Enabling Is NOT Loving!

It seems to be a common false believe that giving someone everything they want, enabling them to do anything they want without consequences is loving & even Godly behavior. 

So many people I spoke with in my family were downright cruel to me because I wouldn’t see my father at the end of his life in 2017.  The barrage of phone calls, social media messages & emails was intense.  I barely read any of the messages, because after reading a couple, I knew how incredibly toxic the rest would be.  I thought it wiser to protect my mental health by saving the messages without reading them as evidence for police if I opted to take that route.  Anyway after my father’s death, I learned that because I refused to say goodbye, he finally turned to God!  In spite of my fears it wouldn’t happen, my father gave his heart to Jesus at the end of his life, & is now in Heaven.  (That story is on my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it)

While none of us knew it at the time, me not saying good bye to my father was for his benefit.  My family clearly thought I was a cold hearted witch who stayed away out of spite.  I knew in my heart God wanted me to stay away & going would have had terrible consequences, but I didn’t know any further details.  Me not going made him reach out to God for the first time in I don’t know how long.  If I had gone, I firmly believe he wouldn’t have turned to God.  So as strange as it may sound, not saying my final good byes to my father was the most loving thing I could do in that situation.

Although many situations are different, the basics are similar.  Someone wants you to do something that you know is not in their best interest.  It may even cause you pain or problems to do that thing, yet it is expected of you to do it.  If you do it, your actions are applauded & if it caused you problems, those problems ignored.  If you don’t do it, you’re criticized & even shamed for being selfish or unreasonable. 

This is utterly WRONG!

Yes, it’s good to do for other people.  Some people genuinely need help & sometimes you are exactly the right person to give that help.  But doing anything a person wants isn’t always a good thing.  Look what 1 Corinthians 10:23 says:


All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].  (AMP)

1 Corinthians 6:12 is similar & just as informative:

Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. (AMP)

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s for the best that you do it, either for you or for someone else.  People who are accustomed to getting everything they want are spoiled, entitled, selfish & often feel that they don’t need God.  By saying no sometimes, it actually benefits people.  They learn to be more self sufficient, they don’t become entitled, selfish jerks.  And yes, they may recognize everyone’s need for God in themselves.    

Maybe situations in your life aren’t as dire, but still, if you know that doing something for someone isn’t in their best interest or yours, don’t do it!  The good will far outweigh the bad!

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Socially Acceptable & Unacceptable Trauma Responses

Have you ever noticed there are socially acceptable & socially unacceptable responses to trauma?  There are.  The especially interesting part is the socially acceptable ones are the most unhealthy trauma responses & encouraged.

Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:

  • being a workaholic.
  • focusing on career over family.
  • never taking breaks.
  • being over scheduled or too busy.
  • sleeping too little.
  • excessive exercising.
  • under eating.

Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:

  • taking time off to relax.
  • crying or being angry about the trauma.
  • admitting that it still upsets you, even years after the trauma.
  • taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
  • seeing a counselor.
  • severing ties with an abuser.
  • discussing the abuse.

When you live with PTSD or C-PTSD, trying to heal is tough enough.  It’s not easy, even under the best of circumstances.  It’s much worse though when you have people telling you that your healthy coping skills aren’t healthy, & insisting you instead use unhealthy coping skills.

Having been through narcissistic abuse, I can vouch for the insecurity that comes from it.  It takes a conscious focus on my part not to assume someone’s criticism of me is right & to consider what is said before assuming I’m wrong, & frankly I’m not always good at this.  When someone tells me I should use one of the unhealthy trauma responses instead of my healthy ones, naturally I figure they’re right & feel shame.  No doubt many of you reading this experience the same type of response.

You can learn to deal with the dysfunctional response in these types of situations.

Remember, the world thinks quite skewed in the area of mental health.  No one bats an eye at someone who goes to a doctor with a broken leg, yet many of those same people claim someone is weak for seeing a counselor for their mental health problems.  That is just one example of this skewed thinking.  Anyway just because so many people think this way doesn’t mean they are right.  What others think about how you heal isn’t important.  What is important is that it works for you.

Use logical thinking.  When someone criticizes you for how you approach your emotional healing, ask yourself if what they say makes sense & why.  For example, if someone says you’re being lazy, you need to keep busy instead of taking time off, think about this statement for a moment.  How would keeping busy benefit you?  Sure, you might be busy enough not to think about your problems for a bit, but that won’t last forever.  Besides, ignoring emotions means they will come out in unhealthy ways later.  So many addicts became addicts because they tried to avoid facing their own traumas.  Considering all of this, do you really think this person gave you good advice?

Another thing to consider is people view things through the lens of their own experiences.  Many people who are the quickest to judge others’ healing journeys are ones who also have been abused, but refuse to deal with that.  Rather than be inspired by someone else facing their pain, they get upset by it.  They often think because they aren’t facing their past trauma, they are over it.  They’re functioning just fine while someone else is suffering with C-PTSD.  In their mind, clearly that person is weak & could learn a thing or two from the person without C-PTSD.  They honestly think they’re helping by telling the other person what they do, which involves their socially acceptable trauma responses.

Remember, just because some people think your approach to healing is wrong doesn’t mean that is true.  You have to do whatever works best for you.  What others think shouldn’t matter.  All that should matter to you is that what you’re doing helps you to heal.

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Some Life Altering Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD, is a rather new mental health diagnosis.  It is common among those who have survived repeated traumas, such as those who endured child abuse or domestic violence.

C-PTSD shares many of the same symptoms of PTSD.  It also includes other symptoms that make C-PTSD more, well, complex than PTSD.

Moodiness to the extreme.  Moods can be difficult to control for anyone at times.  A person with C-PTSD has a much more difficult time controlling them on a regular basis, & sometimes is unable to control them.

Difficulty trusting people.  A person with C-PTSD has seen the  worst of people, & only naturally has a great deal of difficulty trusting people.  It takes a lot for someone with C-PTSD to learn to trust anyone.  It also doesn’t take a lot for someone with C-PTSD to lose trust in people.

Flashbacks.  There are three types of flashbacks.  The typical flashbacks where a person feels as if they are reliving a traumatic event.  There also is emotional flashbacks.  They don’t feel as if the event is being relieved per se, but the emotions of a traumatic event are being relieved.  Emotional flashbacks are extremely common with C-PTSD.  Lastly there are somatic flashbacks.  They are similar to emotional flashbacks, but rather than dealing with the emotions connected to trauma, they deal with the physical pain connected to trauma.

