Anxiety Help

Sometimes having the bad short term memory that accompanies C-PTSD can be interesting.  I find things I thought were lost or forgot I had.  It can be like Christmas some days..lol  I just found something I’d started to make a couple of months ago, then promptly forgot about.

It’s a small box that I painted & wanted to fill with little slips of paper containing good ideas on combating anxiety.  I wrote out a bunch of ideas on colored construction & painted the box to make it more visually appealing.  Anyway, some of the ideas are stop & breathe deeply for 2 minutes, go for a drive, pray, listen to relaxing music, read about something I find interesting, look at fun pictures or paintings I enjoy.  I searched the internet for ideas & found a bunch!

If you too live with anxiety, then you know sometimes it can be hard to fight.  It also can be hard to think of ways to fight it when you’re in the throes of it, especially if you’re having a panic or anxiety attack.  That is where this box idea comes into play.  When the anxiety is too bad & I need help alleviating it, I’ll pull out ideas from the box & do whatever it says on the paper.

I thought this was a helpful idea, & it might benefit you too, Dear Reader.  It’s a very cheap & easy to do idea that won’t take up much of your time.  I found a pretty little wooden box I liked at a craft store for $1 & construction paper at the dollar store. I used acrylic paint (usually just over $1 for a bottle) to paint it, then sprayed a clear paint over it since acrylic paint is water soluble.  Just use a little creativity & you can create a cute box that you enjoy looking at.  A trip into your local craft store should provide you plenty of inspiration. It seems to me this box is more likely not to be ignored if it’s visually appealing.

Then when your box is all done, or at least while the paint or stain is drying, write out a bunch of ideas that help you to relax.  Use a pretty paper or if you prefer, type them out on your computer using a really interesting font, then cut out the ideas, fold the pieces of paper & place in your box.  

I hope this idea helps you, Dear Reader.  Anxiety is nothing to ignore.  It can wreak havoc on your mental health as well as your physical health.  Treat yourself well & try to relax when anxiety becomes a problem for you- you deserve to be as healthy & happy as possible!

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Valuable Lessons About Dealing With A Narcissistic Mother

Recently I had a very strange dream.  When God showed me what it meant,  I knew I had to share  it’s meaning with you.

God showed me the dream meant a few things.

For one  thing, my mother uses the things I love & am passionate about to hurt me.  She wants to destroy my identity.  If she destroys who I am, she can make me into what she wants me to be.  Chances are, your narcissistic mother does exactly the same thing. Does she viciously criticize or trivialize those people or things you love the most?  If she can make you turn against those things, she has destroyed a part of you.  Don’t let her do that!  God gave everyone passions for a reason. They are your purpose in life.  Your narcissistic mother has no right to steal them from you!

Another aspect of the dream showed me the answer to a question I’ve had for many years.  During her worst narcissistic rages, my mother’s eyes would turn black.  It used to terrify me, because I never know what was coming next, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  (The night my mother threw me into a wall, her eyes turned black just before she did it.)  Several other adult children of narcissistic parents have told me they experienced the same thing.  Anyway, the dream showed me that the reason this happens is because she has reached the point where she can no longer conceal her hatred for me. That is why the following narcissistic rages are so vicious. Thankfully I haven’t seen her eyes turn black in years, but I now know if they change color, it’s time to leave, & leave quickly!

Lastly, the dream gave me a valuable reminder.  When dealing with your narcissistic mother, always remain calm, & share no  signs of your emotions with her.  Sharing any signs of emotions will trigger a reaction from her.  Anger or hurt feeds a narcissist- she will continue to do whatever it is that is angering or hurting you until she destroys you completely if she can. Joy isn’t good either, because she will destroy that happiness you feel. (She may say things like, “What do you have to be so happy about anyway?”)  She wants you to be as miserable, hurting, angry & empty inside as she feels, & will stop at nothing to make that happen.

I hope what this dream taught me helps you as much as it helped me.

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You Aren’t The Problem

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, you believe that you are the problem in the toxic relationship.  She blames you for everything & takes no responsibility for anything she has done to you.  On the off chance she admits to doing something bad to you, she blames you for making her do it.

As an adult, you are told, by her or others, that you are the one who needs to make amends with her, find a way to get along with her, or even that you have “a victim mentality,” which only further embeds the belief in you that the problems with your mother are all your fault.  (Isn’t it interesting how no one tells your narcissistic mother she needs to behave herself, work things out with you or that she is abusive?)

I would like to challenge you today to look at this situation differently.  As a child, your mother was the adult.  This means she was supposedly the more mature & wiser of the two of you.  She should have known better than to treat you so poorly.  Also, she knew then & still knows that her actions are wrong, otherwise she would behave the same way in public as she does in private.

Keeping those things in mind, please answer this for me- how is it your responsibility to improve the relationship with your mother?  In fact, how is it even possible to improve a relationship with a narcissist?  And, how is it your fault that your mother has abused you?

I know it is painful when people so thoughtlessly tell you to fix things with your mother instead of offering support & understanding.  I’ve been in that position more times than I can count.  So when they say something like this, I want you to remember that you aren’t the problem in the relationship, your mother is.  Any person who can abuse her own child for that child’s entire life is the problem. Any person who constantly puts her own needs & wants, no matter how trivial, above the welfare of others but especially her own child is the problem.  Any person who chooses to treat others as if they aren’t allowed to have their own feelings, needs, opinions, wants is the problem.  Any person who refuses to accept responsibility for her hurtful actions & blames others for them is the problem.

Dear Reader, just try to remember these things when someone insensitively tells you that you are the problem or that you need to work things out with your mother.  You are not the problem- she is!

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Black & White Thinking Is Dangerous

Many people who grew up abused tend to have black & white thinking.  For example, you may think you’re a bad employee because you made a mistake at work, or a bad spouse because you forgot your wedding anniversary rather than just thinking you made mistakes.  Most people aren’t so hard on themselves, & are much more forgiving than that.

This type of thinking can damage relationships as well as your self-esteem.  If, as an example, you grew up told by your narcissistic mother that all people who listen to heavy metal music are bad & accepted that belief, then you are either missing out on potentially good relationships, or if you later find out someone you’re close to likes metal, you’ll end that relationship.

Black & white thinking has its roots in childhood, like so many other things.  When you grow up with a parent berating, shaming & criticizing you, you take it to heart!  You tend to continue to do those same behaviors to yourself as an adult.  It’s time to stop doing that to yourself!  You don’t deserve to continue the abuse that was so unfairly done to you!  You deserve better!

Today, I want you to decide to stop with the black & white thinking!

To do this, you’ll need to do several things.  First of all, ask God to help you.  Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”.  God wants to help you think better!  Allow Him to do so.

You also need to challenge how you think.  Slow down & pay attention to your thoughts.  When you make a mistake & begin to beat yourself up for it, stop!  Stop right there & remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes.  EVERYONE!  Not only you.  If people didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  Mistakes are a part of life- you need to accept that fact.

If you find yourself thinking something or someone is bad, then again, stop.  Ask yourself why you think this.  If you realize it’s because your narcissistic mother dislikes a quality that person has, then it’s time to challenge her opinion.  Not to her but to yourself.  Did she say why she hates something or someone?  Do her reasons make sense?  If not, discard them & form your own opinion!  You don’t have to share her beliefs or feelings.  You have the right to have your own!

Black & white thinking also can be a hindrance in healing from abuse.  If you’re like me, you tend to frequently tell yourself that you should be better by now, you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for too long, you need to let this go & more unhealthy things. Please, please, please stop it right now!!!  Easier said than done, I know, but please try anyway.  I’ve gotten better at this, although I still slip up sometimes.  When I tell myself these awful things, I remind myself narcissistic abuse is a terrible thing.  Healing from it is a lifelong task.  Narcissistic abuse is insidious & permeates every part of your being.  You can’t heal from that kind of pain & suffering in a month or even a year.  It’s perfectly normal to heal little by little over the course of your life.  It’s also perfectly normal for healing to be an up & down process.  Emotional healing is never strictly an uphill battle. It’s more like an uphill battle with periodic falls into valleys & side trips.

Dear Reader, please be encouraged today to be better to yourself.  Think about what you’re thinking about.  Challenge those things that aren’t beneficial to you, & change how you think into more healthy thoughts.  You deserve it!

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Never Forget She Is A Narcissist- It Will Help You!

Recently, I have learned an effective way to help avoid some hurt when dealing with narcissistic parents: Always keep in the forefront of your mind that they are narcissists.

While this may sound simple & logical, it can be hard to do when you are in the midst of dealing with your narcissistic mother, & she is hurting you for the umpteenth time.  I encourage you to do your best to remember it anyway.

If you can remember that simple fact, it really will help you not to be as hurt when your mother is acting up.  It will be a reminder that her abuse isn’t as much a personal attack as it is a way for her to gain that supply she so desperately craves.  It means there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is plenty wrong with her.  In fact, there must be plenty right with you for her to try so actively to hurt you.  She is obviously very jealous of you & wants to make you feel as badly about yourself as she does about herself.  Narcissists typically focus on strong, caring, loving, generous & empathetic people.

Actively remembering your mother’s narcissism also will help you to avoid falling for her manipulation.  You will know that if she tries to make you feel guilty for not spending more time with her, it isn’t because she enjoys your lovely companionship- it is because she wants to drain you of precious narcissistic supply.  While yes, that knowledge stings, at least you won’t feel guilty for not spending time with her, or you won’t cave in, spending more time with her & being hurt.

Keeping your mother’s narcissistic ways in mind also will help you to keep a healthy perspective.   When she attempts to make you feel like a bad daughter, you will know that it isn’t because you really are a bad daughter- it is because she is a narcissist & they gain self-esteem by hurting people.  If she insists on regaling you with stories of how beautiful or talented she is, you’ll be able to maintain your level head because you know that is just how narcissists are- they love to brag about themselves.

