Category Archives: Mental Health

Helpful advice and information on mental health issues.

When No Contact Isn’t An Option

While no contact is often the best solution for a person with narcissistic parents, sometimes it isn’t an option or at least isn’t an option in the near future.  This post is for those of you in that position.

I understand how difficult it is to be in that situation.  I wanted to sever ties with my parents for over a year before the timing felt right.  I did learn some things during that time though, & I hope what I learned can help you.

I think it is a good idea first to get to the root of why no contact isn’t an option & eliminate the problem if at all possible.  Are you financially dependent?  Then try to find other means of supporting yourself.  Are you afraid of being alone?  It is better to be alone than to have abusive people in your life!  God can send you new friends who genuinely love you & become like family.  Are you afraid of what may happen if you go no contact such as relatives attacking you?  I know that can be pretty intimidating, but think about it- what can they really do to you?  If all they can do is tell you what a terrible person you are, that is something you can handle.  After all, didn’t your narcissistic parents tell you that often growing up?  My mother did.  Although it bothered me when the flying monkeys told me the same things, I realized their words only upset me because they reminded me of when my own mother said worse to me.  Once your own mother has called you horrific names, you develop a sort of armor to that verbal abuse.  Do you somehow know that the timing isn’t right like I did?  Then keep praying & follow God’s promptings.  When the timing is right, you will know it & He will enable you to follow through with going no contact.

If you are unable to go no contact at this time but want to, then try for low contact.  Limit your exposure to your narcissistic parent as much as possible.  Don’t be available every time they call.  Don’t visit or invite them to your home often.  Follow your heart & deal with them only when you feel you are able to.  I used to pray before answering my parents’ calls.  I’d ask God if I should take it or not & if I felt His answer was yes, I’d ask Him to guide my words & enable me to handle the situation in the best possible way.

When you must deal with your narcissistic parents, there are some helpful skills you can use.

Always remember that your parents are narcissists.  You aren’t dealing with normal, stable, healthy people.  You can’t expect them to behave as such.  Get rid of any expectations for them to behave normally or show love to you.

Also remember- with narcissists, everything boils down to how can they get narcissistic supply?  You’re best off depriving them of that supply, but in ways that can’t trigger their narcissistic rage.  To do this, the Gray Rock method is best.

I think of Gray Rock as becoming boring to narcissists.  What interests them?  Deprive them of that.  In other words, don’t tell them personal information.  In conversation, stick to superficial topics like the weather.  If you’re out of ideas for superficial conversation, ask the narcissist about herself.  They love talking about themselves, so you might as well make it work for you.  In difficult situations, you can ask the narcissist about herself & that should divert the attention off of you since most narcissists can’t resist an opportunity to talk about themselves.

Always stay calm, cool & collected around your narcissistic parent.  Narcissists see displays of emotions as weakness, which makes them attack their victim like a hungry lion attacks a weak gazelle.  In their presence, show no emotion.  Always be cold & emotionless.

Keep firm boundaries in place & offer no explanations for them.  You can say NO without explaining yourself further.  If your narcissistic parent demands to know why you say no, change the subject.  If your narcissistic parent hints at wanting to know, ignore the hints.

Keep learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It will help you to keep a healthy perspective of your situation.  It will help you not to take your parents’ abuse so personally & it will help you to figure out effective ways of dealing with them.

And, never forget to pray often & talk to your safe, supportive friends who understand your situation.  A good support network is extremely important in these situations.  Avoid people who tell you what to do.  People who don’t understand why you won’t go no contact or think no contact is wrong are not people you need to deal with, especially as you are trying to go no contact.

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

Ways Narcissists Silence Their Victims, part 2

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How Trauma Can Stunt Emotional Growth

Years ago, prior to learning about narcissism, I had a friend who counseled people at her church.  She told me how she believed many people were stuck emotionally at the age they were when they experienced deep trauma.  This makes a great deal of sense to me, especially knowing what I do now about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Looking at some of the narcissists I’ve known in my life, they were abused, neglected or both in their childhood, or faced something very traumatic such as a life threatening injury.  My father, for example, nearly died at only fifteen from a traumatic brain injury, thanks to some drunk driver hitting his car head on.  Although he was a mature adult in ways such as keeping a full time job, maintaining & repairing his own car & home, in some ways, his behavior was very immature.  He seemed to think he should have whatever he wanted, just because he wanted it.  That is entitlement but it’s also a very immature behavior.

My late mother in-law grew up in an extremely dysfunctional environment.  At 15, she got pregnant & married my father in-law.  By all accounts, their marriage was not a happy one for many years.  Her behavior was quite immature, & often reminded me of a teenager.   Like my father, she seemed to think she should have what she wanted simply because she wanted it.

Obviously, not everyone who has experienced trauma, abuse or neglect in their childhood is like this.  However it seems to me that many narcissists are.  So many act very immature, & if you look at their lives, many also had some sort of trauma in their childhood.

I’m not telling you this to excuse the abusive behavior of narcissists, of course.  There is no valid excuse for abuse!  However, understanding them can help you a great deal.  It can help you not to be as hurt or angered by their abuse because you see it’s something wrong with them.  (This information is always a good reminder since they love gaslighting so much.)  It enables you to predict their behavior so you can protect yourself.  It also can help you to remember that basically, you’re dealing with a bratty child in an adult’s body & deal with them accordingly.

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Feeling Guilt Regarding Your Narcissistic Parent?

