Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Grieving A Narcissist After No Contact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother’s Day

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

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

15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

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

My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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Being Over Sensitive To Criticism

I’ve noticed recently that I am way more sensitive to criticism than I used to be.  It’s not that I care what people think, but I care that people feel they must share their negative opinions with me when I didn’t ask for their opinions.

When I first realized this, I chalked it up to getting older & crankier.  In time though, I realized it’s not only those things.  I firmly believe it is because of having experienced narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists are most likely the most judgmental & critical of all people.  They must share any & all opinions of their victims they have at all times.  They favor negative ones in particular as a way to chip away at their victims’ self esteem since low self esteem makes a person easy to control & abuse. 

If by some chance narcissists think something positive about their victims, they won’t offer any praise.  They prefer to do much crueler things.  The best option is they simply withhold praise, but that seldom happens.  Instead, they prefer to claim responsibility for that good thing such as by claiming if they hadn’t pushed the victim, he or she never would have gotten that promotion at work.  Narcissistic parents also claim that their victim/child got whatever talent they have from that parent.  This means that when their child gets praise for something, the parent often says something along the lines of, “She got that talent from me.”

Another common scenario with narcissists is to twist the good thing in their victim around so it looks bad, thus ruining that good thing.  For example, many years back, before I decided to focus only on writing, I did some editing work.  I was blessed to work with one amazing client & mentioned the work to my mother.  That was a huge mistake, but at that time, I didn’t know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I mentioned my client & the work I was enjoying doing for her because I naively thought my mother would be happy for me.  She always fancied herself a skilled writer, & she was, but she never worked in the field.  I thought she might be happy that I was working in the field & enjoying myself.  Well, not only did she not share my joy, but a few days later she ruined mine.  She did this by saying she was thinking of getting into editing work because (& this is her wording), “it’s such easy money.  Obviously anyone can do it.” 

Narcissists also beat their victims down with criticism.  When my husband & I got together, his mother repeatedly told me how much she hated my car.  For years, I heard constant hateful comments.  Many times I wanted to tell her, “I know.  You hate my car.  You think it’s the worst car in the whole world.  There’s no need to keep telling me.  I figured out how you feel after the first 50,000 times you mentioned it!”

After going through these things for years at the hands of narcissists, I really think that no matter how much we may have healed, criticism is still a very tough thing for us to handle, even when we don’t care about someone else’s opinions.  We are burned out on criticism, negativity & cruelty.  We also had it drilled into us how awful we are or something about us is.  After years of this, we get to the point where criticism, unless it’s clearly well meaning & meant to help, is incredibly irritating.  So many times I have wanted to tell someone, “Your opinion wasn’t asked for & truly means nothing.  Why must you share it?  And, why do you think it’s ok to be such a disrespectful jerk?”

If this describes you, I so relate!  It’s frustrating!  I have learned the best way to handle criticism that is unasked for & unfair is to stop for a moment.  Inhale deeply then exhale to calm your mind & body.  Remind yourself that you are having a reaction to the narcissistic abuse, nothing more.  Also remind yourself that not all people have good social skills.  Some are very critical simply because they haven’t learned any better.  That doesn’t mean they are narcissists or are out to hurt you.  They are simply oblivious.  And, remember that just because someone is criticizing you doesn’t mean what they said is true.  Consider what they have to say, & if it’s wrong, disregard it.  If they are right, although it was a painful way to learn, you still learned something.  That is a good thing.

If you know the person who is critical, then you know if you can talk openly to them or not.  If you can, gently let them know how you feel.  They may have simply not realized how what they said sounded.  Or they may be struggling with something & took their frustrations out on you. 

And as always, remember to pray.  Ask God for wisdom & help in your situation, & He will provide you whatever you need!

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About Praying For Abusers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My Print Books Are 15% Off For A Limited Time

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

Books are available at the link below:

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

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Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Common Way Mental Illness Is Minimized

Most of us have used terms like, “That drives me crazy!”, claimed something gave us a “panic attack” when all it did was startle us, or even described a moody person as being “bipolar” even though that moody person wasn’t diagnosed with the disorder.  Phrases like this have been part of the way people talk for God only knows how long.

I believe there is a problem with using these phrases though.  By using these phrases so freely, they dilute very serious mental health disorders.

Claiming something drives you crazy makes insanity sound like an annoyance rather than a serious mental problem.

Panic attacks are also much more than being startled.  They can feel like you’re having a heart attack.  They are physically & mentally debilitating.  After I have one, I feel very emotionally drained & exhausted for quite some time after.

Saying a moody person is bipolar makes Bipolar Disorder seem much less serious than it is.  Those with Bipolar Disorder aren’t simply moody.  Manic episodes can involve some very risky & even dangerous behavior.  The down side is seriously bad as well.  The depression can be so severe as to include suicidal ideation. 

If you think I am over thinking this situation, then consider this.  As a victim of narcissistic abuse, doesn’t it offend you when someone carelessly describes someone’s selfish behavior as narcissistic?  You have seen narcissistic behavior up close & personal.  You are all too aware that it is extremely different than someone doing something without thought or consideration of other people.  It is more than selfishness.  It is abusive, malicious, cruel & dangerous to your mental & physical health.  Lumping someone who simply was thoughtless in a momentary lapse of judgment in the same category as someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is deeply offensive to anyone who has seen the unmasked narcissist first hand.

I really don’t think most people are being malicious when they say something “drives them crazy” or some other phrase related to mental illness.  These phrases have become so common place, no one really thinks twice when saying or hearing them.  They simply have become an everyday part of our vernacular.  The problem with that is over time, very subtly, they reduce the meaning of real & serious mental disorders.  Sometimes, even make them laughable.  This just should not be the case!

