Don’t Give Up On God- He Hasn’t Given Up On You

Growing up, I really had no knowledge about God.  My mother said if you’re good you go to Heaven, bad you go to Hell.  No explanation of what was good or bad, & I had no idea how Jesus fit into the equation.

 

As things got worse with my mother as I got older, I decided I had absolutely no use for God.  Obviously He didn’t care about me since I was going through so much at home.  In fact, I believed He couldn’t even exist.  How could a loving God exist & let me go through the things I did?

 

It wasn’t until I was in my twenties I realized how faulty this thinking was.  I finally realized God did indeed exist & cared deeply about the pain I went through.  That is when my healing began

 

If you are being or have been abused, I understand it can be very tempting to give up on God, or at least to think He doesn’t care about your pain.  The truth though, Dear Reader, is that God hurts when you hurt.  He is angry about what has been done to you, too.  He knows all too well the unfairness of it all.

 

That may be hard to believe when you’re hurting, but it’s very true.  Please don’t give up on God for not saving you from bad situations.  The truth is He doesn’t force people to do anything, even when it’s in their best interest.  God is a gentleman, never forcing people to do anything.  He may suggest things, show evidence that certain things are a good idea & others bad ideas, but He never forces anything.  He leaves the final decision on what to do up to each person & unfortunately many people make bad decisions.  They ignore God’s promptings & do whatever they feel like.  That is NOT God’s fault- the blame lies squarely on their shoulders.  Why get mad at God for people making bad choices since it’s not His fault?

 

Dear Reader, God is in your corner.  He always has been & always will be.  If you wonder where He was when you were being abused, He was there, crying over your suffering.  He was angry for you.  He was distraught that your abuser didn’t pay attention to His promptings not to do these things.

 

Now that it’s over?  God is there by your side, wanting to hug you & make it all better.  He wants to help you through your pain.  Let Him.  Don’t get mad at God & shut Him out.  Let Him help you instead.  He will show you how to heal & how to make your pain count for something good.  I know that sounds impossible, but it’s very true.  He has done this for me & will do the same for you, too.

 

 

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Another Type Of Children Of Narcissists

Most people who have learned at least a little about NPD & narcissistic abuse have heard of different types of children of narcissists:  the golden child, the scapegoat & the forgotten child.  Their roles are:

 

  • Golden child: The extension of  a narcissistic parent, this child can do no wrong.  Praise & gifts are heaped upon him even into adulthood.  The golden child is the one most likely to become a narcissist.
  • Scapegoat: The exact opposite of the golden child, the scapegoat is the reason for everything that is wrong in the family, according to the narcissistic parent.  Scapegoats are the children most likely to seek out the truth of the situation & escape.
  • Forgotten Child:  This child gets lost in the shuffle.  Not good enough to be the golden child or bad enough to be the scapegoat, the forgotten child barely gets noticed.  They try hard for their parents’ attention, even well into adulthood.

 

There is another child that I’ve never read about, but have seen.  The family screw up.

 

The family screw up isn’t the same as the scapegoat, but there are some similarities.  The screw up isn’t to blame for all of the problems in the family like the scapegoat is, but like the scapegoat, he can do nothing right.  Growing up, he takes courses in school or college his parents disapprove of.   He doesn’t participate in the right activities either.  As an adult, he marries the wrong person, works the wrong career & does nothing worthy of his narcissistic parents’ approval.  He is a constant disappointment to his parents.

 

When my husband & I first started dating, he told me he was the family screw up.  It didn’t take long to see what exactly he meant, even though at the time I knew nothing of narcissism.  I seemed to be his biggest mistake, at least according to his mother, but it also seemed very clear he could do nothing right according to his parents unless he was doing something for them.  He was met with constant looks of disapproval from his parents, sometimes even followed by a grunt or sigh of disapproval.  He was very accustomed to it, but it still hurt him deeply.

 

I have seen him find some ways to cope that have helped him greatly.  If you too are the family screw up, I think this information may help you as well.

 

Giving up the hope of having parental approval.  It’s hard to do at first, but any child of a narcissistic parent (or two) needs to accept the fact they will NOT get approval from their parent(s).  The golden child may get it briefly sometimes, but even that is fleeting.  No child of a narcissistic parent ever can have their parent’s approval for more than a brief moment, & even that is very rare.  If you can accept that, & release the need for it, you will be much happier.

 

Decide to live in a way that pleases God & not your parents, or any person.  1 Thessalonians 4:1 states, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”  (KJV)  People, especially narcissists are very hard to please.  They often change what they want, so what may please them today won’t please them next week.  God isn’t like that!  He is constant, & He is not self-serving like people.  Live to please Him instead of mankind- you will be much happier!

 

Choose what contact works best for you, & know it may be subject to change at anytime.  Many people go from constantly talking with their narcissistic parents to lower & lower contact until they go no contact.  They find as they get healthier, they can tolerate their narcissistic parents less & less.  Some are able to maintain low contact.  Every person & every situation is different- you need to pray & pray often about your individual situation & let God lead you to make the decision that will be best for you.

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Some Thoughts On Marriage

Since tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I would share something I have learned about marriage.

 

Over the years, I have been criticized pretty harshly by a few people because I do not share a couple of my husband’s interests.  He likes football, fishing (catch & release) & camping in a tent.  Personally I  would rather have a root canal than participate in or watch any of those.  I really tried to like fishing.  I’ve gone fishing a couple of times & found it boring, although being in nature was nice.  After badly injuring the only fish I ever caught, I quickly decided I absolutely hate fishing.  As for football?  Nope.  Never could stand any sport involving a ball.  And tent camping?!  Hahahahaha.  No.

 

This left me feeling quite guilty for a long time.  I felt like I was being a lousy wife for not finding some way to like these things or sucking it & up & participating no matter how miserable it would’ve made me.  Then one day, some thoughts popped into my mind that set me free from that faulty thinking, & I’d like to share them with you.

 

I firmly believe successful couples share interests.  My husband & I enjoy classic cars, drag racing, demo derbies, late model dirt track racing, antiques, Oktoberfests, pow wows, movies & much of the same music.  These things are all fun for us to do together.  We have plenty of interests to share, but we also have a few interests that don’t involve each other.  I believe that is also important.  A couple needs to be close of course, but they do not need to be so close that they lose themselves in the relationship!  You should still maintain your individuality when you’re married.  I enjoy crocheting, writing & photography but my husband couldn’t care less about them if he tried.  This doesn’t offend me at all!  If he’d like to try them, I’d be glad to help him get started of course, but I doubt that day will happen.  There is nothing wrong with that.

