Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Having A Healthy Perspective

If you have survived narcissistic abuse, then you know how badly it can mess with your mind.  One thing it does is it can skew a person’s perspective in all kinds of ways.  It can leave a person feeling badly about themselves, such as believing they are ugly or stupid when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also can make a person overly pessimistic, because he or she has had so many bad things happen to them.  Or, it can turn a person overly optimistic, because either he or she has decided not to be so negative like the narcissist who abused them or he or she is  trying so hard to distance from the abuse in every possible way.

In any case, neither being too pessimistic or optimistic is good.  Pessimists are often depressed because they only see the bad things in life & expect only bad things to happen.  Optimists are often depressed, too, because they constantly expect good things to happen.  When something happens that isn’t so good, they are shocked & saddened.

Being realistic yet slightly optimistic seems to be the healthiest way to think, in my opinion anyway.  You accept things as they are, whether good or bad, & if there is a way to glean good from it, you do it.

It can be tricky to get your thinking more balanced after being so out of balance for a long time, but it is still possible.  It takes time, patience, understanding with yourself, focus & help from God.

Prayer truly is the best place to start.  Ask God for whatever it is you need, such as helping you to be more aware of unhealthy thoughts so you can change them.

I recommend too, focusing on God.  If your relationship with Him isn’t particularly close, then work on it.  Drawing close to your Heavenly Father really helps to bring comfort, peace & joy.

Also try to focus on what you think about.  Many times, people just think things & don’t even realize what they are thinking about.  Slow your thoughts down & pay attention to the things that cross your mind.  Acknowledge them & accept them without judgment.

Question those thoughts, too.  Is it possible that your expectations of this person/situation are unrealistic?  Ok, so this situation is pretty bad.. is there something good that you can take away from it?

If you tend to think too emotionally, then try to interject some logic into your thoughts.  If you have trouble doing this, try imagining your situation not as yours, but as that of a friend who has come to you with this situation, looking for advice or comfort.  How would you feel about it as an outsider?  What would you think of your friend’s feelings?  Thinking this way can help to detach you some emotionally so you can look at situations more objectively.

Although it may take some time, you can learn to have a healthier perspective on life.  It will be well worth your time & energy when you are a happier & more peaceful person.

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Hyper Vigilance

Hyper vigilance is a term used to describe when a person feels an extreme awareness of one’s surroundings.  It’s so much more than simply noticing obvious things, such as if a new person entered the room or if someone else left the room.  It’s being aware that & much more.  It can be an awareness of things most people don’t even notice, such as if someone had a fleeting expression of anger or someone’s tone of voice changing ever so slightly.  It also can include an extremely exaggerated startle response, increased heart rate & fast, shallow breathing, feelings of anxiety & even panic.

Hyper vigilance is a natural part of C-PTSD & is extremely common among those who have survived narcissistic abuse.

When you are in the midst of narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that in order to avoid the narcissist’s rage, you have to be perfect.  In order to be perfect, you must be aware of whatever the narcissist thinks, feels, wants or needs at any given time.  To be aware of such things, you have to notice even the slightest change in the narcissist.  Even such very subtle things as a slightly raised eyebrow or a transient half smile can clue you in to whatever the narcissist may want from you or is thinking.  Hyper vigilance becomes a very useful survival skill with narcissists, because it can protect you from the narcissist’s rage & abuse.  Unfortunately though, once the relationship with a narcissist has ended, the hyper vigilance often remains even though there is no longer a need for it.

There are some ways you can cope with hyper vigilance in this situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very helpful.  Talking about your feelings & experiences is helpful, because when you bring problems out into the open, they often lose their control & power over you.  You also begin to see the flaws in the thinking that causes your problems in ways you never did before which means you can correct these things.  Even if you opt not to partake in therapy, just talking about your feelings & experiences can help, if you talk with only safe, non judgmental & understanding people.  Best of all, if you can find someone who has experienced situations similar to yours because that person can understand you as others cannot.

When you feel anxious, stop & take a deep breath.  Release it slowly.  This simple action enables you to take a moment to stop & regain your focus, plus the act of breathing helps to calm your body.

Remind yourself that you are safe.  There is no danger & no need to be hyper vigilant in this situation.  Look around at your surroundings & take in what you see.  If you’re with someone, ask them for help if you need it.

Acknowledge what you feel.  Question it.  Does it make sense in this situation?  Why or why not?  Logic helps to calm emotions, especially emotions that are disproportionate to the situation at hand.  Use that to your favor by questioning what you feel.

Medication may be helpful, so talk to your doctor or therapist if you are interested in trying it.  Anti-anxiety & anti-depressant medications can be quite helpful.  There are many to choose from, so it may take some time to find what works best for you.  Also, don’t forget to ask your doctor about possible side effects before you agree to take a medication.  There are also herbal alternatives, such as Valerian Root, lemon balm & kava kava that may help to calm your anxiety, & St. John’s Wort & Sam-E for depression.

Hyper vigilance is a nuisance, I know, but it can be managed!  Be as patient, understanding & gentle with yourself as possible, & you will see positive results in time.  xoxo

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For Anyone Who Has Gone No Contact With An Abusive Parent

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How A Narcissist’s Projection Can Work For You

Most of us who have survived narcissistic abuse know at least some about projection.  Projection is when a narcissist accuses a victim of something that the victim doesn’t do, but the narcissist does.  As one example, my narcissistic mother accused me of lying more times than I can count.  Although in all fairness I lied some to her, I didn’t lie to her often, & when I did, it was out of self preservation.  She, however, has lied to & about me more times than I can count.

Projection is a very effective weapon for a narcissist.  It allows the narcissist to get upset about the flaw they are accusing another person of while simultaneously accepting no responsibility whatsoever for it or making appropriate changes in their behavior.  It also means that unless the victim is aware of the phenomenon of projection, the victim will listen to the narcissist & make whatever changes they need to in order to please the narcissist.  This means plenty of narcissistic supply to any narcissist.  Controlling a victim?  Turning a situation around so the victim feels responsible while absolving oneself of responsibility at the same time?!  This is a big narcissistic supply win!

Victims need to be aware of projection so not only do they refuse to accept this burden & blame any longer, but also so the narcissist in their life is deprived of getting their narcissistic supply.  Depriving a narcissist of supply is VERY important to help you maintain your sanity while in a relationship with any narcissist.

Another reason to know about projection is because it can help you to learn about the narcissist.  Remember what projection is- a narcissist accusing a victim of things that they are doing, not the victim.  A narcissistic wife who accuses her husband of cheating is most likely cheating or at the very least, has chosen someone she wants to have an affair with.  The narcissistic boss who accuses an employee of stealing from the company probably has stolen quite a bit.  A narcissistic parent who accuses their adult child of lying is most likely a liar.

If you pay attention to what the narcissist in your life accuses you of doing, you can learn what they are up to.  This knowledge can help you to figure out ways to deal with the narcissist because now you know just what you’re dealing with.

