Category Archives: Christian Topics and Prayers

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Holiday Stress

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means those of us with narcissistic parents &/or in-laws are filled with dread.  We know the narcissists in our lives have unrealistic expectations of us every day of the year, but holidays often seem to up those expectations.

My late mother in-law would tell me when I was to be where on which holiday.  She never said the exact words, but it was clear there was no excuse for me not to be there.  The same with my ex mother in-law.  Not obeying meant facing their anger.  It also meant spending the day without my husband & being angry with him for choosing his family over me.  Obeying meant spending the day surrounded by people who disliked me, & me resenting them.  Since many others with narcissistic parents or in-laws face this same scenario, I thought I would share some thoughts on the holidays.

Remember, you are an adult.  You do NOT have to blindly obey your parents or in-laws when they demand you spend a holiday with them.  When you disobey their orders, chances are good they will be upset.  They will try to guilt trip you for not wanting to spend time with “family”, or show their disapproval in some other way such as with criticisms or even the silent treatment (if you’re lucky…).  Remind yourself as often as necessary that you have nothing to feel guilty about.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a holiday with those you love, such as good friends rather than abusive & mean people

Also, if you want to spend a holiday with someone other than your narcissistic parents or in-laws, you can offer a compromise.  My paternal grandparents always had a big Christmas gathering on the weekend after Christmas.  That way, everyone could spend the day with whoever they wished, yet there was still a family Christmas party.  Why not do the same thing?  Does it really matter what day the day is celebrated, so long as it is celebrated?  Celebrating on a weekend also means many people don’t need to be at work the following day so they can relax more & enjoy themselves.  Since narcissists do things more willingly when they can see it benefits themselves, why not approach it from this angle?  “You won’t have to get up early the next day for work if we celebrate on Saturday instead of Tuesday.  That means you can relax/enjoy the holiday/spend more time with your family & friends.”  I know, many narcissists demand holidays be celebrated only on the exact day.  My late & ex mothers in-law were that way.  But if you approach your suggestion in a way that clearly benefits them, you stand a chance of getting your way.  This isn’t a perfect solution since you’ll still be spending a holiday with narcissists, but it does at least free up the actual holiday to spend however you like.  It’s a pretty reasonable compromise!

If celebrating a holiday on another day is not an option, set a time limit.  Determine ahead of time you’ll only spend 2 hours with them, or whatever time seems reasonable to you, then leave at the end of that time.  Tell the narcissist ahead of time that you only have a short window of time to spend with them, so you must leave by 2:00 or whenever.  No, they won’t like it, but don’t back down!  Stick to what you said, & leave at the set time.

If the demanding narcissist in question is an in-law & your spouse wants to spend the day with the narcissist, so be it.  You can’t make him change his mind.  You can, however, refuse to go.  You can stay at home & watch Netflix all day.  You can spend the holiday with friends instead.  You can create a new holiday tradition to enjoy when your spouse isn’t with you.  Trying to think of it as a day off to spend in any way you like definitely helps diminish & disappointment you feel.

Most of all, never forget to pray about your situation.  God will show you the best way to handle it & help you to get through this difficult time of year.  xoxo

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About Enmeshment

Enmeshment is a term used to describe when boundaries are either very weak or non existent in a relationship, most commonly within a family.  Enmeshed families aren’t simply close.  Closeness is healthy, but enmeshment is not.  It can cause  a myriad of problems for the children.

Enmeshed families share very similar traits.  The children are expected to think & act like their parents, to work in the line of work their parents want them to & basically live the life their parents want them to live rather than what they want to.  Children are also usually the only close “friends” of sorts that the parents have.  The parents demand or guilt trip their children spend plenty of time with them rather than create an environment that would make their children want to spend time with them.  Children, no matter their age, aren’t supposed to do things they want, such as spending time with people other than their parents.  In fact, enmeshed parents don’t want their children to leave home.  Many adult children from these families didn’t leave home at an appropriate age.  Instead they lived with their parents well into their 20’s, 30’s or maybe never even moved out.  These children also feel responsible for their parents, starting at a very young age.  This can cause them to put their parents’ needs & wants over their own, & later also over their spouse’s needs & wants.  It creates a tremendous amount of stress in a marriage.

Children in enmeshed families frequently grow up feeling out of place when they aren’t with their families.  They also lack a real identity beyond who their parents tell them they are.  Their self esteem is usually quite low as well.  Other common problems include a lack of relationship skills & lack of understanding of healthy boundaries.   They also tend to be very distrustful of people who aren’t related to them, yet tolerate any abuse their family members heap on them.  Many of these adult children seek out romantic partners who need caring for, which is a pattern they learned in childhood from their needy parents.

In order to end this dysfunctional behavior, the child of enmeshed parents needs first to recognize just how dysfunctional & harmful enmeshment is.  It can be very hard to do this after a lifetime of believing the lie that the enmeshment means their family is closer & healthier t han others, but it still must be done.

Next, some distance must be set between parent & child.  This is also very hard, I know, especially since most likely the parent will shame the child for wanting some space, but it can be done.  Start small, such as not answering their call sometimes.  If your parent complains, just say you were busy (which you were.. taking care of yourself) & couldn’t get to the phone.  Also don’t spend as much time with your parent as you have.  Pull away a bit.  Don’t be so readily available to your parent.  If they need your help, unless it’s a true emergency, tell them you can’t do what they need now but you can in a few days.  These small ways to start setting boundaries will strengthen you & enable you to set bigger & better boundaries in the future.

Learn who you are, too.  Pay attention to what you truly want, like, think, feel… you may discover you are much different than what your parents always said you were.  Or, you may have some similarities.  Either way, get to know the real you & enjoy who you are.

Recognize the false guilt.  If your parent does their best to make you feel guilty for not taking their call one day or not visiting them, that is ridiculous.  You’re an adult with your own life!  Don’t accept that false guilt!

If you have close friends who understand your situation, discuss it with them.  Let them support you.  And if you don’t, check online for support forums.  No doubt you can find one that helps you.

Mostly, turn to God.  Pray about your situation & let Him help you to heal.  He loves you & will be glad to do that for you!

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Things A Mother In-Law Wants From Her Daughter In-Law

I came across this really interesting article about what a mother in-law wants in her daughter in-law.  My curiosity was piqued, so I read it.  It got me to thinking just how different a narcissistic mother in-law is from a functional one.  I thought I’d do a side by side comparison of the two based on the article in case anyone reading this is wondering if their mother in-law is a narcissist.

