Category Archives: Enjoying Life

Showing Your Emotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Back Your Zest For Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Like so many other victims of narcissistic abuse, I spent most of my life trying to be less me to please other people.  I think of it like I was trying to shrink myself to please other people.  I became less opinionated.  I turned away from things that I liked that they didn’t approve of in favor of things they thought I should.  I tried changing my appearance too, dressing differently, coloring my hair & losing weight. 

Eventually I realized just how ridiculous this was.  Changing to please people who demand you change never works.  The one demanding the changes is never pleased, & the one doing the changing is miserable because they aren’t being true to themselves.  I could see no good reason to continue this behavior, so I stopped it.  I figured let people be mad at me for it.  They would be anyway!  This was a good decision of course, but it also was only half the battle for me.  I knew who I wasn’t, but I didn’t know who I was.

Over the years I did get to know myself, but still something was lacking.  I wasn’t sure what that something was.  It finally hit me.  I lost my passion, my zest for life.  I certainly can’t be the only person in this position, so I thought sharing what I have learned would be a good idea.

After enduring narcissistic abuse, it can be overwhelming to realize just how much damage has been done to you.  Healing is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work & time.  Often, I think it’s a life long process.  It can be easy to get caught up in healing work & not even notice you haven’t got that zest for life you once had.  Or maybe you never had it.  Either way, this should change.  You deserve to enjoy life!

As vital as healing is, it’s also a lot of work!  You need to take time frequent breaks.  They are good for your mental health.  Thinking too much about such intense topics can wear you down, & that is never good.  Take times where you flatly refuse to think about the abuse or focus on your healing.  Instead, do things you enjoy. 

Remember times in your life when you had that zest for life.  Think about them in as much detail as you can.  What were you doing?  What was so enjoyable about the situation?  How exactly did you feel?  Meditate on those times.  Remind yourself that this was you!  You were capable of being that person before, so you can be like that again. 

Consider things that ignite your zest for life & indulge in them often.  If it’s reading a certain genre of books, read all you can find.  If it’s a certain type of music, listen to it often & dance around your home.  If it’s supporting a certain cause, give your best to supporting it in every way you can.

Get creative.  I believe creative outlets to be absolutely vital to enjoying life.  Whatever you enjoy doing, make time to do it often.  I have learned if I don’t set aside time in the evenings to knit, crochet or cross stitch, it doesn’t take long before I become anxious & irritable.  Participating in these creative hobbies I love helps me to enjoy life more while helping my mental health.

The most helpful thing I have found though is the value of maintaining a close relationship to God.  Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy, & this is so true!  Pray often & remember, God isn’t just God but your father as well.  You can talk to Him familiarly.  I know when your earthly father isn’t good it can be hard to relate to God in this way but it is possible.  Ask Him to help you & remember, He is nothing like your earthly father at all.  He is so much better!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism

Nostalgia After Trauma

The definition of nostalgia is a longing for the past, in particular a time that is associated with good memories.  People who have experienced trauma may have a predilection for having an appreciation for nostalgia more than the average person.

When a person experiences trauma, such as growing up with abusive parents, often times as adults, they long for certain things that take them back to a happy time in their life, in particular in their childhood.  I admit to being one of these people.  I have a small collection of toys from my childhood that I love, & I regularly listen to music from my teen years in the 80’s.  These things bring me a lot of joy. 

Eventually though I thought this was strange behavior on my part.  My childhood wasn’t exactly the best time of my life, so why would I want reminders of it?  Finally I realized why.  The answer is simple.  Security.

Whatever trauma you have experienced, it changed you & your perception of life.  That is how trauma works.  It can make you feel very insecure & skeptical, even cynical.  A natural coping skill after trauma is to want to find some sense of security wherever you can.  Sometimes finding that security manifests as mentally revisiting a time when you felt comfortable & in control. 

Consider this.  When growing up with narcissistic parents, you have very little control, especially if your narcissistic parents were the engulfing type who had to control every aspect of your life.  Those few rare moments of having control over your life felt empowering.  For me, my most empowering times of my younger days involved music.  Either listening to the radio while alone in my room as a teen or when I drove my first car while listening to any music I wanted to.  Now that I’m an adult, music still gives me that feeling of empowerment.  I frequently still listen to similar music as I did in my younger days.  I also have added more music to my repertoire that makes me feel that same feeling of empowerment.  And you know something?  There is nothing wrong with that!

There is also a comfort in knowing that not every single thing in your past was terrible, that there were some good times too.  Thinking that there was no good in your life is a dreadful feeling!  It can feel as if your life had no purpose.  Reminding yourself of the good times, even if they were few, is very comforting. 

Not to mention, only thinking of the bad times is simply depressing!  Reminding yourself of good times is much less depressing & conducive to a better mood. 

If you find yourself longing for certain things from your past, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Even if your past was full of terrible & traumatic events, there is nothing bad about waxing nostalgic for the few good times.  Just enjoy the nostalgia when you can.  Listen to those old songs & remember your first slow dance or sharing songs with your childhood best friend.  If you see a toy at a flea market that you used to enjoy playing with as a child, why not buy it?  When you see it, it might just make you smile, & that is a lovely gift to give yourself.

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25% Off Sale On All Of My Ebooks & 15% Off Sale On All Of My Print Books!!

My ebooks are going on sale for the entire month of July! From July 1-31, 2022, all of my ebooks will be 25% off! The discount is applied automatically at checkout, so there are no coupon codes necessary. If you have wanted any of my books, this is a great time to grab them cheap!

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Best Friends

“Best friends” is a term that is used pretty freely & often without much thought.  I don’t do that, however.  I have a best friend that is incredibly special to me.  We met just before our senior year of high school in August, 1988, & in the years since, she has taught me so much about the real meaning of best friend.  I believe that others can benefit from what I have learned, so I want to share it today.

True best friends have healthy boundaries & they respect yours.  They know what you are ok with & what you aren’t, & they respect such things.  They don’t use you or are NOT ok with anyone else using you either.  They will remind you that no one has the right to mistreat or abuse you, especially when you doubt it.

True best friends are honest.  They won’t lie to you just because it’s easier for them.  They will be honest & if that means it hurts your feelings a bit to get you to a better place, they will be honest.  They will be as gentle as they can in their honesty so as to minimize the hurt because they love you, but they still will tell you the truth.  They know honesty is best & they want what is best for you.

True best friends stand the test of time.  Close friendships are somewhat like a marriage.  You love & support each other.  You have fun with each other & also are there during the hard times.  You work through disagreements & can agree to disagree.  You don’t just run at the first sign of problems.  You do your best by your friend & they do their best by you.  A wonderful friendship like this lasts for more than a few months.  It can last a lifetime.

True best friends are there for you, period, even when it isn’t easy for them to be.  I called my best friend as soon as I had a moment after receiving my mother’s death notification, & she was there for me from that moment on.  She even attended the burial & was at my side even when one of my cousins raged at me during the burial.  She listened when I was dealing with estate matters & overwhelmed.  None of that was pleasant or easy for her, but she was there for me anyway.  That is what a best friend does.  They are there for you even when it’s incredibly difficult for them.

True best friendships aren’t one sided.  There is a mutual give & take in the relationship.  There will be trying times you are needier & your best friend is there for you, but there are also times when the reverse is true, & you are there for your needy best friend.  As a whole though, your friendship is very balanced.  You both love & support each other as needed rather than one person being the only one to offer love & support.