The next time the narcissist in your life accuses you of some outrageous behavior, Dear Reader, I urge you to listen to it.  Not because they are right, but because it can help you to understand what they are up to.

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My Ebooks Are On Sale For The Entire Month Of July

My ebook publisher is having a sale on my books for the entire month of July.  25% off!  Check it out at the link below

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

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Why Narcissists Abuse Empathic People

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Why Do Narcissists Doubt Those Who Say They’re Sick?

If you have a narcissist in your life, no doubt that you have had the unpleasant experience of telling that person that you are sick only to have them not believe you.  I certainly have.  I can’t count how many times my mother didn’t believe me that I had the flu or some sickness.  She didn’t even believe I was injured when clearly I was limping or bruised.  In fact, after she threw me into a wall when I was 19 & I had back pain for the next 10 years, she deliberately would hand me heavy items, smack me in the back & tell people I was faking the injury.

Does any part of my story sound familiar to you?  I would guess it does.  It’s so upsetting & frustrating, isn’t it?  Even if you don’t care what this person thinks of you, it’s hurtful knowing they actually think you’d be capable of lying, let alone about something as serious as your health.  It also can be difficult because if the narcissist is talented enough at gaslighting, you may start to doubt yourself & believe what the narcissist says.  I know, it sounds hard to believe, but it can happen.  I had plenty of times where I wondered if my mother was right, & I really was faking my back injury.

I used to wonder why this happens.  Why don’t narcissists believe people when they say they’re sick or injured?  Eventually, I think I figured it out.

As anyone who knows anything about narcissism knows, narcissists lack empathy.  If another person is sick or injured, they simply couldn’t care less.  So what if someone is suffering?  It doesn’t affect the narcissist, so it doesn’t matter to the narcissist.  If they can convince a person that they truly aren’t sick or injured, maybe the person will stop “bothering” the narcissist with their complaints & problems.

There is also the attention factor.  Narcissists expect to be the center of attention at all times.  If someone is sick or injured, other people will care.  Their attention will be on the patient, not the narcissist.  This is a problem for any narcissist.  If they can convince others that the patient isn’t really sick or injured, they may be able to divert all attention back to themselves.

Along the lines of getting attention is the fact that many narcissists will exaggerate or even outright fake illness or injury for attention.  Not long before the last time I spoke to my mother, she had a trip to the emergency room.  Suddenly she was violently sick to her stomach one day, & my father called an ambulance.  It turned out simply to be vertigo.  Highly annoying, yes, but not serious.  A few hours at the emergency room, & she was home again.  When I spoke to her that last time, she mentioned how she “was in the hospital.”  That comment made it sound much more serious than it actually was, didn’t it?

There are also those who will make themselves sick or hurt themselves in order to gain attention from their loved ones & from medical staff.  Munchausen Syndrome is what that is called.

I believe that because some narcissists will fake or exaggerate their own health issues or even harm themselves, they believe other people do the same.  Narcissists tend to see everyone as alike.  They expect other people to do the exact same things that they do, so if they will fake problems, it’s only natural to them to assume that other people will do the same. They can’t seem to comprehend that other people don’t act like they do.

The next time the narcissist in your life doesn’t believe you about being sick or injured, I hope you will remember this post.  Their lack of belief is their problem, & it has nothing to do with you at all.

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Recovering From A Smear Campaign

After escaping abuse at the hands of a narcissist, many victims find their narcissist has created a smear campaign against them.  In other words, they trash the victim’s reputation to anyone & everyone who will listen.  They also turn friends & family against the victim, including people the victim never expected could be turned against them.  This on top of all of the horrors of the abuse can be utterly devastating.

When a narcissist creates a smear campaign, you first need to remember what it is.  It’s an abusive tactic designed to isolate you, to leave you without support & love by making people think terribly of you.

A smear campaign is also done to remove your credibility, so if you tell others what the narcissist did to you, you won’t be believed.  It is a way for a narcissist to protect his or her reputation by removing the believability of the claims of their abusive ways & focus from their behavior while making a victim look bad at the same time.

This may be the hardest part of a smear campaign, but it is also very true.  People who blindly believe the lies don’t truly love you.  If they did, they would know you well enough to recognize the lies rather than believe them.  They also would defend you to the person spreading such lies.  As painful as this realization is, it’s also very important.  You need to know who truly loves you & who doesn’t.  This is the one good thing about a smear campaign, how it shows you who loves you & who doesn’t.

You also need to remember that ultimately, this smear campaign isn’t about you.  It’s about the narcissist who started it.  The narcissist wouldn’t have started it if you wouldn’t have seen the ugliness behind the mask.  Because you did though, he or she has determined it’s best to destroy your reputation & your credibility so their secret will remain safe.  As an added bonus, the narcissist gets narcissistic supply by hurting you & feeling powerful by destroying your reputation.

Those who support & help to spread the lies of the smear campaign aren’t innocent either.  They are also gaining something from what they are doing.  Maybe they have gained favor with the narcissist, maybe the narcissist is giving them money or gifts, or maybe they’re just getting narcissistic supply by looking like they care while they’re abusing you by slandering your good name.  There is also the possibility that they are in denial about what the narcissist is, so they are trying to shut you down so their denial won’t be threatened.

When a smear campaign happens, the best thing you can do is to ignore it.  Ignore everything that is being said about you & don’t defend yourself.  Anything you say to defend yourself may be taken as proof that the narcissist is right about you, that you really are crazy, angry or whatever other nonsense the narcissist says.  The best thing you can do is to live your life.  Let your good character shine & it will prove the smear campaign to be wrong.  Anyone who cares about the truth will see that your behavior doesn’t line up with what is being said about you, & question what they have heard.

If anyone tries to tell you what the narcissist is saying about you, if at all possible, end the conversation.  Change the subject.  Walk away.  Do not engage in it.  You don’t need to hear the lies that are being spread about you.

And never ever forget that this smear campaign isn’t about you nor is it a reflection on who you are.  It’s about the narcissist who started it & the mindless minions who help to spread it.

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How Untruths Can Become A Part Of You

 

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To Those Who Have Gone No Contact With Abusive Parents

Those of us who have gone no contact with abusive parents most likely have heard the same invalidating, nonsensical comments.

  • “But that’s your MOTHER!”
  • “Your father can’t help it… that’s just how he is!”
  • “You need to let what they say roll off your back.”
  • “You need to forgive & forget/honor your parents!”
  • “You only get one set of parents!”

Statements like this make me cringe.  People who say such utterly moronic comments truly have zero clue what it’s like to be in the position of feeling no contact is the only option left to protect our sanity.

If you have gone no contact, Dear Reader, then this post today is to remind you of some things.

First, no one has the right to tell you how to feel about anything, let alone your abusive parent’s actions.  You know how it feels to you, & that is all that matters.  Just because it may not bother someone else so much doesn’t mean you’re automatically wrong.  It means you two are different.

