Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Cognitive Dissonance

Recently, my birthday passed.  The first one since having a huge argument with my parents in May of 2016.  My mother didn’t send a card.  My father sent a card though, & as soon as I saw it, I felt so much guilt for the way my relationship with my parents is, or lack of relationship I should say.  The old dysfunctional way of thinking kicked back in.  I should forgive & forget, pretend all is ok no matter how much it hurts me, & I overreacted because they should be able to do & say anything.

 

At the same time, I was remembering why I need to stay no contact with my parents.  A lifetime of abuse flowed through my mind.  The cruelty, the belittling, the manipulation, the control, the parentalizing, the guilt trips, the putting everyone else ahead of me, the invalidation.  The two very conflicting thoughts & feelings were utterly miserable.  Cognitive dissonance always is miserable!

 

Those of us raised with narcissistic parents know this well.

 

Growing up, we were trained to think & believe certain ways, such as the narcissistic parent always comes first, & our thoughts & feelings mean nothing.  Eventually, we learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & realize that all we grew up believing is wrong.

 

Unfortunately that is only the beginning.  It takes a long time to unlearn old thoughts & replace them with new, healthy thoughts.  As you learn, you experience very uncomfortable feelings because of these conflicting beliefs, which is known as cognitive dissonance.

 

When my experiences happened recently, I mentioned what was happening in my Facebook group.  I am very blessed, because the members were incredibly helpful.  They reminded me why I need to be no contact with my parents, & the guilt & conflict I felt wasn’t from God.

 

I also spent plenty of time in prayer.  I asked God what to do, was I overreacting with my parents, was I wrong, should I ask them back into my life?  God did the same thing those in my group did- gently remind me why I’m no contact & that He didn’t want me feeling guilty.

 

Dear Reader, when you face similar moments of awful cognitive dissonance, I urge you to do what I did- pray.  God is your Father & friend- you can talk to Him openly about everything you feel.  Do it!  He’ll help you get through!  Also, open up to those close to you who understand your situation, preferably those who have been through similar.  They can be of great encouragement too!

 

I know experiencing cognitive dissonance is difficult & painful, but you will get through it!  I did.  The day of my birthday was rough, I won’t lie.  It was a struggle, even with the help of God & friends, but I made it through.  The day after was easier & the one after, still easier.  It just took a little time for the healthy thoughts to beat down the unhealthy ones is all.  When this happens to you, remember that you WILL get through & be just fine.  Be patient, understanding & gentle with yourself, knowing that it will pass.  xoxo

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

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

Have you ever noticed that almost no one says you are right to have problems with abusive family members?  That it is OK to defend yourself to them?  Instead, you are encouraged to “just let it go.”  Or, excuses are made like, “Well, she’s getting old now…”  or “You know how he is.”

 

Why do so many people think it is wrong to speak your mind & defend yourself when someone says cruel things to you?

 

I think it is because people do NOT want to leave their comfort zone.  They would prefer you stuff your emotions (because that is oh so healthy..not) than make them uncomfortable by standing up for yourself.

 

Those of us who have been abused have been through more than enough suffering.  It isn’t fair to expect us to go through more just to make someone else comfortable by not upsetting them.

 

When people tell you to “just let it go” or “don’t rock the boat”, ignore them!  If you feel you need to speak up when your parent is cruel to you, then by all means, you have that right!  There is nothing good, loving or honorable in “not rocking the boat.”  People need to be accountable for their actions, like it or not.  They need to know when they have said or done something that is inappropriate.  Whether or not they change their behavior is not your responsibility, but at least by speaking up you have made them aware of the inappropriateness of their actions.

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

Do You Have Something That Is Just Yours?

A little while ago, I was listening to some music from the 80’s.  Being a teen in the 80’s, it’s often my go to genre.  I was really enjoying the songs & a thought crossed my mind.  Most people who listen to their childhood music are transported back to happy days of their youth.  I’m not. My childhood wasn’t happy.  Even so, I still love the music of the era.  As I wondered why, & didn’t even have a chance to ask God why, He gave me the answer.  My taste in music was the first thing that was just mine, that my narcissistic mother couldn’t ruin for me.

 

My mother likes 50’s music & country music by the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys & similar sounding artists.  My father is mostly into outlaw type country- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt.  Neither likes 80’s music.  When I first got into it, my mother harshly criticized it, yet she didn’t spoil my love of it in spite of her valiant efforts.

 

She tried to squelch my love of other things over the years too- my taste in cars, other types of music I like (such as Southern rock & metal/hard rock), my love of feminine clothing & perfumes, knitting, scary movies & books. I’m positive her motivation was to make me dislike these things & replace them with things she likes or approves of.  (Narcissists love to change people into what they think they should be, rather than allowing people to be individuals.)  It hasn’t worked, however, & these things all bring me a great deal of joy, even when she insults them or me for liking them.

 

When you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, holding onto something that the narcissist couldn’t ruin for you or take away from you is precious!  It makes you feel strong.  In spite of every hateful thing she tried, she couldn’t take this from me!  There was one thing she couldn’t destroy about me!  YAY ME!!

 

Do you have something that is just yours, that your narcissistic mother couldn’t take from you?  What is it?  Whatever it is, I urge you to celebrate it!  Enjoy it to the max!   Relish in the fact she couldn’t take it from you no matter what.  Be proud of yourself for having the fortitude to hang onto that thing!

 

If you can’t think of anything, that is ok too!  Find something!  Try something new- a new hobby, a new type of tea, listen to a different genre of music.  You’ll find something that is so special to you, that even the meanest narcissistic mother can’t take away, & you will thoroughly enjoy it.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism

On Survival Mode

In the past several months since my parents have stopped speaking to me, I’ve gained quite an education.

 

One thing I’ve learned is about survival mode.  Survival mode is a way of behaving in an abusive situation.  Basically, your emotions are shut off & you do whatever you need to in order to get through the awful situation.  Barely speaking so as not to say something that upsets your abuser, for example.

 

I’ve learned that survival mode doesn’t necessarily end when the relationship ends.  In my case, my parents didn’t say outright that they never wanted to speak to me again- they just stopped calling me.  I think that is why I stayed in survival mode for months after our last conversations, I didn’t know for sure if they’d call or not.  When I realized months had passed since I’ve heard from them (11 for my mother, 4 for my father to date- not her longest silent treatment, but it is his) only then did survival mode end.  This happened with my in-laws too.  I stopped speaking to them in 2002, but survival mode didn’t end for months after.

 

I think this means that the brain wants to be completely, 110% sure that the abusers are gone before it can relax.  Survival mode is all about protecting you, so it makes sense the brain would want to be absolutely certain all danger is gone before it exits survival mode.

 

I’ve also learned that once survival mode is gone, emotions come out.  Naturally when you’re in survival mode, your emotions get put on the back burner because you’re focused only on surviving.  Once the danger is gone, emotions come to the surface, including ones that have been suppressed for a long time.  It can feel overwhelming especially when you haven’t dealt with them for a very long time.  However, I firmly believe it’s necessary to deal with them.

 

Without the burden of focusing on survival, I feel like I’m noticing every little thing.  Unfortunately, part of that includes triggers.  They seem to happen constantly.  The other day, I saw a TV show where this lady’s son in-law cheated on her daughter.  Although the daughter forgave him & he promised to mend his ways, the mother still was very upset.  When she told her son in-law that there is no pain worse than watching your child suffer & you not being able to fix it, I flashed back to the fight I had with my parents last May.  My father changed the subject to really odd topics to deflect my yelling at him.  My mother sighed an obviously bored sigh as I cried & yelled at her until I gave up & told her if she had anything to say before I hang up, do it now.  Her chance to apologize turned into her whining about having vertigo (for the record, I have it too- yes, it sucks, but you’d think when your normally calm, rational daughter is that upset, that might just take priority..).  I realized that caring parent isn’t something I’ll ever have, & it hurt me enough to make me burst into tears, something I rarely do.

 

In order to handle these experiences, I rely on God a LOT.  I tell Him how I feel & He reassures me, comforts me & explains what’s happening.  He also shows me things that help.  For example, I can be scrolling through Facebook when a meme or article that pertains to my situation pops up, & the information in it is very helpful to me.

 

I also write in my journal- seeing things written out is a good way to gain clarity.  Not sure why that is, but it’s true.  Seeing events written out as well as my feelings has helped me to see the situation clearer, instead of through the eyes of someone whose views are skewed hurt by narcissistic abuse.

