen.  This tells me that animals also can accept Jesus as their savior.  This means they can go to Heaven & we will see them again one day!

 

I also firmly believe that death doesn’t mean that they no longer think of their humans once they are gone.  I have no doubt they think of us & miss us as we think of & miss them.  Otherwise, why would God have told me they wanted me to know that these songs are ours?

 

If you have lost lost a precious pet, please be reassured that your baby still loves you & thinks fondly of you.  And best of all, you’ll see him or her again one day.  I know it hurts more than you can describe when you lose a furbaby, but knowing you’ll see them again one day is very comforting.

 

The songs I’ve gotten are also quite comforting.  Granted, not every single furbaby & I have a song, & I don’t know why that is, but the ones I do share a song with?  That song comforts me & helped me to get through the initial, devastating pain of losing them.  If you haven’t experienced this, it may be a good idea to ask God about it.  He certainly won’t object to it!  And, who knows?  Maybe you were too caught up in your grief to notice God gently trying to tell you about a song.  It’s certainly possible to be grieving so hard, you don’t listen to God.  I’ve done that myself.

 

If you have experienced the pain of losing a furbaby, please know I understand.  It’s devastating!

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The Benefits Of Feeling Useful

If you’re a caregiver to an elderly parent or grandparent, there is a little something you need to know that will make your job more pleasant & improve the patient’s mood.

People need to feel useful.  Even if a person isn’t physically able to do much, that person still needs to feel like they are capable of doing things.  It can warm even the coldest heart when a person knows they have a purpose.

When collecting firewood for the winter, our neighbor helped out my husband.  He is in his late 70’s & has quite a few health problems.  Not only did he load his pick up full of wood, he helped my husband unload it.  He was obviously very proud of his accomplishment, as he should have been!

When I was helping to care for my narcissistic grandmother in 2000, it was not a pleasant experience.  She was a narcissist, & a very mean, cold, manipulative person.  One day, she wanted applesauce.  I assumed this meant she had a jar on a shelf somewhere, but I was wrong- she wanted homemade.  Since I didn’t know how to make it, she taught me.  That was one of only a couple of nice days I shared with my grandmother.  As we both peeled & cored apples, we talked.  She told me stories about her family as she showed me what to do.  It was a surprisingly pleasant day.  She was enjoying herself as she worked.

Although it’s no one’s job to make another person feel good about themselves, it’s a good idea to let people know how much you appreciate their help or what a good job they did so they feel useful.  It truly brightens their day & makes them feel good.

If you’re a caregiver, it is also a good idea to give someone you’re caring for tasks to do that you know they are capable of handling because a person who sits back & does nothing while others do everything can get depressed.  She may even feel like she has no reason to live, because she isn’t a contributing member of society anymore.  Or, if the person you’re caring for is a narcissist, she will love the fact she has people at her beck & call.  My grandmother was that way.  She had no problem demanding I come do something for her at any time, no matter what I had going on in my life.  One night at 9:30, when I was about ready for bed, she called my mother who had my father call me to tell me I had to get to her home right away.  Why?  Because when I wrote down her list of what medicine to take when, I scratched out something & she couldn’t read through the scratches.  I had to go to her house & explain that I’d made a mistake, that was why I scratched out what I had.  Just ignore it & focus on the things I’d written down.  *sigh*  Obviously it was all about control, but I was unaware of that at the time.

Even a malignant narcissist like my grandmother could be changed (temporarily but it still counts!) by simply making her feel useful.  Giving her small things to do that she was physically able to easily do made a difference in her behavior.

Also, if you give a task, do so respectfully!  Just because someone is older or frail doesn’t mean they are unworthy of respect.  Please & thank you are phrases that go a long way with someone!  And, don’t treat that person like a child.  That does NOT go over well, & understandably so!

Don’t forget too, to say you could use some help.  That helps to make the person feel  useful rather than feeling patronized.  With the applesauce, I made sure to tell my grandmother I needed some help that day since I had no clue what I was doing.  Once she realized she was being useful, her mood drastically improved.

This advice isn’t only for the elderly or sickly, by the way.  Everyone needs to feel like they have a purpose!

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Don’t Live With Regrets

Yesterday, my husband & I received some sad news.  A former coworker of my husband’s & a friend of ours died after a battle with cancer.

 

Giovanni was a sweet guy with a ready smile & a great sense of humor.  Unfortunately we had mostly lost touch once my husband left that job about 14 years ago, but once I saw him on facebook a few years back, we connected & spoke periodically.  Even simply chatting online, his wonderful personality always shone through.  We spoke a few months ago about us getting together with him & his girlfriend, yet we never did.  He was in & out of the hospital & undergoing chemo, plus my husband works some rather long hours sometimes & has pretty demanding elderly parents- we just never could find the right time.  And now, it’s too late.  This is one of many regrets I have.