True best friends know you very well & accept you without judgment, yet still encourage your personal growth.  Your best friend should accept you as you are because they understand why you are as you are, but they also encourage you to improve yourself.  They share things they have learned that can help you.

True best friends are a gift straight from God, & if you have a wonderful one in your life as I do, you truly are blessed!  Never forget to tell your best friend how much you appreciate them being a part of your life & that you love them.  Never let them feel you take them for granted!

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Making Assumptions About People

It’s amazing to me the assumptions that people often make about each other.  Some people assume someone with tattoos & piercings can’t hold down a good job, for example.  Others assume women with blonde hair are all ditzy.  There are so many other assumptions that are equally ridiculous.

I’ve always been an introvert, & pretty quiet.  Around people I’m very close to, I can be fairly chatty, but those I’m not comfortable with or don’t really know well, I’m very quiet.  This has led to some pretty stupid assumptions about me from other people.  One of my sisters in-law told my husband I obviously think I’m better than their family & treat them like “trash.”  The accusation was astonishing since I really tried hard for years to be civil & even nice to her.  Guessing any of you introverts reading this have experienced similar accusations.  People often think being quiet means we feel superior. Some even think it means we’re depressed, whether or not we truly are depressed.

With the prominence of social media, assumptions have become even more commonplace.  Since many people share so much on there, they assume everyone else does.  If a person doesn’t share a lot, ridiculous assumptions are made.  In my life, people seem to think I must not have much to do each day since I rarely share anything personal.  I just see no point in sharing my plans for whatever I plan to do each day.  I also don’t complain about my physical & mental health concerns, so people assume they aren’t a daily struggle.  People also see pictures on social media of a happy couple or playing children & assume these people are living happy, care free lives.  They don’t realize that there could be a lot of pain hiding behind those smiles.

Assuming things about other people is so unwise.  People may be absolutely nothing like what you assume they are.  That big burly biker guy may have a baby at home that makes him melt into a big teddy bear every time he sees her.  That woman in your church who appears so pious & volunteers constantly may be abusing her husband & children at home.  

Making assumptions is so bad that the Bible discusses the topic in several locations.  All Scriptures are from the Amplified Bible.

  • I Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
  • Proverbs 18:2  “A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity].”
  • John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearance [superficially and arrogantly], but judge fairly and righteously.”
  • James 4:11 “Believers, do not speak against or slander one another. He who speaks [self-righteously] against a brother or judges his brother [hypocritically], speaks against the Law and judges the Law. If you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge of it.”

The next time you are tempted to make an assumption about someone, I would urge you not to do that.  God frowns upon it pretty seriously, as these Scriptures point out.  Even if He didn’t, by behaving this way, you may be missing out on knowing some pretty awesome people.  Matthew 10:16 says, “Listen carefully: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves [have no self-serving agenda].”  I believe these words to be incredibly wise when dealing with people.  Spot the signs that they are either safe or unsafe & act accordingly.  Yet also be willing to be kind to everyone.

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Pay Attention To Your Dreams

Dreams are much more important than I believe most people realize.  They help the brain to process everything that happens to us, both good & bad, which helps to keep our sanity in tact.  Sometimes they also are a good problem solving technique, because you can dream about some scenario you never considered before about a problem you face in your waking life.  They also are a fantastic gauge for our mental health, which is what I want to focus on today. 

For many years, I had a recurring nightmare.  The details would change slightly but the theme was always the same.  I was an adult, but needed to repeat high school.  I also needed to rely on my mother to get me there, but she was running late &/or screaming at me, much as she did during my final year & a half of high school.  In the early days of the nightmare, I was in a blind panic because I was going to be late & had no choice.  I also would get to school to find out I had a test on something I hadn’t studied, couldn’t find my locker or some other unsettling scenario.  I also was embarrassed to be the only adult in high school classes.  I often woke up in a terrible panic from these nightmares.

As time went on, I began to work on my emotional healing, & as I did that, the dream changed.  Sometimes I wouldn’t care that I was running late, or I could find my locker.  Eventually I started to realize I had my own car & didn’t need to rely on anyone to take me to school.  Once that change took place, it wasn’t long before I realized I had already been through high school & had no need to repeat it.  Finally, the nightmares stopped altogether. 

At the time of this recurring nightmare, I started to work on my emotional healing.  I also learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & how to deal with my C-PTSD.  The more I learned & healed, the more the nightmare changed.  It also became much less frequent.  Eventually, the nightmare stopped altogether.  I don’t remember the last time I had it, but I do know it’s been years. 

As it was changing, I realized that it was a reflection of where I was in my healing journey.  The healthier I became, the more power I took back in my nightmare & the less upset I was when I woke up. 

Not everyone has recurring dreams or nightmares.  If you do, they are absolutely worth paying attention to.  I firmly believe they repeat because there is an important message in them.  Just look at mine as an example.  It showed me the state of my mental health.

Even if you don’t have recurring dreams or nightmares, the ones you do have are still important.  It’s wise to pay attention to them.  I sometimes know what my dreams are trying to tell me right away, but if not, I pray & ask God to show me.  I also look up everything I can think of in a dream dictionary, such as people, places, colors, objects, or numbers.  Any detail at all can be very helpful, no matter how small.  There are plenty of free dream dictionary websites online.  Usually after prayer, once I start looking things up in a dream dictionary, things start to make sense & I can figure out what the dream meant.

Also, there are plenty of dreams you will know you had, yet you don’t remember any details at all.  It may be just a vague feeling that you dreamed something about a particular subject.  Don’t worry about that.  Those dreams are normal.  They are simply the brain processing something.  It isn’t important enough for you to remember the details, so you don’t. 

A dream journal is also a really good idea.  At least write your dreams that you feel are important in your usual journal along with the date.  Looking back over your dreams can be an interesting & educational experience.

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Suggestions For When You Feel Overwhelmed

We all have those incredibly frustrating times of feeling overwhelmed.  Sometimes the only thing you feel you can do is sit down, stare into nothing & panic.  Not productive but it happens probably more often than any of us care to admit.  Today I want to share some tips on how to get through when those times happen.

If you know anything about my writing, you know the first thing I always suggest is prayer.  Why?  Because it works!  Talking to God helps your relationship & it helps you by getting these things off your chest.  He also can help you to formulate a plan to accomplish what you need to, which will reduce that panicked, overwhelmed feeling.

Next, try committing to doing what you need to do.  Making up your mind that you will do this task may not sound important, but it is.  It puts you in a different, better mindset about the task. 

Then try to formulate some goals on how to accomplish your task & make those goals small.  Let’s use the example of moving to a new home.  Your major goal once your stuff is in this new place of course is to unpack, but that goal is overwhelming when you’re surrounded by boxes.  Instead, set small goals, like unpacking a minimum of 3 boxes after work every evening.  If you have the desire to do more, each evening great!   Do it!  But, keep your goals realistic so you do NOT do less than your small goal.  Accomplish at least that & anything above that is a bonus.

If you need things to accomplish your goals, gather all supplies you may need.  Using the moving example again, that could involve cleaning supplies such as chemicals, rags & paper towels.  Probably also a large trash bag for the packing paper & bubble wrap.  If you are doing some type of research, that could involve your laptop, pen, paper, & something to drink. 

From here, you need to figure out how to accomplish your goal.  Take small steps.  If unpacking from a recent move, consider which boxes to open first.  Move those into the room where they need to be unpacked.  Move only a few at a time.  If you are trying to accomplish something else, it may involve more steps.  That is fine, just don’t do too much at a time.  In fact, it may help you to write out each step you need to take to accomplish your goal, then cross off each step as you do it.  Seeing your accomplishments in writing can be motivating because you see evidence that you are able to do what you need to do.

