Category Archives: Mental Health

Helpful advice and information on mental health issues.

Why Children Of Narcissists Have Trouble Setting Goals

As children, we’re supposed to figure out what we want to do when we grow up & plan for it accordingly by the time we graduate high school.  Many plans change but at least most kids have an idea of what they want to do with their lives.

 

I didn’t.  I never could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t even know if I wanted to get married or not, but I assumed I wouldn’t because my mother told me no man would ever want me.  I’ve kind of fallen into things rather than having a plan to get there my entire life.

 

I’ve thought this was strange since it seemed to me everyone else I knew growing up had some goals.  They knew if they wanted to get married, have kids, travel the world, go to college, & what kind of career they wanted.

 

Recently I realized something.  I believe this is because when you grow up with a narcissistic parent (or two), you learn early on that you’re wrong about anything & everything.  What you think, feel, like, don’t like, want, believe, etc. is all wrong.  So, if you believe you’re wrong, how can you set any goals?  The goals will automatically be stupid, bad, wrong, etc. because you set them.  Why bother even trying to set goals that are going to be so bad?  It’s a waste of time.

 

Plus, many of us with narcissistic parents were told by that parent that they knew us better than we knew ourselves.  Believing this lie would also inhibit us from making goals because obviously we are too stupid to know what we should do & what we want to do.

 

Even realizing this, I still have trouble setting goals but am improving a bit at it.  I have learned I’m not the stupid, ugly, fat, horrible, useless person my mother told me I was growing up.  I have also learned she has absolutely no clue who I am, so saying she knows me better than I know myself was an absolute lie.  I know me much better than she ever has & ever will.  Learning these things have helped me some in this area as well as healing my virtually destroyed self-esteem.  Realizing these truths about yourself can help you too.   Talk to supportive, loving & safe people.  Write in a journal.  Those things will help you to discover the real you, the good person that you are as well as what you want to do with your life.  They also will help you to see that maybe what your narcissistic parent said you wanted, liked or didn’t like was absolutely wrong, & enable you to figure out what makes you truly happy.

 

Dear Reader, if you have this same problem with setting goals, know you aren’t alone.  You aren’t crazy or stupid for not being able to do so.  It is simply one more side effect of growing up with a narcissistic parent.  Focus on healing your wounded self-esteem, & I believe goals will become more natural & easy to set in time.  Ask God for help, too- He will not let you down!

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Hard Times Happen As You Heal From Abuse

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

The above saying is so incredibly true when it comes to healing from abuse.

Anyone who has experienced any type of abuse knows that healing from it isn’t easy.  In fact, it may be the hardest thing you ever do in your life.  There will be times you want to give up & just forget everything that happened.  Other times, you’ll want to curl up in your bed & never get out again because the pain is overwhelming & so depressing.  Yet other times you feel like you can’t think about anything but some traumatic, horrible experiences, even though you would love to think about something, anything, else.

Awful times like this are, unfortunately, a very natural part of the healing process.

When these times come, I want to encourage you to keep pressing on.  The results will be worth it when you make progress in your healing.  All progress, even baby steps, is good when you’re healing from abuse, after all.  Do whatever you know to do to help you heal.  Or, if you don’t know what to do, then talk to God.  He wants to help you, so let Him!

Whatever happens during these incredibly trying times, don’t give up, Dear Reader!  I know it’s hard & painful, but don’t give up!  You can & will get through these times.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Be especially good to yourself too- do things that make you feel good.  Pamper yourself.  Splurge on that yummy milkshake or latte.  Snuggle up in your favorite blanket or get soft, cozy new pajamas.  Watch your favorite movies or tv shows.  Self care is always important, but especially so during the hard times.  Don’t neglect to take care of yourself!  xoxo

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Forgiveness After Narcissistic Abuse

One thing that every adult victim of narcissistic parents I have spoken with has struggled with is forgiving their parents.

So many people, particularly Christians, think that these victims need to forgive & forget.  They often quote Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”  When victims struggle with forgiving & forgetting, they are shamed & even shunned by the very people who should support them, creating even more pain, guilt & shame in the victim.

I want to give you a new perspective on forgiveness that I think can help you today.

If you look at the definition of forgive, nowhere does it say you don’t feel anger.  According to Merriam-Webster.com, to forgive means:

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON; forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of; forgive a debt

It’s possible to forgive someone while still feeling anger for them.  What I mean is when you forgive someone, you decide that they don’t owe you an apology or repentance. You won’t try to collect that “debt” from them.  You have released that person from paying you the debt that they owe you.  This is what I try to do any time someone mistreats me- give up expectations of an apology immediately.  That way, I have forgiven that person, as God wants me to do.  Yet, even forgiving quickly doesn’t mean I may not still feel some anger for that person for a while.  See what I mean?  You can forgive while still feeling anger.

I also firmly believe that releasing the anger you feel can be a process.  If the waitress makes a mistake on your order or a clerk is rude, those minor incidents are easy to forgive.  Big issues though, it takes time to work through the anger.   Processing anger from years of abuse takes a lot of time & work, especially if you learned early in life to ignore your anger which is the case with most children of narcissistic parents.

There is also the fact many people think to forgive your abusive parents is a one time thing.  You just forgive everything in one fell swoop & *poof* you’re not angry & you never will be angry again with them.  As anyone who has tried to forgive their narcissistic parents knows, that isn’t how it works.  You have to work through many different traumas individually, not lump them all together as one big trauma.

I honestly can say I have forgiven my narcissistic parents.   However, there are still some times I feel anger at them.

When a repressed memory comes back to mind, I feel anger at my parents about the incident.  When I have flashbacks, nightmares, the anxiety & depression get bad, I also feel  anger.  It’s their fault I have C-PTSD, after all.  Plus, when I told my father about having it, he ignored me then changed the subject.  Sometimes I also feel anger when others talk about what a great relationship they have with their parents.  I wanted that with mine, but wasn’t able to have it, because their narcissism was more important to them than me.

Do you think this means I haven’t forgiven my parents? If so, I’d have to respectfully disagree.  I have released my parents from any responsibility to apologize or make amends with me, which is the definition of forgiving.

Yes, there are times I still feel anger at them, as I admitted, & I think it’s very normal.  I also work through the anger & release it quickly.  That is the best I can do, & I know God honors that I am trying.  That’s all He asks of us, to try our best.

If someone tells you you’re wrong for not forgiving your narcissistic parents, Dear Reader, please remember what I said in this post.  If you don’t expect your parents to apologize or repay you for the trauma they inflicted on you, you already have forgiven them.  The more you heal, the less anger you’ll feel towards them.  It just takes some time.

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

Parentalizing & The Shame It Causes

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My Father Documented My Mother’s Abuse.. I Have Proof

Many years before my father died, he gave me his Bible and asked that I place it in his casket when he died.

 

He died October 23, 2017.  I remembered the Bible, and knew that even though I hadn’t spoken to him or my mother in quite some time, I needed to keep my promise about placing it in his casket.  The day after he passed away, I got it off the closet shelf, and opened it up for the first time.  I skimmed through things, putting aside things that didn’t look sentimental and putting the sentimental things back into the Bible.  I came across a piece of paper that was folded up very small.  It was something my father had written & I’d never seen.  Notes documenting some things my mother did to me & said about me to him.  Pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when I realized what I was looking at!  I was absolutely shocked!  I assume because my father’s memory was so damaged from a TBI at age 15, he documented things to be sure he wouldn’t forget.  It was a smart move, especially considering the gaslighting my mother put him through (yes, knowing about the brain damage, she used it to her advantage!).  Anyway, I put his notes aside to read later since I couldn’t cope with that at the time.  My focus had to be to get that Bible to the funeral parlor to be placed in his casket.  I accomplished my mission with the help of my husband that day, by the way.

