Illness & Injury In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently realized something that I’ve been living with for my entire life is most likely a symptom of narcissistic abuse.  It never occurred to me before, so I started researching it & found absolutely nothing on this topic.  All I can share with you is my personal experience, nothing I learned from anyone or anything else.

Many of you who know my work know I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in 2015.  As a result, I live with symptoms of that & a Traumatic Brain Injury from either the oxygen deprivation to my brain during the poisoning or the concussion I most likely got from hitting my head when the poison made me pass out or a combination of both.  I don’t discuss these symptoms much partly because I don’t want to sound like either my mother or mother in-law who used their health problems to gain attention.  I also doubt my problems in spite of the glaring evidence that something is wrong.  Sometimes I think I’m exaggerating or even faking it in order to get attention like them.  And, I don’t want to “bother” anyone with my trivial problems.

I know how ridiculous this sounds.  How can I think that way when I know better than anyone else just how difficult my life is because of the symptoms?  And for attention?!  I minimize them to everyone, including myself.  As far as burdening anyone, I’m not one to ask for help easily so I of all people should know if I want to ask for help, it’s very necessary.  I know all of this, yet these thoughts are still there.  Why?!

Suddenly it hit me.  These thoughts are there because of narcissistic abuse!

Growing up, my illnesses & injuries were taken as an inconvenience.  My mother could be nice to me when I was sick or hurt.  A part of me looked forward to being sick or hurt for that reason. But, she would remind me even years later how much of a burden it was when I was sick.  The older I got, however, the less likely it was she’d be nice to me when those things happened.  In fact, I never missed a single day of high school even though there were days I really should have stayed home. 

When I was 19, as I’ve mentioned before, my mother & I got into a physical fight & she threw me into a wall. I am reasonably sure she wanted to kill me that night.  I lived with awful back pain for 10 years after that.  No doctors believed I was injured & my mother was convinced I was faking it.  Looking back now, I think the pain was due to the emotional trauma rather than any physical injury, because when I get extremely stressed, my back aches in that same location.  At the time however, I didn’t realize this, & thought if even the doctors think I’m faking it, maybe I am. 

As an adult, other people haven’t believed me when something was wrong or acted as if my pain was nothing but an inconvenience to them.  My ex husband being the worst of them, but there were others too. 

I believe the years of being accused of faking problems led me to doubt myself, & think that I am faking whatever problems I have, unless there is undeniable proof.  I realized this recently when I learned one problem I have is a common symptom of brain injuries.  It should have simply been eye opening but instead it made me happy because here is proof that something is wrong!  I’m not faking it!

I also realized I hide so much from my husband because I don’t want to burden him, & I don’t feel I have the right to expect his help when I need it.  Pretty ridiculous, really.  He should help me if I need it!  That is what spouses do for each other! 

It occurred to me that if I experience this with my own health problems, then others who have endured narcissistic abuse probably do too.  That is why I wanted to share this with you today.  You’re not alone & you’re not crazy!  I totally understand!

Unfortunately as of yet, I don’t know of any ways to change this dysfunctional thinking, but if I come up with anything, I definitely will talk about it in the future.  In the meanwhile, please know I understand & am praying for you!

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When People Say Things They Shouldn’t To Abuse Victims

Admitting you were abused or hearing stories by other people of abuse they endured is very uncomfortable & unpleasant.  No one wants to talk about abuse.  I sure don’t!  I’d love to write about more pleasant topics & never think about the abuse I endured ever again.  Yet, I know this is impossible.  Even if I quit writing about it, the aftermath of abuse never goes away.  It’s always there to some degree, so talking about it is normal.  Most people talk about abuse in their past either slightly, a lot like me or mostly somewhere in between.

Anyone who has decided to open up about abuse has learned that not everyone is a willing, compassionate listener.  When you gather your courage to discuss the most painful experiences of your life only to be met with invalidation, it can be incredibly painful.  I hope to help you learn some ways to cope with that in this post by sharing some common comments people make to abuse survivors.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”  Many people who haven’t survived abuse don’t understand why a victim wouldn’t reach out for help.  It’s totally acceptable to educate anyone who asks this question.  Abusers threaten their victims to keep quiet.  They also tell their victims no one will believe them.  They even destroy their victim’s self esteem to the point the victim believes no one would care anyway, so there isn’t a point in telling anyone.

“You shouldn’t talk about this.  It’s not the Christian thing to do, making him/her look bad.”  People who say this are often also survivors of abuse, yet who lack the courage to face their pain.  Others facing their pain makes these folks feel badly, so they try to shut down the open person.  Often, there is no getting through to these people, so it is best not to discuss abuse with them.  It is vital to know though that there is nothing “un-Christian” about discussing your experiences.  You aren’t making the abuser look bad.  The abuser already did that by being abusive.

“Are you really sure that’s what happened?”  This comment is often said by someone who knows both victim & abuser.  This is said by someone who really doesn’t want to accept that someone they care about is capable of such awful behavior.  It also is said by a narcissist’s flying monkey who is trying to instill doubt in the victim so they tolerate more abuse from the narcissist.  Take this comment as a red flag that the person saying it is NOT safe!  Don’t discuss your experiences with this person.  Doing so only will lead to you being hurt, possibly also being the victim of a smear campaign.

“Nobody’s parents are perfect,” “No one gets along perfectly with their parents,” or “Everyone has childhood hurts.”  When a person says these statements, it hurts.  They are lumping vicious abuse in the same category as simple personality differences.  So invalidating!!  Shock value can make a person realize how foolish their words are.  Saying something like, “So my mother berating me to the point of obliterating my self esteem while I was a child is the same as another mother not letting her child wear a certain shirt to school?  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, & I disagree with you.”

“Stop thinking about it” or “Stop dwelling in the past!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?!  Again, it’s acceptable to educate whoever asks this question.  Tell them that C-PTSD & PTSD are common after abuse, & are brought on by experiencing such horrific trauma, it literally broke a person’s brain.  A quality these disorders share is constantly reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts.  Not thinking about things is impossible when your brain won’t let you.

“Why would you talk about this now, all this time later?”  When in the midst of suffering abuse, the victim is busy trying to survive.  Talking about it at the time rarely seems important.  Once the victim is safe, survival mode ends & this person can think clearer.  They often try to process what they just escaped by talking about it.  Or, they are triggered by something… a sound, smell, someone that reminds them of their abuser in some way.  Not a lot of people are aware of this, & that may be the case with the person who says this to you.  Tell him or her.

“You’ll get over it,” “It could’ve been so much worse!” or, “Look for the positive in everything!”  Such comments are what I think of as toxic positivity.  While it is good to be positive, too positive is unhealthy.  It’s unrealistic which easily can lead to disappointment.  Comments like this also make a victim feel ashamed for still being affected by the trauma or needing to discuss it in order to heal.  Don’t waste your time talking about past trauma to people like this.  You’ll only end up hurt by their calloused words.

“At least he/she didn’t hit you!”  A common belief is that the only type of abuse is physical.  Anyone subjected to narcissistic abuse knows this is utter nonsense.  Emotional, mental, sexual, financial & spiritual abuse are all horrific forms of abuse.  They simply don’t leave the clearly visible scars that physical abuse does.  The uneducated need to be aware of this, including the person who says this to you..  You can also tell them that PTSD & C-PTSD are physical damage done to the brain by exposure to abuse & trauma.

“What did you do to make him/her treat you that way?”  This invalidating & shaming statement is so common!  It makes victims feel responsible for the terrible things their abuser did to them, & that is utterly wrong!  No one can make another person abuse them, period, no matter what they do or don’t do.  Did Jack the Ripper’s victims do anything to make him kill them?  What about Ted Bundy’s victims?  No.  These men saw an opportunity & took advantage of it.  Their victims did nothing to deserve what these killers did to them.  This is a point which you can bring up to the person who says such a disgusting statement.

“You should be more patient with him/her!”  No.  Just no.  The more patient you are with an abuser, the more they will abuse you because they see that you will tolerate a lot.  It could help to ask this person why should anyone be understanding with someone who repeatedly hurts them & shows no desire to improve their behavior?

“You should be more careful when picking your romantic partners!”  This statement is nothing but victim blaming.  What the heartless person saying this fails to realize yet needs to know is abusers can come across any way they like – very charming, kind, compassionate, romantic, successful.  They rarely are abusive monsters 24/7.  If they were, no one would get involved with them because it would be clear what they were really like.  They lure victims in by appearing to be much better people than they truly are.  While this seems like common sense, unfortunately it isn’t.  The person who says this statement to you needs to be educated!  Tell them this!

Unfortunately, there always will be people who don’t understand what it’s like to survive abuse.  There also will be people who want to silence victims, no matter how much or little they discuss their experiences.  The more you heal, the less these people will bother you, I’m happy to say.  I also hope this post has helped you to learn some ways to deal with these people!  xoxo

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

Regarding Those Who Justify Narcissistic Behavior While Blaming Victims

Proverbs 17:15 states, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” (KJV)  All verses in the Bible are important of course, but this one strikes me as being especially important in these days where Narcissistic Personality Disorder is so prevalent.

So many people have similar reactions when someone tells them that they were abused at the hands of a narcissist.  They often defend the narcissist, saying something along the lines of he or she probably didn’t mean what was said THAT way.  They excuse the abuse because the narcissist was abused as a child or some other equally lame excuse.  They also may minimize or even deny the abuse ever happened.  One of my aunts referred to the abuse I endured at the hands of my parents as “childhood hurts”, & told me I needed to get over them. 

As bad as such behaviors are, a person condemning a victim is even worse in my opinion.

According to Merriam- Webster’s online dictionary, to condemn someone means “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation/ to pronounce guilty.”  Telling someone who has been subjected to horrific cruelty that they are wrong or evil for the abuse that they had to endure is simply reprehensible!  Subjecting such a person to harsh judgment or blaming the victim for “making” their abuser hurt them are also reprehensible behaviors!

