Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Unusual Ways Anxiety Can Affect You

Many adult children of narcissistic parents have trouble with anxiety.  Those of us who live with it know the awful feelings of blind fear that anxiety can bring or the misery of a panic attack.  But, did you know anxiety can bring other seemingly unrelated symptoms as well?

 

Are you clumsy?  That can be related to anxiety.  If you are preoccupied as many people with anxiety are, you can miss seeing that hole in the sidewalk that makes you twist your ankle or not pay enough attention to the item you’re holding so you drop it.

 

Forgetful?  Also anxiety related.  Being distracted by anxiety, you are less likely to concentrate on other things, so you may forget things easily.

 

Do you have unusual dreams?  That also may be related to anxiety.  The brain constantly processes information- good, bad or indifferent- even when we’re sleeping.  Anxiety can make you overthink things, thus opening the door to unusual or even bad dreams.

 

Changes in how your voice sounds?  Stuttering?  That also can be related to anxiety.  A person’s voice may change when exposed to higher levels of anxiety.  Their voice may get shaky or higher pitched.

 

Difficulty finding the right words?  Anxiety again, especially when in difficult situations.  If you’re in a situation that reminds you of a traumatic experience in particular, finding the right words can be difficult because of the intrusive thoughts of the traumatic experiences.

 

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you aren’t crazy!  You’re anxious.  Don’t panic!  Easier said than done, I know, but try not to panic at least.  Anxiety is a nasty problem but it can be managed.

 

As anxiety kicks in, try to relax the best you can.  Slow down.  Pray.  Tell God what you feel & ask for help.  Write in your journal.  Talk to yourself- ask what are you so afraid of?  Can things happening really hurt you right now?  Breathe deeply & slowly.  Hold something that offers you comfort, such as a soft blanket.  Smell a scent that comforts you- lavender isn’t only a pleasant scent but it offers anti-anxiety properties.  Tactics like this may help you to get through the intense moments.

 

There are medications available for those with anxiety disorders.  Talk to your general practitioner for more information, or for a referral to a psychiatrist.  If you prefer the natural, herbal route, there are alternatives.  Valerian root, lemon balm & kava kava are plants that have anti-anxiety properties.  I take valerian root supplements & drink lemon balm tea at night often as it helps me to sleep.  In fact, I grow lemon balm plants in my yard- it’s easy to grow & to dry the leaves for making tea.  It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before taking herbal remedies though to make sure they won’t interact with any medications you may be taking.

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Speak Out Or Stay Silent?

There are conflicting messages for victims of abuse.  Some people encourage victims to speak out.  Help raise awareness!  Confronting your abuser will be good for you!  Others encourage victims to keep quiet.  Stop dredging up the past.  Forgive & forget.

 

Rather than stating what I think victims should do, I would like to encourage you to decide what is right for yourself.  After all, being vocal about being abused can be very challenging.  Being vocal about it means you’re reliving some of the most painful experiences of your life.  It also means some will criticize you harshly.  You may lose friends & family who side with your abuser.  Is this something you can deal with?

 

There are pros & cons for speaking out as well as staying quiet.  You need to consider them seriously before making any decisions.

 

Silence isn’t always good, as it can encourage an abuser to continue abusing.  Knowing the victim won’t tell anyone what is happening gives the abuser free reign to do as she/he pleases without fear of consequences.  It also means things can stay pretty much the same for the victim in that her friends & family will continue treating her as they always have.  Silence allows the victim to continue in the familiar place that she is accustomed to.  This can be a good thing, to a degree, especially if she does not feel strong enough to confront her abuser or even discuss what has happened, & if this is only a temporary place.

 

Telling her story can empower the victim.  She takes back the power that her abuser stole by forcing her to stay silent.  She realizes it’s her story & she can do as she sees fit with it.  She can help & inspire others who have been through similar circumstances if she opts to go public with her story (such as blogging about it, for example).  By speaking openly about what happened, she also can give her family the opportunity to grow & to heal.  However, telling also means that she can be setting herself up for criticism, even from those closest to her.  Those she believed were on her side may turn against her.  They may refuse to believe her, tell others she’s lying, or invalidate her pain if she speaks to them about the situation.  And, if she opts to confront her abuser, that can open up a new world of pain.  Abusers hate confrontation, especially narcissistic abusers.  The abuser may turn the entire situation around, blaming the victim for what happened or denying they did anything wrong.  Often, the one telling the truth is demonized by abusers as well as those who may have known about the abuse but did nothing.  Many people can’t live with what they have done, so they vilify the victim.

 

What do you think is your answer, Dear Reader?

 

Before you answer that question, I urge you to pray.  Let God give you advice on which way to go, & how to go about it.  Also, allow Him to give you the strength you need, because either way is very challenging.  You will need His strength.  And remember, 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”  (GNT)  God will empower you to do anything you need to do!

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

Are You Ashamed Of Past Mistakes?

Many adult children of narcissistic parents battle with shame.  These awful parents raise their children to be full of shame about everything about themselves.  Unfortunately this carries well into adulthood.

 

One area many adult children of narcissistic parents feel tremendous shame in is their younger days, when they may have done unwise things such as marry a narcissist.  I understand, as when I look back, I have a hard time believing I did such stupid things once.

 

The thing that we all need to remember though is the things we did that we aren’t proud of were done by someone who didn’t know any better.  Someone who was still in the fog of narcissistic abuse, & therefore unable to make good, healthy decisions.  How could anyone make good, healthy decisions when they firmly believe they are stupid, unlovable, worthless & more?  It’s impossible!

 

I look back at when I met then later married my ex husband & am amazed at myself.  He was nothing like the kind of man I find attractive at all.  He was narcissistic even at age 16 when we first met.  Yet, I stood up to my mother for him repeatedly, even as terrified of her as I was, & took repeated emotional beatings from her because of him.  Why??  He wasn’t worth it!  He wasn’t good to me.  But, at first he told me the things I was starved to hear, such as I was smart & beautiful.  It’s embarrassing how desperate I was for such things, & what I did to get them.  However, I know now my awful behavior wasn’t because I was a bad person or stupid or any of the other things my mother said I was.  It was because I had no self-esteem because of being subjected to daily narcissistic abuse.

 

When you look back over your life & feel ashamed of the things you have done, Dear Reader, please remember that you too have nothing to be ashamed of!   Narcissistic abuse does terrible things to people, especially when they are children & the narcissist in question is a parent.  It causes those children to make bad choices & do foolish things.  That is NOT the fault of the children.  Forgive yourself for the things you did.  It’s OK that you made some mistakes.  Everyone makes mistakes, especially when raised by narcissistic parents.  The important thing is  now you know better.

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What Do You Think?

I have been toying with the idea of creating some youtube videos for some time now, but dragging my feet about it.  Thanks to my “lovely” upbringing, I absolutely detest having my picture taken & being on a video.

 

However, I’m seeing there is such a need for information!  I recently read an article that estimates narcissistic abuse affects over 158,000,000 people in the USA alone.  That is a tremendous amount of hurting people in dire need of information & support!  It breaks my heart!

 

While I know I can’t help all of those people, I can help some.  After some prayer on this topic, I think a youtube channel is something I can & should do.

 

What sort of topics would you like me to cover on this channel?  Do you think I should stick with teaching about narcissistic abuse or sometimes venture off into other areas I write about periodically such as Christian living or animals?  How often do you think I should create videos?  Any format in particular sound good?  I’d love to hear your input.  You’re welcome to either comment on this post, or email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

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Introverts Aren’t “Broken”

Since many children of narcissistic parents are introverted, I thought I would share this for you, my fellow introverts.

 

I’ve seen a great deal lately about introverts & how people try to get us out of our shell.  Teachers tell parents that although their child is a good student, she doesn’t participate enough.  Friends say you “need to get out more” or suggest ways you can incorporate more people into your daily life.  Things like this can leave the introvert feeling bad about herself, feeling flawed because she prefers to read over attending big parties.  This is so wrong!

 

People often fail to realize is being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re broken.  Introversion isn’t a disease in need of a cure or a horrible flaw in need of improvement.  Introversion is simply a personality trait, like having a good sense of humor.

 

Introverts don’t hate people.  Introverts hate spending a great deal of time around people.  There is a difference.

 

While extroverts get energy by being around people, introverts get energy by being alone.  The way an extroverts feel after attending a party is how an introvert can feel after spending an afternoon alone, lost in a good book.  Same results, just different means of getting those results.  One is no better or worse than the other, simply different.