 

The reason I’m writing this is to remind you, Dear Reader, & myself that life is fragile.  It can end at a moment’s notice, & often, there’s no warning.  So many people die with regrets- you don’t want to be one of them!  Focus on spending time with those you love & who love you.  Buy the pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on but refused to buy because they’re too expensive.  Splurge on that milkshake you’ve had a craving for even if you’re watching your figure.  Trade in your sensible mini van for that sexy truck you’ve had your eye on, if you can afford it.  Take a painting course.  Learn a new hobby.  Do that thing that is outside of your comfort zone, but you’ve always wanted to try.

 

Life can be short, Dear Reader.  I encourage you to make the most out of whatever time you have & have no regrets.  You deserve it!  xoxo

 

 

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What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

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Repressed Memories & The Brain’s Ability To Cope

The brain is truly amazing.  It will do some very impressive things to protect you!

A visit with my parents in August showed me this.  During the visit, my mother threw an immense amount of verbal abuse my way.  After they left, I told some people what happened & I knew there was much more too it, but couldn’t remember.  It was very frustrating at first.  God showed me something though…

In my younger days when things like that happened, I remembered everything.  I may later repress it & it would come out years later, but usually I remembered things right after they happened for a while at least.  As I got older & more terrible things happened, I started developing more symptoms of C-PTSD.  Sometimes when these events happened, I’d forget a few little details, then remember them a few days later.  Once the C-PTSD fully developed, I’d forget more & more, then over the next few days, I’d remember those things.  Since my concussion last February & have had so many problems resulting from it, I forget a LOT, then remember it up to a week after the fact.

This has turned into a good thing.  I am able to cope less with things now than I once could, & God showed me that my brain is allowing only what I can deal with to come up.  Amazing, isn’t it?

This happens with memories that have been repressed for years as well.  Sometimes, something is too traumatic to deal with, so the mind hides it until you are able to deal with it.

If this describes you, please know that it is happening for a very good reason!  Your brain doesn’t want you to become overwhelmed or depressed.  It is allowing you to cope with only what you can cope with.  Don’t try to force yourself to remember something.  Allow it to happen in its own time.  Ask God to reveal things to you only as you are able to handle them.  It is best for your mental health!  Forcing things can set your healing back rather than helping you to move forward.  It can negatively impact your self-esteem.  It can depress you or make you extremely anxious.  It’s just not worth it!  Let events progress naturally for the sake of your mental health!

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Praying For Others Who Hurt You

Recently, I saw this Scripture…

 

Proverbs 6:16-19  “16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”  (KJV)

Immediately, I thought of my mother.  She has done all of these things.  Immediately after I thought of that, I felt a burden to pray for her.  I decided that since my memory is pretty bad, I’d set an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to pray for her every morning.  Shortly after, I decided to add my father to that morning prayer.

 

I don’t know what’s going to happen, if they will change or not.  It is up to them if they respond to or ignore God’s promptings to change.  However, whether or not they do, I know praying for them is changing me.  It’s only been a few days, but so far, so good.  I feel a new peace knowing I have done something good for them.

 

When someone hurts or abuses you, it’s so hard to pray for them at first.  It may even take years before you feel able to do so, especially when the hurt goes deep.  I have been a Christian since February, 1996, & in that time, I admit, I haven’t prayed much for my parents or even my in-laws.  They all hurt me too deeply.  I tried, but sometimes prayed through gritted teeth.    Starting to pray for my parents regularly this time hasn’t been easy, but I pushed through.  I am glad I did, because the more I do it, the easier it gets.  The more sincere I am in my prayers.  And, I’ll probably add the in-laws to my daily prayers.

 

I know this may seem a very daunting task, but why don’t you give it a try too?  Even when you pray through gritted teeth like me, God will honor your willingness to do so & make it easier for you to pray for them.  You truly will be blessed when you pray for others as I have been.

 

 

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How Do You Talk To Yourself?

 

Like I said in my last post, I realized how incredibly verbally abusive I am to myself.  My narcissistic mother has always been extremely critical of me, as have the other narcissists I’ve been in relationship with.  As a result, I copied their behavior & became very critical of myself.  Unfortunately I think this is quite normal for survivors of narcissistic abuse.

 

As I said, I was berating myself a few days ago for my anxiety levels being so high, even though it’s a normal part of C-PTSD.  In fact, many other times, I have told myself I’m stupid, weak & a failure for having C-PTSD.  I have said similar things to myself for other reasons, such as for being depressed after losing someone I love or even being sick.

 

Does this type of self-talk sound familiar to you?  If so, then like me, you need to put a stop to it!  This kind of talk is abusive!  It is basically continuing the verbal abuse of your narcissistic mother!  Why do that?!  Didn’t she do it enough?!

 

No one deserves such vicious abuse, but especially from yourself.  Absolutely nothing good comes from it!  Only bad. This sort of verbal abuse devastates & can destroy your self-esteem.  It adds to a root of toxic shame.

 

I realize it’s probably such a habit, you do it without even noticing.  That’s how it’s been with me.  I’ve noticed it some times, but never thought much about it until the other night.  If you haven’t really paid attention to your own self talk like me, then I urge you to start now.  And, if you discover your self talk is bad as mine, then it’s time to start showing yourself some compassion for a change.

