Category Archives: Christian Topics and Prayers

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What The Bible Says About Tolerating Narcissistic Abuse

I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month.  This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of  narcissists.

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?

 

It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God.  What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says.  If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.

 

If you think that I’m just overreacting,  consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…

 

Matthew 10:34-37  (MSG) (emphasis added)

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” 

 

Reread the part I underlined.  “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”  That’s pretty clear, don’t you think?  God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!

 

For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say.  God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you.  He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)

“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4  (AMP)

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”

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

Writing About Narcissistic Abuse, part 2

There is one thing I’ve noticed that sometimes happens with people who write about narcissistic abuse.  They become smug.

 

As an example, I’ve seen conversations online where someone has recently learned their mother is a narcissist.  She’s naturally overwhelmed & relieved, as all of us in that position have been.  She finds someone who writes on the topic & follows them on social media.  This author responds to her comments by telling her “Just go no contact.  I don’t know why you’re dragging your feet about it.  I did 8 years ago & it worked fine for me.”

 

Thankfully, I haven’t seen this scenario often, but I have seen it. No one in this position needs shaming, especially at this time.  She needs understanding, compassion & information!  She also needs time to let this newfound knowledge sink in before she can even think about making such a huge decision as no contact.  Learning your mother is the abuser & you’re the victim rather than the other way around is a shock.  It takes time to accept, & that is the first step in healing from narcissistic abuse.

 

If you write about narcissistic abuse, there are times it can be frustrating when you’re speaking with someone in an abusive situation who isn’t making moves to protect themselves.  Once you’ve been there, done that & found freedom from your abuser, you often can see what would be the best course of action for other people in similar situations to take.  It can be very frustrating that they either can’t or won’t see it too.

 

If you get angry or smug in those situations, you may be dealing with burnout or compassion fatigue.  When you write about narcissistic abuse, you pretty much live & breathe narcissism.  People tell you their stories, you do research, & you work on your own emotional healing.  Chances are good you also have C-PTSD.  Narcissism is a huge part of your life & you get tired of it.  Although you want to help people, sometimes you want to never think of this topic again.  When people tell you their stories, you can feel indifferent to their suffering & their need for good information.  That is a big sign of compassion fatigue.  It isn’t that you don’t care.  You do.  You’re simply burned out & need a break.

 

Compassion fatigue is common in helping professions such as those in the medical field, caregivers, counselors/therapists, or law enforcement.  It’s very evident by how they interact with people.  Have you been to a doctor who acts like you’re bothering him with your health concern or seen a caregiver in a nursing home who is testy with the patients?  That is compassion fatigue.  Thankfully, it’s fixable.

 

When you realize that you feel burned out & even indifferent to people’s problems, it’s time to take action immediately.  Take a break.  I don’t mean 15 minutes away from what you do.  I mean as much time as you can.  If you run an online forum, find someone who you know you can trust who can watch it for a few days.  If you write a blog, I highly recommend writing many blog posts that you can schedule to publish so if you need a break, your blog continues on as normal in your absence.  If you’re working on a book, stop.  Take time away from it.

 

Once you’ve decided to take a break, spend your time doing things that nurture you.  Pray, spend time in nature, snuggle your furkids, watch funny movies or listen to music.   And, do NOT think about narcissism!  If you have flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts, I know this is a challenge since those things have a mind of their own.  If they happen, deal with them as usual & once that is done, resume not thinking about narcissism.

 

Also, reevaluate your boundaries.  You can’t help everyone- you aren’t God!  That’s ok!  Instead of trying to help everyone, pray with or for them.  Remind them that they need to pray as well as read their Bible.

 

Reevaluate how you spend your time.  Find where you can cut back on obligations, & do it.  This will give you more free time which is so vital to your mental health.

 

Pray.  Ask God to show you what changes you should make & how to make them.  Ask Him to weed out the people in your life that aren’t good for you & that you’re not good for, so you have more time for those that are good for you.

 

Writing about narcissistic abuse can be incredibly difficult, I know.  It is possible though when you don’t neglect yourself.  Good self care will make you a better writer as well as a happier person.

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A Little About Two Special Moms In My Life

The last couple of days have been difficult for me.  Lots of flashbacks & anxiety have been happening.  When I said something to my husband about it the day before Mother’s day, he said “Mother’s Day is coming.. that has to be it!”  Honestly I don’t know if that’s my problem or not, it sure could be, but anyway….

 

Part of one of my recent flashbacks was about when I was learning to drive.  I told hubby that my ex mother in-law taught me more about driving (including driving a stick shift) than my parents did, yet both of my parents always took credit for teaching me how to drive even though they barely taught me anything.  He said, “I think you should give your ex mother in-law a shout out!  She did a lot of good things for you.”

 

Although my ex mother in-law died in 2010 & this post is going to publish a day after Mother’s Day, I agree.  I also thought about another mom figure in my life who was so special to me, so I’m giving her a shout out too.  I pray God allows them to know about this because they both deserve to know the big positive impacts they had on my life.

 

A very big thank you to my awesome ex mother in-law!!  I appreciate the many things you taught me like how to drive & especially how to knit.  I appreciate the encouragement you gave me when I was learning things & your faith that I could do these things.  I also appreciate the fun times together, like going to craft & thrift stores, & your help picking out my first sewing machine.  (Even though I still can’t sew, I appreciate a nice machine like that little beauty!)  I appreciate all the laughs & your fun sense of humor, especially since it was pretty twisted like my own.  I appreciate your love, support & lack of judgement.  I also appreciate you trying to protect me from my mother when we lived together.  I wasn’t used to anyone doing that & it was a very nice surprise.

 

Most of all, a big thank you for being a wonderful example of your faith & praying for me.