 

If you’re an introvert, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you!  I know it can be hard, but ignore those who try to make you feel “wrong” or “broken” because you’d rather spend your afternoon with a book than surrounded by people.  If you have friends who make you feel that way, then maybe it’s time to find new friends.  People who don’t judge or criticize you, try to change you & accept you the way you are are a true blessing.  I have been blessed with people like this in my life.  My best friend & I are extremely compatible, because when we hang out, neither of us gets offended if the other says, “I need some introvert time.. mind if we call it a day?”  We understand each other’s introverted nature, & although we always have fun together, we also know sometimes alone time is our best friend.  If you’re an introvert, you need at least one friend like this!

 

Dear Reader, I hope you embrace your introverted nature rather than hate it.  There is no shame in being an introvert whatsoever.  Enjoy it!  Introverts unite!  (in small groups.. for very limited periods of time..lol)

 

 

 

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Who Are You Now?

When a person is abused by a narcissist, they learn to accept the narcissist’s view of who they are.  They accept that they are weak, stupid, ugly, etc etc.  It is especially hard to get rid of such views when the abusive narcissist is a parent, but it can be hard no matter who the narcissist is that puts such dysfunctional, inaccurate views on a person.

 

Even years after the abuse has ended, many people still believe they are weak, ugly, stupid, etc.  It takes a long time to start to see yourself in an accurate way after enduring narcissistic abuse.  I would like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to look at yourself differently.

 

For a moment, try to put aside all of the criticisms you heard from your narcissist.  Look back over your life.  Think about all of the things you have accomplished.  The things you have done in spite of hearing what a terrible person you were.  Look at how far you have come.  If you’re having trouble, write things down.  Writing things can be surprisingly validating.

 

In spite of the narcissist in your life trying to destroy you (either physically or emotionally or both), you are OK!  You are functioning.  You are surviving.  You are helping & inspiring people, whether you know it or not.  You are so much stronger than you realize!  Sure, you may have some problems stemming from the narcissistic abuse, but that is completely normal.  You are working on your healing & you are growing daily- that is impressive!

 

In spite of realizing these things I know it can be tempting to think of yourself as that dysfunctional victim you once were.  I get it- I do it sometimes myself.  But, try to remind yourself of who you are now, not of who you once were.  You are not the terrible person the narcissist once said you were & you believed you were.  You are strong & fierce.  You have not become bitter or narcissistic yourself.  You are working on becoming your own person.  You also are an adult now, not a child, so if the narcissist in your life is your parent(s), remind yourself of that.  You are no longer a child who felt she needed to obey her parents at all costs.  You are an adult with your own mind & free will.  If you’re a Christian, it is also your duty to put God first, not your parents.  If they insist you put them above God, remind yourself how dysfunctional that is!  You do not owe them anything beyond simple civility, basic respect.

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The Little Things Can Be A Big Help

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

 

This Scripture came into my mind recently.  So often, little things can steal our joy.  A good mood can be ruined easily by someone’s insensitive, cutting criticism.  A financial blessing can be spoiled when a person learns how much they’ll have to pay in taxes.

 

However, the reverse is true too.  Something bad can be reversed by something small yet positive.

 

If you’re having a bad day, yet a handsome stranger smiles at you, does that not improve your day?  It certainly does mine.  Or, when you put your hand in your pocket to find a few dollars you didn’t know were there, would that not brighten your day at least a little?

 

When you’ve been through some awful things in your life, it’s easy to cling to the negative while ignoring the positive.  Especially if you’ve grown up with at least one narcissistic parent.  They are truly the most negative people you can meet- if there is a bad way to look at a situation, they’ll find it.  And, they train their children to do the same thing.  It can be a hard habit to break, but it is well worth it.

 

I’m not one to advocate being overly positive & optimistic, because people who are out of balance that way tend to be disappointed constantly.  However, I do encourage people to be realistic & yet still positive.  Sometimes, things just stink & nothing can make it better.  However, there are also many more times when your situation stinks but there are tiny blessings around you that can help you to get through it.

 

God has been showing me lately that good can be found in a great deal of negative situations.  Flashbacks & nightmares even have their purpose.  Yes, they’re incredibly  awful at the time they happen, but once they’re done, if I look at them, I realize they often show me areas where I need more healing.  I believe they happen when they do because God basically says, “Now is the time to face this.”  Every time I do, I make another step towards healing.

 

I’ve also noticed that when I’m very depressed or upset about something, my cats will do silly things or snuggle me more than usual.  To me, that is a wonderful blessing because even in my worst moods, they can make me smile.

 

The point is, Dear Reader, that there are often silver linings in even the darkest clouds, & those silver linings can help get you through.  Not to make us overly optimistic to the point of being foolish, but to help strengthen us when we need it the most.  If you’re having trouble finding those silver linings, then by all means, ask God to help you to be aware of them.  He will!  Be sure to notice everything, even the tiniest things, because God has sent them to help you!  Even something small like noticing the blooms on a majestic magnolia tree in the middle of summer.. as common as that is, it’s still a beautiful thing to see if you love magnolias.  Maybe God put you in the path of that lovely tree to bring you a little joy at the specific time you needed it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  It’s a gift from God just for you.

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

What Can Happen To You After Going No Contact

Going no contact with a narcissistic parent (or two) is an incredibly difficult thing to do.  It takes a tremendous amount of prayer, thought, discussion & energy to make that decision.  Chances are you feel peace about your decision even though it hurts things came to this.  You read about the smear campaign & flying monkeys, so you feel prepared, but the truth is, you aren’t.  Other things can happen that no one warns you about.

 

One of the other things is the incredible influx of memories, nightmares & even flashbacks that happen.

 

I functioned my entire life with my parents in survival mode.  It wasn’t until they were out of my life for almost one year (this past May 5) that survival mode finally stopped.  I finally felt safe enough to let my guard down, not worry that at anytime they may show up at my home, may call or I may see them in a public place.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!  At least until the nightmares, repressed memories & flashbacks started.

 

While I’ve experienced them all for many years, the sheer amount was shocking.  It seemed like I couldn’t go a day without something happening, often a few times a day, & frankly, it was overwhelming & scary at first.  Upon praying about it, God spoke to my heart saying I no longer have my parents in my life demanding so much of my attention & focus, so now is the time to heal.  When memories came up, or nightmares or flashbacks happened, pray, & He would enable me to heal.  He truly has!!

 

Each time something happens, I pray about it.  I feel the anger or hurt, & tell God about it.  I often journal about it too, because something about seeing things in writing is so validating.  It’s a good reminder that I didn’t deserve the things that happened to me & that none of it was my fault, as I was told.

 

Doing such things has brought me a tremendous amount of healing in a short time!  Yes, it’s been difficult, but I’ve been through much more difficult things.  And, as a bonus, at least these difficulties have a purpose- to help me to heal.  Thankfully, things have slowed down quite a bit.  I can go a couple of days without a nightmare, repressed memory or flashback.

 

If this happens to you too after going no contact with your parents, Dear Reader, don’t be surprised.  In fact, I would encourage you to go with it.  This may be a time of great healing for you.  If it happens, I would recommend you start by praying.  I don’t even know why I didn’t pray as soon as things began to happen, but it was a mistake on my part.  As soon as I did pray though, my healing started to make real progress.  I’m sure yours will too!  All you have to do is trust God & work with Him however He suggests.

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Narcissistic Families & Cults Have A Lot In Common

Have you ever considered the similarities of cults & narcissistic families?  There are quite a few similarities…

 

  • Leaders demand unquestioning, blind devotion, no matter what.
  • Leaders demand how those under them should act, think & feel.
  • The leader is always right, period.
  • Questioning leaders is discouraged, & often severely punished.
  • Isolation is extremely important.  Relationships with those not in the group is discouraged, often the leader demands others to sever ties in those relationships.
  • Life outside of the group is discouraged.
  • Leaving is looked at as a betrayal, & the person leaving is often spoken badly about.
  • Mind games/gaslighting are the norm.
  • Independent thinking is not allowed.  The leader has done all the thinking necessary so those under him need only to submit to his will.

 

Don’t these characteristics of cults sound also like the characteristics of narcissistic families?

 

The above reasons are precisely why it is so hard to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Living in this cult type environment is detrimental to your mental health!  People who have escaped both cults & narcissistic families work on their healing for many years, often their entire lives.

