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Category Archives: Christian Topics and Prayers
Those of us who have suffered through narcissistic abuse know trauma, depression, misery & even what it feels like to consider suicide. We have gone through such horrific events that it can feel nearly impossible to find any good in life. Yet we are still blessed! Not because of the abuse, of course, but in spite of it.
Victims of narcissistic abuse always feel weak in the midst of their suffering because they are powerless, but truly, they are strong. It takes an incredible amount of strength to escape the abuse against all efforts of the narcissist to keep you in the relationship. It also takes a great deal of strength to escape with no self esteem, & when you believe you aren’t able to survive without the narcissist in your life. Having such strength, especially in spite of the narcissist’s efforts to destroy it, is a huge blessing!
Victims of narcissistic abuse are also incredibly brave. Narcissists aren’t always physically abusive. They don’t have to be. They can terrify victims with a simple look that can make a victim fear or their life. Going against someone that appears to be incredibly powerful & capable of causing you great pain & suffering is extremely brave! Being so brave is another huge blessing.
Victims of narcissistic abuse are very appreciative. After surviving horrific abuse, victims have a different mentality than the average person. Victims know how bad things can be & how cruel people can be. They have learned to greatly value all of the good things in life. Living life with an appreciative spirit is a wonderful thing that can bring a great deal of joy, & is another blessing.
Victims of narcissistic abuse are loyal. When someone who claimed to love you abuses you to the point of destroying your personhood, it’s hard to trust other people. Once a victim trusts someone & that someone is good to them, however, they are incredibly loyal. Good people are exceptionally precious to those who have suffered narcissistic abuse. Victims will adore & protect these people fiercely, which is why they often make wonderful friends & romantic partners. Friend & romantic partners appreciate such loyalty, so again, this is another blessing.
Victims of narcissistic abuse who turn to God have an extremely close relationship with Him. Of all of the things I have mentioned so far, this is the most wonderful one, in my opinion. I saved the best for last. In typical narcissist fashion, narcissists do their best to convince their victims to believe as they believe. The narcissistic atheist expects their victim to share their beliefs. There are also narcissists who know enough about the Bible to be able to twist Scripture around to the point of justifying their abuse. Such behaviors often convolute a victim’s view of God. For someone to survive this yet come away with faith on any level is impressive, but many have an extremely intimate relationship with God. He blesses these people greatly, too. Isaiah 9: 2-3 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” (NIV) I can’t help but think God has a special place in His heart for those who have been abused, which is why He blesses victims in this way.
By sharing these thoughts, I’m not saying that any victim of abuse should be grateful for their traumatic experiences. I am saying though that it’s good to look at these blessings in your life & be so grateful for them. Be grateful that in spite of the narcissist’s best efforts, he or she couldn’t take these gifts from you. And, be proud of yourself for surviving all that you have! That, as you well know, is no easy feat!
It’s a simple fact of life that some family members abuse other family members. Every single person I have spoken with who reads my work has been abused by at least one relative. I have been too. And one thing the majority of us have in common is that we have severed ties with these monsters to protect ourselves.
So many people have experienced the same thing I have, people coming out of the woodwork to tell us we have done something terrible by severing ties. They seem to think since you’re related, that relationship is somehow sacred, & there is never any reason to end it. Many people even bring God into their warped views, saying you have to “forgive & forget” or “honor your parent” by tolerating whatever they do to you.
I want you to know today that is completely wrong!
Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” (ESV) And, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,“3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) (Emphasis added)
Did you notice something in there about how this applies to anyone but family? Me neither. Probably because it’s not there!
So many of you reading this post today have ended relationships with your abusive family members, & are struggling with guilt & doubt. I totally understand. I’ve been in this same position. After I stopped speaking to my parents, I had a LOT of both guilt & doubt. Shortly after, I learned my father had leukemia, which added even more guilt & doubt. I also had relatives constantly telling me how awful I was & doing their best to shame & even bully me into resuming the relationship with my parents. The only reason I survived all of that with my sanity in tact is God.