 

I’m sorry our relationship ended on a bad note & for the things I did wrong.  I still remember the good things often & am so grateful for them.  Thank you for everything, W.  You’re very loved & missed.  xoxo

 

My other mother figure was a dear friend I called my adopted mom.  We met on a crochet message board & clicked.  She was a wise, beautiful, gentle, loving, compassionate person with a powerful & inspiring faith.  When I had an argument with my folks or just a rough day, she was the one I wanted to talk to.  She always knew what to say to make me feel better.  She also didn’t sugarcoat things- if she believed I was wrong, she’d tell me.  She was free with her praise & kind words, but still told the truth even if it wasn’t pretty.  She was also the one who got me started reading about Antisocial Personality Disorder which led to me learning about narcissism.  We had many laughs together, mostly talking about our furkids who we both adored.  She was an inspiration & one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.  Her death in 2009 still hurts, but I know I’ll see her again one day.  Thank you for the years of friendship, love & laughs, K!  xoxo

 

Those of us with narcissistic mothers know that a good mother is a beautiful gift.  If you have a wonderful mother figure in your life, please don’t wait til it’s too late like I did- let her know how much you appreciate her now.  She’ll love to hear what you say & it’ll make you feel good to tell her just how special she is to you.

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

I saw a meme on Facebook earlier today.  It said, “Write as though your mother will never read it.”  Considering what I write about, I liked it.  I also realize many of you who read my blog either currently write about the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through or are considering doing it.  This meme made me think of sharing a bit of encouragement for you today.

 

I know writing about the worst, most painful experiences in your life isn’t easy.  It’s hard writing out your experiences.  Seeing them in black & white makes them more real & can make the pain of them even worse.  There is something good about this pain though.  It’s also validating, seeing your traumatic experiences in writing.  You get the validation you never got.  You can’t minimize your suffering or deny that the experiences were horrific when you see them in writing.  Writing also can help you to process the trauma in a way speaking about it doesn’t.  While you’re writing to help others, you’re also helping yourself.

 

Writing about the abuse inflicted on you also can be intimidating.  What if your abuser reads it?  That thought can be utterly terrifying.  It was for me at first.  I worried what would happen if my parents learned I was writing about the abuse inflicted on me as a child?!  How would they respond?  Could I cope with it?  How?  Would they try to sue me for libel?  Would the flying monkeys attack me?  A million awful questions ran through my mind.  After time & prayer, I finally was able to ignore those questions.  I began to trust that God would not only allow me to write about whatever He wanted me to, but He also would enable me to deal with any fallout from my parents or flying monkeys.

 

You can trust Him to help you too.  You also can use some common sense ways to protect yourself.

 

  • You can use a pen name.  Many authors have written books under a pseudonym to protect their identity.  If you’re writing a blog rather than books, you can avoid using your name entirely.  You can name your blog something like, “Daughter Of A Narcissistic Mother” or, “My Ex Is A Narcissist”.  Many bloggers use this method of protecting their identity, & it seems to be quite effective.
  • You can change the names of people in your writing.  As an example, don’t refer to your narcissistic brother Steve by his real name.  Call him Paul instead.  You also could change the relationship.  You could say he’s your cousin rather than your brother.
  • Never give specifics in your writing.  Don’t mention your abuser’s address  obviously, but also don’t mention the name of the town they live in.
  • Always remember what libel is & write accordingly.  According to the Cornell Law School, libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
  • Stick to the facts only.  Tell your stories in a matter of fact way, leaving emotion out of it wherever possible.  When your emotions are vital to the story, you can say comments like, “When my abuser did _____, it made me feel _____.” If you come across angry in your writing or calling your abuser names, your writing could come across as libelous.  Sticking to a matter of fact way of telling your story avoids that.
  • If you’re considering writing your autobiography, you also can write it as a fictional story rather than non fiction.  Change some details around to make your fictional story a bit different than your real story.

 

Regarding your abuser & possibly flying monkeys reading your work, with any luck, they won’t.  I was fortunate in that my parents didn’t care to read my writing.  In fact, my mother told me it was nothing but a waste of time.  Not everyone is that fortunate, however.  If this happens, remember what I’ve said before about protecting yourself from these attacks.  Block the narcissist’s & flying monkeys’ access to you in every possible way.  Document their abuse in case you need it in the future.  Save screen shots, emails & texts to some type of cloud storage or email it to yourself rather than simply on your phone or computer so it’s protected against failing electronics.  If they create a smear campaign against you, don’t react to it.  Your reaction won’t change the minds of anyone who wants to believe it & the narcissist & flying monkeys will claim your reaction is proof that you are what they say you are.

 

If you feel led to write about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, it may not be easy but I can promise you that it will be very rewarding!  I wish you only the best!  xoxo

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Leaning On God, Even With Dealing With Narcissists

Two  years ago yesterday was a big argument with my parents.  The biggest ever.  That’s saying something because there have been some very ugly fights over the years.

I knew something ugly was brewing.  My husband’s mom died 5 days prior, & he’d warned me there was an obituary in the local paper that my parents read religiously.  I knew they would call about it, & I figured it’d be  something like, “she was such a lovely woman” & other nonsense.  My parents knew perfectly well that I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002.  I’d told them that she was cruel to me (a covert narcissist), & they only met her twice.  I didn’t think her death would be of any major concern to them.  Comments praising her supposed sainthood were expected, & that was it.  I did NOT expect the huge blow up it turned into.  In fact, I’d prayed when I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID, asking God to help me behave & not blow up.  That didn’t happen.. I blew.  I blew big time.  When both of my parents made it clear that they were mad at me for not telling them she died so they could go “pay their respects”, I blew.  I felt betrayed by that, & by the fact they didn’t understand why I felt betrayed.  I spelled out my feelings & they didn’t get it.  (I don’t know why I even wasted my breath doing that when I know better.)  I remember each of my parents defending themselves, & I kept saying things like “you know how she treated me”.  They responded the same.. “But that’s Eric’s MOTHER!”  I always responded with, “But I’m YOUR DAUGHTER!”  Nothing.  They said absolutely nothing in return to that, as if that fact was unimportant & the only thing that mattered was that this person was my husband’s mother.