 

When people say you should “just cut ties” or “just leave”, the above reasons are exactly why it is so hard.  Not only are they talking about abandoning your family, but thanks to the cult mentality, leaving them is even harder than one might think.  You feel as if you’re betraying your family, as if you’re committing some unpardonable sin by thinking of your own mental & physical health.  You also may be afraid of the backlash because they will send out a smear campaign to destroy your reputation.  Not to mention, the unknown can be scary!  All you know is their warped mentality & way of life.  Even though it’s awful, it’s familiar, & there is a degree of comfort in what is familiar.  Things have to be really, really bad to take that leap of faith by leaving the familiar & treading into the unknown.

 

If you were raised in a narcissistic family, please understand that the damage done is incredibly severe.  Never get mad at yourself for taking too long to heal, or having so many issues.  Narcissistic abuse is incredibly insidious & pervasive.  It’s only normal to have a lot of problems after being raised in such an environment, even well into adulthood.

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A Little About Nightmares

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you know about nightmares.  You have them so often, they aren’t a surprise.  They’re just a way of life.  Yet, little is mentioned about the nightmares.

 

I’d always had frequent nightmares, but it got much worse in 2012 which is when I realized I had C-PTSD.  I began having several almost every night, which of course led to a lot of fatigue.  The nightmares also became even more vivid than usual, which is saying something since I’ve always had very vivid dreams.  They became so vivid in fact, that often I would wake up feeling as if I’d just done whatever I did in the dream.  If I dreamed I ran a marathon, for example, I woke up physically tired & achy.

 

After learning about C-PTSD, I assumed the nightmares would be about reliving traumatic events, which does happen, but only rarely.  Most of my nightmares are about strange things- being an adult yet having to repeat high school & relying on my mother to take me rather than driving my own car; while repeating high school as an adult, being unable to find or remember the combination to my locker; my car being stolen &/or totaled; my husband mocking me when I was obviously upset or rejecting me somehow; or someone letting my cats outside & they ran away.  Strange stuff!  I finally asked God about it after waking up for yet one more bizarre nightmare.  What He shared made a lot of sense & I think it will if you too suffer with odd nightmares like I do.

 

The brain constantly processes information, whether the information is good, bad or indifferent.  Our dreams are often a result of that processing, because the brain doesn’t take breaks.  Sometimes we don’t remember dreams because they weren’t important- the brain simply processed something unimportant.  Other times, it tries to make sense of horrible things that have happened, which is where nightmares come into it.  Sometimes the brain relives those awful, traumatic events in an attempt to understand it, but not always.  Sometimes nightmares look as if they have nothing to do with traumatic events on the surface, yet they actually have a lot to do with them.

 

While the circumstances of the dreams may be different, the emotions they stir up feel exactly like some trauma you have experienced.  My nightmare of my car being stolen & totaled?  It caused a huge amount of anxiety & fear, & I felt completely helpless.  Eventually I realized it triggered the exact same emotions of my seventeenth birthday.  That day, my mother took my gifts from my then boyfriend/now ex husband & destroyed them on the way home from school.  She blamed me for making her do that & making her car messy.  The event caused me so much anxiety (knowing I’d have to tell my ex what happened to his gifts), fear (wondering what she was going to do next) & I felt helpless (she destroyed the gifts as I was picking up her Avon order & gone for maybe 3 minutes- I couldn’t have known what she was going to do or stop her from doing it)

 

When these nightmares happen, the good news is that they have a purpose.  They show you that there is an area in which you need more healing.  It can be hard to figure out, so I highly recommend asking God about it.  He loves you & wants to help you, so let Him!  Ask Him what did that dream mean?  If you like, you also can look up symbols on a dream dictionary website- I’ve done this.  I write down everything I can from my dream- items, colors, feelings- then look up what each means & write it down beside each item.  Sometimes things make more sense to me when I see them in writing so that can be a helpful tool.

 

Once you realize what the dream was trying to make sense of, you can heal.  Work on coping with the traumatic event however works for you- pray, talk to a therapist, talk to a close friend, write in your diary.  What you do doesn’t matter, so long as it works for you.

 

I know nightmares are a very difficult part of C-PTSD & PTSD, but they are also unavoidable.  Why not make them work in your favor by learning what they’re trying to help you cope with?  Once you do, the nightmares often go away or at the very least don’t happen nearly as often.  I haven’t had a dream about my car being stolen or totaled in a couple of years.  🙂

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An Idea For Coping With Narcissistic Abuse

On Mother’s Day, I came across a very good article called “A Mother’s Day Card For The Disposable Child.”   One sentence in particular hit home with me.. “She walked away from me and shamed me for asking for a healthier way of relating. If I wanted to go back to the old way, I suspect she’d accept me as her daughter again.”  Reading this sentence, I thought about my parents & that is exactly our situation.

 

As usual when reminded of something so dysfunctional about my parents, it really made me sad.  I knew I needed to deal with this rather than bury it, but I just wanted to finish the article first.  As I scrolled down I read the letter the author wrote to her mother, but never sent.  Upon reading this, what I needed to do clicked in my mind.  I needed to write a letter to each of my parents, but never send them.

 

Have you ever done this, Dear Reader?  Have you ever written out what you would love to say to your parents if it was completely safe to do so?  If not, I urge you to do this.

 

Writing things out can be a very therapeutic experience.  There is something validating about seeing things in writing rather than simply remembering them.  It makes experiences seem more real.

 

Also, by writing things out, you are in charge of who sees what you write.  You can hide it so no one but you & God know about it (I like an online, password protected diary), or you can add to it & turn it into a book.  You are totally in control.  When speaking things out, there can be interruptions, or others can hear what you don’t want them to hear.

 

By writing things out, you’re safe.  If you confront your narcissistic parents, you are far from safe.  Narcissists don’t do confrontation.  They refuse to accept responsibility for things they’ve done since that might make them look or feel bad.  They will do or say anything to avoid accepting responsibility.  Denial, projection, gaslighting are all distinct possible scenarios.  Why subject yourself to them if it’s not necessary?  Yet, you still may need to purge the awful emotions you’re experiencing.  That is where writing letters you don’t send come into play.

 

Writing letters like this helps you to get out your feelings in a completely safe manner.  You can say anything you like, in any way you like, without fear of judgment or narcissistic mind games.  When I write these letters, I don’t worry about bad language or using “I” statements or anything- I let it all out, no matter how ugly it is.

 

Once the letter is done, I’ve noticed I feel very tired & a bit raw emotionally.  It doesn’t last long, thankfully.  This seems to be a typical phenomenon after doing heavy emotional work on healing.  When it happens to you, just remember to be especially gentle with yourself.  Do whatever self-care things make you feel loved & nurtured.

 

 

 

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About Not Hurting Other People’s Feelings, Even Your Abuser’s

When raised by narcissistic parents, we often feel obligated to prioritize not hurting the feelings of other people, primarily our parents.  It is so important, in fact, that we will hurt ourselves rather than hurt them or anyone else.

 

While it’s certainly a good thing to be concerned with the feelings of others, being so concerned over others that you’re willing to hurt yourself too out of balance.

 

Dear Reader, if you want to move forward with healing after being abused, you have to think about your feelings more than other people’s, in particular, more than your abusers.

 

I’m not saying turn into a selfish jerk who cares nothing for anyone but themselves, of course.  I am saying though, that you need to consider your own feelings.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, you don’t have to go to that big holiday dinner if you don’t feel up to it.  Just because your parents want you there doesn’t mean you must do what they want!  Or, if you talk publicly about what your narcissistic ex did, there is nothing wrong with that.  Sure, it may upset that person, but the story is yours as well- you have nothing to be ashamed of for sharing it, & it may help someone else.  As the Anne Lamott quote goes, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 

There is another reason to avoid putting the feelings of others above your own.  Doing so with abusive people means you are part of the problem.  It allows them to continue abusing with no fear of consequences.  Doing whatever it takes to avoid upsetting them does nothing to stop them from being abusers.  While no one can stop another person from abusing, one can create circumstances by having good boundaries that (hopefully!) will make them uncomfortable enough to want to change.  Just because narcissists rarely change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set those boundaries.
Dear Reader, remember, your feelings are just as important, just as valid, as anyone’s.  There is no good reason to think otherwise.  The only reason you do think otherwise is because an incredibly dysfunctional, abusive person made you think that way.  Today, make a decision to get rid of that awful, flawed belief.  Remind yourself that you have value!  Ask God to tell you  what He thinks of you, then listen for the response.  He knows you have great value!  After all Jesus died for you- He wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t worth it.