Another way this can help you is when your narcissistic mother goes to her happy place, as I call it.  Many narcissists have absolutely NO coping skills.  Instead of admitting their own mistakes or admitting something bad happened, they reinvent the past or pretend bad things never happened.  This is their happy place.  My mother loves to share stories of what a great mother she’s been.  When this first happened, it hurt me badly.  Sometimes, I’d cry when she’d discuss this (only when she couldn’t see me, of course).  In time though, I realized that this is how she copes with a guilty conscience.  This reinventing things is her coping skill.  As dysfunctional as it is, it’s what she wants to do, so have at it, is my philosophy, just don’t expect me to validate the delusions.  (Which she does, & I flat out refuse to give her that validation).

Now that you see actively remembering your mother’s narcissism can help you, how do you do it?

For me, I’ve found reading about NPD to be very helpful.  I about the experiences of other daughters of narcissistic mothers, I read anything I can about narcissism & its symptoms & I talk with my fans & friends about our experiences with narcissism.  I also focus on my healing.  Granted, having C-PTSD, the chances of healing are slim, but I’ve gotten better at managing symptoms.  All of these activities help me to validate that my experiences were real & abusive, which is extremely helpful.

I do much more than that however- I refuse to let this insidious disorder take over my life.  I take breaks where I flatly refuse to think about narcissism.  I am determined to enjoy myself somehow & participate in enjoyable activities.  Focusing too much on narcissism would be detrimental to mental health, I believe.  It is such a terribly negative topic & it can be overwhelming with the evilness & insidiousness of it.  Breaks are essential.  As soon as I start to feel a bit overwhelmed, I mentally shift gears- I’ll watch a movie or talk to a friend about something not related to narcissism.  Anything pleasant to distract myself for a while.

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Ins & Outs Of Narcissistic Supply

When dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic mother, you need to know about narcissistic supply in order to avoid narcissistic rage.  Chances are, you already know quite a bit about it, even if you never put the name to it before.

Narcissistic supply is anything that makes the narcissist feel good about themselves. Everyone needs a little narcissistic supply, but narcissists are desperate for it & will do about anything to get it, including hurting people.  Complements are great, as is actively listening whenever the narcissist wants to talk & going along with whatever she wants.  All of these things make the narcissist feel important & good about herself, which helps her to believe that she isn’t the terrible person she believes she is deep down.

If you openly deny the narcissist that supply, she may go into a narcissistic rage.  Screaming, cursing, cruel words intended to hurt you aren’t above a narcissist during a narcissistic rage.  My mother used to tell me terrible things about myself when I was a teen & refusing to tolerate her control anymore.  She would lecture me (as I called it, but actually it was screaming at me) about what a horrible person I was on a daily basis, often a few times a day.  Now that we’re both older, her rage has changed into very quietly & pleasantly said scathing criticisms, always in a public place so if I say anything or walk out, people will witness me treating my sweet, innocent, elderly mother badly.

While it may seem at first like it’s just best to give a narcissist her supply so you can avoid her rage, it’s really not.  Providing consistent narcissistic supply is like a green light for the narcissist to continue treating you terribly.  You need to minimize the amount of supply you provide as much as possible if you are to continue a relationship with a narcissist.

And, while many think ending the relationship is your only solution to this problem, often it isn’t possible for various reasons.  I know- I’ve received countless emails from women who wish to end the relationship with their narcissistic mothers, but aren’t strong enough to do so yet, or they live with their mothers & can’t afford to move out, or they simply don’t want to end that relationship with their mother.  It is for people like them that I am writing this article.

Thanks to the narcissists in my life, I learned the value of becoming boring to narcissists.  What I mean is I learned to deny narcissists their supply in a subtle manner & refuse to give them the satisfaction of seeing me upset.  There are several ways to go about doing this..

  • When the narcissist wants to spend time with you, don’t be available every time.  Don’t always answer the phone.  Ignore it & only answer when you feel able to deal with her.
  • Narcissists love to hint.  Ignore the hints.  It will discourage the hinting.  If she hints for anything, play dumb.  Pretend you didn’t notice. It will force her to outright ask for what she wants if she wants a favor (like an adult would do..) or stop hinting.  Giving into hints gives her control, which gives her supply.  Don’t give that to her!
  • Act bored when she talks.  You probably are anyway- let it show.  Look at the clock.  Yawn.  Look around the room.
  • Change the subject to talk about something other than the narcissist.  The weather is a good topic.  Bonus- this can be fun if you enjoy rainy days & she prefers sunny or something like that.  It’ll annoy her that you feel differently & it can be funny watching her try to convince you how wrong you are because you prefer rain to sun or whatever the case is.  I have done this with my mother & found it funny how irritated she gets with me I prefer cool, rainy days.  She tries hard to convince me something is wrong with me for not preferring sunny, warm days.
  • Provide as little information about yourself as possible.  It gives her less ammunition to use against you later.  This one used to infuriate my mother in-law to no end, but she couldn’t say anything & maintain her false image of a good person.  Admittedly, I probably enjoyed it too much, but I found it hilarious the lengths she would go to trying to pry information out of me..
  • Remember, if your narcissistic mother tries to ask you questions, she isn’t asking you because she cares about you.  She is only asking in order to get information on you that she can use to hurt you with later.  Hurting you provides her that narcissistic supply.
  • Always maintain a peaceful, calm, maybe even a bit cold demeanor when in the presence of a narcissist, no matter what.  Narcissists can’t handle that!  They want you upset- it feeds them, somehow making them feel better about themselves.  Failing  to show that you’re angry or hurt will be denying her narcissistic supply, & she will have to look for it elsewhere.  Once you leave her presence however, vent!  Get the hurt, anger, etc. out of you for your own physical & mental health.
  • As you do these things more & more, your narcissistic mother will become frustrated & angry.  Chances are good you’ll get the silent treatment as a result.  Enjoy the reprieve!  Do NOT call her to find out why she’s angry with you!  Never!  She will use that opportunity to blast you about whatever horrible thing it is she thinks that you have done.  Instead, let her contact you when she is done pouting.
  • If your situation gets bad enough for her to want to end the relationship with you, continue to maintain the calm demeanor where she is concerned.  If she sends her flying monkeys to “talk sense into you” about how badly you treat her, refuse to engage in the conversation.  Ignore her emails, texts or calls.  Narcissists hate apathy- love them or hate them, fine, but act as if you don’t care, & they can’t handle it.  Eventually, she’ll get bored & leave you alone.

At first, applying these techniques may be kind of hard to do, but you will find the more you do them, the easier they get.  They also will make your life easier since your narcissistic mother will want less contact with you.  My mother used to call me almost daily & stay on the phone for a long time each time, often around 45 minutes or more.  Now?  We speak every few weeks & rarely for more than 15 minutes.

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The Silent Abuser, aka The Covert Narcissist

Usually I focus on overtly narcissistic parents with my writing, but today I want to talk about something a bit different- the other parent who isn’t so blatantly abusive.

Many adult children of an overtly narcissistic parent swear that their other parent is wonderful, caring, & gentle.  Someone, who for whatever reason, was simply overpowered by their overtly narcissistic partner.  They just weren’t strong enough to stop that partner from abusing their child.  But that is fine- it wasn’t his/her fault!  Sadly, this is very rarely the truth.

Most overtly narcissistic people end up married to covertly narcissistic ones.  The difference is covert narcissists aren’t so “in your face” with their behavior.  They come across simple & quiet, often martyr like in their ability to tolerate their narcissistic spouse.  They don’t wish to be the center of attention, but gain their positive attention by their good behavior.  They are extremely good at acting sweet & innocent, & often have their children convinced that they are the real victim of the narcissistic parent instead of the children.  They may say things like, “It was so hard for me to watch your mother treat you that way” or “There was nothing I could do to stop him from hitting you kids.”

My mother in-law is a prime example of a covert narcissist.  My father in-law always has been the overtly narcissist type, abusing his children when they were growing up.  She did nothing to protect herself or her children from his abuse.  To this day, my husband feels bad for her that she went through so much suffering at the hands of his father, yet pretty much ignores the fact he & his siblings were abused too.  He sees his mother as the real victim.  She is well aware of this too.  She portrays herself as a sweet, innocent, naive, martyr when the truth is she is nothing of the sort.  She was blatantly cruel to me until I stopped speaking to her, making sure I knew I wasn’t good enough for her family.  Anyone who was truly as beaten down as she portrays herself wouldn’t have it in them to be so cruel.  She would have been more focused on simply surviving instead of hurting others.  She also would know how bad it feels to have someone be cruel & wouldn’t want to make others feel that badly.

Think about your parents.  You obviously have one overtly narcissistic one, probably your mother, since you are reading my work.  What about your other parent, assuming your father?  The way I described my mother in-law in the previous paragraph- does that sound somewhat like your father?  If so, I wish to encourage you today to stop feeling sorry for him!  How about taking some of that empathy you feel for him & feel it for yourself instead!  You were the real victim- you were only a child.  It was your parents’ job to treat you well & protect you, yet they did neither.

I’m sorry to try to provoke this anger in you, but it needs to be done if you’ve never felt anger before at your father.  You need to feel that anger & process it so you can heal.  It helps you not only to get the anger out of you, but also to see your father in a more realistic light.  If you realize he is a covert narcissist, you can treat him accordingly, such as with healthy boundaries.  Healthy boundaries are vital with all narcissists, be they overt or covert, as they will use you however they see fit if given half a chance.  And, covert narcissists are big fans of emotional incest to get their needs met.  Whether their child is a child or an adult, they will not hesitate to use this sinister form of abuse to benefit them.

Any parent who enables someone to abuse their own child disgusts me.  Abusing your child is bad enough, but standing back & letting someone else do it to me is even more evil as far as I’m concerned.  Especially because the covert narcissists allows it only to avoid the overt narcissist’s wrath.  Covert narcissists will do anything to avoid the loud, violent rage of the overt narcissist, & that includes throwing their child under the bus.  They will redirect their partner’s rage onto the child & off of them. Or, they will refuse to intervene when the other parent is abusing the child to avoid being yelled at.  Either way, it is sickening!