What was odd is after I hung up & was praying, I knew God wanted my parents to see me that angry.  I started out saying I was sorry for how I acted.  I’d yelled at & cussed at my parents!  That was awful & I was so sorry for not letting God lead my behavior.  He said it’s ok- they needed to see their normally calm, reasonable daughter livid because of what they did (I’m still not sure why exactly).  This argument also opened the door for no contact.  I finally felt the time was right after wanting to do it for over a year & knowing in my heart the timing wasn’t right.  My mother gave me the silent treatment anyway for standing up to her, so that was easy.  My father was tougher since he always demanded I talk to him whenever he wanted, no matter what I had going on.

It’s strange the way things worked out for the best in spite of how much that incident hurt me.  Good came from it!  It taught me to trust God more, since He clearly helped me that night to accomplish what needed to be done.  He truly knows best & it’s amazing how He guides you when you let Him.  It also helped me to realize I can stand up for myself, which is something I never felt well equipped to do.

I guess my point in sharing this, Dear Reader, is you really can trust God to enable you to do whatever you need to do, & that includes standing up to narcissist.  I know, that is incredibly difficult to do.  But, it’s also very possible.  Trust Him- He won’t lead you wrong!  He’ll give you the words you need to say as you need them.  He’ll give you strength & courage.  He’ll help you to be quiet when the timing is wrong for standing up to them & help you when the timing is right.  God is truly a loving, caring Father.  He always has your back!  xoxo

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Boundaries Are Important, & Not Only With Narcissists

Boundaries are a very important part of life, but perhaps even more so in victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists don’t allow their victims to have any boundaries.  This creates victims who think they aren’t allowed to have boundaries not only with the narcissist, but with everyone.  Lacking healthy boundaries sets a person up to be used & abused.  Even the kindest, most well meaning people can inadvertently take advantage of someone without good boundaries, because the person doesn’t say no.  How can anyone know what they’re asking someone to do is a problem if that someone doesn’t say no?

Boundaries are like the fence that surrounds your yard.  They show you where you end and other people begin, & what is & is not your personal responsibility.  Your emotions, beliefs, desires & behaviors are your responsibility.  Likewise, the emotions, beliefs, desires and behaviors of other people are their responsibility, not yours.  You do not even need to have an opinion on these things.  If they are hurting you or are being self-destructive, however, Ephesians 4:15 says that you may speak the truth to them in love about the issue.

No one can control someone with healthy boundaries.   You will show others that you have confidence & self-respect, & that you love yourself enough to take good care of you.

By learning about boundaries, you will quickly learn what is & is not important to you, therefore you know what you need to confront another person about, & what you can let slide.  You will be more sensitive to the early signs of resentment or anger that let you know that your boundaries are being violated.  It is best to nip things in the bud, rather than to let the problem continue until it is much bigger.

Boundaries also enforce consequences.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Often, many people try to interfere with this natural law to avoid painful consequences, however, doing that often causes bigger problems.  Boundaries allow this reaping to take place because you know that it is not your place to interfere.  People need consequences for their actions, good or bad!  How is someone who does good things for others benefited by never receiving recognition or a reward for their good works?  That person becomes discouraged, potentially even bitter.  Or, what good does it do anyone to say or do anything they want, & never suffering when they cause others to suffer?  This person learns nothing, nor does she have any opportunity to grow and mature or grow closer to God.

When you first begin to set boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish or uppity, or they may ask what happened to the “good girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept & respect your new boundaries with no problems.  Unsafe people will not.  If others cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.  Setting boundaries is a very good way to learn who is safe & who is not.

For your first step in getting started on boundaries, I strongly suggest you spend some time asking yourself these questions, & really think about your answers:

• What things am I no longer willing to tolerate from other people?
• What things do I need from other people?
• What boundaries do I need to set in my own life?
• How can I enforce them in a healthy way?

When setting your new boundaries, be very decisive about them. Wavering in your boundaries can lead to problems, such as others not not respecting your new boundaries.

You also need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries. Some simple phrases that may help you are:

• “I’m not going to do that.”
• “I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
• “You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
• “If you don’t stop talking about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room, etc).”
• “No.”

Enforce your boundaries with consequences when necessary.  Hang up the phone, leave the room, or whatever your consequence is.  If you do not enforce your boundaries, people not only will lose respect for the boundary you are setting, but they will lose respect for you as well.

Remember to respect the boundaries of others too.  You may need to write down what you are & are not responsible for regarding others in your life.  Everyone is entitled to the same things that you are- lack of judgment on their own emotions, beliefs, desires, & actions.  And remember- you are also not responsible for the feelings & well-being of others.  People are also allowed to freely express their emotions.  While you may offer sympathy, it is not your responsibility to make things all better for them.  If you have done wrong by them, however, then it is certainly your place to apologize & try to make it up to them for the pain you caused.

You will need to tailor this information to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time in their lives are, do it anyway!  The benefits of boundaries outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel less burdened & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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My Newest Book Is Available!

I have just published my newest book, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies.”  As the title suggests, the book is about when a narcissistic parent dies- what the adult child can expect to experience & feel, ways to cope, flying monkey attacks, & things to think about such as should you be involved in caregiving, should you say good bye or attend the funeral.

 

It’s available in print & ebook form at the following link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

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Caring For Elderly Narcissistic Parents

1 Timothy 5:3-8  “3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  (NIV) 

 

Elderly narcissistic parents are often even more entitled than their younger counterparts.  For their children, this can be an incredibly painful position to be in.

 

Many adult children of narcissistic parents feel they have no other option than to be their parents’ caregiver, even at the cost of their health & their own family.  After all, we can’t forget Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NIV).  Then there is 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (KJV)  Doesn’t this all mean you have to be hands on with your elderly parents, no matter what?  NO!!

 

I do NOT believe that God wishes His children to take care of their narcissistic parents no matter the personal cost.  That doesn’t sound like the God I know!

 

First, to honor your parent simply means to give them the respect they deserve as the people who created you.  You acknowledge them as your parents.  You speak to them civilly, not rudely or disrespectfully.  Honoring them does NOT mean tolerating their abuse.  It also doesn’t mean that you neglect your family to take care of your parents.  If you opt to take care of your parents in a hands-on way, you can honor them by helping them as much as you feel able without wearing yourself out or neglecting your family.

