Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Validation & Praise

Growing up with abusive parents is a truly horrific experience.  The abuse takes a deep root inside of you & does a tremendous amount of damage.  One common way that damage manifests is the need for validation from other people.  If you think this doesn’t describe you, then please read on anyway.  You just might learn something about yourself.

External validation is great.  It’s always nice when other people praise you or say that something that was done to you was wrong.  However, adult children of abusive parents often take the desire for such things to an extreme.  It is quite clear that is what is happening when a person displays certain behaviors.

Someone who drops hints about something good they have done or a good quality they have may be seeking external validation.  The praise that other people give them in such situations is very welcomed since it tells this person that they really are OK, good, smart, attractive, valuable, etc.

Similarly, exaggerating a person’s good deeds or qualities is another cry for external validation.  As the saying goes, you don’t see commercials for Rolls Royce cars because they know their worth & value.  They don’t need to convince others they are great.  Anyone who feels they must magnify their good qualities is doing so in the hopes of gaining praise & external validation.

Excessive posting on social media can be a sign of someone looking for external validation.  Someone who shares a lot about their life on social media may be seeking “likes” & positive comments as a way to gain some external validation.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying a person who mentions something positive they have done, a positive quality they have or who shares on social media is completely dysfunctional.  Not at all!  I’m simply saying these things when done in excess can be a sign of someone who is seeking external validation & that is unhealthy.

External validation is great, but it truly shouldn’t be extremely, over the top important to anyone.  If it is, this is a sign of something wrong, such as low self esteem or envy.  It also can be a sign of a personality disorder.  Narcissists clearly take this to an extreme since they demand approval & praise from others, but those with Borderline Personality Disorder may also seek external validation frequently.

Being hyper-focused on external validation can be truly disruptive to a person’s life.  It can damage or ruin relationships with its neediness.  Even the most patient people get tired of feeling as if they constantly must reassure someone at some point. 

If you feel a strong need for external validation, you can fix this problem!  I know, because I once felt that need but no longer do.  I hope what I did helps you too!

The first step for me was to turn to God.  I asked Him for help, to show me what I needed to do to be healthier & to help me understand who He says I am.  I also studied what the Bible says about believers.  There are a lot of Scriptures about what God thinks of His children!  It’s very eye opening!

I watched my behavior, too.  If I realized I was starting to seek validation from other people, I stopped myself.  I asked myself why I felt this was necessary.  I also asked myself why I felt I needed the approval of this particular person.  If that person was dysfunctional, I realized that their approval truly wasn’t important.  They naturally would only praise dysfunctional behaviors so why would I want their validation?!  I also realized that those who are functional won’t make me feel I have to beg for validation.  They offer it freely.

Rather than turning to people for validation, I turned inward.  I acknowledged my feelings & thoughts.  If I felt that I did something well, I praised myself.  If I recognized something I’ve been through was wrong or bad, I told myself that.  My validation became good enough for me.  That took some time but it did happen & was well worth the wait!

I hope if you are seeking external validation in excess, you can change your ways.  People are fallible human beings, which means they will fail you sometimes.  Constantly looking to them for validation is setting yourself up for disappointment.  Instead, turning to God for it & learning to validate yourself will be much more fulfilling for you!

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You Deserve Compassion & Kindness!

Once someone has been abused, often they quietly & obliviously develop the misguided belief that they are unworthy of compassion & kindness. 

Most likely this comes from their abusers constantly telling them that they are a burden, they’re stupid, do nothing but cause problems & other things that instill a deep root of toxic shame in victims.  That toxic shame tells people that their feelings, needs, wants, pains & every other thing about them aren’t valid. 

Add into this the phrase “victim mentality” & the shame society often inflicts on anyone who says they were a victim.  Clueless & often heartless people say victims should’ve just walked away, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they should stop living in the past & being so negative.  It makes people feel that they deserved the abuse, & are weak for being abused or even having PTSD or C-PTSD as a result of the abuse, which only adds to the toxic shame.

Even worse than the toxic shame is the fact that being on the receiving end of such treatment makes people doubt the validity of their pain over their experiences.  They may think they weren’t abused so badly since their parent didn’t beat them, or their abusive husband “only” forced her to have sex a few times.  Other people have it so much worse, so their experiences couldn’t be all that bad, right?  WRONG!  They were bad!  In fact, they were worse than bad.  They were atrocious!  Being abused is horrible, no matter how frequently one is abused or whether it was verbal, physical, sexual, spiritual or financial. 

After being on the receiving end of such treatment, is it common for people to think they’re awful people, whining about trivial matters, so they don’t deserve any compassion or kindness.  Today, I want to tell anyone who feels this way that they are ABSOLUTELY WRONG!  I don’t care what your abusers said you were or that other people maybe had it “worse” than you.  Your pain is valid.  Your experiences were terrible.  You did NOT deserve any of it.  And, you deserve compassion and kindness! 

Whether you are comfortable admitting this or not, the truth is you have been through some pretty horrific things.  Those things weren’t your fault.  You did nothing whatsoever to deserve them.  You aren’t a bad person because others said you were & treated you terribly.  Their behavior speaks much more about them than it does you.  And, it doesn’t mean you are undeserving of compassion & kindness.  You are as worthy of compassion & kindness just as much as any other person.  In fact, you are just as worthy as any other person in every possible way, period.

If you haven’t begun to focus on your healing, maybe today is the day to start.  It will benefit you so much to do so!  Admitting the abuse was wrong & painful is an excellent place to start.  Also recognizing that the way your abuser treated you truly had nothing to do with you but with your abusers is powerful for healing.  Get angry about the unfairness & cruelty of what was done to you!  That will help you to see that you didn’t deserve it, & you deserve to be treated so much better.  Pray, write in a journal, seek a counselor that specializes in trauma or whatever helps you to heal.  The more you heal, the more you’ll recognize that you are valuable.  The more you recognize your own value, the less poor treatment from other people you will tolerate.  You also will recognize what you deserve, & that includes to be loved, respected & treated compassionately & kindly. 

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Blaming Abusive Parents Versus Holding Them Accountable

Life isn’t easy for adults who were abused by their parents.  The judgment of other people, often those who don’t know much if anything about the situation can be particularly painful.

Society as a whole says things like blood is thicker than water, forgive & forget, you only get one mother or father, they tried their best, & other such drivel.  Basically, this makes victims feel like holding their abusive parents accountable for their behavior is unfairly blaming them.  This is so wrong!

Blaming someone & holding them accountable are very different things!

Blame assigns responsibility for something done.  It is very critical & basically, the exact opposite of praise.  Blame is accusatory, & unwilling to listen to or consider anything other than the perception of the person doing the blaming.  It also implies shame, saying someone who did something is intrinsically bad.  Consider how narcissists speak as an example.  They blame others for making them act badly, for upsetting them & pretty much anything.  It also puts the person doing the blaming in a superior position, even if only in their mind.  Suddenly they become “good” & the other person becomes “bad.”

Holding someone accountable is different.  It states responsibility without the shame factor that is implied in blame.  It also means that you are responsible for your actions & you also are liable for them.  The person being held accountable is responsible for their actions, & can give satisfactory reasons for them.  Both people in this equation are equal, no one is “good or bad,” “superior or inferior”, unlike when blame is present.

I have spoken with a LOT of victims of child abuse as well as being one myself, which has taught me a tremendous amount about how adult victims of child abuse think.  One constant I have noticed is the lack of blame most victims have for their parents.  They don’t hate them, or feel superior to them somehow.  They would like to know why their parents treated them as they did. 

They also grew up believing that they were responsible for their parents somehow.  Abusive parents, in particular narcissistic ones, often engage in parentalizing behaviors, expecting their children to care for their needs instead of them caring for their children’s needs.  Or, the abusive parents looked to their children to fix some problems in their lives, such as their failing marriage.  These abusive behaviors led these children to feel as if they were betraying their parents if they blamed them for anything.  They excused the abuse or assumed responsibility for it themselves.

