Category Archives: Mental Health

Helpful advice and information on mental health issues.

Being The Family Scapegoat

Being the scapegoat in a narcissistic family is an incredibly difficult & painful role. 

Naturally it starts with the abuse from a narcissistic parent, usually an overt one.  This parent is quick with a cruel word, invalidation, mocking or even fury.  This parent may even say they treat their child as they do out of love or they blame their child for making them treat the child as they do.

The other parent is often a covert narcissist.  Compared to the raging, screaming & berating of the overt narcissistic parent, the covert narcissistic parent seems safe & possibly even loving.  Eventually though, that mask slips.  It usually happens as the child is growing up & starting to want some independence.  Covert narcissistic parents also often confide in their children about very inappropriate topics, such as their marital problems.  Overts do this too, but coverts seem to do it more often.  That parent may tell that child that they need protection from the overt narcissistic parent rather than protecting their child, as a functional parent would do. 

Eventually, this child realizes something is wrong with their parents’ behavior.  Maybe they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or maybe not yet.  Either way, the child starts to set boundaries with their parents for the first time in their life.  This is where the real trouble often begins.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the abuse from their narcissistic parents, they suddenly are faced with even more horrors.  Many reach out to other family members for help, & rather than get the help they need, are shunned, mocked, called awful names like liars, spoiled brats, drama queens or kings, ungrateful & more.  Those who the child expects to help & support them often end up betraying that child & adding more pain.

When narcissistic parents find out their child has revealed the kind of parent they are, they usually release some sort of smear campaign.  Some insult their child, others accuse their child of being mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  Some opt to do the same but from a position of looking concerned.  They may say things like, “I’m worried about her.  She hasn’t been the same since she started hanging around with that guy.  I think he’s making her say these things about me, or maybe she’s on drugs!”  This is even worse, because it makes the child look bad while making the parent appear loving & concerned.  Either way, this child loses loved ones & feels completely alone.

The life of a scapegoat is incredibly hard!  Yet even so, there is hope!

After surviving such horrors, a person develops the ability to handle stress well.  Compared to narcissistic abuse, most crises seem pretty tame. 

After losing friends & family who believe a narcissistic parent’s lies, a person becomes very independent & self-reliant.  In this situation when you are left alone, you can learn you have skills & abilities that you never realized you had.

Losing people in one’s life often makes people turn to God, & that is never a bad thing!  That is the one relationship that will never disappoint or hurt you.  He also can help you to heal from all the damage done by the abusive people in your life.  And, as an added bonus, He can guide the right people into your life.    

If you’re the scapegoat in your narcissistic family, if you recently have been abandoned by foolish people who chose to side with your parents rather than help or support you, then please know it will get better!  You will find new, good, loving people who would never treat you as badly as your family has & who will love you unconditionally.  You will survive this pain & heal.  One day you will look back at all that has happened in your role as your family’s scapegoat & be shocked at how much happier & healthier you are without these people in your life.

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

Doing Something New

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to abandon making YouTube videos in favor of podcasts since they are much easier for me to make. And thankfully, they have been well received!

Because they have been doing well, I decided to expand where they can be accessed. My podcasts now be found on many platforms. Those links are below. I hope you will check them out!

So far, I’m still figuring this all out as I go. Not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment, so please just bear with me! Plus, writing is my top priority & has been since God told me many years ago it was my purpose. This means podcasts aren’t going to get as much of my attention. I don’t have any particular schedule with them, so I won’t release new ones faithfully every day, week or even month. I release them a few at a time periodically. I have been pretty lazy about doing this over the last year or so, & I apologize for that. It’s changing, I promise! I just had so much happening in my life in the recent past, my work has fallen too far behind.

So anyway, here is the list of where my podcasts can be found. I hope you find a platform that you like, & will listen to them. Thank you as always for reading & supporting my work! I hope it blesses you as much as you bless me!

Amazon Music:

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

Anchor By Spotify:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

Apple Podcasts:

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

Castbox:

https://castbox.fm/channel/id3103069?utm_source=podcaster&utm_medium=dlink&utm_campaign=c_3103069&utm_content=Cynthia%20Bailey-Rug-CastBox_FM

Google Podcasts:

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

Overcast:

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

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

RadioPublic:

https://radiopublic.com/cynthia-baileyrug-6BonBp

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5aY76eAGa3xOfVMimiQMai

Stitcher:

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

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

The Value Of Detoxing From Emotionally Incestuous (Enmeshed) Family

When someone grows up in an enmeshed, emotionally incestuous family, they naturally have many issues stemming from this.  One of those many issues is that they need time away from their toxic family to detox.

One example of this that comes to mind is a good friend of mine.  Around me, he’s usually kind, caring, fun loving & laid back.  I always can tell when he has dealt with his toxic immediate family in the recent past however, because that great guy disappears.  The person who replaces him is impatient, irritable, & quick to judge & criticize.  In other words, nothing like who he usually is.  It takes some time away from them for the hard to deal with person to go away & the good guy he usually is to come back.  I’ve started referring to this as his detox.

Sadly, this need to detox after being around an emotionally incestuous family is normal for the adult who grew up in this situation.  Also sadly, it makes sense if you think about it.

Someone who doesn’t understand the extreme toxicity that is emotional incest wants to fit in with their family, even if they hate the dynamic.  They will behave however they need to in order to fit in.  On some level however, they know this isn’t normal so they are dealing with cognitive dissonance.  In other words, they grew up thinking this is normal & anything that threatens that belief makes them extremely uncomfortable & confused.  Time away from their toxic family is their detox, & it relieves them of that uncomfortable feeling, at least until the next time they deal with their family.

Even if someone is aware of what is happening & just how dysfunctional their family is, being around such people can bring old habits back to the surface disturbingly easily.  It’s a lot like drug addicts.  They can stay clean much easier when they avoid people who are still addicts & are around people who don’t do drugs.  Getting around those who are still actively addicted makes it very hard for them to stay on their healthier path.  When they backslide, they may get clean again but they are NOT going to be happy with themselves for backsliding.  The same goes for those with emotionally incestuous families.  If a person has worked hard to get healthier, then slides back into old habits, they are going to be pretty upset with themselves when they recognize their bad behavior.  They need time away from their family so they can detox to get back on the right path.

Another problem is the emotionally incestuous family encourages the dysfunctional behavior.  They reward bad behavior, throwing some breadcrumbs of affection or praise to their family members who follow the rules of the family & don’t try to make any healthy changes.  No matter how much someone may want to break free of this to live in a healthier way, the pressure to “behave” & get those crumbs of affection can be very great, which also can account for the need to detox after leaving.  Distance from these highly dysfunctional people helps them to recognize what is happening, & to get back on the right path.

Emotionally incestuous family members also despise anyone who doesn’t enable & encourage their toxic behavior.  They will talk badly about anyone who encourages someone in the emotionally incestuous family to distance themselves from the toxicity.  If someone in such a family has a friend or spouse that speaks against this behavior, the family is not going to tolerate this quietly.  They will tell everyone just how awful that person is, how they’re trying to tear apart the family or even steal their family member away from the family.  If someone hears this enough from their family, they may believe it in time, & return to the dysfunctional fold.  Time away from them, time to detox from the dysfunction, can clear their head.

If your family is emotionally incestuous, then please, do yourself a huge favor & take the time to detox from them as frequently as you can!  It will be good for your mental health!  Or, if someone you know is in such a situation, encourage them to do the same.  Be willing to listen to them without judgment & speak the truth to them about what their family is really like (gently of course!). 

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

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!

My ebooks can be found at the link below…

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

If you prefer print books, you can get 15% off of them by adding code HUSTLE15 at checkout. This sale ends July 1, 2022. My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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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

Labeling Victims Of Abuse As Survivors Can Be A Mistake

Many people, even those who have survived narcissistic abuse, look down on anyone who uses the term “victim.”  It seems to offend some people who survived narcissistic abuse to be referred to as a victim, because they prefer to be called a survivor.  Others who haven’t survived narcissistic abuse but still find the term victim offensive seem to look down on anyone who considers herself or himself to be a victim.  They obviously associate the term victim with someone who is weak &/or foolish, as if only weak & foolish people can be abused.  They also seem to think victims are those who wallow in the pain of their trauma, & never move on.  They have PTSD or C-PTSD because they won’t just stop thinking about the trauma.  If they’d just stop thinking about it, they’d be fine!

