Category Archives: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

An Important Point About No Contact

No contact is often the only solution preached when a victim of narcissistic abuse looks for advice.  People make it sound like once you get that narcissist out of your life, everything will be peachy keen.  However, this is not the case!

 

No contact is a wonderful thing.  I am very much in favor of it since often it is the only solution that can help a victim keep their sanity.  It creates the distance needed to help the victim have clarity of thought that is impossible while involved with a narcissist.  That being said, though, there needs to be more to it than simply cutting the narcissist out of your life.

 

If your parents are narcissists, chances are you find yourself in friendships & romantic relationships with narcissists.  You can end the relationship with your parents, but if that’s all you do, you’ll continue to find yourself in these toxic relationships.

 

Rather than cutting ties only, you need to learn all you can about narcissism.  Doing this will help you to spot narcissists easily, before they lure you into their dysfunctional web.  It also will show you that you are not to blame for anything they did to you.  Narcissists love blaming their victims for the abuse they dish out, which leaves victims feeling guilty unnecessarily.  Learning about narcissism will help you to get a revelation on the fact that their abuse was all on them.  You truly aren’t the problem, a bad person or anything else they said you were!

 

Also, focus on your own healing.  Grow stronger & healthier emotionally.  Get to the root of your issues so you can truly heal.  As you get healthier, your self esteem will heal too, & you will find yourself attracted to & attracting healthier people into your life.  You also will find you can handle yourself with the abusive ones that are impossible to avoid.

 

If you are considering going no contact, then please keep these points in mind!  Going no contact can help you a great deal of course, but you don’t need to stop there.  Learn about narcissism & focus on your healing as well as going no contact, as these things will benefit you immensely!

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Being Your Parent’s Parent

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A Message For Those Who Support Narcissistic Abusers

I always said I’d keep my writing real & I’m doing that with this post.  Be forewarned, it’ll be ugly because I’m very angry as I write this.  It also isn’t going to be pretty or succinct, but it’s going to be real.

**note- this post had to be edited for clarity before publishing.  For a short time after a flashback, my brain doesn’t work very well.  I made tons of spelling errors & unclear thoughts when I first wrote this post.  I needed a couple of days to recover then correct this post before publishing.  Although I wanted this post to be 100% real, that wasn’t quite possible if the post was to be readable.  I did maintain the thoughts & original message, I just prettied it up.  This post isn’t indicative of how coherent I am after a flashback. Thanks for understanding!**

 

This was just going to be a journal entry, but I felt instead I should make it a blog entry.  It felt important enough to put out there for the world to see & to rearrange my scheduled posts so this will post in just a couple of days.  When I prayed about this, God told me, “It needs to be said.”  So, I’m saying it.

 

A little while ago, I was watching “Law & Order SVU”.  One of the detectives was talking to a young woman about statutory rape.  That phrase triggered a flashback as soon as I heard it.

 

When I was 17 & trying to date my now ex husband, my overt narcissistic mother’s abuse was at its peak.  She didn’t like him, & was determined to keep us apart at any cost.  One of the many cruel things she did during that time was accuse me of things I wasn’t doing, including having sex.  She was absolutely obsessed with that topic, thinking I was having sex not only with my ex but a LOT of guys at our high school, including the entire football team.  Anyway one day during one of her many daily screaming fits at me, she told me that since my ex was six months younger than me, she could easily have me arrested for statutory rape for having sex with him.  I can’t describe the blind fear that put in me.  Not because I was actually doing anything, but because I was certain that the police would believe her.  She had about everyone we knew convinced I was nothing but a promiscuous juvenile delinquent.  I couldn’t believe the police would think otherwise.  It also made me wonder exactly what else she was capable of.

 

As I was writing this in my journal, trying to process this abuse, I also had another thought.  I thought about people who blindly support narcissists.  They need to know things like this, things the person they’re so devoted to is capable of doing.  If you know someone who is on a narcissist’s side, then by all means, feel free to show them this post if you think it’ll make a difference!

 

The rest of this post is directed at them.

 

Dear supporter of a narcissist:

 

Think for a moment about what I shared above.  My own mother threatened to have me arrested for something I wasn’t even doing.  And, this is just one example of how she abused me.  She screamed at me for hours every single day, telling me what a terrible person I was, I was stupid, ugly, a disappointment & so much more.  She didn’t just say it, although that would’ve been bad enough.  She literally screamed it repeatedly each & every day several times a day.  She often was so close I could feel her breath on my face.  (To this day, I still get panicky if I feel someone’s breath on me thanks to her.)  My ears would ring after she stopped screaming, because she was so loud.  Many narcissistic parents do the same kinds of things my mother did to me to their children.  How can you support a person who is capable of doing this to their own child?!  Do you honestly think that person is truly worthy of your loyalty?

