Category Archives: Christian Topics and Prayers

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If You’re Struggling With Setting Boundaries Or Going No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent

Many people have issues with setting boundaries or even severing ties with a narcissistic parent.  They say you are being mean, unreasonable, selfish.  In religious people, they may also throw in that you aren’t honoring your parent, & they quote Exodus 20:12 that tells us to honor our parents.  Or, in Asian cultures, they mention filial piety, which is respecting & caring for one’s parents being the highest of virtues.

People who say this sort of gibberish are either completely clueless or they’re narcissistic enablers.  Yet, in spite of that, sometimes victims are convinced that these imbeciles are right.  They stop using their boundaries, continue to tolerate the abuse, & are completely miserable.

If you are reading this & in this place of either wanting to set boundaries or go no contact with your narcissistic parent, but feel you are being selfish, mean, etc., you need to know that you are wrong!  I promise you that, & will show you why.

Although I don’t know much about religions other than Christianity, I do know that many of them seem to share one common belief, which basically boils down to, “you reap what you sow.”  Just look at what the Bible has to say about that…

 

  • Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
    For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 22:8 “He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
    And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.” (AMP)
  • Obadiah 15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations.
    As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (NIV)
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].” (AMP)
  • Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.
    8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

 

These Scriptures prove that whatever a person does, good or bad, there are consequences.  It’s a natural part of life.

I realize as the child of a narcissistic parent or two, this feels so foreign.  After all, the child never should upset the parent, burden them with “trivial” things like their needs or let the parent face consequences of their terrible behavior.  However, this is so wrong!  God has made sure this reaping & sowing wisdom is mentioned repeatedly in His Word.  This has to be important to be mentioned many times, wouldn’t you agree?

If you think about this, I’m sure it’ll help you to realize that your boundaries or no contact aren’t you being an awful person, but simply the natural course of events.  That is what happened with me.  I felt bad for setting boundaries with my parents & going low contact. God reminded me of Galatians 6:7-8.  I thought about it & realized it made sense.  Every time I so much as started to feel guilty, I remembered that Scripture.  It was very encouraging!  So much so that I was finally able to go no contact with my parents.  I felt mostly sadness because this wasn’t how things should be, which I think is totally normal, but very little guilt.  Without realizing the principle of sowing & reaping, I don’t know if I could have gone no contact.  If I had, no doubt the guilt would have been about crippling!

Please consider this post if you are struggling with setting boundaries or going no contact with your narcissistic parent, Dear Reader.  You aren’t wrong, selfish, unreasonable, mean or anything else.  You have every right to do these things!

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

Another Sale On My Ebooks!

From March 20-April 20, 2020, all my ebooks are 30% off.  They can be found at this link:

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

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About Guilt After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

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About Flashbacks

Those who don’t have flashbacks usually have no idea what a flashback truly is.  They sometimes think those of us who have them are exaggerating or being dramatic about something we remembered, & have little patience for us because of our “drama queen” ways.

People who think like this need to understand something.  Flashbacks aren’t the result of someone being overly dramatic.  They also aren’t simple memories or even repressed memories.  They are much different.  They’re intense & complicated.

Flashbacks aren’t as simple remembering a traumatic event.  All of your senses kick in & you see, hear, smell, taste & feel the same things you felt when the event originally happened to you.  It literally feels as if you’re reliving the traumatic event, even though logically you know you aren’t.  It can be very hard to tell the difference between reality & the flashback.

If you’re very lucky, when a flashback happens, you still maintain enough composure to remember to ground yourself somehow.  Touching something with an extreme texture, such as burlap for example, can help.  Or, smelling something with a very strong scent like lavender also can help.  The trick is to override your confused senses with something real in order to get them to focus on something other than the flashback.  Grounding yourself like this can be quite effective in helping you to get through the flashback.  Even so, remembering what to do in the midst of a flashback is something else entirely.  It’s incredibly hard to have focus on anything when your mind & body are trying to convince you that this horrible memory isn’t just a memory, but it’s happening to you all over again.

As if all of this isn’t quite enough, once the flashback is over, you’re drained both mentally & physically to the point of exhaustion.  I have described it as feeling like I was hit by a huge truck.  The anxiety of it tenses your muscles greatly.  When it’s over, those muscles can ache badly for a while.  Your heart races during the flashback & it takes time for it to slow back down once the flashback dissipates.  Chances are very good your stomach will be upset & you’ll have a nasty headache for a while as well.

In addition to the physical side of flashbacks, there is also the mental ones.  Flashbacks are utterly depressing.  It’s so unpleasant remembering traumatic events under any circumstances, but it’s even worse when you feel as if you just relived it.  They also can make you feel ashamed for not being healed from the trauma by now, embarrassed if it happened in front of another person or other people, & they take away your hope of having a normal life without flashbacks.

They also make you incredibly anxious because you wonder when is the next one going to strike?  Will it be just like this one or will it involve another traumatic event?  What if it happens when I’m driving?  What if it’s worse?  Is it possible to get stuck in the flashback & never come out of it?

If you’re one of those folks who never has experienced a flashback, I’m telling you, count your blessings!  Thank God for this!

If you know someone who has flashbacks though, I hope you will remember this information & treat your loved one accordingly. Remember that this person isn’t seeking attention or being overly dramatic.  They are dealing with a very difficult & painful mental illness.  They have experienced something or some things so traumatic that their brain physically broke!  It isn’t your loved one’s fault they have flashbacks, & chances are excellent if this person could find a way never to have them again, they would.  So please, be patient & understanding with anyone you know who suffers with flashbacks.  A little gentleness can help us more than you know.

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Thoughtless But Abusive Comments

Not everybody thinks about their words before speaking.  They just blurt things out.  Those thoughtless comments can do a surprising amount of damage.