 

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The Body, Abuse & Trauma

The human body is an amazing creation.  It is capable of a myriad of incredible things.  It can heal from even serious injuries.  The brain can even create ways to cope to get us through even unimaginable trauma.

 

When the brain does this, it needs to deal with that trauma at a later date, once the event is over.  If it doesn’t the body may rebel.

 

Years ago, I spoke with a lady who worked on a prayer hotline.  She mentioned that she believed many health problems were indeed caused by emotional ones.  People who repress anger often have kidney problems, & women with menstrual or fertility problems often had mothers who criticized their femininity.  It’s also a common thing for those with PTSD to have lower back pain without a physical cause.

 

I firmly believe this is the case, although I hadn’t thought of it in years.   I only thought of it because something happened to me.

 

(Sorry in advance for too much information.)  I’ve been on birth control for a long time, & it prevents me from getting a monthly period.  Suddenly out of the blue, I got a period.  Interestingly, it started on May 5, which was the 1 year “anniversary” of the big fight I had with my parents.  I felt really bad, so I didn’t even notice this until 2 days later.  Once I did, I asked God for help, please show me what’s going on!  He reminded me of how things were when I was growing up.  My periods were very painful, yet my mother said it was no big deal & refused to take me to a doctor.   For that matter, she wouldn’t even let me have so much as an asprin to help with the pain.  I also thought about how I rarely saw a doctor & saw the dentist I believe twice in my entire upbringing.  In fact, when I had the chicken pox, I had a very bad case that lasted 2 weeks.  My mother complained about having cabin fever the whole time.  About halfway into it, she insisted my parents & I go out to dinner, even though I felt horrible.  And, my father said & did nothing about any of this.

 

As I thought about this, it made me angry for the first time.  Growing up, this was simply my normal, so it didn’t make me angry.  My illnesses & injuries were treated as an inconvenience to my parents, not as a source of concern.  I prayed a lot & wrote in my journal to cope with this new anger.  Both were tremendously helpful not only to my emotional health but physical too.  As soon as God showed me what was happening & I worked with Him to heal, the period immediately stopped & I felt a thousand times better!

 

It’s not easy for me to write about such personal things, but I felt it was important to share this with you, Dear Reader.  If you are suffering with a physical problem, there may be an emotional reason for it.  I encourage you to pray.  Ask God to show you what is the root of this problem?  Is it due to past trauma or abuse?  What is the truth in this situation?  And, don’t forget to ask Him to help you to deal with it.  Facing ugly things isn’t easy, & you need God’s help doing so if you’re going to heal.

 

The mind/body connection is very real, Dear Reader.  Don’t underestimate it!

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Why Didn’t I Learn About NPD Years Ago?!

Many victims of narcissistic abuse that I have spoken with have said the exact same thing that I felt for  years: “I wish I’d learned about narcissism years ago!  I wish I knew why God waited so long to show me.”  Most victims I’ve spoken with were over 40 when they first learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The absolute youngest I would say was in her late twenties.

This is often a source of frustration for many victims.  We tend to feel angry for all the years wasted, not understanding what was happening & blaming ourselves for our abusive parents or spouse.  We also don’t understand why God didn’t show us the real problem years earlier.

I wonder, Dear Reader, if it was because we simply weren’t mature enough to handle this knowledge until we have a few years under our belts.

If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic parent, it takes a great deal of wisdom & maturity to be able to handle it with your sanity in tact.  These things can be gained only through age & experience.

Also, a solid foundation with God is absolutely essential to help you cope with the relationship.  As a young, new Christian, you may not have had the mature relationship & deep faith you have today.

Whether you still have a relationship with your narcissistic parent(s) or not, if you are healing, you also need that strong relationship with God.  I have found He guides my healing as I am able to handle things.  He helps me face things only when I am strong enough.  He also shows me new information as I am able to understand it. Looking back, I don’t think I would have accepted the information or help in my younger days when I felt like I needed to be able to do everything myself.  It took years for me to learn to rely on God at all, because, like all children of narcissistic parents, I grew up knowing I shouldn’t “bother” anyone with my “petty” problems.  I know now that I need God to help me cope & understand the things I have been through, but in my younger years, I would have denied that & refused His help.

I hope this answers that frustrating question of why didn’t God teach you about narcissism earlier.  It can be a point of frustration for sure, but God does know what is best for us.  If He delayed you learning about NPD, one thing you can know without a doubt- there was s good reason for it.

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Narcissists Love Discrediting Victims

One of the main things all narcissists, be they overt or covert, have in common is that they discredit their victims to anyone who will listen.

 

Discrediting may be done under the guise of concern.  A narcissist may claim to be worried about their daughter because she has serious mental problems- she’s depressed, anxious, or bipolar.  Or, it may be more direct, a smear campaign, where a narcissist claims the victim is a drug addict, juvenile delinquent, promiscuous or other awful things.

 

Discrediting often starts early with narcissistic parents, sowing seeds of disdain & discord among family members & friends, who come to believe this innocent child to be anything but.  Instead, they believe the child to be whatever the parent said, & the parent to be completely innocent when nothing could be further from the truth.  My mother did this to me in my childhood.  When her abuse peaked in my late teens, her friends, who once liked me, suddenly wouldn’t even speak to me.

 

Discrediting also may be done as a preemptive strike.  Narcissists know sometimes when they go too far with a victim, & reach out to others before the victim can.  This is an attempt to look like the good guy, so others won’t believe the victim when she shares what happened.  My father has done this.  Once when I wouldn’t take his call because he called too late (he repeatedly called late, in spite of repeatedly telling him I won’t answer the phone after 9pm), he called my in-laws & one of my cousins.  He told them he was extremely worried about me because I didn’t answer the phone when he called at 10 that night.  He even asked them to tell me to call him immediately.  Both were concerned, & somewhat angry with me for being so “mean” to my father.

 

It also may be done as revenge.  If a narcissist thinks that she has a chance of someone the victim knows well, but she doesn’t believing her, she may reach out in an attempt to hurt the victim.  Again, my mother has done this.  Many years ago, my husband’s work downsized, so he lost his job.  My father took money from his & my mother’s savings account, & gave it to me, even though I didn’t ask him to.  My mother was extremely angry with me about this.  She called my in-laws.  A few days later, my husband visited his parents, & his father told him about the call.  He said my mother said I was doing something terrible, so he told her never to call back.  Whatever it was, it was so terrible, he refused to repeat it to my husband.

 

If these types of things are happening to you, it’s typical narcissist behavior.  Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything you can do about it.  If you defend yourself, chances are, people will see you as the crazy, irrational, awful person the narcissist said you are, no matter how calm & collected you are when you speak.  People in these situations often look for any tiny piece of evidence that the narcissist is right, so no matter how justified your anger or upset, it will be taken as the narcissist being right.

 

Rather than actively defend yourself when these situations arise, it’s best to let your character shine.  The truth has a way of coming out no matter what, so if you are consistently a good, caring, loving, rational person, sooner or later, people will realize that.  I know it can be frustrating doing nothing to defend yourself, but truly, it’s your best course of action.  Pray- ask God to help you through this hard time & for the truth to be made clear.  You will need God’s help during this hard time, so never hesitate to ask for it.  He’ll be more than glad to help you!

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There Is Nothing Wrong With Resting & Self-Care!

I noticed something interest in the last few hours, & I thought I’d share it with you today, Dear Readers.

As many of you know, in 2015, I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  In spite of all the time that’s passed, like many others who have survived it, I still live with many symptoms.  They get better or worse, but they’re still there.  All the time.  If this post sounds “off”, I apologize- thinking clearly isn’t my strong point at the moment because that’s part of it when symptoms flare up.  I just wanted to write this out before I forgot everything I wanted to say.

So,  bringing us to what I noticed…

I noticed when I’m way too stressed or going through an exceptionally hard time, something happens to make the symptoms get to the point of me needing to rest, to take time off, because I can’t do anything else.

Lately, I’ve been having a rough time with repressed memories & flashbacks as I mentioned previously.  As if that wasn’t tough enough, at the time of me writing this, it was 1 year ago today that I lost one of my kitties & that anniversary is making me sad.  I have a knack for remembering dates & dates like this always are very hard for me, even days before.

