Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Why Anxiety Is Worse After Leaving Narcissistic Abuse

Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do.  Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath.  It can come with a plethora of challenges.  One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.

Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense.  They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages.  They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road.  Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower?  I think this happens for a few reasons.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity.  Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person.  When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety.  All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else.  I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.

If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first.  It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction.  You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.

If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal.  You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up.  You have a skewed view of the world.  When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment.  Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to.  This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.

You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.”  No further thought happened.  As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity.  It can  create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.

The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance.  Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters.  Also, talk to yourself.  Remind yourself that the danger has passed.  Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen.  That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now.  If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person.  You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists.  And thank God for that!

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An Announcement About My YouTube Channel

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15% Discount On My Print Books Until July 3, 2020

My publisher is offering a 15% discount on all print books until July 3, 2020. You can find my books at the following link: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Sale On All My Ebooks!

My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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When People Call You, The Victim, Abusive

Many victims of narcissistic abuse experience the same thing.  After months, years or even a lifetime of abuse, they realize they can’t take the abuse anymore.  They then escape the narcissist & are met with further abuse from other people instead of love, concern & support.

That abuse frequently consists of victims being told they are oversensitive, they need to forgive, aren’t being so called “good Christians,” they shouldn’t go no contact because the narcissist is family & other similar nonsense.  Possibly the worst of the comments many victims hear though is when people tell the victim that they are the abusive one.  I think one of the most painful things any abuse victim can hear is that they are acting like someone who caused them unimaginable pain & suffering.  It’s cruel & it also can cause victims to have doubts about their behavior.  Following is some food for thought for narcissistic abuse victims as well as for anyone who may have said these things.

When a victim escapes their narcissist & refuses to have any further contact, that doesn’t make a victim immature, unforgiving or pouting like a spoiled little child.  It also doesn’t mean the victim is being passive aggressive by giving their abuser the silent treatment.  It means the victim is protecting him or her self from further abuse, not being abusive towards anyone.

When a victim finally tells others about what the narcissist did, this also isn’t abusive.  This is someone speaking the truth about unthinkable suffering they have endured.  This person is looking for support, to work through their pain, to warn others who know the abuser & even to help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse.  There is absolutely no way this is abusive!

When people tell the victim how they should return to the relationship, anyone should refuse to engage with people like this because clearly they are toxic.  Doing so is not abusive.  What is abusive, however, is when people tell other people they should return to an abusive relationship, & shame them for not wanting to tolerate abuse any longer.  I admit, this is a particularly sensitive topic with me.  When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back together with him because he was miserable without me.  After going no contact with my parents, people said I needed to “fix things with them”, as if I was the only one who could repair that relationship.  In both situations, not one person asked why I severed ties with these people & they encouraged me to return to relationships that were detrimental to me.  See how abusive that is?

People who tell others to “take the high road” or “be the bigger person” are the abusive ones, not those who refuse to take that supposed high road.  Tolerating abuse doesn’t make you a good person.  It isn’t good or holy.  It’s foolish.

People who share criticisms with victims of how victims handled the abusive relationship when the victim didn’t ask for their thoughts are being abusive.  The victim is not being abusive for not handling the abuser the way this person thinks they should.  The victim is also not being abusive because he or she tells this person that they didn’t ask for that person’s opinion.

People who move on & enjoy their life after surviving narcissistic abuse aren’t deserving of shame, nor are they narcissists.  To shame them or call them narcissistic for finally having the ability to enjoy their lives is abusive.

If you are faced with people who call you abusive or they abuse you for ending an abusive relationship, they clearly have problems.  Always remember, you aren’t being abusive in any way for protecting yourself from them or your abuser!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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About Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

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I’m Doing Something New

I decided to try something new.. podcasts. The idea popped into my head recently, even though I know nothing of podcasts. It felt like God was leading me in a new direction, so I decided to give it a try.

To get started, I’ve decided to use the audio from my YouTubes. Yes, it’s a repeat of information having it on podcasts, YouTube & in this blog, but not everyone learns the same way. Some are visual learners & love YouTube. Some learn best from reading & others prefer learning audibly. I doubt many people will benefit from all three formats, so by doing them, it enables more people to (hopefully!!) learn from my work.

If you’d like to check them out, here is the link:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

I only have a few out there at the moment, but I’ll add more as time goes on. I was hoping to get all of them done asap, but yanno something? I can’t get them done quickly. Not with my mental health. So, I hope you’ll be understanding & patient with me taking my time in adding more podcasts.

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About Coping With Pain & Suffering

I get a daily email from the funeral home that took care of my mother when she died.  It sometimes has good & interesting emails.  Sadly though because our relationship was so abnormal, & it’s aimed for people with normal relationships who are grieving, it isn’t usually particularly helpful.

I just read the first email I truly disliked.  Even so, I think it can be a valuable teaching tool, even for those in relationships with narcissists.

The email quoted a book written by a young woman whose sister died.  She said her mother cried non stop.  She wore headphones constantly so she wouldn’t have to hear her mother cry, & her father worked very long hours for the same reason.  The commentary on this brief story said that as someone grieving, you should consider how your actions affect others.  You should keep your home life as normal as possible.  People who love you will be upset to see you suffering.  It ended with take time to share your feelings & not isolate yourself.

When I read this, it bothered me.

Not talking things out isn’t healthy.  Whether you’re grieving as the lady in this article or suffering at the hands of a narcissist. you have to talk about things.  You can’t ignore things & hope they’ll go away because they won’t.  The same goes for toning bad things down when you do talk about them.  It’s wise to share only with people you know are safe of course, so I’m not saying talk to just anyone.  Only aim to talk with safe people who won’t judge, criticize or invalidate you.  Can you imagine how much better the lady in this article would’ve felt if she had someone to talk to?!

Also, it seems to me the family in this article split up rather than pulling together with their shared loss.  That isn’t healthy!  The family in this email would have been so much better off if they would have spoken to each other about what each one was feeling & supported each other.  Whether you are grieving a death like the lady in this article or are suffering at the hands of an abuser, you should come together with people who are experiencing a situation similar to yours.  That way you can help each other to get through.  Finding that common ground with another person also can be incredibly validating!  If you don’t know anyone, there are countless online forums & groups on social media sites where you can meet such people.