Some thoughtless comments are listed below…

  • “You’re just like *insert disliked person here*”  Often a person tells you how crazy, bad, stupid, etc. that person is prior to telling you that you’re just like him or her.  Even if you love that person, the person telling you that you’re just like someone they think is crazy, bad, stupid, etc. hurts!
  • On the opposite side of the same coin… “Why can’t you be more like *insert person’s name here*?”  This can make you feel not good enough.
  • “*insert someone’s name here* has it worse than you do.”  This can make you feel guilty, ashamed or just plain wrong for being upset in the first place.
  • “You’ve always had it so easy!”  “You’re spoiled!”  “You’ve never had to work hard for anything!”  Really?  I seriously don’t think there is one person who has ever lived that hasn’t struggled in some way, shape or form.  This can make you feel like you should be ashamed of yourself if you’re struggling with something or if you’re given something.
  • “You’re depressed?  What do you have to be depressed about?!”  (or anxious or have PTSD) or, “Think happy thoughts.”  So many people think mental disorders are only about a person not thinking positively enough, not appreciating what they have or some other simple solution.  While yes, you can think wrong thoughts & make yourself depressed or anxious, many people have actual physical problems with their brain causing depression, anxiety & even PTSD.  No amount of “thinking positive” can fix those problems!
  • “It’s all in your head!” regarding mental illness.  Well, technically it is!  It’s in the name- mental illness.  People that say this often mean you’re imagining the symptoms & need just to get over whatever is causing those symptoms.
  • “Don’t be so selfish!”  Narcissists in particular love this one.  Thinking of your needs & having boundaries isn’t selfish.  Neither is prioritizing yourself over demanding self centered people.  “Don’t be selfish” coming from a narcissist is nothing more than projection.  If someone you don’t think is a narcissist says it, it could be a red flag.  Pay attention to what this person says & does to determine if the person is a narcissist or if they’re actually right & you are being selfish somehow.
  • “You’re so shy/quiet!”  This shaming statement can make you feel wrong or broken for being an introvert.  People fail to realize the world needs talkers & listeners.  If everyone talked a lot, who would listen?!  Everyone would be too busy talking to listen to each other!
  • “But that’s your MOTHER!” (or father or whichever random relative you’ve gone no contact with)  People say this like we’ll respond by saying, “OH!  I hadn’t thought about that!  You’re right!  I’ll go fix everything right now!”  We *know* this is our mother or whoever.  In fact that reason is precisely why they have hurt us to the point they have.  Obviously we care more about those close to us than total strangers.  No contact was a very painful decision to come to, & this comment can make us feel ashamed & wrong for choosing that option.
  • “Are you sure you want to do that?  I mean, it’s a lot of work..”  This could be about anything- painting your home, going back to college, changing careers or starting a family.  In any case, it comes across as if the person saying it doesn’t think you’re capable of doing that task.  Hopefully it’s said without malicious intent & only with concern for you.  Sometimes though, it’s said with malice in order to instill doubts in you & make you feel incapable.
  • After someone has died.. “You should be glad she’s not in pain anymore.”  Really?  Ok, we’re all glad that someone’s suffering has ended when they died.  If we’re both Christians, we’re also glad we’ll see them again one day in Heaven.  However, how about letting us have some time of grieving because we miss that special person?  Grief is normal when you lose someone you love & no one should shame you for it!

Of course there are plenty more thoughtless statements but these are just some examples.

When people say such nonsense, I find it useful to remind yourself that not everyone is compassionate.  Some people are also simply thoughtless.  No, they aren’t deliberately mean spirited- they just don’t think that much about how their words affect other people.  Others may be having a bad day & were too preoccupied to consider what they were saying at that specific time.  And, some people are narcissists.  They simply enjoy hurting you as much as possible or they’re so self-absorbed, they don’t even think of how what they say will affect you.

In any case, what people say isn’t your fault or a reflection on you.  Also, you can’t count on people to be validating at all times.  You have to learn to validate yourself.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself!

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One Way To Stump Narcissists

Over the course of my life, I have dealt with quite a few narcissists.  They taught me many ways to deal with this personality.

One way I learned to deal with narcissists pretty successfully is to stump them.  How do you stump such a highly illogical person whose thinking makes no sense?  With cold, hard logic.

Narcissists feed off of the emotions of their victims.  It gives them such a feeling of power to control another person’s emotions!  That is why the Gray Rock method is so successful, it deprives the narcissist of feeding off the emotions of their victims because the victim keeps all emotions hidden from the narcissist.  This is what cold, hard logic does as well.

A person who is very logical doesn’t reveal what they feel.  They deal instead with nothing but the facts.  This can be very useful with narcissists.

As an example, let’s say the narcissist in your life wants you to do something that will create a financial burden for you yet not benefit you in any way.  The narcissist insists you need to do this & hand over your bank card right now.  But, what if rather than saying “no” outright you said something else?  What do you think would happen if you said, “I don’t understand something… how is this supposed to be a good thing?  Clearly, I’ll end up with a debt I’ll have trouble repaying.  Yet, I don’t see how this debt will benefit me.  Am I missing something here?  Please tell me how doing this will be a good thing.”  How would the narcissist in your life respond to this?  I would guess like many narcissists, he or she would be baffled.

Doing this can make a narcissist angry, naturally.  Going against their wishes always carries that risk.  That being said though, even the most malignant narcissist doesn’t want to look foolish.  They realize that raging against someone who is making sense can make them look foolish, so usually they won’t rage extremely.  They may throw out a few nasty comments, but that is all.  The good part is, their behavior  can change, & it often does.

If you wish to try using logic against the narcissist in your life, I would encourage you to give it a try!  Some folks are very emotional & not as logical by nature.  This may be a bit tricky for you, but you still can do it.  If it helps, think of your situation as if it wasn’t you involved, but instead was a friend who came to you complaining of this problem & looking for a solution.  What would you tell that friend?

Here are some phrases that can help you to get started being logical with the narcissist:

  • I get that if I do that it helps you, but I don’t see how it helps me.  Not trying to be selfish here, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to do that.
  • So you just said/did that thing that you know bothers me & you’re mad that I’m upset about it.  I don’t see why you have the right to be mad at me but I don’t have the right to be mad at you for doing something you know bothers me.  Would you explain that to me?
  • I’m really confused.  I don’t see how that is a good thing. Can you explain it to me again in a different way so I can see things from your perspective?

These suggestions are simple, but they can be surprisingly helpful.  And with time & practice, no doubt you’ll figure out even more phrases that will be beneficial.

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What No Contact Is & Is Not

Many people I have dealt with seem to misunderstand what no contact really is.  Since others have experienced this too, I decided I would share some thoughts today on what no contact is & is not.

First of all, & yes, this is directed specifically at those who have said this nonsense to me.. no contact is NOT un-Christian.  Enabling bad & abusive behavior is un-Christian.  Tolerating abuse silently is un-Christian.  Never confronting someone about their abusive behavior is un-Christian.  If you don’t believe me, open a Bible.  As Christians, we are to love people.  Part of loving people is wanting what is best for them & helping them to be their best.  When someone doesn’t listen to another’s complaints, they need consequences to make them want to improve their behavior.  When normal consequences don’t work, no contact is a very viable option, even for those closest to a victim such as their own family & yes, even parents.

No contact isn’t about being unforgiving.  A person can no longer speak to someone & have forgiven them for their abusive ways at the same time.  Protecting one’s mental health has nothing to do with unforgiveness.

No contact isn’t taking the easy way out.  Far from it!  Anyone who has gone no contact with someone they love has suffered a great deal not only due to the abuse, but also making the decision to go no contact & living without that person.  If you disagree, consider my story.  I went no contact with my parents several months before my father died & almost three years to the day before my mother died.  Doing that & not being there for them when they needed me at the end of their lives was horrible.  If you think that was easy, you are very sadly mistaken!

