Category Archives: Christian Topics and Prayers

All things Christian. Prayer requests are welcome.

When People Claim Abusers Don’t Know What They’re Doing

I once saw a meme that basically said to forgive your parents no matter what they have done to you.  They were wounded from their childhood & didn’t know what they were doing to you because of that.  It’s up to you to break the cycle. 

I’ve noticed this mentality is pretty common, & not always with parents.  It can be said with an abusive spouse who was raised watching one parent abuse the other.  It also can be said of the mother in-law mistreats her daughter in-law.  Her mother in-law wasn’t good to her so clearly she must not know how to be a good mother in-law.

The problem with this is this is nothing more than an excuse.  It’s an apologist stand in favor of abusive people.  It is so wrong!

While yes, people whose parents abused them may not know how to be a good parent, but they at least know what not to do.  Those parents know that certain things a parent can do to a child hurt the child, because their parents did those things to them.  As a result, they shouldn’t do those same things to their children.

Many people who survive abuse in some way stop the cycle.  They recognize the behaviors they were subjected to were bad, so they don’t repeat the behaviors.  They try not to be like their abusers.  They probably will make mistakes but they recognize they did things wrong & change their behavior accordingly.  They also don’t act out of maliciousness.  People like this deserve mercy & understanding because at least they are trying.

There are others who aren’t so worthy of understanding. 

A parent who can watch their child cry because of something they have said or done without emotion & makes no changes to avoid hurting their child again is not innocent.

A parent who regularly criticizes their child, even to the point of brining the child to tears or causing that child to feel shame while offering no assistance in improving the problem being criticized is not making innocent mistakes.  That is someone who enjoys deliberately hurting their child.

A parent who laughs at their child or is obviously disgusted with this child also is someone who enjoys deliberately hurting their child by destroying their self esteem.

A parent who keeps their child from relationships with safe people is not protecting their child, nor are they innocent.  They are deliberately isolating their child so they can abuse that child.

A parent who controls their child & makes that child into what they want the child to be rather than allow the child to be the person God made them to be isn’t innocent either.  They are abusive.

While I do agree it is best to forgive abusers in the sense of releasing abusers from you having any expectation of making things up to their victims, I firmly believe that forgiving & forgetting abusive people because “they just don’t know better” when their actions say otherwise is a foolish move.  Doing so only allows abusers to continue to abuse without consequences.  That isn’t good for victims, because it means they will tolerate so much suffering.  It also isn’t good for abusers either, because it means they will continue in their unhealthy, abusive & even sinful behavior rather than having any chance to improve themselves.

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

For The People Pleasers

Those abused by narcissists, in particular raised by narcissistic parents, tend to be people pleasers to an extreme.  Under the abusive influence, you learn that you are to have no needs & never to burden anyone with your so called “trivial” wants, needs & feelings. You also learn that love is conditional & if you want love, you must do everything right.  It’s the perfect recipe for becoming a people pleaser.

Finally comes a time when you realize you are exhausted & depressed.  This people pleasing thing is extremely hard work & incredibly unrewarding.  Instead of people loving you & appreciating all that you do for them, they expect more & more from you.  They also expect you to do for them no matter what is happening with you.  You could be sad or busy or sick, & they still expect you to do whatever pleases them with no regard to you.  The unfairness of it all makes you mad.

You also realize that no matter how hard you try, pleasing people is impossible to do all of the time.  Being a mere human being, you will fail sometimes.  You will miss the mark.  Those who expect you to please them have little patience for your failures, & can be very cruel.  This adds to your anger & depression.

You also realize you can’t spend all of your life trying to make other people comfortable & happy.  It’s not your job!  Besides, many of the people you worry about making comfortable & happy don’t care about making you comfortable in return, so the relationship is very one-sided.  This unfair burden is maddening.

You also reach a time of being fed up with other people’s expectations.  You will become very angry that people expect so much of you while giving you little or even nothing in return.  You finally realize that it’s detrimental to your mental & emotional health to make pleasing others a priority while ignoring yourself. 

One day you are going to be furious that you lost your identity while trying to please other people.  You will realize that you have no idea who the real you is & that too will make you angry.  That realization is scary & painful.  It leaves you feeling completely lost. 

You also will become fed up with constantly having to defend yourself.  When you can’t do something that is expected of you by the ungrateful, using types, they get angry & say & do the cruelest things as a way of punishing you for not doing what they think you’re supposed to do.  That gets old!

The life of a people pleaser is not an easy one.  It also isn’t the one that God wants anyone to live!  The purpose of this post today is to help inspire you to break free of that extremely dysfunctional role!

Stop worrying about pleasing everyone!  It’s impossible anyway.  Instead, worry about pleasing God, yourself, & those safe & wonderful people closest to you!

Learn who you are, & embrace that person.  Psalm 139:14 says that you are fearfully & wonderfully made.  In other words, God doesn’t make trash.  He made you into the special, wonderful person that you are.

You deserve the same happiness you’re trying to give other people.  Don’t be afraid to help yourself to some happiness for a change!

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25% Off My Ebooks Until July 31, 2021 & 10% Off My Print Books Until July 23, 2021

The month long sale on my ebooks is still going, but will be ending at the end of this month. Don’t forget to check it out. Click the link below to see all of my ebooks..

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

Or, if you prefer print books, you can use code CREATOR10 at checkout until July 23, 2021. Click the link below to see my print books…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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

15% Off Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 15% off all of my print books until July 16, 2021. Simply use code SUMMER15 at checkout.

Click the link below to see all of my print books..

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Inspiring Story!

I read this yesterday & thought it was worth sharing with you, Dear Readers. I hope you enjoy it! It’s the story of an atheist who turned to God after a near death experience. It is a long read, but worth every moment. I hope you enjoy it!

https://anewlife256599767.wordpress.com/2021/07/04/hey-yall-2/comment-page-1/#comment-9683

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When Gratitude Can Be Toxic

Gratitude is a topic that is presented as of the utmost importance in society.  And, gratitude is a wonderful thing.  Life is much happier when you are grateful for the good things in your life.  I feel so much joy when I focus on appreciating little things, like going for a drive with some good music playing in the car.

There are times though that gratitude isn’t the best solution.  It may even be impossible. 

If you have lost a loved one, for example, you will get to the point where you are grateful they’re no longer suffering & that you had them in your life for however long the time was.  To get to that point though, you first will need to go through the grief process.  That is going to take time, & involve some unpleasant emotions like feeling lost & alone, anger & intense depression.  To get to the grateful place is messy, & shouldn’t be skipped over.  Focusing only on gratitude for that person while not properly grieving means you’re ignoring pain that needs your attention in order to heal.  Ignored pain finds alternative ways to get your attention, & those ways aren’t healthy.  It can manifest as unhealthy relationships, addictions, physical & mental health problems.

This is also true when it comes to dealing with abuse in your past. 

There are people who tell victims that they need to be grateful for the trauma because it supposedly made them strong or it made them who they are today.  This can be so harmful for victims!  It’s invalidating & also can create a great deal of shame in a victim who is struggling & unable to feel any gratitude.  It is so cruel to tell someone this & make their struggle even harder than it needs to be!

This post is for people who have hurt such comments about how they need to be grateful for what they have been through.  There is nothing wrong with you for not feeling grateful.  Healing is ugly.  It involves a lot of terrible feeling emotions.  It also is a grief process, because you have to accept that some pretty terrible things were done to you, & that caused you to lose precious time in your life, maybe even your whole childhood if your abuser was your parent.  How can any human feel gratitude during such a process?!  It takes a long time & a lot of healing first before you can feel any gratitude related to your situation.

Rather than try to create a grateful heart at this time, forget that.  Not necessarily forever, but for the near future at least until you are further along in your healing journey.  Focus on your healing instead of gratitude.  Feel all the ugly emotions & process them fully.  Then, maybe you can be grateful for some aspects of your experiences.  There are a few things to be grateful for after all.