The final sentence bothered me, too.   It seemed to me that taken in context with the rest of it basically said, “Let people know you’re upset, but not *too* upset.”  That is just wrong.  If people truly care about you, naturally they don’t want to see you upset of course, but they also won’t expect you to hide your feelings just to appease them.  They would rather see you bawl your eyes out or yell than plaster on a fake smile & pretend everything is ok.  They probably would see through the fake smile easily anyway.  I know my friends would.  If you’re suffering at the hands of a narcissist in particular, I know it can feel sometimes like no one cares, but that isn’t true!  That is only what the narcissist wants you to think, so you won’t discuss the abuse with anyone.  There will be people who genuinely care & want to help you.  Let them!

In the midst of suffering, it really can feel like there is no escape, like you’re all alone & no one cares.  Don’t believe that!  People do care & you can get through this.  And most importantly, there is a God who loves you so much & will be there for you no matter what.  Don’t forget to turn to Him & let Him help you to get through!

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Anxiety With C-PTSD

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When The Narcissist Learns You’re Telling Others About The Abuse

When you first start to open up about the abusive behavior the narcissist in your life has inflicted on you, it can be very hard.  You were told to keep everything a secret.  My mother used to tell me, “Don’t air our dirty laundry!” as a way to keep me quiet.  It didn’t work though.  At that time I was only 17, living through sheer hell due to her abuse & didn’t know what to do.  I told others in the hopes of finding someone who could give me advice on how to cope or make my mother treat me better.  Obviously that didn’t work.  I did learn about what happens when a victim starts to open up about narcissistic abuse though.

When you begin to divulge what the narcissist has done to you, the narcissist will be horrified.  After all, you’re not supposed to tell anyone anything!  The abuse is supposed to remain a secret between the two of you, no one else.  Naturally, the narcissist is going to be angry with you, because that is what they think.  They don’t think about the fact that you are a human being with feelings & needs & even the right to discuss your own life with whoever you wish.

The narcissist also is going to be very angry at you for making him or her look bad when you talk about the abuse.  Narcissists clearly don’t think like normal people, so they won’t consider their actions are what make them look bad.  Instead, they’ll lump all the blame on you for making them look bad.

Narcissists feel betrayed when victims tell others about their abhorrent behavior.  They all seem to think victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely, never protesting it, & are shocked & horrified when that isn’t the case.  This so called betrayal can trigger their rage.

It also can trigger a myriad of unhealthy coping skills.  One of which is reinventing the past.  Many narcissists convince themselves that they are awesome people, & never would abuse anyone.  After my mother’s death, I learned she knew what I write about in spite of my efforts to prevent that from happening.  I also learned she must have convinced herself that I was lying & she didn’t do anything I said she did.

When the narcissist becomes enraged & acts in this way, it can be scary.  Some scream.  Some harass or stalk.  All engage in a smear campaign & are often successful at turning those you love against you or at least damaging some of your relationships.  This is a terribly painful place to be, I know.  It may even make you think you’re wrong for opening up.  Life seemed easier when no one knew what the narcissist did to you.  I can tell you something though.. although it may seem easier, it isn’t.

In some ways, not discussing the abuse is easier because the narcissist is appeased.  When they’re appeased, they aren’t ruining your relationships or at least your reputation.  No one is telling you what a terrible person you are.  But, you are unhappy.  You’re trying to do everything perfectly so as not to upset the narcissist, which means you’re under intense stress & utterly miserable.  Everyone is happy except you, & the people who are happy clearly have no concern for your mental health.

Tell your story.  John 8:32 says the truth will set you free.  Let it!  The more you discuss the abuse, the more you’ll heal.  If the narcissist doesn’t approve, that isn’t your problem.  Besides, think about this: if what he or she did was truly ok, if it was all your fault & their abusive actions were totally justified, why are they so determined to keep it a secret?

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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“Super Powers” In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently saw the most interesting conversation on television!  In this particular scene, a younger lady was talking with an older lady.  The younger lady was deaf, & discussing how things went when she began to lose her hearing in her teens.  She said she was afraid & angry, naturally, but her older sister told her being deaf was her super power.  She learned how to adapt to this new life which obviously wasn’t easy.  She also mentioned how people in their community were learning sign language, & that it was all because of her.

Immediately I began to think of those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.  We have super powers too!

We survived some pretty horrific stuff!  Simply surviving narcissistic abuse definitely fits into the super power category!  Many people don’t.  They end up committing suicide, & quite honestly, who can blame them?  Like many others, I sure considered it plenty when I was going through it.

We also not only survived, but we did so with our sanity & humanity in tact.  Narcissists pull out all the stops when they abuse their victims in an attempt to utterly destroy them.  Surviving that without becoming angry or bitter or continuing their abuse is really impressive!  Many people who survive narcissistic parents simply don’t have the strength or courage to break the cycle of abuse, & they abuse their children.

Many of us go on to talk openly about our painful experiences, & by doing so, help other people.  We create awareness of narcissistic abuse, which is desperately needed.  And, we help other victims to learn what is happening with them when we discuss our experiences.  I’m sure you remember how it was prior to learning about narcissistic abuse.  You felt like you were going crazy, maybe the narcissist was right & you were causing all of the problems in the relationship & more.  Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incredibly freeing because you learn the narcissist is the problem, not you like the narcissist said.  By discussing your experiences openly, you’re helping other people obtain that freedom!  Also, by discussing narcissistic abuse, we are able to show others what does & doesn’t work with not only dealing with narcissists but the healing process as well.

If you have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, you aren’t exempt from having the super powers.  I know many who have it consider themselves weak or seriously flawed, but that isn’t the case at all!  You simply have a scar that shows yourself & others you survived some pretty horrific stuff.  I know C-PTSD is horrible, I live with it too.  But living with something so painful & challenging is a super power!

And you know something else?  By being open & honest about your struggles with C-PTSD, you’re helping others.  You may help some people who may not yet realize they too have the disorder.  They may hear of your struggles & realize this is what’s been happening with them.  While naturally no one wants to be diagnosed with any illness, mental or physical, if you’re suffering with symptoms & have no clue why, learning what is happening is incredibly helpful!  Having answers means you know what you’re dealing with & can find the proper treatment.

Also, by discussing your symptoms openly & how you cope with those symptoms, you help others find ways to manage their symptoms.  It can be so hard to come up with ideas to help yourself, especially when symptoms are flaring up, which means learning what works & doesn’t work for others can be extremely helpful!

Please never forget, Dear Reader, that you have super powers.  You survived some of the cruelest abuse a human can survive & are going on to help others.  Those are some impressive super powers!  That is amazing & you should be very proud of yourself!

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Victims Do Not Need To Pity Their Abusers!

