Category Archives: Christian Topics and Prayers

All things Christian. Prayer requests are welcome.

A Bit About Marriage

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  (KJV)

 

Most people have at least heard of Genesis 2:24, but I wonder how many people truly understand it.  Since tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary, this Scripture has popped into my mind & I figured the timing to discuss it was good.

Being close is one thing, but being enmeshed is very bad.  No doubt many of my readers know about enmeshed families.  Narcissistic families often have enmeshment down to an art form, since their families are very cult-like.  When one member gets married, this often means trouble for the new in-law.

When my husband & I first met, it didn’t take me long to learn he was very involved with his family.  Enmeshed, really, although I didn’t know the term at the time.  Coming from my own dysfunctional past, I thought at first that it was good they were so “close.”

My mother in-law hated me from the day we met, which was before my husband & I started dating.  Once we started dating, it got a lot worse & it was worse after our marriage.  Because she felt this way, her two daughters did as well, although one hid it for a few years.  Over the years, they subjected me to many cruel comments & actions letting me know I was not good enough to be a part of their family.  Yet, at the same time, I was told that I would be there on special days like Christmas & there was no acceptable excuse not to be in attendance.  They also had ideas of the type of person I should be & look like, which became incredibly annoying to me since I’m not anything like they wanted me to be.  This all created a tremendous amount of stress in my marriage which lead to me considering divorce many times.

And sadly, I felt  completely alone.  I honestly thought no other woman went through what I was going through.  How wrong I was!  As I began to write about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I learned a LOT of other people had almost identical experiences with their in-laws.  It seems this must be common with narcissistic families, to treat the in-law more like an outlaw,  make demands of them & have unrealistic expectations of them & causing problems in the marriage.

I firmly believe situations like this are why God wrote Genesis 2:24.  When a couple is married, whether they’ve been married 2 weeks or 40 years, they need to be a COUPLE, not have others involved in their marriage.  Even if the people in question are good people, it’s just inappropriate & causes problems in a marriage to have the intrusion of other people.  Feelings will get hurt, someone will feel put upon or left out, arguments will happen.. it’s just not good!  Couples needs to keep their marriage their top priority after God, & not pay attention to what other people’s opinions are.

It’s also very inappropriate for a married person to discuss the intimate details of their marriage with their parent or child.  They don’t need to be privy to that information.  All it will do is cause tension between the partner being discussed & the other person, plus if a child knows such information about their parent, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the child.  Children often take things personally, even things that shouldn’t be taken personally.  The child may feel to blame for the parent’s bad behavior or the marital problems.  The child may even feel it’s his or her duty to fix the problem when clearly nothing could be further from the truth!

If you’re in the situation of someone else being involved in your marriage, please talk to your partner!  Remind him or her of Genesis 2:24.  Ask God to give you the right words to say so your partner will understand the importance of this issue.  Suggest marriage counseling, perhaps.  It’ll be very challenging but you can get through this!

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Compassion Fatigue

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When People Believe You Need To Think As They Do

I’ve noticed that many people think others should believe as they do.  People really can be downright shaming if you don’t share their passions.

Quite a few years ago, I said something to one of my football watching aunts about the fact my husband likes football & I hate it, always have.  She verbally jumped me for not trying harder to like it, & she also said I needed to watch games with him so we can enjoy football together.  It was surprising to me because I wasn’t complaining or looking for some solution- I just made a simple statement.  I also remember thinking, “I love knitting.  I don’t see you scolding him & telling him he needs to learn to knit so we can buy yarn or knit together.”  I wish I’d said that- it might have helped her to see how ludicrous & over the top her reaction was.

I’ve experienced similar reactions from people who are extremely focused on politics when they learn I’m not.  In fact, the topic doesn’t interested me in the slightest.  I also don’t have the desire in me to learn enough about candidates to make an informed decision on who to vote for, so I don’t vote.  This apparently infuriates some people who are deeply interested in politics, & some have been downright shaming & nasty to me because of this.  Not that I would do it, but it makes me want to be equally shaming & nasty to them for not helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse or help victims.  It’d only be fair, after all, wouldn’t it?

I used to be upset by my aunt & the other people who were equally nasty to me.  Then I realized something.

Not every cause can be your cause.  People believe differently & have varied interests.  That doesn’t mean something is wrong with one person & right with another because they think differently.  It simply means they’re different.

There are many valid causes that need support, awareness & activists out there.  No one can support them all though!  That would leave no time for people to do anything else, like work or sleep.  It’s much better to focus on what means the most to you than to spread yourself too thin by supporting many causes.

And, every person is unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA.  It is only natural that the causes we support & things that interest us also would be unique.

If you’re in the position of someone shaming you for not sharing their interests or supporting their causes, ignore them!  They aren’t worth your frustration.  They have no right to tell you what to think or how to feel.  You do what is right for you.  You have your own path to walk in life, & the approval of other people is NOT required to do it.  What you do & what you believe in is ultimately between you & God, not you & other people.

If you’re actively in this situation, try changing the subject.  A reasonable person will be fine with that.  If the person isn’t reasonable, then you can tell them you don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic with them & if they continue, you’ll hang up the phone or leave the room.  If they ask why, you can tell them the truth- because they are being disrespectful, nasty, etc. on this topic.  If the person you’re speaking with is truly being obnoxious, you could try logic.  Comments like, “Because you feel/believe that way means I should too?  Why?  Give me a good reason.”  or, “That has never interested me, & I am well aware of that fact.  Why should I do something I have zero interest in?”  Statements like this can often shut a person down pretty quickly, because they realize how ridiculous their behavior is.