Treating someone in these ways can create a great deal of unnecessary toxic shame in them, adding to the already large amount that the narcissist in their life created.  Anyone who does this, in my opinion, is a sorry excuse for a human being.  However, my opinion isn’t really what matters here.  God also has some very strong feelings on this behavior.

Also according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the word abomination means, “a thing that causes disgust or hatred.”

Can you imagine God, the loving, compassionate, kind & gracious God who created the universe & everything in it, feeling that way towards a person He has created?  It seems impossible, doesn’t it?  But it isn’t impossible!  It happens & probably more often than we care to admit. 

As much as God loves His entire creation, even He has limits & no tolerance for certain things.  The next time you are subjected to someone either defending or excusing the narcissist who has abused you, or blaming you for the abuse, I urge you to remember Proverbs 17:15.  When you do, remember, that people like this need prayer though so if you feel able to do that, then please pray for them & guard your heart against their toxicity getting inside of you.  Remember, what they say is WRONG, so protect yourself against their lies taking root in your heart & mind.

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One Way Narcissists & Flying Monkeys Bully Victims

One “funny” thing I’ve noticed about narcissists is they have what I think of as electronics courage. Electronics courage is when a person feels they have the right to say anything they feel like on text, your social media, email or even over the phone. Yet in person, they are civil to you.

I have a ton of examples from my own life, but I’ll only share a couple. One of my aunts who I have since blocked from my life loved her electronics courage. She once commented on one of my Facebook posts that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to work things out with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!” As my father was dying in 2017, I was no contact with my parents. Several of my cousins tried to bully me into saying good bye to him. They sent an innundation of texts & Facebook messages daily during the final three weeks of his life. One tried calling me through Facebook messenger & let the phone ring for ten to fifteen minutes. Not one of these cowards showed up at my home, mind you. Instead, like my aunt, they hid behind their computers & phones.

How about you? Can you think of similar situations in your experience with narcissists & their flying monkeys? I would bet you can. If not, it will happen to you at some point if you have or had a narcissist in your life.

When this happens to you, the smartest thing you can do is block all access these people have to you. Block them on all social media platforms, block their email addresses & telephone numbers. Chances are, they will use alternate social media accounts, emails & phone numbers to try to contact you, so block those, too.

If at all possible, eliminate voicemail. I found hearing their voices angered me so I don’t have voicemail on my home phone. This was impossible to do on my cell, so I ignore all voicemail messages. I’m letting the mailbox fill up so no one can leave any messages. I also changed my message to callers telling them not to leave me a voicemail message because I won’t respond. Narcissists & their flying monkeys will ignore that request of course, but at least other people will listen.

There are also apps available to block phones from calling & texting. If your cell phone doesn’t have a good block feature, look into the apps. One thing you should know about the apps – some may technically block texts, but you still can see them. You need to make sure the settings are set so you don’t have to see them.

The laws for harassment & stalking are changing, & finally catching up with the times. If you are being harassed electronically, one smart move to make is to save any & all communication from the narcissist & flying monkeys. Take screen shots, save emails & voicemails. Save them on a cloud service or email them to yourself & save the emails on your email provider. Phones & computers crash, so it’s best not to save them on phones or computers where one crash means they can be lost forever. You may need this documentation to show to law enforcement. Even if those harassing you aren’t technically breaking the law just yet, still document their abuse. When they finally do break the law, you’ll have plenty of evidence showing their bad behavior & intentions towards you going back a long time. This can help build your case with law enforcement.

When this situation happens to you, I know it can be very hard. It’s disturbing when someone sends you constant messages full of hatred. It makes you wonder what the person is truly capable of, doesn’t it? Most narcissists & flying monkeys are simply full of hot air & electronics courage, spewing their venom from the safety of behind a computer or phone. That being said though, never underestimate them. These people can be capable of even worse behavior. Take all measures you can to protect yourself, & block all access they can possibly have to you.

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When Victims Act Like The Narcissists Who Abused Them

There is an odd phenomenon that can happen to people who have survived narcissistic abuse & refuse to face it.  They can develop narcissistic tendencies & behavior.

Thankfully, I don’t think this trait is overly common.  Also I don’t think they all are true narcissists, merely showing some tendencies.  Even so, it is a good idea to be aware of the potential for this behavior in victims of narcissistic abuse.

If you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse & are working on your healing, most likely you can be almost paranoid about your behavior.  You’d rather do about anything rather than treat people as the narcissist treated you.  Even so, it’s a good idea to monitor your behavior.  Pay attention to how you speak to people & also how you treat them.  If you hurt someone, also pay attention to your reaction.  Do you apologize immediately to that person or do you make excuses for what you did?  You know the signs of narcissism because you lived through that horror.  This means you should be able to spot those tendencies in yourself easily & are motivated to make appropriate changes.

Those who haven’t admitted to themselves or anyone that their abuser was a narcissist or even abusive at all for that matter don’t have your advantages.  Not working on their healing, they function from a place of dysfunction.  They’re wounded but don’t know it.  They may see some of their behaviors as abnormal but aren’t sure why they are abnormal.  Or, they may not see there is any problem with their behavior.  They are simply behaving as their parents behaved.  When I was in my early 20’s, I realized I was doing that.  My ex husband called me out on saying that a certain band was awful, just because I didn’t like it.  I’m glad he did!  Me not appreciating their sound doesn’t mean the band wasn’t talented.  It simply meant it wasn’t my taste.  That caused me to consider the way I acted in other areas & realized I was behaving in some ways like my parents.  Even though at the time I knew nothing of narcissism, I still didn’t like my behavior & made changes.

It seems many victims of narcissistic abuse find each other.  If this describes you, please be aware of what I talk about here.

Not all victims are the same.  Some are early in their education about narcissism & healing from narcissistic abuse.  They still are going to show plenty of dysfunctional behavior, but the good news is that they’re open to making changes & learning.  Others may be in a similar place to you, & those are the people you probably will feel the most connected to.

Unfortunately, there are also those who are like I have described here.  Please be very aware of those people, because they can hurt you badly, even though it may be unintentional.  I’ve learned this recently from someone I know.  This person was raised by a very covert narcissistic mother, yet never has admitted that fact.  In fact, this person always defended that awful narcissistic mother vehemently.  For years, this person’s behavior was just fine.  Suddenly however, when this person was speaking, the words said were the exact words that person’s narcissistic mother has said!  It was incredibly unsettling & not to mention hurtful.  I know the person didn’t mean to hurt me, but to witness someone who was always a good person suddenly talk like a narcissist was incredibly hard.  In fact, as I write this, I’m not sure if this person will be in my life much longer.  Intentionally narcissistic or not, narcissistic behaviors aren’t something I can handle anymore.

You, Dear Reader, may experience a similar situation.  I hope not, but it is still possible.  Please remember to protect yourself.

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Love Isn’t Always Warm & Fuzzy

When most people hear the word love, they think of how they feel around someone they love dearly.  Whether that person is a love interest, parent, child, other relative or friend, the person thinking of them will feel warm, affectionate, caring feelings.  But, love isn’t always about those nice feelings.

Sometimes, love feels nothing like the nice feelings I described earlier.  Sometimes love is not enabling behavior the other person enjoys but is unhealthy.  Sometimes love is not allowing the other person to use you.  Sometimes love involves arguments.  Sometimes, love even involves ending relationships.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize these things, & think love is only about the good feelings, giving in, & even tolerating abuse.

The last few months of my father’s life, I learned that is exactly what my family thought.   They clearly thought I hated him & my mother because I hadn’t spoken to them for several months at that time.  They obviously believed that I was living my life with no thought of them whatsoever.

What my family didn’t know & never would believe anyway is no contact with my parents was incredibly hard on me.  Reaching the decision to end those relationships was gut wrenching.  I took a lot of time to consider it, & said a lot of prayers.  I prayed daily for wisdom for probably a couple of years before going no contact with them, & after, I prayed daily for God to take care of them & to save them.

In John 15:17 in the Amplified translation, the Bible states, “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”  There is no mention in there about the warm, fuzzy feelings, because sometimes, there simply aren’t any.  Consider what I just told you about my situation with my parents.  There wasn’t a single warm fuzzy feeling for them for many years, & many less at the end of their lives.  But, that didn’t mean I didn’t love them.  The difference is I loved them God’s way, by doing what it says in John 15:17, seeking the best for them.  It was incredibly hard severing ties with them, but I knew in my heart it was necessary for my mental health & for them.  And, as it turns out, my father finally turned to God at the very end of his life because I wouldn’t go see him.  I’m not sure if my mother’s motivations were the same or not, but she also turned to God at the very end of her life.  When you love people as God wants, it’s not always easy but it is for the best.

If you have been told that you aren’t loving abusive people right because you have started to set boundaries or even gone no contact, or even if not but you feel like you’re being unloving for such things, this post is for you today.   You need to know that there is nothing good or Godly about letting people use & abuse you.  In fact, it goes against God’s wishes!

Remember, if you truly love someone, you may not feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings for them.  Sometimes love is best done from a distance, & praying quietly behind the scenes.  And sometimes those prayers include saying things like, “Father God, I’m sorry my heart isn’t in this.  I’m only praying for her because I know You want me to!”  If that is all you can manage to do, there is nothing wrong with that!  God truly honors those prayers, the ones you’re only praying because you know He wants you to pray.  He applauds your effort & obedience while also dealing with that other person in ways you may not know about.

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Watch Out For This Red Flag

Some time ago, I got a virus via Facebook messenger.  I quickly realized it went out to about everyone I have spoken with, whether the person was a friend I spoke with often or someone I spoke with once or twice.  Upon realizing that, my heart sank.  I have saved quite a few pretty horrible messages that my family sent me in the archived folder on messenger in case I would ever need them to show the police.  I never read them, only the first few words that show up as a preview, but I saw enough to know they were horrible, especially the ones sent when my father was dying in 2017.  The experience with the virus gave me emotional flashbacks when I thought of potentially dealing with these people again plus when I had to check those saved messages to see if those people had received the virus.  Thinking about my family reminded me of some of the terrible things people have said to me since I started being open about the narcissistic abuse I’ve lived through. 