Whatever the motive, many times victims are pushed & even shamed into referring to themselves as survivors & never victims.  This can be a problem for victims!

There is absolutely no shame in falling prey to an abusive person.  Narcissists are notorious for being phenomenal actors.  They can fool anyone no matter how smart or even how much a person may know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you know, naturally the quicker you can catch onto their behavior, but even so, there is a chance you can be fooled briefly.  I have been & I’ve been studying narcissism since 2011!  Anyway there is truly no shame in being abused.  The only shame in any abusive relationship belongs to the abusive person, never their victim.

Also, putting the survivor label on people can make them feel pressured to heal quickly or even get over the abuse entirely (which is unlikely).  Rushing healing never works out well.  Healing has to be done at its own pace & that pace varies greatly from person to person.  Not to mention, most of the time, it’s a life long process.  Very few people completely “get over” abuse, especially when there is a history of it such as growing up with abusive parents then dating or marrying abusive partners.

I think a lot of times people put the survivor label on victims to make themselves more comfortable.  Maybe it makes them feel that since the person survived, the abuse wasn’t that bad.  If it was someone they knew, this can help them feel better about themselves if they did nothing to help the victim.  Or, maybe it is spoken out of simple ignorance.  They intend to be empowering & comforting yet are unsure how to do it. 

As for those who have been abused, I really believe it should be each person’s preference which label they use, so long as each person accepts the fact that they were victims of an abuser & have no shame for that.  Removing yourself from the abuse by calling yourself a survivor can be empowering to some people, & that is wonderful.  Whatever helps is a good thing! 

For myself, I stick with using the term victim.  I don’t want to sound like I’m looking for pity or attention, because truly that’s not the case.  Instead, by using that term, I’m reminding myself that what happened to me wasn’t my fault.  I was innocent & did nothing to deserve the abuse.  This helps me because my abusers blamed me for their bad behavior.  Even years after, I have moments of slipping back into wondering what I did wrong to make them treat me the way they did.  Thankfully, those moments don’t last long, but they do happen.  Referring to myself as a victim is a little reminder every time I say or write it that what they did to me was their fault, not mine.

However you choose to refer to yourself is up to you.  But please, whether you prefer the term victim or survivor, let it be your choice.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into referring to yourself in a way that you don’t feel comfortable with.

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Reminders For Those Who Have Experienced Trauma

Many of us who have experienced trauma have been very deeply affected by it.  We not only develop mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD, but we also develop some very skewed beliefs.  In this post, I’d like to address some of them & hopefully help you to realize a healthier way to think.

It’s ok to have bad days!  Mental illness is no joke.  It’s incredibly difficult to live with & very serious!  Not all days are going to be days where you can cope well & manage your symptoms.  Some days, you’re going to want to cry all day long, have panic attacks, wake up exhausted from having several nightmares in a row & barely be able to function.  Some days you won’t function at all.  These scenarios, horrible as they are, are also normal.  It doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy!  It doesn’t mean you have no faith in God or are a phony Christian either!  It means you are struggling with a mental illness.

You’re not a burden, even on your worst days.  I don’t care if all you could do was get out of bed long enough to make a sandwich today, that doesn’t make you a burden.  Would you consider someone a burden that is suffering from cancer & could do virtually nothing?  No?  Then why would you be a burden when you have days you can barely function?

You’re ok.  It seems all of us with mental illness have experienced the same thing- someone thinking we’re weak or attention seeking.  After all, they went through trauma & are fine! (Or so they say..).   It can make you feel as if something is wrong with you for developing the mental illness, but nothing could be further from the truth!  Every situation is different & every person in every situation is different.  There is no indicator who will or won’t develop ongoing mental illness as a result of their trauma.  Those of us who do however, aren’t “less than” those who don’t.  We’re simply different, & different does NOT equal bad!

Nothing that happened was your fault.  Narcissists do love to blame their victims, don’t they?  “You made me do it” is a common gaslighting phrase.  As if that isn’t bad enough, their flying monkeys reinforce this by saying stupid things like, “You should’ve just stayed out of his way when he was in a bad mood.”  “What did you do to make her so angry?”  While such behaviors can make it easy to believe the trauma was your fault, it truly wasn’t.  The only fault in the situation is that of the narcissist for choosing to be abusive!

It’s ok to talk about the trauma.  Narcissists love secrecy & depend on their victims never discussing the abuse.  Talking about it may feel impossible or as if you’re betraying the narcissist somehow.  I get it!  Truly!  Until my parents were gone, I was terrified they’d somehow find out what I wrote about even though I knew it was highly unlikely.  I also felt guilty for betraying them by “outing” them, so to speak by discussing the things they did to me.  The truth though is that I was wrong to feel that way.  When people abuse you, it’s not your job to stay quiet.  You have every right to divulge what they have done to you to whoever you wish.  It’s your life too, not just theirs.  If you want to discuss your situation either with a close friend or therapist or even write books as I have, that is your right!

Your feelings are valid.  I know, narcissists will say otherwise but truly, your feelings are valid!  You are entitled to them!

You owe no one an explanation.  Your life is just that.  Yours.  You owe no one any explanation for how you choose to live it, how you choose to heal, who you choose to have in your life or who you choose to eliminate from it.  What you do is up to you.  So long as you aren’t deliberately hurting others, what business is it of anyone’s how you live your life?

Please remember these points, Dear Reader.  You deserve to take care of yourself, to love yourself, to be treated well & to be respected! xoxo

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One Way To Handle Narcissists

Talking to narcissists is incredibly frustrating at best.  They think they know best on every topic, & aren’t open to hearing other people’s views.  Even more frustrating is when they are abusive, because when confronted on that behavior, narcissists turn things around to where the victim is to blame, over sensitive or overreacting.  They may even deny the incident happened altogether.  So often it’s easier to avoid confrontation & provide no reaction whatsoever, thus depriving the narcissist of their coveted narcissistic supply. 

There is one other way to handle abusive behavior by narcissists I have discovered in my personal experience that can work pretty well.  And, I’ve learned it’s also Biblical! 

When a narcissist says or does something abusive, rather than react, responding is always best.  Reactions are immediate & without thought, which means they can be overly emotional.  Seeing victims overly emotional feeds narcissists, so it’s best to deprive them of that.  Instead, take a moment to inhale deeply & exhale.  This short task helps to calm both the mind & the body, which will help you to formulate a good response.  The best response in these situations I have found is one that is completely logical & void of emotions while asking questions.

As an example, let’s say a narcissist tells their victim they’re stupid.  Rather than the victim reacting & making a bad situation worse, a victim would do best by staying calm & asking logical questions.  “You say I’m stupid?  I don’t understand why you think that let alone say it.  I have a degree in engineering.  You know that.  I just don’t understand why you think that, let alone think it’s an acceptable to say.  Why do you think these things?”  Another example could be something my ex husband used to say often, as many narcissists do.  A narcissist tells their victim they are the only person in the world who would be upset by the narcissist’s behavior.  A great way to respond would be, “Really?  So you’ve really talked to every other person?  I had no idea!  Thanks for telling me!  I guess I should change my beliefs then so I’m not the only person in the entire world who believes this way, shouldn’t I?” 

Responses like this show the narcissist that you recognize what he or she said is foolish, but without calling the narcissist a fool.  It also shows them that you are on to what they are doing, whether that is trying to manipulate you or tear you down.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, & as I said, it’s even Biblical.  Proverbs 26:5 in the Good News Translation says “Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he’s not as smart as he thinks.”