Once these children grew up & recognized their parents were abusive, they often still have trouble blaming their parents.  Instead, they hold their parents accountable, which is much more rational than blame anyway. 

Holding one’s abusive parents accountable for the abuse is perfectly reasonable.  It allows someone to have empathy for the struggles the abusive parent had that fueled their abusive ways while also allows this person to realize that setting boundaries or even removing such a parent from their life is sensible & reasonable.  This is what I did with my parents.  I recognized their dysfunction & why they were as they were.  My heart went out to them but since they weren’t willing to change their toxic ways, I had to set boundaries to protect my mental health. 

Narcissists clearly don’t handle blame or even holding them accountable well, in particular when this comes from their child, but their response isn’t your responsibility.  By holding them accountable in a reasonable way rather than angrily blaming them, any emotional reaction they have is their responsibility, not yours. 

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Biggest Sale EVER On My Print Books! 30% Off!

My publisher is offering 30% off all of my print books until Tuesday November 29, 2022. Simply use code JOYFUL30 at checkout.

My books can be found at this link:

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Finding Healing From Narcissistic Abuse With Other Survivors

My Facebook group is full of some really wonderful people.  Godly, kind, caring, & very intelligent.  I’ve made some great friends through this group.  One of which & I were talking not long ago about where we have found the most help in understanding narcissists.  She told me that I can quote her, so this is what she said.  She has been to 14 counselors including psychologists, a psychiatrist, pastors, church counselors & an EDMR specialist but none of them gave her the kind of help that I have.  Me, with no formal education in the mental health field, no LCSW or PHD or anything behind my name!

I’m not saying this to brag.  I’m saying this because what my friend said next made a very good point.  She said I have helped her more than those counselors because I’ve been through so much with narcissists.  I have no formal training, but I have plenty of experience, & sometimes that is just what you need to help you in certain situations.  Narcissistic abuse recovery is one of those situations. 

While I mean no disrespect to mental health professionals, they usually don’t know much about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or any of the Cluster B disorders.  I have two counselor friends who told me something very interesting.  They don’t know each other, so naturally they never have spoken.  They are about 15-20 years apart in age & studied at different colleges in different parts of the country.  Yet, both said the exact same thing, that they had only one afternoon’s study about all of the Cluster B personality disorders.  That’s it for FOUR very complex personality disorders!  If both of the counselors I have spoken to have the exact same experience in this area of their education, I would guess it’s common if not the norm. 

Don’t take this as seeing a professional to heal from narcissistic abuse is a waste of time.  It isn’t, so long as you choose the right counselor.  You can’t pick just any counselor to help you with abuse recovery.  You will need to find a counselor that specializes in abuse recovery or trauma focused therapy. 

If you can’t find a counselor with these specialties or can’t or would prefer not to see a counselor, the good thing is healing is still possible!  The friend who inspired me to discuss this topic has made leaps & bounds in her healing journey because she found knowledge & help from others who also have been through a lot at the hands of narcissists.  Their knowledge & experiences have helped her tremendously, & their understanding & compassion validated her, which has enabled her to help other victims as she was helped.  She likened it to a relationship between a recovering alcoholic & an active alcoholic.  No one can understand the struggles of the active one like someone who has been in the same situation.  Would you expect a person who has never drank so much as one beer to understand the struggles of someone who can’t go a day without drinking a fifth of whiskey?  Absolutely not!  So why would narcissistic abuse recovery be any different?

If you are looking for help in your healing journey, & won’t see a counselor for whatever reason, you can heal!  I haven’t seen a counselor in many years either due to my lack of trust after seeing some less than caring ones.  Like my friend though, have learned a great deal from others who have experiences similar to mine as well as studying narcissism.  Consider looking for help elsewhere as she & I have.  Connecting with people who share similar experiences is invaluable!  Many online forums are available.  As I mentioned, I have a wonderful group on Facebook, but there are many others too on Facebook or other websites.  A quick internet search will point you to many of these forums. 

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How Surviving An Abusive Childhood Manifests In Relationships

When you come from an abusive childhood, that can create a lot of dysfunction in your life, but in particular in your relationships.  Today, I want to discuss some of the ways that dysfunction plays out.  Recognizing the dysfunctional behaviors may be painful at first, but it will help you by showing where you need healing.  That is valuable knowledge!

Many abused children struggle with having relationships with any genuine intimacy.  Even with those they are closest to, they aren’t comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts, feelings. desires & dreams.   They may listen to the innermost thoughts, feelings, desires & dreams of those they love, but they still won’t share their own.  They also may change the subject or deny any negative feelings they have if questioned because they are terrified of being this vulnerable with anyone.  This behavior comes from having a parent or two who ignored, mocked or rejected their emotional feelings.  When the most important person in your life who is supposed to love you unconditionally ignores, mocks or rejects something about you, it’s only natural to be afraid other people will do the same.  It takes time, prayer & good, loving, safe people in your life to overcome this behavior.  It also helps to remember that any parent who would do this to their own child clearly was the problem, not the child!

Many abused children have an intense fear of abandonment.  When a child grows up with parents whose behavior was inconsistent & unpredictable, they become afraid they would be abandoned at any moment.  They also assume other people are the same way as their parent.  This fear manifests as a person being clingy with the people in their life, even to the level of being co-dependent.  It also can manifest as being controlling of others with whom they are in a relationship.  My mother was like this.  Her parents divorced when she was very young, & her mother was a narcissist who kept her from her father.  I believe that left her with a deep fear of abandonment that manifested as being very controlling of my father & I.  Conquering this fear of abandonment isn’t easy but it is possible.  The more a person heals & becomes more functional, the healthier their self esteem becomes naturally.  As a result, a part of that is a person becomes more willing to end toxic relationships even if that means they are lonely for a season.  They also begin to attract healthier people who won’t hurt or abandon them, which helps to heal that fear of abandonment.

When parents show their children that their love is conditional, based on the child’s behavior & accomplishments, those children become people pleasers.  Children in this situation assume that unconditional love doesn’t exist, & to be loved, they must earn love.  It’s as if it doesn’t occur to them that the other person in the relationship should earn love though – only they must be the one to earn love.  Unlearning people pleasing behavior is TOUGH!  I’ve been there.  I did find that the more I healed, the less prone to it I was.  I’ve also found that slowing down & asking yourself why you are saying “yes” when you want to say no, or volunteering to do something you want no parts of to be helpful. 

Most abused children have dysfunctional relationships with abusers.  Friends, coworkers & even romantic interests often use & abuse these children until they reach a point in their lives where they start to focus on their own healing.  Possibly the most difficult part of breaking this pattern of behavior is to stop beating yourself up for getting involved with such toxic people, in particular, if you married one of them.  Just remember, you did the best you could with what you knew at that time.  If you didn’t know to do better, how could you expect yourself to do better?  That would make as much sense as expecting a toddler to know how to replace a car’s engine! 

If you find yourself in these situations I have described, it’s ok!  There is hope for you!  Focus on your healing, & the healthier you get, the healthier your relationships naturally will get as well.  I have found God to be vital to my healing.  Psalm 23:4 says that God walks with us through “the valley of the shadow of death” & I firmly believe that to be true!  He will be there for you during the hard, painful times of healing as He was with me. You’re not alone.  Lean on Him & let Him help you to heal!

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Big Sale On My Print Books! 20% Off!

My publisher is offering a sale- 20% off all of my print books! Simply use code SNEAKPEEK20 at checkout. This code is valid until November 4, 2022.

My print books can be found at the following link:

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When Narcissists Criticize You It Is About Them Not You

One of the cruelest things narcissists do to their victims is either saying or implying the most heartless, cruel things to their victims until their victims believe what the narcissist says about them is true.

What victims who are either currently being subjected to this or have recently escaped it don’t realize that the narcissist is lying.  They don’t believe a single word of what they say about their victims.  In fact, chances are that they find those things they criticize about their victims to be very good or enviable qualities.  If you think about what a narcissist has told you, you’ll probably see that this is what happened with you.