Yesterday evening, my husband was working on my car.  I took a shower while he was doing this.  While in there, I began to feel weird (headache, dizzy, couldn’t think clearly, body aches, shaking, etc.), but thought nothing of it.  When I got out, I came into the living room & heard my car running.  I suddenly knew why I felt so yukky & didn’t think anything of it- carbon monoxide removes my ability to realize if I feel bad, something is wrong.  I quickly found my husband & ask him to move my car away from the house while she’s running because the exhaust was sickening me.  He did, but the damage was already done.  Last night & today, I’ve felt horrible.  Today, I’m resting because there’s nothing else I can do.  Physically & mentally, I’m a whipped pup.

Since I’m finally thinking a little clearer today, I realized this sort of thing happens during especially difficult times.

My point of all this?  I realized that although God didn’t give me my health problems, He has been using them to help me.

My mother has called me lazy ever since I can remember.  As a result, I’ve always worked hard.  Too hard- I rarely took time to relax.  Self-care has been a huge struggle for me, as I feel on some dysfunctional level that it’s selfish & wrong to take care of myself.  Since I’ve even ignored God’s promptings that I need to take care of myself & relax sometimes, I firmly believe God allowed getting sick to happen because now, there are times when I have no choice but to relax & rest.

Please, Dear Reader, learn from my mistakes!!  I know so many adult children of narcissistic parents who ignore their mental & physical health because they don’t want to feel selfish or lazy by taking care of themselves as I have.  This is so wrong!!  Even God rests!

Genesis 2:2  “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”  (NIV)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting!  Self-care is vital to being healthy, physically & mentally, & frequent rest is a part of that.  I know shutting off the internal, critical voice calling you lazy or selfish is hard, but please try to do it for your own sake before you end up sick like I have.  I should’ve listened to God’s promptings years ago, but I kept ignoring them.  As a result, I believe God had no other choice but to allow this to happen to force me to rest before I killed myself by neglecting my needs.  I wouldn’t wish this on you, so please, make appropriate changes in your life.  You have every right to take care of yourself.

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Making Healthy Changes In Your Relationship With Your Narcissistic Parent

One year ago tomorrow, it’ll be one year since having that huge argument with my parents.  That means it’s also been a year since speaking to my mother, & almost five months since speaking to my father.  My mother stopped speaking to me after that argument but my father didn’t.  He called less & less frequently as time passed, & the calls were much shorter, but he kept the door open with me.

I’ve prayed a LOT about the situation this past year.  I felt God wanted me to pull away from my parents yet not tell them I want them out of my life.  So, I didn’t contact my mother, send her cards or anything.  I also haven’t sent my father any cards or called him, but I did take some of his calls & allowed him to visit me last December.  Also during this year, God has shown me via dreams & opening my eyes just how selfish & dangerous my father really is.  That visit in December really was eye opening for me.  My father told me when he was coming to my home, & what we were doing while he was here.  That on top of all of the other things that have happened made me pull away even further from him to the point I stopped taking his calls all together, & blocked my parents’ phone number.

Apparently this was an issue for my father.  He sent several people after me to tell me I needed to call him asap.  Thank God, in spite of the nasty old, dysfunctional feelings of needing to do as my parents say, God enabled me to resist contacting him.

My point in sharing this story with you, Dear Readers, is to give you hope.

When you have narcissistic parents, then learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you realize you need to make changes & it can be scary.  You’re going against your parents, which is intimidating!  They’ve trained you your entire life to be a certain way or face dire consequences.  Even as an adult, the consequences still can be scary.

You may even feel you need to go no contact with them, which is even more intimidating.  Doing it may feel impossible to you, but I can tell you it is possible.

Whichever you are planning on doing- changing your behavior yet staying in a relationship or going no contact- you can do it!

You need to begin in prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, how to do it & enable you to do whatever you need to do.

Start small.. start setting small boundaries, such as not answering the phone every time your narcissistic parent calls.  When the phone rings, pray first.  Ask God if He thinks you are able to handle the call or not, & listen to what He says.

Say “no” to your parent sometimes.  Your parent will hate it, of course, but do it anyway.  Say no to small things at first, then bigger things.  An example is if your parent wants you to come by Friday, say no- Sunday would work better for you.  It’s small, sure, but it’s taking back a little power.

If your parent insists on driving when you get together, you say you’ll meet them there & drive your own car.  If need be, arrange to have something else to do after seeing them so you have a legitimate reason (in your parent’s eyes) to drive yourself.   This is another small way to take back some power.

Small gestures like this are a great place to start- they worked wonders for me.  Seeing I could take back some power & set some boundaries gave me strength.  It made me realize I really didn’t have to settle for being abused constantly.  And, as time wore on, I set more & more boundaries.

This behavior naturally pushes away narcissists, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  I knew I wanted to go no contact quite some time before it happened, but it never felt right to tell my parents that.  Being healthier naturally pushed them away which put us in a low contact state that I could tolerate.  It also showed me just how abusive & dysfunctional they are because they can’t respect my boundaries.  Normal people, if they dislike a boundary, they still respect it.  Narcissists aren’t normal though.  They try to get you to change your boundary, pout or get passive/aggressive when they are faced with a boundary they don’t like.  Seeing my father’s behavior when I set boundaries with him was quite eye opening.  For example, after our argument, he tried calling me non stop for days.  When I didn’t take his calls, he called so early one morning I was still asleep!  I thought I was dreaming about answering a phone until I heard his voice & woke up quickly.  He said “he” just wanted to talk to me & “he” wanted to hear my voice & “he” thought this & “he” felt that.  When you see something like this, it’s impossible to deny someone is abusive & manipulative.  It can be very good seeing such things, because it gives you strength to either set more boundaries or to go low or no contact

I’m telling you, Dear Reader, these things work.  They are a fantastic place to start making healthy changes in your life & relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Try them, & see for yourself!

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A Little About Flashbacks & Repressed Memories

Recently, I’ve been having a lot of repressed memories return to the surface along with a flashback.  I had a total of 6 repressed memories & 1 flashback in a period of 2 days.  Not a fun 2 days for sure!  However, I realized something.  They all had reasons for happening.

 

Flashbacks & repressed memories show you what areas you need healing in.  If you’ve dealt with events properly, you won’t have flashbacks about them.  You’ll also remember them, so they won’t be repressed memories returning to the surface.  Although they’re rough, at least flashbacks & repressed memories can help you see what you need to work on.

 

They also can enable you to feel emotions that you couldn’t feel, let alone process, at the time of the trauma.  When I experienced mine recently, for the first time, I felt all the pain, anger & fear I was unable to feel at the time because I was simply trying to survive.  Feeling those emotions enabled me to release the pain.  Finally!

 

Flashbacks & repressed memories also are a good validation for why you’re low or no contact with your narcissistic parent.  I only recently blocked my parents’ phone number after months of no contact from them.  My father apparently called, & couldn’t reach me so he sent his flying monkeys after me to tell me to call him.  Considering his age & failing health, I honestly had a tough time not calling him at first.  Thank God I have a loving God & good friends who reminded me why I blocked his number in the first place to get me through the worst of it.  A bit later is when the flashback & repressed memories happened.  They really helped drive home the fact that I need to stay away from my parents.  They showed me exactly how abusive & dysfunctional they are.

 

I know flashbacks & repressed memories are extremely painful to deal with, but if you allow yourself to learn & heal from them, at least that pain won’t be in vain.  If you’re unsure what you’re supposed to learn or do after a flashback or a repressed memory returns, then pray.  God will show you what the purpose of it coming to your mind at this time is.  I also suggest keeping a journal.  Writing things down gives you something to look back on.  It reminds you of things you may have forgotten, & offers you strength when you see how far you’ve come.  A written record can be a wonderful thing!  I use an online, password protected diary so my journal is completely private.  No one reads it but God & I.  There are plenty to choose from, so you might want to do the same.

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Cognitive Dissonance

Recently, my birthday passed.  The first one since having a huge argument with my parents in May of 2016.  My mother didn’t send a card.  My father sent a card though, & as soon as I saw it, I felt so much guilt for the way my relationship with my parents is, or lack of relationship I should say.  The old dysfunctional way of thinking kicked back in.  I should forgive & forget, pretend all is ok no matter how much it hurts me, & I overreacted because they should be able to do & say anything.

 

At the same time, I was remembering why I need to stay no contact with my parents.  A lifetime of abuse flowed through my mind.  The cruelty, the belittling, the manipulation, the control, the parentalizing, the guilt trips, the putting everyone else ahead of me, the invalidation.  The two very conflicting thoughts & feelings were utterly miserable.  Cognitive dissonance always is miserable!