You can be grateful the trauma & abuse didn’t destroy you, that you have a lot of inner strength that enabled you to survive it, that the abusers are no longer in your life & that God has found some purpose in your pain such as writing about it to help other people.  You also can be grateful for having the courage to face your struggles, because that courage isn’t something everyone has.  Please remember that gratitude can be a good thing to help a person add joy to their life, but it isn’t a cure all.  It isn’t a healthy alternative to pain.  It isn’t like an ointment that will soothe your pain either.  You can feel gratitude while also facing painful, even traumatic things have happened to you.  Just remember not to try to rush yourself into feeling gratitude.

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

Long Term Anger About Abuse Is Normal!

When you’re healing from abuse, many people act like you should get to the point that nothing about what your abuser did bothers you in the slightest.  They say that’s a sign of healing.  I say that is completely wrong.

To start with, how can any human being not be bothered in the slighted by any life altering event, whether the event is good or bad?  Anything that drastically affects a person is going to affect them forever to some degree.  In my experience I have found the best I can hope for regarding such life altering & traumatic things is to get to the point where remembering them feels much like remembering a bad dream.  It feels somewhat upsetting but not devastating.  One example is this: Some of you who have read my work for a while may remember when I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2015.  That was a terrifying event that has left me with life altering physical & mental struggles.  Yet, it also brought me some really good changes in my personality as a result of the brain damage & even drew me closer to God.  As grateful as I am for those positive changes, that doesn’t negate the fact that thinking about how close to death I came that day still shakes me up to some degree even all these years later.  I believe most people are similar to me in this feeling like they’re remembering a bad dream is as good as it gets for healing from the most extreme traumas & situations.

To be totally unaffected by abuse also makes abuse not so bad.  It minimizes it & even normalizes it.  After all, when someone does something normal, you don’t think twice about it or feel any sort of emotions connected to that normal thing.  Do you feel any emotion when your friend says they bought a loaf of bread while at the grocery store?  No, because that is normal.  If a person feels that way same way about abuse, then abuse becomes just as acceptable as buying a loaf of bread. 

There should always be anger about abuse!  It’s called righteous indignation & is mentioned in the Bible.

Righteous indignation means to be angry about injustice, malice & even abuse.  It is anger felt about something that offends your morals.  Consider the story of Jesus overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the temple in Matthew 21:12-13.  He was angry that the temple was no longer a house of prayer but a den of robbers thanks to the behavior of these people.  That anger was hardly sinful!  It was correct!  It motivated Jesus to get their attention & make changes.  And, he did so without hurting anyone!

When feeling angry, consider your anger.  Most likely, you aren’t only angry at your abuser for hurting you, but at the wrongness & unfairness of the abuse.  There is nothing wrong with that anger at all!  You can use that anger to motivate you to make positive changes in your life, such as end the relationship with the abuser.  You can use it to raise awareness of what you have endured.  This righteous indignation is a very good thing provided you use it constructively rather than destructively.

If you have been in this situation & feel badly for still feeling some degree of anger about the abuse you have endured, please consider what I have said.  It is good to release the anger at the perpetrator as you are able to do so.  Carrying around anger & unforgiveness is unhealthy in the long term.  However, maintaining that righteous indignation about the painful & abusive acts committed on you is perfectly normal & yes, even Godly.  Don’t let other people convince you otherwise!

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

People Who Believe Their Opinions Are The Only Right Ones

Recently I saw something on facebook.  The post was about how single women without children rank highest in happiness according to some study.  I didn’t read the article to know who did the study or any details of it, but I did notice the comments on the article.  They were shocking to say the least.

Some people said of course they are, because single, childless women aren’t tied down to lazy husbands & bratty kids or similar, very negative comments.  Other people said it’s impossible for a single, childless woman to be happy because God made human beings to be married & make a family together.   People on both sides of the argument were extremely adamant that they were completely right, & the other side was completely wrong.

I’ve noticed this same scenario with other topics, such as eating meat versus being vegetarian.  Frankly, I find it utterly disturbing!  There are many issues like this that aren’t black & white, right or wrong.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with people’s beliefs on either side of many issues.  What is wrong is the fact that some people think it is their right to push their views onto other people as if their views are the only right ones.  It’s controlling, very disrespectful & even typical of many narcissists.  This behavior becomes even more disturbing to me when the pushy person claims to be a Christian.

The Bible states that Christians aren’t to judge other people, according to Romans 2:1 & Matthew 7:1 just to site a couple of examples.  We are only to judge things in a discerning way.  We are to judge if someone or something is good or bad for us.  We are to judge our own words & behavior, doing & saying what is Godly & avoiding things that aren’t.  Judging for the purpose of criticism or as an attempt to change someone however is a big problem.

Clearly it is wrong to judge a person for doing something that isn’t wrong.  For example, if someone prefers to remain single then as a Christian, it isn’t your place to tell this person how wrong & evil they are for their choice!  Their choice is hurting no one, it works well for them, & God isn’t going to condemn this person to Hell for not wanting to get married.  If God doesn’t have a problem with the behavior, people shouldn’t either. 

Romans 14:1-4 in the Amplified Bible explains the best way to handle differing opinions.  It says, “1As for the one whose faith is weak, accept him [into your fellowship], but not for [the purpose of] quarreling over his opinions. 2 One man’s faith permits him to eat everything, while the weak believer eats only vegetables [to avoid eating ritually unclean meat or something previously considered unclean]. 3 The one who eats [everything] is not to look down on the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat must not criticize or pass judgment on the one who eats [everything], for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands [approved] or falls [out of favor]. And he [who serves the Master—the Lord] will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” 

I know there are times it can be extremely difficult when someone’s thinking is much different than yours.  Rather than get into a disagreement though, keep in mind what Romans 14:1-4 says.  Let that person have their beliefs without your criticism.  If they opt to criticize you or try to change your thinking, don’t get drawn into a disagreement.  Each of you is entitled to your own opinion.

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Biggest Sale Of The Year On My Ebooks & Great Sale On Print Books!

From July 1-31, 2021, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks.  It’s a great time to buy any of them you have been thinking about getting for a low price!

You can find all of my ebooks at the link below:

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

If you prefer print, there is a sale going on now until July 2, 2021 for 15% off! Use code SHELFCARE15 at checkout. They can be found at the link below:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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

Making A Change

I just thought I would let everyone know I’m thinking of making a change in my writing. Instead of only sharing what I learn about NPD, narcissistic abuse, & C-PTSD, I have decided to expand that a bit into ways to add more joy into your life.

Since I turned 50 in April, I guess you could say I’m having a mid life crisis of sorts. (No, I’m not going to divorce my husband, date a guy who’s half my age & buy a Mazda Miata.. lol) I’ve come to realize how little I’ve enjoyed my life. NPD has taken up so much time & space in it! It’s time to make some changes.

You know how the Bible says that the enemy has come to steal, kill & destroy, & is looking for someone he may devour? Well, I firmly believe he does this, but not always in obvious ways. Sometimes those ways are subtle. Being abused by a narcissist is both obvious & subtle in its devastation to one’s life. The abuse itself is obvious of course, especially when it’s someone raging at you like an overt narcissist does or giving you intense guilt trips like a covert narcissist. But the aftermath is much more subtle. It is so easy to get caught up in obsessing over trying to understand what happened & ways to heal, that you can fail to enjoy your life. That has happened to me & I’m tired of it! I would guess that many of you reading this feel the same way.

At the time I’m writing this, I have about 8 months worth of blog posts written & scheduled to publish. You won’t see many posts on enjoying life for a bit because of that. I may rearrange & reschedule as I go to interject some but I’m not sure yet. That depends on what I feel God wants me to do. More of those posts definitely will be published in the future along with my usual educational type of posts though.