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Is Discussing Narcissistic Abuse Too “Negative”?

Recently, I was told what I write about is too negative.  I’m sure many of you have heard similar things for talking or writing about your experiences with narcissistic abuse.  I’m writing this for you, Dear Reader.   I hope it helps you.  xoxo

I’ll admit, the main topic of my writing, narcissism & narcissistic abuse, aren’t exactly positive, happy topics!  I’ll also admit that sometimes, it gets to me, writing about such dark things.  That being said, I will continue to write about what I write about for several reasons.

To start with, I believe this to be a calling from God, & I take any calling from Him very seriously.  Everyone has a calling, usually several during the course of their lives.  Ephesians 4:11-13 states, “And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.  12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church)  13 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.”  (AMP) 

Also, writing about what I learn helps me to make sense of the things I have gone through, as well as to help others to do the same.  So many who have suffered with narcissistic abuse are struggling to make sense of it all.  I can help a little by sharing my experiences as well as what I have learned.

Writing about things also helps to loosen the hold the abuse has on me.  By being open about things, I am losing the shame I once felt for being abused, & am able to see more & more how none of it was my fault.  This not only helps me, but enables me to get the message to other victims that being abused is NOT their fault.

It also helps to make my pain count for something.  Knowing I am able to help other people means my pain was not in vain.  Something good has come from something horrible!

Also, by being open  about the taboo topic of narcissistic parents, it helps to raise awareness of this insidious, evil form of abuse.  It makes it safe for victims to talk about it with other victims instead of quietly suffering alone.  So many are afraid to talk about what their mother did to them, because so many people put mothers on a pedestal.  People make victims feel guilty for being abused, as if it was their fault!  They can’t seem to grasp that a mother would abuse her child.  Certainly the child must be exaggerating.  Of course the mother made mistakes- no one is perfect- & the child should forgive the mother.  And, let’s not forget “honor thy mother” seems to mean “allow thy mother to abuse you” to many people.  Because of people like this, as well as the ignorance surrounding Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there needs to be more awareness of this horrible phenomenon.

Don’t let anyone quiet you for talking about your experiences with your narcissistic mother, father, sibling, grandparent, friend, spouse or co-worker.  You aren’t being negative by discussing your experiences.  And, chances are, by discussing them, you are not only helping yourself to process your horrendous experiences, you are also helping to enlighten others who need to hear your story!  So be open- talk about it!

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Mother’s Day

Since many of my readers also have narcissistic mothers & I’m sure dread this day, I thought I’d take a moment to wish all of you a peaceful day. May God bless you & comfort you today. I understand exactly how hard this day is, especially if you find you must deal with your narcissistic mother, so I hope you will find ways to be good to yourself today. Do something special just for you to brighten your day.

I’m praying for you today. Admittedly I pray for my readers often but figured today some extra prayer was called for. Sending everyone hugs!! xoxo

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Feeling Invisible

Narcissists treat their children as if they are mere tools- they take them off the shelf when they need their narcissistic supply or need the child to do something for them, then they put them back when done, & expect the child to stay out of sight & out of mind the rest of the time.  (Isn’t this also how your average screwdriver or hammer is treated?)

Many narcissists also tell their children that children are to be seen & not heard, speak when spoken to only or other such hurtful things.  They also clearly don’t wish to be bothered with their child’s needs or wants.

These things mean the child grows up learning to behave as if she is invisible.  She stays quiet, & stays out of people’s way.  People treat her as if she is invisible as well, because they see how she acts.  (Your behavior shows others how you expect to be treated.)  Their treatment reinforces to her that she needs to be invisible, & the painful cycle continues.  It is so frustrating when even total strangers treat you this way.  A few years ago, I stopped by a convenience store.  When I was done & backing out of my parking space,  I looked.  No one was behind me so I backed out.  Suddenly my car jolted to a stop.  Someone in an SUV backed into me.  We got out of our vehicles & she immediately began screaming at me for upsetting her by hitting her truck.  I couldn’t even get in a word to tell her she had backed into me, not the other way around!   Thankfully no damage was done to my car & she said none to her SUV, so we walked away from the incident.  Her behavior hurt though.  I felt like she thought I was so unimportant I shouldn’t be allowed to say one word.

This invisible thing results in a deep sense of shame about your very existence.  You feel as if the fact you exist is a bad thing, & this can destroy your self-esteem.  I know  this from personal experience- I’ve never had healthy self-esteem.  In fact, at 44 years old, I still battle low self-esteem often.

I have been working  on becoming visible instead of staying invisible off & on for a few years now.  I’ve learned that to do that, you need to start setting some boundaries.  Don’t let others call all of the shots, all of the time.  For example, I’ve always let others end the phone call first, & now  I’m starting to do end it when I feel strong enough. (sad.. such a mundane task shouldn’t be so stressful!)  If someone wants to go out with me but I have plans, instead of rearranging my plans, I suggest another time.  Basically, I’m finding little, reasonable ways of making myself noticed.  The good news is it does get easier & easier, the more I do it.  I hope you will try to do the same thing so you no longer feel invisible.  You deserve so much better than that!

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It’s Not Your Job To Tolerate Abuse Or Do All The Work In Your Relationships!

A pretty common phenomenon I’ve noticed about adult children of narcissistic parents is this belief of others that we are always supposed to allow other people to mistreat or even abuse us without complaint.  Also, if something is wrong in a relationship, it’s supposed to be our job to fix everything while the other person does nothing.

My mother in-law treated me like dirt for the first eight years of my husband’s & my relationship, until I finally severed ties with her.  My husband told me constantly that I “needed to understand her better,” I should “be the bigger person & let things go.”  He didn’t believe me when I told him what she had done, or (worst of all) blamed me for her abuse.

My ex husband & I lived with his parents for about a year.  During that time, he & I had a big fight on our third wedding anniversary.  I left the house to cool off for a while.  When I came back, his mother jumped me, blaming me for the fight (which he started, not that she knew this), for making him angry & for him punching a wall in his anger.  She told me I needed to talk to him & smooth things over.

During a very bad time in my marriage, I talked to a good friend of mine about something extremely painful my husband had done.  He tried to make excuses for my husband’s behavior & suggested things I can do to help fix our marriage rather than comfort me or help me.

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

If they do, I want to tell you today that it’s not your job, nor your purpose in life, to be used or to do all of the work in your relationships!  Relationships are NOT one sided, at least healthy ones are not.  A healthy relationship has two people working together.  Relationships where only one person does all of the work are extremely dysfunctional & miserable.

It also is not your place to tolerate abuse or make excuses for the abuser!  No one deserves abuse- NO ONE!  There is no excuse to abuse, there is nothing you can do to make someone abuse you & abusive people are sick.  None of this has anything to do with you.

I believe this warped behavior happens because of being raised by narcissistic parents.  You’re raised to be nothing more than a tool to be used as needed, much like say, a screwdriver.  You’re kept in a drawer until needed, pulled out, used, then put away until the next time you can serve some purpose. While you’re “in that drawer,” you need to be completely invisible- you have to stay out of the narcissist’s way! Don’t “bother” her with your trivial needs.  Hers are so very much more important than yours, after all.  As a result, you grow up continuing to act as if other people’s needs are more important, yours mean nothing, & being a people pleaser. People naturally read other people, & abusers in particular are extremely good at it.  Abusers look for people like this to abuse, since they’re easy targets who won’t complain about how they’re treated.  Then there are other people don’t deliberately seek out people they can abuse.  Instead, they see you believe you are: invisible, you deserve to be treated poorly, etc. & they treat you that way.

To help fix this problem in your life, work on your healing.  You will learn to spot the abusers quickly, & avoid them.  You’ll develop & enforce stronger boundaries.  Your self-esteem will improve, making you less willing to tolerate nonsense, including being the only one to work on your relationships.  You also need to really grasp the fact that you are NOT what your narcissistic mother says you are.  You are someone with great worth & value.  God loves you, no matter if your parents don’t.  If you have trouble believing that, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  Read the Bible- there are countless times in it where God states His love for you!

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Mother’s Day For Adult Children Of Narcissistic Mothers

Mother’s Day is fast approaching.  It is possibly the least favorite day of the year for children of narcissistic parents.  It’s so hard to find just the right card- something nice, but not too nice as you can’t stand giving her a card thanking her for always being there for you, for her unfailing love, etc. Then there is the gift- should you get her something?  If so, what?  Chances are she won’t like what you give her anyway, so is a gift even worth it?  And, we can’t forget the messages everywhere- on facebook, in stores, online- that say “Don’t forget your mother this Mother’s Day!” (as if we could forget her?!), “She’s always been there for you- give her *fill in the blank* for Mother’s Day!” & other such messages about how great Mom really is.  There are also friends & family who tell you that you should do something nice for your mother on Mother’s Day.  After all, if it weren’t for her, you wouldn’t be here!  She did the best she could!  She’s your MOTHER!!!  Can’t you just give her this one day?!

Mother’s day pretty much sucks for us who have narcissistic mothers.

If you too are dreading tomorrow, just know that you’re not alone!  Many others share your feelings of this disturbing day.

I would like to encourage you to take care of yourself as best you can.  Do what you feel you need to regarding your mother.  Give her a simple card &/or gift, or do nothing for her- whatever you feel in your heart is the right thing to do.  If you aren’t sure, pray.  God will guide you as to what is the best way to handle this.  Once you have done what you need to do for your mother, then let go of thinking about the day & take care of yourself.  If you have children, celebrate with them.  If not, enjoy your day however you see fit- go to a spa, buy the new book you’ve been wanting, spend the day at a museum.  Do something that you enjoy & that doesn’t involve anything to do with your narcissistic mother.

This may sound disrespectful to you, especially if you are new to learning about narcissism, but rest assured, it’s not.  Remember, people reap what they sow. Reaping & sowing a law of the universe- if you plant cantaloupe seeds, you get a harvest of cantaloupe, right?  It’s the same thing with behavior.  If you kick a dog every time every time he comes near you, he learns to run the other way when he sees you coming.  Adult children of narcissistic parents eventually behave much like that kicked dog- we eventually don’t want to spend time with our parents & will go to great lengths to avoid it.  It’s often not even a deliberate decision- it just seems to happen because we’re tired of the cruelty.  That is your narcissistic mother reaping what she has sown.