 

Those of us raised with narcissistic parents know this well.

 

Growing up, we were trained to think & believe certain ways, such as the narcissistic parent always comes first, & our thoughts & feelings mean nothing.  Eventually, we learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & realize that all we grew up believing is wrong.

 

Unfortunately that is only the beginning.  It takes a long time to unlearn old thoughts & replace them with new, healthy thoughts.  As you learn, you experience very uncomfortable feelings because of these conflicting beliefs, which is known as cognitive dissonance.

 

When my experiences happened recently, I mentioned what was happening in my Facebook group.  I am very blessed, because the members were incredibly helpful.  They reminded me why I need to be no contact with my parents, & the guilt & conflict I felt wasn’t from God.

 

I also spent plenty of time in prayer.  I asked God what to do, was I overreacting with my parents, was I wrong, should I ask them back into my life?  God did the same thing those in my group did- gently remind me why I’m no contact & that He didn’t want me feeling guilty.

 

Dear Reader, when you face similar moments of awful cognitive dissonance, I urge you to do what I did- pray.  God is your Father & friend- you can talk to Him openly about everything you feel.  Do it!  He’ll help you get through!  Also, open up to those close to you who understand your situation, preferably those who have been through similar.  They can be of great encouragement too!

 

I know experiencing cognitive dissonance is difficult & painful, but you will get through it!  I did.  The day of my birthday was rough, I won’t lie.  It was a struggle, even with the help of God & friends, but I made it through.  The day after was easier & the one after, still easier.  It just took a little time for the healthy thoughts to beat down the unhealthy ones is all.  When this happens to you, remember that you WILL get through & be just fine.  Be patient, understanding & gentle with yourself, knowing that it will pass.  xoxo

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Why Do People Not Want You To Speak Up To Abusive Relatives?

Have you ever noticed that almost no one says you are right to have problems with abusive family members?  That it is OK to defend yourself to them?  Instead, you are encouraged to “just let it go.”  Or, excuses are made like, “Well, she’s getting old now…”  or “You know how he is.”

 

Why do so many people think it is wrong to speak your mind & defend yourself when someone says cruel things to you?

 

I think it is because people do NOT want to leave their comfort zone.  They would prefer you stuff your emotions (because that is oh so healthy..not) than make them uncomfortable by standing up for yourself.

 

Those of us who have been abused have been through more than enough suffering.  It isn’t fair to expect us to go through more just to make someone else comfortable by not upsetting them.

 

When people tell you to “just let it go” or “don’t rock the boat”, ignore them!  If you feel you need to speak up when your parent is cruel to you, then by all means, you have that right!  There is nothing good, loving or honorable in “not rocking the boat.”  People need to be accountable for their actions, like it or not.  They need to know when they have said or done something that is inappropriate.  Whether or not they change their behavior is not your responsibility, but at least by speaking up you have made them aware of the inappropriateness of their actions.

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Do You Have Something That Is Just Yours?

A little while ago, I was listening to some music from the 80’s.  Being a teen in the 80’s, it’s often my go to genre.  I was really enjoying the songs & a thought crossed my mind.  Most people who listen to their childhood music are transported back to happy days of their youth.  I’m not. My childhood wasn’t happy.  Even so, I still love the music of the era.  As I wondered why, & didn’t even have a chance to ask God why, He gave me the answer.  My taste in music was the first thing that was just mine, that my narcissistic mother couldn’t ruin for me.

 

My mother likes 50’s music & country music by the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys & similar sounding artists.  My father is mostly into outlaw type country- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt.  Neither likes 80’s music.  When I first got into it, my mother harshly criticized it, yet she didn’t spoil my love of it in spite of her valiant efforts.

 

She tried to squelch my love of other things over the years too- my taste in cars, other types of music I like (such as Southern rock & metal/hard rock), my love of feminine clothing & perfumes, knitting, scary movies & books. I’m positive her motivation was to make me dislike these things & replace them with things she likes or approves of.  (Narcissists love to change people into what they think they should be, rather than allowing people to be individuals.)  It hasn’t worked, however, & these things all bring me a great deal of joy, even when she insults them or me for liking them.

 

When you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, holding onto something that the narcissist couldn’t ruin for you or take away from you is precious!  It makes you feel strong.  In spite of every hateful thing she tried, she couldn’t take this from me!  There was one thing she couldn’t destroy about me!  YAY ME!!

 

Do you have something that is just yours, that your narcissistic mother couldn’t take from you?  What is it?  Whatever it is, I urge you to celebrate it!  Enjoy it to the max!   Relish in the fact she couldn’t take it from you no matter what.  Be proud of yourself for having the fortitude to hang onto that thing!

 

If you can’t think of anything, that is ok too!  Find something!  Try something new- a new hobby, a new type of tea, listen to a different genre of music.  You’ll find something that is so special to you, that even the meanest narcissistic mother can’t take away, & you will thoroughly enjoy it.

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On Survival Mode

In the past several months since my parents have stopped speaking to me, I’ve gained quite an education.

 

One thing I’ve learned is about survival mode.  Survival mode is a way of behaving in an abusive situation.  Basically, your emotions are shut off & you do whatever you need to in order to get through the awful situation.  Barely speaking so as not to say something that upsets your abuser, for example.

 

I’ve learned that survival mode doesn’t necessarily end when the relationship ends.  In my case, my parents didn’t say outright that they never wanted to speak to me again- they just stopped calling me.  I think that is why I stayed in survival mode for months after our last conversations, I didn’t know for sure if they’d call or not.  When I realized months had passed since I’ve heard from them (11 for my mother, 4 for my father to date- not her longest silent treatment, but it is his) only then did survival mode end.  This happened with my in-laws too.  I stopped speaking to them in 2002, but survival mode didn’t end for months after.

 

I think this means that the brain wants to be completely, 110% sure that the abusers are gone before it can relax.  Survival mode is all about protecting you, so it makes sense the brain would want to be absolutely certain all danger is gone before it exits survival mode.

 

I’ve also learned that once survival mode is gone, emotions come out.  Naturally when you’re in survival mode, your emotions get put on the back burner because you’re focused only on surviving.  Once the danger is gone, emotions come to the surface, including ones that have been suppressed for a long time.  It can feel overwhelming especially when you haven’t dealt with them for a very long time.  However, I firmly believe it’s necessary to deal with them.

 

Without the burden of focusing on survival, I feel like I’m noticing every little thing.  Unfortunately, part of that includes triggers.  They seem to happen constantly.  The other day, I saw a TV show where this lady’s son in-law cheated on her daughter.  Although the daughter forgave him & he promised to mend his ways, the mother still was very upset.  When she told her son in-law that there is no pain worse than watching your child suffer & you not being able to fix it, I flashed back to the fight I had with my parents last May.  My father changed the subject to really odd topics to deflect my yelling at him.  My mother sighed an obviously bored sigh as I cried & yelled at her until I gave up & told her if she had anything to say before I hang up, do it now.  Her chance to apologize turned into her whining about having vertigo (for the record, I have it too- yes, it sucks, but you’d think when your normally calm, rational daughter is that upset, that might just take priority..).  I realized that caring parent isn’t something I’ll ever have, & it hurt me enough to make me burst into tears, something I rarely do.

 

In order to handle these experiences, I rely on God a LOT.  I tell Him how I feel & He reassures me, comforts me & explains what’s happening.  He also shows me things that help.  For example, I can be scrolling through Facebook when a meme or article that pertains to my situation pops up, & the information in it is very helpful to me.

 

I also write in my journal- seeing things written out is a good way to gain clarity.  Not sure why that is, but it’s true.  Seeing events written out as well as my feelings has helped me to see the situation clearer, instead of through the eyes of someone whose views are skewed hurt by narcissistic abuse.

 

Talking about things with a safe person is helpful too.  I’ve told my husband some of what’s been going on.  Sometimes, he gets angry or looks completely shocked by things I’ve shared about my parents.  That lets me know it’s not normal!  When you grow up with narcissists, abuse & bizarre is your normal.  Even as an adult, it can be hard to let go of that & embrace the healthy & good things.  Having someone you love & trust say that certain things were wrong or bizarre is helpful in letting go of those bad beliefs.

 

Dear Reader, if you too have been in survival mode for a long time, these things may happen with you too.  Or maybe they’re happening already.  If so, please rest assured that you are fine!  It may not feel that way but you are.  Ending survival mode is truly a good thing.  Your mind & body finally can relax, & you can deal with those long buried emotions.

