A Life Changing Experience Taught Me About Toxic Shame

Last Friday, something terrible happened to me.  During the day, I had my fireplace going, as I do most every day during the cold weather.  Friday though, something was different.  I ended up with carbon monoxide poisoning from the fire.  It was bad enough that not only do I not remember most of Friday, but at one point I passed out & hit my head bad enough to require staples & leave a trail of blood through my home.  Thank God that the furkids & I are OK & hubby was at work!  This could’ve killed us! I don’t even remember calling hubby, but I’m glad I did. It had to be God helping me to survive, me making that call.  Hubby called 911, they cleared the smoke out of the house & promptly took me to the ER.

One aspect of this entire terrifying situation that has been bothering me is that not only did I not want help, I didn’t expect any help.  Why didn’t I expect help?!  At the very least from the hospital staff- that’s why they’re there!  According to hubby though, I called just to gripe about the fireplace smoke & how I couldn’t get it to clear out of the house. (If you have a fireplace, you know things can get a little smokey sometimes, but this was well above & beyond that)  He said I was mostly incoherent, then said something about wondering where all that blood came from, which scared him enough to call 911.  Apparently I yelled at him not to do that, because I didn’t want to create some expensive medical bills.  Also while at the hospital, I was stunned when people were offering to do things for me.  And, since I’ve been home, I’ve been feeling incredibly guilty that hubby has been taking such good care of me & cleaning the house.

These things keep going through my mind & I’ve been wondering what is wrong with me about not expecting any help from anyone?  Then last night, I was reading Pete Walker’s book on complex trauma & my answer practically leaped off the page.  He was discussing how being emotionally neglected as a child can turn to fear, which can lead to toxic shame, which can lead to not asking for or expecting help, even as an adult.  This made perfect sense to me!  If you feel such toxic shame, you’re ashamed of who you are & everything about you- why would you think anyone could care enough to help you no matter what your needs?   Also, growing up, I knew I was my own responsibility.  I wasn’t to bother my mother with my “petty” problems.  She has complained for years about mothers day in 1986 when she was forced to take care of my father who had recently injured his back & me because I was on crutches with a bad foot.  It was such a bad day for her.  Her, not my father who could barely move, or me hobbling around on crutches.  For a long time, I felt so guilty for “bothering” her in that way.  I also felt guilty for upsetting her by getting a scalp laceration when I was 5 because she told me how hard it was on her when I got the stitches in my head.  I’m sure these things also helped to cement in the toxic shame.

Can you relate?  Have there been times that you have needed help & were shocked someone cared enough to help you?  Or, do you have a very hard time asking for help?  If so, please know that you’re not crazy & you’re not alone!  It’s just one more problem resulting from being raised by a narcissistic parent.

So how to deal with toxic shame.. that I’m still working on. I hadn’t realized how deeply it ran in me, so obviously I haven’t worked on it.  I’m going to share some of the things I think God wants me to do to help this problem, & maybe it will help you too.

As soon as I got home from the hospital, my husband started pushing me about sharing my feelings more with him.  I’ve never wanted to “bother” him with my feelings or when the C-PTSD flares up, because he has enough going on without my “petty” problems.  I honestly thought this was good, but apparently not.  Coming so close to losing me shook him up.  He realized he wants to know more of what’s happening with me & help me when possible.  This may be a good thing, I’m thinking.  Talking about things brings them into the light & they loosen their power.  Kind of like the old legends of vampires- in the dark, they were mighty, but in the light, they died.

I also had to realize that I had a problem.  If you don’t know something is wrong, you can’t fix it, right?  So once I realized something was wrong I asked God to show me what it was, & He led me to read about toxic shame.  Now that I know what is wrong, I can work on fixing the problem.

I’m forcing myself to step outside of my comfort zone.  At first, I was humiliated about getting sick.  I told my husband to tell no one, especially my parents, about this.  For some reason though, I felt God wanted me to open up about it (not to my parents- they’d just turn it around to how it affects them & I can’t handle that right now).   I didn’t tell anyone about it for 24 hours, then I started by telling one of my best friends via email.  The next day I shared the story in my facebook group.  Both my friend & the members of my group have been nothing but caring, loving & supportive.  This helped me to loosen the shame of this incident that doesn’t belong there.  (Posting this story in my blog is really, really stepping outside my comfort zone, so if this helps you, please let me know!  It’d help me a great deal to know that!  Thank you!!)