 

Talking about things with a safe person is helpful too.  I’ve told my husband some of what’s been going on.  Sometimes, he gets angry or looks completely shocked by things I’ve shared about my parents.  That lets me know it’s not normal!  When you grow up with narcissists, abuse & bizarre is your normal.  Even as an adult, it can be hard to let go of that & embrace the healthy & good things.  Having someone you love & trust say that certain things were wrong or bizarre is helpful in letting go of those bad beliefs.

 

Dear Reader, if you too have been in survival mode for a long time, these things may happen with you too.  Or maybe they’re happening already.  If so, please rest assured that you are fine!  It may not feel that way but you are.  Ending survival mode is truly a good thing.  Your mind & body finally can relax, & you can deal with those long buried emotions.

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Why Narcissistic Abuse Can Get Worse As Children Grow Up

I’ve heard over & over that narcissists never change.  Yet, I’ve seen my narcissistic parents change a great deal in my lifetime.

 

When I was a small child, my mother controlled everything about me, & my father idealized me.  In adolescence, my mother continued to control me & added scathing criticisms & later screaming at me to her repertoire.  My father still idealized me but when I complained about my mother to him, he told me how hard it was for him, & he was helpless to do anything for me.  Once I moved out, my parents both complained to me about the other one even more often than they had when I was growing up (which was a lot when I was a kid).  My mother no longer screamed at me or could control me as much as she did, but she was also still critical.  My father said how hard it was for him when I was growing up, knowing she was hurting me & wanted my comfort.  Once my parents hit their 70’s, they changed again.  My covertly narcissistic father gets more overt by the day, & my mother’s scathing criticisms have become quietly spoken & more hurtful than ever.

 

Many narcissistic parents follow a similar path in the manners in which they abuse their children.  They adapt their behaviors to the child’s & their stages in life.  But why?  I mean, we can all understand why a physically abusive parent stops hitting their child once the child is physically able to protect herself of course.  The abuser doesn’t want to get beaten as she beats her child.  But why do narcissists change their behaviors so much?

 

Personally, I believe the reason is they are attempting to beat their adult children down so they stay childish.  Eroding their child’s self-esteem will leave that child feeling incapable, rather than like the capable adult she truly is, & will make her feel she must depend on her parents.  After all, the parents want her to believe, she isn’t smart enough to choose the right friends, work the right career, like the right things, etc.  Her parents know best, so she should depend on them.

 

If a narcissistic parent can keep their adult child in a perpetual state of childhood, this can provides an incredible amount of narcissistic supply.  The adult child will depend on the parents, which means they can give the appearance of being good parents.  This adult child also will cater to their every whim, which we all know provides tons of narcissistic supply.

 

If the adult child doesn’t submit, however, she can count on problems with her parents.  Narcissistic parents can’t deal with a child who doesn’t submit to her parents, even as an adult.  They expect blind obedience from their child, no matter her age, & if they don’t get it, they will do their level best to hurt that child. They will treat her worse than ever once they realize she is resisting submitting to them.  Or, they simply discard her like a piece of trash, refusing to have any relationship with her, & often creating a vicious smear campaign against her.

 

As the adult child, you have no obligation to submit to abusive parents.  There is no love or honor in abuse.  You have every right to protect yourself from your narcissistic parents!  It will not be an easy road, but it is worth it.  And, it is much easier than living in that perpetual childhood in an attempt to please them.

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Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an amazing thing.  It gives you answers you’ve always wanted & shows you that you were lied to- not everything was your fault.  It’s a wonderful thing in that way!

 

Yet at the same time, learning about NPD also means you grieve.  You realize that your narcissistic parents never will be the kind, loving, caring parents you always wanted & hoped they would be.  It destroys that hope that one day, they’d see the error of their ways & start treating you well.  Thank God, grieving does get easier, but I’m not sure it ever goes away entirely.

 

In my experience, I’ve realized something else about the grief process.  For me, it was easier to grieve when I learned my overtly narcissistic mother was a narcissist than when I learned my covertly narcissistic father was one.  Her actions were so obviously wrong, that there was no denial she was that way.  There was no questioning that she was out to hurt & control me.  I knew that even before learning about NPD.

 

My father, however, was a different story.

 

My father always acted naive, even though he’s very intelligent.  He can play the victim or pitiful card well, too.  When I went to him with problems about my mother, he would act sad & tell me he couldn’t do anything to help me.  It was hard on him knowing she was hurting me, he said.  I ended up comforting him when he should’ve been comforting & protecting me.  He’s also very subtle at his manipulations, so it’s easy to miss what his true motives are unless you’re very familiar with narcissism.  For example, there were times when I didn’t answer his phone call or didn’t call him when he thought I should.  He would tell other people he’s so worried about me- he doesn’t know why I haven’t called him in a while.  If they talk to me would they mind have me call him?  Sounds like a concerned father, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s about making me do what he wants, not concern or love for me.

 

Because my father is so good at being subtle (the opposite of my mother), it’s been really hard to accept that he’s a covert narcissist.  I always thought of him as the good, loving parent.  He never called me names, verbally tore me down, or screamed at me like my mother did, so he had to be the good parent.  Or, so I told myself.

 

Besides, having two parents who don’t love you is a very painful thing to accept.  No one wants to believe neither of their parents care about them.  It’s easier to deny that the covertly narcissistic parent is that way.  Their actions are so subtle anyway, it’s easy to miss their abuse, unlike overt narcissists.  Compared to an overt narcissist parent, the covert seems like a tiptoe through the tulips.  At least until you learn about covert narcissists & how diabolical they truly are, hiding behind the mask of the good parent.

 

 

If you’re having a tough time accepting that you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please don’t feel bad.  It’s tough to accept!  It really hurts & is very disappointing when you realize the one parent you thought loved you really didn’t.

 

You need to grieve & get your hurt out to come to a healthy place of acceptance.  As you do, you may find yourself going through an angry phase.  I have.  Angry about being fooled, angry at being manipulated into thinking he was the good parent, angry about being manipulated & guilt tripped.. lots of anger.  I think this is very normal.  Covert narcissists work even harder than overts do to fool people.  Most overts worry about fooling those they want to impress, while not caring about their victims.  Coverts, however, want everyone to think they’re good people, including their victims.  Since we do buy their “good guy/good girl” act, it’s incredibly maddening to find out how badly we were duped.  So, when the anger surfaces, just know- it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s OK.  Get it out however works for you- pray, journal, talk to someone safe.

 

The anger also may come back even when you think it’s all gone.  Nothing wrong with that so long as you’re dealing with it when that happens.  Anger isn’t always easy to process.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Sometimes, you’re only able to deal with it in small doses, so God hides some things from you until you’re able to cope.  All you can do is deal with it in whatever ways help you the most.

 

Never forget, God will help you get through it all.  Ask  for help & wisdom on how to do what you need to do.  Listen to what He tells you.  Trust Him, & you will be just fine.  xoxo

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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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

When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact With You

At the time of writing this, my mother hasn’t spoken to me in just under 10 months, my father in 2 months.  They both used to call me constantly, so the silence is something I’m still getting used to.

 

Prior to them stopping speaking to me, I had decided I wanted to go no contact with them.  The odd thing was I felt God didn’t want me to say it to them.  He wanted me to continue to get healthier, enforce my boundaries & stay low contact.  When we had an argument last May 5, I lost my temper, & God told me He wanted that to happen.  He said it’d make my parents want to stay away from me when they realized I’m not so easy to push around anymore.  Has it ever!

 

Although I’m grateful, it still hurts that my parents clearly have decided that I’m not worth speaking to because I defended myself to them.  Since it happened, I’ve done a lot of praying & researching on the topic.  I’ve learned there is virtually no information out there for those whose parents have cut them off.  Almost all the no contact information I could find was for adult children who have gone no contact with their parents.

 

The last few days, I’ve been especially depressed & anxious in spite of some good stuff happening in my life.  It really hurts that my parents cut me off, even though I know it’s for the best.  So, I started praying more about it & God showed me some things.  I thought I’d share them here since there are plenty of us whose parents have cut us off, & there is so little information available for people in this position.

 

When normal people implement no contact, it isn’t to punish anyone- it is to protect themselves from further abuse.  When narcissists do it, there is much more to it.  After all, whatever you did to “deserve” them going no contact (at least in their warped minds), caused a grievous narcissistic injury.  Anything causing a narcissistic injury is going to be met with some type of narcissistic rage.