As long as you stay calm & logical in the situation, without showing any sign of anger or hurt, the narcissist may get angry about what you say, but they also know they can only get so angry without looking completely foolish.  Since they are so focused on appearances, they want to avoid looking foolish at all costs, even if no one is around but you. 

As an added bonus, responses like this do make them back off in this one particular area.  I’ve seen it happen first hand.  I used this tactic with my mother several times.  A close friend of mine mentioned using it with narcissists she knew as well, also with excellent results.

The next time you’re in a challenging situation with a narcissist, try this!  I think you’ll be quite pleased with the results too.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

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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One Thing Many Narcissists Do After No Contact

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is never easy for many reasons.  One of those reasons is how they often behave after the relationship is over.

Most people are aware of some of what to expect after going no contact with a narcissist.  They know about smear campaigns, harassment & stalking.  What not everyone realizes though is there is more to what narcissists often do in these situations.  Sometimes, narcissists simply vanish only to reappear at a later time in their victims’ lives.  And often, they do this repeatedly.

This may not sound so bad at first but it is bad.  Imagine the following scenario:

You think this awful person is out of your life once & for all.  You finally are free of the constant abuse, the gaslighting, the isolation from your friends & family!  For the first time in a long time, or maybe even the first time ever, you can live the life you want to live without the constant degradation & control.  You are FREE! 

A few months into your new life, you’re settling in & starting to relax & enjoy this newfound freedom.  You’re healing from the damage & forming healthy relationships. Then suddenly, you receive a text from the narcissist.  Then another & another.  Before you know it, your social media message inbox fills up, as does your voicemail & email.  These messages may not even be only from the narcissist, but the devoted flying monkeys who foolishly think they have the right to tell you that you need to contact the narcissist or resume the relationship.  Your new feelings of peace & relaxation are being replaced quickly by intense anxiety, even if you don’t read or listen to the messages.  You quickly block all means of contact, & the messages & calls naturally stop.  Again, you think this is the end.  And maybe it is, but just for a while.  Then several months or even years later, the narcissist & flying monkeys start harassing you again & the intense anxiety returns.

This scenario is more common than you might think, & it happens all the time with narcissists.

If this happens to you, don’t think it’s because the narcissist loves & misses you.  That isn’t the case because no matter how wonderful you may be, narcissists don’t feel normal emotions.  The narcissist isn’t missing you at all.  At best, he or she is missing the narcissistic supply you used to provide.  As sad as that is, that is usually the best case scenario in these situations.  Usually their motives are much worse.

Popping in their victim’s life after a long absence is one way narcissists continue to abuse their victims.  They know their victim wants nothing to do with them, which is why they severed ties.  By making random appearances, this keeps the victim mentally off balance.  It creates terrible fear, because it makes victims wonder what is next & will this person ever stop?  It also makes them wonder what exactly is this person capable of doing, & what is he or she up to?

Adding insult to injury is the fact that most narcissists tell their flying monkeys that they miss the victim so terribly, they’re miserable without that person & other lies.  This often motivates flying monkeys to do whatever it takes to victims to attempt to force them to reenter the relationship with the narcissist.

If you’re in this situation, my heart goes out to you.  I’ve been there & know just how horrible it is.  The best things I can tell you are to ask God for wisdom in handling this situation, block every means of access they have to you, & document EVERYTHING.  Laws regarding stalking & harassment are constantly changing, so your documentation may prove valuable.  At the very least, it can provide evidence of bad behavior leading up to when they finally do break the law, & that can help you with law enforcement.

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

People Who Don’t Have Any Friends & Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have a habit that I believe is shared by others who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  I gravitate to those who don’t have any friends.  Not that this is always a bad thing, but it can be.  Sometimes these people are detrimental to your mental health.

People who don’t have friends may be in this position for valid reasons.  They may be extremely introverted, preferring very little socialization since it drains them quickly.  Maybe they just recently moved to the area & haven’t had time to meet new people.  Or maybe they recently escaped an abusive relationship, & while in it, their abuser isolated them from friends & family.  Once away from that person, they may not feel ready to trust new people in any capacity just yet.  There are plenty of valid reasons like this a person has for not having friends.  These people are not the ones I am referring to in this post.

The people I’m referring to are the ones who have no friends for years on end.  They may discuss former friends, & always in a negative light.  Those friends weren’t there for them when they went through hard times, they wouldn’t help them financially or in other ways or they say their friends just stopped speaking to them without any reason or warning.  Everyone has friendships that weren’t good or ended badly, but when someone says such things about the majority of friendships they have had, it’s a big red flag.  The average person’s friendships usually aren’t intensely negative experiences.  Their friends may not be there for them every single time, but they will be there at least most of the time.  Also, if people continue walking away from someone, there is a good reason for that.

Years ago, I felt so badly for these people.  I naively thought it was so sad that life had treated them so badly, leaving them without good friends!  I treasure my closest friends & can’t imagine not having them!  Knowing these people weren’t able to share this kind of friendship made me feel sorry for them, so I would befriend them.  It usually didn’t take long before I realized this was a mistake. 

People like this are friendless for legitimate reasons!  Some are covert narcissists, portraying themselves as innocent victims to unfair life circumstances & needing someone to take care of them.  Even ones I knew that weren’t, were still highly dysfunctional at the very least.  These friendships started out full of flattery & kind gestures, which made me want to be there for them.  Much like love bombing behavior narcissists are known for doing in romantic relationships.  Before long, they would monopolize my time whenever possible.  They would call me often, keeping me on the phone for hours listening to them drone on & on about their problems & not listening when I said I had to go.  At that time, sometimes they would ask what was happening in my life, then after a couple of minutes, turn the conversation back to them.  They never wanted my advice, even when they asked for it.  They just wanted me to pity them.  They also wanted to get together on a constant basis, even when knowing I had other things going on in my life that needed my attention.  Once in a while, they would feign interest in something in my life, but it never lasted long.  They would become minimizing or invalidating quickly, letting me know whatever I said wasn’t a big deal, & certainly not as big a deal as what was going on in their life.  Simply put, these people were emotional vampires, draining my energy to feed their dysfunction. 

There are so many people out there like this, who love gaining the friendship of victims of narcissistic abuse.  They know that victims are often very giving, understanding & patient, glad to help others.  Don’t fall for it as I have!  If someone you meet says they don’t have any friends, learn why.  If there isn’t a valid reason such as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, stay away from this person.  They may come across as naïve & a bit needy, but they are nothing so innocent.  Given time, they will use you for everything they can, & if you set boundaries with them, they’ll cry victim to anyone who will listen. 

Like so many things in life, the more you heal from the abuse, the less frequently you will interact with such people.  People like this are repelled by functional, healthy people with good boundaries who don’t tolerate their manipulation.

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The Evil Narcissistic Gaze

One weapon all narcissists seem to use is the evil narcissistic gaze.  Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  The look of the majority of people when they gaze at another couldn’t be described as a weapon.  Awkward, maybe, but a weapon?  No way.  Then again, narcissists aren’t most people.

Covert narcissists use their evil gaze to convey disgust & disappointment.  Their eyes sometimes turn ice cold, as if they can see into your soul, & to make matters even worse, are disgusted by what they find there.  These people don’t have to resort to threats of physical harm to get their victims to do their will.  Often, this simple but terrible gaze will do the trick, & without the victim even realizing what is happening.  Victims will feel incredibly uncomfortable, even to the point of feeling shame, & they will do anything to escape this feeling.  Naturally, this was the goal of the covert narcissist for using this weapon.

The evil gaze of the overt narcissist is somewhat different.  It can strike a terrible fear of danger rather than disgust or disappointment.  Often, the danger is unknown.  Will this person physically harm me?  Will they humiliate me?  The imagination will run wild at this point imagining all of the terrible things the narcissist can do, which makes the gaze even more terrifying.

A fairly common part of this gaze is the eyes changing color.  My mother’s eyes turned black at this time.  I always thought it was just her, but I have spoken to other victims of narcissistic abuse who said their narcissist’s eyes also would turn black.  Some also said theirs turned a steely gray color that was very cold & unnatural. 