I’m also trying to address shaming beliefs.  With this incident, I’ve asked myself why was I ashamed of it?  Why did I blame myself?  I did nothing wrong, so why the shame?  I believe it stems from being a child, & my narcissistic mother saying how hard it was for her to take care of me when I was sick or injured.  That set up a belief in me that I shouldn’t inconvenience people with my sickness or injuries.

I hope this helps you, Dear Reader.  No one should live with toxic shame.  It’s a horrible way to feel, ashamed of so much about yourself.  You deserve so much better than that!  You are a good, wonderful person who should be proud of who you are!  xoxo

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Leaving The Past In The Past

So often, you hear people say the past needs to stay in the past.  In  other words, the past has no bearing on who you are today, so just pretend it never happened.  This bothers me- I don’t think that is true at all!

While I’m not saying we need to live in the past, the past whether it is good or bad, has a lot to do with who we are today.  Why not accept that fact?  Embrace the good parts of the past & learn from the bad.

I understand this can be hard for the adult child of a narcissistic parent.  Either you become so angry you constantly remember the bad things, or you have been through so much pain you want to forget you even have a past.  Or, you swing between the two extremes.  But please consider having balance!

Although the past was painful, there must have been some positive in there somewhere.  For me, it was my paternal grandparents.  They taught me a great deal about love & how to treat people.  They also loved animals & I learned how to not only love but also respect animals & care for them as well.  I also learned about cars from my father.  He used to be able to look at almost any car & tell you the year, make & model, & he taught me the same thing.  He also taught me some about engines & car maintenance.  And yes, some positive even came from my narcissistic mother.  She taught me how to crochet when I was five years old, & it’s a skill I still enjoy.  She also is an avid reader & instilled a love of books in me.

As for the bad in the past, good can come from bad as well.  For example, thanks to being raised by narcissistic parents, I’ve learned to be very sensitive to people.  I can tell when they are hurting even before they say it, & often know how to help them through their pain if they want help.  Being raised by narcissistic parents gives you a great ability to read people.  It also makes you caring, because you know what it feels like to be hurt, & you don’t want others to feel that same misery.  (Obviously, I can’t say I’m grateful for surviving narcissistic abuse as I’m sure you can’t.  I’m simply saying that something positive came from it)

If you can’t find the good, then ask God to show you.  While He certainly didn’t want anything bad to happen to you, He can bring good out of a bad situation.  He also wants you to learn & grow, & will be glad to help you do so.

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Mirroring And Narcissists

One common tool narcissists use is mirroring.

Mirroring is when a person pretends to share similar interests to you, or to feel & respond to things as you do, when the truth is they don’t share your interests, feelings or responses.  They also can mimic your non-verbal acts, such as smiling when you smile, crossing their legs when you cross yours.  Some even try to mimic personality traits, like empathy.  Since they have no empathy of their own, they watch how you display empathy, & then try to act like you in order to make you or others think they have empathy.

Pretending they are like you gives them a way to bond with you.  It makes you feel comfortable with them, because you believe you two are so much alike.  After all, most people prefer to be with other people who are similar to them.

Narcissists use mirroring in order to lure new victims into a relationship with them or to patch ones they have damaged.  The bonding that mirroring can form is a powerful tool, & narcissists know this all too well.  When you are close with someone, you want to believe the best of them, & you don’t want to confront them if they have hurt you.  You are more likely to let things slide if you love a person, whereas if an acquaintance did such things to you, you wouldn’t have a problem speaking up to them.

Although sometimes people naturally act like each other, mirroring is different.  In some cases, such as very close friends or couples who have been married for a long time, the closeness of their relationship means they automatically adapt some of each other’s traits & mannerisms over time.  It just happens without even trying.  Mirroring however, happens immediately, & being in a close relationship has nothing to do with it.

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Making Changes

Dear Readers, I just wanted to let you know that although I’ve been trying to post daily, I’m going to have to reduce posting to every other day, at least for now.  I’ve realized posting daily is too stressful for me.  The last six months or so of my life have been over the top chaotic, & even though things are calming down, I’m still feeling super anxious.  Naturally that anxiety makes the C-PTSD flare up.  (Yay me.. not.)  So, I need to start practicing what I preach & taking better care of my mental health.  One way to do that is to reduce stress so unfortunately that means reducing blog posts a bit.  I’m sorry about this, & hope it isn’t permanent.  I also appreciate your understanding.

