Category Archives: Mental Health

Helpful advice and information on mental health issues.

Revelation About Hating My Body

Lately my hormones are all over the place. In my late 40’s, I know it’s normal, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  I griped some to my husband about it one day recently, which I almost never do.  Usually I try to hide any physical or mental problems from him.  He’s got enough to deal with plus although I’ve improved, I’m still not overly comfortable admitting when I feel under the weather.

Anyway, after listening to me gripe, he said, “Can I ask you something? Why do you hate your body so much?” I was surprised by the question & immediately thought of many things. My looks have always been the main thing my mother & ex husband insulted about me, so I’ve always felt ugly thanks to their cruel words & wished I looked differently.  I have pain from arthritis, & now out of whack hormones.  I’ve also gotten taller & just bigger from the birth control I’ve been on for years.  Then there are the symptoms I developed after Carbon Monoxide poisoning in 2015.  It seemed at the moment like I had plenty of things to hate about my body.

Then, later on that afternoon, I wasn’t even thinking about this conversation when suddenly it popped into my mind out of the blue & I realized something… I blame my body for the actions of other people, as well as hating it for doing normal things!  How ridiculous is that?!

All of this has caused me a great deal of shame over my life.  Thanks to the constant criticism of how I look, I’ve always been very ashamed of my looks & felt incredibly ugly & disgusting.  I’ve been ashamed of getting arthritis when I was only 31 years old because it’s abnormal.  Truth be told, it’s probably a direct result of living with narcissistic abuse since it often causes inflammatory disorders.  The symptoms from the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning & crazy hormones?  Both are very normal & nothing to be ashamed of.

After some prayer, I think all of my faulty thinking stems from being raised the way I was.  My mother criticized everything about my looks my entire life, I assume because I look like my father’s mother & not her side of the family.  No doubt that was a disappointment to her.  In fact, she probably felt betrayed by that as most narcissists would.  As a result, I grew up hating everything about my looks, & not believing anyone who said I was pretty.  My ex husband later reinforced this in me by being so critical.

Then there was sickness. Anytime I was sick or injured as a child was nothing but an inconvenience to my mother.  She obviously resented taking care of me.  As an adult, she didn’t believe me when something was wrong unless it was very obvious (the flu, a broken toe that was black & blue, etc).  This taught me that I was wrong to be sick or injured.  I’ve actually felt like my body has betrayed me by being sick or injured when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also had me not believing my own symptoms, thinking I must be faking them or at least exaggerating things.

When I realized all of this, I thought there may be others who are going through the same thing, so I figured I should share it.

If you feel the same way, then know you’re not alone. We can change this dysfunctional thinking.

Start by praying about it.  Ask God to show you the truth & ask Him for help healing from it.

I believe that it’s important to get to the root of problems if you wish to heal completely, so to do that, I ask God what is the root of this issue?  Sometimes, He’ll bring a specific memory to my mind.  Other times, several memories come to mind.

Once you see the root cause of your false belief, aside from asking God for more help, also look at the situation objectively.  When you look at it as an outsider rather than a victim, you can see just how evil your abuser is & how wrong the things they taught you were.

Also, look at yourself objectively not through the eyes of someone trained to self hate through narcissistic abuse.  Psalm 139:14 says that we are fearfully & wonderfully made.  Rather than hating your body, consider that verse.   God made you the way you are for a reason, & it is a good reason!  Consider the good things about your body- how you look & the things you can do.  Just because someone told you that you’re ugly or didn’t care when you were sick or injured doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.  What it does mean is that the person who said such things to you has some serious problems!

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Narcissists & Pets

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What The Bible Says About Tolerating Narcissistic Abuse

I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month.  This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of  narcissists.

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?

 

It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God.  What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says.  If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.

 

If you think that I’m just overreacting,  consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…

 

Matthew 10:34-37  (MSG) (emphasis added)

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” 

 

Reread the part I underlined.  “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”  That’s pretty clear, don’t you think?  God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!

 

For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say.  God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you.  He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)

“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4  (AMP)

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”

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Covert Narcissist Flying Monkeys

Clearly not all flying monkeys are narcissists.  There are some well meaning people who are genuinely fooled by the narcissist you know.  We’ve all been fooled by narcissists, so it’s understandable this happens.  It’s hard to be too mad at them when you see their eyes begin to open & they realize that the narcissist isn’t that great person they thought they were.

 

Unfortunately though, I believe there are many flying monkeys who are covert narcissists.  They enjoy torturing you on behalf of the narcissist while at the same time, making themselves look like the good guy who is just trying to help.

 

A huge red flag that you’re dealing with a covert narcissist flying monkey is when someone claims to care for or love you, but they don’t show any interest in you.  They don’t care about what is happening in your life, what you’re proud of, what struggles you face, your needs, feelings, likes or dislikes.   They only want to talk about the narcissist or what you need to do to fix that relationship.

 

When you try to talk to this person, they shut you down quickly, no matter the topic.  They can accomplish this through interrupting you, making jokes at your expense or making you feel foolish for whatever it is you’re talking about.  Or, this person may listen to you or read something you’ve written only to tell you that you’re wrong.

 

If you try to talk to this person about the narcissist in your life, you can guarantee this person will shut you down quickly & in whatever way they believe will make you feel the most ashamed.  One of my parents’ flying monkeys was my Facebook friend for quite some time.  She had a lot of confidence online, saying things she would never say to my face.  She butted in on a conversation I had with someone else regarding my parents to say, “You need to get into therapy to figure out how you can fix things!  Don’t you dare tell me it won’t work!”  In a completely different conversation, I mentioned to someone else that although my father & I had virtually nothing in common, we did share a love of classic cars.  The flying monkey said, “Honey, you need to figure out some things you two can share!  You need to start finding things you two have in common right now!”  I deleted the comment, & a few days later, she commented on another post with, “I know you don’t want to hear anything from mean old me, but I think you should….” (I forget what the topic was she felt she needed to advise me on).  I knew what she was about by this point, so her behavior didn’t manipulate me.  It only made me angry she said the ridiculous things she did.

 

Covert narcissist flying monkeys also play dumb very well.  They may claim that they don’t know why you’re angry with the narcissist.  They try to get you to confide in them about the problem, saying it’s because they care for you, when the truth is they’ll only run to the narcissist with anything you say.  And, if you sever ties with this person, they may ignore the fact you’ve blocked their phone number, email address & social media & find other ways to contact you “just to say hi”.  Their message most likely will appear sickeningly sweet.  The flying monkey I mentioned earlier?  Her message like this called me “sweetie” & was signed, “love you.”  She never called me sweetie any other time, so yes, I took that as a red flag.

 

So why do these covertly narcissistic flying monkeys act this way?  I think they have what they consider to be excellent reasons.

 

They want to prove to you that narcissistic behavior is OK, & there is something wrong with you for thinking otherwise.  If they can convince you of that, they can control you as can the narcissist for whom they’re the flying monkey.

 

Also, if they can convince you that narcissistic behavior is acceptable, then they think they can convince you that you should do all the work in the relationship with them & the other narcissist.  If you feel obligated in that way, a narcissist has it made.  They can get you to do anything at all they want.

 

These flying monkeys are extremely devious & convincing.  You need to be fully aware of what they’re up to in order to protect yourself against their mental warfare.

 

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Body Memories

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse, part 2

There is one thing I’ve noticed that sometimes happens with people who write about narcissistic abuse.  They become smug.

 

As an example, I’ve seen conversations online where someone has recently learned their mother is a narcissist.  She’s naturally overwhelmed & relieved, as all of us in that position have been.  She finds someone who writes on the topic & follows them on social media.  This author responds to her comments by telling her “Just go no contact.  I don’t know why you’re dragging your feet about it.  I did 8 years ago & it worked fine for me.”