Please just bear with me through this. I’m not entirely sure yet how this is going to play out. I’ve felt God putting it on my heart to write more about enjoying life from a Christian perspective as I learn to, but as of the moment, not many details have been forthcoming.

Thank you for your understanding & patience with me, & always being there! I love all of you! xoxo

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

When People Say Things They Shouldn’t To Abuse Victims

Admitting you were abused or hearing stories by other people of abuse they endured is very uncomfortable & unpleasant.  No one wants to talk about abuse.  I sure don’t!  I’d love to write about more pleasant topics & never think about the abuse I endured ever again.  Yet, I know this is impossible.  Even if I quit writing about it, the aftermath of abuse never goes away.  It’s always there to some degree, so talking about it is normal.  Most people talk about abuse in their past either slightly, a lot like me or mostly somewhere in between.

Anyone who has decided to open up about abuse has learned that not everyone is a willing, compassionate listener.  When you gather your courage to discuss the most painful experiences of your life only to be met with invalidation, it can be incredibly painful.  I hope to help you learn some ways to cope with that in this post by sharing some common comments people make to abuse survivors.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”  Many people who haven’t survived abuse don’t understand why a victim wouldn’t reach out for help.  It’s totally acceptable to educate anyone who asks this question.  Abusers threaten their victims to keep quiet.  They also tell their victims no one will believe them.  They even destroy their victim’s self esteem to the point the victim believes no one would care anyway, so there isn’t a point in telling anyone.

“You shouldn’t talk about this.  It’s not the Christian thing to do, making him/her look bad.”  People who say this are often also survivors of abuse, yet who lack the courage to face their pain.  Others facing their pain makes these folks feel badly, so they try to shut down the open person.  Often, there is no getting through to these people, so it is best not to discuss abuse with them.  It is vital to know though that there is nothing “un-Christian” about discussing your experiences.  You aren’t making the abuser look bad.  The abuser already did that by being abusive.

“Are you really sure that’s what happened?”  This comment is often said by someone who knows both victim & abuser.  This is said by someone who really doesn’t want to accept that someone they care about is capable of such awful behavior.  It also is said by a narcissist’s flying monkey who is trying to instill doubt in the victim so they tolerate more abuse from the narcissist.  Take this comment as a red flag that the person saying it is NOT safe!  Don’t discuss your experiences with this person.  Doing so only will lead to you being hurt, possibly also being the victim of a smear campaign.

“Nobody’s parents are perfect,” “No one gets along perfectly with their parents,” or “Everyone has childhood hurts.”  When a person says these statements, it hurts.  They are lumping vicious abuse in the same category as simple personality differences.  So invalidating!!  Shock value can make a person realize how foolish their words are.  Saying something like, “So my mother berating me to the point of obliterating my self esteem while I was a child is the same as another mother not letting her child wear a certain shirt to school?  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, & I disagree with you.”

“Stop thinking about it” or “Stop dwelling in the past!”  Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy?!  Again, it’s acceptable to educate whoever asks this question.  Tell them that C-PTSD & PTSD are common after abuse, & are brought on by experiencing such horrific trauma, it literally broke a person’s brain.  A quality these disorders share is constantly reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts.  Not thinking about things is impossible when your brain won’t let you.

“Why would you talk about this now, all this time later?”  When in the midst of suffering abuse, the victim is busy trying to survive.  Talking about it at the time rarely seems important.  Once the victim is safe, survival mode ends & this person can think clearer.  They often try to process what they just escaped by talking about it.  Or, they are triggered by something… a sound, smell, someone that reminds them of their abuser in some way.  Not a lot of people are aware of this, & that may be the case with the person who says this to you.  Tell him or her.

“You’ll get over it,” “It could’ve been so much worse!” or, “Look for the positive in everything!”  Such comments are what I think of as toxic positivity.  While it is good to be positive, too positive is unhealthy.  It’s unrealistic which easily can lead to disappointment.  Comments like this also make a victim feel ashamed for still being affected by the trauma or needing to discuss it in order to heal.  Don’t waste your time talking about past trauma to people like this.  You’ll only end up hurt by their calloused words.

“At least he/she didn’t hit you!”  A common belief is that the only type of abuse is physical.  Anyone subjected to narcissistic abuse knows this is utter nonsense.  Emotional, mental, sexual, financial & spiritual abuse are all horrific forms of abuse.  They simply don’t leave the clearly visible scars that physical abuse does.  The uneducated need to be aware of this, including the person who says this to you..  You can also tell them that PTSD & C-PTSD are physical damage done to the brain by exposure to abuse & trauma.

“What did you do to make him/her treat you that way?”  This invalidating & shaming statement is so common!  It makes victims feel responsible for the terrible things their abuser did to them, & that is utterly wrong!  No one can make another person abuse them, period, no matter what they do or don’t do.  Did Jack the Ripper’s victims do anything to make him kill them?  What about Ted Bundy’s victims?  No.  These men saw an opportunity & took advantage of it.  Their victims did nothing to deserve what these killers did to them.  This is a point which you can bring up to the person who says such a disgusting statement.

“You should be more patient with him/her!”  No.  Just no.  The more patient you are with an abuser, the more they will abuse you because they see that you will tolerate a lot.  It could help to ask this person why should anyone be understanding with someone who repeatedly hurts them & shows no desire to improve their behavior?

“You should be more careful when picking your romantic partners!”  This statement is nothing but victim blaming.  What the heartless person saying this fails to realize yet needs to know is abusers can come across any way they like – very charming, kind, compassionate, romantic, successful.  They rarely are abusive monsters 24/7.  If they were, no one would get involved with them because it would be clear what they were really like.  They lure victims in by appearing to be much better people than they truly are.  While this seems like common sense, unfortunately it isn’t.  The person who says this statement to you needs to be educated!  Tell them this!

Unfortunately, there always will be people who don’t understand what it’s like to survive abuse.  There also will be people who want to silence victims, no matter how much or little they discuss their experiences.  The more you heal, the less these people will bother you, I’m happy to say.  I also hope this post has helped you to learn some ways to deal with these people!  xoxo

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

Regarding Those Who Justify Narcissistic Behavior While Blaming Victims

Proverbs 17:15 states, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” (KJV)  All verses in the Bible are important of course, but this one strikes me as being especially important in these days where Narcissistic Personality Disorder is so prevalent.

So many people have similar reactions when someone tells them that they were abused at the hands of a narcissist.  They often defend the narcissist, saying something along the lines of he or she probably didn’t mean what was said THAT way.  They excuse the abuse because the narcissist was abused as a child or some other equally lame excuse.  They also may minimize or even deny the abuse ever happened.  One of my aunts referred to the abuse I endured at the hands of my parents as “childhood hurts”, & told me I needed to get over them. 

As bad as such behaviors are, a person condemning a victim is even worse in my opinion.

According to Merriam- Webster’s online dictionary, to condemn someone means “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation/ to pronounce guilty.”  Telling someone who has been subjected to horrific cruelty that they are wrong or evil for the abuse that they had to endure is simply reprehensible!  Subjecting such a person to harsh judgment or blaming the victim for “making” their abuser hurt them are also reprehensible behaviors!

Treating someone in these ways can create a great deal of unnecessary toxic shame in them, adding to the already large amount that the narcissist in their life created.  Anyone who does this, in my opinion, is a sorry excuse for a human being.  However, my opinion isn’t really what matters here.  God also has some very strong feelings on this behavior.

Also according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the word abomination means, “a thing that causes disgust or hatred.”

Can you imagine God, the loving, compassionate, kind & gracious God who created the universe & everything in it, feeling that way towards a person He has created?  It seems impossible, doesn’t it?  But it isn’t impossible!  It happens & probably more often than we care to admit. 