 

I also think if your significant other has an interest that you never tried, you should at least give it a whirl unless you are 110% certain you won’t like it.  My husband was deep into Nascar when we first got together.  I wasn’t.  I started watching races with him & quickly developed an interest in it.  As it has changed after one of our favorite drivers died, we both lost interest in it, but there were many Sundays we spent watching races together & having fun.

 

If you would like to share a common interest but one of you is not thrilled with the interest, see if you can find a compromise.  Since I refuse to sleep in a tent, I have suggested we get a camper or RV one day when we can afford it.  Hubby can sleep in a tent if he likes, but I’ll be inside a nice, clean camper with plumbing & electric, the way I believe God intended me to live.  lol   Or, if he wants me to go fishing with him, don’t expect me to fish.  Let me take a crochet project along & just enjoy being outside & talking with him while he fishes.  There are plenty of ways to compromise things if you think about it.

 

 

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Respond, Don’t React, To Narcissists

Narcissists know how to push every button you have & many you weren’t even aware of having.  They do this in order to provoke an emotional reaction from you.  Whether you’re angry or hurting, your reaction makes them feel powerful, which in turn provides narcissistic supply, & makes them feel good.  That is why they often act much like a machine gun with their cruelty- quickly pumping out verbally abusive comments one right after another.  The more they can hurt or anger you, the better they feel.  When you have pretty much fallen apart, they are deliriously happy.

 

If you want to put a stop to this behavior, join the club!  We all do.  There isn’t any way I know of to stop it entirely.  But, there are some ways to slow this down.  One very effective way is to learn to respond, not react.

 

Reaction is done immediately, often without thinking.  If a doctor uses that little hammer & taps your knee is a certain spot, your reaction is for your leg to kick.  That is the type of response narcissists want from you- immediate anger or hurt without thinking as soon as they have said or done something hateful.

 

Responding however is different.  It’s slower & more deliberate.  You take time to think, possibly even putting your emotions aside before you give any sort of response.  This is not what narcissists want, & that, Dear Reader is a good thing!

 

The more you react emotionally to a narcissist, the more buttons they will push to get you to react more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  However, the less reaction you give them, the less interest they will have in hurting you.

 

Responding can seem impossible to do at first, but it really does get easier & easier with practice.  The best way I personally learned to do this is a technique common to caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.  When something is said or done, stop for a second.  Take a deep breath in & out, then speak.  That brief moment of the deep breath helps you to think, & also to remind yourself why you must stay calm & focused.  Plus the deep breath relaxes you.  This technique enables you to stay calm & focused in the face of sheer madness.

 

I urge you to give this a try the next time you must deal with the narcissist in your life.  It really does help you.  I have done this when speaking with my narcissistic father.  Now that he has Alzheimer’s, the narcissism has gotten worse than ever.  I don’t feel right about being too harsh with him since it’s the Alzheimer’s making it worse rather than him deliberately trying harder to get attention or hurt me.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can make someone with NPD act worse)  But, at the same time, I need to protect myself.  Stopping long enough to take in & release that deep breath helps me to maintain my composure & give a decent response rather than an angry reaction.  It may help you as well!  Try it- what do you have to lose?

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Humans & Animals Have Equal Value

Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)

 

I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals.  I respectfully disagree though.  God loves the animals He created.  Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)  The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,”  so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.

 

Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:

  • Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
  • 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)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
  • Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
  • Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
  • Mark 16:15  “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (KJV)

 

Animals are a wonderful blessing to people!  They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal.  I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any!  Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count!  They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.

 

I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do.  If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!

 

And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post.  Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them.  Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too!  They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do!  :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Ministry

I was just listening to T.D Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” cd.  In case you don’t know it, it’s songs based on his wonderful book, “The Lady, Her Lover & Her Lord.”  One of the songs on the cd is called, “You Are My Ministry.”  You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJq1Uuvyj8  It’s a beautiful song, as you can hear.

 

The song also made a good point- your ministry isn’t only in the pulpit or serving others somehow.  Your spouse is also your ministry!

 

When you’re serving others, it can be easy to get caught up in that ministry.  It feels good to help others.  It’s very rewarding!  But, don’t neglect that wonderful man or woman you married!  That person should be your top priority, after God of course.

 

Listening to that song convicted me.  I haven’t been praying for my husband as much as I should.  I’ve been too focused on praying for my readers, my facebook group & writing blog posts.  Not that these things are bad, of course, but my world needs to expand a bit, & I need to pray more for my husband.  His job is pretty stressful, his elderly father can be very demanding & we need a lot done around our home.  He definitely needs covered in prayer on a regular basis.

 

What about you?  Are you praying for your spouse enough?  If not, maybe it’s time to ask God to burden your heart to remember to pray for him more often & show you how to pray for him.  I am doing that myself, once this post is finished.  I also may listen to that song more frequently- it’s not only a beautiful song but a great reminder, too.

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What To Expect When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact

As I’ve mentioned before, my parents have stopped speaking to me recently.  Since, I’ve been experiencing a plethora of emotions, & I’m going to hazard a guess they’re pretty normal under the circumstances.  I also realized when a narcissistic parent goes no contact with you, it feels a lot different than when you are the one to go no contact.  In 2001, I went no contact with my mother (she initiated contact with me in 2007, & I allowed her back into my life at that point).  Seeing both types of going no contact has been eye opening to me.  I’m hoping sharing this with you will help you if your parents have gone no contact with you.

 

When I went no contact with my mother, it’d been after a great deal of prayer & consideration on the subject.  I knew in my heart it was the best thing I could do, & I was as prepared as I could be to sever ties with my mother.  And, I only went no contact with my mother.  At the time, I had no knowledge at all of narcissism.  Naturally I didn’t realize my father was a covert narcissist & abusive in his own way that was different than hers, so I kept in touch with him.  Anyway, I was able to grieve losing my mother, then face some of my own issues stemming from her abuse.  The time apart was just what I needed at that time.  It was a good thing for me.

 

Fast forward to this year.  I answered my parents’ phone call not expecting the huge fight that followed.  It was a complete surprise.  I’d expected a bit of a disagreement, but not in the really big fight that actually took place with both of my parents.

 

I wasn’t surprised my mother stopped speaking to me afterwards.  She is the queen of the silent treatment, & I’m sure me defending myself to her was a huge narcissistic injury worthy of the silent treatment.  What did surprise me was my father.  Since he always wants to look like the good guy, I never expected him to stop speaking to me.

 

Another big surprise is when praying about the entire situation some time later, God told me He wants them out of my life.  I’m not sure if He means forever or a season just yet, but either way- that was a big surprise too.  He’s showed me repeatedly that I need distance from their toxicity.