 

I’m sure making changes in self talk isn’t easy.  It’s just something you’ve always done, talk to yourself that way.  Even so, I think paying attention to it & changing the negative words into more accepting ones is doable.  It seems to me it should be a matter of quitting a bad habit & turning it into a good one by showing yourself the same understanding & compassion you show other people.  It will require focus & patience with yourself.

 

Also, ask God for help as well.  He will help!  He always does!

 

Do you have other ideas?  If so, I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to post them in the comments section or email me privately at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

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

Are You Too Responsible?

The other day, I went out with an old friend for an afternoon of lunch & shopping.  It was a perfectly lovely day full of lots of fun & laughs.

 

For a normal person, this would be all there is to the story.  I, however, am not normal, thanks to C-PTSD.

 

Driving to my friend’s home was nerve wracking.  I was unable to drive much for about 18 months for various reasons, then add in the concussion I endured last February  that has warped some of my perception, & I feel like I’m learning to drive all over again.  Plus, being out in public makes me anxious, thanks to the agoraphobia.  I also don’t do change in my regular routine well.  And, the concussion made my already high anxiety levels worse & harder to control.  All of these factors made my anxiety level really, really high.

 

After getting home, my husband asked how the afternoon went, & I told him all about it, including my awful anxiety.  He told me he was proud of me for not only doing this but managing to enjoy myself in spite of the anxiety.  I should have said “thank you” & gone on with my day, but ohhh noooo.  I said, “I just did what anyone can do- I’m just the one stupid enough to have problems doing it.”

 

Ouch.

 

I realized two things as soon as I said those words…

 

  1. I blame myself for way too much that is beyond my control.
  2. I really don’t talk nicely to myself.  In fact, I’m downright verbally abusive.

 

These issues need addressing, & I’m sure if I need to address them, other adult children of narcissistic parents do as well.  So in this post, we’ll address self blame & the next one, how to talk to oneself.

 

Growing up with my narcissistic parents, I learned that I was responsible for pretty much everything.  When my parents would fight, if I wasn’t in the same room, sometimes they would come into the room where I was so I could stop the fight.  Both would talk to me about the other & the problems in their marriage (they still do today & I try to avoid it).  If I had any problems with a friend, my mother always told me “to have a friend, you have to be one.”  Basically she meant I wasn’t doing enough to make the friendship work.  It was all my responsibility & the other person had zero responsibility.  I was solely responsible for my grades in school- I wasn’t reminded to do my homework & not helped study once I got out of elementary school.

 

God showed me that being so overly responsible for pretty much everything led to me believing that if something is wrong, it’s my fault.  I feel that I should’ve done something to prevent that, I should fix the damage, etc.

 

Plus my mother openly blames me for things that are beyond my control.  For example, a few years ago, I got the flu 3 times in one winter.  It’s never happened before or since.  I assume it was because I was so stressed that winter that my immune system was very compromised.  My mother, however, said I deserved it because I didn’t get a flu shot.  A little over a year ago, I was helping my husband split wood with the wood splitter.  A large log slipped from his grip, landing on & breaking my big toe.  I tried to move but wasn’t fast enough.  My mother said it was my fault for not being more careful.

 

Such abusive behavior towards me cemented the false belief in me that most things are my fault, even things beyond my control.  Yesterday was proof of that.

 

I realized just how ridiculous this is.  Not one thing about my anxiety being so bad was my fault, & I need to not take responsibility for it.  So many other things aren’t my fault either that I have taken responsibility for.

 

Does this sound familiar to you?  If so, it’s time for you to make changes too!

 

Since this is new territory for me I’m honestly not entirely sure how to go about it.  I have some ideas that I believe should work though..

 

I plan to ask God to help me have a more appropriate sense of responsibility.  Call my attention to blaming myself when it’s not my fault.  Help me to assign blame to the one who is really responsible.

 

If I catch myself blaming myself, I think it’s a good idea to ask God if this is truly my fault.  Should I accept responsibility for it or not?  If not, please help me to shake feeling responsible for it.

 

And, when my mother (or anyone really) starts blaming me for something I know isn’t my fault, I will refuse to accept that blame.  Whether that means standing up to the person or simply telling myself that I’m not to blame or both, I need to do it.

 

I hope these suggestions help you, Dear Reader.  If you have any others, I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to write in the comments or email me privately at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The “Good” Parent, aka The Covert Narcissist

Many adult daughters of narcissistic mothers I’ve spoken to say something like, “My mother was terrible, but my dad was a great guy” or, “He was the perfect dad- I couldn’t have asked for better.”  They also say things like he didn’t stop Mom from abusing them.  It wasn’t his fault though – he traveled for work, worked long hours, she was awful to him too or she was in charge.  The roles also can be reversed with narcissistic fathers where the adult children say their mother was a great mom, she couldn’t stop him, but it wasn’t her fault, etc.

 

They fail to realize that both of their parents were narcissists.

 

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying all people who marry narcissists are bad people or are narcissists!!  However, many times when a narcissist gets married, it’s to another narcissist.