  1. A woman who will consider her a friend.  A daughter in-law is nothing more than competition to the narcissistic mother in-law.  Friendship is NOT gonna happen!
  2. A woman who makes her son’s life easier.  Seems to me, the narcissistic version of this one is “a woman who has no needs or wants of her own, who waits on her son hand & foot, expects nothing in return & is blindly obedient to the mother in-law.”
  3. A woman who shows how much she loves her husband by the way she talks about him.  Never seen or heard anything of the sort from a narcissistic mother in-law.  Seems to me it’s more about actions, like those I mentioned in the last point.  It also seems that in their eyes, their daughters in-law should be seen & not heard.
  4. A woman who will be a good listener.  A functional mother in-law & a narcissistic one both want this, I believe, but the difference is the functional mother in-law gladly will return the favor.  Narcissists only return the favor when they think they can learn something to use as ammunition against the daughter in-law at some point.
  5. A woman whose faith in Jesus is evident.  I would guess that the only narcissistic mothers in-law who have any interest in their daughter in-law’s faith is those who are concerned about looking good to their church.  And, she won’t hesitate to twist Scripture around to manipulate her daughter in-law.
  6. A woman who forgives her past mistakes.  What narcissist admits to past mistakes?  This obviously isn’t important to the narcissistic mother in-law because she doesn’t make mistakes & if by some chance she did, they were the fault of someone else.
  7. A woman who helps her navigate the technology-driven, social media-frenzied world today.  I can’t really imagine any narcissistic mother in-law who may want to learn more about technology looking for help from her daughter in-law.  Viewing her daughter in-law as beneath her, why would she ask her for help in any area?
  8. A woman who resolves not to see differences of opinions, interference, or interruptions as an intentional dig.  This one may depend on the narcissist.  Some no doubt want blind obedience from their daughters in-law, including never speaking back to them & assuming the best about them.  But there are many others that want their daughters in-law to be angry with them.  That works out very well for the narcissist in question, because she can use this in several ways.  She can use it to prove her daughter in-law is unappreciative, crazy, irrational, or over sensitive.  She also can use this to prove she is the innocent victim of her daughter in-law’s abuse.
  9. A woman who gives her credit for the incredible son she raised.  The one area that functional mothers in-law & narcissistic mothers in-law are alike to some degree.  Who wouldn’t want to hear she did a great job raising her son?  Narcissists take it to the extreme though, pretty much expecting to be worshiped for her amazing mothering skills.
  10. A woman who doesn’t compete for her children’s love.  If you know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you know that narcissistic parents become narcissistic grandparents.  Unlike a nice, normal, functional grandparent, the narcissistic one will expect to be first place in their grandchild’s life.  They also may lie to the grandchild about the child’s parent(s) or tell the child there is no reason to listen to Mom & Dad.  Many even bribe the grandchild with money or gifts to gain that child’s favor.

As you can see, there are many differences between healthy, functional mothers in-law & narcissistic ones.  I hope you aren’t dealing with the narcissistic variety because they are incredibly difficult to deal with at best!

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear, Especially When It Comes To Narcissists

On this day 2 years ago, my father was buried.  This time of year makes me think a LOT about that awful time surrounding my father’s death.    If you care to read about it, the story is available on my website: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/the-miraculous-way-my-father-came-to-know-jesus/

In thinking about that terrible time, naturally the especially wicked people that harassed me day & night came to mind.  The blind devotion they had to my parents was utterly astounding.  One of them was a cousin who I knew cared a great deal about my father, so that wasn’t entirely unexpected.  She clearly believed he was a really great guy.  There seemed to be no room in her mind for anything that might threaten that belief.  Me not having a relationship with my father threatened her belief, so she attacked me.

So many people are like this!  It needs to stop!

I’ll grant you that narcissists are unparalleled actors which makes it easy to believe their lies & false persona.  Even so, it’s never wise to blindly accept a person as they appear.

1 John 4 states that we are to “test the spirits” of anyone proclaiming to be a prophet.  According to the verses, a true prophet truly believes that Jesus is the Messiah.

I think faith in Jesus can be a very good way to identify if someone is who they claim to be or not, but not simply by saying those words.  A true believer does their best to live their faith by being good & kind to other people, & most of all keeps God first in every area of their lives.  They aren’t hypocritical or dishonest.  They try not to hurt people but help them instead.  The cousin I mentioned above?  She claimed to be a Christian but exhibited no such behaviors.

Many non believers behave in a similar manner, minus the part about keeping God first in their lives.  These are good people, whether or not they share your faith.

Then there are narcissists.

Narcissists may claim to love Jesus or at least be good people.  They may be active in their community or feeding the hungry.  They may be teachers, police officers or even doctors.  Everything about their external appearance may look good, yet someone says this person isn’t as they appear to be.  His wife claims he’s unfaithful, is verbally, mentally, financially or sexually abusive.  Her child claims she demands perfection, nothing is ever good enough & when he fails to perform up to her standards, she rages like a lunatic.

When you’re looking at a situation from the outside, when someone makes such claims, it can be tempting to brush it off.  You’ve only seen the good parts of that person so it’s hard to believe that “good” person can be abusive.

The problem though is so called “good” people abuse others every day.  My parents looked good to outsiders.  My father worked hard, my mother volunteered at my school a great deal & they both looked like good parents.  Behind closed doors though, they weren’t the wonderful people many folks assumed they were.  There was also my ex husband.  Most folks seemed to think he was a great guy he was & I was so lucky to have him.  Yet, behind closed doors, he was abusive.

My point in all of this is if you are in the position of hearing someone claim someone you know is abusive, please listen to them & consider what they say!!  If the person is abusive, you will realize that there were some signs that they weren’t as perfect as they appear.  You will remember times when you caught them in a lie, in some unethical behavior or simply ignoring someone in need of their assistance.  No narcissist can wear their mask all of the time.  It slips sometimes, even though they do their best to hide that from everyone they can.. other than their victim.

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About Toxic In-Laws, part 2

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When Children Of Narcissistic Parents Aren’t Believed

Sadly, many children of narcissistic parents aren’t believed when they first reveal the abuse.  When the children are small, it’s often they are too young to know what they are talking about.  When they are teens, it’s teens are over dramatic & what teenager gets along with their parents anyway?  When the children grow up, it’s “why didn’t you say anything at the time?” or “That’s in the past.. you need to get over it.”

It really doesn’t help that narcissistic parents are such phenomenal actors they can make people believe that not only were they good, loving parents, but that their children are spoiled, mentally unstable or even abusive.  The narcissistic parents end up with supportive people rallying around them & even abusing the victim.

Some time ago, there was a story in the news about Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter, Chelsea, missing.  Ms. O’Donnell said that her daughter ran away because she was mentally unstable & a problem child.  She sounded like she was very concerned about her daughter.  Maybe she was.  I don’t know since I didn’t really follow the story very closely.   However, there is also the possibility she’s abusive & said what she did in order to turn the attention off of her daughter’s claims of abuse & put it on her daughter’s behavior.

After Chelsea was found, she did an interview.  Her claims were very disturbing.  She said she never ran away but moved in with her boyfriend when her mother kicked her out two weeks before she turned 18.  She also said her mother is very different in public than she is in private at home.  In public, she is funny & pleasant.  In private, neglectful & abusive.  Chelsea also has a history of depression & anxiety, which sound quite normal under the circumstances.  These were things she said she wanted to keep private, & was very hurt her mother not only mentioned her mental illness, but made her sound completely crazy.  The public treated this young woman as if she was crazy too.  She was berated for her terrible behavior.

I relate so well to this sad story.  I was 17 when I first began to realize how abusive my mother was.  I naturally started to rebel against the abuse.  My mother must have lied to people about what I was doing, because suddenly her friends who had liked me would no longer even look at me, let alone speak to me unless it was completely unavoidable.  Also, many people I opened up to about the abuse acted like I was behaving like some spoiled brat who was just mad I didn’t get my way, or they would trivialize the abuse saying my mother loved me & was trying to help me.

As a result, if I hear anyone of any age claim they are being abused, I listen.  Of course, they could be lying about it, but I find that to be very rare.

Just because someone claims to be a loving parent, doesn’t mean they are.  If the child claims that supposed loving parent was abusive, listen to them!  Not all parents are capable of loving their children.

Just because a parent claims their child is mentally unstable, doesn’t mean that is true.  Abused children frequently suffer from depression, anxiety & even PTSD or C-PTSD.  That doesn’t make them unstable.