 

The element of surprise can be pretty intense in such a situation.  For one thing, since narcissists are so obsessed with appearances, they seldom want to end contact with their own child because it might make them look bad.  Can’t have that now can we?!  So when they do sever ties, it can come as a complete shock.  Even though some time has passed, I still feel quite shocked at the turn our relationship took.

 

Also, any loss can trigger grief, even when the loss is your own dysfunctional & abusive parents.  When I first felt this grief, I wondered what was wrong with me.  These people have made my life a living hell ever since I can remember.  I should be glad they’re gone!  Why wasn’t I reveling in them being gone, I wondered.  God showed me that abusive or not, they’re still my parents.  Losing your parents, whether they’re loving or abusive, is a hard thing to handle for anyone.

 

No contact has triggered a lot of anger in me, too.  I’m angry my parents had the unadulterated gall to get mad at me when they were the ones clearly in the wrong in our argument.  It’s glaringly obvious to anyone who knows the story that they were wrong, yet they would prefer being wrong & pretending to be right than have me, their own daughter, in their life.

 

I’ve found too, that triggers are everywhere, & in strange places.  When I hear or read about a parent showing concern for their child, no matter the child’s age, it upsets me easily now.  It makes me sad since that’s something I’ve never had & never will have.  It also makes me angry because the reason for our fight, my late mother in-law, was never a source of concern for my parents when it clearly should have been.  I told them for years how cruel she was to me, & they truly did not care.  I know my mother didn’t even believe me when I said she choked me when my husband & I told her we had eloped.  (As if I’d make something like that up!)  You’d think a physical assault might warrant some concern from my parents, but it never did.  Anyone else I told that story to was shocked.  My parents?  Bored.

 

Intrusive thoughts have been a constant as well.  Things I’d really just as soon not think about pop into my mind constantly, against my will.  I can’t even escape at night because I have nightmares every single night.  I may not remember details of them, but I remember my parents were in them & I wake up feeling the anger, fear or depression I felt in the dreams.

 

There is sadness & depression too.  I think my parents’ going no contact with me has really made it sink in how little they have been there for me in my life.  This is just one more of those times.  Sure, growing up, they provided for some of my needs- I always had food, clothing & shelter- but there was no emotional nurturing or genuine love.  In fact, there was more abuse than anything else.

 

I also think these things were magnified because of the fact I was going through a particularly hard time at the time of our argument.  When you’re already stressed or upset, any little thing can feel even worse.  So when you experience something very painful, it really hurts, even worse than it would under better circumstances.

 

In spite of all of these negatives, something absolutely wonderful has come out of it all, & makes it all worthwhile.  Freedom!

 

Without my parents in my life, I have found a new freedom.  For the first time, I’m finally free to be the person God made me to be.  No longer do I need to be “on”  so much.  After all, when dealing with narcissists, that’s how it is- you’re on your guard the entire time you’re with them.  You also have to mentally prepare when you know you need to interact with them in the near future.  Finally, I’m able to relax.

 

I’ve also been able to get to know myself for the first time in my life.  Growing up, I was told who to be.  My ex husband tried to mold me into what he wanted me to be.  Later when I married my current husband, I tried to be what he wanted me to be & even what his mother wanted me to be in the hopes of making her hate me less.  In the last few years, I’ve tried off & on to be me, the person God wants me to be, & while I had some success with that, it’s been much more successful without my parents in my life. The constant disapproval of everything about me I think made me feel like who I am is a bad person, wrong, etc.  Without that disapproval, I’m free to be me.

 

I’ve realized something else good that came with this freedom.  Because I stood up to my parents during that argument in May, it’s given me a new confidence.  If I could stand up to them at that time when I felt weak & was caught off guard,  I can stand up to anyone about anything now.  In fact, that confidence even stirred a new fire in me to speak out more against narcissistic abuse.  I think that’s pretty cool!

 

God has been using this time apart in a great way for me.  As hard as it’s been, He has been carrying me through.  He had reasons for removing my parents from my life.  Allowing me to heal, enabling me to be more the person He created me to be & less who they want me to be & giving me more confidence to speak against narcissistic abuse have all been a huge blessing for me.

 

If your narcissistic parents have opted to go no contact with you, then please know it can be a blessing in disguise.  Yes, it hurts.   Yes, it’s mind boggling that they treated you so badly & had the gall to act like you’re such a bad person, they had to go no contact with you.  Yes, it makes you angry.  But, one thing about God is He can make good things come from bad situations.  Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (KJV)  If you’re not seeing anything good, ask Him to make good come from this situation & to show you the good you need to see.

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A New Perspective On PTSD & C-PTSD

I recently had an interesting revelation that I’d like to share with you today, Dear Reader.

 

A friend of mine has PTSD as a result of time in the military.  One story he told me was how he was on patrol in the gunner hatch of a humvee, in the lead vehicle, when they were approached by a 12 year old boy carrying a teddy bear.  My friend told him to stop, but he wouldn’t.  Even firing a warning shot into the air didn’t deter this boy, & my friend had no alternative- he had to shoot the boy.  It turns out the boy’s teddy bear contained 6 pounds of explosives- he could’ve killed so many people!

 

When this story crossed my mind the other night, something else crossed my mind: I’ve been through enough trauma at the hands of narcissists to give me the same disorder as this man who has been through unspeakable trauma.

 

Wow.  Talk about giving a new perspective!  It really showed me just how bad the abuse in my life has been.

 

So many people with PTSD or C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse tend to trivialize their experiences & I have been one of them.  They think it’s not so bad because they weren’t in the military or their narcissist didn’t hit them.  They even try to hide their awful symptoms because it’s embarrassing they have the disorder because the abuse “wasn’t so bad.”  They think they’re weak for having PTSD or C-PTSD.

 

Having PTSD/C-PTSD aren’t signs of weakness.  They are anything but!  They are signs of having experienced trauma so severe, it actually physically broke your brain.  They are normal reactions to extremely abnormal circumstances.  They are a sign you survived something pretty horrific.

 

If you live with either PTSD or C-PTSD, please know you have nothing to be embarrassed about.  Would you be embarrassed if you got diabetes?  Cancer?  Then why be embarrassed about having a mental illness?  Also, just like you can’t do anything to get a physical illness like cancer, you didn’t do anything to get PTSD/C-PTSD.

 

If you feel able to, please talk about your experiences with PTSD or C-PTSD or even the abuse you endured.  Talking things out is good for you- it helps you to heal.  Also, talking about what you live with as a result of the trauma can help to raise awareness of PTSD/C-PTSD.  People truly have no idea what it’s really like to live with such an awful mental disorder.  They have these crazy, false ideas of what it means to have PTSD/C-PTSD & those ideas need to be eliminated & replaced with the truth!