Toxic shame.  Toxic shame is extremely common among those who have survived abuse, in particular those who survived child abuse.  Their parents told them the abuse inflicted on them was their fault, which instilled a root of toxic shame in them for supposedly making their parents do the terrible things they did.

Dissociation.  A survival tactic, dissociation emotionally removes a person from a traumatic or abusive episode.  Many survivors of sexual assault in particular describe it as feeling as if they are not in their body as the assault happened.  It also can lead to extensive day dreaming when not in a traumatic situation or even Dissociative Identity Disorder in some extreme cases.  DID is especially common among child abuse survivors.

Hyper-vigilance.  Hyper-vigilance can take two forms.  One is when a person is extremely aware of their surroundings.  Even in a crowded place, those with C-PTSD are aware of a person heading to the restroom or leaving the building.  Another form of hyper-vigilance is when the body is constantly in a state of preparedness for attack or trauma.  This often leads to constant pain.

Suicidal thoughts.  The most serious & potentially life threatening aspect of C-PTSD is suicidal thoughts.  Those who have  C-PTSD frequently battle with severe depression, even to the point of suicidal thoughts.  Sadly, suicide seems like the only escape from the pain in the mind of many people with C-PTSD.

While these symptoms are very common with C-PTSD, their seriousness shouldn’t be underestimated.  All are life altering, & suicidal thoughts obviously can be life ending.  They can be managed, however.  I find prayer to be my most effective help when these symptoms flare up.  Journaling about them is also very useful.  It can help you to see what causes the symptoms to flare & figure out ways to cope with them.  Another helpful tip I have found is to remind myself of what is happening.  I remind myself that whatever is happening is merely a symptom of the disorder, nothing more.  I’m safe, nothing can hurt me.  Grounding can be very useful during flashbacks, & it needs to be something that is very extreme to the senses.  Smelling a strong scent like lavender or touching a scratchy blanket help by distracting your mind away from the flashback.

Lastly, when your symptoms flare, they’re showing you where you need healing.  They actually do have a purpose, so use them to help you.

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Preventing Narcissists From Wanting You Back

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“You Can’t Love Someone Until You Love Yourself”

One cliche I’ve heard my entire life was “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.”  My mother said it periodically when I was growing up, & somehow it never felt right to me even when I was just a little kid.

As an adult, I have come to realize how wrong this is, & how shaming as well.

Wrong because just because a person has low or no self esteem, doesn’t mean they are incapable of love.  It only means they don’t love themselves.  People who feel this way are very capable of loving others, & it shows when they love their spouse, children, family, friends, pets.   I was this same way for many years.  I absolutely hated myself, yet absolutely adored certain people in my life as well as my pets.  They all meant the world to me & I would have done anything for any of them.

This phrase is shaming because it makes people feel that they lack this one basic skill any human being has, to love.  Victims of narcissistic abuse already have enough shame to deal with thanks to the narcissists in their lives.  They don’t need any more false, toxic shame heaped onto them.

What can be true, although certainly is not true in all cases, is if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others in a Godly & healthy way.  In cases where someone has been abused in childhood, that person may not yet know how to love someone in a healthy way.  They may think if they love someone enough, they can fix their abusive ways.  In fact, this may seem good or even Godly to the dysfunctional person.  Sadly, many people support such dysfunctional thinking, encouraging the unhealthy behaviors.  Some folks even will quote Scriptures that are taken totally out of context to validate their beliefs.

A dysfunctional person also may think boundaries are selfish & unloving, so they think telling someone no is a bad thing.  Out of good intentions, they allow other people to come first in their lives, even if it costs them their health, finances, or peace.  They mistakenly hurt themselves under the delusion they’re being loving.

Similarly, a dysfunctional person may think that giving a person whatever they want is the most loving thing they can do for someone.  They fail to realize that sometimes, people need to struggle for what they want in order to learn to appreciate things.

Many dysfunctional people also think that if they are just nice enough or good enough, they can make an abusive person love them.  They don’t realize that is impossible, because abusers are incapable of true, Godly love.  They also fail to realize that the harder they try, the more abusive an abuser will become, because they see this person as weak & willing to please them at any personal cost.  I experienced this first hand.  My late mother in-law hated me.  Being young & naive, I wanted her to like me, so I tried hard to make that happen.  Nothing I did was good enough, & our relationship only got worse.

The fact is, to love others, we must learn what true love really is.  It is wanting what is best for another person rather than what we want from that person.  It is wanting them to succeed in life, & enjoy their life.  It is wanting them to live whatever their best life is, even if it goes against something we would like for them.  Mostly, it is wanting others to have a close personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Any person can want these things for other people, even when they don’t love themselves.

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For Those Who Have Lost Pets

I have debated quite a bit about sharing this post since it’s so unusual, but feel like it may be a good thing to share. I hope it encourages others who have lost their beloved pets.

Years ago, I wrote a book called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”. I wrote it after realizing just how much my wonderful pets have taught me over the years. Losing them also has been a learning experience for me. Mostly it taught me they still love us & think of us even after passing on.

Some of you know, we lost one of our cats in the early hours on June 24. Fergus was just under 4 years old & healthy. He had spent much of his final day chasing his favorite laser pointer, in fact. His sudden & unexpected death came as a total shock to all of us.

Losing a beloved pet is always a huge struggle for me. My pets are my kids, & are more family to me than my human family. Somehow, losing Fergus was even harder than usual. So hard, I couldn’t even face his death at first because it hurt too much. For someone like me who believes in facing pain head on to deal with it, that is highly unusual & confusing. To cope, I did a lot of praying as I was able to.

Last week, I couldn’t stop crying one evening & in the midst of that, God told me some wonderful things.

Fergus always knew somehow that he wouldn’t have a long life. That is why he was so passionate & playful- he wanted to enjoy every possible moment of whatever time he had.

Also, he died of a stroke as I suspected. I was confused at first, because my late snowshoe girl, Jasmine, had her first stroke at 13 yet survived with minimal problems. God told me that Fergus’ stroke was different. He would have been paralyzed if he survived, so God felt it kinder to take him rather than let him live in a state that would’ve made Fergus miserable. I had to agree.