As always, please feel free to suggest any topics you might like me to write about in this blog.. I’m always up for suggestions.  You can comment on this post or email me anytime at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

Also, if you wish to meet others who have survived narcissistic parents, you can go to my private forum at: http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/  or you can join my closed facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/  Both have privacy settings in place, so what you stay remains within the confines of the forum or group, & only other members can see your comments.

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Strength Isn’t Always What You Think

It seems like so many people believe being strong is about shaking things off, ignoring things as if they don’t bother you, not showing negative feelings & the like.  This can be extremely discouraging to hear when you have survived abuse, because you’ve always been told to be quiet, don’t tell people what happened to you, don’t be a baby- that wasn’t a big deal & similar things.  Once you realize you’ve been abused, you want to start to talk about it, & to express your feelings for the first time.  Yet, people make you feel as if you’re weak for being that way.  I believe those people are absolutely WRONG.

Sweeping things under the rug & ignoring your feelings aren’t strength.  In fact, I find them to be very weak.  It doesn’t take any courage at all to ignore something or to stuff your feelings inside, just a desire to do so.

Facing things, however, that takes strength & courage.  It isn’t easy to face painful things!  It hurts!  But, the good part is it dealing with things loosens their painful grip on you.  Ignoring those painful things, however, means you will feel pain for as long as you refuse to deal with them.  Better to suffer for a short time than indefinitely!

Feeling your feelings takes a great deal more strength than ignoring them.  I grew up ignoring my feelings.  I knew they had no value to those around me, so I figured they must have no value- why share them with anyone?  As a result, even to this day sometimes I have trouble expressing them out of fear of being mocked or invalidated.  Even writing things in this blog scares me quite often for those reasons.  It takes great courage to be willing to be vulnerable, especially in a society where people condemn any feelings other than happiness.  I’ve learned that I feel much more peaceful when I can share my feelings instead of hiding them, even if it’s only writing about them in my journal.  Feelings demand to be expressed, the good & the bad ones.  Holding them in makes you miserable, & can lead to all kinds of health problems- high blood pressure, kidney or heart disease, arthritis & more.

If you’ve survived abuse, please don’t let dysfunctional people tell you that being strong means stifling your negative feelings or pretending the abuse didn’t happen!  You have every right to feel how you feel & to acknowledge the abuse!  If you’re already doing these things, then please be proud of yourself!  You are brave & strong!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  Many people who try to silence others don’t have the courage to face their own emotions & painful pasts- don’t let them drag you down to where they are!  Instead, hope that by you being so brave, you will inspire them to find their own courage.

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Are You A Doormat?

Growing up with a narcissistic parent often means being a doormat when you grow up.  People seem to have no problem mistreating or abusing you, & are surprised if you don’t tolerate it.  It’s very strange, as it seems like they sense that you have been used & abused, & believe it is perfectly acceptable to treat you that way.

Some signs you are a doormat are:

  • Accepting blame for things that aren’t your fault.
  • Apologizing for things that aren’t your fault.
  • Accepting the unacceptable from others or even justifying their bad behavior.
  • Accepting responsibility for others’ moods.
  • Feeling invisible.
  • Avoiding confrontation.
  • Constant fear of hurting others’ feelings even when your have been wronged.
  • Ignoring your own feelings to accommodate others.

If this describes you, you are not alone!  In fact, I believe most adult children of narcissistic parents are this way.

How do you stop being a doormat?  First, learn all you can about boundaries.  You need to know what is & is not your responsibility, so you stop accepting too much responsibility. It is not only beneficial for you, but for others as well.  It truly doesn’t help others to be constantly rescued or coddled.  Certainly, occasionally, we all need those things, but they should not be a way of life.

Also, focus on your own emotional healing & mental health. The healthier you are, the less likely others are to use you.  They will know you aren’t easy to manipulate.  Plus you will recognize their attempts to mistreat you, & not permit it to happen by enforcing your healthy boundaries.

