It Couldn’t Have Been That Bad! Just Look How You Turned Out!

When people learn that someone has been abused as a child, they often say the dumbest things, I think because it’s hard to know what to say.  Simply saying, “I’m sorry for what you went through” would be fine, but many people don’t seem to agree with that.  So, rather than saying that statement, they can come up with some pretty hurtful & stupid comments.

 

One thing some folks say is, “It couldn’t have been all that bad!  Look how you turned out!”  Bless their naive little hearts.  This actually makes sense to them!

 

People who say this fail to realize that when you grow up with narcissistic parents, you learn early on to hide your problems so as not to “bother” them.  Narcissistic parents have no time, energy or desire to deal with their child’s problems, so when their child comes to them with a problem, they ignore, trivialize or even shame the child for having the problem.  This teaches the child it’s just best to hide their pain, illness, hurt feelings, needs & anything really from their parents.

 

This behavior carries over into adulthood.  Out of habit, the adult child of narcissistic parents continues to hide their problems.  As a result, some people look at us & assume we have it all together when the truth is that we don’t!

 

No one can escape narcissistic abuse unscathed.  Every single person who was raised by a narcissistic parent or two has had issues from it.  Some end up with C-PTSD or PTSD.  Some end up with crippling depression or anxiety.  Some turn to self harm or self destructive behaviors.  Some end up with addictions to drugs, alcohol or food.  Some end up overachievers who work themselves so hard, they end up very sick from it.  Some even turn into narcissists themselves, continuing the cycle of dysfunction & abuse.  Almost all end up with some type of health problems- MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, digestive problems, heart problems, etc.

 

 

 

We are often able to function quite well too, in spite of the problems.  Growing up as we did, learning early to hide our problems from our parents, we learned also how to function normally in spite of problems.  I went through my life normally for many years even though I was suicidal.  No one knew it.  I got good grades in school (honor roll, graduated in the top 10% of my class).  I held down jobs.  I laughed.  I lived my life normally, in spite of wanting to die, & not one person had a clue how I felt.  Even now, no one, including my husband, has any idea exactly how bad the C-PTSD is when it flares up because I hide it so well.  The habit of hiding things is so ingrained in me, I do it without even thinking about it.

 

If someone says to you that what you went through couldn’t have been so bad since you turned out so well, then please feel free to show them this post, if you think it will help.  Narcissistic abuse is a serious problem with life long, life changing problems affecting victims.  People need to understand this so they can start supporting victims!

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MLK and Advice for the ACoN Soul

Being a white girl, living in a white neighborhood and not knowing any people of color, Martin Luther King Jr. was never mentioned in my childhood home. His birthday was never celebrated as a holid…

Source: MLK and Advice for the ACoN Soul

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There Is A Demonic Element To Narcissism

Anyone familiar with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder knows there is definitely something wrong with that person.  NPD fits very well, although not perfectly.  The term “disorder” can be rather unsettling.  Disorder implies something is beyond someone’s control, & we all have seen narcissists change from devil incarnate to sweetheart in a flash, when the person they want to impress comes into their presence.  Often, “disorder” doesn’t feel like the right description because of that behavior.  It seems like something else is amiss with that person, but what?

 

I firmly believe there is a demonic element to NPD.  I’m not one to blame Satan & his demons for any little thing bad that happens, but I do believe they are at work on the Earth.  Granted, I haven’t read anywhere to confirm what I believe about narcissists being possessed or influenced by demons, so I can’t offer concrete evidence.  All I can offer is some things that have crossed my mind about this topic.

 

There are evil spirits at work in the world..

 

  • 1 John 4:1 “1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
  • John 10:10  “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”
  • Revelation 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

 

Evil spirits are here to “steal, kill & destroy” according to what Jesus said in John 10:10.  Isn’t that what narcissists do?  They steal, kill & destroy your mental health, also physical sometimes.  They also deceive (Revelation 12:9) & speak lies (like the false prophets in 1 John 4:1)

 

Narcissists also share many very similar characteristics & means of behavior.  Even narcissists who have never met from different countries, of different races, religious beliefs, cultures, financial statuses, etc. often act very much alike.  How can that be explained other than demons influencing them?

 

And, many victims of angry narcissists have witnessed the identical physical change during a narcissistic rage – the narcissist’s eyes turning jet black.  I don’t mean their pupils dilated so their eyes looked black – I mean literally their eyes changed color from blue, green, hazel or brown to jet black.  Most people’s eyes never change color, no matter their mood, but many narcissist’s eyes will.

 

The behavior of narcissism also goes exactly in the opposite direction of the way God wants us to behave.  That points directly to Satan if you ask me.

 

Not being an expert in the field of demons, I can’t provide expert advice on this aspect of NPD.  However, I do believe it’s good to ask God for wisdom on how to handle the narcissist in your life.  I also think it’s a good idea to ask God to protect you, your family, your property, etc. from the narcissist & any evil spirits.  It also is a good idea to pray for the narcissist, as hard as that may be, so that she may come to know God.

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When People Tell You How To Feel & How To Heal

From the narcissists’ flying monkeys to even the most well meaning of people, people like to tell victims of narcissistic abuse how to feel.

 

  • “You’re too negative.  You need to be more positive.”
  • “You need to let that go/get over it.”
  • “Aren’t you over that yet?”
  • “You need to forgive & forget.”
  • “You shouldn’t have let them abuse you.”
  • “You need to stop thinking about it.”
  • “You haven’t prayed enough.”

 

Early in healing, such statements add to the toxic shame you already feel stemming from the abuse.  You feel ashamed of yourself for not being over it, not forgiving your abuser & forgetting their awful deeds or being so “negative.”

 

Later in your healing, after you’ve gained some wisdom & experience, such comments really just get under your skin.  You know that there is no way to “just get over” the horrible things that have been done to you.  It takes a great deal of prayer & work to heal, & even then, you may never be “over” the abuse you endured.  If you live with PTSD/C-PTSD, you live with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression & more every single day because of the abuse.  As long as you have the disorder, you are forced to live with the abuse every day, like it or not.  And forgive & forget??  HA.  Even if you are able to forgive your abuser, you don’t forget abusive things done to you.  It also makes you angry people tell you how to heal, as if they know what you need better than you do.  So presumptuous & arrogant!

 

No one has the right to tell you how to feel or how you need to work on your healing.  You know what you need more than anyone else.  Besides, what may have worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  Different things work for different people.

 

No one has the right to blame you for being abused, saying things like “you allowed the abuse.”  No, you didn’t.  Abusers abuse, period.  No matter what you did or didn’t do, the abuser planned to abuse you & did so, all of his or her own free will.

 

No matter what happened to your abuser, that does NOT give him or her the right to abuse you.  Many people who grew up in a toxic environment became good, caring people as adults.  Anyone that tries to excuse their abusive behavior because they had a bad childhood or other lame excuses is toxic.  Avoid these people as much as possible!  If you can’t avoid them entirely, at the very least have strong boundaries when you’re with them & refuse to discuss the abuse you endured.

 

You have the right to protect & care for your physical & mental health however works best for you.

 

You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries by whatever means work for you.

 

You have the right to limit or end contact with people who are detrimental to your healing, no matter if those people are friends or even family.

 

You have the right (& obligation) to take care of yourself, to rest on bad days, to cry when you’re sad, etc.

 

You have the right to feel whatever you feel.  If you’re angry, you have the right to that anger.  If you’re sad, you have the right to those tears.  Feel the emotions so you can process them & heal, no matter who says you’re wrong for feeling such things.

 

You have the right to decide with who to share details of the abuse.   You don’t have to share your story with everyone.  Even if someone asks you what happened, you don’t have to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable with it.  Besides, sharing with just anyone isn’t wise, since some people will use the information to hurt you.

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How Narcissists Use Fear Of Consequences To Control

Narcissists are masters of abuse.  They abuse as cleverly as Claude Monet created beautiful works of art.  Sadly, instead of leaving behind beauty as a result of their efforts as Monet did, they leave behind devastation & destruction.

 

A favorite thing for any narcissist to do is to control their victim.  Whether the narcissist is overt or covert matters not in this area, because they all love control.

 

One means to control their victim is to create a fear of consequences.  Naturally, the overt narcissist will use this tactic a bit differently than the covert type, but both use it with equal fervor, & both will send the same messages to the victim: “I’m rejecting you.”  “You’re no good & not worthy of my love.”  “You’re crazy.”  “You will go along with what I want or else face my wrath.”

 

If an overt narcissist wants to control you, she may scream, psychologically abuse or even physically abuse you.  With a covert narcissist, he will give you the silent treatment, attempt to make you feel guilty, attempt to make you pity him or even portray himself as the victim of your abuse.

 

Naturally, victims want to avoid these awful consequences, so they stop whatever behavior triggered the narcissistic abuse.

 

That is how a fear of consequences is born.  Once that happens, the narcissist learns she can repeat those behaviors to control her victim.

 

When a person grows up with a parent doing this, it can be hard to stand up to that parent, even as an adult.  I understand that completely.  However, it must be done!