In conclusion, just remember there is nothing wrong with you for having the interests you have or not having the ones you don’t.  God made you to be unique, so be unique & enjoy it!

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

Is Confronting Abusers Biblical?

Many people tell victims of narcissistic abuse things like “You need to be the bigger person & let it go.”  “You just don’t understand- she had a bad childhood!”  “You just need to forgive & forget.”  “The Bible says to honor your parents.  If you call your mother/father out on their behavior, God doesn’t approve of that!”  Such statements are often said for the following reasons…

 

  1. The person has come from an abusive past, & refuses to face the pain.  You talking about it reminds that person of his or her pain.  That person wants to shut you down so you stop making that person uncomfortable.
  2. The person knows the narcissist, & like all flying monkeys, is protective of that narcissist.  If the narcissist is related to this person, this is a very likely scenario.  Families are extremely protective of narcissists.  You can see a post I wrote on the topic here:  How Families Protect Their Narcissist

 

Whatever the reasons these ludicrous statements are said, they not only hurt, they confuse & frustrate victims.  As if it’s not bad enough we’ve been abused by the narcissist, now other people are being abusive as well by invalidating our pain as well as judging & criticizing us for speaking up to the abuser.

There is a verse in Isaiah that can shut down the argument that a victim shouldn’t speak up:

Isaiah 1:16-17  “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”  (NKJV) (emphasis added)

Notice the part in all caps.  “Rebuke the oppressor.”  God said that!  I just capitalized it for emphasis.  Pretty cool, huh?  According to God, we are not only allowed to confront someone about abusive behavior- we are supposed to do it.  Do you really think God would’ve included that in the Bible if He didn’t want people to do it?  Also notice- it doesn’t say, “Rebuke the oppressor, unless the oppressor is a parent.”  There are no exceptions in this verse!

Now I realize with narcissists, many times it’s easier to let them do something than confront them.  They love turning things around where the victim is the blame or telling others how mean & unreasonable a victim is for not tolerating their abuse.  It’s frustrating but such behaviors mean that sometimes we shouldn’t confront them.  But, even so, there are times that we know in our hearts we need to speak up to them no matter what they do.  During those times, you can rest assured you are doing the right thing.  It’s even in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah!

If anyone judges or criticizes you for speaking up to the narcissist in your life, although it can be painful, try to ignore it.   If God Himself has said we are to rebuke an oppressor, who is any mere human to tell you it’s the wrong thing to do?  You do what you know that God would have you to do, even if that includes confronting a narcissist, & you do it secure in the knowledge God approves of what you’re doing.

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Narcissists Love When Victims Suck Up To Them

Narcissists love to have power over their victims.  To hurt someone either mentally, physically or sexually gives them a feeling of power.  Possibly the only thing that makes narcissists feel even more powerful is watching their victim suck up to them.

When a victim is genuinely repentant & will do anything to make it up to their abuser, this is a huge power trip for the narcissist.  They know they can make that victim do anything at this point.  There also is the added bonus of the victim accepting responsibility for whatever the narcissist did.  This means the narcissist doesn’t have to take any blame at all.  (Not that they would anyway, but at least in this situation, they don’t have to work to pawn that blame off on someone else).

Narcissists are incredibly good at manipulation & gaslighting- making a person doubt their own thoughts, feelings, perceptions & even sanity.  Because of this, it’s no wonder many victims in the midst of narcissistic abuse continually apologize & suck up to their abuser.  I certainly have done my fair share of it before learning about narcissism.  (If you have too, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.  I doubt there is one victim of narcissistic abuse that hasn’t apologized to their abuser at least a couple of times.)

If you’re still in a relationship with a narcissist, I’m sure you’re faced with the scenario at least periodically, where the narcissist is angry with you & demands that you apologize.  Or maybe she prefers suddenly to stop speaking to you, with no explanation whatsoever, in an attempt to make you rush to her side, begging for her to speak to you again.

Having been there, I learned something.  Don’t do it!!!

If you have done something wrong, then by all means, apologize.  It’s just the right, mature thing to do.  Say you’re sorry, make things right if you can, & move on.

If you haven’t done something wrong, then do NOT apologize!  If you do it once, the narcissist will demand you do it again & again.  She will use you & wear you down to get you to make it up to her for whatever horrible thing you supposedly did.

If a person can’t behave like a mature adult by trying to work out a problem, then don’t treat them as if they are one.  Let that narcissist pout like the bratty child she’s acting like while you ignore her ridiculous display.  If she’s trying to make you feel guilty, pretend not to notice.  If she hints for an apology, also pretend not to notice.  Learn to enjoy the silent treatment if you’re on the receiving end of it.  It’s a reprieve from unnecessary drama- why not enjoy it?

Stop trying to make it up to a narcissist who isn’t telling you what you’ve done wrong or who blames you for them abusing you!  It only provides them with narcissistic supply, & the more you provide, the more they will demand from you.

Making it up to someone you have hurt is one thing.  It should be a normal thing for a person to do as well as the one hurt to expect.  However, when someone constantly expects another person to make it up to them without trying to talk things out, or because they abused their victim, something is very, very wrong with this situation.