 

Narcissists come in two forms – overt & covert.  Most familiar are the overt narcissists, since they are the bold type.  They are loud, boisterous & cocky.  They demand to be the center of attention at all costs, even if it means making them look ridiculous.  Covert narcissists are much harder to spot.  They tend to fade into the background, look innocent, naive, generous even to the point of martyrdom.  If someone is upset in their presence, they claim innocence & turn the situation around to where they are not only innocent but the real victim.  Often they expect their adult children to cater to them, even after that child has a spouse & family.

 

Many times, an overt narcissist & a covert narcissist will get married & have children.  This situation is a nightmare for the children.

 

When you grow up with two narcissistic parents, it is incredibly difficult to accept the fact.  Accepting that one parents is a narcissist is bad enough, but both?!  That is just too much.  Besides, growing up with an overtly narcissistic parent, a child is so starved for love, she often can’t accept that neither parent genuinely love her.  So instead, many people accept that the overtly narcissistic parent is a narcissist, & put the other parent on a pedestal.  This isn’t healthy!

 

Being in that situation, you naturally will be closer to the “good” parent than the narcissistic one.  The overt narcissist will take this as you & the other parent being against her, often taking the rage she feels out on the child, & the covert narcissist will gain narcissistic supply from your attention.

 

This situation also sets the stage for emotional incest, a psychologically abusive & damaging situation where the child is responsible for the parent’s emotional well being instead of the other way around.  It leads to a great deal of stress & anxiety, guilt, an overdeveloped sense of responsibility & more in the child, even into adulthood.

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at creating an emotionally incestuous situation with their child.  They come across as needing protection, & often their children feel it is their job to protect them, even protecting them from their other, overtly narcissistic parent.  That creates more friction between the child & the overtly narcissistic parent, especially when the child intervenes in their problems.  Sometimes the overtly narcissistic parent responds by creating their own emotionally incestuous relationship with the child, & the child is stuck in the middle.  This is how it was for me as a child, & my parents still do this to this day.  I have to set boundaries by changing the subject or suddenly saying I have to go or hang up the phone to put a stop to it.  Even as an adult, it’s still extremely stressful, & has triggered some flashbacks.

 

When you see that your “good” parent isn’t as good as you thought, it helps you to stop the covertly incestuous situation with him.  You see it for the unhealthy relationship it is & learn to set healthy boundaries.  You also take that parent off the pedestal & see him in a more realistic light.  You accept that you are not responsible for catering to any & every need that parent has especially at the expense of your emotional or physical health, finances or your immediate family.  You can relate in a healthier way with that parent, even if he doesn’t like your new boundaries.  You no longer fall for the subtle guilt trips  & manipulations, possibly even noticing them for the first time.

 

Although this realization is very good for you, it isn’t easy.  I started to get very angry with my father when I realized he wasn’t the great dad I always thought he was.  I began to see he had no trouble throwing me under the bus to my mother if it meant he was protecting himself.  He has lied to her about me a few times, & she got mad at me for what he said.  I also realized he uses me to dump on when he’s angry with my mother, which really makes me feel stuck in the middle.  He also wants my comfort, even if I’m having a problem.  For example, when my husband’s job eliminated his position a few years back, he said he was scared.  How would we keep our home?  What would we do if we lost the house?  Where was he going to find another job?  This is bad & upsetting him!  Upsetting him?!  He wanted me to reassure him that we’d be ok, when I wasn’t sure if we would be or not.  This really added a lot to my anxiety at first, then made me angry.  I realized I was the one in need of comfort yet he demanded it from me – how dare he?!

 

Those revelations made me VERY angry & hurt.  It took a long time to process my feelings, but it did happen in time.  It took me writing a lot out in my journal, complaining to God about how unfair it was & sometimes talking to understanding friends.  Realizing how my father was also showed me how many people have no idea how he can be towards me.  They buy his act of innocence & naivete, & accept nothing else.  I realized I have to be careful who I talk to about our relationship because some people will get angry with me for not “being more patient” with him.  After all, he needs me!  He’s married to my mother & needs someone to support him.  I’m his daughter so it’s up to me to take care of him, I’ve been told.

 

This type of situation could easily happen to you too.  If you too have come to realize that your “good” parent is a covert narcissist, then by all means, be careful who you discuss the topic with!  When this discovery is new, you feel very sensitive & emotionally raw.  People who don’t believe you or shame you for exaggerating, lying, etc. will hurt you more than normal when you are in that sensitive state.  Make sure to share your feelings only with non-judgmental, supportive people.  Maybe even someone who has been through a similar situation.

 

Even being careful, you may be invalidated or shamed as I have been by those you trusted.  If that is the case, I’m so sorry.  It’s very painful, I know, to be invalidated, but especially when it comes from someone you didn’t expect to behave that way.

 

Being invalidated on this topic also may make you doubt your judgement.  You may wonder if you’re being too harsh or judgmental.  After all, since you learned about narcissism, you feel like you see it everywhere.  Maybe you’re reading too much into things.  When you feel this way, talk to God.  Ask Him to tell you the truth!  He truly will!  And when He does, stand strong in that truth!  Don’t let others make you doubt!