Recently I was thinking of something.  Maybe some of you remember last December, just before Christmas, my mother had her attorney/flying monkey send me a letter asking if I wanted my father’s car.  (here is the post if you missed it:   Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low)

I thought about the letter the other day, & the wording of it all.  At that time, I felt a lot of guilt even though I knew with every fiber of my being I needed to maintain strict no contact with her.  It was such a difficult time!  I also thought about the fact my mother wanted my help with what she was dealing with after my father’s death.  She expected me to help her, after everything she’s done to me, & there has been a LOT!  Just throwing out a couple of examples…

 

  • My mother threw me into a wall when I was 19 hard enough to give me back pain for 10 years.  Why?  Because she started a fight with me & got mad when I eventually snapped & cussed at her.  She never apologized or even admitted to any of her part in that incident.  She also told people I faked the back pain so I could quit working because I was lazy.
  • My mother stole the savings bonds her mother left me when she died in 2001.  I had to go after her with proof of what the inheritance was worth & copies of the cashed bonds to get it back.  When she sent me a check, I saw she wrote in the memo line, “What you claim Grandma owes you.”
  • Most recently, in 2016.. my mother in-law died.  I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002 because she was so cruel to me.  My parents knew this.  When my parents learned of her passing, they called me & were mad I didn’t tell them in time to attend the funeral & “pay their respects.”  I was stunned that was an option.  I expected them to tell me what a great woman she was, even though they only spoke to her twice in their lives.  I ended up so hurt & angry that I cried & cussed at my parents, which is not my normal behavior.  The more upset I got, the more bored my mother acted.  She then tried getting me to feel sorry for her because she has vertigo.  It didn’t work.  We haven’t spoken since.

 

These are only a few examples.  I have a LOT more.

So anyway, I was thinking of these things & others, & it hit me.  My mother has a LOT of nerve thinking she is entitled to my help after not only doing all of these things, but also not once accepting any responsibility or apologizing for any of the abuse she’s inflicted on me.  She is still the same abusive monster she was when I was a kid.  Her tactics may be different now, but she is still out to hurt & control me  as much as possible if given the chance.  This quickly got rid of any guilt I felt regarding her.

My point (finally, I know.. sorry!) is this….

If you are struggling with feeling guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, for being no contact or feel like now that your parent is elderly & frail, you should take care of her even if you haven’t spoken in years, I really suggest doing what I did.

Consider your relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Think about the things your parent did to you.  Has your parent shown any signs of improving their behavior?  Has she admitted any wrongdoing at all?  If your parent is like most narcissists, you honestly can say no to those questions.  And, if you can say no to those questions, then you need to maintain distance to protect yourself & your mental health.

If you’re still feeling any guilt at this point, also remember- people reap what they sow.  Galatians 6:7 says:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (KJV)

A person who sows bad seeds will reap a bad harvest, period.  This means that an abusive parent will not be treated with love & kindness indefinitely as a good parent would be treated.  A person can only take so much before they pull away from their abuser, even if that abuser is their parent.  It’s the natural way of things.  You aren’t being petty, childish or any other awful thing people may say you are by putting distance between you & your narcissistic parent.  You’re simply a part of the normal system of reaping & sowing.

 

Lastly, you are NOT dishonoring your abusive parent with either low or no contact.  By maintaining low or no contact, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin.  Your parent can’t abuse you if you aren’t there.  You’re also encouraging her to improve her behavior by giving her consequences for her actions.  That is very honorable & loving!  Anyone who tells you that you’re not honoring your narcissistic parent or thinks it’s honorable to tolerate anything your parent dishes out truly does NOT know God or understand His word at all.

 

So remember, Dear Reader… you have no valid reasons to feel guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, but if you do feel guilty, remind yourself of what your parent has done to you like I did.

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

Ways Narcissists Try To Silence Their Victims, part 1

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About Harassment & Stalking

I really don’t think there are a lot of people who understand the depths of depravity that it takes for someone to harass & even stalk their victims.  Not so long ago, if a person broke up with their significant other, & that person stalked them, it was thought of as almost romantic.  “See how much that person loves you?  They won’t leave you alone- that is love!”  The same sort of mentality was in place if it’s a friendship that ended.  “That friend must really care about you if s/he won’t take no for an answer!”

 

The truth is though, there is nothing loving & romantic about stalkers & harassers.  They don’t love their victims.  They love having control over their victims & even the narcissistic supply they may get from them, but they do NOT love their victims!

 

People like this are incredibly dangerous, as was proven here in Maryland recently.  By now if you’re in the USA, I’m sure you heard about the shooter at the Capital Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis.  If not, here is one article on the topic:  https://patch.com/maryland/severnapark/s/ggidf/accused-newspaper-gunmans-rampage-was-almost-8-years-making?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_term=police+%26+fire&utm_campaign=autopost&utm_content=severnapark

 

Apparently this person who murdered innocent people in cold blood started out harassing someone.  His behavior escalated & ended up in mass murder.

 

People who stalk & harass victims are NOT mentally stable!  Something clearly must be wrong with them to think that behavior is acceptable in the first place.  Obviously they have narcissistic tendencies at the very least to be so convinced that what they want matters more than the fact they’re terrifying & making their victims miserable, although I’m sure many are malignant narcissists or even sociopaths.

 

If you are in the position of being harassed or even stalked, please, PLEASE be careful!  Never underestimate the person harassing or stalking you.  Granted, most do not go as far as the man in this article did, but some do.  You don’t know for sure that the person abusing you will or won’t become so violent.

 

Being stalked & harassed is terrifying, & you have every right to feel afraid!  I’ve been through it twice & no one thought it was a big deal aside from me.  They couldn’t seem to understand why I lived in terror wondering what was next?  What were these people capable of doing to me?  No doubt you feel the same way.  Do NOT let anyone convince you it’s no big deal, or the person doesn’t mean any harm.  Maybe they don’t mean any harm other than to scare you as revenge for severing ties with them.  However, maybe they do mean to harm you.  You don’t know so don’t trust the person at all!