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Narcissistic Friendships

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, many of us raised by narcissistic parents are narcissist magnets, meaning we attract narcissists.  Lucky us, I know.. lol  I’ve had quite a few of them in my life, & have learned some things about narcissistic friendships.

You have to accept the fact that narcissists don’t want to change.  Things work for them, so why should they?  So what if others get hurt along the way- that doesn’t affect the narcissist so it isn’t important to the narcissist.  Personally, I think the chances of a narcissistic friend changing for the better are even slimmer than that of a narcissistic family member.  A family member you have a chance with (albeit a very slim chance), because the relationship is closer.  A friendship?  They can always find another friend..

The narcissist is your friend for a reason, & that reason is self-serving.  You have something that person wants from you.  Most likely it’s some form of narcissistic supply.  They want you to keep them propped up by telling them how awesome, talented, beautiful, exceptional, etc they are, or they want you to listen to them ramble on incessantly, or maybe they want you to be available anytime to do favors for them.  In any case, the friendship is not mutual- you can’t count on this person to be there for you no matter how devastating the problem you have.  Don’t expect anything from the narcissistic friend.  Ever.

If you want to end this friendship, be boring.   I learned a few years back with my narcissistic mother in-law that if I only gave her short answers, she got mad with me, but also couldn’t do anything about it. For example, she always wanted details about my family- details which she used to hurt me with at a later time.  So, I stopped providing details. If she asked, “How is your grandfather?”  I said, “Fine.”  Nothing interesting about that answer!  It eliminated much of her verbal abuse because she had no ammunition.  I do the same with my narcissistic mother. And, with a “friend” I once had?  She didn’t use information I gave her against me- she simply wanted me to listen to her ramble on without bothering her with petty details about my life.  It was ALLLLL about her.  She called me at least once a day to talk, not caring what I was going through or what I had to do. I started answering her calls at random, only if I felt I could deal with her.  Then, I would change the subject to something other than what she wanted to talk about, preferably something about me.  She began calling less & less as she realized I wasn’t providing her supply as she wanted me to do. I still listened to her, but not nearly as much, & contributed some information of my own to the conversation. It didn’t provide the supply she wanted & she obviously became bored with my conversation quickly when it wasn’t about her.  As a result, she called less & less.  Narcissists thrive on drama, stimulation & narcissistic supply- deprive them of those things & they will lose interest in you.  Quickly!  Many will end a friendship when you become “boring” enough.

If you want to end the friendship, & opt to tell them so, be prepared for fallout.  Normal people, you can tell  that things aren’t working out & they will accept that & move on, albeit grudgingly.  Not so with a narcissist.  You have to be aware that telling them to stay away from you could end up badly for you.  The friend I mentioned in the previous paragraph?  Although she got bored with me, she didn’t end the friendship completely.  I ended up telling her I wanted it to end, & she harassed me for well over a year, off & on.  In fact, I’m still not positive it’s over although all has been quiet for a few months.  Her pattern has been once things are quiet for a while, suddenly she starts up again out of the blue.

Narcissists can handle love or hate, but not apathy.  If you show a narcissist you don’t care about her, that what she does doesn’t phase you, it is possible things may get ugly.  If you go on with your life just fine without the narcissist, they don’t like that.  They may stalk you on social media, email you, call or text you, in the hopes of gaining a reaction from you.

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Are You A Narcissist Magnet?

Does it seem like not only are narcissists everywhere, but they all find you & want to be your friend or romantic interest?

I’ve felt that way myself.  I’ve had so many failed friendships with people I later realized were narcissists.  I probably would’ve had more failed romantic relationships with narcissists as well if I wasn’t so particular about who I dated before I got married.  So many times in my life, I’ve felt like a narcissist magnet- if there’s one within ten miles of me, they will find me quicker than a bloodhound on the trail of a rabbit..

And, it’s not just me.   Many other people I’ve talked to share this experience.  This made me wonder why do some of us keep ending up with such dysfunctional, abusive people in our lives?  I came up with a theory…

Like me, the other folks I’ve talked to who have had many narcissistic relationships also were raised by at least one narcissistic parent.  This means they learned very early in life to behave in a certain way- to work hard to please others, not to ask much (anything, really) from others in a relationship, to tolerate abuse, to offer much praise & no criticism.  These behaviors are extremely pleasing to narcissists, so upon meeting people who behave that way, narcissists are instantly attracted.  They then begin their own version of “love bombing.”   Love bombing is when a narcissist inundates their prospective “love interest” (more like victim..) with loving gestures- romance, gifts, words of love & praise, wanting to take care of the love interest financially or rescue from a bad situation.  Narcissistic friends do this minus the romantic aspect.  They  listen to you, pretend to share things in common with you, & more to draw you into a relationship with them.  Once you’re in though, the mask comes off & the true person is revealed.

