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My publisher is having another sale on all of my print books. Use code SELL15 at checkout & get 15% off until April 23 , 2021
Books are available at the link below:
Most of us have used terms like, “That drives me crazy!”, claimed something gave us a “panic attack” when all it did was startle us, or even described a moody person as being “bipolar” even though that moody person wasn’t diagnosed with the disorder. Phrases like this have been part of the way people talk for God only knows how long.
I believe there is a problem with using these phrases though. By using these phrases so freely, they dilute very serious mental health disorders.
Claiming something drives you crazy makes insanity sound like an annoyance rather than a serious mental problem.
Panic attacks are also much more than being startled. They can feel like you’re having a heart attack. They are physically & mentally debilitating. After I have one, I feel very emotionally drained & exhausted for quite some time after.
Saying a moody person is bipolar makes Bipolar Disorder seem much less serious than it is. Those with Bipolar Disorder aren’t simply moody. Manic episodes can involve some very risky & even dangerous behavior. The down side is seriously bad as well. The depression can be so severe as to include suicidal ideation.
If you think I am over thinking this situation, then consider this. As a victim of narcissistic abuse, doesn’t it offend you when someone carelessly describes someone’s selfish behavior as narcissistic? You have seen narcissistic behavior up close & personal. You are all too aware that it is extremely different than someone doing something without thought or consideration of other people. It is more than selfishness. It is abusive, malicious, cruel & dangerous to your mental & physical health. Lumping someone who simply was thoughtless in a momentary lapse of judgment in the same category as someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is deeply offensive to anyone who has seen the unmasked narcissist first hand.
I really don’t think most people are being malicious when they say something “drives them crazy” or some other phrase related to mental illness. These phrases have become so common place, no one really thinks twice when saying or hearing them. They simply have become an everyday part of our vernacular. The problem with that is over time, very subtly, they reduce the meaning of real & serious mental disorders. Sometimes, even make them laughable. This just should not be the case!
If you realize you use such phrases, please reconsider doing so. On behalf of my fellow “crazy” people, I ask you to stop it. I know what I live with having C-PTSD & there is nothing laughable or trivial about it. Having to fight your own mind to get through the day is serious & an incredibly difficult way to live. It isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. Having my mental health trivialized or turned into the butt of a joke is insulting.
What makes this situation even worse is mental illness is seldom believed. If a person wears a cast on their leg, people see this person obviously broke their leg. They offer that person sympathy. Mental illness doesn’t have a glaring piece of physical evidence that is undeniable proof of the mental illness. Those who suffer with it often aren’t taken seriously because they look “normal.” Living with that then the trivialization of our illness is extraordinarily hard. Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life & death. Please remember that & choose your words wisely!
When someone goes no contact with their parent, it usually comes about after a lot of thought, sometimes even over a period of years. It also comes after preparation for full no contact. What I mean is often the adult child has tried setting boundaries & limiting contact with their parent. Often, they start small & work up to more boundaries & less contact before full no contact is initiated. I did this myself. I contemplated no contact for a long time before deciding it was what I needed to do. I knew I wasn’t ready & also that timing wasn’t right, however. I leaned on God for guidance & also for strength. He showed me small boundaries I could set. That strengthened me to set larger boundaries & limit my contact with my parents. In time, I knew the time was right for no contact, & I also had the ability to do it.
This isn’t the case when narcissistic parents cut ties with their children.
Narcissistic parents don’t go no contact as a way to protect themselves from abusive people. They inatead use the silent treatment as a way to punish & manipulate, although they may claim they are setting a healthy boundary with an abusive person.
This behavior can be incredibly hurtful to the adult child of a narcissist! It also leaves them questioning what they did wrong & what they could’ve done better. Sometimes they even question what they did because they have no idea. My mother stopped speaking to me for 18 months once, & I never learned why.
If you’re in this situation & struggling with these feelings, you’re normal! It can feel otherwise, but I promise, you’re normal!
Please keep in mind your parent is manipulating you. That’s just what narcissistic parents do. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In fact, you probably did something right. If you set a healthy boundary, no doubt your parent is angry & punishing you for it. Maybe you had some personal success. That could have stirred up envy in your parent & he or she wants to hurt you for looking better than them. Whatever the case, your parent is clearly the one with the problem, not you. If you remember that, it will help you not to be as upset about your parent’s behavior. In fact, it may help you to enjoy the repreive from the abusive, awful behavior.
The definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, express, & control one’s emotions. It also includes the ability to handle relationships with empathy & fairness. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are often kind, fair, understanding & tolerant of the mistakes of others while not tolerant of abuse.
Narcissists hate emotionally intelligent people. There are various reasons they can feel this way. Possibly because narcissists are very emotionally unintelligent, & therefore can’t understand the emotionally intelligent they hate them. Narcissists understanding the emotionally intelligent would be like the average person trying to understand how geniuses like Einstein thought. It would be impossible… although the average person at least wouldn’t hate him for his intelligence.
Another & even more likely scenario is because emotionally intelligent people aren’t easily fooled or manipulated. Narcissists want to fool & manipulate their victims so they can get whatever they like from them. Emotionally intelligent people have good boundaries & they understand people. This makes it nearly impossible to fool & manipulate them. It may happen briefly, but it won’t happen long. This makes them terrible victims of narcissistic abuse.
For the emotionally intelligent person in this situation, the narcissist & their flying monkeys will be incredibly shaming. They come up with all kinds of ridiculous things to say to the victim in order to shame them into compliance. In Christian circles, often the Bible is twisted around for the purpose of shaming the victim: “If you remember, the Bible says to honor your parents!” “Wives should submit to their husbands!” “Love covers a multitude of sins!” When Scripture isn’t used, the ridiculousness doesn’t get any better. People try to shame the victim by saying equally stupid comments such as, “You need to forgive & forget!” “That’s in the past…” “That’s just how he is.” “You need to understand her better.” “But he was abused by his parents!!”
Comments like these can create a great deal of conflict & confusion in someone victimized by a narcissist. A person who is emotionally intelligent however, isn’t conflicted & confused. They recognize the bad behavior for what it is, & have no problem calling out the people who say these things. It can hurt though & can be rather hard not to take the shaming personally sometimes.
If this happens to you, a very helpful thing you can do is remember what type of person is saying these things. You aren’t dealing with another emotionally intelligent person. They don’t say such stupid, heartless comments. Then ask God to tell you the truth & ask if they were right in what they said.
It also helps to look objectively at your situation & ask yourself does what this person said to you make any sense? If you can’t seem to look at the situation objectively, I know a trick to help. Pretend a friend has come to you & told you of this same situation happening to them. Doing this can help you feel disconnected enough to look more objectively at your situation. Please remember, Dear Reader, to be proud of being the emotionally intelligent person you are. Narcissists & their flying monkeys only criticize it because it means you see through their abuse. Don’t accept their shame! The shame belongs to them & you have no reason to carry it!
Finding a good therapist isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Every person has their own unique personality, beliefs, ways of thinking & more, so finding a therapist who is compatible with you can be a challenge. When you are seeing one to help you to deal with the effects of narcissistic abuse however, the challenge can be much more difficult.