 

Not only did my mother abuse me daily, but my covert narcissist father did nothing to stop it.  When I told him, he would say something about the way she treated me was hard on him, but there was nothing he could do to stop it.  As if failing to protect me wasn’t quite enough, he also wanted me to comfort him instead of him comforting & protecting me like any decent parent would do.  This is abusive & it’s pure evil, treating your own child this way, yet many covert narcissists do this & more.  Why does someone like this deserve any of your respect, loyalty & devotion??

 

Here we are, almost 30 years after the threat of being arrested & the daily scream-fests.  I’m still dealing with it & countless other similar incidents.  Thanks to the abuse I endured, I have C-PTSD, which means have flashbacks on a pretty regular basis.  Today’s was not an isolated incident.  Anxiety & depression often get so bad that I can’t even leave my home.  My moods are a roller coaster & it takes a LOT of strength not to yell at my husband or cry on him most days even though he’s not the cause of the mood swings.  I have nightmares more nights than not, when I can finally get to sleep that is.   Usually, even with sleep aids, I still have trouble falling & staying asleep.  We won’t even discuss how pitiful my short term memory or my comprehension are thanks to C-PTSD.  Many adult children of narcissists also suffer with C-PTSD because of being abused by the people who were supposed to love & protect them- their parents.  We are the ones who deserve  love & support, not the abusive, wicked narcissists who derive pleasure from hurting others, even their own kids!

 

Meanwhile, like most narcissistic parents, my parents tell people they don’t know what’s wrong with me.  (They obviously didn’t care enough to listen when I told them during our last conversations why I was upset with them, even though I was in tears.)  They don’t get why don’t I call or visit or take care of them.  The simple truth is I had to get away from them to protect what’s left of my sanity & protect myself from further abuse.  I just couldn’t take any more.  My mother made it easy by removing herself from my life last year.  My father wasn’t far behind.  I just saved him the trouble by going no contact before he did.

 

And as if all of this wasn’t bad enough, then there are many people out there who defend these evil narcissistic people & invalidate their victims!  They say victims need to get over it, fix things with their parents, use guilt laden phrases like “your parent won’t be around forever yanno!” (they must have forgotten many children die before their parents)  or simply don’t believe them.  Talk about a slap in the face!  It’s just one more incident of abuse heaped on the pile.  Discrediting a victim especially when you don’t know the facts is abuse!  It’s invalidation!  

 

People who blindly side with someone when two people are having problems are acting incredibly foolishly.  It makes no sense to side with one person while not knowing all of the facts!  It’s even worse when the side chosen is the side that enables & encourages a person to abuse their own child, no matter what the child’s age!  Unless a person is truly naive enough to be duped by a narcissist, the only reason a person would do such a thing (that I can fathom anyway) is they get a thrill from abusing the victim like the narcissist does.  I believe there are many wicked people like that, which is partly why I refuse to engage with anyone who shows me they are on the side of someone who is clearly abusive, in particular to me.

 

Does this describe you?  If you are reading this & offended, I’m sorry- I don’t want to offend anyone.  But, I do want to get people to think & one way to do that is to spell out the ugly truth.  If someone you know has told you they’re being abused, don’t brush them off!  Most people don’t make up lies like this.  It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re being abused, especially by a parent.  Don’t think that parent is too nice & couldn’t possibly be abusive either.  All abusers have a public persona & a private one.  Appearing “nice” in public is a way to make sure no one believes a victim.  They aren’t genuinely nice.  Don’t be naive enough to think otherwise.

 

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Scapegoats In The Narcissistic Family

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“Why Didn’t You Tell Someone?”

When victims of abuse first tell their story, people often ask why they didn’t tell someone when it was happening.  They figure it couldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t even tell anyone.

 

This thinking is incredibly faulty!  Nothing could be further from the truth!

 

Abusers of all types have some things in common.  One of those things is they love secrecy.  They don’t want people to know what they are doing to their victim, so they threaten & scare their victims into silence.

 

Some abusers tell their victims things like, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill your child/parents/sibling.”  Others beat their victims upon finding out the victim told someone what the abuser has done.  Narcissistic abusers usually aren’t so obvious with their intimidation, but they value secrecy nonetheless.  When I was growing up, my mother used to scream at me when she thought I was “airing our dirty laundry” as she called talking about her abuse.  She would shame me for needing to talk about things, like there was something incredibly wrong with me- everything she did was completely normal, I had no right to think otherwise or talk about her behind her back.  I stopped talking.  It wasn’t worth the screaming & berating.

 

Then sometimes if we tell, people either don’t believe us anyway or they think we’re exaggerating.  When I was a teen & told some people about my mother, no one believed me.  One school guidance counselor said “it didn’t sound so bad.”  When my mother threw me into a wall, I went to my friend’s parents’ home to see if I could stay with them.  Her father laughed at me.  26+ years later & I still don’t get the joke.