 

Also, remember 1 Timothy 5:8 says that you must provide for them.  You can provide for your parents in various ways, not necessarily being “hands on”.  Arranging for help to come to your parents’ home is a great way to help them & provide for them.  Researching local resources for whatever help they need is providing for them.  Paying for things your parents need yet can’t afford but you can is providing for them.

 

As your parents become elderly & need more assistance than they once did, you need to prepare ahead of time as much as you can.  Even if your parents are still relatively young, start to look towards the future now.  You never know what can happen.  Things can change in an instant, so you need to be prepared.

 

Start praying & asking God for wisdom & insight on what boundaries you will need to set when the time comes as well as strength to enforce those boundaries.

 

Read up on the topic to see what others do with their elderly narcissistic parents, & honestly ask yourself what you can & can’t do.  There are plenty of informative caregiver websites out there.

 

Most libraries are a wealth of information.  The library near me has a ton of pamphlets & booklets near the entrance on various services in the area, including information from the local Department of Aging.  I found a booklet there for seniors’ resources.  It includes information on cleaning services, in home health care, assisted living facilities, contact information from the Department of Aging, & much more.   Your library may have a similar booklet- it’s worth checking into.

 

If you’re going to be involved in caring for your narcissistic parents, it’s best to learn as much as you can about what’s happening with their health.  Narcissists love to exaggerate their illnesses, & you need to be aware of what the truth is & what they are making up.  Read up about their conditions online or talk to their doctors without them around.

 

If something needs to be done to help you to help them, stress how this will help them.  Leave out how it will benefit you entirely, & make it sound like it will help them only.  In my own caregiving experiences, I’ve noticed that saying that something will help me falls on deaf ears.  Saying that same thing will benefit the narcissistic parent however, gets the narcissist’s attention.

 

In fact, don’t discuss anything about you as much as possible.  If an elderly narcissist knows you’re not feeling well or are tired, they will push you to do more & more as they can get away with it.  Wearing you down gives them some sick pleasure.

 

When you set boundaries, do so as cheerfully as possible & with no explanations.  As always, any information these people get can be turned into ammunition they will use to hurt you with.

 

It is possible to keep your sanity in tact while caring for a narcissist.  Keep in mind everything you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, set & enforce boundaries, don’t neglect yourself or your own family for your parents & most of all, keep God first in your life.  Depend on Him completely to help you do such things & show you what to do, when to do it & how to do it.

 

If you opt to keep your distance, then try not to feel guilty.  If you know in your heart that you can’t be a more hands-on caregiver, there is no shame in that.  God only asks people to do their best, nothing more.  Sadly, some people are so incredibly toxic, there is just no way to interact with them on a daily basis.  It happens, unfortunately.  If your parent is that way, you have done nothing to feel guilty about by protecting yourself.

 

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Life

Three years ago today, I suffered the most terrifying trauma of my life. I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. My husband & I didn’t know it that day, but apparently somehow a bunch of debris suddenly gathered behind my chimney’s flue, pushing it slightly closed. Not enough to smoke up the house when the fireplace was lit, but it was just enough to fill it with carbon monoxide after hubby left for work.

As seems to be my new February tradition, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this recently. Coming close to death definitely makes you reevaluate your life. Plus the damage to my brain changed my personality a great deal, which is actually a good thing in some ways. I’ve gotten better at self care & not tolerating abuse among other things, so I’m still getting to know this new me & what I want & need.

One thing that I realized that I need to remind myself of frequently is life can change drastically or even end in an instant. (I certainly didn’t wake up on February 27, 2015 expecting to nearly die that evening or that it was going to be the first day of a new life full of weird health problems & a lot of brain damage.) I think it’s an excellent idea to life life without regrets, because you don’t know when or how your life will change or even end.

I realize living every day like it’s your last isn’t quite possible. You still have a job, housework, budgeting, family obligations & what not to consider of course. But, I think it’s an excellent idea to get in any joy in life where you can, to do things you want to do or try new things as often as possible. Even little things can make a big difference. Go for a drive without a destination in mind & blare your favorite music on the radio. Grab a milkshake once in a while. Buy a new color of nail polish (one of my favorites) or dye your hair a fun, funky color. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, why you love them & do it often. Make time for a hobby you love or pick up an old hobby you once abandoned. If time is an issue, look over your schedule & streamline it. I have a routine for my housework that helps me to maintain a clean home with spending the minimum amount of time on it. Doing a little almost daily is easier for me than doing a lot a couple of days each week since I run out of energy quickly. It also allows me more time available for writing, hobbies, spending time with friends or whatever I want.

It seems to me that society values being busy, but that just isn’t healthy or conducive to enjoying every moment in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being productive 24/7! Even God took a day of rest after creating everything, & then told His people to do the same! (see Genesis 2:1-3) He did NOT create people to be non stop busy. He created people to work & also to take time to enjoy their lives. When you get to the end of your life, don’t you want to think about what a well lived life you had & not what a busy one you had?

Another thing society values that I realized isn’t healthy is being overly positive. Yes, positivity is good. It can help you avoid depression. However, being too positive can set you up for disappointment. Did you know many people who commit suicide are known for being optimistic? They became depressed when they were repeatedly disappointed.

Being too positive can set you up for feeling shame, too. If you’re very positive yet end up feeling negatively or unable to find good in a situation, it can make you feel terrible shame. That’s not good! If you know very positive people, you also know you can’t tell them you’re sad or disappointed, because they’ll make you feel ashamed of yourself. They’re not people you can be real & honest with, & that’s not good either!

I’ve found I have much more peace & less stressful being realistic. Sure, I look for the good, but I’m also not ashamed for getting depressed, angry or disappointed sometimes. I’m also not ashamed to say sometimes, things just stink & I can’t find anything positive in the situation.