 

Ignore this person at all costs.  Any acknowledgment you give them, they may take as a sign the relationship is back on.

 

Do not believe them if they say they just want to talk or to apologize.  That is said just to lure you back into their dysfunctional web.

 

Look into laws for harassment & stalking in your state.  Talk to the local police, too.  Make sure you know what laws are in place & what you can do to protect yourself.

 

Use wisdom when & if bringing the law into the situation.  Some people aren’t going to be stopped by a restraining order.  In fact, some may get more vicious or violent.  If you aren’t sure what to do, pray & listen to what God tells you is best in your situation.

 

Document EVERYTHING!  Save voicemail messages, texts, messages & emails.  Save all documentation on a cloud storage service or email them to yourself, saving them on your email server.  Phones & computers die, & you don’t want to lose your evidence!

 

Block every possible means of communication this person can use to contact you.  Change your phone number & change your name on social media.  Chances are, they will find ways around your blocks, so keep blocking them.

 

Tell people in your life what is happening.  Make sure plenty of people know that this person is harassing you & plenty of details about the situation.  It can’t hurt to have other people being able to confirm your story to law enforcement if it comes to that.

 

If the person abusing you comes to your home, a home security system or at least outdoor cameras may be an excellent investment.  Many outdoor cameras connect to your cell phone & record video that is stored on a cloud server.

 

Don’t go out alone if you can help it.  Many stalkers aren’t going to bother you if you aren’t alone.  Also, if you have a pet, don’t let your pet outside alone.  Better safe than sorry!

 

And remember, it may get worse before it gets better.  With any luck, your stalker will get bored that you’ve been ignoring him/her & move on.  Prior to moving on though, they will step up the activity.  You may get even more emails or phone calls.  Keep ignoring them.  Do NOT give this person the time of day!  Remember they are just trying to get your attention.  Refuse to give it to them!  If you do, they will draw you back in & things will be even worse than before you ended the relationship.  Ignore, ignore, ignore!!

 

I pray you’re never in this type of situation, but if you are, Dear Reader, stay safe.  God bless you!  xoxo

 

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You Have The Right To Protect Yourself From Abusive Family Members!

I read a really good article the other day.  It gave me another reminder that it’s ok to cut toxic people out of my life, even if they’re so called “family.”  I thought I’d pass this excellent reminder along to you, Dear Reader.

Although family is supposed to be a safe haven, that isn’t always the case, as no doubt you are well aware.  Many families are downright cruel & abusive to their own family members.  When their victims defend themselves, they often are shunned by other relatives (even ones who know how the abusers are), friends & society in general.  Why people seem to think you should tolerate abuse from someone because you share some genes & maybe a name is beyond me!

Being related to someone by blood or by marriage does NOT give a person the right to be abusive.  In fact, there is NOTHING that gives any person the right to be abusive. 

As the victim of an abusive person, you have rights…

  • You have every right to protect yourself from all abuse- spiritual, mental, emotional, verbal, financial, physical & sexual.
  • You have the right to expect people to treat you with basic respect- be polite, not try to cause you harm or pain, etc.
  • You have the right to be upset when you are mistreated or abused.
  • You have the right to say no & to have healthy boundaries & to expect them to be respected.
  • You have the right not to tolerate guilt trips, manipulation & attempts to control you.
  • You have the right to be in a relationship without losing yourself, to maintain your own identity & independence that is pleasing to you.
  • You have the right to live your life in a way that is good & healthy for you, even if others disapprove.
  • You have the right to end a relationship with an abusive person, even if that person is “family.”

 

Remember these rights, Dear Reader.  If someone in your family is abusive, you absolutely have every right to eliminate that person from your life if you have to do so to protect yourself.

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Grieving Doesn’t End Once A Funeral Is Done

Something crossed my mind recently, I’m sure it’s due  to my father in-law’s recent death:  Grief doesn’t end just because the funeral is over.

I think many people act like once your loved one is buried or cremated, you’re done grieving.  It’s done now so you should be ready to resume your life as it was, no problem.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Grief has no set time.  It doesn’t end just because the funeral is done, because a set amount of time has passed, or because people think you should be “over it” by now.

There’s also the fact that the first year after a loved one dies is incredibly hard.  You have their first birthday without them, first anniversary, first holidays…  those days can be extremely difficult, but especially the first ones.

In fact, I don’t think grief ever ends completely, it only becomes less intense over time.  My great grandmother that I adored died in 1982, & I still miss her a great deal to this day.  No, I don’t cry all the time, but I still miss her & think of her often.  If you love someone, that is just how things happen.

And if you lost a pet rather than a human, people can be even more insensitive, because after all, “It’s only a cat/dog/bird/etc!” they say.  They fail to realize that pets are a big part of our daily lives.  We love them, care for them, play with them, nurture them & when they get old &./or sick, we become their caregivers.  Such things can form an incredible bond, & when that bond is broken, it hurts just as much if not more than when a human passes away.

If you have lost someone you love recently, please ignore people who try to tell you that you should be over it already, are taking too long to grieve or “It’s just a pet!”.  It’s not their business!  You take your time & grieve however you need to for as much time as you need to.  Honor your loved one’s life, too.  Maybe plant a garden they would like, or make or build something creative like they would have made.  It really does help!

If you have been actively grieving for a long time (over a year), & it disrupts your life, I really would like to suggest you try grief counseling.  Sometimes, people kinda get “stuck” & there is no shame in it.  It happens!  It just means you need a little help to get unstuck.