As much as God loves His entire creation, even He has limits & no tolerance for certain things.  The next time you are subjected to someone either defending or excusing the narcissist who has abused you, or blaming you for the abuse, I urge you to remember Proverbs 17:15.  When you do, remember, that people like this need prayer though so if you feel able to do that, then please pray for them & guard your heart against their toxicity getting inside of you.  Remember, what they say is WRONG, so protect yourself against their lies taking root in your heart & mind.

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

Love Isn’t Always Warm & Fuzzy

When most people hear the word love, they think of how they feel around someone they love dearly.  Whether that person is a love interest, parent, child, other relative or friend, the person thinking of them will feel warm, affectionate, caring feelings.  But, love isn’t always about those nice feelings.

Sometimes, love feels nothing like the nice feelings I described earlier.  Sometimes love is not enabling behavior the other person enjoys but is unhealthy.  Sometimes love is not allowing the other person to use you.  Sometimes love involves arguments.  Sometimes, love even involves ending relationships.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize these things, & think love is only about the good feelings, giving in, & even tolerating abuse.

The last few months of my father’s life, I learned that is exactly what my family thought.   They clearly thought I hated him & my mother because I hadn’t spoken to them for several months at that time.  They obviously believed that I was living my life with no thought of them whatsoever.

What my family didn’t know & never would believe anyway is no contact with my parents was incredibly hard on me.  Reaching the decision to end those relationships was gut wrenching.  I took a lot of time to consider it, & said a lot of prayers.  I prayed daily for wisdom for probably a couple of years before going no contact with them, & after, I prayed daily for God to take care of them & to save them.

In John 15:17 in the Amplified translation, the Bible states, “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”  There is no mention in there about the warm, fuzzy feelings, because sometimes, there simply aren’t any.  Consider what I just told you about my situation with my parents.  There wasn’t a single warm fuzzy feeling for them for many years, & many less at the end of their lives.  But, that didn’t mean I didn’t love them.  The difference is I loved them God’s way, by doing what it says in John 15:17, seeking the best for them.  It was incredibly hard severing ties with them, but I knew in my heart it was necessary for my mental health & for them.  And, as it turns out, my father finally turned to God at the very end of his life because I wouldn’t go see him.  I’m not sure if my mother’s motivations were the same or not, but she also turned to God at the very end of her life.  When you love people as God wants, it’s not always easy but it is for the best.

If you have been told that you aren’t loving abusive people right because you have started to set boundaries or even gone no contact, or even if not but you feel like you’re being unloving for such things, this post is for you today.   You need to know that there is nothing good or Godly about letting people use & abuse you.  In fact, it goes against God’s wishes!

Remember, if you truly love someone, you may not feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings for them.  Sometimes love is best done from a distance, & praying quietly behind the scenes.  And sometimes those prayers include saying things like, “Father God, I’m sorry my heart isn’t in this.  I’m only praying for her because I know You want me to!”  If that is all you can manage to do, there is nothing wrong with that!  God truly honors those prayers, the ones you’re only praying because you know He wants you to pray.  He applauds your effort & obedience while also dealing with that other person in ways you may not know about.

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About Anger After Trauma

Often people who are very forgiveness centered seem to think that to forgive someone means that whatever they did to you no longer triggers any negative feelings. You will be completely immune to any upset on that topic.  For example, if your narcissistic mother constantly told you that you were fat, & someone else calls you fat, if you have truly forgiven your mother, some people think that means that this other person’s words won’t bother you in the slightest. 

I really don’t believe that is true.  You can forgive someone yet still be angered by certain behaviors.

Forgiving someone doesn’t always mean you have forgiven & forgotten what they did, & everything is now unicorns & rainbows.  Forgiveness can mean that you release any expectations on them of apologizing & trying to make it up to you for wronging you.  While doing this is a good thing, it doesn’t automatically release the anger or hurt you feel that their actions caused.

Even if you have managed to release all anger & hurt you feel at the person who has hurt or even abused you, their actions still can be very upsetting.  Let’s say for example you were robbed at knifepoint.  You have recovered from any physical injuries & have forgiven the robber.  Maybe you even learned he was out of work at the time & trying to get money to feed his starving children, so you felt some compassion for him with his plight.  Do you really think that all of this would make you ok with anyone robbing anyone at knifepoint?  No!  It definitely wouldn’t, because you know this behavior is wrong, no matter what the story behind it is.  You also know how it feels to be in that position, the terror & anger it stirs up in you, & wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  If you were in this situation & heard of someone else being through what you have, you naturally would be upset, no matter how much or little anger you feel towards the person who hurt you.

Honestly, I think it is not only normal to be upset by reminders but healthy.

Not being bothered by reminders of your trauma would mean you are desensitized to it.  How is being desensitized to trauma good?  It doesn’t help you, & may in fact hurt you.  If you’re numb to the trauma you experienced, that probably means that you have ignored it for a very long time rather than process it.  That is not even close to mentally healthy!   

Being desensitized to trauma doesn’t help others who have experienced trauma either.  If you think what they say was a traumatic experience wasn’t a big deal, & you tell them that, it will instill shame in them.  They will become ashamed of being so affected by something so “trivial”.  They will wonder what is wrong with them, why they were so traumatized by something that other people wouldn’t be bothered by.  They could begin to shut down & ignore their pain rather than deal with it.  Doing this could lead to a plethora of problems such as physical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or digestive disorders.  It also could make them turn to substance abuse, shopping addiction or promiscuity rather than face the fact that they are hurting.

Dear Reader, please know that no matter how much you have forgiven your abuser, things that they have done will continue to upset & even anger you, & that is totally normal!  In fact, let the emotions motivate you!  Become an advocate against the type of abuse or trauma you experienced.  Talk about it, so people know that these things are wrong.  If you feel bold, write a blog or a book.  See what you can to do get laws changed so other abusers like yours will go to jail.  Good truly can come from those feelings, & remember, they aren’t proof that you are unforgiving or bitter.  Far from it.  They prove you’re a person with a wise & compassionate heart. 

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Are Dreams From God?

Unfortunately, I don’t think many people realize just how beneficial dreams are.  That is understandable considering how strange dreams can be.  Who hasn’t had a dream of losing all their teeth or falling?  Dreams like that are bizarre & seem to have no meaning & can be upsetting. 

Dreams really can be beneficial though!  In the past few years, I have started paying more attention to my dreams.  They have taught me a great deal about the state of my mental health, helped me to figure out causes of my anxiety & work through trauma.

When I first started paying more attention to my dreams, I wondered if I was doing something wrong.  Many so called psychics have claimed to have dreams about upcoming events or clues for solving crimes.  Being a Christian, I didn’t want to engage in any behavior that would go against God’s word, & I believe that any dabbling in the occult does just that.  To figure this out, I prayed & looked into the Bible for answers.  What I learned was very interesting!

There are a lot of Scriptures about dreams in the Bible!  In the book of Matthew, God speaks to Joseph in dreams.  In the first chapter, Joseph has a dream where he is told that his fiancée Mary, is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  In the second chapter of Matthew, God uses a dream to tell Joseph to take Jesus & his mother away to Egypt.  Later, he had another dream telling him it was safe to take them back to Israel.

There are also many examples in the Old Testament of God speaking to people in dreams.  Daniel had dreams & Joseph interpreted dreams.  In Numbers 12:6, God said that He speaks to prophets in dreams.

I’m pretty sure all this means dreams have value & shouldn’t be ignored!

If you are interested in learning from your dreams, then I encourage you to do it!

To do this, start paying attention to your dreams.  Remember everything you can about them.  What you were doing, who was in the dream, colors, objects, locations… everything can be important so it’s smart to remember every detail you can.  These things may symbolize something important or be vital pieces to a puzzle.

It often helps to write things down, too.  Writing can bring clarity that considering or talking about things doesn’t, so why not utilize that?