 

Thankfully, I haven’t seen this scenario often, but I have seen it. No one in this position needs shaming, especially at this time.  She needs understanding, compassion & information!  She also needs time to let this newfound knowledge sink in before she can even think about making such a huge decision as no contact.  Learning your mother is the abuser & you’re the victim rather than the other way around is a shock.  It takes time to accept, & that is the first step in healing from narcissistic abuse.

 

If you write about narcissistic abuse, there are times it can be frustrating when you’re speaking with someone in an abusive situation who isn’t making moves to protect themselves.  Once you’ve been there, done that & found freedom from your abuser, you often can see what would be the best course of action for other people in similar situations to take.  It can be very frustrating that they either can’t or won’t see it too.

 

If you get angry or smug in those situations, you may be dealing with burnout or compassion fatigue.  When you write about narcissistic abuse, you pretty much live & breathe narcissism.  People tell you their stories, you do research, & you work on your own emotional healing.  Chances are good you also have C-PTSD.  Narcissism is a huge part of your life & you get tired of it.  Although you want to help people, sometimes you want to never think of this topic again.  When people tell you their stories, you can feel indifferent to their suffering & their need for good information.  That is a big sign of compassion fatigue.  It isn’t that you don’t care.  You do.  You’re simply burned out & need a break.

 

Compassion fatigue is common in helping professions such as those in the medical field, caregivers, counselors/therapists, or law enforcement.  It’s very evident by how they interact with people.  Have you been to a doctor who acts like you’re bothering him with your health concern or seen a caregiver in a nursing home who is testy with the patients?  That is compassion fatigue.  Thankfully, it’s fixable.

 

When you realize that you feel burned out & even indifferent to people’s problems, it’s time to take action immediately.  Take a break.  I don’t mean 15 minutes away from what you do.  I mean as much time as you can.  If you run an online forum, find someone who you know you can trust who can watch it for a few days.  If you write a blog, I highly recommend writing many blog posts that you can schedule to publish so if you need a break, your blog continues on as normal in your absence.  If you’re working on a book, stop.  Take time away from it.

 

Once you’ve decided to take a break, spend your time doing things that nurture you.  Pray, spend time in nature, snuggle your furkids, watch funny movies or listen to music.   And, do NOT think about narcissism!  If you have flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts, I know this is a challenge since those things have a mind of their own.  If they happen, deal with them as usual & once that is done, resume not thinking about narcissism.

 

Also, reevaluate your boundaries.  You can’t help everyone- you aren’t God!  That’s ok!  Instead of trying to help everyone, pray with or for them.  Remind them that they need to pray as well as read their Bible.

 

Reevaluate how you spend your time.  Find where you can cut back on obligations, & do it.  This will give you more free time which is so vital to your mental health.

 

Pray.  Ask God to show you what changes you should make & how to make them.  Ask Him to weed out the people in your life that aren’t good for you & that you’re not good for, so you have more time for those that are good for you.

 

Writing about narcissistic abuse can be incredibly difficult, I know.  It is possible though when you don’t neglect yourself.  Good self care will make you a better writer as well as a happier person.

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About Hoovering

Hoovering is when a narcissist doesn’t want to accept the fact you have ended the relationship, & they try to lure you back.  If you’re not aware of hoovering tactics, it can be easy to be lured into a false sense of believing the narcissist has truly changed, & the relationship will be better this time only to be sadly disappointed when finding out the narcissist really hasn’t changed.  To prevent this from happening, this post will address some hoovering tactics narcissists use.

 

Love bombing is very common.  It involves the narcissist confessing their undying love for you, doing nice things for you, showering you with gifts &/or plenty of attention.  It can be hard not to believe a narcissist really cares since they can be very convincing.  It also can be hard to resist.  It’s important to remember that these displays of the narcissist’s love are NOT real!  They’re only designed to lure you back into the toxic relationship.

 

Narcissists also will use family & friends, aka flying monkeys, to talk “sense” into you.  This is a very tough one.  When someone you think highly of tells you that you should resume a relationship with someone else, it can make you doubt yourself.  Instead, think about what this person is saying.  Does this person make sense?  How much do they know of the situation?  Do they believe you when you say the narcissist has been abusive to you?  Do they want to hear what you have to say or do they cut you off or tell you that you’re wrong?  Your honest answers to these questions will determine if you should listen to what that person has to say.

 

Another hoovering tactic is using or faking illness or injury to reconnect with you.  Most people want to help a sick or hurt person, especially if it’s someone they love.  If this happens, remember- when you went no contact, it was for excellent reasons.  It also was permanent, not until the narcissist got sick or injured.  Maybe that sounds cold, but truly, it isn’t.  It’s a person reaping what they have sown.  A person who abuses another can’t expect that victim to be there for them indefinitely.  Everyone has  limits.

 

Sending cards, letters or calling on special days like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays is another common hoovering tactic.  It feels wrong to spend special days not acknowledging the narcissist.  For those with narcissistic parents, birthdays in particular can be difficult.  And, for those with narcissistic exes, anniversaries can be especially difficult.  It’s normal, but even so, remember all they are trying to do is hoover you back into the toxic relationship by using the special day.

 

Some narcissists give their victims months or even years of no contact when suddenly they call or write.  It seems that they figure after some time has passed, the victim has forgotten just how bad the relationship was, & will be open to resuming it.  If this happens, remind yourself of exactly why you ended the relationship in the first place.  The chance of that behavior improving is very, very slim.  Is it really worth taking a chance on resuming the relationship?

 

Some narcissists don’t go the route of trying to convince you that they love you or are thinking of you.  They opt to get cruel.

 

Smear campaigns can get really nasty to provoke a response out of you & also to discredit a victim so people won’t believe them but instead they’ll believe the narcissist.  You may learn that people are saying you’re crazy, stupid, spoiled, abusive to the narcissist or even a bad Christian.  As hard as it can be, do NOT respond to these ridiculous accusations!  Doing so only convinces people that you are the terrible person the narcissist says you are.  And, if you confront the narcissist about the lies, it only gives that narcissist narcissistic supply.  The narcissist can look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways.

 

Many narcissists who can’t win a victim back will resort to attempting to bully the victim to return to the relationship by stalking & harassing them.  They’ll inundate victims with countless phone calls, emails, texts, & letters.  They may show up at places the victim frequents or drive by the victim’s home frequently.  Especially devious ones send others to drive by the victim’s home so if the victim says anything about the narcissist stalking them, they look paranoid or even crazy.  The best things to do is block all access the narcissist uses to get to you, & document EVERYTHING.  If you decide to press charges, documentation will work in your favor, even if the narcissist didn’t break the law.  Documentation of bad behavior, even when legal, can only help your case.

 

Remember, Dear Reader, never allow the narcissist to hoover you back into the relationship.  It only ends badly!  The behavior is usually much worse after hoovering than it was in the first place.

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A Little About Two Special Moms In My Life

The last couple of days have been difficult for me.  Lots of flashbacks & anxiety have been happening.  When I said something to my husband about it the day before Mother’s day, he said “Mother’s Day is coming.. that has to be it!”  Honestly I don’t know if that’s my problem or not, it sure could be, but anyway….

 

Part of one of my recent flashbacks was about when I was learning to drive.  I told hubby that my ex mother in-law taught me more about driving (including driving a stick shift) than my parents did, yet both of my parents always took credit for teaching me how to drive even though they barely taught me anything.  He said, “I think you should give your ex mother in-law a shout out!  She did a lot of good things for you.”

 

Although my ex mother in-law died in 2010 & this post is going to publish a day after Mother’s Day, I agree.  I also thought about another mom figure in my life who was so special to me, so I’m giving her a shout out too.  I pray God allows them to know about this because they both deserve to know the big positive impacts they had on my life.