If you realize you use such phrases, please reconsider doing so.  On behalf of my fellow “crazy” people, I ask you to stop it.  I know what I live with having C-PTSD & there is nothing laughable or trivial about it.  Having to fight your own mind to get through the day is serious & an incredibly difficult way to live.  It isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy.  Having my mental health trivialized or turned into the butt of a joke is insulting. 

What makes this situation even worse is mental illness is seldom believed.  If a person wears a cast on their leg, people see this person obviously broke their leg.  They offer that person sympathy.  Mental illness doesn’t have a glaring piece of physical evidence that is undeniable proof of the mental illness.  Those who suffer with it often aren’t taken seriously because they look “normal.”  Living with that then the trivialization of our illness is extraordinarily hard.  Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life & death.  Please remember that & choose your words wisely!

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Emotional Intelligence Shamers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How To Find The Right Therapist

Finding a good therapist isn’t always as easy as it may seem.  Every person has their own unique personality, beliefs, ways of thinking & more, so finding a therapist who is compatible with you can be a challenge.  When you are seeing one to help you to deal with the effects of narcissistic abuse however, the challenge can be much more difficult.

For one thing, there are many therapists out there who are narcissists.  Narcissists are drawn to the helping type professions such as teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement & even the mental health field.  I’m not saying all teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement officers & mental health professionals are narcissists of course.  Many very good people are in those fields too.  When it comes to finding a therapist that can help you cope with issues stemming from narcissistic abuse though, it’s especially important to be certain your therapist isn’t a narcissist.  No one needs to be subjected to a narcissistic therapist!  It only makes things much worse!

There is also the fact that most in the mental health field received little to no training on the cluster B personality disorders like narcissism.  Unless a therapist has personal experience with a narcissist, chances are they won’t know ways to help you to heal.  They may not even recognize the type of person who abused you.  And, if they don’t understand the person who abused you, there is the chance that they may not believe you let alone be able to help you heal.  Honestly, much of what narcissists do is pretty unbelievable.  I think back to the things I was subjected to at the hands of narcissists, & can barely believe it.  I was there!  It shouldn’t be hard to believe it, yet it is. If your therapist doesn’t believe you, that is a sign you need to find a different one.

If you are considering therapy after narcissistic abuse, I hope I haven’t dissuaded you.  That certainly isn’t my intention at all.  I just want to let you know that finding one who can help you may not be easy.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though!

Many therapists have areas they specialize in such as drug rehabilitation, sexual problems, marriage counseling & more.  Find one who specializes in trauma & abuse. Often their specialty is listed on their website or on your insurance carrier’s list of providers who accept your insurance. 

If you know other people in your area who have been to counseling, ask them about their counselor.  What did they like or dislike about that counselor?  Even if they saw that counselor for a different issue than what you want to see one for, you never know.  That counselor may not specialize in helping others recover from narcissistic abuse, but may be highly empathic & able to think outside the box enough to help you.

Remember that the first counselor you see may not be one that you stay with.  Or the second counselor.  Or even the third.  Things may start out just fine then something happens that makes you think this counselor may not be the one for you.  Don’t worry about that!  It happens sometimes.  Not everyone is compatible with every counselor.  Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with a counselor for longer than you feel comfortable either.  The goal is to help yourself, so do what you need to in order to help yourself.  It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if it takes you seeing a few counselors before you find one that you really like. 

Don’t be biased, either, when seeking a counselor.  If you’re a woman, you may be more comfortable talking to women about personal issues as a general rule, but that may not be the case with a counselor.  You may end up finding a male counselor more effective for you.  Or, vice versa- a man may prefer a female counselor.  Remember, men & women think very differently as a general rule, & sometimes those differences can be very helpful. 

I wish you the best in your quest to find a good counselor!

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Four Trauma Responses: Fawn

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others.  A lot of children of narcissistic parents use the fawn response.

The fawn trauma response is when a victim tries hard to please their abuser so the abuser will stop whatever painful thing they’re doing.  They will try to distract the abuser somehow, do something they know their abuser likes, & go along absolutely anything the abuser wants.  While this may stop an abuser at the moment, over the long term, this doesn’t work.  Fawning shows abusers that their abusive, toxic ways can be used to get whatever they want from their victim.

Fawning still affects a person long after the abuser is out of their life.  Fawners are often very devoted people pleasers who have no real boundaries.  They falsely believe that losing yourself in relationships is totally normal.  They also are prone to very dysfunctional & abusive relationships, including more than one relationship with narcissists.  This leads them to focus on the needs & wants of other people much more than their own & often to their own detriment.  They also seem to have no real identity of their own, often becoming what other people say they should be. 

Fawning often is encouraged in society.  Primarily by abusers but also by ill informed people who see people who fawn as generous, loving, even Godly rather than dysfunctional.  This makes overcoming fawning behavior especially hard for those engaging in this behavior, because even though it can hurt a person, it also can be the one area they feel gets them love & approval, & maybe even makes them  feel worthy of love.

There is hope for replacing this dysfunctional behavior with much healthier behavior.  As always, I firmly believe prayer is the best place to start.  God will help you, so let Him!

Focus on healing from the trauma in your life that made you develop your fawning ways.  The more you heal, the healthier you will become in every way.  That means you will decrease your unhealthy behaviors more & more as you heal.

Remind yourself as often as you need to that not pleasing someone doesn’t mean you’re bad, wrong, or unworthy of love.  You simply may have made a mistake.  Or, maybe they were wrong to expect this particular thing out of you.  Don’t assume you were automatically wrong.  It is just as possible the other person was wrong.