Although many things people, mostly my so called family, have said to me was terrible, what they said wasn’t what bothered me the most.  Their opinions aren’t important to me.  What bothered me most was the complete lack of respect they demonstrated by forcing their opinions on me as if those opinions were the only thing that mattered in the world.  My experiences & pain meant nothing to them.  All they cared about was being heard. 

The same thing happened when I broke my engagement with my now ex husband.  People kept telling me how sad & miserable my ex was without me, so I should get back to him.  No one seemed to care about anything I wanted to say, including how miserable I was with him.

People have a need to be heard.  It is something that seems to be with people from birth.  There is nothing wrong with it.  There is, however, something very wrong with people whose need to be heard is greater than displaying other people love, compassion & respect.  It shows a great deal of selfishness if not outright narcissism in a person who needs their opinions & thoughts to be heard above all else, even when they know they are hurting the person who they are speaking to. 

The one silver lining in this is that people who behave this way are showing you a red flag.  In fact, that red flag is less like a red flag & more like a giant glowing neon sign that flashes.  This behavior clearly screams many things such as, “I think I am more important than you!”  “What I have to say is much more important than anything you can think of to say!”  “I have zero interest in anything you think or feel!”  “I have zero respect for you!”

Sadly the world today is full of people who seem to think their thoughts & opinions are so important they must be shared with anyone & everyone, no matter who gets hurt.  Dysfunction & even narcissism are in epidemic proportions.  Once you begin to notice this behavior, you are going to be shocked just how many people do this in how many situations.  Use this as a learning experience.  Remember what this behavior says about a person. 

This also may make you appreciate more than ever those people in your life who aren’t this way, those people who listen without talking over you to share their thoughts, & those who truly want to hear what you have to say.  If this happens, let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life!  They will appreciate the complements more than you know, & your relationship will get even closer.

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About Anger After Trauma

Often people who are very forgiveness centered seem to think that to forgive someone means that whatever they did to you no longer triggers any negative feelings. You will be completely immune to any upset on that topic.  For example, if your narcissistic mother constantly told you that you were fat, & someone else calls you fat, if you have truly forgiven your mother, some people think that means that this other person’s words won’t bother you in the slightest. 

I really don’t believe that is true.  You can forgive someone yet still be angered by certain behaviors.

Forgiving someone doesn’t always mean you have forgiven & forgotten what they did, & everything is now unicorns & rainbows.  Forgiveness can mean that you release any expectations on them of apologizing & trying to make it up to you for wronging you.  While doing this is a good thing, it doesn’t automatically release the anger or hurt you feel that their actions caused.

Even if you have managed to release all anger & hurt you feel at the person who has hurt or even abused you, their actions still can be very upsetting.  Let’s say for example you were robbed at knifepoint.  You have recovered from any physical injuries & have forgiven the robber.  Maybe you even learned he was out of work at the time & trying to get money to feed his starving children, so you felt some compassion for him with his plight.  Do you really think that all of this would make you ok with anyone robbing anyone at knifepoint?  No!  It definitely wouldn’t, because you know this behavior is wrong, no matter what the story behind it is.  You also know how it feels to be in that position, the terror & anger it stirs up in you, & wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  If you were in this situation & heard of someone else being through what you have, you naturally would be upset, no matter how much or little anger you feel towards the person who hurt you.

Honestly, I think it is not only normal to be upset by reminders but healthy.

Not being bothered by reminders of your trauma would mean you are desensitized to it.  How is being desensitized to trauma good?  It doesn’t help you, & may in fact hurt you.  If you’re numb to the trauma you experienced, that probably means that you have ignored it for a very long time rather than process it.  That is not even close to mentally healthy!   

Being desensitized to trauma doesn’t help others who have experienced trauma either.  If you think what they say was a traumatic experience wasn’t a big deal, & you tell them that, it will instill shame in them.  They will become ashamed of being so affected by something so “trivial”.  They will wonder what is wrong with them, why they were so traumatized by something that other people wouldn’t be bothered by.  They could begin to shut down & ignore their pain rather than deal with it.  Doing this could lead to a plethora of problems such as physical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or digestive disorders.  It also could make them turn to substance abuse, shopping addiction or promiscuity rather than face the fact that they are hurting.

Dear Reader, please know that no matter how much you have forgiven your abuser, things that they have done will continue to upset & even anger you, & that is totally normal!  In fact, let the emotions motivate you!  Become an advocate against the type of abuse or trauma you experienced.  Talk about it, so people know that these things are wrong.  If you feel bold, write a blog or a book.  See what you can to do get laws changed so other abusers like yours will go to jail.  Good truly can come from those feelings, & remember, they aren’t proof that you are unforgiving or bitter.  Far from it.  They prove you’re a person with a wise & compassionate heart. 

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Bringing More Joy Into Your Life

Those of us with C-PTSD are all too aware of the bad triggers.  They remind us of traumatic & painful events, sometimes even to the point of having flashbacks.  They can be a good thing in the sense they show what areas need more healing, but they sure don’t feel so good when they happen!

There is another kind of trigger too, which is much more pleasant & much less talked about.  Good triggers are just as important, yet sadly there isn’t much information available on them.

Good triggers are things that can trigger joy, comfort, pleasant memories or nostalgia.  For me, the smell of Old Spice cologne always reminds me of my Granddad, who I adored.  The song “You’re My Best Friend” by the band Queen always reminds me of my husband since that is our song.  The scent of a fireplace burning on a cool autumn day reminds me of my favorite time of year & triggers a sense of coziness.

Please think about what good triggers you have, & write them down.  If you are unsure, I can offer you some ideas…

  • Some things that can trigger joy might be being kind to someone else, spending time with someone you love, or accomplishing a task you’ve been postponing.
  • Some things that can trigger comfort might be enjoying clean sheets on your bed, wearing an especially soft pair of pajamas or lighting your favorite scented candle.
  • Some things that can trigger pleasant memories or nostalgia could be listening to music you enjoyed at a particularly good time of your life, baking something your favorite relative baked or journaling about some good experience such as when you first fell in love with your spouse. 

Another thing I am in the process of learning about to bring joy into my life is the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).  Hygge is about creating a cozy, comfortable & relaxed lifestyle that leaves you with a feeling of well being & contentment. 

There are no hard & fast rules to living this lifestyle, other than what makes you feel cozy & comfortable.  I have come to realize that less stuff is an important aspect of hygge to me.  Less stuff means less to clean & maintain, & less clutter in my home, all of which help me to be more relaxed.  This also means my home is easier to clean, because of having less stuff which also helps to contribute to a more relaxed state.

Learning about hygge also inspired me to simplify every aspect of my life.  For example, each week I have most of our bills paid automatically by going on a credit card that gives cash back.  I pay this credit card bill weekly, so it doesn’t get out of control, & sometimes I also use the cash back to help pay the balance. 

Focusing on your good triggers, creating new ones as well as living a more relaxed & comfortable lifestyle are all very good for bringing more joy into your life.  I hope you are inspired to make some healthy changes in your life!

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Are Dreams From God?

Unfortunately, I don’t think many people realize just how beneficial dreams are.  That is understandable considering how strange dreams can be.  Who hasn’t had a dream of losing all their teeth or falling?  Dreams like that are bizarre & seem to have no meaning & can be upsetting. 

Dreams really can be beneficial though!  In the past few years, I have started paying more attention to my dreams.  They have taught me a great deal about the state of my mental health, helped me to figure out causes of my anxiety & work through trauma.

When I first started paying more attention to my dreams, I wondered if I was doing something wrong.  Many so called psychics have claimed to have dreams about upcoming events or clues for solving crimes.  Being a Christian, I didn’t want to engage in any behavior that would go against God’s word, & I believe that any dabbling in the occult does just that.  To figure this out, I prayed & looked into the Bible for answers.  What I learned was very interesting!

There are a lot of Scriptures about dreams in the Bible!  In the book of Matthew, God speaks to Joseph in dreams.  In the first chapter, Joseph has a dream where he is told that his fiancée Mary, is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  In the second chapter of Matthew, God uses a dream to tell Joseph to take Jesus & his mother away to Egypt.  Later, he had another dream telling him it was safe to take them back to Israel.

There are also many examples in the Old Testament of God speaking to people in dreams.  Daniel had dreams & Joseph interpreted dreams.  In Numbers 12:6, God said that He speaks to prophets in dreams.

I’m pretty sure all this means dreams have value & shouldn’t be ignored!

If you are interested in learning from your dreams, then I encourage you to do it!

To do this, start paying attention to your dreams.  Remember everything you can about them.  What you were doing, who was in the dream, colors, objects, locations… everything can be important so it’s smart to remember every detail you can.  These things may symbolize something important or be vital pieces to a puzzle.

It often helps to write things down, too.  Writing can bring clarity that considering or talking about things doesn’t, so why not utilize that?

Find a good dream dictionary, too.  I like dreammoods.com, but there are other websites & countless books available.  No doubt you can find a dictionary that you really like either in print or online.

Remember that dreams aren’t always significant, so you probably won’t remember every dream you have.  The brain is constantly processing information, no matter if the information is good, bad or indifferent.  If you don’t remember a dream, then chances are it had no real significance for you at this time.  It is simply your brain processing some type of information.

The most important thing I have found to do to help understand dreams is to pray.  God will help you to understand & get the most benefit from your dreams.  When they are nightmares rather than dreams, He will comfort you as well as teach you what they mean.  Let Him help you!

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

Validating Yourself

Everyone needs validation. It’s simply a built in human need that God gave us all.

For those of us who survived narcissistic abuse, invalidation was a way of life, so it’s only natural that we crave validation more than the average person. We want to be heard & understood for a change! The problem with this is so many people don’t offer us the validation we crave. Instead, they make excuses for the narcissist, don’t want to listen to our stories or tell us things like we’re just angry, we need to let it go or other similar heartless comments.