God also said Fergus is happy & playing lots. He also loves me, but is worried about me being so sad he’s gone. God told him this is what happens with humans when we lose someone we love. It’s normal & it will get better in time.

This was a lot to absorb, so I asked God to give me a sign if it was true. I was listening to music shuffling on my cell phone at the time. The song that came on immediately after asking for a sign was Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” & I knew in my heart, this was my sign. Fergus was very flamboyant, passionate, caring, intelligent & loving. This song is one of my favorites by Queen. It was written by the guitarist for the lead singer when he was dying. The lead singer, upon thinking about it, was quite similar to Fergus.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because I hope to offer you comfort if you too have lost a beloved pet. Animals have souls, just like people. When they die, their souls move on just like people’s do. They also love deeply, & death doesn’t change that.

If you’re missing your beloved furbaby, then please, turn to God. He can & will be glad to give you what you need to help you cope. I have experienced that repeatedly! Fergus isn’t the first one of my cats to have a special song. Far from it! Jasmine’s is, “Angel” by Aerosmith. Georgie’s is, “Angel Eyes” by Steelheart. Vincent’s is “Someday We’ll Be Together” by the Supremes. There are others as well, but I don’t want to bore you with the long list. Anyway each time God told me that my loved ones wanted me to know about a special song, healing started. He may do the same for you or He may do something else to help you start to heal. Whatever happens, it will be what God knows will help you more than anything. It’ll bring you comfort & peace knowing that one day, you’ll see your sweet little furbaby again. In the meanwhile, God is caring for that little one.

And, just because I love showing off my furkids, here’s Fergus. Yes, that tail is orange tabby striped. No, it doesn’t look like it belongs on a white kitty. We are reasonably sure it held magical powers because everyone who saw Fergus fell in love with him.. lol

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Breaking Free From Being The Family Scapegoat

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Not All Causes Can Be Your Causes

Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin.  The topic isn’t important, but the message is.  The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”

In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming.  One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist.  Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment.  I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person.  In her world, apparently none of this was valid.  I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.

There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter.  It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion.  As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”

In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty.  Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues.  My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse.  I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn.  What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.

No one person can support every single issue!  It’s too much!  No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either,  simply because there are so many causes.

Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause.  Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones.  Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance.  Doing this isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring.  It makes a person human!

If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today.  Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support.  That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is.  God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement.  What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.

This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate.  For some folks, it means writing as I do.  For some other folks, this means donating money.  For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices.  For still others it means working to change laws.  Not one of these is any better or worse than the other.  Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad.  It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.

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Changes On My Website

As I mentioned not long ago, I decided to stop creating YouTube videos in favor of podcasts. It’s easier for me to do podcasts & I am seriously focusing on making my life easier!

I decided to do one other thing.. I have made available on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) my notes that I used in my podcasts & YouTube videos. Since some folks have issues with sensory processing or just prefer to read rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast, I thought I would do this for them. The notes are all on this link. Feel free to download as many as you like for your personal reference. As I add new podcasts in the future, I’ll naturally add the notes to this page. If you lose the link, simply visit www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com & look at the list of links at the top of the page. You’ll see it there.

Also, I added a search bar to my website, so you can find information on there easier now. Rather than read through lots of pages, you can simply type in your search critera & it will bring up results. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the changes I’ve decided to make. I truly value your input. 💖

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Parentalization, aka Parentification, aka Emotional Or Covert Incest

Many adult children of narcissistic parents treat their children more like partners than their children.  These parents expect their children to take care of all of their emotional needs, but some also add in their physical needs (such as cooking or doing housework well beyond what they should be doing at their age) & even sexual needs.  This phenomenon is known as emotional incest, parentalizing or parentification.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it emotional incest in this article.

Narcissists often turn to their children for support rather than their partner for various reasons.  Narcissistic supply can be one reason.  People see the narcissist’s relationship with her child as very close, not realizing it’s actually very sick, & praise this “wonderful relationship” which provides narcissistic supply.  Or, maybe the narcissist is simply unhappy with her spouse or single status, & since the child is convenient, she turns to her child with matters that should be discussed with her spouse or a close friend.

No matter the reason, emotional incest has a devastating effect on a child.  The child subjected to this abusive behavior feels a tremendous amount of responsibility for the parent’s emotional state, as well as possibly also the parent’s physical or sexual needs too.  This child grows up with a tremendously overdeveloped sense of responsibility not only for the abusive parent, but everyone in her life.  This can lead to codependency, depression, anger, anxiety & more.

The child who is abused also feels guilty for growing up, leaving home & wanting to have her own life.  When I was 19, I moved out of my parents’ home & my mother was livid.  She made her disapproval painfully obvious, & even told me I’d never survive on my own.

Emotional incest also can lead to a child having very unhealthy romantic relationships as an adult.  The child is taught from an early age that the parent’s needs come first, no matter what.  A person married to an adult child of an emotionally incestuous environment is going to be a lower priority to that adult child than that child’s parents.  Whatever the parent wants will be more important than the spouse.  If the parent wants holidays spent together, that is what will happen even if the spouse doesn’t want to be a part of them.  If the parent has a need (either real or imagined) on their adult child’s wedding anniversary, the adult child will deal with it rather than the anniversary.

If you are in this dysfunctional situation, then you need to break free of it!  It won’t be easy but it will be possible.

As always, the first step should be prayer. Ask God to show you what to do to help break the cycle.  And, ask Him to help you to have the strength & courage to do it.

Also, start changing the subject with your narcissistic parent.  Both of my parents indulged in emotionally incestuous behavior for my entire life, until I ended the relationship with them, & the best way I found to end it was simple subject changes.  Asking them about something else related to themselves worked best.  Since narcissists enjoy talking about themselves more than any other topic, it makes sense that is their favorite subject change.

Sometimes subject changes don’t work & the narcissistic parent keeps changing the subject back to the topic.  If at all possible, end the conversation.  If you’re in their home or they are in yours, it can be challenging.  Try to have a friend on call, so to speak.  Have the phone number of someone you can trust ready so you can dial the number quickly & discreetly or take your phone with you to the bathroom if need be.  Tell that person ahead of time that if you call their number & it only rings a couple of times & you hang up, that means they need to call you & say they need you to come to them immediately.  Or, if you’re on the phone with your parent & want to end the conversation, ring your doorbell or knock on your door.  You can then say, “The doorbell rang.. I have to go.”  If you have a dog who barks when they hear the doorbell, this is an added bonus- your parent will hear the dog & know that your doorbell rang.  You also can use your cell to call your house phone or vice versa & then you can tell your parent that the call waiting beeped & you need to go.  Sneaky?  Yes, but not dishonest.  Your doorbell rang, your call waiting beeped & you do need to go!