So I encourage you- enjoy Mother’s Day your way, guilt-free!  What can you do to make it a good day for you?

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A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

Last night I had a very bizarre dream.  I dreamed that there were a bunch of small children in my yard, making a lot of noise.  It was irritating me (I like peace & quiet) & I went to chase them off.  As I was getting my coat, I heard them in the backyard as well & was becoming more irritated.  Who were they & why were they on my property?  I went outside & they were gone, so I came back inside.  I looked at a shelf & found they’d left me things I need, like soap, cleaning supplies, food & even my favorite perfume from my teen years.  I knew they weren’t actually children, but angels when I saw this.

Upon waking up from this bizarre dream, I had no idea what it meant, but it reminded me of a Scripture…Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (KJV)  

I wonder how many people really believe this Scripture?  The actions of most people don’t really show that they believe it.

I’m not saying that we have to cater to everyone we meet, ignoring our own needs.  Not by any stretch.  I’m saying just be civil & kind to one another.  Be an example of God’s love- patient, kind, caring, all while exercising healthy boundaries.  Believe it or not, sometimes saying “no” is actually the most loving thing you can do for another person.  If it wasn’t loving behavior, God wouldn’t tell us no sometimes, would He?

I just wanted to take a moment today to make you think about how you treat people, even the strangers you pass on the street or the cashiers at the grocery store.  Simply smiling at a stranger can make their day.  So many people are rude & unpleasant to strangers, so why not be different?  Be nice instead.  Be polite.  Ask how someone is & wait for an answer that you genuinely care to hear.  Don’t give the impression you’re only asking to be polite- let the other person know you really care how they are.  Little gestures like this truly make a person’s day.  They say, “I care about you” & there is a great shortage of caring people in the world.  Be one of those who do care!

Since many of you reading this are also adult children of narcissists, I can’t help but think you may be hoping I don’t mean include your narcissistic parents in this niceness thing.  Well, sort of I do.  What I said about exercising good boundaries?  That is extremely important when you deal with narcissists, & truly, boundaries are very loving.  They mean you won’t enable certain behaviors from others.  Narcissists don’t think boundaries are good or loving, but they really are in God’s eyes, & that is what really counts!  ;)

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The Truth Really Will Set You Free

I recently read a wonderful quote from Jefferson Davis- “Truth crushed to the Earth is truth still, & like a seed will rise again.”  As soon as I read this, I thought about how it relates to those of us who have been raised by narcissistic parents.

Many of us grew up in this toxic environment, learning very early that we are never to discuss the abuse going on at home, nor are we allowed to protest it.  We also aren’t allowed to have or express feelings, wants or even needs. This results in growing up “stuffing” everything deep down inside & ignoring things, even pretending the abuse we endured wasn’t so bad.  After all, others had it much worse, right?  *sigh*

The truth is we do have needs, wants, & feelings.  We also have been through unimaginable abuse.  And, as Mr. Davis said, those truths will rise again.

There comes a point in your life where suddenly you no longer can “stuff” everything.  You have to admit that you were abused, & that it did a great deal of damage to you.  You also can’t ignore the fact you have wants, needs & feelings any longer.  You want to be heard for the first time, instead of being treated as if you’re completely invisible.  You also may get angry, very angry, that you have been treated in such a way.

At first, this is scary.  You aren’t used to feeling anger or wanting to be heard.  It feels very abnormal to say the least.   And, the thought of discussing what happened to you at the hands of your narcissistic parent(s)?  Terrifying!  However, if you are at this point, I would like to say to you today to push on!

You have just reached a turning point in your life.  It’s actually a very good thing, even though it may not feel that way at first.  This is the point you start to realize you have worth & value, & you are not the terrible things your narcissistic mother said you were.

As abnormal as it feels, keep on healing, learning & growing.  Work through your feelings of fear, & ask God to help you however you need that help.  They won’t hurt you.  In fact, the experience will make you stronger.  You will become comfortable knowing you have the right to have your own needs, even if one of those needs is discussing what your narcissistic mother did to you.

Regarding discussing what happened with your narcissistic mother, by the way, I’m not saying that you have to discuss it with everyone, or write a book or even a blog like this.  I am saying though that you don’t need to feel as if you’re hiding some dirty little secret, like her abusing you was something for you to be ashamed of.  You have nothing to be ashamed of, but your mother has plenty.  The shame of what she did to you is hers, not yours, so don’t carry it any longer!  Put the shame back where it belongs- on your mother.  Refuse to carry it one more day!

Dear Reader, lean on God. Let Him help you to heal & grow.  He truly will, because He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  You can get through this painful time, & will come out on the other side so much stronger, healthier & happier for it!  xoxo

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What Is Your Personality Type?

Thanks to a recent discussion with two of my wonderful fans, I learned about a fascinating personality test based on Carl Jung & Isabelle Briggs Meyers’ approaches to personality.

The test will result in a  4 letter description of your personality & explanation of what it means.

I would really like to recommend you take this test & learn what your personality is.  Truly, it is a very eye opening, enlightening experience.

I learned I’m an INFJ personality, which means Introverted, INtuitive, Feeling, Judging.  This happens to be the rarest personality type (which I think is pretty cool!).  Reading about INFJs has answered a lot of questions I had about myself.  I always thought I was weird, but in fact, I’m not- I’m simply a typical INFJ personality.

On a whim,  I also took the test for my narcissistic mother, answering the questions to the best of my ability, & she turned out to be an ESTP.  The description sounded a great deal like her.  No wonder we clash so badly- our personalities are entirely opposite.

In any case, learning about your personality type is very helpful.  It will teach you why you are the way you are.  It’s also very validating.  As I said, I always thought I was weird & have come to realize I’m not.  It also can teach you about yourself.  Learning about my personality showed me exactly why I hated certain jobs but loved others, why people (even strangers) have come to me for advice,  why I can be so obsessed with details & more. I feel like I’ve learned more about myself in the short time I’ve been reading about the INFJ personality than in the rest of my life.

I hope you’ll consider doing the same.  Learning who you are, learning about your personality is not only fascinating but so helpful.  And, if you’ve grown up with at least one  narcissistic parent, then you never had much of an opportunity to get to know who you truly are.  You learned who that parent said you were. Why not finally learn about the special person God made you to be?

Here is the test:  http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

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A Different Facet Of Triangulation

Triangulation is a commonly known tactic of narcissists.  It involves the narcissist having a third party try to talk to you about what is bothering her.  For example, if you have set limits on the time you are willing to spend with your narcissistic mother, she may have your father talk to you about how you should spend more time with your parents.

I realized recently that there is another kind of triangulation that is often used with covert narcissists.  It is where the covert narcissist tells you about the terrible things someone else has said about you, & tells them terrible things you have said about them. The things they share aren’t necessarily true.

If you have two narcissistic parents- one overt, one covert- then chances are you are aware of this, even if you haven’t thought about it before. I have experienced this firsthand.  My father, a covert narcissist, tells me anything bad that my overtly narcissistic mother says about me (I’m not sure how much is true of what he has said).  He also has told my mother I’ve said bad things about her when I hadn’t.  For example, he has told me many times my mother has said someone should report me for having too many pets (I have a legal amount of pets & I own my home rather than rent, so no one would do anything if I was reported, by the way).  He also has told my mother that I said she isn’t allowed in my home when I said no such thing.  The truth is I told him I was sick of her insulting my furkids & if she couldn’t be civil to them, she doesn’t need to come into my home ever again.

I’ve heard of other covertly narcissistic parents doing similar things, & I’ve wondered why.  After praying about it, I think I understand.

Telling their child such things, be they true or false, means the child will pull away from the overtly narcissistic parent & be closer to the covertly narcissistic parent.  This means more narcissistic supply for the covert narcissist.

This dysfunctional behavior also causes the child to think poorly of the overt narcissist, & it makes the covert narcissist look good by comparison.  After all, the covert narcissist comes across as concerned for the child (“I thought you should know what your mother said about you..”), unlike the overt narcissist who has said such hurtful things. And, the covert narcissist isn’t the one who said the hurtful things- he only relayed what he has heard, supposedly because you need to know these things.

This form of triangulation is also a type of deflection, because it takes attention off of the covert narcissist & his bad behaviors.  You become angry with the overt narcissist for saying such terrible things, & automatically don’t pay as much attention to the covert narcissist’s bad behaviors since your focus is elsewhere.

Covert narcissists love looking like a martyr, & this type of triangulation helps them to do that as well.  See what terrible things he has to put up with?  He has to listen to his mean wife talk trash about his child!  How horrible for him!  He is often so focused on making whatever was said (or he wants you to believe was said) that it stirs you up so much, you fail to realize at first that he didn’t defend you.  In fact, if you aren’t aware of this tactic, you may even feel sorry for him that he had to be exposed to this.

So how do you deal with this type of hurtful, dysfunctional behavior?

Obviously, setting boundaries in a normal way with any narcissist is futile.  Do not admit that it hurts you to hear these things, or the covert narcissist will realize the effectiveness of this weapon to hurt you, using it constantly.

Instead, show no reaction.  Pretend whatever is said doesn’t affect you in the least.   He may keep pushing the issue trying to get a reaction.  If he does & gets flustered at your calmness, & says something like “Aren’t you upset?” use logic in your response.  I’ve said things like, “Why would I be?  I know she hates everything about me.  This is hardly a surprise.  Besides, I just don’t care what she thinks about me anymore.”  Then I changed the subject as that information sank in.

Change the subject.  Repeatedly.  As often as needed.  Without saying anything along the lines of “On another matter..” or “Let’s talk about something different”, just bluntly change the subject.  Narcissists, overt or covert, don’t like subject changes- they want to be in charge of the conversation.  It will annoy him, but at least he’ll be off the topic.

