Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Some Things (& People!) Are Valuable Even Though Narcissists Disagree

Those of you who know me know I love cars, in particular the classics.  My husband, too.  In fact, our newest vehicle is my late mother’s 2002.

As a result, so many people have asked me why I drive old cars.  Some are downright rude & tell me I should get rid of my old cars & get something new, even though there is no valid reason to do so. 

The fact is that aside from preferring old cars, they also can be a good investment.  Many classic cars are well loved.  If you don’t believe me, go to a car show or watch an auto auction on TV.  Those so called worthless old cars can sell for thousands more than they were when new.  And that brings me to my point..

Just because someone fails to see the value doesn’t mean something has no value.

This statement isn’t true only about classic cars, but about people as well. 

Narcissists do their level best to convince their victims that they are worthless human beings, they are ugly, stupid, lack any real talents or skills & much more.  The goal is to destroy their victims’ self esteem to make those victims easier to control, to make the victims willing to tolerate any abuse & to make the victims stay in the relationship because they feel unable to find anyone else who would tolerate them.  Narcissists do NOT say these things because they are true.

If you have been the victim of narcissistic abuse, please remember this!  Whatever the narcissist said about you wasn’t said because it’s true.  They say these things to further their own agenda, period.  What they say has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth.  In fact, chances are excellent that the narcissist in your life recognized something good or even special in you, which is another reason that he or she tried to destroy your self-esteem.  You clearly outshined the narcissist, & no narcissist can tolerate that.

Please remind yourself of this often!  Don’t let the narcissist succeed in making you feel as worthless as many people see beat up old cars.  You deserve so much better than believing those terrible lies!  Instead, remind yourself that you aren’t worthless just because the narcissist said you were.  You’re even more valuable than even the most pristine & beautiful classic car.  God made you in His own image & loves you tremendously!  Try to remember that & forget what the narcissist has said to you about yourself.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself & your situation, too.  Then listen.  What He has to say may surprise you & it will bless you greatly!

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

Showing Your Emotions

It seems to me that many people consider people who are free with showing their emotions weak, “drama queens or kings” or even crazy.  Not showing emotions is often looked on as a sign of strength.  I really disagree with this thinking.  There really is nothing wrong or bad about showing what you feel inside.

Years ago, I remember my mother telling me about her mail carrier.  She hadn’t seen her for a while, then finally saw her one day.  She asked how she was doing & where she had been.  Turned out the lady’s husband committed suicide.  My mother thought her composure in discussing this topic was admirable.  I disagreed!  This lady could have been in a state of shock & was unable to show emotions due to that.  But, she also could have been glad he was gone & didn’t miss him.  Her lack of emotions gave no clue which was how she was feeling about her loss.

Showing emotions is a healthy thing to do.  It helps you to process them in healthy ways.  Did you know many people who don’t process anger often end up with health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease & digestive issues?  They also can suffer from depression since sometimes repressed anger manifests as depression.

Showing emotions also helps people to know where they stand with you.  If you weren’t obviously happy that your spouse brought you your favorite coffee as a surprise sometimes, how would he or she know how much you appreciated it?  Or, if you held in disappointment, how would your child know that he or she needed to work harder to get better grades?

The Bible even describes times when Jesus showed His emotions.  When Lazarus died, Jesus knew He would raise him from the dead, but even so, He was emotional & let that show.  John 11: 32-35 says,  32 When Mary came [to the place] where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit [to the point of anger at the sorrow caused by death] and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.”  The Gospels also tell the story of Jesus becoming enraged when He saw people buying & selling in the temple.  He drove animals & people out & flipped over tables.  Hardly the actions of someone afraid of showing their emotions.

Showing emotions is truly a courageous thing to do.  It shows you aren’t afraid of the opinions or judgment of other people.  It shows you are brave enough to be vulnerable.  It shows you are in touch with your emotions, which is a very healthy way to be.

What is not courageous is hiding all emotions behind a mask of stoicism.  This often is a trauma response created by those who have been exposed to cruel people who criticize them for how they feel & invalidate their feelings.  If this describes you, please know that you don’t need to be that way anymore.  You are an adult & allowed to feel your feelings & yes, even show them!  That doesn’t make you oversensitive, overreacting, stupid or even crazy.  It makes you human. 

If you’re struggling to get in touch with your emotions, I suggest praying, paying attention to how you feel about everything & journaling about your experiences.  Read over your journal entries periodically too, don’t simply write them & forget them.  They can help you to have insight. 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

Childhood Wounds That Can Affect People Into Adulthood

Childhood experiences help to form us into the adults we become.  Those of us with traumatic childhoods naturally turn into dysfunctional adults.  Hopefully we realize this & want to become more functional & healthy.  Sometimes though we aren’t sure where to start.  I firmly believe that getting to the root of things is best.  If you garden, you know that you can spray a weed with poison & it will vanish for a while, but it’ll come back again.  However, if you pull it up by the roots, it’ll never return.  Healing is the same way, which is why I tell people that getting to the root of issues is so important.

Relating to healing, I mean you need to look at what is causing the problem, not just the problem itself.  If something makes you angry when you remember it, for example, why does it make you angry?  Did you not feel heard?  Did you feel unloved, neglected or invalidated?  Recognizing your anger is only part of the process.  Once you identify how the event made you feel, you can truly start to heal.

Certain childhood wounds cause certain behaviors, which is what we’re discussing today. 

A childhood abandonment wound happens when a parent isn’t there for their child either physically such as if the parent dies or the parents divorce, but also happens if the parent isn’t there emotionally such as in the case of narcissistic parents.  The abandonment wound manifests as someone who hates to be alone, who is afraid of loved ones leaving them, & may be codependent. People who are emotionally unavailable or out of touch with their feelings are very attracted to those who have abandonment wounds.

A childhood neglect wound results from a parent neglecting their child’s needs.  The neglect can be as obvious as not providing the child with food or medical care, or it can be less obvious such as a parent regularly not caring that their child is upset.  This type of childhood wound manifests as low self esteem or even self hatred, a lack of boundaries, being quick to anger, & repressing emotions.  People who are attracted to someone with a neglect wound are the type who don’t appreciate them & often even make them feel invisible.

A shame wound is very common among those who have experienced childhood narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists use shame as a weapon because it is so incredibly effective.  Where guilt makes a person feel as if they have done something wrong, shame makes a person feel as if they are wrong bad or incredibly broken for doing whatever they did.  Shame damages or even annihilates self esteem.  A person with very low or non-existent self esteem is easily controlled & manipulated, because they lake faith in their decision making abilities & intelligence.  They look to others because they feel so ill equipped.  This wound manifests as an intense disdain for asking for help or for things, feeling bad or flawed, & lacking boundaries.  Narcissists are attracted to those who have shame wounds.

If any of these describe you, know that hope is not lost!  You can heal!  Now that you know the root of your problem, you can find the most effective means of healing.  It will take time & work, but you can heal!  I believe in you!

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Ruminating Thoughts Have A Purpose

If you have C-PTSD, you know all about ruminating thoughts, even if you aren’t aware of what they’re called.

Ruminating thoughts are when something keeps going over & over in your mind.  You either struggle with not thinking about that thing or can’t avoid it.  This can be utterly miserable & depressing!  Not to mention scary too, because not being able to have control over your thoughts is a very scary thing.

Prior to my brain injury, I could control mine to a degree.  They happened, sure, but I could distract myself & stop the rumination.  After the brain injury though, that stopped happening.  Once ruminating thoughts began, they were out of my control.  They stayed until they felt like leaving.  I hated it!  That is, until I realized something.

As miserable as ruminating thoughts can be, they do have a purpose.  Ruminating thoughts help you to process trauma, & make no mistake- trauma needs processing if you want to heal from it.

When you can’t stop thinking about something, you feel the emotions connected to it, whether they are good or bad.  Think back to when you first started dating someone you love.  At first, you couldn’t stop thinking about that person.  Everything reminded you of that person.  And, every time you thought of that person, you thought about how much you love him or her, how attractive he or she is, the good times you were having together & more.  By constantly thinking about this person, or ruminating, you naturally felt all kinds of emotions.

This happens with ruminating thoughts about trauma too.  Obviously it isn’t nearly as pleasant, but even so, it serves a purpose.  This is another way that you can process the trauma & the emotions attached to it.  It will help you to heal. 