Feel your feelings.  Whatever you are feeling, accept those feelings without judgment.  As you do, you may see that they aren’t appropriate to your current situation.  They could simply be triggered by old issues.  They also may give you insight on ways you can do things better.  In any case, they can teach you, so let them do that by feeling them.

Slow down & examine your motives.  Ask yourself why are you doing something for someone.. is it out of love or out of hoping to get their approval?  Am I saying I’m happy to do this even though it is too much for me right now?  Am I taking on too much responsibility?

In time, your fawning ways can & will be replaced by healthy ones.

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The Four Trauma Responses: Freeze

When someone has experienced trauma, in particular repeated trauma, they learn to use specific trauma responses to help them survive their particular situation.  While many waver between two or more, most people primarily use one trauma response.  Many people raised by narcissistic parents primarily use the freeze response.

Freezing means much like the name implies, you freeze & are unable to handle the situation in a healthy way.  Think of a deer on a highway during the night when a truck comes barreling towards him.  He stands still, staring at the truck & unable to move to save himself.  People can & do react the same way sometimes.  Sadly, freezing often is a good choice when dealing with a narcissistic parent, because it reduces the likelihood of that parent turning even more abusive.  Equally sadly though is this survival tactic doesn’t help when dealing with other people.  In fact, often the lack of response of a victim is taken as consent, so the other, non-freezing person assumes whatever they said or did was acceptable to the freezing person.

As an example from my own life, as I’ve written about before, I lived with awful back pain for ten years.  During a fight with my mother, she threw me into a wall.  I felt my entire spine crack from my tailbone into my neck when I hit the wall & was in pain for ten years after.   I saw several doctors, had over fifty x-rays & an MRI.  I was told no injuries showed up on the x-rays or MRI.  Every single person I saw with the exception of one chiropractor was convinced I was faking the pain.  I should have stood up to all of them, but instead I quietly accepted their diagnoses.  Between that & other people in my life who were convinced I was faking it, I wondered many times if they were right.  By silently accepting people’s accusations of faking my pain, that only seemed to confirm their suspicions of me.  It also made me wonder more & more if I really was faking my back problem or if something was truly wrong.

This happened all because I learned how to use the freeze response so well as a child.

If you have used it as well, you probably can relate to my story.  Also like me, you probably dissociated often as a child & possibly still do to some degree, struggle with making decisions, & isolate yourself. You also probably come up with good responses hours or even days or weeks after a confrontation but can’t think during the confrontation.

While freezing may have helped you to survive the narcissist in your life, it doesn’t help you in other relationships.  In fact, it is likely to hurt you instead of help you.

When in situations that trigger your freeze response, your best place to start is with prayer.  God will help you & ground you so you can function in a healthier way.  Also, please remind yourself that you are safe now.  You don’t have to freeze to protect yourself.  You have rights including the right to speak up for yourself & to protect yourself.  You aren’t doing something bad by taking care of yourself.  The other person in question isn’t the narcissist who would abuse you for taking care of yourself.

Also take a deep breath in & exhale slowly.  It will help you to calm your body & mind very quickly, which will help you to figure out a better way to handle your situation.

Doing this will help you over time to reduce the frequency of the freeze trauma response & enable you to respond in a healthier way.  It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.  Hang in there!

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The Four Trauma Responses: Flight

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. 

Some people favor the flight trauma response over the other three options.  This basically means their instinct during a traumatic event is to do anything they can to avoid the trauma.  If they can run away, they will.  During a traumatic event, someone who favors the flight trauma response but cannot escape will be pretty easy to identify.  They are clearly anxious, which means their breathing is shallow & rapid.  They may be restless, and this shows by tapping their feet or fingers.  Their eyes dart around, looking for a means of escape.

In situations where traumatic experiences are repeated, such as in cases of child abuse, some long term problems develop from using this trauma response over & over again.  Flight is used as a coping mechanism, & it manifests in many ways.  Workaholism, perfectionistic ways, micromanaging others, the need to keep busy constantly, obsession with video games, endlessly surfing through channels or social media, & other avoidance type behaviors can be signs of someone who has experienced the flight trauma response regularly. These behaviors are designed to keep someone from thinking about past trauma.  There are other signs too, such as anxiety disorders, constant worrying, inability to relax, hyper-activity & being overly analytical.

Like other trauma responses, it is understandable a person could react this way to trauma & behave this way after repeated triggers of their flight response.  That doesn’t make the behavior healthy, however.  Being constantly on the go whether it is mentally or physically takes a toll on a person’s mental & physical health.  Changes need to be made & they can be!

As always I recommend prayer to start.  Ask God to guide you, to help you to behave in a healthier way & anything else you can think of.

Look at your life.  What is unhealthy?  Are you constantly working eighty hour workweeks?  Spending every free moment playing video games?  Do you feel as if you must stay busy every waking moment?  These are some examples of red flags.  It also may help to ask those people who are closest to you for their thoughts as well. 

Once you have identified the problem areas in your life, then figure out a plan on how to make appropriate changes.  Cut back on hours spent at work if at all possible, or find another job.  Set times for certain activities & stick to the limits.

Lastly, it will help you tremendously to finally face what you have been avoiding.  I know it’s hard!  I know it’s scary!  I also know that until you do this & focus on healing & becoming healthier, any changes you make most likely will be temporary.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, & if they aren’t dealt with in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways.  You’re going to suffer from the pain of the trauma or of the pain of the unhealthy manifestations of your emotions.  Why not make the pain count & focus on your healing?  At least that way, the pain will end & you will be much happier & healthier for it. 