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Why Narcissistic Abuse Can Get Worse As Children Grow Up

I’ve heard over & over that narcissists never change.  Yet, I’ve seen my narcissistic parents change a great deal in my lifetime.

 

When I was a small child, my mother controlled everything about me, & my father idealized me.  In adolescence, my mother continued to control me & added scathing criticisms & later screaming at me to her repertoire.  My father still idealized me but when I complained about my mother to him, he told me how hard it was for him, & he was helpless to do anything for me.  Once I moved out, my parents both complained to me about the other one even more often than they had when I was growing up (which was a lot when I was a kid).  My mother no longer screamed at me or could control me as much as she did, but she was also still critical.  My father said how hard it was for him when I was growing up, knowing she was hurting me & wanted my comfort.  Once my parents hit their 70’s, they changed again.  My covertly narcissistic father gets more overt by the day, & my mother’s scathing criticisms have become quietly spoken & more hurtful than ever.

 

Many narcissistic parents follow a similar path in the manners in which they abuse their children.  They adapt their behaviors to the child’s & their stages in life.  But why?  I mean, we can all understand why a physically abusive parent stops hitting their child once the child is physically able to protect herself of course.  The abuser doesn’t want to get beaten as she beats her child.  But why do narcissists change their behaviors so much?

 

Personally, I believe the reason is they are attempting to beat their adult children down so they stay childish.  Eroding their child’s self-esteem will leave that child feeling incapable, rather than like the capable adult she truly is, & will make her feel she must depend on her parents.  After all, the parents want her to believe, she isn’t smart enough to choose the right friends, work the right career, like the right things, etc.  Her parents know best, so she should depend on them.

 

If a narcissistic parent can keep their adult child in a perpetual state of childhood, this can provides an incredible amount of narcissistic supply.  The adult child will depend on the parents, which means they can give the appearance of being good parents.  This adult child also will cater to their every whim, which we all know provides tons of narcissistic supply.

 

If the adult child doesn’t submit, however, she can count on problems with her parents.  Narcissistic parents can’t deal with a child who doesn’t submit to her parents, even as an adult.  They expect blind obedience from their child, no matter her age, & if they don’t get it, they will do their level best to hurt that child. They will treat her worse than ever once they realize she is resisting submitting to them.  Or, they simply discard her like a piece of trash, refusing to have any relationship with her, & often creating a vicious smear campaign against her.

 

As the adult child, you have no obligation to submit to abusive parents.  There is no love or honor in abuse.  You have every right to protect yourself from your narcissistic parents!  It will not be an easy road, but it is worth it.  And, it is much easier than living in that perpetual childhood in an attempt to please them.

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Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an amazing thing.  It gives you answers you’ve always wanted & shows you that you were lied to- not everything was your fault.  It’s a wonderful thing in that way!

 

Yet at the same time, learning about NPD also means you grieve.  You realize that your narcissistic parents never will be the kind, loving, caring parents you always wanted & hoped they would be.  It destroys that hope that one day, they’d see the error of their ways & start treating you well.  Thank God, grieving does get easier, but I’m not sure it ever goes away entirely.

 

In my experience, I’ve realized something else about the grief process.  For me, it was easier to grieve when I learned my overtly narcissistic mother was a narcissist than when I learned my covertly narcissistic father was one.  Her actions were so obviously wrong, that there was no denial she was that way.  There was no questioning that she was out to hurt & control me.  I knew that even before learning about NPD.

 

My father, however, was a different story.

 

My father always acted naive, even though he’s very intelligent.  He can play the victim or pitiful card well, too.  When I went to him with problems about my mother, he would act sad & tell me he couldn’t do anything to help me.  It was hard on him knowing she was hurting me, he said.  I ended up comforting him when he should’ve been comforting & protecting me.  He’s also very subtle at his manipulations, so it’s easy to miss what his true motives are unless you’re very familiar with narcissism.  For example, there were times when I didn’t answer his phone call or didn’t call him when he thought I should.  He would tell other people he’s so worried about me- he doesn’t know why I haven’t called him in a while.  If they talk to me would they mind have me call him?  Sounds like a concerned father, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s about making me do what he wants, not concern or love for me.

 

Because my father is so good at being subtle (the opposite of my mother), it’s been really hard to accept that he’s a covert narcissist.  I always thought of him as the good, loving parent.  He never called me names, verbally tore me down, or screamed at me like my mother did, so he had to be the good parent.  Or, so I told myself.

 

Besides, having two parents who don’t love you is a very painful thing to accept.  No one wants to believe neither of their parents care about them.  It’s easier to deny that the covertly narcissistic parent is that way.  Their actions are so subtle anyway, it’s easy to miss their abuse, unlike overt narcissists.  Compared to an overt narcissist parent, the covert seems like a tiptoe through the tulips.  At least until you learn about covert narcissists & how diabolical they truly are, hiding behind the mask of the good parent.

 

 

If you’re having a tough time accepting that you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please don’t feel bad.  It’s tough to accept!  It really hurts & is very disappointing when you realize the one parent you thought loved you really didn’t.

 

You need to grieve & get your hurt out to come to a healthy place of acceptance.  As you do, you may find yourself going through an angry phase.  I have.  Angry about being fooled, angry at being manipulated into thinking he was the good parent, angry about being manipulated & guilt tripped.. lots of anger.  I think this is very normal.  Covert narcissists work even harder than overts do to fool people.  Most overts worry about fooling those they want to impress, while not caring about their victims.  Coverts, however, want everyone to think they’re good people, including their victims.  Since we do buy their “good guy/good girl” act, it’s incredibly maddening to find out how badly we were duped.  So, when the anger surfaces, just know- it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s OK.  Get it out however works for you- pray, journal, talk to someone safe.

 

The anger also may come back even when you think it’s all gone.  Nothing wrong with that so long as you’re dealing with it when that happens.  Anger isn’t always easy to process.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Sometimes, you’re only able to deal with it in small doses, so God hides some things from you until you’re able to cope.  All you can do is deal with it in whatever ways help you the most.

 

Never forget, God will help you get through it all.  Ask  for help & wisdom on how to do what you need to do.  Listen to what He tells you.  Trust Him, & you will be just fine.  xoxo

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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact With You

At the time of writing this, my mother hasn’t spoken to me in just under 10 months, my father in 2 months.  They both used to call me constantly, so the silence is something I’m still getting used to.

 

Prior to them stopping speaking to me, I had decided I wanted to go no contact with them.  The odd thing was I felt God didn’t want me to say it to them.  He wanted me to continue to get healthier, enforce my boundaries & stay low contact.  When we had an argument last May 5, I lost my temper, & God told me He wanted that to happen.  He said it’d make my parents want to stay away from me when they realized I’m not so easy to push around anymore.  Has it ever!

 

Although I’m grateful, it still hurts that my parents clearly have decided that I’m not worth speaking to because I defended myself to them.  Since it happened, I’ve done a lot of praying & researching on the topic.  I’ve learned there is virtually no information out there for those whose parents have cut them off.  Almost all the no contact information I could find was for adult children who have gone no contact with their parents.

 

The last few days, I’ve been especially depressed & anxious in spite of some good stuff happening in my life.  It really hurts that my parents cut me off, even though I know it’s for the best.  So, I started praying more about it & God showed me some things.  I thought I’d share them here since there are plenty of us whose parents have cut us off, & there is so little information available for people in this position.

 

When normal people implement no contact, it isn’t to punish anyone- it is to protect themselves from further abuse.  When narcissists do it, there is much more to it.  After all, whatever you did to “deserve” them going no contact (at least in their warped minds), caused a grievous narcissistic injury.  Anything causing a narcissistic injury is going to be met with some type of narcissistic rage.

 

Narcissists use no contact to cause their victim pain.  Basically, it’s a version of the silent treatment.  It’s to let the victim know that they are irrelevant.  The victim’s side of the argument is also so irrelevant that the narcissist doesn’t want to waste time listening to it.  The victim isn’t even worth the narcissist acknowledging.  It’s a cruel rejection, especially coming from a parent.  Narcissistic parents reject their children their entire lives.  This is just one more rejection added onto the pile.  It really hurts, & that is normal!

 

It’s shaming.  Narcissists love to shame their children, no matter the child’s age.  By going no contact with you, they aim to make you feel that you are so bad, even your own mother &/or father can’t tolerate you.