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

Believing & Spreading Lies

I have a major pet peeve that has developed as I’ve gotten older.  When people blindly accept whatever they are told as truth.  Even worse is when they repeat it to others.  It simply makes no sense to believe everything you see or hear!  It’s just not wise!  The Bible states in Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as serpents and harmless as doves.”  (TLB)  I firmly believe that is a very smart way to live your life, wary as serpents & harmless as doves.

This may be the most bothersome to me in the perspective of people believing what narcissists tell them.  So many blindly accept anything their narcissist says as if it’s written in stone, especially their lies about their victims.  When I was growing up,  my mother’s friends liked me.  In my late teens when my mother got more & more abusive, suddenly, they no longer liked me.  In fact, they wouldn’t even make eye contact with me.  It wasn’t hard to figure out she was lying to them like she did to everyone else about me.  It really made me wonder two things… 1- What on Earth did she tell these people about me?!  2- They knew me pretty well.. why on Earth did they believe her lies?!

I still wonder these same things today about anyone who blindly believes things they are told about other people & spread such stories.

Rather than doing those things,  there are some things you really should consider…

When someone accuses another of bad behavior, remember that Revelations 12:10 says Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.”  It’s possible that the person being accused didn’t even do what you’re being told that person did.  The accuser simply could be doing Satan’s work by attempting to make this person look bad or ruin that person’s friendships.

Ask yourself not only if this person really did something, but if they indeed did the act, why would they do it.  Look at my situation as an example.  I have no contact with my elderly, widowed mother.  That looks pretty bad.  However, if you know my reasons, it makes sense.  There is always more than one side to every story.  Sometimes someone’s actions that look bad actually have a very good reason behind them.

If you are told something bad about another person, try taking it as a sign you need to pray for that person.  Even if you don’t know exactly what to pray for, you can ask God to meet that person’s needs, save them if they aren’t saved, & let His will be done in the person’s life.

The Bible also clearly speaks against gossip & slander, so don’t participate it.  The following Scriptures also could be an excellent reminder to a person who wants to talk badly about another person.:

  • Jeremiah 9:8 “Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully; with his mouth each speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he plans an ambush for him.”  (ESV)
  • Proverbs 11:13  “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”  (NIV)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:20  “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” (NIV)
  • Romans 16:17-18 “17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”  (ESV)

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Narcissistic In-Laws & Exes

Since I’m working on a book about narcissistic in-laws, it’s certainly gotten me to thinking about them.  Not exactly a fun topic since I’ve been through a LOT at the hands of narcissistic in-laws, but it’s also a topic that needs to be addressed.  I’ll share a blog post when it’s published as well as add the link to my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

One thing that recently has come to mind about these dreadful people is how they are with exes.  I’ve heard of & read so many stories of narcissistic in-laws who keep in touch with their son’s or brother’s ex, even after he has moved on to another woman & there were no children created in the relationship.  They may even have the ex’s picture hanging up in their home or a picture of him with her when they were together.  They may invite her to family functions, whether or not the new lady is present.

 

I’ve been down this road.  A woman my husband broke up with in 1991 is still a bigger part of my in-law’s family than I ever have been.  In 1997 at an in-law family party, my two sisters in-law spoke a LOT about her (when it was just the three of us together, no witnesses, of course), talking about what a great person she was & how they should hang out with her soon.  They never wanted to hang out with me, mind you.  Not long after we were married in 1998, my mother in-law told me how disappointed she & my father in-law were that my husband married me instead of this person.  Over the years, I learned that at least one of the sisters in-law not only kept in close contact with this ex, but kept my husband abreast of what was going on in her life.  Then, when we ran into her in a store two months to the day after my husband’s father died, I saw how comfortable & friendly she was with my husband.  It was painfully obvious she’d seen him recently, so I later asked what was going on with her.  Turns out not only had she been to my father in-law’s funeral, but also my mother in-law’s & took one of her sons to visit my mother in-law in the hospital.  She also lives only a few miles from my late in-laws’ home & attends the church they attended.

 

As if all of this isn’t awful enough, I also realized when we saw this woman that she obviously is still very attracted to my husband.

 

This whole situation got me to thinking about these types of situations.  If you’re in it, you’re going to need a lot of wisdom on how to cope with it.

 

I’m not saying all friendships between people & their exes or even their family & their exes are bad.  Sometimes they work out just fine or are necessary because of children or other ties to each other such as owning a business together.  When narcissistic in-laws are involved though, it’s a whole different situation.  This relationship isn’t because these people were genuinely fond of each other.  Like everything else, there is a self-serving purpose in it.  Never ever doubt that!  Your spouse may think his family’s behavior is normal but it isn’t!

 

If you wonder, watch how this relationship is handled.  Your feelings should be considered.  Your in-laws should not flaunt this person to you.  This person shouldn’t be frequently discussed fondly in front of you or her picture shouldn’t be in a predominant space in the in-law home (especially if it also includes your spouse).

 

How do they handle this relationship regarding your spouse?  Do they keep your spouse up to date on his ex’s life?  If your spouse wants no parts of the details of that ex, do they force him to listen anyway?  Do they forward her emails to him so he not only knows but has her email address as well?

 

These behaviors are all red flags, & you are going to need a lot of wisdom on how to handle this situation.