No contact isn’t about trying to change someone.  Yes, you are giving that person consequences for their actions, but that doesn’t mean you are trying to manipulate them into behaving better.  You set that stage & it’s up to them to do with it as they want.

No contact also isn’t about not accepting someone.  It’s about accepting that person as they are, yet knowing you can’t have a healthy relationship with that person.

No contact has nothing to do with being disrespectful.  Rather it has everything to do with self respect, with respecting one’s self enough to detach from an abusive relationship.

No contact isn’t about hate.  Just because you have ended a relationship doesn’t mean you hate the other person.  You can love someone a great deal yet not be able to be in a relationship with that person.  Some people I’ve spoken with assumed I hated my parents because of being no contact with them.  Far from it!  I loved my parents a great deal.  It was how they treated me that I hated.

No contact isn’t about creating conflict or being dramatic.  Every single person I’ve spoken with who ended an abusive relationship, no matter who that relationship was with, wanted the exact same things I did: no further abuse, peace & a conflict & drama free existence.  When a narcissist’s flying monkeys go after someone who has gone no contact, fewer things can be more stressful & upsetting.  We try to avoid that at all costs!

I doubt there is anyone who truly wants to end a relationship with someone they love, even when that person is abusive.  That being said though, there are times when it’s necessary.  Some people are so toxic there is no other solution other than no contact.  Sadly, this even happens in families.  As I said, I ended the relationship with my parents.  They were simply that cruel & toxic.  It happens, unfortunately, so if it has happened to you as well, know you’re not alone.  Many of us understand!

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Sale On My Ebooks!

My publisher is offering a 25% off sale on my ebooks from March 1-7.  Find them at the link below:

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

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Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned & Want To Share

Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary (if you can call it that.. anniversary sounds too positive) of the day I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Not really the happiest day of the year for me obviously, but at least it does make me think.  Yes, I remember the awfulness of that day but it also makes me think of the good that’s come from it all.

When I realized I couldn’t tell my parents what happened to me because they would invalidate my near death experience &/or spin it around to how it affected them, that was a big wake-up call.  I realized I needed them out of my life & began to actively pray about making that happen.  I also realized there were other toxic people in my life that needed to go as well.  Those who trivialized my experience or tried to make me think positively about it had to go.  My circle of those close to me has become very small, but they are absolutely wonderful people.  Quality over quantity, as the saying goes, & that is how I like it.  Better to have only a few very close, good friends than a wide circle of acquaintances.

What happened also caused me to realize just how quickly your life can change & change drastically.  The morning of February 27, 2015 appeared to be any other day.  By the end of that day however, I was an entirely different person.  Not only because of the brain damage & other health problems the carbon monoxide caused, but because coming close to death will shake a person up!  Yes, I knew if I died, I would’ve gone to Heaven, so that wasn’t a problem.  What was a problem is that I didn’t expect to die that day!  Coming close when it was unexpected was traumatic, even though I did survive.  Even now, thinking about it still shakes me up!

Coming close also showed me how quickly & unexpectedly a person’s life can end.  That made me realize how important it is to enjoy your life as much as you possibly can.  There are unenjoyable things that we can’t avoid of course, like getting stuck in traffic.  But, there are ways we can sneak enjoyment even into those situations.  Use that stuck in traffic time to listen to some good music or an audio book, for example.

Part of enjoying life for me is I also use my time in the evenings to indulge in hobbies I like.  I’ve come to realize that when I don’t get creative time in, I get irritable & don’t enjoy anything like I normally do.  Creative time is very important for most people, not only me.  It gives freedom to use your imagination.  It also gives down time that we all need in this often overly busy & chaotic life.  If you don’t have a creative outlet, it may be time for you to find one.  Wandering around a craft store can be a great place to start.  They carry items for almost every hobby imaginable!  And guys reading this, they even carry “guy stuff”, not just things for knitting & cross stitch.  Many carry model car & airplane kits, stuff for electric trains, wood working & more.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m looking for pity because of what happened.  I’m not.  I just believe I learned some valuable things from my experience & wanted to share them.  Although I can’t say I’m grateful for what happened on that fateful day, I am grateful for the good that came from it.  The things I shared here definitely changed my life & my attitude for the better!  I hope they can help you too!  ❤

 

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When Someone Opens Up To You About Abuse In Their Life

There are many people in the world who only want to talk about pleasant things.  If someone mentions a topic that is less than happy, these people are offended.  This includes the topic of abuse.  They tell the person that brought up the topic to stop being so negative, it could’ve been worse, look on the bright side  which is that the abuse made this person strong & other such nonsense.

Well, you know something?  Life isn’t all unicorns & rainbows.  Sometimes it has some very dark, evil aspects to it.  Not talking about such things won’t change that fact.  Being open about such things isn’t rude, unkind, bad, negative, wallowing in the past, being bitter or “un-Christian”.   It’s being human.  It’s also helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse so others hopefully recognize it before they are subjected to it.  And, if the abusive person knows both the victim & the person the victim tells of the abuse, the other person would be wise to take what the victim says seriously.  If they don’t, they may be the next victim!

Not allowing people to discuss their experiences only invalidates victims, & helps abusers to continue their trail of destruction. In my opinion, behaving this way is just as bad a behavior as the victim’s original abuser by enabling their abusive ways.

People need to be able to discuss all parts of their lives, even the less happy ones, without fear of criticism & judgment.  This includes their tales of abuse & suffering.  If someone comes to you & opens up about abuse in their past, let the person talk.  Don’t make jokes or try to change the subject.  Don’t compare their story to yours or that of someone else you know.  Just let the person talk.  A listening ear can go a long way to helping someone who is suffering.

If you can’t listen for whatever reason, then you can still be nice.  Just tell the person it’s not that you aren’t interested, but now isn’t a good time.  Find another time where you two can talk, & make that time in the near future.

Just remember, if someone trusts you enough to open up to you about something so personal as having suffered abuse in their life, don’t abuse that person further by trying to get them not to discuss the topic.  Be kind & show you care.

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Being Supportive Of Other Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

James 4:17 in the Amplified Bible states, “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.”  These are pretty powerful words, don’t you think?  They made me think….

People sin every day in all kinds of ways, no matter how hard we try not to.  Some by doing something extreme, such as killing another person, but most of the time it’s smaller things.  How many times have you felt in your heart that God wanted you to do something, even just something small, for another person, yet you ignored it?  I don’t even want to think about how many times I have been guilty of this.  I don’t always let that car into my lane when I feel I should or leave a good tip to a waitress as I know in my heart God would like me to do.