Second, no one has the right to dictate how you should handle the relationship with your abusive parent.  They aren’t in the relationship so they don’t need to have an opinion on it, let alone share that opinion with you as if it was the Gospel.

Third, just because you are no longer speaking to your abusive parent doesn’t mean you aren’t honoring that parent.  There is absolutely NO honor in tolerating abuse.  See this article for more information: What It Really Means To Honor Your Parents

Forth, you have every right to protect yourself from abuse from anyone, including your own parent.  There is nothing Godly or holy about tolerating abuse.  Nothing.

Fifth, remember that the person saying these things has absolutely zero clue of all the heartache you have endured, all the tears shed, all the prayers & begging God to change things & to show you what to do.  This person is talking out of sheer ignorance, & is NOT someone whose advice you should listen to.

Sixth, many people who say such invalidating nonsense come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds.  You facing your pain reminds them of their own pain that they are trying to ignore.  Seeing you face your pain makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs.  Or, it threatens their denial.  If they had a decent relationship with your narcissistic parent, you clearly showing the truth about your parent threatens their delusion that your parent is a good person.  Either way, they want to shut you down because of their own issues & lack of courage.

Lastly, if you have doubts about whether or not you’ve made the right decision to go no contact with your parent (which we all do at some point), ask God to tell you.  He will tell you nothing but the truth & it will help you greatly.  Some time back, I was starting to have doubts about being no contact with my mother.  Elderly, widowed & on her own for the first time at almost 80 years old, it’s natural I felt badly for her.  I asked God one morning if I should resume contact.  Immediately, I knew what would happen if I did.  I could see it kinda like a movie playing in my mind.  At first, she was nice & not very demanding.  As time wore on though, she expected me to come by a couple of times a week, then three times a week, then daily.  I would be forced to be at her beck & call, unable to take care of my own family & home, & even my writing would be neglected.  I knew in my heart God was right, & this is exactly what would happen, because it happened before.  My mother’s mother was this same exact way.  Physically & mentally, there is no way I could handle this, plus I can’t allow my calling & family to suffer just to provide someone with narcissistic supply.  God helped me to stay on the right track, just like when He told me it was time to go no contact with my parents in the first place.  He can do the same for you.  All you have to do is ask.

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Abusers Don’t Abuse Just Anyone

So many people seem to think that because an abusive person was pleasant with them, it means that person wasn’t abusive.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Abusers are very selective in the specific types of people they wish to abuse.  This means not everyone fits into the abusive person’s agenda.

Abusers aim for people who have experienced abuse in their past.  Most people, including victims, will assume the victim is the problem if they have had multiple abusive relationships, because he or she is the common denominator in these awful relationships.  It makes sense to some degree to think that way.  However, it doesn’t mean that is always the truth.

Abusers also aim for empathetic people with a kind heart because they are much more willing to excuse abuse.  These people will understand that their abuser has suffered trauma in some way, so they tell themselves that their abuser is only acting out of dysfunction.  This leads them to tolerate a great deal of abuse that they normally wouldn’t be willing to tolerate.  I did this with my parents & my late mother in-law.  I can tell you that it was a huge mistake which led to me being hurt a great deal.

Or, people with a kind heart may want to try to “fix” this “broken” person as a way to help them.  Although the fact that they want to help people is quite admirable, this line of thinking can set a person up for abusive people to take advantage of & hurt them.

Insecure people are also a good target for abusive people, because abusers realize that insecure people are very pliable.  It won’t take a great deal of work for a narcissist to change someone who is insecure into whatever it is a narcissist wants.

If you aren’t insecure though, chances are good that your self confidence was seen as a challenge to your abuser.  While narcissists do like insecure victims, confident ones also are a good thing in their mind.  Confident victims are a bit of a challenge.  If they can destroy a confident person, then they see themselves as very powerful, which provides a great deal of narcissistic supply.

In order to avoid these awful situations, I have some suggestions.

First, as always I recommend prayer.  Turn to God & He will help you.  Talk to Him about whatever it is you feel & ask Him to help you.  Ask Him to identify easily the red flags & to give you creative ideas to cope with this situation.

If there is something about a person that makes you uncomfortable, even if all outward signs look good, trust that the uncomfortable feeling is there for a reason.  Watch the person’s actions closely for either good or bad signs & it won’t take you long before you recognize whether this person is abusive or not.

Also, always remember your boundaries & do NOT compromise them!  What are you comfortable with or uncomfortable with?  What are you willing to do or not willing to do?  You have every right to feel as you do & to enforce those boundaries however you feel is appropriate.

Keep learning, growing & getting healthier.  The more you do that, the less abusive people will be attracted to you.  Abusers of all types size people up quickly, & if they see right away that you’re emotionally & mentally healthy, they will be more inclined to leave you alone.  As an added bonus, the healthier you are, the more other healthy, functional people will be attracted to you.

Lastly, never, ever forget that even if someone does abuse you, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault.  Ultimately, the choice to abuse someone belongs squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, not the victim.  There is nothing any victim can do to force someone to abuse them.

There is no way to avoid abusive people entirely simply because they are everywhere.  However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being abused.

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About Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is a common phenomenon in society today.  The woman who was abused by her husband is to blame for not leaving him sooner.  The victim of rape is blamed for being drunk or high.  The victim of theft is blamed for not locking his door.

This awful phenomenon invalidates the pain of the victim.  It can make a victim feel as if she wouldn’t have done what she did, then the traumatic event wouldn’t have happened.  How could she possibly have the right to be upset?  It’s an absolutely awful thing to do to someone, making them feel this way!  No one deserves traumatic, terrible things to happen to them.  What victims do deserve is kindness, understanding & support.

Whether the person blaming the victim is the cause for the victim’s pain or not, blaming her also enables that person to distance himself from the victim & her pain.  If the victim is the cause of her own suffering, then he need not feel sorry for her or try to help her.  If the victim caused her own suffering, then the abuser need not feel bad for doing whatever it was he did to her.

Narcissists love victim blaming.  It serves them very well.  I lost track of how many times my mother told me I was the reason she “had” to abuse me.  She even called it “tough love” instead of what it really was, abuse.  She claimed if I didn’t do whatever it was I had done (or she thought I had done in most cases), she wouldn’t have been forced to scream at me, destroy my things, etc. etc.

If you have been on the receiving end of victim blaming, please do not allow that trash to get inside you!  You did NOT deserve what was done to you!  You are not to blame, the abuser is!  You have every right to be angry, hurt, & yes, even traumatized!  Don’t believe those fools who tell you that you deserved it.  Anyone who blames an innocent victim has serious emotional problems.

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A Bit About Denial

Denial is an unhealthy coping mechanism in which people refuse to acknowledge that something is happening in order to make themselves more comfortable & to avoid facing the ugly truth.  There are different facets of denial & those with narcissistic parents are well aware of many of them.