 

A few days later, I read the notes.  It was quite overwhelming to put it mildly.  Even after all of this time, it’s still pretty overwhelming.  I’m still glad I have them though.  They helped validate my pain as well as give me some insight into my father & why he failed to protect me from my mother.

 

I thought I’d share them here.  Now you, Dear Reader, can see what I experienced, & know you’re not alone.  Narcissistic mother’s do terrible, terrible things, & I have written evidence of some of those things.

 

I also wrote comments of what I believe was happening in these events so others can learn about narcissistic behavior from examples.

 

I have another purpose for sharing this information, & that purpose is selfish, I admit it.  I have zero doubt at least one of my abusive flying monkey relatives (but I believe more) read my work.  I want them to see this undeniable proof that my mother abused me & my father didn’t protect me.  These people are what they were so blindly devoted to.  I know I can’t make them accept the truth, of course, but I can fling it at them & hope for the best.  Maybe a seed will be planted…

 

Reading these can be very triggering.  If you don’t feel strong enough to read details of narcissistic abuse at this time, you really should consider skipping this post.  You can always come back to it at another time.

 

Here we are… my father’s notes.  His handwriting can be a bit hard to read so I typed everything out.  I’m showing both versions to see side by side, so no one can say I’m lying.  I typed each line out exactly as he wrote it for clarity, & my comments are on the side.

 

My father’s notes…

my father's notes 1

 

My copy

my father's notes 1 with my comments

Second page of my father’s notes

my father's notes 2

 

My copy

 

my father's notes 2 with my comments

 

Last page of my father’s notes

my father's notes 3.jpg

 

My copy

my father's notes 3 with my comments

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Is Confronting Abusive Parents Biblical?

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Encouraging Your Faith & Offering Comfort Regarding The Death Of A Loved One

One year ago, I shared this post about the miraculous & wonderful events that surrounded my father’s death.  If you haven’t read it, please do.

I still am absolutely blown away by the events of that time.  Talking about the goodness of God doesn’t begin to explain just how loving, good, kind & merciful He truly is, & those events proved it to me.

It’s been quite the emotional roller coaster since my father’s passing last year, & my faith has grown tremendously too.

While I don’t believe the dead actually come to us in dreams, I do believe because God knows how much certain people mean to them & they mean to us, He allows us to have dreams to convey messages from them.  That being said, I’ve had a couple of dreams about my father since his passing, although he rarely actually makes an appearance in them.  At first, I knew the dreams were to tell me that he was sorry for everything & loves me a great deal.  I also knew he didn’t want to appear in my dreams often because of the things that happened in our relationship- he was afraid it’d upset me.  Recently though he showed up in a dream & it was lovely- we were talking & laughing, & he was telling jokes.  It was fun since we shared the same skewed since of humor.  I believe that dream was to let me know that he appreciates all the prayers that not only I said for him, but my friends said as well, & now he’s enjoying Heaven because God answered those prayers.

I wanted to share these events with you to (hopefully!) encourage your faith & comfort you are losing someone you love.  God truly can save everyone who wants to be saved.  Never give up hope or give up praying for them, Dear Reader, even when it looks hopeless.  It may happen at the very last minute like it did with my father, but it can still happen.  Keep praying!!

Also, if you’ve lost a loved one, draw close to God.  Allow Him to help you to get through & to comfort you.  He truly will!  I’ve even asked Him if it’s ok, please tell my deceased loved ones I miss them, are thinking of them or even happy birthday.  I know as Christians, we aren’t supposed to try to contact the dead, so obviously I won’t seek out a medium or grab a Ouija board.  But, I see nothing wrong with asking that sort of thing of God.  Besides, if He didn’t want it to happen, He wouldn’t do it ^ would tell me it’s wrong!  He also has told me little things that they wanted me to know, & of course there have been many dreams.  Sometimes during the hardest times, I’ve dreamed about my grandfather, & the dream helped comfort me.  On February 26, 2016, the night before the one year anniversary that I survived carbon monoxide poisoning, I had a dream of going four-wheeling with my grandfather.  It was so fun & helped me feel much less depressed about that anniversary.  God can bless you in the same way.  He is no respecter of persons, so what He does for one, He can do for another.

I guess my thoughts are a bit scattered on this post, but I do hope they help & encourage you anyway.  xoxo

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Why People Believe Narcissists Instead Of Their Victims

Those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse all seem to wonder one thing- why does everyone believe the narcissist & not me?!

I certainly have.  I was in my late teens when my mother’s abuse hit its peak.  During that time, I noticed that her friends no longer were friendly & nice to me.  Women who once obviously liked me no longer would even make eye contact with me or speak to me.  It wasn’t hard to figure out my mother told them something awful about me.  What I wondered was why would they believe her lies when they knew me well.  They had to know I wasn’t the terrible teen my mother told me & others that I was.

I think I have some ideas as to why people believe narcissists in these situations.

The person who doesn’t believe a victim may be a narcissist.  I have noticed narcissists don’t believe people easily.  If someone says another person hurt them, unless there is undeniable evidence such as broken bones, many narcissists don’t believe that person.  Maybe they simply have no interest since it doesn’t center around them.

Narcissists are also phenomenal actors.  They can create any impression they wish.  If they want to appear kind when they aren’t, they can do that with no problem.  Highly intelligent even though they aren’t particularly smart?  They can pull that act off too.  Their chameleon like ways blend well with their superb ability to read people, which enables them to appear in the most appealing way possible to each individual person.

Many people look for the best in others, not the real in others.  People see the narcissist as a good person, as the narcissist wanted them to, so when a victim tells others of the terrible things the narcissist has done, the victim is not believed.  People don’t think someone as “good” as the narcissist could do such things.

There’s also the fact that narcissistic abuse is so outlandish, it’s hard to believe.  Looking back at things narcissists have done to me, even I have trouble believing they happened, & I was there.  People with no knowledge of narcissism can have trouble believing your stories of narcissistic abuse simply because of the bizarre nature.

Some people who don’t believe victims also come from backgrounds of abuse, yet have not faced their pain.  Instead, they live ready to shut down anything or anyone that may remind them of their pain or that threatens their flawed belief system that all is fine in their world.  I know a family like this.  The father was horribly abusive to the children growing up.  The mother stood by his side, & failed to protect them.  In fact, she instilled the belief in them that it was their place to protect her, not the other way around.  The adult children were very protective of their mother.  They treated her as if she was a young child, in need of constant care, coddling & protection.  No one was allowed to mistreat her or criticize her, even if they were telling the truth.  None of them have any tolerance for anyone setting boundaries with their parents.  They seem to believe that you tolerate anything & everything from your parents with a smile.  They also will believe any lies a narcissistic parent tells them about their child, not their child.

I also think there is another reason people believe narcissists over victims.  Those who aren’t facing their own abusive pasts feel bad when they see others who are.  Maybe it makes them feel ashamed for not being strong enough to do so or it simply reminds them of the pain they work so hard to ignore.  But, I do know for these people, it’s easier to believe a narcissist than to believe their victim & face their own pain.

When you come across someone who doesn’t believe you, then Dear Reader, remember, it has nothing to do with you.  The person you’re speaking with has their own issues.  Normal, mentally healthy people listen to a victim’s story & believe that person unless there is strong evidence that the victim is lying, not the other way around.

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Unconventional Grief

Most people assume there is only one type of grief, the grief that happens when someone you love dies, but there are other types as well.