Did the narcissist tell you that you’re stupid?  Clearly you aren’t & others have admired your intelligence.  The narcissist had to beat you down by making you think you aren’t intelligent so that way you won’t realize what he or she is doing to you.

The same goes with your looks.  If a narcissist tells you that you’re too fat or thin, that’s a sign you have a great figure.  If they criticize your looks in general, they clearly have noticed other people either noticing how attractive you are or flirting with you.  Narcissists can’t handle their significant other thinking they are attractive.  That person might actually gain some self esteem & realize that they really can do much better than the narcissist if that were to happen.

If a narcissist criticizes some talent you have, that isn’t because you are doing something poorly or possess a talent that has no worth & value.  They may envy your talent, & since they can’t do it, they want to stop you from doing it too.

When a narcissist hates someone you love, that also isn’t because that person is a bad person.  Quite the opposite.  The narcissist recognizes that he or she loves you & is a good person.  My narcissistic ex husband hated my best friend & did his best to ruin our friendship.  I firmly believe it’s because he knew she saw the kind of person he really was, & was afraid she would talk me into leaving him.  This scenario happens all the time with narcissists.

This cruelty goes for any criticism the narcissist says.  They have various reasons for doing this beyond what I mentioned already.

Mostly when narcissists are critical, narcissists are trying to gain control over their victim.  If a person is beaten down enough by someone, they will relinquish control to that person because they feel they are incapable of doing much of anything.  Narcissists are extremely skilled at gaining control over people in this way.

Also, when a narcissist’s victim outshines them in any capacity, it threatens the narcissist’s ego.  They can’t handle such threats so they try to tear that victim down as a way to eliminate the threat.  I experienced this so much with my mother.  Anytime I received a complement in her presence, she would punish me for it.  Often, she would be angry with me, & become especially cruel with her criticisms.  Other times, she would tell me that the person who said that was stupid or had poor judgment.  Either way, the message was clear- I didn’t deserve the complement.  I needed to be put back in my place, which was definitely beneath her.

If you have been or are currently being subjected to the cruel, scathing criticisms of a narcissist, I hope you will remember what I have said.  Please don’t take what they say to heart, because what they say isn’t true!  It’s a lie said for the sole purpose of benefitting them somehow.

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Why Narcissists Feel They Must Know All About Their Victims After The Relationship Is Over

So many victims of narcissistic abuse face the same scenario.  Once they ended the relationship with the narcissist, they learned that the narcissist or one of their loyal evil minions have been following them on social media, trying to befriend people the victim knows or otherwise trying to find out information about what their victim has been doing since the relationship ended. 

I have been in this position repeatedly & currently have someone following me on Facebook that I know is only there to report to two narcissists what they find on my page.  Thanks to awful people like this, I can tell you from personal experience, it’s exasperating!  It makes you feel like there is no escape from the narcissist or their flying monkeys.  It also is maddening because you know if you close one door where they have to access you, they’ll find another.  They can create fake social media profiles all day long & follow you in those.  Or, they can befriend other friends of yours that you aren’t as close to.  Or, they can send friends of theirs you don’t know to befriend you. 

There is also the fact no victim of narcissistic abuse could be comfortable with a narcissist knowing anything about their life after the relationship.  No one who treats someone as terribly as a narcissist treats their victim has the right to know anything about those they have abused.  The sheer audacity of that behavior is infuriating, especially if you’re already a rather private person. 

To those who haven’t had this experience, it may not sound like a big deal.  It may even sound like the narcissist truly loves their victim, since they obviously want to know about them even long after the relationship has ended.  The fact though is those thoughts are absolutely wrong.  This IS a big deal & the narcissist does NOT love their victim.

When someone ends a relationship with a functional person, that functional person may want to know what the other person is up to after the relationship ends sometimes, but they aren’t obsessed.  They know it’s unhealthy & they aren’t entitled to that knowledge.  They may peek at their social media once in a while or ask a mutual friend how the other person is doing, but that is it.  Narcissists are not like this.  They think they are entitled to know whatever they like about their victims simply because they want to know.  Nothing else matters to them, like respect, privacy or boundaries.

Narcissists also don’t behave this way out of love.  They know nothing about what real love is like.  They are hoping to learn that their former victim is as miserable as they are, & failing in their life.  Nothing would make them happier than to learn that their victim has suffered all kinds of heartaches & trials since the relationship ended.  And, if they see evidence their victim is happy, it infuriates them.  It fuels their hatred of their victim.  Again, this is nothing like a functional person after a relationship!  A functional person wants the person they were in a relationship with once to be happy, even if it isn’t with them.  They won’t rejoice if they learn that person has suffered, only if they learn that person is happy.

If you are in this position of dealing with a narcissist or their flying monkeys lurking on the outskirts of your life, my heart truly goes out to you.  Protect your privacy however necessary, & don’t feel badly about doing it.  You have every right to do that!  They aren’t entitled to know anything about you or your life.  A person who abuses you has lost all rights to know anything about you, good or bad.  It is totally reasonable for you to protect your privacy however you need to because of that.

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When Your Family Refuses To See You As Anything But A Dysfunctional Child

When you grew up in a dysfunctional family, one of the most frustrating parts of it is that your family never sees you as a mature, independent adult.  If you have done your best to escape the dysfunction & live in a healthier way &/or have decided to live your life for Jesus, this is especially common & frustrating.  The dysfunctional family never will see you as a healthy, God fearing adult.  Instead they only see you as the dysfunctional child you once were.

This is so incredibly frustrating!  Even when you know that they’re content remaining in their dysfunction, it seems like they could at least acknowledge that you have changed.  Even if they disagree with your changes, that doesn’t seem like to much to ask, yet sadly it really is for the most dysfunctional of people. 

People who are content living their dysfunctional lives hate those who are a threat to it in any way.  Anyone who doesn’t condone or enable the dysfunction obviously is a problem.  Anyone who is a part of this toxic family & doesn’t condone or enable the dysfunction is especially problematic for such people.

A member of such a family who dares to live their life in such a way as to be different from the family or the family’s expectations for them is absolutely a problem for these people.  That behavior is seen as being rebellious or even betraying the family.  It’s as if they think, how dare someone be so arrogant & think that they’re so much better than the family as to live life on their own terms rather than fit onto the mold the family has made for them!

Even Jesus faced this problem.  His own family didn’t take Him or His work seriously.  Imagine that.  The family of Jesus didn’t take Him seriously!  Isn’t that amazing?!  In Matthew 13:57-58 in the Amplified Bible, Jesus says, “And they took offense at Him [refusing to believe in Him]. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58And He did not do many miracles there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief.”

If you’re from a dysfunctional family & they treat you as they always have in spite of you growing up, getting healthier & even turning to God, then you are truly not alone!  Even Jesus experienced this.

I know it hurts when your own family treats you so poorly.  It can seem like the best choice would be to return to your old, dysfunctional ways so they stop mistreating you, but I promise you, that isn’t best!  I have been in this position since my family never saw me as anyone but the dysfunctional, blindly obedient & foolish child I once was.  Returning to those behaviors may have made them tolerate me, but I would have been miserable!  What is best is to keep walking the path that you know God has for you.

It also helps to remember that when people treat you in such a manner, it isn’t personal.  It literally has nothing to do with you, even though it certainly feels personal.  It has everything to do with the person behaving this way, their toxicity & their desire to avoid becoming healthier at all costs.  They are so truly toxic that they have zero problem with hurting another person if that will protect their dysfunctional ways & help them to avoid facing what made them this way.  That is pretty terrible!  There is no shame in being dysfunctional of course, so long as you are willing to work on it & improve yourself!  Being determined to live that way forever, no matter how much pain it causes other people, however, is absolutely toxic.

If at all possible, your best bet it to avoid such people.  If that isn’t possible, then do your best to minimize contact with them, stay true to yourself & your beliefs, & never forget to ask God to help you find creative & effective ways of dealing with such people.