 

Reasons like this are why victims don’t tell someone when the abuse is happening.  We’re terrified the abuser will follow through on their threats or hurt us in some way, or afraid no one will believe us.  As painful as staying quiet about what’s happening is, it’s easier than facing the wrath of the abuser or apathy of someone we turn to for help.

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What It’s Like Being The Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Parent

Children of narcissistic parents often experience similar types of abuse when growing up.  So many of us have spoken to others & said things like, “Yea!!  My mother did that exact same thing!” Many of my readers have told me their stories & they sound oddly similar to my own.  Their mothers told them they were crazy, fat, stupid, ugly, worthless, etc.  They used similar gaslighting phrases to my mother’s, such as “I don’t remember it that way.”  “You’re crazy!”  “What is wrong with you?”  The similarities are uncanny!  In fact, I’ve often wondered if they all have some sort of secret narcissistic instruction manual since so many narcissists act very similar.

 

The abuse isn’t the only thing that’s similar about being raised by narcissistic parents.  The damage done is oddly similar.

 

  • Adult children of narcissists don’t know ourselves.  At best, we know who our narcissistic parent told us we were.
  • We have incredibly low self-esteem, often even believing we have no right to exist & take up space in this world.
  • The low self-esteem makes us incredibly anxious, often terrified of asking people for something,
  • We feel incredible amounts of toxic shame about every single thing about us.
  • Many adult children of narcissistic parents struggle with issues with their weight.  We were told constantly how fat or skinny we were growing up, so we began early in life to see our bodies through our narcissistic parent’s eyes rather than our own.  This often leads to eating disorders or other issues with food.
  • Boundaries?  What are those?  They must be for other people, certainly not for children of narcissistic parents!
  • We’re exhausted constantly.  A lifetime of narcissistic abuse makes people function in survival mode, always trying to put out the next fire as soon as it starts or, better yet, try to make sure the fire doesn’t start in the first place.
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or C-PTSD (Complex PTSD) is common.  Being raised by at least one narcissistic parent is traumatic in so many ways, so many adult children are diagnosed with PTSD or C-PTSD.
  • Physical problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis, aches & pains with no physical cause, & more.

 

Dear Reader, chances are you have experienced symptoms like this, probably more.  Maybe it’s even what brought you to my blog today.  If you are experiencing such things, then please know you aren’t crazy!  You’re far from it in fact.  You’re a normal person who has experienced extremely abnormal things, & had a normal reaction to them.

 

I can’t tell you today that the symptoms will all go away quickly, because they won’t.  Prayer, love & support from those around you, counseling will help you get healthier.  Prayer in particular is the most important thing you can do to help yourself.  Remember, the Bible referred to Jesus as “The Great Physician” & “Wonderful Counselor”- who better to help you get through this?  Also, the more you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the more it will help you to see that you were not the real problem, contrary to what you were told.  You may need to go no contact for your healing to progress, or at the least go low contact.  The more distance between you & your abusive parent, the better it is for your mental & physical health.  You’ll gain clarity you can’t have when in their presence often.  You also will stop functioning in survival mode, which will allow you to think of yourself for once rather than your parents.

 

The symptoms resulting from narcissistic abuse are nothing to take lightly.  Take care of yourself.  You deserve to be happy & healthy! xoxo

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Unhelpful Advice

Many people truly have no grasp how incredibly difficult the process of healing from abuse is.  As a result, they often provide some unasked for & useless advice.

 

  • “Just get over it.”
  • “Just let it go.”
  • “That happened a long time ago.  You need to get over it already!”
  • “Don’t think about it.”
  • “Think happy thoughts.”

 

These messages all say the same thing- “Don’t talk about it.  Sweep it under the rug & pretend it didn’t happen.”  What a horrific message to give to someone who is suffering!!

 

Never allow this awful unasked for advice to get inside you!  If you follow it, your pain will manifest in awful ways such as depression, nightmares, high blood pressure, digestive issues, diabetes & more.  Emotions demand to be heard.  If not given a healthy way to process, they will find other ways to come out.

 

People don’t realize that victims *do* need to think about it.  Want to?  No.  Need to?  Yes.  Only when you face things can you heal.  You need to remember what happened & feel all of the emotions connected to it- anger, hurt, etc.- before you can release them & be healed.  This process often involves talking about it.  A lot.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong or wallowing in the past.  It means you’re processing the event so you can move on.

