A Little About Flying Monkeys

Isaiah 5:20  “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (KJV)

 

So many people who know the narcissist are completely devoted to that person.  Commonly known as flying monkeys, they will defend the narcissist at all costs, even in spite of glaring evidence of the narcissist’s wrong doings.  From what I’ve seen, this phenomenon is especially common among marriages where one spouse is an overt narcissist & the other covert, but it also happens among child/parent relationships, other familial relationships or even friendships.

 

Whether these people realize it or not, they are condoning & enabling narcissistic abuse.  Sure, they aren’t necessarily holding a victim in place while the narcissist verbally or physically attacks, but they are condoning & enabling it nonetheless!  By not speaking up to the abusive person or by telling the victim things like “You need to honor your mother & father!”  “Just let it go”  “I’m sure she didn’t mean it the way you took it!”  “You’re oversensitive/being dramatic!” they basically are telling the victim, “There is something wrong with you for being upset about being abused!  Let that person abuse you & take it with a smile!”  This can be extremely mentally damaging for a victim!

 

I have been through this myself as well as talked to so many other victims who have experienced similar situations, & all of us have been deeply hurt or damaged by such cruel, invalidating behavior.

 

While the behavior of the flying monkey may seem like they simply don’t know any better or they want to help, the simple fact is their behavior can be very damaging, no matter what their intentions are.  It really is best to avoid them whenever possible & let God deal with them.  He certainly is not pleased with their behavior, & Isaiah 5:20 is proof of that.

 

When it’s not possible to avoid them, there are some ways to cope that may help you.

 

If the flying monkey starts talking about the relationship between you & your narcissistic parent, telling you what you need to do to fix it, it’s time for a subject change.  You can say, “I’m not going to discuss this topic with you,” then change the subject.  Or, you can simply change the subject. You also can say, “If you continue trying to make me talk about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room)” then follow through on your threat.

 

Sometimes, simply ignoring the flying monkey is the easiest way to cope.  If you get a text or an email, for example, those are easy to ignore.  My mother’s flying monkey has emailed several times about my mother.  Each time she does, I simply ignore her email.

 

Never engage the flying monkey in a conversation about the narcissist.  You WILL regret it.  You’d regret beating your head into a brick wall less than you would talking about that topic with a flying monkey.  Flying monkeys are extremely confident that the narcissist is right, & that you are wrong, bad, mean, etc. & they will say or do anything to try to beat you into thinking the same way.   Do NOT discuss the narcissist with the flying monkey!

 

If you are the crafty type, like to have a little fun & have a kinda warped sense of humor like I do… you can actually crochet your own flying monkey!  I found a pattern for one!  I’m going to make a few of them, because I know seeing them will make me laugh if I have the misfortune of dealing with any flying monkeys.  I already have a name for one in mind- after one of my mother’s flying monkeys.   The link to the pattern is below.  If you end up making one too, I’d love to see a picture & if you name it, would love to know why you chose that name.  You can email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com if you’d like.

 

http://www.amigurumitogo.com/2015/11/flying-monkey-amigurumi-free-pattern.html

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Exciting News!!

I know, I’ve been posting a lot of animal posts lately, but they have been on my heart a lot too.  Partly because I have lost two beautiful cats since May, but also partly because of the two cuties below….

 

There are two precious new members of hubby’s & my family.  Meet Grace O’Malley (named after an Irish pirate queen).  She has a heart on her back!!!!  How cute is she?!  She is extremely feisty & loving at the same time.

 

And this is Fergus (named after an Irish king), her brother… is he not adorable?  I found him in the food bowl his first morning here.. lol  Fergus is also extremely feisty, & very protective of Grace.  He’s a wonderful brother.

 

One of my best friends texted me about a week ago, saying she knew someone fostering 4 very young kittens in need of a home.  They were about 4 weeks & in need of a home.  They were born to a barn cat who had abandoned the litter.  She was hesitant to ask me if I’d take them because we have lost 2 kitties in the last 3 months, & honestly, everyone in our household is having a hard time with the losses.  After talking to my husband & finding out Grace has a disability, we decided to adopt two of them.  I am so incredibly glad we did, too.

 

Grace & Fergus have been home since about 5 on this past Monday, but already are a very loved part of our family.  Punkin is a great big  brother, which isn’t surprising.  He’s a kind, gentle kitty.  Plus since he has feline PTSD, he’s very compassionate.

 

As I type this, Grace is napping on my chest, so if you see typos in this post, that’s why.. not easy to type with a kitty in your face..lol

 

After losing two other precious cats in such a short time, I’ve realized that adopting new ones fairly quickly is a good thing.  I’m not trying to replace the ones we lost by any stretch, but instead, honor their memory by adopting other babies in need.  The bonus is these two being young babies, they are at the super fun, silly stage of kitten development, so they are cheering everyone up just by being their cute selves.

 

It can be so hard when you lose a beloved furbaby.  That being said, adopting a new one in need can really help to heal your broken heart.  They can’t replace the one you have lost, but they can bring more love & joy into your life which helps to mend your broken heart.  Please consider doing so!  There are so many animals in need!  If you can save even one, you are doing a wonderful thing!!!

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Addiction

Recently, I watched a TV show about Jim Morrison, singer from the rock band, The Doors.  I’ve never been a Doors fan, but the show seemed interesting so I watched it.   It struck me very sad that apparently, the French authorities didn’t even do a proper autopsy on him.  They found out he was on drugs & an alcoholic, & pretty much just disregarded his death.  Morrison was treated as sub-human because he was an addict.

 

This isn’t terribly surprising.  So many people with an addiction are looked down on by society.  It’s really sad, when you think about it.  Someone who has an addiction is most likely trying to escape something.  Chances are good they know the damage to their bodies that drugs, alcohol or even overeating will do to them, yet they do it anyway.  They also most likely know that their addiction can separate them from their loved ones, bankrupt them, make them lose a job & so much more.   How desperate they must be to partake in something that can do so much harm!

 

After watching that show, & thinking about it, I felt that it would be a good idea to remind you, Dear Reader, not to judge addicts.  These poor people are going through something terrible.  Just because they made a bad choice by choosing drugs, alcohol, etc. to cope doesn’t mean they are worthy of disdain.  Everyone makes a bad choice at some point.  It’s just a part of being human.

 

I admit, I’m not close to anyone personally suffering with addiction, so this is hardly my area of expertise.  However, some things seem like common sense.  Such as, if you know someone going through an unhealthy addiction, please don’t judge them.  Offer them unconditional love & support, while refusing to enable their habit.  If someone is going to kick an addiction, they are going to need support & love to help strengthen them.  Also, scolding or shaming will not help!  They know they’re doing something wrong- reminding them of how many people they’re hurting or telling them they’re weak for being addicted won’t help.  It’ll only serve to make them feel worse, & I would think push them towards their addiction to escape the shame they feel.  It certainly would me!  Even if you don’t understand, at least try to see things from the other person’s perspective.

 

 

 

 

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Good Can Come From Bad Times

Haggai 2:6-9  ““This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (NIV)

 

God showed me this Scripture in 2008.  My marriage was in a bad place, & I was seriously considering divorce.  As soon as I read the above Scripture, I realized what was happening.  I felt shaken to my core as it was a terrible time.  Yet, as time went on, my marriage improved drastically.  It became so much better than it had been prior to the “shaking”.

 

Recently, another “shaking” happened.  After a big argument with my parents in May, my mother has refused to speak to me, & my father barely speaks to me.  This extremely limited contact has given me a new peace & joy.  I’ve finally felt free enough to be completely myself for the first time in my life.

 

Dear Reader, if your life is being shaken up, good can come from it!  God is not into waste.  Bad situations have a reason for happening, even if you don’t know what that reason is at the time.  God can & will make good come from even the worst situation.  It may not feel possible but it’s very true, I can promise you that.  I am still amazed at the good that came from some of the worst moments in my life.  God loves His children though, & wants to bless them in every way possible, especially in the hard times when blessings are needed.

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Animals & Post Traumatic Stress Disoder

Human beings aren’t the only ones who can suffer from mental illness.  Animals can as well.

 

Contrary to what many people seem to think, animals have emotions like people do, & even process them much the same way as humans.  This means that animals can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, following trauma.

 

Unfortunately for animals, they can’t verbalize their pain.  You have to observe your pet to figure out if they have PTSD, & it can be tricky to identify.