I also learned that saying, “It hurts me when you talk to me about Mom/Dad like that” was a recipe for disaster.  Not only did it not stop their behavior, since they knew it hurt me, they did it even more.  This is typical of narcissists, so learn from my mistake- DO NOT ADMIT IT HURTS YOU!!!

Always remember, the problems your parent is telling you about are NOT your responsibility.  You have no obligation to fix them.  Tune your parent’s words out if it helps you.

Lastly, limit your contact as much as possible with your narcissistic parent.  If you aren’t so available, they may feel forced to find someone else to listen to their woes & you need the reprieve.

Emotional incest is a very painful thing to deal with, but you can handle it!

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A Message For My Younger Followers

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Reasons Why Being The Black Sheep Is A Good Thing

When someone mentions the black sheep of their family, the common mental image people get is someone who is very different from the rest of the family.  Maybe the black sheep is the one person in the family who is in trouble with the law or is a surly type.

More often than you would think, this isn’t the case though.  Instead, the black sheep is nothing like their bad reputation.  The only thing they are guilty of is not being like the rest of their family, aka the White Sheep.  In these cases, this is usually a very good thing!

As I’ve mentioned before, I think of dysfunctional families much like the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”  The Borg were all alike & only focused on what was best for the Collective.  Individuality was not tolerated.  This is exactly like a dysfunctional family.  Individuality is discouraged & all that matters is the Collective, aka the family. 

Dysfunctional families are the same way, so when a member is different, they aren’t pleased.  They are even less pleased if there is abuse in the family & someone discusses the abuse openly.  It is a guarantee that person will be labeled the Black Sheep, referred to as mentally unstable, oversensitive & more.  Their traumatic experiences will be invalidated or even denied. 

This has been my experience as a black sheep in my family & my in-law family.  The good part though is although it hurt at first, it taught me a lot.

People who treat someone who has been abused this way are cowardly.  They have no integrity either, because they would rather do nothing than stand up for what is right.  I’m glad not to be like them!  I’d rather be a person of integrity who is willing to help others than be a coward!  If being labeled the black sheep means I’m someone with integrity, I’m absolutely fine with the label!

When you consider your situation, chances are good you’ll realize that the opinions of the White Sheep really aren’t important as I did.  Why should you care what they think of you?  Just because they’re family?  That isn’t a good reason!  The only people whose opinions should matter to you are those who genuinely love you & want what is best for you, whether or not those people are related to you.  People who want you to fit inside their little box of what they think you should be, like the Borg, don’t love you God’s way, nor do they want what is best for you.  Why should their opinion of you matter?   Being weighed down by the opinions of other people is exhausting, especially when their opinions of you are so restrictive!  It’s truly a blessing & freeing not to have to worry about such things. 

White Sheep family members often think the Black Sheep of their family has nothing in common with them.  They often are right about that!  That being said though, it doesn’t mean they’re right & you’re wrong.  You’re simply different from them.  Different does NOT equal bad!  That is a very important thing to realize!  Different can be a wonderful thing.  People who think differently invented all kinds of great things, heal others mentally & physically & more.  Besides, the world would be incredibly dull if we all thought the same!

The things that make you unique also could be something that makes the White Sheep envy you.  Did you ever think of that?  They could be labeling you out of simple envy.  Many people do this rather than try to improve themselves. 

Or, they could be too afraid to face their own issues & are trying to shut you down because you facing yours makes them feel badly.  This is something God told me that my own family has done to me.  It’s better in their mind to shut me down than to face their demons.

Whatever the case, I want to encourage you to embrace your Black Sheep label.  Being a Black Sheep requires courage & strength.  Be proud of yourself for possessing such wonderful qualities, & don’t try to please the White Sheep.  You get this one life to live.. you should live it in a way that pleases you, not others.

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My Ebooks Are On Sale!

Just a friendly reminder that all of my ebooks are still 25% off until July 31, 2020. They can be found at this link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Reinventing The Past As An Unhealthy Coping Skill

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Tactics Of The Covert Narcissist

This post is similar to the last one, except it helps to identify some of the tactics of covert narcissists.

Covert narcissists are like their name implies, very covert in their actions.  Because of that, they can be much harder to identify than their overt counterpart.  Their actions can leave a victim wondering if they are being oversensitive or reading too much into things.  I’ve said many times that if I have to deal with a narcissist, I’d prefer an overt one simply because I know exactly what I’m dealing with.

Covert narcissists are quiet in how they get attention.  They don’t get attention by bragging or being loud & obnoxious like overt narcissists.  They get it by appearing gentle & humble.  They “let it slip” about how they helped someone in need or that they are very active in their church.

Covert narcissists appear fragile & vulnerable, like they need someone to take care of them.  They give off an air of naivete & needing someone to protect them that makes people want to take care of them, in particular, their children.  The life purpose of the child of a covert narcissist is to take care of their parent’s every need.

They are always the victim.  No matter what a covert narcissist does to someone, you can guarantee they will blame the victim for being so mean to them for reacting as they did.  After all, they often say, they were just trying to help or they had no idea that the person would be upset by their actions.  The covert narcissist comes away from this situation looking innocent while the victim is shamed & even shunned for being so mean.

Covert narcissists have no empathy.  Unlike overt narcissists, however, coverts are quieter about this.  They will simply act bored, discreetly change the subject or walk away if someone is talking to them about their problems.

Covert narcissists manipulate in subtle ways.  A covert narcissist looking to manipulate someone won’t use fear or intimidation like an overt narcissist.  Instead they may use tactics like guilt, pretending to be helpless or even acting concerned.  Covertly narcissistic elderly parents also are known to use their health problems as a way to manipulate others, in particular their adult children.  They may even go so far as to skip taking medication or taking too much to make themselves sick.

Covert narcissists will ask how their victims are doing & other questions about them or their friends & family, but it isn’t out of genuine concern or love.   It’s about gathering information that can be used against the victim.  They will use what they learn to smear the victim’s reputation to other people or to criticize the victim & those the victim cares about.