When times got tough & people were being so cruel to me about being no contact, I depended on God to help me get through. Help me He did too! God would remind me that I did what was right, at the time it was right, & I did nothing wrong. They didn’t see that because of their own issues, not because I had done something bad. He even stopped me from making things worse by enabling me not to respond to their vicious attacks. He kept reminding me that if I responded, things would get worse, so ignore them. Save their emails, messages, etc. in case I need them one day, but don’t read them or respond to them.
Everything God did for me during the flying monkey attacks was exactly what I needed in my situation. He will do the same for you!
If you have come to the point of having no contact with some of your family, please rest assured God understands! Contrary to what some people think, He is ok with you removing toxic, abusive people from your life, even if they are family. When you’re struggling with your decision, talk to Him & ask His help. He won’t let you down! Let Him help! He can get you through anything, even this!
I noticed some interesting things when reading Matthew 5:38-39 in the Amplified translation of the Bible recently. The verses say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].” The first interesting part was the definition of evil person. It says someone “who insults you or violates your rights.” That sounds like a narcissist to me. After all, they live to be insulting & violate the rights of others. It’s what they do & do so well.
I also like the next part of that verse that describes what turning the other cheek really means. That was the second interesting thing I noticed. That part of verse 39 says, “Simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses, & do not bother to retaliate – maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise.” That perfectly describes the Gray Rock Method! It provides no narcissistic supply while you maintain your composure. Narcissists can’t stand that! They absolutely hate it, but there is nothing they can do about it without looking foolish. This means they will leave you alone.
Like I’ve said many times in my work, it’s impossible to avoid narcissists. They’re everywhere. Even when we remove them from our lives, chances are excellent that others will pop up. Hopefully only in passing, like maybe a cashier or repairman. But, sometimes they pop up in other, closer relationships no matter how hard we try to avoid them. A close friend starts dating a narcissist, or that new coworker is a narcissist. In such situations, there is no escape. The best that you can do is find ways to deal with that person. The healthier you get, the more narcissists hate you, which may make the situation even more challenging for a while. They see you as a threat because you can see what’s behind their masks & you don’t fall for their manipulation. At some point though they will get bored with you & avoid you as much as possible.
In those situations, the best thing you can do is remember what the Bible says. People who insult you & ignore your rights are evil in God’s eyes. That is very clear in the verses from Matthew! That means you need to protect youself from these people.
Also, don’t forget the rest of the verse gives excellent advice in dealing with such people. Ignore them. Act like you didn’t even notice their cruel words or actions. Don’t allow them to manipulate you or give them any praise. Become boring to them, in other words. This deprives people like this of narcissistic supply. The more you deprive a narcissist of supply, the less that narcissist will want to do with you. You are a waste of their time at this point. They prefer to focus on people that will provide them with that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately. Be as boring as possible to the narcissists in your life. Doing so will keep you safe from their abuse.
Many people have very definite opinions on no contact but especially when it comes to parents. There are so many who claim no contact is the only option & there is no excuse not to sever ties with toxic parents. There are probably just as many who claim it’s not God’s will, no contact is dishonorable & there is absolutely no excuse to sever ties with your parents no matter what they have done to you.
If you are in the position of wondering if no contact is your best solution, no doubt you have read information on both sides of this argument. It can be truly overwhelming & confusing!
My purpose in this post is to help you decide whether or not no contact is necessary in your particular situation. Following are some questions you need to consider. When you answer them, the more honestly you answer, the more clarity you should have about whether or not you need to go no contact with your parent.
Is your parent willing to discuss your relationship? Narcissistic parents have no desire to discuss the relationship or work towards solutions. They don’t want to hear their victim’s complaints, & can shut down as soon as the conversation turns to their behavior. Functional people are open to discussion & are willing to listen, not only talk.
Does your parent deny any responsibility for problems in the relationship? Functional people admit when they are wrong. They apologize & try to make appropriate changes. Dysfunctional people, narcissists in particular, refuse to admit they have made mistakes. Instead, they refuse to admit any wrong doing, shift all blame to the victim or make lame excuses for their behavior.
When discussing the relationship, does your parent turn the situation around to where you are the abuser, them the victim? Covert narcissists in particular love to do this. No matter how valid your complaint about their behavior, they can spin the situation around to make you look abusive, while simultaneously making them look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways. Functional people do nothing like this.