As you tackle each step, you will come closer & closer to your goal.  This not only helps you to accomplish what you need to do but helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed because you are tackling it one small piece at a time.

Also as you work through this process towards your goal, try to focus only on one small step at a time.  Avoid looking at the big picture for now.  Focus on only the task directly in front of you to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed.

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People Who See Things A Bit Differently

I am one of those people who sees things differently than the majority of people.  I believe this different perception comes from not only my natural personality but also surviving narcissistic abuse.  One way this perception manifests is I often can spot problems quicker than most people.  Some time ago, I noticed one of my cats was acting a little bit standoffish.  I mentioned this on Facebook & said that I was concerned about her.  A friend said, “She probably is just having an off day.  Don’t worry about it.”  I ignored this comment because I just knew something was wrong.  When my cat saw the vet, he diagnosed her with an over active thyroid.  If left untreated, it could have caused her serious problems or potentially even killed her.

This also happens with people.  If someone I’m close to introduces me to their new boyfriend or girlfriend, I almost immediately pick up on whether or not this person is a good person or not & in time, I’m usually proven right.  One former friend of mine married a guy who I didn’t particularly like on first sight.  I couldn’t put my finger on it that day, but something felt off to me even though the guy said & did all the right things.  It didn’t take long & I realized this guy wanted to isolate my friend.  I knew he was going to end our friendship soon.  In less than one year after we met, my friend married him & only two weeks after the wedding, the new husband started an argument with me that caused me to lose my friend of over 20 years. 

To me, this different way of looking at things is a gift.  In those two examples I provided, I was able to get my beautiful kitty the help she needed before her thyroid caused her more serious problems & I also wasn’t blindsided by the dissolution of my friendship because I could see it coming long before it happened.  Good stuff if you ask me!  However, other people don’t share that opinion.  Many people can be critical of people like me who can spot things easily.  I want to help you today.

One thing people have said to me is I’m just looking for problems.  Spotting problems easily isn’t “just looking for problems.”  It’s being aware, which is not a bad thing at all!  Being aware helps you to know how to deal with people & situations. 

Similarly is a comment about trying to start drama.  So much no to this one.  Nothing about the truth is starting drama.  The truth really does set you free like nothing else & it is a very wonderful thing!

Another comment people have said is that it’s too negative to be like this, because I only see the bad.  This is another thing that is not true!  People who are highly in tune with potential problems also are equally in tune with good things.  I spot red flags in people just as quickly as I spot “green flags”, those things that show someone is a good person.  The green flags cause me to relax, unlike the red flags that get my guard up.  On the outside it can look as if I’m ignoring the good & focusing on the bad.  This isn’t the case though, as those of you reading this know since you probably do the exact same thing!

If you are someone who sees things differently, then ignore the nay sayers.  Enjoy this quality about yourself & use it no matter who disapproves of it!  God has given you a great gift, so use it & use it well!  It will help you time & time again & also enable you to have good relationships, so why shouldn’t you use it?

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One Way To Add A Little Joy To Your Daily Life

I recently heard of something I was unaware existed before.  It’s called the errand hang.  Basically it involves spending time with someone while you take care of errands.  Silly as it may sound, I really think this is a great idea in several ways.

Obviously, you being able to get done the errands you need to is a benefit.  It can be easier to accomplish such mundane tasks as going to the grocery store when you know you’ll be spending time with someone you care about however.  My best friend & I have done all kinds of things when together, not just go out to lunch & shopping.  I enjoy those times spent with her just as much as the lunch & shopping dates.

If you don’t have much time for social activities like going to the movies or parties, errand hanging is a way to fit in social time while not losing time you need to accomplish certain tasks. Spending time with a good friend also makes those mundane tasks seem more enjoyable, so that’s another bonus.

Or, if you’re someone who dislikes some traditional social activities like parties, the errand hang is a good way to get some one on one time with your friends rather than trying to talk to them over the noise of loud music & other people at a party.

There is also something about sharing errands with someone that draws you closer together.  Maybe because doing so gives them a look at your day to day life, not only what you want another person to see.  Maybe too because it gives an opportunity to talk with this person without the constant, intrusive distractions of televisions or phones. 

There is also a potential for spontaneity, which is beneficial for those of us who aren’t good with being spontaneous.  I have a friend who is way less rigid than me & quite spontaneous.  When she lived near me, she called pretty often to ask what I was doing that day.  Then she often would talk me into doing my household duties later or maybe sooner than expected so as soon as I was done, we could hang out, often while running errands.  It was good for me to push myself out of my little box sometimes, & I wish she still lived close!  Those times were a lot of fun for me.

I had another friend who used to call & ask what I was doing.  If I needed to go out, he’d ask if he could come along.  Or, if money was tight for me he’d ask if I wanted him to drive so I could save gas.   I would do the same if times were tight for him.  It worked out well – one of us could save a little money when needed & we’d have a ball laughing & listening to the music we grew up with as we drove around.

There is another bonus for the errand hang too.  If you are struggling somehow, say with grief over losing a loved one or depression, the errand hang can help motivate you to get out, do what you need to do & have some fun while doing it.  Or, maybe you have an unpleasant chore you need to do but really don’t want to.  Having someone with you can be good moral support which will help you to accomplish that task.

If you think this errand hang stuff sounds weird, it really doesn’t have to be weird at all.  Just ask!  The next time you need to do some errands, text a friend in advance.  You can tell them this might sound weird, but you need to do these things & would like some company, then ask if he or she is busy when you need to do the errands.  In my experience anyway, most people are fine with asking them to do errands together. 

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Receiving God’s Comfort

God created people to need relationships not only with Him but with each other.  A part of that is the need for consolation & comfort during the tough times.

There were many times shortly after the death of my mother that I received God’s comfort.  It was such a horrific time, undoubtedly the hardest of my life.  I was overwhelmed with everything I had to do as well as processing her death & the fact she chose me to be her personal representative after her & my father saying otherwise years prior.  His comfort & strength enabled me to do the impossible at that time & come out on the other side even stronger than I went into the situation.  It gave me a new appreciation for His comfort.  It also showed me that people, even the most well meaning ones, can’t offer the kind of comfort that God can.

People can’t understand your pain exactly.  Even if they have experienced similar situations to yours, you are different people, which means you feel pain & process it differently.  God created you, so naturally He knows you better than any human can.  This also means He understands your pain better than anyone else.  He has experienced things that humans have such as rejection, betrayal, being taken for granted & more.  His comfort comes from the place of truly understanding how you feel, which is something no human being can manage.

God’s comfort is truly something special.  His comfort creates a deep intimacy with Him, a feeling of truly meshing with Him, because you know He truly understands.  He also gently gives words of encouragement in ways no human can, such as by calling your attention to song lyrics or a Scripture that you never thought of quite this way before.  There is also comfort in knowing that He is working in your situation on your behalf.  This deep intimacy with God comes from no means other than allowing Him to comfort you.  It is one good thing that comes from a pain that causes you to run to Him for comfort. 

Another good thing that comes from that is once you have received His comfort, you become more able to offer comfort to other hurting people.  Your empathy has increased & naturally you want to help others.  You also have experience in receiving God’s comfort & can help other people to do the same.  2 Corinthians 1:3-5 in the New International Bible says, 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

If you haven’t asked God to comfort you before, why not try it now?  There are plenty of verses in the Bible that show He is willing to do it.  In the New International Translation, Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  And, Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Clearly, God wants to comfort you.  Let Him!  You won’t be sorry!