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Why Children Of Narcissists Find Themselves In Many Toxic Relationships

Many people who were raised by narcissistic parents find themselves in other relationships with narcissists.  They work with them, they become friends with them & worst of all, they become romantically involved with them.  I am no exception.  I grew up with an overtly narcissistic mother & covertly narcissistic father.  There are a lot of narcissists in my family on both sides.  I married a covert narcissist that I divorced six years later.  I have lost count of how many covertly narcissistic friends I have had over my lifetime.

For a long time I wondered why this happened to me.  I thought maybe somehow I put out some sort of “vibe” that told people it was ok to abuse me.  Or, maybe narcissists just have some sort of sense for people that make good victims.  I think I have some ideas though & I hope they can help answer this question for you.

For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, we were born with a job.  That job was to take care of our narcissistic parents.  For some, it meant doing household chores well before an appropriate age such as cooking dinner or caring for younger siblings.  For others, it meant being a parent’s therapist of sort, listening to all of their woes, & comforting them when they were upset.  For still others, it meant protecting a covertly narcissistic parent from the rages & even physical assaults of the overtly narcissistic parent.  Whatever the scenario, the fact is being born with the job of caring for a narcissistic parent means you are used to caring for dysfunctional people.  This makes you gravitate to continuing that role in other relationships. 

This role often means getting into relationships with other narcissists.  If there is a narcissist in your vicinity, you will be drawn to that person like bees to honey.  You may feel sorry for this person because he or she has few or even no friends.  After some time passes, you see why that person had no friends!  Who wants to be friends with a narcissist?! 

Or this role could mean that you get involved with another child of narcissistic parents that isn’t facing that pain.  Maybe you fall in love with someone who seems great.  You’re comfortable together, & get along great.  They might even tell you they have this awesome family & can’t wait for you to meet them.  Then you meet his or her family & see the truth.  That awesome family is anything but.  There are narcissists everywhere!  If you say anything about the toxicity of this family, you are told you’re wrong, oversensitive, & more.  They are defended fiercely & you are left wondering how to help this person you love see the truth. 

If you have been in such situations, I know it can be frustrating.  Once you realize that you keep getting into dysfunctional relationships, you probably are going to beat yourself up a lot & question what is wrong with you.  That is normal!  It also is a waste of time & energy.  Instead, try to focus on healing from the abuse.  Healing naturally helps you to develop healthier boundaries, so when you meet someone without friends, you won’t try to befriend them immediately.  The more you heal too, the more healthy people will seem attractive to you & the more you’ll want to avoid the toxic ones.  As a bonus, the healthier you become, the more toxic people will leave you alone.  Toxic people want someone dysfunctional because that is someone they can use & manipulate.  Healthy people don’t tolerate such things.

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Subtle Signs Of Dysfunctional, Abusive Families

No family is perfect, but some families are less perfect than others.  Many of those “less perfect” families are downright dysfunctional & even abusive.  Today I’m sharing signs of the dysfunctional & abusive family.

Parentification is a big indicator of a dysfunctional & abusive family situation.  This is when the parent & child roles are reversed, & the child is supposed to care for the parent.  Children in this position are supposed to do things no child should have to do, such as being their parent’s emotional caregiver including such inappropriate things as listening to their parent’s woes about their marital problems or sex life, nurse them back to health after a hangover or overdose, or even care for younger siblings as a parent should do.  Parentified children are often described as growing up so fast because their role has forced them to behave as adults rather than allowing them to be children.  They also lack healthy boundaries, tolerate one sided relationships & continue to keep their parents as their top priority over their spouse, children & even themselves.  When they are growing up, people on the outside often think these children & their parents are close, & praise this relationship.  This leads the child to feel confused & even ashamed that they are unhappy with this role.

Unmet needs are another sign of a dysfunctional, abusive family situation.  Children have a lot of needs that go beyond the basic food, clothing & shelter such as nurturing, teaching & caring for their emotional health.  Many abusive parents meet those basic needs, yet neglect those other important needs.  Children who grow up this way have trouble with being inappropriately clingy in relationships & overly dependent or they go the opposite way & become very cold & aloof.  Either way causes problems in their relationships.

Unrealistic expectations definitely point to a dysfunctional & abusive family.  Some parents hold their children to higher standards than adults.  Those children are never allowed to be in a bad mood or fail a test, yet their parents are allowed to yell or even hit the child just because they had a bad day at work or someone cut them off in traffic.  This puts incredible stress on the child who feels they must be perfect as a way to earn their parent’s love.

Parents who often fight in front of their child are creating a very dysfunctional & abusive situation.  I grew up this way, & can tell you from experience it is a horrible way to grow up!  I felt so insecure when my parents fought & also like I should do something to help them stop fighting.  This is so typical of how children in this situation feel.  It leads to these children feeling intense anxiety at any hint of conflict & also feeling overly responsible for the other people in their lives, as if they must take care of those people.

People who grow up in such environments grow into dysfunctional adults with a lot of relationship troubles.  They may become controlling people who will do anything or hurt anyone they deem necessary to avoid further pain.  More commonly though, they also may go the exact opposite way & become extremely submissive.  They become people pleasers who will do anything for anyone even at the expense of themselves. 

If any of this describes you, please remember some things.

You are only responsible for yourself.  You are not responsible for meeting the needs of other people.  Yes, you can help them, but doing so to the extent of harming yourself is dysfunctional. 

There is nothing wrong or bad about caring for yourself & having reasonable boundaries.  You need to take care of yourself just as much as & even more than you are willing to do for other people.

Family shouldn’t demand all of your time, energy, finances, etc.

Healthy relationships are a two way street.  Toxic relationships are not.  They take while giving nothing or almost nothing back.

Love should be unconditional, never conditional.  In other words, someone should love you based on who you are, not what you do for them.  Conditional love is one of the hallmarks of abusers.

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15% Off My Print Books Until October 7, 2022

My publisher is having yet another sale! 15% off all print books when you use code PUMPKIN15 at checkout.

My print books can be found at the following link:

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

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What Is Trauma Blocking

Trauma blocking isn’t an overly common term but the phenomenon is surprisingly common.  Trauma blocking means a behavior designed to avoid thinking of certain painful & traumatic events.  This may not sound overly harmful but when done consistently, it can be.  It’s healthy to take breaks from facing pain sometimes of course, but it is also healthy to face pain head on.  There needs to be a balance.  When you feel strong, you need to face that pain, but if you start to feel overwhelmed, it’s wise to take a break & avoid thinking about it for a while.  Balance is the key to coping with trauma!

Back to trauma blocking behaviors.. following is a list of some of them.

A very common trauma blocking behavior is excess.  Anything done in excess that leaves little or no time to face pain is trauma blocking.  That excessive thing may be something people commonly consider such as drug abuse or binge drinking, but it also can be something that seems normal such as watching too much television, scrolling through social media or even socializing for excessively long hours.  All of these behaviors serve the same purpose – keeping a person’s mind occupied for so long they don’t have time in a day to think of anything else, like traumatic experiences.

Another trauma blocking behavior could be eating mindlessly.  Eating requires attention, so it is easy to focus on that over painful trauma.  That doesn’t make this a healthy coping skill however!  Eating disorders are far too easy to fall into & are so unhealthy.  Not only can they cause the obvious physical problems like diabetes or high cholesterol, but they can cause a person to avoid dealing with past trauma that needs their attention in order to heal.

On a related note, exercising constantly also is unhealthy.  Most people who exercise compulsively are never satisfied when they reach a goal, so they set another & another.  This compulsion is often referred to as body dysmorphia, & is frequently related to eating disorders.  It is dangerous to a person’s physical health as well as mental health.  How can anyone who is so focused on their body be able to spare time to deal with their emotional baggage?

Being busy all the time is yet one more trauma blocking behavior.  It seems as if society as a whole admires those who are busy constantly, but this behavior is far from healthy!  People need some time to relax & rest, & being busy constantly doesn’t allow that.  People who dare to take some down time are often looked down on for being lazy & unproductive, which truly makes no sense!  Being too busy is dangerous for your physical health but also your mental health.  It leaves no time for recovery & restoration let alone facing trauma. 