Just because a parent provides food, clothing & shelter for a child, that doesn’t make this person a good parent.  There is much more to being a good parent than meeting a child’s basic needs.

Victims of narcissistic abuse need to be heard, no matter their age!  If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, tell someone else who will hear you.  Or, if someone comes to you with claims of abuse, listen to them!  Be kind & understanding.  Let them talk, cry, yell.. whatever they need to do.  You may be the only person who is willing to do such things for this suffering soul.

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Stop Asking Victims To Feel Compassion For Abusers!

There are so many victims who have been told, scolded really, that they need to have compassion on & even feel pity for their abusers.  People say stupid things like, “You can’t get mad at him!  He just doesn’t know better because his father did the same thing to him!”  “That is your mother & if you really were a Christian like you say you are, you wouldn’t get mad at her!  You would honor her!”

Some people who say such stupid comments are well meaning, yet ill informed.  Mostly though, such people are quite aware of their comments & the effects they have.  Their goal is to shut their victim down by invalidating or shaming them.  Maybe they have their own abusive past, & your situation reminds them of theirs.  Being too cowardly to face their own demons, they attempt to shut you down instead.  Or, maybe they have bought the narcissist’s “good guy/gal” act, & you speaking the truth threatens that.  Rather than face the ugly truth, they try to shut you down so their delusion can stay in tact.  I’m sure there are countless reasons that people say such cruel remarks.  These are only a couple of possibilities.

I don’t think that people who say such ludicrous statements stop for one second to consider the ridiculousness of their words, only the effect they wish to have.  I mean, what sense does it make to feel pity for someone who deliberately causes you pain?  This actually reminds me of something my father told me.  When he was 15, he was driving home one night when the local drunk hit his car head on, flipping his car over into a ditch.  My father nearly died from the traumatic brain injury, yet people told him he should feel sorry for the man who hit him.  Think about that for a second.. people said he should feel sorry for the man who decided not only to get drunk, but to get behind the wheel of his car in that condition, endangering everyone else on the road & nearly killing my father.  Why feel sorry for him rather than my father who lived with lifelong health problems stemming from this man’s poor choices?!  As far as I know, the situation with my father didn’t even stop this man from driving drunk.  Maybe if someone had confronted him, & made him realize the depths of the problems his actions caused, he might have stopped driving drunk.

They are also supporting someone’s choice to hurt other people.  How does this make any sense at all?!  No normal, functional person would support someone who deliberately chooses to hurt another person.  They know what it’s like to hurt, & don’t want others to feel that way.

Instead of encouraging victims to feel compassion for their abusers, why not support a victim who has had the courage to escape the abuse & tell their story?  Tell them they are brave & strong.  Tell them you admire them for having the strength & fortitude to survive what they have experienced.  Encourage them to share their story in whatever way will help them & hopefully also will help raise awareness.  Listen to them.  Validate them.

And if you somehow end up talking to an abuser, don’t excuse what they did.  Abusers need to know what they did was bad & why.  They also need to know that they hurt their victim & there was no good reason to do it.  They need to be aware of the fact that to abuse another person is a choice, just like being good to another person is a choice, & they chose the wrong thing to do.  Hold this person accountable!  Maybe doing so will open their eyes somehow & make them see that they need to make some changes in their behavior.  It’s certainly worth a try though, isn’t it?

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About Toxic In-Laws, part 1

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Subtle Abuse

Many people think  abuse is something loud & cruel, such as screaming obscenities at another person.  This certainly is one type of verbal abuse, but for the most part, it is much quieter & more subtle.

Ignoring someone is abusive.  It can create anxiety or avoidance when it happens enough, especially when it happens to children.  It makes someone feel insignificant or even invisible to be ignored, especially by someone important such as by a parent or spouse.

Normalizing abuse is also abusive.  Everyone needs to know that abuse is NOT ok.  When someone doesn’t know that, they tolerate abuse because they don’t know it’s wrong.  This is one reason abusers try to make their victims think the victims are the problem, rather than the abuse being the problem.

Constant criticism is abusive.  While everyone needs constructive criticism from time to time, no one needs abusive criticism, in particular when it is non stop.  The difference is constructive criticism is meant to help a person be better, while abusive criticism is meant to manipulate, control & destroy a person’s self esteem.

Failure to give someone praise & support is abusive.  While people are drastically affected by constant criticism, they also can be affected by a lack of praise & support even without the constant criticism.  My mother used to brag to me about how one time in my entire childhood, she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty.”  That along with her constant criticisms made me incredibly insecure about my looks for my entire life.

Shaming someone is abusive.  To make someone feel shame doesn’t always have to involve saying things like, “What is your problem?!”  “You need some therapy!”  It also can involve laughing at someone, rolling your eyes at them or making them the butt of jokes.  Toxic shame makes a person feel there is something wrong with every single thing about them, which destroys self esteem & makes a person easy to control.

Criticizing someone harshly claiming that it was done, “for your own good” is abusive.  My mother was hyper critical of every single thing about me when I was growing up.  Whenever I would say something about how critical she was, she told me it was for my own good.  I needed to know my faults so I could change them.  I couldn’t argue with that logic as a child.  As an adult however, although I do agree that everyone needs to be aware of their faults, they also need to be equally aware of their good qualities too.  Only being aware of their faults can destroy one’s self esteem.

Similarly, saying or doing cruel & saying it’s “tough love” is abusive.  When my mother’s abuse hit its peak, she said everything she was doing to me was tough love, because I wouldn’t learn any other way.  This made me feel like something was wrong with me, I was the problem in our relationship & I made her abuse me.  A victim in such a situation usually believes the way I did.

Last but not least, gaslighting is extremely abusive.  Gaslighting is when an abuser subtly makes a victim doubt their perceptions of reality.  It isn’t hard to gaslight children in particular, but anyone can be a victim.  An abuser doesn’t have to raise their voice to accomplish it.  All they have to do is convince their victim that what happened didn’t happen the way the victim believes it did or didn’t happen at all.  That can be accomplished easily by instilling doubt in a victim & stating the lies with extreme confidence.  An abuser may even feign concern for a victim for being so confused as to think things happened the way they did instead of the way the abuser says things happened.

Abuse comes in many different forms.  Many of those forms can be hard to recognize at first.  I hope this post will help you to be very aware of them so you don’t fall prey to an abusive person who behaves this way!

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Narcissists & Respect

After writing my book, “Regrettably Related: A Guide To Toxic In-Laws”, I was thinking some about it one day.  One of the topics that came to mind was respect.  I thought I would share those thoughts with you.

As I mentioned in the book, I believe many toxic in-laws are narcissistic.  And, as we who know anything at all know about narcissists, they have a fixation with respect.  Sadly, they have no clue what real respect is.

Real respect is not treating people like dirt while expecting them to submit to your will no matter what.  No one wants to be mistreated.  It becomes even more insulting when the person treating you badly demands that you do anything they want.  It’s insulting & disrespectful!

Real respect is treating those your loved ones care about with civility even when you don’t like them.  This is a big one for me.  Probably the biggest part of my issue with my in-laws wasn’t that they hated me.  It was that they had so little respect for my husband, their son & brother, that they couldn’t manage basic civility with me.  That speaks volumes about their character or lack thereof.  I’ve had friends with significant others I disliked, but for the sake of my friends, I would do my best to be polite to the person.

Real respect is earned, & no one can successfully demand it.  My entire life, my mother would tell me, “I DEMAND respect!”  Well, that didn’t work out well for her.  Telling people to respect you never works.  Behaving in such a way that people want to respect you is what works.  It’s much like trust in this way.