The next time you have ruminating thoughts, I would like to urge you to sit with your ruminating thoughts.  Feel the anger, the hurt, the fear, the sadness… whatever emotions you felt at the time of the trauma.  Talk to God as you do this.  Maybe write down what you are experiencing in your journal.  I know it’s hard, but it really is worth it!  It’s worth it when the trauma loses its ability to hurt you so badly.  It’s worth it when you realize you survived something pretty horrific, & now can think of it without feeling utterly devastated.  It’s worth it when you feel more peace & joy in your life because you have healed from this trauma.

As an added bonus, when you do this, the ruminating thoughts on this won’t keep happening.  In fact, chances are slim you will think about it often.  Naturally you won’t forget it, but most likely it only will come to mind quite rarely.  And, when it does, thinking of it won’t consume you like ruminating thoughts can.  I always noticed when I’ve healed from something traumatic, remembering it feels much like remembering a really bad dream.  Unpleasant of course, & something I’d rather not think about, but also not devastating. 

Please remember too, just because you have sat with your ruminating thoughts once doesn’t mean you will be totally healed.  Maybe that will happen, but most likely it’ll take doing this a few times.  That is normal.  Each time you do it though, you are going to become stronger & more healed.

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

The Real Truth About Denial

Today’s post admittedly sounds different than my usual posts. I hope you’ll continue reading anyway, because I believe the message is important.

I woke up recently from a nightmare, as I often do.  In it, I was driving a young girl somewhere while she used my phone to call one of my relatives.  As a funny aside, I know in the dream I blocked my number from showing up on the relative’s phone when she called.. just as I would do in real life.  Anyway the phone was on speaker, so I could hear the conversation.  It sounded innocent enough.  I was fairly guarded anyway, because although I haven’t had any negative interactions with this relative, I also haven’t had any positive ones either.  I wasn’t sure if this person was safe or unsafe.  This relative asked to speak to me, & the girl looked at me before answering.  I quietly said, “maybe tomorrow” & she said that to the other person.   Suddenly this person’s demeanor went from normal to viciously trashing me.  She said I was selfish to the core, a spoiled brat & many more awful things that my family has said to & about me.  I grabbed the phone to hang up as I drove & that is the point I woke up. 

It triggered a nasty emotional flashback as I woke up.  It emotionally took me right back to the time when my father was dying, when my family attacked me constantly & daily for his final almost three weeks because I didn’t say goodbye to him.  When I was able to physically calm down a bit, I began to pray, as I often do when I have nightmares.  This turned out to be very interesting.   God not only comforted me as usual, but He also told me some things.

God reminded me of that awful time when my family was attacking me, & how He told me then that they did so partly out of denial.  They wanted to believe my father was a great guy, our family was great & I was the problem.  Me not saying goodbye threatened their denial, which is mostly why they were so cruel to me at that time.

He also told me about facing truth opposed to living in denial.  He said denial isn’t simply a poor coping skill.  It comes straight from the devil himself.  Denial is about lying to yourself rather than facing the truth.  Since the enemy hates truth, of course something coming from him would embrace lies & reject truth.  John 8:44 in the Living Bible says, “For you are the children of your father the devil and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars..” 

People who are deeply entrenched in denial hate anyone who is a threat to it, & will do anything to protect it.  The reason being, God said, is that they become “entwined” with the enemy.  I found that choice of words interesting, so I looked it up to be sure of exactly what it meant.  According to Cambridge dictionary’s website, the definition of entwined is “closely connected or unable to be separated.” 

A person gets into this entwined state so subtly, they fail to recognize it.  It starts out as learning something painful.  Anyone’s natural reaction to pain, physical or emotional, is to pull away from it.  The devil uses this reaction to his advantage.  He convinces people just don’t think about the pain & it won’t hurt anymore.  Simple, subtle & very effective.  This happens repeatedly with other painful things, & the more it happens, the more entwined someone becomes with the enemy.

When a person is deeply entwined with the enemy, they can’t see their bad behavior as bad.  They are so entangled with him that they will not see truth.  They almost never see how their denial hurts other people.  On the rare occasion that they do see it, they are so deceived that they see any person who tries telling the truth as a real problem.  That means they think hurting anyone who tells the truth is acceptable & sometimes even a good thing to do.  With my situation that I mentioned earlier, God showed me at that time that my family truly thought they were doing the right & even Godly thing by trying to harass, bully & shame me into saying goodbye to my father.

Being involved this way with the enemy doesn’t mean they aren’t entwined with him in other areas as well.  Since he found one access point into a person’s life, he certainly can find others just as easily.

I know that all of this may sound hard to believe.  I get that.  However, I firmly believe this to be accurate since it can be backed up by Scripture.  Consider Ephesians 6:12 also from the Living Bible.  It says, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the devil & his minions stopped attacking people.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Psalm 55:3, Psalm 38:20, Psalm 64:1, Psalm 69:4, Ephesians 6:11 & 2 Timothy 4:18 are just a few examples.

Please seriously consider what I have said here today.  Pray about it for yourself, & ask God to show you the truth if you have doubts.

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

Nostalgia After Trauma

The definition of nostalgia is a longing for the past, in particular a time that is associated with good memories.  People who have experienced trauma may have a predilection for having an appreciation for nostalgia more than the average person.

When a person experiences trauma, such as growing up with abusive parents, often times as adults, they long for certain things that take them back to a happy time in their life, in particular in their childhood.  I admit to being one of these people.  I have a small collection of toys from my childhood that I love, & I regularly listen to music from my teen years in the 80’s.  These things bring me a lot of joy. 

Eventually though I thought this was strange behavior on my part.  My childhood wasn’t exactly the best time of my life, so why would I want reminders of it?  Finally I realized why.  The answer is simple.  Security.

Whatever trauma you have experienced, it changed you & your perception of life.  That is how trauma works.  It can make you feel very insecure & skeptical, even cynical.  A natural coping skill after trauma is to want to find some sense of security wherever you can.  Sometimes finding that security manifests as mentally revisiting a time when you felt comfortable & in control. 

Consider this.  When growing up with narcissistic parents, you have very little control, especially if your narcissistic parents were the engulfing type who had to control every aspect of your life.  Those few rare moments of having control over your life felt empowering.  For me, my most empowering times of my younger days involved music.  Either listening to the radio while alone in my room as a teen or when I drove my first car while listening to any music I wanted to.  Now that I’m an adult, music still gives me that feeling of empowerment.  I frequently still listen to similar music as I did in my younger days.  I also have added more music to my repertoire that makes me feel that same feeling of empowerment.  And you know something?  There is nothing wrong with that!

There is also a comfort in knowing that not every single thing in your past was terrible, that there were some good times too.  Thinking that there was no good in your life is a dreadful feeling!  It can feel as if your life had no purpose.  Reminding yourself of the good times, even if they were few, is very comforting. 

Not to mention, only thinking of the bad times is simply depressing!  Reminding yourself of good times is much less depressing & conducive to a better mood. 

If you find yourself longing for certain things from your past, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Even if your past was full of terrible & traumatic events, there is nothing bad about waxing nostalgic for the few good times.  Just enjoy the nostalgia when you can.  Listen to those old songs & remember your first slow dance or sharing songs with your childhood best friend.  If you see a toy at a flea market that you used to enjoy playing with as a child, why not buy it?  When you see it, it might just make you smile, & that is a lovely gift to give yourself.

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Being The Family Scapegoat

Being the scapegoat in a narcissistic family is an incredibly difficult & painful role. 

Naturally it starts with the abuse from a narcissistic parent, usually an overt one.  This parent is quick with a cruel word, invalidation, mocking or even fury.  This parent may even say they treat their child as they do out of love or they blame their child for making them treat the child as they do.

The other parent is often a covert narcissist.  Compared to the raging, screaming & berating of the overt narcissistic parent, the covert narcissistic parent seems safe & possibly even loving.  Eventually though, that mask slips.  It usually happens as the child is growing up & starting to want some independence.  Covert narcissistic parents also often confide in their children about very inappropriate topics, such as their marital problems.  Overts do this too, but coverts seem to do it more often.  That parent may tell that child that they need protection from the overt narcissistic parent rather than protecting their child, as a functional parent would do. 