 

 

My 2 year old cat, Punkin, has Feline PTSD.  When he arrived in our home at 3 months old, I had no idea of this fact.  All I knew was he showed up on the deck of the neighbor of my friend’s friend, & he was in need of a home.  He was immediately friendly with the other cats, & seemed indifferent towards our dog, Dixie.  A few months later, Punkin attacked Dixie out of the blue.  My husband & I hollered at him immediately.   He stopped, looking completely baffled, then ran away & hid.  Thankfully Dixie didn’t even have a scratch, but she was visibly shaken, understandably so!  My husband was mad at Punkin, but I realized he looked like I felt during a flashback.  Once Punkin calmed down & apologized to Dixie (looking sheepishly at her & trying to be nice to her), I did some research & learned that yes, animals can have PTSD.  I realized some signs to look for, at least in cats, but probably they are much the same in other animals:

 

  • Kitty has been exposed to trauma.  The lady who gave Punkin to me never knew of any trauma, & certainly there hasn’t been any since he’s been living with me.  But, his attacking Dixie tells me he’s been through some terrifying experience with a dog before coming to me.
  • Kitty avoids things that remind him of the trauma.  For quite some time Punkin avoided Dixie.  He wouldn’t even walk past her or nap on the bed or sofa if she was napping there.
  • Heightened startle reflex.  If your cat doesn’t see you’re going to touch him, he may jump drastically when you make contact.  He can be very skittish.
  • Sudden loud noises (for example, dropping a pan) upset your pet.
  • Kitty can appear agitated or uneasy sometimes.  
  • Flashbacks.  These can be harder to spot.  Punkin looks different when it happens.  He turns vicious (he’s normally very gentle, sweet & loving) for a very short time, then looks confused, & then runs & hides.  After, he is skittish for a while.
  • Kitty can respond disproportionately to what is happening.  For example, someone suddenly picking up the cat startles the cat, who scratches &/or hisses.  This behavior may trigger memory of the traumatic event.

 

After realizing what was going on with Punkin, I had to pray to figure out how to handle this problem.  It’s not like I could take Punkin to a therapist, & he could discuss his feelings.  As far as I know, veterinary medicine doesn’t even acknowledge PTSD in animals, so even a vet check up wouldn’t help.  Thankfully God showed me some things.

 

  • I pray for him.  PTSD is nothing to take lightly, whether it’s in a human or animal.  Although Punkin is doing very well most days, he has his bad days too.  I pray for him on bad days as well as try to make him feel better if he’s open to it by offering extra love, playing or treats.
  • I follow Punkin’s lead.  If he wants to be left alone after a flashback, I leave him alone while keeping an eye on him from a distance to be sure he is OK.  When he’s feeling playful or loving, I go with it.  If he doesn’t want snuggles, I don’t snuggle him.
  • If Punkin does something that warrants correction, I don’t holler at him, since noise upsets him.  Instead, I say his name & tell him to stop it in a slightly louder than normal volume, but using a stern voice.  He gets the point without aggravating that startle reflex.
  • I try to keep life as consistent as possible.  (Since I have Complex PTSD, it benefits me too.)  I have a routine that rarely changes much.  This helps Punkin know what to expect.  It helps him to feel safe & secure.
  • I give Punkin a lot of love & reassurance.  He has no doubt he is loved & safe.
  • We’re very blessed with Dixie- she has been a great help with Punkin learning to trust her.  He sniffs her sometimes, as cats do, & she stays perfectly still, allowing him to sniff as much or as little as he likes.  She’s never aggressive with him, which has helped him see that not all dogs are mean.  She instinctively knows what he needs from her.  As a result of efforts on both his & her parts, they are now on civil terms.  In fact, sometimes he actually gives her a little love.

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Do You Believe People Too Easily?

I was watching one of my favorite shows on the ID channel last night, “Deadly Women.”  It tells stories of women who have killed, many are serial killers.  Interesting stuff when you’re into psychology & crime like I am.  Not to mention, it scares hubby- he swears I watch it to get ideas which entertains me.. lol

One of last night’s stories involved a woman who was married, had a couple of children & her widowed mother lived with her family.  This woman wanted to present the image of being far wealthier than they really were, so she ran up a lot of debt, & continually took money from her elderly mother.  Eventually, her mother stopped giving her money & she ran out of options.  She decided to strangle her mother & attempted to make it look like a suicide.  As soon as her mother was dead, she spent a lot of her mother’s money.  The police figured out what happened & arrested the woman.  The narrator of the story said there was no evidence of mental illness or abuse in this woman’s life.

At this point, my mind was blown. So obsessed with appearances that she murdered her own mother- does that sound like the actions of a mentally stable person?!

I got to thinking… how many people watching that show blindly believed the story as it was told?  How many were shocked by her actions because someone said there was no evidence of mental illness?  Probably a great deal of the viewers.  Most people tend to believe something, anything, when it is said with enough confidence, & that narrator sounded confident in the information she read.

I think that can be a very dangerous thing, believing people so readily.  Not that everyone is a liar or out to get you, naturally, but the truth is some people *are* liars or *are* out to get you.  If you’ve dealt with even just one narcissist in your life, you know that is the truth.  But also, even a well meaning person may inadvertently lie to you or mislead you simply because they have wrong information.  I believe it truly is best always to weigh all information for yourself.

I felt after watching that show last night that I should remind you, Dear Reader, that it’s best to think for yourself!  Don’t blindly take someone at their word, no matter how convinced they are of what they are saying.  Consider Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)  While Jesus gave this advice to his disciples, it seems like very good advice to me for anyone.  I have asked God for wisdom & discernment, & I believe it has helped me in this area tremendously.

I tell you this even about my writing- never blindly listen to what I say!  While I try to provide accurate & helpful information, I can be wrong,  Or, sometimes what I write about may not work for you or you simply disagree with something I write.   There are no one size fits all solutions in life, & especially when dealing with the main topic of my writing- narcissism.  So please, when you read what I write, consider it & how it relates to your individual situation.  Hopefully it helps you, but if it doesn’t, don’t try to make it work for you.  Find another solution that does work for you.

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Tomorrow Is Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Did you know that there is a specific day of the year devoted to loving our adorable feline friends?  Well there is!  Although in my home, every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day…lol

 

Black animals, cats especially, are the most overlooked in shelters & the least likely to be adopted followed closely by solid white cats.  Silly superstitions are probably behind this as well as misguided beliefs that black cats are always the familiars of witches, therefore evil.

 

I call b.s. on this.  Sorry to be crude, but the sentiment fits very well!

 

I have had 6 solid black cats & 3 solid white cats in my life as a cat parent.  They have been some of the most amazing, fun, silly cats I’ve had the privilege of parenting.  Magic was my first cat, & I have written about him before.  He was something special.  Loving, devoted, extremely intelligent & very opinionated.  He knew my moods better than any human ever has & responded to me well.  He protected me once when an argument with a former boyfriend not long after adopting Magic almost got physical (interestingly, the man’s dog did nothing- only Magic protected me).  He scared my mother in-law away from me once & another time pooped on her carpet to show he disliked her.  Magic was a handful & an extremely interesting way to start life as a cat parent, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He has been gone since 2007, & I still think of that precious guy daily.

 

Magic was just one example of the wonder that is black cats.  They are sleek & beautiful, often strongly resembling a black panther.  They are highly intelligent & intuitive.  They are creative, dignified yet can be silly sometimes.  All cats are wonderful, but I have found there is something special about black cats.

 

If you’re a cat lover but never adopted one, then I strongly suggest opening your home to one.  You won’t regret it!  It will be an experience you’ll never forget or regret  :)  Just look at these beautiful babies of mine… don’t you want to have your own mini house panther now too??  :)

 

Magic

Magic

Squeaky

Squeaky

georgie

Georgie

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy (Georgie’s brother)

zippy & sabrina snuggling

Zippy (front) & Sabrina at 3.5 weeks when we first adopted them

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

Some Thoughts On Pets

This past Thursday, we lost a beloved & very special member of our family.  Our cat Pretty Boy passed away suddenly of unknown causes at just over 14 years old.

 

I’m not sharing this for sympathy.  I’m sharing because I want to remind you fellow pet parents out there to enjoy every moment you have with your furbabies.  The time together can end in an instant, so make it a point to treasure every moment you have with them.  Pray for them regularly.  You may be surprised how much your furbaby likes it when you pray for them.  Pretty Boy had diabetes for 5.5 years, & I regularly prayed for him.  When I prayed for him in his presence, he purred & cuddled me.  It can be a bonding experience, praying for your furbaby.

 

Also, I have asked God to help me to understand & communicate with my furkids.  As a result, we are all very close.  And, I think this also has helped them to become the wonderful little creatures God created them to be.  It’s not just me that thinks they are wonderful either.  I’ve had several friends over the years who have said almost exactly the same thing- “I’m not normally a cat person, but there is something special about yours.  They’re so friendly & loving.”  I had one friend who was terrified of cats.. until he met my first cat, Magic.  Magic became his buddy in no time.  This friend also was no longer afraid of cats after spending time with mine.