 

I’m not saying you have to return tit for tat, screaming at your parent or returning their abusive behavior to them (as justified as it might be..).  I am saying that you can & should reject their behavior.  Tolerating it only means you will continue to be abused by that person, which is unfair.  It also sends the message to you & any others who see it that you won’t defend yourself, you don’t matter, it is perfectly acceptable to abuse you & if you will tolerate this abuse, certainly more will also be acceptable to you.

 

With narcissists, often saying something confrontational or even setting a simple boundary isn’t a good idea.  They will use that information to hurt you further by repeating the behavior or they will tell others how cruel you were to them, while continuing the behavior.  You need to know your own individual situation well, so you know when is a good time to speak out, & when isn’t.  Any time I’ve had to deal with my narcissistic parents, I ask God to provide whatever I will need for the interaction.  Wisdom, strength, courage to speak up.. anything He knows I will need.  That has helped me tremendously in knowing when I should speak up & when I shouldn’t.

 

On the times you know in your heart it is best not to speak out, you still can set your boundaries & not tolerate the abuse.  You can hang up the phone or leave the room.  All you have to say is, “I need to go now.  Good bye.”  You don’t owe them any explanations beyond that.

 

You also need to look at their abusive consequences differently.  Getting the silent treatment?  Think of it as a reprieve from drama.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  Is she screaming at you?  Trying to make you feel guilty?  Acting like she’s the victim & you’re the abuser?  Remember, normal people do NOT behave this way!  This just goes to show how messed up the narcissist is.  She is doing these things to make herself feel better by controlling you as well as injuring your self-esteem by putting you down.  If she’s accusing you of being abusive, she is also projecting her own flaws onto you so she can be angry about them while at the same time, rejecting any responsibility for having them.  Looking at things this way helps you not to be as devastated or controlled by narcissistic abuse.  It protects your self-esteem, too, when you understand why these things are being done to you.

 

Also, you need to remember that you are an adult now.  No parent, narcissistic or not, has the right to control their child.

 

And, as an adult, your parent can’t hurt you anymore.  They can’t take away your video games or car keys.  What can that person possibly do to you?  At this stage, they would have to move into illegal actions (stalking, harassment, reporting false claims to Child Protective Services, etc).  Or, they possibly could cut you out of their will so you don’t get an inheritance if your parent dies before you.  Really though, is that a big deal?  It’s only money- you can make your own, & doing that wouldn’t have strings attached to it.  When narcissists give you money, there are always strings attached somehow.  Better to avoid those strings!

 

Dear Reader, if you are still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent, then I urge you to remember such things.  Protect yourself & your sanity as much as you can from your narcissistic parent.  You do not deserve their abuse, & you have every right to protect yourself from it however you see fit.

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Looking Through The Eyes Of A Narcissist

Recently I’ve realized something surprisingly helpful in helping me cope with the abuse I’ve experienced at the hands of my narcissistic parents.  Seeing things through their eyes.  Granted, that isn’t always an easy things to do since I’m not a narcissist, but it can be oddly helpful.

 

Seeing things through their eyes has shown me the incredible dysfunction they live with, & how so much of their abuse wasn’t personal (although it sure felt that way), but was solely about them.  I was simply collateral damage, an acceptable loss to them.

 

For example, my mother has criticized my looks as far back as I can remember.  Compared her features to mine, telling me how much more attractive hers were than mine.  Naturally, I grew up feeling like the ugliest person on the planet.  Eventually, I looked at this situation through my mother’s eyes.  My mother said when I was born, she figured I’d look like her- brown hair & eyes.  I’m a blue eyed blonde, like the Baileys- my father’s family.  In fact, I look a lot like my grandmother, who, mind you, was a beauty in her youth.  My mother hates all of her in-laws, so if you look at this situation through her narcissistic eyes, I probably betrayed her.  I disappointed her by being born not looking like her, & to boot, looking like people she hates.  Never mind I had zero control over this, somehow it still comes back to her, & I didn’t do as she wanted.  I had to pay.  Plus, she probably thought I was prettier than her, so again, I had to pay.  She had to tear me down so I didn’t think of myself as pretty.  Bonus- tearing me down built her up at the same time.

 

Realizing these things helped me to stop taking her scathing criticisms so personally.  What she said wasn’t true- it was simply a means to make herself feel better & to nurse the “wound” I gave her by being born differently than she wanted me to be.  Granted, I’m still trying to believe I’m pretty, but at least I know now what she said is all lies & I’m not some hideous monster like she made me feel like.  (Feeling pretty probably will take a long time.  Baby steps..)

 

See what I mean?  Seeing things through her eyes helped me to see the truth in the situation, & stop believing her hurtful lies.  It can help you as well, & let’s face facts- anyone who has experienced narcissistic abuse needs any help they can get to heal the damage it’s caused.

 

I would like to encourage you today to try this, Dear Reader.  Look at a painful situation through the narcissist’s eyes.  I guarantee you will see that you did not deserve what was done to you, that it was more about the narcissist than you & that the narcissist lied to you  simply to benefit herself.  If you’re having some trouble, ask God to help you if this is something He wants you to do.

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Do Narcissists Change As They Age?

I’ve read so many times that narcissists never change, but I have to disagree with this.

 

Narcissists can change for the better, because with God, all things are possible.  This is quite rare, but it’s certainly something to hope & pray for.  (I believe in hoping for the best but preparing for the worst)  It happened with my husband’s father- he improved so much.  I don’t know why he changed, but it was wonderful.  He was caring & kind to my husband instead of his usual behavior- critical, bossy & generally nasty.  Unfortunately though, he later developed dementia, & returned to his old ways.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can exacerbate narcissistic tendencies.  Sadly, this is quite normal.)  After his wife (a covert narcissist) died in 2016, he returned to his much better behavior.

 

More commonly though, narcissists do change as they get older, & they get much more devious & creative.  They have to change because as they age, they have to use different tactics if they want to remain in control.  In my teens, my mother was a very intimidating & imposing figure.  When she screamed at me, as she did so very often, I was always afraid she’d physically hurt me.  If she tried this today at age 77, I wouldn’t be so intimidated.  How could I be?  She is much older & frailer now.  Screaming at me now wouldn’t have the desired effect, so she has changed her tactic from screaming to speaking in a soft tone & saying the most vicious things she can come up with.

 

Narcissists are smart- they know what will be the most effective way to accomplish something they want to accomplish.  They are experts at reading people, as they have to be to figure out the best way to use them.   They also are smart enough to realize what worked well for them when they were 35 most likely won’t work as well at 75, & they must adapt accordingly.  Besides, their children aren’t as easily pushed around at 40 as they were at 10.  They have to find new ways to manipulate them if they wish to continue using their children.

 

Many older narcissists also like to reminisce.  They like to talk with you about the past.  Often it’s the usual narcissistic rhetoric- bragging about their great accomplishments at work or the vast numbers of people they’ve helped.  But, narcissistic parents also can do something very hurtful- brag about the amazing childhood you had.  My mother has done this many times.  She talks about all the great things she did for me when I was a child.  Some things were simply a parent doing what she should for a child, & some things never happened at all.  When this happens, it used to hurt me a great deal.  She was invalidating & denying abusing me!  Instead she made me look like a screw up who needed her.  Finally though, God showed me something that has helped me tremendously.  This behavior is a coping skill.  Dysfunctional as it is, this is how my mother copes with the guilt she feels for being so abusive.  Rather than take responsibility & apologize to me, she reinvents the past to make herself look like a good mother.  She also even tries to get me to agree with her stories, in the hopes of convincing herself & I both that the stories really are true.  Once God showed me this, it made perfect sense to me.  I no longer was so hurt by her stories, because I knew they weren’t a personal attack (even though they may feel like it sometimes).  I knew instead they were a dysfunctional coping skill.  It is her right to use that skill if she wants.  It’s also my right not to validate her stories if I am so inclined, & I never do validate them.

 

Just be forewarned, Dear Reader.  As your narcissistic mother ages, she may not mellow out like many folks do.  She may seem a bit easier to handle in her golden years because she isn’t screaming, but don’t be fooled- just because she isn’t screaming or physically abusive doesn’t mean she isn’t still capable of hurting you a great deal.

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Should You Listen To Your Emotions?

Ever since I became a Christian in 1996, I’ve heard preaching about not allowing your emotions to rule you.  Keep them in check & don’t let them run your life!

 

Basically, this made me feel bad when I would feel hurt or angry & couldn’t control how I felt.  I thought something must be wrong with me for not having a better grip on my feelings.

 

The truth though is everyone needs to have a healthy, balanced perspective on emotions.

 

Emotions are given to us by God to let us know when things are good or bad.  When something is good, you feel happy, content or pleased.  If something makes you sad or angry, you know this thing isn’t good.  Emotions are a good monitor in that respect.

 

Emotions can teach you a lot about yourself.  Where your boundaries lie, what you enjoy or don’t enjoy & who you are the closest to.  Not allowing yourself to feel such things can turn you into a shell of a human being, & that is not what God wants for you.

 

Sometimes emotions can be irrational too.  There may be times that you’d rather lay on the sofa watching TV than go to work, even when you enjoy your job, & you have no idea why you feel this way.  In times like this you know it’s best to ignore those emotions & go to work.

 

When you are healing from trauma or abuse, however, you need to be sure not to ignore your feelings.  If you suddenly feel anxious, angry or depressed, you need to know why you feel that way.  Then you will be able to feel the emotion fully, process it & release it.  Ignoring your feelings if you’re healing only serves to drag out the healing process & make you more miserable.  I know, facing past trauma is hard, but it is easier than constantly trying to stuff it down inside of you.