 

A very big thank you to my awesome ex mother in-law!!  I appreciate the many things you taught me like how to drive & especially how to knit.  I appreciate the encouragement you gave me when I was learning things & your faith that I could do these things.  I also appreciate the fun times together, like going to craft & thrift stores, & your help picking out my first sewing machine.  (Even though I still can’t sew, I appreciate a nice machine like that little beauty!)  I appreciate all the laughs & your fun sense of humor, especially since it was pretty twisted like my own.  I appreciate your love, support & lack of judgement.  I also appreciate you trying to protect me from my mother when we lived together.  I wasn’t used to anyone doing that & it was a very nice surprise.

 

Most of all, a big thank you for being a wonderful example of your faith & praying for me.

 

I’m sorry our relationship ended on a bad note & for the things I did wrong.  I still remember the good things often & am so grateful for them.  Thank you for everything, W.  You’re very loved & missed.  xoxo

 

My other mother figure was a dear friend I called my adopted mom.  We met on a crochet message board & clicked.  She was a wise, beautiful, gentle, loving, compassionate person with a powerful & inspiring faith.  When I had an argument with my folks or just a rough day, she was the one I wanted to talk to.  She always knew what to say to make me feel better.  She also didn’t sugarcoat things- if she believed I was wrong, she’d tell me.  She was free with her praise & kind words, but still told the truth even if it wasn’t pretty.  She was also the one who got me started reading about Antisocial Personality Disorder which led to me learning about narcissism.  We had many laughs together, mostly talking about our furkids who we both adored.  She was an inspiration & one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.  Her death in 2009 still hurts, but I know I’ll see her again one day.  Thank you for the years of friendship, love & laughs, K!  xoxo

 

Those of us with narcissistic mothers know that a good mother is a beautiful gift.  If you have a wonderful mother figure in your life, please don’t wait til it’s too late like I did- let her know how much you appreciate her now.  She’ll love to hear what you say & it’ll make you feel good to tell her just how special she is to you.

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

I saw a meme on Facebook earlier today.  It said, “Write as though your mother will never read it.”  Considering what I write about, I liked it.  I also realize many of you who read my blog either currently write about the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through or are considering doing it.  This meme made me think of sharing a bit of encouragement for you today.

 

I know writing about the worst, most painful experiences in your life isn’t easy.  It’s hard writing out your experiences.  Seeing them in black & white makes them more real & can make the pain of them even worse.  There is something good about this pain though.  It’s also validating, seeing your traumatic experiences in writing.  You get the validation you never got.  You can’t minimize your suffering or deny that the experiences were horrific when you see them in writing.  Writing also can help you to process the trauma in a way speaking about it doesn’t.  While you’re writing to help others, you’re also helping yourself.

 

Writing about the abuse inflicted on you also can be intimidating.  What if your abuser reads it?  That thought can be utterly terrifying.  It was for me at first.  I worried what would happen if my parents learned I was writing about the abuse inflicted on me as a child?!  How would they respond?  Could I cope with it?  How?  Would they try to sue me for libel?  Would the flying monkeys attack me?  A million awful questions ran through my mind.  After time & prayer, I finally was able to ignore those questions.  I began to trust that God would not only allow me to write about whatever He wanted me to, but He also would enable me to deal with any fallout from my parents or flying monkeys.

 

You can trust Him to help you too.  You also can use some common sense ways to protect yourself.

 

  • You can use a pen name.  Many authors have written books under a pseudonym to protect their identity.  If you’re writing a blog rather than books, you can avoid using your name entirely.  You can name your blog something like, “Daughter Of A Narcissistic Mother” or, “My Ex Is A Narcissist”.  Many bloggers use this method of protecting their identity, & it seems to be quite effective.
  • You can change the names of people in your writing.  As an example, don’t refer to your narcissistic brother Steve by his real name.  Call him Paul instead.  You also could change the relationship.  You could say he’s your cousin rather than your brother.
  • Never give specifics in your writing.  Don’t mention your abuser’s address  obviously, but also don’t mention the name of the town they live in.
  • Always remember what libel is & write accordingly.  According to the Cornell Law School, libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
  • Stick to the facts only.  Tell your stories in a matter of fact way, leaving emotion out of it wherever possible.  When your emotions are vital to the story, you can say comments like, “When my abuser did _____, it made me feel _____.” If you come across angry in your writing or calling your abuser names, your writing could come across as libelous.  Sticking to a matter of fact way of telling your story avoids that.
  • If you’re considering writing your autobiography, you also can write it as a fictional story rather than non fiction.  Change some details around to make your fictional story a bit different than your real story.

 

Regarding your abuser & possibly flying monkeys reading your work, with any luck, they won’t.  I was fortunate in that my parents didn’t care to read my writing.  In fact, my mother told me it was nothing but a waste of time.  Not everyone is that fortunate, however.  If this happens, remember what I’ve said before about protecting yourself from these attacks.  Block the narcissist’s & flying monkeys’ access to you in every possible way.  Document their abuse in case you need it in the future.  Save screen shots, emails & texts to some type of cloud storage or email it to yourself rather than simply on your phone or computer so it’s protected against failing electronics.  If they create a smear campaign against you, don’t react to it.  Your reaction won’t change the minds of anyone who wants to believe it & the narcissist & flying monkeys will claim your reaction is proof that you are what they say you are.

 

If you feel led to write about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, it may not be easy but I can promise you that it will be very rewarding!  I wish you only the best!  xoxo

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Don’t Let Anyone Silence You

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Mother’s Day Is Fast Approaching

The most dreaded day of the year for daughters of narcissistic mothers is upon us.  Mother’s day.  *insert screams of horror here*

 

So what thoughts have been running through your mind?  Let me guess… something like these?

 

  • Where can I find a card that doesn’t make me nauseous by discussing a mother’s constant, unfailing love?  Does anyone sell nice, simple “have a nice day” cards?  (Actually, I’ve found the Dollar Tree stores do, just FYI.)
  • Should I get her flowers &/or a gift?
  • Do I really have to spend time with her?  I just saw her 2 months ago…
  • What fresh hell is she going to put me through this year?  Stories of how miserable she was when pregnant with me, what a terrible child I was or how much I’ve disappointed her?
  • Do I really have to do anything at all?!  I don’t wanna!

 

Take a deep breath, Dear Reader… now exhale.  Try to relax.  You can get through this!

 

Before you opt to do anything, pray for wisdom, strength, & anything else you feel you need.  Once that is done, start thinking logically & calmly about your situation, taking it one step at a time.

 

Do you feel you should get your mother a card?  Yes?  OK, then go shopping for a card.  Look for something very simple that basically says, “I hope you have a nice Mother’s Day”.  Those cards exist!  Or, if you can’t find one, then find a pretty card that’s blank inside & write your own simple message.

 

Do you feel you should get your mother a gift?  If yes, then think about something small you can get her.  There’s no need to go crazy or go into debt getting her something for Mother’s Day, especially when she was a less than stellar mother.  Has she mentioned something she wants recently?  A new purse?  A new casserole dish? A new clock?  Anything?  If so & you can afford it, get it.  Not sure what to get her?  Then how about a gift card from a store she likes?  Cash also works.  Don’t beat yourself up trying to figure out the perfect gift.  It’s not worth the stress or potential debt.