 

Many times, victims have PTSD or C-PTSD.  Intrusive thoughts come with the disorders.  This means that thoughts go through your mind whether or not you want them to.   Sometimes it’s impossible to “think happy thoughts.”  There is nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes, things just suck!  It’s OK to admit that.  A while back, God showed me that at times, being positive isn’t always a good thing.  You can read about that at this link for more details.  Are You Too Positive Or Too Negative?

 

Narcissistic abuse is especially complicated & insidious.  It permeates every part of you.  It takes a long time to heal from it because of its complexities.  There is nothing wrong with you for taking a while to heal.  I haven’t spoken with one victim who was able to fully recover, let alone do so quickly.  I am in my 40’s & regularly still deal with things that happened to me in my childhood.

 

The next time someone offers you useless, unasked for advice such as “just get over it”,  do your best to ignore it.  Chalk it up to someone being ignorant of the complex road that is healing from abuse.

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Handling People Who Don’t Believe You

So many people I talk to that have survived narcissistic abuse tell the same story about how people in their lives responded to them discussing the abuse.  They were met with invalidation (“It couldn’t have been that bad!”  “Other people had it way worse than you did.”), scolding (“How can you say those things about your own mother?!”), disbelief or being accused of being unforgiving or needing to “get over it”.

 

Especially in the early days of awareness of narcissism & learning what you went through really is abuse- you aren’t crazy or to blame like you were told- this sort of behavior is devastating.  The more you heal, the better you can handle it, but I don’t think it ever stops hurting at least some to be met with such indifference to your pain.  It can leave you bitter & angry if you allow it to.

 

In all fairness, you certainly have a right to be angry at people who say such things!  It’s heartless & hurtful!  So get angry!  Get it out of you so you can forgive.  You don’t deserve to live with that anger inside of you, stealing your joy!  Whether the other person deserves your forgiveness or asks for it is irrelevant.  You deserve better than carrying around anger inside of you!

 

That being said, there are other ways to cope.

 

Journalling is a wonderful thing. It is a completely safe way to get your feelings out, especially if you use a password protected journalling website.  This will help you to let go of all the negative feelings.

 

Focus on the positive.  Just because one person mistreated you doesn’t mean everyone will.  Appreciate your good friends & let them know you appreciate them!  What other good things are in your life?  Maybe start a gratitude journal- daily, write down at least 2 things you’re grateful for.

 

Accept the fact that not everyone will understand what you’ve been through.  In all honesty, narcissistic abuse can be hard to wrap your mind around, especially if you’ve never been exposed to it.  (Even if you’ve been through it, it’s hard to grasp!)  And sadly, some people have no desire to even try.  With people like this, it’s just smart not to discuss the topic of narcissism.  They won’t be convinced of anything you say because they lack the desire to understand.  When that wall is up, it stays up, & nothing you say can make a difference.  Stick to more neutral topics with this person, & if you need to discuss something you’ve been through, then seek out someone who understands.

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Understanding Anger After Abuse

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn many things early in life that most people don’t, such as you aren’t allowed to have feelings.  Often if you are happy, a narcissistic parent will ask you what you have to be so happy about, shaming you into hiding your joy.  If you are sad, you’re told you don’t have anything to be sad about because other people have it way worse than you.  If you’re angry, you’re told you have a bad temper & are crazy.

 

Because of such things, you learn early on to ignore your emotions.  Stuff them down deep inside & pretend they aren’t there.  Eventually though, after years of doing this, enough is enough.  You can’t physically or mentally handle this stress any longer, & you have to start learning to express yourself.  It feels so strange at first.  Sometimes, I still feel like I’m waiting for some sort of backlash for sharing my emotions, because I’m doing something I learned as a child was absolutely wrong.  It has improved over time, but is still there to a degree.

 

I think though that anger is the hardest emotion to handle when you learn to share your emotions.  Aside from the messages of shame for feeling anger that you must get rid of, anger seems to have a mind of its own.

 

When first getting in touch with your anger, it may feel as if there is an infinite pit of it inside you, which is pretty scary.  You must realize that if you’ve been stuffing it inside you for your entire life, there is going to be a lot of anger in there to deal with.  There is an end to it all, but it’s going to take a while to deal with it all.

 

Also, when you’re not allowed to express anger, it comes up later, even years later.  I get angry with my parents for things that happened 30 years ago sometimes.  It makes me feel like I’m living too much in the past. It can be so frustrating!  Unfortunately it’s also very normal.  You can’t simply expel all of the anger you feel inside at once.  You mentally couldn’t handle that.  Instead, it comes out in manageable doses.  This means you’ll probably have to deal with an incident at a time.  Since narcissistic parents dole out such a great deal of abuse to their children over the course of their lives, there are obviously going to be many, many incidents to deal with, even going back to your very early life.  It’s an unfortunate & frustrating fact of being raised by narcissistic parents.