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Dysfunctional Behaviors Of People Raised By Narcissistic Parents

 

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Some Reasons People Try To Stop Victims From Discussing Narcissistic Abuse

I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We try to discuss some about our traumatic situations with a narcissist only to be met with someone trying to shut us down.  They clearly don’t want to hear about it & say things to invalidate your pain such as “Just get over it already,”  “Lots of people were abused by their parents but you don’t hear them talking about it,”  or (possibly the stupidest one yet) “But that’s your MOTHER/FATHER!!”

When this happens, it can make you feel bad in many ways.  It can make you ashamed of “whining”, it can make you feel like you’re petty or overreacting to things that weren’t a big deal, or it can make you feel like a bad son/daughter or even Christian for being upset about your parents abusing you.

Dear Reader, I want to tell you today, please do NOT feel bad when someone treats you this way!  The truth is, their wanting to shut you down is about them, NOT you!  These people have their reasons for wanting to shut you down,  They aren’t good reasons, but they also have nothing to do with you.

The person may be gaining something from supporting/enabling your narcissistic parent or partner.  What that is can be anything- maybe they get money, things or even just the narcissist’s praise.  If this person is also a narcissist as many flying monkeys are, that praise is extremely important to them after all.  This person obviously is not willing to jeopardize losing whatever it is he or she is gaining, so it is more beneficial for them to shut you down than to listen to what you have to say.

The person also may have their own issues, & you facing yours reminds them of theirs.  That can make them want to shut you down quickly, because you make them feel uncomfortable by reminding them of their similar situations.

What if a person has codependency issues?  If that person is raised in an emotionally incestuous/parentalizing environment, that person is going to believe it is a child’s job to take care of & cater to their parent forever.  At least until such time as they learn how unhealthy this situation is.  But, if a person doesn’t realize how unhealthy it is, they think everyone should do as they do, & cater to & care for their parents no matter what.  They may even think it’s loving & “Godly” to tolerate whatever abuse their parents dish out.  If you’re standing up for yourself, setting boundaries or even *gasp* saying your parents are less than perfect, to this person, you are committing a terrible sin in this person’s eyes.  They want to shut you down so they don’t have to hear about it.  They think everyone should do as they do.  That is their reality & it makes them uncomfortable if you threaten it in any way.

There are two other possibilities that God spoke to me when my father was dying in October, 2017.  As I wrote about before, at the time, people continually harassed & tried to bully me into visiting my father.   I mean, not only daily but often multiple times in a day.  I eventually asked God why were they so cruel to me?  He told me two things…

They were in denial about my father.  They wanted to believe he was a good guy, & me refusing to speak to him threatened that denial.  They wanted me to go to him so they could remain in denial.  After all, if I went, it would be proof to them that all was fine.  People in denial will do about anything to protect their delusions.

God also said to me that they don’t know me now.  They remembered me as that scared of everything little kid I once was, that was also blindly obedient to my parents.  By that person being strong enough to face her own issues, it makes them feel weak for not facing theirs.  They wanted to push me back into being like I used to be so they didn’t have to feel weak.  If the person in your situation knew you when you were being abused, they knew a different version of you.  They knew the beat down victim that we all have been at some point.  It’s very possible that they may want you to stay that way so they don’t have to feel badly for not dealing with their own issues.

Just remember, Dear Reader, when people invalidate you or try to shut you down, it’s not your fault.  It’s not about you.  It’s about them & their own issues.

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What’s Been Happening Lately

The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.

Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home.  Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him.  Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age.  Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live.  Friday, June 22, his father died.

Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.

The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.

First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change.  When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die.  Never take anyone you love for granted!  Enjoy every moment you can with them.  Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them.  I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.

Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible.  Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable.  Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible.  Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love.  Do whatever benefits your peace & joy.  No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?

If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times.  Animals do love us & want to help if they can.  Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures.  He called just as I took the last picture.  Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them.  I really believe they knew what was going on.  And, when my husband got home, they proved it.  The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night.  They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!

I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering.   This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October.  I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year.  It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think.  I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet.  I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.

If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too.  Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.

So, that’s what has been happening recently.  I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you.  xoxo

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About Passive/Aggressive Behavior

No doubt you have heard about passive/aggressive behavior, but do you know what it is?  You need to know, because many narcissists behave in this way.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is very sneaky.  It makes you wonder if the person acting that way is  mad at you or not.  The worst part may be that when you confront the passive/aggressive person, they have a plausible sounding explanation for their behavior.  This makes you doubt your perception of the situation.  Plausible deniability is always a part of passive/aggression, as is the desire to punish another person.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is deliberately inefficient, quiet in that the person refuses to discuss their needs & avoids responsibility.  Some examples of it are….

 

Not doing things well.   A passive/aggressive spouse may put the laundry in the washer but fail to put them in the dryer for hours claiming he thought you would do that.  Or, she may leave your car with virtually no gas in it after using it after you argue.  Usually whatever is done poorly is something that has happened countless times before, & rather than argue about it, you just fix the problem quietly.

 

Running late.  Some people are always running behind due to poor time management skills, being forgetful or another reasonable excuse.  Passive/aggressive people, however, are not that way.  If they have a punctual partner, you can guarantee that they will run late periodically solely for the purpose of irritating that partner.  They may say they forgot that special event was in an hour, so they will take their time getting ready & you end up leaving two minutes before the event is due to start.

 

The silent treatment.  Passive/aggressive people love the silent treatment.  Rather than saying,, “I was upset when you did something.. can we work it out?” they simply stop talking to you.  If you try to ask what is wrong, they refuse to admit anything is wrong or get angry at you for not knowing what is wrong.  The silent treatment is designed to make you come crawling to the person & work hard to gain their forgiveness.  Don’t fall for it!