Even if the narcissist’s eyes don’t change color, there is no mistaking this evil gaze.  My ex husband’s eyes never changed color, but the look was still terrifying.  He was a covert narcissist, but his look was like a combination of the overt & covert’s gaze.  I often felt as if I was looking into the eyes of evil personified.

Either variation of this terrible gaze happens mostly when a narcissist is trying to manipulate & control their victim.  It is meant to instill fear of not complying with whatever the narcissist wants from the victim at that moment.  Seeing this look up close & personal, it can be very difficult not to give into that fear!  If a victim is unaware of what is happening, I would guess they give in almost every single time, because that look is simply that terrifying.

This awful narcissistic gaze also can happen when the victim is in a weakened state, such as physically ill or emotionally upset.  In those situations, it seems this evil gaze simply happens naturally.  It probably is not about manipulation at that point, but instead the narcissist is unable to hide their complete lack of empathy, feeling of superiority because they aren’t experiencing the same thing, or their anger at their victim for inconveniencing them with their problem.

If you see such a look coming from another person, know that this look comes from a narcissist whose mask has slipped completely off.  They can’t conceal the hatred they feel for you at that moment or their intense desire to get you to do what they want you to do no matter what the cost to you.  Protect yourself however you can from this person!  Even if all you can do at this moment is leaving the room, do it!  If at all possible though, end the relationship.  A person who uses this evil gaze is going to use & abuse you without any concern whatsoever to the damage they do to you.  You don’t deserve that, so protect yourself!

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Don’t Be Ashamed Of Having PTSD Or C-PTSD!

Years ago, I remember reading that a rather well known preacher talking about PTSD.  He made it sound like no true Christian can have this disorder or if you do, just “get rid of it” as if people have a choice to hold onto it or get rid of it.

While not many people will say those exact words, it does appear plenty of people share similar sentiments about PTSD & C-PTSD.  Many clearly think people with these disorders are weak for getting it in the first place, especially if they too have experienced a similar trauma but don’t have it.  What they fail to realize is that developing PTSD & C-PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness, contrary to what many people seem to think.  It is a sign of surviving something that easily could have destroyed you either mentally or physically or both. 

Other people think they are some made up disorders so people can wallow in the past or use them as an excuse to get out of doing things they don’t want to do, such as holding down a job.  They refuse to see that those of us with one of these disorders would love to be “normal” again.  We would love nothing more than not to think about the past traumas all of the time & be able to do normal things.

There are also those who believe having PTSD or C-PTSD means you lack faith in God.  If you simply trusted Him more or prayed more, you wouldn’t have this disorder, they say.  They have no clue nothing could be further from the truth!

Something people fail to realize is that PTSD & C-PTSD can happen to anyone.  They know no boundaries.  They affect people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, intelligence, financial standings… anyone can develop PTSD or C-PTSD.

Just because you have PTSD or C-PTSD but someone you know who has experienced similar trauma to yours doesn’t have it doesn’t mean there is something very wrong with you for getting it.  Every person is truly unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA.  What affects one person strongly may not affect someone else as strongly simply due to differences in personality & how people process information.

Some people are also naturally more in touch with their logical, or left brain, than their emotional, right brain.  Those people are often a bit disconnected from their emotions simply due to how their personality is.  There are also those who have chosen to deal with pain by disconnecting from it.  Much like our logical friends, these folks don’t feel connected to their emotions.  This means these people naturally won’t be as deeply affected by trauma as those who are more in tune with their emotions will be affected.

There is also the fact that every single person has a mental breaking point.  In other words, everyone has a point in which their mind simply cannot take any more.  This is the point where PTSD can & often does develop.  That point varies from person to person, but there is no avoiding it.  It is much like bones.  Bones too have a breaking point & that varies from person to person too.  Sometimes, people’s bones break easily & other times, they don’t.  There is nothing wrong, weak or even ungodly about the ones whose bones break easily.  This is simply how they are.

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD then please know that you aren’t flawed, crazy, abnormal or anything else.  You are a normal person who has experienced some pretty abnormal things.  Both disorders are awful I know, but having them isn’t something of which you should be ashamed.  Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!

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“Healthy” Narcissism

Have you heard the term “healthy narcissism”?  If not, it is a term coined to describe having a positive, healthy view of self, being assertive & also being good with self care.  It first was coined in the 1930’s & is still used today.

I truly mean no offence to the mental health professionals who created the term & those who use it, but that term doesn’t sit well with me.

Those of us who have been abused by narcissists naturally have an aversion to anything with the label “narcissism” attached to it.  We have stared evil in the face & survived what was meant to destroy us.  We learned that evil was known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  We know that the word “narcissism” has no good or healthy aspect to it.  Healthy narcissism often feels like an oxymoron to us, no matter what anyone says. 

It is also offensive to us, because the term healthy narcissism comes across as a very subtle downplaying of true narcissism.  In a way, the term puts healthy people on the same level as narcissists.  It makes narcissism sound not all that bad, like maybe narcissists are just a bit over the top with these normal, healthy behaviors that “healthy narcissists” use.

At the same time, the term can reinforce what narcissists tell their victims, that if they have any boundaries, self esteem or practice self care in any way, they’re selfish.  Having experienced the extreme selfishness of narcissists first hand, not one of their victims wants to be like them in any way.  This means victims will turn from anything that could be perceived as selfish, including healthy things like boundaries & self care.

For anyone reading this who feels this way about this term “healthy narcissism”, I hope you realize that although you may feel this way, please know that there is nothing wrong or bad about having good self esteem, boundaries & practicing self care.  Just because a narcissist told you these things were bad & prevented you from exercising such things doesn’t mean that person was right. 

Many narcissists also claim to be Christian & won’t hesitate to twist God’s word to justify their completely erroneous thinking.  These despicable people often destroy their victims’ faith or they make them believe God isn’t a loving father but instead a heartless dictator who wants victims to do nothing to take care of themselves.  For those of you who have been in this position, I want to let you know something.  1 Corinthians 6:19 in the Amplified Bible says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?”  Consider how you would treat a beautiful temple.  You certainly wouldn’t allow it treated any old way.  You would protect it & treat it well.  That is exactly how you should treat yourself.  Never forget, your body is a temple.  Treat it accordingly & not like an afterthought. 

Self care is NOT selfish or bad!  It is a good thing, & yes, even a Godly thing.  True self care isn’t narcissistic, so never let anyone convince you otherwise!

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Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse & Anger

Victims of narcissistic abuse are shamed for being angry.  It seems if we show any signs of being less than happy about the abuse we endured, people tell us that we’re too negative, wallowing in the past, bitter, not letting things go as we should & more.  For Christians who are in this position, we often get added shaming relating to our faith.  We are lectured on how we should forgive, be Christ-like, labeled as a fake or bad Christians & other false & hurtful accusations. 

We also are expected to show undeniable evidence of the abuse we suffered.  When we can’t produce evidence of the soul destroying gaslighting & verbal abuse the narcissist in our lives inflicted upon us, we are accused of being angry with the abuser so we made things up as a way to make that person look bad.

You know something?  Victims of narcissistic abuse ARE angry, & rightfully so!  No one should treat anyone as we have been treated.  No one should push another person so deep into depression that they lose all hope.  No one should destroy another person’s identity, self esteem & sometimes even faith in God.  Yet, we have experienced all of these things & much more at the hands of narcissists.  We also have experienced betrayal & abandonment by people who should have been there for us, seen people we thought loved us support our abuser & more.  So yes, we are angry!

Do you know what doesn’t help this anger?  Being shamed for feeling what any normal human being would feel under the circumstances. 

I know it can be hard but please, do NOT accept the shaming messages!

People who treat victims this way clearly have their own issues.  Normal people have no desire to hurt others.  Even if they don’t understand what you have experienced, they won’t try to shame you for feeling what you do or minimize your trauma.  Anyone who does such things is displaying a lack of empathy, which makes them a very unsafe person.