People also can grieve when they move, get a divorce or lose a job.  There is also something known as anticipatory grief, which happens when you know someone is dying.  This is especially common in families where someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s due to how this terrible disease destroys a person’s personality before it destroys their body.

Unconventional grief is different.  It is grief that is triggered by unique circumstances.  I experienced it when learning about the many new limitations because of how damaged my brain was after surviving Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  It also can happen when someone is diagnosed with mental illness or when a loved one has a substance abuse problem.  Unconventional grief also can happen as a result of trauma & abuse.

When you grow up with a narcissistic parent or two, & you finally learn about narcissism, although it is a great thing, it can trigger grief.  Suddenly you realize that you aren’t the problem, which is certainly good news of course, but realizing what your parent was is difficult  & painful to accept.  It hurts that the one person who was supposed to love you unconditionally didn’t, & lacks the ability to do so.  You also realize how much your parent took from you, such as your childhood & self-esteem.  And, it suddenly hits you that there is no hope for your relationship.  Prior to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most people have some hope that one day their parent will realize what she did, apologize & change for the better.  Learning about NPD squelches that hope completely.  That is a tough pill to swallow!

Facing these ugly truths absolutely can cause a person to grieve, & it’s extremely painful.  It’s also difficult to understand because of the limited view of grief that most people have.  How can you grieve when the person in question is still alive?!  Well, it’s surprisingly easy to do actually.

When my father died in October, 2017, I didn’t cry.  I cry easily especially when losing someone I love, but I didn’t cry.   I barely have felt sad at all since he’s been gone.  No doubt any of my family that may be reading this thinks it’s because I’m a cold, evil person, but that isn’t the case.  It’s because I grieved him enough when he was alive that his death didn’t have a very profound effect on me.  And you know something?  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with have said that they felt the same exact thing when their parent died.

Unconventional grief can be incredibly difficult, but you can get through it.

Pray & pray often.  You will need the wisdom, guidance & comfort of God to get through this.

Don’t judge your emotions.  Accept them.  Examine them without judgement or criticism.  Feel them.  Pray, talk or write about them to cope with them.

Anger is an especially common part of this sort of grief.  If you feel a lot of anger, it’s normal!  I know, you probably grew up like most of us with narcissistic parents did, believing you aren’t allowed to be angry.  Stop that now!  Why are you angry?  Face it head on & deal with your feelings.  The pain will lose its power over you if you face it.

You also may start to remember only the good times.  They are good to remember, but don’t forget the bad as well.  Embrace the good & heal from the bad.

Write in a journal.  Writing is very cathartic, plus it will help you to have documentation.  You may even decide that you enjoy writing, & opt to start a blog or write a book.

Find online support groups & websites.  Learning that others are experiencing similar things to you is very helpful.

Don’t expect this grief to end entirely.  It will get better, but it may never end entirely. It’s like losing a loved one- you grieve most right after the person died, but even many years later, the pain is still there, just not as intense as it was at first.

If you’re experiencing unconventional grief, Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone.  You can survive this!  It will take hard work & won’t be easy, but you can do it!

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Going No Contact Doesn’t Fix Everything

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When Your Narcissistic Parent Dies

One year ago today my father passed away.  It’s been quite a year to say the least.  It’s also been a real learning experience.

When my narcissistic grandmother died in 2001, I gained a pretty good idea of what it’d be like to lose a narcissistic parent.  When she died, I felt such a relief that the abuse was finally truly over, & the normal guilt that comes with that feeling.  I went through a lot of anger & sadness things were as they were with her.  I was prepared for that when my father died.  I was NOT prepared for other things.

I was woefully unprepared for the constant inundation of attacks from flying monkeys who thought I should go see him & the incredibly cruel & stupid things they had to say in an attempt to force me to do their will.  I also was unprepared for their dogged determination to get around all the blocks I had in place (on social media, blocking emails, phone numbers, etc).  When they continued their harassment, I was stunned & frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get rid of these monsters no matter what I did.

I also didn’t expect to end up in a state of shock that lasted for months because of the flying monkeys, or that the shock would prevent me from experiencing any grief over losing my father.

I was also unprepared for the incredibly strong & constant need to pray for my father’s salvation at that time.  I’d been praying for him for some time, but his final few weeks, I felt I had to pray often & hard about it & ask friends to pray with me.  Thankfully, God answered those prayers, & I shared that story here: Some Recent Miracles That I Believe Will Encourage You

I also didn’t realize the lack of support that I would have.  Truthfully, I’m only very close to a few people, but I do have a larger group of friends who I’m simply not as close to.  In theory, I should’ve been surrounded by support at that time, but I really wasn’t.  Those closest to me checked on me often, but those who aren’t as close to me didn’t.  Only a couple even offered any sympathy when my father died.  Yet, when my father in-law died last June, many of those same people offered their condolences to my husband, even ones who don’t know or barely know him.  When this happened, it made me mad.  I felt hurt.  Why was his father’s death worthy of sympathy but not mine?!  I finally realized.. it’s because they didn’t know what to say or do.  They weren’t being hateful, it wasn’t that they didn’t care.  They simply didn’t know what to say.  Most people will avoid a situation rather than admit they don’t know what to say.

The reason I’m telling you these things, Dear Reader, is that if you’re facing the death of your narcissistic parent, you may experience similar things to me.  The experiences I mentioned are very common among adult children of narcissistic parents.  You need to be prepared for these things as best you can be.

I wrote a book about my experiences entitled, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies”.  If you’re interested, it’s available on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com 

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Backlash After Going Low Or No Contact

When the adult child of a narcissist decides to go low or no contact with the abusive parents, people are often surprised.  Narcissistic parents do their best to create an image of a happy, functional family to outsiders, & many people believe this false image to be real.  They don’t realize how much serious thought & prayer went into the adult child’s decision.  Those people are shocked by the low or no contact decision.  They say things like,

  • “You were always such a good child!” (children of narcissistic parents are often incredibly obedient in order to please their parent or avoid abuse)
  • “You never said anything was wrong.”  (abused children rarely do- abuse is normal, & they don’t often realize it’s wrong.  Or, if they do know, to survive, they know they must keep the abuse a secret)
  • “Your mother/father never said one bad thing about you!” (abusers don’t show their abusive side to everyone- they hide it from those whose opinions they value.  Besides, if the abusive parent appears good to everyone, & the child claims this parent is abusive, people are more likely to believe the parent than the child if the child speaks out)

Other people react with guilt, urging the victim to continue the abusive relationship.  Often, these people came from abusive backgrounds themselves, & are in denial about it.  You facing the truth makes them feel bad for not doing the same, so often, people like this try to bring you down to their level.  They say things like,

  • “They did the best they could!”  (So?  Even on the highly unlikely chance the abuser didn’t realize they were being abusive, that doesn’t make the abuse less damaging)
  • “Your parents won’t be around forever!”  (True, but neither will anyone.  It’s entirely possible their child could die first, so why not tell the abusers this fact?  And, the Bible says you reap what you sow in Galatians 6:7-8.  People can’t abuse someone & expect that someone to tolerate it indefinitely.  Everyone has their limits)
  • “Your parents gave you everything!”  (providing food, clothing & shelter is the job of parents.  They may have done these things, maybe even spoiled their child with “stuff”, but that doesn’t make them parents of the year.  It also doesn’t mean their child owes them for doing what a parent should do for their child.)
  • Some people refuse to discuss the topic with the victim because they have chosen the side of the parent.  They often make their displeasure with the victim obvious in snide comments or disdainful looks rather than using their words.