For one thing, there are many therapists out there who are narcissists. Narcissists are drawn to the helping type professions such as teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement & even the mental health field. I’m not saying all teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement officers & mental health professionals are narcissists of course. Many very good people are in those fields too. When it comes to finding a therapist that can help you cope with issues stemming from narcissistic abuse though, it’s especially important to be certain your therapist isn’t a narcissist. No one needs to be subjected to a narcissistic therapist! It only makes things much worse!
There is also the fact that most in the mental health field received little to no training on the cluster B personality disorders like narcissism. Unless a therapist has personal experience with a narcissist, chances are they won’t know ways to help you to heal. They may not even recognize the type of person who abused you. And, if they don’t understand the person who abused you, there is the chance that they may not believe you let alone be able to help you heal. Honestly, much of what narcissists do is pretty unbelievable. I think back to the things I was subjected to at the hands of narcissists, & can barely believe it. I was there! It shouldn’t be hard to believe it, yet it is. If your therapist doesn’t believe you, that is a sign you need to find a different one.
If you are considering therapy after narcissistic abuse, I hope I haven’t dissuaded you. That certainly isn’t my intention at all. I just want to let you know that finding one who can help you may not be easy. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though!
Many therapists have areas they specialize in such as drug rehabilitation, sexual problems, marriage counseling & more. Find one who specializes in trauma & abuse. Often their specialty is listed on their website or on your insurance carrier’s list of providers who accept your insurance.
If you know other people in your area who have been to counseling, ask them about their counselor. What did they like or dislike about that counselor? Even if they saw that counselor for a different issue than what you want to see one for, you never know. That counselor may not specialize in helping others recover from narcissistic abuse, but may be highly empathic & able to think outside the box enough to help you.
Remember that the first counselor you see may not be one that you stay with. Or the second counselor. Or even the third. Things may start out just fine then something happens that makes you think this counselor may not be the one for you. Don’t worry about that! It happens sometimes. Not everyone is compatible with every counselor. Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with a counselor for longer than you feel comfortable either. The goal is to help yourself, so do what you need to in order to help yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if it takes you seeing a few counselors before you find one that you really like.
Don’t be biased, either, when seeking a counselor. If you’re a woman, you may be more comfortable talking to women about personal issues as a general rule, but that may not be the case with a counselor. You may end up finding a male counselor more effective for you. Or, vice versa- a man may prefer a female counselor. Remember, men & women think very differently as a general rule, & sometimes those differences can be very helpful.
I wish you the best in your quest to find a good counselor!
One of the many ways narcissists are incredibly dangerous is how they want to win over the friends & families of their victims. While this may not sound particularly dangerous, it truly can be. It also can be destructive to a person’s life.
When a narcissist befriends those close to their victim, the narcissist learns a lot about that victim. Naturally the narcissist & the victim’s loved one will discuss the victim at some point, & the victim’s loved one will mention something about them that will benefit the narcissist. Maybe the victim started a new job or moved. This person telling the narcissist information has provided the narcissist important information. If the narcissist is the stalking type, now he or she knows new locations to find the victim. If the narcissist doesn’t stalk, he or she still can cause problems. The narcissist can make anonymous phone calls to get the victim in trouble with their boss or landlord.
Or, the victim’s loved one may mention something just in passing that infuriates the narcissist, such as the victim has started dating someone new. If the narcissist hasn’t moved on, this will be a huge narcissistic injury. Some especially malignant narcissists may be so evil, this news makes them decide to kill the victim. If the narcissist isn’t that malignant, he or she still can cause problems for the victim & their new love interest in countless ways. The narcissist might show the new love interest pictures of the victim & narcissist together claiming they never broke up. The narcissist may even show provocative pictures taken of the victim during their time together. The possibilities are endless.
There is also the likelihood that the victim’s relationships will be damaged, often beyond repair, by this new “friendship” with the narcissist. When someone you’re close to suddenly becomes friends with your ex, it can be hurtful. It’s also very suspicious if they never were friends while you were together. When they know that your ex was abusive & are unapologetically on good terms with that person, that is a thousand times more hurtful. It’s an obvious betrayal & proof that this person isn’t loyal to you. That alone can end a relationship with a friend or relative, but if that person becomes the narcissist’s flying monkey, it’s pretty much a guarantee the victim will end that relationship.
The narcissist doesn’t have to be an ex significant other for this to happen either. It happens often in families when one relative is abused by their narcissistic parent. People take sides, & usually they side with the narcissist. It seems that every culture has this unspoken belief that parents can do no wrong & children should love them no matter what. Plus, narcissists are very convincing actors, which helps them win people over to their side.
In either scenario, once the narcissist befriends their victim’s friends or family, that victim will end up losing relationships.
Narcissists are aware of such things happening which is why they try to befriend their victim’s friends & family. They stand to gain a great deal by doing this. They also know they are stealing their victim’s support system, which hurts the victim. They enjoy being able to hurt that person without so much saying a word to them. If you are in this situation where the narcissist in your life has befriended those close to you, my heart goes out to you. Not only were you hurt by the narcissist, but by people you never thought would hurt you. If you are still in a relationship with those people, chances are excellent that it’s in your best interest to end those relationships immediately. Anyone who can befriend someone who abused you is NOT your friend. They are too cowardly to stand up for what is right by telling the narcissist to get lost.
This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.
All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact. The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent. The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much. Who can live with this indefinitely?! No one with any normal human emotions could!
Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next. The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!” “You only get one set of parents!” “They’re getting up in years. How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths. When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character. They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more. If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too. As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents. You must be a hypocrite!
Trauma doesn’t end with no contact. Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.
The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time. The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with! Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact. No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long. All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact. Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.
Once you are no contact, you’re finally free. Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent. Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be. Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions. Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be. You’re finally free!!
From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have. They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that. They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want. Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary. The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear. You know something though? Going through the fear is totally worth it. On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known!
And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone. God will be right by your side! Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it. I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable. He will do the same for you if you allow Him to. Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up. Don’t go back. Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do. Lean on God. Let Him support & guide you through this process. xoxo
2 Timothy 1:7 in the Amplified Bible says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” It can be so hard to remember that God has given us a healthy mind sometimes! Having lived with many symptoms of C-PTSD for as far back as I can remember then almost all since 2012, there have been more times than not that I have doubted that very Scripture. Clearly I’m not proud of that but it’s true. Waking up during panic & anxiety attacks, the way sometimes anxiety runs roughshod over logic & the crippling agoraphobia I lived with for well over 20 years can make that happen.
If you can relate, then you too may be controlled by a spirit of fear as I have been. There are ways you can identify if this is indeed the problem or not.
Do you have the urge to hide from everyone, even God? Fear can become a self made prison, creating the urge to avoid everyone. Most introverts are fine with plenty of alone time but even so, fear can make even the most die hard introvert spend too much time away from other people & become lonely. It also can make even the most devoted Christian pray less & less.
Is your faith becoming weak? If so, you may be living with a spirit of fear. Fear can create a hindrance for believing in what God has to say. It can make you think irrational thoughts such as all of those promises in the Bible aren’t for you, that God meant them for other people. It can make you doubt the call on your life to the point of not following through with it. It also can make you forget what you know the Bible says or what God has spoken to you.
Fear can consume your thoughts. When fear takes over, all you can think about is the issue that makes you afraid. You neglect relationships, doing a good job at work, caring for children & pets & more.