 

Also ask God what you need to do in this situation.  Now that you know just how dysfunctional it is, you’re going to need to respond differently to that covertly narcissistic parent.  Naturally, you’re going to need to set & enforce good boundaries, but since each narcissist is an individual, what works for one may not work for another.  God can give you creative & effective ideas.  All you have to do is ask & listen.

 

As painful a time as this is for you, it truly is for your best interest to learn this information.  Continuing in the dysfunction only will make you miserable.  Use this painful situation as an opportunity to learn & grow.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Don’t get mad at yourself for slipping into old, dysfunctional patterns, but instead understand this happens sometimes.  Remember it so you don’t do that again, & go on.  Vent your feelings as you need to in a safe way, whether to God, a trusted friend or in your journal.  Don’t bottle them up as it will only hurt you to do so.  Most of all, trust God to help you get through this painful time.

 

 

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Can You & Your Friends Agree To Disagree?

I was thinking today of something…

 

Right after Christmas of last year, I shared a blog post about some thoughts regarding going no contact with narcissistic parents.  I said in my experience, I was glad I didn’t do it. My father had some health problems which meant I spent a great deal of time with my parents, & things had improved a lot during that time in our relationship.  In the post, I encouraged others to consider my story if they are thinking of going no contact, not to change their minds, but just to give them another topic to consider.  (there was more to it but that’s the basics anyway).  A well known blogger followed me at the time & we were also facebook friends.  She read my post & apparently read a lot into it that I didn’t put in the post.  She & another of my followers got into a rather heated disagreement when I was away from the computer, & it was done by the time I saw it.  Not that I could’ve done anything anyway- I can’t stop people from posting in my blog comments sections.  Anyway shortly after, the other blogger unfollowed my blog, removed my book recommendation from her site & blocked me on facebook.

 

At first this hurt, I won’t lie.  I was stunned plus wondering what did I do to warrant this behavior from her?  It was another follower she got into a disagreement over, not me!  I wasn’t even there!  Quickly though, I realized that she has some pretty narcissistic tendencies (I’d seen a few glimpses of them before but had brushed them off as me being oversensitive), one of which was she didn’t handle people disagreeing with her well.  This was a touchy topic with her as she believes everyone should be no contact with every narcissist, period.

 

I also realized that many people are this way.  They are of the “if you’re not for me, you’re against me” mentality.  Oddly, it seems very common today.  Not a lot of people can agree to disagree.  Just look at politics.  Many people (both liberal & conservative alike) act as if you’re a fool for your views if you don’t agree with theirs.

 

People who respect you enough to allow you to have your own opinion are a gem.  Truly!  I have friends who share different views on all kinds of things or are of different religious beliefs, & you know what?  It’s fine!  We don’t try to push our views on each other.  If we have questions about whatever the other person believes, we ask respectfully.  And you know something?  Those friendships have lasted much longer than the ones with people who are always trying to change your mind or belittle you for disagreeing with them.

 

Those friendships are also deeper, more comfortable as well, because each of us knows that the other person won’t judge us.

 

Another bonus is knowing people who are different than you expands your horizons.  For example, I have a friend who was a part of the Pagan religion for a long time.  She taught me quite a bit about herbal remedies.  This is interesting information to me!  Not to mention helpful.  I’ll run for something herbal before I’ll run for the pharmacy if I need healing since usually herbal works as well or better, & with less potential side effects).  If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if I would’ve even been interested in herbal remedies.

 

How do you fit into this?  Are you able to disagree respectfully with others or do you believe your friends must agree with you fully?  If you only surround yourself with those who believe & think as you do, I encourage you today to expand your horizons.  Get to know people of different religions, races or cultures.  It’ll bless you as well as them.

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No Is A Valid Answer

Closely related to yesterday’s post about boundaries, today I want to tell you about another aspect of boundaries that not everyone is aware of.

No is a valid answer.  Really.

I know it can be hard for some of us when we first learn to set boundaries.  Saying no means we often feel like we need to explain every single reason why we’re saying no & make sure those reasons meet the other person’s approval.  That is often a by product of surviving narcissistic abuse.

Unless you’re being interrogated by the police, you do not have to explain yourself to another person if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.  People don’t need to know every single thing about you if you don’t want to share every detail.  Really!

If the person you feel you must explain yourself to is a narcissist, then for your sanity’s sake, just say no instead.  Offering explanations only gives a narcissist more ammunition for embarrassing or hurting you at some point, providing them their coveted narcissistic supply.  For example, let’s say you can’t take your narcissistic mother to her doctor’s appointment on Thursday because you have a doctor’s appointment for yourself.  If you tell her this, she probably will demand to know why you’re going, & do you really feel comfortable telling her it’s for renewing your prescription for birth control pills?!  How awkward would that be?  Or if it’s something more serious, you know she’ll spin it around to how it would affect her if you were very sick or, God forbid, were dying.  Do you feel like dealing with that while you’re afraid yourself?  No?  Then remember to tell her no, without any explanation.  If you really feel the need to elaborate, simply say “I can’t, because I have an appointment (or plans) at that time that can’t be changed.”