Is your parent completely inflexible? For any relationship to work, both parties have to be rather flexible. One person can’t do all of the compromising & expect the relationship to be a healthy one. Yet, narcissists aren’t concerned with what is healthy. They’re only concerned with what they want, & what they want is a one sided relationship where their victim caters to their every whim. Functional people are willing to bend & compromise if it means the relationship will be better.
Is your parent very entitled? Functional parents accept that their children are grown with their own life, family & responsibilities. They don’t expect to be their adult child’s top priority. Entitled parents are much different. They think their adult children need to have them as top priority even over their spouse &/or children & are impossible. No matter how much their adult child does for them, it never will be enough nor will it please this parent. Even if their adult child does so much for them that their spouse divorces them, it still won’t be enough. It may please the parent, however, to have that spouse out of the picture so the adult child can focus on them even more.
Have you tried your best to fix this relationship yet it either didn’t change or got worse? One person can’t fix a relationship, but by altering their behavior, some change should come naturally to the relationship. If the relationship stayed the same or got worse, that is not a good sign. Narcissists don’t like their victims to change unless that change means the victim is more subservient. If your parent is like the dysfunctional ones I discussed, chances are excellent that no contact is your best solution. I don’t like to say anyone definitely should go no contact, because each person & each situation is unique. However, the dysfunctional behaviors I’ve discussed are big signs that there is no working things out with anyone who behaves that way. From here, I highly recommend lots of prayer & consideration of your unique situation. And, if you realize no contact is necessary for you, then you can have peace of mind knowing you did all you could & gave it a lot of serious consideration before implementing no contact.
Some time back, I decided to change my online diary to another website. Unfortunately I can’t export the old one & import it to the new. I have to copy & paste old entries manually. I considered starting from scratch but quickly abandoned the idea. It’s helpful to be able to read over old entries.
One thing I realized in reading those old entries was how helpful anger has been to me. Many of you may remember in 2016, I had a big argument with my parents that led to no contact. It was a very hard time for me, & I was full of a great deal of anger.
I don’t like feeling anger. In fact, I really hate it. When someone wrongs me, no matter how badly, I do my best to release that anger as quickly as possible. Yet after the argument with my parents, not only could I not release it, it got worse for a while. At the time it felt horrible & I was miserable. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. Looking back though, I realize how valuable that anger was.
The anger I felt then helped me to stay no contact with my parents. I felt incredibly guilty for going no contact because they were in failing health. That anger helped me to maintain my distance. And, I later learned that maintaining no contact was what God wanted from me at the time. In fact, it led to my father’s Salvation at the very end of his life. (That incredible story is on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug if you’d like to read it.)
That anger also helped me to maintain boundaries when people insisted I should speak to my parents. We all know that flying monkeys think they know best what victims should do to please their narcissist. This behavior really goes over the top when a victim boots a narcissist out of their life. I experienced this in 2016 & 2017. The anger I felt at my parents helped me to keep a good perspective on the relationship I’d had with my parents, & not to cave when people tried to force me to resume it.
The anger I felt also helped me to think logically. That was very helpful, too! If I started to think the flying monkeys might be right, almost immediately I would ask myself what would it benefit anyone for me to return to the abusive relationship? What makes people think they have the right to suggest that to me? Logical thoughts like that are fantastic for giving a healthy perspective.
I know in Christian circles, talk like this is often very frowned upon. So many quote Colossians 3:13 that says we should be quick to forgive or they say anger is a sin. While I agree that forgiveness is a good thing, people shouldn’t be labeled sinful for feeling anger! Anger isn’t a sin. It’s simply an emotion. What a person does with anger can be sinful, but isn’t that true with pretty much anything? Owning a knife isn’t a sin either, but if that knife is used to kill someone, that becomes a tool to sin.
Rather than looking at anger as some black & white issue, I think it’s good to look at it more objectively. Consider the reason you’re angry & pray about it. Maybe you can learn something from the anger or the situation. Maybe it will help motivate you to change. Few things are as good a motivator as anger, after all.
While I’m not saying act carelessly out of anger, let it help you. Don’t let it be a waste. Let your anger teach or help you in whatever way it can. It can be uncomfortable to experience but it also can be a very good teacher & helper.
