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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The Difference Between Flashbacks & Repressed Memories

Not everyone realizes the differences between flashbacks & repressed memories returning, so I thought today I would explain them.

 

Repressed memories are memories of events so traumatic, you were unable to deal with them at the time they happened.  To cope, almost immediately, you unconsciously pushed it to the dark recesses of your mind, & forgot about it.  Then some time later (could be months, could be years later), something triggered a reminder of the event.  The trigger could be anything- a facial expression, a scent, the sight of something that resembles an item that was there when the event happened or a sound.  When the trigger forces the memory back to your conscious mind, suddenly you remember what happened.  It feels the same as remembering anything else you forgot in the sense that you are well aware it is simply a memory.

 

Flashbacks are quite different.  Flashbacks aren’t necessarily something you forgot.  You may or may not remember the event before the flashback.  The main difference between repressed memories & flashbacks is flashbacks feel like you’re reliving the event.  For me, this is what makes flashbacks so much worse than repressed memories- the feeling of reliving a traumatic event while trying to stay in reality.  Flashbacks can be triggered by something, such as the soldier who has flashbacks when he hears fireworks, but sometimes they simply happen without an obvious trigger.  Also different than repressed memories are the physical symptoms that can accompany flashbacks, such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, sweating or chills, & trembling.  My husband has seen me have flashbacks many times, & even so, he can’t always tell when it happens.  I tend to get very quiet & still.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes not.  Flashbacks aren’t always obvious to those witnessing someone have them.  Not everyone having a flashback is vocal or shows obvious physical signs when they happen.

 

If you’re having a flashback, it is vital for you to know how to ground yourself so you stay in reality rather than get lost in the awful memory, which obviously is different than having a repressed memory return to the forefront of your mind.  Grounding techniques basically assault your senses, which forces your mind to focus on them instead of the flashback.  Touching something with an extreme texture such as a soft fuzzy blanket, silk or even burlap can help.  Some people swear by holding ice cubes or stomping their feet hard on the ground.  Smelling something with a strong scent can help too.  Lavender is good because not only is it strong, it has anti-anxiety properties.  A strongly scented cologne, perfume or soap can help.

 

I’ve found that pets can be very helpful while having a flashback, even if they aren’t specifically trained to be service animals.  While taking my cat, Sabrina, to the vet when she was a baby, I drove us past a place I used to work when I was a teenager.  Looking at the building, I immediately had a flashback to a time when my mother screamed at & berated me in the parking lot.  (Thankfully, I was stopping at a red light when it began- I can’t imagine having to deal with a flashback while driving!)  As I sat there & tried to ground myself, Sabrina reached over & scratched my hand.  Not bad, but it was enough to jolt me out of the flashback.  She’s never scratched me before or since, but I’m grateful she did that day. Her brother, Zippy, will get in my face & head bonk me to get my attention.  Neither are trained service animals, but they instinctively know what their mommy needs.

 

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“You’re Too Negative!”

One thing many victims of narcissistic abuse have told me is people have told them they are too negative if they discuss their experiences.   I’ve heard it too.  “You’re too negative.”  “Your problem is you don’t think positive” (I guess thinking positive will fix my C-PTSD.. if it was only that easy!)

 

What people fail to realize is telling the truth about narcissistic abuse isn’t being negative.  It’s telling facts.  It’s telling your story.  It’s raising awareness of this awful epidemic.  It also helps us to heal, discussing things.  (The constant gaslighting/crazy making made us doubt ourselves so much, & talking about things helps us to keep a healthy perspective & remember the narcissist was the real problem.)

 

There is nothing negative or critical or even dishonorable about discussing your experiences with narcissistic abuse!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!  Talk about it as you are comfortable.  Help raise awareness!  Help yourself heal!

 

One important thing to remember though- if you’re seeking validation by discussing your story, you may not get it.  Many people don’t understand narcissistic abuse, nor do they want to.  Even those close to you may invalidate your pain.  You have to accept that not everyone will provide the support & understanding you crave.

 

If you’re worried about the narcissist finding out you’re talking about what she did to you, I understand.  It’s scary.  Narcissists, in particular narcissistic parents, can be scary, especially during a narcissistic rage.  But, keep in mind- there is really nothing they can do to you anymore!  Scream at you?  Call you names?  Talk badly about you to other people?  Chances are, after years of it, you’re so used to these things they barely phase you anymore.  I understand!  As a grown woman, I sometimes get afraid someone will tell my parents what I write about.  I remember my mother screaming & raging at me as a kid.  When that happens, I remind myself that I’ve experienced her rages so many times, that I’ve become pretty numb to them.  I also remind myself that this isn’t just her story- it is mine too.  I have every right to discuss it with whoever & however I want to.

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“Just Let It Go”

I think all of us who have been abused have heard this invalidating, hurtful phrase at some point.  You say something about your experiences, & the listener tells you to “just let it go.”  They may even say “I mean this in love…” first, as if that will soften the blow of their hurtful words.

 

“Just let it go” can be among the most painful words a victim can hear, & also among the most common ones.  It’s also among the most stupid thing to say.

 

For one thing, if the person saying them says they’re saying these words out of love for you, that is a lie.  The simple fact is that what you have said about your experiences makes the person uncomfortable.  I can say this with confidence, because I believe what the Bible says about love:

 

1 Corinthians 13  1″Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  (KJV)

 

Nowhere in there does it say love means invalidate others or hurt them.  Love is kind, rejoices in truth & bears all things- sounds to me like real love means you support those in pain instead, even if the topic makes you uncomfortable.