Fear can skew your judgment. Because fear is so tormenting & miserable, you can become desperate for a way out. This means you may listen to people you normally wouldn’t listen to for advice. You may consider or actually do things you know you shouldn’t do.
If you can relate to these, then you may be operating under the control of a spirit of fear. Don’t lose hope though! You don’t have to live this way any longer!
To start, refocus on God. Read your Bible more often. Subscribe to a daily devotional or Bible in a year email. Listen to Christian music that makes you feel close to God & do it often. Ask Him for help whenever you feel fear. And when you don’t, thank Him & ask Him to help you to live with this type of peace more often.
Consider your situation logically. Ask yourself why this situation makes you so afraid. Is there a valid reason to feel fear? Can harm come to you or someone else? Doing this can help you refocus & accept that there is no real reason to be scared.
Force yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes. It really will help you to have more self confidence which will in turn reduce the amount of fear you feel. When my mother died & I learned I was her personal representative, I didn’t think I could do it. I had no choice though. I legally couldn’t pawn the duties off on anyone else. I literally had to force myself to do things that were miles out of my comfort zone. I did them though. I tried to reward myself almost every time I did something, too. It didn’t have to be anything big. I like driving while listening to good music so I would take a long route home & just enjoy the music. Sometimes I picked up dinner rather than cook. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone helped me to gain more & more confidence, & the rewards helped to cement good feelings in my mind. Try to do the same! Start small & do bigger, scarier things as you feel able, & don’t forget to reward yourself after for a job well done!
In time, you can stop living with that spirit of fear & start living with the sound mind that God has given you!
Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences. Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. A lot of children of narcissistic parents use the fawn response.
The fawn trauma response is when a victim tries hard to please their abuser so the abuser will stop whatever painful thing they’re doing. They will try to distract the abuser somehow, do something they know their abuser likes, & go along absolutely anything the abuser wants. While this may stop an abuser at the moment, over the long term, this doesn’t work. Fawning shows abusers that their abusive, toxic ways can be used to get whatever they want from their victim.
Fawning still affects a person long after the abuser is out of their life. Fawners are often very devoted people pleasers who have no real boundaries. They falsely believe that losing yourself in relationships is totally normal. They also are prone to very dysfunctional & abusive relationships, including more than one relationship with narcissists. This leads them to focus on the needs & wants of other people much more than their own & often to their own detriment. They also seem to have no real identity of their own, often becoming what other people say they should be.
Fawning often is encouraged in society. Primarily by abusers but also by ill informed people who see people who fawn as generous, loving, even Godly rather than dysfunctional. This makes overcoming fawning behavior especially hard for those engaging in this behavior, because even though it can hurt a person, it also can be the one area they feel gets them love & approval, & maybe even makes them feel worthy of love.
There is hope for replacing this dysfunctional behavior with much healthier behavior. As always, I firmly believe prayer is the best place to start. God will help you, so let Him!
Focus on healing from the trauma in your life that made you develop your fawning ways. The more you heal, the healthier you will become in every way. That means you will decrease your unhealthy behaviors more & more as you heal.
Remind yourself as often as you need to that not pleasing someone doesn’t mean you’re bad, wrong, or unworthy of love. You simply may have made a mistake. Or, maybe they were wrong to expect this particular thing out of you. Don’t assume you were automatically wrong. It is just as possible the other person was wrong.
Feel your feelings. Whatever you are feeling, accept those feelings without judgment. As you do, you may see that they aren’t appropriate to your current situation. They could simply be triggered by old issues. They also may give you insight on ways you can do things better. In any case, they can teach you, so let them do that by feeling them.
Slow down & examine your motives. Ask yourself why are you doing something for someone.. is it out of love or out of hoping to get their approval? Am I saying I’m happy to do this even though it is too much for me right now? Am I taking on too much responsibility?
In time, your fawning ways can & will be replaced by healthy ones.
When someone has experienced trauma, in particular repeated trauma, they learn to use specific trauma responses to help them survive their particular situation. While many waver between two or more, most people primarily use one trauma response. Many people raised by narcissistic parents primarily use the freeze response.
Freezing means much like the name implies, you freeze & are unable to handle the situation in a healthy way. Think of a deer on a highway during the night when a truck comes barreling towards him. He stands still, staring at the truck & unable to move to save himself. People can & do react the same way sometimes. Sadly, freezing often is a good choice when dealing with a narcissistic parent, because it reduces the likelihood of that parent turning even more abusive. Equally sadly though is this survival tactic doesn’t help when dealing with other people. In fact, often the lack of response of a victim is taken as consent, so the other, non-freezing person assumes whatever they said or did was acceptable to the freezing person.
As an example from my own life, as I’ve written about before, I lived with awful back pain for ten years. During a fight with my mother, she threw me into a wall. I felt my entire spine crack from my tailbone into my neck when I hit the wall & was in pain for ten years after. I saw several doctors, had over fifty x-rays & an MRI. I was told no injuries showed up on the x-rays or MRI. Every single person I saw with the exception of one chiropractor was convinced I was faking the pain. I should have stood up to all of them, but instead I quietly accepted their diagnoses. Between that & other people in my life who were convinced I was faking it, I wondered many times if they were right. By silently accepting people’s accusations of faking my pain, that only seemed to confirm their suspicions of me. It also made me wonder more & more if I really was faking my back problem or if something was truly wrong.
This happened all because I learned how to use the freeze response so well as a child.
If you have used it as well, you probably can relate to my story. Also like me, you probably dissociated often as a child & possibly still do to some degree, struggle with making decisions, & isolate yourself. You also probably come up with good responses hours or even days or weeks after a confrontation but can’t think during the confrontation.
While freezing may have helped you to survive the narcissist in your life, it doesn’t help you in other relationships. In fact, it is likely to hurt you instead of help you.
When in situations that trigger your freeze response, your best place to start is with prayer. God will help you & ground you so you can function in a healthier way. Also, please remind yourself that you are safe now. You don’t have to freeze to protect yourself. You have rights including the right to speak up for yourself & to protect yourself. You aren’t doing something bad by taking care of yourself. The other person in question isn’t the narcissist who would abuse you for taking care of yourself.
Also take a deep breath in & exhale slowly. It will help you to calm your body & mind very quickly, which will help you to figure out a better way to handle your situation.
Doing this will help you over time to reduce the frequency of the freeze trauma response & enable you to respond in a healthier way. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. Hang in there!
Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences. Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others.
Some people favor the flight trauma response over the other three options. This basically means their instinct during a traumatic event is to do anything they can to avoid the trauma. If they can run away, they will. During a traumatic event, someone who favors the flight trauma response but cannot escape will be pretty easy to identify. They are clearly anxious, which means their breathing is shallow & rapid. They may be restless, and this shows by tapping their feet or fingers. Their eyes dart around, looking for a means of escape.
In situations where traumatic experiences are repeated, such as in cases of child abuse, some long term problems develop from using this trauma response over & over again. Flight is used as a coping mechanism, & it manifests in many ways. Workaholism, perfectionistic ways, micromanaging others, the need to keep busy constantly, obsession with video games, endlessly surfing through channels or social media, & other avoidance type behaviors can be signs of someone who has experienced the flight trauma response regularly. These behaviors are designed to keep someone from thinking about past trauma. There are other signs too, such as anxiety disorders, constant worrying, inability to relax, hyper-activity & being overly analytical.