Find a good dream dictionary, too.  I like dreammoods.com, but there are other websites & countless books available.  No doubt you can find a dictionary that you really like either in print or online.

Remember that dreams aren’t always significant, so you probably won’t remember every dream you have.  The brain is constantly processing information, no matter if the information is good, bad or indifferent.  If you don’t remember a dream, then chances are it had no real significance for you at this time.  It is simply your brain processing some type of information.

The most important thing I have found to do to help understand dreams is to pray.  God will help you to understand & get the most benefit from your dreams.  When they are nightmares rather than dreams, He will comfort you as well as teach you what they mean.  Let Him help you!

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How Best To Help Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Having experienced narcissistic abuse, I have learned that when you first tell people about it, they seldom know what to say.  Rather than admit that, they say some things that come across as invalidating or uncaring.  To help people avoid coming across the wrong way with victims, I thought I would share some things to say instead.  If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse & struggling to ask those close to you for what you need, feel free to share this post with them.

If you have no experience with narcissistic abuse, it’s understandable you can’t comprehend the bizarre things narcissists do.  Even when a person has experienced it first hand, the abuse is still hard for them to understand.  That being said, don’t assume the person you’re speaking with is exaggerating or even making up everything.  Most people aren’t creative enough to make up such things.  Even if you struggle to believe what this person is telling you, if you know the person is honest, then trust what they say!  Your validation will help!

Unless the person asks you for advice, don’t give it.  For many victims of narcissistic abuse, we need to talk about it.  A lot.  It doesn’t necessarily mean we are looking for advice.  Talking about it helps us to process what happened & come up with ways to cope. 

Don’t assume that the narcissist is just your average jerk or is just selfish.  Narcissists are so much more than that!  They have absolutely no empathy & enjoy inflicting pain on their victims.  Normal ways that a person deals with the average jerk don’t work with narcissists.

Don’t say things like, “You need to let this go.”  All victims of narcissistic abuse know that.  The problem is that it can cause PTSD or Complex PTSD, & once you have one of those disorders, there is no letting go no matter how much a person wants to do so.  The disorders make letting go of trauma impossible.  Managing the symptoms is the best a person with PTSD or C-PTSD can hope for.

Don’t push forgiveness.  Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing.  Yes, it’s in the Bible.  However, to really & truly forgive takes time when horrific & traumatic acts were committed against a person.  Shaming a person for continuing to feel anger towards their abuser does no good, & only adds to their problems. 

Don’t say things like, “It takes two to tango” or, “There are two sides to every story.”  By doing this, you’re telling the victim that they are equally responsible for the abuse as their abuser.  That is wrong, unfair & nothing but victim blaming!  While no one is perfect, no one can force another to abuse them.  All responsibility for abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of abusers.  Period!

Don’t trivialize the abusive & traumatic events.  One of my aunts referred to the abuse I endured from my parents as “childhood hurts”.  That may have been the most hurtful thing anyone ever told me.  Trivializing trauma stirs up hurt & anger like you won’t believe.  If you love this person, don’t do it!  Even if events they describe as traumatic sound pretty harmless to you, remember that everyone experiences things differently.  Just because that might not have been traumatic to you doesn’t mean it wasn’t traumatic to them.  Don’t judge their definition of trauma. 

Ask the victim what you can do to help.  Chances are, there really isn’t much but knowing that someone cares & is willing to help means so much! 

Offer to pray with & for the victim.  Prayer is so comforting & knowing that someone is willing to take the time to pray for them will comfort the victim greatly. 

Remind the victim how strong he or she is to have survived the abuse.  Victims often feel weak & the reminder of their true strength is incredibly encouraging!

Always be non-judgmental, supportive & kind.  These three traits can go a very long way with anyone who has endured narcissistic abuse.

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10% Off All My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off all print books until May 28. Simply use code SELLDIRECT10 at checkout.

My books can be found at the following link:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Trauma Responses & Guilt

Many of us who have experienced trauma experience a lot of guilt about how we responded during a traumatic event.  I have experienced this.  When my mother & I got into an argument & she threw me into a wall when I was 19 in 1990, I blacked out & bit her during the assault.  To this day I remember how shocking it felt to hit the wall then suddenly coming to as she was releasing her hold on me that pinned me to the wall.  And when I came to, I ran from the house & sped away in a cloud of tire smoke.  For many years after, I felt incredibly guilty for the entire event.  Mostly because I bit my mother & she had a scar from that, but also for the fact I gave in to her.  She was itching for a fight the moment I walked in the door after work that evening.  I recognized the look immediately & in spite of knowing nothing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I knew getting into an argument would result in something bad for me, yet I did it anyway. 

While it may sound ridiculous to you, this triggered an intense amount of guilt in me!  I gave in rather than simply leave which would have been the smart thing to do.  And, thanks to me, my mother had a physical scar.  Horrible!

As you read this, you probably are thinking things like, “But you were only 19!”  “You didn’t know about narcissism!”  “You were defending yourself!”  “You couldn’t move so how else could you defend yourself?”  And you know something?  Those are all correct.  That isn’t how it felt at the time of the incident however, or for over twenty years after it happened.

Do you feel guilt about a response during a traumatic event too?  If so, please show yourself the same mercy you were just willing to show me! 

During trauma, the brain is overridden by survival instincts.  While that is a good thing in the sense that survival instincts will help you to survive, they also may cause you to behave out of the ordinary & in a way that may be embarrassing to you.  Please try to let that go!  Survival instincts are there for a reason.  They help a person to survive.  Whether your instinct is fight, flight, freeze or fawn, that instinct helped to save you from a potentially even worse fate.  That makes your survival instinct pretty impressive!  Don’t discount it!  Embrace it!  Be grateful that it is partly why you survived!

Don’t forget to analyze the event too.  If you analyze it, you had no other choice.  Maybe you’re thinking that you did, but also consider yourself at the time.  You may not have known any better, which led you to make the best choice you could at the time.  This can be difficult, I know.  I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for poor choices I’ve made in my life, too, but you know something?  That is a waste of time!  You aren’t the same person you were who made a less than ideal choice during a time of extreme duress.  You did your best & that is all anyone can expect.  You also survived the traumatic event, so you should be proud of yourself!

Please just remember, Dear Reader, that even if your trauma responses haven’t been what you wish they were, you have no reason to be embarrassed or feel guilty about them.  They did their job, which was to help you survive.

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Simple Ways To Improve Relationships

Recently, I thought of a conversation my husband & I had a long time back. I told him how my dear friend & one of my aunts had similar bouts with cancer. They both suffered with it I think a total of 5 times each, & each time, when it went to their brain is when they died a fairly short time after.

Both my friend & aunt handled their similar situations very differently.

My friend was always a very loving & compassionate lady with a deep faith in God, but she those traits became even more pronounced as her health became frailer. A few months before she died, she mentioned via an email how Jesus carried her through it all & how grateful she was for everything in her life. She truly was an inspiration! She was also always happy to talk to me & encourage me no matter what was happening in her own life.

My aunt, however, was a different story.

While she said she was a Christian, I have doubts. During one conversation,, she mentioned how no one should be so “arrogant” as to assume God only allows certain people into Heaven & not every single person, no matter their personal beliefs. She also was extremely judgmental. If someone didn’t have cancer, according to her, they had no real problems & she didn’t want to hear them whine. Several times, she was very critical & invalidating to me of my problems, whether they were serious or trivial.

For the record, these changes happened in both of them well before any diagnosis of the cancer in their brains.

Although both ladies have been gone for several years, I still remember very well how each woman made me feel. My friend made me feel very loved & like time spent with me was valuable to her. My aunt? Not even close to the same. She made me feel as if all I did was whine about petty problems & was too stupid to recognize the only problem of the world was cancer.