 

Backhanded complements.  We’ve all heard these at some point.  Passive/aggressive people use them often.  Comments like, “Nice hair cut.  It really helps hide all that gray hair.”  or, “I used to have an outfit just like that!  I stopped wearing it after high school though.” are just two examples of backhanded complements.  If a passive/aggressive person says such a comment to you, chances are he or she feels threatened by you in some way.  Maybe that person thinks you look more attractive than they do, you’re smarter or more talented.  Sometimes backhanded complements can be hard to spot, so just notice how you feel when someone gives you a complement.  Genuine complements leave you wanting to thank the person & feeling good.  Backhanded complements leave you feeling offended & even confused wondering what the person who said it meant by their words.

 

Fake concern.  Closely related to the backhanded complements are the fake concern comments.  When a passive/aggressive persons says, “I don’t mean to sound judgmental/insensitive, but…” you can guarantee the next words out of that person’s mouth will be judgmental &/or insensitive.  This is their way of saying nasty things to you while appearing to be helpful.  If you say anything about how judgmental or insensitive the person is at this point, you are going to look like a jerk to anyone who doesn’t realize what is happening.  That is a bonus for a passive/aggressive person- making you look bad on top of insulting you.

 

Destruction & sabotage.  Sometimes passive/aggressive people will “accidentally” destroy something important to you when they’re upset with you.  That could be something like “accidentally” spilling red wine on your favorite white shirt or a coworker “forgetting” to tell you that the project you’ve been working hard on is no longer due next week, but in two days.

 

So, how can a person deal with the obnoxious passive/aggressive behavior?  First, be aware of it.  Learn what you can about recognizing the signs.

 

Second, set & enforce good boundaries.  If your friend is always late, stop waiting on her.  Meet her at the restaurant & order without her.  Or, stop hanging out with her at all.

 

Third, never forget to stay calm at all times.  Pretend not to be flustered by their actions.  If you show that you are upset, they will do it again & again.

 

Forth, never forget to pray.  God will help you to identify & deal with this awful behavior in the most effective ways possible.  All you have to do is ask Him to.

 

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Why Children Of Narcissists Have Trouble Setting Goals

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Understanding Your Abuser

Many people think that understanding your abuser is unimportant to the healing process.  They say the reasons they did what they did doesn’t matter- only the fact that they hurt you matters.  I disagree with this type of thinking.

 

When you understand what makes your abuser tick, it helps you a great deal by seeing that that person is the one with the problem, not you.  You finally can see that you aren’t responsible for what they did to you.  You did nothing to make that person hurt you.  Nothing you did or didn’t do forced them to hurt you. Ultimately, it’s the choice of the abuser how they treat people & once you understand that your abuser made some very bad choices, it sets you free of any false guilt you carried for what you endured.

 

 

Understanding your abuser also helps you if you are still in a relationship with that person.  (As I’ve said many times, not everyone is able or willing to go no contact with the narcissist in their life, & I am trying to help those people.)  When you know how they think, you understand why they’re saying & doing the hurtful things they are.  This means their words or actions don’t hurt as badly as they could, because you know that they aren’t personal, exactly- they are the result of the dysfunction of the abuser.   It also helps you because you’ll be able to anticipate their next move.  When you know them well enough to predict their actions, you can anticipate the best ways to protect yourself & set boundaries.

 

If you’re being abused, please consider what I’ve said.  If your abuser is a narcissist, they are especially devious, so learning about narcissism is especially important.  Learn what you can.  Read books & websites.  Most of all though, pray.  Ask God to show you whatever you need to know.  Also, ask Him to show you ways to cope.  If you’re able to go no contact & considering it, ask Him if you should, & if so, how to go about it.  God will provide you with great, helpful insight.

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Thoughts About Honoring Parents

I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.

When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.

When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!

Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.

Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

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

This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…

Jeremiah 17:5

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)

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Narcissists & Food

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Some Ways Narcissists Use Shame

Narcissists love using shame as a weapon.  Not only does it make them feel superior, but it takes attention off of their bad behavior while simultaneously discrediting their victim.  It also makes a victim easy to control.  Shame is a very effective weapon.

 

There are various ways narcissists use shame.

Narcissists reinvent the past.  They tell stories differently than they actually happened.  They either claim to be the reason someone succeeded or twist the story so the other person looks stupid, like a failure, etc.  Since narcissists speak with such certainty, this can make a victim doubt their own memories & feel ashamed for something they didn’t even do.

 

They tell embarrassing stories about their victim.  Narcissistic parents in particular seem to love this one.  They tell stories that the victim would rather people don’t know about.  My mother used this one with me, telling stories (usually in front of other people) of when I was a child & did stupid things.  When I said I didn’t want her discussing these stories, she would shame me for how I felt, saying I was wrong & shouldn’t feel the way I did.  It took a long time to realize that I wasn’t wrong- my feelings were just & this was nothing but an attempt on her part to make me feel shame.

 

Playing the role of victim.  No matter what a narcissist does to a victim, they have the amazing ability to spin the situation in their favor, so they look like the victim, & the real victim is abusive.  This can create shame in a victim very easily unless the victim is well aware of this game.

 

Religion can become a weapon.  No true narcissist can be a Christian at the same time.  Narcissism is diametrically opposed to the beliefs of Christianity.  However, that doesn’t mean a narcissist won’t use Christianity to shame victims.  Growing up, my mother told me I was going to hell for how badly I treated her.   Later in life, a flying monkey said I was a bad Christian for treating my parents as I do & claiming to be a Christian.  Thankfully, I also have a good enough relationship with God to know what they said was utter nonsense.  If I didn’t, that comment would have caused a great deal of hurt & doubting my salvation!