Shopping too much also can be a trauma blocking behavior.  Buying things can trigger the brain’s reward center.  It feels good to get something you want or even things you need.  Shopping for the sole purpose of triggering that reward center in the brain isn’t a wise idea.  That can create an addiction as well as avoiding facing trauma.

Coming from a family with a healthy work ethic can be a good thing.  However, coming from a family who clearly believes that if you aren’t working you are useless is so unhealthy.  Yet sadly, this is a pretty common occurrence.  People who have survived this upbringing often hide in their job as a way to avoid trauma while simultaneously building their self worth. 

If you recognize yourself in any of these behaviors, please don’t beat yourself up over this!  Facing trauma is hard.  Wanting to avoid it is totally understandable!  While facing it is wise, I also think taking breaks sometimes is equally wise.  Don’t try to face an entire childhood or 15 year marriage worth of trauma at once.  Face things as they come up, & if you feel like it’s too much, take a little time off when necessary where you refuse to deal with the trauma.  If you’re afraid of taking too much time off, set a goal of allowing yourself a week or whatever time seems reasonable to you, then at the end of that set time, pick up where you stopped.  You will find yourself stronger & more equipped to face things after your break.

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Doing Another New Thing

Recently as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve decided to get into doing podcasts. I just decided to add them to Instagram. They are the same as my podcasts on YouTube- a picture of my logo with a podcast audio attached, just on a different platform. Lots of people like Instagram, so I figured it’s a good outlet for them.

Not sure what else, if anything I’ll do with Instagram. I may add the memes about NPD I’ve made & any future ones I make. I don’t know just yet. God will show me what to do though, of that I have no doubt.

If you’re on Instagram, & want to check them out, then follow the link below. I only have uploaded 1 so far, but hubby is on vacation so I simply haven’t had the time yet to do more. I will after he goes back to work.

https://www.instagram.com/cynthia_bailey_rug/

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When People Refuse To Acknowledge Your Growth

One common thing that many victims of narcissistic abuse struggle with is how so many people treat them as if they are forever the same person they were during the height of their time as victims of the narcissist in their life.  It can be incredibly frustrating!!  I understand this as I went through it too.  I felt like during my entire adult life, my family & in particular my mother though I never grew up.  It was as if they thought I was perpetually 15 years old, no matter my real age. 

For years, I wondered why this is.  I think I have the answer to this dilemma.  Not just in my situation, but in general.

Obviously narcissists aren’t the only dysfunctional people in the world.  Their flying monkeys & scouts are at least as dysfunctional if not more so.  As a result, they don’t face reality the way healthy people do.  Instead, they try to keep reality as they want it to be.  A part of their so called reality is keeping certain people in a box. 

Doing this means that these people can convince themselves that they are truly the smart, sane, functional people who have their lives all together.  Clearly that must be the case, they think, because just look at how amazing they are compared to that person that they have decided is so weak, stupid, dysfunctional, mean, selfish, horrible, etc.  If they can convince themselves that their person of choice is terrible, by default, they also convince themselves that they are pretty spectacular by comparison.  By pushing another person down, they build themselves up at the same time.

Another reason dysfunctional people try to keep certain people down is so they have power over that person.  While not all dysfunctional people are narcissists, they do want things a certain way in their lives.  If they have control over someone, that can help them to maintain their status quo.  They can push this person around until that person does whatever they want so they can convince themselves that nothing has changed.  This comes in especially handy if their victim has been learning, growing & healing.  Clearly such things threaten the delusions of someone who wants to remain dysfunctional.  If a person like this can be subdued enough to reject their new growth, learning & healing, they will return to the old, dysfunctional patterns & that will help the dysfunctional person maintain their comfort level.  People who are comfortable in their dysfunction have zero desire to move past that place, & they have plenty of desire to return formerly dysfunctional people to their previous unhealthy lifestyle.

Another motivation for such toxic people being able to control others is the high that having that power over others provides.  Whether the person in question is a narcissist or not, chances are they will enjoy feeling that they are powerful enough to control another person

If you are in the position of dealing with someone who wants to keep you as the dysfunctional person you once were, know that you are NOT alone, & this is a typical problem for many victims of narcissistic abuse.

Naturally, the best thing you can do when faced with this situation is to pray.  Ask God to keep you from sliding back into old, toxic habits & to be aware of why people are treating you as they are so you don’t do that.  Praying for those dysfunctional people as well certainly is an excellent idea!  They clearly need prayer, whether or not they realize it.

Also remember, their behavior is absolutely no reflection on you.  It is a reflection on them.  They are comfortable in their dysfunction.  That is their right, of course.  However, you have rights, too & one of those rights is to protect yourself from toxic people.  Keep your distance from such people.  You may need to sever ties with them, & there is nothing wrong with doing that no matter who those people are!  Protect your mental health however is best for you!

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The Reality Behind Triggers

Feeling triggered has become more or less a joke in society today.  If someone is at all offended, they are often accused of being triggered & mocked for it.  This has diluted the serious nature of valid triggers.

Triggers are common after trauma.  Something happens that reminds a person of past trauma which triggers their anxiety, anger, hurt or whatever emotions they felt during the traumatic event.  These triggers also can prompt flashbacks, emotional flashbacks, intrusive memories or at the very least extreme duress. 

To help prevent being triggered by this event or a similar one again in the future, it is best to recognize what caused the trigger in the first place.  Once you do that, you can heal, which means that trigger either won’t happen again or if it does, it won’t be nearly as debilitating.

While it can be easy to say something like you were triggered because someone said or did something distressing, the fact is there is more to it.  Triggers have their root in how a person’s actions made you feel, & that feeling was put there by the original trauma.

Some common feelings behind triggers are feeling…

  • Judged
  • Unworthy, not good enough or somehow “less than.”
  • Blamed
  • Disrespected
  • Unloved
  • Unimportant
  • Unheard
  • Invisible
  • Not valuable
  • Controlled or manipulated
  • Betrayed

All of these feelings are important & very painful.  It is vital not to trivialize them or brush them off!  They are serious, & should be treated accordingly.  You need to recognize that they are abusive & you feeling these things isn’t fair!  Get angry about what was done to you that made you feel this way.  In fact, hate what was done to you!  I know for many who have been abused, thinking this way seems wrong.  Abusers do their level best to make sure victims tolerate their abuse in silence, & part of their efforts involve making victims feel unreasonable & shamed for being upset in any way about what the abuser does to them, but you know something?  That is wrong!  You have every right to hate their behavior & be angry for what they have done to you!  And, when something they did still causes you pain well after the event happened, it seems to me being angry & hating that is only normal.  So get angry because when you do, it will help you!  Being angry helps it “click” in your mind that you didn’t deserve the abuse & that whatever the abuser told you, you were not to blame for their treatment.  They clearly were the one with the problem because they think it’s ok to treat someone with such malice & cruelty.

If you were told it’s not Christian to behave this way, I want to offer you one thing to consider.  There are several Scriptures in the Bible that say we are to hate evil.  Amos 5:15 starts out by saying “hate evil & love good.”  Romans 12:9 says we are to hate evil & cling to what is good.   These are only 2 examples, but there are many more.  Clearly, this proves that hating such cruel, evil behavior & being angry about it is NOT ungodly behavior! 

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How You Can Help Victims Of Abuse

During the 1970’s, a young woman from Texas moved to Pennsylvania to attend college.  While living there, she fell in love.  The man was several years older than her & did not share her & her family’s conservative beliefs.  He convinced her to move in with him, much to the dismay of her family who disapproved of living together before marriage.  Eventually, the boyfriend killed her, stuffed her body in a steamer trunk & put her in a closet in their apartment!  Since the family lived so far from this young woman, they had no idea what happened to her.  The boyfriend was no help obviously, saying she left him, he didn’t know anything.  Eventually, the truth of his deeds was discovered.  