 

Communicating with animals is possible, & God will show you how to do it.  It is beneficial for you as well as them, & draws you closer to the furbaby.  I wrote some about it in my book, “Pawprints On Our Hearts” & will discuss it in a bit more detail in an upcoming blog post.   Job 12:7 says, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)  God will allow us to communicate with animals & be blessed by it.  It is truly a glorious gift He has given us, to communicate with these wonderful creatures He has made.  By communicating with mine & becoming so close to them, I have been blessed more than I can say.  In fact, one of those blessings has come in the form of music.  As my cat Weeble, was dying in May, she told me that the song “Angel” by Jon Secada reminded her of me.  I still have trouble listening to the song since losing her was so recent, but at the same time, it gives me comfort.  Also about a year ago, I was listening to Queen when the song “I Was Born To Love You” came on.  Pretty Boy & I were snuggling when he stopped & looked at me, giving me the slow blink cats do when saying they love you as the song came on.  Immediately I knew he was saying this was our song.

 

Just because… here is a picture of Pretty Boy.  RIP, my angel boy.  I love you with all my heart & will see you again one day soon..

 

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy

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Grief

As I wrote about earlier today, our little family became a bit smaller recently with the sudden loss of our cat, Pretty Boy.  Losing a furbaby is absolutely the worst part of having pets.  It feels like my heart has been ripped out, to tell the truth.  Not only because of my personal loss, but watching my husband & the other furbabies grieve is so incredibly painful too.

 

Thankfully, I’m surrounded by friends who love animals as much as I do, or at the very least, understand how much I love them even if they are not avid animal lovers themselves.  They have been sending their condolences & praying for my little family, which is simply awesome.  I’m incredibly grateful for them!

 

Unfortunately, not every single person in my life is this kind.  My narcissistic parents come to mind.  As of the time of me writing this post, they don’t know about Pretty Boy, & I hope to keep it that way for a while.  The reason is they end up hurting me each time I lose a furbaby.  My mother has said things like the one who passed is better off dead than with me as his or her mom, “at least you don’t have any sick ones anymore”, repeated a story about losing her cat when she was 14 years old, or simply ignored my loss.  My father sort of tries to be comforting, but he has no idea how to.  He has no empathy.

 

When you’re grieving, whether it’s losing a human or furbaby, you are especially vulnerable to the cruelty of narcissists.  They know this, & that is why they attack at this awful time.

 

I want to remind you Dear Reader, & myself as well, that it is very important to protect yourself during such fragile times.  There is nothing wrong with keeping a distance from narcissists when you are grieving.  In fact, it is a wise thing to do to protect your mental health.

 

You owe them no explanation as to why you need time to yourself, either.  Just state that you need some time to yourself, & if they insist on calling, texting, visiting, etc., ignore them.  Don’t answer the phone or the door.  That is your right!  If later when you speak to them, they try to shame you for not answering their calls, etc., simply remind them you told them that you needed time to yourself & ignore the guilt trips!  Easier said than done, I know, but it can be done.  I’ve done it myself.  By calmly stating that fact & ignoring the guilt, the narcissist may get annoyed, but sees that the tactic isn’t working, so usually he or she abandons it.

 

Also, narcissists don’t understand what it’s like to grieve.  To grieve means you loved someone, which is something narcissists don’t do.  This may mean they try to invalidate your feelings or shame you for grieving.  Do not allow their poison to get inside you!!  Just because they are unable to love someone enough to grieve a loss doesn’t mean you are wrong for grieving.

 

When you are in the throes of grief, it is especially important to take good care of your mental health.  Do your best to rest often, do nurturing things that help you to feel better, eat healthy & avoid toxic people (especially narcissists).  You need to do these things so you can go through the painful grief process, & eventually learn to live without that special person or pet.

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Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave Bruises

Since writing my newest book, I have been feeling more of a pull to help those who don’t know why certain people in their lives treat them so badly.

 

 

I used to wonder why my mother treated me so poorly.  I felt as if I was a bother & huge disappointment to her, & like I should stay invisible until she needed me for something.  My ex husband said she treated me badly, but once we were married he treated me the same way.  Both wanted to control me- how I looked, what work I did, who I spent time with, even what kind of car I owned.

 

I never thought of this as abusive.  Not right, sure, but abuse left bruises.  If they didn’t leave bruises or broken bones, it couldn’t be abuse, right?  Wrong.

 

Abuse comes in many forms.  Most everyone knows about physical abuse- when someone causes physical harm to another person.  But, did you know physical abuse doesn’t have to cause injuries?  It is also physical abuse to be threatening (such as punching walls), refusing to allow someone to leave, or driving recklessly.

 

There is also sexual abuse.  Forcing intercourse while threatening with a weapon isn’t the only way a person can be raped or sexually abused.  Saying things like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me” is sexual abuse.  Disregard for a partner’s physical or emotional pain & forcing want you want on them through physical means or guilt is sexual abuse.  These are very common examples of sexual abuse that most people do not consider abusive, yet they are.  Behaviors like these leave victims very anxious or depressed, feeling ashamed, guilty & often thinking things like they are being silly since this request isn’t so bad, they should just do what their partner wants & ignore their own needs/feelings/wants or even that there is something deeply wrong with them for not wanting to go along with their partner’s request.  Others who have not experienced this type of abuse don’t understand the damage it can do.  Many people don’t think a husband can rape his wife, so when she tells people that he did, she is treated as if she is crazy.  Sexual abuse is extremely damaging in so many ways.

 

If you have read much of my work, you know I discuss narcissistic abuse a great deal.  That is because it is extremely common.  Many psychologically abusive people are narcissists.  (psychological abuse includes mental/verbal/emotional abuse).  People who manipulate others, put their needs/wants/feelings/etc. above those of others, who are extremely critical either overtly or more subtly, tell others how to feel, or invalidate you are often narcissistic.  You can read more about narcissistic abuse on my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

Because these kinds of abuse leave no bruises, many victims are told get over it, that it’s no big deal or even doubt that what the victim claims is true.  This leaves victims alone, depressed, & often feeling as if they’re going crazy.  Abuse also can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

If you are in one of these situations, please know you’re not alone!  You also aren’t crazy!  If you feel something is wrong, then it is wrong.  Trust your instincts!  Also, pray.  God will show you the truth.  He will show you what is wrong in the situation as well as what you need to do to escape it & to heal.

 

If you are looking for safe people to talk to,  I have a Facebook group.  The members are kind, caring, supportive & wise.  You’re very welcome to join us if you like.  :)

 

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

What Is Reverse Projection?

Those of us who have experience with narcissists understand projection.  That is when the narcissist accuses you of doing what she is doing.  She lies regularly, but calls you a liar.  He is critical & judgmental, yet accuses you of the exact same behaviors while denying he is that way.

 

So what is reverse projection?

 

I’m honestly not sure it’s even a known psychological term, but the name does describe the behavior well.  Reverse projection is when the victim tries to project her own good qualities onto her abuser.  She tries to see the good in a bad person so hard, that she says the abuser is the good things that she really is.  She claims her abuser can be very caring & compassionate when the truth is she is the only caring & compassionate one in the relationship.  Or, she believes her abuser is as honest as she is, when the fact is the abuser is a liar.

 

I believe reverse projection may be pretty common in those abused by narcissistic mothers.  Not only have I done it, but have known other victims who have as well.

 

It seems to be a coping skill.  I told myself growing up that my mother was overprotective because she loved me so much rather than face the truth that she was extremely controlling, & not out of love, but because I was there to serve her as she wanted.  If the victim in the throes of abuse can believe the abuser is abusing them out of love or is basically a good person, it makes the abuse more tolerable.  Believing what is done is being done for you own good or out of love makes you willing to tolerate it because it’s a display of the love you’re so starved for.  You also take the blame off of them for abusing you, & accept it onto yourself.  You begin to believe you deserve those terrible things done to you, so in your mind, the abuser is absolved of responsibility.

 

While these things may help you to get through a traumatic situation, it’s not good to hold onto the beliefs!

 

Reverse projection means even if you’re no longer in relationship with your abuser, you may still thing well of her rather than face the truth- she abused you.  Being realistic will help you to accept that yes, you were abused, yes, things were bad & yes, you have been adversely affected by it all.  Once you admit these things, & only then, can you begin to heal.

 

And if reverse projection helped you to accept responsibility for being abused, that will create plenty of problems in itself.  It’s unhealthy to accept responsibility for being abused because you did nothing wrong!  Doing so creates a root of toxic shame inside, & toxic shame creates so many problems.  It destroys your self esteem, it sets you up to be abused by others, it makes you unable to accept help when you need it & more.  You also are carrying the abuser’s shame when it’s not yours to carry.  That shame needs to be laid square on the abuser, never on the victim.  Whether or not the abuser carries her own shame is up to her, but it is never your responsibility to carry it!