 

As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start.  Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (KJV) & James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)  Seems to me prayer is the best place you can start!

 

Also never give your spouse an ultimatum.  People who do this almost always end up losing because no one wants to feel controlled or manipulated.

 

Stay calm when you must discuss the situation.  If you act angry or hurt, chances are your spouse will discuss the conversation with someone in his family.  From there, it would be very easy for your in-laws to convince your spouse that you’re unreasonable, paranoid, even crazy.  And, no doubt if he sees his ex, she is on good behavior.  She will look even better to him & you even worse.  So stay calm during the discussion for the sake of your marriage!

 

Do NOT tell him what you think his family is up to.  Coming from a narcissistic family does quite the number on a person’s psyche as most people know.  One thing I’ve noticed is men in these situations have a lot more trouble facing the truth about their family than women.  (No guys, I don’t hate you or think you’re stupid.  It’s just an observation.)  If you’re in this position with your spouse, I know it can be frustrating.  You see the truth so clearly but your spouse doesn’t.  Don’t work hard trying to convince him of the truth.  You telling the truth will come across to him as you criticizing his family, which in turn will make him very protective of them & angry at you.  It will drive a huge wedge between you two.

 

You can, however, gently, let your spouse know that you are very uncomfortable with this situation.  Tell him how you feel, & don’t be afraid of being vulnerable.  Better for your spouse to see that side of you than the angry side, because it won’t make him defensive.  He will be more willing to listen to you & relate to your perspective if you aren’t angry.

 

Also, what about the ex?  Is she obviously still attracted to your husband?  This is tough, I know.  I really feel your pain.  The best I know to do with this is to focus on your spouse.  Make sure you don’t stop doing things that he loves or finds attractive about you.  Do nice little gestures for him to show him you love him, like slipping love notes into his lunch box, sock drawer, coat pocket or even taping them to his steering wheel while he’s in the shower.   If you tell him what a terrible person his ex is instead, you’re only making him defensive of her & angry at you.  Yes, I know this one is HARD.  After seeing my husband’s ex, every fiber in me wanted to say exactly what I think of her & his family.  But, I knew that he wouldn’t believe what I said & would end up passionately defending them while simultaneously being very angry with me.

 

Lastly remember, all of this isn’t about you.  It’s about some pretty dysfunctional people doing what dysfunctional people do.  If the ex is still interested, well, she should have tried harder to keep him & is being foolish for not giving up.  He moved on & she should too.  As for your in-laws, they are getting something out of this relationship.  They probably want to split you & your spouse up or at the very least cause trouble between you two.  Maybe they think because she’s wealthy or in some sort of position in society, she makes them look good.  Who knows?  But you can be sure of one thing… whatever sick mess is happening in this relationship, it has nothing to do with you.

 

I wish you the absolute best in this situation!  xoxo

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My Newest Book Is Now Available!

I have published my most recent book!  It’s called, “When Love Hurts: Loving A Narcissist”.  This one is about being romantically involved with a narcissist.  It teaches the reader how to determine if his or her partner is a narcissist, about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the best ways to cope with a narcissistic partner, how to help your children & more.  I pray it will bless everyone who reads it.

 

Want to know something interesting?  This book came to be because of a dream I had last spring.  Strange, huh?  Three ideas came to me in that one dream- a book about covert narcissists (which I wrote last year), another about narcissistic in-laws (I got a start on it & I think it will be my next book to publish) & this one about being romantically involved with narcissists.  It was one more confirmation to me that dreams are important- we need to pay attention to them!  You never know what God may show you in your dreams!

 

If you’re interested in this book, it is available in both print & ebook versions on my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Being Too Positive Is As Unhealthy As Being Too Negative

Lately I’ve noticed something.  So many people are just over the top positive. They can find something good in every single situation, no matter what.  While that may sound good, I really don’t think it’s entirely good for a person’s mental health.

If you’re very positive, you expect nothing but good things to happen.  Since life isn’t always perfect, bad things do happen, & when they do, overly positive people can be devastated.  A realistic person hopes for the best, but  also prepares for the worst.  When something bad happens, they aren’t usually overwhelmed, because they knew it was possible something bad might happen.

Very positive people also can unintentionally invalidate others, which damages their relationships.  Look at these typical scenarios:

  • You’re recovering from a potentially life threatening illness.  The overly positive person says, “At least you’re still alive!”  Well, yes, but that comment makes you feel like you don’t have the right to be upset about the fact that you could have died, when in fact you most certainly have that right!
  • A soldier with PTSD saved his friends’ lives by killing an enemy soldier who was running at them, guns blazing.  A positive person might say something like, “You did a brave thing!  Look at the lives you saved!”  While that’s true, how about asking how he feels about the incident, or offering him comfort because he had to kill another human being & is having difficulties coming to terms with it?
  • You tell the overly positive person of trauma in your life such as your parents’ abusing you, being the victim of a mugging or maybe being in a terrible car wreck.  The overly positive person says, “Other people have been through much worse!”  Or, even worse, they don’t so much as acknowledge what you said.
  • You were adopted as a baby.  As an adult, you’re frustrated because you don’t know your family’s history, how many siblings you may or may not have, why you were given up for adoption or even what name your biological mother wanted to give you.  Or, maybe your adoptive parents abused you.  An overly positive person might tell you how lucky you were & how grateful you should be to be adopted, making you feel guilty for not feeling so lucky or grateful.