Aside from the obvious horror of this story, something struck me especially interesting.  The victim’s sister said that they had no idea until after her death that the boyfriend abused the victim.  She never told her family anything about his abusive ways, & living so far apart, they never saw her covered in bruises & injured.  The sister said if someone had just said something, this young woman might still be alive.

That is such a valid point!  Speaking up can make all the difference in the world!  Having survived an abusive upbringing & an abusive first marriage, I can tell you, when someone said, “How that person treats you is wrong”, it helped me tremendously.  Finally, I saw that I didn’t deserve what was being done to me.

I’m not saying every single person has to write about abuse like me or even try to change the laws.  I am saying though that if there are signs someone you know is being abused, speak up!  Physical injuries are obvious signs of course, but there are other signs.  If you’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse, you know those signs all too well.  Low or non-existent self esteem, constantly doubting one’s self, afraid to do anything the narcissist may disapprove of, doing nothing without the approval of the narcissist, depression, anxiety, being hyper-vigilant are some examples. If you see these signs in someone you know, talk to them when you can get them alone.  Ask if how their parent or partner treats them, if they are abusive.  Many victims will say no, yet be unable to explain why they act like they are being abused or excuse their abuser’s behavior.  They may say he is tired from working long hours, or she has been stressed lately so she’s been drinking a lot which explains her behavior, or some other lame excuse.  Many even blame themselves for making the abuser treat them so badly.  It’s so important to let a victim know that there is no excuse to abuse, & the abuser is in the wrong.  Tell them that they don’t deserve to be treated this way, too.  If you’ve been in a similar situation, tell your story.  Sometimes seeing things from a slightly different perspective can be very enlightening.

Whether the victim is trapped in an abusive marriage or the abuser is a parent, offer to help them escape.  Offer to let them stay with you anytime they need to get away.  If the victim is a child, check into what it takes to become an emancipated minor in your area & help them if they want to do that.  Offer to hide money & belongings for the victim until they are able to leave permanently.  Most importantly, pray for the victim.  Leaving an abusive relationship is so hard!  That person is going to need all of the prayers, support, love & help they can get!

If you see someone in need, maybe God put that person in your path so you can be the one to help them.  I know many people don’t want to get involved in these situations but if you don’t, it could cost someone their life, like the young lady I mentioned earlier in this post.

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Thoughts On Confronting Narcissists

When a narcissist has abused you, it is only natural to want to confront this person.  You probably want to tell them what they did was wrong & why it is wrong.  Or maybe you want to tell them that they are a narcissist & show proof of it.  Any normal person would want to do these things, but unfortunately, doing so is a very bad idea.

When confronted, narcissists don’t have “light bulb” moments where they suddenly realize what they have done was wrong, where they realize just how badly they hurt their victim & are upset by it & apologize.  Normal, functional people behave that way & narcissists are far from normal or functional.  They respond in some of the most toxic ways imaginable.

Upon confronting a narcissist, they may deny your accusations completely, or say that you are making up things. 

If you have proof of their awful behavior & denial isn’t an option, chances are very good the narcissist will find a way to blame someone else for their actions, most likely you.  Narcissists love to say, “If you wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did.”

Many times, narcissists also dismiss confrontations.  They do this by claiming that you are too sensitive, overreacting, crazy or other disparaging or even cruel things. 

If the narcissist knows you are discussing their behavior with other people, they will create a smear campaign against you as a way to discredit anything you say about them.  If the narcissist can convince other people that you are the problem in the relationship, no one will believe anything you have to say, in particular about the relationship.

Narcissists universally do their best to convince everyone, including their victims, that the problem isn’t that they are abusive, but instead is the reactions to their abuse. 

This is why confronting narcissists is rarely a good idea.  The best case scenario in confronting a narcissist is that nothing will change, that they won’t acknowledge any wrong doing on their part.  The worst case scenario is that you will end up hurting even more because of their denial, blaming, dismissive-ness or even their smear campaign.

If you are considering confronting the narcissist in your life, please consider these things.  Can you handle such things happening?  Would dealing with them be worth it to get things off your chest to the narcissist?

If you decide that it will be worth it because it will help you somehow, then a confrontation may be a good option for you.  Please keep some things in mind if you choose to do this…

Keep your expectations low, or rather non existent.  Expect nothing good to come from the narcissist.  He or she won’t be happy about your confrontation & most likely will try to hurt you for this somehow. 

Chances are excellent that the narcissist will recruit their flying monkeys to go after you as a way to punish you.  Flying monkeys can be surprisingly hurtful.  If you expect their attacks though, they can hurt much less.  Just remember, true flying monkeys aren’t genuinely fooled by the narcissist & think they are helping.  They are just as cruel & malicious as the original narcissist, if not more so.  Someone who is genuinely fooled will be willing to hear your side of things & not try to force you to do anything like resume a toxic relationship.

Keep in mind the smear campaign is very likely.  If it happens, chances are good you will lose some people you didn’t expect to lose because they will believe the lies.  As painful as that is, let it happen.  Those who truly love you won’t believe lies or help to spread them.  Also remember that defending yourself against it only backfires.  Instead, say nothing.  Live your life as if the smear campaign isn’t happening.  Let your good character shine & prove how wrong the narcissist is.

I wish you the best in your situation, & pray God gives you wisdom!

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How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

While most people have a desire to please other people naturally, no one is born a dysfunctional people pleaser.  Crossing into being dysfunctional means that pleasing other people reins supreme in your life, even above pleasing yourself & taking care of yourself.  It results in toxic relationships with abusive people who take advantage of you.  It also can cause many problems in your own life.  Your finances, mental & physical health can be severely damaged or destroyed by being a people pleaser.  Clearly, the life of a people pleaser isn’t a good life in any way!  Breaking free from people pleasing ways isn’t easy but it is possible, & that is what I hope you will learn from this post today.

To start with healing from any dysfunctional behavior, I firmly believe it’s best to heal the dysfunctional thoughts & beliefs that started you on this road.  Doing so will change your behavior naturally as you heal.

Learning how to be a people pleaser often starts early with children whose parents were narcissistic.  These parents don’t have normal expectations for their children, such as wanting them to learn, grow & one day become independent adults.  Instead, they teach their children some very dysfunctional & toxic things, & those children need to unlearn these things.

One thing they teach their children is that their love is conditional.  They are only worthy of love if they please their narcissistic parent in some way.  This belief ends up transferring to other people as well, & these children try hard to earn the love of people in their lives by doing anything they want them to do.  Children who grew up with parents like this need to learn that no matter what they do or don’t do, they deserve to be loved.  And, anyone who insists they do things to earn their love truly doesn’t love them.  Someone who genuinely loves won’t demand anyone earn their love

Another toxic lesson people pleasers learned early is that they only deserve attention when they are accomplishing something that pleases their narcissistic parent.  If these children aren’t doing something that pleases their narcissistic parent at all times, they believe they are unworthy of attention.  The truth however is that is completely wrong!  No one should feel they have to fade into the background just because at a certain moment they aren’t doing something.  Your actions & behaviors alone don’t make you worthy of attention from anyone.

Narcissistic parents teach their children that they are only worthy of praise & kind words when doing as they are told to do.  The more a child ignores their own wants, needs & feelings & focuses on doing whatever their parent wants, the greater chance they will be shown some kindness.  Since that kindness is so rare, children in this situation focus more on their parents & less on themselves.  This is so unhealthy!  Everyone needs to have balance between doing for themselves & other people.  Contrary to what these children learn, it is NOT selfish or wrong to take care of themselves & do things they want to do sometimes.

These sick, twisted beliefs need to be rejected & healthier ones need to take their place.  When you’re in a position of people pleasing, ask yourself why you feel you need to do what you feel you need to.  Is it because you genuinely want to do this for someone or do you feel obligated to?  Are you trying to earn favor with this person?  Answer yourself honestly!  If you are unsure, then pray.  Ask God to show you what your true motives are & to help you get healthier.  He will be glad to if you just ask.