 

Do you feel you should spend time with your mother on Mother’s Day?  If yes, why?  Is it because you want to honor her or because you dread her massive guilt trip &/or smear campaign if you don’t?  Be  brutally honest with yourself on this one.  If it’s simply to honor her, then absolutely do it.  If it’s because you dread the guilt & smear, then do NOT do it!  Giving in to avoid her guilt &/or smear is giving her control.  You know how narcissists are- the more you give into them, the more they expect.  That whole give an inch, take a mile thing.  Another option is a compromise if you aren’t ready not to spend the day with her.  Offer to take her to lunch or dinner on another day.  If you’re a mom, no doubt you want to spend the day with your kid(s), so do it, then take Mom out another day.  She may be mad but tough- it’s perfectly reasonable to put your kids ahead of your mom!  If you don’t have kids, make other plans for that day.  Lunch with a friend.  Pick up an extra shift at work.  Something!  Anything!  You can make it sound like your plans are unchangeable too.  Work really needs you in that day (true- they need you more than she needs to abuse you!).  Your friend is having a tough time lately or this was the only time your friend has available (both of which are entirely possible scenarios).  If your mother starts with her guilt trip, tell her you have to go immediately & will talk to her later.

 

If you’re no contact, that first Mother’s Day can be rough.  Don’t give in to guilt & send her a card or gift!  If you do, your narcissistic mother will see that as you having weak boundaries or you feel guilty for being so “mean” to her.  She also may take it as the end of no contact & before you know it, she’s in your life again.  Don’t let that happen!  Maintain no contact for the sake of your sanity!

 

I know Mother’s Day is a tough day but you can & will get through it.  Really!  You can do this!  xoxo

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Leaning On God, Even With Dealing With Narcissists

Two  years ago yesterday was a big argument with my parents.  The biggest ever.  That’s saying something because there have been some very ugly fights over the years.

I knew something ugly was brewing.  My husband’s mom died 5 days prior, & he’d warned me there was an obituary in the local paper that my parents read religiously.  I knew they would call about it, & I figured it’d be  something like, “she was such a lovely woman” & other nonsense.  My parents knew perfectly well that I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002.  I’d told them that she was cruel to me (a covert narcissist), & they only met her twice.  I didn’t think her death would be of any major concern to them.  Comments praising her supposed sainthood were expected, & that was it.  I did NOT expect the huge blow up it turned into.  In fact, I’d prayed when I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID, asking God to help me behave & not blow up.  That didn’t happen.. I blew.  I blew big time.  When both of my parents made it clear that they were mad at me for not telling them she died so they could go “pay their respects”, I blew.  I felt betrayed by that, & by the fact they didn’t understand why I felt betrayed.  I spelled out my feelings & they didn’t get it.  (I don’t know why I even wasted my breath doing that when I know better.)  I remember each of my parents defending themselves, & I kept saying things like “you know how she treated me”.  They responded the same.. “But that’s Eric’s MOTHER!”  I always responded with, “But I’m YOUR DAUGHTER!”  Nothing.  They said absolutely nothing in return to that, as if that fact was unimportant & the only thing that mattered was that this person was my husband’s mother.

What was odd is after I hung up & was praying, I knew God wanted my parents to see me that angry.  I started out saying I was sorry for how I acted.  I’d yelled at & cussed at my parents!  That was awful & I was so sorry for not letting God lead my behavior.  He said it’s ok- they needed to see their normally calm, reasonable daughter livid because of what they did (I’m still not sure why exactly).  This argument also opened the door for no contact.  I finally felt the time was right after wanting to do it for over a year & knowing in my heart the timing wasn’t right.  My mother gave me the silent treatment anyway for standing up to her, so that was easy.  My father was tougher since he always demanded I talk to him whenever he wanted, no matter what I had going on.

It’s strange the way things worked out for the best in spite of how much that incident hurt me.  Good came from it!  It taught me to trust God more, since He clearly helped me that night to accomplish what needed to be done.  He truly knows best & it’s amazing how He guides you when you let Him.  It also helped me to realize I can stand up for myself, which is something I never felt well equipped to do.

I guess my point in sharing this, Dear Reader, is you really can trust God to enable you to do whatever you need to do, & that includes standing up to narcissist.  I know, that is incredibly difficult to do.  But, it’s also very possible.  Trust Him- He won’t lead you wrong!  He’ll give you the words you need to say as you need them.  He’ll give you strength & courage.  He’ll help you to be quiet when the timing is wrong for standing up to them & help you when the timing is right.  God is truly a loving, caring Father.  He always has your back!  xoxo

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When Narcissists Go Too Far

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Boundaries Are Important, & Not Only With Narcissists

Boundaries are a very important part of life, but perhaps even more so in victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists don’t allow their victims to have any boundaries.  This creates victims who think they aren’t allowed to have boundaries not only with the narcissist, but with everyone.  Lacking healthy boundaries sets a person up to be used & abused.  Even the kindest, most well meaning people can inadvertently take advantage of someone without good boundaries, because the person doesn’t say no.  How can anyone know what they’re asking someone to do is a problem if that someone doesn’t say no?

Boundaries are like the fence that surrounds your yard.  They show you where you end and other people begin, & what is & is not your personal responsibility.  Your emotions, beliefs, desires & behaviors are your responsibility.  Likewise, the emotions, beliefs, desires and behaviors of other people are their responsibility, not yours.  You do not even need to have an opinion on these things.  If they are hurting you or are being self-destructive, however, Ephesians 4:15 says that you may speak the truth to them in love about the issue.

No one can control someone with healthy boundaries.   You will show others that you have confidence & self-respect, & that you love yourself enough to take good care of you.

By learning about boundaries, you will quickly learn what is & is not important to you, therefore you know what you need to confront another person about, & what you can let slide.  You will be more sensitive to the early signs of resentment or anger that let you know that your boundaries are being violated.  It is best to nip things in the bud, rather than to let the problem continue until it is much bigger.

Boundaries also enforce consequences.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Often, many people try to interfere with this natural law to avoid painful consequences, however, doing that often causes bigger problems.  Boundaries allow this reaping to take place because you know that it is not your place to interfere.  People need consequences for their actions, good or bad!  How is someone who does good things for others benefited by never receiving recognition or a reward for their good works?  That person becomes discouraged, potentially even bitter.  Or, what good does it do anyone to say or do anything they want, & never suffering when they cause others to suffer?  This person learns nothing, nor does she have any opportunity to grow and mature or grow closer to God.

When you first begin to set boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish or uppity, or they may ask what happened to the “good girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept & respect your new boundaries with no problems.  Unsafe people will not.  If others cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.  Setting boundaries is a very good way to learn who is safe & who is not.

For your first step in getting started on boundaries, I strongly suggest you spend some time asking yourself these questions, & really think about your answers:

• What things am I no longer willing to tolerate from other people?
• What things do I need from other people?
• What boundaries do I need to set in my own life?
• How can I enforce them in a healthy way?

When setting your new boundaries, be very decisive about them. Wavering in your boundaries can lead to problems, such as others not not respecting your new boundaries.

You also need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries. Some simple phrases that may help you are:

• “I’m not going to do that.”
• “I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
• “You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
• “If you don’t stop talking about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room, etc).”
• “No.”

Enforce your boundaries with consequences when necessary.  Hang up the phone, leave the room, or whatever your consequence is.  If you do not enforce your boundaries, people not only will lose respect for the boundary you are setting, but they will lose respect for you as well.

Remember to respect the boundaries of others too.  You may need to write down what you are & are not responsible for regarding others in your life.  Everyone is entitled to the same things that you are- lack of judgment on their own emotions, beliefs, desires, & actions.  And remember- you are also not responsible for the feelings & well-being of others.  People are also allowed to freely express their emotions.  While you may offer sympathy, it is not your responsibility to make things all better for them.  If you have done wrong by them, however, then it is certainly your place to apologize & try to make it up to them for the pain you caused.