Speaking of criticism, covert narcissists have no problem using scathing, cruel criticisms, but only will do so when no one is around other than the victim.  Covert narcissists always want to be seen as good people, so when they are verbally abusive, you can guarantee there will be no witnesses.  That way, no one sees their awful behavior, which also makes it harder for the victim to be believed.

Covert narcissists can change according to who they are around.  If a covert narcissist is around someone they wish to impress, they will claim to share the same likes, dislikes, beliefs & more as the person they wish to impress.  This is called mirroring, because the narcissist is behaving as a mirror to the other person.  Mirroring makes a person feel closer to the person mirroring their behavior, because it appears that they have a great deal in common.

While this list isn’t a fully comprehensive list of the many tactics covert narcissists use, it should help you to recognize several red flags, at least, & help you to protect yourself from these people.

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Tactics Of Overt Narcissists

Since it’s impossible to avoid all narcissists, I thought I would write a post to help people easily recognize their abusive actions.  This post will be about the actions of overt narcissists, the next, about covert.

Overt narcissists are the most commonly discussed type of narcissist.  They are known to be very loud, brash & bold in their abuse.  They are the easiest narcissists to identify simply because of how obvious they usually are.

Overt narcissists rage.  Loudly.  When their victim causes them a narcissistic injury by failing to provide them with their narcissistic supply, overt narcissists will be furious & let their victim know it.  If the victim fails to complement the narcissist, disobeys the narcissist or commits some other supposed horrific sin, that victim can count on the narcissist punishing them harshly for it.

Overt narcissists like to brag.  When dealing with an overt narcissist, it won’t take long before this person regales you with stories of their great accomplishments, their unique talents or the masses of people who admire them.

If an overt narcissist isn’t the center of attention, he or she will find a way to return to the center of attention.   An overt narcissist will do whatever it takes to gain attention, good or bad.  They will start to discuss highly inappropriate topics such as the details of a recent murder or even body functions.  They will make noises such as clapping their hands or even a loud burp.  I remember my mother once breaking into song when my father & I were talking & she wasn’t interested in our conversation.

Overt narcissists also have no problem interrupting other people.  If a person is talking about something that doesn’t interest the overt narcissist, they have no problem interrupting or talking over that person to change the conversation back to them.

All narcissists lack empathy, & overt ones are very obvious about it.  If you have a problem, an overt narcissist will be sure to let you know that your problem isn’t important to them.  They will change the subject or say invalidating things to make you feel so badly for being upset, that you don’t discuss this topic again.

Overt narcissists must be in charge of every area of the relationship, period.  Overt narcissists are like dictators in a relationship.  They will use shame & fear primarily to keep their victim under their control.  Many also have a thing for using cars to help them dominate.  They must drive, because that way they have their victim trapped where they can’t escape & they are in control of where they go.

Overt narcissists are incredibly opinionated.  Whatever the topic is, overt narcissists will have an opinion on it & believe that everyone must hear said opinion.  If the opinion is something about the victim, you can guarantee it will be a negative opinion.

All narcissists are envious, but overts are very obvious about it.  Anyone an overt narcissist believes to be more talented, successful or attractive than they are is going to be judged & criticized VERY harshly, & usually behind their back in an attempt to turn other people against the person they envy.

Overt narcissists have double standards.  Whatever an overt narcissist does is great, but if anyone else does that same thing, it’s bad.  For example, if an overt narcissist lied to you, that would be ok because, according to them, something about you made them lie.  Yet, if you lie to the overt narcissist, that is completely unacceptable & there is no reason whatsoever for you to lie to them, ever!

Obviously this isn’t a complete list of the behaviors of the overt narcissist, but it should be enough to help you see such behaviors as a red flag.  Recognizing those red flags will help you to protect yourself from such toxic people.

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Wish People Wouldn’t Say

Growing up with narcissistic parents is a horrific experience.  Neglect & abuse abound, resulting in a child who grows up with little or even no self-esteem, doubts about their sanity, no real identity beyond what their parents told them they were & other horrible traumas that often result in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD.

In addition to this trauma, many of these children are met with disbelief & even blame for the way their parents treated them.  Sadly, this treatment comes mostly from family members.  Even as adults, this invalidation often continues & can be even more heartless & painful.

You may find some of these phrases I mention in this post sound familiar to you.  If you do, & if you think they will help the person who said them to you see the error of their ways, feel free to show this to them.  However, know many people who invalidate victims of narcissistic abuse are also narcissists, which means they only will use the information to hurt you further.  You need to use your best judgment on this.

“Why not just talk to your parents.  Tell them how you feel.”  Normally, this isn’t bad advice.  Two functional people often can create solutions to problems by discussing them.  This is impossible with narcissists, however.  They lack empathy & feel entitled to do or say anything they want.  The way people feel about their words & actions, in particular their children, mean nothing to them.  Unless they feel they can gain something by impressing someone by caring about their feelings, no one’s emotions mean anything to them.  Narcissistic parents often view their children’s feelings as selfish, unreasonable, stupid, or trivial.. that is if they even notice their feelings at all.  Many narcissistic parents don’t even notice their children’s feelings no matter how upset they are.  They also are highly likely to use their children’s emotions against them to humiliate, shame or manipulate them. 

“You need to find a way to fix this relationship!”  My aunt once told me how I needed to get into therapy to find a way to fix things with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I thank God I was far along in my healing journey at the time she said this, because such words could’ve been devastating if I wasn’t!  I tried to do as she said when I was 17, & even saw a few therapists.  No matter how much therapy I got, no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix the relationship with my parents.  While one person can destroy a relationship, one person can never fix a relationship.  It takes two to make a relationship work.  Putting the burden of fixing it on a victim is simply cruel & stupid. 

“How do you think your behavior makes your parent feel?”  After setting boundaries or going no contact, the flying monkeys love to slither out of the wood work & tell victims how wrong, evil, selfish, & stupid they are along with them being terrible sons or daughters for acting the way they are.  They make these adult children sound like spoiled rotten little brats who are throwing a hissy fit because they don’t want to eat their vegetables at dinner.  People who say this fail to realize that child of a narcissistic parent or two spend their entire lives are spent considering their parents’ feelings!  Every single little thing is about the parent & nothing has to do with them.  No wonder the parent is upset about that child setting a boundary or even going no contact.  The parent probably never expected this to happen.  That doesn’t mean boundaries or no contact are wrong, however!