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Stop Beating Yourself Up From Mistakes!

As I mentioned in this post, recently, my parents came by for a visit.  I thought it went very well- I set boundaries & didn’t let my mother get away with her usual nasty games.  It went so well in fact, that I knew my mother was extremely angry with me.  So angry, she didn’t even call me on my birthday last Tuesday for the first time ever.

 

The following day though, she called.  It was a very hurtful conversation, & I didn’t handle it very well.  During the visit & seemed to have the right answers for every situation.  During the call though?  I had nothing.  I wasn’t feeling well at all & was tired, plus her call caught me by surprise.  I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but did anyway, against my better judgment, & ended up very hurt & angry.

 

I was beating myself up about this situation.  Here I’ve been telling other adult children of narcissistic parents to be strong & how to do it, yet I failed miserably at following my own advice.  Talk about feeling like a hypocrite!  Not a nice feeling.

 

I realized some things from this experience though.

 

We all make mistakes.  My mistake was picking up the phone & ignoring my instincts that told me to let it ring.  Instead of beating myself up for making a mistake, now I’m looking at it as a reminder to listen to my instincts every single time.

 

I also learned to be mentally prepared for her calls.  Always, without fail ever, it’s best to remember to pray before answering her calls, asking God for strength, courage, the right words to say & whatever I need to successfully deal with her.  That is exactly what I prayed before my last visit with my parents, & God certainly didn’t disappoint me!  He never has when I’ve prayed those things.  In fact, I may start praying for them daily just in case she calls when I’m not expecting it so I can be prepared.

 

Also, I’ve been beating myself up for being so hurt by my mother’s usual nastiness.  She made sure I knew she wasn’t listening to or cared about anything I had to say, as she so often does.  Being in a weakened state, it hurt more than usual, & it usually hurts pretty bad.  When telling a very good friend about this, she reminded me that all children, no matter what age, want their mother’s love.  It’s normal.  Even though logically I know my mother hates me & won’t change either that fact or the way she treats me,  on some level, I wish things were different.  That is normal.   Thanks to my friend, I was reminded that it’s not right to beat yourself up for wishing things were different or being hurt by your narcissistic mother.

 

Lastly, I took a very bold step to take care of myself too.  I blocked my parents’  phone number on my phone.  Not permanently, but for a few days until I feel better & stronger, more able to deal with her if I need to.  This way, I have guaranteed myself some peace for a while.  I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s a good move.  I won’t have the usual debate I have inside when the phone rings & I see their number on the caller ID- Can I handle them right now?  Can I deal with the fallout later by not answering this call?  There’s no debate because I don’t see their number.

 

I hope what I learned will help you, Dear Reader.  Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes regarding your narcissistic mother.  No one is perfect!  Don’t wallow in those weak moments, but instead look at them as learning experiences.  Stop judging & criticising yourself, & instead just glean knowledge from those moments & go on.

 

 

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Narcissists Change Their Tactics Over The Years

In my lifetime, I’ve known many narcissists.  One thing they all share in common is that they change their tactics as they get older.

When I was growing up, my mother was the bold, it’s my way or the highway kind of overt narcissist.  She would do anything she wanted to accomplish whatever her goal was, not caring how abusive it was, so long as there were no witnesses.  Now that she is in her mid 70’s, she has become much craftier.  Gone are the days when she would wait until we were alone, then scream in my face, calling me horrible names & accusing me of terrible behaviors.  Now, her abuse is much more subtle.  In fact, unless you’re familiar with narcissism, you wouldn’t even know she was being abusive. And, she likes witnesses.  If my mother & I are in public, often with my father, I can count on her attacking me viciously & quietly.  Barely audibly, she will insult my car, pets, writing or anyone or anything that means something to me.  I have no doubt she is trying to provoke me into yelling at her, so others will see what a terrible daughter I am to my sweet, elderly mother.

My father, the covert narcissist, has always been subtle.  When I was growing up, he feigned ignorance & inability to help me regarding my mother’s abuse, making him sound more like her victim than I was.  I often reassured him instead of him reassuring or protecting me.  Occasionally he still tries this tactic but it’s rather rare. Instead, he complains to me about his bad marriage (something he’s always done) & tries to stir up problems between my mother & I.  He also now enjoys challenging my boundaries & using guilt trips/criticisms disguised as jokes then telling me not to be upset when I confront him.  “Now now, don’t you go getting upset..I was just teasing” has become possibly my least favorite phrase in the English language.

The worst case of a narcissist changing their tactics I’ve heard of though is from a friend of mine.  Her mother was an overt narcissist & her father covert.  Her mother was incredibly violent & vicious to her children.  Her father wasn’t home much due to his job, so he didn’t see a lot. He claimed that he didn’t know just how bad she treated the children (I guess he missed the bruises & broken bones?) & that he couldn’t stop her.

Shortly after her mother died, her father married another woman, who was much like my friend’s mother.  This woman didn’t want him to see his now adult children, & he told them there was nothing he could do about it.

Once she died, he expected his children to take care of him.  They do everything for him from making his bed to cleaning his house to paying most of his bills.  My friend’s father demands this & will go to great lengths to be sure his children do these things & more for him.  Once a covert narcissist, he became a very overt one.

Dear Reader, you need to be aware of these things, because your narcissistic parents will change too.  You need to be able to adapt your behaviors to fit in with theirs if you plan to continue having a relationship with them.

Some things are a given when dealing with any narcissist- you need to have & enforce good boundaries & show them no emotions, for example.  Other things however, you may need to change, such as if your narcissistic mother tries to stir you up in a public place like mine does, avoid public places with her as much as possible.  If your father suddenly likes to portray himself as a helpless old man when you know he isn’t, you will need to let him do what he can on his own.

If you are unable or unwilling to go no  contact with your narcissistic parents, you are going to have to learn to be very firm in some areas, while very flexible in others.  Always be firm with your boundaries, staying emotionless in their presence, providing them minimal information on your life & limiting your time with them.  But, be flexible enough to know when things are changing & your old ways to deal with them aren’t working anymore or you need to find new ways to deal.  Get creative- ask God to help you in that area if you aren’t sure what to do.  Remember Matthew 10:16 “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” (MSG)

As difficult as it may sound, you truly can handle this.  God never gives you more than you can handle, although it may feel that way sometimes.  Follow His guidance, common sense, your intuition & remember what you know about narcissists, & you will be just fine.  Remember my post about my last visit with my parents?  If not, please read it now.  It is proof that God cares & helps us even with our narcissistic parents.  If He helped me become the much stronger, capable person I’ve become, He certainly will help you as well.

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Birthdays For Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Today is my birthday, which gave me the idea for something to write about.  Well, ok, technically I’m writing this before my birthday to publish on the day so I can take that day off..  lol  But anyway..

So many of us adult children of narcissistic parents hate our birthdays.  I’ve been battling this myself for many years, since my seventeenth birthday when my mother ruined my day & spent a good part of it screaming at me.  My eighteenth, when she gave me a gift she said she didn’t even know why she was giving me anything since she didn’t even like me.  There have been plenty of other lousy birthdays over the years, too, that weren’t related to my mother. These bad times set the stage for me to start dreading my birthday once the month of April begins.

A few years ago, a friend of mine messaged me on facebook shortly before my birthday & asked what I was going to do for my birthday.  I said nothing.  At the time, my father had started chemo & wasn’t feeling well- I felt I should be available in case my parents needed me.  My friend proceeded to chew me out. Gently but still.. lol  Birthdays are very important to him, he said, & pretty much ordered me to do something nice for myself that day, even if it was only picking up lunch from my favorite restaurant.  Something in me clicked.  I realized he was right.  Since then, each year my husband & I have gone to our favorite restaurant on the water not far from home with a few friends. We share a meal & some laughs in a cute little place with a scenic view.  It’s always a lot of fun.

In my experiences of meeting many other adult children of narcissistic parents, I’ve realized that I am hardly alone.  Many others dread their birthday because of bad memories their mothers attached to the date.  If that describes you, Dear Reader, please reconsider your feelings. Your birthday is a special day- it’s the day you made your grand entrance into this world. It is the day God assigned for you to bless the world with your presence!  That makes it a very special day.  And, you are a very special person!  In spite of what your narcissistic mother most likely told you, you are a wonderful person, & your birthday is a day that should be acknowledged & celebrated!  Why don’t you decide today to start doing just that?

When I first started to try to celebrate & enjoy my birthday, it felt so strange.  I even felt guilty, like I was doing something bad & wrong. But, as time has worn on, I’ve gotten better at it.  In fact, I’ve even looked forward to my birthday a few times.  Admittedly, I’m still struggling in this area, but at least I’ve made progress.  Progress is so much better than cringing every single time the month of April begins!  It may take you a little time & practice as it has me to start consistently looking forward to your birthday, but it is worth it!

To start, you don’t have to start big, like with a huge party, if you aren’t comfortable with that. Just do a little something nice for yourself.  Like my friend said, get your favorite lunch from your favorite restaurant.  Bake yourself a cake or buy a slice from a nice restaurant.  Buy yourself a nice gift- it doesn’t need to be extravagant if you don’t want it to be or can’t afford it.  A new book would suffice.  Go out for coffee with your best friend(s).  Buy yourself some fresh flowers or plant a pretty garden in your yard.  The point is to do something special just for you, to celebrate the wonderful day that you were born.  xoxo

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Narcissists & Animals

As many of you know, I absolutely love animals. I’m currently the very proud mama to 9 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch. If I can brag a bit, they are all very well behaved (not perfect, but pretty impressive anyway!), happy, affectionate, gentle, sweet & very caring.  I think they’re pretty awesome, & am happy to say that people who meet them seem to share my opinion.

Except for my narcissistic mother & mother in-law.