 

“Just let it go” also doesn’t make sense because who we are is a result of what we have experienced in life, good & bad.  You shouldn’t “just let go” of your past as if it didn’t happen because of that.  You can learn a lot about yourself by not only what you have been through, but also by how you responded to things that have happened to you.

 

When you have been through traumatic experiences, there is another problem with “just letting it go”:  you can’t.  Even if you want to, you can’t.  PTSD & C-PTSD mean like it or not, you’re going to live with depression, anxiety, flashbacks, insomnia & more because of the trauma you’ve been through.  I’ve heard it said that PTSD & C-PTSD don’t mean you aren’t letting go of the past, but they’re the past not letting go of you.  It’s VERY true!

 

There are some things that you can & should “just let go” however…

 

  • Believing you are 100% responsible for making relationships work.
  • Believing something is wrong with you or you’re a bad person, because others have mistreated you.
  • Believing that if you would just do *fill in the blank*, the other person would treat you better.
  • Believing you have to “forgive & forget” or else you’re a bad person.
  • Believing you have to be in a relationship with your abuser.  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse from anyone.
  • Hope that the other person will one day apologize to you for everything they’ve done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Emotional Flashbacks & Sensory Flashbacks

Most people have heard of flashbacks, where you feel as if you are reliving a traumatic event.  It can be so difficult to tell reality from the awful memory during a flashback.  They are horrible, & I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.

But, this isn’t the only type of flashback.  Emotional flashbacks happen too.  They are when something triggers an overwhelming feeling in you.  For example- being late makes me feel tremendous anxiety & shame.  My mother would get me to high school at the last possible moment to show me she was in charge, telling me how lucky I was she would do this or anything at all for me, considering how awful I treated her.  It’s been almost 30 years since she did this yet anxiety & shame still kick into overdrive if I’m running late.

Other examples of emotional flashbacks are things like believing if you make a mistake it makes you bad or feeling shame if someone disagrees with you, or doesn’t like something you like.

There is also such a thing as a sensory flashback.  Sensory flashbacks are brought on by something that affects the senses.  For example, smelling a certain perfume or seeing a style of clothing like your narcissistic mother wore creates terrible anxiety in you.

Emotional & sensory flashbacks can be managed with the same methods used to manage regular flashbacks.  Grounding techniques can help you to get through it.  Use something to stimulate the senses, such as smelling something with a very strong scent, or touch something with a very coarse texture or even hold an ice cube.  Something that strongly stimulates at least one of your senses will force your mind to take notice, & help to loosen the flashback’s hold on you, keeping you in reality.  And, once it’s done, don’t forget to take care of yourself while you recover.  Flashbacks, even mild ones, can take a lot out of you.  You need to rest & pamper yourself to recover afterwards.

Although flashbacks can be extremely painful to experience, they also can be beneficial.  They show you what areas you need healing in.  I encourage you to try to use that awful flashback to help you in this way.  As you feel strong enough, face whatever issue came up & cope with it the best you can.  Pray- ask God to help you to heal.  Learn about ways to forgive your abuser, because you deserve to be happy, without carrying around anger or bitterness.  Learn ways to take care of yourself, to be the nurturer you never had.

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Please Read- Changes Are Coming & I’d Appreciate Your Prayers

Over the years, some of my readers have told me that they believe I’m a warrior for those who have endured narcissistic abuse.  That has always stuck in the back of my mind because I knew it was important.

 

Just recently, their words came to the forefront of my mind & wouldn’t leave.  I knew it was important but didn’t know why.  Every time I got onto Facebook the other day, I got a hint.  I kept finding memes that said things about how victims of abuse need a voice when they can’t speak up, don’t be afraid to speak up against abuse, & other similar topics.  I think it was 7 memes I found that spoke such messages to me.  I realized what the purpose of all of this was.

 

I need to be more outspoken against narcissistic abuse, & to help educate people about its devastating effects.  People don’t know much, if anything, about such topics unless they have been a victim, & that needs to change.  I realize that I alone can’t change the world, but hopefully I can make a difference.

 

How I need to make a difference, I’m not entirely sure!  So far, I think I need to focus on promoting & encouraging people to participate in The Butterfly Project with me, & share what I learn no only here in my blog, but also in my Facebook group & personal page.

 

I’d like to ask for prayer on this topic from you, Dear Readers.  I need to know what to do & how to do it.  I also need wisdom & courage to do God’s will.

 

While I feel peace about this, a part of me is also somewhat nervous.

 

I feel that God will want me to make some of the posts on my personal Facebook page public, which is something I never do. This also allows people I’m not friends with to see those posts, which makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want strangers peek into my life.  This also could include people my parents know who are on Facebook.  While I know the things I write about regarding my parents are true & never said in a hateful way, they would be furious if they knew what I write about.  I really don’t want to deal with that.

 

Sharing on my personal Facebook also makes me nervous because when I’ve shared things about narcissism, C-PTSD & (rarely) my own experiences, some people I know have been less than supportive.  I’ve been told to get over it, I’m using C-PTSD for attention, I need to figure out how to work things out with my parents, they won’t be around forever & other invalidating, cruel things.  While I can handle their ignorance or spitefulness,  it’s just not something I care to deal with.  I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m simply tired of people who think I’m stupid, unreasonable, etc. or who project their own issues onto me.  I try to avoid that as much as possible, & putting things on my personal Facebook page, even just attempting to educate people, could potentially open the door for such people

 

So as I mentioned, I really could use some prayer to help me do whatever it is God would have me do.  Thank you so much, Dear Readers!  And, you’re in my prayers as well!  xoxo

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Cemented Beliefs

When a belief becomes an irrefutable fact in your mind, I think of it as being cemented in place.  When something is set in cement, it can later be moved, but it’s not easy to move it.  It takes a great deal of work to break down cement.