I’m not trying to say being positive is all bad.  It certainly has its place.  It can help you in tough times to focus on the good, such as remembering the good times with your loved one after he or she has passed away.  I do believe though that there must be balance.

Being too positive means a person doesn’t deal with their emotions in a healthy way.  They ignore the anger, hurt or sadness & put on a happy face.  That is never a healthy thing to do!  Emotions demand to be felt, so if they aren’t felt in a healthy way, they’ll find a way to manifest in an unhealthy way.  This can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure as well as angry outbursts or depression.

It also can lead to deep insecurity.  If a person feels bad about themselves for feeling a negative emotion, chances are, that person will shame themselves for what they feel.  Their self talk will be awful.  They’ll tell themselves things like, “You’re so stupid for being mad/sad about that!”  Negative self talk can damage self-esteem, which is never a good thing.

You can be positive yet realistic at the same time, Dear Reader.  If something bad happened, there is nothing wrong with admitting that event was bad.  As I’ve mentioned before, in 2015, I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Good has come from it- my personality changes have worked well for me.  I’m happy to say I no longer have patience for abusive people, I’m better with self care than ever before & I finally will stand up for myself.  But, at the same time, I don’t like the fact I get tired so easily, I have constant head, neck & body pain, sometimes my moods swing like crazy, & my memory & comprehension are seriously damaged.  See what I mean?  I have found the positive, but at the same time, I admit the negative.  You can do this too, & I firmly believe when you do, you will be much happier than if you are overly positive.

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Pity & Narcissists

As some of you may remember, my late mother in-law was a covert narcissist.  She also was exceptionally good at what she did.  My own husband didn’t believe me when I told him of many of the things she said & did to me.  Like everyone else, he was fooled by her innocent act.  I can’t blame him entirely for that.  Like I said, she was VERY good.

During the time she was in my life, I knew something was wrong, even though I had no understanding about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at the time.  It blew my mind how, like my mother, she could appear one way to other people, but the moment we were alone, the fangs came out.  That just isn’t normal & you don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know that.

Then one day when my husband & I were at his parents’ home, visiting his parents.  My mother in-law said something, & my father in-law said, “Shut your stupid mouth.  Nobody wants to hear what you have to say!”  I’d never seen that side of him before, only heard about it.  He & my husband went outside shortly after.  My mother in-law & I were left alone.  I don’t remember exactly what she said, it was probably over 20 years ago by now, but I do remember that she was especially mean to me that evening.  I figured she was just upset by how her husband spoke to her & taking it out on me.

The anger I usually felt at her because of her nastiness softened a lot.  I felt bad for her for what just happened.  And, for some time after that, I put up with her nastiness without complaint.  I figured she obviously has no real coping skills, so maybe being mean to me is the only way she can deal with the hurt & anger she felt inside.  I didn’t like it but I figured if it helped her somehow, fine.  If I could live through the horrible things my mother said to me, I could handle the mother in-law.

This didn’t last long, a couple of months tops.  I realized it wasn’t helping her, it was really hurting me & frankly, it wasn’t fair.

Situations like this are no doubt why so many people say you should never pity a narcissist.  It means you will tolerate a LOT of abuse.  Well, that is a very valid point.  I tolerated so much more than I should have because I felt pity for my mother in-law.

However, that being said, I still don’t regret feeling that pity for her at that time or at any point.  Probably that makes me sound crazy, but hear me out…

I realized some time later that the ability to feel pity for someone who was so cruel to me showed that in spite of all of the narcissistic abuse I’ve been through in my life, it didn’t destroy my ability to feel compassion for others.  It can be so easy to turn bitter & angry when you’ve been through narcissistic abuse.  I also didn’t turn into a narcissist like a few victims of narcissistic abuse do.  I am grateful that neither happened to me.

Feeling pity for my mother in-law motivated me to pray for her, & all Christians know God wants us to pray for others, including our enemies:

 

Matthew 5:43-48
“43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [a]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (AMP)

 

I prayed for her quite a bit over the years, albeit not as much as I should have.  All of my prayers for her were answered.  My mother in-law did come to know Jesus, so she is in Heaven now instead of Hell.  She also died in her home rather than a nursing home, as she wanted.  She even died in her sleep, peacefully.

 

Praying for her also was good for me.  It helped me to release the anger I’d felt at her for so long.  I eventually got to the point of feeling nothing for her beyond wanting her to come to the Lord & not to suffer at the end of her life.  Sorta sad, I admit, but it sure beats hating her like I once did!

 

My point in telling you this story is this.. some people find it easy to feel pity for people, even narcissists.  When you know that the narcissistic person in your life has suffered, in spite of how awfully they treat you, there’s probably a little part of you that pities that person.  It’s natural to want to shut that part of you down when the object of your pity is so abusive.  Instead, why not acknowledge it?  Accept that feeling as it is- just a feeling.  Also, you can take the feeling as a sign that person needs prayer & you need to be the one to pray.

 

However, please, PLEASE do not get all crazy like I did & let the pity you feel be a reason to tolerate abuse from the narcissist.  It’s very possible to feel pity for someone while still maintaining healthy boundaries & distance.  I did with my mother in-law & still do with my mother.  Please learn from my mistake in this area!