You will need to tailor this information to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time in their lives are, do it anyway!  The benefits of boundaries outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel less burdened & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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Ways Narcissists & Flying Monkeys Try To Hurt Victims After No Contact

Sometimes narcissists & their flying monkeys can be incredibly devious, even after you are no contact with them.  One way they like to mess with their victims  after no contact is initiated is to use very subtle ways to let victims know they can’t stop the narcissist or flying monkey from contacting them.  In fact, they remind me of Glenn Close’s character in the 1987 movie “Fatal Attraction.”  Do you remember the movie?  In it, she had an affair with Michael Douglas who was married to someone else.  He tried to break off the affair & she pretty much went crazy.  She showed up at his & his wife’s apartment in one scene.  He confronted her later at her apartment, & said she had to leave him alone.  She said she wouldn’t be ignored, then, “What am I supposed to do?  You won’t take my calls & you changed your number!”  Seems oddly familiar to me…

 

As I’ve said before, I believe most flying monkeys are also narcissists, so for convenience sake, I’ll refer to them & narcissists as narcissists in this post.

 

Some narcissists send cards for special days like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays even after no contact.  No doubt they hope to ruin your special day.  It also is impossible to avoid receiving things in the mail, so it’s their subtle way to tell you that you can’t ignore them.  If they want to contact you, they can, & you can’t prevent them from doing it.  Sure, you can mark the envelope, “return to sender”, but the fact is even if you do that, they know you’ve seen their mail which will make them quite happy.  In this situation, I save the unopened envelope for documentation in case I need it for any reason.

 

There are also those who reach out to you from phone numbers or other accounts that you haven’t blocked or will create new accounts or get a new number.  This is just one more subtle way for these abusive narcissists to show you that you can’t tell them what to do- if they want to contact you, they will do so.  Block this access as well!  Let them know by your actions that you will NOT respond to them, period.  If they are very persistent, you’ll probably end up feeling like you’re trying to plug holes in a sinking boat.  I’ve been there & can tell you that is an awful feeling.  But, keep plugging the holes!  Don’t give in & talk to them!  Remember, you’re no contact for good reason!

 

When these narcissists are able to get through to you, they may act like nothing is wrong, like you never initiated no contact in the first place.  Their tone will be light & happy.  They may call you “sweetheart” or other nicknames, even if they never used the nickname with you before.  They may off non-apologies such as “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings last time we spoke.  I was just upset.”  Or, they may make excuses for their behavior.  Don’t be fooled!!  Nice nicknames don’t mean they have changed, & neither do lame excuses & non-apologies.  If at all possible, don’t read their messages.  You may want to save them for documentation in case you decide to look into pressing charges against them for harassment, however.

 

Narcissists often like to use the phone as a weapon.  Granted, you can block their number, but they still can use other phones to call you or block their number when calling.  If at all possible, don’t answer your phone unless you have no doubt who is calling you.  You also may wish to stop using voicemail.  I don’t use it at all on my home or cell phone because I don’t even want to hear the voice of a narcissist calling.  Hearing that person’s voice can be triggering & upsetting, & this is an easy way to avoid that.

 

Another typical tactic narcissists use when calling is to let the phone ring & ring.  One flying monkey of my mother’s let my home phone ring for about five minutes straight one evening.  Or, they may call back many times in a short window of time.  Or both.  These tactics can be incredibly frustrating.  I always felt like I wanted to pick up the phone & verbally rip these people apart for this ridiculous behavior.  That also would’ve been the absolute worst possible thing to do.  Instead, let the phone ring & ignore it.  Shut off the ringer if it helps you.  Whatever you do, do NOT take that call!  A person who employs these tactics is basically a bully, trying to force you to do what they want, which is take their call.  If you give in, they will know this tactic works & do it again & again.  They also will see that they have the ability to pressure you into doing what they want, so they will do other things to attempt to force you to do their bidding.

 

Never, ever give narcissists what they want.  The more you deprive them of their precious narcissistic supply, the better your chances they will leave you alone at some point.

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How Untruths Become A Part Of You

One especially devious, creative ways narcissists abuse their victims is cementing facts in their brains.  What I mean is, a narcissist can imply something once, then reinforce what they said by their actions instead of words.  The result is you feel a certain way, & if you say anything to the narcissist, they will say they don’t know what you’re talking about or deny that they ever said anything in the first place.

As one example from my life, I have a terrible time admitting when I don’t feel well, taking time to recover or asking for help.  I feel like I need to be OK at all times so I don’t upset anyone or burden anyone by asking them for help.  I even question myself, wondering if I really have whatever problem I am dealing with at the time, even when my symptoms are glaringly obvious.

Do you have some false belief cemented in your mind too?  If so, you’re not alone!  This sort of thing happens all the time to children of narcissistic parents.  There are some ways to cope.

As always, I recommend praying as the first step.  Ask God for wisdom, to help you heal & anything else you can think of.

When it comes to healing, I firmly believe in getting to the root of the problem.  It’s the most effective way to resolve the problem permanently.  To do this, try to remember the earliest time in your life when you felt a certain way, & then deal with it from there.  To explain it, I’ll tell you what I did.

When considering how hard a time I’ve had admitting I have health problems, I thought back over my life, present to past, during times I was sick or injured.  I remembered many, many times when my mother didn’t believe I had a health problem unless it was something very obvious, like a bad case of the flu.  As a child, she complained when she had to take care of me when I was sick.  When I was only 5 years old, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me.  In trying to get away from her, I slipped & hit my head on the big wooden headboard.  Long story short, the result was a trip to the ER & several stitches in my scalp.  Afterward, my mother took me to the mall & bought me a coloring book & crayons, something she complained about buying for years.  During the experience, my mother didn’t comfort me.  She was upset & I felt completely responsible for that.

These experiences taught me that I shouldn’t burden anyone with my health concerns, I should be “ok” at all times so as not to upset anyone & my problems aren’t important.

To undo this warped thinking, I found it very helpful to look at things very logically, ignoring feelings for the moment.  Here are some things I came up with:

  • Why did my mother take me to the mall after a trip to the hospital?!  I had a head injury!  I should’ve been home, resting quietly.   She could’ve called my father & asked him to pick up the coloring book & crayons on his way home from work, or asked a friend or neighbor to do it.
  • My mother should never have complained to me about how hard that incident was for her or having to take care of me when I was sick.  That is what parents do.  It’s a part of the job.
  • Why has my mother not believed me or blamed me about health issues as an adult?  Since narcissists love projection, it makes me think it’s because she has either exaggerated or even faked her own health problems & thinks other people do the same

I can’t honestly say that I’m 100% ok now.  I can say though, that since thinking about these things, I’ve already gotten better at admitting when I don’t feel well.  I haven’t needed to ask anyone for help yet, but I am certain that will be easier too.  It seems to me that when you face things, they lose much of their power over you.  When you examine them & realize how wrong they were, they lose even more power.

What false beliefs are cemented in your mind?  I would like to encourage you today to face them.  No, it isn’t easy, but it is possible.  The things I mentioned earlier did hurt me when I first thought about them, & made me angry.  However, I’m still glad I did because that enabled me to remove the false beliefs I’ve carried around my entire life & replace them with healthier beliefs.  I firmly believe the same thing can happen to you!

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Things To Be Aware Of After Going No Contact

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Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is a little discussed phenomenon.  It happens when someone continually puts other people’s needs first while ignoring their own, & eventually burns out.  It can happen with caregivers, people in helping professions such as nursing or teachers, & also with adult children of narcissists.

Adult children of narcissists learn early in life to ignore their own needs & put their parents’ needs ahead of their own.   Their parents demand it & doing so means the child has less of a chance of facing a narcissistic rage, so it becomes a means of survival.  Sadly, this sets in place a pattern of behavior that often lasts into adulthood.  A lifetime of ignoring your own needs for the needs of others can take a toll, both physically & mentally.