 

Beliefs are much the same way.  And, recently, I learned that while most beliefs are formed in childhood, some can be cemented while others are not.

 

Growing up, I learned that I didn’t matter other than what I could do for my parents.  Part of that meant if I was sick or injured, it wasn’t important- I needed to keep going rather than rest.  Even if it was really bad, it wasn’t particularly important.  In fact, when I had the chicken pox when I was in the fifth grade, I had a very nasty case.  It lasted for about two weeks.  My mother was so tired of staying home, & complained because my parents & I hadn’t gone out to dinner in so long.  She, my father & I went out to  dinner one night, even though I was still covered in sores.  As she drove out of the neighborhood, she told me to duck down in the backseat & hide since some neighborhood kids were playing outside.  She didn’t want them to see me.  She said if anyone at school mentioned seeing me, to tell them she was taking me to the doctor.

 

Things like this showed me I didn’t matter & that if I was sick or injured, I should keep on going rather than take care of myself, no matter what, & not bother anyone with my “petty” problems.  Thankfully I did start fighting against that belief once I became an adult, although it was a struggle.

 

Then, I married my husband.  He is of almost pure German decent.  As a result, he’s a hard worker & pretty tough. Very little gets him down, & he expects the same of me.

 

After getting extremely sick last year from carbon monoxide poisoning, I was unable to do my usual housework.  It wasn’t long before my husband was upset about having to do all of the chores.  I ended up resuming housework & cooking well before I felt able to do it (recovery from carbon monoxide poisoning can take months, even years, if recovery even happens, that is.).  I honestly believed I should stop being so lazy & get back to work.

 

Recently, I had a nasty flashback.  After the worst was over, I pushed myself to do things I needed to do around the house, in spite of feeling physically & emotionally drained.  I asked God why do I do this?  I know better!  I have C-PTSD & have had carbon monoxide poisoning along with a traumatic brain injury- I can’t just keep on going!  I need rest & lots of it, especially when something like a flashback happens.

 

God showed me the answer immediately.  My husband’s belief that I shouldn’t “let things get me down” cemented in me the belief that my parents tried to instill in me- I shouldn’t take time to rest/heal, no matter how much I need it, & don’t bother people with my problems.  Yes, I had fought against that belief, & even had made some strides in that area.  However, loving my husband & caring what he thinks of me puts him in a unique position in my life.  I don’t want to disappoint him.  Plus, feeling I should keep on going no matter what is such a habit.  I slid back into that dysfunctional pattern without thinking about it.

 

Has this happened to you too?  Are you living out dysfunctional patterns that you feel unable to break because they are cemented in your mind?

 

Dear Reader, don’t lose hope if your answer is yes.  God wants to help you as He is helping me.  He reminds me that it’s OK to take breaks, to sleep in, & take care of myself as needed.  He will do the same for you no matter what the stronghold is!  Simply ask Him,  “Why am I like this?  Please, Father, show me why!  Heal me & show me what I need to do on my end to stop this dysfunction in my life.”  I know, it sounds simple, but it really makes a huge difference!  Once you see the root cause of the bad behavior, you can heal.  It’s kind of like gardening.  If you want to rid your garden of weeds, you can pluck them, but they’ll come back soon.  If you dig them out by the root though, the weeds won’t come back.  Seeing the root of your bad behavior is much like digging that weed out.  You can see how wrong it was to have the bad belief put on you & let God fill your brain with good beliefs, with the truth.

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Anger Isn’t Always Bad

I just got myself a little ice cream. Rocky road, my favorite  :)  Hubby brought it home probably close to a month ago by now.  I’ve been the only one eating it & it’s maybe 1/4 gone. Realizing that I haven’t been over indulging triggered a flashback.

 

When I was growing up, my mother would get candy bars at the grocery store, & often when we came home, she’d give one to my father, one to me then take one for herself.  Often, she forced me to take another one, then when I finally did, she’d call me a hog & give me a very creepy, maniacal smile.  It was so scary looking!  If I confronted her, she’d say “But it’s cute when I do it” & continue the scary smile.  I also had to eat the stupid candy bar or she’d have treated me even worse, more shaming.  I still flippin’ HATE Fifth Avenue candy bars because of her.  Not sure if they even make them- I’m not a big candy bar fan.  Gee, I wonder why??

 

It was kinda funny though.. for once, I realized how angry I am about what my mother did to me.  I also realized it wasn’t a bad thing.  I certainly have a right to be angry about this!  Not only did this awful behavior of my mother’s trigger a flashback (I sincerely hate them!), it’s things like this which are directly responsible for me having eating disorders in my younger days.  I wasn’t overweight growing up, but my mother consistently commented on my weight or my body.  She also very harshly criticized whatever I ate or didn’t eat.  Everything about me, my body, my looks & what I ate was wrong.

 

God’s been working with me on getting OK with my anger for quite a while. I’m never angry all that long, I forgive easily & I don’t get vengeful or cruel.  I’m not consumed with anger.  Also for quite a while now, I’ve envied those who say they don’t let things bother or anger them & felt guilty for not being so “good”,  being a bad Christian or even worse, proving my mother right when she said I have a terrible temper.  The Bailey temper, as she’s always called it.  According to her, the Bailey temper is the worst plague in all humanity, past or present.  So not being ashamed of my anger or feeling like it was misplaced or over the top was a breakthrough!