 

Sometimes the anger comes up later because you were so busy trying to survive the abuse that you didn’t have time to cope with it at the time.  I had a terrible relationship with my husband’s mother.  Then, my husband defended her to me which caused many problems in our marriage.  I had to fight with him as well as her, & didn’t really have time to process what was happening, because I was trying to survive both of them with my sanity in tact.  It wasn’t until I cut her out of my life that I could finally deal with the things she had done to me as well as the anger at my husband for taking her side no matter what she did.

 

You need to realize that all of these feelings are normal.

 

You also need to realize that you have a right to your anger.  Being abused isn’t fair.  No one deserves it!  You have every right to feel anger about that.

 

You have every right to learn to deal with your anger in a healthy way.  It’s well overdue.

 

There is nothing wrong with anger in & of itself, so please don’t buy into the lies you heard about that.  Anger is simply an emotion & emotions aren’t bad.  It’s what we do with that anger that can be bad.  Trying to get revenge on someone out of anger is bad, but feeling anger is not.  Anger is a good thing since it lets you know something is wrong.

 

I know anger is a very scary thing when you never learned how to handle it in healthy ways.  However, you can learn healthy ways to deal with it.  Prayer is the absolute best place to start, I believe. Ask God to show you what to do, how to handle it.  He certainly will answer that prayer!

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Are You Oversensitive?

Something I’ve noticed about survivors of narcissistic abuse is many become very sensitive.  The smallest thing can hurt or devastate them.  It’s quite understandable, really.  After being verbally abused so much, they probably have reached their limit, & just can’t tolerate any more insults, invalidation, etc.

 

Unfortunately, they are often also very sad people, feeling abused or mistreated when no such thing was intended.

 

Does this describe you?  If so, then I urge you to consider making a change!

 

Try to remember to respond rather than react.  What I mean is stop for a moment before feeling or saying anything.  Think- did this person say something hurtful to you just after losing a loved one?  Being fired?  Stubbing their toe on the coffee table?  Then they aren’t trying to hurt you out of maliciousness- they’re in a bad mood.  It’s nothing personal!  Remind yourself it’s nothing personal- the person is just in a bad mood & you just happened to be there.  If you aren’t sure, then ask God to tell you the truth.  Is it you or is the other person having a bad day?

 

On the other hand, if the person is deliberately trying to hurt you & you know this, then you know what?  It’s also not personal.  This person has issues & for whatever reason, finds you a good victim.  You haven’t done anything to deserve this- the other person simply has problems.  I’ve reminded myself of this with my narcissistic mother repeatedly.  She got mad at me when a friend of hers complemented me once, & spent the rest of our time together making me miserable.  It hurt, but I reminded myself this is how she is!  She is so insecure, she can’t handle anyone in her presence getting any positive attention from anyone, so she will do her best to ruin the positive attention by being demeaning & hateful.

 

I know this can be hard to do with narcissists, but it does get easier in time.  The more you learn about NPD, the more you understand that they have big problems, & you are NOT one of them!  I’m speaking from experience- this really is true!  I feel like thanks to realizing my mother has problems, I’m a narcissistic abuse navy seal by now.  It takes quite a bit to phase me anymore.  After my mother spending hours & hours screaming at me, telling me what a horrible person I am, really, what else is there?!  A stranger flipping me off in traffic isn’t going to upset me for more than a moment.  Someone obviously hating me & trying to bully me?  Yea, whatever…. I’ve dealt with bigger & badder & survived.

 

Most of all, keep a good relationship with God as your top priority.  Know you can go to Him anytime, asking for help.  In fact, ask Him other ways to help you not to take things so personally.

 

If you’re over sensitive, then there isn’t something wrong with you.  It’s just proof you’ve been through way too much pain.  But, you deserve better than going through life hurt all of the time just because someone acted insensitively to you!  Please, for your own sake, Dear Reader, try to put into practice what I’ve mentioned here.  Your life can be much happier for it!

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Why Are Victims Supposed To Fix The Abusive Relationship?

Why is it when someone has either set boundaries in or ended an abusive relationship, people try to convince that person to “forgive & forget” or “be the bigger person” & fix the relationship?  Have you noticed how commonplace this is?  Think about it…

 

If a daughter in-law is constantly belittled by her mother in-law, she is told to be the bigger person.  Let it go.  She is only trying to help by criticizing everything about you!

 

If your abusive parents have been out of your life for some time, then they become ill or worse are dying, chances are someone is going to tell you that you need to make things right with your parents.  You need to be there for them & take care of them!  You owe your parents that much!

 

A wife whose husband has beaten or raped her is told to forgive him since he was drunk.  He didn’t know what he was doing.  Stop making a mountain out of a molehill!

 

This is a major pet peeve of mine.  It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to expect an innocent victim to repair an abusive relationship.  Why don’t people tell abusers to fix the relationship instead?  Why not tell them to stop abusing?!