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How To Tell If A Narcissist Will Change

I have heard so many people say that narcissists never change.  While this is often true, I disagree with it in some situations.

Narcissists absolutely can change, but only if they see the need.  After an argument, they are usually very nice to their victims to win their trust back, including promises of better behavior.  They also may stop their abuse, even mid-rage, if someone whose opinion they care about enters the room.  Obviously, they possess the ability to change.  The problem is they rarely want to change for long, because being abusive gets them what they want.

Narcissists also change as they age.  If a narcissist would terrify victims by screaming & hitting when he was 35, he can’t be intimidating like that anymore at 75.  This means that he will have to find new ways to abuse.  There are also some covert narcissists who become overt narcissists due to age or brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Also, I am a firm believer in Matthew 19:26 in which Jesus says, “With God, all things are possible.”  This tells me that a narcissist could change, & become a non-narcissist, with God’s help.  Likely?  Not really, because although all things are possible with God, people still have a free will, He won’t infringe upon that & narcissists are quite content with their behavior since it benefits them.

How can a person tell if a narcissist is sincere & genuinely changing for the better?  There are some signs you can look for.

Does the narcissist back up words with actions?  If someone promises, “That will never happen again!”, yet it does happen again, that tells you this person has no real desire to change.

Is the narcissist’s apology genuine?  Does he or she apologize as often as necessary?  A genuine apology is more than simply saying, “I’m sorry.”  A genuine apology includes the person accepting responsibility for what they did & putting effort into making things right.  It also should be said however often the victim needs to hear it.  It should NOT include excuses, blaming you or someone else, or the word “but” immediately after “I’m sorry.”  It also should NOT be passive/aggressive, such as, “I’m sorry for whatever you think I did,”  “I’m sorry if I did anything that upset you,” or,  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Does the narcissist pressure you to take him or her back, or resume the relationship as it once was?  Anyone who truly has changed their abusive ways will understand that it takes time to earn a person’s trust back once it has been broken.  They will be willing to wait as long as it takes while doing whatever it takes to repair the damage to the relationship.

Is the narcissist mirroring you?  Does he or she suddenly agree with everything you say or has he or she developed a sudden interest in things that matter to you?  That is mirroring.  In other words, this person is trying to act like you so you will feel comfortable enough with him or her to resume the relationship.

If the narcissist is behaving in a way that shows you this person has changed, what happens when he or she slips into old habits?  No one is perfect.  It’s only natural to make mistakes when trying to change, no matter how much we may want to change.  How does he or she handle those times?  Does this person apologize immediately & change the behavior?  Or, does this person make excuses, blame you or show in some other way that he or she is accepting no responsibility for what he or she did?

Is the narcissist willing to discuss problems reasonably?  Typical narcissistic behavior when someone confronts them involve temper tantrums, guilt trips, denial &/or gaslighting.  Proof of change would be that he or she will listen to you without acting in such a way.

Dear Reader, I hope you consider these points if the narcissist in your life says they have changed.  They can be fantastic actors, capable of convincing people of pretty much anything they wish.

Also please remember that although with God all things are possible & narcissists can change for the better, it is highly unlikely.  Pray for it.  Hope for it.  At the same time, never forget that it isn’t terribly probable.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.

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Being Too Busy

So many people seem to admire others who are constantly busy.  If you don’t believe me, you can see this for yourself.  If someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, notice their reaction to your answer.  If you say, “Not much,” most people look a bit disgusted with that answer.  However, if you say, “I’ve been really busy,” most people look pleased with your answer.

Keeping busy isn’t always the good thing many people think it is though.  Constantly going takes a toll on your physical, emotional & even spiritual health.  Physical because you aren’t taking the proper time to rest like your body needs you to.  Emotional because you aren’t allowing your mind to relax or giving it time to process things you need to process.  Spiritual because you aren’t taking time to spend with God, so He can restore you,  heal you or simply love you like you need.

Keeping busy is also a trauma related response.  Many people who have experienced trauma throw themselves into activities or work rather than take the proper time to face & heal from their trauma.  Think about it.  How many people after the death of someone they love, for example, suddenly get more active in work, volunteering, working at their church or other activities?  A lot of people do this.  They also will frequently say something like keeping busy helps them not to think about their departed loved one so much.  Whether or not they realize it, they are trying to avoid the pain of missing their loved one by being so busy, they don’t have time to think about that pain.

As hard as it can be to stop this behavior, it really is important to do so.  If you are too busy, I’d like to encourage you to pray about it.  Ask God to help you let go of activities that aren’t beneficial to you, to help you streamline your life so you will have more free time, & to give you the courage & strength you need to face the issues you have been avoiding.

Also, seriously examine your activities.  Are there things you do that aren’t bringing you any joy or benefiting your life in any way?  Then it may be time to abandon them if possible.  Or, if you can’t fully abandon them, how about reducing the time, energy & finances spent on those activities?

Use technology to help you.  I lean heavily on Google Calendar.  It took some time to set it up, but once I did that, it’s become a life saver!  All important dates are on it, such as birthdays & anniversaries.  I also added dates our monthly bills are due (including notifications for a week or two before to remind me they are coming up soon so I can plan accordingly), & have them recur each month.  My husband & I both have Calendar on our cell phones, so we know when we have plans, when we have free time & when our bills are due.

Another useful tool is paying bills online.  Most companies save your payment information so if you pay the bill once, you can return each month, click a couple of buttons & pay your bill.  If you are financially able, another useful feature is automatic payments.  Most companies allow customers to schedule their payment so it automatically comes out of the bank on the same day each month.

Decluttering is another way to free up time.  Yes, it takes time to do, but once it’s done, it’s a wonderful thing.  My Grandmom had an aversion to clutter, & would say more stuff is only more stuff to clean & maintain.  She was right.  Less stuff to clean & maintain means more free time for you.

Use common sense, & you no doubt will see activities you can stop or do a different way to free up some time in your life.  You’ll enjoy your life a lot more when you have plenty of time to spend in prayer, reading, or whatever other ways you like to spend your time.  You’ll also be much less anxious & more able to face whatever issues you need to face.  xoxo

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

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Signs Of A Mental Health Crisis You Shouldn’t Ignore

A breakdown is often referred to in different ways such as a mental breakdown, emotional breakdown or the less commonly used nervous breakdown.  All terms are used to describe a state in which a person can’t function normally due to overwhelming stress.

When I was 19, & my mother raged at me after I came home late one night.  Her screams woke my father who came in to see what was happening & then they began screaming at each other.  I ran into the bathroom & locked myself in.  I sat on the floor, unable to move, function or think.  I was catatonic for about five hours.