And, don’t let her push you into telling you either!  Ignore when she hints around, wanting to know why you can’t help her.  Pretend you don’t grasp that she is hinting for you to tell her anything.  If she demands to know, change the subject.  If she offers guilt trips (“I guess you have better things to do than take care of your mother…”), IGNORE!!  You have every right to your privacy, & don’t let her convince you otherwise.

Always remember that no is a valid answer, & you have every right to use it as you see fit.

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Boundaries

Saying no isn’t always easy for those of us who have been abused.  The abuser trained us that we weren’t allowed to say no or have any rights or boundaries.  We also learned to explain ourselves fully (part of that no boundaries thing) to appease our abusers.

Unfortunately, that kind of sick training runs VERY deep & is hard to break.  Hard, but not impossible.

The word “boundaries” brings different thoughts to different people. Many people think “limiting” or “selfish” when they hear the word, but boundaries are actually the very opposite.  They encourage respect, love & freedom.

Boundaries are like a fence surrounding your yard. Things that are your responsibility are your feelings, actions & beliefs. & they are within your fence.  Those same things are within the fences of other people.  Their feelings, beliefs and actions are their responsibility, not yours. Even if they are wrong or bad, that is the other person’s business, not yours. You are not responsible for other people!   It is  not your business what they think, feel or do! The Bible says we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), so we may speak to someone about their hurtful, dangerous, or self-destructive behavior, but, trying to change someone to suit your ideals is wrong.

Boundaries are learned as children, and some behaviors from our parents may warp normal boundary development.  Emotionally incestuous parents create children who grow into adults who feel responsible for the happiness of other people.  Manipulative or childish parents  create children that can grow up feeling like they must fix all of the problems of others. There are also many parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who does not respect the boundaries of her child. This child grows up to believe she has no right to have boundaries, even to the point of stopping others from abusing her.

A person with healthy boundaries cannot be controlled. Boundaries will change your life!  You will learn to take responsibility only for yourself, while encouraging others to do the same with your healthy behavior.

In developing and enforcing new boundaries, it is beneficial to have a good support system- people  who have your best interests at heart, who do not judge or criticize unfairly,  who will support you, & who respect boundaries. They will help you to learn about setting & enforcing good boundaries & gain confidence.

When you first begin to develop boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish, give you the silent treatment, or even ask what happened to the “nice girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept your new boundaries with no complaints.  Unsafe people will not. Setting boundaries is a very good way to determine the safe from the unsafe people.

To start learning about boundaries, I strongly suggest you read the book, “Boundaries” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I love this book- it truly changed my life!

Once you read the book, spend some time soul searching.  Ask yourself questions, such as where do you need to set boundaries in your own life?  What  are you no longer willing to tolerate from people?  Then, you need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries…

If you deal with someone who insists on talking about a subject you are uncomfortable with, she needs to know that you are not willing to discuss these particular topics with her.  Change the subject.  If she continues, tell her that if she does not drop this matter, you will hang up the phone (or leave the room).  If that does not work, follow through on your threat!  Empty threats do no good to show others you are serious about your new boundaries!  In fact, they show others you have weak boundaries & they can be run over easily.

Learn  simple phrases such as:
“I won’t do that.”
“I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
“You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
“No.”

Some people are going to try to make you feel bad for your new boundaries.  If they cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.

The information above is some very basic information that you will need to adapt to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time are, do it anyway!  What is the worst that can happen?  Someone who is controlling kicks you out of his or her life?  Would that truly be such a great hardship?

I also recommend you look into my free online course based on the book “Boundaries.” It can be found at this link: Boundaries Book Study

The benefits of setting these boundaries certainly outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel lighter & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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Some Encouragement For You

Last night, I had an interesting dream.  I dreamed a huge old tree fell onto the hood of my car.  Somehow I got this huge thing off my car, & realized the most amazing thing- my car wasn’t totaled like I expected!  There were a few small dents in the tops of the front fenders, but that was all the damage.  I drove the car away.

 

I woke up flustered- those of you who know me know how important my car is, & seeing it damaged, even in a dream hurts.  That hurt quickly vanished when God immediately showed me what the dream meant though.

 

In dreams, cars are symbolic of your life.  In the dream, my car survived something that was meant to destroy it with minimal damage.   God showed me this is much like me.  Going through narcissistic abuse was meant to destroy me like the tree that fell on my car in the dream.  Yet, like my car, I survived with a surprisingly small amount of damage as a result.   Yes, I have C-PTSD, but considering how much gaslighting I’ve experienced, it’s amazing my mental health isn’t worse.  Plus, God miraculously healed my back injury from my mother’s attack when I was nineteen.

 

You, Dear Reader are no different than me.  You too escaped, with minimal damage, that which was meant to destroy you!  I know, it doesn’t seem that way when you are trying to stop lifelong dysfunctional thinking patterns, having flashbacks or nightmares.  I understand that completely, as I felt the same way.  But really, think about it- the goal of narcissistic abuse is to destroy the victim completely so the victim can be molded into whatever the narcissist wants.  You weren’t destroyed!  You may have some scars (physical & mental) but you survived!  You are like my car was in my dream- some damage, but still functional!  That is no small accomplishment!  I hope you are very proud of yourself- you should be!!