“Have you ever thought about how you make your parents feel by talking about this?”  They may add 1 Peter 4:8 that in part says “love covers a multitude of sins” to make it sound as if God Himself is ashamed of the victim for discussing the abuse.  This is incredibly shaming & cruel!  Narcissistic parents instill in their children a very large dose of fear about discussing the abuse.  Being open about it is incredibly difficult & brave.  If those parents wanted their child to discuss them in a positive light, they shouldn’t have been abusive. 

“Parents always love their children.. it’s a shame children don’t always love their parents.”  This is an utter LIE.  There are plenty of parents who lack the ability to love their children.  Narcissists may love the narcissistic supply their children provide but truly loving their children in a healthy, Godly way is beyond their abilities.  Not to mention, there are plenty of children of narcissistic parents who love them.  In fact, almost every adult child of narcissistic parents I have spoken with loved their parent a great deal.  It’s the parent’s behavior they hated.  I’m the same way.  I love my parents, I just couldn’t tolerate the abuse, which is why I went no contact.  It wasn’t done out of hatred for them.

“You kids always blame your mother & don’t take any responsibility for yourself.”  The fact is children naturally deny bad parts about their parents or find a way why their parent’s bad behavior is their fault.  It’s probably a survival skill.  If the child can deny the parent doesn’t love them or is abusive, they stand greater chances of receiving care from their parents.  These children work harder & harder to please their abusive parents, so the parent will give them some care at least.

“You need to get over it.  That’s in the past.”  When you have C-PTSD as a result of being raised by a narcissistic parent or two, the past is always a part of your present.  Flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts are triggered very easily & they don’t go away simply because we want them to.  If only it was that easy!  Even medication can’t stop such things.  It takes time & dealing with each event as it comes up to get any semblance of control over it interfering with the present, & even then, it may not go away entirely.  I still have flashbacks & nightmares once in a while about events I have dealt with to the best of my ability.  It’s rare, but it still happens.

“Your parents have always been so nice to me!”  Narcissists work hard to create an image of perfection to those who aren’t their victims.  It’s not uncommon for narcissists to have a friendly & pleasant conversation with someone, then once the person is out of their presence or they hang up the phone, they attack their victim.  People who haven’t seen behind the narcissist’s mask often have a hard time believing that the person you claim was an abusive parent is anything but the good person they see. 

To help those who suffered at the hand of a narcissistic parent or two, if you don’t know about narcissistic abuse, you will need to learn about it.  You also will need to remember not everyone has a functional family, & accept that some families are extremely complex & dysfunctional.

If you’re a victim of narcissistic parents & someone says comments like this to you, please remember what they say is wrong.  It comes from their own dysfunctional beliefs, not reality.  Try your best not to take their words to heart.

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About Narcissists & Respect

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Nit Picking & Changing Goals- Abuse Tactics Used By Narcissists

Narcissists all love to control their victims.  Many use two tactics simultaneously to get what they want.  Those tactics are nit picking & changing goals.

These evil tactics work very well together to make a victim feel not good enough, & willing to work harder & harder to please the narcissist.  As an example, at the time my ex husband & I were together, I felt I was morbidly obese & disgusting.  Looking back though at old pictures now, I see I was a normal weight.  Not skinny, not fat.. normal.  However, he constantly hinted that I needed to lose weight so I could look better.  Our marriage was a nightmare, & I thought that if I just could lose weight, I could fix it.  I know, this was very naive on my part but I was young & unaware of the kind of person I was dealing with at that time.

Anyway I lost weight.. 23 pounds to be precise.  I fit into a size 6 comfortably & some size 4’s as well.  Considering my frame & height, I was too thin, I think, but it still wasn’t good enough for my ex.

During my weight loss journey, my ex did not complement me or encourage me.  The closest thing he said to a complement was, “Well your butt finally looks better.”  He also made me feel like I needed to lose more & more weight in order to please him.  As thin as I was at that time, I still felt that I was disgustingly fat & like if I didn’t lose some more weight, my marriage would fail because of it.

My ex husband’s nitpicking & changing the goals in that area gave me a very skewed view of not only my appearance which damaged my already fragile self esteem, but also my responsibility in our failing marriage.  I felt as if I was completely to blame for the problems in our marriage, even though now I know I was not.  This is basically the goal of a narcissist who employs nitpicking & changing the rules.  If the narcissist can make their victim feel badly about themselves, they are easy to control, which of course is a great thing to a narcissist.  And, if the narcissist can convince the victim that something is their fault, they will work hard to please the narcissist.  The victim also will be so focused on trying to please the narcissist, they won’t realize that the narcissist is to blame, so the narcissist gets away with their abusive tactics.  And, this builds up a tolerance to abuse in a victim, so a narcissist can do more awful things & get away with them.

No matter the relationship, all narcissists seem to use nitpicking & changing the goals as a way to abuse their victims.  Parents use this tactic on their children even into adulthood, spouses use it, co workers & friends use it as well.  It is wise to learn to recognize this abusive tactic, understand it & find ways to cope with it.

Recognizing it is pretty easy.  When someone is excessively critical, even when said with feigned concern, & if the person also changes what they want from you often, these are big red flags.

You also need to keep in mind that this is not about you, it’s about the narcissist’s need to abuse & control you.  The things they criticize aren’t necessarily flaws.  Probably they are things you’re insecure about, so the narcissist uses your insecurities as a means to abuse you.

As for ways to cope, recognizing what is happening & remembering what the reasoning behind it is will help you tremendously.  Stick to your boundaries, too.  If you give a narcissist an inch, they’ll take 100 miles, so don’t give them what they want.  Also, I firmly believe in praying, asking God to give you creative ideas to deal with a narcissist is always a very good move.  He will give you effective ideas that you never would’ve thought of on your own.  Let Him help you!

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Why Anxiety Is Worse After Leaving Narcissistic Abuse

Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do.  Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath.  It can come with a plethora of challenges.  One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.

Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense.  They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages.  They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road.  Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower?  I think this happens for a few reasons.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity.  Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person.  When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety.  All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else.  I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.

If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first.  It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction.  You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.