 

If you struggle with anger too, Dear Reader, please know you are not alone!  Many of us raised by narcissistic parents go through this.  Also, please know that feeling anger is human!  God gave people emotions so we are aware of things.  Joy means what you’re doing is a good thing- have fun with it!  Sadness helps us grieve when we lose someone we love.  Anger is a sign someone is mistreating us.  Emotions are God-given & there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of them, including anger!  It’s what you do with emotions that can be a bad thing.  Simply feeling anger isn’t bad at all.  Hurting someone in the heat of anger, however, that is bad.

 

So the next time you feel angry, feel it!  Don’t ignore your anger!  Ignoring or burying your anger only leads to problems.  Feel your anger.  Tell God what you’re feeling.  Journal about it.  Talk to a safe friend or relative.  Beat up some pillows if that helps.  Write angry letters you never send.  Find a safe way to get your anger out, & rest easy that your anger is not only normal, but God ordained.  There is nothing wrong with you for feeling angry for being mistreated!

 

Also once you get the anger out, know you’re going to be tired.  Emotional work can be very draining.  Take care of yourself.  Rest & relax.  Lay around & watch movies if that helps.  Do things that comfort you & make you feel nurtured.  It’s  good self-care to take it easy after any emotional work.

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Helping Others

On June 26, 1982, my great grandmother passed away.  I absolutely adored her, & her death broke my 11 year old heart.  I still miss her often.

 

Her death was the first death of someone close to me that I experienced as a child, & it was devastating.  No less devastating was the fact my parents didn’t care.  My father was caught up in his own grief.  This was his grandmother who he loved dearly.  My mother simply didn’t care about how anyone felt about her death but herself, so she offered me no comfort.

 

On the day of her viewing, my parents & I arrived at the funeral home, to be greeted at the door by my granddad.  While he spoke with my parents, I looked around, & saw my great grandmother in the coffin.  She was dressed in a lovely long pink dress.  I remembered her wearing that same pink dress a few years earlier, as she rode with my parents & I to a wedding.  I too was wearing a long pink dress.  As we rode along, she patted my leg & said, “Us ladies in our long pink dresses.”  That little gesture made me feel so special, & remembering it as she lay there in that same dress, made me burst into tears.  My parents didn’t notice, but Granddad did.  Even though this was his mother, & he was obviously hurting, he grabbed me & hugged me close as I cried uncontrollably.

 

As this scenario played in my mind as it often does around this time of year, I thought about something.

 

There is such a great lack of empathy in the world, & not only among narcissists.  Not a lot of people will cry with someone who is crying, or get angry with someone who has been hurt.  Many people preach forgive & forget.  Others say you should get revenge on the person who hurt you.  Still others say “Get over it.  That was a year ago (or however long ago it was)”.  And yet others compare your story to theirs, & yours always pales in comparison to how terrible their story is.  They got over it- what’s wrong with you that you can’t?

 

When people open up to others, they are making themselves very vulnerable.  They don’t need to be told they’re awful people for not forgiving & forgetting, or that they need to punish their abuser.  They need someone to do what my granddad did on that sad day back in 1981- hug them & let them do what they need to do.

 

Writing about what I do, I’ve heard it all too, & thankfully, I’ve been able to develop a pretty thick skin.  Even so, sometimes it really hurts me when someone says something heartless, such as I need to get over the abuse I’ve been through.  Early in my healing, comments like that broke my heart!  They made me feel like an utter failure.  I even felt like I was disappointing God.  He couldn’t possibly love someone like me, I thought.

 

My thoughts weren’t uncommon.  Many people who have been abused feel the exact same way when insensitive comments are made to them.

 

How do you respond when people tell you their problems?  I’d like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to think about that question honestly.  If you realize you need to improve your behavior in some way, then do it!  You don’t want to hurt anyone!  Obviously- otherwise you wouldn’t be listening & trying to help that person.

 

If you want to be a good listener & help others, then listen to them.  Really listen!  Don’t interject comments or advice, & let the speaker know you are listening.  Nod & make eye contact.  Only offer advice when asked.  Touch the speaker’s hand or arm- a little physical contact often can help when words can’t.  Maybe hug the speaker if you believe he or she is open to that.  If you don’t know, ask if you can hug him/her. Let the speaker ask you questions if they want to.  Offer to take the person out for a distraction if they seem interested.  Going out for coffee or a walk in the park may be just what the person needs.  If the person doesn’t necessarily want to talk, maybe turn on some music, dance around your living room & laugh a lot.  Sometimes the smallest gesture can offer the greatest comfort.  And, never forget to ask God what to do.  He will give you ideas on what you can do to help.

 

Helping others isn’t really hard if you pay attention to people & get creative.  And, as an added bonus, not only do you help that person, but you help yourself as well.  Helping other people simply feels good!  :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Only You Can Decide Whether Or Not No Contact Is Right For You

After recently being told yet again that I “should just cut ties” with my parents, I felt the need to write this post to remind everyone that only you can decide whether or not no contact is right for you.  I know, I’ve written several posts like this, but sometimes information bears repeating!

 

So many people who write about narcissistic abuse preach the value of no contact for the victim.  In fact, many say it is the only solution & you’re wrong to think otherwise.

 

The simple fact is though, that not every situation is the same.  Yes, no contact is a very good solution in many situations.  Often, it is the only solution.  That being said though, it isn’t the only option.

 

There are many people who are unable or unwilling to go no contact, especially when it comes to a narcissistic parent.  Some are forced to live with this parent due to financial reasons, & have no means to move.  Others want to go no contact, but don’t feel they are strong enough to do so just yet.  They’re working towards that goal.  Still others are fine with low contact, which is what I have chosen.  I deal with my parents as I feel able to do so.