Eventually, this child realizes something is wrong with their parents’ behavior.  Maybe they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or maybe not yet.  Either way, the child starts to set boundaries with their parents for the first time in their life.  This is where the real trouble often begins.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the abuse from their narcissistic parents, they suddenly are faced with even more horrors.  Many reach out to other family members for help, & rather than get the help they need, are shunned, mocked, called awful names like liars, spoiled brats, drama queens or kings, ungrateful & more.  Those who the child expects to help & support them often end up betraying that child & adding more pain.

When narcissistic parents find out their child has revealed the kind of parent they are, they usually release some sort of smear campaign.  Some insult their child, others accuse their child of being mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  Some opt to do the same but from a position of looking concerned.  They may say things like, “I’m worried about her.  She hasn’t been the same since she started hanging around with that guy.  I think he’s making her say these things about me, or maybe she’s on drugs!”  This is even worse, because it makes the child look bad while making the parent appear loving & concerned.  Either way, this child loses loved ones & feels completely alone.

The life of a scapegoat is incredibly hard!  Yet even so, there is hope!

After surviving such horrors, a person develops the ability to handle stress well.  Compared to narcissistic abuse, most crises seem pretty tame. 

After losing friends & family who believe a narcissistic parent’s lies, a person becomes very independent & self-reliant.  In this situation when you are left alone, you can learn you have skills & abilities that you never realized you had.

Losing people in one’s life often makes people turn to God, & that is never a bad thing!  That is the one relationship that will never disappoint or hurt you.  He also can help you to heal from all the damage done by the abusive people in your life.  And, as an added bonus, He can guide the right people into your life.    

If you’re the scapegoat in your narcissistic family, if you recently have been abandoned by foolish people who chose to side with your parents rather than help or support you, then please know it will get better!  You will find new, good, loving people who would never treat you as badly as your family has & who will love you unconditionally.  You will survive this pain & heal.  One day you will look back at all that has happened in your role as your family’s scapegoat & be shocked at how much happier & healthier you are without these people in your life.

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Doing Something New

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to abandon making YouTube videos in favor of podcasts since they are much easier for me to make. And thankfully, they have been well received!

Because they have been doing well, I decided to expand where they can be accessed. My podcasts now be found on many platforms. Those links are below. I hope you will check them out!

So far, I’m still figuring this all out as I go. Not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment, so please just bear with me! Plus, writing is my top priority & has been since God told me many years ago it was my purpose. This means podcasts aren’t going to get as much of my attention. I don’t have any particular schedule with them, so I won’t release new ones faithfully every day, week or even month. I release them a few at a time periodically. I have been pretty lazy about doing this over the last year or so, & I apologize for that. It’s changing, I promise! I just had so much happening in my life in the recent past, my work has fallen too far behind.

So anyway, here is the list of where my podcasts can be found. I hope you find a platform that you like, & will listen to them. Thank you as always for reading & supporting my work! I hope it blesses you as much as you bless me!

Amazon Music:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/636257ca-b20e-4c80-b0c4-76c6da81d4b6/cynthia-bailey-rug

Anchor By Spotify:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cynthia-bailey-rug/id1632080095

Castbox:

https://castbox.fm/channel/id3103069?utm_source=podcaster&utm_medium=dlink&utm_campaign=c_3103069&utm_content=Cynthia%20Bailey-Rug-CastBox_FM

Google Podcasts:

https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yNWViYmY5OC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Overcast:

https://overcast.fm/itunes1519449931/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

RadioPublic:

https://radiopublic.com/cynthia-baileyrug-6BonBp

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5aY76eAGa3xOfVMimiQMai

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/cynthia-baileyrug

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

25% Off Sale On All Of My Ebooks & 15% Off Sale On All Of My Print Books!!

My ebooks are going on sale for the entire month of July! From July 1-31, 2022, all of my ebooks will be 25% off! The discount is applied automatically at checkout, so there are no coupon codes necessary. If you have wanted any of my books, this is a great time to grab them cheap!

My ebooks can be found at the link below…

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

If you prefer print books, you can get 15% off of them by adding code HUSTLE15 at checkout. This sale ends July 1, 2022. My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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Labeling Victims Of Abuse As Survivors Can Be A Mistake

Many people, even those who have survived narcissistic abuse, look down on anyone who uses the term “victim.”  It seems to offend some people who survived narcissistic abuse to be referred to as a victim, because they prefer to be called a survivor.  Others who haven’t survived narcissistic abuse but still find the term victim offensive seem to look down on anyone who considers herself or himself to be a victim.  They obviously associate the term victim with someone who is weak &/or foolish, as if only weak & foolish people can be abused.  They also seem to think victims are those who wallow in the pain of their trauma, & never move on.  They have PTSD or C-PTSD because they won’t just stop thinking about the trauma.  If they’d just stop thinking about it, they’d be fine!

Whatever the motive, many times victims are pushed & even shamed into referring to themselves as survivors & never victims.  This can be a problem for victims!

There is absolutely no shame in falling prey to an abusive person.  Narcissists are notorious for being phenomenal actors.  They can fool anyone no matter how smart or even how much a person may know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you know, naturally the quicker you can catch onto their behavior, but even so, there is a chance you can be fooled briefly.  I have been & I’ve been studying narcissism since 2011!  Anyway there is truly no shame in being abused.  The only shame in any abusive relationship belongs to the abusive person, never their victim.

Also, putting the survivor label on people can make them feel pressured to heal quickly or even get over the abuse entirely (which is unlikely).  Rushing healing never works out well.  Healing has to be done at its own pace & that pace varies greatly from person to person.  Not to mention, most of the time, it’s a life long process.  Very few people completely “get over” abuse, especially when there is a history of it such as growing up with abusive parents then dating or marrying abusive partners.

I think a lot of times people put the survivor label on victims to make themselves more comfortable.  Maybe it makes them feel that since the person survived, the abuse wasn’t that bad.  If it was someone they knew, this can help them feel better about themselves if they did nothing to help the victim.  Or, maybe it is spoken out of simple ignorance.  They intend to be empowering & comforting yet are unsure how to do it. 

As for those who have been abused, I really believe it should be each person’s preference which label they use, so long as each person accepts the fact that they were victims of an abuser & have no shame for that.  Removing yourself from the abuse by calling yourself a survivor can be empowering to some people, & that is wonderful.  Whatever helps is a good thing! 

For myself, I stick with using the term victim.  I don’t want to sound like I’m looking for pity or attention, because truly that’s not the case.  Instead, by using that term, I’m reminding myself that what happened to me wasn’t my fault.  I was innocent & did nothing to deserve the abuse.  This helps me because my abusers blamed me for their bad behavior.  Even years after, I have moments of slipping back into wondering what I did wrong to make them treat me the way they did.  Thankfully, those moments don’t last long, but they do happen.  Referring to myself as a victim is a little reminder every time I say or write it that what they did to me was their fault, not mine.

However you choose to refer to yourself is up to you.  But please, whether you prefer the term victim or survivor, let it be your choice.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into referring to yourself in a way that you don’t feel comfortable with.

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Reminders For Those Who Have Experienced Trauma

Many of us who have experienced trauma have been very deeply affected by it.  We not only develop mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD, but we also develop some very skewed beliefs.  In this post, I’d like to address some of them & hopefully help you to realize a healthier way to think.

It’s ok to have bad days!  Mental illness is no joke.  It’s incredibly difficult to live with & very serious!  Not all days are going to be days where you can cope well & manage your symptoms.  Some days, you’re going to want to cry all day long, have panic attacks, wake up exhausted from having several nightmares in a row & barely be able to function.  Some days you won’t function at all.  These scenarios, horrible as they are, are also normal.  It doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy!  It doesn’t mean you have no faith in God or are a phony Christian either!  It means you are struggling with a mental illness.

You’re not a burden, even on your worst days.  I don’t care if all you could do was get out of bed long enough to make a sandwich today, that doesn’t make you a burden.  Would you consider someone a burden that is suffering from cancer & could do virtually nothing?  No?  Then why would you be a burden when you have days you can barely function?

You’re ok.  It seems all of us with mental illness have experienced the same thing- someone thinking we’re weak or attention seeking.  After all, they went through trauma & are fine! (Or so they say..).   It can make you feel as if something is wrong with you for developing the mental illness, but nothing could be further from the truth!  Every situation is different & every person in every situation is different.  There is no indicator who will or won’t develop ongoing mental illness as a result of their trauma.  Those of us who do however, aren’t “less than” those who don’t.  We’re simply different, & different does NOT equal bad!