 

I would like to encourage you to ask God to show you if He wants you to discuss what has happened to you or the PTSD/C-PTSD, & if so, how.  Does He want you to speak to groups?  Write a book?  Write a blog?  There are many ways to raise awareness. Maybe you have a calling to one of those ways.

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My Promise To My Readers

I’ve noticed an interesting trend with this blog.  When I write about my mistakes, failures or struggles, my blog gains more followers & views.  My recent post about a bad C-PTSD day gained me quite a few more followers & a lot of views.

 

I believe this is because people are tired of people who claim they’ve been completely healed from their past, saying all you have to do is pray & believe, & God will deliver you completely from your past.  People who are completely delivered from their pain are in the minority, yet they are the ones most in the public eye, it seems.

 

The problem with this is it makes people feel like failures.  It sure did me.  I felt like I must not have enough faith or I was praying wrong.  Maybe because my experiences weren’t as bad as some other folks’ God wasn’t going to set me free- maybe He thought I was over reacting & needed to realize that.

 

Then one night while watching TV a few years ago, I saw Josh McDowell doing an interview on TBN’s show, “Praise The Lord.”  As a child, he was sexually abused.  His story was heartbreaking, but it gave me hope at the same time.  Why?  Because he admitted that as a grown man in his 50’s or maybe 60’s (my guess.. not sure) he still had issues stemming from that abuse.  He said when people touch his shoulder in a certain way, he can’t handle it, because it reminds him of his abuser.

 

Realizing that this wise, caring, good man of God still had issues from childhood abuse so many years later released the feeling of shame I had.  He’s obviously no failure, yet God didn’t wave that magic wand & set him free of all symptoms of the abuse.  Maybe, just maybe, that means I’m not a failure either!

 

Two Scriptures also came into my mind in a new way.  Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” & Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  I realized that God is truly there with me during all the bad times.  Not only the times that I’ve lost a loved one or had a fight with a friend- all of the bad times.  He is with me during flashbacks, panic attacks & depressive episodes.  He is with me during all of those valley of the shadow of death times, not just some.  Also, I realized you learn a lot more going through something than you do if you’re just delivered from it.  The things I learn by going through are the things that I’ve been able to share in this blog, & in my books, too, & I believe people are being helped by these things.  I’ve received plenty of messages to prove it.

 

Also, He is the one who showed me I needed healing.  He started me on the healing path by gently showing me what was wrong with me & how to heal.  So, since God started that “good work,” it seems logical to me, judging by Philippians 1:6, that He will continue working on healing me until Jesus comes back.  This tells me there is nothing wrong with continuing to have issues for years after the fact.  It’s normal!

 

These revelations gave me a new heart for how I write.  Rather than constantly trying to encourage or teach readers what I have learned, I felt it would be a good idea to share my mistakes & struggles, too, to let my readers know that they aren’t alone.  Everyone who has been through narcissistic abuse struggles to some degree.  It’s ok!  God is with them & helping them to heal.

 

So, Dear Reader, this is my promise to you- to be real, not only encouraging or educational.  I’ll also let you know that I understand your struggles, because I struggle too, every single day.  And, there is nothing wrong with you or your faith if God hasn’t miraculously delivered you.  There are plenty of us in that same valley, so at least you aren’t alone!

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Before You Confront A Narcissist

I believe picking your battles with a narcissist is among the most challenging thing a person can do when in a relationship with a narcissist.  They need to know their behavior is unacceptable, yet when confronted, the person doing the confronting often ends up frustrated & even more hurt than they were after the original event that made them think they should confront the narcissist.

 

Second only to deciding when to confront a narcissist is how to confront them once you decided to do it.  Narcissists love to play the victim & also to twist a situation around so you’re the bad guy.  It can feel impossible to know the best way to go about this incredibly difficult situation.

 

I firmly believe in staying calm & sticking to the facts.  Force the conversation to stay on topic, otherwise the narcissist will steer you completely off topic, & most likely onto what they think is wrong with you.  They may provoke you into getting so caught up in defending yourself, you forget what the original topic of the conversation was supposed to be.

 

There is one thing that I have found to be even more important though, & that is prayer.  Before talking to a narcissist, pray.  If they are calling, quickly ask God should you take the call or let it ring.  If you feel you should take the call, ask Him to help you through the conversation.  He truly will not let you down!!  And, it may be in a different way than you expect, but it will be the best way possible.

 

Last May just after my mother in-law died, I didn’t tell my parents.  I realized they’d see her obituary in the local newspaper.  I expected them to call me, & say how sad it was, she was a great woman, blah blah… things I did NOT want to hear about the woman who hated me & treated me like dirt for the first 8 years of my husband’s & my relationship.  When my parents called a few days after she died, I knew the call wasn’t going to be pleasant.  I  also knew I might as well take the call because if I didn’t, they’d call back constantly until I answered since that’s what they do & they’d think this was an important topic.  I also asked God to help me have the right words to say.  My parents shocked me by saying they wanted to attend the funeral, & were upset they didn’t even know she passed until they saw her obituary.  Wasn’t expecting that!  It immediately angered me, especially when my parents acted like something was wrong with me for being angry.  I ended up yelling at both of my parents, even using some bad language which are all not my normal behaviors with them.

 

Once I hung up the phone, I told God how sorry I was- I don’t even know what happened to me, why I reacted that way.  It’s not like this was the first time my folks cared more about someone who has hurt me than me.  God spoke to my heart & said this is exactly what they needed.  They needed to know that they hurt me so badly, that I would act that way, so out of character.   He answered my prayer- He gave me the right words for the situation at hand- just not in the way I expected.

 

In the months that have passed, I realized God wanted my parents out of my life, & this was a way to do it.  They have cut ties with me, so I can’t be accused of going no contact with them.  Anyone who hears about this situation has to see the ridiculousness of it.  My parents cared more about someone they saw twice in the 22 years my husband & I have been together, than me, their own daughter.  It’s only logical I’d have been upset by that.  Not even the most devoted flying monkeys can justify their incredibly hurtful behavior, which is probably why I haven’t heard from any of them.

 

My point (finally) is that praying before confronting a narcissist is absolutely vital to dealing with them.  If I wouldn’t have prayed before talking to my parents last May, I have no doubt our relationship would be as it always was.  Extremely painful for me.  As it is though, I’m much happier than I’ve been in a long time, in spite of grieving the loss (dysfunctional or not, losing your parents is still a loss that needs to be grieved).  It’s amazing the power of prayer.  James 5:16 states in the last half of the verse, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. ” (MSG)  That is so true!  Utilize that power & God will help you in ways you never imagined, even when it comes to something so complicated as dealing with a narcissistic parent!