 

I think some people simply don’t want to face the fact that there is a lot of ugliness in the world.  They prefer to think everything is unicorns & rainbows, when nothing could be further from the truth.  Anything that interrupts their ignorance is met with denial or even hostility.

 

Some people, flying monkeys in particular, don’t want to believe that a person could be so bad.  Maybe they know the abuser & have seen the “good person” show that he or she puts on.  They would prefer to believe that facade is the real person, not the vicious, devious, abusive monster who has hurt you.

 

When this happens to you (& sadly it will at some point), it’s going to hurt.  It’s going to make you angry.  This is only natural since this type of thing is triggering & painful.  You can cope, however.

 

If you see the conversation you’re in is taking this turn, then end it.  Change the subject.  Say you won’t discuss this topic with this person.  Walk away if you must or hang up the phone.

 

Don’t buy into that “you need to be the bigger person” nonsense.  You didn’t cause the damage, you don’t need to fix the damage.  Fix only what you broke & apologize if you hurt people.  Take responsibility for things you have done wrong only.

 

And really.. how is it a good thing to stay in an abusive relationship anyway?!  Not only does that take a toll on your physical & mental health, but it encourages the abusive person to be abusive!  While no one can make an abuser become a kind, Godly person, setting boundaries sets the stage for that person to change their abusive behavior.  That is truly loving, Godly behavior!  Tolerating abuse from anyone is NOT!

 

Rather than listening to that drivel about being the bigger person, do what you know God wants you to do.  Stick to your boundaries.  Don’t be bullied or manipulated into allowing an abusive person back into your life.  Surround yourself with good, loving, Godly people who understand, love & support you.

 

 

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No Contact Isn’t Cowardly Or Weak

**DISCLAIMER:  If, like many of my readers, you are in the unfortunate position of not being able to go no contact with your narcissistic parent, please do NOT think this article is aimed at you!  It most certainly isn’t!!  I’m sure many of you have been shamed enough & I am not trying to add to that shame by implying you’re weak or wrong or whatever for being in that position.  Every situation is unique, & I won’t judge you.  This post is aimed at those who have gone no contact, not you!**

 

Going no contact (or even low contact for that matter) with a narcissistic parent isn’t an easy thing to do.  There is a tremendous amount of anger & grief at the abnormal, awful circumstances that bring a person to this decision.  Then there is society & their warped views of no contact.  Some people think you should cut someone out of your life (yes, even a parent) at the first sign of them disagreeing with you.  At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who think you’re a horrible person if you even entertain the  idea of ending a relationship with your parent, no matter what.  Many of those people also think you’re weak for “taking the easy way out”.  That is the point I want to address today.

 

If you’re in the painful place of having gone no contact with your narcissistic parent, my heart breaks for you.  I know the pain of this first hand & would tell anyone who thinks it’s easy or cowardly that they are completely, absolutely, 1,000% WRONG.

 

First of all, a relationship with an abusive parent is incredibly painful.  Parents are supposed to love their children unconditionally, & realizing that not only do they not love us but are out to hurt & control us hurts!  Really, really freaking hurts!  How can anyone continue to subject themselves to that indefinitely?  Every person has their limits.

 

Secondly, even considering how painful it is having an abusive parent, children naturally don’t want to end that relationship.  It feels unnatural to end that relationship.  How can it not?!  That’s your mother or father, not some casual acquaintance.

 

Third, thinking about going no contact isn’t some easy decision like where to go for dinner.  It takes a lot of prayer, thought, time, weighing your options, imagining scenarios.. it’s incredibly draining just to think about, let alone do it.

 

Lastly, once you are no contact, that doesn’t mean things are going to be easy.  Without that narcissistic parent in your life, your emotions that you stifled so long just to survive the toxic relationship are probably going to come to the surface & demand you deal with them.  That’s never fun!  I’m going through it myself & I can tell you, quite frankly, it’s really rough!  (It’s good in the fact I’m finally able to deal with stuff left untouched in so long, but it’s not fun to go through the process).  There’s also the distinct possibility your narcissistic parent will send the flying monkeys after you to “talk some sense” into you by attempting to make you feel guilty for going no contact.  After all, that parent won’t be around forever yanno!  She’s getting older, & she is your mother yanno!  Flying monkeys are always fun to deal with.  (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic in that comment).  Even more fun is the chance your narcissistic parent will attempt to contact you personally.  There’s nothing quite like going along with your day, in a good mood, when you open your mailbox & see that parent’s handwriting.  So much for that good mood.  You can block that parent from emailing, calling, texting or on social media, but you can’t block postal mail.