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The Four Trauma Responses: Fight

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. 

During traumatic experiences, those who exercise the fight response do exactly as you would expect.  They fight.  They are obviously angry, they will cry, ball up their hands into fists, their jaws will be clenched tightly, & they look ready to attack anything that is in reach.  Sometimes they do, usually punching walls or slamming doors. 

Clearly this type of trauma response can be useful.  If someone is afraid of you, they aren’t going to attack or abuse you.  Unfortunately though it can backfire, & in particular with children with narcissistic parents.  When a young child gets angry at their narcissistic parent, that parent won’t tolerate that.  Narcissists want their children to show no emotions whatsoever, & anger at the narcissist’s abusive ways is the least tolerated emotion.  Narcissists expect everyone, in particular their children, to tolerate their abuse indefinitely & without complaint.  Standing up to a narcissist says their behavior is wrong & won’t be tolerated, which creates a narcissistic injury.  In other words, their pride is damaged when they are told their behavior is anything less than perfect.  Often narcissistic parents step up their abuse in these situations.  These children learn not to show anger towards their parents, & often take it out on innocent victims. 

The repeated use of this trauma response can cause many problems that last into adulthood.  Some problems are the inability to handle anger in a healthy way, a quick temper, becoming a bully, becoming controlling & sometimes even becoming narcissistic or showing some narcissistic tendencies while not being a full blown narcissist.  It seems to me these behaviors are all about having some control &/or hurting others before the angry person can be hurt. 

This sort of behavior doesn’t have to be permanent though!  With effort & time, you can develop healthier habits!

As always, I highly recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you change, to show you what you need to do & anything else you can think of.

You will need to accept that you don’t have to control or bully others, too.  Remember, even God doesn’t control people.  If anyone has that right, it’s the Creator of the universe!  If He won’t do it, what makes you think you have the right to do so?

It will help to consider other people more often, too, not only yourself.  Consider others when you make decisions, when you make plans, when you speak.  Consider their wants & needs, too.  What do those close to you want & need?  How can you help to meet those needs & wants?

When you feel yourself getting angry, stop.  Take a deep breath & release it slowly.  This will help to calm your body & mind, & that will allow you to think clearly about the situation.  When you think clearly rather than simple react, you may realize the situation isn’t really worth being angry about like you thought it was at first.

Also please know that you are going to need to heal from the events that created this behavior in you in the first place.  I know it’s a scary thing, but you need to face those things in order to heal.  I promise you, it WILL be worth it!

The lasting effects of an overused fight trauma response don’t need to be such a big part of your life.  While it did help you survive for some time, & can be a useful tool, there are clearly many negatives!  You can make healthy changes & live a happier life!

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 15% off all print books. Simply use code READER15 at checkout until March 26, 2021 to take advantage of the sale. Visit the link below to see my books…

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

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Another Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 10% off all print books until March 19, 2021 when you use code SELL10 at checkout.

Check out my print books at the link below…

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

If you prefer ebooks, those are also availble at the link below…

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

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Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering a sale on all of my print books. Use code ORDER15 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below:

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

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Toxic Shame & Narcissistic Abuse

Toxic shame is a serious problem among those who have survived narcissistic abuse.  This type of shame goes far beyond thinking things like, “I shouldn’t have done that”.  Toxic shame thinking things like, “I’m a terrible person because I did that.”  In other words, toxic shame judges the person rather than the act.

The reason toxic shame is so common in those who have survived narcissistic abuse is because of the way narcissists abuse their victims.  Overt & covert narcissists may be quite different in many ways, but both types will not hesitate to use shame as a weapon.  They harshly judge & criticize their victims about everything.  Nothing is off limits!  The victim’s religious beliefs, morals, hobbies, likes, dislikes, taste in clothing, taste in cars, career choice, significant other, children, extended family, friends…. You name it.  Anything can be used.  They criticize the victim for caring about what they care about & not caring about the things they don’t care about incredibly harshly.  They imply or even say outright that something is very wrong with their victim for feeling as they do.  They must be stupid or even crazy.  My mother gave me a very good example of this a few years before she died.  I don’t like donuts, & apparently she was unaware of that.  One day she mentioned liking them & asked which kind I liked.  I said none.  She said, “You don’t like donuts?  What’s wrong with you?  You can’t be my daughter!”  At the time I was thinking, “I wish!” but I also realized what was happening.  I didn’t feel the same way she did, & rather than simply accepting we felt differently about something, she tried to shame me for being different.

The underlying message that narcissists give when shaming their victim is this:  “You must not make mistakes, have your own feelings, thoughts, needs or interests because that makes you unacceptable, unlovable, intolerable, stupid &/or crazy.”

Toxic shame is a very effective weapon for narcissists, especially when their victims are unaware of what exactly is happening.  Over time, the shame takes a deep root in a person.  At that point, it annihilates one’s self esteem because they believe they are seriously broken, flawed & unlovable.  It also destroys a person’s identity because the shaming made this person think they shouldn’t feel or believe as they do.  It can make them doubt that they really feel or believe that way.  Or, more commonly, they may purposely try to change because it seems better than dealing with the narcissist’s cruel shaming.

This toxic shame also can create false beliefs in a person, such as the person isn’t entitled to have any needs, wants or feelings.  When married to my ex husband, I repeatedly told myself I needed to ignore my needs, wants & feelings & focus on him.  I truly felt that I wasn’t entitled to have such things, only he was. 