Some signs of compassion fatigue are as follows:

  • Being irritable.  Anyone who is tired can be irritable.  But, when you are beyond tired, irritability is pretty much a given.  Little things that normally wouldn’t bother you suddenly can seem like a huge crisis.
  • Anxiety is also common.  Being too tired can make a person feel “off.”  When that person is off, anxiety is more likely to happen, especially if the person in question already has issues with anxiety.
  • Lacking motivation.  How can a person be motivated when they are exhausted & sick of doing for everyone else?
  • Trouble with sleeping can happen too.  Have you ever heard the phrase “too tired to sleep”?  It does happen.  You may find yourself unable to sleep when normally you don’t have that problem.  You also may wake up frequently during the night or have unusual dreams or nightmares that disrupt your sleep.
  • Depression is also a common problem.  Some people are very sensitive to others, so when they need our help often, we can get depressed.  We feel badly for them because they can’t do things on their own, or the problems they tell us about make us sad for them.
  • A big red flag to compassion fatigue is feeling numb.  When you hear of someone having a serious problem, you simply feel nothing.  You just don’t care, even if the person with the problem is someone you love dearly.  This numbness can happen when you have cared too much for too long.
  • Headaches can happen as well.  If you never had migraines, they may start.  At the very least, chances are your head may ache on a regular basis even if you never suffered with frequent headaches before

If you can relate to any of these signs, then it’s time for you to take a break.  You need time to reevaluate your situation as well as to relax.

If at all possible, take some time to yourself & pray.  Tell God how you feel, ask Him to show you what to do in your situation & then listen to what He tells you to do.  He may not tell you obviously by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord”.  It may be much more subtle such as you suddenly getting the urge to resume a hobby you once enjoyed or spending time with your closest friend that you haven’t seen in a few months.  Whatever you feel you should do, then do it!  It WILL help you!

Also do things that help you feel nurtured & comforted.  Indulge in herbal teas, buy yourself that new CD you’ve been wanting or snuggle up in a soft blanket & watch Netflix all day.  Little things like that can have a surprisingly positive affect on your emotional state.

Take a break if at all possible & do it frequently.  Everyone needs breaks & there is no shame in it. And, while you take that break, refuse to think at all about what is causing this compassion fatigue.

If you’re a caregiver, arrange for help.  Tell your family you need help a couple of days per week or whatever you need.  If they refuse to help, look into professional in home care.  Contact your local Department Of Aging or Social Services.  They may be able to help you or at least point you in the right direction.  Local churches also may be of some assistance, whether or not you’re a member.  Also, don’t forget the library.  Libraries are truly a wealth of information.  My local library has a lot of very helpful pamphlets right inside the front door, & many of them pertain to caregiving.

Balance is the key to avoiding compassion fatigue.  It may feel strange & hard at first, but you need to set reasonable boundaries.  You have the right to say no sometimes & to set limits on what you do for others.  After all, if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you help others?

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Are You Thinking Of Reconnecting With Someone?

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You Have The Right To Go No Contact!

Although the title of this post may sound like common sense, it may not be to everyone.  Or, you may logically understand that yet still don’t feel you have the right to go no contact with the narcissist in your life.  Narcissists are very good at destroying how you think, even making you feel you have to have that abuser in your life.  (God forbid you think in a healthy way!  You’re so much easier to manipulate if you are dysfunctional!)

 

I just want to remind you today, Dear Reader, that you absolutely have the right to protect yourself.  You have the right to set healthy boundaries & expect them to be respected.  You have the right to enforce consequences when they aren’t respected.  You have the right to expect to be treated with civility & basic respect.  And yes, you have the right to end an abusive relationship.  It doesn’t matter if that abuser is a friend, significant other, sibling or even a parent.  No one has the right to abuse you!  NO ONE!

 

I understand that many people who read my blog are in situations where they are unable to end their abusive relationship for various reasons.  I certainly am not trying to make you feel bad for your position!!  Everyone’s situation is different.  But, of all the reasons to stay in such a relationship, the false belief that one doesn’t have the right to end it should not be one of those reasons!

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For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse & Their Spouses

After years of being in all kinds of relationships with narcissists (family, friendship & romantic), I realize I’m different than your average woman.  This happens to victims of narcissists.  Even once we realize what has happened to us, we’re different because of the experience.  Trauma has a way of changing a person.

Those changes can be for the better, such as when we are able to recognize abusive people quickly & set boundaries with them.  The changes also can be for the worse.  Sometimes dealing with those closest to us, especially our spouses, can be difficult even when it shouldn’t be simply because of our past experiences.  I am hoping this post will help victims & their partners to understand what is happening so they can work through the problems together.

Victims are taught not to have needs & feelings & if they express any, narcissists shame them for having them.  This can make it incredibly difficult to open up to anyone, even someone we love who isn’t a narcissist.  First, a victim feels wrong & ashamed for feeling or needing whatever they do.  Then that person is terrified of being shamed or invalidated for having them.  Even if someone has been nothing but kind to a victim, the victim still can fear that person’s disapproval or rejection.  If your partner is that way, please don’t take it personally.  It isn’t your fault!  It’s a side effect of narcissistic abuse.  Please just be patient.  Listen without offering advice unless you are asked for it.  If you don’t understand something, ask questions without sounding judgmental.

Being overly negative happens sometimes too.  Partner, it’s not your fault!  Healing from narcissistic abuse is a long, arduous, painful journey.  Sometimes it gets to be too much.  It feels like everything is bad, even when it truly isn’t.  It can be very easy for a victim to get mired down in negativity.  Please do NOT tell this person to cheer up, others have it worse or get mad.  That will only add to the negative mindset.  Maybe suggest going out to dinner or to the park- some small gesture to distract the victim could be helpful.  Make your loved one feel loved & safe.  Let her know she can talk to you if she wants to, but doesn’t need to if she doesn’t want to.

Along the lines of being very negative is making small things a big deal.  When you feel overwhelmed in trying to heal, or if you have C-PTSD or PTSD like so many victims of narcissistic abuse, sometimes you feel you can’t handle one more thing.  Then when that one more thing comes along, it’s too much & you blow up.  Even something as simple as misplacing a pen can push you over the edge & you snap at your spouse who had nothing to do with the missing pen.  If this is happening, try suggesting some down time to your spouse.  Suggest lunch out with a good friend, or you both go somewhere you enjoy like the movies.  Even a brief reprieve can be helpful in regaining a better perspective.

Many victims project the image of not needing their partner.  People who grew up with narcissistic parents had to be very self reliant.  It became a way of life.  Even if a victim has shed that behavior, if there is any issue in the victim’s marriage, self preservation kicks in & this behavior comes to the surface.  As the person who sees this behavior, let it be a sign to you that something is wrong in your marriage.  Try to figure it out.  Ask your spouse if everything is OK & be reassuring of your love.

Emotional withdraw is common too.  Suddenly, those little nice things your mate did for you stop or seem to be a burden to do.  Maybe your mate is too tired for sex when that was never an issue before.  This is a sign something is wrong.  Try doing nice gestures like bringing home your partner’s favorite coffee or a new book, CD or DVD.  Little gestures like that can be reassuring & may make your spouse feel more willing to open up to you.

Being married to someone who has survived narcissistic abuse can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.  A little love, compassion & understanding can go a long way.

 

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Signs Of Unhealthy Behavior In INFJs

Since  I first learned about the Myers Briggs personality test a few years ago, I’ve become fascinated with it, in particular my type (INFJ)  & my husband’s (INTJ).  It’s been very helpful in getting to know us both better.

Recently I learned about some of the signs of an unhealthy INFJ.  I realized I have too many of these qualities!  Since I know some of you who read my work are also INFJs, I thought you might want to learn this information too so you can work on getting healthier like I am.