You also can’t count on gaining validation from your abuser. It is the very rare abusive person who goes to a victim, admits that what they did was wrong, ask for forgiveness & makes appropriate changes in their behavior. Sure, some do apologize at some point, but their failure to change their behavior & either accept full responsibility or failure to stop blaming others for their behavior proves that they aren’t being genuine. The abusive behavior will continue & they don’t care about the pain & suffering they caused victims. They only apologize as an attempt to pacify a victim, not because they want to improve the relationship.

Situations like these are a very good reminder that you can’t rely on getting all the validation you need from outside sources. People are flawed, & they will fail to give you the validation you want & need sometimes. You have to learn to validate yourself instead of relying on others, which is where your healing truly begins.

As always I recommend starting this with prayer. Ask God to help you to learn how to validate yourself, rely less on validation from outside sources & even to give you validation.

You also need to accept the fact people won’t always give you the validation you need. Remind yourself often that people aren’t perfect, & they will fail you sometimes. It’s just a part of life. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care or they don’t love you. They are simply flawed human beings like every single other human being.

You also need to accept that your abuser won’t accept responsibility for the pain he or she caused you either. That type of validation most likely never will happen. You know what happened, & that truly is good enough. Even if no one else believes you, it really can be enough when you know the truth.

What people often refer to as feeling sorry for yourself is what I think of as showing yourself compassion, & it’s something you need to do. You have been through some pretty bad things, & it’s ok to admit that both to others & to yourself. Stop minimizing your experiences & your pain! You’re only invalidating yourself by doing that!

Never compare your situation to others. Doing so often leads to thoughts like, “Well that person had it way worse than me. I shouldn’t complain.” That is so wrong & also very self invalidating! Don’t do it! Trauma is trauma. So what if someone went through worse things than you did? You went through much worse than someone else did, too. Does any of that make any difference? You need to focus on your situation & ways to heal, not whether it’s better or worse than other people’s situations.

Stop judging your feelings, too. After abuse, it’s only natural to be angry or sad sometimes. It’s natural to have ruminating thoughts about certain especially painful situations or to wonder why the abuser did what they did to you. Don’t criticize yourself for thinking these things. Accept that they’re just a normal part of the healing journey.

With a little time & practice, you can learn to be your own best “validator.” You won’t regret learning this skill. In fact, I’m certain you’ll be glad you did! xoxo

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How Narcissists Make Victims Lose Themselves

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you lose yourself.  You often feel as if you’re being fake.  Sadly, the truth is you are being fake, but not because of some flaw in you.

Narcissists do their best to mold their victims into whatever they want them to be.  To do this, they start by destroying their victim’s personality.  They convince victims that they don’t like the things they do like, & they like things they don’t like.  They also convince victims that they feel a certain way about things that is completely untrue. 

Gaslighting is a very effective way to accomplish this.  By repeatedly swearing that a victim has said or hasn’t said something & even getting angry about it, a victim often starts to believe that the narcissist is telling the truth.  Denial & making a person question their memories

Invalidation is also helpful in forwarding a narcissist’s agenda.  Convincing someone that they have some deep flaws for feeling as they do will change their mind about their feelings.  No one wants to be labeled as intensely flawed or even crazy, so they change their mind.

Narcissists also make their victims feel as if they are a disappointment, & the narcissist deserves better than that.  This guilt makes victims work harder to please the narcissist, yet they can’t do it.  The narcissist continually changes what they want & makes the goals loftier & unattainable. 

Gaslighting, invalidation & this disappointment all work together to make victims feel shame.  They feel ashamed of themselves, of who they are, of their beliefs, of what they want, think & feel… of everything about themselves.  Once this toxic shame takes root in a person, they become very easy to manipulate & control, which is why narcissists work so hard to accomplish this.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone!  I have been there too.  First my mother tried to mold me into what she wanted from me, then my ex husband did.  By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I had no idea who I really was or what I really liked, didn’t like, believed… it was a nightmare!  It took time but I finally got to know the real me, & you know something?  That person is ok! 

If you’re reading this now, I want you to know that the real you is ok too!  I also want you to know that you need to get to know this person that God made you to be, without the input of the narcissist. 

Start questioning everything.  Ask yourself how you genuinely feel about things.  For example, do you like the kind of music you do because the narcissist told you that you liked it, or is it truly your taste?  What about the kind of work you do- do you enjoy it or did your narcissistic parent tell you that you needed to get into this line of work?

If the narcissist is still in your life, question everything he or she tells you, especially about how you feel about things.  While the narcissist most likely claims to know you better than you know yourself, this is nothing but a lie.  You know you better & if you get to know yourself well, then nothing the narcissist says can cause you to doubt yourself or change yourself into someone you’re not ever again!

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How Best To Help Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Having experienced narcissistic abuse, I have learned that when you first tell people about it, they seldom know what to say.  Rather than admit that, they say some things that come across as invalidating or uncaring.  To help people avoid coming across the wrong way with victims, I thought I would share some things to say instead.  If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse & struggling to ask those close to you for what you need, feel free to share this post with them.

If you have no experience with narcissistic abuse, it’s understandable you can’t comprehend the bizarre things narcissists do.  Even when a person has experienced it first hand, the abuse is still hard for them to understand.  That being said, don’t assume the person you’re speaking with is exaggerating or even making up everything.  Most people aren’t creative enough to make up such things.  Even if you struggle to believe what this person is telling you, if you know the person is honest, then trust what they say!  Your validation will help!

Unless the person asks you for advice, don’t give it.  For many victims of narcissistic abuse, we need to talk about it.  A lot.  It doesn’t necessarily mean we are looking for advice.  Talking about it helps us to process what happened & come up with ways to cope. 

Don’t assume that the narcissist is just your average jerk or is just selfish.  Narcissists are so much more than that!  They have absolutely no empathy & enjoy inflicting pain on their victims.  Normal ways that a person deals with the average jerk don’t work with narcissists.

Don’t say things like, “You need to let this go.”  All victims of narcissistic abuse know that.  The problem is that it can cause PTSD or Complex PTSD, & once you have one of those disorders, there is no letting go no matter how much a person wants to do so.  The disorders make letting go of trauma impossible.  Managing the symptoms is the best a person with PTSD or C-PTSD can hope for.

Don’t push forgiveness.  Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing.  Yes, it’s in the Bible.  However, to really & truly forgive takes time when horrific & traumatic acts were committed against a person.  Shaming a person for continuing to feel anger towards their abuser does no good, & only adds to their problems. 

Don’t say things like, “It takes two to tango” or, “There are two sides to every story.”  By doing this, you’re telling the victim that they are equally responsible for the abuse as their abuser.  That is wrong, unfair & nothing but victim blaming!  While no one is perfect, no one can force another to abuse them.  All responsibility for abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of abusers.  Period!

Don’t trivialize the abusive & traumatic events.  One of my aunts referred to the abuse I endured from my parents as “childhood hurts”.  That may have been the most hurtful thing anyone ever told me.  Trivializing trauma stirs up hurt & anger like you won’t believe.  If you love this person, don’t do it!  Even if events they describe as traumatic sound pretty harmless to you, remember that everyone experiences things differently.  Just because that might not have been traumatic to you doesn’t mean it wasn’t traumatic to them.  Don’t judge their definition of trauma. 

Ask the victim what you can do to help.  Chances are, there really isn’t much but knowing that someone cares & is willing to help means so much! 

Offer to pray with & for the victim.  Prayer is so comforting & knowing that someone is willing to take the time to pray for them will comfort the victim greatly. 

Remind the victim how strong he or she is to have survived the abuse.  Victims often feel weak & the reminder of their true strength is incredibly encouraging!

Always be non-judgmental, supportive & kind.  These three traits can go a very long way with anyone who has endured narcissistic abuse.

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

Executive Dysfunction After Narcissistic Abuse

Have you ever heard of executive dysfunction?  As the name describes, this is when executive functions don’t work properly.  Executive functions are cognitive & mental abilities that enable us to accomplish things.  They help us by directing & controlling our behavior, planning, prioritizing as well as giving motivation.

Executive functioning is higher level cognitive functioning.  Some examples are:

  • Emotional regulation, such as working through anxiety.
  • Impulse control.
  • Attention, such as directing attention where it is necessary to accomplish things.
  • Planning such as creating & following a schedule.
  • Self assessment, such as making sure you’re taking a reasonable amount of time on the task at hand.
  • Using working memory, such as following directions or reading.

Anyone can experience executive dysfunction periodically, in particular when overly stressed or tired.  That is entirely normal.  It becomes abnormal when executive dysfunction interferes with daily life.  Difficulty with decision making, concentrating, organization & low motivation are some examples.

Executive dysfunction is often caused by brain damage.  Traumatic brain injuries, dementia & Alzheimer’s disease are known causes, but mental illness can cause it as well.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are known to cause it as well. 

PTSD is another mental illness that can cause executive dysfunction, & that is the reason I felt it necessary to discuss executive dysfunction.

May of us who struggle with PTSD or C-PTSD also struggle with executive dysfunction, yet are unaware that was what our problem is.  It doesn’t help that those in our lives call us lazy, tell us we need to get out more often or offer other equally useless & unsolicited advice.  Useless or unsolicited, it still can take a toll on the self esteem especially since it’s already been so damaged thanks to the narcissists in our lives.

Those of you who have been down this road, I want to let you know today that you aren’t lazy!  There is something wrong with you & it’s not your fault that you have this problem!  Your brain has been broken due to the trauma or traumas you have experienced.  Brain damage in any capacity is no joke!  It’s a horrible thing! 

Brain damage is also not something you can fix easily, like a broken bone.  Brain damage may heal completely or it may not heal at all, no matter what you do or don’t do.  The brain is a very unique organ & very unpredictable in how it responds to injury, trauma & even healing.  I’m not telling you this to make you lose hope.  I’m telling you this so you can be realistic in what to expect.