One form of denial is when narcissists deny doing anything wrong.  They may justify their actions by blaming their victims or deny altogether that they did anything wrong at all.  Either way, they refuse to take any responsibility for their actions & deny that their actions are hurting another person.

Those close to a narcissist also often deny the abuse is happening.  If a victim reaches out to others, to their family in particular, chances are excellent that they will be met with invalidating & even shaming statements.  They may also be accused of lying about the narcissist.

Such forms of denial are destructive to victims.  They teach the victim that she can’t trust her own perceptions, feelings, thoughts & even sanity.  Denial also teaches victims that their feelings & thoughts are unworthy, that they shouldn’t bother people with them.  That easily can lead to the destruction of a victim’s self esteem.  In turn, this can lead to a person tolerating all manners of abuse, because they feel unworthy to defend themselves or they simply don’t believe that their feelings or perceptions of a situation are accurate.

Although coping with such awful experiences & the aftermath is hard, it can be done successfully.

You’ll need to depend on God.  A lot.  He knows the truth of the situation, so you can count on Him to show you what the truth is whenever you have any doubts.  Never hesitate to ask Him to help you, because He will be glad to do so!

Keeping a journal is very helpful too.  Write about the traumatic events as soon as you can after they happen, & be sure to include dates & lots of details.  If later someone says, “That never happened!” you can go back & see that yes, it DID happen! If those things didn’t happen, you wouldn’t have written about them!

I also recommend writing your story.  Naturally it’s your choice whether or not to publish it or any part of it, but at the very least, write it out.  Seeing your story in writing will help validate your experiences by making them seem more real.  Only remembering things isn’t as validating, I think, because you can convince yourself you just don’t remember things right.  That is especially easy to do when a narcissist is telling you that you’re remembering things all wrong.  Writing your story also can help you to see just what the narcissist is capable of by reminding you of things she already has done, & that can help you to deal with her.  Seeing your story in writing is also an excellent reminder never to underestimate her.  Writing your story is a very difficult step, but it is truly worth the difficulties.

When either the narcissist or others invalidate you, another good step to take is to remind yourself what they are doing.  They don’t want to face the ugly truth that this person is incredibly abusive.  They are trying to shut you up only to make themselves more comfortable.  The good news is that this means their actions have nothing to do with you.  The bad news is that knowing that doesn’t always make their actions not hurt.  This knowledge can take some of the sting out of their actions though, & anything that helps to do that is a good thing in my book.

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Warning Signs Of Those Who You Shouldn’t Tell About The Abuse In Your Past

Finding the courage to set boundaries on being abused & even to end a toxic relationship isn’t easy.  It takes a tremendous amount of courage & strength to do such things.  One of the few things that is even more difficult is to tell other people your story.  Part of the reason for this is the victim blaming & shaming that is so common in society.

Many people simply don’t want to hear anything negative.  They are so obscenely positive it’s just ridiculous.  If something is less than positive, they don’t want to hear it, & will shut that person down quickly when they can.

Even more common is those who have been abused themselves, yet refuse to face their pain.  When they see someone facing their pain & conquering it, it makes them feel uncomfortable for two reasons.  First, it reminds them of what they are trying so hard to forget.  Second, it makes them feel inferior for not doing the same thing.

There are also those who enable abusers.  For whatever bizarre reasons, they pity abusers & hate victims instead of the other way around.  They have no tolerance for anyone who dares to speak out against abuse.  They label these people troublemakers, liars, attention seekers, drama queens & more.

Often, people like this are easy to spot.  They are the loud ones who call victims names, harass them & even send them vicious hate emails, texts & voicemails.  The one plus about these people is you can have no doubt about what kind of awful person you’re dealing with when they act this way.  The problem is when people are much more subtle in the way they try to shame & shut down victims.  Below are some warning signs that someone is not safe to tell your story to.

If someone refers to your relationship as one where both you & your abuser are at fault for its demise, this person isn’t safe.  We all know that no one is perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes.  However, when a person is abusive, it’s not an innocent mistake.  It’s a deliberate choice to harm another person.  Any functional person should recognize that!

All victims need understanding & empathy.  Even if a person hasn’t been in an abusive relationship, anyone should be able to grasp that it’s not a pleasant experience & feel badly that anyone experienced that.  Someone who can’t clearly lacks empathy & is a toxic person.

Avoid anyone who trivializes the abuse.  One of my aunts once referred to the abuse I experienced as, “childhood hurts.”  That truly hurt me & it destroyed our relationship.  Luckily, it happened well into my healing journey.  If it happens to someone new to their healing, an invalidating comment like this can be devastating!

Those who make excuses for abusers should be avoided.  People who do this are as toxic as the abuser!  They invalidate the victim’s pain & suffering, & even make the victim feel ashamed for not being understanding, or being too sensitive & such.  The truth is there is NO good reason to abuse, period.

People who judge a person’s healing are toxic.  Everyone heals differently & at a different pace.  Many toxic people try to rush a victim along with comments like, “You need to let this go.”  “It’s been how many months since you left him?”  “You told me this already.”  This does no good!  To process & heal from abuse, it takes a lot of time, energy & sometimes even telling the same story over & over in an attempt to make some sense of it.  A person who doesn’t understand that is toxic.

Anyone who uses a person’s faith as a reason they should tolerate abuse is incredibly toxic & should be avoided at all costs.  While God didn’t promise this life would be easy, He never said anywhere in the Bible that tolerating abuse is good & holy.  Yet, there are many who think it is the “good Christian” thing to do, tolerating abuse.  I’m no theologian, but I do recognize that tolerating & enabling abuse is not only wrong, it’s not God’s will.

If you come across these kinds of people, remember, not everyone needs to know your story.  Refuse to discuss it with them.  You don’t need to be abused even more than you already have been!

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Why Did My Narcissistic Parent Or Partner Abuse Me?

So many people who were abused wonder the same thing: Why was I abused?  They wonder what they did wrong or could have done to make their abuser abuse them.  It’s certainly understandable to think this way.  After all, narcissist never accept responsibility for their actions & also make certain their victims know they are to blame for all the problems in the relationship.

So why were you abused?  The answer to these questions is this…

You were abused only because your abuser made the terrible, dysfunctional decision to abuse you.

You did nothing wrong.  You aren’t a bad person.  You didn’t allow this person to abuse you.  You didn’t make anyone abuse you.  You’re not annoying, stupid, a loser, a pushover, codependent, etc.  There is absolutely nothing about you or that you could do to make anyone abuse you.  Abusers are the only ones responsible for the abuse they inflict.

I know it can be hard sometimes wondering why this person who was supposed to love you inflicted so much pain on you.  If you’ve been in more than one abusive relationship, it’s also natural to assume you’re the problem.  After all, you’re the common denominator in the relationships so you must be the problem, right?  Wrong.