There are bigger issues though & yes, they relate to narcissistic abuse.  There are also times I don’t want to listen to another victim of narcissistic abuse tell me their story.  I’m not proud of that but it’s true.  There are times I just can’t because I’m burned out on the topic, & in dire need of a break.  But there are other times when I’m not burned out that I just don’t want to offer support or even just a listening ear for whatever reason.  That is being really selfish & I’m not proud of it.  I also believe it’s a sin, because I know God put this person in my path for a reason.

Unfortunately I think many people are guilty of this same behavior.  We need to use balance & wisdom when someone approaches us, wanting to discuss their experiences with narcissistic abuse.  There are times we need to protect our mental health, such as when burning out on the topic or if the C-PTSD is flaring up.  At those times we can gently explain this isn’t a good time for us to discuss the topic.  Let’s talk later.  Or even suggest they email you.. that way they can get it out now, but you don’t have to deal with it immediately.  It’s a really good solution.

Other times, however, maybe someone needs your support & you just aren’t in the mood to discuss narcissism.  I truly get that.  I am so tired of this topic it’s pitiful!  That being said though, if someone is suffering, it isn’t fair to brush them off just because I don’t feel like talking about a topic they need to discuss.  It’s unkind, & there is already a lack of kindness in the world today.

I’ve found if I know I should be there for someone when I’m not really feeling my most supportive, there are ways I can motivate myself.  Knowing I’m helping someone is wonderful of course, but there are times I need a little extra motivation  I think of a little reward for myself I can do or get later.  Maybe it’s a new bottle of nail polish or time alone with a good movie & some knitting.  The rewards are nothing really extravagant, just little things I like.  It’s amazing how silly little things like that can be so motivating.  It’s a good thing though, because it helps you to do the right thing when you just don’t want to.  You also get a little something you really like

When in these situations, how can you think to help to motivate yourself?  Like I said, it doesn’t even have to be extravagant.  Some small little thing can be surprisingly motivating.  And never forget the best part of all.. you’re helping someone else who has suffered as you have.

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When People Tell You Not To Discuss Narcissistic Abuse

So many people tell victims of abuse that they should forgive & forget, never mentioning the abuse again, in particular when the abusers in question were the victim’s parents.  They love to quote Matthew 5:38-39 to prove their point.  Those verses say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (KJV) 

The problem is though that when you pull out a random Scripture from the Bible, you can prove almost any point.  Other Scriptures on the topic need to be considered as well.

Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the weak and needy;
Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.” (AMP)

John 18: 22-23 “But when He said this, one of the officers who was standing nearby [a]struck Jesus [in the face], saying, “Is that how You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus replied, “If I have said anything wrong, make a formal statement about the wrong; but if [I spoke] properly, why did you strike Me?” (AMP)

Acts 16:36-37 “36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” (AMP) 

These verses clearly show that there is nothing wrong with speaking out about abusive behavior!  People need to learn & grow.  They can’t do that if the never are told their actions are wrong & people hide abusive behaviors.

Granted narcissists are not exactly the easiest people in the world to confront or even simply talk about.  They violently rage, create vicious smear campaigns to stop people from doing such things, & almost never learn when dealt consequences for their actions.  However, even so, it’s still your job to give them consequences & to be open about their abusive ways.  You give them chances to make healthy changes by doing such things, & that is the best thing you can do for them.  What they do with those things from there is on them, but you can rest easy knowing you have done the right thing.

You also need to be open about what they have done to you, because you may be helping someone in a similar situation.  Your story may open their eyes to just how bad narcissistic abuse is or inspire them to walk away.

Being open about the abuse inflicted on you also may cause some people to leave your life, but you know something?  It will show you exactly who truly loves you.  They will be the ones standing by your side & supporting you through your healing.  Realizing how special these people are makes losing the others hurt a whole lot less  🙂

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About Helping People

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you’re trained from birth to do for them.  Do what?  Whatever they want.  It’s your job to please them in every way, to listen to them, to serve them… naturally this isn’t reciprocated because you aren’t important- only they are!

Once you’re an adult, this “you’re here to do for others” mentality sticks with you.  And, other people pick up on it.  Users & abusers can sniff this mentality out a mile away.  Other Christians can even pick up on it & use Scripture to back up why you should do for them or other people.

The truth is that no one can help everyone who crosses their path.  It’s too much!  You could ruin your physical & mental health, & even ruin yourself financially if you helped every single person who claims to have a need.  You truly need discernment & wisdom to know who God wants you to help, who He doesn’t, & who he simply wants you to pray for.

When you come across someone in need, the smartest thing you can do is pray.  Ask God for guidance, & to show you what this person’s position in your life is going to be.  Maybe it is to help that person in some way, but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe your position is simply to pray for that person or to guide them to someone who can help them.  Maybe you need to lead that person to Jesus.  Or, maybe you need to set boundaries & refuse to help this person because he or she tends to use people & needs a lesson in the fact not everyone is here to do for them.  Until & unless you ask God, you won’t know for sure.  So ask!  He will guide & help you!

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Narcissists Think Fear + Obedience = Respect

Recently, God told me something fascinating.  “To narcissists, fear plus obedience equals respect.”  I thought this was fascinating & it made a lot of sense!  Narcissists clearly have no grasp of what true respect really is.  They also have no grasp of how to get respect.  What they do to get their so called respect is nothing like what most people do.

Most people realize you can’t demand someone respect you, you have to earn their respect.  Narcissists don’t think that way.  My mother used to tell me, “I demand respect!”  Didn’t work… I had very little respect for her.

Also, most people don’t try to force someone to do anything.  They go on about their lives not trying to force someone to respect them.  They instead do things that earn people’s respect such as helping the underprivileged or homeless.  Narcissists don’t care about doing good deeds to earn respect.  They believe that they’re entitled to it no matter what.

I also thought at first that this pertained only to overt narcissists.  They have no problem yelling, cursing, demeaning, invalidating, intimidating & using physical force on a victim to get whatever they want.  It can be easy for people to become intimidated by such things & become obedient to the narcissist.

As I thought about this, God said it goes for covert narcissists too.  They may not be so obviously intimidating, but they truly can instill fear in their victims which makes them obedient.  Their weapons are quieter, such as using guilt, shame, acting disappointed & the silent treatment, but they are effective nonetheless.  That also made sense.  A victim may not be afraid of a covert narcissist screaming at them or hitting them, but they do still fear the covert narcissist’s quiet wrath & will do about anything to avoid it.  Fear & obedience.