Many people talk about forgiveness as if it means you resume a relationship as if nothing happened. You also no longer feel any anger or hurt. It’s as if a magic wand has wiped away all evidence that the painful event happened! And, if this isn’t the case in your situation, clearly something is very wrong with you.
Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth! Believing these lies has done a lot of emotional damage to victims of narcissistic abuse. I want to share the truth about forgiveness in this post.
Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation. Some relationships have run their course & need to end for various reasons. One example is when one person in the relationship is abusive & shows no interest in changing their ways. Staying in a relationship with someone who abuses you simply makes no sense! Even if the abuser is a spouse or family member, it’s best to leave the abuser behind.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that a relationship needs to continue exactly as it was. When someone does something very bad to someone else, that bad behavior needs to stop. Continuing the abusive behavior over & over is terrible for the victim & also the abuser. The abuser learns that their behavior is perfectly acceptable. Clearly this is NOT good for either party!
Forgiving someone is much like forgiving a debt. If you lend someone money & they can’t pay you back, you can “forgive” their debt. In other words, you don’t expect them to repay you & you don’t mention that they owe you. That debt is a done deal. When someone wrongs you, you can do something similar by not expecting them to try to make it up to you for what they have done. Doing this really lifts a great deal of weight & stress from you!
Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean that you never feel anger or hurt about the incident again. If you forgive someone as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, that does open the door to your anger & hurt diminishing or even disappearing in time. Some abusive actions are so egregious though, that there may always be a degree of hurt or anger attached to the memory. That doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven the person who hurt you. It means that the action was really terrible. Remember me sharing the story of when my mother threw me into a wall when I was 19? I honestly have forgiven her for that. Remembering the incident, however, still makes me cringe. Sometimes it even makes my back hurt in the location she injured it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven her, am holding onto bitterness or am not a good Christian. It means that was a really bad action!
When it comes to the business of forgiving, I do my best immediately to decided to forgive. Most likely there is nothing the person can do anyway to completely make it up to me for what they have done, so I mentally release them from that “debt” of sorts.
I also have found praying to be VERY helpful. I ask God to help me forgive naturally, but also tell Him how I feel. I say it was wrong of them to do or say whatever they did. I cry or rant to get my feelings out & that helps so much. He is never surprised or offended either. He lets me say whatever I need to.
Journaling is also helpful. I’ve learned that writing things down helps bring clarity to situations that speaking about them doesn’t. There is something so helpful about seeing things in writing!
If you don’t journal, you still can get the benefits of writing. Write letters you never send to the person who has hurt or abused you. Let it all out in them, too. Once you’re done, you can save the letter somewhere well hidden or you can dispose of it. I used to burn mine. It was like the anger & hurt went up in flames with the paper. Strange, I know, but still very helpful.
You don’t have to live up to the impossibly high standards some folks have of forgiveness. It’s unrealistic & unhealthy! Remember these truths about forgiveness.. I believe they will help you!
I’ve been toying with the idea of creating some mini books for a while now. Each book being much shorter than the average, & focusing only on one topic at a time. I thought it could be a good idea since narcissism is a pretty overwhelming topic. These books help readers by not inundating them with too much information per book which makes them easier to read & absorb the subject matter. Plus, being shorter books, people can get exactly the information they want at a cheaper price than buying a larger book.
Mini books also are much easier for me to write. It’s almost six years to the day after I survived carbon monoxide poisoning & my brain is still not in a really happy place. I can write obviously, but it’s a much greater struggle now than it once was. I think it’s time to make my life easier in general, including with writing.
I just published the first three, & they’re available at this link on my website: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/books-for-sale/mini-books/
Currently, all are available in only ebook format, but I am considering making them available in print as well. It’s so hard to know what to do like this anymore! People have very definite feelings of print vs ebook format, & those who prefer one over the other change like the wind!
Anyway I hope you like the new ebooks. More will be coming in the future. As I mentioned recently, I’ll be getting rid of my free ebooks by the end of this month. I plan to add more information to them & charge a little for them. Not much, since they’ll still be rather short little ebooks.