 

Narcissists use no contact to cause their victim pain.  Basically, it’s a version of the silent treatment.  It’s to let the victim know that they are irrelevant.  The victim’s side of the argument is also so irrelevant that the narcissist doesn’t want to waste time listening to it.  The victim isn’t even worth the narcissist acknowledging.  It’s a cruel rejection, especially coming from a parent.  Narcissistic parents reject their children their entire lives.  This is just one more rejection added onto the pile.  It really hurts, & that is normal!

 

It’s shaming.  Narcissists love to shame their children, no matter the child’s age.  By going no contact with you, they aim to make you feel that you are so bad, even your own mother &/or father can’t tolerate you.

 

Their version of no contact is also an attempt at control.  The narcissist’s goal is to make you run to the narcissist, apologize for whatever you said or did, or didn’t say or do, & give the narcissist whatever she wants to make up for your “cruelty”.

 

Narcissists can’t deal with conflict.  If the no contact came about after an argument like mine did, it’s not surprising.  The cold, hard, & painful truth is a narcissist would prefer to cut off their own child rather than work through conflict, admit that they were wrong or even simply to try to see the situation from their child’s perspective.  That’s what’s happening with my parents, & many other narcissists are the same way.

 

By going no contact, the narcissistic parents can look like the victim.  They can tell people that you were so cruel, so abusive, that they had no other choice.  Often narcissists would prefer to avoid going no contact since it also potentially could make them look bad, but when they are in the position, they’ll work it to the best of their ability.  They’ll gain pity from their flying monkeys or anyone who will listen with their tales of how mean & unreasonable you were.  Devoted flying monkeys may come out of the woodwork & go after you, doing the narcissist’s dirty work for them by telling you what a horrible person you are for doing whatever you did.  That way, the narcissist can still hurt you without having to be in contact with you.  Narcissists love this- they get to hurt you & manipulate another person into doing it for them while they look innocent.  It’s really a perfect trifecta for narcissists.

 

I realized something else… even knowing such things, it really hurts when your parents don’t speak to you no matter how cruel they are!  I know beyond a doubt this is for the best for me, & that God wants my parents out of my life.  I know they would hate the successes I’m having with my writing lately- not only the material I write about but the fact I’m having success.  (My parents clearly hate when things go well for me.)  I don’t even miss my parents & am enjoying the lack of their drama.  I’m enjoying the peace & lack of criticisms, nastiness, & manipulation.  So what is my problem?!

 

I’m grieving.  Not the loss of my parents but the fact that they prefer to be “right” & have me out of their lives rather than talk about our problems.   Also the fact that my mother’s & my birthdays are coming up next month.  There will be no celebrating together.  My parents might send a card like they did at Christmas, but I know it won’t mean they want to work things out- it’s only to make them look good.  Mother’s day is coming in May, Father’s day in June & I have no need to get cards.  Yes it was hard to find rather generic, “have a nice day” kind of cards, but at least it meant I still had parents.  Now?  I feel like an orphan.

 

Dear Reader, if your narcissistic parents have stopped speaking to you, please know you’re not alone.  I’ve spoken with a few people recently who have experienced the same thing, even those who are in similar situations to mine, feeling they wanted to go no contact, but felt God wanted them to refrain from telling their parents that.  Why God asks that of some of us, I don’t know, but I do know He has a very good reason for it.  That you can be absolutely certain of.

 

Also, remember how much God loves you.  He is there during this difficult time.  He will comfort you when it hurts.  He will give you wisdom on what you should do.  Trust in Him to help you get through.  Unlike your earthly parents, God truly is a loving, kind, caring, generous parent.

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

Invalidation Is Abuse!

 

Invalidation judges, mocks, & rejects a person’s feelings.  It also implies or  says directly that the person is deeply flawed or crazy.

 

Invalidation is an attempt to control another person & their feelings, as well as to distract that person from abusive behavior.  It hinders or even destroys a person’s ability to trust his or her own feelings, perceptions, & intuition.  It is similar to gaslighting in that respect.  It forces a person to believe that his or her beliefs, thoughts, feelings or even physical presence are flawed, difficult or of no value.  It at best damages self-esteem, or at worst destroys it.

Invalidation frequently occurs when an abuser is confronted about her abusive behavior, or the abusive behavior of someone else (for example, a husband may invalidate his wife when she complains about his mother’s bad behavior).   The purpose is to take attention away from one’s flaws or abusive behavior, & to turn the attention onto you and your (real or imagined) flaws instead.

Interestingly, a person can invalidate themselves as well.  Trivializing your own wants, needs, accomplishments, or feelings, is a form of invalidation.  Essentially, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, there is something very wrong with you, or your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs are wrong.  This type of behavior is often learned in childhood, but it also can come from being married to a psychologically abusive spouse.  Paying attention to your thoughts & words about yourself can determine if you do this.  If you are, then you can make the appropriate changes.

As you read this, remember: you are worthy! Your feelings, thoughts & needs matter!  You are ok!  You are not crazy!  Treat yourself accordingly, as a man or woman of value, who God loves dearly!

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Saving Face Matters To Narcissists

 

What others think of the narcissist is the most important thing in the world to them, so they will do anything to protect it.  That can include acting like they are the real victim when you confront them on their abusive ways.

 

If you tell a narcissist something they do hurts you, you open the door for a world of gaslighting/crazy making behaviors.  They may rage, scream, cry, use guilt or calmly state why you are the abusive one.

 

 

When my parents & I had our last fight in May, 2016, as I’ve mentioned before, it was because my parents were supposedly upset I hadn’t told them that my mother in-law passed away.  They saw her obituary in the local paper after the funeral was done.  My parents claimed they wanted to attend, but didn’t learn of the funeral in time, which is the only reason they didn’t go.  This hurt me because I’d told them how cruel she had been to me over the years, yet they wanted to “pay their respects” to her?!  I told them I felt betrayed, yet neither understood my feelings.  In fact, when I told them “she treated me like dirt for years!”, both of my parents had the same reaction: “But that’s Eric’s mother!”  My response was, “But I’m your daughter!”  Silence for a few seconds then, “But that’s Eric’s mother!” was the response.  It became crystal clear to me that the fact that was his mother & my parents want to impress my husband mattered much more than the fact they were hurting their own daughter.  Looking like the caring in-laws to the man they want to impress, my husband, was more important than anything else.

 

This is very typical of narcissists.  If taking responsibility for something they have done puts them at risk of looking “less than,”they can’t deal with that.  Shaming you or making you look like the bad guy is worth it, so long as their mask doesn’t slip off.  There is nothing they won’t do to save face.

 

If you confront the narcissist in your life, please be well aware that this can happen to you too.  If it does, remember this isn’t about you!  This is about them protecting their fragile self esteem.  The truth isn’t important, neither is not hurting you.  Maintaining their reputation is all that matters.

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The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

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

Fear Is Not From God

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

 

As many of you know, I have agoraphobia.  Leaving home, sometimes even to go into my yard, is very difficult or impossible.  Anxiety takes over & logic that nothing is going to go wrong or hurt me goes out the window.  Quite frankly, it sucks.

 

Recently I’ve been wanting to go for a drive.  That’s all- just enjoy a short drive in my awesome car.  However, the agoraphobia left me at home & my car sitting…

 

A few days ago, I opened up my email first thing in the morning.  I get a Scripture delivered daily.  That particular day the Scripture I shared above was in the email.  When I read it, something clicked in my mind.  No, God didn’t give me a spirit of fear.  My agoraphobia is NOT from Him.

 

The agoraphobia started in 1996, just after my paternal grandmom passed away.  My husband told his mother, who didn’t even acknowledge my loss- she changed the subject.  A short time later, this exact same experience happened with his sister.  Somehow, these experiences cemented in my mind that I don’t matter.  I shouldn’t bother anyone with my problems or even my presence, which is a belief that stems from my upbringing with my narcissistic parents.  Their behavior made this belief evolve into feeling like I don’t even have the right to leave home, possibly bothering people in public places.