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My New Shop On Facebook Is Open!

I have just created a shop on Facebook! Most of my books are currently available for purchase in there, & soon all will be. I opened it to make a central location where all of my books can be purchased, & is easy to find. Each link on the books takes you to a universal link, showing you all places where it is available for purchase.

My shop is connected to my business page, The Butterfly Project, which is why my name doesn’t appear on the shop, just FYI.

I hope you like the shop! Come check it out at the link below:

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Save 10% On All My Print Books Until Sept. 2, 2022!

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off all print books until September 2, 2022 when you use code INNOVATION10 at checkout.

My print books can be found at this link:

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

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Highly Functional Versus Highly Dysfunctional

Many people have heard the term “highly functional.”  Highly functional can happen in all kinds of ways.  Someone with high functioning anxiety or depression battles their disorder, yet is also able to hold down a job & have relationships.  Someone who is high functioning with a physical condition similarly performs at a higher level than others with the exact same condition.

Interestingly, recently when I was praying, God taught me the term “highly dysfunctional.”  I assumed this would mean someone who is very dysfunctional, but it isn’t exactly what He meant.  Highly dysfunctional means someone who is intensely dysfunctional, continues to avoid facing their own issues, hurts others & himself or herself because of it, yet lives a rather normal life.

An example of a highly dysfunctional person can be that coworker who everyone likes because she is always willing to go over & above, take on extra shifts, & cover for coworkers who need last minute time off while rarely taking time off for herself.  Another example can be the guy whose family treats him poorly, yet he defends them fanatically to his wife when she objects to their treatment of him. 

People like this aren’t the type to cause other people pain deliberately, yet they hurt themselves & other people all the time.  That coworker I used as an example can spend so much time focusing on her job that she has no time or energy left for herself or those who love her.  She ends up resentful & exhausted, possibly also with physical & mental health problems because she hasn’t achieved balance between work & her personal life.  The other example?  That man causes his wife tremendous pain because although it isn’t intentional, his behavior continually proves to her that his family is much more important to him than their marriage. 

Highly dysfunctional people usually have no idea that what they are doing is such a problem until they are faced with undeniable proof of the problem, such as her health problems or his divorce.  And sadly, by then, the damage is often irreparable. 

They also usually don’t understand why anyone complains about their behavior since usually, it doesn’t look bad.  Consider my examples again.  The woman in the example could be seen has having a good work ethic & the man could be seen as a loving son to his aging parents.  The highly dysfunctional don’t recognize that the truth is that the woman was raised to be a doormat by her abusive parents, or that the man in the example is a grown man who is still trying to gain the approval of his narcissistic parents that have made him believe he is only worthy of their love when he does what they want him to do.

If you are a highly dysfunctional person, there is truly hope for you!  You are going to have to face the truth about your life & what has made you dysfunctional.  I know this is hard, but it really is possible!  I believe a close relationship with God to be vital in all areas, but in particular with emotional healing.  Ask Him to help you to be strong & courageous enough to face whatever you must, to show you what areas you need healing & how to work on that healing.  Also look to Him for validation, not other people, & ask Him to help you to learn to validate yourself.  Doing these things will help you to become so much healthier & happier!

People in relationships with highly dysfunctional people also need to take care of themselves, especially if the highly dysfunctional person doesn’t recognize their dysfunction.  Highly dysfunctional people may not do it intentionally, but they still gaslight their loved ones by normalizing their behavior & criticizing healthy behavior.  You need to have a firm grip on what you know is healthy, right & true so as not to fall for their gaslighting.  They are very convicted in what they think, & it can be hard not to believe what they say, especially if that person is someone close to you like a spouse.  

It’s also important to remind yourself often that it is their right to function out of their dysfunction.  You can’t force them to get healthier.  That being said, you don’t have to validate it or tolerate what hurts you.  Have healthy boundaries & cling to the truth.  Give this person consequences rather than excuse their dysfunctional behavior.  Excuses won’t help anyone.  Consequences encourage change without being controlling.  And never forget to pray about how best to handle your situation & ask God for any help you need.  He will be glad to 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

You Matter!

Since my readers & followers consist primarily of people who have survived narcissistic abuse as I have, I naturally try to provide information to help either in dealing with narcissists, going no contact or healing from narcissistic abuse.  Simple encouragement, however, doesn’t happen all that often, & that is wrong on my part.  Everyone needs encouragement sometimes, & that is what I want to do today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse usually don’t realize their true worth & value.  How could they when narcissists do their level best to make sure their victims’ self esteem is utterly destroyed?  When a narcissist reminds you constantly about all of your faults, even ones you really don’t have, maintaining any sense of self esteem is nearly impossible.  So today, I just want you to know that no matter what a narcissist has told you, you matter.

You may think God made mistakes when He made you, but He certainly didn’t!  He made you as He did for valid reasons!  Ephesians 2:10 in the Good News Bible says, “God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.”  And, Psalm 139:16 says, “you saw me before I was born.  The days allotted to me. had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began.”  Clearly, God knew what He was doing when He made you, so obviously you mean so much to Him.

You may think no one would notice if you just disappeared from the lives of the people you love, but that isn’t true.  They would miss you & be devastated if you were no longer a part of their lives.  You fill a special place in their lives that no one else but you ever could fill.  You matter a great deal to them.

You may think the man or woman you love needs you to be low maintenance, to avoid “bothering” this person with your needs, wants or feelings, but that isn’t true.  Someone who truly loves you wants to know all about your needs, wants & feelings.  And, believe it or not, they will be happy to do things for you.  This person is with you because they don’t love anyone like they love you, & they want to share their life with you.  You matter so much to this person.

If you have children, you are of the utmost importance to them.  Children love their parents automatically.  I’m sure you have made mistakes raising your children & think that makes you an awful parent, but you’re wrong.  All parents make mistakes.  There is nothing wrong with that so long as you apologize & make things right to the best of your ability.  You taking care of your children, showing them love & protecting them makes you a wonderful parent, & you children love you.  You matter more to them than you realize.

If you have pets, I can promise that you matter a great deal to your pets too.  Animals may offer unconditional love, but even so, they aren’t happy with people who dislike them or mistreat them.  If your pet greets you when you come home, snuggles up to you while you watch tv or sleep, or just generally wants to be in your space, those are just some of the signs that say you matter a great deal to your baby.

Today, just remember that no matter what any terrible, cruel narcissist has said, you matter.  You matter much more than you know to those people in your life.  You aren’t whatever the narcissist told you that you were.  They only said such things as a way to hurt you.  In fact, what narcissists criticize most is what they are the most envious of in their victims.  They criticize those things to make their victims feel those special things about them aren’t really special, not because they mean what they are saying.  They know they are lying, even though they won’t admit it.  Just remember that, & give their lies no credibility. 

Starting today, please start reminding yourself often that you matter, because you truly do matter!  And while you’re at it, ask God to show you that you matter.  He will be more than happy to do so!

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

Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Narcissists are angry people.  They believe they are entitled to say, receive & do anything they want.  This includes demanding the blind obedience of their child.  Any time their child dares to set a boundary or say no, narcissistic rage will follow.

Rather than own their anger like your average mature adult, narcissists project it onto their child.  They accuse their child of having a bad temper.  I can’t begin to count the times my mother would see me anywhere from slightly frustrated about something to angry, & in a shaming tone, say, “There’s that Bailey temper!”  I heard it enough that I grew up assuming I had a terrible temper.  This sort of scenario is very common for children of narcissistic parents.

A narcissistic parent also has no tolerance for any of their child’s emotions, good or bad.  In fact, any emotions of the child’s are met with mocking, shaming or even being ignored.  The child learns very early in life not to display any emotions because of this.

This type of environment results in a child who grows up full of anger & toxic shame.

Adult children of narcissistic parents need to know that their feelings of anger & shame are normal under the circumstances.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with them for their feelings.  They are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

That being said, however, it doesn’t mean it’s your lot in life to suffer through life with these feelings.  They can be dealt with & healed from with prayer, hard work & time.