With the symptoms of executive dysfunction, you can learn ways to work with your symptoms. 

Set up a routine & stick to it.  Not so much you become rigid about it because there will be times you need to change it.  Even so, having a set schedule takes some pressure off because you know what you need to do each day.  It becomes a habit, so it’s easy to remember over time, too.

Use a calendar app on your phone to help you remember appointments & tasks that are out of the ordinary.  One with alarms is especially helpful.

Utilize sticky notes & to do lists to help you to stay organized. 

When motivation strikes, use it!  There tend to be more days without it than with, so when it happens, use it to the best of your ability.

Executive dysfunction isn’t easy to live with I know, but you can learn ways to cope!

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10% Off All My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off all print books until May 28. Simply use code SELLDIRECT10 at checkout.

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

How To Help An Animal With PTSD

One of my cats, a handsome orange tabby guy named Punkin, has feline PTSD.  I didn’t know this when we adopted him, or rather when he adopted us.  He seemed a bit skittish but pretty normal.  Then one day with no provocation, he attacked our American Eskimo dog, Dixie.  Shocked, my husband & I hollered his name.  He stopped what he was doing, looked around then shook his head & ran off.  I realized he looked like I felt when I’ve had a flashback.  Thankfully, that attack was a one time incident, but even so, his symptoms aren’t always well managed.  He tries, but like a human with PTSD, sometimes trying isn’t enough to keep symptoms at bay.

One day a few years ago, Punkin was running around playing & doing weird kitty energy jag things. Another of our cats, Grace, got in on the fun with him. They ran around & played for a few minutes as they often do. They stopped playing & a minute later, she sneaked up on him.  Grace gently bumped into Punkin’s side as if to say “Boo!”. He didn’t see it coming & apparently his fight, flight, freeze or fawn instincts kicked in.  Poor Punkin froze.  He crouched low & his eyes got HUGE & he wouldn’t move.  He was frozen in place.  I honestly thought at first he might be having an aneurysm or heart attack.  I quickly went to him to decide if we had to go to the emergency vet.  I reassured & talked to him for a minute when he finally started to come out of it.  He looked like he has when he’s come out of a flashback.

Something unusual happened at that point.  He wanted me to hold him & he purred. These are two things that almost never happen with Punkin.  When he wanted me to put him down a few minutes later, Grace meekly approached him.  She checked on him then gave him a big head bonk.  Her apology, I think, although she didn’t mean to upset him.  She has been Punkin’s volunteer service cat since she was a kitten, always offering him love, help or anything she can when his PTSD flares up, so naturally she felt terrible for upsetting her buddy.

I’m sharing this because I know many of you who follow my work also love animals.  And, like me, you seem to be drawn to those with some sort of special needs.  In a cruel world, this means the chances of you adopting an animal with PTSD are fairly good.  If this happens, please don’t give up on your skittish or even aggressive furbaby!  Animals like this need someone who understands & is patient, who can help them cope with what is happening.

If you wonder if your furbaby has PTSD, there are some signs…

Nightmares are common.  If your furbaby twitches dramatically in his sleep, this is often the sign of a nightmare.  Gently pet him & talk to him.  That can help stop it.  If not, wake him up.

Being skittish or jumpy.  This is the animal equivalent of hyper-vigilance.  Try not to make sudden moves around your furbaby.  Keep a calm, quiet environment as much as possible.

Anxiety.  Some signs of anxiety are restlessness, lack of or too big of an appetite, being destructive or pottying in unacceptable places.  Along with keeping a calm environment at home, try to maintain a consistent schedule.  Medication may be helpful too.  Talk to your veterinarian about this option if you think it may help.

Flashbacks can be hard to recognize in animals but they do have them.  Punkin attacking Dixie was a pretty obvious one, but other signs of flashbacks are sudden abnormal behavior.  Our late dog, Bear, also had PTSD, & I believe his former owner caused it by being abusive.  The man wore heavy leather gloves for work, & whenever Bear saw me put gloves on, he would attack my hands.  If your furbaby has obvious triggers like Bear did, avoid those triggers as much as possible.  Also, flashbacks can take a lot out of an animal, so don’t be surprised if your little one takes a long nap after or even drags a bit for a day or two.

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you have an advantage for helping your furbaby.  You know what helps you when symptoms get bad.  Chances are, those same things will help your little one. 

If you don’t know how to help, just watch your furbaby.  Animals tell humans what they want & need from us.  With Punkin, often he wants to be left alone when things get bad.  I watch him from a distance during those times.  Other times, he obviously wants snuggles, so I give him all the snuggles he wants.  Follow your furbaby’s lead to help the most. PTSD in animals is sad of course, but it can be managed, just like it can with people.  Love, understanding & patience will go a long way in helping your furbaby life a happy life in spite of the disorder.

This is Punkin with his buddy, Grace.

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Trauma Responses & Guilt

Many of us who have experienced trauma experience a lot of guilt about how we responded during a traumatic event.  I have experienced this.  When my mother & I got into an argument & she threw me into a wall when I was 19 in 1990, I blacked out & bit her during the assault.  To this day I remember how shocking it felt to hit the wall then suddenly coming to as she was releasing her hold on me that pinned me to the wall.  And when I came to, I ran from the house & sped away in a cloud of tire smoke.  For many years after, I felt incredibly guilty for the entire event.  Mostly because I bit my mother & she had a scar from that, but also for the fact I gave in to her.  She was itching for a fight the moment I walked in the door after work that evening.  I recognized the look immediately & in spite of knowing nothing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I knew getting into an argument would result in something bad for me, yet I did it anyway. 

While it may sound ridiculous to you, this triggered an intense amount of guilt in me!  I gave in rather than simply leave which would have been the smart thing to do.  And, thanks to me, my mother had a physical scar.  Horrible!

As you read this, you probably are thinking things like, “But you were only 19!”  “You didn’t know about narcissism!”  “You were defending yourself!”  “You couldn’t move so how else could you defend yourself?”  And you know something?  Those are all correct.  That isn’t how it felt at the time of the incident however, or for over twenty years after it happened.

Do you feel guilt about a response during a traumatic event too?  If so, please show yourself the same mercy you were just willing to show me! 

During trauma, the brain is overridden by survival instincts.  While that is a good thing in the sense that survival instincts will help you to survive, they also may cause you to behave out of the ordinary & in a way that may be embarrassing to you.  Please try to let that go!  Survival instincts are there for a reason.  They help a person to survive.  Whether your instinct is fight, flight, freeze or fawn, that instinct helped to save you from a potentially even worse fate.  That makes your survival instinct pretty impressive!  Don’t discount it!  Embrace it!  Be grateful that it is partly why you survived!

Don’t forget to analyze the event too.  If you analyze it, you had no other choice.  Maybe you’re thinking that you did, but also consider yourself at the time.  You may not have known any better, which led you to make the best choice you could at the time.  This can be difficult, I know.  I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for poor choices I’ve made in my life, too, but you know something?  That is a waste of time!  You aren’t the same person you were who made a less than ideal choice during a time of extreme duress.  You did your best & that is all anyone can expect.  You also survived the traumatic event, so you should be proud of yourself!

Please just remember, Dear Reader, that even if your trauma responses haven’t been what you wish they were, you have no reason to be embarrassed or feel guilty about them.  They did their job, which was to help you survive.

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Closure

You hear a lot of talk about closure & how necessary it is to healing.  Closure usually seems to involve someone apologizing for the pain they caused & changing their ways.  While that seems wonderful, that is also virtually impossible when it comes to narcissists.

A hallmark of narcissism is never admitting to any wrong doing on their part, let alone admitting to being abusive monsters.  If you have escaped narcissistic abuse & hope your abuser will see the error of their ways one day, you most likely are going to be very disappointed.  I’ve heard of narcissists who refused to admit anything even as they were dying.  Their denial truly runs deep.

This doesn’t mean that there is no hope for closure for victims, however.  It simply means that closure after narcissistic abuse is a bit different than it is for many other people.

First of all, you need to accept that narcissists have no desire to admit any responsibility or change that about themselves.  This is how they are.  Nothing can change that about a narcissist other than the narcissist being willing to improve their behavior.  And that, Dear Reader, is highly unlikely.

You also need to let the narcissist be who he or she is.  I don’t mean that you must “forgive & forget” or tolerate their abusive behavior.  What I mean is you need to recognize that the narcissist is who they are, & not try to change them.  This can be hard, especially when the narcissist is someone you love & want something better for them, but it is also necessary.  Trying to force anyone to change, even when the change is in their best interest, is a form of control.  If God Himself doesn’t force people to change, we as mere human beings certainly don’t have that right!

Part of allowing the narcissist to be who he or she is involves forgiving them.  I don’t mean forgiving them as in everything is fine now.  I mean forgiving them the same way a debt is forgiven.  Sometimes, you have to let go that someone owes you a debt they can’t repay.  You couldn’t expect your unemployed friend to repay you the $100 he owes you, right?  Along those lines, you also can’t expect a narcissist to repay you by showing genuine remorse for their behavior.  Lose that expectation.  It is quite freeing.

Do NOT acknowledge anything the narcissist says about you in a smear campaign or any attempts from others to get you to resume the relationship.  Anything you say or do in this situation will end up hurting you.  Why I don’t know but it seems as if any normal response when these situations happen proves to narcissists & their flying monkeys that you are exactly as terrible as the narcissist says you are, & that you need him or her in your life.

Living your life is also so important!  Live your life however you know is best for you.  Go to work.  Participate in activities that bring you joy.  Enjoy your healthy, functional relationships.  As time passes without the narcissist, you will feel more peaceful & grateful to be free of the narcissist.

Work on your emotional healing.  Leaving a narcissistic relationship is hard no matter how awful this person was to you.  You are going to feel guilt, shame, like you let this person down, like you were unreasonable, anger, sadness & more.  These emotions are normal!  Process them.  Take time to really feel them.  Write in a journal.  Cry.  Beat up pillows.  Take your time to grieve & feel whatever emotions you are feeling.  Do what you need to do to process your emotions & take good care of yourself!