Nothing that happened was your fault.  Narcissists do love to blame their victims, don’t they?  “You made me do it” is a common gaslighting phrase.  As if that isn’t bad enough, their flying monkeys reinforce this by saying stupid things like, “You should’ve just stayed out of his way when he was in a bad mood.”  “What did you do to make her so angry?”  While such behaviors can make it easy to believe the trauma was your fault, it truly wasn’t.  The only fault in the situation is that of the narcissist for choosing to be abusive!

It’s ok to talk about the trauma.  Narcissists love secrecy & depend on their victims never discussing the abuse.  Talking about it may feel impossible or as if you’re betraying the narcissist somehow.  I get it!  Truly!  Until my parents were gone, I was terrified they’d somehow find out what I wrote about even though I knew it was highly unlikely.  I also felt guilty for betraying them by “outing” them, so to speak by discussing the things they did to me.  The truth though is that I was wrong to feel that way.  When people abuse you, it’s not your job to stay quiet.  You have every right to divulge what they have done to you to whoever you wish.  It’s your life too, not just theirs.  If you want to discuss your situation either with a close friend or therapist or even write books as I have, that is your right!

Your feelings are valid.  I know, narcissists will say otherwise but truly, your feelings are valid!  You are entitled to them!

You owe no one an explanation.  Your life is just that.  Yours.  You owe no one any explanation for how you choose to live it, how you choose to heal, who you choose to have in your life or who you choose to eliminate from it.  What you do is up to you.  So long as you aren’t deliberately hurting others, what business is it of anyone’s how you live your life?

Please remember these points, Dear Reader.  You deserve to take care of yourself, to love yourself, to be treated well & to be respected! xoxo

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One Thing Many Narcissists Do After No Contact

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is never easy for many reasons.  One of those reasons is how they often behave after the relationship is over.

Most people are aware of some of what to expect after going no contact with a narcissist.  They know about smear campaigns, harassment & stalking.  What not everyone realizes though is there is more to what narcissists often do in these situations.  Sometimes, narcissists simply vanish only to reappear at a later time in their victims’ lives.  And often, they do this repeatedly.

This may not sound so bad at first but it is bad.  Imagine the following scenario:

You think this awful person is out of your life once & for all.  You finally are free of the constant abuse, the gaslighting, the isolation from your friends & family!  For the first time in a long time, or maybe even the first time ever, you can live the life you want to live without the constant degradation & control.  You are FREE! 

A few months into your new life, you’re settling in & starting to relax & enjoy this newfound freedom.  You’re healing from the damage & forming healthy relationships. Then suddenly, you receive a text from the narcissist.  Then another & another.  Before you know it, your social media message inbox fills up, as does your voicemail & email.  These messages may not even be only from the narcissist, but the devoted flying monkeys who foolishly think they have the right to tell you that you need to contact the narcissist or resume the relationship.  Your new feelings of peace & relaxation are being replaced quickly by intense anxiety, even if you don’t read or listen to the messages.  You quickly block all means of contact, & the messages & calls naturally stop.  Again, you think this is the end.  And maybe it is, but just for a while.  Then several months or even years later, the narcissist & flying monkeys start harassing you again & the intense anxiety returns.

This scenario is more common than you might think, & it happens all the time with narcissists.

If this happens to you, don’t think it’s because the narcissist loves & misses you.  That isn’t the case because no matter how wonderful you may be, narcissists don’t feel normal emotions.  The narcissist isn’t missing you at all.  At best, he or she is missing the narcissistic supply you used to provide.  As sad as that is, that is usually the best case scenario in these situations.  Usually their motives are much worse.

Popping in their victim’s life after a long absence is one way narcissists continue to abuse their victims.  They know their victim wants nothing to do with them, which is why they severed ties.  By making random appearances, this keeps the victim mentally off balance.  It creates terrible fear, because it makes victims wonder what is next & will this person ever stop?  It also makes them wonder what exactly is this person capable of doing, & what is he or she up to?

Adding insult to injury is the fact that most narcissists tell their flying monkeys that they miss the victim so terribly, they’re miserable without that person & other lies.  This often motivates flying monkeys to do whatever it takes to victims to attempt to force them to reenter the relationship with the narcissist.

If you’re in this situation, my heart goes out to you.  I’ve been there & know just how horrible it is.  The best things I can tell you are to ask God for wisdom in handling this situation, block every means of access they have to you, & document EVERYTHING.  Laws regarding stalking & harassment are constantly changing, so your documentation may prove valuable.  At the very least, it can provide evidence of bad behavior leading up to when they finally do break the law, & that can help you with law enforcement.

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Don’t Be Ashamed Of Having PTSD Or C-PTSD!

Years ago, I remember reading that a rather well known preacher talking about PTSD.  He made it sound like no true Christian can have this disorder or if you do, just “get rid of it” as if people have a choice to hold onto it or get rid of it.

While not many people will say those exact words, it does appear plenty of people share similar sentiments about PTSD & C-PTSD.  Many clearly think people with these disorders are weak for getting it in the first place, especially if they too have experienced a similar trauma but don’t have it.  What they fail to realize is that developing PTSD & C-PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness, contrary to what many people seem to think.  It is a sign of surviving something that easily could have destroyed you either mentally or physically or both. 

Other people think they are some made up disorders so people can wallow in the past or use them as an excuse to get out of doing things they don’t want to do, such as holding down a job.  They refuse to see that those of us with one of these disorders would love to be “normal” again.  We would love nothing more than not to think about the past traumas all of the time & be able to do normal things.

There are also those who believe having PTSD or C-PTSD means you lack faith in God.  If you simply trusted Him more or prayed more, you wouldn’t have this disorder, they say.  They have no clue nothing could be further from the truth!

Something people fail to realize is that PTSD & C-PTSD can happen to anyone.  They know no boundaries.  They affect people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, intelligence, financial standings… anyone can develop PTSD or C-PTSD.

Just because you have PTSD or C-PTSD but someone you know who has experienced similar trauma to yours doesn’t have it doesn’t mean there is something very wrong with you for getting it.  Every person is truly unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA.  What affects one person strongly may not affect someone else as strongly simply due to differences in personality & how people process information.

Some people are also naturally more in touch with their logical, or left brain, than their emotional, right brain.  Those people are often a bit disconnected from their emotions simply due to how their personality is.  There are also those who have chosen to deal with pain by disconnecting from it.  Much like our logical friends, these folks don’t feel connected to their emotions.  This means these people naturally won’t be as deeply affected by trauma as those who are more in tune with their emotions will be affected.

There is also the fact that every single person has a mental breaking point.  In other words, everyone has a point in which their mind simply cannot take any more.  This is the point where PTSD can & often does develop.  That point varies from person to person, but there is no avoiding it.  It is much like bones.  Bones too have a breaking point & that varies from person to person too.  Sometimes, people’s bones break easily & other times, they don’t.  There is nothing wrong, weak or even ungodly about the ones whose bones break easily.  This is simply how they are.

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD then please know that you aren’t flawed, crazy, abnormal or anything else.  You are a normal person who has experienced some pretty abnormal things.  Both disorders are awful I know, but having them isn’t something of which you should be ashamed.  Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!

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Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse & Anger

Victims of narcissistic abuse are shamed for being angry.  It seems if we show any signs of being less than happy about the abuse we endured, people tell us that we’re too negative, wallowing in the past, bitter, not letting things go as we should & more.  For Christians who are in this position, we often get added shaming relating to our faith.  We are lectured on how we should forgive, be Christ-like, labeled as a fake or bad Christians & other false & hurtful accusations. 

We also are expected to show undeniable evidence of the abuse we suffered.  When we can’t produce evidence of the soul destroying gaslighting & verbal abuse the narcissist in our lives inflicted upon us, we are accused of being angry with the abuser so we made things up as a way to make that person look bad.

You know something?  Victims of narcissistic abuse ARE angry, & rightfully so!  No one should treat anyone as we have been treated.  No one should push another person so deep into depression that they lose all hope.  No one should destroy another person’s identity, self esteem & sometimes even faith in God.  Yet, we have experienced all of these things & much more at the hands of narcissists.  We also have experienced betrayal & abandonment by people who should have been there for us, seen people we thought loved us support our abuser & more.  So yes, we are angry!