 

I firmly believe that while you can’t listen to your emotions blindly, you do need to listen to them often & use wisdom on how to deal with them.  Know sometimes you can ignore them, but mostly, you should pay attention to them & respect them.  Don’t judge your feelings either.  They aren’t good or evil- feelings simply are.

 

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To Those Who Are New To Learning About Narcissistic Abuse- It’s OK, Even Necessary, To Talk About It!

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, the fear of divulging what they do to you is very real.  Narcissistic parents don’t always use threats- they don’t need to.  They have a certain look that can instill sheer terror into their child.  That fear often stays with the child into adulthood.  This benefits the narcissistic parent, because she knows her secret is safe.  However, it hurts the child.

 

Not talking about the narcissistic abuse you endured can cause many health problems, such as ulcers, high blood pressure or digestive problems.  It affects your mental health too.  Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD are very common, even under the best of circumstances- a good therapist & caring support system.  Without those things, depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD are pretty much a given.

 

You need to talk about your experiences!  I’m not saying you need to publish books or write a blog like me, unless you feel that is the direction God is leading you, but you do need to talk for the sake of your physical & mental health.

 

I know talking about your experiences can be a scary prospect.  It also can feel like you’re being disloyal.  That is not true, however.  Telling the truth isn’t being disloyal.

 

Guilt happens too.  I think it’s pretty much impossible not to feel guilty at first.  You’re talking about something you were told your entire life you shouldn’t talk about, after all.  My mother used to tell me not to “air our dirty laundry.”  It took me a long time to realize it wasn’t “our” dirty laundry I was airing, it was hers.

 

If you’re considering talking about the things that have happened to you, please know that it’s OK to talk about it.  If you don’t feel up to talking, how about writing in a journal at first?  Writing is very therapeutic- there is something validating in seeing your experiences written out.  Also, if you take precautions, no one will see what you write, so you can feel free to let it all out.  I love http://www.my-diary.org, as it is a password protected, private online diary.

 

If you aren’t comfortable talking to another person, why not pray?  God is a great listener, & will comfort you like no one else can.  You can be completely open with Him without fear of judgment or criticism- it’s very freeing.

 

If you opt to try therapy, be sure you find a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse.  Not all therapists do, so it may take trying a few before you find one you’re comfortable with.

 

And, if you opt to talk about your experiences with those closest to you, use wisdom with deciding who to open up to.  If you share a person with the narcissistic parent who abused you, they may not want to hear about your experiences.  They may be very fond of the narcissist, &not want to hear anything bad about her.  They may not believe you.  It is better to find someone to talk to who isn’t close to the narcissist, such as a friend of yours who doesn’t know your parent(s) well.  You also need to speak with someone who is caring, supportive, objective & close to God.  You need someone who is honest enough to tell you the truth, but caring enough not to be brutal & painful with it.  If this person also gets mad for you about what you have experienced, that helps too.  I had a friend who in many ways was like a mother to me.  She was a very special lady, always had a ready smile & some encouragement.  But, when I told her some of the things my parents did to me, she would get angry on my behalf.  If this good, Christian lady who was utterly patient & held no bad feelings towards anyone was getting mad, it must be really bad.  Her anger helped to validate my pain.

 

Talking about the painful experiences you endured will help you to heal.  It will get the toxicity out of you, preventing further damage to your physical & mental health.  It also will help you to keep the blame on the abuser instead of on yourself, which is a battle for many victims of narcissistic abuse.  So please, open yourself up to talking about your experiences.  You deserve the freedom it brings you.  xoxo

 

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Those Who Have Been Abused Don’t Think They Deserve Care

Abusers destroy their victim’s self-esteem.  The more completely they can destroy that, the more completely they can rule their victim.  Yet in spite of the destruction, many victims reach a point of breaking away from their abuser, whether the person is a spouse, friend or parent.

 

Unfortunately, that only is the beginning.  So much damage is done, especially to the self-esteem.  That low self-esteem causes all kinds of problems for a victim, including believing that she is unworthy of care.  Abusers make sure their victims know that they don’t matter, which means their pain doesn’t matter either.  That false belief can follow a person for years even after the abuse has ended.

 

So many victims don’t believe they deserve to be cared for or even validated, when nothing could be further from the truth!  They are easy to spot too- they are the ones saying their situation “wasn’t so bad,” or, “So & So had it much worse than me,” or even, “It was only mental/sexual abuse.”

 

Dear Reader, today I want you to know that you *do* matter!  Your abuser was absolutely wrong!  You deserve to have your pain acknowledged & validated!  It doesn’t matter if someone else “had it worse” than you- abuse is painful & destructive, period!

 

I know it’s hard to really understand that you matter after years of being told you don’t, but it’s the truth!  God has a purpose for everyone & everything in this world, which includes you.  You matter & God loves you!

 

If you truly want to heal, you need to start by understanding that you have been through some terrible things.  Acknowledge that rather than saying it wasn’t a big deal or someone else had it worse.  What was done to you was wrong!  You matter, & you didn’t deserve to have those horrible things done to you.

 

Also, please remember how much God loves you.  Healing is the hardest thing you may do in your life- you need His love & support.  He truly will help you to cope & even to learn to love yourself.

 

Romans 8:35-39  “35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of [a]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.”  37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (AMP)

 

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A Bit About No Contact

If you have read much at all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you have read about the benefits of going no contact.  It is often the only solution, as many authors on the topic will feverishly tell you.  After all, it’s not like you can reason with someone who refuses to accept any responsibility for their actions.  Many times, all you can do is hope to escape the narcissist with your sanity in tact.

 

Unfortunately though, one thing I have noticed is many people who say that no contact is the only solution fail to mention that is it not a cure all.

 

Certainly, eliminating an abusive narcissist from your life is beneficial.  You no longer have the daily struggles.  Without their gaslighting, you can think clearer.  Your finances may improve as well, if the narcissist was draining your bank accounts.  You finally can focus on yourself & healing.  However, without the narcissist in your life, you still will have problems that stem from your time being abused by that peson.

 

Please believe me, I’m not speaking against no contact.  While I believe it is an individual decision & no one should attempt to force anyone into making that decision, I also realize it is usually the best solution.  I just think it is very important for people who opt to remove the narcissist from their life to realize that doing so won’t solve all of their problems.  Yes, it will improve daily life since they won’t have to deal with new, frustrating, abusive situations, which is fantastic.  But, it also won’t solve some things.

 

No contact doesn’t cure PTSD or C-PTSD.  In fact, there is no known cure for either.  All you can do is manage the symptoms, which, by the way, can be much easier without a narcissist around!

 

It also doesn’t stop repressed memories from returning to the forefront of one’s mind sometimes.

 

It also doesn’t mean you won’t have times of missing the narcissist.  They all have something that made you love them.  If they didn’t, deciding to go no contact wouldn’t have been a difficult decision at all.

 

No contact doesn’t mean you won’t think of the narcissist anymore.  Whether he or she is a parent, relative, romantic interest or friend, you have shared experiences together.  You won’t forget them just because that person is no longer in your life.  Birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions will pop into your memory periodically.

 

Please don’t lose hope after reading these things!  They don’t mean there is something wrong with you or you are irreparably damaged.  They simply mean you are a normal person who has been deeply affected by narcissistic abuse.

 

These things also don’t mean no contact is a bad idea.  Like I said, it is often the only solution to an extremely painful & impossible situation.  The reason I wanted to share these things with you, Dear Reader, is so you will be prepared if you do opt to go no contact.

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Envy In Narcissists

When dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there is one important point you must never forget- they are extremely envious.

 

Narcissists want what you have, whether what you have is a loving marriage, a great job, talents or a nice home or car.  I think it is because narcissists feel so badly about themselves, that your good thing, whatever it may be, is perceived as a threat.  By you looking good, they think it makes them look bad, as if people are constantly comparing them to others.  They simply cannot stand someone else looking better than them in any way or doing something they are unable to do.

 

One example of this that comes to mind is my mother in-law.  She’s never driven- always had to rely on others to take her where she needed to go.  From day one, my car was always an issue with her, even knowing I love cars, especially mine.  She started by accusing me of driving too fast in her neighborhood.  I thought it was odd, but slowed down.  Not long after my husband & I got together, she suggested we go out to lunch one day.  I said fine, let’s figure out when to do this.  She said, “You WILL be taking Eric’s car, right?”  I was baffled & said “No, I have my own car.”  She dropped the subject.  A couple of weeks later, she suggested we go out again, & again she asked if I was taking my husband’s car.  Again I said no.  This happened once more & by then I was getting angry.  My car wasn’t good enough for her to ride in?!  Someone who doesn’t drive or know the first thing about cars thinks she’s too good for my car?!   Anyway, a few years later, my husband & I had both of our cars at his parents’ house.  I’d been helping him work on his, then when he didn’t need my help, I replaced a burned out turn signal bulb on my car.  When I was alone, my mother in-law took this opportunity to tell me my car was costing too much money- I needed to just get rid of it.  (a $.97 bulb that burned out after 8 years was too expensive?)  She also made fun of me for “liking to get dirty & greasy” because I had car dirt on me after working on hubby’s car.