I also wondered how narcissists know to do what they do.  I mean, they’re not exactly insightful.  Yet somehow they also know what to do to each unique victim to get what they want.  How do they all know that fear & obedience will get them their so called respect?  God answered that question too.  He said the devil tells them things.  Apparently he & his demons basically whisper things to them, & the messages are kind of like a subliminal message.  These messages are spoken quietly & subtly, so narcissists think they are their own ideas.  They’re also simple, along the lines of “If you scream at her, she will do what you want” rather than explaining more complicated details, such as fear & obedience equal respect.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that narcissists are helpless against the devil’s will.  They aren’t, but they choose not to ignore him.  Repeatedly doing the devil’s work has shut down their natural empathy & their willingness to listen to God.  2 Timothy 2:26 in the English Standard Version, it says, “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”  Clearly, people can choose to reject doing the devil’s work.

I’m telling you this in order that you may understand what you’re dealing with regarding narcissists.  You aren’t dealing merely with an obnoxious person when you deal with a narcissist.  You’re dealing with an evil spirit wanting to hurt you.  Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” 

Remember what exactly you are dealing with, Dear Reader.  Learn about spiritual warfare, & most importantly, stay close to your Heavenly Father.  All you have to do is ask Him & He will gladly help you in any situation, including this one.

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A Little About “Just Go No Contact”

When you first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one of the first things you will see is many people preaching the value of no contact.  It’s true, no contact is often the best solution when dealing with narcissists, no matter what role the narcissist has in your life.  They accept no responsibility for their abusive ways, they have no empathy so they don’t care about the pain they cause, & they are more than happy to use & abuse anyone in order to get whatever they want.  In other words, they aren’t the kind of people with whom you can work things out.

No contact is a very serious issue, & should NOT be taken lightly.  Yet, there are people out there who treat it as if it’s no big deal.  You can recognize them easily.  They’re the people saying, “Just go no contact” if you mention your narcissist’s abusive behavior.  They act like there is no excuse whatsoever to remain in that relationship, & something is very wrong with you for staying.

People like this are not good if you’re in the place of considering going no contact.  The reason being people who say this can make a victim feel shame for not wanting to end that relationship or not having the strength to do it just yet.  That shame may make them feel horrible & muddy their thinking.  It is NOT helpful!  This is NOT what anyone considering no contact needs!  People in this position need support, love, understanding & even objectivity in the people surrounding them to help them come to whatever decision is right for them.

There is another brand of the “no contact” crowd out there that is even more dangerous.  These are the people who say your family is toxic as soon as you say anything about them that is less than 1000% positive, & you don’t need them in your life.  People like this are either highly sensitive due to their own abusive pasts or they’re manipulative.  One example is someone I knew who sold her home & gave the money to a fortune teller.  This fortune teller told her that her parents were toxic, & she needed to get away from them.  She should sell her house & give the rest of the money to this fortune teller.  The lady’s parents were about as un-toxic as you can get, but she listened anyway.  The fortune teller ran off with this lady’s money as soon as the house was sold.

My point of all of this is that you, Dear Reader, need to be wise with people who say, “Just go no contact”.  Think about it for yourself before you decide to do it.  Is the person telling you this someone who knows you & the other person?  Does this person have experience in similar relationships?  Does this person have anything to gain if you sever ties with the person in question?  Remember, abusive people isolate their victims, so there is a distinct possibility that this person could be abusive & trying to get you away from someone who isn’t abusive (like the fortune teller in my story).

I’m not trying to talk you out of no contact, far from it.  Like I said, in many abusive relationships, it’s the only option.  What I am trying to convince you to do is to pray & consider it seriously for yourself while not blindly listening to the advice of other people.  People who give advice on this subject may not have your best interest at heart, or know enough about your situation to give good advice.  Consider what they have to say, but if it doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling.

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About Disproportionate Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

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Often “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Solution With Narcissists

When dealing with narcissists, often there is no right answer.  They are masters at creating no win situations, & even when they aren’t actively creating one, they seem to come up anyway.  For example, think about no contact.  In a sense, it’s the right solution.  It’ll protect you from further abuse & give you the space you need in order to heal from all you have endured.  While those are certainly great things, no contact also means a close relationship ended & on a bad note.  Clearly this isn’t a really good thing, even though the good outweighs the bad.  The only other alternative is to continue in an abusive relationship, so a person is limited to two choices, neither of which is particularly great.

Many things with narcissists are like that.  Setting boundaries is another example.  Yes, setting boundaries is a good thing & it is necessary, but at the same time, it starts a lot of problems with narcissists.  Since they don’t respect anyone’s boundaries, when someone tries to set them, they get angry & even more abusive.  The only choices are begin to set boundaries & deal with more abuse at least temporarily, or do nothing & suffer anyway.  Neither answer is really a right one.

Often, the best you can do with a narcissist is choose the least wrong answer.

While I know this sounds depressing & hopeless, I don’t mean it to.  Once you accept this, you can feel less stress & anxiety in your dealings with the narcissist.

Accepting that there really isn’t any right answer helps you to understand that no matter what you do, there won’t be a good, healthy or functional solution.  There is nothing you can do to make that happen.  It’s beyond your control.  This can be very freeing!  It helps you not to beat yourself up because things haven’t worked out perfectly.  You accept that sometimes a person’s best just isn’t good enough, & that’s ok.

It also helps you because you learn to keep your expectations realistic with the narcissist.  You know that the narcissist is going to be angry or upset no matter what you do.  You will have a good idea what to expect rather than thinking that this time will be better.  You also can prepare yourself for whatever is going to happen.

Accepting this truth that there are only less wrong answers with narcissist also helps you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what you need to do & how to do it.  You feel much less pressure to make everything right when you know that no matter what you do, you’ll be wrong anyway.

When you know that the narcissist will say you’re wrong in whatever you do, it’s also much easier to think of yourself instead of only him or her.  You develop a mindset something like, “Well, if I’m going to be wrong anyway I might as well get something out of this too.”

In all honesty, sometimes the fact there often isn’t any right answer also will make you sad.  That is totally normal.  It isn’t exactly the most cheerful fact of life, after all.  But, if you can look at it in ways that benefit you, it really can help you.

I also found that a quote from Captain Picard from the old tv show “Star Trek The Next Generation” to be comforting.  “It is possible to commit no mistakes & still lose.  That is not a weakness.  That is life.”  I know, I’m a nerd quoting this show, but the words are very wise & very comforting.  Definitely worth remembering, in particular when dealing with a narcissist.

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About Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

 

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Types Of Abuse That Are Rarely Recognized As Abuse

When most people think of an abusive person, they think of someone who is physically abusive, such as the man who beats his wife & children.  Some may also think of a verbally abusive person, too.  There is so much more to abuse than these two methods, however!  Narcissists often use the following tactics, so it’s wise to be aware of them.

Forcing a person to do something they don’t want to do is abuse.  This can include anything, such as following unreasonable rules, looking a certain way or even performing sexual acts.  The forcing can be accomplished in many ways, like withholding money, using intimidation, guilt or shaming or simply telling the victim there is no choice in this matter.