 

Their version of no contact is also an attempt at control.  The narcissist’s goal is to make you run to the narcissist, apologize for whatever you said or did, or didn’t say or do, & give the narcissist whatever she wants to make up for your “cruelty”.

 

Narcissists can’t deal with conflict.  If the no contact came about after an argument like mine did, it’s not surprising.  The cold, hard, & painful truth is a narcissist would prefer to cut off their own child rather than work through conflict, admit that they were wrong or even simply to try to see the situation from their child’s perspective.  That’s what’s happening with my parents, & many other narcissists are the same way.

 

By going no contact, the narcissistic parents can look like the victim.  They can tell people that you were so cruel, so abusive, that they had no other choice.  Often narcissists would prefer to avoid going no contact since it also potentially could make them look bad, but when they are in the position, they’ll work it to the best of their ability.  They’ll gain pity from their flying monkeys or anyone who will listen with their tales of how mean & unreasonable you were.  Devoted flying monkeys may come out of the woodwork & go after you, doing the narcissist’s dirty work for them by telling you what a horrible person you are for doing whatever you did.  That way, the narcissist can still hurt you without having to be in contact with you.  Narcissists love this- they get to hurt you & manipulate another person into doing it for them while they look innocent.  It’s really a perfect trifecta for narcissists.

 

I realized something else… even knowing such things, it really hurts when your parents don’t speak to you no matter how cruel they are!  I know beyond a doubt this is for the best for me, & that God wants my parents out of my life.  I know they would hate the successes I’m having with my writing lately- not only the material I write about but the fact I’m having success.  (My parents clearly hate when things go well for me.)  I don’t even miss my parents & am enjoying the lack of their drama.  I’m enjoying the peace & lack of criticisms, nastiness, & manipulation.  So what is my problem?!

 

I’m grieving.  Not the loss of my parents but the fact that they prefer to be “right” & have me out of their lives rather than talk about our problems.   Also the fact that my mother’s & my birthdays are coming up next month.  There will be no celebrating together.  My parents might send a card like they did at Christmas, but I know it won’t mean they want to work things out- it’s only to make them look good.  Mother’s day is coming in May, Father’s day in June & I have no need to get cards.  Yes it was hard to find rather generic, “have a nice day” kind of cards, but at least it meant I still had parents.  Now?  I feel like an orphan.

 

Dear Reader, if your narcissistic parents have stopped speaking to you, please know you’re not alone.  I’ve spoken with a few people recently who have experienced the same thing, even those who are in similar situations to mine, feeling they wanted to go no contact, but felt God wanted them to refrain from telling their parents that.  Why God asks that of some of us, I don’t know, but I do know He has a very good reason for it.  That you can be absolutely certain of.

 

Also, remember how much God loves you.  He is there during this difficult time.  He will comfort you when it hurts.  He will give you wisdom on what you should do.  Trust in Him to help you get through.  Unlike your earthly parents, God truly is a loving, kind, caring, generous parent.

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Invalidation Is Abuse!

 

Invalidation judges, mocks, & rejects a person’s feelings.  It also implies or  says directly that the person is deeply flawed or crazy.

 

Invalidation is an attempt to control another person & their feelings, as well as to distract that person from abusive behavior.  It hinders or even destroys a person’s ability to trust his or her own feelings, perceptions, & intuition.  It is similar to gaslighting in that respect.  It forces a person to believe that his or her beliefs, thoughts, feelings or even physical presence are flawed, difficult or of no value.  It at best damages self-esteem, or at worst destroys it.

Invalidation frequently occurs when an abuser is confronted about her abusive behavior, or the abusive behavior of someone else (for example, a husband may invalidate his wife when she complains about his mother’s bad behavior).   The purpose is to take attention away from one’s flaws or abusive behavior, & to turn the attention onto you and your (real or imagined) flaws instead.

Interestingly, a person can invalidate themselves as well.  Trivializing your own wants, needs, accomplishments, or feelings, is a form of invalidation.  Essentially, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, there is something very wrong with you, or your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs are wrong.  This type of behavior is often learned in childhood, but it also can come from being married to a psychologically abusive spouse.  Paying attention to your thoughts & words about yourself can determine if you do this.  If you are, then you can make the appropriate changes.

As you read this, remember: you are worthy! Your feelings, thoughts & needs matter!  You are ok!  You are not crazy!  Treat yourself accordingly, as a man or woman of value, who God loves dearly!

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Saving Face Matters To Narcissists

 

What others think of the narcissist is the most important thing in the world to them, so they will do anything to protect it.  That can include acting like they are the real victim when you confront them on their abusive ways.

 

If you tell a narcissist something they do hurts you, you open the door for a world of gaslighting/crazy making behaviors.  They may rage, scream, cry, use guilt or calmly state why you are the abusive one.

 

 

When my parents & I had our last fight in May, 2016, as I’ve mentioned before, it was because my parents were supposedly upset I hadn’t told them that my mother in-law passed away.  They saw her obituary in the local paper after the funeral was done.  My parents claimed they wanted to attend, but didn’t learn of the funeral in time, which is the only reason they didn’t go.  This hurt me because I’d told them how cruel she had been to me over the years, yet they wanted to “pay their respects” to her?!  I told them I felt betrayed, yet neither understood my feelings.  In fact, when I told them “she treated me like dirt for years!”, both of my parents had the same reaction: “But that’s Eric’s mother!”  My response was, “But I’m your daughter!”  Silence for a few seconds then, “But that’s Eric’s mother!” was the response.  It became crystal clear to me that the fact that was his mother & my parents want to impress my husband mattered much more than the fact they were hurting their own daughter.  Looking like the caring in-laws to the man they want to impress, my husband, was more important than anything else.

 

This is very typical of narcissists.  If taking responsibility for something they have done puts them at risk of looking “less than,”they can’t deal with that.  Shaming you or making you look like the bad guy is worth it, so long as their mask doesn’t slip off.  There is nothing they won’t do to save face.

 

If you confront the narcissist in your life, please be well aware that this can happen to you too.  If it does, remember this isn’t about you!  This is about them protecting their fragile self esteem.  The truth isn’t important, neither is not hurting you.  Maintaining their reputation is all that matters.

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The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

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Fear Is Not From God

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

 

As many of you know, I have agoraphobia.  Leaving home, sometimes even to go into my yard, is very difficult or impossible.  Anxiety takes over & logic that nothing is going to go wrong or hurt me goes out the window.  Quite frankly, it sucks.

 

Recently I’ve been wanting to go for a drive.  That’s all- just enjoy a short drive in my awesome car.  However, the agoraphobia left me at home & my car sitting…

 

A few days ago, I opened up my email first thing in the morning.  I get a Scripture delivered daily.  That particular day the Scripture I shared above was in the email.  When I read it, something clicked in my mind.  No, God didn’t give me a spirit of fear.  My agoraphobia is NOT from Him.

 

The agoraphobia started in 1996, just after my paternal grandmom passed away.  My husband told his mother, who didn’t even acknowledge my loss- she changed the subject.  A short time later, this exact same experience happened with his sister.  Somehow, these experiences cemented in my mind that I don’t matter.  I shouldn’t bother anyone with my problems or even my presence, which is a belief that stems from my upbringing with my narcissistic parents.  Their behavior made this belief evolve into feeling like I don’t even have the right to leave home, possibly bothering people in public places.

 

Thinking about this angered me a great deal.  As is common with many adult children of narcissistic parents, I’m suffering because of other people’s cruelty.  This agoraphobia isn’t from God at all, & that Scripture was a reminder of that.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 enabled me not only to go for a ride, but a longer one than I originally wanted to do.  And, I got on smaller interstates too!  (After getting sick in 2015 & being unable to drive for a long time, I lost a lot of confidence in driving.  I’ve avoided bigger roads & interstates since.)

 

I’m not saying I’m cured.  Even thinking of leaving home now makes me tense up.  However, I do know that keeping these things in mind is going to be helpful for me leaving home in the future.

 

I’m sharing this with you today, Dear Reader, because I know so many of you also live with anxiety &/or agoraphobia.  Please consider what I wrote about here.  Know that such awful things are NOT from God.  It helped me to remember that & get mad at those who put the anxiety & agoraphobia on me.  Maybe it can help you as well to think about it.  What is the root of your anxiety?  If you don’t know, then ask God- He will show you.  He showed me why I have agoraphobia.  I never would’ve guessed that on my own!  He can do the same for you.  Once you get to the root of the problem, you can work on healing it properly.

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