If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal.  You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up.  You have a skewed view of the world.  When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment.  Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to.  This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.

You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.”  No further thought happened.  As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity.  It can  create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.

The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance.  Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters.  Also, talk to yourself.  Remind yourself that the danger has passed.  Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen.  That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now.  If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person.  You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists.  And thank God for that!

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An Announcement About My YouTube Channel

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15% Discount On My Print Books Until July 3, 2020

My publisher is offering a 15% discount on all print books until July 3, 2020. You can find my books at the following link: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Sale On All My Ebooks!

My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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When People Call You, The Victim, Abusive

Many victims of narcissistic abuse experience the same thing.  After months, years or even a lifetime of abuse, they realize they can’t take the abuse anymore.  They then escape the narcissist & are met with further abuse from other people instead of love, concern & support.

That abuse frequently consists of victims being told they are oversensitive, they need to forgive, aren’t being so called “good Christians,” they shouldn’t go no contact because the narcissist is family & other similar nonsense.  Possibly the worst of the comments many victims hear though is when people tell the victim that they are the abusive one.  I think one of the most painful things any abuse victim can hear is that they are acting like someone who caused them unimaginable pain & suffering.  It’s cruel & it also can cause victims to have doubts about their behavior.  Following is some food for thought for narcissistic abuse victims as well as for anyone who may have said these things.

When a victim escapes their narcissist & refuses to have any further contact, that doesn’t make a victim immature, unforgiving or pouting like a spoiled little child.  It also doesn’t mean the victim is being passive aggressive by giving their abuser the silent treatment.  It means the victim is protecting him or her self from further abuse, not being abusive towards anyone.

When a victim finally tells others about what the narcissist did, this also isn’t abusive.  This is someone speaking the truth about unthinkable suffering they have endured.  This person is looking for support, to work through their pain, to warn others who know the abuser & even to help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse.  There is absolutely no way this is abusive!

When people tell the victim how they should return to the relationship, anyone should refuse to engage with people like this because clearly they are toxic.  Doing so is not abusive.  What is abusive, however, is when people tell other people they should return to an abusive relationship, & shame them for not wanting to tolerate abuse any longer.  I admit, this is a particularly sensitive topic with me.  When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back together with him because he was miserable without me.  After going no contact with my parents, people said I needed to “fix things with them”, as if I was the only one who could repair that relationship.  In both situations, not one person asked why I severed ties with these people & they encouraged me to return to relationships that were detrimental to me.  See how abusive that is?

People who tell others to “take the high road” or “be the bigger person” are the abusive ones, not those who refuse to take that supposed high road.  Tolerating abuse doesn’t make you a good person.  It isn’t good or holy.  It’s foolish.

People who share criticisms with victims of how victims handled the abusive relationship when the victim didn’t ask for their thoughts are being abusive.  The victim is not being abusive for not handling the abuser the way this person thinks they should.  The victim is also not being abusive because he or she tells this person that they didn’t ask for that person’s opinion.

People who move on & enjoy their life after surviving narcissistic abuse aren’t deserving of shame, nor are they narcissists.  To shame them or call them narcissistic for finally having the ability to enjoy their lives is abusive.

If you are faced with people who call you abusive or they abuse you for ending an abusive relationship, they clearly have problems.  Always remember, you aren’t being abusive in any way for protecting yourself from them or your abuser!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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About Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

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I’m Doing Something New

I decided to try something new.. podcasts. The idea popped into my head recently, even though I know nothing of podcasts. It felt like God was leading me in a new direction, so I decided to give it a try.

To get started, I’ve decided to use the audio from my YouTubes. Yes, it’s a repeat of information having it on podcasts, YouTube & in this blog, but not everyone learns the same way. Some are visual learners & love YouTube. Some learn best from reading & others prefer learning audibly. I doubt many people will benefit from all three formats, so by doing them, it enables more people to (hopefully!!) learn from my work.

If you’d like to check them out, here is the link:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

I only have a few out there at the moment, but I’ll add more as time goes on. I was hoping to get all of them done asap, but yanno something? I can’t get them done quickly. Not with my mental health. So, I hope you’ll be understanding & patient with me taking my time in adding more podcasts.

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About Coping With Pain & Suffering

I get a daily email from the funeral home that took care of my mother when she died.  It sometimes has good & interesting emails.  Sadly though because our relationship was so abnormal, & it’s aimed for people with normal relationships who are grieving, it isn’t usually particularly helpful.

I just read the first email I truly disliked.  Even so, I think it can be a valuable teaching tool, even for those in relationships with narcissists.

The email quoted a book written by a young woman whose sister died.  She said her mother cried non stop.  She wore headphones constantly so she wouldn’t have to hear her mother cry, & her father worked very long hours for the same reason.  The commentary on this brief story said that as someone grieving, you should consider how your actions affect others.  You should keep your home life as normal as possible.  People who love you will be upset to see you suffering.  It ended with take time to share your feelings & not isolate yourself.

When I read this, it bothered me.

Not talking things out isn’t healthy.  Whether you’re grieving as the lady in this article or suffering at the hands of a narcissist. you have to talk about things.  You can’t ignore things & hope they’ll go away because they won’t.  The same goes for toning bad things down when you do talk about them.  It’s wise to share only with people you know are safe of course, so I’m not saying talk to just anyone.  Only aim to talk with safe people who won’t judge, criticize or invalidate you.  Can you imagine how much better the lady in this article would’ve felt if she had someone to talk to?!

Also, it seems to me the family in this article split up rather than pulling together with their shared loss.  That isn’t healthy!  The family in this email would have been so much better off if they would have spoken to each other about what each one was feeling & supported each other.  Whether you are grieving a death like the lady in this article or are suffering at the hands of an abuser, you should come together with people who are experiencing a situation similar to yours.  That way you can help each other to get through.  Finding that common ground with another person also can be incredibly validating!  If you don’t know anyone, there are countless online forums & groups on social media sites where you can meet such people.

The final sentence bothered me, too.   It seemed to me that taken in context with the rest of it basically said, “Let people know you’re upset, but not *too* upset.”  That is just wrong.  If people truly care about you, naturally they don’t want to see you upset of course, but they also won’t expect you to hide your feelings just to appease them.  They would rather see you bawl your eyes out or yell than plaster on a fake smile & pretend everything is ok.  They probably would see through the fake smile easily anyway.  I know my friends would.  If you’re suffering at the hands of a narcissist in particular, I know it can feel sometimes like no one cares, but that isn’t true!  That is only what the narcissist wants you to think, so you won’t discuss the abuse with anyone.  There will be people who genuinely care & want to help you.  Let them!