Like other trauma responses, it is understandable a person could react this way to trauma & behave this way after repeated triggers of their flight response. That doesn’t make the behavior healthy, however. Being constantly on the go whether it is mentally or physically takes a toll on a person’s mental & physical health. Changes need to be made & they can be!
As always I recommend prayer to start. Ask God to guide you, to help you to behave in a healthier way & anything else you can think of.
Look at your life. What is unhealthy? Are you constantly working eighty hour workweeks? Spending every free moment playing video games? Do you feel as if you must stay busy every waking moment? These are some examples of red flags. It also may help to ask those people who are closest to you for their thoughts as well.
Once you have identified the problem areas in your life, then figure out a plan on how to make appropriate changes. Cut back on hours spent at work if at all possible, or find another job. Set times for certain activities & stick to the limits.
Lastly, it will help you tremendously to finally face what you have been avoiding. I know it’s hard! I know it’s scary! I also know that until you do this & focus on healing & becoming healthier, any changes you make most likely will be temporary. Emotions demand to be dealt with, & if they aren’t dealt with in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways. You’re going to suffer from the pain of the trauma or of the pain of the unhealthy manifestations of your emotions. Why not make the pain count & focus on your healing? At least that way, the pain will end & you will be much happier & healthier for it.
Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences. Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others.
During traumatic experiences, those who exercise the fight response do exactly as you would expect. They fight. They are obviously angry, they will cry, ball up their hands into fists, their jaws will be clenched tightly, & they look ready to attack anything that is in reach. Sometimes they do, usually punching walls or slamming doors.
Clearly this type of trauma response can be useful. If someone is afraid of you, they aren’t going to attack or abuse you. Unfortunately though it can backfire, & in particular with children with narcissistic parents. When a young child gets angry at their narcissistic parent, that parent won’t tolerate that. Narcissists want their children to show no emotions whatsoever, & anger at the narcissist’s abusive ways is the least tolerated emotion. Narcissists expect everyone, in particular their children, to tolerate their abuse indefinitely & without complaint. Standing up to a narcissist says their behavior is wrong & won’t be tolerated, which creates a narcissistic injury. In other words, their pride is damaged when they are told their behavior is anything less than perfect. Often narcissistic parents step up their abuse in these situations. These children learn not to show anger towards their parents, & often take it out on innocent victims.
The repeated use of this trauma response can cause many problems that last into adulthood. Some problems are the inability to handle anger in a healthy way, a quick temper, becoming a bully, becoming controlling & sometimes even becoming narcissistic or showing some narcissistic tendencies while not being a full blown narcissist. It seems to me these behaviors are all about having some control &/or hurting others before the angry person can be hurt.
This sort of behavior doesn’t have to be permanent though! With effort & time, you can develop healthier habits!
As always, I highly recommend starting with prayer. Ask God to help you change, to show you what you need to do & anything else you can think of.
You will need to accept that you don’t have to control or bully others, too. Remember, even God doesn’t control people. If anyone has that right, it’s the Creator of the universe! If He won’t do it, what makes you think you have the right to do so?
It will help to consider other people more often, too, not only yourself. Consider others when you make decisions, when you make plans, when you speak. Consider their wants & needs, too. What do those close to you want & need? How can you help to meet those needs & wants?
When you feel yourself getting angry, stop. Take a deep breath & release it slowly. This will help to calm your body & mind, & that will allow you to think clearly about the situation. When you think clearly rather than simple react, you may realize the situation isn’t really worth being angry about like you thought it was at first.
Also please know that you are going to need to heal from the events that created this behavior in you in the first place. I know it’s a scary thing, but you need to face those things in order to heal. I promise you, it WILL be worth it!
The lasting effects of an overused fight trauma response don’t need to be such a big part of your life. While it did help you survive for some time, & can be a useful tool, there are clearly many negatives! You can make healthy changes & live a happier life!
Those of you close to me know that my husband & I have bought his late parents’ home from his two sisters. Our situation has been challenging & rather different though in many ways from a typical home purchase. For one thing, I haven’t spoken to them since 2002, & haven’t broken that even during this process.
They haven’t been good to my husband during this process, & it’s made me so angry, I realized I went from feeling nothing for them to hating them
As a Christian, this isn’t somewhere I wanted to be but I wasn’t sure how not to feel that way. I asked God to help me not hate them a couple of times, but mostly just tried not to think about it. Anything that is ignored doesn’t just disappear, so I have no idea why I thought that was smart.
While I was ignoring this hate in my heart, I had a dream one night. In it, the only part I could remember was seeing a large flock of white doves. I looked up the symbolism. One possible meaning of doves in a dream is that you need to release any hatred you feel. So much for ignoring it!
I got serious about asking God to help me get rid of this hate. Matthew 5:44 came to mind. In the Amplified translation, it says, “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” This really isn’t my favorite Scripture, to be honest. It might be my least favorite in fact. Even so, that doesn’t mean it can be ignored. I started praying for them. Not just as my in-laws or my husband’s sisters. By name. I forced myself to think of each one of them specifically as I prayed for them. Somehow it felt like the right thing to do & I am so glad I did it!
The first two or three times I did this, it was hard. I wasn’t sincere. I was only praying for them because I knew that is what God wanted me to do. Then little by little, the hatred started to disappear. It didn’t just vanish all at once. It took lots of praying for them, & with each prayer, a bit of hate would disappear.
Once I’d decided to pray for them, I noticed that often, I’d think of them out of the blue, & get really angry. Rather than sit with that anger, I’d pray for them. Even if it was just a simple prayer, asking God to turn their hearts to Him or to bless them, I’d still pray it. And you know something? The more I did that, the less the anger reared its ugly head.
I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I’m not saying that all is forgiven & forgotten, we’re going to be best friends now. I am still angry about the terrible behavior they have exhibited towards my husband. That is reasonable, I believe, because we should always be angry about someone we love being mistreated, but especially when the abusive person shows no signs of remorse. I also will continue not to have a relationship with them for the rest of our lives.
Praying for them took me to a much more reasonable & even Godly place. God doesn’t want His children hating others, but He does want us hating what is evil, according to Romans 12:9. Abusing someone without remorse or changing behavior is evil, so there is nothing wrong with hating such things. There is also nothing bad with having healthy boundaries in place. Examples of setting healthy boundaries are sprinkled all throughout the Bible.
If you have gotten to a place that I was where you hate someone, then please consider praying for that person as I did. It really is worth the effort. It truly helps! It’ll help the person you’re praying for & it’ll help you by allowing you to release that hatred in your heart.
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In families with narcissistic parents, the person who marries into this family is in for quite the adventure. I learned this from my own experience, but apparently a lot of stories are very similar to mine. Parents decide immediately whether or not they like the person their son brings home. That decision is often based on simply ridiculous, trivial things such as what kind of work does she do or where she grew up. It can be even more ridiculous such as something about her appearance being a problem. If she is too pretty, if she is over or under weight or maybe she is tall when their family is short. It also could be simply a matter of differences in personality. Rather than be polite for the sake of their son, they hate this new woman in his life. They also demand she respect them while not returning respect to her. And, their definition of respect is that she be seen & not heard, only doing what benefits the family. Her needs & wants mean nothing to this family.