 

At the time, I knew nothing of NPD.  I did realize though that all of this nastiness boiled down to one thing- envy.  My mother in-law envied the fact that not only was I independent enough to drive, I could even fix my car if need be.  She has created this dependence on my father in-law by not driving, under the guise of helplessness, yet at the same time, she envied me for not being so dependent on my husband as she was on hers.  Obviously she was trying to hurt me not because there was something wrong with me, but because there is something wrong with her.

 

Sadly, this is typical narcissistic behavior.  Narcissists attack things that mean a lot to you for two reasons- because it causes you a great deal of pain or because of envy.  Often, for a combination of both reasons.  In the situation with my car, my mother in-law used both reasons, I believe.

 

When the narcissist in your life viciously criticizes something about you, or even simply tries to instill doubt in you about it, you can bet she envies you.  Don’t let her cruel words or actions make you feel bad about whatever it is she’s criticizing about you!  In fact, remember that whatever it is, is a good thing.  If it wasn’t, she wouldn’t care enough about it to criticize you so viciously.  Don’t let her cruelty make you feel badly or as if you’re doing something wrong.  It is simply proof that you are doing something very well & that you are blessed!  Remembering these things will help you to not be hurt by her verbal abuse.

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Pay Attention To Your Dreams- They Are Important!

I had a very interesting experience the other night.   I had a dream about my husband’s parents.  Suddenly the dream changed a bit & it was just his mother & I.  She hugged me & said she was sorry for everything she did to me.

 

When I woke up, I was WIDE awake, so I figured I might as well utilize the time & ask God what the heck that was about.  When she was alive, she seemed to have no guilt for treating me badly, so I thought maybe this was some sort of weird wishful thinking on my part.  No.  Not even close.

 

God said she knows I pay attention to my dreams so she wanted me to dream what I did.  He also said that she felt very bad for being so awful to me.  She was so bad to me because of her own insecurities (typical narcissistic behavior).  She thinks I “made a man” out of my husband.

 

This blew me away.  Partly because my mother in-law never accepted any responsibility for anything she did to me, let alone apologized so I just assumed it’d be the same after her death.  Also partly because this sort of thing happened with my ex husband’s mother as well.  We got along  great until my ex & I moved in with his parents.  Then when I divorced him, naturally she was on his side & I became the scourge of the earth.  But after she passed in 2010, suddenly she started appearing in my dreams on a pretty regular basis.  She once said she understood why I wanted a divorce & another time, said she was proud of me for helping people with my writing.  In my dreams even if she doesn’t speak, she’s always smiling at me & seems proud of me.

 

My point in sharing all of this is to show you just how important dreams can be.  They truly are worth paying attention to!  You can learn a great deal about yourself through your dreams, since they are almost always about the dreamer.  They can reveal areas in which you need healing or need to change your thinking or behavior.  Or, they can be Heaven sent messages like my dreams about my mothers in-law.  In any case, dreams are very important!!

 

There also will be plenty of dreams you don’t remember or only remember snippets of.  That can be frustrating when you’re trying to understand your dreams, I know, but even those have a purpose.  I asked God about them at one point because I have so many like that.  He said the brain constantly processes information- good, bad or indifferent.  Those dreams you don’t remember are simply that, your brain processing things.  They aren’t important.

 

If you want to start learning from your dreams, then start by praying.  Ask God to help you to understand them better & to remember the important ones.  Keep a written record of them too, as seeing them all together with the dates of them can help reveal a lot about your life.   It’s also a good idea to use a dream dictionary.  I use one online, http://www.DreamMoods.com  I write down all the things about my dream I can remember, then look up what those things mean on the website.  I write down what the site says about each thing, then read over the entire thing.  If I don’t understand, I ask God to help me figure it out, which He does.  Sometimes I don’t even make it that far- as soon as I wake up, He tells me what the dream meant, but that doesn’t happen very often.  In any case though, dreams can be utterly fascinating & helpful, so please consider paying more attention to yours!

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A Possible Cause Of Panic Attacks

I read an interesting article about anxiety:

 

http://bigthink.com/robby-berman/clinical-psychology-says-hiding-from-anxieties-makes-it-worse

 

To sum it up, the author, a psychologist, suggests that anxiety & panic attacks are a result of not dealing with emotions for too long.  The attacks are the mind & body’s way of releasing enough pressure so we don’t get overwhelmed.

 

This makes sense in a way to me.  Feelings do have a way of demanding to be heard.

 

My first panic attack happened the night before my grandmom’s funeral in 1996.  I’d never heard of panic attacks & thought I was having a heart attack.  My husband had them before & figured out quickly what was going on, thankfully.  Anyway what triggered the attack was thinking about seeing my family.  I hadn’t seen them in a few years at that point, because my mother then later also my ex husband told me my grandparents hated me.  Since my family was close at the time, I figured if my grandparents hated me, everyone else did too.  I pulled away from them in 1992.  I thought if I showed up 4 years later at the funeral, these people who hated me would kick me out or show their hatred of me in some other way.  I didn’t feel capable of dealing with losing my grandmom, who I loved, in addition to being hated.  Thinking about that was painful.  I tried to push all my thoughts aside because I felt overwhelmed.  Then, a panic attack started.

 

Other times, panic attacks have started in similar ways.  Trying to push aside fear of going into a public place or ignoring anger rather than facing it can trigger panic attacks for me.  Before I stopped speaking to my in-laws, knowing I was going to see my mother in-law triggered panic attacks.  I knew she hated me & if we were alone for any length of time, was going to say or do something hateful.  Trying to ignore the anger I felt at being forced to deal with her triggered panic attacks.

 

I don’t know if this psychologist is right about all panic attacks, but when I thought about it, I realized it’s definitely true for at least some of my panic attacks.  Does this describe yours too?

 

Unfortunately the author didn’t offer suggestions on ways to cope with these panic attacks.  I’m guessing though the best way to do so is to face the feelings that accompany them as soon as you can.  Pray, talk to a supportive friend, journal… whatever way works best for you to cope with your feelings.  I also wonder if writing in a journal on a daily basis could help.  Daily recognizing your emotions & dealing with them seems like it should cut back on panic attacks.

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Communicating With Animals

Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  (KJV)

 

One of God’s greatest blessings is animals.  I’ve always loved & appreciated animals, but the older I get, the more I love & appreciate them.  Animals love deeply & unconditionally, they are fun, they are very intuitive & intelligent.  What’s not to love?!

 

In 2001, my husband & I lost Bubba, a very gentle, sweet, special orange tabby cat I’d had since he was only 4 weeks old.  I was absolutely convinced losing Bubba was going to kill me, my grief was so strong.  In spite of the pain though, God showed me something interesting at that time- I could communicate with animals.

 

The day after Bubba died, I let the cats out into the backyard for some supervised fun.  I went to Bubba’s freshly dug grave for a moment of grief.  I told him how much I loved him & missed him, & always would.  A small voice spoke to my heart saying, “It’s OK, Mommy.  I feel much better now!” (Bubba suffered with feline AIDS & emphysema for about 4 months before he died)  I wasn’t sure I heard this right at all, & quickly came back to the part of the yard where the cats were.  Spitfire, the queen of the castle, looked at me with great concern as I came near her & I heard, “Something is wrong with Mommy.”  I told my husband what happened, & he said he could believe I could hear them.  After all, I was extremely close to all of our cats.

 

The following day, I turned on some music while I was doing housework.  When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, “Freebird” came on, I heard what I’d thought was Bubba’s voice again, as I heard it the previous day.  “Mommy, this song fits me.  Listen to the lyrics.”  By this time, I doubted my sanity.  Once I was done my chores,  I prayed, asking God what was going on.  I felt no answer coming, so I opened up my Bible.  It came open to the book of Job, & my eyes fell on this Scripture:  Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  (KJV)  Immediately, I knew I heard Bubba & Spitfire.  I wasn’t crazy!

 

Since that time, I’ve gotten better at communicating with animals.  I don’t often hear them as clearly as I did Bubba & Spitfire, but I still communicate with them constantly.  What’s so interesting is the more I wanted to communicate with them, the more they wanted to communicate with me.  Our late chow chow mix, Bear, taught me that when he barked once it meant yes, twice meant no & three times meant I love you.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat that we ended up adopting in 2008, told me one day his great great great great grandfather was a purebred Abyssinian cat.   He was very proud of his heritage apparently.  Minnie Rose, our dilute tortoise shell cat, actually tries to form words with her meows, so there is never much trouble figuring out what message she is trying to get across, especially when she says, “Yea” or, “NOOOO!!”.  Punkin is our orange tabby with feline PTSD.  He is very vocal & very clear at communicating whatever he wants me to know with certain facial expressions as well as meows.

 

I’m always impressed by how if you just pay attention to them, animals will make sure you know what they want you to know.  You just need to be observant.

 

Also, not all animals are overly interested in communication with people, so if you try to communicate with some animals, they may have absolutely no interest, no matter how hard you try.  Some seem to put up a mental wall.

 

Be careful reading about communicating with animals.  Some who discuss animal communication claim it is some sort of psychic ability instead of a gift from God.  They make it sound almost occult in nature.   I have asked God to help me to communicate with animals His way, & with whatever animals He wants me to communicate with.  I believe keeping God involved keeps anything bad out of what really should be God’s gift to His children.