 

Lastly, if you don’t feel pity for the narcissist in your life, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad Christian.  Many people don’t feel it & there is nothing wrong with that!  Even good, loving, faithful people don’t always feel pity towards narcissists.  It happens, & it’s ok.  This post is simply directed at those who may feel differently than you.  🙂

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

When No Contact Isn’t An Option

While no contact is often the best solution for a person with narcissistic parents, sometimes it isn’t an option or at least isn’t an option in the near future.  This post is for those of you in that position.

I understand how difficult it is to be in that situation.  I wanted to sever ties with my parents for over a year before the timing felt right.  I did learn some things during that time though, & I hope what I learned can help you.

I think it is a good idea first to get to the root of why no contact isn’t an option & eliminate the problem if at all possible.  Are you financially dependent?  Then try to find other means of supporting yourself.  Are you afraid of being alone?  It is better to be alone than to have abusive people in your life!  God can send you new friends who genuinely love you & become like family.  Are you afraid of what may happen if you go no contact such as relatives attacking you?  I know that can be pretty intimidating, but think about it- what can they really do to you?  If all they can do is tell you what a terrible person you are, that is something you can handle.  After all, didn’t your narcissistic parents tell you that often growing up?  My mother did.  Although it bothered me when the flying monkeys told me the same things, I realized their words only upset me because they reminded me of when my own mother said worse to me.  Once your own mother has called you horrific names, you develop a sort of armor to that verbal abuse.  Do you somehow know that the timing isn’t right like I did?  Then keep praying & follow God’s promptings.  When the timing is right, you will know it & He will enable you to follow through with going no contact.

If you are unable to go no contact at this time but want to, then try for low contact.  Limit your exposure to your narcissistic parent as much as possible.  Don’t be available every time they call.  Don’t visit or invite them to your home often.  Follow your heart & deal with them only when you feel you are able to.  I used to pray before answering my parents’ calls.  I’d ask God if I should take it or not & if I felt His answer was yes, I’d ask Him to guide my words & enable me to handle the situation in the best possible way.

When you must deal with your narcissistic parents, there are some helpful skills you can use.

Always remember that your parents are narcissists.  You aren’t dealing with normal, stable, healthy people.  You can’t expect them to behave as such.  Get rid of any expectations for them to behave normally or show love to you.

Also remember- with narcissists, everything boils down to how can they get narcissistic supply?  You’re best off depriving them of that supply, but in ways that can’t trigger their narcissistic rage.  To do this, the Gray Rock method is best.

I think of Gray Rock as becoming boring to narcissists.  What interests them?  Deprive them of that.  In other words, don’t tell them personal information.  In conversation, stick to superficial topics like the weather.  If you’re out of ideas for superficial conversation, ask the narcissist about herself.  They love talking about themselves, so you might as well make it work for you.  In difficult situations, you can ask the narcissist about herself & that should divert the attention off of you since most narcissists can’t resist an opportunity to talk about themselves.

Always stay calm, cool & collected around your narcissistic parent.  Narcissists see displays of emotions as weakness, which makes them attack their victim like a hungry lion attacks a weak gazelle.  In their presence, show no emotion.  Always be cold & emotionless.

Keep firm boundaries in place & offer no explanations for them.  You can say NO without explaining yourself further.  If your narcissistic parent demands to know why you say no, change the subject.  If your narcissistic parent hints at wanting to know, ignore the hints.

Keep learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It will help you to keep a healthy perspective of your situation.  It will help you not to take your parents’ abuse so personally & it will help you to figure out effective ways of dealing with them.

And, never forget to pray often & talk to your safe, supportive friends who understand your situation.  A good support network is extremely important in these situations.  Avoid people who tell you what to do.  People who don’t understand why you won’t go no contact or think no contact is wrong are not people you need to deal with, especially as you are trying to go no contact.

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

Feeling Guilt Regarding Your Narcissistic Parent?

Recently I was thinking of something.  Maybe some of you remember last December, just before Christmas, my mother had her attorney/flying monkey send me a letter asking if I wanted my father’s car.  (here is the post if you missed it:   Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low)

I thought about the letter the other day, & the wording of it all.  At that time, I felt a lot of guilt even though I knew with every fiber of my being I needed to maintain strict no contact with her.  It was such a difficult time!  I also thought about the fact my mother wanted my help with what she was dealing with after my father’s death.  She expected me to help her, after everything she’s done to me, & there has been a LOT!  Just throwing out a couple of examples…

 

  • My mother threw me into a wall when I was 19 hard enough to give me back pain for 10 years.  Why?  Because she started a fight with me & got mad when I eventually snapped & cussed at her.  She never apologized or even admitted to any of her part in that incident.  She also told people I faked the back pain so I could quit working because I was lazy.
  • My mother stole the savings bonds her mother left me when she died in 2001.  I had to go after her with proof of what the inheritance was worth & copies of the cashed bonds to get it back.  When she sent me a check, I saw she wrote in the memo line, “What you claim Grandma owes you.”
  • Most recently, in 2016.. my mother in-law died.  I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002 because she was so cruel to me.  My parents knew this.  When my parents learned of her passing, they called me & were mad I didn’t tell them in time to attend the funeral & “pay their respects.”  I was stunned that was an option.  I expected them to tell me what a great woman she was, even though they only spoke to her twice in their lives.  I ended up so hurt & angry that I cried & cussed at my parents, which is not my normal behavior.  The more upset I got, the more bored my mother acted.  She then tried getting me to feel sorry for her because she has vertigo.  It didn’t work.  We haven’t spoken since.