Remember, whatever the narcissist in your life does, you still can have closure.  It may be a bit different than it is for most people, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  It just takes a slightly different course when dealing with narcissists.

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Some Information About Toxic Shame

Victims of narcissistic abuse struggle with shame, even when they don’t recognize that is the root of their struggle.  There are two main reasons for this…

Reason #1- Shame is an incredibly effective weapon which is why narcissists use it so freely.  It can reduce even the strongest of person to a mere shadow of their former self, which makes that person easy to manipulate.

Reason #2- Shame is also rather easy to put on someone.  Repeating the same message can drill it into someone’s mind.  Saying that message with certainty as overt narcissists do or with great disappointment as covert narcissists do helps drive the point home even faster.  During the shaming, victims seldom realize what is happening or later that shame is at the root of many of their problems.

If you have been in the position of having a narcissist put toxic shame on you, you’re not alone!  Not alone by a long shot!  And, for more good news, you can heal.  It will take some effort & time, but you can heal. 

As always, I recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, to help you to heal & anything else that comes to mind.  He will be glad to help you however you need.

You need to acknowledge areas where you feel shame.  Write them down if it helps you.  I have comprised a list to help you get started.  You never need to carry shame for…

  • Someone else’s actions.
  • Things that were done to you.
  • For having different likes, dislikes, values, ideas, feelings than someone else.
  • Prejudices against you due to your race, gender, religious beliefs, etc.
  • For things your family members have done.
  • For having needs or wants.
  • For having boundaries.
  • For needing help or support.
  • For struggling.

Once you identify the areas where you carry shame, they need to be addressed.  One thing that helps me to do this is to think logically & unemotionally about the problem.  I look at it objectively & ask myself if I have anything to be ashamed of in this particular situation.  If not, then why do I feel shame for it?  Looking at it this way helps me to see the toxic shame that has been put on me for what it is.  That makes it easier to release.

I find it also helps to ask God what the truth is in the situation.  Do I deserve to feel the way I do?  Have I done anything that warrants me feeling this way?  What is the truth in this situation?  His words speak life so His answers are incredibly freeing & eye opening!

Another thing that has helped me heal from shame is to identify who precisely put the shame on me, then to envision giving it back to them.  I know this sounds odd at best, but it can be surprisingly helpful.  I have envisioned myself holding a box containing all the toxic shame that has been put on me.  The box is ugly & even moving, so it’s pretty disturbing.. just like toxic shame.  I hand that box to the person who put the shame on me & tell them this is yours.  I refuse to carry it for a moment longer.  Narcissists refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, so even when I imagine this scenario, they avoid touching the box.  I say that is fine, then put the box at that person’s feet & walk away.  When I have mentioned this to other people, some have said they have done something similar. Some have imagined putting the box at the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified instead.

Toxic shame is a terrible thing, I know, & no one should have to live with it.  I pray that what I have said can help you to heal from the damaging effects.  God bless you!

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Simple Ways To Improve Relationships

Recently, I thought of a conversation my husband & I had a long time back. I told him how my dear friend & one of my aunts had similar bouts with cancer. They both suffered with it I think a total of 5 times each, & each time, when it went to their brain is when they died a fairly short time after.

Both my friend & aunt handled their similar situations very differently.

My friend was always a very loving & compassionate lady with a deep faith in God, but she those traits became even more pronounced as her health became frailer. A few months before she died, she mentioned via an email how Jesus carried her through it all & how grateful she was for everything in her life. She truly was an inspiration! She was also always happy to talk to me & encourage me no matter what was happening in her own life.

My aunt, however, was a different story.

While she said she was a Christian, I have doubts. During one conversation,, she mentioned how no one should be so “arrogant” as to assume God only allows certain people into Heaven & not every single person, no matter their personal beliefs. She also was extremely judgmental. If someone didn’t have cancer, according to her, they had no real problems & she didn’t want to hear them whine. Several times, she was very critical & invalidating to me of my problems, whether they were serious or trivial.

For the record, these changes happened in both of them well before any diagnosis of the cancer in their brains.

Although both ladies have been gone for several years, I still remember very well how each woman made me feel. My friend made me feel very loved & like time spent with me was valuable to her. My aunt? Not even close to the same. She made me feel as if all I did was whine about petty problems & was too stupid to recognize the only problem of the world was cancer.

This got me thinking about how people should make others they talk with feel. No functional person wants to cause other people to feel unloved, unheard, invalidated or other awful things. Yet, this happens every day. With or without intention, people say & do things that make others feel unloved, unheard & more. Following are some things I learned from my dear friend that I think are extremely important.

When spending time with someone, it is so important that they know you are present. What I mean is don’t listen to them talk while scrolling through your phone, looking at the television or the clock. Make eye contact. Respond to things they say. Show genuine empathy & care if they are telling you about a problem.

If someone is talking, don’t try to make the conversation all about you. Even if you understand what they feel or have been in an identical situation, it’s not always necessary to say that.

If someone is telling you about a problem in their life, even if you don’t understand why they’re upset, don’t be an unfeeling jerk by shaming them for their feelings. Ask if you can help somehow. Say things like, “I’m sorry to hear that!” or, “That is so unfair!”

Don’t give unasked for advice either. Many times when people confide in others, they simply want to vent. They will ask for advice if they need it. If they don’t, it’s safe to assume they have a solution in mind, so why try to give them one? Wait for the person to ask before giving advice.

When a person leaves a conversation, they should feel as my friend always made me feel – loved & valued. Small actions like I mentioned can make that happen, so please remember to do them.

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If Someone Hasn’t Proven Themselves Safe, They May Be Proving Themselves Dangerous

I was thinking about something not long ago. In October, 2017, my father died. His final twenty days, he was in the hospital, connected to a ventilator. We were no contact by this time, so my “family” decided that not only did they need to tell me this, they needed to harass & try to bully me into saying goodbye multiple times a day, every day.


I deleted & blocked access to the worst of the worst of my relatives, the ones who constantly bothered me. Some others I left the door open for contact. We remained Facebook friends & I didn’t block their phone numbers back then. Not one of them contacted me during that time or after my father’s passing.


At the time, I thought their behavior meant they were safe, but I later realized something. Although they hadn’t proven themselves to be completely toxic & unsafe, they also hadn’t proven themselves safe either.


In situations where you are unsure about whether or not a person is safe, it’s very important to figure the issue out!


Sometimes you simply don’t know a person very well, so they don’t feel comfortable discussing certain topics with you. In all fairness, that could have been the situation with my relatives. I never was very close with most people in my family, so I didn’t know them terribly well. Anyway the closeness or lack thereof in the relationship should be taken into consideration when attempting to decide if a person is truly safe or unsafe.


If the person in question is a relative, I feel it can be important to know their immediate family & the relationship they have with them. That can be very telling. In my situation, the people were part of a branch of the family that was pretty enmeshed with each other. No one spoke up to their mother. Whatever she wanted, thought or believed was right, period. In fact, I saw only one person stand up to her one time about what I thought was a trivial matter & oddly, she never said anything in return. The incident did show me how much anger this person had inside, though, which unsettled me.


If the immediate family of the person in question is dysfunctional, you can guarantee the person also will be. The type of dysfunction is very important. Someone can be dysfunctional but trying to heal & change while also being kind & gentle. Yet, other dysfunctional people can be oblivious to just how dysfunctional they are, & they live their life out of that dysfunction, causing pain & chaos to others. This is how my family members are. They think they are functional & pretend any past trauma never happened. They live in their dysfunction in a self righteous manner. A person who doesn’t face their own dysfunction like this is going to be toxic to others to some degree. They may be invalidating to someone who mentions past trauma, saying things like it wasn’t so bad or it’s in the past so you need to let it go. Or, they may be outright cruel & say or do whatever they can to shut that person down. Clearly, people like this are unsafe & need to be avoided!


Another thing to consider.. if the person in question is close to someone who is actively abusive to you, it’s a very safe bet whatever you say to them will get back to the active abuser. It may simply be said in passing without ill intent, or it may be very deliberate on their part. Either way, abusers have absolutely NO need to know anything whatsoever about the people they abuse. Chances are they will use the information to cause suffering to their victim. Even if they don’t, I believe their toxic behavior has caused them to lose all right to know anything about their victim. So, even if the person doesn’t show obvious signs of being toxic, at the very least, it is likely they will mention you to your abuser.


I hope these tips will help you to surround yourself with only safe, good people! xoxo

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Grieving A Narcissist After No Contact

It may sound bizarre, but going no contact with a narcissist can trigger grief.  Often very intense grief.  Chances are there were some good times together, some laughs shared, & some other enjoyable experiences.  Narcissists aren’t abusive all of the time, & during their times of not being abusive, can be really pleasant to be around.  (If that wasn’t the case, if they were abusive constantly, people would catch on to what they were much faster!)

Another thing to consider is that the narcissist is still alive when you go no contact.  As incredibly painful as it is to accept the death of someone you love, at least it’s natural because death is a part of life.  Grieving a still living person is unnatural & that alone makes that grief more complicated.

There also is the fact that just because someone is a narcissist doesn’t mean you don’t love that person.  Maybe the narcissist in your life swept you off your feet & wooed you as no one else ever has.  This made you fall deeply in love with this person & in spite of all the abuse, you still love that side of the narcissist.  Or maybe the narcissist in your life is a parent.  Children naturally love their parents, so in spite of it all, you can’t help but to love your narcissistic parent.

Ending a relationship with someone definitely triggers grief, even when that someone was horribly abusive.  It is an unavoidable fact of life.  However, many people upon ending their relationship with a narcissist are surprised & even embarrassed or ashamed of how they feel.  They didn’t expect to feel anything but relief at this time.  This conversation is for those of you who have experienced that.

The wisest thing you can do is to maintain a close relationship to God during this difficult time.  He cares so much about you & wants to comfort you!  Let Him!