 

There are no “one size fits all” solutions for victims of narcissistic parents.  Everyone is different & everyone copes with things differently.  Just because eliminating your narcissistic parent(s) from your life worked out great for you doesn’t mean it will work as great for someone else.  And, if you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent, that doesn’t mean that solution works for everyone.  Never tell someone in similar circumstances to yours that they should just do what you did & if they do it, expect them to have the same results as you.  That won’t happen.

 

 

It also isn’t right to assume you know best what someone else needs to do with their life.  It’s judgmental & makes people feel stupid, as if they aren’t smart enough to figure out solutions on their own.  Being raised by a narcissistic parent, chances are the person already feels stupid, no matter how smart they are, especially if their mother was the engulfing type.  Telling that person what they need to do with their life reinforces that wrong belief.  Obviously you wouldn’t tell them what to do if you thought they were smart enough to figure this out on their own.  This is exactly how I feel when someone tells me what to do, especially when I didn’t ask for their input.  No matter how well meaning their words, I still have to battle feeling stupid.  On some level, it takes me back to my mother constantly telling me what to do or just doing things for me because according to her, I wasn’t doing it right or didn’t know what I was doing.  It’s not a nice feeling!  Would you really want to make someone feel that way?!

 

Instead of telling someone they should “just go no contact,” tell them you’re sorry for their pain.  Listen without judgment or trying to fix their problems.  If they ask for advice, rather than say, “If I were you, I would….”, phrase your advice gentler.  Ask, “Have you ever thought about doing…?”  “What about doing…do you think that would help?”  “Have you tried…?”

 

Offer to pray for & with that person.

 

Offer to take the person to lunch, to a movie or do something that person enjoys as a distraction.  Sometimes a little time away from problems can be very helpful.

 

There are ways you can help without telling a person what to do or hurting them any more than they’re already hurting.

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Does God Want Us To Honor Abusive Parents?

Exodus 20:12  “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee….” (KJV)

So many people in the Christian community are quick to remind those of us with abusive parents of the above Scripture.  These people believe that we should treat abusive parents well, doing their bidding no matter how cruelly they treat us, & that is precisely the definition of honoring our parents.

In my mind though, that doesn’t sound remotely like the God I know at all!

To honor someone means you give them respect befitting their position.  Your parents gave you life, so they deserve thanks for that.  (thanks, not worship!)  They deserve to be spoken to with basic respect, such as not cussing them out when you’re upset with them.

If you’re blessed with loving, Godly parents, go all out- love them however you see fit.  Spend time with them, give them gifts, & let them know you appreciate them.

However, if you’re like most of my readers & I, & aren’t blessed with such parents, that type of honoring behavior probably feels wrong to you.  It surely does me!  I had to decide on my own with God what honoring my abusive, narcissistic parents felt like.

For me, to honor my parents first & foremost means praying for them.  Not always easy, I freely admit that.  But, God wants us to pray for our enemies, & sadly, I think my parents fit into that category.  (They don’t love me- they only love what I can do for them.  They regularly try to hurt, control & manipulate me.)  I have an alarm set on my cell to remind me every morning to pray for my parents, other enemies, my friends, family & readers.  Praying for them as well as everyone else has become much easier since I’ve been doing it daily for a few months now.

Honoring them also does not include tolerating abuse.  If you study what God means by love in the Bible, you’ll see that one thing it basically means wanting the best for others.  Allowing someone to be abusive isn’t wanting the best for them.  Setting & enforcing good boundaries encourages them to behave right.  Granted, it doesn’t always work with narcissists, but at least doing so is a loving & honorable thing to do.

Sometimes setting some distance between or even going no contact with your parents can be honorable.  I was no contact with my mother for 6 years.  God had been dealing with me for a while about making the step, but I thought that couldn’t be God!  I asked Him one day if that was Him, because going no contact seemed so dishonorable to me.  His response was among the clearest responses I’ve ever heard from Him.  He said, “Where is the honor in the fact that your very presence stirs up strife with your mother?  How is that honorable?”  That along with some especially horrible things she did to me at the time gave me the courage to end contact with my mother.

As for more specifics, such as do you help out your elderly, abusive parent, that I believe is a decision only you can make.  Ask God what you should do.  I did this since my parents are now in their late 70’s.   I asked if He wanted me to help them.  God told me to do as I feel I am able to do, physically as well as emotionally.  Due to physical & mental health limitations, it isn’t a lot, & that is fine.  God understands! He also understands if I opt to do nothing to help them.  My parents may not, but yanno something?  I answer to God, not them.  Let Him guide you as to what is best in your individual situation.  He won’t lead you wrong!

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Father’s Day

Those of us who grew up with overtly narcissistic mothers often grew up thinking our fathers were great guys.  After all, compared to Mom, they really were great.  They didn’t berate & control us constantly.  Since we also had a skewed view of love, we believe they loved us.

 

The sad truth though is many of us have fathers who weren’t the great guys we thought they were.  Many men married to overtly narcissistic women are covert narcissists.

 

Covertly narcissistic fathers often come across as hard workers (working long hours &/or traveling for work), soft spoken  & naive.  They need to be taken care of because they don’t always know what to do.  They may be clingy with their daughters, confiding in her about problems in their marriage.  When told about how abusive their children’s mother is, they claim they had no idea it was that bad, & there is nothing they can do to stop it.  They may even turn it around, claiming it’s so hard on them, knowing how cruel their wives are to their children.  Many are quite sneaky too, telling their wives one thing & their children another, to stir up strife between the mother & her children.  Some men, if their wife is angry, will somehow find a way to bring up their children to refocus her anger onto her children.  They will not hesitate to throw their children (of any age) under the bus with their wife in order to protect themselves from her anger.