 

“I was only joking!”  “You’re too sensitive!”  Nasty comments said to a victim followed by, “I was just kidding!”  “Can’t you take a joke?”  “You’re so sensitive!”  & the like are also designed to make a victim feel ashamed for being righteously angry that they were offended by the narcissist’s cruel words.  The goal is to make you feel ashamed of yourself for not realizing the narcissist was only kidding (which they weren’t) or being so sensitive you were offended by their “joke.”  Don’t fall for it.  You aren’t wrong!

 

Comparisons.  If you & the narcissist have done similar things, you can guarantee the narcissist has done it better, at least if you listen to her side of the story.  Everything with narcissists is a pissing contest (sorry to be crude- that’s the best term I know of to describe this situation).  If you found a cure for cancer, they found it first, but didn’t want to brag like you’re doing!  See what I mean?  If they can make you feel badly for not being as good or as talented as them, that sows a seed for shame in you.

 

Talking down to others.  Even a narcissist that isn’t overly intelligent can make a very intelligent victim feel stupid, & ashamed of being so stupid.  Narcissists love to talk in circles & use big words (often that they don’t know the proper definition of & not in context).  If you leave a conversation with a narcissist & your head is swimming, it’s not because you’re stupid.  It’s because narcissists are masters of talking in circles, which is also known as word salad.

 

Acting as if the narcissist is the adult, the victim the child.  This is very common among narcissistic parents.  They’re all about keeping their children, children, no matter their child’s age.  A person who thinks they’re immature & not wise like the narcissist is very easy to control.  Narcissistic parents may continue using a tone of voice that intimidated their children when they were growing up well into that child’s adulthood.  They may call victims immature or mock them with phrases like, “You’re such a baby/child!”  “You’re so immature!”  “You need to grow up!”

 

Remember this post if you’re faced with these behaviors.  You do NOT need to feel shame!  No one should put that on you, but narcissists will try to.  If they do, never accept it.  Ask God to tell you the truth.  Also, look at your situation objectively & you will realize the truth.  Write about it in a journal, too, since writing often gives a great deal of clarity that speaking can’t.  You can deal with this unhealthy behavior in a healthy way!

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Realizing How Wrong Abuse Is Can Help You

I realized something recently that has been a big help to me, & I believe it can be to you too.

When remembering some of the traumatic & abusive events I’ve been through in my life recently, suddenly I started seeing just how wrong those things were.  Oddly, doing that small gesture has helped loosen the hold the damage from such events had over me.  I think that happens because I never really questioned these things before.

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you too have experience with narcissists, so you probably know just what I’m talking about.  Narcissists don’t allow you to question anything.  Whatever they say or do, that is the end of the matter.  They’re right, according to them, & you aren’t allowed to think otherwise.  Especially with parents, when this happens often as a child, you learn not to question things, just accept them as fact.  Seeing clearly that they were wrong & accepting that is a big step in breaking the hold this abuse has over you.

I recently had a flashback about something that happened to me in late 1989 when I was 18.  My current ex husband & I were dating, & I hadn’t moved out of my parents’ home at that time.  I forget why, but he wanted to use my car one day, so we swapped cars.  I was off work that day & my mother insisted I go to the grocery store with her.  I said before I went, I wanted to put gas in the car since it was low, as usual.  I’d do that then meet her at the store.  I did, & on my way to the store, I lost control of the car & landed in a ditch around a turn.  It was raining, & the ex’s car had bald tires, so it’s no surprise this happened in spite of me being very careful.  Thankfully I wasn’t hurt, & his car only had minimal damage.  This happened close to my ex’s parents’ house so I went there.  A nice man driving a dump truck took pity on me walking in the rain & gave me a ride.  When I got there, I told the ex’s dad what happened.  He arranged to get the car towed & I called my mother at the grocery store (pre-cell phones, obviously).

You’d think ditching the car was the trauma, but it wasn’t.  When I called my mother, she  yelled at me, telling me she knew when I didn’t show up, I’d been in an accident & it served me right for driving that piece of junk car.  The ex’s father was furious at what happened, blaming me for driving recklessly.  The ex’s mother also blamed me but was at least nicer about it.  The ex, believe it or not, was glad it happened, because it meant his parents would finally buy him the new tires he wanted.  Later that evening, the ex & I visited my (narcissistic) grandmother who wouldn’t have cared less what I had went through that day.

For years, I accepted that this accident was my fault & I deserved what I got.  It simply hadn’t crossed my mind to question that until my recent flashback.  Suddenly it hit me how incredibly wrong this whole event was!  I didn’t know just how bad the tires were- all I heard was they were wearing out so be careful.  I never thought to check for myself.  It wasn’t my car, so why would I, especially when my ex was a mechanic?  Also, this could’ve been avoided if I’d had my own car- it was ridiculous my ex wanted to have mine as often as he did at that time.  Granted, mine was the better of our two cars, but if he wanted better, he should have got his own better car!  My ex’s parents should have replaced the tires, too, since they knew just how bad the tires were.  And lastly my mother.. that is how she treated her own daughter after her first car wreck?!  No “Are you ok?”  or any sign of concern, just yelling at & blaming me.  Considering her mother didn’t care either, it’s obvious where she got her lack of compassion.

For the first time, I finally realized how wrong all of this was.  Every single person in this scenario was wrong except me, the one who got all the blame!  I realized how wrong it is that the only person who was nice to me in that incident was the dump truck driver- a total stranger!  This entire situation was wrong- every single thing about it!

Looking at the situation differently reminded me of turning a kaleidoscope.  One small turn & the scene inside looks entirely different.  At least kaleidoscopes give a pretty picture.  This was far from pretty, but at least it helped me to release the guilt I felt for almost 29 years!