Do you know what doesn’t help this anger?  Being shamed for feeling what any normal human being would feel under the circumstances. 

I know it can be hard but please, do NOT accept the shaming messages!

People who treat victims this way clearly have their own issues.  Normal people have no desire to hurt others.  Even if they don’t understand what you have experienced, they won’t try to shame you for feeling what you do or minimize your trauma.  Anyone who does such things is displaying a lack of empathy, which makes them a very unsafe person.

Some people who do this also have experienced similar trauma, & lack the courage to face it.  Instead of facing it, they try to avoid all reminders of that trauma.  If someone speaks of experiencing something similar to them, they often will say anything as an attempt to shut that person down.  It’s a survival mechanism.  If it hurts the other person, that isn’t their top priority- avoiding their pain is.  The person in question may not be malicious with their intentions, but their behavior certainly is. 

Yet other people are all about being positive, & not in a healthy way.  Often they think it’s ungodly to be anything less than extremely positive.  Being positive certainly isn’t a bad thing at all.  When it is taken too far, however, that is a problem.  There is nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes, things aren’t happy, positive or even good.  Sometimes it’s ok, even healthy, to say things are bad.  Refusing to accept that & claiming everything in life is nothing but rainbows & unicorns isn’t healthy.  Don’t let the toxic positive people make you feel otherwise!

Whatever the reasoning behind someone acting as if your anger about narcissistic abuse is wrong, remember, that is their issue, not yours.  Narcissistic abuse is cruel, devastating & utterly wrong.  Everyone should be angry about it!  Even Jesus got angry about injustices done to people, if you remember.  If we are to be like Him, that means there is nothing wrong with being angry about injustices.  Besides, not feeling anger about narcissistic abuse would normalize it.  Narcissistic abuse would become an acceptable thing if people became numb to their anger about it, & that never should be!    

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Pay Attention To Your Dreams

Dreams are much more important than I believe most people realize.  They help the brain to process everything that happens to us, both good & bad, which helps to keep our sanity in tact.  Sometimes they also are a good problem solving technique, because you can dream about some scenario you never considered before about a problem you face in your waking life.  They also are a fantastic gauge for our mental health, which is what I want to focus on today. 

For many years, I had a recurring nightmare.  The details would change slightly but the theme was always the same.  I was an adult, but needed to repeat high school.  I also needed to rely on my mother to get me there, but she was running late &/or screaming at me, much as she did during my final year & a half of high school.  In the early days of the nightmare, I was in a blind panic because I was going to be late & had no choice.  I also would get to school to find out I had a test on something I hadn’t studied, couldn’t find my locker or some other unsettling scenario.  I also was embarrassed to be the only adult in high school classes.  I often woke up in a terrible panic from these nightmares.

As time went on, I began to work on my emotional healing, & as I did that, the dream changed.  Sometimes I wouldn’t care that I was running late, or I could find my locker.  Eventually I started to realize I had my own car & didn’t need to rely on anyone to take me to school.  Once that change took place, it wasn’t long before I realized I had already been through high school & had no need to repeat it.  Finally, the nightmares stopped altogether. 

At the time of this recurring nightmare, I started to work on my emotional healing.  I also learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & how to deal with my C-PTSD.  The more I learned & healed, the more the nightmare changed.  It also became much less frequent.  Eventually, the nightmare stopped altogether.  I don’t remember the last time I had it, but I do know it’s been years. 

As it was changing, I realized that it was a reflection of where I was in my healing journey.  The healthier I became, the more power I took back in my nightmare & the less upset I was when I woke up. 

Not everyone has recurring dreams or nightmares.  If you do, they are absolutely worth paying attention to.  I firmly believe they repeat because there is an important message in them.  Just look at mine as an example.  It showed me the state of my mental health.

Even if you don’t have recurring dreams or nightmares, the ones you do have are still important.  It’s wise to pay attention to them.  I sometimes know what my dreams are trying to tell me right away, but if not, I pray & ask God to show me.  I also look up everything I can think of in a dream dictionary, such as people, places, colors, objects, or numbers.  Any detail at all can be very helpful, no matter how small.  There are plenty of free dream dictionary websites online.  Usually after prayer, once I start looking things up in a dream dictionary, things start to make sense & I can figure out what the dream meant.

Also, there are plenty of dreams you will know you had, yet you don’t remember any details at all.  It may be just a vague feeling that you dreamed something about a particular subject.  Don’t worry about that.  Those dreams are normal.  They are simply the brain processing something.  It isn’t important enough for you to remember the details, so you don’t. 

A dream journal is also a really good idea.  At least write your dreams that you feel are important in your usual journal along with the date.  Looking back over your dreams can be an interesting & educational experience.

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

Hangovers – Not Always What You Think

When people hear the word hangover, they usually associate it with drinking too much alcohol.  Did you know that other things can cause hangovers too?

Migraine headaches can cause a hangover.  I used to get migraines years ago & learned early on about the dreadful migraine hangover.  Once the headache had subsided, I was left feeling tired, drained & generally blah.

Introverts also can experience the socializing hangover.  Introverts need alone time to recharge & reenergize themselves.  Spending too much time socializing can leave them feeling physically hungover.  It sure does me.  Even spending time with people I love can leave me feeling hungover.  I need some alone time to recover from my “extroverting”.

Symptoms of C-PTSD also can lead to hangovers, & in my personal experience, they are the worst of the lot.

If a person has a flashback or nightmare, or if something triggers extreme stress or the trauma responses of fight, flight, freeze or fawn, once the episode is done, that usually leads to a hangover.  Adrenaline was forced into action.  Once it is no longer needed, the body & mind feel hungover because of what adrenaline does to a person.  It makes the body & mind work very hard to get a person through some especially challenging situation.  It’s only natural that once it’s done its job, a person would feel pretty yukky after because their muscles, joints & their mind just worked really hard for a while!  This is an adrenaline hangover.

Even a particularly nasty depressive episode can leave a person feeling hungover.  Feeling nothing but negative feelings wears a person down.  Having no hope wears a person down too.  Being suicidal absolutely wears a person down.  After such an episode ends, there is a terrible hangover.  How could there not be?  Depression is known to trigger aches & pains without a physical cause.  Also, I always feel like my muscles get very tight during depressive episodes.  Once they relax, they are going to ache from being in that state for a while.

Yet, the only hangover that is acknowledged regularly is the one that comes from over indulging in alcohol.  While that one is physically painful, the others are not only physically painful but emotionally painful as well.  They deserve to be acknowledged.

If you are in the position of having these miserable hangovers that stem from C-PTSD, I hope you realize that your hangovers are a normal part of this disorder.  They may make you feel like you are crazy, but really, you aren’t.  They are just one more facet of C-PTSD.

When you experience them, don’t judge or criticize yourself.  Just accept it for what it is & work with it the best you can.  Much like how having a cold has to run its course, that is how these hangovers work.  Process your emotions.  Also treat yourself gently & let yourself recover, like you would if you were physically sick.  The hangover will pass.

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off my print books when you use code INFLUENCE10 at checkout until May 27, 2022.

Print versions of my books can be found at the link below..

Cynthia Bailey-Rug’s spotlight on Lulu

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15% Off All Print Books!

My publisher is offering a sale.. 15% off all print books when you use code SELFLOVE15 at checkout until May 20, 2022

My books can be found at the link below..

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

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Shame Over Past Behavior In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Victims of narcissist abuse are no strangers to shame.  Narcissists use it as a weapon very simply because it is such an effective weapon.  A person who feels tremendous shame is very easy to manipulate because they believe they are flawed, stupid, awful, selfish & more beyond repair, so they must listen to someone who isn’t a terrible person like they are.  It’s just common sense that someone out to manipulate & control another person would be thrilled with a victim who thinks this way.

Even when an abuse victim realizes this, that doesn’t make the shame go away.  That shame can hang around for a long time.  Thankfully, much of the shame instilled in victims by the narcissists in their lives diminishes & even disappears fairly fast when they realize that what they feel & believe was deliberately put their by a narcissist.  Other shame however tends to hang around way too long!  That is the shame we will address today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel intense shame about their behavior when they were in a relationship with a narcissist.  I truly understand this since I have experienced the same myself.  In fact, my behavior made me wonder if I was a narcissist since I did some of the same things.  The truth however is no, I am not nor was I a narcissist.  And, if you have similar feelings, I’m sure you aren’t either.