Other times, like when my beloved grandmom passed, the breakdowns weren’t quite as severe.  The catatonia lasted much shorter durations, but they were still awful.

I really don’t think most people take breakdowns nearly as seriously as they should.  They don’t believe such a thing exists or they claim the person having the breakdown is weak or seeking attention.  The sad truth is that breakdowns are serious & can damage a person’s mental health.  It’s vital to recognize the signs before one happens.

One of the first signs is feeling very anxious.  I don’t mean the normal anxiety that you feel before a job interview.  I mean anxiety that threatens to overwhelm you when there is no obvious reason to feel anxiety to such an extreme.  I mean panic attacks, headaches, tense muscles, tremors, upset stomach or high blood pressure.

Depression is another warning sign a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Sometimes, depression overwhelms a person, & a breakdown can happen.  This is what I experienced one after my beloved grandmom died.

Being over sensitive is another warning sign.  It is a big hint that your emotions are at their limit.  They’re overworked which is why they’re so sensitive.

Behavioral changes can be another sign of a pending breakdown.  Because your mind is so overwhelmed, naturally your behavior is different.  You may isolate yourself, lack patience, be short with people or lose interest in things that you normally enjoy.

Trouble with concentration is another red flag that a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Stress makes concentration harder, but when that stress is ongoing, it’s even worse.  Ongoing stress can increase cortisol levels in the body which over time can deteriorate your memory, ability to make decisions & problem solving skills.

Sleep changes often happen if someone is coming close to experiencing a breakdown.  Some people sleep too much while others sleep too little.  The exhaustion of being overwrought emotionally can cause a person to sleep too much.  At the same time, a can person to think too much, making sleep impossible.

Weight loss or gain & appetite changes can be another sign of a possible breakdown in the future.  Some people when stressed don’t like to eat while others overeat.  When a breakdown is likely on the horizon, those changes can be even more prominent.  Over eating in particular because cortisol can trigger cravings for high fat or sugary foods.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to take action now.  Breakdowns can be avoided with proper self care.  Pray.  Talk to God like the Father that He is to you.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Reduce as many activities that are unnecessary as possible so you can have more time to relax.  Watch your eating habits to be sure you eat properly.  You still can indulge in a slice of cake or whatever treat you enjoy sometimes though- the key is balance, not cutting treats out entirely.  Get extra sleep, even if you need to take a sleeping pill to help you.  Do things that make you feel nurtured & comfortable.  Taking steps like these can truly help you avoid having a breakdown & are good for your mental health.

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About Being True To Yourself

Anyone who knows me knows I am deeply into music.  Although I love all kinds of music, one of my favorite bands ever is the famous rock band, Queen.  Their unique sound & ability to mix all types of sounds to make music is absolutely incredible to me.  “Normal” music bores me so the uniqueness that always has been Queen is super appealing to me.

Anyone who knows me also knows my way of thinking is a bit skewed from what normal people think.  That ties into my Queen fandom, so please bear with me….

Recently I was listening to my favorite Queen song, “The Show Must Go On.”  The song was written by Brian May, the band’s incredibly talented guitarist & by the way also an astrophysicist, for the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury as he was dying from AIDS.  The band members were incredibly close friends, & this song was his gift to Freddie.  The story goes, at the time they were to record it, Freddie was quite ill & the other band members weren’t sure he would be able to sing long enough to create the single.  Upon hearing their concerns, he slammed down a shot of liquor & said he’d do it… then proceeded to create the vocals in only one take.  Pretty impressive especially for a dying man, don’t you think?

Yet, this isn’t something that was un-typical for the magnificent singer.

An extremely shy man, Freddie Mercury created an on stage persona that was very different from his true personality.  His fans loved the extrovert he was on stage, yet in spite of that, when he was off stage, he stayed true to his true shy nature.  His private life stayed private as much as possible.

In spite of being known for being shy, Freddie Mercury had a healthy self esteem.  Many people assume being shy means having low self esteem, but that isn’t always the case.  He recognized his talent as well as his shortcomings.  As a result, he also was very accepting of others & non-judgmental.

Freddie Mercury was comfortable with who he was.  Ok, he was not perfect, but who is?  Even so, this man was clearly comfortable in his own skin.

Also, he wasn’t afraid to step out of the box.  He did many unique things.  The opinions of others really weren’t important to him.  That isn’t a bad thing at all!  Everyone should have such confidence in stepping out of the box!

Thinking of these things, I was reminded yet again that Freddie Mercury is quite the role model.  Yes, I know, he had issues.  But honestly.. don’t we all have some issues??  He was true to himself & that is a wonderful thing!  We should strive to be true to ourselves as well.

I think most of us can learn a thing or two from this amazing man!

Naturally as Christians, we need to keep God first in our lives.  That being said though, it sure wouldn’t hurt any of us to learn a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

Whatever you do, stay true to yourself, be comfortable in your own skin & don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.  What other people think isn’t important.  And yes, this is aimed at those who survived narcissists!  You take care of yourself, be true to yourself & don’t be afraid of trying anything different.  If you want to dye your hair pink or blue or purple, then by all means, DO IT!!!  Get that tattoo, change your wardrobe into something entirely different from your normal.  Don’t let the opinions of other people determine what you should & shouldn’t do.  I know this can be so hard when you were raised by narcissistic parents, but it’s so important to break away from their mindset.  They don’t know you as the person God created you to be.  They don’t understand His will for your life.  And that is fine.  You know these things & you know that you need to do God’s will for your life.  Do it & enjoy every single moment!

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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Some Thoughts About No Contact With Narcissistic Parents

As I write this post, it’s May 5.  To many people it’s no special day.  To others, it’s Cinco De Mayo.  To me, it’s a reminder of a very strange day.

In 2016, my mother in-law died on April 30.  Two days later, our oldest kitty died suddenly.  Three days after that was our dog, Dixie’s birthday & we really did try to celebrate her special day as usual.  Not easy with the sadness we both felt, but we tried & I think Dixie was ok with that since she was a very sweet, sensitive & smart little pup.

Then “it” happened.  May 5, 2016, I had a huge fight with my parents.  It wasn’t entirely unexpected, as you can tell if you read the original post in the link above.

Today, as I was driving home, the date hit me.  I had thought of it earlier remembering my sweet Dixie on her birthday (she passed in 2017), but I hadn’t thought about it relating to the argument with my parents.  I also realized I hadn’t thought of it last year, either, but in all fairness, my mother had just passed & I was still in shock at that time.  I wasn’t functioning very well.