Unhealthy INFJs excuse toxic behavior.  “He didn’t mean it- he was just tired.”  “She really cares, but isn’t necessarily good with words.”   Sound familiar?  I’ve noticed that I do this mostly when I’m under a great deal of stress.  I think it’s a coping skill- there is so much to deal with, I can’t cope with dealing with one more toxic person, so I excuse the behavior.  Since INFJs can be logical, not only emotional, it’s a good idea to look at  situations logically.  It helps you to see toxicity when it’s there.

Being over the top perfectionistic.  It’s a good thing to do things to the best of your ability.  But, being too much of a perfectionist can steal your joy.  It’s OK to make mistakes sometimes!  Everyone does.  Don’t let your self-esteem be too tied to what you do.  You are more than your accomplishments!

Always putting others’ needs ahead of yours.  It’s great to be selfless, but when other people come before you & your needs constantly, that is unhealthy!  It can lead to resentment, anger & burn out.  It’s ok to say no!  Your needs are just as valid as anyone else’s- treat them accordingly.  Remember to set & enforce healthy boundaries.

Walls are firmly built.  While it’s just smart to protect yourself, an unhealthy INFJ can build walls around themselves that are impossible for anyone to penetrate, even those close to us.  This can happen when we don’t resolve an issue.  An argument with my husband, even a minor one, that wasn’t resolved well can result in me building concrete walls around myself until it is resolved.  Walls also can happen when an INFJ is especially anxious or overworked.  Learn to recognize those walls, & why they’re in place, then deal with what made you build them.

Feeling responsible for everyone else’s feelings.  As INFJs, naturally we want to see other’s happy.  We want to cheer up our best friend when she’s sad or our husband after a bad day at work.  This is a wonderful trait, but when taken to the extreme, it is also extremely unhealthy.  Caring so much for others leaves no room to care for one’s self.  Remember that everyone is responsible for their own feelings.  It isn’t your job to take care of everyone’s emotional needs.

INFJs can be too passive.  Most INFJs are pretty laid back, content with letting others have their way most of the time.  While this isn’t a bad thing, when taken to the extreme, it can lead to the INFJ being taken advantage of.  Remember that it’s OK to ask people for things & to have your own way sometimes.

 

While learning you behave in these unhealthy ways can be discouraging, please don’t be discouraged.  The healthier you become & the more you heal emotionally, the more your behavior will change naturally.  You may not even work on these behaviors specifically, but one day realize you are no longer that way.

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Aging & Narcissists

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Encouragement For The “Weak”

This post is for those of you in the position of being unwilling or unable to go no contact with a narcissist.

Almost every bit of information available for those in a relationship with a narcissist basically say the same thing- “just go no contact.”  The tone of some articles & even some fellow survivors who say the same thing can be downright shaming, as if being unable or unwilling to go no contact means something is very wrong with you or you’re weak.

While it’s certainly true that no contact is almost always the best way to deal with a narcissist, that doesn’t make it an easy solution.  Whoever the narcissist is in your life & no matter how badly that person treats you, it still hurts to end a relationship.  The closer the relationship the more it hurts, too, such as ending a relationship with your parent hurts a thousand times more than ending it with someone with whom you have gone on only a couple of dates.  Due to the nature of narcissists, they usually abuse those closest to them.   This is probably why the most abusive relationships with a narcissist are the closest relationships, such as parents & spouses, & those relationships are very hard to end.

Abusive or not, it still hurts to end a relationship with someone so close to you.  Not wanting to end that relationship doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or you’re weak.  It means you’re normal!

Even if you want to go no contact, it often takes time to work up the inner strength to be able to do it.  Narcissists beat their victims down so badly, they can obliterate their self esteem.  Once you learn what is happening, it takes time to repair your self esteem & to build up enough strength to go no contact.  Or, maybe you know somehow that the timing isn’t right somehow for no contact.. that happened to me with my parents.  I wanted to go no contact with them for well over a year before I felt God was saying it was time.  There is also the common situation of a victim who lives with a narcissist being financially dependent on that narcissist.   It takes time to be able to save enough money to move out, to find a job & a place to live.  None of these situations make a person weak or flawed.  It simply means they’re in difficult situations.

There are also some folks whose narcissist is pretty low on the spectrum.  Yes, that person causes problems but they aren’t over the top in their behavior.  Some people would prefer to learn ways to deal with them than end those relationships.   That is their right to make that choice

For those of you in those situations, I want to encourage you today.

I know it’s terribly hard being in a relationship with a narcissist in any capacity.  Until such time as you are ready & willing to go no contact, there are some things you can do to make your life a little easier.

As always, I recommend praying.  Ask God to show you creative & effective ways to cope with the narcissist as well as to help you to go no contact if that is your desired result.

Always remember- narcissists are all about gaining narcissistic supply to prop up their egos.  It’s their primary motivation for everything they do.  Any attention or reaction you give them, good or bad, provides that supply.  Be as boring to the narcissist as possible.  Show them no anger, sadness or even joy.  Be calm & cool in the presence of the narcissist.  Offer simple answers without explanations.  Provide no personal information.  This is known as the Gray Rock method.  Basically, you become as boring to the narcissist as a plain gray rock.

Don’t forget to question things the narcissist says.  They are masters of gaslighting & manipulation, so basically almost everything they say can be a lie.  Ask yourself if what is being said is true or not.  You also can question the narcissist, but if you do so, do it calmly in your gray rock way.  “Oh?  Why do you think that?”  “Explain to me how that makes sense.. I don’t follow you.”  Logical, calmly asked questions like that can throw a narcissist off kilter.  It lets her know that you’re onto her games & won’t be manipulated.

Keep & enforce healthy boundaries.  You have the right to tell the narcissist no & to expect to be treated with respect.  You also don’t need to explain your boundaries.  Or, if you feel you absolutely must, remember to stay gray rock U keep explanations minimal.

Also remember that whatever they are doing isn’t about you.  It’s about them.  Yes, that person is hurting & abusing you, but it’s because it makes her feel better.  You have done nothing to deserve it & nothing that person says about you is true.  Narcissists project their own flaws onto their victims.  It doesn’t mean you actually are whatever the narcissist says you are.

If you are hoping to go no contact in the future, low contact may be an excellent option for you.  It’s as the name describes- you are in low contact with the narcissist.  You don’t take phone calls or visit as often, but only when you feel able.  Low contact can be a really good stepping stone to no contact.

While there are no easy solutions for dealing with narcissists, these tactics can help you.  And, don’t forget- there isn’t anything wrong with you for being unable or unwilling to go no contact.  It’s a big decision, & every person has to do it only when they feel equipped to do so.

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Another Weapon In The Narcissistic Arsenal

One weapon narcissists use is to tell their victims “I know you better than you know yourself.”  While it may sound rather innocuous, that phrase, especially when said by a parent to a child, can be devastating to the self esteem.

My mother said this to me my entire childhood.  I ended up feeling like I was stupid (how can a person not know themselves after all?!) & like I had to look to her to know what I liked & didn’t like, my opinions on things, what I should & shouldn’t do.  I was so insecure, & partly because of that stupid phrase!  Even now, in my mid 40’s, I have issues sometimes with figuring out what I really like & don’t like.

Have you heard this insidious phrase from your narcissistic parent too?  If so, you’re not alone!

The key to letting go of the insecurity caused by hearing this phrase is to pay attention to yourself.  Get to know you.  The real you, the person God made you to be & not the person your narcissistic parent tried to make you into.  Notice how you truly feel about everything.

Chances are, when you first start to do this, you’ll feel some guilt, like you’re going against your narcissistic parent’s wishes.  That is normal.  Just remind yourself that you are allowed to be an individual.  God created you to be an individual.  You were made to be you, not some cheap imitation of you & certainly not some lump of clay molded by a narcissistic parent only concerned with their wishes.