Victims of narcissistic abuse must lie when in relationship with a narcissist.  One key to surviving a narcissistic relationship is to please the narcissist at all times.  Obviously common sense says no one can please any person at all times, in particular someone who is notoriously impossible to please.  However, in the midst of the relationship, that isn’t common sense.  Victims are conditioned to think they must please the narcissist & not doing so is a huge flaw on their part, deserving whatever abuse the narcissist wishes to dish out.  Rather than face that abuse, victims often lie.  It’s a survival skill.  Unfortunately this survival skill can come with a lot of shame attached after the relationship is over.  Instead, try extending mercy & understanding to yourself because it was a necessary evil at the time.

Manipulation is bad, there is no disputing that.  Yet like lying, it too is a necessary evil when in the throes of a relationship with a narcissist.  Anything to please the narcissist is what is important & if that requires manipulation, so be it.  Once the relationship is over, however, looking back on being manipulative in any capacity is shame inducing.  It even can make a person wonder if they are a narcissist as well.  If you are wondering the same, no you are not!!  The fact you wonder & are willing to research it to find out says you aren’t a narcissist.  They don’t do self reflection, & if they somehow stumble upon something stating anything negative about them, they reject it immediately.  So no, you aren’t a narcissist.  You are someone who did something that narcissists do but you only did so in order to survive a toxic environment.

Maybe you were married to a narcissist & did things sexually you aren’t proud of having done.  Again, you did this as a way to survive.  That doesn’t make you a bad person!

If you have experienced such things then please keep in mind although you feel ashamed of what you have done in the past, you aren’t a narcissist nor are you a bad person.  You did what you needed to do at the time to survive.  That is all.  If you had been in a normal relationship, you wouldn’t have done such things.  It’s ok to release that shame about your former behavior!  When you struggle with this, ask God to help you.  He will so let Him do it!  You don’t deserve to live under such a dark cloud of shame!

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Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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There May Be A Demonic Element To Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a term used to describe the very uncomfortable feeling of having two conflicting beliefs.  As an example, let’s say you believe that your mother was a caring, loving mother & you also believe that any problems in that relationship are completely your fault.  Then one day you learn that she is a covert narcissist.  In such a situation, facing the truth feels awful.  You grew up believing this one thing & were comfortable with it, even if it was painful thinking you were the problem in the relationship.  Learning this isn’t true creates anxiety & confusion about what is really true.

In speaking with a follower of my work one day on the topic of cognitive dysfunction, she mentioned that she believes it can be demonic.  At first, this concept sounds very far fetched, I realize, but the more we spoke, the more it made sense.

As Kavya said, when faced with the truth, many people’s core beliefs come back & they believe the lies instead.  This could be evidence of demons at work.  This also could be people operating in the spirit of fear, because they’re afraid to step out of their comfort zone of what is familiar.  So afraid, in fact, they are content to stay with what’s familiar even when it’s wrong & toxic.  That spirit of fear comes in & keeps them in toxic situations.

Another good point she made is evil is against rational thinking.  These spirits want to stunt growth.  They want to keep people miserable & down.  So when people lack good rational thought skills, there can be a demonic influence. 

Evil is also against truth.  They worked through the people in Jesus’ time on earth to hide the knowledge of who He was & what He could do.  That hasn’t changed today.  They instill doubt in people or find ways to make the Gospel message sound impossible.  They also work to hide the truth about other things.  Creating cognitive dissonance easily could be a part of that.  They make people so despondent that they return to their original beliefs, in spite of how obviously wrong they were & how miserable they were while functioning in those beliefs. 

Even good, caring people can end up supporting narcissists because they lack critical thinking skills.  They don’t recognize that there is evil influencing them.  They go with their feelings rather than facing the evidence in front of them, because the truth is making them so incredibly uncomfortable.  Doing this opens the door for evil to work in their minds & lives.  After all, who wants to face the fact that someone they are close to or even love is an abusive monster?  No one!  Doing that is extremely hard & painful!  Some people lack the strength & courage to face painful truths, so instead, they take the easy way out.  They continue in their denial out of fear of facing that pain.  I believe that fear can open a door for evil to enter their hearts, because sometimes in this situation, even a good person can end up so focused on protecting their denial that they mistreat & abuse a victim. 

If you experience cognitive dissonance like many victims of narcissistic abuse do, then please keep this in mind.  I don’t think it is always demonic, but it has that potential to be.  Protect yourself, & face the truth, even when it’s hard.

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Another Tool Narcissists Use To Abuse: Making Victims Feel Invisible

As anyone who’s been abused by a narcissist knows they have many tools at their disposal that they use to abuse.  One of those awful tools is by making their victims feel like they are invisible.

Making a person feel invisible destroys their self-esteem and makes them very easy to control and manipulate. That is why narcissists do this.  Well, that & the joy they get from destroying their victims of course..

To accomplish this goal, narcissists use a few creative tactics.  They ignore their victims’ accomplishments, they downplay anything that is going on with the victim whether the thing is good or bad, & they often will act like the victim does not exist. The silent treatment is a very good example of acting like a victim doesn’t exist.  It’s an extremely effective way to make someone feel invisible, because the person using it acts like their victim does not even exist & that person isn’t worth even their time or energy to speak to.

Narcissists usually treat their victims this way when they have done something the narcissist does not approve of, such as failing to provide narcissistic supply or setting healthy boundaries.  

Narcissistic parents use this tool from day one of their child’s life to keep that child down & easily controllable.  Most children of narcissistic parents can’t remember their parents giving them compliments more than maybe once or twice in their life if at all, but they can recall their parents saying terrible and cruel things to them repeatedly throughout their entire lives, ignoring any accomplishments or acting as if anything happening in their lives was unimportant.  Narcissistic romantic partners often start out full of flattery but evolve into cruel insults as the relationship progresses.  They also have nothing but time for their romantic partner when the relationship is new but as time passes, suddenly have less time to devote to their partners.

While these tactics may not sound so bad they truly are.  When they are done over & over for an extended period of time, they erode a person’s self-esteem until that self-esteem has been destroyed.  That, of course, is the goal of any narcissist.

If you have been or are currently in this situation with a narcissist, my heart goes out to you.  I have been there myself, & I know just how painful it can be.  

I want you to remember something.  Anyone who does this sort of thing to another person clearly is the one with the problem.  The reason you need to remember this is so you know with every fiber of your being that you are truly not the problem, & that the other person is the problem.  I know that sounds like common sense but when you were in the midst of the situation or recently removed from it, it can be difficult to remember that.

Also, just because someone thinks you are unworthy of their time, attention, or love, does not mean that is true.  In fact, I believe that when a person treats another this way it shows the type of character that person has rather than the type of character their victim has. 

The next time this happens to you, I want you to ask yourself something.  Ask yourself why is this person treating me this way, what have I done that makes them believe this type of egregious behavior is justifiable?  Chances are that you can’t come up with anything that would justify this awful behavior.  Doing this simple exercise can help you to counteract the damage done by a narcissist trying to make you feel invisible.

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People Who Say Those Who End Relationships Hate Or Are Unforgiving

Something I have come to learn about people is many times, when you end a relationship with someone, other people assume it’s because you hate that person.  I was reminded of this not long ago when someone made a comment on one of my old YouTube videos.  The video was made when I first learned my father was dying, & I mentioned how I wasn’t going to see him at the hospital.  The commenter said that I shouldn’t hate him, I should forgive him.  This frustrated me because I have heard similar comments before so many times, mostly from my intensely dysfunctional family.  In talking with people who read my work, I’ve learned this happens all the time.

Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that those of us who have ended relationships do so out of hatred & unforgiveness needs to know some things.

There are people who end relationships out of hatred & unforgiveness of course, but the vast majority of people have other valid reasons for ending relationships, even with their own family members. 

People change, & sometimes those changes mean people grow apart.  It’s natural.  Not every single relationship was meant to be a lifelong commitment. 

Sometimes people think someone is a certain way when the relationship begins, but as time passes, they realize that person is not like they thought.  Most people are on their best behavior at the beginning of any relationship, & as time passes, they stop trying so hard.  That can mean there are some ways people are incompatible that weren’t evident at the beginning, or it can mean that someone is dysfunctional or even abusive.  There is nothing wrong with ending such relationships.