Another thing to consider… your relationships. While soul searching after my awful experience, I also took the time to evaluate the relationships in my life. When I realized that through the complete delirium of the poisoning, I still had the sense to tell my husband as soon as I saw him never tell my parents about this, it was a huge wake up call for me. I knew anyone who wouldn’t care that I nearly died couldn’t be a part of my life, & they wouldn’t have cared. I also realized some friends weren’t good for me or at least they weren’t what I wanted in a relationship. The relationships were too one sided & some didn’t even care about what I experienced. Saying, “You’ll be fine”, “But you didn’t die!” or “Glad you’re ok.. so anyway *subject change*” after such an experience showed me how cold & uncaring these people were.

What about your relationships? If, God forbid, something terrible happened to you, could you count on the people in your life being there for you? Would they be care about your pain & suffering or would they brush you off? If they wouldn’t be there for you, then it might be time to consider whether or not you really want them in your life. You deserve good, loving people with whom you can have an equal & loving relationship. There is nothing wrong with refusing to settle for less than that!

John 10:10 is beautifully said in the Amplified translation: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus died not only so we could spend eternity with Him & have a relationship with God the Father, but also so we can enjoy life while we’re alive here on this planet. There is no good excuse not to enjoy your life! You deserve it! Jesus obviously thought so too! So why not start thinking about ways you can add more joy to your daily life?

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Being Judged For Not Having Children

I admit it.. I have another big pet peeve: people who label those of us without children as selfish.  After seeing a post on Facebook a little while ago that labeled someone else without children as selfish, I thought I would write a blog post about it.

 

Many people quickly judge people without children.  I’ve been called selfish, immature, told “the reason you don’t want kids is because of your mother” & also told I’d regret not having children one day.  None of that is even close to the truth, as is so often the case with those without children.

 

Some things to consider before judging are…

 

  • Maybe a person doesn’t have children because either she or her mate are infertile.  Infertility is an extremely painful thing for couples to experience.  It’s especially cruel to judge & criticize these people for not having children!  You’re plunging a knife into their hearts when you do that!
  • Some people don’t have children because they grew up in a dysfunctional environment & realize they don’t know how to be good parents.  If you grew up in an abusive or at least dysfunctional home, it’s hard to know how to be a good parent!  How is it selfish for someone who doesn’t know what it takes to be a good parent not to have children?
  • Some people always have felt more comfortable in the company of adults.  That is also me.  I preferred the company of adults, even as a child.  There are  a surprising number of people like me.
  • Not everyone can relate to children.  Some people who may not have spent a lot of time around children when they were growing up or were the youngest in their families may not be able to relate well to children due to not a great deal of experience around them.
  • Not wanting children doesn’t mean a person hates them.  A common belief for those of us without children is that we hate kids.  Sadly, some folks do feel that way.  That isn’t always the case though.  Personally, I don’t hate kids.  I just can’t understand them well.  Big difference between that & hating kids.
  • And, people who don’t want kids aren’t selfish!  We have given this serious consideration before coming to the decision not to have kids.  Another common misconception of childless folks is we’re just selfish jerks.  Nope.  We have given the topic of children a LOT of thought!  I even tried talking myself into wanting kids several times in my life, but it never felt right even as I said I wanted kids or dated men who wanted them.

 

If you speak with someone who doesn’t have children, please consider the things I’ve said & don’t judge or criticize them.  Everyone has different callings on their life.  Not every person feels called to be a parent.

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What It Really Means To Do Something For Someone’s Own Good

Romans 15:2  “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”  (NIV)

One of the most common yet stupid things said to Christians in the situation of having a narcissistic parent is how you’re not a good Christian let alone son or daughter if you don’t do everything your parents want, right down to tolerating their abusing you.

Truly, some people have no concept of what it truly means to honor your parent.  They also must have missed Romans 15:2.  Take a moment to read that Scripture again…

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

See that?  “..for their good…”  That doesn’t mean to do blindly for someone, it means to do things that benefit them.  Doing whatever your narcissistic parent wants doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is best for them.  Narcissists care more about what feels good at the moment than what is genuinely good for them.

So what is “for their good”?

  • Taking your elderly narcissistic parent to the doctor when sick.
  • Helping your parent by cutting their grass when their lawn mower is broken or washing their clothes when their washer is broken.
  • Buying them something you think your parent would like just to be a blessing.
  • Setting & enforcing boundaries.
  • Saying no.
  • Going no contact.

 

The last three items were pretty hard to consider good, weren’t they?  They really are good though, & I’ll tell you why.

 

All three of those behaviors are about boundaries, & boundaries are a VERY good thing.  Boundaries show others how you wish to be treated & gives people the option to treat you accordingly or not without forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.  Boundaries encourage good behavior while helping you not to be responsible for someone else’s behavior, feelings, etc.  In short, boundaries are a very loving behavior.  Granted, narcissist don’t see them that way, but it’s still true. (If you’re interested, I have a free “Boundaries” book study course & article about boundaries on my website.)

 

Saying no is also a good boundary behavior because nobody needs to go through life without being told no at some point.  Getting one’s way creates spoiled, entitled people with no regard for others (sound familiar??).  Narcissists don’t like to be told no, & will do whatever they can to avoid it, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear no.  The more they hear it, the less they will demand of you.  This works well for you & at the same time, teaches the narcissist that you won’t tolerate being pushed around.  A very good thing for the narcissist to learn.

 

No contact also can be for someone’s good sometimes.  No contact should be the final step after trying to work out the relationship, & often, sadly, it’s very necessary with narcissists.  It can be good for narcissists though, because it shows them they simply can’t go around abusing people & expecting them to tolerate it indefinitely.  Also, you never know- maybe with you not in that person’s life, God will be able to reach her & help her to see the error of her ways.  Sometimes it takes having people out of a person’s life for them to turn to God.  (Granted, that is extremely rare, but with God, all things are possible.)   No contact also removes the opportunity for that person to sin by removing you to abuse from her life.  These things are all for the narcissist’s own good.

 

Doing something for someone’s own good never means giving someone whatever they want or tolerating abuse.  These never benefit anyone!  If someone suggests otherwise, they clearly have no idea what it means to love someone God’s way.