In these situations, the family functions as one unit in an “it’s us against her!” manner. As I have said before, they remind me of the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. They all function as one, focused only on what the Collective dictates. In this case, the Collective is usually a narcissistic mother pulling everyone’s strings to make them act according to her whim. One whim the “Collective” usually has is to tell the son & have others in the family tell him as well what a terrible person this new woman is. She isn’t good enough, she stole him from their family, she keeps him from them & similar lies are the most common, but some also will say more drastic things she is unfaithful, steals, uses drugs & more.
It never seems to cross their collective mind that this man could get fed up & walk away. And really, why would it? No doubt he has tolerated all manners of maltreatment & even abuse at the hands of his family. They place demands on him like giving them money or otherwise bailing them out of their problems with no thought to how this could affect him, & he does as he is told. Why wouldn’t he? This is what he has done his entire life. Often siblings in these situations call this one mean spirited nicknames his entire life, even as an adult, as an attempt to let him know that he is still a child in their eyes.
Families like this are entitled beyond belief. They honestly think they are entitled to treat this poor man any way they like. By default, they believe they are also entitled to treat his significant other just as badly. They have groomed this man to take any abuse they dish out without complaint, & expect the same behavior from his wife. If she complains, all hell can break loose.
At this point, families like this don’t consider anything that led up to the complaints. They only see the problem at hand, which is someone is setting boundaries on their abuse. The horrors!!
Sadly, the son in this situation doesn’t often realize how disrespectful & insulting his family is to him.
His family has no respect or love for him if they won’t at least try to be civil to the woman he loves. If they did, they would manage basic civility, unless of course that woman was abusive to him.
Clearly his family also thinks he’s stupid. After all, they expect him not to think for himself, but instead to blindly listen to them regarding his life. As if he doesn’t know what is best for him or isn’t smart enough to choose a good woman to marry! How insulting is that?!
It’s a truly sad situation! If you are in this situation, my heart goes out to you! I pray you & your spouse can work together to set healthy boundaries with this Borg-like family. Being clearly a team is the best thing you can do as a couple in this situation.
It seems that many people have some very black & white opinions when it comes to those of us raised by abusive parents. No doubt you have experienced some of that thinking first hand. Hasn’t at least one person told you that parents always love their children, you’re not honoring your parent by setting boundaries, your parent didn’t abuse you because they never hit you or other similar comments?
There is another example of black & white thinking & it comes with going no contact with your abusive parent. Many people assume that eliminating your parent from your life means you hate that parent. Not long after my mother died, I ran into an acquaintance. He said, “I’d say I’m sorry to hear about your mom, but I know you’re glad she’s gone.” I thought later that no doubt many people think exactly the same thing.
What people who think this don’t realize is the children of abusive parents don’t always hate their parents. Some do, yes, but not all. In fact, I would guess that most love their parents. It’s their behavior they hate.
These folks also fail to realize that because we don’t hate our abusive parents, we end up with a lot of confusing & mixed feelings about our parents. Those feelings are seldom validated, even by some who have survived similar situations to ours. Some I’ve spoken with actually got angry at me for not hating my parents like they did. Some also said I needed to accept that they’re just evil & forget about them. People can be very cruel sometimes!
For those who are in the position of having gone no contact with their abusive parent(s), I just want you to know that whatever you feel, your feelings are valid!
If you hate your parent(s), that is valid. It’s understandable to feel that way after someone inflicts horrific abuse on you!
If you love your parent(s), that too is valid. We all only get two parents & that gives them a very unique position in our lives. It’s understandable to love them even if they have hurt you terribly.
If deciding to go no contact was an easy decision for you, that is valid as well. You knew what you needed to do & followed through with it. That is great you were able to do that!
If deciding to go no contact was a tough decision for you, that is valid too. It’s a big decision, & not always an easy one to make. Some people naturally struggle with that decision more than others.
I also want you to know that protecting yourself is ok! It’s a good thing to do, even if you are forced to protect yourself from your parents. Not all parents are capable of loving their children or being good parents. It isn’t your job or duty to tolerate their abuse just because they’re your parents.
Protecting yourself from them also doesn’t make you a bad person, heartless, spoiled or a fake Christian. It doesn’t mean you’re dishonoring your abusive parents, either. It means you are putting your mental & emotional health above your parents’ sick need to abuse you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Having chosen no contact with my parents, my heart truly goes out to others in that situation, because I remember the struggles, the guilt, the doubt, the intense anxiety & the useless & even cruel input of others at that time. Many people have been in this situation other than you & I. You’re not alone! If you need support, there are plenty of online options. There are counselors & pastors that can help as well. Mostly, there is a loving God who wants to help you. Let Him. You won’t be sorry!
Many people realize the truth will set you free. They know that even the ugly, painful truth is always better than a pretty lie, & no matter how much it may hurt, always aim for truth in their lives.
Then there are other people who are nothing like that. They prefer pretty lies any day. They excuse the bad behavior of others readily & deny those people have done anything wrong. These people are practicing something called willful ignorance.
Willful ignorance is a legal term which basically means a person has made a poor decision to circumvent information as a way for people to avoid making uncomfortable decisions. On a more personal note, it is the avoidance of information or evidence that would force a person to face something unpleasant.
One of the best examples of this came from my personal life. As I’ve written about before, at the time my father was dying, I had been no contact with him for several months. My family attacked me via any means possible daily, trying to force me to go say goodbye to him. Every time I would block one means, they’d find another. I finally asked God why. One of the things He said was that me staying away meant I was proving that not everything was ok. If I would have gone, that would have shown them that my father was the great guy they wanted to believe he was. I was threatening their willful ignorance.
This also happens in cases where a person is abused by their parent, spouse, in-laws, etc. & other people refuse to believe it rather than get involved & try to protect the victim.
While it is certainly understandable to avoid painful things, willful ignorance is incredibly dysfunctional. It sets people up for disappointment & unnecessary suffering because they refuse to acknowledge the warning signs most people see. It hurts those closest to those who engage in this behavior because they are helpless to help the person they love. These people are so devoted to their dysfunction that they will ignore what the person who loves them says, & will fight with them to protect their denial.
It is so hard being in this situation, whether you are the one practicing willful ignorance or the one who loves someone who practices it.
If you are the one practicing it, please stop! I know the truth can be scary & painful, but by avoiding facing that, you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself. You need to know that God loves you & will help you to face whatever needs facing. If you have trouble with that due to having an abusive parent figure in your life, He understand that too! Be honest & tell Him just how you feel. It’s ok! I can promise you, He won’t cast you into hell or strike you down with a lightening bolt. He will gently help you to see you can trust Him which will help you to start facing the painful things you must face.
And, if you are someone who loves a person who is willfully ignorant, I want you to know that God understands your pain & frustration. Ask Him to show you how to support our loved one in a healthy way. He will! Don’t get sucked into the dysfunction either. Stick to the truth & don’t let this person convince you of their false beliefs. Keep your boundaries in place & protect yourself from the dysfunction of this situation. This person has the right to engage in their dysfunction to their heart’s content, but you also have the right to engage in healthier ways. Part of that means protecting yourself & not getting involved in their dysfunction.
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After ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist, they are often quick to get back into dating. They seem to think this makes them look like they weren’t the one with the problem in the relationship. Or, maybe it is an attempt to make the one who left them believe they were the problem in the relationship. After all, in their opinion, if the narcissist was really the problem, how could he or she find someone else so quickly?