This got me thinking about how people should make others they talk with feel. No functional person wants to cause other people to feel unloved, unheard, invalidated or other awful things. Yet, this happens every day. With or without intention, people say & do things that make others feel unloved, unheard & more. Following are some things I learned from my dear friend that I think are extremely important.

When spending time with someone, it is so important that they know you are present. What I mean is don’t listen to them talk while scrolling through your phone, looking at the television or the clock. Make eye contact. Respond to things they say. Show genuine empathy & care if they are telling you about a problem.

If someone is talking, don’t try to make the conversation all about you. Even if you understand what they feel or have been in an identical situation, it’s not always necessary to say that.

If someone is telling you about a problem in their life, even if you don’t understand why they’re upset, don’t be an unfeeling jerk by shaming them for their feelings. Ask if you can help somehow. Say things like, “I’m sorry to hear that!” or, “That is so unfair!”

Don’t give unasked for advice either. Many times when people confide in others, they simply want to vent. They will ask for advice if they need it. If they don’t, it’s safe to assume they have a solution in mind, so why try to give them one? Wait for the person to ask before giving advice.

When a person leaves a conversation, they should feel as my friend always made me feel – loved & valued. Small actions like I mentioned can make that happen, so please remember to do them.

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Grieving A Narcissist After No Contact

It may sound bizarre, but going no contact with a narcissist can trigger grief.  Often very intense grief.  Chances are there were some good times together, some laughs shared, & some other enjoyable experiences.  Narcissists aren’t abusive all of the time, & during their times of not being abusive, can be really pleasant to be around.  (If that wasn’t the case, if they were abusive constantly, people would catch on to what they were much faster!)

Another thing to consider is that the narcissist is still alive when you go no contact.  As incredibly painful as it is to accept the death of someone you love, at least it’s natural because death is a part of life.  Grieving a still living person is unnatural & that alone makes that grief more complicated.

There also is the fact that just because someone is a narcissist doesn’t mean you don’t love that person.  Maybe the narcissist in your life swept you off your feet & wooed you as no one else ever has.  This made you fall deeply in love with this person & in spite of all the abuse, you still love that side of the narcissist.  Or maybe the narcissist in your life is a parent.  Children naturally love their parents, so in spite of it all, you can’t help but to love your narcissistic parent.

Ending a relationship with someone definitely triggers grief, even when that someone was horribly abusive.  It is an unavoidable fact of life.  However, many people upon ending their relationship with a narcissist are surprised & even embarrassed or ashamed of how they feel.  They didn’t expect to feel anything but relief at this time.  This conversation is for those of you who have experienced that.

The wisest thing you can do is to maintain a close relationship to God during this difficult time.  He cares so much about you & wants to comfort you!  Let Him!

Never judge your feelings.  Just accept them as they are, without judgment.  Judging them only leads to trying to stifle them, & stifled feelings are incredibly unhealthy.  Feelings demand to be acknowledged, so if they aren’t acknowledged in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways such as dysfunctional behaviors or health problems.

Also talk about your feelings either with a safe, non-judgmental person or by writing them in a journal or both.  Another person’s compassion & feedback can be extremely helpful.  It can bring you validation & comfort.  And, writing can help bring clarity that speaking doesn’t.  Writing about things can help you to learn & understand your situation.  Both can be valuable tools in healing. 

You also need to know that in this time of grief, many people won’t understand how you feel.  It seems like the majority of people think when you end a relationship, you don’t have any feelings for the other person anymore so ending it was no big deal to you.  Even others who have severed ties with narcissists can fail to understand.  Maybe they truly hated the narcissist in their lives, & assume everyone feels the same way.  Learning you don’t makes them think something is wrong with you rather than accepting you simply are different.  There also will be those who understand you are grieving but don’t see why it’s going on for so long.  They may think you are “over it” & treat you accordingly when you aren’t doing well at all just yet.  In any case, when people don’t understand how you feel, they may say & do foolish & hurtful things.  Whether their intentions are malicious or not, it may be wise for you to keep a bit of a distance from them for a while. 

Just remember, if you feel grief after going no contact with the narcissist in your life, there is nothing wrong with you.  Take care of yourself.  Process your emotions.  Be understanding & patient with yourself.  Grief is a process & although it’s an incredibly painful one, you will get through it. 

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Mother’s Day

I just wanted to share a little something for those of you with narcissistic mothers who struggle on & around Mother’s Day…

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15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.

My print books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Abusive People Side With Narcissists & Shun Victims

Several years ago, I posted something on my personal Facebook page that turned into a disaster.

The date was May 31, which is the day that my Granddad passed away in 2003. Each year in May, I get depressed because it’s been so difficult losing such a wonderful man. Some years I discuss it, some I don’t. One year, I mentioned it on Facebook & shared a few pictures of him. This simple act caused one of my relatives to be very angry with me. She left a nasty comment on my post for sharing this because she felt I was disrespecting my grandmother by not mentioning her, & only mentioning Granddad.

Think about this for a moment. It was the anniversary of my granddad’s passing. Doesn’t logic dictate that he was the center of my focus on that particular post rather than my grandmother? I adore her, but May 31 was more about Granddad in my mind & that seemed only logical under the circumstances to me. Besides, I mentioned her on her birthday, the date of her passing & my grandparents’ anniversary, so it’s not like she was ignored!

As if this relative’s reaction to my post wasn’t inane enough, it got worse.

The following May 31, I said nothing since I didn’t want to be attacked again. I didn’t think much about this until another one of my relatives (who happens to be a very malicious covert narcissist) mentioned it being the anniversary of my Granddad’s passing. This relative even shared the exact same pictures I had!! She also said similar things in her post as I had in mine the prior year! Her wording was almost word for word the same as mine. And yes, I compared our posts because I was reasonably sure she had copied mine! It was very shocking to me how she so obviously copied me, but what was even more shocking is the relative who the year prior chewed me out for being so “disrespectful” praised this person for doing the exact same thing as I had! She told this person how incredibly kind & thoughtful it was of her to remember Granddad & how much she loved her.

Frankly, the whole scene made me nauseous.

This type of scenario is very common in narcissistic families. The one who is honest about narcissistic abuse is shunned in so many ways by their own family for not conforming, for not being like the rest of the family & for being open about the family’s secrets. However, the narcissists in the family are treated so much differently! They are showered with love, support & encouragement.

If this is happening in your family, you aren’t imagining it. You aren’t over reacting. You aren’t being over sensitive for being angry about the insanity & unfairness of it. You are a person with a normal reaction to this dysfunctional situation. Unfortunately, for dysfunctional families with a narcissist (or more), their behavior is also pretty normal. Many people don’t have the courage to face the fact that someone in their family is an abusive monster or stand up for what is right. Instead, they side with the abuser. Standing up for what is right means actively doing things, like offering support to the victim & calling an abuser out on their actions. It is easier for cowardly people to side with the abuser. Besides, chances are good they will gain something from their allegiance to the narcissist. It could be favor with the narcissist or gifts or anything really.

All of this means that there is nothing wrong with you! It also is nothing personal, even though it feels that way. The problem lies with not only the abusive narcissist, but his or her flying monkeys as well. You are fine, they are not! Please try to remember that, & keep on telling your story!

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Forgiveness & How It Relates To Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

The Bible has many wonderful verses about forgiveness.  They are scattered throughout both the Old & New Testaments

There is a slight problem with these verses though.  It isn’t even the verses, but how verses are quoted by some people.  I’ll give you an example from my own life.  Years ago, my father was in the hospital briefly.  I did most of the communicating with the medical staff.  Some of the care he received was terrible & I was angry about it.  I was also frustrated because as his daughter, there wasn’t much I could do on his behalf.  That was my mother’s job & she didn’t seem to want to do anything.  One of my father’s sisters called me one day after an especially frustrating time at the hospital.  Upon realizing I was angry, she scolded me for being angry.  Said I need to let this go & forgive the people who caused my anger & do it NOW.  While I did that eventually, that was the lowest priority in my life at that time.  My anger helped motivate me to push the staff to treat him better & to push my mother to do what she needed to do as well.  It was also reasonable to be angry in that situation, contrary to what my aunt seemed to think.  Scolding me for responding appropriately didn’t help & in fact, made the situation worse in a way because then I was also angry with her.