 

Accepting responsibility for being abused also takes it off of the abuser.  The abuser is the one who needs to be responsible for her actions, no one else.  Chances are, she won’t accept that responsibility.  She’ll blame you for making her do those things or flatly deny they even happened.  She may even accuse you of making things up just to hurt her, & make herself into a victim.  Even if she does such things, that still doesn’t mean you need to accept responsibility for her actions!

 

Whether or not you’re still in a relationship with your abusive narcissistic mother, I would like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start looking at her realistically.  Is she really caring?  Honest?  A good person who just has some bad moments?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at someone honestly.  In fact, it will help you a great deal!

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My New Book Is Available!!

After a conversation with a dear friend in early July, she inspired me to write a new book.  It is designed for a slightly different audience than usual.  Normally I write for those of us who know at least some about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This book, however, is written for those who know something is wrong with a person in their life who is extremely selfish & manipulative, but they just aren’t sure what it is yet.

 

“It’s Not You, It’s Them: When People Are More Than Selfish” helps these people to understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, deal with the behaviors if they opt to stay in a relationship with the narcissist, & ways they can help themselves heal.

 

I’ve learned so much about NPD in recent months & have felt such a strong desire to help victims of narcissistic abuse & raise awareness, I believe this book had to be written.  Admittedly, I’ve never written a book so quickly before, but I believe it must be for a reason.  I pray God is going to use it mightily.

 

If you’d like to check out the new book, the timing is good- my publisher is offering a sale on all print books.  15% off with free mail shipping until August 14.  Simply use code AUGSHIP16 at checkout

Links are below..

 

Ebook:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/656668

 

Print book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/its-not-you-its-them-when-people-are-more-than-selfish/paperback/product-22817234.html

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Another Control Tactic Of Narcissists- Interrupting

As anyone subjected to a narcissist for any length of time knows, narcissists love to control other people.  It gives them a sense of power, which gives them narcissistic supply, in other words, feeds their ego.

 

One tool they use that seems innocuous is interrupting others.

 

Interrupting seems like simple bad manners, but with narcissists, it is much more.

 

Narcissists only care about themselves & procuring narcissistic supply, & interrupting gives them a couple of ways to gain that supply.

 

For one thing, interrupting is often done if the other person in the conversation is not discussing the narcissist or anything about the narcissist’s life.  The narcissist will interrupt & turn the conversation back to what she wants to talk about- herself, her accomplishments, how talented she is, etc.  Most people who have been interrupted allow the conversation to take the new turn, seldom returning to the original topic.

 

Another reason narcissists interrupt is that taking over a conversation gives them a sense of power.  They were able to redirect the conversation, which makes them feel powerful, & provides narcissistic supply.

 

Interrupting may seem not worth fighting over, but anything that provides a narcissist supply can make them want to use you more & more.  That is why it is vital if you’re in any relationship with a narcissist to provide as little supply as possible.  The more supply you provide, the more they will use & abuse you.

 

Interrupting is pretty simple to deal with. My narcissistic mother uses this tactic constantly, & I have learned from her the best way to deal with it is not to deal with it.  I ignore her as much as possible & show no reaction to her.   If I’m talking with someone else & she interrupts, I ignore whatever she is talking about, then when she is finished talking, resume the conversation she interrupted.

 

Sometimes, she uses more unusual methods of interrupting.  Once in a restaurant, my father & I were talking about a topic she wasn’t interested in.  As we spoke, she picked up a napkin, held it to her nose & acted like she was blowing her nose, making loud, gross noises with her mouth.  My father & I stopped talking, & she took the napkin away, & began laughing a very creepy, unsettling laugh.  It was painfully obvious she did this to get attention, & it worked.  Not only were my father & I looking at her, several others in the restaurant were as well.  Thank God, He showed me immediately she just wanted attention, so I quickly resumed the conversation with my father, as if nothing happened.  When ridiculous antics are her interruption tool of choice, I ignore them too.

 

The same goes for nasty comments to interrupt.  When she says something hateful, it’s obvious it’s just to gain attention/supply.  Another example was during dinner with my parents & grandmother once many years ago.  My mother told my father what to order.  He said he wanted a change, & asked what I was going to get.  I said the taco salad, & he decided to try one.  When dinner arrived, he & I were talking.  My mother looked at our plates & loudly said, “It looks like someone threw up on your plates.”  I acted as if she hadn’t said a thing, & continued talking to my father. It annoyed her- my father reacted to her by giving her a shocked expression, but I ignored her.  I’m sure the goal was to get an equal reaction out of me.

 

Ignoring is pretty easy, but sometimes having no reaction can be difficult.  If you remember exactly why this is happening, & how you do NOT want to provide narcissistic supply, that helps you to stay calm.

 

Prayer also helps.  Ask God to help you before you answer that phone or visit your narcissistic mother.  He truly will not disappoint you!

 

Once your visit is done, you’re going to be angry &/or hurt.  Don’t hold it in!  Get it out by praying, talking with a safe person, or journalling.  Maybe a combination of all of them.  Whatever works for you.

 

By staying calm & ignoring your narcissistic mother’s petty interruptions, you are taking back control.  It also will frustrate her, & she will use this tactic less & less frequently.

 

 

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When Narcissists Ignore You

Another control tactic narcissists use is by ignoring their victim.  Whether it is pretending the person didn’t say anything or the narcissist didn’t hear the person (when they obviously did) or the silent treatment, ignoring a victim is about control.

 

Being ignored may not sound very effective, but it can be surprisingly so.  It communicates the message that the person being ignored is so awful, they don’t even deserve to be acknowledged.  This message can be absolutely devastating, especially when done repeatedly.

 

It also makes the person being ignored work harder, trying to get the ignoring person’s attention.  The person feels they must make it up to the ignoring person.  Make what up?  They rarely know, but they know they have done something so horrible, it made the ignoring person not want to speak to them.

 

If the narcissist in question has hearing problems, she may use it to help her ignore you.  She may have what I refer to as selective hearing.  If you say something she doesn’t like, she may act like she doesn’t hear you.

 

My narcissistic mother has ignored me more times than I can count.  She has hearing problems, & uses it to play innocent claiming she didn’t hear me say something.  Yet, I’ve tested her hearing.  If we’re discussing something & she isn’t happy with what I’m saying, she without fail says, “What’s that Honey?  I can’t hear you..” until I’m practically screaming.  If the conversation is normal, I can practically whisper & she hears me fine.  She also gives me the silent treatment on a regular basis.

 

Thanks to her ridiculous behavior, I have had to learn healthy ways to cope.

 

My mother started using the silent treatment with me sometime in my childhood.  I don’t remember when exactly, but I remember her using it most often when her abuse was at its peak in my late teens.  It used to upset me terribly!  I would beg her to tell me what I did that was so bad, & she would respond with, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!”  *sigh*  I finally had a revelation.  If she wouldn’t talk to me like the grown up she was, then whatever I supposedly did couldn’t be so bad.  Or, if she wouldn’t tell me, then chances are it was because she didn’t have a leg to stand on- I probably didn’t do anything bad at all.  Instead, she was trying to get me to work hard to earn her love back.    This knowledge was very helpful for me.  I no longer felt the need to work hard to earn her love.  I have come to appreciate the silent treatment.  I now think of it as a break from the drama & head games my narcissistic mother loves to play.

 

When she ignores me or uses her selective hearing, I involve my father or whoever else is there.  As typical with narcissists, my mother does NOT want to look bad in front of others, so this works to my advantage.  If she ignores me, I give my father a look of frustration or ask him to get her attention since she’s ignoring me.  Then, he will call my mother by her name & mention me saying something, which forces her to acknowledge me.  Once I have her full attention, I can repeat what I was saying.  Of course, this works well when someone else is there only, which is another argument for not being alone with a narcissist.  Having witnesses can be a very helpful thing, plus the narcissist usually behaves better when there are people around to impress.

 

I also remind myself whether she is simply ignoring me or giving me the full blown silent treatment that she isn’t doing this because of me.  She is doing it because there is something wrong with her.  Mature, normal, healthy people don’t treat other people this way.  They discuss issues & work things out.

 

I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me, Dear Reader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes Out Of Your Biggest Problem Can Come Your Biggest Blessing

Recently, a friend pointed something out to me & she was absolutely right.  Since the fight with my parents in May, I’ve changed.  I’m much freer & enjoying life more.

 

I have to wonder why this is.  I think it may be because I finally realized my own value.  I don’t deserve the things that my parents do to me.  Logically I knew this but the extreme insensitivity of their actions really drove that point home for me during that fight.