Real respect involves boundaries.  It seems to narcissists, boundaries is a filthy, terrible word that never should be uttered.  No one in a narcissist’s life is allowed to have those awful boundaries.  This is one more piece of evidence that proves they have no true concept of respect.  A respectful person has & enforces their own healthy boundaries, while respecting the boundaries of others.

Real respect doesn’t belittle or criticize.  Constructive criticism is fine of course, when said gently.  Anyone who is making a mistake needs to know that they are making a mistake.  However, belittling & harsh criticisms have no place in respect.  If you respect another person, you won’t say cruel things to them, & if they respect you, they won’t say cruel things to you either.

Real respect isn’t selfish.  If you respect someone, you aren’t selfish with them.  You recognize they are an individual separate from you who has their own unique wants, needs & feelings.  You won’t insist on having your own way no matter what.

Real respect means you don’t assume you know best.  Respectful people recognize that other people are individuals who have their own specialties & talents.  They also know that others will know what is best for them rather than assume their way is what is best.

Real respect genuinely cares about other people.  Truly respecting someone also means you care about that person.  You value that person as the unique person they are instead of only what they can do for you.

Real respect means you care about yourself.  Self respect is so very important!  It means you won’t tolerate abuse from anyone.  It means you won’t demean yourself or compromise your values.  It means you treat yourself well.  It also means you take care of your physical & mental health.  These reasons are why narcissists try to destroy their victims’ self respect.  They don’t want them to do these things.  A person lacking self respect is controllable, unlike someone with a healthy level of self respect.

As you can see, narcissists clearly have absolutely no concept of what respect really is.  So the next time a narcissist calls you disrespectful, take it as a complement & remember they have absolutely no idea what respect really is.

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Feeling Your Feelings Is Vital To Good Mental Health

Narcissistic parents teach their children that they are to have no wants, needs & even feelings.  As a result, those children grow up out of touch with their emotions, with anger issues, their emotions can manifest in dysfunctional ways such as in picking abusive romantic partners, or they even can have physical ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory disorders, diabetes, kidney or digestive problems.

Add in that dysfunctional & cruel people tell adult children of narcissistic parents things like, “Get over it.”  “Forgive & forget.”  “You aren’t honoring your parents by talking about such things.  After all, the Bible says love covers a multitude of sins!” & it’s pretty much a guarantee that the adult child of a narcissist will suffer with mental & physical illness.

A person who hasn’t felt their feelings needs to learn that there is nothing wrong with emotions!  They’re from God, & the Bible says in James 1:17 that all good things are from God.   I know, many Christians say negative emotions are sinful, but I disagree.  Even negative emotions have their place.  Anger & sadness show you that something is wrong.  If you’re going to fix something, you need to know it’s wrong, which tells me these negative emotions serve a very good purpose.  How can that possibly be bad?

My best friend has a saying.  “You gotta feel your feels.”  Obviously, she’s very wise.  It’s so true!  If you want to be mentally, emotionally & even physically healthy, you need to feel your feelings.  As hard as it can be at first to feel painful emotions, it is much easier than working to keep your feelings stuffed down.  One thing I’ve noticed is the older I get, the more my feelings demand to be acknowledged.  If I’m going to control my emotions rather than them control me, I find it best to deal with them as soon as possible.

Dealing with a lifetime of emotions for the first time can sound overwhelming, but it isn’t.  When I first began my healing journey, I naively thought I would forgive my parents for everything they ever did to me at once, & all would be right in my world.  That isn’t even close, & thank God because that was truly overwhelming!

Instead, I have found that God helps me to deal with only what I can handle at a time, nothing more.  I think about an incident & focus on that, then another & another.  Rather than focusing on everything at once, it’s easier to focus on incidents one at a time.

When something comes to mind I must deal with, I try to remember every detail about it.  My surroundings, scents, sounds, & every awful thing that was said or done to me.  Doing that stirs up emotions & from there I can pray, journal, cry, yell.. whatever helps me to cope.  If the incident was especially painful, it may take a long time or I may need to repeat this process a few times but the pain associated with that incident will subside.  I can promise you that!

This process really helps you to heal.  It benefits your mental health greatly!  You’re validating yourself by feeling your emotions.  Basically, you’re saying, “That was wrong!  That person shouldn’t have done that to me!  I deserve better than to be treated that way!”

You’re also releasing emotions that have been stuffed inside you for years or even decades.  That helps your physical health by releasing the stress & effort of stuffing down those emotions.

You also gain a great deal of peace, because you’re no longer haunted by the terrible experiences.  They lose their power over you.  You won’t feel such intense pain or devastation when you think of those things.  You’ll know you’re healing when that no longer happens & instead you feel more like you’re remembering a bad dream.  Yes, it’s unpleasant but nothing you can’t handle.

Also, your self esteem will improve which will benefit you in so many ways!  You’ll have no more trouble setting boundaries & you’ll know yourself much better.

I want to encourage you today to “feel your feels.”  It truly will help you!  xoxo

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Guilt After A Narcissistic Parent Dies

Losing someone you love is incredibly painful & difficult, but when that person is your narcissistic parent, it’s also incredibly complex.  Part of the complexity involves a lot of guilt.  If you have lost a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you experienced it too.  If you haven’t yet, you need to be prepared & know that it may happen with you, too.

The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016 when we had a huge argument.  We hadn’t spoken in almost exactly 3 years when she passed away.  Since she died, I’ve learned that her final years weren’t good.  Apparently my mother’s health declined quickly.  I noticed her handwriting became very shaky after our argument.  I realized through her car’s maintenance records that she must have stopped driving in 2017 not long before my father died & found a fairly big dent in her car.  Probably that was why she stopped driving – she realized she wasn’t as capable behind the wheel any longer.  Clearly she also was very depressed.  One friend of hers told me that my mother said that her cat was the only reason she wanted to live.  Also when she died & I first started to care for the estate matters, her house was in a bad state because she was unable to clean it like she once had.

All of these things have led to me feeling a tremendous amount of guilt.  Since I’m positive my situation isn’t terribly unique, I thought I would share ways I have learned to help ease that guilt.

I am truly blessed with having the most amazing best friend ever.  She reminds me constantly that there is a natural order of things & people reap what they sow.  My parents were abusive, which is why I went no contact.  I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, contrary to what my family believes, I was only trying to protect myself.  That is why every functional goes no contact, & that isn’t a bad thing.  If you too went no contact with your abusive parent prior to their death, you did nothing wrong just like me.  It was simply the natural order of things!  If they wouldn’t have been abusive, you wouldn’t have been forced into going no contact.

What happens after no contact isn’t your responsibility, & you need to remind yourself of that constantly as do I.  It’s so hard not to feel guilty in these situations when you learn your narcissistic parent suffered after you were no longer in his or her life.  I feel like I should’ve been there for them & taken care of them.  If only I could’ve stuck it out for another couple of years, I’ve said to myself.  Guessing you feel much the same way.  If so, remember, you severed those ties for very valid reasons.  Probably many very valid reasons in fact.  You did nothing wrong!  Whatever happened after you went no contact is NOT your fault or responsibility.  Besides, maybe there was a reason God wanted things to happen as they did.  Me not being in my father’s life is why he turned to God at the very end of his life!  How incredible is that?!  Maybe that is what happened with my mother too, I’m not sure.  All I know is she is in Heaven & that is a huge comfort!  Anyway, ask God what the purpose was in you being no contact with your parent at the time of his or her death.  He will answer that question.