These things can hurt a victim by further invalidating or not believing their pain.  These types of responses also send the victim the message that she isn’t important, only the narcissistic parent is.

Dear Reader, if this is your situation, I’m sure you’re hurting.  I’ve heard similar comments & know first hand how painful they are.  Know you aren’t alone!  There are so many of us who understand!  This may be a good time to reach out to other survivors of narcissistic abuse.  There are online support forums (I have one on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/ ).  There are also so many informative websites & blogs available.

When faced with these conversations, it’s best for you to simply walk away.  People who blindly defend a narcissist most likely never going to see the light about what she is really like.  Defending yourself will only lead to frustration for you.  Tell the person you don’t want to discuss the matter, & change the subject.  If the person continues to force their opinion on you, walk away.

Know that you don’t have to tolerate any abuse from anyone.  Invalidating & dismissing a victim’s pain is abuse!  You have every right to protect yourself from it!  You don’t need people who treat you this way in your life, & are well within your rights to cut them out of your life if you feel it’s the right thing to do.

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How To Deal With Guilt Trips

 

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Simple Ways To Set Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

As I’ve said many times, my heart goes out to those in the position of being unable or unwilling to go no contact with their narcissistic parents.  You’re in a tough, tough place, & I understand since I’ve been there.  I want to help you if I can, & that is what today’s post is about.

There are some small, easy ways you can set boundaries with your narcissistic parent while not eliminating them from your life entirely.

For starters, reduce the amount of time you spend with your narcissistic parent.  Don’t visit or have your parent visit you as often.  Stop taking their calls every time they call.  Ask yourself if you feel up to dealing with your parent, & if not, don’t take that call or visit.

When you must visit or speak with your parent on the phone, set a time limit.  Don’t allow your narcissistic parent to waste half your day when that is so hard on you!  Set a limit, then say “I have to go” & go.

Also if you visit your narcissistic parent, have a way out.  Plan something to do so you only have a limited time to spend with your parent.  If you can’t think of something, say you just remembered something you have to take care of & go.  It’s not a lie- you remembered you have to take care of yourself!

Remember to keep the conversation away from you.  Your love life, in-laws, job, troubles & even your mental & physical health should be off the table for topics to discuss with your narcissistic parent.  Giving any narcissist personal information is just asking for trouble such as criticism & unasked for, useless advice.  Change the subject if your parent wants or demands to know something personal about you.  If all else fails, ask your parent about something that matters to her.  Chances are excellent she’ll drop the matter at the opportunity to talk about herself.

If you’re dependent even slightly on your narcissistic parent financially, find ways to put an end to it.  Narcissists love controlling their adult children with money, so remove that tool if at all possible.  If not, then at least find ways to reduce the amount.

If you have pets or kids, have strict boundaries in place.  It is your job to protect them & that includes from abusive & narcissistic parents.

When it’s time to set boundaries with your parent, remain calm.  Show no emotion, simply state the facts.  Any signs you are upset will fuel your narcissistic parent’s behavior.  Stay calm, state your boundary & the consequence of your parent not respecting the boundary, then enforce it if necessary.

If you’re friends on social media, unfollow your narcissistic parent.  You will remain friends, but you won’t see her posts which can reduce stress.

If you must go somewhere with your narcissistic parent, drive separately.  That way, you are free to leave at any time if need be.  Also, cars are a great weapon for some narcissists.  There is no escape- you have to put up with whatever they do when you’re in a car together.   My mother loved having me trapped in her car, & used it to scream at me when I was a kid or belittle me as an adult.

Always remember the Gray Rock Method.  Think about what gives your narcissistic parent narcissistic supply, & refuse to provide it.  Basically, you need to be boring to her.  Don’t admire her.  Don’t praise her.  Don’t get angry at her so she can portray herself as the victim.  Don’t coddle her.  Don’t share anything personal about yourself that she could use against you or as fuel to spread lies about you.  Don’t empathize with her if someone has hurt her.  Show no real interest in her problems.  If she needs your assistance with something, do the bare minimum, don’t go above & beyond.  Gray Rock can be hard at first because every tiny thing can provide narcissistic supply, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Lastly, pray & pray often.  Ask God to help you cope with your narcissistic parent, to give you the right words to say, & to give you effective, creative ways to cope with her behavior.  He will NOT disappoint you!

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Changes Happening With My Website

I have recently changed my website domain registration & hosting to a new company.  It’s going through those changes as we speak.  From what I see, it may take about a week for things to change then possibly add in more time for me to learn the new website building software & get it back up & running.

 

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause!  It’s unavoidable, though- my last website host & domain registrar went out of business without telling its customers.  In order to make any changes to my site, I had to make a change.  I really think it’s for the best though- this new company has no limits on how big my site can be or how many visitors it has each month!  Pretty cool, really.. just the change that isn’t so cool.

 

Anyway hopefully within the next 1-2 weeks, my site will be back & better than before at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com .  Thank you, Dear Reader, for your understanding & patience!  xoxo

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About Non-Apologies

 

**I have NO idea why, but this video turned out with a black screen rather than like the normal videos.  The audio works just fine though.  I apologize for any inconvenience!**

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About Not Tolerating Abuse

Psalm 101:5 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

This verse has come to my attention quite a few times recently.  It find it VERY interesting.  Don’t you think that it describes some aspects of narcissistic behavior?  Narcissists have NO trouble slandering others.  They also have the haughty look & an arrogant heart.  What is even more interesting to me than the description of these behaviors is that God has no tolerance for them.

Yet, narcissists’ evil minions, also known as flying monkeys, love to tell victims of narcissistic abuse that we are being cruel, unloving, & even ungodly if we set boundaries with the narcissist in our lives.  They tell us invalidating & horrible things like, “You only get one set of parents!”  “He won’t be around forever yanno!”  “But that’s your MOTHER!!!” & more.  If the flying monkey claims to be a Christian, they also like to throw in their version of Scripture to prove that your behavior is terrible, such as you aren’t honoring your parents or “God hates divorce” if your narcissist is your spouse.

Awful statements like these can make a victim feel ashamed for not tolerating the abuse or even feel enough guilt to resume the dysfunctional, abusive relationship as it was & abandon all attempts of self protection.

This should not be!!!

If you have been subjected to the inane ramblings of flying monkeys, you need to know some things.

First, the people saying these things are abusive.  Invalidation is abusive.  Encouraging someone to return to an abusive situation is also abusive.  Attempting to force someone to do something is controlling & abusive.  You have every right to protect yourself from these awful people.

Second, I’ve come to realize that many flying monkeys are simply covert narcissists.  Narcissists only care about what is best for them, no one else.  Why would you take the advice of someone like that?!

Third, you also have the right to protect yourself from any abusive person, which includes your narcissistic parent(s) or significant other.  There is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse.  Anyone who thinks there is has some seriously warped beliefs, & obviously they know nothing of God or His ways.

Fourth, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (NIV)  One duty all Christians have is to become like God.  While we can’t be just like God, of course, we can love as He loves, & treat people as He does.  So, keeping this in mind, if God does not tolerate certain things, like narcissistic behavior, this means we shouldn’t tolerate it either.

And lastly, as I said, there is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse.  Doing so encourages a person to behave poorly.  It keeps them indulging in sinful behavior, hurting other people & even themselves.  How can this be good for anyone?!  It’s impossible!

On the opposite side of that coin, refusing to tolerate abuse is a good & loving thing to do.  It sets boundaries that give consequences for a person’s bad behavior.  If they wish to avoid those consequences, they will behave better.  (While no one can force another person to change, boundaries at least create circumstances that can make a person want to change. )  Helping a person to be the best version of themselves that they can be is a loving thing to do.