Thank you to everyone for being supportive & wonderful! May God bless you! 💖💖
January 12, 2018, I had an odd experience. It was my father’s birthday, the first birthday after his death. I was thinking about that when I felt strongly that he wanted God to send me a message.. “Encourage the weak, like me.” I immediately knew in my heart what that meant.
At that point, it was just over 2 months since my father died, & in that short time, God showed me a great deal about him, including why he didn’t protect me from my mother. One of those things was that he felt trapped in their marriage, unable to escape. I believe that was what he meant by “the weak”, other people who also feel trapped in their situation.
Every January around his birthday, I try to encourage those who are still in relationships with narcissists as a result of that message.
If you’re still in a relationship with the narcissist in your life, I don’t think you’re weak at all. I think my father used that word because he felt weak for not protecting me & wanted me to know others in similar situations also felt weak. I get that, but I still don’t think you’re weak. If you were, I doubt highly that you would have any interest in reading this post or anything else about narcissism.
Maybe you’re forced to stay because of financial reasons. Narcissists abuse in every way, including financially. Many narcissistic parents & partners steal money from their victim, ruin their credit, get them fired from their jobs or even forbid them to work.
Many victims feel a sense of obligation to the narcissist. My ex husband made me feel as if I owed it to him to be with him, even when I was miserable with him. He hardly the only one who has done that to a victim.
Many stay because they mistakenly feel as Christians, it’s dishonoring their parents to go no contact or it’s a sin to divorce an abusive partner. Sadly, many victims are encouraged to think this way either by narcissists & their flying monkeys or by those who don’t understand the Bible very well.
Another possibility is that you can leave, but feel so beaten down, you don’t think you can leave. You don’t trust in yourself to make it on your own without the narcissist telling you what to do, how to think, how to feel, what to wear, & on & on. You don’t think you have any marketable skills to earn a living that could support you & maybe also children.
Staying in a relationship with a narcissist takes a great deal of inner strength. Fighting to keep your sanity in a completely insane situation day after day isn’t easy! It takes a TON of courage & strength.
In spite of what many people say, no contact isn’t an easy solution that fixes all of your problems. If that is your goal, know being prepared for it won’t happen overnight. It takes time to build up the courage to do it, & courage to face the aftermath. The narcissist most likely will create a smear campaign against you & send the flying monkeys. Mentally preparing for all of that takes time, learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & boundaries, a great deal of prayer & leaning on God to show you what do to, when to do it & how to do it.
No, Dear Reader.. you aren’t weak. You are strong. The fact that you are looking for solutions to your situation shows you have strength. Know that you will survive this with your sanity & dignity in tact. Until you know what you need to do, always practice the Gray Rock method, keep & enforce healthy boundaries & focus on your healing. You can get through this!!
I just got a email from one of the publishers I use. They will be making some changes that will affect my free ebooks, which has gotten me to do some thinking….
I’ve been considering retiring all of them & republishing with the other publisher I use to gain more exposure. Due to the changes, I plan to do just this.
Since I need to redo the ebooks anyway, I’m going to add more to them & they’ll no longer be free. Probably I’ll only ask a little for them, like maybe $.99 since I don’t plan to add a lot to them.
While these books won’t be free, my website, this blog, my YouTube channel & podcasts all still will be. There is plenty of information on these sources. While I’m glad to share all of the information I can, I need some more balance. I need to start charging for some of it. Helping people is great & I love it, but it also doesn’t pay the bills either!
I’ll retire my free ebooks by January 31, 2021. In the meantime, you can find them at this link:
You can find all of the other links I’ve mentioned on my website at this link:
Thank you for understanding! God bless you!
One thing that has always baffled me is how people talk about how wonderful that person who died was, even though you know very well that person was an absolute jerk. As if death somehow turned that sinner into a saint.
A few years back, a former friend of mine lost her mother. Her mother had abused her terribly for her entire life. Yet, when this woman died, my friend constantly posted on Facebook how much she missed her mother, she loved her & what a beautiful, wonderful person her mother was. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore… I had to ask her why she was saying these things after all the terrible things her mother did to her. She said it helped her to cope with the emotions if she pretended her mother was a good mother. Not a healthy coping skill by any means, but she was content with it.