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A Day In The Life With C-PTSD

Today, September 6, the day I’m writing this, was one rough day for me.  I’m hoping sharing it here rather than in my private journal can help others.  I also hope my writing makes sense- it’s really hard to write when the C-PTSD flares up.

 

To start with, I woke up first thing in the morning after a restless night full of nightmares I barely remember & repeatedly waking up for no obvious reason.  I started out my day very tired, which made concentration harder than usual.  It also means my moods are more erratic.

 

I decided to go to the local craft store for some yarn for a new crochet project.  Although I spent 3 days prior out all day & it wore me out beyond description, I thought maybe going for a brief drive & visiting a craft store alone when it’s not busy would be doable.  Yea… that sounds good in theory.. in practice though?  Not so much.  The parking lot was super busy since other stores in the shopping center were packed apparently.  Then, the cashier at the craft store was on her first day, so she was confused & learning as she went rather than being fast like the lady who was training her is.  UGH.. I wanted out fast & there was no escape!  Not one other register was open!  I got my yarn & made a mad dash for the parking lot since I felt like the agoraphobia was going to overwhelm me.

 

After leaving, I went to visit a dear friend.  The brief drive shouldn’t have been full of triggers & anxiety, but it was.  On the way to her home, I followed a car for a good part of the journey that resembled a car an old boyfriend of mine drove.  This ex died in 2014 after killing his boyfriend, then himself, in their home. It was all over the local news at the time & very hard for me to come to terms with for a while after that, since I didn’t realize how he was.  The story was a complete shock to me.  Seeing this car reminded me of our brief relationship, & how incredibly sad his story was.  Also it made me grateful I escaped him unharmed.  I have no doubt he would’ve killed me if I’d stayed with him.  When I left him, I had NO idea how dysfunctional or dangerous he was.  All I knew was he spent hours screaming at me when I broke up with him that evening, telling me I was making a huge mistake, he was a great guy, I’d regret leaving him, I was ruining his life, etc.  (Nothing out of the ordinary for me since my mother screamed at me constantly in my last couple of years before moving out of her home.)  As a result, I spent many years beating myself up for ruining his life.  Learning of his death in 2014, I realized how dysfunctional he was which set me free from that guilt, however, the story was so sad, I still feel pity for him, the man he killed & their families.

 

There was also a surprising amount of traffic out today & the exhaust fumes made me feel sick, thanks to the over-sensitivity I have to carbon monoxide.  Surviving carbon monoxide poisoning can do this to a survior, & frankly, it’s a real nuisance!  I got a nasty headache, stomach ache, & I felt woozy after breathing in the fumes that doesn’t want to go away.

 

I also realized the date on my way to my friend’s house.. September 6.  On that day in 1990, I hurt my back at work.  Not terribly, but pretty painful.  As it was healing, my mother threw me into a wall during an argument which made the pain a thousand times worse.  Shortly after, I had to quit working outside my home.  My mother never believed my back was injured, & told anyone who would listen how I was so lazy that I was faking the injury so I wouldn’t have to work again.  In fact, my doctors even thought I was faking it, & said similar things.  I was told so often that I was faking it, I wondered if I really was faking it.  Years later I learned people with PTSD often have lower back pain with no known physical cause- you’d think a doctor back then would’ve sent me to a counselor, but no one did.  Instead they shamed me for being lazy.  The memories of that experience made me angry.

 

Thinking of how my mother responded to my back pain triggered other intrusive memories I really don’t want to have.  For one, about a year ago, my mother called one day & said my father told her my ex husband hit me.  She said she had no idea, & if she’d have known, she would’ve called a lawyer about this & straightened it out!  The fact is she did know- she blamed me for making him hit me right after it happened.  She saw the bruises I wore- the most obvious injury was the shape of his hands were on my wrists in the form of bruises.  It was just one more time she didn’t care about my pain.  Other memories intruded my mind, against my will & I was unable to push them away.  They reminded me of many painful times that my parents have abused me & I was supposed to tolerate it all quietly, with a smile, including our most recent fight in May & how they have quit speaking to me since then, even though they were in the wrong.  I was angry & sad all at once remembering these things.

 

Did I mention I’m still having difficulty grieving the loss of my 2 cats since May?  Grief seems to magnify other issues, making them even more challenging than usual to deal with.

 

This awful, miserable day meant I had to hold in my tears or anger until I was alone since no one was responsible for the emotions.  It’s just a part of the disorder & no one I was around today should be forced to feel bad for making me cry or making me angry.

 

I’ve also reviewed this post at least 10 times to make sure my writing makes sense, because making sense is so hard to do when the C-PTSD flares up.

 

This is typical of a day in the life of someone with C-PTSD or PTSD.  Any little thing can trigger thoughts that they don’t want to have yet are helpless to prevent.  Mood swings & anger &/or depression can be triggered easily too.  To be honest, it’s sheer hell to live with.

 

PTSD or C-PTSD are not a result thinking too negatively.  They aren’t wallowing in the past or looking for pity.  They aren’t playing some “poor me” card, looking for attention or pity.  They mean someone has experienced such trauma in their lives, it literally broke parts of their brain.  They are serious mental disorders with symptoms that can easily be out of control.  They mean the person who is sick has good days & bad days.  On good days, it may seem like the patient is totally fine.  That isn’t the truth however.  On good days, this usually means the patient is just better at hiding his/her symptoms than on other days.

 

I’m not explaining this because I want pity.  I’m putting it out there because I know many people who read my work live with PTSD or C-PTSD, & can’t always explain it to other people in their life.  I’m hoping this will help those people relate to my crappy day.  Maybe they will now be able to explain to their counselors or their friends & family just how triggering & difficult a typical day with PTSD or C-PTSD can be.  Sure, my specific circumstances may be different, but I’m sure the basics are the same- agoraphobia, unexpected triggers, & intrusive thoughts & wicked mood swings.  Please know, Dear Readers, I pray for you daily.  Living with PTSD or C-PTSD is horrible, & I pray for God to heal you & until He does, show you how to live with the awful symptoms.

 

Also, you’re not alone!  You’re not crazy!  There are so many of us who live with these symptoms due to traumatic experiences.  Having PTSD/C-PTSD doesn’t make you weak or a failure or any other ridiculous thing you’ve been told.  It’s a sign you reacted normally to very abnormal circumstances.