An overdeveloped sense of responsibility can come from toxic shame as well.  A person can come to believe that they are responsible for others, including their emotional state.  This is especially true of the narcissist in their life.  If someone they know is sad, they should cheer that person up.  They should fix all of the problems in that person’s life.  They come to believe that their own life isn’t as important as this other person’s is.

There are ways to heal from toxic shame.  Prayer is always the best place to start, in my opinion.  Ask God to speak his truth to you & to heal you. 

Study about who you are as a child of God.  There is plenty in the Bible that proves you are worthy & wonderful.  I created a pretty long list of these Scriptures.  It’s available on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com on the Positive Affirmation link at the top of the page.

If you do these things, you won’t be set free of the bonds of toxic shame overnight but it will happen.  Don’t give up!  You deserve to be set free!

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25% Off Sale On My Ebooks Starts Tomorrow!

Don’t forget…

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off!

Ebooks are the most affordable way to buy my books. Why not take advantage of the extra 25% off?

Come check them out!

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Saying Things Out Loud

I really am a firm believer in writing things down.  It gives you clarity & insight & is one way to help you heal from trauma.  That being said though, speaking out loud has its pluses too.

The Bible has a LOT of Scriptures regarding what we say out loud.  Possibly the most powerful example being  Proverbs 18:21 which says that there is life & death in the power of the tongue.

So many verses focused on one topic tells me that topic is very important, otherwise God wouldn’t have wasted space in the Bible discussing it.  We need to be well aware of the importance of our words, even in the area of healing from narcissistic abuse, & use them wisely.

Sometimes you have to speak things out loud to heal.  It can help you to hear the words describing what you have been through as well as seeing the reactions others have when you tell them your story.  Discussing traumatic events can help you to get validation from others & even to validate yourself.  I found writing my own story when I wrote my autobiography was incredibly validating.  Seeing clearly on paper what I went through was eye opening.  But, hearing yourself talking about the horrors you experienced can be validating as well.  Something about getting your story out of you either verbally or in writing can be incredibly therapeutic.  It makes the events more real, somehow.  Possibly because after experiencing repeated abusive & traumatic episodes, a person often becomes desensitized to it all.  It hurts, sure, but it just is what it is.  Speaking about these things removes the desensitizing even if only for a while.

Talking also can be helpful for processing the trauma.  Some people do better with writing theirs, but there are others who are helped more by speaking about it.  Something about verbalizing things helps people to process their pain or come to ways to help them process it & heal.  That is one of the purposes behind talk therapy, after all.

Also when you talk to someone, they can help you to see things from a different perspective.  That can be incredibly helpful sometimes!

If you talk to another victim of narcissistic abuse, there is another potential benefit, too.  They may have found ways to cope with a similar situation to yours, & can help enlighten you to new ideas that may help you.  Or, they may have made mistakes & can tell you what didn’t work & why.  Both are very beneficial.

I learned another benefit of talking several years ago.  I wrote about it when it happened.  May 5, 2016, I had a huge argument with my parents.  I knew it was coming, so before I took their call that night, I asked God to guide my words.  Well, He did, but not as I expected Him to!  Rather than remaining calm & providing no narcissistic supply, I yelled, cussed & cried.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I got in prayer.  I told God I was so sorry!  I must have somehow missed His guidance.. maybe I should call my parents back & apologize.  As clearly as I’ve ever heard His voice, He said, “No.  Your parents needed this.  They needed to see their normally calm, rational daughter terribly upset because of them.”  Why, I have no clue but I know He knew.  It also showed me that although most times when dealing with narcissists, it is foolish to be outspoken with them, there are certain times when it is necessary.  If you trust God, He will help you to do it.

While talking about things obviously can be helpful in many ways, never, ever forget to be wise with whom you share your story of narcissistic abuse.  There are many people out there who support narcissists, & will hurt you for talking about your experiences.  If they know the narcissist, they’ll also tell him or her everything you say.  Remember Matthew 10:16, & be wise as serpents, harmless as doves!

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Ebook Sale!

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off! Come check them out!

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

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Blessings Are Possible In Spite Of Narcissistic Abuse

Those of us who have suffered through narcissistic abuse know trauma, depression, misery & even what it feels like to consider suicide.  We have gone through such horrific events that it can feel nearly impossible to find any good in life.  Yet we are still blessed!  Not because of the abuse, of course, but in spite of it.

Victims of narcissistic abuse always feel weak in the midst of their suffering because they are powerless, but truly, they are strong.  It takes an incredible amount of strength to escape the abuse against all efforts of the narcissist to keep you in the relationship.  It also takes a great deal of strength to escape with no self esteem, & when you believe you aren’t able to survive without the narcissist in your life.  Having such strength, especially in spite of the narcissist’s efforts to destroy it, is a huge blessing! 

Victims of narcissistic abuse are also incredibly brave.  Narcissists aren’t always physically abusive.  They don’t have to be.  They can terrify victims with a simple look that can make a victim fear or their life.  Going against someone that appears to be incredibly powerful & capable of causing you great pain & suffering is extremely brave!  Being so brave is another huge blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse are very appreciative.  After surviving horrific abuse, victims have a different mentality than the average person.  Victims know how bad things can be & how cruel people can be.  They have learned to greatly value all of the good things in life.  Living life with an appreciative spirit is a wonderful thing that can bring a great deal of joy, & is another blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse are loyal.  When someone who claimed to love you abuses you to the point of destroying your personhood, it’s hard to trust other people.  Once a victim trusts someone & that someone is good to them, however, they are incredibly loyal.  Good people are exceptionally precious to those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  Victims will adore & protect these people fiercely, which is why they often make wonderful friends & romantic partners.  Friend & romantic partners appreciate such loyalty, so again, this is another blessing.