Some people who do this also have experienced similar trauma, & lack the courage to face it.  Instead of facing it, they try to avoid all reminders of that trauma.  If someone speaks of experiencing something similar to them, they often will say anything as an attempt to shut that person down.  It’s a survival mechanism.  If it hurts the other person, that isn’t their top priority- avoiding their pain is.  The person in question may not be malicious with their intentions, but their behavior certainly is. 

Yet other people are all about being positive, & not in a healthy way.  Often they think it’s ungodly to be anything less than extremely positive.  Being positive certainly isn’t a bad thing at all.  When it is taken too far, however, that is a problem.  There is nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes, things aren’t happy, positive or even good.  Sometimes it’s ok, even healthy, to say things are bad.  Refusing to accept that & claiming everything in life is nothing but rainbows & unicorns isn’t healthy.  Don’t let the toxic positive people make you feel otherwise!

Whatever the reasoning behind someone acting as if your anger about narcissistic abuse is wrong, remember, that is their issue, not yours.  Narcissistic abuse is cruel, devastating & utterly wrong.  Everyone should be angry about it!  Even Jesus got angry about injustices done to people, if you remember.  If we are to be like Him, that means there is nothing wrong with being angry about injustices.  Besides, not feeling anger about narcissistic abuse would normalize it.  Narcissistic abuse would become an acceptable thing if people became numb to their anger about it, & that never should be!    

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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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A Common Sign Of Narcissistic Abuse: Isolation

One very common sign of narcissism in adults is isolating their victims. 

Narcissistic parents can come across as over protective.  The truth though is that many forbid their children to spend time with or even speak to other people, even people within their own family.  If the children disobey, they are severely punished.  My mother raged terribly when I spent time with my now ex husband when we were in high school.  She also kept me close to her side when we visited family, not allowing me much time alone with my cousins or grandparents.

When children of narcissistic parents grow up, their parents often do their best to start trouble in their child’s friendships & even their marriage.  They often treat friends as if they are unworthy to speak to.  Some narcissistic parents tell their adult children outright that their spouse isn’t good enough while others demonstrate this is how they feel without saying the words by behaviors such as refusing to acknowledge the spouse’s birthday.  Other narcissistic parents will outright lie to their adult child about the spouse, such as claiming that spouse has been unfaithful or abuses their children.  From my observations, the majority of narcissistic parents do as my in-laws have done, & treat the spouse poorly behind the adult child’s back yet are nice to the spouse only when the adult child is around.  By doing this, when the spouse complains, the adult child doesn’t believe them because they only saw their parent being nice to them.  This causes a great deal of friction in a marriage & many marriages fail because of this behavior.  That of course is the goal.

While some use obviously controlling behaviors such as threats, most narcissistic spouses are more subtle in how they isolate their victims.  They plant seeds of doubt in their spouse’s minds about people they want out of their spouse’s life.  My ex husband told me my best friend wasn’t a good friend to me & didn’t really care about me.  He said the same about my wonderful grandparents.  He obviously disapproved of me having people in my life who could see through his toxic behavior.  My best friend & I went our separate ways for years & I stepped out of my grandparents’ life for years too because of him.  On a side note, I’m happy to say he is out of my life, & my best friend is back in it.  My grandmother died not long after I left my grandparents’ life, unfortunately.  I did reconnect with my grandfather though & had 3 good years with him before he passed away.

The reason narcissists isolate their victims is because an isolated victim is easy to control.  Isolated people don’t have good people in their lives who will tell them that the way they are being treated is wrong, they deserve better or that they don’t have to tolerate such behavior which means they’ll tolerate the abuse.  They don’t have good people who will help them to escape the abuse or to help them heal which often leaves them in the position of feeling that they have no way to escape.  Without such good people in a person’s life, it can be very easy to accept abuse.  A person often even loses the desire to leave the abusive relationship, because they are so beaten down by their abuser either physically or emotionally or both. 

If this describes your situation, know that you are NOT alone!  I would dare say almost every victim of narcissistic abuse has been in this situation.  Don’t let that be a reason to stay in the situation though.  Reach out however you can.  Online forums are a great way to meet others who understand.  I have a Facebook group full of caring, understanding & supportive people.  There are many others as well, & not just on Facebook. 

If the narcissist monitors your online activities, then talk to someone else, such as your doctor or pastor.  Call a crisis hotline, preferably a domestic violence one.  They should be able to help or at the very least point you in the direction of help available to you in your area either to help you escape the narcissist or at least find safe people to talk to.  Isolation is a form of abuse, & you deserve better than to be abused!

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Hangovers – Not Always What You Think

When people hear the word hangover, they usually associate it with drinking too much alcohol.  Did you know that other things can cause hangovers too?

Migraine headaches can cause a hangover.  I used to get migraines years ago & learned early on about the dreadful migraine hangover.  Once the headache had subsided, I was left feeling tired, drained & generally blah.

Introverts also can experience the socializing hangover.  Introverts need alone time to recharge & reenergize themselves.  Spending too much time socializing can leave them feeling physically hungover.  It sure does me.  Even spending time with people I love can leave me feeling hungover.  I need some alone time to recover from my “extroverting”.

Symptoms of C-PTSD also can lead to hangovers, & in my personal experience, they are the worst of the lot.

If a person has a flashback or nightmare, or if something triggers extreme stress or the trauma responses of fight, flight, freeze or fawn, once the episode is done, that usually leads to a hangover.  Adrenaline was forced into action.  Once it is no longer needed, the body & mind feel hungover because of what adrenaline does to a person.  It makes the body & mind work very hard to get a person through some especially challenging situation.  It’s only natural that once it’s done its job, a person would feel pretty yukky after because their muscles, joints & their mind just worked really hard for a while!  This is an adrenaline hangover.

Even a particularly nasty depressive episode can leave a person feeling hungover.  Feeling nothing but negative feelings wears a person down.  Having no hope wears a person down too.  Being suicidal absolutely wears a person down.  After such an episode ends, there is a terrible hangover.  How could there not be?  Depression is known to trigger aches & pains without a physical cause.  Also, I always feel like my muscles get very tight during depressive episodes.  Once they relax, they are going to ache from being in that state for a while.

Yet, the only hangover that is acknowledged regularly is the one that comes from over indulging in alcohol.  While that one is physically painful, the others are not only physically painful but emotionally painful as well.  They deserve to be acknowledged.

If you are in the position of having these miserable hangovers that stem from C-PTSD, I hope you realize that your hangovers are a normal part of this disorder.  They may make you feel like you are crazy, but really, you aren’t.  They are just one more facet of C-PTSD.

When you experience them, don’t judge or criticize yourself.  Just accept it for what it is & work with it the best you can.  Much like how having a cold has to run its course, that is how these hangovers work.  Process your emotions.  Also treat yourself gently & let yourself recover, like you would if you were physically sick.  The hangover will pass.

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries.  They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves.  Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors.  Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons.  When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish.  This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children.  It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what.  They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!

Children need to feel safe knowing that there won’t be any repercussions if they say things like, “No”, “Stop doing that,” “Don’t touch me”, “That hurts”, “I don’t agree with you” & “I won’t do that.” 

When a child doesn’t experience this ability to set reasonable boundaries, they can turn very submissive.  Their boundaries become very blurred.  They change their likes, dislikes, views, etc. depending on the company they keep.  They lose their individuality.  They do above & beyond what is reasonable for other people, even to the point of enabling terrible behavior.  They tolerate way too much, including abusive behavior, because they don’t believe they have the right to do otherwise.

When a person grows up not allowed to say no, the fear of what could happen can become paralyzing, & they literally can’t say the word no.  This fear happens because of many possible reasons.  Some of those reasons might be the fear of hurting other people’s feelings, fear of someone’s anger, fear of being punished, fear of abandonment or the fear of being seen as selfish, bad or even ungodly.  This fear also can happen because a person is too hard on themselves, & if they say no, they judge themselves very harshly.  They condemn themselves as horrible people, so they don’t say no in order to avoid feeling that way.

If you recognize this as your behavior, you’re not alone.  This is so common among children of narcissistic parents.  The good news though is that you can make healthy changes.