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Creative Ways Narcissists Get Narcissistic Supply

My overtly narcissistic mother always likes to look pitiful in front of my husband.  She has turned on the tears in front of him,  complained about how hard life is now that she & my father are older & other such things to look pitiful.  As a result, he has offered to help her in various ways.  When he does, she always hugs him tight, thanks him profusely & sometimes gives him money.

 

When my mother asked my husband about his parents, & he told her how they were doing & things he’s done for or with them, she responded by giving my husband a big bear hug & kiss on the cheek.  Granted, she always hugs him before leaving, but it’s different after he’s discussed his parents with her.

 

These two things have bothered me for a long time, but I didn’t know why.  It felt wrong somehow but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  God showed me exactly what was wrong with these scenarios a few minutes ago…

 

My mother has it in her head that my husband takes complete care of me.  She thinks he works, takes care of the yard, repairs our vehicles, does all the housework while I do absolutely nothing but spend his money (don’t even ask- I have no idea why she thinks this, but she also thought the same thing of my ex husband.).  She also knows he’s helped out his parents a lot over the years, especially once they started getting older.  Keeping these things in mind, it’s natural she assumes he takes care  of anyone in need.  She pretends to be pitiful to get his attention.  She wants his attention because she is impressed by my husband & his family (my husband is a very attractive guy, & his family gives the appearance of being a big, close, happy family).  Having the attention of someone who is a part of that AND good looking AND if she can get him ignoring me for her?!  Talk about narcissistic supply!

 

Regarding my mother basically “rewarding” my husband when he mentions doing for his parents, God showed me that my mother is trying to accomplish two things with that conversation with my husband.  1- she is trying to hurt me.  My mother knows my mother in-law has hated me since we first met & I stopped speaking to her in 2002.  Showing she cares about her hurts me, especially knowing she does this on purpose.  She also knows that if I confronted her on it, I would look mean, unreasonable & possibly even crazy since she was just being polite (or whatever excuse she would use).  2- by “rewarding” my husband & praising him for helping his parents, my mother is showing me what can happen.  If I would just do more for them, I could get this reward too.  The sad fact is though, that when I have done for my parents, it really wasn’t ever enough.  Sure, my parents thanked me & sometimes even gave me money I didn’t ask for, but my mother in particular made me feel like I was the hired help, just doing the job I get paid for.  Or, like I was disappointing her by not doing enough.  Sometimes, I wasn’t doing a task good enough.

 

Isn’t this incredible?!  But, thinking about it, it makes perfect sense to me.

 

Narcissistic supply is a precious thing to narcissists.  Everything they do boils down to getting their supply.  They will do anything to get it, period, no matter who it hurts or what they need to do.  Sometimes, they have to get creative, & they definitely can be creative when it benefits them.  Just look at the above examples- my mother got her supply in extremely creative ways!  She hurt me, she put me in a place where I couldn’t confront her without looking bad, she tried to control me, & sometimes, she even got my husband’s focus off of me & onto her.  It’s like she hit the narcissistic supply jackpot!

 

My point in sharing all of this with you, Dear Reader, is because you need to be aware that whatever narcissists do is about supply.  Even seemingly innocuous things like I described in the above examples are about procuring narcissistic supply.  Never forget that!  Even things that appear innocent but give you a bad feeling can be about supply.  If you have a bad or strange feeling about something the narcissist is doing, even if it looks totally innocent, listen to that feeling!  Go to God, & ask Him about it.  (I wish I would’ve done it years ago in those situations I mentioned- it could’ve saved me a lot of frustration & wondering what she was up to!)  And, ask Him what you should do about it.  Narcissists may be very creative, but God is much more so!  He can show you effective & creative ways to deal with the narcissist in your life!

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Narcissistic Supply In Overt & Covert Narcissists

All narcissists, whether covert or overt, whether high or low on the spectrum, are all about gaining that coveted narcissistic supply to make them feel good.  Educating yourself on how they get that supply is important so you understand why they are behaving the way they are & protect yourself accordingly.

 

Covert narcissists are much different & more difficult to deal with (at least in my opinion) than overt narcissists.  At least overt narcissists are open about their abuse.  Coverts?  They are much sneakier & more devious in the ways they abuse their victims.  In fact, it takes most victims a lot longer to realize they are being abused by a narcissist when their abuser is a covert narcissist.

 

Overt narcissists are easy to spot.  They are the ones bragging about their accomplishments, talking non stop about themselves, showing no empathy to anyone (& sometimes even bragging about that fact), & having no interest in other people beyond what those people can do for them.

 

Covert narcissists  however are much harder to recognize.  They like to give the impression of being kind & giving, even to the point of martyrdom.  They’re often married to overt narcissists, & look like the innocent victim of that person’s bad behavior.  They rarely, often never, stand up to the overt narcissist, saying there’s nothing they can do.  Even if the overt narcissist abuses their child, the covert claims there’s nothing he can do to stop his wife.  It’s so hard for him watching his wife abuse their child.   He portrays himself as the real victim, not the child, even to the point of expecting the child to console him.  (My father has done this as has my mother in-law).  Covert narcissists can fake empathy & concern for others, although if you look closely, you’ll see it’s simply an act on their part.  They also often mirror others, attempting to act like their victim to make the victim feel closer to them.

 

These differences in overt & covert narcissists also mean they get their narcissistic supply differently as well.

 

Overt narcissists want lots of praise & admiration.  If they are the center of attention, that makes them incredibly happy.  They are quite happy if you don’t talk, allowing them to control the conversation.  In fact, openly controlling you, not only the conversation, will make them gloriously happy.

 

Covert narcissists are much more subtle.  As I mentioned above, they get narcissistic supply by looking like a martyr.  Being married to an overt narcissist is ideal for them, because they get pity for what they put up with & being unable to get out of the situation.  They also appear modest when getting a complement, I think because this often makes people fuss more over them.  Coverts are also very controlling, but not so obviously as their overt counterparts.  For example, I’ve told my parents I don’t like calls after 9 p.m.  My covertly narcissistic father has ignored this repeatedly.  I decided I was going to drive the point home, & ignore him when he called at 9:15 once.  From 9:15 until 10, he called 15 times.  I let the phone ring… until my cousin called at 10:15.  He lives 450 miles away & never calls me so late, so I was worried about him.  It turns out my father called my cousin to tell my cousin to tell me to call my father!  And, my cousin said my father had called my in-laws who he knows I haven’t spoken to in years.  He told my cousin & father in-law he was worried sick about me since I didn’t answer his call.  He looked like a caring father when in fact, he just wanted to control me- he wanted me to answer his call no matter what I wanted or felt.  I didn’t call my father back that night.  Instead, he called me early the next morning, & was obviously upset that I didn’t call him that night.  If I had called, he would’ve gotten his narcissistic supply by being able to control me- it would’ve made him feel powerful.  Instead, I told him exactly why I didn’t take his call, & after that he never called me after 9 again.