 

So if anyone reading this thinks no contact is the cowardly thing to do, the easy route, think again.  It’s far from it!  Going no contact is actually a very brave, incredibly difficult thing to do.

 

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A Bump In The Road Of Healing

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, it affects you deeply & in ways you aren’t even aware of.  The chaos, abuse & manipulations are simply normal to you.  Thank God He teaches us about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so we can get away from that dysfunction!

 

As you learn about narcissistic abuse & heal from it, naturally you change a great deal.  While becoming healthier, you see things differently.  You finally understand just how wrong so many things your parents taught you were.  It’s empowering, this learning & growing, but something comes along with it that can be difficult.  Constant reminders.

 

Some time ago, I realized that it seemed like everything reminded me of something awful about my relationship with my parents.  For example, after becoming deathly sick in 2015, seeing families rallying around a sick family member can bring me to tears.  I never told my parents what happened, because I know they would turn the situation back to them rather than care how I was, & it hurts!  Reminders that others have loving parents brings that awful thought back to the forefront of my mind, & depresses me.  Other times, I’ve seen reports on TV about a murdered person, & their grieving loved ones talk tearfully about what a wonderful person he or she was.  I know if I died, my parents wouldn’t miss me in the least, but instead would enjoy the narcissistic supply they could get by portraying themselves as the grieving parents.

 

These things began to happen after I got sick in 2015.  I chalked it up to the head injury & carbon monoxide poisoning I received at the time since both are known for changing a person’s personality.  Somehow that didn’t feel right though.  I prayed & God showed me what was happening.

 

The more a person heals from parental narcissistic abuse, the less they see things through the fog of gaslighting thrust on them.  The clarity means they understand how things should be, not as their narcissistic parents say they are.  Seeing healthy, normal situations is simply a reminder of how things were not when they were growing up.  Unfortunately the reminders can hurt a great deal.

 

Realizing your parents are narcissists is a painful experience, partly because of the grief that is involved.  You grieve the fact your parents never loved you, weren’t & will never be there for you, & even can’t be the kind of parents you would like them to be.  (I personally believe this is a lifelong grief, although it gets easier over time.)  It’s much like when someone you love dies- the initial grief can be debilitating, but in time it mellows to something more tolerable, only occasionally bringing you to tears when something reminds you of your loved one.  I remember right after my granddad died.. one day my husband & I ended up following a car that looked identical to his.  I cried because seeing that car made me miss him.  Almost 14 years later, I still shed some tears if I see a car like his last one or even vaguely like it.  Seeing something that reminds you of what your parents did or didn’t do for you can be like that- a sad & painful reminder.

 

If you are experiencing something like this, then Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone & you aren’t broken. I know it’s frustrating & painful, but I firmly believe it’s completely normal under the circumstances.  All you can do is understand these things happen, be gentle with yourself when they do & pray, pray, pray!  God will help you to get through!  Let Him do that for you!  xoxo

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My New YouTube Channel

Well, finally I did it, Dear Reader!  I started my YouTube channel.  After much anxiety & prayer & distractions, it’s now ready to go.  🙂

 

It’s now available at:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyHVkrFotB51_ZKqh7BqAXg

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Consequences & Narcissistic Parents

Proverbs 19:19  “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.”  (AMP)

 

Consequences are a valuable thing.  They teach people what is & is not acceptable behavior, what is safe & not safe & more.  Many children of narcissistic parents are not taught this in a healthy way, however.

 

Narcissistic parents teach their children to take care of them, instead of the natural order of things, the parent caring for the child.  One way they expect their children to take care of them is to interrupt the natural event of consequences for their actions.

 

  • If the narcissistic parent hurts the child’s feelings, the child is to hold the pain inside rather than tell the parent how she feels to protect the parent’s feelings.
  • The child should never set boundaries of any sort with her parent, so the parent is free to abuse anytime, any way she is so inclined.
  • Most of all, the child never, ever should tell anyone about what her parent does to her.  That way, no one thinks badly of the parent or gets her in any trouble for child abuse.

 

As the child of a narcissistic parent grows up, they get fed up with such nonsense, & rightfully so.  It’s not fair this abusive, evil parent skates through life unscathed while her child suffers constantly.

 

If you’re in this place, Dear Reader, I want you to know that you have ever right to stop protecting your parent from the consequences of their actions.  It’s Biblical to allow consequences to happen- just reread the above mentioned Scripture again if you don’t believe that.  You have every right to set healthy boundaries & to tell your parent that her actions are not acceptable to you.    In fact, you even have the right to go no contact with your parent if you are so inclined.  Titus 3:10 says, “After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],” (AMP)  Parents are not excluded from this Scripture, I believe, because God knows that sometimes, even a parent/child relationship comes down to needing that separation.