I always recommend starting with prayer in any situation, & this one is no different.  Asking God for help is never a mistake.  Also ask Him to show you the truth about where you end & others begin, what you should & shouldn’t tolerate, how to start setting healthy boundaries & anything else you need help with.

Also start paying attention to how you feel.  Does it bother you when someone expects something from you?  Why does it bother you?  If it feels unfair since they don’t ask others to do as much as you or they want you to do something they could do themselves, that is very reasonable!

Start small!  Start by not answering your phone if you don’t want to talk to the person calling or something like that.  The more you gain confidence in smaller boundaries, the more it will help you to go on to bigger ones.

Know people are going to be upset with you for your new boundaries.  Rather than being hurt by this, think of it this way.  Safe, good people will be happy for you & encourage you.  Only toxic people are offended by reasonable boundaries.  Seeing toxic people for who they are may be painful, but it’s also a good thing.  It shows you who you need to remove from your life.  And, removing them allows more time & energy for those who truly deserve that from you.

Having good boundaries won’t happen over night, but it will happen.  Just stay with it!  You can do this!

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off my print books when you use code INFLUENCE10 at checkout until May 27, 2022.

Print versions of my books can be found at the link below..

Cynthia Bailey-Rug’s spotlight on Lulu

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Forgiveness After Abuse

Many people who have survived an abusive relationship, whether the abuser is a family member or spouse, have been told they must forgive their abuser if they truly want to heal.  It is often said like forgiveness is a magic wand – once you decide to forgive, you do, all damage caused by the abuse is gone, the abuser has an epiphany about their horrible behavior & abuser & victim live happily ever after.  Sadly, this is absolutely NOT the case!

Forgiveness can be an absolutely wonderful thing.  Unfortunately though the topic is misunderstood by so many, & the people who believe wrongly seem to be the loudest about the value of forgiveness.

To start with, forgiveness doesn’t mean forgive & forget.  There are many Scriptures that mention forgiveness in the Bible, but nowhere is “forgive & forget” mentioned.  In fact, I consider it to be a very un-biblical concept.  Jesus says we are to be as wise as serpents yet innocent as doves in Matthew 10:16.  Forgiving & forgetting to me seems completely unwise.  If someone is abusive, then their victim forgives & forgets abusive incidents, the abuser readily will repeat their abusive behavior because they know there will be no consequences.  However, if you give them consequences for their behavior, there is a much better chance of them changing.  Clearly that isn’t always the case but it creates a much more likely scenario than forgiving & forgetting, & allowing them to abuse you repeatedly.

Many people think that forgiveness & reconciliation are the same thing, but clearly they are not! Luke 17:3-4 in the Amplified Bible say, “Pay attention and always be on guard [looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him.  14 Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him [that is, give up resentment and consider the offense recalled and annulled].”  Notice how it states that the offending person repents, you are to forgive him.  It doesn’t say you must forgive no matter what.

Many people who misunderstand Godly forgiveness are also quick to quote the part of Ephesians 4:26 that says not to let the sun go down on your anger.  They quote only a small portion of the verse.  In reality, it says, “Ephesians 4:26  “Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.”  According to this verse, anger is acceptable as long as you don’t allow it to motivate you to doing something shameful or sinful such as doing something vengeful to hurt the person who hurt you.

Another interesting point to consider about Ephesians 4:26.  It shows what actions are acceptable reasons for feeling anger.  Sin, immorality, injustice & ungodly behavior.  There should never be a point in a person’s life that such things don’t make them angry!  Feeling neutral about them or accepting them would normalize some pretty terrible behavior that should not be normal under any circumstances.  You can forgive a person while still being furious about the wicked & cruel things they have done to you.  I can tell you that I have forgiven my parents, but I still despise the cruel things they did to me in my lifetime.

If someone tells you that you need to hurry up & forgive your abuser or even “forgive & forget,” then please disregard what they say.  Forgive God’s way when you are ready to take that step.  Don’t let anyone make you feel as if you aren’t forgiving fast enough, as doing that can slow down the healing process.  Take the step when you feel ready to do so & only then.  And, never forget that you are always going to feel some anger at what was done to you because it was wrong.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way!  It’s a healthy way to feel & yes, even a Christian way to feel!

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Sneaky Insults

Everyone with any experience with narcissists knows one of their favorite pastimes is insulting people.  If they dislike a person’s new hair style, car, home, career, personality or anything about someone, that someone will know all about it!

That being said though, not all narcissists directly say what they are thinking.  They often phrase their insults in such a way as to seem innocuous.  For example, my ex husband never said I was fat, but I had no doubt he thought I was disgustingly obese even when I was too thin. I always had my own issues about my weight, so if I said anything about being overweight, he quickly agreed with me.  He would give me tips on losing weight, even though he never had been on a diet in his life.  If I said anything about him thinking I was fat, he would say that he never said that.  Which was true – he never said the word “fat.”  That doesn’t mean he wasn’t insulting me, however.

This is typical narcissistic behavior.  Not only do they love to insult their victims, but to do so in a way as to create plausible deniability.  This means if the victim confronts the narcissist about the insult, the narcissist can deny being insulting, just as my ex did with me.  This makes the victim doubt their perceptions, which is gaslighting behavior.  It also makes the victim tolerate more humiliation, because they believe that the narcissist didn’t mean what they said to be hurtful.

Sneaky insults come in various forms.  One form is moving the goal line.  The narcissist wants something from their victim, & the victim does it.  Rather than being pleased, the narcissist immediately wants something else without even saying “Thank you,” or says that the thing that was done wasn’t what they really wanted.  They wanted something more difficult.

Another sneaky insult is bringing the attention back to them when the victim has done something well.  Let’s say the victim just got a promotion at work.  Rather than simply congratulate the victim, a narcissist could say something like, “I did that job for a while a few years ago.  It was boring though so I found another job.”

Being unimpressed is another way narcissists sneakily insult their victims.  If a victim just published their first book, for example, a narcissist might respond with, “Oh.  Well I guess that’s a big deal if you care about that sort of thing.  Good for you.”

Minimizing another’s accomplishments is another sneaky insult tactic narcissists often use.  Years ago, I did some editing work for a local author before I became an author myself.  I enjoyed the work & the lady was a pleasure to work with.  I mentioned the job to my mother, naively thinking she would be happy for me.  She barely said anything when I told her about the job.  However, a few days later, she mentioned she was thinking of getting into editing books.  She said, “It’s such easy money!  Obviously anyone can do it!”

Another sneaky insult tactic is finding the down side no matter how good something is.  If the victim experiences or accomplishes something good, a narcissist will find something negative about it.  Getting married?  A narcissist will tell the victim that now they’ll have no freedom.  Having a baby?  A narcissist will regale the victim with pregnancy & birth horror stories.  Graduating college?  A narcissist will remind the victim of the thousands & thousands of dollars in college loans the victim owes.

When these things happen, remind yourself of what is happening.  This is simply a narcissist being a narcissist.  If they deny being insulting, make no mistake, they were being insulting!  And, even though it feels personal, it truly isn’t.  It’s their dysfunction coming out.  It doesn’t mean they believe what they say.  Probably they don’t, in fact.  They’re only saying such things as an attempt to hurt & gaslight you.

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Shame Over Past Behavior In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Victims of narcissist abuse are no strangers to shame.  Narcissists use it as a weapon very simply because it is such an effective weapon.  A person who feels tremendous shame is very easy to manipulate because they believe they are flawed, stupid, awful, selfish & more beyond repair, so they must listen to someone who isn’t a terrible person like they are.  It’s just common sense that someone out to manipulate & control another person would be thrilled with a victim who thinks this way.