 

I recently realized narcissists also get narcissistic supply by rescuing you.  I asked God once why does my father want to tell me how to fix any problems in my life or seem disappointed when I don’t need his help.  God showed me that rescuing me provides narcissistic supply.  It would make him feel like he’s doing something good by helping me, & not in the normal way helping people makes most people feel good.  It goes deeper than that.  Covert narcissists feel that helping others proves that they are good people.  They hope the person they helped will tell others about what was done for them.  They also bring it up periodically, hinting for praise.  “Did that money I gave you help you get your car fixed?”  “This room sure looks better since I helped you to paint it!”  The goal of such comments is for you to say something about how grateful you are for their help, or maybe you couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Overt narcissists aren’t so subtle when they help you.  They may bring it up often, remind you that you owe them or that you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what you did without them.  I’m not sure about other overt narcissists, but I noticed with my mother, she doesn’t usually mention something she helped me with to my face.  Instead, she tells my father & I’m not sure who else how she’s always bailed me out of trouble (which she only did once- when my dog had to go to the emergency vet).  She also seems to get a thrill out of giving me money even when I don’t need it.  I wondered about this for a while & asked God.  It made no sense to me- I don’t ask her for help nor do I expect it from her, yet a few years ago, she started giving me money.  Immediately God showed me why she does this.  My parents are quite financially comfortable.  Moreso than my husband & I.  She enjoys reminding me that she has more money than me & can give me money without worrying about not being able to pay bills.

 

I pray you learn all you can about narcissistic supply, so if you must deal with a narcissist, you learn what not to do.  The less supply you provide, the less interested the narcissist will be in you.

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Your Mistakes

I’ve always had a knack for remembering dates.  Even after the TBI I got in 2015, I still remember many dates that have been important to me at some time in my life.  For example,  I got my first car on July 6, 1989.  I moved out of my parents’ home on June 9, 1990.  I met my husband on March 14, 1992 & our first date was November 4, 1994.

 

Don’t get me started on my furbabies- I remember who I adopted when or when who was born, & when who passed away.

 

Remembering dates can be convenient sometimes, but it also can trigger some very unpleasant memories.  For years, I beat myself up from August 23 until November 24 because that was the short time I was involved with a man who I thought was a good guy, but I was unhappy dating.  When I told him I wanted to break up, he did his best to make me feel stupid & like a failure, which sunk in with me.  I believed I ruined his life & was a terrible person for it.  Many years later, I read that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself in their home.  It finally clicked that maybe he wasn’t the good guy he portrayed himself as.  I started remembering our short time together & realized that he was a very disturbed man.  I didn’t have clues then to just how disturbed, though.

 

In a way, learning this information was a good thing.  I finally was set free from the guilt of leaving this man.  It was as if I finally had permission to accept that leaving him was for my own safety.  It also helped me to think about something…

 

I have spent my life beating myself up for way too many things!

 

The disturbed man I mentioned?  I was only 19, he was 28 when we dated.  He was very controlling & I was so accustomed to being controlled, although it bothered me, I didn’t realize it was wrong.  It was so bad, in fact, that I didn’t want to date him.  I only did because he was pushy & my friend at the time said I should.  After growing up with narcissistic parents, this behavior of allowing others to control me is pretty normal.  I see that now, but for years, I told myself how stupid I was for this.  I should’ve known better.  HOW?!  How could I have known better?!

 

I’ve also beat myself up for not standing up to my parents more often, for tolerating way more than I should have.  This also doesn’t make sense- they’re my parents!  Aside from the dysfunctional teaching I grew up with that said I deserve whatever is done to me, being parents puts them in a unique position in my life no one else shares.  Most people are like me in that they are more willing to tolerate things from their parents than other people.

 

Does this describe you as well?  Have you spent way too much time chastising yourself for things that really aren’t your fault?  If so, please stop it right now!

 

Everyone makes mistakes!  Those of us raised in abusive, dysfunctional environments tend to make even more than most people because we simply do not know any better.  Frankly, it sucks, but it happens!

 

Have you learned from your mistakes?  Good!  That shows you don’t want to continue being dysfunctional!  That is something to be proud of!!

 

Do you realize that sharing stories of things you did & what you learned can encourage other people?  It really can!  I’m hardly proud of sharing the things I have in this blog, but the good part is they encourage other people.  I have the emails & comments to prove it.  In a way, my mess has become my ministry.  Not only the mess of my dysfunctional upbringing, but the mess of the dumb things I did as a result.  That encourages me too, because I know it means my pain has a purpose.  It wasn’t for nothing!

 

Your pain has a purpose too, Dear Reader!  If you don’t feel that way, then talk to God about it.  He will reveal the purpose to you, & comfort you!

 

 

 

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Last Straw Moments

Lately, I’ve noticed many people in a relationship with a narcissist often have something that shuts them down with the narcissist.  The narcissist says or does something that makes their victim feel like enough is finally enough.  They reach the point of being completely fed up with the games, the gaslighting & the abuse.  This one thing was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The victim is now done.  One of my readers calls this the last straw moment.

 

A while back, I had a big fight with my parents that I have mentioned in this blog before.  Long story short, they wanted to attend my late mother in-law’s funeral, & seemed annoyed I didn’t tell them she died- they found out about her death when they saw her obituary in the local paper.  In spite of knowing how badly she treated me, both of my parents said they wanted to “pay their respects” to her & “didn’t want to disappoint my father in-law” by not going (my parents & in-laws have seen each other twice in the 20+ years my husband & I have been together).  I felt betrayed that they cared more about “paying respects” to her than me, & neither of my parents understood that.

 

As of the time I’m writing this post, neither of my parents have spoken to me in quite a while.  The evening of the fight was the last time I spoke with my mother.  That was in May.  My father only spoke to me a handful of times after that,  but I haven’t heard from him since July.  I guess now he’s not speaking to me either.  That’s fine- it’s his choice.  I realized this situation was my last straw moment with my parents.  Granted, this was not the first time they have cared more about someone else than me, even someone who has hurt me.  The reason it is my last straw moment is because my parents have the unadulterated gall to be angry at me for defending myself to their complete lack of concern over my feelings.  If they had responded by saying something like, “I never thought of it that way.  I’m sorry,” I could have lived with them wanting to pay their respects, probably without even being angry since they just tend to be so inconsiderate of me.   I accept that about them & don’t expect otherwise from them.  But, they didn’t.  They acted like something was extremely wrong with me for being upset with them.  My father quickly changed the subject after defending himself briefly.  My mother even acted bored when I was angry & crying.  Bored!  Her own daughter is upset to the point of yelling, crying & even using some profanity which are all out of character to me in her presence, yet she was bored.  My parents were offended that I defended myself & they couldn’t comprehend why I felt they betrayed me.  Wouldn’t even try to comprehend it, for that matter.  Those facts are what triggered my last straw moment.