Anyway, when I thought of the date relating to the argument with my parents, guilt about overwhelmed me.  I am so NOT proud of my behavior that evening.  That argument also was what led to me being no contact with my parents, & that led to them dying without me in their lives in any capacity.  It was my final straw.  Yet, I know what I did was the right thing.  It seems so unfair to be wracked with guilt even knowing I did the right thing, yet, it also makes sense in a strange way.

Going no contact with your family, in particular your parents, is incredibly hard.  Many people have no idea just how hard, but those of us who have done it or are contemplating doing it know.  It’s brutal.  It goes against nature, stepping away from your own blood!  Yet sadly, it also is necessary sometimes.

If you’re contemplating going no contact with your narcissistic parent or parents, my heart goes out to you.  It’s incredibly difficult!  Having been in your position, I can give you some advice though…

Seriously consider your choice.  No contact needs to be permanent, not permanent until you need your parent or miss them.  Only do it when you are certain you can make it permanent, no matter what.

Don’t do it on a whim or because you’re angry.  My story may sound like I did that but it’s not the case.  I’d been considering no contact for a while at that time, yet felt the timing wasn’t right until that argument with my parents.  It felt as if God said, “Now”.   Timing is important.  Trust His timing & ask Him to help you figure out when the time is right.

Know that going no contact can lead to tremendous guilt, even when you know there was no other choice.  I know, it seems wrong but it’s a simple fact.  As I type this, I still feel guilty about going no contact with my parents even knowing it was God’s will for me to do it.  The one thing that helps the guilt is leaning on God for reassurance.  At first, it was constant.. especially when my father was dying in 2017.  It has lightened up a great deal, but even now, sometimes guilt still kicks in.. like today.

Never, ever stop praying for your parent.  I know many people say narcissists aren’t worth praying for, they’re a lost cause, nothing can save them, etc. but you never know.  Both of my parents are in Heaven!!  When my mother died, a stranger, the funeral director who took care of her, told me that he felt God wanted him to tell me she was in Heaven.  In 2017, a former friend told me that God spoke to her about my father being in Heaven.  I realize not everyone wants to be saved & God honors the choices of each person.  That being said though… never stop praying for your narcissistic parents!  The worst case scenario is that parent doesn’t accept Jesus, which of course is terrible, but there is at least some comfort in knowing you did all you can do.  God heard your prayers.  He won’t forget you praying for your parents.  He knows you did all you could do.  Your conscience is clear, & that is a good thing.

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What I Learned From No Contact

So many websites & authors make no contact sound like an easy decision & once you go no contact, all will be right in your world.  Nothing could be further from the truth!!  While no contact is often the best & even the only solution, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.

If you’re considering no contact with a narcissist in your life, in particular one in your family, you need to be aware of some things.  I am not writing these to make you change your mind about no contact, only to help you prepare for the potential aftermath.

  • No one has the right to abuse you, not even your family.
  • You are under no obligation whatsoever to tolerate abuse from anyone & yes, that includes family.
  • Cutting toxic people out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you someone who cares enough about yourself not to tolerate abuse.
  • Just because you severed contact with someone doesn’t mean you hate them.  You can love someone but still not be able to be in a relationship with them because they’re abusive.
  • No one can fully prepare for what may happen after no contact because all people are different.  When I went no contact with my mother, she ignored me & kept her distance.  When I went no contact with my father, he continually tried to force me to talk to him, including getting his family to try to force me to talk to him.  It’s hard to predict how the person on the receiving end of no contact will handle it.
  • You will be depressed for some time after going no contact.  No matter how sure you are that you did the right thing or how much you know you had no choice but to do this, ending a relationship especially one with a family member is TOUGH!  It hurts!
  • You’ll also feel very guilty for a while, even though there isn’t a valid reason to feel that way.  This is simply because that is how this person trained you.  Their feelings are more important than yours & how dare you put your feelings ahead of theirs, at least that is what they want you to believe.  Remember, this person is the reason the relationship fell apart.  Yes, you walked away but only after you were pushed into doing so to protect your mental health.  There is no reason to feel guilty about this!
  • You’re going to have doubts.  It’s only normal.  Remind yourself of how much thought & prayer went into your decision when this happens.  Also remember what led you to make this incredibly difficult decision.  Doing so helps a great deal.
  • Not everyone is going to understand.  Some people are going to judge you very harshly.  Those people can be incredibly hurtful & cruel.  No matter how convicted they are in their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are right.  Don’t let them make you doubt your decision or tolerate their abusive words.
  • Of those who judge you, you will be surprised by who is doing it.  Some folks you were convinced were on your side will turn on you, & it is going to hurt badly!  You also may be surprised by acquaintances & even strangers who attack you for going no contact.  It’s shocking when someone you barely know or don’t even know at all thinks they have the right to tell you what they think you should do with your life.
  • Those who don’t understand also will try to guilt or shame you into reconnecting.  Don’t let that happen!!  Again, remind yourself of what led you to making this decision.  Also remind yourself that these people don’t know the whole story, so their input is useless to you.
  • Often, these people who attack you are going to be your own family.  Family is often the most abusive in these situations.  Mine certainly has been.  Various members have attacked me like they were starving lions & I was vulnerable prey.  Sadly this is pretty normal in narcissistic families.  Family members often delude themselves into thinking they’re a happy, normal, functional family.  They will do anything to protect their delusions, including attack someone who tells the truth.  If they can quiet the truth teller, then their delusions can remain in tact.  To them, attacking their own kin is worth it if it protects their delusions.
  • You may think if you just did something they wanted you to do or loved them enough, the abuse would have stopped.  That is not true!  A person changes because they want to.  To make an abuser want to change is nearly impossible.  They get what they want from being abusive & they lack empathy.  This means they see no reason at all to change.
  • You also may have days where you miss this person.  You may be tempted on those days to rekindle the relationship.  You may even want to apologize for going no contact.  DON’T DO IT!!  Once someone has gone no contact then later returns to the relationship, it gets much worse than it originally was.  It may start out good, but it won’t take long before the mask comes off again.  When that happens, the person underneath is even uglier than they were before.
  • You won’t be functioning in survivor mode anymore, so you may feel much different.  You may feel very vulnerable & over sensitive.  Little things can make you cry or make you angry that never bothered you before.  You may have more nightmares than usual.  You may experience changes in anxiety levels by either becoming more anxious in general or less anxious but when you do get anxious those times are harder than they used to be.
  • You may feel oddly lost, too, like you don’t know what to do with your life.  When in a relationship with a narcissist, they seem to take up all the room in the relationship, even down to including all the room in your brain.  Without them, what is there to think about?!  It can take some time to feel less lost after survival mode is over.
  • At some point, you are going to feel so much better!  You’ll experience freedom & enjoy that feeling immensely.  If the narcissist in your life was a relative, guilt will come attached to enjoying your new freedom, but in time it will get less & less, until it disappears.
  • You’ll also experience peace, possibly for the first time in your life!  No more unnecessary drama.  No more narcissistic rages.  The peace is glorious!!
  • You won’t feel on edge all the time, worried about what to say or do to appease the narcissist so he or she won’t rage at you.  You finally can relax & not focus all of your energy on this person.  It’ll feel like a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders.
  • You also will start to enjoy little things more than you used to.  When you’re life is totally focused on a narcissist, it’s hard to enjoy subtle things like a bird singing, a beautiful full moon or even a great song on the radio.  It can feel almost like you’re reborn, I think is the best way to describe it.