As you begin to know yourself, your narcissistic parent will disapprove.  Don’t let that disapproval discourage you. The disapproval doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person at all!  It means the narcissist is disappointed in you for not continuing to allow her to control you.  If your narcissistic parent attempts to make you feel bad, wrong, guilty or ashamed because you’ve changed, pretend you don’t notice.  Ignore the comments!  You do what is best for you, NOT the narcissist!

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Flying Monkeys

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What Happens When You Go No Contact Before The Narcissist Can Discard You

Narcissists, as we all know, are all about procuring narcissistic supply.  Anything or anyone that props up their self-esteem is a good thing.  Naturally this also means that anything or anyone that damages their self-esteem is a foul, evil thing deserving of the most intense hatred imaginable due to the narcissistic injury it caused.

 

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is possibly the most grievous of narcissistic injuries.  Even when a person isn’t a narcissist, it hurts when someone ends the relationship they had with you.  You grieve & move on in time.  Not so with narcissists.  There is nothing normal about them, especially when it comes to someone ending a relationship with them.

 

Narcissists see this as the person being ungrateful, selfish, wrong, stupid & more.  They don’t see that their actions forced the person to sever ties with them- they only see that you were unreasonable & cruel to them, & should be punished.

 

Many awful things can take place once a victim leaves a narcissist.  You need to be prepared for these likely scenarios.

 

Being fake.  Don’t fall for the good guy/girl act- the narcissist is only being nice in an attempt to lure you back into relationship.  If you go back, the niceness won’t last long.  That apology?  Was it really sincere or  a fake apology?  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  “I’m sorry for whatever you think I did.”  “I’m sorry I did that but you made me act that way when you…” are not real apologies!  Genuine apologies show the person accepts responsibility for their actions.  They show the person apologizing is remorseful & wants to make it up to you if possible.  They don’t make excuses.

 

Harassment or stalking.  Narcissists love to stalk & harass.  They may drive past your home constantly, show up at places you frequent, or bully you online or through texts.  Even if you block their email or cell phone number, they often find ways around your boundaries just to prove they’re in control.  I was harassed by a narcissist for several years.  Early on, I blocked her home IP address from accessing my website, & she used another computer to copy an article on there I wrote about forgiveness & email it to me.  Talk about unsettling!  It showed me how determined this person was to let me know she would do whatever she wanted, no matter what I wanted or didn’t want.

 

Unfortunately in most states, laws haven’t caught up to cyberstalking, so your legal recourse may be limited.  Even with stalking in real life, it can be hard to prove sometimes.  Whether you can get the law involved or not, document EVERYTHING.  It’s always good to have that documentation in case you need it to prove a pattern of behavior.  Save texts, emails or screen shots in a safe place, like an online storage cloud.  Computers & cell phones die, & you don’t want all your documentation to be lost.

 

Smear campaign.  Always a favorite tool of narcissists, is the smear campaign.  You doing so means they may be exposed for the evil monster that they are, so they need to do something to prevent that from happening.  If they can convince other people that you are mentally unbalanced, a drug addict, or vengeful, the chances of people believing them over you are much greater.  Especially so if things are said in the guise of concern.  “I worry about her.. she does some pretty heavy drugs yanno…”

 

There really isn’t anything to do about a smear campaign.  If you defend yourself, chances are the person you’re speaking with will think that is proof that the narcissist is right.  You really are crazy, on drugs, etc.  The best thing you can do is allow your character to show.  You go on being the good person you are.  Those who believe the narcissist really aren’t your friends anyway.  True friends don’t blindly believe bad things about their friends no matter who says them.

 

Flying monkeys/triangulation.  Another favorite tool of narcissists is getting other people to do their dirty work for them.  This provides a potential for a double dose of narcissistic supply.  Getting someone to do as the narcissist commands is always good, but getting them to get someone else to do the narcissist’s will?  Amazing!

 

Resist the attempts to manipulate you back into relationship with the narcissist.  Refuse to discuss the narcissist with this person.  Change the subject when they discuss this person, repeatedly & even rudely if need be.  You may find out this person is extremely devoted to the narcissist, & you need to end that relationship as well.  Unfortunately, it happens often.

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Are You Considering Reconnecting With Someone With Whom You Went No Contact ?

Anyone who has made the decision to go no contact has no doubt thought about resuming that relationship at some point.  This is especially common when a person ends a familial relationship.

 

I really think this is because God made people to need relationships, in particular those with our families.  Ending a familial relationship is abnormal, no matter how valid the reasons.  It goes against nature so it’s very painful to do & also to live with.  As a result, it’s only natural to reconsider the decision to go no contact with family.  When parents are involved, that decision is doubted even more often.

 

If you’re reconsidering your decision to go no contact, first of all, please know you aren’t abnormal, a glutton for punishment or anything else bad you may be feeling right now.  You’re normal.  In spite of the tremendous amount of prayer & consideration that goes into going no contact, I seriously don’t think there is one person who doesn’t have doubts about it at some point.  I certainly haven’t talked with anyone who hasn’t doubted their choice.  I can honestly say every single person has, including myself.

 

If you end a relationship with a family member, chances are slim that person will be out of your life entirely.  You may see each other at family parties, reunions, weddings & even funerals.  Even if you haven’t spoken to each other in a long time, you still share relatives & they will mention that person at some point.  They may mention what is new in that person’s life or that they saw that person recently.  If that person develops health problems, you are guaranteed to hear all about it, whether you want to or not.

 

When you see that person after a long time or when a mutual friend or relative mentions that person is having health problems, those are likely times for you to consider reconnecting.  Before you do that, please pray & think long & hard before you do anything.

 

When you pray about it, listen to what God has to say.  He probably won’t give direct orders by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord….”  Instead, you may feel a “knowing” about what you need to do.  Listen to that!  I firmly believe those “knowings” are from God.

 

Think long & hard about what this person you’re considering reconnecting with is doing.  When your mutual friend or relative talks about that person, do you see old familiar patterns in that person’s behavior?  Is that person still controlling?  Critical?  Abusive?  If so, reconnecting is a terrible idea!

 

Another thing to watch for- if that person has told someone to tell you that they are sorry, do that person’s actions back up the words?  Has the person accepted responsibility for their abusive actions?  Did she mention specific acts that she was apologizing for or did she say non apologies like “I’m sorry you feel I was mean to you” or “I’m sorry for whatever it is you think I did wrong”?  Non apologies are NOT real apologies!  They are said to lure you back into the relationship thinking all is OK now.

 

Also watch the person’s behavior.  Does that person respect the fact you wish to stay no contact or try to contact you even years later?  Safe people don’t like when someone ends a relationship with them, but they at least respect that person’s decision.  They don’t inundate them with phone calls, texts, emails, posts on social media, etc.  They stay out of the life of the person who ended contact with them.  Unsafe people are much different.  If they don’t want to end a relationship, they will fight hard not to let it end.  They often harass, stalk, & bully.  My mother & I stopped speaking to each other in 2016, & all was fine.. until my father was dying in October, 2017.  Suddenly she called & sent me notes in the mail often & the flying monkeys attacked me constantly.  Two months to the day after he died, & also two days before Christmas, I received a letter from her lawyer in the mail trying to force me to talk to her.  This behavior shows me that nothing has changed with her.  She still believes what she wants is what matters.

 

So Dear Reader, if you are considering ending no contact with someone, then please consider what I said.  Pay attention to what you hear & observe about the person before allowing that person back into your life.  And most of all pray!  God will NOT lead you wrong!

 

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My Newest Book Is Available!

I have just published my newest book, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies.”  As the title suggests, the book is about when a narcissistic parent dies- what the adult child can expect to experience & feel, ways to cope, flying monkey attacks, & things to think about such as should you be involved in caregiving, should you say good bye or attend the funeral.

 

It’s available in print & ebook form at the following link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

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Life With High Functioning C-PTSD

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