What most people don’t know is behind the scenes, the narcissist is acting out of a narcissistic injury. Narcissists seem to think their victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely without complaint. It’s just assumed that the dysfunctional status quo will continue to be the dysfunctional status quo forever. When a victim finally says enough is enough, & ends the relationship, they are genuinely stunned. I have yet to know of one narcissist who wasn’t stunned when their victim ended the relationship with them, no matter the nature of the relationship.
When a relationship is ended against their will, narcissists seem to think something along the lines of this: “This wasn’t how this was supposed to happen! What is wrong with this person? I’ve been nothing but good to them! After all, I put up with them for so long! I just don’t understand why this person would leave me! It makes no sense! I financially supported them &/or put up with their trivial needs &/or listened to their whining (in other words, confrontations about the abusive behavior. Never mind the narcissist didn’t change it).”
Ending a relationship with a narcissist creates a huge blow to their ego! While any normal person receives a narcissistic injury to some degree when another ends a relationship with them, it is a great deal more devastating to a narcissist.
Also, when this narcissistic injury happens, narcissists don’t respond to it as a normal person would in this situation. A functional person would take time to mourn the loss of the relationship & figure out how to be a better significant other in their next relationship, if they want one. Narcissists instead plot their revenge against the person who broke up with them.
Maybe the narcissist had another relationship on the side, so it looks to those who don’t know about this person that they found someone very quickly. Only the ones closest to the narcissist know the truth in this situation. No narcissist wants to be seen as a cheater, since many people look down on such behavior. However, that won’t stop a narcissist from having a “back up” boyfriend or girlfriend. Even if they don’t expect anyone to break up with them, having another (or several) romantic partner makes them feel more desirable & builds up their ego. Either way, having someone else on the side is a win/win for narcissists.
In this situation, if the narcissist doesn’t have someone else on the side, they may want to get into another serious relationship quickly. They seem to think that if someone falls in love with them, it proves they are good people. They fail to realize that it’s all too easy to fall for the good person act narcissists put on, but in time, there will be times they slip up in their act & let their true colors show.
Other narcissists prefer not to get into a serious relationship, but date a lot of people. Maybe in their mind it proves that they are desirable because they can attract many people. Attracting one person may not be a big deal to them, but attracting many makes a good case in their minds for them being very desirable.
It can be easy for victims who see this to think maybe they really were the problem all along. Maybe they’re not worthy of love. After all, the narcissist has moved on quickly. It must be them.
Nothing could be further from the truth!! If you are or have been in this situation, please know that whatever the narcissist has tried to make you think is wrong. Sure, you’re imperfect. All humans are! But that doesn’t mean you are unlovable or bad or whatever the narcissist said you were. If that person is moving on quickly, that isn’t a good sign! It’s a sign that the person most likely is a narcissist trying to make you look & feel badly. That is no reflection on you! It is, however, a reflection on them.
Narcissists expect everyone to be just like them. Not only do they expect other people to lie, manipulate & project, but they expect other people to share their likes, dislikes, beliefs & more. When others aren’t exactly like them, narcissists shun & try to change those people.
My late mother in-law & two sisters in-law have been great examples of this in my life. My personality is naturally quite different than theirs. We never shared likes, dislikes, beliefs or really anything in common.
The three of them hated how different I was, & tried to make me like things they did. Usually by insulting things I care about, like my mother in-law insulting me for “liking to be all dirty” by helping my husband repair our car. There was also manipulation though. In passing, some time before Christmas one year, I’d mentioned to my mother in-law how I dislike cooking. Apparently she told her daughters, because that Christmas, all three of them gave me cooking paraphernalia. Cookbooks, utensils, food, seasonings & more. I refer to that Christmas as the Christmas of cooking.
They all are much more extroverted than me, too. Naturally I’m pretty quiet but compared to any extrovert, I seem excessively quiet. One sister in-law told my husband that I was a snob, thought I’m so much better than them & treated them all as, “Poor white trash”.
My own family is no better. My parents insulted my writing even before I started writing about narcissism. My mother called it a “waste of time”. My father asked me one day in a skeptical tone, “Does anyone even buy those books you write?” Others have insulted me for writing about the topics I do, in particular my faith. Obviously I’m not a good Christian in their opinion, because of what I write about.
There is nothing abnormal about this at all for narcissists. This is how they all seem to think. If you don’t fit inside their box, that means you’re bad, wrong, stupid & even crazy.
If you have witnessed this sort of behavior, it’s not your imagination. Really, this is how they & their flying monkeys act! You’re not overreacting! Maybe you were on the direct receiving end of the hatefulness. Maybe you have seen it happen to others, for example in an online forum. If you were a witness to this behavior & defended the person that was targeted, chances are you quickly were targeted. Anyone who disagrees with a narcissist is targeted. Their egos can’t handle that someone might think they are wrong about something, so rather than reflect & consider their own perspective, they prefer to attack an innocent person.
If this is your situation please know there is nothing wrong with you. Your flaws are only in the mind of the narcissist. Everyone is different, & that is ok! There is nothing wrong with you for having different likes & perspectives from a narcissist. There is nothing wrong with you for defending someone you think it was unfair of them to attack or at least judge & criticize. In fact, I think defending that person makes you a good person because it shows you won’t be one of those people who does nothing in the face of injustice. That is a rare & wonderful quality!
Just remember, when this happens to you that this isn’t proof that something is deeply wrong with you. It proves that something is deeply wrong with the one behaving in this manner. Healthy, functional people accept that not everyone is the same & even appreciate the differences in others. Only completely dysfunctional, closed minded & foolish people want everyone to be just like them.
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Toxic shame is a serious problem among those who have survived narcissistic abuse. This type of shame goes far beyond thinking things like, “I shouldn’t have done that”. Toxic shame thinking things like, “I’m a terrible person because I did that.” In other words, toxic shame judges the person rather than the act.
The reason toxic shame is so common in those who have survived narcissistic abuse is because of the way narcissists abuse their victims. Overt & covert narcissists may be quite different in many ways, but both types will not hesitate to use shame as a weapon. They harshly judge & criticize their victims about everything. Nothing is off limits! The victim’s religious beliefs, morals, hobbies, likes, dislikes, taste in clothing, taste in cars, career choice, significant other, children, extended family, friends…. You name it. Anything can be used. They criticize the victim for caring about what they care about & not caring about the things they don’t care about incredibly harshly. They imply or even say outright that something is very wrong with their victim for feeling as they do. They must be stupid or even crazy. My mother gave me a very good example of this a few years before she died. I don’t like donuts, & apparently she was unaware of that. One day she mentioned liking them & asked which kind I liked. I said none. She said, “You don’t like donuts? What’s wrong with you? You can’t be my daughter!” At the time I was thinking, “I wish!” but I also realized what was happening. I didn’t feel the same way she did, & rather than simply accepting we felt differently about something, she tried to shame me for being different.
The underlying message that narcissists give when shaming their victim is this: “You must not make mistakes, have your own feelings, thoughts, needs or interests because that makes you unacceptable, unlovable, intolerable, stupid &/or crazy.”
Toxic shame is a very effective weapon for narcissists, especially when their victims are unaware of what exactly is happening. Over time, the shame takes a deep root in a person. At that point, it annihilates one’s self esteem because they believe they are seriously broken, flawed & unlovable. It also destroys a person’s identity because the shaming made this person think they shouldn’t feel or believe as they do. It can make them doubt that they really feel or believe that way. Or, more commonly, they may purposely try to change because it seems better than dealing with the narcissist’s cruel shaming.