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My Newest Mini Book & Crochet Pattern Are Available

One question I have been asked with disturbing regularity over the years is “How can I honor my narcissistic parent?” I decided to write my newest mini book, “How To Honor Abusive Parents” to answer that question. It includes practical advice as well as plenty of Scripture to help the reader understand what it truly means to honor parents, even abusive ones. The ebook can be found here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1133395

And, because thinking about issues like Narcissistic Personality Disorder all the time is unhealthy, I also took some down time & created a new crochet pattern. It’s a scarf made from a pattern that resembles kittens. It works up fast & is super cute, if I can brag a little. That pattern ebook can be found here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1129714

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Being A Highly Sensitive Person In A Relationship With Someone Who Is Not

Highly sensitive people, also known as HSPs, are rather looked at as if we have some supernatural powers & are extremely fragile.  We are often perceived as freaks of nature that must be coddled through our daily existence.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are exceptionally sensitive to our surroundings & people in our lives, but we also are surprisingly strong.  We can handle a great deal provided we have our down time to recharge & people in our lives that accept that about us.  Yet somehow, we often end up romantically involved with people who don’t understand or accept that about us.

When you’re an HSP in love with someone who isn’t one, life is going to be a challenge.  It is so easy to assume that all conflicts in the relationship are your fault.  After all, you’re the sensitive one, so couldn’t you be over sensitive?  That’s certainly a reasonable question to ask!  However, did it not occur to you that you may see yourself as over sensitive because your significant other is rather insensitive in comparison? 

Your partner may not be an insensitive jerk, but rather an average person regarding their sensitivity level.  That isn’t a bad thing.  Most people are that way.  But, for the sake of your sanity, if at all possible, you need to accept your partner as they are & also ask them to accept that you aren’t like them.  You are more sensitive & being that way means your needs are different.  You need some things much more than your partner.  A partner who can accept such differences without judgment & try to accommodate them is a true gem!

Sometimes, non-HSP people tend to be thoughtless.  They may come home from work & turn on the radio or television with the volume way up when you need quiet.  Yes, this is very frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you need to be subjected to it.  Ask your partner to turn the volume down some & go into a separate space where you can have silence or your own preference for music or television set at a volume you prefer.  One of you in the living room & the other in a bedroom may work well.  If your home is too small for this, then consider going for a walk or a drive. 

Another helpful tip is to remind yourself often that not everyone is as sensitive to everything as you are.  Your partner may be a lovely, caring person but still can make insensitive comments periodically that upset you.  If your partner isn’t trying to cause you upset by such comments, if possible, let them go like water off a duck’s back.  Remember, not everyone will think like you, & that is ok!  If your partner is trying to upset you deliberately however, that is a very different scenario!  That is cruel & needs to be addressed.

You can blossom in a relationship with someone who isn’t a highly sensitive person, but there are some things you need to do.

Make time just for yourself, without your partner.  Enjoy whatever brings you joy – music, art, or your favorite hobbies.  Explain to your partner that it has nothing to do with you not wanting to spend time with them.  You simply need time alone to recharge.

There can be good things to remember about being with a non-HSP partner.  Your partner won’t struggle with being around other people while you enjoy your solitude, & you can introduce him or her to the beauty surrounding us every day.  The balance you bring to each other can be wonderful.  However, if your partner is too extroverted & frequently tries to convince you to socialize more often than you are comfortable with, that can be a problem.

Teach your partner about what it is like being a highly sensitive person.  This will show you how healthy your relationship is or is not.  Someone who truly loves & wants to be with you will be more than happy to learn about such things.  This also can help your relationship grow closer & increase your mutual love & understanding.

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Being A Joy Thief

So many people are quick to squelch the things that bring other people joy.  Granted, narcissists seem to have cornered the market on this behavior, but other people do it as well, & often without even realizing how discouraging their behavior is to others.

Here is one example of joy thief behavior I can give from my life.  Years ago, I shared a picture of some shoes I really liked on Facebook.  I’m not a big fan of shoes like many women, but these were an exception since they were simply gorgeous & unique.  As soon as I did, two of my aunts attacked me for my supposed poor taste.  Immediately, the moment of joy I felt at seeing these lovely shoes was ruined.  Thank God for good friends though, because a wonderful friend of mine came to my defense immediately, which made my aunts back off quickly.

Another way people do this is by showing holier than thou type behavior.  When a person thinks something is an answer to prayer, others can be quick to point out it isn’t exactly what the person asked for or it’s something rather unique, so it probably isn’t really an answer to prayer.  Or maybe you are like me & believe that there is nothing wrong with asking God for signs.  When telling some folks I got a sign, some people have told me, “You know that’s not really from God, right?” or, “Nowhere in the Bible are there any examples to support He would send a sign like that.”  Such comments are so discouraging & can make a person doubt they heard from God properly.  They can even damage a person’s faith, in particular if they are new Christians.

While these events are hardly the most traumatic a person can experience in their life, they still shouldn’t happen.  People deserve to experience their joy without the unnecessary shaming from other people.  There is no good reason to rain on another person’s parade.

What harm could possibly come from someone enjoying something that you dislike?  No harm could come to humanity because one person prefers autumn & another prefers summer, one person dislikes holidays while another listens to Christmas music in July or even one person prefers tea to coffee.  Seriously, issues like this are silly & not worth arguing about.

Even when it comes to someone’s faith, many issues aren’t worth disagreeing over.  Every Christian is at a different place in their walk with God.  While you may be further along than another, you are still well behind yet another person.  You don’t know everything, so why act like you do?  If someone believes something that you disagree with, unless you can back up your belief with Scripture, let it go.    Romans 14:12 & 13 in the Amplified Bible have this to say…  “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Then let us not criticize one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block or a source of temptation in another believer’s way.”  

Please consider your behavior & avoid being a joy thief.  It will be good for your relationships as well as for your peace of mind.  Being burdened with trying to change other people only makes both people in this situation miserable.  Why behave that way?  Enjoy your life instead & allow others in your life to enjoy theirs as well.

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My Newest Venture

If you recall some time back I mentioned I wanted to focus more on enjoying life in my writing & putting that into practice in my own life. I have done something that will let me do just that.

I decided to make & sell homemade beauty products & perfumes. I used to do this years ago, before being an author took precedence in my life, but recently decided to get back into it, along with continuing to write of course.

Making these products is a lot of fun for me & a great creative outlet, but as one person, I can only use so much! That’s why I decided to sell these products. That gives me an excuse to do something I love. Bonus if I make some extra money at it.

The link to my new website is below. Check it out! 🙂

Heaven Scent Creations

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God Plans Our Lives With Love

There is no denying that live can be exceedingly difficult sometimes. My readers know this as well if not better than anyone due to experiences with narcissists. This can make anyone wonder where was God during the abuse? Did He even care about what was happening to me? Does He really love me? The answers are He was right with you, He did care & was deeply upset about it & yes, He absolutely loves you!

I was considering writing my own post on this topic but found this one on an amazing blog that explains this topic much better than I can. I decided to share that post instead, & I hope it blesses you tremendously! The link to the post is below.