 

So Dear Reader, please don’t forget that your parent needs consequences for their actions.  It is NOT your job to protect them from consequences.  They need them if they are to have any chance of learning to behave better.

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About Being Suicidal

I recently was watching “Dr G: Medical Examiner” on TV.  The show fascinates me in a morbid way.  She discusses various cases that come into her medical examiner’s office in Florida.

Well, this particular episode had a strange case.  A lady had been found lying on the floor of her bedroom by her son.  She was badly burned, yet nothing in the house was burned.  Suddenly the paramedics came & transported her to the hospital where she died 11 hours later.  It turned out she committed suicide.

The lady wanted her fiancee to commit suicide with her.  He didn’t take her seriously.  They got into an argument & he left.  She then grabbed a lighter, drove to a nearby field & lit herself on fire!  Apparently she had a change of heart & drove herself home.  She called 911 & after she hung up is when her son found her.

The story was heartbreaking to me.  I’ve been suicidal in my life & let me tell you, it is a horrendous place to be.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!  It’s torture feeling as if no one cares & the world would be a better place without you.

Many people who are truly suicidal show very subtle or no clues that they are feeling this way.  People are often shocked when they die because they say there weren’t any signs.  Or, they say something like, “I didn’t think he really meant it when he said he was tired of living.”

Dear Reader, please pay attention to the people in your life.  Many people are suicidal, especially if they have mental illness.  Did you know there’s a 15-20% suicide rate among those with Bipolar Disorder?  PTSD is even higher, estimated to be around 50%.

Even those without diagnosed mental illness can become suicidal.  Everyone has a breaking point.  Losing loved ones (through death, divorce, moving, etc) can take a huge toll on a person’s level of joy.  Losing a pet can trigger suicidal thoughts in many people.  Even losing a job can be devastating.  Men in particular have a hard time with job loss.  Medical problems can trigger depression.  The fear of the unknown can be utterly terrifying, especially when it comes to one’s health.  Or, sometimes having surgery can trigger depression due to the changes in one’s body.

The point is all kinds of changes, sometimes even positive ones, can trigger depression in a person.  Knowing this, it’s a good idea to offer support to those you love if they have faced changes or difficulties.  I’m not saying you have to fix their problems for them.  I am saying that it is a good idea to be there for someone.  A little support or show of your love for them can go a long way.  Many suicidal people believe no one cares about them.  Letting a person know you care may make all the difference.

If someone wants to talk about a problem, listen to them without offering advice unless they ask.  Many times, people just need to vent.  They may know how to fix the problem or there may be no solution to it, & they just need to talk about their feelings.

When talking about their problems, sometimes people’s emotions get overwhelming.  They may burst into tears or get angry out of the blue.  Don’t take that personally!  It happens when people are extremely stressed & upset!

Avoid saying things that are going to upset the person further:

  • “I understand exactly how you feel.”  No, you don’t.  You aren’t me.
  • “I went through the same thing.. I did ____ & felt better.”  Well, good for you, but that won’t work in my situation!
  • “You’re being too negative.”  Not everything in life is about puppies & rainbows.  Negative stuff happens too & it needs to be dealt with!
  • “You’re wallowing in the past.”  Sometimes to move forward, you have to step back a bit.  Arrows don’t shoot forward without going back a little!
  • “Get over it” or “Don’t be sad/angry/hurt.”  Do NOT tell someone how to feel!  Ever!!
  • “I don’t get why you’re upset.  It’s no big deal.”  Maybe not to you, but it is to me!
  • “I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way/was just kidding.”  So that means I shouldn’t feel bad she did/said something cruel?

Rather than saying something stupid, be honest.  Tell the person you don’t know what to say to help other than you’re sorry she’s hurting or sorry that happened to her.  Tell her you’re here for her & you love her.

If there is something you can do for the person, do it!  Don’t just say, “I’m here for you” then bow out if asked for something.  Mean it!

Offer to pray for &/or with the person.  Praying with someone often can bring a great deal of peace.

Check in often.  Call or text as often as you think the person is OK with.  Don’t harass them every 15 minutes of course, but once a day should be good.

If your friend mentions suicide, please think carefully about what to say!  Never tell the person she’s being selfish or stupid, or that their child/spouse/parent needs them.  Shaming a suicidal person just makes them want to kill themselves even more.  Ask why they feel that way, then listen to what they say.  Cry with them, hug them, pray for them, tell them you love them.

If you are the suicidal one, Dear Reader, there are people who will listen.  There are suicide hotlines.  1-800- SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) is a national one that will direct you to your local hotline.

Although I’m sure you don’t feel this way, there are people in your life who love you.  Your family & friends, even your pets, love you more than you realize.  And, God loves you so very much.  When you hurt, He hurts.  Turn to Him, & tell Him how you feel.  He will understand!

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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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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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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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