So how do you avoid attracting narcissistic friends & romantic interests?  Get mentally healthy!

The more mentally healthy you are, the less able narcissists are to use & abuse you, which is an incredible turn off for them.  While many narcissists enjoy the challenge of destroying someone who is strong, empathetic, & intelligent, they do like someone who can be molded into whatever they want.  An mentally healthy person won’t let that happen.  She knows her boundaries, & enforces them strictly.  She also recognizes dysfunctional & abusive behavior quickly, & won’t tolerate it.  Being mentally healthy is more valuable than having a high IQ when it comes to deterring abusive people from wanting to be in a relationship with you.

I’ve seen this come to pass in my own life.  The more mentally healthy I’ve become, the less interested in me narcissists are.  I seldom find any interested in talking to me for more than a short time, let alone pursuing a friendship.  Plus, I usually can spot them a mile away now, so when I realize the person I just met is a narcissist, I’ll have fun with them.  I’ll change the subject off of them, their interests, etc. onto  something else.  Preferably me, since narcissists have no interest in talking about anyone other than themselves.. heehee!

Something else has come from being healthier too- not only do I attract less narcissists, but I attract more mentally healthy people!  I honestly can say right now that I do not have ONE abusive &/or narcissistic friend in my life.  My friends are caring, compassionate, intelligent & generous.  If we have a disagreement, we can work things out, even if we never come to agree.  We know it’s OK to agree to disagree.  We don’t always share many similar interests, but we do respect each other’s right to be interested in what the other is interested in without judgment.  We often think very much alike & share similar religious beliefs.

I’m not saying attracting narcissists in your life is your fault, or that you have to be completely mentally healthy & over the narcissistic abuse to have good friendships.  Not by any means!   Please don’t think that is what I mean at all!  It’s still completely on the narcissist that they seek out victims.  And, once you start recognizing & failing to tolerate abuse, things will change naturally.  Abusers will start seeing you as an unavailable target & seek another victim.

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Discrediting The Victim- A Common Phenomenon

No matter what type of abuse or trauma you have suffered, often discrediting you, the victim, happens.  Often by outsiders who say ridiculous statements such as…

“Well if you wouldn’t have worn that short skirt, you wouldn’t have been raped!”

“If you had just been a little nicer to him, your husband wouldn’t have hit you!”

“Your mother did the best she could-  you need to understand that she had been abused.  She just didn’t know how to raise you, so you have to forgive & forget.”

Even more frequently, the person who perpetrated the abuse works hard to discredit you.  Narcissistic parents are especially good at doing this.  They tell others they are concerned about you, because you have been acting strangely, you have a vivid imagination, you’ve been making up stories, they did the best they could do by you, but you were always a difficult child & more.

Publicly stating that the victim is not a victim, but instead the problem helps to convince others of that fallacy.  The narcissistic abuser has great conviction when lying- people who aren’t extremely close to her rarely doubt her stories, especially if said under the guise of concern for her child.

This works well for the narcissistic mother, as she is able to convince people quite easily that her child  is the problem, thus turning people against her child & supporting her.  People then will look down on or fail to believe the child if she openly discusses the abuse or tries to stand up to or set boundaries with her narcissistic mother.  I experienced this myself in my teen years. My mother’s friends had once liked me, but as the abuse escalated & I tried to protect myself, suddenly those friends no longer liked me.  They barely even spoke to me or made eye contact with me.

Discrediting the victim also serves to make the victim question herself rather than the abuse she has come to believe is normal.  There were times in my teen years I felt as if I was going crazy.  My mother told me I was crazy anyway, even threatening to have me committed many times. That along with acting like & saying I was the problem caused me to doubt my sanity more times than I can count.

Also, another benefit for the abuser of discrediting the victim is that all eyes are on the victim, not the abuser.  The abuser can do anything she likes, because no one will notice.  They are too focused on how bad, wrong, crazy, etc. the victim is.