I used to think these same things.  It took some time, but the more I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & the more I healed, the more I came to realize that the monsters who abused me did so because something is VERY wrong with them, not me.

Something else to keep in mind about narcissistic abusers.  Narcissistic parents work hard from the day their child is born to mold that child into whatever it is they want the child to be.  In fact, many only have children to make themselves little “mini mes” to use so they can procure narcissistic supply.

As for narcissistic romantic partners, they’re not any better.  They choose partners for utterly selfish reasons.  They choose people who they think can make them look good somehow, or that they can change into something they’re not.  Narcissists do love having that power over people to make them do their will.

In both the case of narcissistic parents & partners, the victim has nothing to do with why they were abused.  Children are convenient & easily pliable especially by their parents.  Romantic partners are chosen because they have good qualities that the narcissist thinks will make them look good.  Keeping this in mind, how can anyone think that the abuse they endured was their fault!?  It’s impossible!

Dear Reader, I hope you realize now that you have absolutely NO responsibility in the abuse you endured.  Your abuser is the one who is responsible, not you.  Please let go of any thinking that tells you it’s all your fault, because it is NOT your fault!  Nothing you said or did could have convinced the narcissist in your life to stop abusing you & to treat you right.

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How Abuse In Childhood Manifests In Adults & Ways To Cope

Children who are abused by their parents without fail show signs of that abuse in their adult years.  This post addresses some of those signs.

Abused children grow up believing they have no control over what happens in their lives.  This is because abused children are not taught that they have the right to have boundaries or even to say “no.”  That faulty thinking often carries into adulthood when the abused child finally realizes that he or she has as much right to have boundaries as any other person.

Abused children also grow up into a false person of who they really are.  Children want their parents’ love & approval.  It’s only natural to feel this ingrained need so strongly.  With healthy & functional parents, it’s a good thing.  With abusive parents however, it’s not so good.  In fact, a child can be so starved for their parents’ love & approval, they learn to live in whatever way they believe is pleasing to their parent(s).  A child whose parents tell her she needs to be a nurse when she grows up may become one, all the while hating her line of work because she really wanted to be a teacher, or vice versa.  Sadly, this can continue until that child gets to know the person that God created him or her to be & discards that false self.

Abused children grow up not in touch with their emotions.  Abused children are often told that their emotions are unacceptable.  Usually the only acceptable emotions in a home with abusive parents are the emotions of the abusive parents.  They criticize their children for having a bad temper when they are righteously upset at being abused.  They call their children oversensitive & mock them for their emotions.  These children learn quickly the best way to deal with their emotions is not to deal with them, so they push them deep inside so they don’t have to feel anything.  While this is a useful survival skill with abusive parents, it doesn’t serve anyone well long term.  This child needs to learn to trust his or her emotions, to recognize them & find ways to cope with them in healthy ways.

Abused children often become people pleasers.  Children whose parents abuse them learn quickly the best ways to avoid abuse is to please their parents.  If they can just be good enough, smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough, their parents won’t hurt them anymore & will love them, they believe.  Sadly this mentality carries into adulthood, & that abused child is an adult who worries about pleasing other people at any personal cost.  This adult is angry, bitter & miserable, yet feels unable to make any changes.  Realizing what is happening is the first step.  Once that has happened, learning about boundaries & developing healthy self esteem will help tremendously.

Abused children learn not to trust their instincts.  Narcissistic parents love to gaslight their children.  Gaslighting in its simplest definition is when someone distorts another person’s reality in such a way that the victim learns quickly not to trust their own instincts or perceptions, often even their own sanity.  Children whose parents gaslight them grow up with instincts like every other person, but they lack the ability to trust those instincts.  As a result, they frequently end up in situations that are bad for them or abusive relationships.  Even if they felt somehow that something was bad for them, they ignored it since they don’t feel they can trust themselves to know what is best.  Learning to trust your instincts after a lifetime of gaslighting is NOT a fast process, but it is possible.  Listen to your instincts, & observe what happens.  Chances are, you’ll see those instincts were right time after time.  The more it happens, the more you learn you can trust your instincts.

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There Is More Than Fight Or Flight

Most everyone is aware of the fight or flight response.  This describes how a person reacts to extremely stressful situations, such as being attacked.

Fight means you aggressively fight back, because you believe you can defeat the danger.  When it happens, you feel intense anger, may cry or punch people or things, you may grind your teeth & chances are excellent your stomach will be in knots.

Flight means you run from the danger, because you believe you can’t defeat it.  When it happens, you feel fidgety & anxious.  You can’t stay still.  You want to run for the hills immediately.

There are two other responses beyond fight or flight that are seldom mentioned.  Freezing & fawning are the other two responses.

Freezing means when you’re unable to act in these awful situations.  You can’t think clearly.  Think of a deer in headlights.  That deer sees the danger heading straight for him, but is frozen in place.  This happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat the attacker.  Freezing literally makes you cold when it happens.  Your body feels heavy & hard to move, sometimes it can feel numb as well.

Lastly, there is fawning.  This happens when in an acutely stressful situation, you do your best to comply with their attacker as an attempt to save yourself.  Like freezing, it happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat your attacker.  Fawning is a typical response of those who have been in abusive relationships.  People who fawn realized that fighting, flight & freezing didn’t work, which is why they resorted to fawning.  They found that concerning themselves with the well being of their abuser was their best chance at diffusing the situation.

While fight, flight, freeze & fawn are very different responses, they all share the same goal: to diffuse or preferably end the situation & protect yourself.  A problem is often people get stuck in only one or maybe two responses when each one can be helpful in different circumstances.  This is especially common in those with PTSD or C-PTSD.  The responses become habitual.  The best way I know to overcome this is to recognize what you do in such situations.  Considering how you acted, without any judgment of course, can help you to discern which acute stress responses you have used.  When faced with danger after doing this, you’re more likely to respond after a bit of thought rather than react as in acting without thought.

Another issue can be for those who have experienced multiple traumas.  We can perceive threats when there isn’t one.  It helps to learn to slow down your thinking a bit so you can decide whether or not the threat is real.  Taking a long, deep breath in then releasing it slowly only takes a couple of seconds, but it can slow your body & mind down enough to help you figure out the situation as well as the best way to respond.

Past trauma can affect your life in so many ways.  Learning to manage your responses can be one way to help yourself handle stressful & even new traumatic situations in healthier ways.

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How Narcissists Make You Feel Dysfunctional

Narcissists seem to have a “gift” for making their victims feel that they are the problem in the relationship, that they are the ones who are dysfunctional, not the narcissist.  Often, they are so talented at doing this, a victim is completely baffled as to how it happened.  This post will explain some ways narcissists accomplish this.

Narcissists love gaslighting.  Gaslighting is the systematic tearing down of a person’s sanity.  Narcissists will deny having done something, deny the incident happened as it did, find a way to blame the victim for the problem & more.  Constant gaslighting tears down a person’s ability to trust their own memories, feelings, perceptions & yes, even sanity.