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Praying For Others Can Be A Blessing

Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October.  (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now.  It’s quite a story!)

 

Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot.  One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.

Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible.  She’s a narcissist.  We all know how they are- they know best about everything.  This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception.  In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”

*sigh*

 

This can be very discouraging.  On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement.  While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well.  Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father.  James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  (KJV, emphasis added)  

As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.

I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do.  Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….

 

Matthew 5:43-48  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (KJV)

 

I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol  They certainly weren’t mine for a long time.  Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me.  Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them.  As time passed though, it got easier.  Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more.  At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning.   And you know something?  It’s not hard to do anymore.  In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off.  Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.

Praying for these people is something I look forward to now.  Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever.  Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.

It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people.  I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work!  Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore.  (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation.  It means I released the anger I felt at them, period.  Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)

I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them.  Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life?  I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010.  She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are.  Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends.  There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me!  That to me is heartbreaking!  And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well.  So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them.  You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life!  I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.

 

I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it.  Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life.  If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!

 

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Rape In Marriage

**Obviously this post is about a sensitive topic.  If you have been sexually assaulted, this may be triggering for you.**

A topic rarely discussed yet is a huge problem is marital rape.  It’s certainly an ugly topic, & it definitely makes people uncomfortable.  Many people don’t even believe it’s a real thing, because they wrongly think if you’re married, your spouse can’t rape you.  Unfortunately marital rape also is a common phenomenon, especially among those married to narcissists.

Narcissists are the ultimate in selfishness, as anyone with any experience with one knows.  They expect everything to be their way, including sex.  Some narcissists use physical threats & violence to take what they want, others use guilt or shaming.

When a narcissistic spouse uses guilt or shaming to fulfill his sexual desires, this often goes unrecognized as abusive by the victim.  The problem is, it’s still as abusive as if he’d held a gun to your head.  It doesn’t matter if he’s your husband- no one should force you to have sex through either physical force or by using mind games!

The legal definition of rape means forced sexual contact against someone’s will.  It doesn’t say it only happens between strangers or only when a lethal weapon is used.  Rape can happen between married people, & does every day.  Rape often happens because the weapon of choice was a husband telling his wife, “If you loved me you would do this for me” even knowing it will cause her physical &/or emotional pain, yet not caring about that.  I have been in that position as well as having certain activities forced on me & both are incredibly difficult to cope with.

Some folks may even quote the Bible regarding this topic, but often it is taken completely out of context.  The first part of 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, ” The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband…”  (NIV)  The verse actually doesn’t end there, however.  And, the first 7 verses of this chapter in the Amplified translation clearly explain the point the apostle Paul was making: Now as to the matters of which you wrote: It is good (beneficial, advantageous) for a man not to touch a woman [outside marriage]. But because of [the temptation to participate in] sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have [exclusive] authority over her own body, but the husband shares with her; and likewise the husband does not have [exclusive] authority over his body, but the wife shares with him. Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control. But I am saying this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all the people were as I am; but each person has his own gift from God, one of this kind and one of that.” (AMP)  Obviously, rape is NOT God’s will.  These verses prove sex is God’s will to be a part in a loving marriage.

Sex isn’t supposed to hurt either physically or emotionally.  It isn’t supposed to be one sided or forced or something that forces someone to compromise one’s values.  It’s supposed to be two people who love each other giving & receiving pleasure & joy.  If only one person is enjoying it while the other person is miserable, that is wrong & abusive!

If you’re married to a narcissist, & this is happening to you, I’m sorry.  Rape is a horrible, horrible thing.  When done to you by someone who is supposed to love, cherish & protect you, it may be even worse than when done by a stranger because now you also have to deal with the feelings of betrayal.

If at all possible, please, PLEASE get away from your abusive spouse!  (If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you know I don’t like to tell people “just go no contact” since I believe it’s an individual’s choice.  So, if I’m recommending getting away from a narcissist, it’s because I firmly believe it’s the wisest thing to do for your own safety!)  Look into marital rape laws in your area & press charges.

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists End Up In Abusive Relationships

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists End Up In Abusive Relationships

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“Just Let It Go!”

People say, “Just let it go!” all the time to those who have been through bad experiences or abuse, but what do they really mean?  I think many people who say that don’t say it to try to help you.  Instead, I think they really mean, “Stop talking about it.  It makes me uncomfortable!”

 

Unfortunately, this statement can make a person feel ashamed of themselves for being unable to “just let it go.”  They feel like something is wrong with them, or maybe they’re a bad Christian when the truth is, they’re simply human.

 

The fact is, most people just can’t “let go” of pain.  It’s not that we want to hold onto it at all- we have no choice in the matter.  It’s kind of like a splinter.  You can’t wish it away or let it go- you actually need to deal with it to get rid of it.

 

If you really want to let something go, once & for all, it takes work.  You need to feel the anger, feel the hurt & get it out of you.  It can be intimidating at first, especially if you weren’t allowed to show your emotions as a child, but it does get easier in time.

 

When it happens with me, I make time to write in my journal.  Writing is often easier than saying things out loud for me, so although often prayer is my first place to start, journaling is in this particular situation.  I let it all out- name calling, bad language & all.  Sometimes I’ll write as though I’m speaking to the person, sometimes I just vent about them & what they did.  I just follow whatever feels right, & let it all out.  I pray after, & ask God to help me.  For many things, this helps to purge me of the anger & hurt completely.  For other things, I have to repeat it a few times.  I’ve learned not to judge it- abuse does bad things, & everyone heals differently.

 

Maybe what I do will help you as well.  It’s worth a try anyway, right?  If you’re sure it won’t, then do whatever does work for you.  Or, ask God to show you what you need to do.  Healing is a very individual thing, & there’s nothing wrong with you if something other than what I do helps.

 

Remember, Dear Reader, if you can’t “just let it go”, there’s nothing wrong with you.  It’s OK!  It’s perfectly normal to have to feel things to heal.

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Responding vs Reacting To Narcissistic Behavior

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Having Balance With Helping Others

The Bible talks a great deal about how we are to deal with other people.  One of those things it discusses is how we are to help each other when struggling.