 

These are only a few examples.  I have a LOT more.

So anyway, I was thinking of these things & others, & it hit me.  My mother has a LOT of nerve thinking she is entitled to my help after not only doing all of these things, but also not once accepting any responsibility or apologizing for any of the abuse she’s inflicted on me.  She is still the same abusive monster she was when I was a kid.  Her tactics may be different now, but she is still out to hurt & control me  as much as possible if given the chance.  This quickly got rid of any guilt I felt regarding her.

My point (finally, I know.. sorry!) is this….

If you are struggling with feeling guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, for being no contact or feel like now that your parent is elderly & frail, you should take care of her even if you haven’t spoken in years, I really suggest doing what I did.

Consider your relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Think about the things your parent did to you.  Has your parent shown any signs of improving their behavior?  Has she admitted any wrongdoing at all?  If your parent is like most narcissists, you honestly can say no to those questions.  And, if you can say no to those questions, then you need to maintain distance to protect yourself & your mental health.

If you’re still feeling any guilt at this point, also remember- people reap what they sow.  Galatians 6:7 says:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (KJV)

A person who sows bad seeds will reap a bad harvest, period.  This means that an abusive parent will not be treated with love & kindness indefinitely as a good parent would be treated.  A person can only take so much before they pull away from their abuser, even if that abuser is their parent.  It’s the natural way of things.  You aren’t being petty, childish or any other awful thing people may say you are by putting distance between you & your narcissistic parent.  You’re simply a part of the normal system of reaping & sowing.

 

Lastly, you are NOT dishonoring your abusive parent with either low or no contact.  By maintaining low or no contact, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin.  Your parent can’t abuse you if you aren’t there.  You’re also encouraging her to improve her behavior by giving her consequences for her actions.  That is very honorable & loving!  Anyone who tells you that you’re not honoring your narcissistic parent or thinks it’s honorable to tolerate anything your parent dishes out truly does NOT know God or understand His word at all.

 

So remember, Dear Reader… you have no valid reasons to feel guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, but if you do feel guilty, remind yourself of what your parent has done to you like I did.

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

You Have The Right To Protect Yourself From Abusive Family Members!

I read a really good article the other day.  It gave me another reminder that it’s ok to cut toxic people out of my life, even if they’re so called “family.”  I thought I’d pass this excellent reminder along to you, Dear Reader.

Although family is supposed to be a safe haven, that isn’t always the case, as no doubt you are well aware.  Many families are downright cruel & abusive to their own family members.  When their victims defend themselves, they often are shunned by other relatives (even ones who know how the abusers are), friends & society in general.  Why people seem to think you should tolerate abuse from someone because you share some genes & maybe a name is beyond me!

Being related to someone by blood or by marriage does NOT give a person the right to be abusive.  In fact, there is NOTHING that gives any person the right to be abusive. 

As the victim of an abusive person, you have rights…

  • You have every right to protect yourself from all abuse- spiritual, mental, emotional, verbal, financial, physical & sexual.
  • You have the right to expect people to treat you with basic respect- be polite, not try to cause you harm or pain, etc.
  • You have the right to be upset when you are mistreated or abused.
  • You have the right to say no & to have healthy boundaries & to expect them to be respected.
  • You have the right not to tolerate guilt trips, manipulation & attempts to control you.
  • You have the right to be in a relationship without losing yourself, to maintain your own identity & independence that is pleasing to you.
  • You have the right to live your life in a way that is good & healthy for you, even if others disapprove.
  • You have the right to end a relationship with an abusive person, even if that person is “family.”

 

Remember these rights, Dear Reader.  If someone in your family is abusive, you absolutely have every right to eliminate that person from your life if you have to do so to protect yourself.

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God Is So Good!!

So over the last couple of weeks, on top of dealing with my husband’s father’s sudden passing, one of our beautiful kitties, Zippy, got sick with a urinary tract issue plus a reaction to his medication.  On our way to the vet’s offie, we hit an unusual amount of green lights & little traffic.  We were only there a short time.  And, as usual, there was no emergency fee (I think it’s $65) because our vet is more concerned with caring for animals than making huge profits.  I truly have the most awesome, wonderful vet in the universe  🙂

 

On the good side, as I’m writing this, Zippy is doing well.  It’ll take him a few days to get back to normal, but praise God, he’ll be normal again!

 

Also as I was writing this, my husband called after his dad’s funeral service was done.  Naturally it was tough, but the good thing is our neighbor showed up to be there for him.  How sweet is that?!  As if him & his wife baking a couple of cakes for the wake wasn’t kind enough.

 

The past week has been incredibly rough but while I was thinking about it, I realized yet again how true Psalm 23:4 is….

 

 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  (KJV)

 

The reason I’m telling you about this is to encourage you.  I know during hard times it can feel like God is nowhere around.  It sure can feel like you’re walking alone in, “the valley of the shadow of death!”  I’ve felt the same way myself the last few days.  But, whether or not you feel His presence, God is there, listening to your prayers & working out your situation.  Somehow, some way, God will help you get through even the hardest of times.