Never judge your feelings.  Just accept them as they are, without judgment.  Judging them only leads to trying to stifle them, & stifled feelings are incredibly unhealthy.  Feelings demand to be acknowledged, so if they aren’t acknowledged in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways such as dysfunctional behaviors or health problems.

Also talk about your feelings either with a safe, non-judgmental person or by writing them in a journal or both.  Another person’s compassion & feedback can be extremely helpful.  It can bring you validation & comfort.  And, writing can help bring clarity that speaking doesn’t.  Writing about things can help you to learn & understand your situation.  Both can be valuable tools in healing. 

You also need to know that in this time of grief, many people won’t understand how you feel.  It seems like the majority of people think when you end a relationship, you don’t have any feelings for the other person anymore so ending it was no big deal to you.  Even others who have severed ties with narcissists can fail to understand.  Maybe they truly hated the narcissist in their lives, & assume everyone feels the same way.  Learning you don’t makes them think something is wrong with you rather than accepting you simply are different.  There also will be those who understand you are grieving but don’t see why it’s going on for so long.  They may think you are “over it” & treat you accordingly when you aren’t doing well at all just yet.  In any case, when people don’t understand how you feel, they may say & do foolish & hurtful things.  Whether their intentions are malicious or not, it may be wise for you to keep a bit of a distance from them for a while. 

Just remember, if you feel grief after going no contact with the narcissist in your life, there is nothing wrong with you.  Take care of yourself.  Process your emotions.  Be understanding & patient with yourself.  Grief is a process & although it’s an incredibly painful one, you will get through it. 

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Mother’s Day

I just wanted to share a little something for those of you with narcissistic mothers who struggle on & around Mother’s Day…

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About Body Dysmorphia & Narcissistic Abuse During Childhood

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance.  The flaws may be real or not.  A person with body dysmorphia also often avoids other people because of feeling such embarrassment & even shame over their flaws.  They also may seek surgery or other ways of fixing these supposed flaws in their appearance.  The solutions may only provide temporary relief, but often the anxiety over the flaws returns.

Body dysmorphia can result from abnormalities or injuries to the brain.  A family history of the disorder also can lead to a person being prone to developing it.  I believe it also can be the result of narcissistic abuse.

Negative comments about something can be hurtful.  If they are negative enough, they can make a person feel very self conscience.  Narcissists don’t simply say a few random negative comments periodically, however.  They frequently say the most scathing, cruel, vicious criticisms they can come up with in order to annihilate their victim’s self esteem, because a person with no self esteem is easy to control.  One area narcissists often focus on is someone’s appearance.

Naturally when a parent says such things to their child, the likelihood of that child accepting the criticisms as truth is greater than if those same words were spoken to an adult by a stranger.  Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, & children naturally accept what their parents say as true, even when it isn’t.  Children’s brains are still forming too, which also makes it easier for them to accept their parents’ words as truth rather than question them.

When a child of a narcissistic parent grows up, it’s very likely that they will marry a narcissist.  It’s also likely that the narcissist they marry will repeat certain patterns that their parents employed.  Insulting the adult child of narcissistic parents in the area of their appearance is a common phenomenon.

When I was growing up, my mother was extremely critical of how I looked.  While she never said the word “fat”, she implied I was extremely fat more times than I can count.  Looking back at pictures of me as a child now though I realize I wasn’t fat at all, I was a normal weight.

Later when I married my ex husband, he continued her abuse in this area.  He also never told me I was fat, but constantly implied that I needed to lose weight.  I eventually lost weight & was too thin, yet I still wasn’t thin enough for his liking.

My situation is far from abnormal among adult children of narcissistic parents.

If you have experienced this as well, know that you are far from alone!  Many people who have suffered with Body Dysmorphia after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

I never went to therapy about this because I didn’t realize it was something treatable through therapy, plus after bad experiences in therapy, I lacked trust in the mental health system.  This caused me to look for my own ways to conquer Body Dysmorphia.  While therapy is most likely the most effective way, I thought I would share my ideas anyway in case anyone reading this prefers to handle the situation on their own as I did.

During the time I was going through the worst of the Body Dysmorphia, I didn’t believe in God.  Prayer wasn’t going to happen.  I wish I had because no doubt God would have helped me so much more than anything I did without Him!  Please learn from my mistake & pray. 

Also, listen to what other people tell you.  I spent my entire life dismissing complements rather than accepting them with a simple “thank you.”  People don’t give complements easily.  Listen to what they say because they mean them!

Look at yourself objectively.  Ask yourself if what the narcissist said makes any sense.  Most likely, it won’t. 

When you hear the narcissist telling you about all of your flaws, question those things. 

Doing these things won’t make Body Dysmorphia disappear overnight.  Sometimes I wonder if it’ll ever vanish entirely since even years later, I still am quite insecure about my looks.  But, at the very least they will help you to feel much less insecure, & that isn’t a bad worst case scenario!

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15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.

My print books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Abusive People Side With Narcissists & Shun Victims

Several years ago, I posted something on my personal Facebook page that turned into a disaster.

The date was May 31, which is the day that my Granddad passed away in 2003. Each year in May, I get depressed because it’s been so difficult losing such a wonderful man. Some years I discuss it, some I don’t. One year, I mentioned it on Facebook & shared a few pictures of him. This simple act caused one of my relatives to be very angry with me. She left a nasty comment on my post for sharing this because she felt I was disrespecting my grandmother by not mentioning her, & only mentioning Granddad.

Think about this for a moment. It was the anniversary of my granddad’s passing. Doesn’t logic dictate that he was the center of my focus on that particular post rather than my grandmother? I adore her, but May 31 was more about Granddad in my mind & that seemed only logical under the circumstances to me. Besides, I mentioned her on her birthday, the date of her passing & my grandparents’ anniversary, so it’s not like she was ignored!

As if this relative’s reaction to my post wasn’t inane enough, it got worse.

The following May 31, I said nothing since I didn’t want to be attacked again. I didn’t think much about this until another one of my relatives (who happens to be a very malicious covert narcissist) mentioned it being the anniversary of my Granddad’s passing. This relative even shared the exact same pictures I had!! She also said similar things in her post as I had in mine the prior year! Her wording was almost word for word the same as mine. And yes, I compared our posts because I was reasonably sure she had copied mine! It was very shocking to me how she so obviously copied me, but what was even more shocking is the relative who the year prior chewed me out for being so “disrespectful” praised this person for doing the exact same thing as I had! She told this person how incredibly kind & thoughtful it was of her to remember Granddad & how much she loved her.

Frankly, the whole scene made me nauseous.

This type of scenario is very common in narcissistic families. The one who is honest about narcissistic abuse is shunned in so many ways by their own family for not conforming, for not being like the rest of the family & for being open about the family’s secrets. However, the narcissists in the family are treated so much differently! They are showered with love, support & encouragement.

If this is happening in your family, you aren’t imagining it. You aren’t over reacting. You aren’t being over sensitive for being angry about the insanity & unfairness of it. You are a person with a normal reaction to this dysfunctional situation. Unfortunately, for dysfunctional families with a narcissist (or more), their behavior is also pretty normal. Many people don’t have the courage to face the fact that someone in their family is an abusive monster or stand up for what is right. Instead, they side with the abuser. Standing up for what is right means actively doing things, like offering support to the victim & calling an abuser out on their actions. It is easier for cowardly people to side with the abuser. Besides, chances are good they will gain something from their allegiance to the narcissist. It could be favor with the narcissist or gifts or anything really.

All of this means that there is nothing wrong with you! It also is nothing personal, even though it feels that way. The problem lies with not only the abusive narcissist, but his or her flying monkeys as well. You are fine, they are not! Please try to remember that, & keep on telling your story!

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Being Over Sensitive To Criticism

I’ve noticed recently that I am way more sensitive to criticism than I used to be.  It’s not that I care what people think, but I care that people feel they must share their negative opinions with me when I didn’t ask for their opinions.

When I first realized this, I chalked it up to getting older & crankier.  In time though, I realized it’s not only those things.  I firmly believe it is because of having experienced narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists are most likely the most judgmental & critical of all people.  They must share any & all opinions of their victims they have at all times.  They favor negative ones in particular as a way to chip away at their victims’ self esteem since low self esteem makes a person easy to control & abuse. 

If by some chance narcissists think something positive about their victims, they won’t offer any praise.  They prefer to do much crueler things.  The best option is they simply withhold praise, but that seldom happens.  Instead, they prefer to claim responsibility for that good thing such as by claiming if they hadn’t pushed the victim, he or she never would have gotten that promotion at work.  Narcissistic parents also claim that their victim/child got whatever talent they have from that parent.  This means that when their child gets praise for something, the parent often says something along the lines of, “She got that talent from me.”

Another common scenario with narcissists is to twist the good thing in their victim around so it looks bad, thus ruining that good thing.  For example, many years back, before I decided to focus only on writing, I did some editing work.  I was blessed to work with one amazing client & mentioned the work to my mother.  That was a huge mistake, but at that time, I didn’t know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I mentioned my client & the work I was enjoying doing for her because I naively thought my mother would be happy for me.  She always fancied herself a skilled writer, & she was, but she never worked in the field.  I thought she might be happy that I was working in the field & enjoying myself.  Well, not only did she not share my joy, but a few days later she ruined mine.  She did this by saying she was thinking of getting into editing work because (& this is her wording), “it’s such easy money.  Obviously anyone can do it.” 

Narcissists also beat their victims down with criticism.  When my husband & I got together, his mother repeatedly told me how much she hated my car.  For years, I heard constant hateful comments.  Many times I wanted to tell her, “I know.  You hate my car.  You think it’s the worst car in the whole world.  There’s no need to keep telling me.  I figured out how you feel after the first 50,000 times you mentioned it!”