I did want to say one thing though… for years now, Romans 8:28 has helped me during the especially tough times & I think it may help you as well…

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

Romans 8:28 AMP

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A Wonderful Idea

I use the Nextdoor app to see what is going on in my town.  It’s really an interesting app.  It reminds me a bit of Facebook, but is for people in your town only.  Your neighbors share all kinds of stuff on there!  They sell stuff, share stories of happenings such as flea markets or concerts, they discuss any criminal activity & much more.  It’s a great way to keep up to date on all the interesting stuff in your town.

Recently I was reading Nextdoor & saw an older post on there entitled “What do you need?”  The post asked people to share a need they have for something that they simply can’t afford right now.  Those who could meet those needs were encouraged to reply.  I thought it was a lovely idea.  Reading through the comments was heartwarming.  So many people shared their needs, big & small, & they were met.  Some asked for food for their pets & others offered to drop some food off or order it online & have it sent to their home.  One asked for a recommendation for a physician who uses naturopathic cancer treatments & that person got some recommendations.  Another asked for moving boxes & got that need met.  One person needed new brakes on their car & was given the name & number of a very reliable mechanic as well as coupons for the parts.  Yet another mentioned hosting Thanksgiving dinner & invited anyone who wanted to come.  Some people said they were not in any need & were grateful for what they had.

This post was really a lovely conversation!  It was heartwarming seeing so many people willingly help each other out, & also to see the new friendships that were formed.

While this post was created during the month of November due to being inspired by the holiday season, I think it’d be a lovely idea to create such a post during any time of the year.  People seem to be more generous during the holidays, but we should be generous during the entire year.  It is good for the giver & the receiver when someone is generous & giving.  In the Amplified Bible, Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].”  Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” & 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].”

If you are in a difficult season of not having much to spare, don’t worry!  Whatever you give, no matter how little, is just as important & valuable in God’s eyes & no doubt to the recipient of your kindness as well.  2 Corinthians 8:12 says, “For if the eagerness [to give] is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”  And, Mark 12:41-44 tells the story of Jesus praising a poor widow who only gave a small amount because she was willing to give what little she had. 

I hope you were inspired by the “What do you need” post & will consider doing something similar.  There are so many ways to be a blessing to other people!  Obviously creating this type of post is one way, but you also could donate your time or money to food pantries or soup kitchens, visit those in nursing homes, set up a table with free food such as canned goods or build a small “take one leave one” library of sorts in your yard.  The possibilities are really endless!

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Boundaries Are Always Necessary, Even With Other Christians

Many people assume that being a Christian means you have no real boundaries.  You’re nice & helpful to everyone, & if you aren’t, you must not be a “real” Christian, whatever that means.  That isn’t even close to what being a Christian means however.

The Bible contains verses stating that as Christians, we should separate ourselves from others who claim to be Christians yet who act in toxic ways.  Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens and pays attention to you, you have won back your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector.”  And, 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “But actually, I have written to you not to associate with any so-called [Christian] brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater [devoted to anything that takes the place of God], or is a reviler [who insults or slanders or otherwise verbally abuses others], or is a drunkard or a swindler—you must not so much as eat with such a person.”

Clearly, boundaries are a necessary part of life.  Even in healthy relationships, they are necessary because without them, people can become enmeshed & unhealthy.  If boundaries are vital in healthy relationships, doesn’t it stand to reason that they are even more vital with unhealthy people?

Not setting boundaries isn’t being unloving, unkind, selfish or even a “bad Christian.”  Boundaries protect love, Godly love, because it means we are standing up to things that can damage or even destroy love.

We can & should set limits with those who behave badly in particular those who claim to be Christians, because they can be especially dangerous.  They are the ones who claim their toxic behavior is Godly which can lead people away from God. It is completely reasonable & even Godly to limit your time spent around someone who doesn’t behave in a healthy way.  It also is Godly to sever ties with someone who refuses to acknowledge the pain their behavior causes & change their ways.  Someone who doesn’t care that their behavior hurts other people or who even enjoys causing pain is toxic, & eliminating toxic relationships from your life is far from a bad thing to do!  Matthew 10:14 says, “Whoever does not welcome you, nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust [of it] off your feet [in contempt, breaking all ties].”

Boundaries aren’t controlling, so please don’t think setting & enforcing them makes you a controlling or manipulative person.  Healthy boundaries are set & enforced to protect yourself, not change other people.  They are left with the choice to respect those boundaries or not respect them & deal with the consequences of their lack of respect.  Basically, that is what God does.  He doesn’t force people to do anything.  He has ways that He wants people to follow to have their best life, but rather than force people into obedience, He gives people the freedom to obey or disobey.  If they obey, they enjoy a close relationship with God.  If they disobey, they suffer consequences.  If they see the error of their ways & want to change, He certainly will forgive them & allow them into relationship with Him.  God displays the perfect model of how people should behave with each other.

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About People Who Push Your Buttons

The world is full of many people.  Some of those people seem to have a knack for pushing every button you have.  Something about them constantly gets under your skin.  It seems like every single time you speak to them, you walk away angry or hurt.  Possibly the worst part of it is when you say something to them, no matter how gently you phrase it, somehow they twist the conversation around to the point you end up feeling badly for upsetting them. 

While many people don’t want to believe this, those people are almost always covert narcissists.  Yes, it does sound harsh to label them as such.  No, I don’t know the person you know who behaves this way.  Yet, I feel safe in standing by my statement that this person is almost certainly a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists love to push people’s buttons.  They say cruel things to someone either about that person or those the person loves.  That person’s family, job, hobbies, beliefs, likes, dislikes & more are all targets for the covert narcissist’s criticism.  However, their nastiness often happens only when their victim is alone with them.  If the victim is with the narcissist & at least one other person, the narcissist is often as sweet as can be.  That way, if the victim gets angry at the narcissist’s fake behavior, they aren’t believed.  They would look foolish because others only see the good behavior.  An example I can give of this behavior from my own life happened with my late mother in-law.  My husband & I eloped.  Not long after we got home, we visited his parents as we did constantly during that time.  His mother & I were alone washing dishes while he & his father were elsewhere in the house.  His mother told me how she & his father were horribly disappointed that my husband married me instead of an ex.  A short time later, my in-laws had a party.  At said party, my mother in-law told her sister, “I want you to meet my beautiful daughter in-law!”  I obviously was angry & disgusted, but who upon seeing this would have believed how awful my previous interaction with my mother in-law had been?

Covert narcissists also like to play dumb regarding so many things, including their button pushing behavior.  Playing dumb is very advantageous to them.  It means people think they can’t do much so they do things for the narcissist.  They get joy from being able to make people do things for them.  It also works well when they push other people’s buttons.  If the victim confronts the narcissist, the narcissist can play dumb & claim they didn’t know what they said or did would upset the victim or that they were simply trying to help.  Either way, if a victim is unaware of this tactic, often they will feel badly for misunderstanding the narcissist.  They will let the issue go.  As an added bonus for the narcissist, this also teaches the victim to be more tolerant of abuse.  Victims come to think the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better, so they need to overlook anything that the narcissist says or does that is upsetting. 

The truth about covert narcissists & their button pushing behavior is they know exactly what they are doing.  They aren’t naïve.  They only play naïve in order to get their way.  No one who is truly naïve knows exactly who they need to hide certain behaviors from & has the self control to do this.  Also a truly naïve person wouldn’t know that certain things are especially upsetting, let alone continue to do them regularly.  This is especially true if you have told this person their behavior upsets you.  Anyone who knows something is upsetting & yet continues to do it knows just what they are doing & make no mistake, this is abuse!  A normal, functional person with even a minimal degree of empathy would stop doing hurtful things upon finding out something they say or do hurts other people. 