Even when an abuse victim realizes this, that doesn’t make the shame go away.  That shame can hang around for a long time.  Thankfully, much of the shame instilled in victims by the narcissists in their lives diminishes & even disappears fairly fast when they realize that what they feel & believe was deliberately put their by a narcissist.  Other shame however tends to hang around way too long!  That is the shame we will address today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel intense shame about their behavior when they were in a relationship with a narcissist.  I truly understand this since I have experienced the same myself.  In fact, my behavior made me wonder if I was a narcissist since I did some of the same things.  The truth however is no, I am not nor was I a narcissist.  And, if you have similar feelings, I’m sure you aren’t either.

Victims of narcissistic abuse must lie when in relationship with a narcissist.  One key to surviving a narcissistic relationship is to please the narcissist at all times.  Obviously common sense says no one can please any person at all times, in particular someone who is notoriously impossible to please.  However, in the midst of the relationship, that isn’t common sense.  Victims are conditioned to think they must please the narcissist & not doing so is a huge flaw on their part, deserving whatever abuse the narcissist wishes to dish out.  Rather than face that abuse, victims often lie.  It’s a survival skill.  Unfortunately this survival skill can come with a lot of shame attached after the relationship is over.  Instead, try extending mercy & understanding to yourself because it was a necessary evil at the time.

Manipulation is bad, there is no disputing that.  Yet like lying, it too is a necessary evil when in the throes of a relationship with a narcissist.  Anything to please the narcissist is what is important & if that requires manipulation, so be it.  Once the relationship is over, however, looking back on being manipulative in any capacity is shame inducing.  It even can make a person wonder if they are a narcissist as well.  If you are wondering the same, no you are not!!  The fact you wonder & are willing to research it to find out says you aren’t a narcissist.  They don’t do self reflection, & if they somehow stumble upon something stating anything negative about them, they reject it immediately.  So no, you aren’t a narcissist.  You are someone who did something that narcissists do but you only did so in order to survive a toxic environment.

Maybe you were married to a narcissist & did things sexually you aren’t proud of having done.  Again, you did this as a way to survive.  That doesn’t make you a bad person!

If you have experienced such things then please keep in mind although you feel ashamed of what you have done in the past, you aren’t a narcissist nor are you a bad person.  You did what you needed to do at the time to survive.  That is all.  If you had been in a normal relationship, you wouldn’t have done such things.  It’s ok to release that shame about your former behavior!  When you struggle with this, ask God to help you.  He will so let Him do it!  You don’t deserve to live under such a dark cloud of shame!

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What Real Love Looks Like Compared To What Narcissists Call Love

I read an interesting article recently on ibelieve.com about some things adult children wish their parents would say to them as well as tips on how to incorporate them into the relationship with their adult children.  The suggestions in the article struck me as being the exact opposite of what narcissists call love.  I thought it would be a good idea to share them to help victims of narcissistic abuse to understand what real love is & is not.

Thinking before you speak was the first on the list.  In other words, a person trying to show love will be considerate & not rude or critical with their words.  They try to offer encouragement instead of discouragement.  If they must offer correction, they do so gently.  Narcissists are much different.  They may think before they speak, but only of what they can say to inflict the most pain or gain the most control.  They may even call this loving behavior because they claim they are trying to help their victim.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Next on the list was not acting like the center of their adult child’s world.  Normal, functional parents realize that they won’t be the center of their child’s world forever.  They may grieve some as it happens, but they also accept that as a natural part of the relationship because that is exactly what it is.  They know their children still love them & they still love their children.  Many narcissistic parents however, expect different from their children.  They expect to remain the center of their children’s world indefinitely.  When the child of a narcissistic parent starts to separate from them, the parent views this as a betrayal on the child’s part.  To narcissistic parents, growing up is proof their children don’t love them anymore.  And, if those children want to prove they love their parents, they must keep them as much the center of their world as possible.  Ignoring their spouse & children in favor of the narcissistic parents is not only acceptable behavior, but it is encouraged.

Third on the list was having a soft reproach.  In other words, being gentle with your words when you must tell someone you disagree with them or disapprove of something they have done.  The Bible describes this as speaking the truth in love.  Obviously, this is NOT something narcissists do.  Overt narcissists are often extremely critical & heartless with their reproach.  Covert narcissists are much more subtle but equally cruel.  They prefer to express disappointment & use guilt trips.  Narcissists will claim they love their adult children which is why they say what they do. 

Fourth on the list was choosing quiet over giving advice.  A person who understands loving behavior recognizes the value of this.  They know unasked for advice is rude & insulting because it basically tells the recipient of this advice they aren’t smart enough to handle the situation on their own.  Rather than make someone feel this way, they remain quiet unless asked for advice.  Narcissists, as usual, behave in the complete opposite way.  They value their own thoughts, feelings & opinions more than making anyone feel loved, so they have no problem forcing their unasked for advice on others.  They may say they are only trying to help because they care, but the truth is giving advice is just one more way for them to show off what they believe is their supreme intellect or to attempt to control another person. 

Last on the list was apologizing.  A person who is humble & loving will apologize to anyone, including their children, when they have done wrong.  Narcissists are far from humble, even the covert ones who put on a false display of humility.  Rather than apologize, they will excuse or deny their bad behavior.  They even may blame their victim for forcing them to do what they did.  When I was in my teens, my mother called her abuse “tough love” & said she was trying to “save me from myself” if I confronted her.  Apologies never happened.  Instead, she tried to convince me love equaled abuse, which is typical narcissistic behavior.

If you are in the position of hearing a narcissist tell you they love you, then please remember what I have shared with you today.  Love shouldn’t hurt you or make you feel badly.  It should prove someone truly cares for you & wants what is best for you.

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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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Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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How People Handle You Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

When people have known you a long time, it can be difficult for some of them to handle your healing. Functional people will respect your healing though, & even encourage you.  They will be so happy to see you growing stronger & healthier, & learning how to live a good life, especially if they knew you during the abuse you endured. 

Dysfunctional people however, won’t be so happy or encouraging.

While not all dysfunctional people are abusive, of course, they still may not be happy about your healing.  Sometimes that is because it makes them feel badly about themselves.  They see you learning, growing & becoming happy, & they resent not doing the same.  The seriously dysfunctional won’t be motivated by feeling this way to work on their healing.

Others are on the side of your abuser, & can’t handle your healing because it is proof that the abusive person wasn’t the wonderful person this flying monkey thought they were.  Rather than face that truth, some especially cowardly people prefer to stay in denial & try to force the victim to maintain the status quo so they can continue to think of the abuser as a wonderful person rather than face the truth.

Whatever the motivation, these dysfunctional people have a goal of putting the victim in their place, so to speak, so they can continue living in their dysfunction.

A common way people accomplish this by refusing to acknowledge the new, healthier you.  They will mentally keep you in their box of what they expect you to be, & treat you accordingly. 

When I was growing up, I was completely submissive to my parents & did only as I was told.  I was a very good doormat.  As an adult who had focused on my healing for quite some time, my family still treated me as the doormat I once was.  Most spoke to me however they wanted, which was usually disrespectful & cruel.  This was especially evident during the time my father was dying. Their level of cruelty & vile words was astounding.  My family daily harassed & tried to bully me into ending no contact to say good bye to him.  Not one person cared about my thoughts or feelings on the matter, only theirs, & clearly they were furious they couldn’t force me to bend to their will.  The way they treated me is very common among narcissistic families. 

As you make small steps in your healing, even if those steps aren’t celebrated, they shouldn’t be diminished or totally disregarded.  Every single person changes over the course of their life, & that is to be expected.  Anyone who refuses to acknowledge changes you make or acts like something is wrong with you for growing clearly has problems. 

When you come across these people, please do NOT give in to whatever it is they want from you.  Be the best you that you can be.  Focus on your healing & never give up on it.  People like that don’t have your best interest at heart.  They only have their best interests at heart, & maybe even those of your abuser.  They aren’t worth trying to please.  Instead, be more concerned with pleasing God, pleasing yourself & pleasing those people you are the closest to, such as your spouse.  The rest really aren’t all that important, especially those who refuse to see you as anything but who you were at your worst. 