After going through these things for years at the hands of narcissists, I really think that no matter how much we may have healed, criticism is still a very tough thing for us to handle, even when we don’t care about someone else’s opinions.  We are burned out on criticism, negativity & cruelty.  We also had it drilled into us how awful we are or something about us is.  After years of this, we get to the point where criticism, unless it’s clearly well meaning & meant to help, is incredibly irritating.  So many times I have wanted to tell someone, “Your opinion wasn’t asked for & truly means nothing.  Why must you share it?  And, why do you think it’s ok to be such a disrespectful jerk?”

If this describes you, I so relate!  It’s frustrating!  I have learned the best way to handle criticism that is unasked for & unfair is to stop for a moment.  Inhale deeply then exhale to calm your mind & body.  Remind yourself that you are having a reaction to the narcissistic abuse, nothing more.  Also remind yourself that not all people have good social skills.  Some are very critical simply because they haven’t learned any better.  That doesn’t mean they are narcissists or are out to hurt you.  They are simply oblivious.  And, remember that just because someone is criticizing you doesn’t mean what they said is true.  Consider what they have to say, & if it’s wrong, disregard it.  If they are right, although it was a painful way to learn, you still learned something.  That is a good thing.

If you know the person who is critical, then you know if you can talk openly to them or not.  If you can, gently let them know how you feel.  They may have simply not realized how what they said sounded.  Or they may be struggling with something & took their frustrations out on you. 

And as always, remember to pray.  Ask God for wisdom & help in your situation, & He will provide you whatever you need!

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Forgiveness & How It Relates To Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

The Bible has many wonderful verses about forgiveness.  They are scattered throughout both the Old & New Testaments

There is a slight problem with these verses though.  It isn’t even the verses, but how verses are quoted by some people.  I’ll give you an example from my own life.  Years ago, my father was in the hospital briefly.  I did most of the communicating with the medical staff.  Some of the care he received was terrible & I was angry about it.  I was also frustrated because as his daughter, there wasn’t much I could do on his behalf.  That was my mother’s job & she didn’t seem to want to do anything.  One of my father’s sisters called me one day after an especially frustrating time at the hospital.  Upon realizing I was angry, she scolded me for being angry.  Said I need to let this go & forgive the people who caused my anger & do it NOW.  While I did that eventually, that was the lowest priority in my life at that time.  My anger helped motivate me to push the staff to treat him better & to push my mother to do what she needed to do as well.  It was also reasonable to be angry in that situation, contrary to what my aunt seemed to think.  Scolding me for responding appropriately didn’t help & in fact, made the situation worse in a way because then I was also angry with her.

This sort of scenario happens often with people who have been abused when they tell Christians about it.  I heard early in my Christian walk that I needed to focus on forgiving my parents & ex husband.  In fact, one woman told me, “I don’t know what your problem is.  God says forgive so I just do it.”  Talk about shame inducing!

It also doesn’t help that many people think to forgive someone always means you “forgive & forget.”  That is often the worst thing a person can do!

Forgiveness Scriptures are a wonderful thing, but unfortunately many people misunderstand & misapply them.

For one thing, to forgive someone doesn’t necessarily mean “forgive & forget”.  It can, of course, but for small things only.  Your best friend forgets your birthday should be one of those, especially if that person has a lot going on in their life & this is the first time it’s happened.  Applied to those of us who have been abused however?  Forgiving & forgetting is a terrible mistake!  Doing so only sets yourself up for further abuse.  It also doesn’t give the other person consequences for their actions, so they continue with their bad behavior not only with you but with others as well.  This is obviously NOT a good thing!

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.  It can, but it doesn’t have to mean that.  Regarding the narcissists in my life, I thought of forgiving them more like forgiving a debt.  When someone forgives a debt, that means they no longer expect the borrower to repay them what they owe.  In abusive relationships, the abuser does owe the victim at the very least an apology.  When you release the abuser from owing you that apology & whatever else they owe you, you have forgiven them.  You may still feel some anger towards them, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven them.  It means you released them from owing you anything for the suffering they caused.  In time, the anger will lessen, but it may not go away entirely.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because abuse should be something that stirs up anger in everyone!

Also, to truly forgive someone, you have to feel & process your emotions first.  Forgiveness can’t truly happen until you do that, I believe.  That process can take a long time sometimes, especially when a person has been abused.

Dear Reader, don’t let anyone shame you for not forgiving your abuser quickly enough.  I firmly believe that as long as you want to do that & are working on it, God isn’t angry with you.  He understands that you simply aren’t able to do it right this moment.  He will help you get there too.  All you need to do is ask for that help!

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About Praying For Abusers

Mathew 5:44 says that we are to love our enemies & pray for those who persecute us.  This really is a wonderful thing to do.  It helps you to release your anger at those people who hurt & even abuse you, which of course is a wonderful thing.  Anger is an awful burden to carry.  Plus, those who behave so terribly obviously need prayer because something is wrong with them. 

The problem is how some folks apply this verse.  Victims of abuse are often told they need to pray for the person who hurt them.  While that is true, telling someone that immediately after they have divulged their situation is probably the worst timing imaginable!

Someone who has suffered abuse really has a lot of issues to contend with.  Shame is usually one of those issues, since abusers often blame their victims.  Telling someone about it takes a lot of courage because of this, especially if the abuser & this other person know each other.  When someone does this & is immediately told that they should pray for the person who caused them such pain only adds to their shame.  Praying for that person isn’t what a person in that situation wants to do just yet, even if it is Scripture.  That can add to their shame because they are often told they’re “disobeying” God.

Telling someone in that situation to pray for their abuser is also very invalidating.  The victim’s pain is ignored & they are told to pray for the person who inflicted that pain on them.  It makes the victim feel as if they have no right to their pain, because praying for their abuser is so much more important.  A bit skewed true, but that is how that situation makes a person feel.

It also makes a victim feel like they are the problem, especially when they are still in the place of not wanting to pray for their abuser just yet.  It makes a victim feel like they are wrong & even un-Godly for not being able to pray for the abusive person.

Suggesting someone pray for their abuser too soon also can make a person turn away from God.  When you’ve been through an abusive experience & then tell someone, if that someone puts much more value on praying for the abuser than your pain, it can make you think God is that way.  He’s more interested in getting his way than your suffering or doesn’t even care about your pain at all.  No one should be made to feel this way, but it does happen, sadly.

Another potential problem this suggestion can create is anger.  Anger at God for wanting something that seems impossible.  Anger at people for preaching rather than offering gentleness & understanding.  Anger about the unfairness of feeling like the victim being assaulted while the abuser gets prayer.

Suggesting a victim pray for their abuser right away can cause that victim to be stuck in a painful, shame filled place.  Rather than push victims to pray for their abusers, they need compassion, validation & understanding.  They need love & security too.  Most of all, victims need time

If you look at Matthew 5:44 again though, while it does say we should pray for those who persecute us, it does NOT say we should do it right away.  I fail to see how there is anything wrong with focusing on healing for as long as it takes before praying for an abusive person.  In fact, I don’t think that should even be mentioned for a while to a victim.  They need to heal enough where they can hear such a message without anger or shame.  That sort of healing doesn’t happen quickly.  It takes time, & there is nothing wrong with that.  God truly understands these things & won’t be angry at a victim who can’t pray for their abuser quickly.

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

Thoughts On Being Comfortable With Who God Made You To Be

I recently had an interesting dream.  In it, I was at a concert of one of my favorite bands ever, Motorhead.  The dream was a bit odd since I’m not exactly a concert goer.  Watching them on TV is as close as I get.

When I woke up, I prayed then looked up what music & concerts meant on my favorite dream dictionary website, dreammoods.com.  According to the site, dreaming of a concert symbolizes unity & cooperation.  Very cool.. my husband & I were moving soon & the dream made me realize how well we’re working together to accomplish this.  Dreaming of music meant something different though.  The site said that dreaming of music depends on the dreamer.  Each genres means something different & if the genre is something you like, the music is offering you advice.  When I read this, it clicked in my brain immediately.

I’ve been a Motorhead fan for a long time, but in particular a fan of their late singer, Lemmy Kilmister.  In some ways he was your typical heavy metal musician.  But, in other ways he wasn’t & I always thought those ways were really interesting.  Not only was he highly intelligent but had a very unique personality.  He was fascinated by history.  Most of all though, he was unapologetic for being himself.  Not like a narcissist of course, just he had this attitude of, “This is who I am.  I like me.  Your approval isn’t required.”  Never having such an attitude myself, I admire & even somewhat envy it in others.

I believe my dream was trying to tell me that I need to share Lemmy’s attitude.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin & not caring what others think about you.  I realize narcissists try to make victims feel that way, but that doesn’t mean they’re right.  They don’t want victims to feel that way because an insecure victim with low, or better yet NO, self esteem is easy to control.  A person who is insecure doesn’t know what they want, think, feel & believe, which means they are going to be easily controlled.

Someone who has a healthy self esteem, however, is a threat to narcissists.  They know who they are.  They know what they want, think, feel & believe.  They are well aware of their boundaries.  Because of such things, they aren’t easily controlled or manipulated.  They may be briefly but they catch on fast, & put an end to being treated that way even if it means ending the relationship.

Anyway I don’t think the lesson in this dream was only for me.  I think it was for other victims of narcissistic abuse.  If it was for you too, I’m sure this resonates with you as it did with me.

I have tried to develop Lemmy’s attitude.  This is what I figured out about how to do that.

Naturally pray.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself.  That alone is eye opening!  I did that myself some time ago & was shocked at what He had to say.  He told me to research the personality of wolves, because that is what he created me to be like.  I assume because of being such an animal lover, that was why He used that example.  It was fascinating & so eye opening!  I never would have thought that is what God created me to be like.

Once you do this, remind yourself often of whatever it is He tells you about yourself.  Having the knowledge is a good thing of course, but reminding yourself of it often is what will get that knowledge inside of you.  This was where I made my mistake.  I didn’t focus on it as much as I should have, which is probably why I had the dream.  Learn from my mistake!  Think about what He said.  If it helps leave notes or pictures around your home that remind you of it.  Let this valuable knowledge get inside you & help you to blossom into the wonderful person He created you to be!

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