Before my mother in-law met them (& she met them only one time), she told me I had too many cats & needed to get rid of them.  She also told my sister in-law the same thing.  The one time she met all of the cats I had at the time, she looked at them with such disdain.  In fact, when she entered the room, they all gathered close around me very protectively.  Magic, the head of our family at the time, sat on my lap, swishing his tail angrily & looking at her with the evil kitty eye until she left us alone.  Magic met her one more time, in her home, & promptly pooped on her carpet.  Needless to say, Magic was my favorite cat I’ve ever had..lol

As for my mother, the cats don’t like her & with good reason.  She insults them.  This one is too skinny is she sick, the other one is so rude & too pushy with wanting affection, the cat she used to have weighed 13 pounds & that one over there is obviously way more than 13 so he is way too fat & needs to go on a diet!  Although many people think animals don’t understand words, only the tone of voice, mine are proof that is not true.  Each time she has insulted them, they give her this look like they’re thinking “Well screw you then, Lady..” & walk off, refusing to give her more attention.  It got so bad, I told her repeatedly that if she can’t be civil to my pets, she is no longer welcome in my home.  As a result, she didn’t set foot inside my home for over 3 years.  I guess insulting my pets is really important to her.

Do these scenarios remind you of your narcissistic mother?

If they do, I want to urge you today to pay close attention to how she is with your furbabies & protect them!  The same hurt you feel when she insults you, they feel when she insults them.  It’s not fair, especially since they can’t fight back like people can.  They are completely innocent victims, & deserve your protection.  As the pet parent, it is your job to protect them from any & all dangers, & that includes your narcissistic mother.

Doing this isn’t easy at first, I know.  My mother completely ignored me time & time again when I told her to knock it off- don’t talk to them that way.  I figured out why though- I was livid with her & didn’t mind showing it.  She fed off the fact she upset me, just like any narcissist does.  Me being upset only made her mistreat my animals more & more.

The secret to dealing with a narcissist is to stay calm- don’t let them see you’re upset!  Remain calm & collected in their presence.  (Once they are gone, rant & rage all you want though!)  Calmly state to her that you won’t tolerate whatever it is she is doing to your pet.  Never admit that it upsets you, however!  Just calmly state that you don’t let people talk to your pet that way or you don’t allow your pet to eat that type of food or whatever the situation is.  Offer no explanations at all- it is simply something you don’t tolerate. If she continues, remind her of what you said.  If she still continues, walk over to her, pull your pet away from  her & keep him or her at your side until your mother leaves.  If she tries to call your pet to her, tell her no- the pet stays with you.  She may at some point say something about you being oversensitive, she was just teasing, she just thought your pet would like that treat, etc.  Ignore the innocent act & stick to your guns.  Let her know that certain things are not tolerated & if she insists on treating your pet the way she thinks he/she should be treated instead of how you know is best, then she won’t be welcome in your home any longer.

I know this may be hard at first, but do it anyway!  Your narcissistic mother is trying to hurt you by using your pet.  If she can’t hurt you directly anymore either by beating you or by insulting you (eventually we all develop a pretty thick skin to her insults & become like an insult Navy seal..), she’ll look for new ways to hurt you which is where your pets come into play.  Don’t let her get away with hurting you or your pet!  It’s not fair to either one of you!  Protect your furbaby just as much as you would protect a human baby- they are equally innocent & undeserving of abuse!

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Strength Does Come If You Don’t Give Up

Last week, my father called, asking if he could come by soon.  We arranged it for this past Tuesday, around 12-1 p.m.  When he was a bit late, I just chalked it up to the traffic jam outside my home, but soon found out why- my mother was with him, & she is always late (a control tactic).  She invited herself to my home!  I was caught off-guard since I hadn’t expected this but I prayed quickly before letting them in, & God didn’t disappoint!  He helped me tremendously to get through the very difficult visit, as He always does.

My mother was obviously angry with me from the start. Why I’m not sure.  Maybe because I didn’t invite her over (truthfully, I didn’t invite my father either but at least he asked before coming over).  Maybe because she was whining about her back pain & I showed her no concern (for anyone who doesn’t know, at 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I had pain for 10 years & had to quit working.  Not only did she never assume responsibility for hurting me, she told everyone I was faking the injury to get out of working because I was so lazy.  This is why I feel no sympathy for her pain.  You reap what you sow!).  Maybe she was mad because as soon as she got here, she asked if I’d gotten an email from her cousin about printing something out for her & I told her I did get it & I told her cousin to print it out herself since I’m not anyone’s secretary.

In any case, my mother was angry with me, & when she’s angry she does the normal narcissist behavior- treat me like crap & try to hurt me at every opportunity.  Thanks to God helping me, I was able not only to catch onto what she did every time, but also refuse to play along.  I was able to stay totally calm, which is important- showing your hurt or anger only fuels the narcissist, making her want to hurt you more & more.  I also was able to set & enforce firm boundaries with her that she respected, albeit grudgingly.

The visit was a great success, considering the circumstances!  Although I still ended up angry & hurt when my parents left, it wasn’t nearly as painful as it has been before.  It’s taken a long time, but I finally am able to set & enforce healthy boundaries & stand up to my mother rather than tolerate her abuse silently.

My point of telling you this story, Dear Reader, is to encourage you.  A good friend of mine suggested I share it to encourage you.  If you are in a relationship with your narcissistic parents & unable or unwilling to go no contact, you still can deal with them if you don’t give up!  Keep praying- ask God to give you whatever you need such as strength, courage, wisdom & even words to say or boundaries to set.  He truly will answer that prayer!

If you have any doubts about anything she says or what you feel, ask God to tell you the truth immediately.

Also, learn as much as you can about narcissism so you are prepared for the gaslighting & other horrible behaviors.  This will help you to remember that she is the problem, not you as well as to cope with those behaviors.

Talk to supportive friends.  Let them encourage you!

Be calm around your narcissistic parent at all times to avoid fueling their nasty fire.

Always be consistent.  If you set a boundary, stick to it.  Any flexibility will be taken as a sign of weakness & she will bust through that boundary & any others as soon as she sees fit.

As you gain more experience with dealing with your narcissistic parents in a healthy way, it will become so much easier.  I never thought that I would be able to tell my mother to knock off insulting my pets & have her actually listen to me!  I’ve told her that before & she ignored me totally.  Even when I told her either be nice to them or I’ll kick her out of my home, it still wasn’t as effective- she simply avoided my home.  But Tuesday, she backed off immediately.  She is finally learning that I not only am serious that I will protect my furkids no matter what, but also that I mean business with my boundaries.

You too can be strong!  Don’t give up!  Keep practicing the above mentioned tips, & you will be pleasantly surprised how much stronger you are.  And, chances are your narcissistic mother will improve her behaviors some like mine has.

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How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

I was talking with a good friend recently.  She told me about something traumatic that happened to her a while back.  She also said that many of her friends & relatives told her that she needed to get over it & trivialized her awful experience, rather than offer her compassion & support.  Naturally, it upset her badly that people she expected to be compassionate were instead cold & unfeeling.

Unfortunately I understand her feelings all too well.  Since I got sick at the end of February, I’ve experienced this same thing first hand more times than I can count, starting at the hospital.  Apparently even a potentially deadly illness isn’t enough to warrant compassion from most people.

There is a terrible lack of love, empathy & compassion in the world today.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].  2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].”  (AMP)

I firmly believe this is what is happening today, why people are so indifferent to the suffering of others.  Look at how people behave.  Money & things mean more than people & relationships.  Animal & child abuse are commonplace, as is hypocrisy.  And most importantly, God is rarely invited into, well, anything.  Not many people have God as their top priority in life.  Without God, it’s impossible to truly love people God’s way- full of compassion, caring, & great empathy.

Dear Reader, I’m certain you have been on the receiving end of this hurtful type of behavior. Your pain has no doubt been trivialized or even invalidated.  (This is especially common for adult children of narcissistic parents, since our parents didn’t always leave bruises or broken bones like physically abusive ones did, & they act like good people around everyone but their own children.)

While there is certainly no way to control how people act & completely avoid their coldness, you can remember that a person who acts this way has a problem.  That will help you not to internalize their words, thinking something is wrong with you for being upset over whatever trauma you experienced.  You need to remember that, because you are not wrong, crazy, oversensitive, etc. for being upset when something bad happens to you.

And, also remember that people with problems naturally turn self-centered to varying degrees.  Some people become so self-centered that they don’t have it in them to care about others who are also suffering.  Remembering this too will help you not to internalize being treated so poorly.

I would like to also encourage you to consider how you react when someone tells you about a painful or traumatic experience.  Do you offer compassion?  Empathize with their pain?  Or, are you so wrapped up in your own problems you refuse to see anything or anyone except what relates directly to you?

If you are the type to have a hard time empathizing when you too are suffering, it may be time to change that.  Aside from the fact that behavior can be hurting others, being good to others also is good for you.  It takes your mind off your problems, even if only temporarily.  You also may learn that this person & you share a common problem, & now you have someone to talk about your problems with.  You may be able to help each other!

Don’t know how to change this about yourself?  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to increase your empathy, to make you more aware of the feelings of others  & to give you wisdom on how to help those He puts in your path & wisdom with your words.  God will honor your prayer, & bless you for wanting to help others.

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

Do You Validate Or Invalidate Yourself?

Validation is very hard to come by.  People are very quick to minimize the successes of others & to tell others their pain isn’t so bad.  When others either fail to validate you or directly, deliberately invalidate you, it hurts.  It also leads many people to invalidate themselves, especially when the invalidation starts early in life by their own parents.  Parental invalidation of a child easily can instill a belief in the child that she or he isn’t worth validating.  Accomplishments, dreams, needs, feelings all become trivial, unworthy of any recognition.  I believe invalidating a child helps to instill a root of deep shame in him or her.  The child becomes ashamed of his or her own needs, wants, feelings & even accomplishments.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, this is a very common phenomenon.  In my own life, I have only recently begun to see how badly I have invalidated myself.  I tend to look at what I haven’t done rather than what I have, & berate myself for what I haven’t done rather than be proud of what I have. Or, if I accomplish something good, I just look at it as something anyone can do, or it’s something I should do so why should that be celebrated?  My wants, needs & feelings come after those of others, even if I have a crisis.  While I am getting a bit better at these behaviors, it’s difficult since they are so deeply ingrained in me.  Plus, by behaving this way, I have essentially told others it’s perfectly OK for them to invalidate me, which means others do so on a regular basis.