This sort of scenario happens often with people who have been abused when they tell Christians about it.  I heard early in my Christian walk that I needed to focus on forgiving my parents & ex husband.  In fact, one woman told me, “I don’t know what your problem is.  God says forgive so I just do it.”  Talk about shame inducing!

It also doesn’t help that many people think to forgive someone always means you “forgive & forget.”  That is often the worst thing a person can do!

Forgiveness Scriptures are a wonderful thing, but unfortunately many people misunderstand & misapply them.

For one thing, to forgive someone doesn’t necessarily mean “forgive & forget”.  It can, of course, but for small things only.  Your best friend forgets your birthday should be one of those, especially if that person has a lot going on in their life & this is the first time it’s happened.  Applied to those of us who have been abused however?  Forgiving & forgetting is a terrible mistake!  Doing so only sets yourself up for further abuse.  It also doesn’t give the other person consequences for their actions, so they continue with their bad behavior not only with you but with others as well.  This is obviously NOT a good thing!

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.  It can, but it doesn’t have to mean that.  Regarding the narcissists in my life, I thought of forgiving them more like forgiving a debt.  When someone forgives a debt, that means they no longer expect the borrower to repay them what they owe.  In abusive relationships, the abuser does owe the victim at the very least an apology.  When you release the abuser from owing you that apology & whatever else they owe you, you have forgiven them.  You may still feel some anger towards them, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven them.  It means you released them from owing you anything for the suffering they caused.  In time, the anger will lessen, but it may not go away entirely.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because abuse should be something that stirs up anger in everyone!

Also, to truly forgive someone, you have to feel & process your emotions first.  Forgiveness can’t truly happen until you do that, I believe.  That process can take a long time sometimes, especially when a person has been abused.

Dear Reader, don’t let anyone shame you for not forgiving your abuser quickly enough.  I firmly believe that as long as you want to do that & are working on it, God isn’t angry with you.  He understands that you simply aren’t able to do it right this moment.  He will help you get there too.  All you need to do is ask for that help!

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About Praying For Abusers

Mathew 5:44 says that we are to love our enemies & pray for those who persecute us.  This really is a wonderful thing to do.  It helps you to release your anger at those people who hurt & even abuse you, which of course is a wonderful thing.  Anger is an awful burden to carry.  Plus, those who behave so terribly obviously need prayer because something is wrong with them. 

The problem is how some folks apply this verse.  Victims of abuse are often told they need to pray for the person who hurt them.  While that is true, telling someone that immediately after they have divulged their situation is probably the worst timing imaginable!

Someone who has suffered abuse really has a lot of issues to contend with.  Shame is usually one of those issues, since abusers often blame their victims.  Telling someone about it takes a lot of courage because of this, especially if the abuser & this other person know each other.  When someone does this & is immediately told that they should pray for the person who caused them such pain only adds to their shame.  Praying for that person isn’t what a person in that situation wants to do just yet, even if it is Scripture.  That can add to their shame because they are often told they’re “disobeying” God.

Telling someone in that situation to pray for their abuser is also very invalidating.  The victim’s pain is ignored & they are told to pray for the person who inflicted that pain on them.  It makes the victim feel as if they have no right to their pain, because praying for their abuser is so much more important.  A bit skewed true, but that is how that situation makes a person feel.

It also makes a victim feel like they are the problem, especially when they are still in the place of not wanting to pray for their abuser just yet.  It makes a victim feel like they are wrong & even un-Godly for not being able to pray for the abusive person.

Suggesting someone pray for their abuser too soon also can make a person turn away from God.  When you’ve been through an abusive experience & then tell someone, if that someone puts much more value on praying for the abuser than your pain, it can make you think God is that way.  He’s more interested in getting his way than your suffering or doesn’t even care about your pain at all.  No one should be made to feel this way, but it does happen, sadly.

Another potential problem this suggestion can create is anger.  Anger at God for wanting something that seems impossible.  Anger at people for preaching rather than offering gentleness & understanding.  Anger about the unfairness of feeling like the victim being assaulted while the abuser gets prayer.

Suggesting a victim pray for their abuser right away can cause that victim to be stuck in a painful, shame filled place.  Rather than push victims to pray for their abusers, they need compassion, validation & understanding.  They need love & security too.  Most of all, victims need time

If you look at Matthew 5:44 again though, while it does say we should pray for those who persecute us, it does NOT say we should do it right away.  I fail to see how there is anything wrong with focusing on healing for as long as it takes before praying for an abusive person.  In fact, I don’t think that should even be mentioned for a while to a victim.  They need to heal enough where they can hear such a message without anger or shame.  That sort of healing doesn’t happen quickly.  It takes time, & there is nothing wrong with that.  God truly understands these things & won’t be angry at a victim who can’t pray for their abuser quickly.

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Illness Changes Personality & Behavior

When a person faces serious health problems, they change & not only physically.  Their personalities change, too.  That is normal.  Sometimes the personality changes can be very bad.

A dear friend of mine lost her husband some time ago after caring for him for several years.  Not long before he died, she told me some very disturbing things about his behavior.  This once good, kind, loving man was suddenly exhibiting many narcissistic traits.  In particular, he didn’t want his wife to be with other people, including their children.  It was bizarre since narcissism doesn’t suddenly show up, like when you catch a cold.  The more we talked about things, the more I thought of something… 

After I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, the hospital gave me no information & even said my elevated carbon monoxide levels “weren’t so bad.”  They also said I had no brain injury in spite of showing many signs of a concussion from hitting my head when I passed out.  The hospital said I could return to work two days later, but by that time, I still felt just as miserable as I did when I left the hospital.  I was lost, so I started researching my condition.  I also joined a traumatic brain injury group on Facebook.  I noticed immediately most people in the group showed a LOT of narcissistic tendencies & were very insecure.  I left the group quickly, but I realized something.  I was starting to behave much as they were!  I wanted my husband to be with me non stop & was very annoyed he wasn’t.  I knew he had demanding, elderly parents with health problems, plus a full time job which all left him exhausted much of the time, but even so, I was annoyed he didn’t spend more time with me.  Realizing how selfish I was behaving was a real wakeup call!

I told my friend about my experiences plus what I witnessed in that group & in time, we realized what happened with her husband was much like what happened to me.

The reason I’m sharing this is so many people are affected by serious health concerns either in themselves or in those they love.  Whether you are the person with the condition or someone you love is, it’s vital to understand that serious health problems can change someone’s personality drastically.  The condition doesn’t even need to be something that affects one’s brain directly like Alzheimer’s, stroke or traumatic brain injury for this to happen. 

When you become seriously sick or injured, you become scared.  Even if you’re getting the best of care & have a great prognosis, health problems are terrifying. 

Add in that you can’t do things you once took for granted & are forced to rely on other people for help.  That too can make you feel afraid, especially for the person who has always been self reliant, & is a serious blow to the self esteem.

Having to rely on other people also can make you feel like a burden, which unsurprisingly is terrible for one’s self esteem.

Feeling like a burden can make you feel that you need to put your best face forward & not show others just how miserable you feel or how much you’re struggling.  There is a very difficult balance in this situation.  If you act as if your symptoms aren’t as bad as they are, or not happening at all, people often think you’re faking the health crisis.  But, if you are honest about it, people often think you’re exaggerating your symptoms, feeling sorry for yourself or looking for attention.