 

Thinking about this angered me a great deal.  As is common with many adult children of narcissistic parents, I’m suffering because of other people’s cruelty.  This agoraphobia isn’t from God at all, & that Scripture was a reminder of that.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 enabled me not only to go for a ride, but a longer one than I originally wanted to do.  And, I got on smaller interstates too!  (After getting sick in 2015 & being unable to drive for a long time, I lost a lot of confidence in driving.  I’ve avoided bigger roads & interstates since.)

 

I’m not saying I’m cured.  Even thinking of leaving home now makes me tense up.  However, I do know that keeping these things in mind is going to be helpful for me leaving home in the future.

 

I’m sharing this with you today, Dear Reader, because I know so many of you also live with anxiety &/or agoraphobia.  Please consider what I wrote about here.  Know that such awful things are NOT from God.  It helped me to remember that & get mad at those who put the anxiety & agoraphobia on me.  Maybe it can help you as well to think about it.  What is the root of your anxiety?  If you don’t know, then ask God- He will show you.  He showed me why I have agoraphobia.  I never would’ve guessed that on my own!  He can do the same for you.  Once you get to the root of the problem, you can work on healing it properly.

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Narcissistic Parents Don’t Want Their Children To Grow Up

When the child of a narcissistic parent is very young, the narcissistic parent is often at her happiest in her role as a parent.  Young children are easier to control & manipulate.  They also don’t want independence.

 

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, children don’t stay little forever.

 

As children grow up, many narcissists feel threatened or even betrayed.  The reason being, I believe, is that the harder the child is to control, the worse this is for the narcissistic parent. They want that young child to make them look good by behaving properly, being interested in what the parent wants them interested in, etc.  The younger a child, the easier the child is to control.  This is why the teen years can be extremely hard for narcissistic parents & their children.  Teens are growing up & naturally want more independence.  This is unacceptable to the narcissist, so they use whatever means they can to keep their teenager a young child.  Some weapons they use are:

 

  • Disapproval.  This can be either in the forms of disapproving looks or questioning your choices.
  • Criticism.  Insulting your choices or tastes, usually done under the guise of helping.  The narcissistic parent is trying to make you believe she knows what’s best for you, you don’t.
  • Interfering.  Telling you what you should do, who you should date or not allowing you to date, even sabotaging relationships with people the narcissistic parent doesn’t approve of.

 

Unfortunately, these behaviors don’t end when the child turns into an adult.  Often, they continue well into adulthood.  They certainly did with my parents.  My parents had very strong opinions on what I should do & who I should do it with.

 

There are no ways to get a narcissist to stop trying to infantilize their child, no matter the child’s age.  But, there are some ways you can handle this maddening behavior.

 

You’ll need to limit the amount of information you reveal to your narcissistic parent.  Any information they have can be turned into ammunition used to hurt you.

 

Use good boundary setting phrases, such as, “Thanks, but the situation is under control.”  “I’ve made my decision, & there is nothing more to discuss.”  “I didn’t ask for your opinion on this matter.”

 

Changing the subject may work too.  Often with narcissists, you can’t simply change the subject & expect them to respect that the first time.  It may take doing this a few times or doing it over & over in a short span of time, but it usually works- they get tired of fighting to talk about the topic.  The often short attention span of many narcissists can work in your favor.

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People Who Think They Have The Right To Tell You What You Should Do Regarding Your Narcissistic Parents

Some people will intervene when you have issues with your narcissistic parents.  They will try their best to make you feel guilty if you’re not speaking to them by saying your parent misses you, they are so upset that you won’t speak to them, they don’t know why you’re angry with them or say your parent is sick or elderly so you should end this no contact immediately & rush to their side.  If you’re still in a relationship with them but it is very strained, some people will tell you to fix it, to behave yourself, you need to respect your parent or try harder.

 

These people blindly accept what the narcissistic parent tells them as truth, while giving no thought whatsoever to whether what they say is actually true or not.  They simply accept the lies with no care to what the real truth is.

 

They are one of three types of people:

  1. Incredibly ignorant, genuinely fooled by the narcissist.
  2. Someone refusing to admit the narcissist isn’t the good person she portrays herself as.
  3. Abusers who get a thrill of abusing you along with the narcissist while maintaining the image of someone who isn’t abusive but caring.

 

These people, often referred to as flying monkeys, can be a real nuisance, quite frankly.  To those new to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they are also dangerous.  They can make these victims feel as if they are wrong for protecting themselves, which can make the victim revert to old, dysfunctional habits.  To those of us who have known about NPD for quite a while, they are simply annoying, like flies on a picnic.  We know the truth & we won’t be manipulated by their antics, but they’re still annoying.

 

Flying monkeys can be dealt with.  The more devoted the flying monkey is to the narcissist, the greater your chances of losing a relationship with this person though, so just be forewarned of that possibility.

 

Always keep calm when talking with them.  Many flying monkeys are covert narcissists.  If you show them any emotional reaction, it will provide them with narcissistic supply which will make them continue pushing your buttons, making you more upset, making them want to continue button pushing & the cycle will continue.  Avoid this by staying calm in their presence.

 

Discuss nothing with them.  The situation between you & your narcissistic parent is not anyone else’s business.  You owe no one explanations for your behavior.  Don’t discuss the topic of your parents with them.  Change the subject.  Tell the flying monkey you won’t discuss that topic with them.  If they persist, tell them you aren’t discussing this topic, & if they continue, you will hang up the phone (or leave the room), then follow through on the threat if need be.

 

Never allow this person to convince you of anything other than the truth.  You were there.  You lived the situation.  You know the truth.  Don’t believe the person who says your narcissistic parent didn’t mean to hurt you, never said/did those things, etc.  Cling to the truth, & ignore their version of it.

 

Accept that the flying monkey believes wholeheartedly that they are right & you are wrong.  You can’t convince this person to see the truth.  Don’t waste your time & energy trying.  You know the truth & that is going to have to be enough for you.

 

If you cannot handle this person, you have the right to sever ties with them.  You have every right to protect your physical & mental health.  Some flying monkeys are incredibly toxic, & there is nothing wrong with you refusing to have them in your life.

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Can You Ever Be Completely Healed After Abuse?

I recently was talking recently with a lady about this very topic- can someone be completely healed of the effects of narcissistic abuse?  We both shared the same opinion.  With God, of course, all things are possible.  However, to be completely healed isn’t necessarily the norm.

 

For one thing, narcissistic abuse infects every area of your being.  The stress of it can affect you physically, such as developing high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease.  The negativity & crazy making affect you mentally.  So many victims feel like they’re crazy.  Many lose their self esteem or live with depression & anxiety.  A lot of victims live with PTSD or C-PTSD after leaving the relationship with a narcissist.  Many people in a relationship with narcissists are affected financially.  Narcissists see people as nothing more than tools to be used in whatever way benefits the narcissist, so many victims lose a great deal of money to their narcissist.   Many victims are also affected spiritually because of the narcissist’s weird religious beliefs or being overly “religious”, using God to make the victim feel like a bad person, God is punishing them or the like.

 

For another thing, if you had a narcissistic parent (or two), the abuse is even worse simply due to the nature of the relationship.  It goes so deeply against nature for a parent to abuse a child instead of loving & caring for her, that it’s virtually impossible to accept.  That can deeply affect a child no matter that child’s age.  Many are in denial, saying their narcissistic mother was just quirky or over protective rather than narcissistic.  Some believe their covertly narcissistic parent was naive, & didn’t know any better.  Or, they believe the covertly narcissistic parent was incapable of stopping the overtly narcissistic parent from abusing them for various reasons.

 

Also, childhood forms who you are as an adult.  Whether you had a good or bad upbringing, you are a product of your childhood.  I think childhood is much like the foundation of a home.  If a home’s foundation is damaged, the home won’t be safe.  If you had a bad childhood, your adulthood won’t be healthy until you fix the damage done to you in childhood.

 

You may never fully heal from the abuse.  It’s quite normal.   If you get to the place the abuse doesn’t consume you, you’re doing great.  If you can think or talk about certain events without feeling devastated, but instead feeling more like you’re remembering an unpleasant dream, you’re doing great.  It’s quite possible you may not be healed more than that.  In my personal experience plus observations of the many other victims of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with, complete healing isn’t common.  In fact, I haven’t seen it myself.

 

If you are like most of us & still struggling even many years after the abuse happened, please know you’re not alone!  Not by a long shot!  You also aren’t weak or a failure.  God hasn’t abandoned you either.  In fact, He is with you during the worst times, whether you feel His presence or not. I’ll close this post with a beautiful reminder of that fact..