Sometimes people may say cruel things about you not being there for your parent, making you feel worse.  Remember that those people don’t know everything about the situation, which means they aren’t fit to judge it.

I know guilt after a narcissistic parent is very hard to handle.  If & when you experience it, I hope you’ll remember this post.  You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did the best you could in an impossible situation.

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When Scapegoats Escape Their Narcissistic Parent

Being the scapegoat child raised by a narcissistic parent is a terrible thing.  Not only do you have an abusive parent, but other members of the family feel it is their right to abuse you as well.  Maybe they believe the lies of the narcissistic parent about what a terrible person the victim is.  Maybe they assume because a parent is abusive to the child, it’s ok to abuse this person.  Or, maybe they are so blinded by the narcissist’s false persona that they will protect their delusions of this person at all costs, including abusing the victim in an attempt to keep this person from divulging the truth about the narcissist.

In any case, chances are good that the scapegoated child will become fed up & walk away.  Setting  healthy boundaries didn’t work.  Confrontation didn’t work.  In fact, most likely such actions only made things worse.  Deciding to walk away is the only thing left to do.

What is truly the saddest part of this scenario is the scapegoat is abandoned by their family when they need love & support the most.  Rather than receive kindness, most scapegoats only receive tormenting, a vicious smear campaign & abandonment.   Some will reach out to the victim only to tell them that they shouldn’t abandon their narcissistic parent because “your parents are getting older..” or “you only get one mother/father”.  Some folks also claim the victim needs to fix this or isn’t a good Christian because they aren’t “honoring” their parent.  Meanwhile, their narcissistic parent receives kindness, understanding & compassion.

As the scapegoat, you can survive this terrible situation!  I know it seems impossible, but it is possible to survive & even with your dignity in tact.

One fantastic way to start is by staying close to God.  Psalm 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.”  (AMP)  He will be there for you, to comfort & protect you, & you will need that at this time.

Also, as painful as it is when your family turns against you, try to think of it this way.  You aren’t losing good, loving people.  If they truly were good or loving, they wouldn’t blindly believe the lies of the narcissist, nor would they try to encourage you to stay in an abusive relationship.  Talking about your experiences with a narcissistic parent is a very effective way to find out who your true friends are!

Don’t defend yourself against the smear campaign.  I know this is hard!  I’ve been there, & I so wanted to tell people off for the cruel things they said.  However, doing so only throws gas on that fire.  They will think what you say only proves the narcissist is right & you are crazy, angry, abusive, & they will behave even worse towards you.  Don’t defend yourself.  Let them think whatever they want.  Their opinion isn’t important anyway.

Some flying monkeys harass & stalk the scapegoat after going no contact to punish him or her or to try to bully the scapegoat into returning to the relationship.  Block every means of contact these people have with you.  Block phone numbers, emails, social media accounts.  If you are in a situation where you can’t do this, refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.  Tell them you have nothing to say on the matter, then change the subject.  Do it repeatedly.  Be rude about it if you must.  But do NOT discuss the narcissist with this person!  It only will hurt you to do so!

If someone is stalking or harassing you, they may change their email or call from a number you don’t recognize as ways to try to force you to talk to them.  If this happens, block that access too.  You do NOT have to talk to anyone who wants to force you back into an abusive relationship.

And, document everything!  This information may be useful at some point, especially if you need to get the law involved, so save every single thing you can.  Voicemail messages, texts, emails, etc.  Save everything either on cloud storage or email it to yourself so even if your phone or computer crashes, you won’t lose your documentation.

There are some things you can expect to happen after going no contact that you need to be prepared to face.

While no contact is incredibly helpful, it doesn’t fix everything.  After functioning in survival mode for so long, you will have to adjust to life not in survival mode.  It can be difficult.  As you feel safer, your mind seems to think now is the time to start dealing with things you couldn’t deal with while trying to survive the abuse.  You may find yourself having more nightmares &/or flashbacks.  You might be very sensitive & moody, crying or getting angry easier than usual.  This is a normal part of the healing process.  You aren’t going crazy, even though you probably feel that way at this point.  Try to use these things in your favor.  Figure out the root of the behavior, nightmare or flashback, & deal with that however works best for you.

You’ll start to question things.  Years of gaslighting take a toll on a person!  No one can undo that damage & the warped beliefs over night.  It takes time & lots of questioning yourself.  Get in the habit of asking yourself “Why do I think that way?  What evidence is there that this is right?” when you realize dysfunctional beliefs & thoughts are coming to mind.

Along those lines.. most people have a last straw moment that makes them decide no contact is their best option.  For many of us, that last straw moment isn’t even the worst thing that the narcissistic parent ever has done.  It’s just their average abusive, hateful behavior.  For some reason though, something in us snaps & we are done.  That can make a person wonder why was this the last straw when so many other things were worse?  Well, maybe it wasn’t the worst thing ever done, but after a lifetime of so many bad things, enough was enough.  This just happened to be the thing that told you now is the time for no contact.

You’re going to grieve, so accept that.  It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.  It means you’re a normal human being!  Just because your parent was abusive doesn’t mean you don’t care about your parent.   You’ll probably discover though that you aren’t missing your parent per se, but the parent you wish you could have had.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without judgement.  Losing a parent in any capacity isn’t easy, but in particular when that parent in question is a narcissist.  You’ll feel all kinds of emotions.  It’s ok & even normal.  Allow yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging or criticizing the feelings or yourself.

If your narcissistic parent is elderly or frail, you are going to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for going no contact.  It’s normal.  I did the same thing.  There is one thing that you need to consider though.  People reap what they sow.  A person who is kind & good to others won’t be abandoned in their time of need, because they sowed good seeds.  The abusive person won’t experience that same harvest because they sowed bad seeds.  Everyone has a limit on abuse, so it’s only natural that a victim will walk away at some point.

One beautiful thing you can expect is in time, the fog of abuse will lift, & you will see everything with so much more clarity!  You’ll see why your narcissistic parent & other relatives were so cruel to you, & you’ll clearly see that they were wrong.  You didn’t make them act that way.  That was all on them, in spite of what they told you.  You’ll see them as the pathetic & wicked people that they are.  You’ll also see that you’re not whatever they said you were, but instead you’re a wonderfully made child of God, made in His image & to do great things in your life!

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My Latest Book Is Now Available!

My latest book, “Regrettably Related: A Guide to Toxic In-laws” is now available in both print & ebook versions.

The print version is available here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/regrettably-related-a-guide-to-toxic-in-laws/paperback/product-24225183.html

The ebook version is available here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/955631

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Ways People Excuse Abusive Behavior

 

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God Truly Works All Things Out To Good

My husband & I were talking last night about the relationship with my parents, & I thought I’d share a bit of that talk with you…

I was quickly reaching a point probably about 10 years ago where I wanted no further contact with my parents.  I prayed about it, & knew God was leaving that decision up to me, & would support me either way.  I wasn’t sure what to do, so I maintained the relationship.

As many of you know, in 2015 I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  While I was in the emergency room & still very delirious, I told my husband not to tell our parents about this at any costs, because if he did, I would kill him.  In spite of being totally in my own delirious world at that time, I still have some vague memories of thinking of how my parents would respond to my situation & knew there was NO way I could handle their lack of concern.

While recovering, I remembered this, & it hit me… my word!!  I can’t even expect comfort from my parents when I nearly died!  How messed up is this?!  That revelation threw me for a loop.  I was incredibly sad & angry about it at the same time.  That was when I told God, enough is enough.  I want these people out of my life!  I’m done!  Yet oddly, this time I felt He was saying, “No.  Wait.  I’ll show you when the time is right.”