I think many people probably have the same reason for their similar behavior. Losing someone you love, even someone abusive, is incredibly difficult & painful.
After my mother died, I caught myself remembering the good things about her. Those few times we got along well, when we could laugh & have fun together. The time she taught me to crochet when I was 5. Little things like that. I also prayed a lot during this time & knew that not only was she in Heaven, but she also was no longer the abusive & cruel person she was before she died. I realized that I was starting to do somewhat like my former friend did when her abusive mother died, focusing on only the good about my mother. While she was fine coping in that way, I wasn’t. It didn’t feel right or healthy to me. I got in prayer about it & learned some things.
When you love someone dies, you’re going to miss them. If that person was abusive, you’re going to miss the few good things about them, if there were any. If not, you’ll miss the person you wish they had been. Part of grieving is letting go. You are naturally going to have a harder time letting go of the good things than the bad, or even the good things you wish would have been.
Remembering the good things brings some normalcy to a very abnormal situation. There is absolutely nothing normal about coping with the death of a narcissistic parent. You can feel as if you’re completely alone, you’re crazy or unreasonable. You also most likely will feel that not one single person on the face of the earth understands what you’re feeling, because what you feel isn’t what most people feel when their parent dies. Focusing on the good, remembering the good things makes you feel more normal. It’s normal & socially acceptable to miss the good things about your parent. In most situations, it’s not normal or socially acceptable to feel glad your parent is gone or relief he or she can’t abuse you any longer. Unfortunately with narcissistic parents, both of those feelings are totally normal, they just don’t feel that way.
It’s incredibly difficult to mourn the death of a narcissistic parent. It’s easier in a sense to grieve the normal aspects of your parent, whether they were real or what you wish your parent had been like. Grieving the death of a narcissistic parent can be complex, confusing, infuriating, sad, devastating & so much more. When you grieve someone you love, basically it boils down to you miss that person. Of course that’s painful but it isn’t really convoluted. You don’t have to deal with all the intricacies & complexities that go along with mourning the death of a narcissistic parent. If you can make your parent more “normal”, it makes the grief process easier by making it less complex.
I don’t think remembering the positive things about your narcissistic parent is a bad thing in general. However, if you’re in this situation & remember only the good, that should be a red flag that you aren’t coping with your parents’ passing in a healthy way. It’s ok to remember the awful times & the abuse, & even to be angry about them. It’s ok to admit to yourself & others that your parent wasn’t exactly parent of the year. It’s also ok to be glad your parent is gone & you’re finally free. These things don’t mean you’re a terrible person. They mean you’re HUMAN!
During the holiday season, many families get together. They share a good meal & enjoy each other’s company. There is no pressure about these gatherings & everyone genuinely looks forward to them.
Then there are the dysfunctional family gatherings. They are something very different.
On first glance, dysfunctional family gatherings may look the same as their functional counterparts. Family members get together & share a big meal. But, that is often where the similarities end.
With dysfunctional families, the stress is terrible. There is usually intense pressure to show up at the get together no matter what. Sick? Who cares? You aren’t so sick you can’t attend! Car trouble? So what? Figure out how to get there! You would prefer to spend the day at home or with some friends? Clearly something is very wrong with you! No one is as worthy of your time as the dysfunctional family, & the holiday dictator will be highly offended if you even consider spending time with anyone else. You need to attend this gathering & act like you are happy when you’re there, even if you are miserable. Your misery means nothing, after all. This gathering is all about appearances, not about having a good time.
There’s also the dysfunctional clique action. Some people are going to shun other people or at the very least talk badly about them. Maybe the other people didn’t bring a large enough casserole. Maybe their gifts didn’t cost as much as the shunning people think they should have cost. Maybe the other people weren’t wearing the appropriate holiday attire. In any case, something will be found to criticize even when there isn’t anything to criticize.
The truth is that very few people genuinely enjoy this get together. They may dread it but feel no other option is available but to attend & pretend to have a wonderful time.
So why participate in this gathering at all? Wouldn’t it just make more sense to do whatever you enjoy on the holidays & forego the dysfunctional family nightmare hoopla? It would, but few will do that. There are several reasons why.