Refusing to tolerate abusive treatment also removes the opportunity for the abusive person to sin, at least where you’re concerned, & that is a good thing.  Tolerating abuse not only allows the abuser to sin but practically encourages it.  After all, why should the abuser stop being abusive when they don’t have any reason to?  And no, for narcissists, knowing they’re hurting someone else isn’t enough of a reason to stop abusing.

Dear Reader, the next time someone criticizes you for not tolerating abuse from the narcissists in your life, please remember what I’ve said.  There is absolutely nothing good about tolerating abuse for you or the abuser.  You have every right to protect yourself however you see fit, whether it’s by setting boundaries or even ending the relationship.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  xoxo

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How Narcissists Use Social Media

Narcissists are experts at using any tool at their disposal to victimize a person of their choosing or to gain their coveted narcissistic supply.  Social media is an excellent way to accomplish these things.

Social media provides an excellent way for a narcissist to stalk, harass  & victimize you.  I’ve been on the receiving end of being harassed this way.  One stalker kept liking my Facebook writing page, even though I repeatedly deleted & banned her.  Somehow she found a way to like it anyway!  I eventually shut the page down & created a group instead, which turned out to be much better anyway.  You don’t need a page for this to happen though- your personal social media pages can provide a wealth of information.  Be sure to keep personal information either off your page entirely or make absolutely certain your settings are set so only your friends can see it.  Any personal information can be used by the wrong person to victimize you.

Triangulation is also possible on social media.  If someone on your friends list doesn’t know your history with your narcissist, that narcissist may send that person a friend’s request, your friend becomes your narcissist’s friend, that person may innocently share all kinds of private information about you.  Or, maybe your friend knows the story & believes you wronged your narcissist.  That “friend” may decide to side with the narcissist, & provide personal information about you with your narcissist so that person can abuse you.

Social media can enable a narcissist to gain plenty of narcissistic supply.  Have you ever noticed when someone shares a selfie how many people tell that person how great they look?  The person could have just come in from a rainstorm but people will say how great they look.  For narcissists, this is supply.  Who doesn’t like to hear how great they look?!  Narcissists take it much farther though.  They crave complements like oxygen.

Narcissists also can bully & provoke others on social media very easily.  They say offensive comments, lie or at least exaggerate to get a response.  They also can sniff out any vulnerability in a person very easily.  All they have to do is see a hint of some area in which a person is sensitive, & they attack.  Victim pages & groups are great for this.  They may join a group, for example, saying they too are a victim of a narcissist.  They’ll tell a story about a tragic childhood or marriage, or they may simply hint at it, saying it’s too difficult to talk about.  When others in the group discuss their experiences though, the narcissist will say their’s is so much worse, shaming the other person.  Or they may say they escaped an abusive relationship & shame others who are still involved in one.

Social media can be a wonderful way to keep up with your loved ones & meet new friends.  You just have to exercise wisdom in using it, especially if there are any narcissists in your life.

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Fixing Your Narcissistic Parents’ Problem Is A Bad Idea

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Shock After Dealing With Narcissists & Their Flying Monkeys

Sometimes, narcissists &/or their flying monkeys go above & beyond in their abuse.  They behave so outrageously or abuse a victim so often, a victim can’t cope.  When this happens, it can thrust a victim into a state of shock.

I spent much of my late teens in shock due to the daily abuse from my mother, & it also happened during the last few months of my father’s life in 2017.

Being no contact with my parents never seemed to bother anyone until my father’s health started to decline.  Once that happened, I was contacted by relatives (some I knew, some I did not), strangers (two police officers, my father’s barber, my parents’ neighbors) & acquaintances.  Every single person had the same message- they shamed me for not having a relationship with my parents, commanded me to talk to them, to say goodbye to my father “so he could die in peace,” telling me I needed to forgive & forget, they’re the only parents I’ll ever have, I should go to them because “if I was a parent, I’d understand” how me staying away made him feel, & other similar,  ludicrous statements.

The final twenty days of my father’s life while he was in the hospital were the worst.  They included an excessive amount of abuse for me.  Daily, I would receive a barrage of these cruel, heartless, shame/guilt inducing type messages & people I don’t even know telling me what they thought I should do with no interest in me.   Since they kept finding ways around the blocks I’d put in place to send me messages, there truly was no escape.  I ended up trying to save all messages without reading them for evidence in case I ever needed it, but even so, I couldn’t avoid seeing a small portion of the messages due to how email & social media messages are set up.  I don’t use voicemail so I didn’t have to hear anyone’s voice at least.

The end result of all of this for me was shock.

Today it’s a little over 11 months since he passed away & I still feel some degree of shock.

Has this sort of thing happened to you too, Dear Reader?  Have you ended up in a state of shock due to the sheer volume of or intensity of the abuse from the narcissist or flying monkeys in your life?  If so, I have learned some things about this state that I believe can help you.

Don’t judge your feelings.  Even if they seem strange to you, they’re there for a reason.  Just accept that they have a purpose & don’t ignore them.  You’ll figure out their purpose.

Don’t try to push yourself to get over this shock.  It happened for a reason & that reason is because you’ve been subjected to some very serious trauma.  The shock is protecting your mind from feeling all of the emotions at once.  Let it do its job!  It will diminish in time, as you’re more able to face the trauma(s).

If you start to feel overwhelmed, imagine yourself putting some emotions or traumatic incidents in boxes on a shelf.  Deal with what you can however works best for you, & when you feel you have handled that, take that box off the shelf & deal with its contents.  Once you’ve dealt with that, take down another box if you have a few on a shelf.  If you can handle one thing at a time, it’ll be easier than trying to deal with multiple traumas at once.  I think trying to face too many things at once is much like plate spinning!  

Take good care of yourself.  It can be hard to eat or not to eat too much when you’re upset.  Try to maintain your normal eating habits as much as you can.  If you’re one who doesn’t want to eat, make sure you take daily vitamins to help you get daily nutrients.  You need to be healthy physically to handle emotional traumas.

Try to get as much rest as possible.  Emotional healing is hard work & you will be exhausted!

Take it easy when you can.  Sometimes time spent just staring at a good movie or sitting in the park watching people can be very restorative.

Spend time with your pets if you have them.  Animals are amazing.  They not only understand when their human is suffering but they know just what to do to help.  Let your furbaby help you!

Talk to safe & supportive friends or loved ones.  Write in your journal on those times you don’t feel like talking.  Both of these things can help the shock dissipate by making the situations seem more real.

Avoid people who don’t “get it,” but especially at this time.  They can make you feel even worse than you already do.  This state of shock can make you feel super sensitive.  Even if you normally can brush off someone’s lack of support & understanding, if you’re in that super sensitive place, you can’t.  In fact, their words &/or actions may send you into a downward spiral of depression.

Most of all, cling to God.  Your faith is what will help you more than anything to get through this awful time.  When I was going through this trauma last year, I know there is no way I could’ve survived without God’s constant gentle, understanding & loving presence in my life.  He helped me to maintain my sanity, not reach out to these abusive jerks & tell them off or seek revenge & to do exactly what His will was, which worked out beautifully in the end.  He can & will do the same thing for you.

 

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When Narcissistic Parents Expect Their Children To Be Their Parent

Narcissistic parents often expect their children to care for them rather than the normal course of events where parents care for their children.  They expect their children to meet their emotional needs, listen to their woes, make them happy when they are sad, fix their problems & more.  This is called parentification, parentalizing, emotional incest or covert incest.  (For simplicity sake, we’ll use parentification in this article.)