Victims of narcissistic abuse who turn to God have an extremely close relationship with Him.  Of all of the things I have mentioned so far, this is the most wonderful one, in my opinion.  I saved the best for last.  In typical narcissist fashion, narcissists do their best to convince their victims to believe as they believe.  The narcissistic atheist expects their victim to share their beliefs.  There are also narcissists who know enough about the Bible to be able to twist Scripture around to the point of justifying their abuse.  Such behaviors often convolute a victim’s view of God.  For someone to survive this yet come away with faith on any level is impressive, but many have an extremely intimate relationship with God.  He blesses these people greatly, too.  Isaiah 9: 2-3 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” (NIV)  I can’t help but think God has a special place in His heart for those who have been abused, which is why He blesses victims in this way.

By sharing these thoughts, I’m not saying that any victim of abuse should be grateful for their traumatic experiences.  I am saying though that it’s good to look at these blessings in your life & be so grateful for them.  Be grateful that in spite of the narcissist’s best efforts, he or she couldn’t take these gifts from you.  And, be proud of yourself for surviving all that you have!  That, as you well know, is no easy feat!

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A Little Down Time Does The Heart Good!

Lately, I’ve been busy. Not writing the usual books but taking a bit of a breather from that to create some cross stitch patterns. Since I’m not the only one who needs a break from the draining topic of narcissism, I thought I’d share the link to them here.

Cross Stitch Patterns

I also have some crochet patterns available on my site as well. They are on this link.

I hope those of you reading this will like them. I also hope that even if you aren’t into crafts, you’ll remember that mental health breaks are very important. PLEASE take some time where you deliberately do NOT think about narcissism or your healing from narcissistic abuse. Such a draining topic requires plenty of rest & distraction to prevent you from burning out.

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Why Some People Hate & Abuse Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Recently I was scrolling through my journal.  I came across an entry I made in February, 2020 regarding something I learned about one of my cousins immediately after I joined Instagram.  I immediately deleted Instagram, I think even before writing this journal entry. To get why I found this disturbing enough to delete that account so quickly, you need to know some background…

Growing up, my cousin & I were never close.  My mother never let me get very close to anyone on my father’s side of the family.  Even as adults though, this cousin & I just didn’t really click. 

We tried somewhat to have a relationship as adults.  In 2014, she had a Christmas party a few days before Christmas & invited me.  I couldn’t attend.  She attacked me for not coming even though she knew I don’t celebrate Christmas.  Immediately after, she stopped speaking to me & unfriended me on Facebook.

Nineteen months later, this cousin sent me an email.  Only the subject line of the email had any text.  It said “Supposed to make amends with everybody”.  Judging by the language, I assume that meant she was in a 12 step program since that is word for word one of the steps.  I ignored the email, because I believe if someone is sincere about making amends, they might say something in the email on the topic.

This cousin never tried to contact me again until my father was dying in 2017 when she tried to force me to visit him one final time.  When I ignored her calls & messages, she tried to force another cousin into bullying me into seeing my father.  When that failed, she sent me a very shaming email about what a bad Christian I am.  It arrived the evening before his funeral.  

I heard nothing else from her until she followed me on Instagram in early 2020.  I was shocked she would follow me since, like the rest of my family, she clearly thought so poorly of me.  I asked God why would she do that.  His response was very interesting & I think very informative for many victims of narcissists who deal with either the narcissist or their evil minions stalking them.  He said,

“Your cousin is insanely, obsessively, morbidly envious.  She thinks you’ve had this easy, charmed life.  When she sees you “whining” about your childhood, it justifies her hatred of you.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her, & she saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She lied to herself about her parents’ loving her & her being so close to her mother, your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about your parents & you’re being a spoiled brat.  She thinks you’re petty & weren’t really abused.  She also can’t accept that her uncle would be abusive or marry someone who was.”

“She thinks abuse is only physical or sexual.  Verbal abuse doesn’t count to her.  She thinks Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a made up thing that you use to justify talking about your parents that way.”

“The devil feeds her delusions.  He makes her think the things she does, & those things feed her rage & disgust of you.”

I would guess that many of you now feel an “ah ha!” moment.  Somehow it makes sense that someone you know feels this way about you, & that is why they are so devoted to the narcissist in your life & feel free to treat you so badly.

I truly hope this helps you because not knowing the motivation behind someone’s ridiculous & abusive behavior can be so hard!  When you know that what they say & do has more to do with them than you, it can be surprisingly freeing!  It helps tremendously to know that the problem truly has nothing to do with you, & instead is all about that person’s dysfunction. 

If this does fit a situation with someone you know, if you can, please pray for that person.  Pray for them to come to know Jesus as their Savior, & for Satan to leave them alone.  Those are two things they need more than anything else in the world.  So as difficult as it can be, please try to pray for them.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the more likely they are to turn their lives around.  It also will help you to be blessed & to have peace because you will be following Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:44 to pray for your enemies.

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Dealing With Those Who Think They Know It All About Narcissistic Abuse

I keep hearing the term “mansplaining”.  I get how annoying this can be.  Being a blonde female who loves cars, I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of men acting like I’m too dumb to know much of anything, let alone a complicated topic like cars. 

This know it all attitude isn’t just men doing it to women, & it isn’t just about cars.  Anyone can treat someone this way & the subject matter can be anything.  Many victims of narcissistic abuse have experienced it.  I would bet that all victims have heard someone say that the abuse wasn’t so bad or NPD isn’t a real thing.  If the victim is a Christian, then it also includes smug people without any real understanding of the Bible misapplying Scripture to justify the behavior of abusive people while condemning the victim for wanting to set boundaries or end the relationship. 