I know this can be hard to believe, that someone you care for is this type of person, but accepting this fact is truly life changing.  Understanding the truth about people in your life & learning ways to deal with them enables you to have much healthier relationships.  You have more peace & joy.  Best of all you learn to avoid abusive people.

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My New Alexa Skills

I’ve gotten a bit creative lately. I made some amazon skills. The skills are “Scriptures On Narcissism,” “Narcissism Facts” & “Biblical Affirmations. There are links to all three on my website at:

https://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com/home/alexa-skills/

These skills work with any Alexa device & are totally free. I don’t make any profit from them.

If there are any other skills you think would be interesting, I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Narcissism

News About My Apps

As of tomorrow, December 24, 2021 my app for both my website (https://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) & The Butterfly Project (https://www.TheButterflyProject.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) will be disabled.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause! There are some changes required to make it available for installation & frankly, they’re well over my knowledge level of apps. I have no desire to try to figure this all out since it’s well over my head. If anyone wants to check out my websites, the links are in the previous paragraph. You don’t need an app. I only made them for the sake of convenience.

Thank you for understanding everyone! xoxo

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

For Those Who Lack Joy During The Holidays & Are Judged For It

Many people struggle through the holiday season for a range of very valid reasons.  Dysfunctional families causing unnecessary drama & misery, suffering loss through failed relationships or deaths of loved ones & financial struggles are some of the most common reasons, but there are many more.  Yet in spite of the validity of these reasons, many people are quick to shame these poor people, making their pain even worse.

My heart goes out to such people.  As I’ve written about plenty of times, I struggle through the holidays as well.  And, as many others have experienced, I’ve been shamed for that as well.  I’ve heard the usual comments like, “Focus on the positive!”  “It’s the most wonderful time of year!”  “Everyone is so happy.  Why can’t you be happy too?”  “Don’t be so negative.  It’s Christmas!!”  It’s no surprise, but comments don’t help. 

What people who make comments like this fail to realize is saying such things doesn’t make a person automatically feel better.  In fact, they only make a person feel worse.  It’s much like how saying, “cheer up” doesn’t cure depression or, “stop worrying!” doesn’t cure anxiety.

When you are faced with these overly judgmental people, it will be upsetting.  There is no avoiding that.  It does help to remember that some people simply aren’t very understanding others.  They either can’t or won’t try to understand the position of another person & unfortunately, they are everywhere.  This is how they are & they have no desire to change that about themselves. It has nothing about you that makes them act this way. 

There is also the fact that so many people have their own issues that they refuse to face.  Some people have come from their own dysfunctional, abusive pasts & rather than admit that fact & face their demons, they prefer to think only of happy things.  Traditionally, holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, so they are a great time to justifiably be focused on only happy things.  Or maybe holidays were the only time of joy they had in their childhood, so as adults, they cling to them to bring them joy as they once did.  Holidays also allow dysfunctional families to gather together & pretend that they are functional & happy.  Those from these families may enjoy this charade because even if only briefly, they can believe that they have a happy family.

One final thing to consider.  Colossians 2:16 in the New Living Translation of the Bible says, “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.”  Notice that even the Bible even states that people aren’t to judge others for how they celebrate special days.  Celebrating certain ways & certain days is traditional, but it isn’t necessary for anyone, even professing Christians.  God gives people free will to do as they please, & that includes how they celebrate special days.  If He won’t judge you for what you do or don’t do during the holiday season, then there is no reason to accept the judgment of human beings.  Do what makes you comfortable, & ignore the petty criticisms of people who don’t know your situation. 

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Beware Of A Narcissist’s Scouts

According to thesaurus.com, some synonyms for the word scout are “detective,” “lookout,” & “sleuth.”    Such descriptions fit in perfectly to describe the type of person I want to discuss today.

A narcissist’s scout is nothing but a flying monkey.  They most likely aren’t obvious like most flying monkeys.  In fact, they often fade quietly into the background.  They also are probably someone you barely know, but is close to the narcissist.  Then suddenly, out of nowhere, they call, send a text message or email, or maybe a friend’s request on social media.  This sort of thing often happens around holidays, birthdays or some other special day.

When you barely know the person, responding to them can seem innocent enough.  Sure, they know the narcissist, but they seemed ok.  What could be the harm in getting to know them?  PLENTY!!

Scouts rely on their ability to seem innocent & harmless to do their mission, & that mission is not becoming your friend.  That mission is getting information about you to share with their narcissist.  You may think that isn’t a big deal, but I promise you it is! 

When someone is as toxic as a narcissist, any information they have about you can be twisted around to make you look bad & benefit them somehow.  They can use the information to smear your good name which potentially could cause all kinds of problems.  Or, at the very least, it makes them feel smug because they know something about you that you don’t want them to know, & this provides narcissistic supply.  Better they know nothing!

Besides providing the narcissist with information about you, scouts also may try to force you to resume the relationship with the narcissist.  As I have said many times, I believe flying monkeys to be narcissists, & this behavior is proof of that.  They try to force the relationship to resume by using bullying tactics if they are overt narcissists, or, if they are covert, they will use guilt, shame & any underhanded manipulative tactics they can think of.  Either way, these people benefit from behaving this way.  They get the thrill of abusing someone & recognition from the narcissist for “trying to help” them out. 

Probably, the scout’s motivation for reaching out to you is to try to convince you to resume the toxic relationship while they gather information about you to provide the narcissist.  They get a lot of narcissistic supply from this.

If you go no contact with the narcissist in your life, chances are excellent this is going to happen to you at some point.  If the narcissist isn’t able to contact you, they will send a scout out.  It may even be years after the last time you spoke with them.  My longest time after last contact with a narcissist before the scout was sent out was 19 years.  One of my husband’s relatives sent me a friend’s request on Facebook, then followed me, while ignoring his friend’s request.

When this happens to you, the best advice I can give is not to respond to any contact from a scout, no matter how innocent it seems.  Chances are you will be opening a door that won’t lead to anything good.  Leave the door closed, & ask God to show you the best way to handle the situation.

Blocking any & all access this person has to you is a wise move as well.  They don’t need to know anything about you.  Even if this person hasn’t proven himself or herself toxic, remember that they also haven’t proven themselves safe, & only known safe people should have access to your life in any capacity.

There is one other option for something you can do.  Share information only for them.  I don’t mean to be vengeful.  I’m also not encouraging lying.  What I mean is do what I do.  I do this with my last scout.  I deleted her friend’s request immediately.  I noticed she follows me, & I almost blocked her but had another idea… I let her follow me.  I share very little on Facebook anyway, & am very careful about what I share publicly.  Right after I realized this scout follows me, I shared some funny memes about people who aren’t friends but follow people on social media.  The only other public things I share are my blog posts, memes & articles about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This was my way of telling her, “I know you’re just here to spy on me.  Here’s some information you can take back to the original narcissists.  I hope y’all read it & learn something about yourselves!”  And truly, I DO hope they learn something.  It’s unlikely of course, but maybe if I plant enough seeds, something will grow. 

By doing this, they have gotten quite a surprise I’m sure.  They were certain they were being smart, & I stupidly would befriend their scout.  They couldn’t have been more wrong.  Instead, the only things they will get from me is truth.  It’s a good tactic.. you can’t go wrong sharing the truth, & quite honestly, it feels good because by doing this, I’m showing them they aren’t going to outsmart me with their pathetic games. 