 

While parentification may not sound all that bad, its effect on children can be devastating.  Children feel responsible for their parents, which burdens them with the false belief they are responsible for everyone in their circle as adults.  That type of responsibility is incredibly stressful, no matter a person’s age, & as everyone knows, stress can cause a plethora of physical ailments.

 

It also robs children of their childhood.  Parentified children aren’t allowed to hang out with their friends.  They have their parents to take care of instead.  Basically these children are living an adult life in their childhood.

 

Parentified children also are depressed.  They often feel like failures for not being able to fix their parents’ problems, & narcissistic parents only make this feeling worse by blaming their children for not being able to accomplish the impossible.

 

These children often carry a great deal of anger inside, too, yet are unable to express it.  To be angry at their parents feels so wrong since their parents have made it their job to protect these parents.  Since expressing that anger is wrong, as far as the children are concerned, the anger gets stuffed inside & often manifests in very unhealthy ways.  It can come out as self destructive ways (such as addictions) or other destructive ways (becoming abusive towards other people).

 

Parentified children have a right to be angry.  They have been subjected to an incredibly cruel & insidious form of abuse by their own parents.  And, to make matters worse, unknowing people compound their pain.  They tell the children how lucky they are to have such a close relationship with their mother or father.  Some people compound the guilt & responsibility on their child by saying things like, “I don’t know what your mom would do without you.”  “You have to be strong for your dad- he needs you.”  These kinds of things only make a child feel ashamed for having any complaints about the relationship, extra responsible for the parent they shouldn’t be responsible for in the first place & angry that they have been forced into this position.

 

If this describes you, you are NOT alone!  Many people have been the victims of parentification, in particular children of narcissistic parents.  I’ve been through it myself & sympathize with your pain.  My parents came to me ever since i can remember with complaints about each other & even wanting me to fix their disagreements.  I still have moments when I think of it that I get angry.  And you know something?  It’s ok!  Being abused in any way, shape or form isn’t right.  It’s ok to be angry about the unfairness of abuse & being forced to live with the painful effects, such as PTSD or C-PTSD.

 

The best way I’ve learned to cope is to go to God, & tell Him about what I feel.  He truly understands & gives me a lot of comfort.  I also have friends who have been through the same thing & understand.  Sometimes one of the most helpful things for me is when they get angry over something I went through.  That can be so validating!  What my parents did wasn’t right, but, as a typical child of narcissists, I’ve always felt guilt for being angry with them.  Although it’s diminished a great deal, it’s still there a little.  Someone else getting angry about what my parents did helps me to understand that it’s ok to be angry about what they did & to realize just how wrong it was.

 

If you’re still in a relationship with your parent who indulges in parentification, you are not in a good place.  Until such time as you decide to end this relationship, if you decide to take that step, you will need to learn ways to cope.  Narcissists don’t accept boundaries like normal people, so you will need to get creative.  Whatever you do, do NOT tell your parent, “It hurts me when you talk about/do that.  Please don’t do it anymore.”  Statements like that are like throwing gas on a narcissist fire.  They will mock you for being oversensitive or do the behavior more often just to hurt you.

 

Instead, try changing the subject.  Since narcissists love to talk about themselves, you can use that to your advantage.  Ask your narcissistic parent something about herself.  How is her job going?  How did her last doctor visit go?  Has she talked to her favorite cousin lately?  It’s really not that hard to get a narcissist to talk about themselves.  Why not use it in your favor?

 

Suddenly have to go.  You just looked at the time & you have to go.  You don’t owe any explanations- you just have to go.

 

Ask if your parent has talked to someone else who has been through something similar about this situation.  After all, that person knows a lot more than you do & no doubt can help your parent more than you can!  Let them think that you’re only suggesting this because it helps them in some way, not you.

 

Whatever your situation with parentification, I truly wish you the best.  I pray you find effective ways to cope with your parent or are able to release any false guilt you may feel for no longer being in that situation.

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A Different Facet Of Triangulation

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Schedule Time To Talk

At the end of July, my husband & I had a disagreement.  Not even really a fight, just a disagreement.  During the course of working things out, we began talking about our relationship in general.  We realized that when stressed, we both tend to withdraw into ourselves.  Both being major introverts (he’s INTJ, I’m INFJ), it’s hardly a surprise.  It’s also not good for our marriage, because when he withdraws it triggers me to withdraw from him & when I withdraw, it triggers him to withdraw from me also.  We tried to figure out ways to cope with this when we came up with a good solution, & I believe it’s beneficial for any marriage.

We now have daily time to talk with each other, minus tv & computer.  Maybe music but that is iffy.  In fact, we have the Amazon Echo Dot, & I have a daily reminder on there for her to tell us to talk so we are sure not to forget this time.

Every evening at 9, our Dot tells us “This is your daily reminder.  It’s talk time.”  At that time, we turn off the tv & computers, ignore the phone & talk.  The topics vary daily.  Sometimes he talks more than me, sometimes I talk more than him.  We also don’t have a set time we must talk, so sometimes it’s only 10 minutes, sometimes an hour or more.  There are also times we do it earlier in the day because maybe there’s a tv show we want to watch coming on at 9 or we’re really tired & want to get some extra sleep.  We also had an evening where one of our cats got sick & had to go to the emergency vet about 9pm, so talk time obviously was postponed that day & rescheduled for the next few days while he was in there to adapt to our spending time at the hospital.  There are no rules & there is absolutely NO pressure about talk time other than spend time together.

This ritual has been super beneficial for our marriage!  I’ve noticed we are withdrawing much less & being a lot more open about everything.  My husband used to hold a lot in about his difficulties at work but now he is talking about them.  Even when it isn’t “talk time,” he’s opening up about work more often.  He used to hold his frustrations in so this is a very good thing!  So much healthier!

We also are closer than we once were.  Focusing on each other daily has increased the intimacy in our marriage.  We are more open with each other & know we can talk to each other about anything.  I’ve felt safer to bring up topics that could start arguments because both of us are more patient, considerate & understand with each other since we started with our daily talk time.  It seems like we slow down & really think about things more during talk time.

I think we also have begun to have even more in common than we once did.  By focusing so much on each other during our talk time, it seems to have enabled us to see things from each other’s perspectives more than we once did.  We used to butt heads about how money should be spent, as one example, but now we agree on it.  Granted that area improved the longer we’ve been together, but  since we started this ritual, we’ve gotten to be a lot more on the same page.  We rarely disagree on financial things anymore.

I wanted to share this discovery with you, Dear Reader, because I think this talk time ritual can help any marriage.  I know, life can be so busy, but like I said, it doesn’t have to take long.  Even just a few minutes each day where you & your spouse focus on each other can be a good thing.  If you opt to try this in your marriage, then please do as we have done & keep it as low key as possible.  I really think pressure would make it into a burden rather than something to look forward to each day.  Schedule a time that works for you but be flexible enough to change it if circumstances dictate.  Don’t worry about having a time limit either or specific topics.  Just hang out with your spouse & talk about whatever topics come up.  The point is to have fun, relax or work through a problem.  Just go with the flow & see if your marriage doesn’t improve like mine did.

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A Bit About Marriage

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  (KJV)

 

Most people have at least heard of Genesis 2:24, but I wonder how many people truly understand it.  Since tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary, this Scripture has popped into my mind & I figured the timing to discuss it was good.

Being close is one thing, but being enmeshed is very bad.  No doubt many of my readers know about enmeshed families.  Narcissistic families often have enmeshment down to an art form, since their families are very cult-like.  When one member gets married, this often means trouble for the new in-law.