If this describes you as well, I want to encourage you today to do as I am trying to do myself- begin to validate yourself!  It’s time to recognize that your wants, needs, actions & feelings are just as important as those of other people.  To do this, ask yourself why you believe the way you do.  What makes you think your wants, needs, etc. are less important than those of other people?  If you are unsure, ask God to show you.  Once you realize why you feel the way you do, ask Him to speak truth to you about why you feel this way.  Are your feelings accurate?  Or, are they the result of someone else invalidating you?  How can you change this false belief into the truth?

Also, pay attention to those things you feel, good & bad, & acknowledge them.  Don’t brush things off so easily- feel your feelings.  If someone hurt you, then feel that hurt & be good to yourself by doing nice things that make you feel good.  If you feel good because you accomplished a task that was on the back burner for too long, stop & bask in how good that feels for a few minutes.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Maybe even celebrate by giving yourself a gift.

Another thing to think about.  People who invalidate on a regular basis are often toxic.  They can be narcissists (or even just plain self-centered people) who believe they are the only ones worthy of validation, passive/aggressive types who use it as a means of punishing others, or they can simply be the superficial type of people who don’t like to delve into any deeper subject matter.  Superficial people don’t care for anything that requires much thought or effort on their part, & validation requires some of both.  Validation requires one to see things through another’s eyes if you wish to truly understand their feelings, plus you have to consider the right thing to say to properly validate another person.

In any case, the point is an invalidating person is the one with the problem, not you.  People want & need validation.  It’s how God made us, & is completely normal to want it!  I believe it is also abnormal not to wish to bless people by giving it freely.  There is nothing wrong with you for being hurt or disappointed when you are invalidated.  But, since it is becoming a rare thing in today’s society, you can validate yourself.

And, while you’re becoming more aware of the importance of validating yourself, don’t forget to validate others as well!  People are starving for validation- be a blessing, & validate others!  If you are unsure when it’s appropriate, ask God to show you who to validate & when.

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Do You Celebrate Enough?

Do you celebrate the good things in your life?  Not necessarily throw a big party over every good thing, but at least revel in your joy for a few moments.

Life can be so hard & full of negative things, the good can get pushed aside.  It’s very easy to do.  However, I would like to encourage you today to start looking for more good things & celebrating them.  Focus more on what you have accomplished than what is still left to do.  Be proud of the fact you lost five pounds or finally painted your living room.  Think about how blessed you are that a good friend of yours brought you lunch when you were sick, or offered to take your child to school when you were unable.  Enjoy the fact your spouse took off work on your birthday to celebrate & spoil you.  Take a few moments just to think about those good things & feel good about them.  Bask in the good feelings for a few minutes.  Truly this will help you to feel good, & it will help to cement these positive experiences in your memory by attaching good emotions to them.  Experiences with emotions attached stick with us much better than those with little or no emotions.

I have stressed many times the importance of taking a break from emotional healing sometimes, as it can be very draining.  As much as you need to heal from narcissistic abuse, it can be very complex & deep, so periodic distracts are very important.  However, I think equally important is looking for & celebrating the good things.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent, accomplishments were always undermined.   We heard negative, critical, judgmental things our entire lives.  In fact, I think of my parents as the “could be a tumor” kid from the movie, “Kindergarten Cop.”  Do you remember that kid?  If not, here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaTO8_KNcuo&list=FLyHVkrFotB51_ZKqh7BqAXg&index=27

These things our parents did became habits.  We learned to do them to ourselves.  We became highly critical & negative about ourselves, even trivializing the good things we’ve done.  Why continue the abuse that your parents started?  Stop it & stop it now!  You deserve so much better than that, & you deserve to be happy.  Start today by celebrating something good.  Take a few minutes to bask in the joy of the blessing or the event, whatever it is.  Focus on how good it feels to have received something or to have accomplished something.  Even if it’s simply cleaning your house- doesn’t it feel good to have that task completed?  Focus on that good feeling for a few minutes.  Thank God for the good things.  That’s all you have to do.

Now, try that celebration with other things, big & small.  Relish the enjoyment!  You’ll be a happier person for it!  xoxo

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New Ways To Cope With Anxiety Taught Me A Way To Deal With Narcissists

I was talking with a good friend of mine recently.  She, too, has problems with anxiety, although hers isn’t associated with C-PTSD.  It still sounds pretty bad, unfortunately.  While we were discussing our experiences, I told her that since I got since in February, my anxiety levels have been a lot better.  She asked what I have done to change things.  Honestly I couldn’t think of what to say at that time.  I had to get alone, pray & really look at things later on.

I got a new revelation on how quickly life can change or even end when I got sick.  When I got sick that February day with carbon monoxide poisoning, I didn’t realize just how serious it was, nor did anyone at the hospital tell me.  I read about it on the Mayo Clinic’s site & Wikipedia after I got home & was shocked at just how close I came to death or the possibility of permanent brain damage.  I made myself face how I felt about this situation instead of ignoring my feelings (as I learned early in life to do), & although it’s been painful to go through, it’s been good.  Coming  that close to death really gave me a new revelation on just how fast life can change, or even end.  That revelation has helped me tremendously to have a better perspective.  I don’t sweat the small stuff so easily now.  I don’t want to waste whatever time I have upset if I can help it.  We only have a relatively short time on this earth, & I have wasted enough years upset, angry, hurt & anxious- I want to enjoy the rest of the time I have as much as possible!

Wanting to enjoy my life as much as I can also made me enforce my boundaries better.  I’m learning to respect how I feel & say no sometimes.  I began asking myself some tough questions:  What is good or right about making myself miserable just to make someone else happy?  If someone wants that, they certainly are selfish & don’t have my best interests at heart.  And, what makes that person so much more important than me anyway?  Why is their happiness so much more important than mine?

Before I got sick, I was too stressed & anxious.  So much so, my hair is damaged & broken.  This was another sign that things had to change.  If my hair was showing such awful signs of stress, what could be happening on the inside to my heart or other organs?  I made the decision that I deserved better than this- it’s time to fight the anxiety & stress.  Making that decision was important.  The decision enabled me to slow down or even stop when anxiety kicks in & talk to myself.  I ask myself is this going to hurt me, is there something I can do to make this situation better, what am I so worried about?  Questions like that make me think about the situation logically, which cuts back on  or even eliminates anxiety.

I have begun to focus more on relaxing.  When I take my daily shower, I enjoy the feel of the warm water instead of just rushing through it.  I exfoliate my skin often & use a good quality lotion I like after my shower so my skin feels great.  I shampoo & condition gently with good products to take care of my fragile, recovering hair.  Often too, I turn on some good music, & light a scented candle while in the shower.  This turns a boring daily ritual into something I enjoy & that relaxes me.  I also turn on music when I do household chores, as the music makes me feel good.  When I get into bed, I take a moment to relish how comfortable & cozy it is.  I have a collection of pictures on my tablet that make me feel good- pictures of serene scenery, Victorian era images or even inspiring quotes that validate me.  Little things like this add to squelching anxiety.

Often, people talk to me about their problems.  (I think many adult children of narcissists are often the friend everyone talks to about their problems).  I’ve recently begun to remind myself that I’m not God- it’s not my place to fix other people’s lives.  Just because my parents raised me to fix their problems doesn’t mean that fixing people is my responsibility!  My job is to offer compassion, advice if asked, help them in some way if I feel God is leading me to & direct them to God.  This has enabled me to feel less anxiety because I can detach emotionally some now in these situations.

Most importantly, I also remind myself constantly that God is in control & is my provider. No matter what we do, God still is in charge.  He wants what is best for me & wants to bless me.  He has brought me this far for a reason, & has not once forsaken me.  Reminding myself of such things has brought me closer to God & our relationship has drastically improved.  Not that I have complaints about how it was before, but even so,  I feel so much closer to Him now & my faith has grown.

Granted, this doesn’t conquer all anxiety every time it happens.  I still battle agoraphobia every time I leave my home or wake up with panic attacks sometimes.  However, things have improved greatly.  And a bonus has happened- by slowing myself down to deal with anxiety, it’s become such a habit, I’ve also started doing it automatically when dealing with my narcissistic parents.  Instead of immediately getting angry or hurt over what they do, I am now able to remind myself that whatever they’re doing isn’t about me- it’s about their dysfunctional behavior.  For example, if they try to make me feel guilty for not calling more often, I remember that they don’t want me to call more because they care about me, but because they want that narcissistic supply.  The result is I don’t feel guilty- I realize they are trying to get supply from me & I have the right to protect myself from  it.  Talk about a bonus!  I can cope better with anxiety & my parents too?!  It feels good not to feel guilty, hurt  or angry every time I hang up the phone from talking to my parents!

I believe what I have learned can help you as well.  I urge you to pray about what I’ve written & put it into practice if God leads you to do so!

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Compassion Fatigue- A Common Problem

Many adult children of narcissistic parents grow into very compassionate, empathetic adults.  We listen to others & offer support, even when strangers approach us in a grocery store & want to tell us their problems.  We help generously.  We’re often caregivers in many ways- taking care of the sick as well as providing emotional or even financial support to those in need.  And, truthfully, we often enjoy it.

Whether you enjoy caregiving or not, though, sometimes it burns you out.

It’s like a bank account- you can’t withdraw money without ever putting in a deposit or you will overdraft your account. The exact same thing happens with your mental health- if you do nothing but give, there is nothing left over for you.  You become tired, mentally & physically.  You also become very irritable & bottle up your emotions.  You may abuse substances or overeat.  You isolate yourself because you feel you don’t have the energy or patience to deal with people.  You become indifferent to their suffering.  You have plenty of aches & pains without a physical cause & you have difficulty concentrating on things.  Some people stop their good self-care habits, even hygienic habits.