Narcissists either imply or say outright that their victims are crazy.  My mother used to tell me often, “You need help.”  It was accompanied by a pitying expression.  She was implying I was in dire need of psychological help, yet, never got it for me.  Why?  Because she knew I was sane.  I, however, had doubts for most of my life about my sanity.  After all, no one would say such a thing to their own child if it wasn’t true, I thought.

Narcissists project their faults onto their victims.  Narcissists view others through a very distorted lens.  Titus 1:15 says, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to the corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure; both their mind and their conscience are corrupted.”  (AMP)  One aspect of this is accusing their victims of the very things that they themselves do, even when there is no evidence of the victim doing anything of the sort.  They often accuse their victims with such certainty, the victim may believe the accusations are true.  There is one good thing about projection.  It can be useful in learning what the narcissist is really up to.  The narcissistic husband who claims his wife is unfaithful is most likely having an affair.  The narcissistic mother who accuses her child of lying is a lair.  Listening to what the narcissist accuses you of can give you a great deal of insight into what they are truly like.

Narcissists love the silent treatment as a weapon.  In my late teens, my mother & I argued constantly.  One of her favorite ways to hurt me was to give me the silent treatment.  I would beg her to tell me what was wrong, & she either refused to answer or would say, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!”  At the time, either scenario was devastating.  Saying nothing showed me I wasn’t worth her time or energy to speak to.  Saying she wouldn’t tell me if I didn’t know what was wrong made me feel crazy, stupid & ashamed for not knowing what egregious sin I had committed.

Narcissists lack self awareness.  Rather than question that maybe, just maybe, they might be the problem in their relationships, they blame all relationship woes on other people.  If you aren’t aware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be quite easy to believe that the narcissist is right, & you are at fault for their problems or the problems in your relationship.

Narcissists are provokers.  In other words, narcissists will do whatever it takes to push their victims to the point of rage so they can use that rage to prove to the victim that the victim is crazy, abusive, irrational or anything else.  Since the narcissist stays calm while the victim is clearly upset, it’s easy for the victim to believe what the narcissist says at this point.

Narcissists will say that they forgive you, even when you have done nothing wrong.  By saying this, they are implying that you are the problem in this situation, & they are very good & kind people to forgive you for the awful things you have done.

Learning about these tactics can help you to protect your mental health, & not fall for the narcissist’s lies that you & you alone are the dysfunctional one in the relationship.

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Just So Everyone Knows..

I’ve decided to take a hiatus from writing books for a while.  Dealing with my mother’s estate is a lot of work, & with my mental & physical limitations, also excessively stressful.  Writing is a lot of work, so I don’t feel I can write & deal with that at the same time.  Or, if I could, I doubt I’d do either all that well.  So, writing books is going on the back burner for a bit.

I’m still going to keep up with this blog & my YouTube channel though.

Since I have some really wonderful readers, I know you’ll understand & I thank you so much for that understanding.  xoxo

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Setting Simple Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

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Why People Choose To Believe Narcissists Over Their Victims

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About Understanding Narcissists

I recently read a comment on a post on Facebook where someone mentioned how some people “waste their time” trying to understand why a narcissist behaves as they do.  I’ve seen comments similar to this often, although said in different ways.  “Who cares why they do what they do?  They only cause pain & suffering!”  “They’re evil, that’s all you need to know about narcissists.”

I have a different perspective on this topic as I’ve mentioned before & felt that maybe it was time to mention it again.

When you understand the motivations of the narcissistic person & what is behind them, it can help you to remember you aren’t the problem, you aren’t overreacting or crazy & the narcissist is the problem in the relationship.  While that sounds like common sense, as most victims know, in the midst of narcissistic abuse, reminders like that are invaluable.  Narcissists do their best to convince victims they are the problem, & sadly, are often successful in their efforts.

Another plus about understanding narcissists is when you do, you clearly can see that you have done nothing to deserve what this person has done to you.  You understand that this person has been manipulating & abusing you, & that you were doing only normal things to do under such abnormal circumstances.  You did what anyone would do if treated as you were treated.

You also may begin to feel some pity for the narcissist because you understand just how badly damaged this person is.  This too can be a good thing, because it will make you want to pray for them.  I must warn you though, it can be easy to get out of balance in this area.  I did this with my late mother in-law.  I noticed once that after my father in-law had snapped at her, she was especially mean with me during the rest of my husband’s & my visit.  I thought maybe this was simply how she coped since she had no healthy coping skills.  As a result, I let her mistreat me for a while without complaint or setting any boundaries.  It didn’t take me too long to realize that this wasn’t helping her.  She was still miserable, & she still was hurting me.  Nothing good came of this.  I allowed myself to feel too much pity for her, & as a result, she treated me even worse than usual.  Learn from my mistake!  Keep your emotions in balance.  Feel pity for this person & let it motivate you to pray for this person.    At the same time though, remember to keep your boundaries in place.  Just because someone has been through some serious problems, that doesn’t mean they have the right to be abusive.  There is no excuse to abuse!

I realize what I’ve said in this post doesn’t work for everyone.  Some folks will read this & immediately know it won’t help them at all.   I don’t want you to think there’s something wrong with you if you feel that way.  I am one who has been helped a great deal by understanding the narcissists in my life, & I wanted to help others think about this as a possible useful tool for them.

If you do feel that understanding the narcissist in your life can help you, I have some tips.

Learn what you can about this person’s childhood.  Childhood forms who we become as adults.  Chances are, you’ll find some hints as to why this person is as they are today.

Learn everything you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I don’t believe there is one non-narcissist that can completely understand narcissists, but even so, learning what you can about it will be extremely helpful.

When you decide to learn about the person & the disorder, don’t get out of balance.  This mission doesn’t need to become an obsession, since that would be very unhealthy for you.  Take frequent breaks where you think of anything but the person or narcissism.

Most of all, pray.  Ask God to help you learn, not to obsess & to teach you creative & effective ways to cope with this person.  Ask Him to help you to pray for them, too.  After all, you may be the only person willing to pray for them.

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When Saying No Makes You Feel Guilty

Saying no without guilt is a huge problem for many adult children of narcissistic parents.  After all, we were raised to think of others & ignore our own needs, feelings, wants, etc.  That made us believe we must blindly do for others & completely ignore ourselves.  When you say no & have that belief, saying no makes you feel incredibly guilty.  In fact, you usually just don’t say no so you can avoid the awful guilt.

Unfortunately, this is basically only putting a bandage on the problem, it isn’t fixing it.

To avoid that “I can’t say no” guilt, you have to get to the root of the problem.  That means getting rid of the faulty believe that you’re not allowed to say no, or if you do, that makes you wrong, bad, selfish, or whatever other awful things your narcissistic parent said you were.