If you fall victim to this, please know you are NOT alone!  This is a typical tactic of narcissistic abusers.  It does NOT mean that you are to blame.  Instead, it is just one more sign that this person is the problem, & that this person  is evil.  After all, only an evil person would blame an innocent victim instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions.

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Fixing Your Narcissistic Parents’ Problems- Not A Good Idea!

Boundaries are  a very necessary part of life.  Having them means you are free of the need to please others or take care of things that should be another person’s problem.  They are especially helpful for those of us raised by narcissistic parents since we grew up with very vague or even non-existent boundaries.

Even after you’ve learned about having healthy boundaries, & put what you learned into practice, sometimes it can be hard to maintain those boundaries though, especially with narcissistic parents.

I spoke to my mother yesterday.  She mentioned how she & my father rearranged the living room furniture.  Knowing her, this means she told him what to move & where to put it.  And, knowing him, this means he blindly obeyed her.  Normally, I figure if he’s willing to obey her & not stand up for himself, that’s his problem.  However, this time it bothers me.  He is now 77 years old, & had back surgery just before last Christmas.  he should NOT be doing things like this!!  But, this isn’t a first.  Part of the reason he needed the back surgery in the first place was lifting something very heavy he shouldn’t have been lifting, only because my mother wanted it moved.  Why they didn’t ask my husband or I for help, I don’t know…

Times like this can be very difficult for the adult child of narcissistic parents.  Old habits tend to want to kick in & you want to fix things or take care of the parent that is being pushed around.  However, this is NOT a good idea at all. Fixing things simply enables the dysfunction to go on while drawing you into the middle of it.  Chances are it will go on no matter what, so why put yourself in the situation?

I know it’s hard, but remember- it is that parent’s choice to do what he/she is told to do or not.  That parent is most likely trying to avoid a narcissistic rage by doing whatever they are doing.  While this is understandable to a degree, it’s still not good.  Yet, it’s still his/her decision to obey rather than take a chance on standing up to their narcissistic spouse & maybe ending the control.

It is NOT your place to rescue him/her!  Your parent is an adult, & needs to take care of his or herself, just like all adults do.  Everyone’s actions & choices are their own responsibility, & each person needs to reap the consequences of them, good or bad.  Do not allow your parent to draw you into the position of standing up for him/her to the other parent!

Often, the parent needing rescuing is a covert narcissist.  Does this parent portray him or herself as a martyr or at least as someone innocent in all of the problems in his/her relationships?  Does he/she come across very naive, innocent & in need of frequent rescuing?  Here is a link that explains some of the differences between over & covert narcissists:  Overt vs Covert Narcissists

Do you really want to get drawn into that dysfunction?  No, you don’t.  If you’re having trouble with not getting involved, remember how it has hurt you when you’ve been in this type of situation before.  Remember how hurt you were, how badly you were treated.  I’ve had to do this myself since I’ve been in the situation many times.  It’s a horrible position to be in.  It makes you feel used, angry, resentful & hurt at how quickly you’re discarded once the problem is solved.

Remember, you deserve better than to be treated as a “fixer.”  Most narcissistic families have a “fixer,” someone who is the one who is supposed to fix everything.  To the narcissists, the fixer is nothing more than a tool to be used, taken out when needed, then put back on the shelf.  Don’t you believe you deserved to be treated better than a hammer, screwdriver or flashlight?

This type of behavior is a part of emotional incest.  Emotional incest, covert incest or parentalizing are all terms used to describe the same abusive behavior.  When I child is put in a position of an equal or a partner to the parent, that is emotional incest.  Being expected to listen to a parent complain about a loveless marriage or sex life, talk to another person (usually the other parent) on the parent’s behalf or providing emotional support to the parent instead of the parent getting it from their partner, friend or family member are all examples of emotional incest.  While this may not sound so bad, its effects can truly be devastating to the child.  She grows up feeling overly responsible for other people, often becoming involved in co-dependent or abusive relationships.  She grows up very anxious, depressed & constantly feeling guilty.  You do NOT deserve to be abused like this!  Put a stop to it immediately!  Refuse to listen if one parent complains to you about the other or to get involved in their arguments.  Emotional incest is detrimental to your mental health, & you need to protect yourself from it!  You deserve that!

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