While family should be a lifelong relationship, it isn’t always possible.  Sometimes family members seem to be good people until something happens that changes them.  Maybe the patriarch or matriarch of the family dies, & suddenly people change.  That happened in my family.  Once my grandparents died, people changed a great deal, & not necessarily for the better.  The patriarch & matriarch of a family often can keep the bad behavior to a minimum.  Once they pass away, the bad behavior is no longer restrained, & people feel free to behave however they like, including very badly.  When the bad behavior is toxic or even abusive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending those relationships.

People who are so quick to judge & criticize others who end relationships should consider such things before passing judgment.  There are other things they also should consider.

People who have been abused almost never exaggerate their experience.  If anything, they leave out plenty of details & even minimize it.  If someone claims another person abused them, chances are excellent it was much worse than what they said.

Abusers are excellent actors who portray themselves as good people to anyone who is not their victim.  Just because someone is nice to you doesn’t mean they are incapable of being abusive. 

Along those same lines, just because someone is active in their church, volunteers, is a teacher, doctor or in another helping type profession doesn’t mean they can’t be abusive.  Abusers can be found in all walks of life.  They exist in all religions, races, genders & careers.

Enduring toxic & abusive relationships doesn’t make you a good, Godly person.  It isn’t the “good Christian” thing to do.  There are plenty of Scriptures throughout the Bible where people are told to have nothing more to do with other people.  In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave his family.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about people God wants His children to have nothing to do with.  Titus 3:10 warns to have nothing to do with divisive people.  Ephesians 5:6-7 says we are to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.  Clearly this is a topic on which God has plenty to say, & people would be wise to take that seriously rather than judge those who end certain relationships.

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How To Identify A Flying Monkey vs Someone That Is Misinformed

Those of us who have had relationships with narcissists have experience with flying monkeys.  They are those awful little people who feel they have the right to tell victims exactly what we need to do to please the narcissist & how wrong we are for being upset about their abusive ways.

It seems obvious that anyone who thinks this way is clearly dysfunctional & even abusive themselves.  In fact, I personally believe flying monkeys are just as bad if not worse than the original narcissist.  I also believe the bulk of them to be narcissists themselves, because the clearly have no concern for the real victim in the situation & they enjoy abusing that victim.

There are some flying monkeys who don’t fit this criteria however.  There are some people who are genuinely duped by the narcissist, & honestly believe they’re doing a good thing by trying to help the victim reconcile with the narcissist.  Sadly, these people are extremely rare, but they do exist.  Everyone needs to know the difference between the two so they can treat the person they’re dealing with accordingly.

One way to tell that the person is a flying monkey over someone who is genuinely duped is by what they say about the narcissist & you resuming a relationship.  Flying monkeys only focus on the narcissist.  They say things like the narcissist misses you, is hurting or is lost without you.  When I broke my engagement with my now ex husband, that was what I heard repeatedly.  Every single person told me how I should get back with him because he was suffering without me.  No one cared that I was happier without him.  If someone is simply fooled by a narcissist, they most likely won’t tell the victim what to do.  They may say things like, “I think he’s good for you & you should resume the relationship.”  They won’t be so presumptuous as to tell someone what to do or use guilt to get that person to do their will.

Another give away is if the person wants to hear your side of the situation.  That is a sign of someone who is reasonable.  Flying monkeys don’t want to hear a victim’s side because they simply don’t care about the victim, only the narcissist.

Flying monkeys also don’t care about the victim’s wants, needs or feelings.  They only care about what the narcissist wants, & care nothing about anything that doesn’t go along with that.  A person who is genuinely duped does care about what the victim’s wants, needs & feelings are, not only the narcissist’s.

Sometimes the narcissist disappears from the life of their flying monkey for various reasons.  The way that person treats you once that happens is another way you can identify flying monkeys over the truly fooled.  Usually in this situation, flying monkeys will vanish from your life.  They have no reason to continue dealing with you without the narcissist.  A person who is duped, however, isn’t that way.  They often wish to maintain the relationship with you.  As an added bonus, without the narcissist feeding them lies, they end up seeing the truth, that you aren’t some terrible person as the narcissist said you were.  I’ve been in this situation & it’s rather unique to say the least.  It’s interesting to watch someone lose the delusions that the narcissist put on them & gain a genuine fondness & even respect for you.

I encourage you to judge the behavior of each person you come across who also knows the narcissist in your life.  While the vast majority are true flying monkeys, not all are, & they all shouldn’t be in the same category.  The rare genuinely duped people aren’t malicious like flying monkeys, & shouldn’t be treated the same way because of that.

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Some Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you. Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety. There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.


Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life. It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser. Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser. That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser. It also leads to a host of other problems.


Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma. In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back. This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time. Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.


An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance. It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation. This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.


Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life. Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often. Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common. Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves. This happens quite often with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.


Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ. These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours. They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick. They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain. If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.


Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities. Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere. While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.


Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma. They can be a way for someone to regain some control in their life when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.


Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses. No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.


Avoiding conflict
is very common in those with traumatic pasts. When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.


If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost! The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break. Not overnight, but they will happen. Keep working on your healing however works for you. Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Healing isn’t a simple thing. Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress. Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits for a brief time. It’s ok! It’s just a part of the healing journey. Don’t give up!

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15% Off My Print Books!

My print book publisher is offering 15% off all print books until April 8, 2022. To take advantage of this sale, enter code COOKBOOK15 at checkout.

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Ways Narcissistic Abuse Can Make You Feel Crazy

Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing in so many ways.  It can ruin a person’s faith in God because many narcissists twist God’s word around to justify their abusive ways.  It can ruin a person’s financial stability because narcissists feel entitled to their victim’s money & credit cards.  It can destroy a person’s self-esteem since narcissists are notorious for doing that as a way to gain control over their victims.  Narcissistic abuse also can make a person feel like their crazy, because narcissists love either implying or saying outright that their victims are crazy.

Feeling crazy isn’t only due to the direct abuse inflicted by narcissists however.  It can come as something of an after effect of the abuse, & that is what we’ll be discussing today.

When you have been abused by a narcissist, your emotions are drastically affected.  They can be rather raw due to being so overused by the constant traumatic abuse.  Being oversensitive like this isn’t always a bad thing because it can make you very sensitive to & in tune with other people.  However, it also can leave you feeling ways that are less than pleasant & even make you doubt your sanity.

One such feeling is envy when those close to you are happy.  You don’t think of yourself as being petty, but you get angry at the special people in your life that are experiencing good things happening to them.  You aren’t a mean person or naturally envious, so why does this happen?  It’s normal to feel this way sometimes when going through a hard time, such as after the death of someone you love.  You’re miserable & their joy is a reminder of that.  That being said, doesn’t it seem only logical that when experiencing something as horrid as narcissistic abuse you might feel that same way sometimes?  It does NOT mean you’re crazy!  It means you’ve been through some terrible things & are longing for better times.  Just be sure to stay aware of it & don’t mistreat anyone because of how you feel. 

Closely related is feeling envious of those with loving, healthy relationships.  Growing up with narcissistic parents makes a person feel so many things such as sadness for not having loving parents, grief for their childhood being stolen by their parents & anger for not being safe with those people who were supposed to love them unconditionally to treat them well.  Seeing people with loving, attentive, functional parents is a reminder of what you lacked.  It can trigger envy.  It may make you feel crazy or bad for being so envious, but truly, it’s normal!  The same goes for those romantically involved with a narcissist.  Seeing a happy couple can trigger envy for what you lacked.  That also is very normal! 

Another common issue is being angry & overreacting to the smallest things.  Narcissists are infamous for angering even the calmest, most laid back of people.  They also are infamous for using that justifiable anger to make their victim feel crazy & badly for being angry.  Naturally, victims learn to stuff their anger to hide it.  This works for narcissists because they know their victims will tolerate about anything they do without complaint.  Victims suffer though not only because of the abuse but also because they often lose the ability to show anger in healthy ways.  Instead, they get very angry over inconsequential things.  Something as simple as losing a pen can trigger rage.  Or, someone making an insensitive comment that isn’t even really mean can result in the victim yelling at them.  After the victim calms down, they often feel crazy for getting so angry over something so small.  The victim isn’t crazy though!  They are behaving normally in abnormal circumstances!

If you have experienced feelings like these, please know that there is nothing wrong with you!  You aren’t crazy!  You are a normal person who has experienced abnormal & horrific abuse.  The more you heal, the less you will feel these feelings.  Keep learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & how to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Write in a journal & look back over what you learned often, as it will help you to remember what you learned.  Most importantly, stay close to God.  Let Him help you to heal!

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Being Very Sensitive After Narcissistic Abuse

I recently learned a word I never heard before.  That word is clairsentience.  According to Merriam Webster online, it means to perceive the things that aren’t usually perceptible.  In some further reading on the topic, I realized many people think clairsentience is a psychic power like being a spirit medium or fortune teller, but I don’t think that’s the case at all.  Some people are naturally more perceptive & sensitive to things than other people.  And, some people are exceptionally perceptive & sensitive. 

I’ve always picked up on energy.  Not just the energy people naturally put off, like a happy person has a happy “vibe”.  I mean energy like if a person who loves me has been in my home, I can feel their good energy for some time after they leave.  The same goes if someone is angry or hateful has been in my home – I feel their negative energy too.  Prior to my husband & I buying his late parents’ home, he met with his sisters at that house one day.  The first time I went into that house several days after they left, I felt their negative energy the moment I walked in the door.  It was so pronounced, I felt like it slapped me in the face.

In thinking about this phenomenon known as clairsentience, I’ve noticed it is quite common in those who have been abused by narcissists, even if victims don’t always realize it.  It seems to me having to be completely in tune with a narcissist’s wants, needs, feelings & even whims in order to avoid disappointing them by facing their wrath can create this deep awareness in some people.  I believe it to be one aspect of hyper-vigilance.  I also think that many victims of narcissistic abuse aren’t aware that this clairsentience can be a good thing because of its relation to hyper-vigilance so often making it uncomfortable. 

Clairsentience can help you to be in tune with people other than the narcissist.  You can realize quickly the mood of someone you care about.  You also pick up on subtle things like how a person truly feels about you or if they’re in need of something but don’t want to ask. 

Clairsentience can make a person very empathic & in tune with those in their life, which is a wonderful thing for relationships.  It leads to having very close, good relationships partly because of this.

It also naturally means you can identify toxic people very quickly, because you can pick up on subtle cues that other people may not notice.  For example, narcissists are smug people, but not all wear that smugness proudly.  In some, it’s barely noticeable at all.  It may appear as a look in their eye or a slightly disappointed expression when talking about those they deem not as good as themselves.  Many people won’t notice those subtle cues, but a person with clairsentience will recognize those very subtle clues & (hopefully at least!) avoid people like this.  This skill means that a person with clairsentience can have very good, healthy relationships while wasting very little time on the bad ones.

Another plus is the sensitivity to energy.  Being able to feel the “vibe” of a gathering of people is a useful skill because it helps you to figure out quickly how best to act in the environment.

If you realize you fit the description of someone with clairsentience, then I urge you not to look at it as a bad thing or some strange psychic phenomenon.  Instead, just appreciate it as the useful life skill that it is. 

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Often Hate Themselves

Relatively speaking, very few victims of narcissistic abuse escape the abuse without feeling intense self-hatred.  There are plenty of reasons for this.

The main reason for this of course is narcissists.  They do their best to annihilate their victims’ self-esteem in order to control them.  A person who doubts their intelligence will listen to what others tell them to do.  A person who thinks no one else would put up with them will stay in a relationship, no matter how toxic.  A person who feels worthless will tolerate any treatment because they don’t believe they deserve better.  But, there are other reasons too.

Someone who was involved in either a romantic relationship or a friendship with a narcissist will feel terrible for not seeing the red flags of narcissism or taking too long to leave or for putting up with the abuse for however long they did.  Even understanding that narcissists are phenomenal actors that can fool anyone doesn’t really help a person in this situation feel much better. 

Also, other people who weren’t directly involved with the abuse even can make victims hate themselves.

People who imply or even outright say that the victim is to blame for the abuse can make victims hate themselves.  When you are in the fragile place of recently having escaped an abusive relationship, someone blaming you for picking the wrong partner or friend or for making the abuser abuse you can be devastating.  It makes a person wonder what they possibly could have done any better or differently.  In these relationships, victims give their all & it’s not good enough, yet they still feel like failures for not doing enough. 

It’s also common to feel guilty for constantly upsetting the narcissist to the point of abusing because that is how narcissists make their victims feel.  They never take responsibility for anything but instead, dump all responsibility on their victims.  Having survived this then being reminded of your supposed failures with the relationship by outsiders can be utterly devastating to one’s emotions as well as self esteem.

When other people suggest something is wrong with the victim for not being “over it” by now or taking too long to heal, that too can cause self-hatred.  It makes a person feel like a burden for not being ok rather than safe knowing they are with someone who won’t judge or criticize them.  And feeling like a burden is horrible for the self-esteem!

The minimization & even denial of the abuse also can cause serious blows to one’s self-esteem.  Until a person truly understands just how bad their experience was with an abusive narcissist, they are very susceptible to shaming.  When someone says the abuse wasn’t that bad or flatly denies it happened, that will create unnecessary shame in a victim which naturally devastates their self-esteem.

If you are experiencing self-hatred due to situations like I’ve mentioned, please, PLEASE know this isn’t right!  You don’t deserve to feel that way!  You weren’t abused because there is something wrong with you.  There was something wrong with the narcissist!  If other people are too foolish to see it or unwilling to see it, that is also not a reflection of you.  That is their dysfunction showing.  Don’t ever forget that!  Xoxo

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Managing Triggers

Anyone who has experienced trauma knows about triggers, whether or not they recognize that is what they are called.  Triggers are things that “trigger” certain memories to come to the forefront of your mind with force & against your will.  They also trigger certain PTSD reactions such as anxiety, fear responses such as fight, flight, freeze or fawn, & even flashbacks.  To put it bluntly, triggers suck!

They are a particularly yukky part of having survived trauma & the worst part is they are unavoidable.  Sure, you can avoid some but avoiding all triggers is impossible.  The best thing you can do for your mental health is learn to manage triggers.

First & foremost, you need to be aware of what triggers are.  Recognizing them for what they are really helps, because it reminds you that as painful as they may be, the triggers can’t hurt you.  You are safe now.  Or, if the trigger was brought about by someone treating you as your past abuser has, now you can handle this situation in a way that protects you.  You can handle this!

Second, I believe in prayer.  The only reason I say prayer should be second instead of first is because lack of awareness can paralyze you.  You need to be aware first, then you can focus enough to pray.  Ask God to help you stay grounded, to keep you safe, to help you to get through this & anything else you can think of.

Third, use grounding techniques to help you to stay focused on the present moment.  Engage your senses to distract your mind from being too swallowed up by the trigger or flashback.  Touch something with a very distinct texture like silk or burlap.  Smell something with a strong scent such as lavender or strong perfume or cologne you like.  Taste something with a strong scent & flavor such as coffee or a strong mint.  Admire something beautiful such as a flower or a painting.  Turn up a song you find empowering & listen to it a few times in a row if it helps.

Fourth, think of what you can do to comfort yourself.  You can wrap yourself in your favorite blanket, snuggle a stuffed animal, indulge in a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, take a warm bath or shower, or hold a precious possession given to you by someone you love dearly.  Lavender is known for its anti-anxiety properties, so keep some essential oil handy for these times.

Fifth, after you have calmed down, make that trigger work for you.  They are unavoidable so why not make them count for something?  Get to the root of this.  If you aren’t sure what that root is, ask God to show you.  Once you know what the root of the problem is, you can heal & this trigger won’t hold such power over you.  It may even disappear entirely.  The key is getting to the root though, & that may mean going way back into childhood.

Sixth, tell yourself the truth & ask God to tell you the truth about that root of the trigger.  Did you deserve that?  Are you as bad as your abuser claims you are?  Was what that person said true?  Questions like that when faced with the truth will show you exactly how wrong & cruel your abuser was. 

Seventh, take some time to rest & be gentle with yourself.  Emotional work is hard.  You will need a little time to recover so take it & don’t be ashamed of it.

Last but not least, celebrate the fact you survived some pretty bad things.  Be proud of yourself!  Be proud of your strength.  Thank God for getting you through those dark, horrid times with your sanity & goodness in tact. 

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