One reason is no one wants to anger the holiday dictator. Doing so can result in guilt trips, anger, &/or shaming. No one wants this. Many people think it is simply easier to sacrifice a holiday than to deal with the guilt, anger or shaming.
Another reason is that by participating in these get togethers, it gives the delusion that this family actually is a big, happy, functional family. They can pretend that everyone gets along & is a “normal” family because after all, they got together for this holiday gathering. That is a perfectly normal thing to do, so it must prove they are all normal.
When you are aren’t someone who is capable of blindly going along with people’s delusions & denial, these gatherings can be described as nothing less than excruciating. The fakeness of it all is exhausting & repulsive to those who believe in facing the truth.
When you are faced with these dysfunctional family gatherings, you can cope. You have choices.
You can choose not to attend. This decision is a tough one, because those who are in favor of this get together will judge & criticize you harshly for not attending. Even so, it may be worth it.
You can attend, but with strict boundaries in place. You can avoid the critics as much as possible. You also can set a specific time to give to this gathering then leave at the allotted time.
If you attend & the critics start their nastiness, you also can simply say, “Well, isn’t that nice” & walk away. In the southern part of the United States, that comment is known to be a polite way of saying, “I really don’t care.” I have said it many times then walked away. It feels good! It also tells the critics their opinion means nothing to you. Believe it or not, you do have options during the holiday season. Exercise them! It is your right!
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My husband & I were recently talking about the Myers Briggs personalities. For those of you familiar with the types, he’s an INTJ & I’m INFJ.
I mentioned how INFJs are often thought of as too logical for the feeling types & too feeling for the logical types, so we don’t always fit in with either. We use both emotions & logic to make decisions & problem solve, & I find this incredibly useful. Many people don’t do this. Since he’s the logical T type, I had to explain how my mind works when there is a situation I need to deal with at hand. I thought it might help others as well, so I decided to share.
Basically, I think of the situation like I’m looking at a show on tv or a movie. This allows me to detach emotionally enough to come up with a logical resolution. He mentioned one of our favorite true crime shows, “Homicide Hunter” with Detective Joe Kenda, because it sounded to him like when they recreate the detective’s work when he first arrived at crime scenes. It was actually a good description! If you have seen this show, you know what happens. They set the detective at the scene & remove the other police officers, witnesses, & victims. The detective is left with an empty crime scene & he can start piecing together what happened as he looks around. Certain things get his attention like a pool of blood, a knife in a sink, or items that obviously were spilled. Each of these clues fits together in his mind & begins to form a picture of what happened.
That is exactly how I problem solve! When something happens, I pull away from it for at least a few minutes. I look at situations & mentally remove unnecessary pieces so I can focus more on the clues. Emotions enter back in once I have a clearer idea of the situation. Keeping them out at first allows me not to make an overly emotional assessment of the situation. Emotions are necessary though so naturally they come back in when they can serve me better.
An example of this is years ago, someone I didn’t know well accused a man I knew of molesting her sisters as children. I was taken aback! She just spouted this out of nowhere plus knowing this person, I couldn’t believe it. After the conversation was finished, I thought a great deal about it. It was difficult, especially considering what I write about! A part of me wanted to tell her she was lying, that’s impossible, but the victim advocate part of me wanted to offer help or at least empathy. I considered the situation as I described, examining the clues first. This person & her family didn’t even live in the same state as the accused man for most of their life. I also saw this man a great deal in my life & not one time, did I see anything even slightly inappropriate in his behavior. How could he hide his deviant ways for that long? It’d be impossible! He also loved children & was a good, Godly man. I realized either she was misinformed or was lying because she hated the man in question. I’m grateful that I took the time to consider this situation though because it helped me to find out the truth & treat the person accordingly. For the record, I never spoke to her again.
If you are in a situation that you need to figure out, I would like to encourage you to try doing it as I suggested. It really is very helpful for creating good solutions while also giving you a good perspective on the situation that isn’t unbalanced with too little or too much emotion.
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If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know. Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.
When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other. Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner. If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you. You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe. This is incredibly good for your relationship!
Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior. Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences. This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse. And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending. No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!
If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.
If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem! It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family. If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset. That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones. Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior. If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!
Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you. If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person. If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario. They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility. However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you. When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person. I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.
Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said. Protect your loved one! It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship! In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.
I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting. The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life. She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents. She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all.
Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up. It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson. The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.
This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents. The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.
To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional. Mine certainly was. I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words. I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger. It reminded me of things my own family has said. If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did. Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly. This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react. Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems. You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.
It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive. Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist. They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize. In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents. Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case. I have another idea of what her problem is though…
The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies. Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like. That is what this person did with me. She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother. She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image. I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply. I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am. It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply. Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion. I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation. I did in mine just as she did in hers. I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page. Simple, to the point & calm.
Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions. Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it! If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical. State only the facts, not how you felt. And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense. Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”
Lastly, always remember that God is there for you. If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help. Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise. I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes.
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The holiday season is a very popular time of year for narcissists. Overt narcissists love ruining everyone’s joy by causing discord around holidays. Covert narcissists love throwing parties, cooking, baking, buying tons of gifts & making sure everyone knows how hard they worked & sacrificed. This sort of thing can lead to a lot of dread of holidays in many of us who have been subjected to holidays with narcissists.
As if that isn’t bad enough, there are also those who judge those of us who are less than thrilled with holidays or even choose not to celebrate them. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been criticized for not liking holidays or celebrating them anymore. I wish these judgmental jerks would experience just a part of what I have, then see if they can maintain their “holiday cheer.”
Since that’s impossible, I figured I would discuss this topic for those of you who share my lack of enthusiasm & give some points you can bring up to the judgmental folks if you need to.
Not everyone is going to think the same about holidays, & there is nothing wrong with that! Everyone is unique, right down to their fingerprints & DNA. Just because someone celebrates in a way that is different than you doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong. It just means they want to do something different. What gives anyone the right to say their way of celebrating is the only way to celebrate?
Some people are what I refer to as holiday Nazis. They want what they want, when they want it for holidays, & there is zero tolerance for disobedience. My mother in-law was like this as was my first mother in-law. What makes the wishes of these people so important anyway? What if someone wants to spend the day at home with their immediate family instead of attending some big party? Why is that wrong? I don’t see how it is. Again, it’s different, not wrong. Besides, these people & their demands can ruin holidays for even the most die hard holiday fanatic. How is that so difficult to understand? It’s only normal that after repeated ruined holidays a person comes to dislike them.
Some people are also dysfunctional & not willing to work on it. For them, holidays are a time to prove that their family isn’t dysfunctional, but a big, happy family. These people can’t stand those of us who don’t go along with the charade, because we threaten their delusions. Rather than face the truth, they attack those of us who live in it for not going along with their big happy family act. How does this make any sense? It only makes sense in the minds of the dysfunctional fools who behave this way.
And, what if someone has found a way to enjoy holidays that works for them? Why is that worthy of criticism? Holidays are supposed to be about joy, peace & love. Where is any of that in judging how someone spends holidays?
Those of us who have had more bad than good holidays don’t need judgment & criticism about what we want to do. We don’t need to hear that we are wrong for how we choose to celebrate or if we choose to ignore the day. We don’t need to be criticized because we prefer Italian food or some other food over traditional holiday fare. We don’t need to have our faith brought into question because we don’t celebrate Christmas the way other people do. Not celebrating Christmas the traditional way has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s faith in God any more than not celebrating Thanksgiving makes a person ungrateful. No one should be made to feel flawed or “less than” simply because they choose to live their life in a way that brings them peace & joy. If someone tries to make you feel badly for how you celebrate or don’t celebrate this holiday season, remember that clearly they have the problem, not you. Functional people don’t try to ruin other people’s joy.
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In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon. Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.
Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor. I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process. One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done. The counselor’s response? “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”
Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is. It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.
If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point. Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.
Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have. Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues. No one can make someone abuse them! Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you! All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!
Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner. Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser. They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape. Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.
Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser. I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!” I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it. I stand by that today. No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it. People who don’t realize that are foolish.
Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions. If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…” “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you. No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.
Some people push victims to heal. Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.” Healing is a very individual path. Everyone’s path is very different. Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different. It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.
People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them. If you come across people like this, stay away from them. Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.