Whatever you opt to do with your scout, I truly wish you the best!

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Year End Sale On ALL Of My Ebooks!

From December 17, 2021 until January 1, 2022, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks. If you’ve been wanting to read any of them, it’s a great time to buy. Simply go to my author page on my publisher’s site at the link below. The coupon will be applied automatically at checkout.

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

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

Narcissists & Gifts

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out or even make this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for giving them.

With narcissists, this isn’t how this scenario happens.

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with those things, so they give gifts that are what they like or think you need.

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Probably in 1999 or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned that I don’t like to cook, unlike her & her daughters. I didn’t criticize them, just said I didn’t share that with them. For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me cooking stuff.  Spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen.  At least I did find a good use for that.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol  Everything else was donated, given to my friends or thrown in the trash.

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  Gifts come with strings attached.  They may give birthday & Christmas cards with money inside, & in return, you need to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous or the personal cost to you.  It is an unspoken rule many narcissistic families have.

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver somehow, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist.

When it comes to giving gifts to a narcissist, it isn’t really a better scenario. 

Narcissists are impossible to please.  They set these high goals for their victims, then when the victim comes close to it or even reaches it, they say that isn’t what they want, they want something else that is even harder to do.  Nothing their victim does is good enough.  This scenario plays out similarly with gifts.  They may say they want something, but when they receive it, it somehow falls short of their expectations & the giver feels badly.

They also compare gifts.  For example, let’s say you gave your parents a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant for their anniversary.  A thoughtful gift, but not to them.  Instead, they may tell you that their neighbor’s son bought them a 65” television & set it up for them while they were at the grocery store. 

This holiday season, if you are in the unfortunate position of exchanging gifts with a narcissist, I hope you remember what I have said.  They do these awful things because this is just how dysfunctional, abusive & toxic they are.  It truly has nothing to do with you.  When they criticize what you give them, remember the nicer your gift, the more they will criticize it.  When they give you awful gifts or things that they like knowing you don’t like those things, just say thank you… then later, quietly find a new home for that gift.  Maybe a friend of yours could use the item or you could donate to a worthwhile charity.  Or, throw it in the trash!  You’re under no obligation to keep gifts that were given to make you feel badly or that come with strings attached.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism

Depression During The Holidays

Many people suffer with depression during the holiday season.  November & December are very painful for them.  Yet sadly, this phenomenon is rarely discussed.

Thanksgiving & Christmas can be a very difficult time for many people & for countless reasons. 

Even for those who adore the holidays & circumstances are good in their lives, there is the stress of extra money spent for meals & gifts, so much more to do in preparation such as meal planning & decorating, less time to relax & more.  This stress can ultimately result in anxiety & even depression.

For those who don’t host, holidays still can be very stressful.  There are family demands & expectations.  Many dysfunctional families have very high expectations for the holidays & everyone must meet them or else suffer consequences.  Having been down this road, I can assure you, it doesn’t exactly make a person happy during the holidays!

Often young married couples are pressured to spend holidays with their two families, which is very stressful.  Their holidays are a source of stress & scheduling to make everyone happy or consequences if they don’t.

There are also so many people who have lost a loved one to consider.  This may be their first holiday season without the loved one who enjoyed hosting holiday get togethers.  No longer having those gatherings can create sadness as losing them is what is known as a secondary loss to the primary loss of that special person.  Even years later, that loss still can be painful.  Or, even if that person didn’t make a fuss over holidays, holidays still may be a reminder that someone special is gone.

Many other people have had to sever ties with their abusive families, & the holidays are a painful reminder that they are without a family.  Seeing others happily spending time with their families or talking about how they can’t wait to visit with their relatives are painful reminders of what a person in this situation is missing.

People who are unable to be with their family during the holidays experience similar emotions.  Law enforcement officers, first responders & military personnel are some examples of people in this situation.

I recently read that an estimated six percent of people struggle with depression during the holiday season.  Many of those people don’t experience depression at any other time.  Some of them also have been misdiagnosed as having Seasonal Affective Disorder because they present with similar symptoms & happen at similar times of the year. 

It’s also estimated that 64% of people with a mental illness experience worsening of their symptoms around the holidays.

If you too experience depression during the holidays, you aren’t alone by far!  Many people share your pain.  There are some things you can do that can help.

I always recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you however you need.

If you feel alone, try spending time with friends whenever possible.  Go out for coffee or lunch.  Hang out at home & talk.  If they aren’t available, volunteer with a cause near to your heart or visit folks in nursing homes. 

Consider seeing a counselor.  If you aren’t able to or are uncomfortable doing this, at least write in a journal.

Have good boundaries.  Don’t say yes to every invitation.  You don’t need to be constantly busy. 

Create new traditions either just for yourself or with your family.

If you feel you must visit others on the actual date of the holiday, set aside a different day to enjoy the day with those closest to you. My paternal grandparents never celebrated Christmas on December 25.  They celebrated on the weekend between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, no one felt pressured to be with them on Christmas day.  They could spend the day however they wanted & still enjoy my grandparents’ annual Christmas celebration.

Don’t expect your adult children to spend all day with you, especially if they have a significant other or friends they want to visit.

Keep your expectations realistic.  Don’t expect to lose this depression easily.  One good holiday won’t cure you forever.  It may take several holidays to make progress.  Or, you may not be able to shake the depression completely.  I haven’t been able to.  But, since I know it will come each year, I try to find ways to bring some joy into my life during the season.

Don’t let anyone shame you for how you feel at this time! I’ve experienced this & can’t tell you how maddening it is. People who are quick to judge lack empathy & have no business hurting someone who is already hurting. Ignore them!

I hope these tips help you!

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Special Days & Narcissists

Narcissists are well known for being intensely selfish.  One of the ways that selfishness manifests is by them ruining special days for their victims.  Those special days simply must revolve around the narcissist.  If those special days revolve around you or are special to you, that is totally unacceptable to a narcissist!  That must be obliterated so all attention can be turned back to the narcissist in question!  How does a narcissist do this?  They have so many tactics, & I will address a few here.

It’s your wedding anniversary falls in early April?  What a coincidence!  Tax day is just around the corner!  A narcissist might demand you or your spouse (whoever is best with financial matters) complete their taxes on this day so they can file their taxes without being late. 

Your birthday is in the near future?  Another coincidence!  It’s also time for the narcissist to have that medical procedure.  After all, that elective procedure is way more important than the birthday you have every year, so forget enjoying your birthday. 

It’s December.  Merry Christmas!  Oh wait.. you really thought you could celebrate Christmas without focusing on your narcissistic parent or sibling?!  Not likely!  Instead, know that you MUST celebrate the day however the narcissist dictates & on the exact day the narcissist dictates.  It’s not really Christmas unless it’s celebrated when & however the narcissist demands it be celebrated.

A common tactic narcissists use to turn the attention of special days back to themselves is to invent a crisis on or close to a special day.  One Christmas, my husband & his siblings decided to spend Christmas day with their immediate families rather than with their parents.  Rather than accept this or reschedule the annual Christmas celebration for a different day, their diabetic mother stopped taking insulin.  She ended up in the hospital right around Christmas day.  Her adult children rallied to her side.  When asked why she stopped taking insulin, she said she was simply too busy making everyone Christmas cookies to bother taking her insulin.  It was quite the martyr act!