 

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

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

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

(KJV)

 

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Low Contact Or No Contact?

While I write in the hopes of helping those who are still in a relationship with their narcissistic parent(s), this doesn’t mean I am for staying in that relationship no matter what.  I firmly believe everyone has the right to make their own individual choice on whether or not to stay in that relationship, & should not be pressured on what to do.  People are different in what they can & can’t handle, plus narcissists are on a spectrum- some are downright dangerous while others are much lower on the spectrum, therefore easier to deal with.  Each situation is very unique, so there are no one size fits all answers.

 

That being said…

 

Ending relationships is very difficult, but especially when the relationship is with your parent(s).  It shouldn’t be done in the heat of the moment, such as during an argument.  It should be done after a great deal of prayer & thought on the matter.

 

If you believe your physical & mental health is in danger, you are certainly well within your rights to sever ties with your parents.

 

Sometimes, people don’t feel ready to go no contact although they want to.  Until they do feel strong enough, going low contact may be a very good option.  You don’t have to spend a lot of time visiting or on the phone with your narcissistic parents.  You have the right to limit your time with them.  You may even learn that low contact works well enough for you.

 

Low contact is also a good solution when no contact is impossible for various reasons.

 

If you are unsure what to do, pray.  God may ultimately leave the choice up to you, or He may tell you what is best to do in your situation.  Either way, it is a very good idea to talk to Him about this important decision.

 

God also can help you to find creative ways to handle the relationship with your parents if you stay low contact or help you end it if you go no contact.  And, He can enable you to be stronger than you are when you need to deal with them.  You simply can’t lose with God helping you in this situation.

 

 

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Do You Have High Functioning Anxiety?

Most people who live with anxiety are all too aware of the fact.  It’s hard to deny when panic or anxiety attacks strike.  Not everyone with anxiety has the obvious signs, however.  Some people experience a high functioning anxiety, which causes different things to happen.

 

People with high functioning anxiety can appear perfectly calm, but their minds are constantly racing with anxious thoughts.

 

They are often extremely busy, constantly doing something, even unimportant tasks.  “Busy work”.  Yet, they may ignore important tasks, allowing them to get backed up rather than admitting they need help.

 

These people hate to be left alone with their own thoughts.  They keep busy or surround themselves with people.  They also may get lost in TV shows often.

 

So how do you deal with this type of anxiety?

 

You learn to ask for help.  Yes, it’s hard, but you need to do it anyway.  No one can do it all by themselves.  Everyone needs help sometimes!  There’s no shame in asking for help.

 

Get proper rest.  Functioning on not enough sleep is bad for your health as well as anxiety levels.  Being tired makes you even more susceptible to bad anxiety.

 

Take breaks often so you don’t get exhausted.

 

Remind yourself that having anxiety doesn’t mean you’re a failure.  It means you’re human.  It isn’t something of which you need to be ashamed.

 

You also aren’t a failure if you need medication to manage your anxiety.  You wouldn’t feel bad if you needed to take insulin to manage diabetes would you?  Then why feel bad for needing anti anxiety medication?  Illness often requires medication, whether the illness is physical or mental.

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Little Things Don’t Have To Become Big Things

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

The little things in life can add up to big things  very quickly.

Neglecting to work through the smaller things can build resentment in a relationship, even leading to drastic measures such as divorce.

Neglecting to appreciate the small things can lead to a negative attitude & lack of appreciation, which makes a person utterly miserable.

Never forget, Dear Reader, that there really isn’t such a thing as “small foxes” in life.  Little things can contain a great deal of power.  They need to be dealt with wisely.

One day a few months ago, I’d had a frustrating day.  One of those days when nothing seemed to go right.  I finally had enough & wanted to relax in bed, watching tv for a bit before falling asleep.  I showered, got into my comfiest pajamas, & pulled back the covers to get into bed when I found one of my cats peed on my bed.  I didn’t even remember the last time this happened.  It’s incredibly rare!  At first I wanted to cry out of sheer frustration.  I began to whine to God, when I felt His calm come over me.  Instead of frustration, I felt I needed to take a deep breath.  I did & the reality of my situation sunk in rather than frustration.  I’d planned on changing my bed linens the following morning- I was simply doing it a little earlier than expected.  And, I have a waterbed.  Basically, it’s a big vinyl bag of water, so the pee didn’t absorb into the mattress like it would with a traditional mattress.  It wasn’t a huge deal.

When frustrations happen, I urge you to do the same thing I did.  Stop.  Talk to God.  Take a deep breath to relax.  Then think about your situation realistically.  Is it really a big deal the thing happened?  If not?  Don’t worry about it.  If so?  Work through it.  Talk to God.  Confront someone if need be, in a gentle manner of course.  Not sure how to do that?  Ask God to show you what to do & how to do it.  He will!

I know that frustrating things can feel like a huge deal, especially after a bad day or if you have anxiety, depression, PTSD or C-PTSD.  They don’t always have to be a huge deal though, Dear Reader.  God can help you to have a healthy perspective, so let Him!

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A Reminder For All Children Of Narcissistic Parents

For some reason, I felt strongly that God wanted me to remind my readers of two facts that many children of narcissistic parents struggle with.  I’m sorry this isn’t a new or unique word today.  I firmly believe it is important, & something God wants you to remember though, so that is why I’m sharing it

 

Fact #1:  Your narcissistic parents are NOT your responsibility.  They are adults, entitled to make their own choices (even the bad ones).  It is NOT your job to fix your parents or protect them from the consequences of their horrible behaviors.  Your parents’ lives are 110% their responsibility.

 

Fact #2:  While your parents have the right to live their lives their way, you posses the same right.  You are entitled to live your life however you see fit.  This also includes the right to protect yourself from your toxic, narcissistic parents.  You are NOT being a bad son or daughter by protecting yourself from your parents or refusing to tolerate their manipulations & abuse.  Tolerating abuse is never honorable, loving or good for either the abuser or the victim.

 

I know these two facts can be difficult to remember sometimes, Dear Reader, especially when you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, but you need to remember them!  They will help you to refuse to accept the blame & responsibility for things that you shouldn’t accept blame & responsibility for.  They also will help you to avoid falling for the cruelty & gaslighting of your narcissistic parents.

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Don’t Be Too Quick To Label “Survivors”

Among those who write about abuse, many are quick to label those who have experienced abuse as “survivors.”  The term is meant to be empowering, reminding people of how far they have come, & what they survived.  While the term survivor can do this for many people, it also can be shaming to others.

 

Some people, especially those who have only recently learned they were abused, may feel ashamed because they feel they should be “over it” by now or at least further along in their healing.  Those who haven’t got the luxury of a good support system also may be subject to shame by the term survivor.  But, almost anyone who has been abused can feel at least some shame when hearing that term.  There is such a pressure to get over things these days, even by the most well meaning (yet clueless) people.  Not “getting over” something fast enough for someone’s liking can make anyone feel ashamed.

 

Personally, I think everyone has the right to label themselves however works for them.  If you are empowered by “survivor”, then by all means, call yourself one & do it proudly!  If you aren’t, that is nothing to be ashamed of.  Everyone is different.  There is no shame in thinking of yourself as a victim.  In fact, that is what I do because it reminds me that what was done to me wasn’t my fault.  I am in no way to blame for the abusive narcissists in my life doing their best to hurt me, however, there are still times I wonder what I did to deserve the things that have been done to me.  Reminding myself I was an innocent victim helps to keep such thoughts to a minimum.  Doing this may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

 

Whatever people think of you ultimately doesn’t really matter, so please do your best not to be influenced by their opinions.  What God thinks of you, what you think of yourself & what those you love think of you are the only opinions that should count.

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Have You Accepted Your Narcissistic Parent’s Reality As Your Own?

In a discussion in my Facebook group, I mentioned how my mother always told me I hated having my picture taken.  I assume that’s why my parents almost never took pictures of me as a child.  Now, as an adult in my mid 40’s, seeing a camera can make me panic.  Oddly, it never occurred to me that this was wrong until a friend of mine pointed it out.  Once she did though, I began to think about it.  I realized I have accepted my mother’s skewed view of reality rather than decide for myself what I felt or believed.

 

Have you done the same, Dear Reader?  Do you feel a certain way about something because your narcissistic parent told you to?  If so, I would like to encourage you today to do what I am doing- challenge that!  Reject your narcissistic mother’s reality & claim your own.