When on the receiving end of know it all behavior, it can be so hard not to take it personally & cuss out the person treating you this way.  Truly, I get it!  I’ve felt that way.  That doesn’t mean I have followed through with that desire however.  I also learned how not to be so upset when it does happen.  In fact now it barely bothers me at all.

Getting to this point isn’t as hard as you may think.  To start with, I think it’s best to accept the fact that people who act this way are going to cross your path.  There is no way to avoid them completely because know it alls are everywhere.  The more you heal though, the more repelled toxic people will be by you & the more functional, healthy people will be attracted to you.  This means that naturally, the less you’ll be exposed to know it alls.  Another motivation to focus on healing!

Also, rather than be hurt or angered by their heartless words, it really helps to remember that this isn’t personal.  While it can feel intensely personal, it truly isn’t.  Know it alls clearly have some sort of issues.  Functional people realize they don’t know everything.  They have no problem admitting that they aren’t experts on certain topics or trying to learn new things.  They listen to other people as well, & aren’t quick to offer their input unless asked for it.  Dysfunctional people however aren’t willing to learn or grow.  If someone they’re speaking with is discussing a topic they don’t know much (or nothing) about, they don’t want the speaker to know this.  They would rather act like they are experts on a topic than risk people thinking they aren’t as smart as they want others to think they are by admitting they don’t know much about a specific topic.

Another thing to remember with these know it alls is they have their own painful situation similar to yours.  When you discuss your situation, it triggers their own painful memories that they are trying to avoid.  Rather than realize their triggers are trying to tell them they need healing, they prefer to shut down the person who is inadvertently triggering them.  One of the ways some people do that is by shaming the victim.  They create shame in victims by claiming to know everything about narcissism & it isn’t so bad.  Or, they pull random Scriptures they remember out of thin air & use them to shame a victim for not being willing to tolerate abuse.

And lastly, never forget to ask God to help you in this situation.  Sometimes even knowing these facts isn’t enough to help you deal with a truly impossible person.  God will be glad to help you to do whatever you need to do.

I pray the next time you run into someone who thinks they know everything, the tips I have shared with you will help you!

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How To Know If No Contact With Your Abusive Parent Is Necessary

Many people have very definite opinions on no contact but especially when it comes to parents.  There are so many who claim no contact is the only option & there is no excuse not to sever ties with toxic parents.  There are probably just as many who claim it’s not God’s will, no contact is dishonorable & there is absolutely no excuse to sever ties with your parents no matter what they have done to you. 

If you are in the position of wondering if no contact is your best solution, no doubt you have read information on both sides of this argument.  It can be truly overwhelming & confusing!

My purpose in this post is to help you decide whether or not no contact is necessary in your particular situation.  Following are some questions you need to consider.  When you answer them, the more honestly you answer, the more clarity you should have about whether or not you need to go no contact with your parent.

Is your parent willing to discuss your relationship?  Narcissistic parents have no desire to discuss the relationship or work towards solutions.  They don’t want to hear their victim’s complaints, & can shut down as soon as the conversation turns to their behavior.  Functional people are open to discussion & are willing to listen, not only talk.

Does your parent deny any responsibility for problems in the relationship?  Functional people admit when they are wrong.  They apologize & try to make appropriate changes.  Dysfunctional people, narcissists in particular, refuse to admit they have made mistakes.  Instead, they refuse to admit any wrong doing, shift all blame to the victim or make lame excuses for their behavior.

When discussing the relationship, does your parent turn the situation around to where you are the abuser, them the victim?  Covert narcissists in particular love to do this.  No matter how valid your complaint about their behavior, they can spin the situation around to make you look abusive, while simultaneously making them look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways.  Functional people do nothing like this.

Is your parent completely inflexible?  For any relationship to work, both parties have to be rather flexible.  One person can’t do all of the compromising & expect the relationship to be a healthy one.  Yet, narcissists aren’t concerned with what is healthy.  They’re only concerned with what they want, & what they want is a one sided relationship where their victim caters to their every whim.  Functional people are willing to bend & compromise if it means the relationship will be better.

Is your parent very entitled?  Functional parents accept that their children are grown with their own life, family & responsibilities.  They don’t expect to be their adult child’s top priority.  Entitled parents are much different.  They think their adult children need to have them as top priority even over their spouse &/or children & are impossible.  No matter how much their adult child does for them, it never will be enough nor will it please this parent.  Even if their adult child does so much for them that their spouse divorces them, it still won’t be enough.  It may please the parent, however, to have that spouse out of the picture so the adult child can focus on them even more. 

Have you tried your best to fix this relationship yet it either didn’t change or got worse?  One person can’t fix a relationship, but by altering their behavior, some change should come naturally to the relationship.  If the relationship stayed the same or got worse, that is not a good sign.  Narcissists don’t like their victims to change unless that change means the victim is more subservient.  If your parent is like the dysfunctional ones I discussed, chances are excellent that no contact is your best solution.  I don’t like to say anyone definitely should go no contact, because each person & each situation is unique.  However, the dysfunctional behaviors I’ve discussed are big signs that there is no working things out with anyone who behaves that way.  From here, I highly recommend lots of prayer & consideration of your unique situation.  And, if you realize no contact is necessary for you, then you can have peace of mind knowing you did all you could & gave it a lot of serious consideration before implementing no contact.

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Anger As A Helpful Tool

Some time back, I decided to change my online diary to another website.  Unfortunately I can’t export the old one & import it to the new.  I have to copy & paste old entries manually.  I considered starting from scratch but quickly abandoned the idea.  It’s helpful to be able to read over old entries.

