Anticipation Stress

During a conversation in my Facebook group, I mentioned how for years, my father would call me later in the evenings, up to 10 sometimes, usually just to complain about my mother.  Emotional incest isn’t the best way to end your day!  Plus, being an introvert & talking to people a lot during the day, nights are when I want to avoid people.  I want to relax with hubby, maybe some music, tv, or a craft project. I also get up early & don’t want to be awake at all hours.  I explained this to my father & although he said he understood, he clearly didn’t.  Not only because he lacked empathy but also because he was very extroverted.  He continued his calls until I was at my wit’s end with it.

As a result, one evening, he called at 9:58.  I decided to ignore the call.  He called back several times during the next twenty minutes.  About half an hour later, one of my cousins who lives 450 miles away called.  I almost ignored it because I had a feeling my father put him up to this.  Since he never calls so late, I thought what if this was the one time something is actually wrong?  I answered the call & found out it was my father’s doing.  He called my cousin asking him to call me & have me call my father.  We got into an argument because I refused to call him that night.  The next morning, my father called before 7.  He shamed me for not taking his call & blamed me for making him worry so much that he had to call my cousin & my in-laws.  I was livid yet in spite of that & knowing he was being manipulative & controlling, I felt guilty.  This was on top of already feeling anxious because he clearly thought he had the right to “barge into” my home anytime he wanted via the phone.

This happened in late 2014.  The conversation in my group about this incident made me think of something… I wonder if me having such trouble falling asleep is connected to my father’s upsetting late evening calls.  It could be that my brain still expects my phone to ring at any & all hours to deal with a very stressful conversation.  Logically I know it’s impossible.  My father passed away in October, 2017.  I have no other narcissists in my life, so there isn’t anyone left who would do this to me.  Yet, it happened for a long time & I naturally became “programmed” to expecting late & upsetting calls. 

The dear lady I was discussing this with came up with the term anticipation stress to describe my situation.  Thinking about it, I believe this anticipation stress is pretty common with victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists can be quite unpredictable & they use that to keep their victims on a state of constant high alert.  The more a person is in that state, the more willing they can be to do anything to end this misery.  This means they are more susceptible to being controlled & doing the narcissist’s will.

Even if the narcissist is no longer in the victim’s life, when something miserable happens repeatedly like in my situation, the brain may get stuck in a place of expecting some sort of stress.  It seems to me it’s somewhat like hyper-vigilance.  With hyper-vigilance, you’re constantly looking for signs of any potential danger.  Anticipation stress is somewhat like that, except instead of danger, it’s a stressful & unpleasant situation. 

Unfortunately at this time, I don’t know how to release this anticipation stress, but I absolutely will share anything I figure out!  In the meantime, I hope it helps you to understand what is happening if you are going through something similar.

Sister Renee of Luke 17:3 Ministries is the lady who coined the term “anticipation stress”,  so I’d like to provide a link to her website.  Please check it out.  She is an amazing lady who shares a lot of true, Godly wisdom on the topic of narcissists & surviving their abuse.


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

24 responses to “Anticipation Stress

  1. Anji Prater

    Thanks for sending this over. Your post is so well written and really makes you think about the depth of the abuse cycle. I never thought about that before but it makes sense. It’s just one more way to try and take you off course and to try and steal your peace. I’m sorry you went thru all that. Your dad was being manipulative, selfish and totally disrespectful by doing this to you.


    • Thanks girlfriend!!

      It really is amazing how much there is to abuse. There are so many layers to it, yanno? So many tactics to cause so much confusions & stress.. just amazing!

      Thank you.. yes, he was. And I’m sure you remember how mad he was when I had enough.


  2. Yes! Been here many times. My insomnia stems from my mother’s unpredictable behavior. I’ve always thought that.
    5+ years of no contact and I still feel the “doom feeling” every now and then. Narcissists really do play on that. They love keeping you in suspense especially if it’s about them and the trouble they’re in or their pain.
    It does go away with time, somewhat, but is a pattern ingrained.
    So is this why I deal with some hyper vigilance with my kid’s safety?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sorry you know this all too well! ❤

      They really are good at instilling things in their children aren't they? Anything they want to, they can it seems. Then we're stuck with the aftermath of trying to remove the nonsense.

      I'm not sure if that's why or not you are that way with your kids' safety. It certainly seems like it could be. I've heard it said that those who were abused growing up sometimes try to protect their children as a way of saving themselves, almost like reliving their childhood & doing it the way they wished it would have been. Do you think that could be the reason behind it? I don't know.. just throwing the idea out there for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Makes perfect sense. Thank you for the link as well. God Bless and have a gloriously freedom filled day!! Namaste


  4. Good morning, Cynthia. Anticipation stress… that makes a lot of sense!

    I had forgotten, until I read this, that my dad used to call me late at night sometimes, to either complain or brag about his life. He didn’t do it a lot, thankfully. Probably because he had my younger sisters to also do that to.