This toxic shame also can create false beliefs in a person, such as the person isn’t entitled to have any needs, wants or feelings. When married to my ex husband, I repeatedly told myself I needed to ignore my needs, wants & feelings & focus on him. I truly felt that I wasn’t entitled to have such things, only he was.
An overdeveloped sense of responsibility can come from toxic shame as well. A person can come to believe that they are responsible for others, including their emotional state. This is especially true of the narcissist in their life. If someone they know is sad, they should cheer that person up. They should fix all of the problems in that person’s life. They come to believe that their own life isn’t as important as this other person’s is.
There are ways to heal from toxic shame. Prayer is always the best place to start, in my opinion. Ask God to speak his truth to you & to heal you.
Study about who you are as a child of God. There is plenty in the Bible that proves you are worthy & wonderful. I created a pretty long list of these Scriptures. It’s available on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com on the Positive Affirmation link at the top of the page.
If you do these things, you won’t be set free of the bonds of toxic shame overnight but it will happen. Don’t give up! You deserve to be set free!
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Narcissists have an incredibly skewed view of loyalty.
Narcissists demand blind loyalty from people in their lives, no matter what. The average person has the sense to realize that if they do certain things, people in their lives won’t approve, & if they do really bad things, they will lose those people. While this seems like common sense, it’s not to narcissists. Those in their lives are supposed to be blindly loyal to them no matter what they do. No matter how badly they abuse & cause pain & suffering, their victims are supposed to remain by their side. They could set an orphanage on fire on Christmas Eve while kicking puppies & they would expect people in their lives to support this decision whole heartedly. Failure to support the decision is proof of disloyalty to the narcissist.
Narcissists demand people forgive & forget any egregious behavior on their part, no matter how horrific. A part of the blind loyalty narcissists demand from their victims is for them to forgive & forget, so the narcissist can continue abusing them without consequences. Any confrontation from the victim seems to be taken as a betrayal by the narcissist. They act like the victim has no right to complain about their behavior. Narcissists also expect others the victim may tell about the abuse also to forgive & forget, to make excuses for the abuse, to deny it ever happened or to blame the victim for making the narcissist behave in such a manner. Doing those things proves loyalty to the narcissist.
Narcissists seem to take their children growing up as a form of betrayal, as if the child has done this terrible thing on purpose just to hurt them. Children grow up. Everyone knows this. Except narcissists. To them, growing up proves their children are nothing but disloyal, disobedient & out to hurt their narcissistic parent.
All narcissists expect blind obedience, & lack of blind obedience is taken as a betrayal & sign of being disloyal. Overt & covert narcissists demand obedience in different ways, but make no mistake about it – they do demand it. Overts will use threats or raging while coverts use guilt, shaming & act disappointed in those who disobey them. Either way, whatever a narcissist wants someone to do for them, it’s expected to be done post haste, & not doing so is proof of disloyalty. Even if whatever the action is goes against someone’s morals or causes physical pain or financial loss, if the action isn’t done, the narcissist will see this person as disloyal.
Narcissists are of the mindset, “If you’re not for me, you’re against me.” Narcissists take a difference of opinion as a personal attack & proof of your disloyalty. They can’t seem to grasp that people don’t all think like them & it’s ok. Thinking differently than them is wrong in their mind & proof a person isn’t to be trusted.
Clearly the view of loyalty narcissists have proves their thinking is very messed up to put it nicely. Like their views on other topics like respect, their views on loyalty are incredibly dysfunctional & wrong.
Actually, the way narcissists view loyalty also explains a lot about the people narcissists are close to. They share these very skewed views of loyalty. They also have absolutely no integrity to be so incredibly loyal to someone like a narcissist even when they know the person is harming other people. Any person with a conscience couldn’t be so loyal to a person with such terrible character deficits.
If the narcissist in your life says you’re disloyal, then take it as a complement! It shows you’re not thinking the same warped way they are!
I really am a firm believer in writing things down. It gives you clarity & insight & is one way to help you heal from trauma. That being said though, speaking out loud has its pluses too.
The Bible has a LOT of Scriptures regarding what we say out loud. Possibly the most powerful example being Proverbs 18:21 which says that there is life & death in the power of the tongue.
So many verses focused on one topic tells me that topic is very important, otherwise God wouldn’t have wasted space in the Bible discussing it. We need to be well aware of the importance of our words, even in the area of healing from narcissistic abuse, & use them wisely.
Sometimes you have to speak things out loud to heal. It can help you to hear the words describing what you have been through as well as seeing the reactions others have when you tell them your story. Discussing traumatic events can help you to get validation from others & even to validate yourself. I found writing my own story when I wrote my autobiography was incredibly validating. Seeing clearly on paper what I went through was eye opening. But, hearing yourself talking about the horrors you experienced can be validating as well. Something about getting your story out of you either verbally or in writing can be incredibly therapeutic. It makes the events more real, somehow. Possibly because after experiencing repeated abusive & traumatic episodes, a person often becomes desensitized to it all. It hurts, sure, but it just is what it is. Speaking about these things removes the desensitizing even if only for a while.
Talking also can be helpful for processing the trauma. Some people do better with writing theirs, but there are others who are helped more by speaking about it. Something about verbalizing things helps people to process their pain or come to ways to help them process it & heal. That is one of the purposes behind talk therapy, after all.
Also when you talk to someone, they can help you to see things from a different perspective. That can be incredibly helpful sometimes!
If you talk to another victim of narcissistic abuse, there is another potential benefit, too. They may have found ways to cope with a similar situation to yours, & can help enlighten you to new ideas that may help you. Or, they may have made mistakes & can tell you what didn’t work & why. Both are very beneficial.
I learned another benefit of talking several years ago. I wrote about it when it happened. May 5, 2016, I had a huge argument with my parents. I knew it was coming, so before I took their call that night, I asked God to guide my words. Well, He did, but not as I expected Him to! Rather than remaining calm & providing no narcissistic supply, I yelled, cussed & cried. As soon as I hung up the phone, I got in prayer. I told God I was so sorry! I must have somehow missed His guidance.. maybe I should call my parents back & apologize. As clearly as I’ve ever heard His voice, He said, “No. Your parents needed this. They needed to see their normally calm, rational daughter terribly upset because of them.” Why, I have no clue but I know He knew. It also showed me that although most times when dealing with narcissists, it is foolish to be outspoken with them, there are certain times when it is necessary. If you trust God, He will help you to do it.
While talking about things obviously can be helpful in many ways, never, ever forget to be wise with whom you share your story of narcissistic abuse. There are many people out there who support narcissists, & will hurt you for talking about your experiences. If they know the narcissist, they’ll also tell him or her everything you say. Remember Matthew 10:16, & be wise as serpents, harmless as doves!
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Six years ago tomorrow, I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Naturally, this was a life altering experience. I want to share some of what I learned with you.
Coming so close to death will make any person reevaluate their life. It certainly did me. However, doing that shouldn’t happen only due to such a traumatic experience. It’s important to take inventory of your life regularly. Doing so can be quite eye opening & encourage you to make some positive changes.