 

It’s funny how things can work out.  This very painful, bad event turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I’m shocked, because I was extremely hurt & angry for quite a while after it happened, even wondering if I’d ever come to terms with it.  But, God helped me to do that.  Since I have dealt with my feelings about it though, I have become much happier than I’ve been in a very long time.  I’ve even started being myself for the first time.  Some time back, God told me to research the personality of a wolf, as I share many of their traits.  For the first time, I see those traits in myself.  I’ve also been having a lot of fun & being silly.  I crocheted a small Pennywise (the evil clown from Stephen King’s “IT”) for hubby & have been putting him in strange places around the house to surprise him. Hubby has since started doing the same thing to me.  We’re having fun just playing, & it feels good!  I’ve also almost finished a new book in record time.  I’ve been able to focus more on my writing & have a new fire in me to help those who have been affected by narcissistic abuse & to raise awareness.

 

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”  (AMP)  This Scripture is absolutely true!!  The situation I mentioned above is evidence of that.

 

Please be encouraged, Dear Reader.  Whatever you are going through, something good can come from it.  God wastes nothing.  He can bring you blessings even out of your worst hurts.

 

 

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20% Off Two Or More Print Books!

My publisher is having another great sale on print books.  20% off if you buy two or more.  Simply use code 2FORYOU at checkout.  Sale ends August 7, 2016.

 

Find my books at:

 

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

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Compassion

Recently something seriously annoyed me.

 

A friend of mine shared that he was sick on facebook.  Rather than being met with compassion, he was told stories.  Stories of how awful the condition he had was, & stories of “I went through that in 2013.  Here’s what happened to me.”  No one asked how he was feeling, what did the doctor say or even said they hoped he would feel better soon.  I was the only one who said these things & that I was praying for him.

 

I’m not saying that to brag.  I’m saying this because it bothers me that there was so little compassion & concern!  This selfishness is so typical, even among non-narcissists.

 

Matthew 24:12 says, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV)  We are seeing this in droves today & it’s very sad!

 

There is so much happening in everyone’s life, it can be easy to get caught up in our own life.  It also means sometimes we’re too preoccupied to think before speaking.  Even so, Dear Reader please think of others!  If someone tells you they have a problem, don’t tell them you went through it too, you heard their condition is really painful, or about someone you know who died from it.  Take a second to consider a good response instead.   Some examples are:

 

“I’m sorry to hear that!”

“Are you ok?”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“What did the doctor say?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I’m here for you.”

 

People need compassion & understanding, especially these days when there is such a great lack of it.  Why not be one of the few who offers it to those in need?  A little compassion can make a big difference to someone who is suffering.

 

 

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A Good Cause

Dear Readers, I’d like to ask you for a favor today.  Please consider helping out the really good cause I’ll describe below.  And, if you are unable to help financially, please pray or if you know of resources that may be able to help, contact me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

 

A good friend of mine has set up this page:

https://www.gofundme.com/2gn8htw

in order to try to pay the electric bill at his garage.  He is a very good, kind man.  Joe has served our country, & is disabled as a result.  He has opted to start his own auto repair business, but it has fallen on tough times.  His electricity has been cut off, & the electric company will not work with him on creating a payment plan.

 

Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!!  xoxo

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Why Do People Abuse?

Being interested in why people do the things they do, I’ve wondered why some people abuse & others don’t.  Recently, God helped to answer that question for me.  I hope this will help you to understand as well.

 

***Before I go any further though, please know that I am not saying these reasons make it acceptable to abuse.  It is NEVER acceptable to abuse anyone, for any reason!  You have every right to protect yourself from abusive people, & you should do so for the sake of your physical & mental health!!  I only wondered about this as a matter of curiosity, & thought I would share since others may wonder as well.***

 

An odd memory popped into my mind recently: when I went to see my father at work probably 20 years ago, I ran into one of his coworkers I’d never met before while I was looking for him.  I asked if she’d seen him & she said yes, he was over there.  She also said she was glad I wasn’t her employee with the way I looked.  I was blown away!  I was wearing jeans, a simple shirt & my black biker jacket- granted, not professional but also not offensive.  Besides, I wasn’t going to this place for work.  Thankfully that was the only time I ever met this person.

 

As I remembered this, I realized it wasn’t just her- many people have thought they could do & say any old thing to me & if I got mad in return, I was treated like I was the one with the problem.  Some examples are:

 

  • My narcissistic mother.  Too much to list here, as you can imagine..lol
  • My mother in-law.  Where do I start?  From day one, she didn’t like me.  She told me right after we got married how disappointed she was he married me instead of an old girlfriend (who cheated on him, by the way).  She called my granddad stupid (she never met him), told me I should get rid of my cats & my car, has snooped through my purse & so much more.  When I got mad at her, she suddenly became the victim, which would start fights between my husband & I.
  • Various friends who expected me to do everything for them while they would do nothing in return for me, some even used guilt if I didn’t answer their call immediately.  If I said anything, they chewed me out since I was the one who had done them wrong, according to them.
  • The husband of a once very good friend of mine, a gay couple, twisted my words around on something I’d written on Facebook, & claimed what I wrote meant I was a “homophob” even though that topic wasn’t what I posted about.  My friend never read what I said, or listened to my explanation.  He blindly believed his husband, & chewed me out for my “homophobic” ways.  Then shortly after, he asked a favor of me.  After some prayer, I ended the friendship.  It hurt badly & still does, but sadly I think it was for the best.

 

Things like this are incredibly hateful & hurtful.  So what makes people think they can treat another person this way?  I wondered about it & asked God.  He showed me the answer.

 

When people are abused, often they try not to be like their abuser.  Sometimes, though, they go a different way.  They decide rather than be a victim again, they are going to be in control.  They’ll hurt someone else before that person can hurt them.  If they tear you down, you won’t have it in you to hurt them.  They have a deep seated fear of being abused, & this is how they deal with that fear.

 

People tend to be quite good at reading other people, whether they realize it or not.  People like I mentioned in the above paragraph can spot another victim easily, & will abuse that person rather than take a chance that person may be like them- wanting to hurt the other person before that person hurts them.  Plus, if someone has been abused before, they are already used to being a victim, which means they will make easy prey for an abuser.

 

Also, abusers want their victims to themselves.  In the situation like I mentioned with my friend & his husband, I believe the husband saw me as a threat somehow, because it didn’t take long after they were married for him to start such strife between my friend & I.  That incident happened about 2 weeks after they were married.

 

These things God showed me made a great deal of sense to me.  I don’t really understand thinking as abusers do, but I can see how someone could think that way.  It’s a dysfunctional form of self-preservation.

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What Matters To You?

My entire life, I thought if something mattered to me, but not to other people, it wasn’t important.

 

I believe this stems from narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists do their level best to convince their victims that nothing about them matters.  Not their feelings, thoughts, desires, or even their health.

 

Amazing how narcissistic abuse seems to infect every single area of your life, isn’t it?  It’s so insidious, that I didn’t even think about the fact I thought that what mattered to me should matter to others until recently.

 

Now that I realized there is a problem, at least I can fix it while sharing what I learn with you, Dear Reader.

 

To start with, I’m talking to God about it.  It’s the best place to start that I know of.  I asked Him, “What makes the things that matter to me less important than what matters to others?”  “Are my desires less important than those of others?”  He responded me by reminding me that no one is more important than another person.  My wants, needs, etc. are just as valuable as those of other people.  I matter!  I also asked God to help me remember such things when I slip up, which no doubt will happen sometimes.

 

I think it’s also important not to beat yourself up when you slip into old, dysfunctional habits.  I do that very easily simply out of habit, & it’s very unhealthy.  It’s depressing & damaging to self-esteem.  Rather than beating yourself up, why not just accept that you’ll make mistakes.  No one is perfect, & mistakes happen, especially when trying to form a new habit.  Shake it off.  Accept that you made a mistake & try not to repeat that mistake.

 

When you realize you’re improving in this area, celebrate!  Reward yourself for a job well done!  How?  That is up to you.  At the very least, thank God for helping you & tell yourself you did a great job.  Changing old mindsets & habits isn’t easy, so you should be proud of yourself for making the appropriate changes & allowing God to help you to do so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Book Sale!

My publisher is offering another sale.  15% off all print books with free mail shipping until July 31!  Enter code “SHIPSAVE16” at checkout.  The code is case sensitive, so enter it exactly as it appears between the quotes.

 

My books can be found at:

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

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Narcissists & The Double Bind/No Win Situation

Double bind situations are another common weapon of narcissists. This means they create a no win situation for you.

 

The most frustrating example I can think of from my own life happened when I was 17 years old. I recently started my first job at the local library, which is where my now ex husband was working. We struck up a fast friendship, much to my narcissistic mother’s dismay. She absolutely hated him upon first sight.

 

We often worked the same shift, closing the library. One night after work, we left the building together. My mother had come to pick me up (as I was not allowed to have a license or car), and told me never to leave work with him again because she hated him. The next time we worked together, he volunteered to hang back so I could leave first. Upon getting in the car, my mother said, “So the coward is hiding! He can’t even face me!” The next time, he left first and I hung back. Her response that time was to yell at me for him being so “cocky”, leaving work like that.