In time, you’ll learn that no contact was absolutely worth it.  In spite of all the pain, the tears, the doubts & the attacks from horrible people, it truly was worth it.  You will survive it, & be better & stronger for it!

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Sale On My Ebooks Extended

My ebooks are currently on sale until May 31, 2020.  Check them out at the following link:

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

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Losing A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 started quite the roller coaster for me.  It was the day the police knocked on my door at 10 p.m. to tell me that my mother was found deceased in her home.  I had no idea that this event would turn my life into something barely recognizable.

A couple of days later, I found my mother’s will, which is when I learned she not only left everything to me, but I also was to be her personal representative.  I can’t express the shock I felt at learning this completely unexpected turn of events!  I never expected to get any inheritance from her, let alone be her PR.  Oddly though, it has done me a lot of good.

Personal representatives have a lot of responsibility & many details to attend to.  As someone with a brain injury & C-PTSD which has given me crippling anxiety, I didn’t think I could do any of this, even with the help of my attorney.  But you know what?  I have!  In fact, I’ve done a pretty good job at everything, including dealing with unexpected problems.

The emotional aspect has been incredibly difficult, too.  Losing a parent is terrible for anyone, but add in the narcissistic element & it’s also complicated & confusing.  I went into shock the night the police gave me the death notification, & it lasted for several months.  Most of the time, I haven’t known what I felt.  My moods would swing drastically & I had no clue why.

In spite of these very challenging things, not only have I survived, I’ve thrived.  I believe it is all because of God.

The night of the death notification, I prayed probably the shortest prayer I’ve ever prayed.  I simply asked God to help me & has He ever!

While making funeral arrangements, the funeral director mentioned he too is a Christian.  He said he felt strongly that God wanted me to know that my mother is with Him, & everything is going to be ok, just trust Him.  I know beyond any doubt that those things are true, too.

Since her passing, God has told me things that she wanted me to know.  One thing was especially interesting.  A few years before my mother’s death, she gave me a wind chime with dragonflies on it, saying she thought I would like it.  It’s very pretty so yes I do!  While visiting her grave shortly after her death, there were a lot of dragonflies buzzing around me.  I suddenly got this strong feeling that my mother wanted me to think about what dragonflies symbolize when I see them & be comforted by that.  I began to ask God if that was right, please give me a sign.  About halfway through that prayer, the biggest one yet flew right in front of me!  I researched the symbolism of dragonflies when I got home.  Common thoughts are they symbolize hope, maturity, change, love, prosperity, & peace.  Seeing them now does give me comfort, & I see them at unusual times, not only during the spring & summer months.

Also, I’d decided almost immediately to give my mother’s car to a friend’s son who was going to get his drivers license in a few months.  Shortly after, I began to have second thoughts.  When praying about it one day, God told me very clearly, “Your mother wants you to have & enjoy her car.”  This car is definitely not my usual taste at all, but I have come to enjoy driving it.  And, my friend’s son?  He said he didn’t want me to have to hang onto the car waiting on him, so I should keep it.

Among all these rather strange events, I am happy to report that my anxiety levels are MUCH better than they were prior to my mother’s death.  It still is there, but not in the crippling capacity it once was.

My point of sharing all of this with you, Dear Reader?  I want to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent dies before you, it’ll be tough.  But, with God, you’ll be able to get through it.  You’ll come out so much stronger & be so much closer to God than ever.  It may be the most difficult time of your life, but it will be worth it in the end if you just stay close to the Father.  ❤

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Very Wise Words About PTSD & C-PTSD.

Recently I was speaking with a fellow blogger, Linda Lee at https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com (it’s a great blog!  Check it out!).  We were talking about how we don’t believe God created people for things like surviving abuse & losing someone we love which is what makes coping with such things so incredibly hard.  During this conversation, she told me something very interesting.  Some time ago, she spent time under the care of the well known Meier Clinic.  In fact, she was blessed enough to be under the care of Dr. Meier directly!  After a lifetime of abuse & bad mental health diagnoses, this was an incredible blessing!  What he told her made so much sense in her situation, but I believe in other people’s situations as well.  It sure fit mine!  It probably will fit your situation too!

“You are NOT mentally ill.  What you have is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Although PTSD is classified as a mental illness for insurance purposes, the reality is that having PTSD after experiencing overwhelming trauma is perfectly normal — no less normal than it is to bleed, if somebody cuts you with a knife.  You see, God did not create us for abuse.  God is love, and He made us in His spiritual image, which means that we were created for kindness and love, not for abuse and hatred.  God created us to love and be loved. But when we get hate instead of love, when we receive abuse instead of kindness, we are damaged by that.  Being damaged by abuse does not mean that you are weak or crazy.  The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.  Just as the strongest man in the world will bleed, if you take a knife and cut him.  Human skin was not created to withstand the sharp blade of a knife.  In the same way, the human soul was not created to be traumatized and abused.”

I have beat myself up a LOT since learning I have C-PTSD.  I’ve told myself I’m so weak & other people had it worse & all kinds of heartless, invalidating things.  It doesn’t help when other people’s words & actions re-enforce such things.   I have found that sometimes those who have suffered abuse yet don’t have C-PTSD can be as judgmental as those who lack empathy for those who have been abused.

Anyway I find Dr. Meier’s words to my friend so comforting!!  Having C-PTSD or PTSD is a very normal response to a very abnormal situation!  These disorders aren’t a sign of weakness.  They are a sign of being normal.