I learned acceptance is incredibly valuable. I don’t mean giving up, I mean accepting the situation for what it is. I had no idea of what to expect after leaving the hospital. The staff told me nothing other than what I experienced was no big deal. I was terrified & confused when I didn’t recover quickly. I learned all I could about carbon monoxide poisoning recovery & also about concussions because I still believe I got that too from hitting my head when the poison made me pass out. It was all pretty overwhelming! The list of possible symptoms a person can have after both carbon monoxide poisoning & concussions is as long as my arm. There also isn’t much hope of the symptoms healing. Many sources said that healing happens in the first 9-12 months, & if a symptom is still there after that time, chances of healing are very slim. Honestly, this was depressing & scary. I realized that I might as well accept them & work with them the best I can. Of course I still wanted to heal, but I also accepted that may not happen. Accepting that helped me to have more peace about the situation. It also helped me to accept other difficult things easier. Acceptance can be a powerful & helpful life skill!
I had to learn to work with my situation quickly, & that skill is incredibly useful. I make use of things that help me, such as a calendar on my phone to help with my lack of memory. I also am aware of my limits more now than I was before, & try to work with them. Whatever the situation, if you can learn to work with it that is a very good thing. Of course you can hope & pray the situation improves, but if you learn to work with it, if it doesn’t, you’ll be ok.
My situation also reminded me just how fast things can change in life & change drastically. Never, ever forget that! Remembering it will help you not to take things or even people for granted. Always remember to tell your loved ones how important they are to you & that you love them. Be free with complements, even to strangers. Little things like that not only make a person’s day, but what if those are the last words you say to someone? Wouldn’t you want to leave a person with such a lovely memory of you?
Since a situation can change so quickly, I’ve realized the value of enjoying every possible moment. There are many good things to enjoy in life, so why not enjoy them? Staying too busy isn’t good for your physical or emotional health anyway so why do it if you can avoid it? Plan as much time as you can for things you enjoy in life. I try to spend time each evening indulging in hobbies I like. In fact, I’ve noticed not doing this regularly makes me very anxious & depressed. A little time spent doing one of the crafts I enjoy is vital to my mental health. What hobbies do you enjoy that you can participate in often?
I know these life lessons are pretty simple & even common sense, but they’re also easy to forget. Life can be so distracting! Please try to remember them anyway & enjoy your life as much as possible!
Narcissists are notorious for their scathing criticisms & verbal abuse. Overt narcissists in particular love telling their victims how fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, useless they are & more. They have no problem spelling out their victims’ supposed flaws very clearly.
When the narcissist in question is a parent, this is often the norm. That child probably doesn’t remember any time where their narcissistic parent wasn’t obviously cruel with their words. Other relationships with narcissists are different, however. No one would get involved with a narcissist if they saw upon meeting them how cruel they were. Possessing the ability to be creative in ways to abuse, they have found a fantastic tool that allows them to abuse while not appearing to be abusive. Covert narcissists use this tool constantly, while overts usually only use it at the beginning of relationships. This tool is called negging.
Negging subtly tears down a person’s self esteem while not appearing to be abusive. Negging is done by offering complements that aren’t really complements but insults disguised as complements or constructive criticism. The comments also can involve comparing a victim to someone else, “one upping” or brushed off as “just joking”. Some examples are:
Negging is also commonly used when a narcissist is trying to start up a romantic relationship. They may say comments such as:
If someone you just meet says things like this, these could be red flags of narcissism. Your best bet is not to engage this person in any relationship.
If someone you are already in a relationship does this, there are ways to cope. Show no emotional reaction, remember you have the right to protect yourself with healthy boundaries such as refusing to discuss certain topics with this person, don’t insult the other person back as they can use it to prove how unstable or mean you are.
Negging can be difficult to recognize at first due to its subtle nature. If you are unsure if someone in your life is treating you this way, write down what happens. Sometimes seeing things in front of you can help you to see situations more clearly. Or, talk to someone you know who is supportive & emotionally healthy. They will give you a good perspective. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you about this, contact a domestic violence center near you or the National Domestic Abuse hotline. Examine your life & how it has changed since this person came into your life. Is this person isolating you from your friends & family, for example? Isolation is a very big red flag of abusers. Even if this person isn’t obviously trying to keep you from others, does this person insult those you love? That is a very subtle way of isolating someone.
I wish you the best in your situation!
Low contact is exactly as it sounds, when a person has low contact with another. It isn’t discussed a lot in the circles that discuss narcissistic abuse, which is really a shame.
If you are in the position of not being able to go full no contact, such as in the situation of having joint custody of children together, low contact is an excellent alternative. Or, if you want to go no contact but don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet, low contact can help you get to that point. Low contact is different than no contact in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once. It can be done little by little, & each little step you take increases your confidence in your ability to set boundaries with the narcissist. Or, if the narcissist in your life is low on the spectrum, you may find that low contact makes the relationship much more tolerable & decide not to go full no contact. In any case, low contact really can be a very helpful tool!
Whatever your situation with the narcissist, if you are considering low contact, I’m sure it’s for a very valid reason. At their absolute best, narcissists are VERY difficult to deal with & at their worst, impossible to deal with, even dangerous to one’s physical & mental health. Be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself!
If you think low contact is a good option for you, you are probably wondering where to start. I’ll tell you how I did low contact with my parents, & you can decide if this would work for you or not. I started by not answering the phone every time my parents narcissist called. That boundary was clearly a shock to them, but although they were angry, they realized they couldn’t rage without appearing foolish. Rather than rage, they made some snide comments like, “You didn’t answer the phone yesterday.. I thought you were mad at me.” Naturally those comments hurt at first but I realized that was the intent behind them. My parents were simply upset that I was setting a perfectly reasonable boundary.
I also started setting limits on how long we were on the phone together for the first time. My parents always determined how long our calls lasted, so this was a little trickier. Saying, “I have to go” didn’t work so I needed to get creative. I also don’t like to lie, so that also made this really tricky. I sometimes rang my doorbell so my dogs would bark & say, “Doorbell rang. Dixie’s barking, you hear that? I need to go.” Other times I used another phone to trigger the call waiting on the phone I was using so they’d hear the beep & they’d let me go so I could respond to the beep.
My parents lived not far from me, & my father in particular wanted to visit often. He often invited himself to visit my home. Thankfully he would call a few days prior at least rather than just showing up. When he called saying he wanted to visit soon, I would say things like, “Tuesday isn’t good.. how about Thursday instead?” It didn’t take long for him to want to come by less often. Clearly, he didn’t like me taking some control back.
The more boundaries I set, the more confident I became in my ability to set boundaries & eventually go no contact. This is normal! Each small step you take creates not only more space between you & the narcissist, but also builds your confidence. You see you can do one thing, then gain the confidence to do something a little bolder, then a little bolder yet & so forth. Before you know it, you’re ready to implement no contact, if that is your goal.
And something else happened – the more boundaries I set & the more comfortable I was setting them, the less my parents wanted to do with me! They began avoiding me. Their phone calls & visits became much less frequent. Also, their calls & visits became much shorter in duration, too. This also is normal! Narcissists naturally have an aversion to boundaries & to healthy people. Low contact truly is a wonderful thing! It helps victims reclaim some of their power & confidence while repelling narcissists. I want to encourage you to give it a try! I believe you will be very pleased by the results!