 

Several years ago, I wrote my first book on the topic of animals.  I even included some about things my animals & I have discussed.   If you would like to check out this book, it is called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”, & is available at this page on my website, simply scroll down  : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

 

 

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Narcissists & Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner, & those of us with narcissistic relatives know what this means- bad gifts!

 

Narcissists are notoriously bad at selecting gifts.  To give someone a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to know the person you’re giving the gift to, & understand her tastes.  These are impossible tasks for narcissists.  Since they don’t want to think of anyone but themselves or how people can do for them, they give lousy gifts.  Or, they give someone what they think the person needs to have- clothes in the narcissist’s taste, a CD by the narcissist’s favorite artist even though the receiver doesn’t care for that artist, things pertaining to the narcissist’s interests even though the receiver couldn’t care less about such things.

 

So what happens when you get these awful gifts?  It’s not like you can say, “This is horrible!”  True as that may be, you’ll end up being accused of being ungrateful, mean, etc etc etc.  The same goes if you nicely ask for the receipt so you can exchange it.  Unless the item is obviously broken & needs replacing, the narcissist will be offended that you don’t appreciate their “awesome” gift.

 

I have found the best way to handle this is to remember, keep it simple.  Thank the person for the gift (without a lot of fuss, just “Thank you”), take it home, then find someone who will like the item & give it to them.  Don’t know someone?  Give it to the Salvation Army or other charitable organization that has thrift stores- someone will enjoy it!

 

My mother insisted on giving me clothing in her taste all of my life.  Usually, I hate it.  But, I still thanked my mother & took it home, then gave it to the Salvation Army.  My mother in-law & sisters in-law gave me cooking paraphernalia one Christmas after I said how much I hate to cook.  I gave the big cookbook to my best friend who enjoyed it since she likes cooking.  Other items went to the Salvation Army or were given away.  The giant ugly pasta dish, however, went into my attic when the roof sprung a leak just before we replaced it.  It was the only thing I had that fit in this odd, narrow little area.  (I’m not proud of it, but that made me very happy to do..lol)

 

I know, getting iccky gifts from narcissists isn’t fun, but it needn’t be a hassle.  Just keep it simple when you thank them so they don’t get too much narcissistic supply (otherwise you can count on getting more, similar bad gifts in the future), & later discreetly give it away to someone who will enjoy it.

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Forgiving Narcissists

Many people have very definite opinions on the topic of forgiving narcissists.  Usually it’s one of two extremes- either you forgive & forget, or you refuse to forgive because narcissists don’t deserve forgiveness & aren’t sorry for the damage they cause anyway.

 

I am a firm believer in forgiveness, but not in the “forgive & forget” sense.

 

In a relationship with a narcissist, if someone confronts a narcissist, they can count on any of a variety of possible, ugly scenarios happening:  The narcissist denies everything, the narcissist blames the victim for “making” her act that way, the narcissist turns the tables so she is the victim & the real victim is mean/unreasonable, or the narcissist recruits her flying monkeys to talk some “sense” into the victim while taking attention off the narcissist’s actions & making her look like an innocent victim.

 

When this happens, many people end all contact or greatly limit their contact with the narcissist.  Often, especially in Christian circles, this is mistaken as the victim hating the narcissist or holding a grudge.  That can be true of course, but in my experience, it’s seldom the case.

 

Using myself as an example, I’ve had to end friendships.  The hardest was with an old friend I’d had for over 20 years.  I’d prayed a great deal before doing so, & knew in my heart it was the right choice.  Not because I hated my friend, but because I knew I deserved to be treated better than I was being treated.  I forgave him for his actions, but since I’d seen him changing, realized I would be hurt again if I continued the friendship.  I didn’t trust him anymore.

 

I’ve seen many scenarios with adult daughters of narcissistic mothers that are very similar.  The daughters go no contact because of how awfully their mothers treated them, & they learn their mothers are trash talking them to other people which shows they don’t want to fix things.  It also shows they have no desire to apologize or accept responsibility for what they have done.  These daughters are seldom angry about what their mothers have done, & almost never say they hate their mothers.  I would guess that 99% of the daughters I’ve spoken with in these situations don’t harbor anger.  They have forgiven their mothers, but they also know they have to have her out of their lives for the sake of their own mental health &/or to protect their husbands & children.

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, a normal, functional, healthy pattern of working problems out doesn’t happen.  Normally, someone is approached about the hurtful action they did, that person apologizes & if necessary, changes their actions to regain your trust.  Since that won’t happen with a narcissist, many times very limited or no contact is the only option left.  If you are in that situation, please don’t allow others to make you feel badly for making that choice or accuse you of being unforgiving or un-Christian.  Do what you believe you need to do!

 

And, remember- forgiveness isn’t about the narcissist.  It’s something you do for yourself because you deserve better than carrying around anger or bitterness.  That is all.  It can be done whether or not you’re in a relationship with your abuser.  Reconciling the relationship & learning to trust the abuser require that person’s participation, but forgiving her does not.

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Anxiety & Fear About Sharing Your Story

Proverbs 29:25  “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  (NKJV)

 

I’ve often been asked, “Aren’t you afraid your parents or other relatives will learn what you write about?”  In all honesty?  To a degree, yes I am.  Logically I know none of them could hurt me, but, there is still that little girl inside me who hasn’t healed entirely who is scared.  Thankfully that little girl isn’t ruling my emotions.  If she did, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post or the books I’ve written.  I wouldn’t feel fulfilled because I wouldn’t be fulfilling my calling.

 

It can be very easy to be afraid of people, especially when raised by narcissistic parents.  They are very good at instilling fear in their victims.  Many adult children of narcissists live with serious anxiety issues.  I would guess that is why so few discuss their experiences openly.  It’s very sad, especially since there is such a dire need for open & frank discussion of narcissistic abuse to help raise awareness.

 

If you feel called to publicly discuss your experiences with a narcissist, it can be intimidating, worrying about “getting in trouble” with your parents or extended family.  What will they do if they find out?  Will your friends & maybe even relatives think you are “too negative,” “living in the past”, etc. & abandon you?  What about the legal aspect- could the narcissist sue you for slander?  Such things can cause a great deal of fear & anxiety, & understandably so.  But please, don’t be discouraged by such things!

 

To start with, you can’t “get in trouble” with your parents or family anymore.  You’re an adult!  You don’t have to get another’s permission to do what you feel God wants you to do.  You have the right to do what you want, to live your life according to what works for you.  You also have the right to tell your story.  It’s YOUR story, so it’s up to you to share it however you see fit.

 

If anyone brings up “Honor thy mother & father,” remind yourself that honoring doesn’t mean tolerating abuse.  Research what it truly means to honor your parents.  I wrote a free ebook regarding honoring abusive parents.  It’s available on amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Honor-Difficult-Parent-Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-ebook/dp/B00PR0BEV2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478979606&sr=1-1&keywords=cynthia+bailey-rug

 

And, what if people in your life criticize or even abandon you for speaking out?  I won’t lie- it will hurt at first.  But, in a way, it’s also a good thing when they abandon you.  It’s much better to have people in your life who genuinely care about you & your mental health.  People who don’t judge but offer love, encouragement & support are a true gem.  Life is so much more pleasant with friends like that as opposed to the critics.

 

Regarding slander, that is simple- research the laws in your state, as I think they vary from state to state.  Also, use fake names & protect the narcissist’s identity when discussing your story.  Never mention the narcissist’s real name in your writing.  You’re protecting yourself by doing that.

 

In spite of the fact discussing your experiences with narcissistic abuse can be scary, it also can be incredibly rewarding.  When someone thanks you for helping them to understand that they aren’t crazy like their narcissist said, or your words helped to give them the courage to leave a narcissistic significant other, it doesn’t get any more rewarding.  Knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life is a wonderful feeling.  It also helps you, because suddenly all the awful things you have experienced have a purpose.  Your pain counts for something!  Feeling as if all those horrible, traumatic experiences had no purpose is one of the most depressing feelings in the world.  Discussing your experiences dispels that feeling completely.

 

Discussing your experiences openly also help you to heal.  There is something very healing in seeing your story in writing.  Also healing is when you tell a story & someone says something like, “That is terrible!  I’m sorry that happened to you!”  That is very validating!

 

The good definitely outweighs the bad when it comes to sharing your story.  If you are considering speaking out, then I would encourage you to pray about it.  Be certain God wants you to do it, then ask Him to help you to do so.  He will give you courage, wisdom & anything else you need to accomplish this calling.  Then get ready for an adventure!

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Pity, Sympathy & The Covert Narcissist

When narcissism is discussed, often it is the behavior of the overt narcissist.  Very little is discussed about covert narcissists.

 

Covert narcissists are much more devious & sly in their actions, yet they are just as abusive if not moreso than overt narcissists.  Because their actions are so covert, their victims are often very hesitant to admit what was done to them was abusive.  They often doubt what was done to them was done out of maliciousness, taking the blame on themselves for being over sensitive or reading too much into things.  One way this is accomplished is by the covert narcissist using pity & sympathy.