 

Narcissistic parents NEVER have their child’s best interest at heart.  If they try to convince you of something, it is because it benefits them in some way, not you.  My mother convincing me I hate having my picture taken meant she had a good reason not to take pictures of me.  Normal parents want pictures of their children, but mine didn’t want pictures of me.  Not that she said this, of course, but I know it anyway.  Since she convinced me I hated having my picture taken, this shifted the blame for there not being pictures of me onto me.  See what a good mother she was?  She didn’t force me to do something I didn’t want to do!  As an added bonus- she hates having her picture taken so she could project her insecurities onto me.  This situation benefited my mother nicely, but it hurt me, because here I am with very few pictures of me as a child aside from the annual school pictures.

 

Whatever your narcissistic mother’s reality for you is, today is your day to reject it!  Face the real reality & reject hers once & for all!  You deserve the best, & the best is certainly NOT the nonsense a narcissist puts on her own child.  As yourself what you truly think about her reality.  Do you honestly agree with it or do you feel something different?  Ask God to help you to see the truth in the situation if you’re having trouble seeing it.  He will help you!

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Don’t Justify & Explain Your Mental Illness

Mental illness is very different from physical illness in many ways.  One of those ways is the fact most people don’t usually believe someone has a mental illness.  If you have diabetes, people can see there’s a problem.  They see you testing your glucose or giving yourself an insulin shot.  If you have cancer, you have xrays, mri’s & maybe even a visible tumor that people can see.  But if you have a mental illness, there isn’t such evidence.

 

If you have Bipolar disorder, you’re just “moody.”

 

If you have C-PTSD or PTSD, you’re “dwelling in the past, need to stop thinking about things, need to get over it or you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military.”

 

If you’re depressed or anxious, “you’re feeling sorry for yourself, stop being sad or anxious, need to get out more or take a pill & get over it.”  “Everyone feels sad/anxious” is another common comment.

 

What people fail to realize is you can’t control the symptoms of mental illness any more than you can physical illness.

 

As someone who is not only suffering with mental illness but also frustrated with the lack of compassion & understanding many people have about it, you may do like many people, & try to explain & justify your illness.  Chances are, this will only frustrate you further.

 

As someone with mental illness myself, I get it.  You want people to understand & not judge.  You don’t want to be invalidated either.  After years of thinking any problem I had wasn’t important (thanks, Mom & Dad for the invalidation), I assumed my mental health wasn’t important either.  It took a long time for me to accept that I have real problems, & being invalidated by subject changes & such stupid statements as “Just take a pill- you’ll be fine” make me feel as I did growing up, like I don’t count.  Frankly, I’ve come too far to live with that feeling anymore.  I’ve also realized if I continue to explain to certain people who say such invalidating things, it will leave me feeling even more frustrated & angry.  They only dig their heels in deeper & become more committed to know nothing of the problem at hand.   They don’t want to understand, so nothing I can say will make them understand.  It’s not worth my time & energy trying to make them understand

 

If you are in this situation as well, Dear Reader, I would like to encourage you today.  You don’t have to explain your mental illness to anyone.  Some people are going to want to know about it, but some won’t.  Those people are committed to not knowing or understanding, & it’s not your place to make them understand or know what you live with.  You will know if someone is genuinely concerned for you & wants to know what you experience.  They won’t try to tell you what to do to “get over” your mental illness.  They will offer understanding & support, not judgment.  They will offer to help you if they can.  People like this are the only ones that deserve your time & any information you wish to share about your illness.

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Read & Talk About It So Much

Once you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it becomes a bit of an obsession.  Everyone seems to do the same thing once they learn about it- they read everything they can get their hands on about NPD.  They join online forums.  They talk about it often.  Thankfully the newness does wear off some, they realize it’s not healthy to be so obsessed & they begin to take breaks where they refuse to think about it or their experiences with narcissistic abuse.  Even so, NPD is still a frequent topic of reading material, discussion & even thoughts.

 

Why does this happen?

 

I believe it happens because for one thing, there’s finally an answer.  Growing up with narcissistic parents, we’re told we’re the problem.  No matter what, it’s our fault.  If we could just do/be more, better, prettier, etc etc etc, they wouldn’t have to act the way they do.  Yet, when we do our best to be what our parents want us to be, it still isn’t good enough.  They still abuse us or they tell us they never wanted  that out of us, they wanted this instead & we are all wrong.  This situation creates a child who feels like a failure because she didn’t  fix things she isn’t even capable of fixing.  She feels the weight of the world on her shoulders.  As  an adult, learning about NPD, she realizes for the first time in her life that she isn’t the problem.  She isn’t the reason things were so horrible with her parents- her parents are the reason!  It’s incredibly freeing!  By reading about NPD often, it’s a constant reminder that she is OK & that she isn’t the awful person her parents said she was.

 

Unfortunately, the gaslighting & brainwashing of narcissistic parents goes incredibly deep.  Reading such information a few times doesn’t really cut it.  We have to read it & talk about it repeatedly to constantly remind us that we aren’t the problem.  In my situation, I have had moments of revelation where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’m not the one with the problem & my parents have always been incredibly abusive.  Yet, even so, I still have doubts about that sometimes.  I wonder if I’m completely wrong & they are right after all.  Reading about, writing about & discussing narcissistic help me to keep in mind the simple truths about them being abusive & I’m not to blame.

 

Dear Reader, if you are doing this, please don’t feel bad.  You’re simply a normal victim of narcissistic abuse.  I would bet all of us obsess to a degree over the topic.  Maybe not forever, but at the very least for a while.

 

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PTSD, C-PTSD & Triggers

Triggers are things that trigger PTSD or C-PTSD symptoms to flare up.  A certain sound that makes you have a flashback or a scent creates a panic attack are triggers.

 

Unfortunately triggers are everywhere.  There is no avoiding them entirely, as wonderful as it would be if that was possible.  I have realized there are times when you can be more easily or less easily triggered.  Certain dates (an abusive parent’s birthday for example) can make you more sensitive to triggers.  Some people also are more or less triggered at various stages of healing.

 

So what can be done about triggers?  Since they can’t be avoided completely, they need to be managed.

 

Prayer is the best place to start.  Ask God for help showing you ways to manage your symptoms during triggers or ways you can avoid them.

 

Identify your triggers & avoid them when possible.  This isn’t always easy, as thinking about your triggers can be upsetting.  But, you need to know what upsets you so you can either avoid it or be prepared to deal with it when you can’t.

 

Triggers can show you what areas you need healing in, so pay close attention to them. For me, hearing someone talk about being sick & having their family care for them is a big trigger for me.  I barely saw a doctor growing up, my mother complained when I was sick about having to take care of me or being stuck at home with me.  As an adult, my mother doesn’t believe me if I have a health problem, blames me for getting sick or injured or accuses me of faking it.  When I hear someone talking about their awesome family who was there for them during a health crisis, I know that I couldn’t experience the same thing, & it hurts me.  It also makes me angry at my mother for being incapable of feelings that any normal mother feels for her child, for seeing nothing wrong with her behavior & instead getting upset with me for being rightfully angry with her.  All of this shows me I still need healing in this area.  The good part about all of this is the more that you do heal in that area, the less power the triggers will have over you.

Also focus on the here & now.  Being well aware of your surroundings can help you  to stay focused on that rather than get caught up in a panic attack.  This also can help you to stay in reality during a flashback.  Touch something with an extreme texture- very soft or coarse fabric, maybe hold an ice cube.  Smell something with a strong scent, such as lavender (which also has anti-anxiety properties) or that holds good memories for you, such as the perfume your favorite aunt wore when you were a child.

 

Write in a journal.  Writing can be extremely therapeutic.  It also can be validating when you see things in writing rather than speaking about them.

 

Learn what self-soothing techniques work best to relax you.  They should involve at least one of your senses.  Soak in a bubble bath, wear soft & comfy clothes, stretch, listen to calming music, listen to nature sounds, sing, drink herbal tea or flavored coffee (decaf is best), light a scented candle or incense, smell some flowers, read a book, watch a funny movie or tv show, look at pictures of those you love or that inspire you.