 

Galatians 6 says these two things….

 

  • Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)
  • Galatians 6:5  for each one should carry their own load.  (NIV)

 

At first glance, these Scriptures only a couple of verses apart may seem contradictory, but they really aren’t.  Verse 2 says we should carry each other’s “burdens” while verse 5 says each person should carry their own “load.”  Although the difference is slight between those words, it’s also significant.

 

According to merriam-webster.com, one meaning of burden is “something oppressive or worrisome.”  And, also according to merriam-webster.com, load means “a considerable amount.”  I take this to mean that in the context of these Scriptures, a burden is something excessively difficult or challenging to deal with while a load is a more typical struggle.  Trying to survive the pain of losing someone you love versus cleaning your house, as examples.

 

When you’re raised to only focus on the needs of your parents, you tend to grow up thinking it’s your job to take care of people while ignoring your own needs.  It’s terribly unhealthy!  These  Scriptures provide an excellent perspective on helping people.

 

When someone asks for your help, if they are suffering with a burden, then by all means, please help them if you feel God wants you to & you are able to do so.  However, if someone frequently wants your help for small things that they are well able to do themselves, then it’s not good to help them.  You are enabling them to be irresponsible by taking care of things they should take care of & to take advantage of you.  Let people carry their own “load”!  It truly is a more loving thing to do than to enable irresponsible behavior because it encourages them to do what is right- not using you or other people.

 

Many people won’t be pleased if you tell them you are unable or unwilling to help them, but that is not your problem.  I know, you will feel guilty at first, but please remember that in spite of what your narcissistic parent(s) taught you, your job is NOT to be responsible for everyone but yourself.  It’s unhealthy (mentally & physically) & out of balance to ignore yourself & your needs for others constantly!

 

Please remember, Dear Reader- you aren’t responsible for taking care of other people.  You are responsible for helping when you can when it is necessary only.  You have the right to say “no”.  God did not put you here to be used, but instead to be a blessing to others.

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Talking About Narcissism

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
― Albert Einstein

 

Silence is a narcissistic abuser’s best friend.  Silence not only allows abusers to continue to abuse, it basically encourages them to abuse.  When abusers don’t have consequences or anyone saying, “What you’re doing is wrong”, what motivation could they possibly have for changing their behavior?

 

By silence, I am not only referring to the silence of the victim, but others as well.   If the child of one of your relatives is being abused, but no one speaks up, the abuse will most certainly continue.  If no one gets involved, why should the abuser stop abusing?  The abuser is getting what he or she wants, which is all that matters to that person.  There is no motivation to stop abusing.

 

Some people may find this speaking out to be immature, holding a grudge or even “un-Christian”  behavior, but it really isn’t.  Ephesians 5:11 says,   “Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them.”  (TLB)  

 

Narcissism must be rebuked & exposed!  Allowing narcissists to continue to abuse their victims without consequences does no one any good whatsoever!  Abusers continue to hurt people & victims continue to suffer so long as no one speaks out.

 

As victims, we must speak out about our experiences.  Other victims need to know that they aren’t alone, they aren’t crazy or to blame for the abuse as their abusers have told them they are & that there is life after narcissistic abuse.  They also need to know ways to cope with a narcissist if they are unable or unwilling to be no contact & no one but another victim can share successful ways to do that.

 

If you aren’t a victim, however, but you know someone who is, you’re not off the hook!  If you know someone who is being abused, support & help that person however you can.  Listen, offer advice if that person asks for it, pray for & with that person & even learn about NPD.

 

And, everyone must understand what narcissistic abuse & NPD really are.  The meaning of the word “narcissism” has been so tainted.  Many people think being narcissistic is the same thing as being selfish when in fact, it is so very much more than simple selfishness.  The true meaning of narcissism is so diluted & that needs to change!  Raising awareness by talking about narcissistic abuse & NPD openly will help to make that change.

 

So remember, Dear Reader- speak out about narcissistic abuse!  Help to raise awareness!  Help victims!

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Knowing God Gives You Confidence

Hosea 2:20  “I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.”  (KJV)

 

Growing up with narcissistic parents takes a toll on your self-esteem.  Often, it completely obliterates it.  This causes so much needless suffering!  Aside from feeling miserable, it makes you make mistakes, by giving you the belief that you can’t do anything right.  This in turn solidifies that belief that you can’t do anything right, & makes you feel even worse.  It’s an ugly, vicious cycle.

 

One way to help yourself to regain the self esteem that was stolen from you is to talk to God.

 

As a child of God, there is PLENTY in the Bible that states what God thinks of you.  And, Dear Reader, He thinks a great deal of wonderful things about you!  He loves you so much, & wants you to know that.  One way He shows it is by talking about you in the Bible.  I created a list of these Scriptures & added them to my website.  Feel free to check it out at this link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

 

Also, ask God what He thinks of you, & to help you to be more aware of His love.  You will be surprised!  You may notice more people saying & doing nice things for you.  Blessings may come your way that you weren’t expecting.  Maybe both!  In any case, you will be blessed.

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Understanding Your Abuser vs Justifying Their Abuse

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How Families Protect Their Narcissist

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Getting To Know Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

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Holiday Thoughts

For many people, the holiday season is a glorious time of year.  The time to enjoy friends, family & celebrations.  For others like me who have survived demanding, controlling, entitled or even narcissistic parents &/or in-laws however, the mere thought of the holidays brings about a feeling of dread.

 

My first & current mothers in-law both always demanded my husband’s & my presence every Thanksgiving & Christmas, no matter what.  Divorcing my ex & cutting my current in-laws out of my life in 2002 naturally ended their demands for me at least but the damage was done.  The enjoyment I once felt for the holidays was gone.  Years of spending holidays with people who obviously hated me or alone while my husband spent the day with his family destroyed all pleasure I’d once had in holidays.

 

I know that my story isn’t all that unusual.  So many others have been through very similar situations that I thought sharing some thoughts I’ve had on this topic might help you, Dear Reader.