    Emotional incest, definitely. I remember being a toddler, not yet old enough to go to school and still the only child, and how my dad would hold me on his lap after he and my mother had an argument. He would cry and say “At least YOU still love me, don’t you, Linda? Even if nobody else loves me, YOU love me.” My mother would look all angry but not say a word. I remember that it made me feel very nervous and uncomfortable, even though I was too young to understand why.

    I wish I could go on your Facebook support group. But I left Facebook about 9 years ago, thanks to the flying monkeys in my family leaving horrible comments about me that would show up on my FB page. It was horrible! ‘Linda Lee’ isn’t my real name. I would love to have a Facebook account using my pen name, but I know FB doesn’t allow that, unfortunately.

    Thank you, Cynthia, for being here and giving us a great alternative to Facebook! Also, thank you for the very kind comment you left on one of my posts recently about my daughter being very sick. I wanted to reply to your comment, but I was too distraught to reply to any of the comments on that post. I am much calmer now, but it seems kind of weird to go back and reply to everybody, so many days later. Anyway, I don’t know why I feel calmer — it must be because of everyone’s prayers. My daughter’s covid-19 test came back positive and she is still very sick. I am praying so much for her and her boyfriend to get well, I worry that God may be getting tired of hearing me!

    I will check out the link you posted. The name is familiar, I may have been friends with her years ago when I was on Facebook. God bless you, Cynthia. You are a tremendous blessing to me. ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning to you too!

      Doesn’t anticipation stress make sense?! Another piece of the puzzle…

      I can so relate to your story about your father after he & your mother argued. My mother did the same thing to me. It probably doesn’t sound all that bad to the average person, but when you’re a small child, that is incredibly upsetting! I’m so sorry you went through that! ❤

      I understand about FB! There is a way though to have your profile set so no one can find it. Not on FB, not google, not anyway. You might want to look into that… my best friend has hers set that way & only her friends can see her. No one else can find her on there. Unless someone happens to see her profile if she posts in a group, she remains hidden. She doesn't belong to many groups outside of mine, so she has all the privacy she wants.

      Also, I have it set up with my pen name, too. (My last name is legally Rug, not Bailey-Rug.) I don't think they're terribly picky. One of my friends used the name Michelin Man but they made him use his real name.. lol That was painfully obvious. But if you used your pen name with a last name, I doubt it'd throw up any red flags. Linda Smith, maybe?

      Hope I don't sound like I'm trying to force you on FB.. just throwing some ideas out there that I thought might help.

      I'm so sorry your daughter tested positive! That is scary.. no wonder you're praying so much! Her boyfriend is positive too I assume? They're in my prayers too!!

      I hope you like her site.. I really believe it's the best one out there on the topic. Renee is incredibly wise & such a wonderful lady

      Thank you also for all you said… I recently was telling God I'm done. I'm sick of thinking about NPD all the time. Sick of hearing people's situations that trigger my own awful memories or even flashbacks. Sick of it all!! I asked Him for either the OK for me to quit or encouragement for me to continue. Your comment is one of a few I've gotten lately that encouraged me so thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you said!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you SO MUCH, for everything you said here!!!

        Your very last comment made me cry. Oh, dear Cynthia… I really, really, REALLY don’t want you to stop blogging! However — even more than that, I want what is best for YOU. If you feel that you would be healthier and happier if you stop, then please do what is best for your health and happiness. ((HUG))

        Liked by 1 person

        • aww… I’m sorry for making you cry! But in all fairness, you made me cry too so there! LOL

          Thank you so much for what you said earlier & in this comment. ❤ After more prayer & consideration I really think my problem is how absolutely terrible I am at self care. I need to get better at that, not give up writing. How to get better I'm not sure yet… it's like I keep hearing all these people in my life who called me lazy saying it again when I try to do something for myself like take a break. If I get that figured out, it'll be another blog post! lol

          Liked by 2 people

          • Oh man… I was called ‘Lazy’ All The Time when I was a kid. Which wasn’t true at all, but that was my momster, projecting HER genuine laziness onto her number one scapegoat. Grrrr. I still hear it in my head sometimes, said in an alliteration with my name, as though it were part of my name.

            Please do take care of yourself. Remember, even Jesus pulled away from the crowds at times to rest.❤❤

            Liked by 1 person

      • ibikenyc

        I heartily second what Linda Lee said! Of course the main thing is for you to take care of yourself.

        I would miss you dearly ❤


    • ibikenyc

      {{{{HUGS}}}} to you for having to endure that ❤

      It sounds horrible I'm so sorry.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. ibikenyc

    Anticipation Stress: Walking-On-Eggshells’ evil twin, and flashbacks’ best friend.

    Thank you for your “netting out” of this.

    Liked by 1 person

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