 

Pity & sympathy are tools covert narcissists often use.  If they can make you feel sorry for them, chances of you calling them out on their actions or setting boundaries are very slim.  If you do either, you are going to feel very guilty for being so mean & unreasonable.

 

One way covert narcissists acquire that pity is by acting as if they aren’t very smart.  Whether or not they are educated is beside the point.  Covert narcissists like to give the impression that they’re very naive & innocent.  Do NOT be fooled by this act however!  There is absolutely no way a person can be stupid & extremely devious at the same time.  Someone who is genuinely not very smart won’t know how to abuse people while appearing innocent.  They also wouldn’t know what they are doing is wrong & it needs to be hidden.

 

Another way they acquire sympathy is by being married to an overt narcissist.  Very often, overt & covert narcissists marry.  It’s the perfect dysfunctional match.  The overt narcissist can do anything, gaining all the attention, without anyone standing up to him or her.  Meanwhile, the covert narcissist is able to abuse quietly, behind the scenes.  No one really notices because the overt narcissist is gaining all the attention.  The covert narcissist enjoys this because compared to the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist doesn’t look so bad.  In fact, they tend to play the role of the good spouse very well.  They look long suffering, patient, even martyr-like in the fact they can tolerate so much from their spouse.

 

Because of this appearance, many people, particularly empathetic ones, are extremely hesitant to set boundaries with or confront covert narcissists.  I was the same way with my late mother in-law who was clearly a covert narcissist.  I noticed she was especially mean to me after a disagreement with my father in-law.  I felt bad for her- sometimes he said some really hurtful things to her.  I thought, naively, maybe she was just getting out her frustrations.  And, I didn’t have the heart to say anything to her because she had enough to deal with.  As time went on though, I realized she got meaner & meaner, whether or not they had a disagreement.  Not saying something wasn’t helping her or me.

 

Most people like getting a little sympathy or pity periodically.  If you have a bad cold, doesn’t if feel good if someone says they’re sorry you’re sick & brings you some soup?  Covert narcissists take that normal thing to an extreme, though, using it to get away with any abuse they can.

 

Overt narcissists may use sympathy & pity too, but not nearly as much as covert narcissists do.  Plus, their methods are much easier to spot.  They often can turn on & off their tears as easily as most people flip a switch, for example.  I’ve seen that with my overtly narcissistic mother.  She has back problems, & uses that for sympathy.  If she isn’t getting enough attention, she has burst into tears, claiming to be in pain.  Yet interestingly, when I didn’t rush to her side, after a moment she stopped crying & went on with her activities.

 

If you notice someone in your life constantly wants pity or sympathy, be forewarned, chances are, you’re dealing with a narcissist.

 

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When You’re Upset In The Presence Of A Narcissist

You know it’s best to be as emotionally neutral as possible around narcissists because they use your emotions against you.  As hard as you try though, there still may be times when you can’t keep your emotions in check around a narcissist.  You try your best, but no one is perfect.  You may be having a bad day or their cruelty hits you especially hard because you’re fed up.  So what can you expect during those times?

 

Narcissists have various reactions to their victims being upset in their presence, but all of their reactions are designed to let victims know their problem isn’t important.  They may mock you by saying things like, “Awww… the poor baby is upset!  WAHH!”

 

Or, they may be invalidating, saying you have nothing to be upset about, get over it, or they don’t see what the big deal is.

 

They may be blatantly insulting, telling you how stupid you are for being upset.  They may even go from insulting to downright shaming, telling you something is wrong with you for feeling the way you do.  If you’re upset at the narcissist, chances are good they not only don’t want to hear what you have to say, but will be very shaming to you for feeling that way.  You have no right to feel that way, they may say.  After all, you made them do whatever it is they did.

 

Another reaction they have is to be ice cold, clearly showing you they don’t care you’re upset.  They may even act bored as you cry.  I once watched my narcissistic maternal grandmother act completely bored as one of my cousins cried to her, hurt over things she had done.  My own narcissistic mother has done the same with me- act completely bored with me when I’m clearly suffering.

 

Some narcissists also try to say what they think they should say when you’re upset.   For example, many years ago I was upset with my mother in my narcissistic mother in-law’s presence.  Since my husband was with me, I’m sure she wanted to give him a good impression, so she hugged me tightly & said, “Don’t be upset!  I’m your mother now!!”  Maybe that sounds nice, but truthfully, it didn’t feel nice.  It felt creepy!  She always seemed to want me to pretend I had no family & morph into hers.  Remember the Borg from “Star Trek”?  That’s how it came across to me- I was to Borg into her family & this gave her an excuse to verbalize her wishes.  Resistance was futile- I would be assimilated.  lol

 

These scenes are incredibly frustrating.  Normally, you might want to scream or cry louder, trying to get the narcissist to understand you.  That isn’t a good move though.  If you can remember it, try to remember to simply disengage.  Walk away.  Hang up the phone.  The more you try to convince the narcissist you have a right to feel as you do, the more they will try to hurt you or even make you look like you’re crazy.  This only hurts you more.  When you feel things starting to elevate, try your best to stop for a second & take a deep breath.  Ask God for help during that moment.  Ask Him to help  you to remember to disengage before you get to this point.

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Honoring Abusive Parents

Many people have a very skewed view of what it truly means to honor someone, especially their parents.  They’ll throw around “honor thy mother & father” while conveniently forgetting the Scriptures directed at parents (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21).  They falsely believe that honoring parents means you have to sacrifice yourself or your principles.  You must do what they want, no matter what it costs you, or else you aren’t honoring your parents.

 

Honor isn’t always what people think it is. http://www.merriam-webster.com defines honor as follows:  “a showing of usually merited respect : recognition <pay honor to our founder>”  I interpret this to mean basic things like treating a person with basic respect.  Using manners, being considerate of them, disagreeing respectfully rather than cussing them out, & the like.  Nowhere in this definition does it sound to me like honoring someone means you must cater to their every whim.

 

Spoiling someone by giving them everything they want or doing everything for them isn’t honorable.  It teaches the person nothing at all.  It doesn’t help them to learn & grow, which is NOT good for a person.  In fact, many people believe some narcissistic adults were once spoiled children.  They became entitled, selfish adults by having all of their whims catered to.

 

Allowing someone to control you isn’t honorable either.  All that does is teach a person how to be manipulative, entitled & bossy.  There is no honor in that!

 

Tolerating abuse is certainly not honorable.  It encourages awful behavior while hurting you.  How could that possibly be an honorable thing?

 

People need to have boundaries & consequences for their actions.  Such things are honorable, especially when done in a respectful way.  There are ways to state things in a respectful manner, such as stating in a calm but firm tone, “I’m not going to discuss this with you.  If you keep talking about it, I’ll hang up this phone.  Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?  No?  OK, good bye.” *hangs up phone*  That is just one example of being respectful while setting boundaries & giving consequences.

 

In 2002, I stopped speaking to my mother for several years.  Coming to that decision wasn’t easy at all for me.  I knew I needed to do it to heal, but I believed it wasn’t honorable.  I struggled with this decision & prayed a lot.  One day, I told God how conflicted I felt.  He spoke to my heart so clearly & said, “Where is the honor in the fact your very presence stirs up strife with your mother?”  It made sense to me.  Being with my mother meant she acted up.  She verbally abused me.  She insulted every tiny thing about me & those I cared about.  She bossed me around like I was the hired help & not her daughter.  There was NO honor in that.  Going no contact at that time was the most honorable thing I could do.  It enabled me to have time to myself to heal, & it put an end to much of her horrible behavior since she doesn’t treat anyone else like she does me.  It also showed her that I was done tolerating her abuse.  If she chose to abuse me she would have consequences for doing so, like me leaving her life.  In situations like this, even going no contact with an abusive parent can be the most honorable thing you can do.

 

If you struggle with honoring your abusive parent, I would encourage you to pray, Dear Reader.  Ask God to show you the truth on this matter.  He will, as He has done for me.  You will rest much easier when you know the real truth about what it means to honor your parent.

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Another Helpful Tip For Dealing With Narcissists

I realized something this morning.  When I know I’m going to have some sort of interaction with at least one of my parents, the same thing happens almost every time.  I have either a nightmare about my childhood or a repressed memory come back to the forefront of my mind.

 

For the longest time, I assumed this was simply because I was thinking & worrying about what was coming.  I believe this is wrong though.  I believe God allows these things to happen as a way of enabling me to deal with my parents.

 

As I mentioned before, I want to go no contact with my parents, but God isn’t allowing me to tell them this.  Instead, He wants them to be the ones to pull away.  He has told me that by me getting healthier & tolerating less of their abuse, this will happen naturally.  So far, it really has.  Keeping that in mind..

 

My father plans to visit me on Friday (I’m writing this post on Thursday to publish Friday), & last night I had a horrible nightmare that reminded me of exactly how miserable I was growing up.  I was utterly depressed, even suicidal, yet had to pretend to be happy to appease my mother.  She would get mad at me if I looked depressed, so I had to hide it rather than have her yell at me & shame me.  Remembering this has made me angry.  Angry that my mother would shame me for my feelings, angry that my father never even noticed anything was wrong with me, angry that there was absolutely no concern that I was suicidal.