 

When you develop this holiday bitterness, people aren’t always understanding.  Most people seem to want everyone to look forward to holidays with enthusiasm & joy, & if you don’t, they can be shaming.  Many others I know & I have been scolded for not trying to enjoy holidays, told they need to just focus on the joy of the day, everyone loves holidays, etc etc.  What these people fail to realize is this holiday bitterness didn’t happen over night.  We have tried to enjoy the holidays repeatedly, but demanding people ruined it by commanding us to do what they want us to do & treating us badly when we didn’t do it (well, often worse than usual since bad treatment is the norm with narcissists).  It came about when in-laws demand we ignore our own family in favor of them, & treated us badly & acted like something is wrong with us for not wanting to spend a holiday with them.  They also shame us for wanting to spend a holiday with our immediate family- our spouse & kids- rather than with them.  These people think shaming us & ordering us around is OK.  Really, how does that make any sense?

 

I’m not saying holiday bitterness is a good thing.  Frankly, it stinks!  I miss looking forward to the holidays & hate how I dread what was once a time of year I looked forward to.  What I am saying though is that there is no shame if you feel differently about holidays than the average person does.

 

Sometimes, too many bad seeds have been sown to overcome.  Something unpleasant is the only possible harvest when that happens.  Of course it’s a good idea to try to counteract the bad feelings, but if nothing works, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you’re a bad person.  If you can’t conquer holiday bitterness, it just means that some really bad things have been done that caused you to feel this way.

 

Dear Reader, I’m sorry you feel this nasty holiday bitterness.  I hope you can conquer it by starting your own traditions, avoiding negative people around the holidays, suggesting holiday gatherings with extended family on a different day near the actual holiday while you spend the holiday with your immediate family, etc.  If you can’t however, then at the very least, please don’t beat yourself up over it.  It’s simply a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances, & it happens more often than you might think.

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Do You Appreciate & Respect Nature?

I have friends who follow the Pagan religion.  Naturally, they follow Pagan pages on Facebook.  Often they share things that inspire them or that they like.  It’s not often “join our religion, it’s awesome!!” type posts.  In fact, that is rare.  99% of the time what they share are stunning nature themed pictures.  A white owl, baby foxes playing, a pretty path in the woods, a wildflower meadow, a starry night… beautiful scenes.

 

It just crossed my mind that the Christian pages I follow don’t share such images.  They share lovely & inspiring things, of course, but I haven’t seen anything like what the Pagan pages share- simple beauty in nature.

 

I understand that Paganism has entirely different fundamental beliefs than Christianity.  That’s why I’m Christian & not Pagan- Christian beliefs make sense to me, Pagan ones don’t.  That being said though, there is one thing that I think Christians need to learn from Pagans.  They appreciate & respect nature.  They enjoy its beauty & what it has to offer.  They understand that herbs & plants have healing properties & use them.  (True, they can be used for spells & such, too, but simply to enjoy the healing benefits, there isn’t any magic involved.)

 

Why don’t more Christians do that same thing?  I mean, we obviously believe God created everything- why don’t more Christians take the time to appreciate what God has created?   Why aren’t more Christians concerned with animal abuse?  And, why do so many object to herbal remedies when they are often much safer & more effective than pharmaceuticals?

 

It’s sad to me how few Christians think that way.  I actually unfollowed one Christian page on Facebook some time ago because so many said terrible things about animals- how stupid they are, we don’t need them, “the only way I like animals is barbecued” & other awful things.  And, those who professed to love animals were mocked & shamed.

 

Personally I don’t see anything at all wrong with appreciating & respecting nature.  I love staring at the sky on a clear, starry night.  A full moon is also one of my favorite sights, as is the colors of changing leaves in the fall.  I also love the sounds of a thunder storm or quiet beauty of a blizzard.   Obviously, I love animals- I brag about mine plenty!  lol  I also use valerian root capsules & lemon balm for anxiety & St. John’s Wort capsules for depression rather than prescription medications, & have mentioned that in several of my books.

 

Doing such things hasn’t compromised my faith in God one bit.  In fact, it makes me feel closer to God when I stare in awe at the moon & stars. Taking in the beauty of nature helps keep me grounded, calms my anxiety & makes me very grateful for the wonders around me.  Being close to my furkids makes me grateful that He has seen fit to bless me with these adorable critters.  They bring me an incredible amount of joy.  I’m also grateful for the natural remedies to help my mental health, especially knowing I don’t run the risk of awful side effects so many prescription anti-anxiety & anti-depression meds have.

 

Dear Reader, I hope if you haven’t considered these things before, you will now.  God made the Earth & everything in it (Psalm 24:1).  What could possibly be wrong with using & appreciating the beautiful, useful things He has made, even thanking Him for them?

 

 

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Let Jesus Help You Heal

John 8:12  “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  (KJV)

 

We all know that light conquers darkness.  If you were in a pitch dark room & lit a match, that tiny match would dispel a surprising amount of darkness.

 

Jesus referred to Himself in the above Scripture as the light of the world for a reason.  Light also gives life- look at plants, as an example.  Without light, they won’t survive.  Like light, Jesus gives life- eternal life.  If you follow Him, He will make clear what path to take in your life.  He also can show you things you might not have noticed before.  (If it wasn’t for Him, I don’t know if I’d know anything about narcissism.)

 

In your journey of healing from narcissistic abuse, have you asked the Lord to help you?  He truly wants to!  And, although even He can’t make it easy, He can help to make it less painful & difficult.  I can tell you from my own experience, I wouldn’t be where I am now without His help.  He’s shown me what I needed to do & how to do things.  He’s answered my questions, let me rant when I was angry or hurting & comforted me when no one else could.

 

If you haven’t asked Jesus for help in your healing journey, maybe now is the time for you to do that.  He wants to help, so let Him!  Ask Him to show you what you need to do & how you need to do it.  Ask Him for comfort, wisdom, strength, courage & anything else you need.  He will be more than glad to help, so why not let Him?

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Parents Who Demand Their Adult Children Spend Holidays With Them

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