This is a frustrating place to be!  I’ve felt some degree of compassion fatigue for years, but it has reached a peak during my recent recovery.  When all you can do is lay around & do very minimal tasks, it gives you plenty of time to think.  I realized how very few people close to me genuinely cared about the fact I came very close to death recently.  Very few have even asked how I’m doing more than once.  Aside from the obvious anger about this, it hurt me badly.  I have done my best to be there for those in my life as much as possible, & this is how I’m treated after trauma?  This seemed to rocket the compassion fatigue into overdrive.  As I write this, there aren’t many people I’m close to that I can muster up some empathy for at this time.

So.. how does one combat compassion fatigue?  Honestly I had to research it because I’ve never found a way to do it on my own.  The suggestions I’ve found are below along with some things I’ve been trying to do myself.

  • Sometimes people won’t be there for you, but God will be.  Give Him first priority in your life, & go to Him when you need comfort before you go to people.
  • Don’t judge yourself for how you feel.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Practice good self-care rituals.
  • Set & enforce good boundaries to give yourself a break as you need.
  • Remember, when people come to you for help, you should do your best to point them back to God as much as possible, & not become a god to them by fixing their problems.
  • Talk with others who understand how you feel.
  • Participate in your hobbies often, or start new ones.

I hope this helps you to combat compassion fatigue & to achieve a healthier balance with helping other people.  May God bless you!

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Suicidal Tendencies After Narcissistic Abuse

Many people are quick to judge anyone who either is suicidal, has attempted it or has followed through on committing suicide.  It’s such a shame people can be so heartless!

Many people who have survived narcissistic abuse live with depression, & as a result are suicidal.  In fact, many also have developed C-PTSD or PTSD as a result of the abuse, & depression & suicidal ideation are symptoms of both dreadful disorders. The judgmental attitudes of others make this awful situation even more painful.  People readily accuse suicidal people of being selfish, weak, wanting to take the easy way out or seeking attention.  Others say it’s a sin that God won’t forgive, so if they do it, they’ll go to Hell.

This is horrible & it shouldn’t be, but sadly not a lot of people have much compassion or are able to see things from another’s perspective.  Feeling suicidal isn’t exactly the walk in the park many people think it is.  It’s a dismal, depressing place where you believe the only means of escape is death.  It doesn’t sound like a bad choice- your pain will be over, you’ll have no more misery of this life & it’s not like anyone would care if you’re gone anyway.  (At least that is how you feel.  That doesn’t mean it’s the truth however!)

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, the last thing that person needs is to be lectured or judged.  The person instead needs a great deal of compassion, empathy & love.  They need to know that their presence makes a difference, & they would be greatly missed if they died.  They also need to know that you are willing to help them through this dark patch.  Make sure this person knows that you love her, are willing to pray with & for her, listen to her without judgment & are willing to do whatever you can do to help.

If you are the one who is suicidal, please know that you are here on this Earth at this time for a reason.  If you don’t know what that purpose is, ask God to show you.  Also follow your passion- that is where your calling(s) lie.  Although it probably doesn’t feel like it at this time, there are people who love you & would be devastated if you were no longer around.  You make a difference to many people.  Please remember that losing you would hurt them terribly, & you don’t want to do that.

There is a way out.  God.  Pour your heart out to Him- He loves you & wants to help you.  Let Him pour His love out on you & comfort you.  Spend time alone in His presence sharing your most intimate feelings- He will help you come out of that dark place!  Remember Psalm 23:4 “Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” (AMP)  God is with you, even in this dark place, taking care of you!  I know this may sound trite to you, but please believe me- it is very true.  I’ve been suicidal many, many times in my life, so I have plenty of experience on this subject.  God has been the only thing that has helped me during the darkest of times.  If He helped me, He will help you too.  All you need to do is ask..

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

You Make Me Feel…

So many people say that no one can make you feel a certain way, & imply that you are weak if you “allow” someone to hurt you.  While saying no one can make you feel anything sounds empowering, I find it to be ridiculous, & often a form of victim blaming.

While it is certainly true in some cases, in many cases, people definitely can make you feel certain emotions.  If someone you love tells you that you look beautiful, they will make you feel good.  If that same someone tells you that you look horrible, they will make you feel bad.  If a total stranger said the exact same things, it wouldn’t mean so much to you because you won’t care nearly as much what a stranger thinks of you as you care about what someone you love thinks of you.  In fact, if a stranger said either thing, you may not even care at all.

So often when you have a narcissistic parent, other people don’t understand how, as an adult with your own life, their cruel words can hurt you.  They may say you should just ignore her, stop letting her get to you, you’re letting her make you feel that way, or similar invalidating things.  If it was only so easy!  It’s much easier to ignore a nasty stranger than it is your own mother, the woman you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is saying these things for the sole purpose of hurting you.  How can someone, especially your own mother, wanting to hurt you not affect you?  You would have to have a heart of stone not to be at least a little hurt by such a thing!

I want to encourage you today to have some balance.  Don’t let the ignorance, rudeness or even nastiness of some people bother you when you are able, & deal with the upset feelings when you aren’t able to disregard bad behavior directed at you. If you care even a little about another person, they absolutely can make you feel things, & that is totally normal!  There is nothing wrong with you or abnormal about you for being hurt by your narcissistic mother.  She is your mother- that role gives her a unique position no one else ever had or ever will have in your life, so don’t you think it’s only natural that she has the ability to hurt you or anger you when she is hateful to you??

Telling the victim of narcissistic abuse that no one, including her narcissistic mother, can make her feel a certain way to me is a type of victim blaming, which is sadly very common in today’s society.

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“You’re Too Sensitive!”

Are you often told you’re too sensitive?  Criticized for crying easily or wearing your heart on your sleeve?

Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents have heard those things & much more, especially from our narcissistic parents.  It doesn’t help that most people these days think you shouldn’t show emotion.  They often get extremely uncomfortable when someone shows emotion, & try to shame them into being silent.  Have you ever survived losing a loved one or survived a traumatic event, then shortly after been told you need to “get over it already”?  That is a prime example of what I mean by trying to shame someone into being silent about their emotions.

I don’t believe this is at  all healthy!  God has given us emotions so we can comfort another person who is suffering, know when to end a relationship or start a new one, when we need to make changes, when we are being mistreated or to appreciate when we are being treated well & much more.  Why shouldn’t we feel these things??

Also, I believe being sensitive isn’t a bad thing.  I believe it shows that you have a good, caring heart when things touch you so easily.  Many people who were raised by narcissists turn out calloused & uncaring, but there are also a great deal of us who turned out sensitive & loving.  We know what pain is like, & we don’t like seeing others in pain!  We want to help them if possible, even if it’s only to make them laugh a little or know there is someone who cares.

So few people are comfortable showing their sensitivity for fear of criticism, but I would like to encourage you today to show that part of you to the world!  The more of us who do, the more willing others will be to show their sensitivity too.  It gives others courage to see people who share a quality being so open & unashamed about it.  And, let’s face it- the world is not a nice place!  It could use a lot more niceness, compassion & sensitivity.  If you let a hurting person know you understand, that they aren’t alone, you’re there if they need you, or even cry with the person, that truly can comfort that person more than most anything else can.  You may inspire a turning point in this person’s life- they may begin to heal because of you or use surviving their painful experiences to inspire others.  They even may be inspired to stop contemplating suicide!  You never know- you may save someone’s life or inspire them in a way no one else can!

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Filed under Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Going Outside Your Comfort Zone Is Good For You

As is common with adult children of narcissists, I have a lot of anxiety. It got worse once the C-PTSD developed fully in 2012.  This anxiety has caused my comfort zone to shrink into a little tiny place. So many things can make me uncomfortable if not downright terrified.  One of my biggest problems has been routine.  I need a strict routine & if something interrupts that routine, I panic.

At the end of February,I suddenly became very sick with carbon monoxide poisoning.  During the worst of it, I passed out & hit my head pretty badly.  While recovering, it’s caused me to think a lot about things.  Mostly the fact that life can change in a flash, & we should enjoy whatever time we have on this earth.  It caused me to rethink some things.  I also felt God was dealing with me about stepping out of my comfort zone.  Granted, He had been dealing with me for a while about it, but I had somewhat ignored that (not proud of this, mind you!).  When laid up with a concussion & recovering from what could have been a life ending illness, there’s really no excuse to ignore God anymore.  Not like I’ve been too busy to talk with Him!

He showed me that during last December when my father was in the hospital, I was constantly outside of my comfort zone.  I had to leave home constantly, deal with complete strangers (doctors, nurses, etc) & spend a lot of time with my narcissistic mother.  In a period of two weeks, I was so stressed, I lost eight pounds & my hair suddenly became brittle & fragile.  However, good came from this awful time. While I still have agoraphobia, it’s improved quite a bit.  I have gone from absolutely terrified of leaving home to able to do it much easier.  Spending a full day alone at the hospital waiting on my father to have surgery helped me in that area.  It was hard, but I got through it, & it wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it’d be.

That particular situation forced me well outside of my comfort zone.  I wanted no parts of it, but it turned into a good thing anyway.  So, I started doing so on a smaller, voluntary scale.  I have a schedule for cleaning my home.  I’ve changed the schedule recently (which I was quite nervous about doing since I’ve had this schedule for 20+ years) so there is more flexibility in it, & it’s been a good thing.  By having a more flexible schedule, I’ve been able to spend time with friends, write or just relax when normally I’d be too busy to do so.  And, this flexibility has helped reduce my anxiety levels.  If something comes up on a day I need to do housework, it no longer completely flusters me.

I know stepping outside of a comfort zone has the potential to make you extremely anxious, but it really can be worth it!  Start by doing small things outside of your comfort zone as you feel able to do them, & work up from there.  If you truly are afraid, don’t discount what you wanted to do- merely postpone it for a day where you feel stronger.  Those days happen sometimes, & it’s ok!  But, if you feel able, push yourself, & ask God to help & strengthen you.  You will be rewarded when you find yourself comfortable doing something that once terrified you!

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