An extremely possessive & jealous romantic partner is being abusive.  Almost everyone has a little bit of possessiveness & jealousy in them, & that is normal.  Being upset someone flirted with your spouse is bound to bring out that jealous streak.  What is not normal in that situation is if someone becomes enraged at their spouse, accusing them of having an affair with the person who flirted with them or even resorting to physical violence.  When your partner’s jealousy makes you afraid to speak with anyone your partner doesn’t approve of, this is a sign that their behavior is abusive.

Giving no privacy is abusive.  Unless you have given someone a valid reason not to trust you, such as if you cheated on your spouse, there is no good reason for you not to have privacy in your relationships.  It’s healthy for each person in a relationship, any relationship, to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Each person should be able to trust that the other person won’t snoop through their emails, phone, purse, etc.  Snooping makes a person feel guilty & paranoid about everything, even when they have no reason to feel that way.  It’s a miserable way to live!

Isolation is abuse.  If the other person you’re in a relationship with tries to keep you from seeing your friends & family, this is a huge red flag!  Abusers of all kinds like to isolate their victims as a means of being able to control them.  Isolation limits the information, help & support a victim can receive, which makes them easier to abuse.

Intimidation is also abuse.  My ex husband used to punch walls sometimes when he was angry with me.  He even told me that I was lucky he hit the wall instead of me, because that was what he wanted to do.  Intimidation also can come in the form of someone telling you that they’ll tell everyone you know private things about you & that no one will want anything to do with you after they know those things.

Keeping you from accessing any money is abusive.  Naturally parents don’t allow their children to access their bank accounts, but they also don’t restrict their children from working.  They also don’t expect their children to give them most of their paycheck for rent.  A spouse that refuses to add your name to bank accounts or credit cards, or prevents you from working is also being abusive.

Using religion to force you to behave as they want is abusive.  Spiritual abuse seems to be on the rise.  It can come from those in the church, spouses & even parents.  Spiritual abuse is when someone tries to manipulate your behavior by twisting Scripture around to justify their abusing you or manipulating you into doing what they want.  This is one more reason I believe it’s wise to have plenty of knowledge of the Bible.  People who spiritually abuse can be quite convincing with what they have to say.  The best way to combat this is to have knowledge of the Bible & a relationship with God.

Just remember, Dear Reader, anyone who shows these behaviors is being abusive.  Don’t tell yourself it’s no big deal, it doesn’t mean anything or any other excuses.  These behaviors are abusive & you have every right to protect yourself!

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For My Younger Readers Living With Abusive Parents

Those of you young men & women who are still living at home with your abusive parent (or parents), this post is for you today.

You are in a rough place, as you well know.  I’ve been there too, & I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.  Until you can move out, no doubt you could use some advice to help you cope.

I hope those of you reading this share my faith.  Knowing God has been the most important part of my life, including helping me to survive the abuse.  When I was living with my parents, however, I didn’t believe in God because of the abuse.  No doubt many of you feel the same way & your parents also have misused religion as an excuse to abuse you.  Please know that God is nothing like what abusive parents say He is!  He is loving & kind, & will gladly help you through this!  If you’d like to learn more, click this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/salvation-through-jesus-christ/

Learn everything you possibly can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you understand it, the more it will help you to figure out ways to cope with your parent’s behavior.  It also will help you to remember that you are NOT the problem, your narcissistic parent is.  While that may seem obvious when you first learn about NPD, narcissists can be very manipulative.  Even to the point of making others believe they are the real problem in the relationship.  That happened to me with both my parents & my ex husband.  I honestly believed I was the problem in spite of them clearly being the abusers.  Not only did I feel awful but they used that as another way to control me.  Since I thought I was so awful, I trusted them to tell me how to be better.  Learn from my mistake!  Abusers are always the problem!

When dealing with your parent, try to show as little emotion as possible.  The reason being narcissists use people’s emotions against them.  Are you happy?  The narcissist will try to make you sad.  Are you sad or angry?  The narcissist will try to make you sadder or angrier, then tell you that you’re crazy because of how you feel.  Always remain unemotional around your parent.

Save up money as best you can.  Be frugal with your money & save as much as you can, because you are going to need quite a bit to get a car & to move out.  Also, stash your money somewhere where your parent can’t get to it.  Many narcissistic parents steal from their children, so you need to be careful about where you hide your money.

Move out to somewhere safe as soon as possible.  A roommate helps financially, so that may be an option.  You’ll need someone who has a steady job & is responsible, as well as someone you get along well with.  Some folks rent out rooms in their home, too.  Or, maybe a friend or relative would let you move in with them.  Consider your options & make plans as best you can.  Don’t share your plans with anyone that might tell your parent about them, however.

If at all possible, buy what you can to prepare for moving out.  If you plan to live with a relative or rent a room, you probably won’t need much.  A bedroom set, toiletries, towels.. things like this.  If you have a friend or relative that knows your situation, they might be willing to hold these items for you until you need them so your parent doesn’t find out about your plans.

I know all of this must seem overwhelming, but really you got this!  You have survived so much up to this point which shows you are strong!  You can do it!!

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Deciding Whether Or Not To Go No Contact

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Narcissistic Parents Who Abuse Their Adult Children

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Passive/Aggressive Behavior

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Sale On My Ebooks!

My publisher is having a sale on my e-books from December 25 until January 1. All e-books will be 25% off. Check it out at the link below…

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

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Misusing Christianity For Abusive Purposes

So many people I have spoken with were abused under the guise of Christianity.  Parents abuse their children because they think Proverbs 13:24 basically saying,  “Spare the rod, spoil the child” means parents have the right to beat their children.  They are also often the same parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them by refusing to tolerate their abuse.  There are also husbands who demand blind obedience from their wives because Ephesians 5:22 says wives should submit to their husbands.  There are even those active in their church who abuse other church members.  Some sexually abuse children, others ostracize other members for not fitting their ideal of what they should be & more.

There are so many things wrong with such situations!!

Personally I believe that as wrong as abuse is, when it is done using God as a justification or as a way to lure victims in, that somehow makes the abuse even worse.  The person in this situation not only has the fallout of the abuse to deal with, but also is going to have a lot of spiritual damage as well.  They may believe God doesn’t care about them or maybe that He simply doesn’t exist at all because what happened to them was so horrific.  I felt the same way.  My mother went through a phase when I was a teenager of telling me that she knew she was going to Heaven when she died because she was such a good person.  I, however, was terrible to her so I was destined for Hell.  I thought no God could exist & let me go through what I was going through, but if He did, I clearly wanted no part of Him if that was truly how He was.