 

This anger I feel will help to strengthen me around my father during his visit tomorrow.  As hard as I try, sometimes I still tend to fall into bad, old habits around my parents.  But, when I am angry with them, the chances of that are much slimmer.  I have a better focus on just how dysfunctional & abusive they really are, which helps me not to fall into their traps or for their manipulations.  Once the visit is done, I will deal with my anger about the situation & heal a bit more.

 

Remembering traumatic things isn’t easy, I know.  But, God isn’t into waste.  He doesn’t allow things like this to happen for no reason.  There is always a purpose.  I have learned to use such things not only to help me heal by coping with the trauma I remember, but also to help me when I must deal with my parents.  It’s turned out to be a good thing, albeit not an easy one.

 

Does this happen to you too, Dear Reader?  Does something happen to make you angry before you deal with the narcissist in your life?  If so, you’re not alone!  It actually can be a good thing, although it doesn’t feel that way at the time.  It certainly has been for me, & if it can be for me, it can be for you as well. Use that anger to help strengthen you against her manipulations.  Use it as a reminder of exactly how dysfunctional the narcissist is.

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New Book Idea- Elderly Narcissists

Recently I was involved in a discussion about how little information there is available for those with elderly narcissistic parents, including caring for them.  It gave me an idea- write a book on the topic.

 

I have already started writing an outline & have some ideas.  But, I’d like to hear from you, Dear Reader.  I don’t want to miss anything on this topic.  If there is any topic you’d like explored or if you have stories to include, please let me know.  I won’t divulge your name to protect your privacy.  You can comment on this post or email me privately at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

 

Thank you!  I look forward to hearing from you!  x0xo

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Narcissists & Conflict

Narcissists deal with  conflict in odd ways.

 

Many narcissists proudly claim they are neutral in the situation even in extreme situations.  If their adult child is going through a break up or divorce, for example, they stay on friendly terms with the ex even when there aren’t grandchildren involved or any other reason to stay in relationship with that person.  Even if he beat his wife or she cheated on him, the narcissistic parents stay friendly with the ex, not caring that this hurts their child or the child’s new spouse.  In fact, they may sing the praises of the ex to the new spouse.  Been there with my late mother in-law & sisters in-law, in fact.  The mother in-law told me not long after we got married how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of an old girlfriend.  His sisters loved to mention this lady to me frequently & kept my husband current on what happened in her life for years after we were married.  (I’m not sure if they still do that or not- after me getting mad about the last time (we’d been together for 12 years at that point, married for 10), my husband probably wouldn’t tell me if they did.).

 

If they are a witness to a conflict, many narcissists avoid getting involved.  If someone is being hurt physically or mentally, it’s not their problem as far as they are concerned.  That conflict is between those two people, period, so they ignore it.  Many won’t even simply call 911 upon witnessing a crime.  I heard a story once about a lady who was killed outside of her apartment building in the 1950s’s.  38 people claimed to have heard her screaming for help, some even saw the attack from their apartment windows, but only 2 called the police.  Every other person said they didn’t want to get involved, even though they knew this lady was in danger.

 

Other narcissists are afraid if they get involved, someone will end up angry with them, so they stay out of the conflict.  For example, my mother once told me of seeing the husband of a friend of hers & my father’s with another woman.  I asked if she told the woman, & she said “Oh no!  I couldn’t do that!  They might get mad at me.”  (Seriously?!  If that was my husband, I’d want to know & would NOT be angry with the person who told me- my anger would be reserved for my husband at that point. Pretty sure this is how almost anyone would feel in this position!)  She asked if I’d tell if I was in her position & I said absolutely I would.  It’d be hard, but this lady has a right to know so she can figure out what to do about this.  My mother looked at me like a deer in the headlights.  She clearly had no concept of what I was saying.

 

Sometimes narcissists will get involved, trying to rescue the victim, in a limited capacity, if they think it will make them look good.  In junior high school, a girl threatened to beat me up.  I’m not sure why.  I was afraid, but after growing up with my mother, had learned that if you don’t stand up to a bully, they’ll run right over you.   Backing down wasn’t an option in my mind.  I told my mother about this girl.  The next day, my mother went to the principle.  During class, the girl yelled at me for telling on her, but at least she left me alone.  (A good thing- she was a lot bigger than me!)  To this day, my mother tells how she saved me from getting beaten up.  According to her, I wanted to stay home to avoid that girl, but she wouldn’t let me.  She made me face my fears & she talked to the principle, & if it wasn’t for her, I would’ve been beaten up.  As usual, her version was very different than reality.

 

People who don’t have Narcissistic Personality Disorder but have some narcissistic tendencies also may behave this way.  Perhaps they grew up with at least one narcissistic parent, so they learned that this is how you are supposed to act. My husband told me years ago that his mother & I not getting along was not his problem, it was all mine. I needed to deal with it & leave him out of it.  Interestingly, his father’s mother never liked his wife, & his father never did anything about that.  My husband learned by example of his narcissistic parents.

 

In any case, the narcissist responds in the passive/aggressive the way they do for one reason only- themselves.  As with everything else, the situation comes back to them.  They’re all that matters to themselves, period.  Will they look good if they rescue someone?  Can they get involved & people will still like them?  Or, will they look better not getting involved?  After all, what if someone got mad at them?  GASP!!  The horrors!!

 

Being aware of this behavior in narcissists will help you not to expect help from them in the way a normal, healthy person would give it.  Also you’ll know they may completely ignore your crisis entirely.  When that happens, you can chalk it up to typical narcissistic behavior.

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Sharing Stories Of God’s Blessings To Build Others’ Faith

Romans 15:2  “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)

 

One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small.  Doing so encourages others.  It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone.  That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.

 

I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers.  For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times.  For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them.  They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours.  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?  In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell.  Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away.  I believe most people are that way as well.  Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word.  I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.

 

Also, sharing your stories encourages you too.  It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love.  You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself.  What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?

 

Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith.  While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself.  How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Control Tactics

Being raised by narcissists, I learned early in life how to be a good victim.  So good, I’ve been in relationships (friends, romantic & even family) with many abusive people.  Not all were narcissists, but they all shared something in common- their need to control me.

 

Not all controlling people are narcissists, but all narcissists are controlling.  Learning to recognize various methods people use to control others can help you to understand what is happening & react accordingly.

 

Coming on too strong.  When you first meet someone & they immediately want to be your best friend or start talking of marriage right away, this is a bad sign.  I once had a friend who upon meeting said we were going to be best friends, & she was extremely controlling.  The same for a man I once dated who started talking marriage within a month of meeting.

 

They expect you to read their minds.  If the person is acting unhappy, you’re supposed to know why & what they want you to do to make it all better.  If you don’t, you aren’t a good friend, you don’t love them, etc.

 

The silent treatment.  Narcissists in particular enjoy this one.  The silent treatment means refusing to speak to you or acknowledge you rather than discuss the problem.  Withdrawing their love is designed to make you feel as if you have done something terribly wrong, & to make you want to make it up to them.  It keeps you off balanced, & until you realize what is happening, working hard to make the person giving you the silent treatment happy with you again.

 

Talking around the problem at hand.  This distraction technique removes your focus from the real problem & puts it wherever the controller wants it.  Usually on you & your flaws, real or imagined.

 

Constant talking.  Narcissists love to brag about themselves  & never tire of  the sound of their own voices.  Other controlling people talk constantly as well.  This tactic keeps the attention on the controller & the victim giving the controller their full attention.

 

Projection.  Accusing a victim of a behavior that the abuser does is projection.  The goal is to change the behavior of the victim.  For example, if the victim is called selfish, the victim will work hard to prove how unselfish she is.

 

Not “walking the walk.”  A controlling person has very definite opinions of things.  For example, your home should be so clean at all times, when you clean it, it’s hard to tell anything was done because it was that clean before you started.  Yet, their house has enough dust on the tables to write your name in, & don’t you dare say a word about it lest you face their wrath.

 

Using guilt trips.  Guilt trips are supposed to make you feel so bad, you’ll never do that action again.  Healthy guilt is a good thing.  It keeps you from doing things like stealing or cheating on your spouse.  You know doing such things would make you feel miserable, so you avoid doing them.  Guilt trips are about control & not necessarily about you doing something bad.

 

Bullying.  Bullies come across quite scary & intimidating.  The truth however is that they are simply cowards.  They try to make themselves look scary by acting intimidating so they’ll get their way.  Refusing to give in often makes them stop their ridiculous behavior.

 

Urgency.  By creating a false sense of urgency, it means the victim feels she has no time to think about things, she must act & act right now.  Urgency eliminates the chance to consider the situation & evaluate choices.

 

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Are You Too Positive Or Too Negative?

I never really thought of myself as a very negative person, but I was told I was my entire life.  My mother, a self proclaimed optimist in spite of her ability to find the negative in any situation, has said this more times than I can count.  My husband even made similar comments over the years about how negative I am.

 

As a result, I have tried to be more positive.  I have been able to see more positive things than I used to in negative situations.  This has been beneficial to a degree.  It has helped me to be a bit happier than I used to be.

 

That being said though, God showed me something this morning about positive thinking that never crossed my mind before.

 

I was getting laundry out of the dryer & praying as I did.  I had a dreadful night last night, barely getting any sleep & what sleep I had was full of nightmares.  I’ve been in a nasty funk for a few days now which wasn’t helped by last night’s “sleep” & was telling God about that too.  Complaining really.  I wasn’t finding any positive in anything, & feeling guilty for that.  I didn’t admit that to God but of course He knew anyway.  And, He said something about that.