 

This was hardly the first time God has helped us & no doubt it won’t be the last, so I feel assured in telling you that if you’re going through hard times, even if you feel totally alone, you really aren’t.  God is there with you, in your corner, working things out somehow for the best solution to the situation.  You’re never alone in those dark valleys of the shadow of death!  Keep praying, keep believing & He will show up in ways you never expected.  xoxo

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Grieving Doesn’t End Once A Funeral Is Done

Something crossed my mind recently, I’m sure it’s due  to my father in-law’s recent death:  Grief doesn’t end just because the funeral is over.

I think many people act like once your loved one is buried or cremated, you’re done grieving.  It’s done now so you should be ready to resume your life as it was, no problem.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Grief has no set time.  It doesn’t end just because the funeral is done, because a set amount of time has passed, or because people think you should be “over it” by now.

There’s also the fact that the first year after a loved one dies is incredibly hard.  You have their first birthday without them, first anniversary, first holidays…  those days can be extremely difficult, but especially the first ones.

In fact, I don’t think grief ever ends completely, it only becomes less intense over time.  My great grandmother that I adored died in 1982, & I still miss her a great deal to this day.  No, I don’t cry all the time, but I still miss her & think of her often.  If you love someone, that is just how things happen.

And if you lost a pet rather than a human, people can be even more insensitive, because after all, “It’s only a cat/dog/bird/etc!” they say.  They fail to realize that pets are a big part of our daily lives.  We love them, care for them, play with them, nurture them & when they get old &./or sick, we become their caregivers.  Such things can form an incredible bond, & when that bond is broken, it hurts just as much if not more than when a human passes away.

If you have lost someone you love recently, please ignore people who try to tell you that you should be over it already, are taking too long to grieve or “It’s just a pet!”.  It’s not their business!  You take your time & grieve however you need to for as much time as you need to.  Honor your loved one’s life, too.  Maybe plant a garden they would like, or make or build something creative like they would have made.  It really does help!

If you have been actively grieving for a long time (over a year), & it disrupts your life, I really would like to suggest you try grief counseling.  Sometimes, people kinda get “stuck” & there is no shame in it.  It happens!  It just means you need a little help to get unstuck.

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Filed under Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

What’s Been Happening Lately

The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.

Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home.  Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him.  Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age.  Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live.  Friday, June 22, his father died.

Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.

The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.

First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change.  When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die.  Never take anyone you love for granted!  Enjoy every moment you can with them.  Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them.  I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.

Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible.  Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable.  Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible.  Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love.  Do whatever benefits your peace & joy.  No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?

If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times.  Animals do love us & want to help if they can.  Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures.  He called just as I took the last picture.  Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them.  I really believe they knew what was going on.  And, when my husband got home, they proved it.  The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night.  They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!

I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering.   This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October.  I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year.  It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think.  I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet.  I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.

If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too.  Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.

So, that’s what has been happening recently.  I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you.  xoxo

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Understanding Your Abuser

Many people think that understanding your abuser is unimportant to the healing process.  They say the reasons they did what they did doesn’t matter- only the fact that they hurt you matters.  I disagree with this type of thinking.

 

When you understand what makes your abuser tick, it helps you a great deal by seeing that that person is the one with the problem, not you.  You finally can see that you aren’t responsible for what they did to you.  You did nothing to make that person hurt you.  Nothing you did or didn’t do forced them to hurt you. Ultimately, it’s the choice of the abuser how they treat people & once you understand that your abuser made some very bad choices, it sets you free of any false guilt you carried for what you endured.

 

 

Understanding your abuser also helps you if you are still in a relationship with that person.  (As I’ve said many times, not everyone is able or willing to go no contact with the narcissist in their life, & I am trying to help those people.)  When you know how they think, you understand why they’re saying & doing the hurtful things they are.  This means their words or actions don’t hurt as badly as they could, because you know that they aren’t personal, exactly- they are the result of the dysfunction of the abuser.   It also helps you because you’ll be able to anticipate their next move.  When you know them well enough to predict their actions, you can anticipate the best ways to protect yourself & set boundaries.

 

If you’re being abused, please consider what I’ve said.  If your abuser is a narcissist, they are especially devious, so learning about narcissism is especially important.  Learn what you can.  Read books & websites.  Most of all though, pray.  Ask God to show you whatever you need to know.  Also, ask Him to show you ways to cope.  If you’re able to go no contact & considering it, ask Him if you should, & if so, how to go about it.  God will provide you with great, helpful insight.

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Thoughts About Honoring Parents

I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.

When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.

When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!

Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.

Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…

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.”

This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…

Jeremiah 17:5

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)

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

Is No Contact “Un-Christian”?

Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things.  One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving.  These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent.  It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely!  After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!

Hahaha.  No.

I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian.  I am well aware that I don’t.  But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect.  Far from it.  If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.

Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different  from loving people’s way.  God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest.   Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior.  Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim.  However, it is not your place to force them to change.  It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.

 

But it’s certainly NOT easy!  Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior.  As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it.  Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love.  They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one.  People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.

I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love.  Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things.  However, love also must be tough sometimes.  God proves that!  He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior.  He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions.  As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) 

Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone.  Many people have been, including me.  When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (AMP)  As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you.  He will reward you one day!  Those who said such cruel things however??  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].”  (AMP)

 

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)

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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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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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Filed under Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

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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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Miscellaneous

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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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Forgiveness

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