 

Does this sound familiar to you?  If so, I really understand!  It’s my father in a nutshell.  And, I also understand that Father’s Day is a painful & frustrating day for you because of this!  It is for me too.

 

Remember my post about the recent argument with my parents?  I’m still dealing with it.  My mother is still not speaking to me, which works just fine for me.  She won’t hear my side of it, I don’t understand hers, so there is no working things out with her.  My father, however, is obviously still angry at me, but refuses to talk about it.  He insists on looking like the good guy no matter what, so rather than come out & say he’s angry with me, he goes into passive/aggressive mode.  He constantly brings up how he upset my dog by coming by one day when I wasn’t here, & hints that he doesn’t believe I wasn’t here.  He knows it bothers me he upset her & that he doesn’t believe me when I say I wasn’t here that day.  About a week ago, I didn’t answer when he called as I was busy (& frankly not in the mood to deal with him), so the next time we spoke, he told me he was so worried when I didn’t answer my phone.  According to him, since I didn’t answer the phone, he was forced to call one of my cousins who lives 450 miles away to try to get in touch with me.  All of this drama is about control- letting me know I am wrong for being upset with him & for not taking his call.

 

Normally I’m not thrilled with Father’s Day anyway, but this year?  UGH.  Much worse than normal.

 

I figured out to deal with it this year, I would still get my father a card, but it’s quite different than any other card I’ve given him.  I usually opt for a nice, Christian themed card that basically says “God bless you, have a nice day”.  Simple but nice while not saying he was a great father, since he wasn’t.  This year?  I opted for something funny.  My father will be glad he got a card, so there won’t be any repercussions for me.  I wasn’t even feeling like sending him a nice card, so the funny one worked for me.  It was a good compromise.  On the actual day, I won’t be calling my father or seeing him.  I’ll focus on my husband, who is a good dad to our furkids instead.  Plus,  this is hubby’s first Father’s Day since his mother died.  She often had big family parties on Father’s Day, & since this is his first year without that,  I want to be available for him in case he wants to talk or needs some  support.

 

I’m choosing to focus on what is the most important to me, & there is nothing wrong with that!

 

Father’s Day is a lovely idea.  If you have a great dad, then by all means, let him know he is a great dad!  Celebrate him on Father’s Day & any other day you feel the urge to do so.  However, if you too have a covertly narcissistic father, you don’t need to celebrate him on Father’s Day.  It’s OK!  There is nothing wrong with you!  You aren’t failing to honor your father!  It’s not un-Christian not to celebrate it.  It’s not commanded in the Bible to celebrate Father’s Day.  You are allowed to do whatever you feel you need to do.  Get him a card or don’t, give him a gift or don’t- there are no rules.  You need to do what feels right to you.

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The Butterfly Project

As many of you remember, I created The Butterfly Project a few months ago in a simple attempt to help offer inspiration & comfort to victims of narcissistic abuse, while also raising awareness of the horrors of narcissistic abuse.  I hope you have visited the website or follow the Facebook page, & have decided to participate!

 

I also created a twitter page.  You can visit it at: https://twitter.com/ButterfliesProj  Everything that posts to the Facebook page will publish on twitter now, so if you are one of those who doesn’t like Facebook, then I hope twitter will give you a new option for following the page!

 

If you haven’t visited The Butterfly Project, please take a few minutes to check out the website.  It explains in detail what the project is about.

 

Thank you for your time!  I hope you will consider joining me in this project!  It won’t cost you much money or take up much of your time, but the potential to help others is great!

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Don’t Ignore Your Breakthroughs

Many of us who are healing from narcissistic abuse are more focused on how far we have to go instead of how far we have come in our healing journey.  I think this is because when raised by a narcissistic parent (or two), we learned early on to focus on our flaws.  Being harshly criticized constantly will do that to a person.

 

This is a bad habit though & needs to end!

 

I realized how guilty I am of this behavior just recently.

 

My father called one evening to let me know one of my favorite movies was coming on TV, “Christine.”  He’s never done this before, which struck me odd.  My mother has always been the one to do that.  After only a few moments of conversation, he said “Did you hear that?  The call waiting beeped.  I have to go.”  We said our good byes & hung up.  I realized that he lied about his call waiting- I know because when it’s beeped before when we were on the phone, I always heard a second or two of silence each time it beeped.  This time?  Nothing.

 

I thought about this call after hanging up.  Obviously he’s angry with me.  He’ll never say that since he wants to look like the good parent at all times.  He avoids me instead.  Not a full fledged silent treatment, but when we speak, it’s less frequently & the conversations are much shorter.   That’s why he lied about the call waiting- to get rid of me without blatantly stating he wanted to get rid of me.

 

As for him calling about the movie, that was a first.  Usually my mother calls to let me  know when it’s coming on.  She loves to tell me how “crazy”, “weird” or other nasty things I am for liking it & other Stephen King movies.  “Christine” is a bonus for her because Christine is a ’58 Plymouth Fury.  Since I drive a ’69 Fury, this opens the door for her to insult my car.  They’re too big, ugly, destroy the roads, no one needs a car that big, etc.  For her to pass up all that nastiness, she must still be very angry with me due to our argument on May 5.