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Stop Hating Your Weaknesses!

If there is one thing most adult children of narcissists do, often even years into their healing, is berate themselves.  Any weakness or flaw is cause to tell themselves how dumb or clumsy they are.  God forbid they get sick or injured, because then they become useless in their minds.

 

I do it myself, in spite of telling people to give themselves a break, it’s not right, etc.  I’d always done this but it went into overdrive in 1990 when my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back, causing me to need to quit working outside the home a few months later.  I felt useless, no longer being able to earn a paycheck.  In 1996 when agoraphobia developed, I felt even more useless since I couldn’t go out alone without panicking.  2002, I got arthritis in my knees & was limited a bit more as to what I could physically do.  2012, C-PTSD fully developed, making me feel even more useless.  Then in February, 2015, I suffered carbon monoxide poisoning which made me pass out & hit my head causing a concussion, & I felt more useless yet once again when I learned most likely many of my symptoms would be life long & were untreatable.

 

Recently I was telling myself how useless I was because of all of these things.  I said something to God about being useless.  I asked too why these things have happened?  I never wanted to be a housewife or work at home- I liked a couple of jobs I had a great deal & would’ve been quite happy making either of them into a career.  Instead I’m at home, not making a lot of money which means I’m also putting pressure on my husband financially.  This just sucks!!  God listened patiently & reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 which says:

 

“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”  (MSG)

What a message!!!  It’s a great reminder that everyone has limitations & God will work through them, not just your strengths!   You are capable of great things because you are imperfect!  Even this blog post is evidence of God’s ability to work through weaknesses.  Normally, I jot notes down for posts I want to write, because my memory is so bad.  But this one, I didn’t.  I just asked Him to remind me to write it.  Not only did He remind me, He showed me what all to include in it.

 

Don’t get me wrong- there is certainly nothing wrong with asking God to heal you.  He wants what is best for you, & often that does mean healing your physical or mental health.  Sometimes though, there is a very good reason that you aren’t healed, & you certainly can ask God why.  Maybe like the apostle Paul, you could lose your humility if you were healed, failing to rely on God.  Or maybe there is another reason.

 

God told me in my case, I’ve worked VERY hard all my life.  Not as much working hard at a job, but working hard to appease the narcissists in my life (including anticipating their needs or how to deal with them the most effectively), keeping my emotions in control so as not to upset or “feed” them & trying to do everything perfectly so as not to be criticized or ridiculed.  Now, I have no choice but to rest.  My body & mind demand it often, & frankly… it feels good.  Until the carbon monoxide poisoning happened, I pushed through any illness or injury so as not to be lazy.  Growing up, my mother often said I was lazy & as an adult, I’ve always worked to prove I wasn’t.  Now?  I kinda am, & it’s OK!  My mind & body demand it, so I have to respect that in order to stay healthy.  Maybe your case is like mine, & you too need that rest after a lifetime of working hard.  Rather than feel badly about it, why not enjoy your rest?  Accept it as a well deserved rest rather than hating it.

 

Dear Reader, you are a valuable person.  God loves you a great deal & made you as you are for a reason.  It’s time to let Him work through you, weaknesses & all!

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Showing Compassion To Strangers

Many of us who have been abused in some way have learned that other people, even strangers, like talking to us.  I’ve had people in the grocery store or laundromat strike up a conversation & tell me their entire life stories.  (One lady caught me twice in two different stores about six months apart- she apparently didn’t remember me from the first time)  It’s strange to say the least, but I think it’s because some people are so desperate for some compassion, they’ll try to find it in a stranger.

 

Since many of you are also introverts like me, I know this can be uncomfortable.  You probably want to just duck into a place, do what you came to do & leave quickly with minimal human interaction.  (I even use the self-checkout lanes to eliminate interaction with one more person.)   When a person decides to chit-chat, it can be annoying, especially if you’re in a rush.

 

I have begun to think a bit differently about this “annoyance.”  I believe when this sort of thing happens, it is God putting you in a place to be a blessing to someone.  Just listening to someone talk for a little while may make their day better or lighten the burden of the problem they discussed with you.  Why not let the person talk for a while?

 

One evening recently, I saw my parents.  I wasn’t in a good mood after leaving them.  On the way home, I went by the post office to mail something out after hours yesterday using the machine in the lobby rather than dealing with people during regular business hours.  A lady came in & dropped off a package while I was at the machine.  Out of the blue, she told me about her day at work, which sounded very frustrating.  The conversation lasted maybe five minutes, but it seemed to help her mood a bit.  It also helped mine some because I had a distraction from my own situation for a few minutes.  It was a small one, but I think a blessing for both her & I.  And, as I’m writing, I also remembered to pray for her- I may not know her needs, but God does.

 

The next time you are in that somewhat awkward position of listening to a stranger, then why not just go with it for a while?  You may be helping that person more than you know.  You might even help yourself.