When my husband & I first met, it didn’t take me long to learn he was very involved with his family.  Enmeshed, really, although I didn’t know the term at the time.  Coming from my own dysfunctional past, I thought at first that it was good they were so “close.”

My mother in-law hated me from the day we met, which was before my husband & I started dating.  Once we started dating, it got a lot worse & it was worse after our marriage.  Because she felt this way, her two daughters did as well, although one hid it for a few years.  Over the years, they subjected me to many cruel comments & actions letting me know I was not good enough to be a part of their family.  Yet, at the same time, I was told that I would be there on special days like Christmas & there was no acceptable excuse not to be in attendance.  They also had ideas of the type of person I should be & look like, which became incredibly annoying to me since I’m not anything like they wanted me to be.  This all created a tremendous amount of stress in my marriage which lead to me considering divorce many times.

And sadly, I felt  completely alone.  I honestly thought no other woman went through what I was going through.  How wrong I was!  As I began to write about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I learned a LOT of other people had almost identical experiences with their in-laws.  It seems this must be common with narcissistic families, to treat the in-law more like an outlaw,  make demands of them & have unrealistic expectations of them & causing problems in the marriage.

I firmly believe situations like this are why God wrote Genesis 2:24.  When a couple is married, whether they’ve been married 2 weeks or 40 years, they need to be a COUPLE, not have others involved in their marriage.  Even if the people in question are good people, it’s just inappropriate & causes problems in a marriage to have the intrusion of other people.  Feelings will get hurt, someone will feel put upon or left out, arguments will happen.. it’s just not good!  Couples needs to keep their marriage their top priority after God, & not pay attention to what other people’s opinions are.

It’s also very inappropriate for a married person to discuss the intimate details of their marriage with their parent or child.  They don’t need to be privy to that information.  All it will do is cause tension between the partner being discussed & the other person, plus if a child knows such information about their parent, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the child.  Children often take things personally, even things that shouldn’t be taken personally.  The child may feel to blame for the parent’s bad behavior or the marital problems.  The child may even feel it’s his or her duty to fix the problem when clearly nothing could be further from the truth!

If you’re in the situation of someone else being involved in your marriage, please talk to your partner!  Remind him or her of Genesis 2:24.  Ask God to give you the right words to say so your partner will understand the importance of this issue.  Suggest marriage counseling, perhaps.  It’ll be very challenging but you can get through this!

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Compassion Fatigue

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When There Is A Narcissist In The Family

Families that have at least one narcissist in them have some very serious problems.  It may not be evident at first glance.  Everyone may act like they get along just fine.  They may celebrate holidays together every year.  Yet, serious problems still exist in this family.

People raised by narcissistic parents have mental health issues.  There is no avoiding that.  Many struggle with C-PTSD or PTSD at worst, anxiety &/or depression at best.  Some even turn out like their narcissistic parent, emulating the awful & abusive behaviors they grew up seeing daily.  All have relationship problems to varying degrees.

The problems don’t stop at the children of narcissists, however.  If those children grow up to have children, they too will be abused by their narcissistic grandparents.

Other relatives will be drawn into the fray as well.  Narcissists love to tell other people how wonderful they are while also telling them just awful their victim is.  That way, if the victim ever tells anyone about the abuse, no one will believe the victim.  Instead, they will label the victim as crazy, mentally unstable, addicted, selfish, etc. while assuming the narcissist has done nothing wrong.

When this happens in a family situation, it seems that most people are exceptionally willing to blindly believe the narcissist & attack the victim.  That’s how my family is.  No one wants to believe someone they are related to is abusive & cruel.  That is very understandable, of course.  However, in families with a narcissist, they often take this to the extreme.

Not only do narcissistic families not want to accept the fact their relative is an abusive narcissist, they will do anything to shut down the person making the accusation.  They will ignore the victim, accuse the person of lying, being angry, spoiled, immature or unforgiving, or even personally attack the victim.  The particularly aggressive ones may stalk & harass the victim, or inundate the victim with hateful texts, emails or social media messages.  If the victim blocks their phone number, email address, etc, they will find other ways to contact the victim- get a new phone number or email, create a fake social media profile or hack someone else’s profile.  If the victim is a Christian, you can guarantee their faith will become the subject of attack.  The “family” will twist Scripture around to support their warped beliefs &/or claim the victim can’t be a Christian & behave in this manner.

It is a terrible thing finally to summon the courage to open up about the abuse you endured, & when you tell people you think will support you, to be met with disbelief & even cruelty.  It is one of the most horrible things a victim can endure- being mocked or shamed for divulging the most painful experiences in their life while watching those they thought would be on their side comfort & support the very person who abused them.

I know there is nothing I can say to make this experience hurt any less.  I’m very sorry if you’re going through this.  There are some ways you can cope though.

Always, ALWAYS maintain a close relationship to God.  He knows the truth & understands your situation.  He will give you comfort & strength.  He will show you the best way to handle the situation, too.

Remember, you do NOT need anyone’s validation but your own.  Yes, it’s a good thing having people in your life support you & even say things like, “That was awful.. I’m sorry you went through that.”  However, you don’t *need* it.

That brings me to my next point- learn to validate yourself.   To do this, accept your feelings without judgment.  You’re allowed to be hurt & angry your family treats you badly.  Be proud of the good person you are & the direction towards healing you’re taking.  You have overcome a great deal.  If you recently learned about narcissism & began speaking about it, that is a huge step- be proud of yourself for that!

And lastly, never, ever forget that these people who have hurt you so badly have serious problems.  Functional people defend victims, not attack them while coddling an abuser.  These people may get something from the narcissist, so they won’t go against her & risk losing it.  Maybe the narcissist is someone they idolize, so they refuse to listen to anything bad about them.  Maybe they’re simply cowardly, & think it’s easier to go along with the narcissist than to stand up for what’s right.  In any case, this person’s behavior says nothing about you but plenty about them.

Although I know it probably doesn’t feel like it, you will survive this awful situation, & you will be much stronger for having done so!

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When People Believe You Need To Think As They Do

I’ve noticed that many people think others should believe as they do.  People really can be downright shaming if you don’t share their passions.

Quite a few years ago, I said something to one of my football watching aunts about the fact my husband likes football & I hate it, always have.  She verbally jumped me for not trying harder to like it, & she also said I needed to watch games with him so we can enjoy football together.  It was surprising to me because I wasn’t complaining or looking for some solution- I just made a simple statement.  I also remember thinking, “I love knitting.  I don’t see you scolding him & telling him he needs to learn to knit so we can buy yarn or knit together.”  I wish I’d said that- it might have helped her to see how ludicrous & over the top her reaction was.

I’ve experienced similar reactions from people who are extremely focused on politics when they learn I’m not.  In fact, the topic doesn’t interested me in the slightest.  I also don’t have the desire in me to learn enough about candidates to make an informed decision on who to vote for, so I don’t vote.  This apparently infuriates some people who are deeply interested in politics, & some have been downright shaming & nasty to me because of this.  Not that I would do it, but it makes me want to be equally shaming & nasty to them for not helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse or help victims.  It’d only be fair, after all, wouldn’t it?

I used to be upset by my aunt & the other people who were equally nasty to me.  Then I realized something.

Not every cause can be your cause.  People believe differently & have varied interests.  That doesn’t mean something is wrong with one person & right with another because they think differently.  It simply means they’re different.

There are many valid causes that need support, awareness & activists out there.  No one can support them all though!  That would leave no time for people to do anything else, like work or sleep.  It’s much better to focus on what means the most to you than to spread yourself too thin by supporting many causes.

And, every person is unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA.  It is only natural that the causes we support & things that interest us also would be unique.