In the midst of suffering, it really can feel like there is no escape, like you’re all alone & no one cares.  Don’t believe that!  People do care & you can get through this.  And most importantly, there is a God who loves you so much & will be there for you no matter what.  Don’t forget to turn to Him & let Him help you to get through!

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Anxiety With C-PTSD

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When The Narcissist Learns You’re Telling Others About The Abuse

When you first start to open up about the abusive behavior the narcissist in your life has inflicted on you, it can be very hard.  You were told to keep everything a secret.  My mother used to tell me, “Don’t air our dirty laundry!” as a way to keep me quiet.  It didn’t work though.  At that time I was only 17, living through sheer hell due to her abuse & didn’t know what to do.  I told others in the hopes of finding someone who could give me advice on how to cope or make my mother treat me better.  Obviously that didn’t work.  I did learn about what happens when a victim starts to open up about narcissistic abuse though.

When you begin to divulge what the narcissist has done to you, the narcissist will be horrified.  After all, you’re not supposed to tell anyone anything!  The abuse is supposed to remain a secret between the two of you, no one else.  Naturally, the narcissist is going to be angry with you, because that is what they think.  They don’t think about the fact that you are a human being with feelings & needs & even the right to discuss your own life with whoever you wish.

The narcissist also is going to be very angry at you for making him or her look bad when you talk about the abuse.  Narcissists clearly don’t think like normal people, so they won’t consider their actions are what make them look bad.  Instead, they’ll lump all the blame on you for making them look bad.

Narcissists feel betrayed when victims tell others about their abhorrent behavior.  They all seem to think victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely, never protesting it, & are shocked & horrified when that isn’t the case.  This so called betrayal can trigger their rage.

It also can trigger a myriad of unhealthy coping skills.  One of which is reinventing the past.  Many narcissists convince themselves that they are awesome people, & never would abuse anyone.  After my mother’s death, I learned she knew what I write about in spite of my efforts to prevent that from happening.  I also learned she must have convinced herself that I was lying & she didn’t do anything I said she did.

When the narcissist becomes enraged & acts in this way, it can be scary.  Some scream.  Some harass or stalk.  All engage in a smear campaign & are often successful at turning those you love against you or at least damaging some of your relationships.  This is a terribly painful place to be, I know.  It may even make you think you’re wrong for opening up.  Life seemed easier when no one knew what the narcissist did to you.  I can tell you something though.. although it may seem easier, it isn’t.

In some ways, not discussing the abuse is easier because the narcissist is appeased.  When they’re appeased, they aren’t ruining your relationships or at least your reputation.  No one is telling you what a terrible person you are.  But, you are unhappy.  You’re trying to do everything perfectly so as not to upset the narcissist, which means you’re under intense stress & utterly miserable.  Everyone is happy except you, & the people who are happy clearly have no concern for your mental health.

Tell your story.  John 8:32 says the truth will set you free.  Let it!  The more you discuss the abuse, the more you’ll heal.  If the narcissist doesn’t approve, that isn’t your problem.  Besides, think about this: if what he or she did was truly ok, if it was all your fault & their abusive actions were totally justified, why are they so determined to keep it a secret?

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

About Ignorance vs Malice

“You can’t get mad. He just doesn’t know any better.” I think all of us who have been victimized by a narcissist have heard this statement at some point. It’s said by those who either have absolutely no understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those flying monkeys who enthusiastically enable narcissists to abuse.

This statement can be very unsettling. You can feel so angry by the abuse but then you stop in your tracks. Maybe the person who said this is right, & the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better.  You feel badly for being angry with someone for doing something they don’t know is wrong.

Long before I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was in this situation.  I had problems with my now deceased mother in-law from about the moment we met.  Obviously I didn’t know what to do since I knew nothing of narcissism.  I decided to talk to my husband in the hopes he would have ideas on how to help me get along with his mother.  When I first told my husband about the problems I had with his mother, he said that she didn’t know any better.  He truly believed it, & I thought maybe he was right.  His mother gave the impression of being very naïve, after all.  I also knew her mother in-law never liked her.  Maybe the problem was that she had no other experience beyond the negativity between her & her mother in-law, & being naïve, she didn’t know how to act better towards me.  Logically, it made sense, & I felt terrible for being so upset with my mother in-law for quite some time & silently tolerated her abuse.  Yet, “she doesn’t know any better” didn’t sit right with me.

Eventually I realized why the ignorance plea felt wrong.  I realized she wasn’t ignorant, she was malicious.  I thought I’d share those realizations with you today so if someone tells you that the narcissist in your life doesn’t know any better, you won’t suffer needlessly as I did.

If someone is truly ignorant of their actions, they won’t hide their behavior.  Why would they?  If they aren’t aware that what they’re doing is wrong, there’s no need to hide it.  Someone who is knowingly doing something wrong is going to hide their actions.  My husband never once saw his mother say or do anything inappropriate to me.  Not once in the eight years she was in my life before I walked away.  We saw her often, too, but she never slipped up.  If she truly didn’t know that she was treating me badly, why would she have hidden her behavior towards me?  She would have treated me the same no matter who was around.

A malicious person doesn’t listen.  A person who is told that their actions are hurting someone yet repeats the actions over & over is malicious.  By continuing to hurt someone, they are proving by their actions that they either don’t care that their actions cause someone else pain or that they enjoy deliberately causing pain.  However, if you confront someone who is truly unaware of the pain their actions cause, they will change their behavior, apologize & even try to make it up to the person they hurt if at all possible.  They also won’t repeat the hurtful behavior again.

An ignorant person doesn’t change their actions just because another person enters the room, but a malicious person does.  A malicious person will change their behavior if someone whose opinion they value comes along so that person continues to think well of them.  Ignorant people won’t think that way because they don’t think their behavior is something that can be construed as bad or wrong.

When in a situation where you are told the person mistreating you simply doesn’t know any better, please consider these three scenarios.  They should help you to realize quickly if the person in question truly is ignorant of the pain their actions cause or if they are deliberately mistreating you.

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