Also, it seems to me when people twist Scripture around, if you look at the Bible, somewhere there is at least one nearby verse that clearly proves their interpretation is wrong.  Look at Ephesians 5:22 for a second.  Yes, it does say that wives should submit to their husbands.  It also says in the verse immediately before that a couple should submit to each other.  It clearly isn’t one sided, but you won’t hear an abusive husband mention Ephesians 5:21.  The same goes for abusive parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them.  The Bible also mentions in Ephesians 6:4 & Colossians 3:21 that parents shouldn’t provoke their children.

Truly toxic, abusive, narcissistic people will use the Bible or the label of “Christian” to justify their wicked behavior.  To combat this, you have to know the Bible at least a bit.  Nowhere in there does it justify any form of abuse!  If you have any doubts, do your research with a good concordance or the internet.  It won’t take you long to see how wrong the abuser is.

People also claim they are Christian to be underestimated, so people will feel safe with them or if they’re on the fence about something, they will think it’s OK because this person said they’re a Christian.  Most people hear someone say they’re a Christian & somehow think those people are impervious to mistakes or bad behavior.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  EVERYONE makes mistakes for one thing.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And for another thing, no true believer is going to be deliberately abusive towards someone else.

Rather than take someone on their word, observe a person’s behavior.  Any true Christian’s behavior should show that they are doing their best to live a good, Godly life.  Sure, they make mistakes, but they quickly try to fix them.  If they hurt someone, it isn’t done intentionally, they are fast to apologize & change their behavior so it never happens again.

There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, looking for innocent victims.  Remembering the points in this article can help you to avoid them.

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Traits Of Unsafe People

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Victim Shaming Comments

Victim shaming is a big problem in society these days.  It happens when someone says something that makes a victim feel shame for whatever abuse was perpetrated against them or makes the victim feel to blame for what happened.

Some statements are especially common, & those will be addressed in this post.

“I know someone who had that happen to them, but it was way worse.”  Trauma isn’t a contest.  Trauma hurts, period, & there is no reason to compare one person’s traumatic experience to another’s.  This sort of statement does nothing good.  It only minimizes & invalidates the victim’s pain.

“Your abuser has had a rough life!  You should help him/her.”  A history of being abused or through trauma is NOT an excuse to abuse other people.  Yes, people who have been abused & traumatized don’t always act like functional people.  However, the vast majority also aren’t abusive.  I think this is because they know how badly it hurts to be abused, & they won’t want to inflict that kind of pain on others.

“You know what the problem is?  You weren’t nice enough.  You didn’t kill him/her with kindness.”  Killing someone with kindness can help in some situations.  It can help a person see that their behavior is wrong.  They feel convicted & change.  When dealing with a narcissist or other personality disordered individual though?  Being overly kind is seen as a green light to abuse & take advantage of a victim more & more.

“I don’t know why you two just couldn’t get along.”  This phrase puts the blame for the abuse on both people in the relationship, which makes a victim feel at least partly responsible for the abuser’s behavior.  This is totally unfair!  The only person responsible for the abuser’s behavior is the abuser, period, end of story!

“Stop being a victim!”  While this may sound empowering at first, it’s also a way to stop a victim from discussing their experience & try to get the victim to get over their experience.  There is absolutely no shame in being the victim of abuse.  None!  There is also no shame in the fact it takes time to heal from abuse.  In many cases, it takes a lifetime.  That doesn’t make a person weak or a failure!

“You need to forgive/let this go.  You’ve been holding onto this for too long!”  I am a huge proponent of forgiveness.  Holding onto anger isn’t good for your physical or mental health.  That being said, you can’t let go of all anger just because someone tells you to!  Doing so is a process.  I firmly believe in forgiving immediately in the sense you don’t expect your abuser to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  In that sense, it’s easy to forgive because you know an abuser can’t truly make everything ok for what they have done.  Letting go of your anger, however, isn’t so easy.  That takes a lot of time & actually feeling the anger  as a way to get it out of you.  There is no time limit on that.

“That happened in the past.. why are you still holding onto this?”  This statement is beyond foolish.  When something extreme happens to a person, either good or bad, they can’t just “shake it off”!  Not to mention, when a person is traumatized, there is an excellent chance of that person developing PTSD or C-PTSD if the trauma is ongoing.  A hallmark of both disorders is not being able to let go of trauma, because it returns often as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares.

When people say statements like these to you (& they will at some point), please remember, these statements are not about you.  They are about someone who truly has no concept of surviving abuse & trauma in a healthy way.  That person may have been through abuse too, but lacks the strength to face their pain.  If they can make others not face theirs as well, it makes them feel more normal.

Many people also like to pretend that there is no ugliness in the world.  If they can stop you from discussing your traumatic experiences, they can resume thinking that the world is a happy place at all times.

Rarely when people are insensitive & invalidating is the behavior about the person on the receiving end of their comments, but instead is about the person saying such things.  If you can remember that, it will help you not to be devastated by their cruel comments.

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Disproportionate Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently read an article about something called gunnysacking.  Turns out, that is the term for having a disproportionate reaction to someone due to having held in anger for too long.

I’ve experienced this many times, & I believe it’s a common abuse tactic of narcissists.  They push your buttons & somehow let you know that you aren’t allowed to confront them on their bad behavior.  Eventually they say something that is far from the worst thing they’ve ever said yet you lose your temper.  They enjoy this because it proves to them how irrational, crazy, etc. you are.  It also leaves you wondering if the narcissist may just be right about you being irrational or crazy.

The best example I can give of gunnysacking in my life happened in 2016.  At the time, I wanted to go no contact with my parents, but the timing felt wrong somehow.  I maintained the relationship only because I trust my instincts.  When my mother in-law died that April, a few days later, I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID.  They just saw her obituary in the local paper & were angry I hadn’t told them she died.  They were worried what my in-laws would think of them for not being at the funeral.  My parents knew I hadn’t spoken to any of my in-laws in 14 years at this time.  They also only spoke to them maybe 3 times in the 22 years my husband  & I had been together.  I felt betrayed that my parents showed such loyalty to people who they knew mistreated me.  They couldn’t understand why I felt that way., & I was furious.  That was the last time I spoke to my mother, & one of the last times I spoke to my father.

This was hardly the first time my parents showed they cared more for someone else than me.  It also wasn’t the worst thing they had done.  Years of stifling my anger just reached a boiling point in that conversation.  The anger just gushed out even though it wasn’t proportionate to the situation.

I believe there is another variation on gunnysacking, too.  When you have a relationship with a narcissist, yet rather than blow up at the narcissist, you blow up to your spouse, friend, sibling, etc.  This is a bonus for a narcissist because it proves that they have control over you & also causes you problems in another relationship.

Unfortunately I have done this too.  I would speak to my parents, then after the visit, when I’d see my husband, I’d snap at him over nothing.  I was angry with my parents, & unable to hold it in any longer by the time I saw him.  (Yes, I apologized when this happened since it wasn’t fair to him.)