Well, I waited & kept saying, “Now?!  Please?!”  “Wait.”  *sigh*  Ok…

Then May 5, 2016, I had a big fight with my parents.  I knew that night my mother wouldn’t speak to me for quite a while, then she’d call like nothing ever happened.  That is how she always operated.  I also knew my father would demand to me to try to smooth over this fiasco.  What I figured would happen, happened.  Over the next few months, I made the decision that I was officially done with my mother, then later decided I was also done with my father.  I felt God was saying the timing was right, so I blocked my parents’ phone numbers.

For a while, I wondered why that timing was right & why I felt God didn’t want me to end contact for that period of time.  Eventually it hit me.  I learned a LOT in the final couple of years of my relationship with my parents.  I learned a lot more in that short time than in the other years.  I started to understand what makes narcissists tick & figured out some pretty effective ways to cope with them.  This gave me a LOT of good information to write about & to share with my readers.

I am so glad to be able to help people, in particular ones for whom no contact isn’t an option.  That is such an awful place to be!  I am grateful I learned what I did during that time, in spite of how incredibly miserable that time was.

I’m telling you this so that you hopefully will be inspired to think the same way about your situation.  I’m not saying be grateful for the abuse you endured of course.  Who could be?!  But, chances are there is some good that came of it.  Being abused gives people a deep empathy & caring for other people, because they understand suffering so well.  That is a blessing.  Learning how to spot abusive people & how to deal with the ones you can’t avoid is another blessing.  Learning about how to set & enforce healthy boundaries is still another.

Like I said, I’m not saying you should be grateful you were abused.  That would be weird & I’d think very unhealthy to boot.  However, if you can find some good in it all, it can help you a great deal, because you know that your pain wasn’t pointless.  It had some purpose.  What others meant to destroy you, not only didn’t accomplish that, but it gave you some blessings as well.  God wastes absolutely nothing, & He was able to glean something good out of anything, even something so awful.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” (AMP)

So when you consider the awful experiences you have been through, please try to remember that some good things did come out of them!  Of course, it would’ve been nice if they came another way, but at least they did come to you.  Your pain wasn’t in vain!

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What To Expect From Yourself After Going No Contact With A Narcissist

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Some Reasons People Try To Stop You From Talking About Narcissistic Abuse

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Why Do People Not Want You To Speak Up To Abusive Relatives

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Strong People Are Abused Too

Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak.  A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted.  Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the  strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.

While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones.  Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.

Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money?  Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser.  That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.

The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened?  They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense.  Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.

Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!

Abusers are often like prey hunting animals.  Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes.  It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?!  But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey.  If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.

The same thing goes for narcissists.  They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge.  In fact, they enjoy it.  Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply.  That challenge makes them feel very powerful.  It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way.  It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable.  They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!

 

If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak.  It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim.  If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser.  Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.

And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them.  That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them.  That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim.  Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!

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Having A Healthy Perspective

If you have survived narcissistic abuse, then you know how badly it can mess with your mind.  One thing it does is it can skew a person’s perspective in all kinds of ways.  It can leave a person feeling badly about themselves, such as believing they are ugly or stupid when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also can make a person overly pessimistic, because he or she has had so many bad things happen to them.  Or, it can turn a person overly optimistic, because either he or she has decided not to be so negative like the narcissist who abused them or he or she is  trying so hard to distance from the abuse in every possible way.

In any case, neither being too pessimistic or optimistic is good.  Pessimists are often depressed because they only see the bad things in life & expect only bad things to happen.  Optimists are often depressed, too, because they constantly expect good things to happen.  When something happens that isn’t so good, they are shocked & saddened.

Being realistic yet slightly optimistic seems to be the healthiest way to think, in my opinion anyway.  You accept things as they are, whether good or bad, & if there is a way to glean good from it, you do it.

It can be tricky to get your thinking more balanced after being so out of balance for a long time, but it is still possible.  It takes time, patience, understanding with yourself, focus & help from God.

Prayer truly is the best place to start.  Ask God for whatever it is you need, such as helping you to be more aware of unhealthy thoughts so you can change them.

I recommend too, focusing on God.  If your relationship with Him isn’t particularly close, then work on it.  Drawing close to your Heavenly Father really helps to bring comfort, peace & joy.

Also try to focus on what you think about.  Many times, people just think things & don’t even realize what they are thinking about.  Slow your thoughts down & pay attention to the things that cross your mind.  Acknowledge them & accept them without judgment.

Question those thoughts, too.  Is it possible that your expectations of this person/situation are unrealistic?  Ok, so this situation is pretty bad.. is there something good that you can take away from it?

If you tend to think too emotionally, then try to interject some logic into your thoughts.  If you have trouble doing this, try imagining your situation not as yours, but as that of a friend who has come to you with this situation, looking for advice or comfort.  How would you feel about it as an outsider?  What would you think of your friend’s feelings?  Thinking this way can help to detach you some emotionally so you can look at situations more objectively.

Although it may take some time, you can learn to have a healthier perspective on life.  It will be well worth your time & energy when you are a happier & more peaceful person.

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For Anyone Who Has Gone No Contact With An Abusive Parent

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My Ebooks Are On Sale For The Entire Month Of July

My ebook publisher is having a sale on my books for the entire month of July.  25% off!  Check it out at the link below

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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To My “Family”..

Since my mother’s death in April, I have received some written communication from my “family” (using that term VERY loosely).  Others have called my mother’s home.  I can only assume that is some lame attempt to contact me.  I have long since blocked their phone numbers so they can’t reach me, & why else would anyone call that number knowing its owner is dead?

Rather than speaking to these people, I figured since many are nosy enough to read my work, I’ll send a message via my blog.  I may even add this as a page to my website since I know they also frequent it, not sure yet.

Anyway… onto what I have to say.

If any of you who are attempting to contact me are looking for some sort of handout, that is NOT going to happen.  I will NOT enable your bad behavior (like your greed & poor money management skills), nor will I be anyone’s doormat.  Find someone else to use.

If you want something that belonged to either of my parents: you need to realize the nastier, more demanding or manipulative you are to me, the less likely the chances I will give you anything.  It doesn’t matter if my mother once told you that you could have some specific item when she died.   What matters now is what is written in her will, & specific items aren’t listed.  Since she assigned me as her personal representative, this means everything is now mine to do with however I see fit.  I am boxing up some items to send to people she was close to.  I will send them when I get the time.  There is no need to contact me or to rush me.  Showing up at my home or my parents’ home will result in me calling the police to have you removed from the property.

If you’re trying to contact me so you can share your opinions on how I am handling this situation, because I didn’t have a funeral for my mother or even because I had no relationship with my parents since 2016, I really don’t care what you think.  Your opinions mean nothing whatsoever to me, & I won’t listen to them.  Trying to contact me to share them is a waste of your time & energy.

If you harass me, some of you should know, I have saved evidence of your previous harassment.  For one relative, I have  plenty of documentation of your harassment dating back as far as 2013.  I have plenty of evidence from the past, & will save any & all new evidence.  I will involve the police if you force my hand.

To that one “special” cousin who showed up uninvited & unwelcome to my mother’s private burial just to give me grief, cause your big scene & refuse to leave, you astound me.  You truly have NO class.  You clearly also have zero respect.  Obviously no respect for me which you’ve already made abundantly clear, but also none for yourself or my mother.  You claimed to be at the burial for my mother, yet you yelled at & treated me like dirt AT HER GRAVE.  No respect!  Count your blessings I have the common decency not to act like trash at a burial, because that is the only reason I behaved as well as I did towards you that day.