Since this happened, I’ve been looking at other situations in a new light, & having the same type of results.  The slight turn of the kaleidoscope gave me a new perspective, & enabled me to release guilt, shame, & false beliefs while accepting the truth in their place.

Dear Reader, I urge you to try this too.  Think about a specific trauma in your life from a more objective perspective.  Try to look at it as if you’re watching a movie, for example, or as if it’s happening to someone else, so your emotions are not so involved.  Chances are, you’ll see how wrong & unfair it was as I have.  Did it help you to release any guilt or false beliefs you had received as a result of that awful experience?  If not, ask God to tell you the truth about it, & I have no doubt He will help you to release those things!

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Some Reasons Narcissists Target Empathic People

There is a lot of talk about empaths these days.  Although some of the information claims being an empath is the same as being a psychic, that isn’t the case.  I think being an empath basically means being a person with good instincts, empathy, someone who can see things from the perspective of others & also cares deeply about how other people feel.  People with the INFJ personality type are known to be very empathic, & also the most frequently abused personality type.

It seems strange that someone who is good at spotting fake people like INFJs & empaths are would get involved with a narcissist, but it happens every day.  Unfortunately it makes a lot of sense when you look at it.

People with a high degree of empathy want to help others & even fix them.  Narcissists want people like this so they can take advantage of them.  It’s very easy for a narcissist to abuse someone like this because the person simply wants to help them & see them happy.  Narcissists can play the victim or shame their victim into believing they have done something wrong or abusive.  Either way, if an empathic person believes the narcissist’s lies, they will do their best to make it up to the narcissist & do pretty much anything in order to please them.

Empathic people want a loving, deep relationship full of mutual respect, whether that relationship is a friendship, familial or romantic.  Narcissists use love bombing as a way to lure a victim into the relationship, & this can mimic what an empath wants in a relationship.  Narcissists read people very well.  They pick up on subtle clues on what others want in a relationship, & present themselves accordingly.  They also mirror the other person, which is mimicking that person’s morals, likes, dislikes, & even body language, to make the person feel close to them.  Unless you’re very well versed in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be extremely easy to feel close to someone doing this love bombing thing.  I have fallen for it many times in my life in all types of relationships.

People with a lot of empathy don’t like conflict.  Those raised by narcissistic parents feel this even more.  In fact, we will usually find all kinds of ways to rationalize the behavior, in other words make excuses for it, to keep the peace.  Narcissists use this in their favor to convince their victims that they were just being oversensitive, that never happened, it didn’t happen as they think it did, or that the narcissist had an excellent reason for doing what they did & the victim made them do what they did.

If you are an empathic person, it’s really a good quality even though it may not feel like it sometimes!  Use your sensitive nature in your favor.  Being empathic means you naturally have good instincts- pay attention to them.  I firmly believe our instincts are the Holy Spirit gently trying to guide us in the right direction, which is why they’re always right.  If you meet someone & something about that person doesn’t feel right, pay attention to that feeling.  The truth will come out sooner or later- it always does- & you’ll see why you had that feeling.

Reign in your desire to help everyone.  I know it can be hard, but remember- you aren’t God.  It’s not your job to help everyone, only the people God leads you to help.  Ask Him to help you discern who you should & shouldn’t help.

Also remember, although conflict is uncomfortable, sometimes it’s also necessary.  Examine the situation closely.  Has the other person accepted responsibility for their part as you have?  Are you both willing to work together towards a mutually beneficial solution?  If you can answer yes, this is good!  That is how conflict should go!  If however, you are the only one expected to make changes or the other person makes excuses or even blames you for their actions, this is a bad sign.  Those are red flags that you may be dealing with a narcissist.

As someone with a great deal of empathy, you don’t have to be a victim.  Keep learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & listening to your instincts.  Ask God to help you identify safe & dangerous people, & to remove dangerous ones from your life.  He absolutely will do this for you!

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Lies Narcissistic Parents Tell Their Children

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The Non Apology

Narcissists are masters of what I call the non apology.

A non apology is when someone says the words “I’m sorry”, yet their actions don’t back up the words.  They accept no responsibility for what they did, make no changes in their behavior, they offer lame excuses or they blame you for making them do whatever it was they did.  Some examples are:

  • I’m sorry you feel that way.
  • I wouldn’t have done what I did if you wouldn’t have done what you did.
  • I’m sorry I said/did that.. I was just upset.
  • I’m sorry if what I said/did upset you.
  • My sponsor/therapist says I have to make amends with you, so I’m sorry.

Some non apologies don’t even involve saying “I’m sorry” at all.  Sometimes narcissists will simply give you space for a little while, then resume contact with you, pretending nothing happened.  My mother did this sometimes.  She would give me the silent treatment, then call me later, acting as if nothing happened.  Her record was an 18 month long silent treatment.  I was stunned when she called after so long, but she acted like we’d just spoken the day before & all was fine between us.

Non apologies are a very common tool used with narcissists.  They let the narcissist apologize to pacify you without making any changes in her behavior.  If you confront a narcissist on something awful they have done & they provide you with a non apology, then later repeat the behavior, they can make you look like the bad guy.  All they have to do is say something like, “I said I was sorry!”  “Nothing I do is ever good enough for you!”   “I apologized & that isn’t even good enough for you!”  Unless you’re aware of the non apology phenomenon, chances are good you’ll shut down & possibly even apologize to the narcissist.  You also won’t say anything the next time the behavior is done.  This is a huge dose of narcissistic supply.  The narcissist gets a free pass to do this behavior again, made you feel bad & even apologize all on top of doing whatever it was that hurt you in the first place.  It’s like a narcissistic supply jackpot!