 

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Enjoying Life

I keep getting a message lately in various forms. so it’s safe to assume it’s very important….

 

Enjoy your life.  Enjoy the little things like an unexpected hug or getting caught in a spring rain.  Thank God for allowing you to wake up this morning.  Spend time just sitting in His presence, thanking Him for whatever you are grateful for & allowing Him to love you.  Complement freely- not only does it bless the person you’re complementing, but it also blesses you when you make them feel good.  Take care of yourself, physically & emotionally.  You’re no good to anyone (including yourself) if you’re sick or depressed.  Play a game or resume a hobby you enjoyed as a child.  Have fun, don’t just work from the time you wake up until the time you fall asleep.

Too many people are miserable.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity in life- Lord knows there is plenty of it everywhere!  Just turn on the news & you can be overwhelmed with negativity in record time.  And, if you’re like the bulk of my readers & have experienced narcissistic abuse, that certainly can make you negative & miserable.  It’s hard to find good in the tremendous amount of pain it causes.  Even so, there is still good to be found.  You can celebrate the fact you survived the abuse that was meant to destroy you.  You are strong- you got out alive & sane!  I’m seeing more & more how tough I am to survive what I’ve been through, & I thank God for helping me get through it even though I didn’t believe in Him at the time.  It’s a miracle to survive narcissistic abuse- never forget that!  Embrace the fact you’re a walking, talking miracle for surviving something so heinous!

 

Whatever you do, just please, Dear Reader, enjoy your life as much as you can.  After all, Jesus came so you can enjoy your life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)  So why not get to enjoying your life?  You’ll be glad you did!

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God Gives Families To The Lonely

So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse end up abandoned by those closest to us once we start to open up about what we experienced.  Family & friends don’t believe us.  They accuse us of being overly dramatic, attention seeking, vindictive & other awful & untrue things.  They abandon us.  I’ve experienced it, too.  As a teen when my mother’s abuse piqued, her friends who once liked me no longer would give me the time of day.  My own friends offered me no support.  I also lost all friends except one once I opened up about what I experienced with my ex husband.  Most people thought he was a great guy, & I was the ungrateful, evil wife who mistreated him so.

There is good news though!

Psalm 68:6  “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.  But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”  (NLT)

It’s true!  When you feel abandoned & lonely, God will send the right people into your life.  He certainly has done it to me!  In 2000, I finally began to face my issues with my upbringing.  At the time, I had no real friends & no family I could talk to about such things, & it hurt.  I prayed a lot during that time, more than usual.  I eventually felt I should contact my granddad who I hadn’t spoken to in years due to my mother & ex telling me my grandparents hated me.  We ended up very close for the first time & he quickly became my best friend, not only my grandfather.  He even gave me a computer because I’d said I wanted to get one, & thanks to that, I met some wonderful friends online.  For the first time, I had a family- not all blood related, but I was very close to them nonetheless.  In fact, I’m still close to many of them.  God sent me even more wonderful friends into my life since, including old friends I had lost touch with many years ago.  Truly, He has given me a family!

God can do the same for you.  He loves you & wants to bless you.  All you need to do is trust that His word is true, & ask Him to give you that family.

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

Do Narcissists Really Know Right From Wrong?

I’ve found many people wonder if narcissists truly know right from wrong, since they do so many cruel, evil acts without regard for how they affect other people.  This often means narcissists get a free ride since many people assume no one could be capable of knowingly causing so much pain & suffering.  Besides, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a disorder after all- they can’t help themselves for acting this way, right?

I believe that is very wrong.

Personality disorders are different from other mental disorders.  PTSD, for example, is actual physical damage to one’s brain that causes the flashbacks, anxiety, memory problems, etc. Schizophrenia also is brain damage that causes a person to experience hallucinations & delusions.  Personality disordered individuals have no physical brain damage.  Instead, their disorder describes a means of behavior rather than an illness.  Physically, the brain of a narcissist is just fine unless they have sustained an injury.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder only describes their behavior.

Another argument that I believe proves narcissists know right from wrong is their behavior.  They save the worst of it for behind closed doors.  Narcissists rarely abuse in front of other people.  In fact, my mother rarely abused me in front of my father.  He only saw her abuse me a few times when the fact is, she abused me many more times than I can remember.  She also warned me many times not to “air our dirty laundry” which meant I was not to tell others what she did to me in private.  My narcissistic mother in-law was much the same way- she would treat me like absolute dirt when we were alone, yet as soon as someone came into the room, she was sweet as could be.  I guess it’s no wonder so few people believed me about how horribly these two treated me- they put on quite the show in front of others.

Those who know right from wrong hide their actions.  Consider the following Scripture:

John 3:20-21   “20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”  (NIV)

I firmly believe that yes, narcissists do know right from wrong.  They choose to do wrong because their thinking is so skewed.  Sadly, they don’t want to improve themselves like most people do.  Maybe they are too afraid of what they would find if they did some soul searching.  After all, their low self esteem is at the root of narcissism.  They may be afraid that what they would find inside is too hideous for them to deal with.

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Filed under Narcissism