I also want to say to my family: leave me alone.  I have nothing to say to anyone, nor do I want to hear anything from anyone.  All I want is for my so-called family to leave me alone.

No doubt by now some smug, “holier than thou” people are  reading this & judging me for being angry.  No doubt you also think that makes me bitter, unforgiving, a fake or a “bad Christian” as my family has called me before.  It doesn’t.  Even Jesus got angry.  Several times his anger is documented in the Bible.  Maybe if you actually read a Bible instead of twisting the few Scriptures you know to fit your agenda, you’d know this.  You really should try reading the Bible sometime.  You might learn something.

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To Those Who Have Gone No Contact With Abusive Parents

Those of us who have gone no contact with abusive parents most likely have heard the same invalidating, nonsensical comments.

  • “But that’s your MOTHER!”
  • “Your father can’t help it… that’s just how he is!”
  • “You need to let what they say roll off your back.”
  • “You need to forgive & forget/honor your parents!”
  • “You only get one set of parents!”

Statements like this make me cringe.  People who say such utterly moronic comments truly have zero clue what it’s like to be in the position of feeling no contact is the only option left to protect our sanity.

If you have gone no contact, Dear Reader, then this post today is to remind you of some things.

First, no one has the right to tell you how to feel about anything, let alone your abusive parent’s actions.  You know how it feels to you, & that is all that matters.  Just because it may not bother someone else so much doesn’t mean you’re automatically wrong.  It means you two are different.

Second, no one has the right to dictate how you should handle the relationship with your abusive parent.  They aren’t in the relationship so they don’t need to have an opinion on it, let alone share that opinion with you as if it was the Gospel.

Third, just because you are no longer speaking to your abusive parent doesn’t mean you aren’t honoring that parent.  There is absolutely NO honor in tolerating abuse.  See this article for more information: What It Really Means To Honor Your Parents

Forth, you have every right to protect yourself from abuse from anyone, including your own parent.  There is nothing Godly or holy about tolerating abuse.  Nothing.

Fifth, remember that the person saying these things has absolutely zero clue of all the heartache you have endured, all the tears shed, all the prayers & begging God to change things & to show you what to do.  This person is talking out of sheer ignorance, & is NOT someone whose advice you should listen to.

Sixth, many people who say such invalidating nonsense come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds.  You facing your pain reminds them of their own pain that they are trying to ignore.  Seeing you face your pain makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs.  Or, it threatens their denial.  If they had a decent relationship with your narcissistic parent, you clearly showing the truth about your parent threatens their delusion that your parent is a good person.  Either way, they want to shut you down because of their own issues & lack of courage.

Lastly, if you have doubts about whether or not you’ve made the right decision to go no contact with your parent (which we all do at some point), ask God to tell you.  He will tell you nothing but the truth & it will help you greatly.  Some time back, I was starting to have doubts about being no contact with my mother.  Elderly, widowed & on her own for the first time at almost 80 years old, it’s natural I felt badly for her.  I asked God one morning if I should resume contact.  Immediately, I knew what would happen if I did.  I could see it kinda like a movie playing in my mind.  At first, she was nice & not very demanding.  As time wore on though, she expected me to come by a couple of times a week, then three times a week, then daily.  I would be forced to be at her beck & call, unable to take care of my own family & home, & even my writing would be neglected.  I knew in my heart God was right, & this is exactly what would happen, because it happened before.  My mother’s mother was this same exact way.  Physically & mentally, there is no way I could handle this, plus I can’t allow my calling & family to suffer just to provide someone with narcissistic supply.  God helped me to stay on the right track, just like when He told me it was time to go no contact with my parents in the first place.  He can do the same for you.  All you have to do is ask.

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Wise Thoughts On Honoring Parents

A lovely lady in my Facebook group by the name of Ella Jane Gamberi shared some extremely wise & insightful thoughts on the topic of honoring one’s parents recently.  Since so many of us with narcissistic parents have been subjected to judgmental people criticizing us for not honoring our parents, I believe her words may help others as they helped me.  I’m very happy to say that Ella allowed me to share her insight.

Check this out…

Hi. This is my first post here. I wanted to let you all know that I have studied some on this honouring abusive parents thing. Proverbs says “honour is not fitting for a fool”. If your parent is also an atheist which mine were they qualify for fools as a fool says in his heart there is no God. Look up some other characteristics of fools and you might be surprised who qualifies. God is not mocked. Nobody who treats the weak and lowly like trash gets away with it. In my opinion children, new mothers and many others qualify as vulnerable. God both loves and keeps those who cry out to Him against injustice. Remember the widow and the judge! God bless.

How much sense does this make?!

I’m embarrassed to admit I never connected the passage about honor not being fitting for a fool in relation to honoring one’s parents.  Thank God this lovely lady did though!  Isn’t this helpful?!

Dear Reader, if your parents are like the majority of narcissists & don’t believe in God, He considers them fools & unworthy of honor.  Personally, I don’t think He means we can treat our parents any old way.  As children of God, we are to glorify Him & part of that is being good to people.  That being said though, we can rest easy knowing that having boundaries with our parents, not blindly bending to their will & yes, even going no contact aren’t signs we are being dishonorable to our parents, hypocrites or “bad Christians”.  There is nothing wrong with any of the above!

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Warning Signs Of Those Who You Shouldn’t Tell About The Abuse In Your Past

Finding the courage to set boundaries on being abused & even to end a toxic relationship isn’t easy.  It takes a tremendous amount of courage & strength to do such things.  One of the few things that is even more difficult is to tell other people your story.  Part of the reason for this is the victim blaming & shaming that is so common in society.

Many people simply don’t want to hear anything negative.  They are so obscenely positive it’s just ridiculous.  If something is less than positive, they don’t want to hear it, & will shut that person down quickly when they can.

Even more common is those who have been abused themselves, yet refuse to face their pain.  When they see someone facing their pain & conquering it, it makes them feel uncomfortable for two reasons.  First, it reminds them of what they are trying so hard to forget.  Second, it makes them feel inferior for not doing the same thing.

There are also those who enable abusers.  For whatever bizarre reasons, they pity abusers & hate victims instead of the other way around.  They have no tolerance for anyone who dares to speak out against abuse.  They label these people troublemakers, liars, attention seekers, drama queens & more.

Often, people like this are easy to spot.  They are the loud ones who call victims names, harass them & even send them vicious hate emails, texts & voicemails.  The one plus about these people is you can have no doubt about what kind of awful person you’re dealing with when they act this way.  The problem is when people are much more subtle in the way they try to shame & shut down victims.  Below are some warning signs that someone is not safe to tell your story to.

If someone refers to your relationship as one where both you & your abuser are at fault for its demise, this person isn’t safe.  We all know that no one is perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes.  However, when a person is abusive, it’s not an innocent mistake.  It’s a deliberate choice to harm another person.  Any functional person should recognize that!

All victims need understanding & empathy.  Even if a person hasn’t been in an abusive relationship, anyone should be able to grasp that it’s not a pleasant experience & feel badly that anyone experienced that.  Someone who can’t clearly lacks empathy & is a toxic person.

Avoid anyone who trivializes the abuse.  One of my aunts once referred to the abuse I experienced as, “childhood hurts.”  That truly hurt me & it destroyed our relationship.  Luckily, it happened well into my healing journey.  If it happens to someone new to their healing, an invalidating comment like this can be devastating!