One thing I realized in reading those old entries was how helpful anger has been to me.  Many of you may remember in 2016, I had a big argument with my parents that led to no contact.  It was a very hard time for me, & I was full of a great deal of anger.

I don’t like feeling anger.  In fact, I really hate it.  When someone wrongs me, no matter how badly, I do my best to release that anger as quickly as possible.  Yet after the argument with my parents, not only could I not release it, it got worse for a while.  At the time it felt horrible & I was miserable.  I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did.  Looking back though, I realize how valuable that anger was.

The anger I felt then helped me to stay no contact with my parents.  I felt incredibly guilty for going no contact because they were in failing health.  That anger helped me to maintain my distance.  And, I later learned that maintaining no contact was what God wanted from me at the time.  In fact, it led to my father’s Salvation at the very end of his life.  (That incredible story is on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug if you’d like to read it.)

That anger also helped me to maintain boundaries when people insisted I should speak to my parents.  We all know that flying monkeys think they know best what victims should do to please their narcissist.  This behavior really goes over the top when a victim boots a narcissist out of their life.  I experienced this in 2016 & 2017.  The anger I felt at my parents helped me to keep a good perspective on the relationship I’d had with my parents, & not to cave when people tried to force me to resume it.

The anger I felt also helped me to think logically.  That was very helpful, too!  If I started to think the flying monkeys might be right, almost immediately I would ask myself what would it benefit anyone for me to return to the abusive relationship?  What makes people think they have the right to suggest that to me?  Logical thoughts like that are fantastic for giving a healthy perspective.

I know in Christian circles, talk like this is often very frowned upon.  So many quote Colossians 3:13 that says we should be quick to forgive or they say anger is a sin.  While I agree that forgiveness is a good thing, people shouldn’t be labeled sinful for feeling anger!  Anger isn’t a sin.  It’s simply an emotion.  What a person does with anger can be sinful, but isn’t that true with pretty much anything?  Owning a knife isn’t a sin either, but if that knife is used to kill someone, that becomes a tool to sin.

Rather than looking at anger as some black & white issue, I think it’s good to look at it more objectively.  Consider the reason you’re angry & pray about it.  Maybe you can learn something from the anger or the situation.  Maybe it will help motivate you to change.  Few things are as good a motivator as anger, after all.

While I’m not saying act carelessly out of anger, let it help you.  Don’t let it be a waste.  Let your anger teach or help you in whatever way it can.  It can be uncomfortable to experience but it also can be a very good teacher & helper.

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

How Many Abuse Victims Process Negative Emotions

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January 29, 2021 · 6:30 AM

Truths About Forgiveness

Many people talk about forgiveness as if it means you resume a relationship as if nothing happened.  You also no longer feel any anger or hurt.  It’s as if a magic wand has wiped away all evidence that the painful event happened!  And, if this isn’t the case in your situation, clearly something is very wrong with you.

Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth!  Believing these lies has done a lot of emotional damage to victims of narcissistic abuse.  I want to share the truth about forgiveness in this post.

Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.  Some relationships have run their course & need to end for various reasons.  One example is when one person in the relationship is abusive & shows no interest in changing their ways.  Staying in a relationship with someone who abuses you simply makes no sense!  Even if the abuser is a spouse or family member, it’s best to leave the abuser behind.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that a relationship needs to continue exactly as it was.  When someone does something very bad to someone else, that bad behavior needs to stop.  Continuing the abusive behavior over & over is terrible for the victim & also the abuser.  The abuser learns that their behavior is perfectly acceptable.  Clearly this is NOT good for either party!

Forgiving someone is much like forgiving a debt.  If you lend someone money & they can’t pay you back, you can “forgive” their debt.  In other words, you don’t expect them to repay you & you don’t mention that they owe you.  That debt is a done deal.  When someone wrongs you, you can do something similar by not expecting them to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  Doing this really lifts a great deal of weight & stress from you!

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean that you never feel anger or hurt about the incident again.  If you forgive someone as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, that does open the door to your anger & hurt diminishing or even disappearing in time.  Some abusive actions are so egregious though, that there may always be a degree of hurt or anger attached to the memory.  That doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven the person who hurt you.  It means that the action was really terrible.  Remember me sharing the story of when my mother threw me into a wall when I was 19?  I honestly have forgiven her for that.  Remembering the incident, however, still makes me cringe.  Sometimes it even makes my back hurt in the location she injured it.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven her, am holding onto bitterness or am not a good Christian.  It means that was a really bad action!

When it comes to the business of forgiving, I do my best immediately to decided to forgive.  Most likely there is nothing the person can do anyway to completely make it up to me for what they have done, so I mentally release them from that “debt” of sorts.

I also have found praying to be VERY helpful.  I ask God to help me forgive naturally, but also tell Him how I feel.  I say it was wrong of them to do or say whatever they did.  I cry or rant to get my feelings out & that helps so much.  He is never surprised or offended either.  He lets me say whatever I need to.

Journaling is also helpful.  I’ve learned that writing things down helps bring clarity to situations that speaking about them doesn’t.  There is something so helpful about seeing things in writing!

If you don’t journal, you still can get the benefits of writing.  Write letters you never send to the person who has hurt or abused you.  Let it all out in them, too.  Once you’re done, you can save the letter somewhere well hidden or you can dispose of it.  I used to burn mine.  It was like the anger & hurt went up in flames with the paper.  Strange, I know, but still very helpful.

You don’t have to live up to the impossibly high standards some folks have of forgiveness.  It’s unrealistic & unhealthy!  Remember these truths about forgiveness.. I believe they will help you!

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