 

 

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Why Flying Monkeys & Narcissistic Enablers Aren’t As Innocent As They May Appear

Flying monkeys & enablers are, to put it bluntly, a real pain in the neck (or a bit further south..lol) for those of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  They are the ones who defend the narcissist & criticize you for being so mean or unreasonable.  If they are the other parent, they not only fail to defend their child, but attempt to make themselves look like the victim, expecting the child to defend them to the other parent.  In their senior years, they also often look for reassurance from their child that they were a good parent.

 

Narcissistic enablers & flying monkeys often appear to be naive, blindly believing in the narcissist’s lies, or afraid of the narcissist.  The truth is very few people are genuinely this naive.  Many of these people are covert narcissists.

 

Covert narcissists aren’t so bold as their overt counterparts.  They don’t like being in the spotlight, but they still want attention & admiration as much as an overt narcissist.  They simply go about getting it in quieter ways.  They can appear the martyr, the long suffering if they’re married to an overt narcissist.  “She must be such a good, patient woman to put up with him,” people may say.

 

Covert narcissists have no problem throwing their children under the bus in order to protect themselves from the overt narcissistic spouse.  They will lie about their child to their spouse in order to divert the spouse’s anger from them.  They also allow the spouse to abuse their child without protest, then later claim there was nothing they could do to stop the abuse.  This can garnish them sympathy & reassurance, even from the child.  That provides these monsters with their coveted narcissistic supply.

 

Other flying monkeys may not be narcissists, but they are still guilty & abusive.  They don’t have the courage to stand up to the narcissist.  They’re intimidated by her, & find it easier to obey than to speak up.

 

They may be afraid of retaliation from the narcissist.  Overt narcissists can be terrifying when they go into a rage, & covert narcissists can make a person feel incredibly guilty.  Many people would rather go along with what the narcissist wants to do than to face either situation.

 

There are still other flying monkeys who believe the narcissist’s lies.  These foolish people don’t question the narcissist.  Yet, they aren’t innocent either, as the Bible speaks against gossip:

 

  • 1 Timothy 5:13 “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” (KJV)
  • Proverbs 20:19 “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” (KJV)

 

The fact people listen to such gossip speaks plenty about their character.  They are foolish because they don’t question what they hear, & those with good character don’t share gossip.

 

As a victim of narcissistic abuse, not only do you need to be on your guard against narcissists, but also their enablers.

 

You can recognize these irritating people quickly by their behavior.  Normal, healthy people don’t side with someone who is obviously abusive.  They may not begin a huge public protest, but they at the very least say, “That’s wrong.”  They realize that neutrality only helps the abuser, not the victim.

 

Healthy people also question things, they don’t blindly believe what they are told.  If something sounds outlandish, unbelievable or even just “off,” most people would question the person stating such things.

 

If someone is a true friend, & the narcissist wants that person to socialize with her, then the person will decline.  They will make it clear that they are on the victim’s side, not the abuser’s.

 

True friends don’t interact with the narcissist when possible.  If this happens in a work situation for example, it may be hard to avoid her 100%, but a true friend will avoid that person as much as possible.

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Recent Revelations

Recently, I had a rough evening.  I had a nasty flashback to start with.  It was something I remembered, but I hadn’t thought of in a while.  A few hours later, I went to bed & had nasty nightmares.

 

As miserable as this experience was, it had a purpose.

 

The experience in the flashback & the nightmares showed me that there is a VERY common thread in my life with those who have abused or at the least mistreated me.  The abusers may have done different things to me, but they all believed that I was supposed to be their personal punching bag, obey their wishes at any personal cost to me, sacrifice anything for any whim of theirs, & take any abuse they dished out with a smile.  And, anyone I told their behavior was unacceptable acted the same way- as if I had a problem for being upset about their actions.

 

When this occurred to me the morning after the whole experience, something clicked in me.  No normal human acts this way!  While I already realized it, it really hit home to me just how messed up abusers are to think such things & act this way towards those they abuse.  How can anyone think that it’s OK to abuse & there is something wrong with victims for calling an abuser out on it?!

 

My point is that although you probably know this already, I wanted to remind you, Dear Reader, that NO ONE has the right abuse you!  You have every right to speak out, to set & enforce healthy boundaries, to stop the abuse, & to call out your abuser!  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse just because some sick person thinks you do.  You have rights!  Never listen to an abuser who thinks you should tolerate anything they dish out with a smile.  They are WRONG!  No one has to do that.  No one.  You deserve better than to be abused!  Never doubt that!  If you don’t believe me, remember, God thinks so to.  He loved you enough to send His only Son to die for you, so you could become His child.  Do you really think He would be OK with you being abused after that?

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It Couldn’t Have Been That Bad! Just Look How You Turned Out!

When people learn that someone has been abused as a child, they often say the dumbest things, I think because it’s hard to know what to say.  Simply saying, “I’m sorry for what you went through” would be fine, but many people don’t seem to agree with that.  So, rather than saying that statement, they can come up with some pretty hurtful & stupid comments.

 

One thing some folks say is, “It couldn’t have been all that bad!  Look how you turned out!”  Bless their naive little hearts.  This actually makes sense to them!

 

People who say this fail to realize that when you grow up with narcissistic parents, you learn early on to hide your problems so as not to “bother” them.  Narcissistic parents have no time, energy or desire to deal with their child’s problems, so when their child comes to them with a problem, they ignore, trivialize or even shame the child for having the problem.  This teaches the child it’s just best to hide their pain, illness, hurt feelings, needs & anything really from their parents.

 

This behavior carries over into adulthood.  Out of habit, the adult child of narcissistic parents continues to hide their problems.  As a result, some people look at us & assume we have it all together when the truth is that we don’t!

 

No one can escape narcissistic abuse unscathed.  Every single person who was raised by a narcissistic parent or two has had issues from it.  Some end up with C-PTSD or PTSD.  Some end up with crippling depression or anxiety.  Some turn to self harm or self destructive behaviors.  Some end up with addictions to drugs, alcohol or food.  Some end up overachievers who work themselves so hard, they end up very sick from it.  Some even turn into narcissists themselves, continuing the cycle of dysfunction & abuse.  Almost all end up with some type of health problems- MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, digestive problems, heart problems, etc.

 

 

 

We are often able to function quite well too, in spite of the problems.  Growing up as we did, learning early to hide our problems from our parents, we learned also how to function normally in spite of problems.  I went through my life normally for many years even though I was suicidal.  No one knew it.  I got good grades in school (honor roll, graduated in the top 10% of my class).  I held down jobs.  I laughed.  I lived my life normally, in spite of wanting to die, & not one person had a clue how I felt.  Even now, no one, including my husband, has any idea exactly how bad the C-PTSD is when it flares up because I hide it so well.  The habit of hiding things is so ingrained in me, I do it without even thinking about it.

 

If someone says to you that what you went through couldn’t have been so bad since you turned out so well, then please feel free to show them this post, if you think it will help.  Narcissistic abuse is a serious problem with life long, life changing problems affecting victims.  People need to understand this so they can start supporting victims!

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When People Tell You How To Feel & How To Heal

From the narcissists’ flying monkeys to even the most well meaning of people, people like to tell victims of narcissistic abuse how to feel.

 

  • “You’re too negative.  You need to be more positive.”
  • “You need to let that go/get over it.”
  • “Aren’t you over that yet?”
  • “You need to forgive & forget.”
  • “You shouldn’t have let them abuse you.”
  • “You need to stop thinking about it.”
  • “You haven’t prayed enough.”

 

Early in healing, such statements add to the toxic shame you already feel stemming from the abuse.  You feel ashamed of yourself for not being over it, not forgiving your abuser & forgetting their awful deeds or being so “negative.”

 

Later in your healing, after you’ve gained some wisdom & experience, such comments really just get under your skin.  You know that there is no way to “just get over” the horrible things that have been done to you.  It takes a great deal of prayer & work to heal, & even then, you may never be “over” the abuse you endured.  If you live with PTSD/C-PTSD, you live with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression & more every single day because of the abuse.  As long as you have the disorder, you are forced to live with the abuse every day, like it or not.  And forgive & forget??  HA.  Even if you are able to forgive your abuser, you don’t forget abusive things done to you.  It also makes you angry people tell you how to heal, as if they know what you need better than you do.  So presumptuous & arrogant!

 

No one has the right to tell you how to feel or how you need to work on your healing.  You know what you need more than anyone else.  Besides, what may have worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  Different things work for different people.

 

No one has the right to blame you for being abused, saying things like “you allowed the abuse.”  No, you didn’t.  Abusers abuse, period.  No matter what you did or didn’t do, the abuser planned to abuse you & did so, all of his or her own free will.