My best friend has a saying that I just love, “You have to feel your feels.”  In other words, you have to feel your emotions to process them effectively.  It’s very true.  You do have to feel your feels!  It’s ok to get angry about the things you are dealing with.  In fact, that is the only way I know of to truly heal.  Face those ugly emotions.  Talk about them, with someone safe such as a trusted friend & with God.  Cry.  Write in a journal.  The more you do this, the less power they have over you.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old legends of vampires, but part of the legend is that in darkness, a vampire can do anything.  They possess super natural strength & abilities.  Yet, that same vampire in the sunlight will turn to dust.  Emotional issues are much the same way.  If you keep them in the dark by not facing them, they possess a great deal of power.  If you bring them into the sunlight by discussing them, that power dissolves.  

Another very helpful thing I have learned is to question things.  Let’s use the example of my mother accusing me of “that Bailey temper.”  When I first started facing this issue, I asked myself why she would say that?  What times did I show I had a bad temper?  When she’d accuse me of being angry, was I really angry or just frustrated?  If I was really angry, why?  Was I truly overreacting like my mother said I was?  I realized I wasn’t overreacting.  When I was frustrated or angry, it was justifiable.  In fact, I didn’t get angry easily at all.  Later, when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I also learned about gaslighting & projection, which showed me why my mother said what she did to me.

Doing these things lifted a HUGE weight off my shoulders!  I learned the truth about this particular issue, & was set free of being ashamed of my terrible “Bailey temper”.

I encourage you to do the same things I did, Dear Reader.  You don’t deserve to suffer any longer with the anger & toxic shame.  Use what I did as an example of how to get started, & change things or add to it to help you to heal.  You deserve to experience freedom from such toxicity in your life!  xoxo

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

Another Helpful Tool For Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

Whether you are currently suffering at the hands of a narcissist or have suffered narcissistic abuse in the past, chances are you have questioned yourself.  Whether they are questions like, “Was the narcissist right about me?” or, “How could I have not seen what this person was really like before we got married?!” I will guarantee you have had many questions.  Pretty sure that is just a part of the experience of narcissistic abuse.  After all, narcissists want their victims to question themselves & never the narcissist. 

You can deal with those questions though & in such a way that it helps you to heal.  If you’ve followed my work for long, you know I always recommend starting with prayer.  I’m suggesting an effective addition to prayer, not a replacement for it.  I’m talking about using simple logic.

Whatever your question is, I strongly recommend asking God to help you to see the truth about the situation before you do anything else. Then, consider your question not from any emotional standpoint, but instead one of stone, cold, logic.  For example, let’s say you asked yourself how you could’ve missed the signs pointing to narcissism before you married your narcissistic spouse.  Consider the relationship as if you were watching someone else in this situation rather than yourself.  Are there any tell tale red flags of narcissism?  And, what was known about narcissism at that time?  If nothing, it is perfectly normal not to recognize the red flags.  It is also normal to be swept off your feet by a narcissist.  They are in their best behavior when in the beginning of a relationship.  They can be so skilled at seduction that even one who knows a great deal about narcissism can cast caution to the wind.

This type of thinking is also very useful when it comes to the narcissist’s criticisms.  Don’t think about how it makes you feel.  Instead, ignore any emotions attached to this for a few minutes.  Then, ask yourself what evidence there is that what this person says is true, & look at the situation objectively.  Is there evidence that you are as terrible as the narcissist says you are?

How about when the narcissist tries to convince you that your friends & family want nothing to do with you?  Is there evidence that this is true or is the only so-called evidence what the narcissist has told you?

By taking some time to pray, calm down, consider your situation without emotions to skew your thinking & look at it objectively, you can see the truth in the situation.  The truth is incredibly freeing & healing, which is why that is the goal.

Also, when I say you should ignore your emotions while considering your situation, please keep in mind I only recommend it temporarily.  Ignoring emotions isn’t a healthy thing to do for any length of time as a general rule.  They don’t go away but instead manifest in unhealthy ways.  Ignoring them for a very brief period of time to focus on truth & healing, & then dealing with the emotions once you learn what you need to know, is a healthy thing to do.

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My Podcasts

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to give up making videos & just go with podcasts. I have added them to a bunch of different podcast sites, so I thought I would share them here for those of you who are a fan of podcasts. I hope you decide to check them out sometime! If your favorite podcast site isn’t on this list, then please let me know. I’ll try to add it.

Amazon Music:

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

Anchor By Spotify:

Apple Podcasts:

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

Castbox:

Google Podcasts:

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

iheartradio:

Overcast:

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

Player fm:

https://player.fm/series/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

Podbean:

https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/32zdh-12d533/Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-Podcast

RadioPublic:

Soundcloud:

Spotify:

Stitcher:

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

Tune In:

https://tunein.com/podcasts/Religion–Spirituality-Podcas/Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-p1728318/

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Habits Of People With Anxiety

Living with anxiety is so incredibly difficult for many reasons.  Following are some of those reasons that most of us don’t usually think about.

Feeling relaxed makes anxiety worse.  When you are accustomed to living in a state of hyper-vigilance, feeling relaxed is very abnormal.  It can make you feel so abnormal that you immediately return to your anxious state.  If at all possible when this happens, remind yourself that there is no reason to be anxious at this time.  Take a few deep breaths & focus on how they make your body feel.  This calms the mind & body.  If you can, enjoy feeling relaxed as much as you possibly can.

External validation is of the utmost importance.  Everyone needs validation.  That’s simply how God made people.  Anxious people crave it like oxygen, because we don’t trust our decisions & have such an incredible amount of self doubt.  However people, being imperfect beings, will fail to give you all of the validation that you need.  Learning to validate yourself is so important!  Doing so requires a great deal of leaning on God & questioning yourself to decide if your beliefs are truly yours or those of some dysfunctional, abusive person. 

You are an expert at hiding your anxiety.  People with anxiety know how awkward & uncomfortable we can make other people feel.  Rather than do that, we learn to hide our anxiety to the best of our ability.  Some of us become so skilled at this, others have no idea we live with anxiety.  This isn’t always a bad thing, since some situations are made worse when someone recognizes another’s anxiety.  There are also times when it will behoove you to let someone safe know that you are struggling & ask them for help.

Along those same lines, we also hide our emotions.  Hiding emotions seems to be a natural side bar of hiding anxiety.  People may think we are naturally happy or even confident.  They see what we portray ourselves as, not the bundle of negative emotions that we truly are inside.  Similar to hiding anxiety, this can be beneficial in some situations but there also is nothing wrong with showing them to safe people & asking for help if needed.

Overthinking is normal to people with anxiety.  Overthinking can be beneficial.  When you’re packing for a trip, it helps to pack if you consider every possible scenario in that trip.  You’ll think of bringing things with you that you might not have considered otherwise.  But, overthinking in day to day life?  Not always so beneficial.  It only adds to anxiety that is already there.  When it happens, if at all possible, it’s best to take a little time to yourself.  Breathe slowly & deeply in & out a few times.  This slows down the mind & heart rate, which allows you to think more logically about the situation.  Often, it shows you that what you’re overthinking doesn’t require nearly so much thought.  Or it helps you to get a grasp on the fact that something is completely beyond your control, so there is no point in worrying about it.

Lastly, some folks with anxiety depend on certain inanimate objects to feel comforted & safe.  Remember as a child how you felt safest when you had that special teddy bear, blanket or baby doll?  That happen in adulthood now too, except now, it’s ear buds, cell phone, purse, wallet or something else.  I don’t know why this is exactly, because logically you know they won’t protect you.  Yet somehow, leaving home without this security item can lead to downright panic.  I barely even use my cell phone but if I leave home without it, I feel absolutely lost. 

If you exhibit any of these behaviors, know you’re not alone & you’re not crazy!  You simply are showing signs of having anxiety.  Work on them as you feel able to & pray for God’s help in healing.  They can improve in time!  I promise!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showing Your Emotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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