If you’re in the position of someone shaming you for not sharing their interests or supporting their causes, ignore them!  They aren’t worth your frustration.  They have no right to tell you what to think or how to feel.  You do what is right for you.  You have your own path to walk in life, & the approval of other people is NOT required to do it.  What you do & what you believe in is ultimately between you & God, not you & other people.

If you’re actively in this situation, try changing the subject.  A reasonable person will be fine with that.  If the person isn’t reasonable, then you can tell them you don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic with them & if they continue, you’ll hang up the phone or leave the room.  If they ask why, you can tell them the truth- because they are being disrespectful, nasty, etc. on this topic.  If the person you’re speaking with is truly being obnoxious, you could try logic.  Comments like, “Because you feel/believe that way means I should too?  Why?  Give me a good reason.”  or, “That has never interested me, & I am well aware of that fact.  Why should I do something I have zero interest in?”  Statements like this can often shut a person down pretty quickly, because they realize how ridiculous their behavior is.

In conclusion, just remember there is nothing wrong with you for having the interests you have or not having the ones you don’t.  God made you to be unique, so be unique & enjoy it!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

“Just Don’t Think About It”

I have a knack for remembering dates, including kinda obscure ones, that even having brain damage hasn’t affected.  I graduated high school on May 13, 1989, for example.

Two other dates I remember are August 23, 1990 & November 24, 1990.  Those were the dates I met & then broke up with a man I was involved with.  He made me feel so guilty for breaking up with him that ever year for many years, I dreaded those dates because I’d feel such guilt.  Although he was only in my life briefly, the dysfunctional relationship had quite an impact on me.

January 31, 2014, I learned that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself two days before.  The news came as a complete shock to me since I had absolutely no clue of his orientation or capacity for murder.  Keeping in mind my knack for remembering dates, all those dates bring him to mind & every time, make me sad for him, his family, his victim & his victim’s family.

A few times, I’ve mentioned the date in passing conversation & the person I was speaking with told me, “Just don’t think about it.”  It sat very wrong with me, even when I knew the person had good intentions, & I’ll tell you why.

“Just don’t think about it” is invalidating.  You’re thinking about something that bothers you & are trying to talk it out, yet the other person shuts you down.  That is invalidation.  Why they do it doesn’t change that fact.

If you “just don’t think about it”, how are you supposed to heal from the incident?  If you want to heal, you have to think about it & process the emotions connected to it.  Not thinking about it is no help at all!

Not thinking about it also contributes to mental & physical problems.  It can create anxiety, depression, anger, high blood pressure, heart disease, & kidney disease.  It also reduces the effectiveness of your immune system, leaving you open to sickness.

Obviously, “just don’t think about it” is not good advice & you should NOT follow it!

I’m not saying you should think of nothing but the traumatic event you were told not to think about.  Instead, I’m saying work with it.  Realize you feel as you do for a reason.  Maybe it’s there to let you know now is the time you should face this issue.  If so, face it.  No, it isn’t easy to face past trauma, but do it anyway!  If you face it, it will lose much maybe even all of the negative effect it has over you.  It also won’t affect your physical health.

If it’s something you’ve already dealt with like I have dealt with my situation, maybe it’s a reminder to pray for the people involved.  I know, praying for a person who has abused you, especially one with no remorse or who has made you out to be the abusive one is tough, but do it anyway.  Do it not because this person deserves your prayers, but because God wants you to do it & because it really can help you.  Praying for those who use & abuse you is incredibly helpful at releasing the anger & even bitterness you feel towards them.  Carrying such things around isn’t good for your health, so why do it?  You can maintain boundaries or even no contact while not carrying around anger.

Whatever you feel when something traumatic comes to mind, honor those feelings & know they are there for a valid reason.  Accept them without judgement.  Face them however you feel you need to do in order to heal.  Pray for the abusive person if you can too.  Whatever you do though, remember that “just don’t think about it” is terrible advice.  Ignore the advice, & take good care of yourself!

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Encouragement For The “Weak” & “Flawed”

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It’s Not Good Ignoring Symptoms Of PTSD & C-PTSD

Recently I read an article about symptoms of PTSD.  I didn’t think much more about it at first, but it kinda bopped around the back of my mind a bit for a few days.

A couple of days later, my husband & I had to go to the doctor for our health insurance.  His appointment was first, & we texted periodically.  He mentioned the doctor was concerned about his depression.  When I saw the doctor, I asked him about it & he said, “I see a lot of people day after day.  He has the look many have who have been depressed for years.”  I thought it was an interesting statement- he’s very observant!

A couple of days later, something hit me.  Our doctor didn’t say a word about my mental health.  Not a comment one about me looking like someone who’s been depressed for years, even though I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t depressed.  Somehow, my lazy Susan-esque brain connected that with the article I read about PTSD symptoms.  In that moment I realized just how much I have been ignoring my C-PTSD symptoms.  I’m so good at it that even my observant doctor had no idea I struggle with C-PTSD.

Yes, I’m hyper-vigilant, but you probably wouldn’t know it to look at me.  Rather than upset people by startling easy, I am on constant guard, surveying my environment so not much surprises me.

I also get very quiet when I have flashbacks.  Naturally I’m quiet anyway so that isn’t a huge red flag  My husband has seen me have many flashbacks, but hasn’t noticed a lot of them because of that.  I don’t even tell him most of the time when I have flashbacks.  I just recover & go on the best I can.

These are just two examples, but there are others.

Thinking of such things I realized how incredibly unhealthy this is that I ignore so many of my symptoms.  On the outside, I look like I’m managing the C-PTSD just fine, but on the inside is a very different story.

In considering all of this, I think this happens simply out of habit.  Growing up with narcissistic parents, I learned early never to “bother” my parents with my problems.  My purpose was to take care of them, not the other way around.  As a result,  like most children of narcissistic parents, I learned to hide or even ignore anything that didn’t please them.  I ignored emotions, illness, thoughts, wants, & needs.  Now here I am, an adult in my 40’s with my own life, still hiding & ignoring important things that I shouldn’t be hiding or ignoring.

No doubt I’m not the only person in this position, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue with you, Dear Reader.

It’s important with PTSD & C-PTSD to manage your symptoms.  Ignoring them isn’t the same thing.  Managing them means you have some control over your symptoms.  Ignoring them means you’re working hard to pretend they don’t exist, which shows they have control over you.

Ignoring symptoms also means the problem won’t get fixed or at least controlled.  It also can mean you face health problems because emotions that are ignored can cause stress & we all know stress is terrible for your physical & emotional health.

With both PTSD & C-PTSD, there are some symptoms that are just a part of life but others that can be managed.  Flashbacks come to mind.  Rather than ignoring them or simply accepting them, why not make them work for you whenever possible?  Flashbacks can be a sign of a particular issue that you need to work on.  I’ve learned that if I deal with the issue my flashback was about, I don’t have another about that particular issue.  The same goes for nightmares.  This also can work with anxiety.  Figure out what is the root of this anxiety.  Ask God to help you if need be.  Once you know the root, you can face the problem & eliminate one cause of your anxiety.  Chipping away at it one issue at a time can help make it more manageable.

Maybe your symptoms are flaring up because you’ve been pushing yourself too hard lately or it’s near the anniversary of some traumatic event.  If that is the case, your brain is trying to tell you to slow down & do some good self care.  Listen to the symptoms!  They’re trying to get your attention for a reason!

Remember, PTSD & C-PTSD are potentially life threatening disorders.  They should be taken very seriously.  Ignoring your symptoms isn’t going to help you & can hurt you.  Pay attention to your symptoms- your brain is trying to tell you something, so listen to it!

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