 

No matter what happened to your abuser, that does NOT give him or her the right to abuse you.  Many people who grew up in a toxic environment became good, caring people as adults.  Anyone that tries to excuse their abusive behavior because they had a bad childhood or other lame excuses is toxic.  Avoid these people as much as possible!  If you can’t avoid them entirely, at the very least have strong boundaries when you’re with them & refuse to discuss the abuse you endured.

 

You have the right to protect & care for your physical & mental health however works best for you.

 

You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries by whatever means work for you.

 

You have the right to limit or end contact with people who are detrimental to your healing, no matter if those people are friends or even family.

 

You have the right (& obligation) to take care of yourself, to rest on bad days, to cry when you’re sad, etc.

 

You have the right to feel whatever you feel.  If you’re angry, you have the right to that anger.  If you’re sad, you have the right to those tears.  Feel the emotions so you can process them & heal, no matter who says you’re wrong for feeling such things.

 

You have the right to decide with who to share details of the abuse.   You don’t have to share your story with everyone.  Even if someone asks you what happened, you don’t have to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable with it.  Besides, sharing with just anyone isn’t wise, since some people will use the information to hurt you.

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How Narcissists Use Fear Of Consequences To Control

Narcissists are masters of abuse.  They abuse as cleverly as Claude Monet created beautiful works of art.  Sadly, instead of leaving behind beauty as a result of their efforts as Monet did, they leave behind devastation & destruction.

 

A favorite thing for any narcissist to do is to control their victim.  Whether the narcissist is overt or covert matters not in this area, because they all love control.

 

One means to control their victim is to create a fear of consequences.  Naturally, the overt narcissist will use this tactic a bit differently than the covert type, but both use it with equal fervor, & both will send the same messages to the victim: “I’m rejecting you.”  “You’re no good & not worthy of my love.”  “You’re crazy.”  “You will go along with what I want or else face my wrath.”

 

If an overt narcissist wants to control you, she may scream, psychologically abuse or even physically abuse you.  With a covert narcissist, he will give you the silent treatment, attempt to make you feel guilty, attempt to make you pity him or even portray himself as the victim of your abuse.

 

Naturally, victims want to avoid these awful consequences, so they stop whatever behavior triggered the narcissistic abuse.

 

That is how a fear of consequences is born.  Once that happens, the narcissist learns she can repeat those behaviors to control her victim.

 

When a person grows up with a parent doing this, it can be hard to stand up to that parent, even as an adult.  I understand that completely.  However, it must be done!

 

I’m not saying you have to return tit for tat, screaming at your parent or returning their abusive behavior to them (as justified as it might be..).  I am saying that you can & should reject their behavior.  Tolerating it only means you will continue to be abused by that person, which is unfair.  It also sends the message to you & any others who see it that you won’t defend yourself, you don’t matter, it is perfectly acceptable to abuse you & if you will tolerate this abuse, certainly more will also be acceptable to you.

 

With narcissists, often saying something confrontational or even setting a simple boundary isn’t a good idea.  They will use that information to hurt you further by repeating the behavior or they will tell others how cruel you were to them, while continuing the behavior.  You need to know your own individual situation well, so you know when is a good time to speak out, & when isn’t.  Any time I’ve had to deal with my narcissistic parents, I ask God to provide whatever I will need for the interaction.  Wisdom, strength, courage to speak up.. anything He knows I will need.  That has helped me tremendously in knowing when I should speak up & when I shouldn’t.

 

On the times you know in your heart it is best not to speak out, you still can set your boundaries & not tolerate the abuse.  You can hang up the phone or leave the room.  All you have to say is, “I need to go now.  Good bye.”  You don’t owe them any explanations beyond that.

 

You also need to look at their abusive consequences differently.  Getting the silent treatment?  Think of it as a reprieve from drama.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  Is she screaming at you?  Trying to make you feel guilty?  Acting like she’s the victim & you’re the abuser?  Remember, normal people do NOT behave this way!  This just goes to show how messed up the narcissist is.  She is doing these things to make herself feel better by controlling you as well as injuring your self-esteem by putting you down.  If she’s accusing you of being abusive, she is also projecting her own flaws onto you so she can be angry about them while at the same time, rejecting any responsibility for having them.  Looking at things this way helps you not to be as devastated or controlled by narcissistic abuse.  It protects your self-esteem, too, when you understand why these things are being done to you.

 

Also, you need to remember that you are an adult now.  No parent, narcissistic or not, has the right to control their child.

 

And, as an adult, your parent can’t hurt you anymore.  They can’t take away your video games or car keys.  What can that person possibly do to you?  At this stage, they would have to move into illegal actions (stalking, harassment, reporting false claims to Child Protective Services, etc).  Or, they possibly could cut you out of their will so you don’t get an inheritance if your parent dies before you.  Really though, is that a big deal?  It’s only money- you can make your own, & doing that wouldn’t have strings attached to it.  When narcissists give you money, there are always strings attached somehow.  Better to avoid those strings!

 

Dear Reader, if you are still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent, then I urge you to remember such things.  Protect yourself & your sanity as much as you can from your narcissistic parent.  You do not deserve their abuse, & you have every right to protect yourself from it however you see fit.

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Do Narcissists Change As They Age?

I’ve read so many times that narcissists never change, but I have to disagree with this.

 

Narcissists can change for the better, because with God, all things are possible.  This is quite rare, but it’s certainly something to hope & pray for.  (I believe in hoping for the best but preparing for the worst)  It happened with my husband’s father- he improved so much.  I don’t know why he changed, but it was wonderful.  He was caring & kind to my husband instead of his usual behavior- critical, bossy & generally nasty.  Unfortunately though, he later developed dementia, & returned to his old ways.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can exacerbate narcissistic tendencies.  Sadly, this is quite normal.)  After his wife (a covert narcissist) died in 2016, he returned to his much better behavior.

 

More commonly though, narcissists do change as they get older, & they get much more devious & creative.  They have to change because as they age, they have to use different tactics if they want to remain in control.  In my teens, my mother was a very intimidating & imposing figure.  When she screamed at me, as she did so very often, I was always afraid she’d physically hurt me.  If she tried this today at age 77, I wouldn’t be so intimidated.  How could I be?  She is much older & frailer now.  Screaming at me now wouldn’t have the desired effect, so she has changed her tactic from screaming to speaking in a soft tone & saying the most vicious things she can come up with.

 

Narcissists are smart- they know what will be the most effective way to accomplish something they want to accomplish.  They are experts at reading people, as they have to be to figure out the best way to use them.   They also are smart enough to realize what worked well for them when they were 35 most likely won’t work as well at 75, & they must adapt accordingly.  Besides, their children aren’t as easily pushed around at 40 as they were at 10.  They have to find new ways to manipulate them if they wish to continue using their children.

 

Many older narcissists also like to reminisce.  They like to talk with you about the past.  Often it’s the usual narcissistic rhetoric- bragging about their great accomplishments at work or the vast numbers of people they’ve helped.  But, narcissistic parents also can do something very hurtful- brag about the amazing childhood you had.  My mother has done this many times.  She talks about all the great things she did for me when I was a child.  Some things were simply a parent doing what she should for a child, & some things never happened at all.  When this happens, it used to hurt me a great deal.  She was invalidating & denying abusing me!  Instead she made me look like a screw up who needed her.  Finally though, God showed me something that has helped me tremendously.  This behavior is a coping skill.  Dysfunctional as it is, this is how my mother copes with the guilt she feels for being so abusive.  Rather than take responsibility & apologize to me, she reinvents the past to make herself look like a good mother.  She also even tries to get me to agree with her stories, in the hopes of convincing herself & I both that the stories really are true.  Once God showed me this, it made perfect sense to me.  I no longer was so hurt by her stories, because I knew they weren’t a personal attack (even though they may feel like it sometimes).  I knew instead they were a dysfunctional coping skill.  It is her right to use that skill if she wants.  It’s also my right not to validate her stories if I am so inclined, & I never do validate them.

 

Just be forewarned, Dear Reader.  As your narcissistic mother ages, she may not mellow out like many folks do.  She may seem a bit easier to handle in her golden years because she isn’t screaming, but don’t be fooled- just because she isn’t screaming or physically abusive doesn’t mean she isn’t still capable of hurting you a great deal.

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