Also, notice that he said. “The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.”  That tells me that no one is immune to traumatic responses.  Every single person has a breaking point, a point where enough is enough, & the trauma they experience will cause their brain to develop PTSD or C-PTSD.  Everyone’s breaking point is different, so there is no point in judging others who have one of these disorders.  No one is immune!

The next time you’re feeling weak or like a failure for living with PTSD or C-PTSD,  I hope you’ll remember what Dr. Meier said.  Print them out.  Save them somewhere on your computer or phone.  Share them on Facebook.  Whatever you do, please remind yourself of them!  I certainly plan to do so & do so often!  It can get too easy to go down the rabbit hole of thinking you’re a failure for having such a problem & that isn’t right!  No one is immune!  They are natural reactions to highly abnormal circumstances, nothing more!

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When You Love Your Narcissistic Mother

Recently, I was watching an episode of “The Walking Dead.”  I’m not sure if any of you who follow my work are also fans, but if not, you still might find this interesting.

In this particular episode, Neegan was talking to the daughter of a woman he had killed.  Alpha was a horrible woman & was basically a cult leader in my opinion.  Anyway, the daughter was calm at first, realizing he killed her because it was necessary.  He kept saying she needed to get her feelings out though.  It wasn’t healthy to hold them in.  The girl insisted she was ok.  Eventually, the young woman broke down though.  When she did, she said something interesting.  “I want to hate her but I can’t!”

This really hit home with me.  I think many of us with narcissistic mothers feel the same way.  I realize not everyone does.  Some dislike or even hate their narcissistic mother.  I truly hope this post doesn’t make you feel something is wrong with you.  Everyone is different!  I’m simply writing this to help those who feel like I do.

It’s a very strange feeling when you know your mother did the most horrific & unspeakable things to you, destroyed your self esteem, destroyed your identity even, yet on some level, you still love her.  It makes no sense at all to the logical mind to feel that way.  If anyone else did these things to you, chances are excellent you wouldn’t feel any love for this person at all.  Why feel differently towards your mother?  She’s the one person in the world that never should intentionally hurt you, yet she did.  Over & over again in fact.

The one year anniversary of my mother’s death is fast approaching & I’m realizing I feel the same way.  I want to hate my mother, but I can’t.  I’ve been thinking about this & this episode of “The Walking Dead” got me thinking about it more.  I thought I’d share some thoughts as to why this happens sometimes.

Many children of narcissistic parents are naturally loving & kind.  They aren’t people who hate easily & often not at all.

Many narcissistic mothers were the engulfing type.  Children grow up feeling as if she is the only safe place for them because their mothers make them feel that way.  Hating that safety net of sorts feels impossible.

Often, there were some good times, too, not only bad.  Very few abusers are abusive 100% of the time.  They are nice & loving periodically to bond their victim to them.  This trauma bond can be extremely confusing!  You want to hate the abuser, but you also know that they can be very kind & loving at the same time.  It feels impossible to hate someone kind & loving even when you know that they are capable of unimaginable cruelty.

The nature of relationship is another factor.  You only get one mother.  You shared her body with her for nine months.  This can’t be said of any other human being on the planet.  This naturally makes a child share a unique & exceptionally close bond with her mother, no matter what kind of mother she was.  Hating one’s mother is unnatural.  Of course it is possible & many people do feel that way, but not everyone is capable of hating their mother.

If you feel like there is something wrong with you because in spite of it all, you still love your narcissistic mother, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  When it comes to surviving narcissistic abuse, there are no one size fits all solutions.  Everyone is different.  Everyone processes emotions differently.  Everyone also had different experiences.  I really don’t think there is anything wrong with how anyone feels who survived a narcissistic mother.  The only wrong that I’m aware of is when someone repeats the pattern with their own children, & continues the cycle.

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How Narcissists Manipulate Their Victims

One of the favorite tools of narcissists is saying something that may seem innocuous but in truth, it’s designed to cause hurt or anger.  Years ago, my late mother in-law  asked something me in front of my husband… “Is your car running ok?”  Sounds innocent.  Also, every time we went to her home, we were in my husband’s car so how was she to know if it was running or not?  The truth was she hated my car.  She told me many times I should get rid of it.  Her “innocent” comment was one more way to say she thought my car was a piece of junk.  Later, when I said something to my husband, he defended his mother.  He never heard her tell me how she hated my car, & as I said, when we visited her, we took his car.  He saw no evidence that what I said was true.

This is a very effective tactic!  What narcissists say may sound helpful or nice, & may even have a victim believing that for a second, but it’s manipulation.  It’s also said as it is to cause confusion, so when you confront the narcissist, they can deny any wrong doing. As an added bonus, narcissists like witnesses, so they can validate that the narcissist didn’t mean any harm & you’re wrong, as in the situation with my mother in-law.  This provides the narcissist with their precious narcissistic supply.  And, if you stay silent, this also provides the narcissist with supply, because they see they have control over you.

The coup de gras is when the narcissist can make you apologize for your valid feelings.  Unfortunately this happens often, because such devious techniques can be very difficult to spot.

There are different ways narcissist use this technique.  Some are listed below so you can learn to spot this manipulation as soon as it begins.

  • Mentioning an ex frequently.  Narcissists love to say “my ex is still in love with me”, that he or she called or they ran into each other somewhere.  They also may mention good qualities about this ex.  This is to make you jealous & insecure, by letting you know the narcissist has other, better options.  If you say anything, the narcissist says you’re insecure, & have no need to worry.  The reassurance doesn’t feel so reassuring, however.
  • Narcissists like to flirt, but not necessarily with their partner.  A narcissistic significant other has no trouble flirting with other people in front of their mate.  When confronted, they say things like they’re just being friendly, you need to stop being so insecure & the flirting doesn’t mean anything since you are the one he or she comes home to.  Again, the reassurance isn’t very reassuring!
  • Narcissistic parents “brag” about their children to others.  Narcissistic parents love to share stories about their children that make the parent look good.  If they were able to fix something for their child or rescue them after doing something not very wise, those stories will be shared.  When their child is upset, they tell their child they have nothing to be upset about because the parent was bragging about them.  How can that possibly be upsetting?
  • Being condescending.  Narcissists believe themselves to be of superior intellect, so when their victim is in need of advice, they offer their so called wisdom freely.  They mention they’re doing it to help or they have your best interest at heart, so your accusations offend them.  You should be grateful they care enough to help you!
  • Talking about things with other people in front of you that you know nothing about.  If you & the narcissist are with other people, they may discuss stories that you know nothing about or have inside jokes.  The narcissist wants you to feel left out.  If you mention it, the narcissist says he or she knew you wouldn’t want to go which is why you were left out, or you’d be bored by the silly inside jokes.  You then feel ashamed of yourself for your very valid feelings.