 

I’m learning from my own experiences & from those of others I’ve spoken with that last straw moments with narcissistic parents are a plethora of conflicting emotions.

 

When things first happen, there can be a sense of being in shock.  Whatever they did may not have been the worst thing they’ve done to you, but you can’t believe it at first.  You may think things like, “They did it AGAIN?!”  or, “They really don’t care at all how I feel!”  While you know they’re capable of such things obviously, you can’t believe it happened, even when it feels like the millionth time.  You are amazed anyone can be capable of such cruelty, let alone extending that cruelty to their own child.

 

Anger kicks in too.  You may feel totally fed up.  This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Enough is enough!  You are done putting up with their abuse!

 

Sadness kicks in after the anger.  Sadness because what they did hurt you & because you realize there is truly no hope for your relationship.  Even understanding narcissism, there is usually a tiny part of the adult child of narcissistic parents that clings to the hope that maybe somehow, some day, things will change.  Whatever they did to you this time erased that tiny glimmer of hope completely.

 

Sadness morphs into grief.  Grief isn’t only for losing a loved one.  Grief happens when you experience loss, & a last straw moment with your narcissistic parent is definitely a loss.  Not only have you lost the hope I mentioned in the previous paragraph, but much more.  It often hits people in last straw moments how much the narcissist has stolen from them- their childhood, their self-esteem, their ability to be mentally healthy, their joy… Such losses can be very hard to deal with, & trigger grief.  That is the stage I’m at with my parents now.

 

You can bounce back & forth between grief & anger quite often.  I certainly have.

 

Yet, among the negative emotions are some very positive ones as well.  For me, once my parents stopped speaking to me, I finally felt free enough to be myself, the person God made me to be, not the person my parents wanted me to be.  I’d been getting further from what they wanted me to be for quite some time, but without them in my life, I was able to be completely myself, 100% of the time, for the first time ever.  It’s pretty cool!  I love feeling so free!

 

Caring over what my parents think has disappeared as well.  I know if I must deal with them at some point, the usual snarky, cruel, hateful criticisms won’t be as hurtful because I really don’t care what they think of me or my life.  It’s really not my business anyway, what they think of me.   I’m living as I believe God wants me to, & that’s all that matters to me anymore.

 

It’s also common to feel like a weight has been lifted.  Which is natural since it has been.  Whether you stopped speaking to your narcissistic parents or they stopped speaking to you, that burden is now gone from your life.  Or, if you’re still in a relationship with them, you still may feel the lifted burden feeling.  That is because you no longer care about pleasing them or gaining their approval.  You may have accepted them as they are- cruel, devious, hate-filled & abusive people- & no longer have any expectations of them to be anything but what they are.

 

Last straw moments can be difficult & confusing, but oddly, they also can be a blessing in disguise.  To deal with all of the conflicting feelings, I recommend a lot of prayer, as well as talking to a trusted, safe friend.  Journalling helps too.  Anything that helps   Writing things out helps you to see things clearly, which really can help you to heal.  Anything that helps you to get your feelings out without fear of judgment is a good thing.

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

Pet Parenting & Rescuing vs Hoarding

Not long ago, I shared that my husband & I had lost our second cat in three months.  Grieving the losses has been very difficult.  However, I realized that in one way it is easier than it used to be- since my parents have stopped speaking to me, that has made it much easier.  Typical of narcissists, my parents have no empathy, so when I’m grieving, their calloused words hurt me.

 

One way they have hurt me regarding my pets is hinting that I’m a hoarder.  Yes, I have a lot of cats & a dog, but hoarder?  No.  And, they aren’t the only people who seem offended by the amount of pets I have.  Other people over the years have made snide comments like I have too many pets, I need to get rid of them, no one can care properly for that many pets, etc.

 

If you too have several pets, I’m writing this for you, Dear Reader.  No one has the right to say that you have too many pets, so long as they are well cared for.  Ignore the idiocy of people who say these things.  Or, come up with creative comebacks for these situations.  For example, if someone says they think you have too many pets, you can tell them that you believe they have too many children.  When they get offended, let them know that is how you feel when people say the same thing to you about your pets.

 

Hoarders are very different than pet parents.  I have looked into it, because honestly, I was afraid my parents were right about me.  I didn’t think many of people have a lot of pets like me, so I did question briefly whether or not I was a hoarder.  Thankfully I don’t meet the criteria!  Some of the criteria used to determine if someone is a hoarder are:

 

  • A person having a large number of pets.
  • This person being unable to maintain basic care for them such as good food, veterinary care, a clean environment.
  • This person being in denial about the ability to provide such things for their pets, believing they are helping these animals rather than hurting/neglecting them.
  • Often, the person neglects to take proper care of himself or herself as well.
  • Many want to rescue & help animals, but severely underestimate their ability to do so.

 

This behavior is obviously VERY different than a pet parent or even a rescuer.  While parents & rescuers may have large numbers of pets, they receive good, quality food, they see vets when necessary, they are spayed or neutered, litterboxes or cages are plentiful & cleaned regularly, homes are clean, & parents & rescuers learn the best ways to care for the animals in their home.  We also know our limits- we won’t have 100 cats at once because we can’t provide proper care for that many at a time.

 

 

If you are like many of my friends & readers, & you meet the criteria in the above paragraph rather than the criteria for a hoarder, you’re in good company.  There are a lot of us out there!  So if an ignorant person claims you have too many pets or are a hoarder, rest easy knowing that person truly has no idea what a good person you are!  Keep on rescuing those babies!  There are so many animals in need, & you can make a difference!

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A Little About Flying Monkeys

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Exciting News!!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Addiction

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Good Can Come From Bad Times

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Animals & Post Traumatic Stress Disoder

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Do You Believe People Too Easily?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tomorrow Is Black Cat Appreciation Day!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Magic

Magic

Squeaky

Squeaky

georgie

Georgie

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy (Georgie’s brother)

zippy & sabrina snuggling

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

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Some Thoughts On Pets

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy

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Grief

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave Bruises

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

What Is Reverse Projection?

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

 

So what is reverse projection?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

My New Book Is Available!!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Links are below..

 

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

 

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

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Another Control Tactic Of Narcissists- Interrupting

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

 

One tool they use that seems innocuous is interrupting others.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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