Gunnysacking may feel good at the moment since you’re finally getting those emotions out, but it isn’t healthy.  When you are overwhelmed with emotions, you can’t think clearly.  Negative emotions that overwhelm can trigger survival instincts to kick in & that means rational thought is put aside.  Stress levels are raised & that is certainly unhealthy for your body.  Not to mention, attacking someone disproportionately can damage your relationship.  No one wants to be treated badly but in particular when they haven’t done anything wrong.  Also, in a relationship with a narcissist, as I mentioned earlier, they’ll use gunnysacking to prove how awful you are to yourself & others.  They love to say things like, “She just started yelling at me out of the blue.”  “I don’t know what set him off.  We were talking then suddenly he was screaming.”

To avoid gunnysacking, it’s best to deal with your anger as it comes up.  Since confronting narcissists rarely helps, find other ways to process your anger.  Write in a journal, talk to a friend, draw or even pray.  God can handle your anger & help you get through it.

And lastly, never forget, there is nothing wrong with feeling anger, especially when you’re abused by a narcissist.  Everyone does sometimes, & even Jesus got angry.  It’s perfectly normal.  It’s when others are hurt by your anger that it becomes a problem.

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

Minimizing Your Abusive Experiences

Those of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse, in particular at the hand of our parents, tend to share many characteristics.  One of them is the inclination to minimize any & all traumatic experiences, whether or not they had anything to do with the original abuser.

Some indicators that you are doing this is if you say things like:

  • “It wasn’t that bad.. at least he didn’t hit me.” after leaving a relationship with someone who was verbally abusive.
  • “Yea, that person held a knife to my throat but all he did was take my wallet…”
  • “I know my parents did some bad stuff to me but others have it way worse than I did.”

See the common thread in these statements?  Each one minimizes something very traumatic.

Another way people do this is to use the words “just” or “only” often.  Think of statements like, “It was just verbal abuse” or “He only hit me the one time.”

I realized some time ago that I have done this same thing.  What got my attention was watching a tv show about a serial killer, believe it or not.  The killer’s ex wife was interviewed, & many things she said that he said as well as some of his behavior that she described reminded me a great deal of my ex husband!  No, he’s no serial killer, but to realize he shared some behavior & personality traits with one was a big wake up call to me.  It showed me that in spite of what most people said, that marriage truly was bad!  His behavior really was abusive, & he had some serious mental health issues.  Yet, when I discussed that marriage, I often downplayed the abuse.  Realizing all of this showed me how unhealthily I’ve behaved, & also how many other people do exactly the same thing.

Minimizing one’s trauma is a terribly unhealthy thing to do!  It contributes to a root of shame, & toxic shame affects every area of your life.  Toxic shame makes you feel unworthy in every possible area of your life.  It’ll make you willing to settle for the job you hate because you don’t think you’re qualified to do a better job you would enjoy.  It’ll make you settle for a romantic partner who isn’t good for you since you believe you wouldn’t be attractive to someone better.  The same goes for friendships.  Someone with toxic shame will settle for friends who mistreat you because you don’t believe you deserve a better caliber of friends.

Minimizing also gives other people the message that what you went through wasn’t so bad.  This can lead to people having no compassion for you or others who have experienced abuse.  Since you act like it’s not a big deal, they will assume it isn’t.  It also can send the wrong message to others in similar situations.  They may think that since you don’t see the abuse as bad, maybe they’re overreacting to their situation.  Of course, this will lead to toxic shame & all of the problems that go along with it.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today.  Listen to yourself.  Do you minimize your traumatic experiences?  Do you use “just” or “only” often?  If so, STOP!  Trauma is trauma, no matter if someone else had it worse than you.  Don’t minimize your suffering!  Acknowledge it for what it is so you can heal.  Minimizing only causes problems!

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Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

I recently read an article about Traumatic Brain Injuries that mentioned the term Irritable Gratitude Syndrome.  This phenomenon happens to many who have survived a TBI.  People often tell these survivors how lucky they are to still be alive, it could have ended so much worse or be happy you don’t have it as bad as someone else does.  Many caregivers or survivors at this point want to scream, & rightfully so!!  Such comments can stir up some pretty angry thoughts & feelings that are quite justified.

Yes, it’s great the person is still here, but it’s not so great that he or she has lost their personality, has constant headaches, struggles to comprehend even the simplest things & forgets so much.  Many unaffected by TBIs have zero idea just how awful these things are to live with either in yourself or someone you love.

Ok, true, the situation could’ve ended worse than it did, but even so, that doesn’t mean it ended well!  It can be very hard to be grateful to be alive when you’re struggling with the awful day to day symptoms of a TBI or watching someone you love struggle with said symptoms.

And yes, others have it worse.  That doesn’t negate the fact that all TBIs are unique, they all host at least some pretty challenging symptoms & they all are very disruptive to a person’s life.  As someone with a brain injury, I can tell you that knowing someone else has it worse than me doesn’t make mine any less obnoxious to live with.

As I was reading the article & considering such things I realized something…  I really don’t think Irritable Gratitude Syndrome is only for those with brain injuries.  I also think it can be common to those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.

Think about it… how many times have you been told that you should be glad your situation wasn’t worse, at least he didn’t hit you or everyone has problems with their parents?  That’s kind of similar to the comments TBI survivors often hear, & they also stir up similar emotions & thoughts to what I described above.

How can you be glad your situation wasn’t worse when you struggle with C-PTSD from the narcissistic abuse?  Living with the symptoms of C-PTSD is miserable & incredibly difficult.

Maybe that abusive ex didn’t hit you but he didn’t need to hit to hurt you.  Narcissists destroy their victims on the inside, not the outside, but doing their best to ruin their sense of self.

While it’s true, everyone has problems with their parents at some point, that doesn’t mean all parents are the abusive monsters narcissists are.  There is a big difference between normal disagreements & narcissistic parents determined to destroy their own children.  Saying they are the same only trivializes narcissistic abuse & invalidates victims.

I think there are some things to do that can help you when experiencing such thoughts & feelings.

  • Pray.  Tell God what you think & feel.  Let it all out!  He can handle your anger & sadness.
  • Write it out in a journal.
  • Talk to someone who is non judgmental, safe & understanding of your situation.
  • If you don’t feel like talking or writing, then get alone & cry, scream, beat up some pillows or whatever helps you feel better.
  • I know this one is very hard but try to be patient with yourself.  You’ve been through a lot!  It’s ok to feel badly about that!
  • Rest when you need to.  Emotional things take a big physical toll.  Give your body extra rest.

I know that when Irritable Gratitude shows up, it’s not pleasant.  Quite the opposite in fact.  But you can & will get through it!

In case you are wondering, this is the article I was referring to:  https://www.brainline.org/blog/learning-accident/irritable-gratitude-syndrome

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