Guilt is another common tactic.  If you can’t or won’t spend a special day with a narcissist, they often will say things that make you feel obligated to them like, “That’s ok.. I’m used to being alone anyway…” or, “You promised you’d be there!  You have to come!!”

Those of us who recognize the manipulation regarding special days & refuse to accept the manipulation are often shamed for being cold or selfish because we don’t go along with whateverthe narcissist wants.  Narcissists act like there is something wrong with us for not enjoying special days as they think we should, & sharing them with the narcissist in our lives.  Those on the outside are often quick to criticize us for being “too negative” & act like something is very wrong with us for not thoroughly enjoying special days.  As if they would feel differently after being subjected to the mind games of a narcissist.  How ridiculous!

If you feel this way, I want to tell you today that there is nothing wrong with you. 

If you have become angry about a narcissist ruining your joy over special days, that is totally understandable.

If you decided not to celebrate any special days because a narcissist ruined them for you, that is totally understandable.

If you have decided to create your own traditions & avoid all narcissists on special days, that is also totally understandable.

If you opt to take each special day as it comes & follow what your heart dictates on each special day, that also truly is understandable.

You have been through some pretty awful treatment & certainly you have earned the right to celebrate or not celebrate these days however works best for you!

Don’t let anyone dictate how you spend special days.  You enjoy holidays in whatever way works for you.  Ignore them, treat them as any other day, or go over the top with celebrating them your own way.  You do you & don’t let anyone convince you that you are wrong!

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Filed under Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism

Saying “I Love You”

Recently I learned that an old friend of mine passed away suddenly & unexpectedly.  We met not long after I got my first computer in 2000, on an aol message board.  We emailed frequently.  Although we only met once in person & spoke on the phone only a handful of times, I cherished her friendship.  She was the definition of a southern belle – gentle, gracious, thoughtful, loving & most of all she had a strong faith in God.

Naturally, losing this lovely lady has caused me to think a lot about relationships & life in general.  One of the things that crossed my mind was our final conversation.  She wasn’t feeling well, so it was fairly brief, unfortunately.  I remember our last words before hanging up though.. “I love you.”

When I was growing up, my paternal grandparents always did this too.  We never parted company either in person or over the phone without saying, “I love you.”  It’s something that I believe is important to do with those close to me.  Honestly, no one knows when the time comes that they may leave this earth or even when a relationship may end unexpectedly, so why not be certain that your last words to those good, special people in your life are “I love you”?

Doing this means that there will be no regrets over last words said if the relationship stops.  That can make a big difference in a person’s peace!

The last words my grandfather & I said to each other before he died in 2003 were, “I love you.”  Although I don’t remember much of the conversation, I do remember that.  It brings me comfort during those times I miss him to remember how much we love each other.

The last time I saw my father before going no contact several months before he died, our parting words were “I love you.”  As much as I hated his narcissistic behavior, I did love him, & am glad I told him so. 

I know this isn’t exactly the most cheery topic in the world, & for that I apologize.  I feel it’s something that needs to be addressed anyway.  People seem to think saying I love you should be reserved for romantic relationships only, but really, it should be said in all kinds of healthy relationships.  Children need to know their parents love them & vice versa.  Grandparents & grandchildren should hear a heartfelt “I love you” said freely & often.  Even friends need to hear it.  I love my friends dearly, & tell them often. 

It’s common knowledge that falling in love with someone releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain, but I can’t help thinking that knowing you are loved by someone you love, whatever the nature of the relationship, has the same effect.  Hearing the words, “I love you” said with sincerity certainly draws people closer together & feels good, whether the person saying it is a romantic interest, friend or relative.

I believe that it’s time to normalizing telling those you love, that you love them.  Why not start today?

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

About My Print Books

I recently received an email from my print book publisher. There are difficulties with supply chain delays, so they recommend customers expect to receive their books in at least 3 weeks. Usually, the time is much shorter.

I was thinking about this & how it can affect my readers, I had some thoughts.

  • Ebooks are cheaper, easier to hide from abusers, & are ready for reading the moment they are purchased. They’re a great option if money is tight, you live with your abuser, don’t want him or her to know you’re reading such material, &/or are in a rush to read a book. I urge you to consider buying the ebook version of my books rather than print if you are in such situations. They can be found at this link: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
  • If you still prefer the print copy, you have two options:
    • If you’re not in a hurry, you can simply order from my website as normal. Just be prepared for possible delays. They can be ordered at the following link: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug
    • I always have copies of most of my books to have available for anyone who would like to buy them directly from me. I can sell & ship them myself at a slightly lower price than my publisher because as the author, I get a discount on my books. I also can ship via media mail (slow but cheap) or priority mail (fast but more expensive), buyer’s choice. Simply contact me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com & let me know what book(s) you would like. I’ll figure out your price & get back to you asap. I also added this information to my website so it’ll be readily available & easier to find than this blog post. Just visit my site at any time at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug,com

Thank you for your patience & understanding! It is very appreciated!!

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

Warrior For Truth

On the morning of July 30, 2016, I woke up from a very odd dream.  In it, I saw my in-laws.  I was keeping a distance when one of my sisters in-law approached me.  My personality in the dream was as it is in real life, & I wanted nothing to do with her due to her past treatment of my husband & I.  She meekly mentioned seeing information about narcissism & then talked about their family.  She said reading this made her realize how bad things were.  I told her I was glad for her because now she can heal.  Then I woke up. 

I try to pray each morning before I get up, but this particular morning, it was a struggle.  I kept thinking about the strange dream & wondering what it meant.  God told me that the way I was in the dream is how I am.  I value truth over everything else.  He called me “a warrior for truth.”

That phrase has stuck in the back of my mind ever since that dream.  And, the older I get, the more I realize just how true it is.  I need only truth in all areas of my life & all of my relationships.

Truth also helps so much with healing from narcissistic abuse.  Learning what the problem was with my relationships helped me to realize that although I did make plenty of mistakes, I wasn’t completely to blame as others claimed I was.  For years I carried the blame around for causing other people such heartache & so many problems when the truth was they weren’t my innocent victims as they portrayed themselves to be.

Truth also helped me to have some compassion on those who were abusive to me.  Learning why they turned into narcissists or seeing that they had no desire to change their behavior in spite of being miserable gave me a degree of compassion for them which helped me to pray for them while also accepting that they were too dysfunctional to be in a relationship with.

Clearly what Jesus said about the truth will set us free is absolutely accurate! 

Sadly though, we live in a world where truth isn’t always as valued as it should be.  So many people are comfortable in their dysfunction & would rather avoid the truth if at all possible.  They are afraid of leaving their comfort zone, so they believe comfortable lies rather than facing the ugly truth.  Certainly feeling that way is understandable!  Truth is wonderful but sometimes it can be scary & painful too.  The fact however is that even if the truth is painful, it’s still so much better than lies & dysfunction!

Facing the truth means your relationships are healthy, functional & genuine.  You can trust those in relationship with you to have your best interests at heart as you have theirs.  You know they won’t lie or deliberately hurt you.  They also will value you highly because they know you too won’t lie to them or deliberately cause you pain.  They know you’re someone of integrity.

Facing truth also means that although some things in life are incredibly difficult, you know you’ll get through the pain & come out just fine on the other side. Certainly that is much better than working so hard to hide from pain your whole life.  Isn’t a season of pain better than a lifetime of it?

Please consider what I’ve said.  If you’re struggling with facing the truth, just know that it truly is worth doing in spite of the fear.  I can promise you that!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Mental Health