You can learn to recognize these subtle tactics with practice.  When you do, remind yourself of what is happening, & act accordingly.  Don’t show the narcissist that you’re hurt or angry.  Pretend not to notice their manipulation.  This will deprive them of narcissistic supply, & most likely they’ll stop using that tactic on you.

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One Way To Minimize Anxiety

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Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

Being in a relationship in any capacity with a narcissist is a learning experience.  In order to survive with your sanity in tact, naturally you need to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps you to understand what was really happening & that contrary to what the narcissist in your life told you, the problems in the relationship weren’t your fault.  It also helps you to spot the early signs of a narcissist, so you won’t end up in a similar relationship again.

That being said though, there are other valuable lessons you can learn from a narcissistic relationship.

Responding instead of reacting is a very valuable skill!  Not only in relating with narcissists, but even with healthy people, responding is a good relationship skill.  Reacting is done in the heat of the moment & without thought. while responding is done after some consideration.  Narcissists love reacting because people will do or things when they react that they wouldn’t normally do if they had taken the time to consider their predicament.  This can prove to the narcissist that their victim is crazy, abusive or anything else they want to claim.  Healthy people don’t act this way of course, but even so, reacting can cause problems in even the healthiest of relationships.  It’s a good idea to stop for a second to take a deep breath, then release it slowly when you’re tempted to react.  This action calms anxiety & anger, & gives you a second to consider your response.

Boundaries are a very good thing.  Narcissists respect no one’s boundaries.  They feel they have every right to say & do anything they please.  Once a victim is away from this sort of behavior, they learn that boundaries really are a wonderful thing.  They also learn to appreciate people who have no problems with boundaries.

“No” can be an excellent way to figure out if a person is functional or not.  Narcissists can take the simple word no as a victim being rebellious, difficult, disrespectful & even abusive.  A functional person takes no as a boundary & they respect it.  If you want to see if the new relationship in your life is a healthy one, say no & see how the other person reacts.

People believe what they want to believe.  Human beings like things to be as we think they should be, & we can get upset when that perception is threatened.  A healthy, functional person will consider the evidence & even if it’s uncomfortable, go along with the change.  Dysfunctional people aren’t this wise.  They may refuse to face change.  This is never more evident than when there is evidence showing them that a narcissist isn’t the great person they think he or she is.  This is when they become especially vicious to the narcissist’s victim.  Many of these people don’t want to believe that person isn’t the great person they thought they were, possibly out of fear of looking foolish.  It’s more comfortable for them to believe the narcissist’s smear campaign of the victim rather than the victim sharing the truth about the narcissist.  Or, they could be gaining something from the narcissist- money, favor, etc.  Sometimes, they are victims of abuse by someone else, & when the victim speaks out against the narcissist, it triggers their own pain.  These people will do anything to shut down the victim so they can continue denying their own pain.  For victims in this situation, it’s best to avoid such people at all costs.

Let people think what they want.  Closely related to the last paragraph, one valuable lesson I’ve learned from relationships with narcissists is to let people think what they want.  Narcissists create their own version of victims that they believe is accurate.  Their flying monkeys & those close to them will believe whatever the narcissists tell them to believe about their victims.  No amount of work on the part of a victim can make any of these people believe anything they don’t want to believe.  In fact, trying to convince them of the truth most likely will make them think the victim is crazy & treat the victim even worse.  Why go through that?  Let them think whatever they want, & live your life however works for you.

Of course, there are more things I’ve learned.  What about you?  What have you learned from your relationship with a narcissist?

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Help For When Places Or Items Trigger Painful Memories Or Flashbacks

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Living With High Functioning Mental Illness

Living as someone with mental illness yet is high functioning, I can tell you it’s utterly exhausting.  Doing things takes more energy than it would for someone without mental illness because I have to focus harder.  I also do my best to put the problems in a box when necessary so they don’t affect other people.  It takes energy to keep that box closed & on a shelf!!  Add in having a brain injury & I spend a lot of time exhausted.

If you too are high functioning with mental illness, I’m sure you can relate to what I said, even if you don’t also have the brain injury.  You truly are not alone!  This post is to help you to understand that.

It feels like you’re being fake a lot of the time, doesn’t it?  The truth is you aren’t being fake.  You’re just hiding a part of yourself from others you don’t want to know about that part of you.  There is nothing wrong with not being 1000% open with everyone.  Sometimes it’s best to keep some information private from some people.

It also feels like people don’t believe you have any illness at all.  People seem to think if you have mental illness, you need to be incoherent, hearing voices, attempting suicide, or even not taking care of your basic needs such as showering & changing clothes regularly.  If you’re clean, your home is in order, you’re working & maintain relationships, many people don’t think you’re struggling with your mental health.  They miss the small, subtle signs such as an increased or decreased appetite, sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty focusing, or feeling tired.

Your good & bad days look very similar to most people.  They truly have no idea that on bad days, it took every ounce of willpower to pry yourself out of bed, to bathe, to do whatever you need to do on that day.  Chances are, most wouldn’t believe you if you told them because they see no real differences between this bad day & your good days.

Sometimes people may say you’re gloomy or a “Debbie Downer” because sometimes your sadness or negative views show.  They don’t realize that is depression talking.  Or, maybe sometimes you jump at the slightest move from someone or sound & it irritates people.  It happens because you have an anxiety disorder, PTSD or C-PTSD.

Although you may not look like it, you feel you are struggling so much.  Mental illness consumes so much energy!  Focusing on a simple conversation can take a lot out of you.  People don’t often understand why you’re tired, but this is exactly why.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these situations?  If so, I hope it comforts you some to know that you’re not alone.  Many of us understand because we’re on the same boat.

And please remember, just because you can function & function well, don’t think that means you don’t have a real problem.  I know, sometimes it’s easy to think this way when you have a few good days in a row.  That being said though, mental illness is just as serious as physical illness & should be treated as such.  Sometimes it can be more serious in the sense that some mental disorders can be life threatening by making a person suicidal.  Don’t neglect to rest when you need to, take your medication as directed, talk to safe people & let them love & encourage you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself or asking for help.  If you broke your leg, you would do those things, wouldn’t you?  Then why not do the same thing to take care of your mental health?

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