To do this, as usual, I recommend praying.  Ask God to show you where the problem first started with you.  Pay attention to what He shows you.  It probably will be a memory coming back of something you didn’t pay much attention to at the time.  Think about it.  Tell God how that made you feel & ask Him if that’s the truth- are you selfish, bad, stupid or whatever you felt you were in that memory.  He’ll tell you the real truth & chances are, it’s absolutely nothing like what you felt.  (To learn more about this, see Craig Hill’s book “The Ancient Paths.”  That’s where I first learned about this technique.)

You also need to pay attention to your thoughts.  If the opportunity comes up for you to say no & you feel guilty, ask yourself why?  Do you have a very valid reason for that guilt?  (probably you won’t!)  Remind yourself it’s simply old programming done to you by your narcissistic parent- it’s not true, & it’s wrong.  Remind yourself of what God told you when you prayed about that guilt.

You also need to improve your self-esteem.  As  you heal from narcissistic abuse, your self-esteem naturally improves.  Even so, maybe you need a little extra work in that specific area to help you alleviate that false guilt.  If you feel that’s the case, ask God to show you what to do & enable you to do it.  Study what the Bible has to say about you.  I have a list of positive affirmations from the Bible on my website if you’d like to check them out.  (That’s available at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com)  Also, pay attention to what people say to you.  People don’t complement other people for no reason!  If someone pays you a complement, that person means what they say.  Enjoy it.

Remember, Dear Reader- you have the right to say no without feeling guilty.  There is nothing wrong with saying no sometimes!

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Adults

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Differences Between The Silent Treatment & No Contact

Many people don’t seem to realize that the silent treatment & no contact are very different things.  As a result, many people shame victims who implement no contact.  They call victims immature, spoiled, unreasonable & more, saying victims are pouting or trying to punish their abuser when the truth is, abusers are the ones who are being immature, unreasonable & trying to punish their victims by using the silent treatment.

No contact isn’t done to punish or hurt anyone.  It is done because a victim has tried & tried to make the relationship better yet nothing has improved.  It’s a desperate, last ditch effort to protect a person’s mental & physical health by escaping an abusive person.  Any person can take only so much before it affects their health.

No contact is also permanent.  There is no going back for the victim who has settled on no contact as their best option.  That is partly why so much serious consideration goes into it.  Contrary to what many folks believe (primarily abusers & their flying monkeys), almost every single person who has implemented no contact in their life did so only after months or even years of a lot of thought & prayer.  It’s not a spur of the moment decision done in the heat of anger.

This also means that victims don’t want their abusers trying to contact them in any way.  They don’t want calls, texts, emails, etc. in some pathetic attempt to lure or scare the victim into returning to the relationship.  Many abusers seem to think their victims want this type of harassment & it will win their victims back, but nothing could be further from the truth.  When a person goes no contact, it’s because they want NO CONTACT, period.  It isn’t some attempt to get the abuser’s attention.  Abusers often think this is the case, because that is what they want to accomplish by not speaking to someone.

The silent treatment is done on the spur of the moment.  Abusers are spontaneous people, & not in a good way.  Anything a victim says or does can make an abuser decide in an instant to use the silent treatment.  Or, a victim doesn’t have to say or do anything.  Abusers don’t exactly have the most integrity in the world.  If they want silent treatment drama, they certainly aren’t above creating it by inventing some imaginary slight from their victim.

The silent treatment is done to manipulate & control.  The goal is to make the victim feel so insecure & badly that he or she comes crawling to the abuser, apologizing profusely & being willing to do anything to make it up to the abuser.  The abuser rarely tells the victim what awful sin he or she committed, but instead makes the victim guess.  This makes the victim easier to control & more willing to try harder.  I remember my mother using the line, “If you don’t know what you did, I’m not going to tell you.”  Not exactly a healthy or useful way to cope with conflict.

The silent treatment is also done to punish victims.  When you aren’t aware of what the silent treatment is all about, it can be devastating!  I remember my mother giving me the silent treatment countless times my entire life.  It was a horrible feeling when my own mother wouldn’t speak to me or even tell me why.  In fact, my mother once stopped speaking to me for 18 months several years ago.  Why she did that, she never would say.

The silent treatment is also temporary.  It ends when an abuser gets their way or becomes bored with it.  A victim knows when it’s over too, because the abuser contacts them acting like nothing happened that was out of the ordinary.

There is one last big difference between the silent treatment & no contact.  Victims grow accustomed to the silent treatment.  After enduring it so many times, it stops upsetting them.  Abusers are always shocked by no contact, no matter how horribly they treated their victims.  And ironically, the ones who seem the most shocked by no contact are the ones who repeatedly used the silent treatment.

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My New Project

I recently had an idea.  I am going to create a series of small books that focus on only one facet of narcissism & narcissistic abuse at a time.  Each book will be maybe 1/4 the size of my regular book & naturally much cheaper.  I think this is a unique way to get information out there & hopefully it will help raise awareness too.

I’ll be releasing a few in the near future,  I’m thinking maybe 3 or so, & I’ll post about it when that happens.  I don’t want to release a series that contains only one book, yanno?

When the books are available, they will be available on my website at:

www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

And also at my ebook publisher’s website at:

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

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What To Watch Out For With People Who Write About Narcissistic Abuse

 

 

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Should I Go No Contact?

Ending a relationship with anyone is a huge decision, in particular when it comes to family members.  If you read anything about people who are victims of narcissistic abuse, they’re frequently told, “Just go no contact.”

No contact is a very viable option for victims, & usually the best one.  However, it also isn’t an easy solution.  I have yet to talk to one person who has implemented no contact that came to that decision easily.  It often came after months or even years of wondering if there was any other solution & much trying to turn a toxic relationship into a healthy one.

The purpose of this post today is to help you to gain some clarity on whether or not no contact is your best option.

To start with, I always recommend prayer.  Ask God to show you the truth about your relationship, what you should do, how to handle the situation & to give you strength, courage & wisdom to do what is best.

Then, consider your relationship.  There is a difference between someone who is abusive & someone with whom you just don’t get along.  Personality clashes can be very challenging & frustrating, but they also don’t leave a person feeling badly about themselves or even doubting their own sanity.  How does this relationship make you feel?

Are you the only one in the relationship who is trying to make it healthy?  If not, that’s great!  If so, that is a sign this person is toxic.

Does the other person make excuses or blame you for their bad behavior?  Do you come away from a confrontation feeling as if you’re the problem every single time?  That is a huge red flag!  Healthy people accept responsibility for what they do wrong.  They also apologize, try to fix things when possible & change their behavior.

How does the other person react to you setting reasonable boundaries?  Healthy people are fine with boundaries.  Unhealthy people, not so much.  They get angry, pout, behave in passive/aggressive ways, ignore & mock boundaries.

Probably by now, you have more clarity on whether or not you should end the relationship.  If you think you do need to end it, there are other things you should consider too, especially if this person is a family member.