 

It was a completely, damned if I do, damned if I don’t situation. And, when trying to talk to her about it, she screamed at me. I should have known what to do, according to her. What was wrong with me for not being able to figure it out?

 

My mother created the perfect double bind situation. And it was miserable!

 

Double binds are all about control. Because you did something wrong (at least according to the narcissist), you will try something else in order to please her. When that is wrong, you will try something else. These situations may not seem controlling at first, because you are not being openly controlled. My mother never told me what she wanted- she simply expected me to know what she wanted, then screamed at me for not giving it to her. Other times when she has created these situations, she refused to speak to me in order to “punish” me for disobeying her orders that she never gave.

 

So how does one deal with the double bind situation? It is not easy. There is no way to deal with them completely successfully. With the situation with my ex husband at our work? I told him leave before or after me, or walk out with me. Nothing would please my mother, so why bother trying? Any time we worked together, my mother would either scream at me or more quietly tell me what a horrible person he was, and how stupid I was for spending time with someone so horrible. I figured since I was going to be screamed at anyway, I might as well do what I was comfortable with.

 

It also helps to remember that it is a double bind situation. There is nothing wrong with you- there is, however, something very wrong with a person who puts another person in such a situation!

 

Protect yourself with firm boundaries that you enforce however you need to.

 

Refuse to engage this person. When you are told what you are doing or have done is wrong in spite of there being no other solution, you can respond with, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” (Admittedly, that is a passive/aggressive sounding response, but it is suitable in this situation.) Change the subject. Do not apologize for your actions if you believe you were right.

 

Never show emotion. Emotion, good or bad, feeds narcissists their supply. Do not give them supply!!! The more supply you provide, the more they will take from you however they can get it.

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Narcissists & Baiting

Narcissists are obsessed with procuring narcissistic supply, which is anything that makes them feel good about themselves. Even negative attention can provide that precious supply, because to be angry at or even hate someone, you have to feel something for that person. (If you feel nothing for a person, they cannot anger or upset you because you simply do not care about them.) As I have said before, love them or hate them, it is not important to a narcissist. They can handle either love or hate, but never apathy.

 

One way narcissists obtain their coveted narcissistic supply is by baiting their victims. Baiting is anything done or said to achieve a negative or emotional response from someone. If they can make you angry, they have power over you. It makes them feel powerful and important. It proves to them that they matter.

 

As an example from my life, my mother loves to pick on my car. (Many of you know the story of my car. It was my Granddad’s, who gave it to my father in 1976. My father sold it to a junkyard rather than repair it in 1979. I stumbled across it in 2005, thinking it was simply a twin to their car. Shortly after getting the car, my father showed me the VIN he had written down in the 70’s from what had been his car. It matched mine- I have the same car that Granddad gave to my father!) My mother knows I was very close to Granddad & I love this car, so when she runs out of other ammunition, she tells me things like, “I wonder how many junk cars like yours are still on the road,” or, “I would NEVER own a car your granddad owned!” (Even though she did for 3 years). The first couple of times she said such things, I admit, I got angry. Livid even. Until I realized that was the goal. She wanted me upset so she could show herself & any other witnesses how horrible & crazy I really am. I realized it when I started to yell at her then she got a glimmer in her eye. Here we were, in a restaurant where one of my former teachers worked, and I was yelling at my innocent looking elderly mother. I stopped immediately. I refused to give her that supply!

 

If you too have been baited by a narcissist, know you are not alone. I think it is one of their favorite tactics, especially as they get older.

 

There are several ways a narcissist can bait a victim. Some examples are:

 

• You are accused of doing something outrageous and out of character, such as cheating on your spouse, doing drugs, or abusing your children.
• Insulting something or someone you love.
• They damage a piece of your property, usually claiming it to be accidental.

 

Baiting triggers your body’s fight or flight response, usually fight. Your adrenaline kicks in and heart rate increases in preparation for a fight. As a result, you do not have as much control over your responses. You do not think of good ways to respond until much later. Your body is using its resources for physical fighting rather than mental, which is why this happens.

 

There are some successful ways to deal with baiting. To start with, always remember that this behavior is baiting. It is designed to elicit a negative reaction from you to provide the baiter with narcissistic supply. It really is not personal against you- it is to make a sick person feel better about themselves by having so much control over you, you get very angry or burst into tears.

Do not fall into the trap! Stop for a moment to take a deep breath, then respond. DO NOT REACT!! Immediate reactions are never good- a response works much better because it means you have put some thought into what you say or do. Reactions happen without any thought. I wrote a blog post about it. You can see it at this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/responding-vs-reacting/

 

Leave this person’s company or hang up the phone. Why be stuck in this position if you do not have to?

 

Most importantly, show no emotion at all. Act is if this person said she was going to pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store later rather than something so cruel, it cut you to the quick. The less reaction you have, the less likely it is for the narcissist to use this to hurt you again or continuing trying to bait you in this area.

 

Once you are out of this person’s presence, vent. Get your anger and hurt out. Pray. Cry. Journal. Talk to a supportive friend or relative, maybe even a counselor or pastor. Honestly, what is said when someone baits you is hurtful, otherwise it would not be bait! While you should not let the person baiting you see it, that does not mean you need to carry around that hurt and anger. Get it out of you- you deserve so much better than carrying it around!

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Children & Crushes

When I was in elementary school, there was a boy who made my life miserable.  He stepped on my heels as we walked in line.  He slammed my fingers repeatedly between desks.  He basically was a jerk to me.

 

Naturally, I told my mother.  At first she said ignore him, which is basically what I knew in my heart to do anyway- I never reacted in front of him but instead acted like his antics meant nothing to me, even when they hurt me (I learned this survival skill early on by having a narcissistic mother).  After years of this, she eventually called & talked to his mother.  (Before you get excited, I’m reasonably sure it was simply because she wanted me to stop complaining or because she knew if she didn’t do something she might look bad, not out of concern for my well being.)  One of my fourth grade teachers, who was a lovely lady, but I think rather clueless on how to handle the situation, saw what was happening.  She took me aside & told me to wink at him sometimes.  Smile at him.  Both this lady & my mother said he was acting this way because he liked me.  He had a crush on me & didn’t know how else to show it.

 

Then a couple of years ago, my mother mentioned this boy.  She ran into him somewhere locally- a grocery store or restaurant or something.  She told me he’s now married with a couple of kids.  She thought I’d like an update on his life.

 

This all came to mind recently, & looking at this situation, I am baffled.

 

OK.  Let’s just say when we were kids he did have a crush on me.  Why was it OK for him to show me by causing me physical pain?  Did anyone once tell him that is NOT an appropriate way to show a girl you care?

 

Also, why did my teacher say to smile & wink at him?  Did she not realize my attention could only encourage his actions?

 

Did anyone realize that this was teaching me I deserve to be abused?!  It taught me love equals pain?  It also taught me I was responsible for other people’s actions.  After all, if I’d just ignore him or wink & smile, he’d stop what he was doing.  Riiiight..

 

And, why in God’s green earth did my mother think I’d want to know what he’s up to these days?!  Admittedly, I’m not even angry with him at all anymore.  However, that doesn’t mean I want to know the latest happenings in his life.

 

My point of all of this (aside from to rant..lol) is to talk to those of you who have or know little girls.  If a little boy is hurting her, she needs to be well aware that this kind of behavior it NOT acceptable!  It’s also NOT loving!  It’s abuse!  If this is how he demonstrates having a crush on your daughter, niece, etc. please tell her these things!  Tell her how to deal with him- by telling on him & protecting herself however necessary.  This kind of abusive, bullying behavior is not acceptable!  Maybe by him getting into trouble, he’ll learn his behavior is bad & he needs to change it.  Hopefully he’ll also learn to stop hurting little girls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30% Off My Print Books! Now Until July 24th

My publisher is having a really good sale right now until the 24th.  Use code “LULU30” at checkout to receive 30% off on all print books.  My books can be found at:  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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God Truly Wants To Help You Heal

God gave me yet another experience last night on just how badly He wants to help His children.  I realized I needed to write it out but rather than simply write it all in my journal, I thought I would share here in the hopes of blessing you, Dear Reader.  I apologize in advance- this probably will be long.

 

A few weeks back, I developed psoriasis on my face, surrounding my mouth.  Never had it before-I’ve always had clear, healthy skin- so it’s been rather upsetting feeling like I resemble Freddy Krueger.  Immediately I looked up what causes this awful skin condition & how to treat it.  For some odd reason, I never thought to ask God about it (not proud of this!).  I chalked it up to stress since it started not long after I lost one of my precious cats plus a few days later had the big fight with my parents, & hormone imbalances.  But, my husband kept saying how odd the location was.  Most people get psoriasis on their arms or backs or chests, but not me.  I agreed, it was odd, but had no answers & for whatever reason, didn’t think to ask God about it.