Feeling insecure & afraid naturally change a person.  Many people get angry.  Many others talk about their illness non stop in an effort to educate people, which often alienates them because people get tired of hearing about this topic.  Most people though seem to become insecure, some even to the point of displaying narcissistic tendencies.

If you are the person who is ill & behaving this way, please work on healing!  You are only hurting yourself & those around you!  I know it’s hard but you can change!  Watch your behavior, & change it accordingly.  Apologize when you mistreat someone or have unfair expectations on them.  Stop expecting people to meet your needs & focus on God to do that. 

If you are the person in a relationship with someone who is behaving this way, remember, you can’t change their behavior.  They have to change themselves.  But, you aren’t helpless.  You need to have good boundaries in place & enforce them.  Talk to this person & explains that their behavior hurts you.  Non-narcissistic people will respond to that!  I know it seems hard to believe if you’ve dealt with a narcissist, but it’s true.  Remind yourself that their behavior isn’t personal.  It’s their illness making them act this way rather than something you are doing wrong.

Whichever position you are in, remember to stay close to God. Nurture that relationship.  That is what will help you more than anything else!

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

My Print Books Are 15% Off For A Limited Time

My publisher is having another sale on all of my print books. Use code SELL15 at checkout & get 15% off until April 23 , 2021

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Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 was a strange night for me.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the night the police came to my home to tell me that not only had my mother passed away, but being her only child, dealing with the situation was my responsibility.  As soon as they told me she was gone, I immediately knew that my life as I knew it was over.  At that moment, it felt incredibly daunting & terrible, but as time passed, I realized it wasn’t a bad thing. 

I want to share some my story for those of you who are in the position of having recently lost a narcissistic parent or are losing a dying narcissistic parent.

In the time since my mother died, I have run through the entire gamut of emotions.  Her death made me angry, sad, hurt, happy, relieved, guilty & more.  I also had to deal with things far out of my comfort zone, such as making her burial arrangements, dealing with a huge error the cemetery made when burying my father 18 months prior, & dealing with my mother’s estate.  My parents had told me that not only would I never get any inheritance, but they had chosen a neighbor to be the personal representative of their estate.  You can imagine my surprise finding out those were all lies.

Anyway, there was good that came from all of this, & that is the point of this post. 

Without my parents, so much healing has happened!  The crippling agoraphobia I lived with since 1996 has all but vanished.  I still get anxious in stores sometimes & try to avoid crowded times, but compared to what it once was, this is fantastic! I can go out alone now!

My self esteem has improved greatly too.  I can’t say 100% healthy but I can say a lot closer to that than it once was.  As a result, I am setting healthier boundaries now & have even less tolerance of abusive behavior.

There is also a sense of freedom I have never felt in my life.  For the first time, I know I can leave home & not run the risk of running into my parents around town.  I know when my phone rings, it won’t be either of them dumping all of their complaints about their marriage on me with no respect to how uncomfortable & painful that was for me. 

Best of all, yet also the most mysterious of all, is how the level of shame I once felt has decreased drastically.  I truly don’t understand the connection but when my mother died, it was as if the toxic shame I once felt vanished.  Naturally I’m still not proud of things I have done in my life, but I no longer feel intense shame about them or the person I am.  It’s wonderful!

I am telling you this to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent is dying or has died, it is going to be a very hard time for you.  You may feel relieved they are gone & then guilt for feeling that relief.  You may grieve the parent you never had.  You may feel all the years of anger rear their ugly head at once.  You may feel numb.  You may feel something entirely different.  It’s impossible to say what you will feel.  There seems to be no way to predict what you will feel other than guilty since that seems to be a constant among others who have lost a narcissistic parent.  If you are losing your second narcissistic parent, it may be entirely different for you than when your first one passed. When my father died, I was shocked I felt so numb. I barely shed any tears after his death, probably because I had grieved him so long while he was alive.  When my mother died almost exactly 18 months later, I felt devastated.  Losing a narcissistic parent is a strange thing to put it mildly.  That being said though, it also can open doors to some very good things.  When you feel able, look for the good.  The good things really can carry you through all of the bad.  You will be shocked at just how much good came from it! 

Also, I’m not saying only look at the good & ignore the bad.  That is unhealthy.  Feel the bad feelings.  Sit with them.  Acknowledge them.  Accept that they are there & do so without judgment.  Pray about them.  Write about them in your journal.  Talk about them with a safe friend, therapist or pastor.  Have balance & be gentle with yourself during this very trying time.

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

Emotional Intelligence Shamers

The definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, express, & control one’s emotions.  It also includes the ability to handle relationships with empathy & fairness.  People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are often kind, fair, understanding & tolerant of the mistakes of others while not tolerant of abuse.

Narcissists hate emotionally intelligent people.  There are various reasons they can feel this way.  Possibly because narcissists are very emotionally unintelligent, & therefore can’t understand the emotionally intelligent they hate them.  Narcissists understanding the emotionally intelligent would be like the average person trying to understand how geniuses like Einstein thought.  It would be impossible… although the average person at least wouldn’t hate him for his intelligence. 

Another & even more likely scenario is because emotionally intelligent people aren’t easily fooled or manipulated.  Narcissists want to fool & manipulate their victims so they can get whatever they like from them.  Emotionally intelligent people have good boundaries & they understand people.  This makes it nearly impossible to fool & manipulate them.  It may happen briefly, but it won’t happen long.  This makes them terrible victims of narcissistic abuse.

For the emotionally intelligent person in this situation, the narcissist & their flying monkeys will be incredibly shaming.  They come up with all kinds of ridiculous things to say to the victim in order to shame them into compliance.   In Christian circles, often the Bible is twisted around for the purpose of shaming the victim: “If you remember, the Bible says to honor your parents!”  “Wives should submit to their husbands!”  “Love covers a multitude of sins!”  When Scripture isn’t used, the ridiculousness doesn’t get any better.  People try to shame the victim by saying equally stupid comments such as, “You need to forgive & forget!” “That’s in the past…”  “That’s just how he is.”  “You need to understand her better.”  “But he was abused by his parents!!”

Comments like these can create a great deal of conflict & confusion in someone victimized by a narcissist.  A person who is emotionally intelligent however, isn’t conflicted & confused.  They recognize the bad behavior for what it is, & have no problem calling out the people who say these things.  It can hurt though & can be rather hard not to take the shaming personally sometimes.

If this happens to you, a very helpful thing you can do is remember what type of person is saying these things.  You aren’t dealing with another emotionally intelligent person.  They don’t say such stupid, heartless comments.  Then ask God to tell you the truth & ask if they were right in what they said. 

It also helps to look objectively at your situation & ask yourself does what this person said to you make any sense?  If you can’t seem to look at the situation objectively, I know a trick to help.  Pretend a friend has come to you & told you of this same situation happening to them.  Doing this can help you feel disconnected enough to look more objectively at your situation. Please remember, Dear Reader, to be proud of being the emotionally intelligent person you are.  Narcissists & their flying monkeys only criticize it because it means you see through their abuse.  Don’t accept their shame!  The shame belongs to them & you have no reason to carry it!     

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.

All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact.  The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent.  The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much.  Who can live with this indefinitely?!  No one with any normal human emotions could!

Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next.  The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They’re getting up in years.  How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths.  When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character.  They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more.  If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too.  As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents.  You must be a hypocrite!   

Trauma doesn’t end with no contact.  Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.

The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time.  The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with!  Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact.  No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long.  All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.

Once you are no contact, you’re finally free.  Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent.  Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be.  Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions.  Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be.  You’re finally free!!

From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have.  They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that.  They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want.  Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary.  The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear.  You know something though?  Going through the fear is totally worth it.  On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known! 

And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone.  God will be right by your side!  Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it.  I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable.  He will do the same for you if you allow Him to.  Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up.  Don’t go back.  Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do.  Lean on God.  Let Him support & guide you through this process.  xoxo

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