 

Rather than being upset like I once would’ve been with my revelations, I found this situation funny (probably inappropriately so).  My parents would rather be wrong, pretend to be right, & act like I’m messed up for not tolerating them being hateful with me than admit they were cruel to me.  And, they’re so passive/aggressive, they won’t try to work things out.  Instead they use immature, silly ways to punish me.  The ridiculousness of the situation struck me funny.

 

God also used this situation to show me something very valuable.  Not so long ago, I would’ve been upset.  I would’ve been enjoying the silent treatment, yet wondering if I should do something.  Should I apologize?  Should I “be the bigger person” & try to work things out?  This time though, those thoughts never even crossed my mind!  Realizing that as well as that I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it all made me see just how far I’ve come.  I’m quite proud  of myself!  I’ve come a long way!

 

I also saw clearly how little I usually celebrate such victories.  Instead, I tend to focus way more on how far I have to go, which is depressing.  That isn’t happening anymore.  I realized the value of having balance, & am working on doing that.

 

Looking at how far you have to go is necessary.  It shows you what you need to work on, & when you get frustrated with being a certain way, you get motivated to change.  However, looking at how far you’ve come is equally valuable.  It helps to encourage you.  You realize that if you could improve that much, then you can continue to improve.  Only looking at how far you have to go discourages you, & only looking at how far you’ve come can make you stagnant.  Maintaining a balance & looking at both is vital to your healing journey being successful, I believe.

 

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start focusing just as much on how far you’ve come as you do on how far you have to go.  Try to maintain that healthy balance.  It will bring you more peace & joy, & you deserve that!!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Does Your Narcissistic Mother Make You Sick?

I’ve been living with a sinus infection for longer than I care to admit.  Finally it seemed to be improving some.  It was wonderful not having a fever or sneezing & coughing every three seconds!

 

Then my narcissistic mother called.

 

As we were on the phone, I started coughing & sniffling more than I had in a while.  Not that she noticed, mind you.  By the time we hung up, I was feeling yukky.  I checked, & I had a slight fever for the first time in a while.

 

Later in the day I mentioned this to my husband.  He said “I’m not surprised.  Her calls often leave you feeling bad.”  I thought about it & he’s right.  I often hang up from her calls with a bad headache, a backache or if I’m already sick, my symptoms get worse.  It’s not a guarantee that every time I’ll feel bad, but it happens often enough.

 

Have you ever noticed if this happens to you too?

 

If it does, I would hazard a guess to say it’s normal.  Years ago, I read somewhere that many people who have experienced trauma or have PTSD have lower back pain with no physical cause.  In fact, 51% of people with PTSD fall into this category.  If dealing with people who have caused you trauma can cause back pain, why couldn’t it also cause you headaches or exacerbating symptoms of an illness you already have?

 

Honestly, I haven’t found a way to avoid this from happening.  Instead, I have decided that I have every right to avoid talking to her if I am not up to the possible physical problems it may cause me.  It is my right to protect my physical & mental health.

 

The same goes for you too, Dear Reader.  If your narcissistic mother makes you feel bad, either physically or mentally, you do NOT need to answer her calls or texts, or visit her if you don’t feel up to it.  I’m not saying cut all ties- certainly that’s an option & often a good one for narcissists, but that decision is entirely yours.  I won’t advocate going no contact or staying in contact,because no one should influence you on such an important & individual matter.  That being said though, limited contact is a good alternative if you are unable to go no contact or unsure if it’s the right solution for you.

 

Limited contact simply means what it sounds like- limiting the time you spend with your narcissistic mother.  Not answering her call every time she calls, not responding to her texts or emails right away & not spending a great deal of time with her- instead only doing so as you feel able to do so.  This is the option I’ve chosen with my mother & although it’s not a perfect solution (no such thing exists, especially with narcissists), it works pretty well for the most part.

 

I urge you to pray about it, Dear Reader.  If dealing with your narcissistic mother affects your physical & mental health, you certainly have every right to go limited contact with no guilt.  As I said earlier, you have the right to protect your physical & mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There Are No One Size Fits All Solutions

When people discover that what they have experienced is narcissistic abuse, they look for answers.  Some make the mistake of thinking there are obvious answers, but unfortunately, there isn’t any such thing.

 

Every narcissist is different.  Every victim is different.  There are also many gray areas when it comes to dealing with narcissists- very little is black & white.   As a result, what works for someone else may not work for you & vice versa.  You aren’t going to find anything that maps out your perfect way to healing yourself of ways to cope with a narcissists.  You have to try different things to figure out what works best in your situation.

 

An online friend & I were discussing this topic recently.  For her, understanding that her narcissistic mother was abused as a child didn’t help her in the least.  In fact, it seemed to make her angrier that her mother would take her issues out on her daughter.  While I get that, for me, learning my narcissistic mother was abused helped me to be more understanding & compassionate with her while still maintaining my healthy boundaries.  I was able to stay calmer than I once had around my mother.  I realized she was wounded & acting out of those wounds because she has no healthy coping skills.  Neither my friend nor I are wrong- we’re doing what works for us.

 

As an author who writes primarily about the topics of narcissism & narcissistic abuse, I have come to realize that as much as I want to help everyone who reads my work, I can’t.  The best I can do is explain what I have learned, talk about what works & doesn’t work for me, & discuss my experiences.  It’s up to each reader to glean from the books & articles what works for them.  Unfortunately, some will be disappointed that what I suggest doesn’t work for their situation.