Possibly the most important thing to consider is this.  If you go no contact, will you be able to stay no contact, no matter what?  Going no contact then later resuming a relationship with an abuser never ends well for the victim.  Reason being is abusers see this as a victim having weak boundaries that mean nothing.  They can be trampled over with no real consequences for the abuser.  This means an abuser will behave worse than ever when they understand this.

For your own peace of mind, I also believe it’s important to know you tried your best in the relationship.  No, one person can’t fix any relationship on their own.  However, having peace of mind knowing you did your best is very beneficial.  So many abusers do anything they can to make a victim think they didn’t do enough before severing ties or if they just would have done that one thing, the relationship wouldn’t have failed.  When you truly know you did your best, those sorts of tactics don’t work.

Going no contact also means losing friends & family who side with the abuser.  You need to be aware that will happen, even with those who you never expected to abandon you.

Lastly, what do you feel in your heart is the right move for you to make?  Instincts are a wonderful thing & I believe God’s still small voice speaking to us.  Trust what you feel in your heart, & you’ll know if no contact is the right decision for you.

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The Truth About Being The Bigger Person

Have you ever been discussing the abuse from the narcissist in your life with someone who has told you that you need to be the bigger person & let this go?  I have.  Lots of times.  So have many other victims of all kinds of abuse.

Recently, this came to mind for some reason.  I thought about it & realized that this never felt right to me.  It seemed somehow patronizing, invalidating, manipulative & shaming but I was unsure why I felt that way.  After thinking about it, I think I figured the reasons.

If a victim is told they need to be the bigger person, it’s shaming.  It basically says, “Something is wrong with you for being upset about this! Get over it already!”  Shaming can be utterly devastating to victims of narcissistic abuse.  Nothing can shut down a victim faster than shame, in my opinion.  Saying, “You need to be the bigger person!” is an easy way for someone to stop a victim from discussing their abusive situation & pain.

Some people who have survived abusive relationships absolutely refuse to face their pain.  They ignore it, or even pretend the abuse didn’t happen or that it wasn’t really abusive.  When someone discusses their abusive history, these people are determined to shut them down immediately, because they don’t want any reminders of their own pain.  They may not be acting out of malice as some people do.  They simply don’t have the strength or courage to face their pain.  Telling a victim to be the bigger person is an effective way for them to shut the victim down without sounding harsh.

If the person who says this is also a narcissist, that puts an interesting spin on the situation.  That person probably sees no problem with the abuse, since they act in a similar way.  When the victim points out it’s wrong, that could be offending this narcissist’s sensibilities.  He or she wants to shut down the victim so he or she can go on acting terribly without any remorse.  Not to mention, it’s not about the narcissist, so the narcissist couldn’t care less.  Narcissists also lack empathy, so the narcissist doesn’t want to be bothered with what he or she sees as your petty problems. Or maybe the person could be a flying monkey of the original narcissist, & simply trying to shut the victim down & force the victim to continue to tolerate the awful & abusive behavior from their narcissist.

“You need to be the bigger person!” also shows that the person saying it thinks that the victim has the ability to be mature.  They aren’t saying it to the abuser, after all.  That can be flattering, & as victims, most of us aren’t used to someone believing anything good about us.  It can be a good way for someone to shut down a victim while assuring the victim won’t get angry with the person saying this stupid phrase since it can sound flattering.

I truly believe that someone saying, “You need to be the bigger person!” basically boils down to a way that people try to silence victims by using shaming while simultaneously making victims feel they should not be angry at the person who is attempting to shut them down with this phrase.  And in many cases, the person saying it also is trying to convince the victim to tolerate the abuse.  It’s a lot packed into one phrase, isn’t it?

If someone says this to you, please take it as a red flag!  This person isn’t safe for you to open up to about the abuse that you’ve endured!  Of course you should talk about it not only to help yourself heal but also to help raise awareness of the horrors of narcissistic abuse.  However, not everyone is safe to talk with about your experiences.  Use wisdom in choosing who to open up to.  Anyone who tells you to be the bigger person is NOT someone you need to open up to!

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

Seeing Through The Lens Of Victim-hood

When a person has been abused, they tend to see the world differently than other folks.  People like this aren’t as trusting as the average person, & with good reason.  They have survived some pretty terrible stuff!  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering how many untrustworthy people there are in the world.  However, it can become a bad thing.  A good friend of mine once called it “seeing things through the lens of victim-hood.”  I thought the term made perfect sense.

When a person sees others as out to hurt them with little or no evidence to prove this is happening, it’s a bad thing.

Or when a person reads so much into every small comment or action that they see others as out to get them, this is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, it can be very easy to turn out this way after surviving abuse. It can be especially easy to see problems online over face to face contact.  Once you’ve been badly hurt, you obviously want to avoid it again.  It’s very easy to become hyper-vigilant, seeing abusive behavior everywhere.  A person looks at you a bit odd or cracks a joke that isn’t like your sense of humor & suddenly you think they’re out to hurt you when nothing could be further from the truth.  This is no way to live!

Rather than succumb to this miserable lifestyle, change yourself!  It is possible!  I was this way & managed to change.  If I can do it, so can you.

As always, I recommend prayer as the place to start.  God can & will help you to make whatever changes you need.  He also will show you what you need to do.  Why not let Him?

Also slow down when a situation happens.  Respond, don’t react.  Responding isn’t instantaneous.  It requires time to consider the situation.  Reacting is instantaneous & done in the heat of emotions.  Reacting often happens when seeing situations through the lens of victim-hood.  Give yourself time to consider the situation before you respond.

Don’t automatically assume that your knee-jerk reaction is correct.  Consider it.  Question it.  Slow your thoughts down for some time & ask yourself why you think the way you’re thinking.  Is there evidence to back up what you believe is happening?  What is that evidence?  Are there red flags that show you this person isn’t safe, such as a lack of empathy for example?  Write it down if it helps.  Writing can help you to see things clearly, often more clearly than speaking or thinking about things.

Think too about the person in question.  If this is someone you know well, you will know what this person is & is not capable of.  You know if this person is safe or not.  Ask yourself, is it likely this person is out to hurt me or not?

If you want advice, don’t talk to someone else about the situation in a way that will get them assuming the worst about this person.  If they believe you, they will only feed your fear.  They’ll automatically respond to your fear with fear, especially if this is someone you’re close to.  If you want to talk about your situation with someone safe, that’s totally fine.  An objective opinion can be a truly great thing!  Just make sure you say things in such a way that the person who you’re speaking with can form their own opinion.  Say things like, “I think this person is looking to hurt me in some way.. what do you think?”  then state the facts without emotion.  Let this person form their own opinion if you want their best advice.

Just remember, Dear Reader, not everyone is abusive.  Not everyone wants to cause you pain & suffering.  Pray & seriously consider the situation so you can respond to it appropriately, rather than reacting because you’re seeing it through the lens of victim-hood.

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