 

Last night, I went into the bathroom to put cream on my face.  I looked in the mirror & was glad to see the psoriasis is improving, slowly but surely.  I began to wonder why it was where it was, & suddenly, God spoke to my heart, & I knew the answer!

 

When I had that fight with my parents, I broke their rules- I yelled at them & even used some bad language.  I had been so caught up in feeling the pain of my loss plus the anger & hurt at my parents, I didn’t even realize I felt guilty for breaking the rules.  I also felt guilty for  feeling nothing for my parents.  Any emotions died for them during that argument- it was my final straw with them.  So while yes, stress & hormones played a part in why I got the psoriasis in the first place, my own guilt was why it’s around my mouth- because my mouth was the “problem.”  Kind of punishing myself for what I did.  The body is a strange yet interesting thing.  It can take out its own feelings on itself in very unusual ways, which is what happened to me.

 

Once I put the cream on, I returned to the other room, & got into prayer.  Years ago, I read Craig Hill’s book “Ancient Paths” about emotional healing.  I used one of his techniques that I’ve found extremely helpful.  I asked God if I should feel guilty for how I spoke to my parents.  Was I wrong?  Was I overreacting?  Before I could even finish what I was asking Him, immediately, He said I absolutely was NOT wrong- this was exactly what they needed.  They may disagree with me, but they needed to know that they really hurt me with their selfish ways.  They also wouldn’t have listened to me if I had spoken in a reasonable way about the topic- they wouldn’t have realized how devastated I was by their behavior.  They needed to see their reasonable, normally calm daughter so upset, that she acted totally out of character to understand the depths of how badly they hurt me.  Basically, they don’t understand or empathize with my feelings, but they know they hurt me.  Apparently that is something God wanted them to know.

 

As I was thinking about this after praying, I had a flashback..thankfully, it was the “mildest” one I’ve ever had.  I remembered back to 10th grade.  The boyfriend of one of my friends was hit by a car while riding his bike.  The day after the accident, everyone in school was talking about it.. in all the gory details.  Although I didn’t know this boy well, it was still horrific hearing about what happened.  I lost my appetite so I just took my lunch back home after the school day.  Later, my mother asked why I didn’t eat my lunch, so I told her.  Her response was awful.  Rather than show concern for this boy who happened to be the son of one of her friends, or show concern for me being obviously upset, she attacked me.  In an extremely shaming tone, she said things like, “You must really like him to be so affected by this.”  She shamed me for being romantically interested in this boy when the truth was I was simply upset someone I knew might die from a horrific accident.  The flashback reminded me of all the shame I felt that day.  Shame for doing nothing wrong!

 

After that, I remembered a similar incident.  Also in 10th grade, I took driver’s ed.  They showed what were known as “blood & gut” films- footage of the aftermath of car accidents.  The premise was to scare us enough to be careful drivers.  The films gave me nightmares.  One of which involved a fellow student from my economics class dead on the hood my grandfather’s Oldsmobile.  I still remember the nightmare- it was very vivid & terrible.  Strange too- I barely knew him, so I have no idea why he was even in my dream.  When I told my mother of this, her only concern was whether or not I thought this boy was “cute.”  Again, I was shamed for being interested in a boy that I had no interest in as my feelings were ignored.

 

As I pondered these awful memories, I asked God what this was all about.  He showed me why my mother has acted so outrageously in these instances.  She doesn’t genuinely care about other people, she hasn’t the ability to, & is jealous that I do.  Also, when I skipped lunch that day, it was proof I don’t have her issues with food (she’s an emotional eater), which was another reason for her to be angry with me.  Basically I reminded her of a flaw she has.  And lastly, my mother didn’t want me to be interested in boys because that would mean she was losing control of me.  If she could shame me for being interested in them, that would prevent me from being interested, & I would remain under her control.

 

Interestingly, by the way, as difficult as this all should have been remembering such nasty things, it wasn’t too bad.  I’m a bit tired today & have some mild body aches, but not bad compared to when other flashbacks have happened.  God strengthened me & enabled me to handle these things.  It was as if He was somehow  holding my hand as I faced things.   I’m not sure how else to explain it, but  I’m truly grateful He enabled me to do this!

 

The reason God reminded me of these instances was to show me that I have no reason to feel guilty.  There is no reasoning with my mother.  In her eyes, I am nothing but a tool to be used.  I mean absolutely nothing to her beyond what I can do for her.  Why should I feel any guilt or shame for not being willing to tolerate being treated as such?  And, in both of those instances, she was completely unreasonable & she put the weight of her issues on me.  This is not a safe person, nor is this someone I should feel bad for standing up to, mother or not.

 

As for my father, he did nothing to defend me to my mother after those instances.  He didn’t speak one word to her about her ridiculous behavior.  This was typical of him.  In fact, he even told me how hard it was for him watching me go through what I did with her when her abuse hit its peak in my late teens.  I ended up comforting him when he said that, when should have been comforting & protecting me.

 

All of this really got to the root of some problems, which is awesome.  Admittedly, it’s not fun, but to deal properly with problems, you need to get to the root of them.  As hard as remembering such things was, I am truly grateful God showed me such things because now I can heal & ditch the guilt & shame I have felt the past two months.  Hopefully the psoriasis will heal quicker now too.

 

If God did this for me, He certainly will do the same for you, Dear Reader.  He wants you to be healed & enjoy your life!  If you allow Him, He will gently guide you on the right road for your healing & strengthen you to face whatever you need to face!  And, once you face those demons, you can be set free!

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Talking About Your Trauma

I’ve been reading lately about discussing abusive & traumatic experiences.  It seems many people have very definite opinions on the matter.  Some think it is the duty of the victim to talk about it, to raise awareness & help other victims.  Others think talking puts unfair pressure on the victim, & they’ve been through enough.

 

It seems to me that in a way, they’re both right.

 

Proverbs 31:8-9 says,

“8  Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

9  Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  (KJV)

 

I believe this clearly states that it is right to speak up against abuse.  But, if you notice, it says to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”  That could be those who are still being abused & unable to escape, but it also could be those who are recently traumatized or even those who only recently realized they were abused (as abusers love to convince victims they are helping, the victim made them hurt them, it isn’t abuse, etc).  It can be hard or even impossible to talk about your trauma when you’ve only recently escaped your abuser or learned what was done to you was abuse.

 

So how do you know what is right for you to do?  Pray.  Ask God to show you what He would have you to do.

 

If you feel speaking about your experiences is the answer for you at this time, it can be scary, I know.  Lean on God to enable you to do it. Not everyone who discusses their abusive experiences is in the public eye.  God may not want you to write a book or blog.  He may instead send people across your path periodically who need to hear your story.  That calling is no less important than those who are in the public eye.  Helping people cope with their pain is an extremely important calling, no matter how it is done.

 

If you don’t feel the need to discuss your experiences, probably this means you have some healing to do first.  Talking about things really isn’t easy.  Abusers always make victims afraid to talk.  When you first escape the abusive situation or first realize what was done was actually abuse, you may need to think & pray a lot to come to terms with things.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  Do what you need to do!  Prayer, writing in a journal & even writing letters you never show to the abuser are excellent places to start.  Never feel bad if you’re in this place!  Everyone starts their recovery somewhere, & often it’s alone.  Besides, if you hope to be one who can help other victims, you have to be able to do so.  Self-care is vital!  You have to take care of yourself if you want to be of any help to others.

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Ways To Respond To Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Mental Illness

Not many people have a good grasp on how to treat people with mental illness.  Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD in particular seem to be targets for those with little to no  compassion.

 

Following are some examples of bad things people often say to people suffering with mental illness.  One thing that seems to diffuse people from further insensitive, invalidating comments is a calm, logical response.  Some examples of ways to use that logic follow the examples.

 

“It’s all in your mind.”  This one tells me the person saying it thinks you’re crazy & has no patience for you.  Not exactly something to make you feel all warm & fuzzy, is it?  A good response could be, “Well, yes it is.  It’s a mental illness after all.  Where else would it be?”

 

“Think happy thoughts.”  Well, gee, why didn’t I think of that?!  *facepalm* Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD can come with intrusive thoughts that may be impossible to control.  Depression steals your hope, anxiety fills you with often irrational fears, PTSD & C-PTSD steal your hope, fill you with fear in addition to reminding you of all of the horrible, traumatic things you’ve been through.  A possible response could be, “You seem to forget- my brain doesn’t work like yours.  It’s physically broken.  It’s not that easy for me to just think happy thoughts.”