 

And, ignore those who say things like, “*fill in the blank*  will work for you”.  It may work for you.  Hopefully it will.  But, it also may not work for you.  People who say they have the answers may, in fact, be narcissists themselves.  I realized that after reading a  blog about healing from narcissistic abuse some time ago.  The blogger wasn’t open to opinions other than her own.  She seemed to think what worked for her would work for everyone, & if you disagreed, you were wrong.  For example, no contact.  It was the only solution this blogger supported, & there were no excuses for not going no contact.  While that makes sense to a degree, not everyone is willing or able to go no contact.  What if the narcissist is low on the spectrum?  They may be hard to deal with but also tolerable.  Plus, going no contact is very hard, especially with your own parents.  Not everyone feels capable of going no contact.  Low contact may be a better option.  Still others live with their narcissistic parent & can’t afford to move out so again, no contact isn’t an option.

 

That is just one example.  There are other authors that are the same way- they believe they have all the answers & you need to listen to them.  Be careful whose advice you take when reading about narcissism!   If something seems off, trust that feeling.  Pray & ask God to show you who you can trust & who you can’t, & help you to get the information that will help you the most.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Another Book Sale!

This time, my publisher is offering 15% off all print books & free mail shipping until June 12.  Simply use code COOKBOOK15 at checkout.

 

My books can be found at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Adding More Gratitude, Peace & Joy To Your Daily Life

One way I have learned to add more gratitude, peace & joy to my life is by focusing on beauty.  It’s quite easy to do, too, since beauty is all around us!  I have folders of beautiful images on my tablet.  Flowers, beautiful homes, art, or anything that strikes my fancy.  Looking at these lovely images helps me to feel more peaceful & happy.  My anxiety levels go down, too.  I even become more appreciative.

 

Why beauty has such a profound effect, I’m not sure, but I thoroughly enjoy it!  Why don’t you give it a try as well?  Start noticing the beauty around you.  Look at the flowers in your garden.  Really study them.  Focus on the lovely colors & graceful curve of the leaves & petals.  Animals are beautiful too- watch the graceful way a lion moves as he walks or listen to the haunting but beautiful sound of a wolf howl.

 

 

Museums are a wonderful place to take in some beauty.  I’ve noticed that after seeing some stunning paintings by Claude Monet (my favorite painter) at the museum, I started appreciating other beautiful things more.  I’ve never  been a fan of modern art, but even so, after enjoying Monet’s paintings, I could see a beauty in it that I never saw before.  It seems to me that once you start really appreciating beauty, you start to see it everywhere.  At least I did.

 

 

One interesting place to find beauty is also old cemeteries.  I absolutely love them!  They are so full of history if you read the headstones, but there is also much beauty there as well.  Old headstones are often much more elaborate than modern day ones.  Westminster cemetery in Baltimore where Edgar Allan Poe is buried is an amazing place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Animals Are People Too!

At the time of me writing this post, it’s just over a month since my sweet tabby cat, Weeble passed away suddenly at 16.  She was the oldest member of our family, & deeply loved & respected by the other furkids.

 

Since her passing, I haven’t been able to wash the linens on the guest bed where she & I spent her last 30 hours as she fought so hard for her life.  Aside from the obvious fact that grief takes a lot out of you & I haven’t had much energy, the other cats have spent time on that bed quite a bit since her passing.  Chester in particular naps often in the very spot where she passed away.

 

Chester in Weeble's spot, May 26, 2016

 

I think it was 2 days after her death that I found him here, & asked him “Are you missing Weeble?”  He meowed a soft, mournful meow, & pulled the covers close to him.  It broke my heart.  Grieving is hard enough but the hardest part is watching the furbabies hurting too & not being able to do anything to help them feel better.

 

Animals feel deeply.  Moreso than many humans I’ve known.  Please remember that about your pets.  They hurt when another animal in your home dies too, so don’t forget to give them extra love & comfort during this trying time.  It will help both of you to feel better.

 

And, keep their feelings in mind at other times too!  They can be hurt just as easily as a human can if someone snaps at them after a bad day or ignores them for the TV.  Criticisms hurt them too.  Don’t forget, animals understand the words you say, not just the tone of your voice.  If you call your dog fat or your cat lazy, they know exactly what you mean, & it makes them feel as badly as it would you if someone called you fat or lazy.  (This topic has been the cause of many arguments with my narcissistic mother, as she thinks it’s acceptable to come into my home & tell my pets who is too fat, too skinny, too whatever.  It took over 20 years to get her to stop that awful behavior.)  Calling your pet beautiful, smart, etc. will have a very positive effect too, just as it would if someone complemented you.  I also tell my furkids how proud I am of them, how smart & caring they are.  I praise them frequently & they respond to it well.  Do the same with your pets, & see if they don’t love the praise!

 

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that my furkids love to be prayed for.  Pretty Boy was diagnosed with liver carcinoma at the end of  2013.  The vet said he only had a short time left.  I knew the vet was right- not only was she a very good, but she showed me the bloodwork results.  He also had lost 2 pounds- a fair amount of weight for a cat.  His side where his liver is also felt somewhat enlarged, which the vet said was his liver.  She saw it on an ultrasound.   I prayed for him constantly, & every time I did, Pretty Boy would purr the entire time.  I even asked him before I prayed if he wanted me to pray for him, & many times, he would rub on me or headbonk me.  The best part of this is when he went back to the vet the following year, there was no sign of the liver carcinoma!  No swelling, he had gained back the 2 pounds he lost, & his bloodwork was fine.  In fact, the vet said “it was perfect.”

 

Just please remember, your furkids are people too!  Treat them with the love & respect they deserve, & talk to them with love.  When you must correct them, do so gently & with respect.  They will respond very well when you do this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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