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How Narcissists Use Silence As A Weapon

One thing I have noticed about narcissists is very few are quiet.  They often are very extroverted, engaging with many people.  Even the few more introverted ones can be surprisingly talkative for introverts.  Because of this, one thing you can be sure of is when a narcissist is quiet, there is trouble brewing.

Many people are simply quiet by nature.  I’m one of them.  I am not usually very talkative even with people I love & am close to.  When I get especially quiet, even those close to me may not notice it right away because it’s not terribly abnormal.

Silence in a person who is normally talkative, however, is very easily noticed.  When that normally talkative person suddenly stops being talkative, you simply can’t help but notice.  Narcissists & other manipulative people are aware of this, & use this to their advantage.

Their silence causes you to focus on them.  This inadvertently hands narcissists a degree of control over their victims, which, of course is the goal.

Their silence is one way they express contempt for their victims.  Refusing to speak to their victim is one way they say, “You are so disgusting I refuse to waste my time & my breath speaking to you.”

Their silence is a tool they use to make victims willing to jump through any hoops to regain favor with the narcissist.  When a person is unaware of the wicked manipulation that is the silent treatment, it can be downright humiliating what they will do to try to make the narcissist forgive their supposed wrong doing & speak to them again.

Their silence is also used to keep a victim mentally off balance.  There is never any clear indication of how long the silent treatment will last.  It often begins & ends without warning.  There are also many times when there is no explanation.  The narcissist simply stops speaking to the victim, then later begins speaking to them again as if nothing happened.  My mother did this.  Her silent treatment once lasted for eighteen months.  Suddenly, she called one evening & talked like the previous months hadn’t even happened. 

Sometimes their silence isn’t so obvious.  It shows up in subtle ways, such as “forgetting” to meet a victim for an important engagement or “forgetting” their victim’s birthday.  Similarly is when the narcissist enters a room with you & other people, then proceeds to greet others warmly while ignoring you.  These silent snubs are subtle ways to tell a victim that he or she isn’t important enough to remember or acknowledge.

It is vitally important to your mental health to recognize the differences in healthy & unhealthy silence.  Healthy silence is normal.  Some people are naturally quiet & not naturally good at reaching out to others, even others they love.  When someone is struggling & is the type to retreat into themselves during hard times, their silence is healthy & normal.  The same if someone is particularly busy for a season.  Unhealthy silence is nothing like this, & you need to be aware of that so you can protect yourself from those who practice this cruel type of manipulation.

When it happens to you, & it will at some point since it’s such a popular weapon of manipulative people, remind yourself of what is happening.  Even if you have done something wrong, a healthy, functional person would talk to you about what happened if they truly wanted to work things out.  Or, they might end the relationship with you entirely.  Either way, they would not try to manipulate you with their silence.

If this happens repeatedly in a relationship, I believe it’s a sign that you need to reconsider the relationship.  Ending it is likely a healthy option for you.  If you are unwilling or unable to do so, then never forget what is happening & refuse to give the narcissist what they want.  Do NOT ask “What’s wrong?” because that only lets them know their manipulation is working.  Besides, they won’t give you an honest answer anyway.  Instead, pretend you are unaware of their silence & live your life enjoying the reprieve!

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Demanding Partners

Being romantically involved with a demanding partner is a miserable experience.  It’s not something I could do ever again!  If you are wondering what is happening with your partner, I hope to help you understand him or her better today & find ways to cope.

Demanding partners expect their partners’ lives to revolve around theirs.  If the partner makes plans or buys something without checking first with the demanding partner, the demanding partner is clearly offended & angry.

Demanding partners are entitled, & expect the world to revolve around them.  If both partners have a need, the demanding partner’s needs always come first even if the other partner’s need is equally or even more important. 

Demanding partners expect to be in charge.  They have final say in what friends they have, what cars the couple buys, where they live & even what they do for holidays.  What their partners say is irrelevant, because clearly a demanding partner is the only one who is allowed to make decisions.

Demanding partners who don’t get their way act like spoiled, pouting children.  They get angry & accuse others of being thoughtless, insensitive, selfish & more.  Or, they use passive/aggressive tactics such as the silent treatment, deliberately forgetting to do things for their partner or doing those things badly.

Demanding partners don’t like to be inconvenienced in any way.  If they have to wait on their partner, they get angry.  If their partner asks a favor of them, they may do it, but clearly resent being burdened by the request even when the favor is a small one.

Demanding partners have bad tempers.  The slightest thing can make them disproportionately angry, & not only with their partners.  Being cut off in traffic, someone accidentally butting in line in front of them at the grocery store or a co worker getting a raise can trigger their rage just as easily as their partner forgetting to do something for them.

Demanding partners are exhausting!  Being with someone like this means you have to work hard constantly if you want to keep them happy.  You have to do for them & anticipate their needs & wants.  You have to expect no gratitude for your efforts, only more demands.  You also may have to hear about how you never do anything for this person, you can’t do anything right, you should try harder, & for them to change their minds about what they want on a constant basis. 

If this describes your partner, then my heart truly goes out to you!  It is a miserable way to live! 

If you have tried speaking to your partner about this behavior, how does he or she react?  If your partner is upset by the fact their behavior has hurt you, this is a good sign!  Sometimes people are so caught up in the busyness of their life or some emotional pain that they behave in very selfish & insensitive ways.  People like that can change if they want to, & seeing someone they love hurting because of their actions is a great motivator for them. 

If your partner responds by being defensive or trying to deflect the conversation onto your faults, this is a huge red flag.  That is a sign of seriously dysfunctional, if not narcissistic, behavior.  You are going to need to decide whether or not this relationship is worth continuing.

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There May Be A Demonic Element To Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a term used to describe the very uncomfortable feeling of having two conflicting beliefs.  As an example, let’s say you believe that your mother was a caring, loving mother & you also believe that any problems in that relationship are completely your fault.  Then one day you learn that she is a covert narcissist.  In such a situation, facing the truth feels awful.  You grew up believing this one thing & were comfortable with it, even if it was painful thinking you were the problem in the relationship.  Learning this isn’t true creates anxiety & confusion about what is really true.

In speaking with a follower of my work one day on the topic of cognitive dysfunction, she mentioned that she believes it can be demonic.  At first, this concept sounds very far fetched, I realize, but the more we spoke, the more it made sense.

As Kavya said, when faced with the truth, many people’s core beliefs come back & they believe the lies instead.  This could be evidence of demons at work.  This also could be people operating in the spirit of fear, because they’re afraid to step out of their comfort zone of what is familiar.  So afraid, in fact, they are content to stay with what’s familiar even when it’s wrong & toxic.  That spirit of fear comes in & keeps them in toxic situations.

Another good point she made is evil is against rational thinking.  These spirits want to stunt growth.  They want to keep people miserable & down.  So when people lack good rational thought skills, there can be a demonic influence. 

Evil is also against truth.  They worked through the people in Jesus’ time on earth to hide the knowledge of who He was & what He could do.  That hasn’t changed today.  They instill doubt in people or find ways to make the Gospel message sound impossible.  They also work to hide the truth about other things.  Creating cognitive dissonance easily could be a part of that.  They make people so despondent that they return to their original beliefs, in spite of how obviously wrong they were & how miserable they were while functioning in those beliefs. 

Even good, caring people can end up supporting narcissists because they lack critical thinking skills.  They don’t recognize that there is evil influencing them.  They go with their feelings rather than facing the evidence in front of them, because the truth is making them so incredibly uncomfortable.  Doing this opens the door for evil to work in their minds & lives.  After all, who wants to face the fact that someone they are close to or even love is an abusive monster?  No one!  Doing that is extremely hard & painful!  Some people lack the strength & courage to face painful truths, so instead, they take the easy way out.  They continue in their denial out of fear of facing that pain.  I believe that fear can open a door for evil to enter their hearts, because sometimes in this situation, even a good person can end up so focused on protecting their denial that they mistreat & abuse a victim. 

If you experience cognitive dissonance like many victims of narcissistic abuse do, then please keep this in mind.  I don’t think it is always demonic, but it has that potential to be.  Protect yourself, & face the truth, even when it’s hard.

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