 

“You should just…”  Unasked for advice is never fun.  It’s even worse when the person giving it has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. This one really gets under my skin, especially when it’s wrapped in fake concern.  “I mean this in love, but you need to get over that…” for example.  I’ve responded with, “Thank you but I didn’t ask for your advice on this subject.”  The person who did this with me stopped speaking to me for months after saying that, but I don’t know if that is a typical response or not.  She’s the only one I said that to so far.

 

“I know how you feel.”  No.  No you don’t.  You aren’t me.  You don’t live with the mental illness that I do.  We are two very different people.  So no, you don’t know how I feel.  <– I believe that is a good response.  I admit, I get snarky when told this.  My responses aren’t usually this nice.  Mine have been “You spent most of your life suicidal too?  You have C-PTSD too?  Aren’t those flashbacks terrible?  Oh, you don’t have them.. then I guess you really don’t know how I feel.”  Not nice, but it tends to get people’s attention when nicer comments don’t.

 

“That doesn’t sound so bad.”  I think people forget that we are all different.  What doesn’t sound so bad to one person can devastate another.  My high school guidance counselor told me this phrase after telling her my mother would scream at me & tell me how horrible I was.  It made me feel wrong for being traumatized.  I was young & didn’t know about narcissism then, so I didn’t respond.  Now?  I think I would say something like, “Maybe it doesn’t sound so bad to you, but you weren’t there.  You weren’t the one going through the trauma.”

 

“You can’t have PTSD.  You weren’t in the military.”  Unfortunately, because there has been attention on PTSD in soldiers, the rest of us with it resulting from non-military trauma have been disregarded.  It reminds me of when AIDS was first coming into the public eye in the 80’s, & people thought it was a “gay disease.”  AIDS isn’t a “gay disease”  & PTSD isn’t a “military problem”.  It’s a trauma problem.  And, reminding someone who says you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military is a very good response.

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A Strange Side Effect Of Parentalizing

Growing up with at least one narcissistic parents almost always means there was an emotionally incestuous or parentalizing relationship between the narcissistic parent & her child.  Since narcissists are so self-absorbed, they often have children to take care of them or to fill some need in their life.  This is where emotional incest, aka parentalizing, comes into play.

 

Parentalizing, parentification, covert incest & emotional incest all describe the same thing.  (To simply, we’ll use “parentalizing” in this post.)  It is when a parent & child’s roles are reversed, when the parent makes the child responsible for her emotional well being.  A parent who talks to a child about adult matters such as her sex life or failing marriage is indulging in parentalizing.  Although this behavior may not sound so bad, it is devastating to a child.  Her feelings & issues can be made worse when people tell her how lucky her parent is to have her to count on or other misguided comments such as,  “She needs you!”  “You have to be strong for her!”  “I don’t know what she’d do without you!”  On the outside, this parentalized relationship may appear loving & good.  The parent & child are close- what a wonderful thing!  When people see the relationship, they encourage it or make those misguided comments, often without realizing the harm this is doing to the child.

 

Children who have survived a parentalizing relationship with their parent or parents often grow up full of guilt, angry, depressed, possess poor relationship skills, are in co-dependent relationships, have a very overdeveloped sense of responsibility (feeling responsible for everyone in their life)  or have addictions.  Another side effect you rarely see mentioned though is the feeling of needing to be invisible, to blend into the background.

 

Parentalizing parents seem to take up all the space in the relationship with their child.  Be they overt or covert narcissists, they share one common thing- the fact that they come first in that relationship, period.  Through fear or guilt, they give their child the message that they are more important, & their child isn’t important at all.  Children often internalize the message, & as a result feel they must stay invisible so as not to disturb their narcissistic parent.  Never upset that parent!  Either comply with anything & everything the parent wants or stay strong for her..  All of these ideas are to please the narcissistic parent & avoid the rage that comes from not pleasing her.  These thoughts even continue into adult relationships, such as “If I’m good enough to him & give him what he wants, he’ll stop hitting me.”

 

Parentalizing parents also communicate the message that they aren’t able to handle things, they are weak, & need the child to clean up their mess.  This message tells the child that her needs are just too much.  Just existing is a burden to the parent.  Her needs aren’t important, including the need for validation.  In fact, often the only validation the child gets is when she is her parent’s “savior” by fixing her parent’s problem.  If she dares to express any need, chances are good it will be met with anger, even rage, so the child learns to fade into the background until she is needed.

 

Feeling invisible, I think, is rooted in shame.  We are ashamed of having needs, wants, feelings because we were made to feel ashamed of them.  Our parentalizing parent also gave us the message that we aren’t important.  Both of these things, I believe, work together to create a root of toxic shame.  Toxic shame can cause you to feel so ashamed of who you are, that you don’t feel worthy of anything.  You assume people won’t want to help you or even talk to you.  Simple things most people don’t think twice about can be a challenge for you, such as leaving your home.  You may feel so ashamed of who you are that you don’t think you should bother people with your presence.  Even expecting help from salespeople, service people, or staff in a hospital may seem impossible because of that deep root of shame.  It’s surprising just how deep shame can go.

 

So what do you do to get rid of toxic shame?

 

First, pray.  Ask God to help you to heal.  Obey any instructions He gives you.

 

Next, push yourself outside of your comfort zone sometimes.  The more you see you can do things successfully, the more confident you will become & the less hold shame will have on you.  Sharing things with trustworthy people, you will see that other people actually do care about you which helps as well.

 

Also, question the shaming beliefs when they come up.  Why do you feel so ashamed of yourself for wanting something?  Why do you feel to blame for a situation where you had no control?  Things like this.  Ask God for the answers if you don’t know them.  And, ask Him to help you to release those beliefs.

 

I have learned these things help a great deal.  I have slipped up, unfortunately, & when I have stopped doing these three things, I fell right back into old, dysfunctional & miserable patterns.  For them to work, you have to keep doing them, even when it gets uncomfortable.  Remind yourself of these things often.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Old Anger Coming To The Surface

The other night out of the blue, I thought about the fight with my parents in May.  As if that didn’t anger me quite enough, then I thought about when a year or two ago, when my mother called me & said my father told her my ex husband hit me.  She asked if that really happened & said if she would’ve known, she would’ve called a lawyer. (a lawyer, not the cops?! Trying to profit off it?)  Both my parents saw me all bruised & battered right after it happened, & didn’t give a damn.  My mother blamed me, in fact, for “making” him do that.

 

So many other times my parents haven’t cared about me popped into my head.  (gotta love intrusive thoughts..gggrrr!)  The hateful comments when I’ve lost a furkid, such as, “they’re better off dead than with me as their mom.”  Or, “Oh, you still upset that cat died?”  a week after losing a furbaby.  Snide comments when my back was injured, thanks to my mother, about being lazy.  Or, criticizing my writing- it’s trash, a waste of time, no one wants to read it, etc.

 

This morning I’m still very angry.  It sickens me how anyone can be so cold & cruel to another human being, but especially their child that they are supposed to love.  I can’t fathom treating anyone that way.

 
I felt embarrassed about being so angry.  After all, part of being a Christian is forgiving others easily.  Preachers speak about it constantly.  “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger!”  “Forgive so your Father may forgive you!”  It’s embarrassing to be an angry Christian, no matter how valid the reasons for your anger.  I tend to feel guilty & ashamed if I’m angry partly because there isn’t good, Biblical preaching out there on anger (at least that I have found).

 

Also, I honestly thought I’d forgiven my parents for everything, other than the fight in May.  I’m seeing now that I have a lot of anger for how selfish they are.  They can’t see beyond their own noses.  If it doesn’t directly affect them, it doesn’t matter (typical narcissists), which makes me angry.

 

However, I’m seeing this anger isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  This anger is helping me to maintain my healthy boundaries & distance.  It’s giving me courage that I may not have otherwise to keep a distance from my parents.

 

The anger also helps me to focus on the truth that they are dysfunctional, cruel & abusive, & I have every right to protect myself & my little family from that.

 

It also isn’t bad in the sense that I’m not planning to hurt my parents or get them back somehow.  I truly wish no bad on them, I just know I need to keep my distance.  Hardly a bad thing.

 

Another good thing is the anger is giving me the courage to speak out against narcissistic abuse more openly than ever.

 

God’s also showed me this anger is normal in my situation. I’ve had too many years of stuffing my anger. It has to come out!  Let it out & deal with it appropriately.  He has not told me my anger is wrong, & after 20 years in a relationship with Him, I’m quite in tune with His voice.

 

I do know that in time, I truly will forgive my parents.  But, I doubt I’ll ever lose the righteous anger about narcissistic abuse & the devastation it causes.  There is nothing wrong with that either- even God gets angry about injustice & when people are mistreated.

 

Hoping this maybe helps some of you that read my work, which is why I’m sharing.  I can’t be the only one who has experienced this.  If you are too, you’re not alone!  Please don’t be ashamed for how you feel or beat yourself up for it.  xoxo

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