 

“Being too positive can invalidate your pain.  It says you don’t have a right to be disappointed, hurt or angry because something good came from the situation.  Being positive is good, but only in balance.  It’s OK to say things just suck sometimes.  This is one of those times.  Feel the pain, & get it out.  Then, & only then, the funk will lift.”

 

So many of us who have been abused have been told by other people we’re too negative if we discuss it.  Some people think it’s a taboo topic not to be discussed.  Sweep it under the rug, pretend that didn’t happen.  Or, if something good came out of the awful situation (such as having kids with the abusive partner), then you shouldn’t be upset about it.  Something good came from it, so you shouldn’t complain or have problems stemming from the abuse.

 

What these people fail to realize is by telling victims to “stop being so negative” or to “think positive”. they are being abusive.  They are invalidating your pain, & invalidation is abuse.  Invalidation says your pain doesn’t matter, & there is something wrong with you for feeling the way you do.  Whether that is the intention or not by saying “think positive” & such statements, that is the result.  The person who is told to think positive feels there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.

 

Dear Readers, please remember this post when someone tells you to be positive.  Being positive is a wonderful thing.  It helps you to feel good.  But, it also is unrealistic to think you can be positive 100% of the time.  Sometimes things just suck!  There is nothing wrong with admitting that.  There is also nothing wrong with thinking about those things & feeling whatever emotions that the event triggered in you.  Ignoring such things does no good.  Those emotions will come to the surface at some point, & probably not in a good way.  It is better to have a short period of being depressed or angry as you heal than years of emotions manifesting in unhealthy ways such as addictions, self harm or suicidal thoughts & actions.

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About Body Memories

The past week or so, my lower back has been achy.  I haven’t strained it or injured it in any way.  It’s just been achy.  I’ve also been down in the dumps.  I chalked it up to my dislike of holidays, but something else clicked…

 

November 28, 1990, I came home from work to my parents’ home.  I was tired & had a very busy day.  I also had been trying to find somewhere to move to asap during my lunch break with no success.  I wasn’t in the best mood.  As soon as I walked in my parents’ home, my mother started nitpicking at me.  I could tell she wanted a fight & I really didn’t want to give it to her.  Eventually, though I snapped.  I started yelling back at her.  My father got involved briefly, then walked out, leaving me to face 100% of her wrath.  I went to grab some things & leave, & my mother followed me, screaming at me the entire time.  As I was getting my shoes on by the front door, I saw her eyes turn jet black as they did when something awful was about to happen. Looking back, I believe she wanted to kill me that night.  She slammed me into the wall with such force, not only did about every vertebra in my back pop from my tailbone into my neck, I blacked out from pain. There was also a huge hole in the wall.  When I came to, I was biting her arm- my head was the only body part I could move, & I guess survival instincts kicked in.  She was stunned (as was I), & I took advantage of this opportunity to run out of the house.

 

For 10 years after this, I suffered with back pain.  Also I suffered with my mother telling me & others how I was faking it so I wouldn’t have to work, I was lazy, seeking attention, etc.  It was so bad, I wondered many times if she was right.  After all, the doctors couldn’t find any physical cause for my pain so maybe she was right.

 

Thank God for healing the pain in 2000 & showing me that many people who have been through traumatic events suffer with lower back pain with no known physical cause.

 

So here we are, 26 years after the horrible event & I’m sitting here with an achy back.  This is what is known as a body memory.

 

Body memories exist because our body never forgets things.  Our mind may not be able to handle trauma so it “forgets” it for a while (repressed memories), but the body remembers it all.

 

Body memories can be triggered by many things.  For me, it’s usually a date, like this time.  But, many other things can cause them as well, such as the way a person touches you reminding you of someone who sexually abused you.  The smell of a certain perfume or cologne causes anxiety or depression because it smells like what your abusive parent used to wear.

 

It can be tempting to ignore body memories.  After all, who wants to remember awful events?  I sure don’t like thinking about that night my mother threw me into the wall.  However, I think they are showing us areas we need further healing in.  In a way, this is a good thing.  It doesn’t feel like it, but it’s good because we need to know this information so we can heal further & be that much closer to being whole.

 

When they happen, ask God how to help you to heal.  If you don’t remember what caused this particular body memory, then ask Him to reveal it to you when & only when you are able to cope with it.  If you do remember, tell Him how it makes you feel.  (I find writing in my journal easier than speaking out loud about especially difficult things sometimes).  Ask Him to tell you His truth about the event & show you what you need to do for your part to heal.  He truly will help you.

 

I know sometimes body memories can make you feel like you’re crazy, but you truly are NOT crazy, Dear Reader!  You are simply someone who has experienced trauma & abuse.  It’s only natural there are lasting effects from such things.

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What Not To Say When Someone Is Grieving

A friend & I were talking recently about some of the dumb things people say to someone who is grieving.

 

  • “He’s in a better place.” (And knowing this negates my pain how exactly??)
  • “You should be glad she’s not suffering anymore.”  (I am glad, but I still miss her!)
  • “I know just how you feel.”  (No, you don’t.  You aren’t me.  We feel things differently)
  • (in cases of pet loss) “It was just a cat/dog/bird/etc.”  (To you, but to me, that was my baby!)
  • Or, simply acting like since their loved one has been buried or cremated, they should be ready to on with their lives since it’s “done”.  The funeral marks the beginning of learning to leave without your loved one.  Personally, I feel “in limbo” until the funeral or cremation is done.  Once that happens, my grief really begins.

 

Comments like these may not sound so bad, but they can be hurtful when you’re in the early stages of grief.

 

The simple fact is people don’t know what to say in this situation.  Nothing sounds “right”, so many people say something unintentionally hurtful rather than saying nothing.

 

If you know someone who has recently lost someone they love, please think before you speak.  What may comfort you may not comfort the other person.  Everyone grieves differently.  Plus, there are various stages of grief, & what may comfort someone at one stage may not at another stage.  For example, knowing I’ll see my loved one again one day does NOT comfort me immediately after losing that person or pet.  I call it the selfish phase of grief, where I  just want them back with me because I miss them so much.  Some time later, knowing we’ll be reunited one day is a great comfort.

 

It seems to me there are only a few safe things to say to someone who is grieving.

 

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
  • “Is there anything I can do for you?”
  • “If you want to talk, I’m here for you anytime.”

 

Please consider your words wisely when someone you know has lost a loved one.  You have the ability to help them or hurt them, so please, choose to help them.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Is Narcissism Really A Disorder?

We all know the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but it doesn’t take long witnessing someone with it to wonder if it is truly a disorder.  The word “disorder” implies their behavior is beyond their control, such as in the case of someone with schizophrenia.

 

This term also makes victims of narcissistic abuse feel as if they can’t do anything to protect themselves or even be angry about what is done to them, because the narcissist’s behavior is beyond their control.

 

None of this really sits right with most victims, because we have seen the narcissist in our lives go from screaming lunatic to nice person when the “right” person came along.  I witnessed it with my mother growing up.  She could be screaming at me, telling me how worthless I was, until the phone rang.  She was normal on the phone, then after she hung up, could resume screaming at me.  Although she no longer screams at me, she still controls her behavior just as well.  She can say something incredibly hurtful to me then smile at the person who enters the room a moment later as if nothing happened.

 

Calling behavior like this, so clearly controlled & planned, a disorder always left a bad taste in my mouth.  It was great to finally have a name for what was being done to me, but disorder?

 

Thankfully I found an answer a while back in reading Dr. Karyl McBride’s facebook page.  (In case you don’t know, she wrote an incredible book on narcissistic mothers entitled, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”  I highly recommend it- it’s chock full of wisdom!)  She said that personality disorders are different than other mental disorders in that they describe a means of behavior rather than an actual physical illness.  For example, someone with PTSD has brain damage caused by trauma whereas someone with NPD is behaving in a dysfunctional way.  This means people with personality disorders can change their behavior if they desire to do so & learn healthier ways to behave, whereas someone with PTSD can’t change their behavior so easily (if at all) because their brains is physically damaged.

 

Interesting, no?

 

In a way, I found this information to be very freeing.  It means that my narcissistic mother’s behavior isn’t beyond her control & I really do have every right to set & enforce healthy boundaries.  It was also a bit discouraging learning that she could change if she wanted to, but she doesn’t want to.

 

The best way I have found to deal with this knowledge & the conflicting feelings that follow is this: I am grateful that the awful behavior has a name, because it means it isn’t my fault!  I didn’t make my mother abuse me, as she claimed.  I also didn’t force my ex husband to punch walls when he got mad at me.  These people have issues, & that isn’t my fault!  As for knowing they can change but refuse?  Well, that is their right.  Everyone has the right to live as they see fit, & some people make very bad choices in how they live.  Having that boundary in place will help you accept the fact that your narcissist may never change, while still hoping for it.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.  Certainly pray they change & hope for it, as it does happen (albeit very rarely), while accepting the fact it may not.

 

And, never forget- you also have the right to protect yourself from abusive behavior however you believe is right for you to do.  Just as someone has the right to be abusive, you have the right to protect yourself.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism