Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October. (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now. It’s quite a story!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot. One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.
Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible. She’s a narcissist. We all know how they are- they know best about everything. This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception. In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”
This can be very discouraging. On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement. While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well. Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV, emphasis added)
As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.
I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do. Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….
Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol They certainly weren’t mine for a long time. Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me. Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them. As time passed though, it got easier. Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more. At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning. And you know something? It’s not hard to do anymore. In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off. Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.
Praying for these people is something I look forward to now. Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever. Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.
It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people. I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work! Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore. (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation. It means I released the anger I felt at them, period. Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)
I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them. Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life? I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010. She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are. Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends. There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me! That to me is heartbreaking! And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well. So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them. You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life! I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.
I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it. Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life. If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!
There is a lot of information out there about going no contact, but not a lot of it is good, in depth information. It isn’t always helpful for those who are seriously considering going no contact with their narcissistic parent. The purpose of this post is to provide a deeper look at things to consider when going no contact.
No contact is a very serious decision, & never should be entered into lightly. Never, ever initiate it unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s the right thing for you to do. Never initiate it during the heat of the moment such as during an argument. Only initiate it after a great deal of serious prayer & consideration.
No contact also is a permanent decision. If you resume contact with a narcissist, chances are excellent that this person’s behavior will be a LOT worse than it was before you started no contact. If you let that person suck you back into a relationship or if you are the one who initiates contact again is not important. The important thing is you’re back. The narcissist will start out behaving with you to test the waters, but that won’t last long. They see you as being weak with weak boundaries (easy prey in other words), since you allowed this relationship to be reconciled. Also, since you set that boundary of no contact, you must be punished for that as well. This is why no contact must be a permanent decision! Once ties are severed, accept no communication from the narcissist at all. Block all emails, phone numbers, social media accounts.. any access that person can use to contact you. If they find ways around it, block that access too. You may need to change your email address, phone number or name on your social media accounts.
No contact isn’t easy. You lose people you never expected to lose from your life, even family members. That is incredibly painful, but it’s very common. It seems to me that the majority of people would rather side blindly with the narcissist than stand up for what’s right. Maybe they’re afraid of facing the narcissist’s wrath if they side with you. Maybe they think it’s easier to get you to change than the narcissist & they’re just looking for an easy way out of this situation. Or, maybe they’d rather think of you as bad, wrong, crazy, etc. than admit to themselves that you were abused & they didn’t protect or help you. Whatever their “logic”, it’s still going to hurt you a LOT when they abandon you in favor of your abuser. On the good side though, you do find out who your real friends are. Those who stand by your side even if they don’t understand the situation are your real friends. Those who don’t judge you or tell you that you need to “forgive & forget” are your real friends. Those who refuse to give your abuser the time of day are also your real friends.
Your emotions are going to go haywire for a while. I believe this is because your mind is finally free from constantly having to think about the narcissist. They seem to take up all the room in any relationship, leaving no room for you or even for you to think about things other than them. You are to find ways to appease & please them, avoid their wrath, anticipate all of their needs & wants, prop up their ego at all times & more. Then, once you realize how messed up all of this is, you need to find ways to stop providing them with narcissistic supply, battle their gaslighting so you can keep your sanity & avoid them as much as possible. Any relationship with a narcissist is a LOT of work! Once that is done, it’s like your brain finally realizes it’s free of that, & decides now is the time to start dealing with that stuff it couldn’t deal with when in the relationship with the narcissist. All kinds of memories come to the surface & with them, a ton of emotions. Even when memories aren’t popping up, your emotions can go haywire because finally you can feel instead of only focusing on the narcissist.
If anyone tells you that no contact is taking the easy way out, don’t listen to them. No contact is usually the necessary step to take, but that doesn’t make anything about it easy!
Narcissistic parents might like to think they’re the best parents ever, but they are so far from it. They instill the worst possible beliefs in their children that often follow (well, maybe more like haunt) those children for the rest of their lives. Below is a list of a few of them.
- “You need to be able to do anything & everything I tell you to, no matter what! Not because you’re talented or capable, so don’t think that! But because I want you to do those things!” Narcissistic parents are a confusing group. One way they are confusing is treating their children like they should be able to do anything, yet also making sure they know they aren’t smart, talented or capable. As an example, my parents were very parentalizing. In other words, they wanted me to take care of them rather than them taking care of me. Even as a young child, they’d come to me with complaints about their marriage & sometimes, they’d expect me to fix whatever disagreement it was that they had. I was just supposed to know how to fix things for them, but at the same time, both let me know they didn’t think I was smart. This type of behavior can lead to an adult who is terrible at self care. The adult may not recover as long as necessary from surgery, may go back to work immediately after giving birth or experiencing a trauma such as the death of a loved one. They don’t take care of themselves because they believe they don’t deserve to.
- “If you want to be loved, you have to earn it.” Narcissists actually have no real grasp on what it means to truly love someone. What they call love is conditional love at best. They will abuse their children & only stop it when the children do things that please them. This makes children of narcissists work so hard to please their parents. They are so starved for love, they’ll do about anything for their parents in order to earn some “love.” This can lead to adult children of narcissists who are frequently used & abused. They try to earn love from others. Abusers seek this out in a victim, because it means that victim will put up with anything.
- “Your worth depends on what you do only.” Related to #2, this means that you only have value when you please the narcissist. If you discovered the cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s & heart disease, & made it free & readily available to every human being on the planet, if your narcissistic parent didn’t have a vested interest in these cures, your parent would still see you as worthless. Yet, if you bought a pen for your parent you knew she liked, it would gain more approval than inventing those cures. She would see you as more worthy for getting her that pen than when you invented the cures for diseases that plague humanity.
- “Your emotions aren’t important. In fact, you aren’t allowed to have them!” The only person that really matters to a narcissist is that narcissist. No one else is even human, merely a tool to be used. Don’t “bother” a narcissistic parent with your feelings. After all, tools don’t have feelings, so you shouldn’t either. Besides, their emotions are the only important ones! Adult children of narcissists have become professionals at stifling their emotions. As a result, they end up miserable or sick (high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, anxiety, etc.).
All of these false beliefs are just that- FALSE! They have no basis in reality. Their basis is in the narcissist’s reality which is a world full of insanity. If you grew up learning such nonsense, then Dear Reader, it’s time to get rid of those false beliefs. Ask God to tell you the truth. Are you worthy? Are you deserving of love or does it depend on what you do? Any questions you can think of, ask Him & listen to what He has to say. You will find out quickly that these beliefs are not true. God thinks so much more of you than your narcissistic parent did. Let Him show you what He thinks of you. It’ll heal you & bring you joy.
Kinda along the lines of my last post about marital rape…
Another way narcissists can abuse their partners is by withholding intimacy. Although this is commonly thought to be something only women do, men do it as well.
Withholding sex can be as emotionally damaging as forcing it, but in different ways. Withholding can make a person question & doubt herself. She thinks things like she isn’t attractive or desirable or even thinks she is disgusting in some way, which is why her partner refuses to make love to her. This particularly cruel type of rejection is devastating to the self-esteem, & a person with low self-esteem is easy for an abuser to control. Low self-esteem means a person will tolerate a lot of abuse from her partner, & for a long time. She does not think anyone else would have her, so why leave?
Sex also can be used as manipulation. An abuser may promise sex if his partner does something else he wants, & the partner, wanting sex, will do whatever the abuser asks.
It also can be used as a punishment. For example, if you do something your partner didn’t want you to do, he may refuse to have sex with you for weeks or even months
If you are experiencing these things with your spouse, they are abusive! Don’t doubt that for a moment!
Also don’t doubt yourself. I know it’s hard, but the way you feel is wrong! You aren’t unworthy of your partner’s love- your partner is being abusive, & that is no reflection on you whatsoever. Talk to God about how you feel, & ask Him to tell you the truth about who you are. I also have some affirmations on my website that may help you. They are available at the following link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
People say, “Just let it go!” all the time to those who have been through bad experiences or abuse, but what do they really mean? I think many people who say that don’t say it to try to help you. Instead, I think they really mean, “Stop talking about it. It makes me uncomfortable!”
Unfortunately, this statement can make a person feel ashamed of themselves for being unable to “just let it go.” They feel like something is wrong with them, or maybe they’re a bad Christian when the truth is, they’re simply human.
The fact is, most people just can’t “let go” of pain. It’s not that we want to hold onto it at all- we have no choice in the matter. It’s kind of like a splinter. You can’t wish it away or let it go- you actually need to deal with it to get rid of it.
If you really want to let something go, once & for all, it takes work. You need to feel the anger, feel the hurt & get it out of you. It can be intimidating at first, especially if you weren’t allowed to show your emotions as a child, but it does get easier in time.
When it happens with me, I make time to write in my journal. Writing is often easier than saying things out loud for me, so although often prayer is my first place to start, journaling is in this particular situation. I let it all out- name calling, bad language & all. Sometimes I’ll write as though I’m speaking to the person, sometimes I just vent about them & what they did. I just follow whatever feels right, & let it all out. I pray after, & ask God to help me. For many things, this helps to purge me of the anger & hurt completely. For other things, I have to repeat it a few times. I’ve learned not to judge it- abuse does bad things, & everyone heals differently.
Maybe what I do will help you as well. It’s worth a try anyway, right? If you’re sure it won’t, then do whatever does work for you. Or, ask God to show you what you need to do. Healing is a very individual thing, & there’s nothing wrong with you if something other than what I do helps.
Remember, Dear Reader, if you can’t “just let it go”, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s OK! It’s perfectly normal to have to feel things to heal.
Narcissists have a way of making their victims feel like we are the problem. This is awful for the victims, because as a result, we end up tolerating their abuse for years. We think they’re good to put up with us, & we try harder & harder to be good enough for them. Meanwhile, as we’re losing ourselves in trying to please the narcissists, the narcissists are gaining tons of supply.
So how does this happen? How can a person honestly believe they’re the problem when the narcissist clearly is? Narcissists accomplish this in several ways.
Projection. Narcissist always accuse others of their own flaws. This makes a person feel inadequate. A person may even become angry but feels they don’t have the right to be angry since they are the flawed one.
Narcissists don’t examine their behavior, only yours. If you’re angry with a narcissist, all that narcissist sees is how you’re acting. They don’t ask themselves why you’re angry or is it something they’ve done. They see you acting in a way they consider irrational, & make you feel crazy for your behavior.
They gaslight. All narcissists love gaslighting their victims. Gaslighting is basically when you say the sky is blue, & the narcissist says it’s clearly green & something is wrong with you for thinking otherwise. Granted, that is an extremely obvious example, but that’s pretty much how gaslighting works. Narcissists see the same thing you see (that blue sky) but don’t want you to see it that way. Rather than agreeing that the sky is blue, they’ll tell you it’s green & try to make you feel crazy for thinking it’s blue. Narcissists do this often with abusive things they have done. They may deny the events happened entirely, or try to convince you that they happened in a very different way.
Narcissists provoke their victims to rage while maintaining their cool. One primary feature of narcissism is their complete lack of empathy. This enables narcissists to feel no guilt or remorse for abusing a victim. This also means they can maintain their calm demeanor while simultaneously driving a victim to the brink of madness. When this happens, a victim feels insane. After all, the victim is the one screaming & crying while the narcissist is cool & collected. The victim looks crazy to herself & anyone else who may be witnessing this phenomenon.
If you’re in a relationship of any sort with a narcissist, these things are most likely happening. When they do, please remember this post & remind yourself that you are NOT the problem! The narcissist is only trying to make you think you are!
The Bible talks a great deal about how we are to deal with other people. One of those things it discusses is how we are to help each other when struggling.
Galatians 6 says these two things….
- Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)
- Galatians 6:5 for each one should carry their own load. (NIV)
At first glance, these Scriptures only a couple of verses apart may seem contradictory, but they really aren’t. Verse 2 says we should carry each other’s “burdens” while verse 5 says each person should carry their own “load.” Although the difference is slight between those words, it’s also significant.
According to merriam-webster.com, one meaning of burden is “something oppressive or worrisome.” And, also according to merriam-webster.com, load means “a considerable amount.” I take this to mean that in the context of these Scriptures, a burden is something excessively difficult or challenging to deal with while a load is a more typical struggle. Trying to survive the pain of losing someone you love versus cleaning your house, as examples.
When you’re raised to only focus on the needs of your parents, you tend to grow up thinking it’s your job to take care of people while ignoring your own needs. It’s terribly unhealthy! These Scriptures provide an excellent perspective on helping people.
When someone asks for your help, if they are suffering with a burden, then by all means, please help them if you feel God wants you to & you are able to do so. However, if someone frequently wants your help for small things that they are well able to do themselves, then it’s not good to help them. You are enabling them to be irresponsible by taking care of things they should take care of & to take advantage of you. Let people carry their own “load”! It truly is a more loving thing to do than to enable irresponsible behavior because it encourages them to do what is right- not using you or other people.
Many people won’t be pleased if you tell them you are unable or unwilling to help them, but that is not your problem. I know, you will feel guilty at first, but please remember that in spite of what your narcissistic parent(s) taught you, your job is NOT to be responsible for everyone but yourself. It’s unhealthy (mentally & physically) & out of balance to ignore yourself & your needs for others constantly!
Please remember, Dear Reader- you aren’t responsible for taking care of other people. You are responsible for helping when you can when it is necessary only. You have the right to say “no”. God did not put you here to be used, but instead to be a blessing to others.
― Albert Einstein
Silence is a narcissistic abuser’s best friend. Silence not only allows abusers to continue to abuse, it basically encourages them to abuse. When abusers don’t have consequences or anyone saying, “What you’re doing is wrong”, what motivation could they possibly have for changing their behavior?
By silence, I am not only referring to the silence of the victim, but others as well. If the child of one of your relatives is being abused, but no one speaks up, the abuse will most certainly continue. If no one gets involved, why should the abuser stop abusing? The abuser is getting what he or she wants, which is all that matters to that person. There is no motivation to stop abusing.
Some people may find this speaking out to be immature, holding a grudge or even “un-Christian” behavior, but it really isn’t. Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them.” (TLB)
Narcissism must be rebuked & exposed! Allowing narcissists to continue to abuse their victims without consequences does no one any good whatsoever! Abusers continue to hurt people & victims continue to suffer so long as no one speaks out.
As victims, we must speak out about our experiences. Other victims need to know that they aren’t alone, they aren’t crazy or to blame for the abuse as their abusers have told them they are & that there is life after narcissistic abuse. They also need to know ways to cope with a narcissist if they are unable or unwilling to be no contact & no one but another victim can share successful ways to do that.
If you aren’t a victim, however, but you know someone who is, you’re not off the hook! If you know someone who is being abused, support & help that person however you can. Listen, offer advice if that person asks for it, pray for & with that person & even learn about NPD.
And, everyone must understand what narcissistic abuse & NPD really are. The meaning of the word “narcissism” has been so tainted. Many people think being narcissistic is the same thing as being selfish when in fact, it is so very much more than simple selfishness. The true meaning of narcissism is so diluted & that needs to change! Raising awareness by talking about narcissistic abuse & NPD openly will help to make that change.
So remember, Dear Reader- speak out about narcissistic abuse! Help to raise awareness! Help victims!
I am obsessed with psychology. I wonder why people do the things they do, what makes them tick. I’m even hooked on the ID Channel & several of the true crime shows on that channel.
When a friend of mine told me about the MBTI test a couple of years ago, I was intrigued. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. I took the test & when I read my results was shocked. For the first time in my life, I realized I’m not the freak many people have said I am! In fact, I’m quite typical of my personality type. My type just happens not to be overly common.
Since that time, I’ve read a lot about my type & my husband’s as well. It’s helped me so much to understand both of us better. And, it helped me to understand the best ways to help myself heal from the narcissistic abuse I’ve experienced. My type is pretty much even logical & emotional. One thing that helps me is to understand the motivation behind the abuse. I’ve come to understand why my parents are/were narcissists, why my father didn’t protect me from my mother’s constant abuse & that being a narcissist means everything they do is motivated by narcissistic supply. Knowing all of that has helped me to understand completely that none of the abuse was my fault. Realizing everything they do is motivated by gaining narcissistic supply also helped me when I was in relationship with my parents to be prepared for what they might do. I could see things coming a mile away a lot of times so I wasn’t surprised when they happened. I also figured out what I think my parents’ types were, which helped me to understand them better. Granted most of our problems were due to their narcissism, but realizing that their personality types & mine were pretty much my polar opposite sure didn’t help the situation! We just don’t really understand each other because our personalities are naturally very different.
Learning about your personality type can benefit you too, Dear Reader. The more you understand yourself, the better you’ll be at finding ways to help you to heal. It also helps you not to take the cruel criticisms to heart that your narcissistic parent said. My mother in particular always made me feel like something was very wrong with me or I was crazy, so learning that I’m simply typical of my type was very freeing!
In case you’re interested, this is the test I took: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
If you decide to take the test, then learn all you can about your personality type. I find this site to be quite useful: http://personalitygrowth.com
There is one last link I want to share with you. This one is about the unhealthy side of each personality type. I found this to be beneficial because it shows you what behavior you are prone to if you’re dysfunctional. https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2017/07/31/evil-versions-every-myers-briggs-personality-type/
So many survivors of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with take on so much blame for being abused. They say things like, “I should’ve known he was this way when we first met…” or, “I was a difficult child.. my mother had to be hard on me.”
This makes me sad. People need to have a balanced view of blame rather than taking on too much.
If you too grew up with a narcissistic parent or two, there is a great deal of blame to be laid on your parent(s). If you have C-PTSD, anxiety or depression issues, struggle with self-harm or eating disorders, chances are very good the root of those problems lies with enduring narcissistic abuse as a child. Nothing you did could create these problems for yourself. It is your responsibility to deal with those problems, but not for having the problems.
If your narcissistic mother shamed you, told you that you were a mistake, ignored you or was abusive instead of disciplining you, the fault lies with her. No matter what a child does, a child cannot make her parent treat her in such cruel ways. No bad behavior is a valid reason to abuse a child!
Having trouble relating to other people after being raised by a narcissist or two is completely normal. The blame for that can be traced back to your narcissistic parent(s). However, the responsibility for making changes to have healthier relationships is on you.
Not having a healthy balance in such areas & accepting blame for these things can lead to nothing but misery. False guilt, shame, depression, anxiety & more can result.
Do you place blame where it belongs or do you take on too much blame, Dear Reader? I urge you to take a long, hard, honest look at your situation. Ask God to help you identify areas where you’re in need of balance. He will!
I realize that saying your narcissistic mother is to blame for your problems as an adult can trigger unkind, even cruel, comments from others who don’t understand narcissistic abuse. That being said, I urge you also to consider carefully who you discuss this with. Aim for safe people- people who have been through similar situations, who are non-judgmental & have your best interest at heart. If you’re unsure if anyone in your life currently fits that description, then check online. There are many online support groups. (I have a Facebook group that is full of love & support. You’re welcome to check it out if you like.) Talking about it can help you a great deal, when you talk with the right people.
There is a good amount of information out there about going no contact with narcissists. Many articles make it sound like going no contact will solve all of your problems. It definitely solves some. No longer having a narcissist in your life means you are no longer abused, which of course is a great thing. However, even so, it doesn’t solve all of your problems!
When a person has eliminated a relationship, people always seem to have opinions. There are even more opinions when the relationship in question is with a parent. The adult child is often referred to as selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, unreasonable & more. People often act as though you made this choice on a whim, when nothing could be further from the truth! The worst part is this judgement often comes from people close to you that you never expected would behave like this towards you. Not only does what they say hurt a great deal, but some people will side with the narcissistic parent & abandon you. Rarely does a person who severs ties with a parent have many allies.
Going no contact also doesn’t heal the wounds that your parent inflicted upon you. Those wounds are still there. You still are going to wake up each morning with C-PTSD, anxiety &/or depression. If you also were physically abused, the scars aren’t going to vanish just because your abusive parent is out of your life either.
In fact, I found in my experience and in talking to others that after implementing no contact, suddenly they felt they had more issues to deal with than they had previously. Repressed memories came up, they had more nightmares than usual, anxiety was much worse, they were very depressed & more. I firmly believe the reason for this is because when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, that narcissist basically takes up almost all of your thoughts. You’re so busy trying to figure out ways to please them or at least not trigger their wrath. You may be trying to find a way to escape the relationship unscathed. You’re definitely trying to maintain your sanity in an insane situation. Once the relationship is over, those things are gone. Your mind is free of a huge burden. Now it’s time to process all of what you have been through, & your emotional floodgates let loose. It can be pretty scary & overwhelming. I try to make the best of it, & remember these things that have come up are doing so for a reason. I talk to God about them, & write about them in my journal as ways to help me heal.
No contact is a very viable solution when dealing with narcissists. Often, it is the only solution. However, it isn’t an easy one. Dear Reader, if you’re considering going no contact, please know that it won’t solve all of your problems. It will help you a great deal, but don’t expect it to be easy.
When people tell you you’re stupid, crazy, ugly, etc., there is a reason for it, & it isn’t what you think.
A person saying such things to you doesn’t necessarily believe that you are those things. In fact, most likely they don’t believe it at all. Quite the contrary, they think you are intelligent, attractive, etc.
So why would a person say such awful things to another when they don’t believe them to be true? There are two very distinct possibilities.
Control. A person with low self-esteem is much easier to control than someone with healthy self-esteem. The more a person is beaten down, thinking they are stupid, worthless & other awful things, the easier that person is to control because they assume the controlling person knows best. Also, a person with low self-esteem will work as hard as they can to get love & approval. This works nicely for the controller because she can get anything she wants from the victim.
Projection. Narcissists love to project their flaws onto others. If the narcissist is a liar, she will accuse you of lying. Overeats? She’ll call you a glutton, pig or fat. By doing this projection thing, it allows the narcissist to be angry about the flaw while not accepting that they have it. It is just one in their arsenal of horrible coping skills.
The next time someone says terrible things about you, take notice. There is a very good reason for it, & chances are that it isn’t that they are offering you constructive criticisms in order to help improve you.
Those of us who have been through narcissistic abuse need to talk about it. It is part of the healing process, discussing our experiences. This happens for several reasons.
Narcissists routinely convince their victims of all manners of ridiculous things, & it takes a lot of talking to be able to sort out the truth from their lies.
Narcissistic abuse is very difficult to wrap your mind around, even when you have experienced it first hand. Talking about what you have been through makes it more real, & enables you to accept that these awful things did happen. Once that happens, you can begin to heal.
Narcissists invalidate their victims constantly, about every single thing that can be invalidated. Once we realize we have been abused & come away from that, we crave validation. We especially crave it about the experiences we had, because the narcissist told us we were the problem, they did nothing wrong. It helps us so much to hear that they were the problem, not us. We all need to hear this! The less we hear it, the more likely we are to continue believing we are the real problem in the relationship. We can’t heal if we don’t know this truth.
Some people may not understand that you need to talk about your experiences, & may be nasty to you, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with talking about it. It means you’re a normal person who has been through an abnormal situation.
When you find people who don’t understand your need to discuss what you have been through, it’s time to move on, & find others with whom you can discuss your experiences without fear of judgment. Other survivors are usually the safest people you can talk to. They understand how surreal everything is, & how you need validation. They also can share how they have learned to live with the abuse done to them.
Remember, Dear Reader, there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the need to discuss what you have been through! Go with it! You will feel so much better if you do.
There is often a great amount of faulty thinking among people that says if you understand why an abuser abuses, that means you’re justifying the abuse. While that certainly is possible, it isn’t always the case, & it’s also never wise.
Anyone who’s been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows narcissists love gaslighting. Any time they can mess with your perception, feelings & sanity, they are going to jump at that chance. This even happens when it comes to their abuse. They often deny it happened, say it didn’t happen the way you remember or even blame you for making them do whatever it is they did. As a result of all the gaslighting, it can be very difficult to know & understand the truth. In fact, it becomes so difficult, many victims do take on the blame for being abused.
I was one of those victims who believed being abused was my responsibility. If I would just be a better daughter, get better grades, obey my mother even more, etc. my mother wouldn’t have needed to spend so much time screaming at me & telling me what a horrible person I was. Maybe too, my father might try to protect me from her. I later carried that behavior into my first marriage & my current marriage as well, believing all of the problems in my marriage or with the in-laws were 100% my fault. In fact, it’s only been in the last probably 10 years or so I’ve been seeing how wrong that is.
One thing that helped me to see that I wasn’t always to blame is to understand the people who blamed me. I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then later that there are overt & covert narcissists. I learned how these people behave, & how they abuse. I also learned about their motivation always being procuring narcissistic supply. The more I learned, the more I understood my abusers. Things finally started to make sense. And, the more I realized those who blamed me when they were the abusers were really messed up! After a lifetime of hearing that I was the problem, I can’t tell you how freeing it was to learn beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was NOT the real problem!
A lot of people will say understanding your abuser is a waste of time. They’re evil, why bother? Maybe that works for them, which is great of course, but for me, it was an integral part of my healing.
But, this could have ended poorly just as easily. If I hadn’t questioned the “disorder” in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I probably would have bought into the false believe that narcissists can’t help how they behave, because it’s a disorder. Even seeing all the narcissists in my life control their abusive behavior very well, I wouldn’t have trusted my own instincts about it being something they can indeed control thanks to years of gaslighting. I could have justified their abuse because they have a “disorder” which means they can’t control their behavior. It’s not their fault they act the way they do. Who can control a disorder, after all?!
I believe this sort of thinking happens with some folks who learn about NPD. They hear it’s a disorder, & are willing to absolve the narcissist of responsibility for their behavior.
Maybe other people justify narcissist’s behavior because the narcissist had an abusive or neglectful childhood. While certainly that can create issues in a person, narcissism is a choice. Narcissists choose to behave the way they do, & they do it because it gets them what they want.
Many people justify their behavior because narcissists are not abusive all of the time. They throw in some nice behavior sometimes. This confuses victims. They know the narcissist is capable of being kind & hope she’ll return to being that way. They fail to realize this is only to lure a victim back into the narcissist’s web, so they make excuses for the bad behavior. They say things like, “She’s under a lot of stress lately” or, “He was just drunk- it’s not his fault.” Nice behavior done by a narcissist is never done out of love, but as a way to manipulate & control.
Justifying narcissistic abuse in any way is NOT healthy! It damages your mental health! It makes you believe you are to blame for what the narcissist does. It makes you apologize to the narcissist when she abuses you. It makes you tell yourself incredibly damaging things like you don’t matter.
Always remember, there is a huge difference between understanding your abuser & justifying her behavior. And, only one (understanding your abuser) has the ability to help you.
Some years ago, I began to realize I didn’t know who I really was. I was the result of people telling me who I was, how to dress, what to like & not like. It’s taken a long time but I can say honestly that now, I’ve finally shed that false person & become the person God made me to be.
This is very common with children of narcissistic parents.
As a child, you learn early on that your job is to please your narcissistic parent at all times no matter the cost. If there’s something about you that doesn’t please that parent, it’s best to change that into something that does please that parent rather than face the traumatic consequences. This behavior becomes such a habit, you aren’t even aware that you do it.
Eventually you grow up. Not into the person God created you to be- an adult version of that false self your narcissistic parent forced you to become.
While creating the false self worked for surviving childhood with a horribly abusive narcissistic parent, it no longer serves you well as an adult. Chances are, you’re unhappy & don’t even know why. Maybe you work at a job you hate. Even though it’s a good job that pays well, it just doesn’t fulfill you or bring you any joy. Maybe you wear a style of clothing you hate just because it’s what you feel you’re supposed to wear, thanks to your narcissistic parent.
It’s time for this behavior to stop. Whether or not your narcissistic parent is still a part of your life, it’s time to stop worrying about pleasing your parent & start worry about pleasing yourself.
As always, prayer is the best place you can start. Ask God to help you become the person He made you to be, & be glorified through you. Ask Him to show you what you need to do to accomplish this.
Also, start paying attention to yourself. This is hard to do, I know. Narcissistic parents raise their children to ignore themselves & focus on the parent, & that is a tough habit to break. It needs to be done though! Pay attention to how you feel about things. Do you really like that car you drive or is it just because your narcissistic parent said you should drive it? If your job isn’t fulfilling, ask yourself why? What about it doesn’t work well for you? Do you really like vanilla ice cream even though you were always told you didn’t? Even little things like the ice cream thing are important- your likes & dislikes make you, you. So pay attention! The more you pay attention to how you really feel about things, the easier it gets. And, the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn. You’re going to find out that you’re actually a very interesting, special, unique person!
Sometimes when abuse gets especially bad, it can put a person into shock. This can be expected when someone is beaten or raped, especially by someone known to the victim, but it comes other times as well.
In cases of narcissistic abuse, a narcissist can be much like a machine gun of abuse- shooting out abuse after abuse in a short period of time. A victim doesn’t have the time to cope with one episode before another comes along. Or, the abuse can be so outrageous that it is simply unbelievable. When this happens, victims can go into a state of shock
I believe this happens because the brain is trying to protect the victim. Shock gives a person time to come to terms with the fact something awful has happened. Unfortunately though, it still can be difficult to go through. Focus & concentration can be hard to come by. You may feel very “spacey”. You also may miss things you normally notice such as if someone is making a joke. And, you may not be able to identify your emotions.
During the last few weeks of my father’s life, due to the constant abuse I received for not saying good bye to him as well as my own grief, I experienced shock like I’ve never experienced before. (That’s saying something too since I experienced it on a regular basis growing up due to constant abuse, especially in my late teens.) At the time of me writing this, my father has been dead for about six weeks now, & the shock is still there. It’s finally starting to diminish a little bit. One plus at least is I’m learning how to cope with shock, so I thought I’d share what I’m learning with you, Dear Reader.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to get over shock right away. It happened for a reason- to protect your mental health. Don’t try to force yourself to get better right away, because obviously you aren’t ready to cope with what happened just yet. It reminds me of repressed memories- forcing them to come back to the forefront of your mind can cause you more suffering than is necessary. Just let the shock work itself out.
Try to take care of yourself. I say try because as an adult child of narcissistic parents, I know self care isn’t easy. Try it anyway. Get plenty of rest, eat good food, & don’t neglect your physical health. Shock can take a toll on your body as well as your mind, so treat it well.
Do things that make you feel nurtured. Drink herbal tea, coffee or cocoa. Spend a day curled up in your favorite blanket & watch funny movies all day. Buy yourself little treats like a new book or CD you’ve been wanting. Simple little gestures can help you to feel better.
In time, the shock will lift, & you will need to face what you’re feeling after your trauma. Don’t forget to continue taking good care of your physical & mental health when that happens! Emotional work takes up a lot of energy, so you need to take care of both your physical & mental health as you heal.
I noticed something about my situation that I wonder if others have faced as well. During the worst of the shock, I stopped remembering my dreams. This was very odd for me as I’ve always had very vivid dreams that I clearly remember. I believe that is because my brain was trying to come to terms with the daily traumas I endured for that time. I finally started remembering some of my dreams about five weeks after the last traumatic episode surrounding my father’s death happened.
I find dreams to be extremely helpful in understanding my emotional health. I strongly advice paying attention to your dreams once you begin having them again. Write them down. Look up dream symbols to help you to understand what your dreams are about. Personally, I like http://www.dreammoods.com . Also ask God to help you to understand them. You may find some valuable insight in your dreams.
Rejection is a huge part of narcissistic abuse. It may not seem like it at first, but when you think about it, it really is.
Rejection isn’t only kicking someone out of your life. Rejection can take many other forms.
Telling someone that they aren’t good enough is a form of rejection.
A parent failing to protect their child is rejecting the child.
Not allowing a child to have any rights is rejection.
Not hearing a child is rejection.
Invalidating a child is certainly rejection.
Treating a child as if the child has no value is rejection.
Rejection in childhood is extremely damaging. It can destroy a child’s self-esteem, inhibits their ability to trust people, & makes them relate to others in unhealthy ways. They can develop anxiety or anger problems.
To undo this damage, prayer is vital, in my opinion. Ask God where to start.
I also believe that learning what the Bible has to say about you is very important. I created a list of positive affirmations, & put them on my website. Feel free to print them out if you like. They can be found here: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Another thing that I find is important is realizing that any parent who rejects her own child has problems. Narcissists are incredibly dysfunctional in their thinking, which is why they hurt even their own children. They have problems! Normal people don’t deliberately hurt anyone, especially their own children.
Dear Reader, just because you have been rejected by your parent doesn’t mean you are bad or flawed or whatever they said about you. You are a child of God, & God doesn’t make mistakes!
Psalm 27:10 “Although my father and my mother have abandoned me,
Yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].” (AMP)
Denial is a common survival tool of victims of all types of abuse. Pretending things didn’t happen, weren’t that bad or there was a good reason your abuser acted as she did are all forms of denial.
Denial may help you to cope for a while, but it shouldn’t be a permanent solution. It can be very unhealthy.
It enables you to avoid facing the damage done & the pain you feel. Although that may feel good for a short time, in the long run, it can hurt your physical & mental health. Stifling emotions can create anxiety, depression, headaches, body aches with no physical cause, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes & more.
Denial may get you through a bad situation as it’s happening, but otherwise, it has no benefits. I know facing the ugly truth can be hard, but I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to face it. As hard as it may be, it’s actually much easier in the long run than denial is.
Facing the truth allows you to heal. When you no longer deny the facts, you can see the situation for what it is, then deal with it & heal from the damage.
Staying in denial often also means staying in an abusive situation. Many people think they don’t have a right to be upset about their situation because their narcissistic parent wasn’t as bad as someone else’s, or at least their abusive husband didn’t beat them like their friend’s did, so they continue to have a close relationship with their abuser. There is no logic at all in this! Abuse is abuse, period! It’s all bad! Degrees of abuse don’t matter. What does matter is no one should tolerate being abused!
When you know you need to start facing certain things, it’s time to get into prayer. Ask God to help you. Ask Him for strength & courage. Ask Him to enable you to face whatever you need to, & only to allow you to face what you are able to at any given time. You will be glad you did this as you begin to face ugly truths. And, you’ll be glad you started facing those truths once you realize how much healthier you’ve become!
Hello, Dear Readers!
If you want to check them out, you can click on the links in the last paragraph, or go to my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn early in life to be invisible. Stay out of everyone’s way. Don’t bother anyone with your “petty” needs or problems. After all, your parents are the important ones, not you. You are there to attend to their needs, not them to yours. They have drilled these so-called facts into your head from birth, so you know them well.
Being invisible is not only a way of life, but a handy survival tool in that type of environment. The less your narcissistic parents notice you, the less likely they’ll use or abuse you. Staying quiet & out of their way can make your childhood somewhat easier.
While being invisible can serve you well while in such a toxic environment, it is no longer necessary once you are out of it. In fact, it won’t help you at all & may hurt you instead.
If you continue to remain invisible, people may not necessarily abuse you, but they also will not be there for you or love you as you need, because they will not notice you. Or, if they do notice you, your needs won’t be very important to them because they don’t appear important to you. Not discussing your needs makes people not even realize you have them.
Dear Reader, if this is you, it’s your time to become visible! Let people know you exist. It is perfectly OK to have needs & wants, & to let those be known among those close to you. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. In normal, healthy relationships, both parties have needs & let each other know what they are with the expectation that when possible, the other person will fulfill them. God has created people to need one another, after all. He obviously knows best, so why not try living life His way?
I have a thing about beauty.. I love it in all forms & surround myself with it as much as possible. There is something so peaceful, comforting & calming about it to me, especially when it comes to beauty in nature.
A few days after my father died, I looked out my kitchen window. I saw a couple of beautiful butterflies on the marigold plants in our backyard! They not only brought me comfort due to their special meaning in my life, but they also were so beautiful they brought some peace & joy.
I thought I’d make today’s post a bit different than usual, & share the beauty with you, Dear Reader. As I’ve said many times, we can’t focus on narcissism all the time- it’s too depressing. Consider this a break from that depressing topic & take in the beauty that God has created. 🙂
As someone who has been through a lot of narcissistic abuse, like many others, I have had to get to know the real me. My parents told me who I was my entire life until our relationship ended, & sadly, I believed them for far too long. I assumed they were right- I was stupid, ugly, fat, a horrible disappointment, wasn’t allowed to have any boundaries, was responsible for fixing other people’s problems, was the reason for any problem in any relationship I had, the world’s worst pet parent & more.
In the last few years, I have gotten very serious about dumping their cruel ideas & getting to know who God made me to be. I hadn’t realized it until today, but in that process, I haven’t forgotten who my parents told me to be. Instead, I still remember it, but I no longer believe it. I choose to believe what God says about me rather than their cruel & abusive words.
I think remembering what they say is important, at least it is for me, so I’m going to guess it may be for some of you as well. It’s a good reminder just how abusive & dysfunctional my parents truly are. That helps me to stay no contact even when the flying monkeys come out. It also reminds me of how long I tolerated such abuse, how I refuse to tolerate that anymore & how much healing I’ve done in the last few years.
Remembering their words also helps me to realize how little they actually knew me. Typical of narcissists, my parents never took the time to get to know me. I am absolutely nothing like what they say I am & never have been. One example is when I was 17 & my mother accused me of having sex with my entire high school football team. I’ve always seen sex as something to be shared with someone special, & never was promiscuous. For her to think I was capable of something like that is absolutely insane. Just more proof of how little she knew me to believe I was capable of something like that. And, if someone knows me so little, then why should I take their opinions of me seriously? You only listen to the opinions of someone who knows something about a matter, right? Would you ask an artist how to fix that pinging sound your engine makes? No- you’d ask a mechanic. So why would you give any credence to the words of someone who knows nothing about you?
Also, criticisms from a narcissist are often nothing but projection. They have nothing to do with you & everything to do with the narcissist. By accusing you of doing things that she actually does, it allows her to be upset about that flaw, to vent her anger or disgust, while accepting no personal responsibility about it or making appropriate changes. If those criticisms aren’t about you, why would you hold onto them, & think they are?
If you think it may help you to remember what your narcissistic parent has said about you as it has me, then give it a try. Think about what they said about you. Or maybe write them down since writing often brings clarity that speaking doesn’t. Chances are, you’ll see how incredibly foolish what was said about you was. Of course it hurt, but it was also foolish. You’ll also see how untrue it was. And, once you realize those were all lies, you can stop believing them & get to know yourself as the wonderful person God made you to be. xoxo
A recent conversation with my husband gave me an interesting revelation.
He said when I talk about the traumatic things I’ve been through, it’s almost always what my parents did rather than how I feel or how things affected me. He’s right. I immediately chalked that up to having C-PTSD. The disorder means sometimes I have to talk things to death to come to some sort of terms with them. However, I felt there was something I wasn’t realizing about this. God revealed to me what it is.
Surviving growing up with narcissistic parents instills a need for constant validation in a person. That is why I talk more about the things they did rather than my feelings. I can handle my feelings just fine on my own. What I need help with is understanding exactly how bad my parents have been to me.
When you’re raised by narcissists, your reality is much different than real reality. In my case, I learned my mother was always right & should get whatever she wants even if that means hurting me. I learned my father is very helpless, & couldn’t do anything to take care of me or protect me from my mother’s abuse. I also learned very early in life that my parents’ emotional needs were my responsibility. I was to have no needs or feelings of my own since that could be a distraction from them & their needs & feelings.
Pretty messed up, huh?
Thankfully, as an adult, I’ve learned how wrong, dysfunctional & abusive these things are. Even so, I still battle them to a degree simply because these beliefs were very deeply instilled in me. If I tell someone about some awful thing my parents did to me & they get angry & say things like, “That was terrible! It was wrong to do that to you!” their outrage helps to validate my pain & tear down those false beliefs. An objective third party seeing that they were wrong & I wasn’t to blame (as I always was with my parents), is a huge help to me!
Are you like me? When you discuss the abuse, do you discuss more about the events than how you feel about them? Or, do you seek validation frequently by asking people if your perception or feelings are OK? If so, know there is nothing wrong with you, even though it may feel that way. It’s just one more thing that narcissistic abuse can cause in a person. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept it for what it is, & ask God to help you heal.
Lately, I’ve been having a problem. I’ve been doubting myself. A LOT. Am I really doing God’s will by writing about narcissism? Am I even writing the things He wants me to write about? Is my information accurate? Am I wrong for being no contact with my parents, even though I know beyond a doubt that relationship would’ve killed me from stress?
God taught me some interesting things while praying about all of this. I think what He taught me can help at least some of you too.
For one thing, this doubt is normal under the circumstances. As God reminded me, I’ve had a lifetime of my parents force-feeding me their views & allowing me no room for freedom of my own. Even fighting it & forming my own, their views will still pop up sometimes, but it will stop in time. Doubting what I write about is normal since my mother used to scream about how I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry” every time she even suspected I was talking about her abuse. No doubt you’ve been through something similar with your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader. When you find you doubt yourself, that may be what’s happening to you too. You can’t expect a lifetime of programming to vanish quickly. It takes a while! I’ve noticed it happens much less frequently with me than it did even a year ago. I can’t say I’m delivered from self doubt, but I know I’m well on my way.
I also learned that if you ask God to send you confirmations, He doesn’t mess around! lol A couple of days ago, I asked Him to show me if I’m on the right track, & it’s been interesting since! At first, it was a ton of memes on Facebook that spoke directly to me. Then, my father called.. six times in two minutes to be precise. (I didn’t answer of course. My call block lets blocked numbers ring once, then it hangs up on them, which is only long enough for the number to register on the caller ID. That’s how I knew he called). It hit me how that is just like him- he wants to talk to me so that is all that matters to him. The fact I have no desire to talk to him doesn’t matter- only his wants matter. This sort of thing has happened so many times prior to me going no contact. He’d call repeatedly when I wasn’t home or was very busy, & when we later spoke, he was upset I didn’t answer his call. Not being home wasn’t a good enough excuse & neither was having a life. Thinking of this was all good for me to remind me why I’m no contact!
Then, I got a wonderful note telling me how much my work has changed someone’s life. That was an incredible blessing! I do what I do to help people, & hearing that because of my writing, someone’s life was drastically improved made my day! Well, more like month! It was also a good confirmation that I’m doing God’s will.
The icing on the cake however was this Scripture that God brought to my attention this morning. Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV) It was such a wonderful reminder that my pain wasn’t in vain- that God can use even the worst & most painful circumstances for good. Joseph spoke these words to his brothers. If all he suffered could count for something, our pain can as well!
Aside from bragging about the goodness of God, I wanted to share this with you to encourage you, Dear Reader. I know first hand how hard it can be sometimes when self doubts kick in. It can make you feel wrong, bad or even crazy. I want to encourage you to do as I did- talk to God about it. He is so patient & loving, wanting to help & encourage you when you need it! Look at all He did for me when all I did was ask for a little help! Pretty cool stuff, I think! He can & will do the same for you!
If you’re in the unenviable position of having a narcissist in your life on a regular basis, you have to do all you can to protect your mental health. Narcissists do their level best to obliterate a person’s self-esteem & sometimes even their sanity.
One important way you can protect your mental health is not to make excuses for their bad behavior.
It might just be human nature, but people often want to justify someone’s bad behavior. In many cases, that’s fine. When someone cuts you off in traffic, maybe he didn’t mean to be a jerk, he was just in a hurry. When your best friend snaps at you, it’s probably because her stressful job is getting to her- she didn’t mean to hurt you. Small things like this it’s easy to forgive & forget. They aren’t a big deal because the chances that person meant to upset or hurt you are virtually non existent.
With narcissists however, this isn’t the case. Their entire existence revolves around getting narcissistic supply in any way they can. If people are hurt in the process, so be it. That doesn’t matter to a narcissist.
I used to make excuses for the behavior narcissists in my life. As a child, I told myself my narcissistic mother was simply overprotective, not manipulative & controlling to an extreme. When my father did nothing to protect me from her abuse, I told myself he just couldn’t do anything. It’s not his fault.
It took me a long time, but I’ve finally accepted the truth- that there is no excuse for narcissists to behave as they do. They know what they’re doing & if they didn’t, they wouldn’t work so hard to hide their behavior. They also know the difference between right & wrong- they just don’t care. Yes, these are some ugly truths, but they are also truths you need to accept about narcissists.
Making excuses for a narcissist’s behavior only benefits the narcissist, never a victim. Excuses show the narcissist that you will tolerate their abuse without complaint & excuse it away. This basically gives them the green light to do whatever awful things to you they want to do.
Excuses also imprint in your mind that you don’t have the right to speak up, that you must tolerate abuse, because the narcissist has a good reason for behaving that way. This is absolutely NOT the truth, & you do NOT need to believe that it is!
Excusing a narcissist’s behavior is basically gaslighting yourself. You’re lying to yourself, telling yourself the behavior is normal or understandable when it’s anything but. You get enough gaslighting from the narcissist- don’t add to it by excusing her behavior.
Remember, Dear Reader, narcissists abuse for one simple reason- themselves. They want narcissistic supply. There is no excuse for that. Don’t tell yourself otherwise!
Triggers are things that remind you of something else. Sometimes, they can be good such as the sound of whipped cream being sprayed from that can reminds me of my late kitty, Delta, who loved it & would do a little dance for a spray of whipped cream.
Often though, when you come from an abusive past, triggers aren’t so nice. Certain scents, sights, sounds or situations can take you right back to a traumatic event, making you feel like that scared child you once were.
Triggers are easy to understand when they are obvious. The scent of a perfume that your abusive mother wore when you were a child or a cruel nickname that your father called you are obvious. Not all triggers are so obvious though.
Some triggers appear to have absolutely nothing to do with why you feel the way you do. Those triggers are what we’re going to talk about today.
Some triggers on the surface seem innocuous, yet you end up feeling just as bad as you did as a child in a traumatic situation. Talking to someone who shows no empathy may enrage you because it makes you feel like it did when you were growing up with your narcissistic parent, for example.
When this happens, it can be confusing. Having a strong reaction to something that isn’t really a big deal can make you wonder about your sanity. It’s a horrible feeling, but it can be dealt with.
As soon as you can, go somewhere where you can be alone & pray. Ask God to show you what is going on, what’s the root of this feeling? He will show you, & from there, you can begin to heal. It may be something that you thought was small, but apparently it wasn’t since it’s still causing you problems. Or, it may be a big, ongoing issue. Either way, once you know what the problem is, then ask Him to help you to heal & show you what you need to do in order to heal. Write your experiences & feelings in a journal. Talk with a therapist or trusted friend. Work on this however helps you, & the trigger will lose its power.