Those who make excuses for abusers should be avoided.  People who do this are as toxic as the abuser!  They invalidate the victim’s pain & suffering, & even make the victim feel ashamed for not being understanding, or being too sensitive & such.  The truth is there is NO good reason to abuse, period.

People who judge a person’s healing are toxic.  Everyone heals differently & at a different pace.  Many toxic people try to rush a victim along with comments like, “You need to let this go.”  “It’s been how many months since you left him?”  “You told me this already.”  This does no good!  To process & heal from abuse, it takes a lot of time, energy & sometimes even telling the same story over & over in an attempt to make some sense of it.  A person who doesn’t understand that is toxic.

Anyone who uses a person’s faith as a reason they should tolerate abuse is incredibly toxic & should be avoided at all costs.  While God didn’t promise this life would be easy, He never said anywhere in the Bible that tolerating abuse is good & holy.  Yet, there are many who think it is the “good Christian” thing to do, tolerating abuse.  I’m no theologian, but I do recognize that tolerating & enabling abuse is not only wrong, it’s not God’s will.

If you come across these kinds of people, remember, not everyone needs to know your story.  Refuse to discuss it with them.  You don’t need to be abused even more than you already have been!

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What Is Happening Since My Mother’s Death, part 2

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What Is Happening Since My Mother’s Death, part 1

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What’s Been Happening Since My Mother’s Death

I thought I’d share some things that have been happening since my mother’s death in April in the hopes someone reading this can glean some useful information from it.  I’m going to make this post into a YouTube video (well, probably a 2 part one) in the near future since not everyone who follows me on YouTube reads my blog (& vice versa).

It’s been such a strange, strange time to say the least.  God has been blessing me big time by enabling me to take care of everything I need to do.  I was able to bring my parents’ cat home without having to trap her & add to her trauma.  She’s still learning that this new home is a safe & loving one.  He’s given me the ability to figure out just what my parents would want done with their belongings, too.  He even got me through the horrific day of my mother’s burial.  As if burying her wasn’t enough to deal with that day, the cemetery made a huge mistake.  Long story short, they had to exhume my father & rebury him in the plot beside where he was before they could bury my mother.  On top of that, one of my cousins showed up at the burial solely for the purpose of attacking me, & refused to leave.  She was the one who was the cruelest to me when my father was dying.  Not a pleasant day, but I got through it & everything else surprisingly well, thanks to God carrying me.

In spite of the blessings, it’s still been hard.

The death of a narcissistic parent is bizarre.  Normally when someone you love dies, you miss them terribly & it’s incredibly painful.   Very hard of course, but it’s not complex.  Not so with a narcissistic parent.  There is the sadness of course, but not always because you miss them.  It can be because you miss not having a healthy relationship with your parent, because your parent stole your childhood or because your parent went to their death never admitting any wrong doing.

There’s also the relief & freedom you suddenly feel knowing that you are finally free from your parent’s abuse.  It’s such a wonderful feeling!  At least it is until the guilt for feeling that way kicks in.  Even when you know that your feelings are totally normal, most people still feel some degree of guilt.

In some cases, like mine, your narcissistic parent dies alone because you are no contact.  I hadn’t spoken with my mother for almost 3 years to the day when she died.  The theory is my mother died on her birthday & 3 days later is when the police performed the wellness check & found her.  I can’t describe the guilt I feel for this.  Yet, I know beyond a doubt I couldn’t have maintained the relationship any longer with her or my father for that matter.  I also know it was for the best for my parents that I wasn’t in their lives.  That is what finally got my father to turn to God for the first time.  It may have worked for my mother that way, too, but I’m not sure yet.  Even knowing such things, there is still guilt.  My mother died alone in a filthy house with very little food because she had only limited help.  How can I not feel some guilt for this?  Anyone with any compassion would.

Even knowing such things, the guilt is powerful.  If you end up in a similar situation, Dear Reader, please be forewarned of this.  Understand that feeling guilt is very normal & understandable, but that doesn’t mean it is right.

There is also the matter of going through my parents’ home.  I had to find financial information such as bills, bank accounts & investments.  I also have been trying to sort out things to send to various relatives.  While it’s just stuff, it’s stuff that can bring back a lot of memories, good & bad.  Being inundated with memories is so hard!

It’s also strange going through my folks’ home.  My parents were no different than other narcissistic parents in that they kept secrets.  I’m discovering some of those secrets, which makes an already challenging task even more challenging.  I’m learning more about my parents than I felt prepared to.

I think what I’m learning from this entire experience is this…

Like I said when my father died, you simply can’t be fully prepared for the death of a narcissistic parent.  You can learn all you can & pray, but still, you won’t be fully prepared.  What you learn & your prayers can help you a lot, but don’t expect to be 100% prepared.  Your emotions are going to be all over the place.  You’ll experience hurt, anger, disappointment, relief, grief & more.  Or, you may be numb.  Or, you may bounce back & forth between overly emotional & numb. In any case, you’re going to be very surprised by all that you experience, & there isn’t any amount of preparation that can stop that from happening.

If you’re the one chosen to be the personal representative or at least to clean out your parents’ home, it’s going to be brutally hard on you.  Seeing their possessions will trigger lots of memories, probably good as well as bad.  When you have PTSD or C-PTSD, this is especially difficult to deal with since it also can trigger flashbacks or intrusive thoughts.

Going through anyone’s personal belongings also shows you a great deal about who that person is.  Much more than you can learn by being in a relationship with them or even living with them.  I learned that my parents wrote down a lot, including things like how miserable they were with each other.  That was not new to me but seeing their most intimate thoughts in writing about such a topic is pretty difficult to say the least.  Since it’s too much for me to handle, when I find anything in my parents’ handwriting, I glance at it to see what it’s about.  If it’s one of those “I’m miserable with you” papers, I put it aside without reading further. You are going to learn things you wish you’d never learned about your parents like I have.  While you can’t be prepared for what you learn, you can be prepared in the sense you know you will learn painful things.   You also have the right to protect your mental health like I’m doing.  Put things aside until you feel equipped to deal with them.  Or, have someone safe that you can trust to go through such things for you.

If you are the one responsible for writing the obituary, you can always ask the funeral director to do that if you aren’t up to it.  The one who took care of my mother did her obituary & it turned out wonderfully.  Not overly gushy, just simple & nice.  Some folks in such situations write honest obituaries, detailing some of the abuse their parent inflicted on them.  It seems to be quite therapeutic for them.  That may be another option for you.

Whether or not your parent had a will, chances are excellent that it’ll take quite a bit of time to get their estate settled.  While that can be a challenge, having this situation hanging over your head for what feels like forever, it’s also a good thing in a way.  This means there is no rush to sort through their things.  Take your time.  Take frequent breaks too.  You’ll need those breaks for the sake of your mental health.

You’ll also find out most people have no idea what to say or how to deal with you after the death of your narcissistic parent.  If you had a good relationship with your parents, they would send sympathy cards & say the usual, “sorry for your loss” type comments.  Since you didn’t, many people won’t know what to say or do.  This may make some folks avoid you.  If they don’t avoid you, they may avoid talking about your parent in any context or they say things that hurt you even though they don’t mean to.  It will hurt & disappoint you, even when you know that wasn’t their intention.  After someone close to you dies, no matter the relationship, many people are rather emotionally raw for a while.  This means you’ll be oversensitive, & hurt much easier than you normally would be, which is why their comments hurt you.

Most importantly, lean on God as much as humanly possible!  You are going to need His love, strength & support more than you ever expected to.  He will carry you through this!

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