Due to the supply jackpot factor, chances are excellent you’ll have to deal with a non apology at some point.  There are ways to handle this awkward situation.

First, I really recommend praying when you’re forced to deal with non apologies.  Not only asking God to help you to recognize them when they happen but also to give you wisdom on the best way to deal with them.

You also need to recognize what is happening.  Know the signs of a real apology & a fake one.  You don’t want to mistake a real one for fake or vice versa!  Either way can’t end well.  Real apologies involve remorse, & someone taking responsibility for & changing their behavior.  Even if that is all you remember, it’ll help you to spot non apologies easily.

Also be creative in your response.  Neutral is often the best way to go, especially in situations like a work environment or if you don’t want to deal with any narcissistic conflict or drama.  Something like, “Thanks.”  “Thanks for saying that.”  or “Thanks for taking the time to tell me that.” “I appreciate what you said.” can be useful.  This shows the narcissist their so called apology was accepted & the matter will be dropped.

If you want to let the narcissist know you’re aware this is a non apology, try something like, “Thanks.” “That’s a start.”  “Thanks for trying.”  “Uh huh.”  “Ok.”  “If you say so.”  You also can ask them what exactly they mean by their non apology… “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean exactly.” is a good way to say it.  Asking narcissists to explain their actions in a calm, logical manner throws them for a loop.  They realize they can’t rage at you without looking foolish, so they usually try to drop the topic immediately.  If they try to change the subject, keep going back to it in that calm, logical manner.  They will feel so uncomfortable, they may just decide what they did wasn’t worth feeling this way so they won’t repeat it again.

Non apologies are an annoying part of life, but you can cope with them successfully.

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Thoughts On Emotional Healing

Recently, seemingly out of nowhere, I suddenly felt as if a ton of bricks landed on me.  I have had one very hard, painful year & currently have quite a bit going on.  The intensity of it all hit at once.  I really felt overwhelmed for a while & couldn’t stop crying.

 

Eventually I did though, & realized what was happening.  I hadn’t really dealt with things very well.  In fact, I avoided thinking about some things, stuffing my emotions like I always used to do.  Old habits die hard, & apparently that one resurrected briefly without me realizing it.  I think my old habit returned because I had so much happening at once.  I didn’t have time to cope with one thing when three more bad things happened.

 

Upon realizing all of this, I have formed a plan.  I will take things one issue at a time.   When I first realized I had problems stemming from my childhood, I thought I could deal with everything at once.  Forgive my parents, accept the fact they were abusive, face being depressed & anxious, think positive, & all would be fine.  Naive?  Oh yes.. but truthfully, I didn’t realize how deep my issues went or have any grip on this emotional healing stuff.  Now I know better, & I have learned that a lot of times, it’s best to face one issue at a time, as it arises.

 

What I mean is this…

 

As an example from my life, part of my issue is the fact that when my father was dying, so called “family” came out of the woodwork to tell me what I needed to do regarding my parents,what a horrible person I was for not obeying them or “forgiving & forgetting” & not “honoring” my parents.  Mind you, this is on top of the death of my father.  Instead of lumping this all into one thing to deal with, I’m dissecting it, & dealing with each issue as I am able.  Here are the issues:

 

  • My father died.
  • I was attacked by many people at that time over a few months, but in particular my father’s final month of life.
    • Some people were strangers, so dealing with their nonsense isn’t too hard.  I don’t know them so they don’t mean anything to me.
    • Others were family & those relatives fall into 2 categories:
      • Family I once had been close to & felt betrayed they treated me this way.
      • Other family I never was close to so the fact they attacked me was a big shock in addition to the pain of the things they said & did.

 

I think it’s healthier to deal with things this way because the events of that time are very distinct & complex, not to mention overwhelming to face all at once.  Even just the one part with family is difficult because there were two very different dynamics at play.  My relationships with these people were very different, so naturally that means I must deal with the situations differently.  Plus, doing this also gives me smaller things to cope with rather than trying to tackle one huge issue.  Smaller bits will be easier to cope with, which is especially important since I have C-PTSD.  Having the disorder means my brain is broken.  I have to treat myself gentler than a person without C-PTSD treats themselves.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed too, Dear Reader, I’m sorry.  It happens sometimes & it’s rough, I know.  Just try to remember to approach the situation in small doses, especially if you too have C-PTSD.  Break it down into manageable parts, & deal with those however works best for you rather than tackling the big picture all at once.  The little things will add up to form the big picture.  Also remember, Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  (KJV)  Sometimes when you’re facing your pain, it feels like you are all alone.  People don’t understand, & may avoid or even abandon you during your darkest hours.  God isn’t that way though.  He loves you & is with you no matter how bad things may be.  xoxo

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How To Cope When Narcissists Shift The Blame To You

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Is No Contact “Un-Christian”?

Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things.  One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving.  These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent.  It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely!  After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!

Hahaha.  No.

I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian.  I am well aware that I don’t.  But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect.  Far from it.  If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.

Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different  from loving people’s way.  God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest.   Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior.  Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim.  However, it is not your place to force them to change.  It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.

 

But it’s certainly NOT easy!  Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior.  As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it.  Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love.  They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one.  People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.

I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love.  Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things.  However, love also must be tough sometimes.  God proves that!  He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior.  He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions.  As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) 

Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone.  Many people have been, including me.  When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (AMP)  As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you.  He will reward you one day!  Those who said such cruel things however??  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].”  (AMP)

 

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)

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Revelation About Hating My Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Narcissists & Pets

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What The Bible Says About Tolerating Narcissistic Abuse

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

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)

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

1 Thessalonians 2:4  (AMP)

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

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Covert Narcissist Flying Monkeys

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Body Memories

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse, part 2

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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