A member of my Facebook group shared a meme made from a quote from author & life coach Lisa Romano. I don’t remember the meme, but one of her comments on it said this: “Narcissism at its finest is like carbon monoxide. Your inner world will become chaotic and every aspect of your life will become suffocated by dysfunction, but you will not know from where the poison is coming from.”
Having suffered both narcissistic abuse & carbon monoxide, I really related to this comparison.
While narcissistic abuse is often thought of as loud, sometimes even physically abusive & basically easy to identify, that isn’t always the case. Overt narcissists are that way of course, but coverts aren’t. They are so much more subtle. They can abuse undetected.. much the same way carbon monoxide can injure or even kill.
Carbon monoxide has absolutely no smell whatsoever. You don’t see it hanging in the air like you would smoke, either. It silently & subtly does its damage, & you don’t even realize it until the damage has been done. The day I survived carbon monoxide poisoning, I knew I felt bad, but I didn’t know why. The thought of calling 911 or my husband for help also never crossed my mind. The poison ruined my ability to think clearly or recognize what the problem was.
Covert narcissists are much the same way. They aren’t like their overt counterparts who yell & scream to get their way. They’re often soft spoken. They come across as unassuming & meek, sometimes even not very intelligent. They may help people by donating to or volunteering with charities. They may be active in their church. If they are financially comfortable, they’re the first one to give money to someone they know who is struggling. People not close enough to the covert narcissist to see behind the make usually think they are really good, kind, generous people who will do anything to help someone in need. This allows covert narcissists to fly under the radar, abusing however they like. Even If someone does recognize a problem, most likely they’ll excuse the abuse because they claim the person meant well or doesn’t know any better.
What few people see is that covert narcissists wear a very convincing mask. Behind that mask is someone who rules their family with guilt, shaming, feigned helplessness, or exaggerating or even faking sickness. These weapons are every bit as effective, if not more so, than an overt narcissist’s screaming & raging while appearing innocent.
Often, these covert narcissists even control their overtly narcissistic spouse by quietly pushing their buttons until the overt narcissist snaps & attacks them either verbally or physically. Covert narcissists love this, because any witnesses to this see the covert narcissist as the long suffering, wonderful spouse of a crazy & even abusive person. They also get pity, which they love. Also in this situation, children of this narcissistic couple automatically side with their covertly narcissistic parent, & become protective of him or her. They never question why their parent expects their protection when it’s really parents’ job to protect their children instead. This behavior stays well into adulthood, which usually causes problems in the adult child’s marriage. Narcissistic parents are usually terrible in-laws. They expect their adult child to keep them first priority, not their spouse or children. When the spouse says something, the adult child often protects their covertly narcissistic parent, as they’ve always done, which causes strain in the marriage for which the spouse is blamed.
While there are carbon monoxide detectors to help protect us from that terrible poison, there aren’t such detectors to help us identify covert narcissists. There are ways you can protect yourself, though.
Pray. Ask God to give you discernment & wisdom. Then if you meet someone who you get an inkling about that something isn’t right, pay attention to the feeling! If their actions seem innocent but leave you feeling guilty or angry, chances are good that you’re in the presence of a covert narcissist.
If you discover you are dealing with a covert narcissist, again, pray. You’ll need all the wisdom you can get, especially if that covert narcissist is a parent of your spouse. Remember the Gray Rock method. When you & your spouse discuss the problem, stay calm, stating only the facts as calmly & logically as you can. Stick to your boundaries, too. Showing your anger will make your spouse more protective of that parent & angry with you.
Remember, just because covert narcissists come across safer than overt ones doesn’t mean they are safe. They really are like carbon monoxide- they may not appear dangerous, but they absolutely are!
One thing that has always baffled me is how people talk about how wonderful that person who died was, even though you know very well that person was an absolute jerk. As if death somehow turned that sinner into a saint.
A few years back, a former friend of mine lost her mother. Her mother had abused her terribly for her entire life. Yet, when this woman died, my friend constantly posted on Facebook how much she missed her mother, she loved her & what a beautiful, wonderful person her mother was. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore… I had to ask her why she was saying these things after all the terrible things her mother did to her. She said it helped her to cope with the emotions if she pretended her mother was a good mother. Not a healthy coping skill by any means, but she was content with it.
I think many people probably have the same reason for their similar behavior. Losing someone you love, even someone abusive, is incredibly difficult & painful.
After my mother died, I caught myself remembering the good things about her. Those few times we got along well, when we could laugh & have fun together. The time she taught me to crochet when I was 5. Little things like that. I also prayed a lot during this time & knew that not only was she in Heaven, but she also was no longer the abusive & cruel person she was before she died. I realized that I was starting to do somewhat like my former friend did when her abusive mother died, focusing on only the good about my mother. While she was fine coping in that way, I wasn’t. It didn’t feel right or healthy to me. I got in prayer about it & learned some things.
When you love someone dies, you’re going to miss them. If that person was abusive, you’re going to miss the few good things about them, if there were any. If not, you’ll miss the person you wish they had been. Part of grieving is letting go. You are naturally going to have a harder time letting go of the good things than the bad, or even the good things you wish would have been.
Remembering the good things brings some normalcy to a very abnormal situation. There is absolutely nothing normal about coping with the death of a narcissistic parent. You can feel as if you’re completely alone, you’re crazy or unreasonable. You also most likely will feel that not one single person on the face of the earth understands what you’re feeling, because what you feel isn’t what most people feel when their parent dies. Focusing on the good, remembering the good things makes you feel more normal. It’s normal & socially acceptable to miss the good things about your parent. In most situations, it’s not normal or socially acceptable to feel glad your parent is gone or relief he or she can’t abuse you any longer. Unfortunately with narcissistic parents, both of those feelings are totally normal, they just don’t feel that way.
It’s incredibly difficult to mourn the death of a narcissistic parent. It’s easier in a sense to grieve the normal aspects of your parent, whether they were real or what you wish your parent had been like. Grieving the death of a narcissistic parent can be complex, confusing, infuriating, sad, devastating & so much more. When you grieve someone you love, basically it boils down to you miss that person. Of course that’s painful but it isn’t really convoluted. You don’t have to deal with all the intricacies & complexities that go along with mourning the death of a narcissistic parent. If you can make your parent more “normal”, it makes the grief process easier by making it less complex.
I don’t think remembering the positive things about your narcissistic parent is a bad thing in general. However, if you’re in this situation & remember only the good, that should be a red flag that you aren’t coping with your parents’ passing in a healthy way. It’s ok to remember the awful times & the abuse, & even to be angry about them. It’s ok to admit to yourself & others that your parent wasn’t exactly parent of the year. It’s also ok to be glad your parent is gone & you’re finally free. These things don’t mean you’re a terrible person. They mean you’re HUMAN!
Not long ago, something crossed my mind. I thought it may help some of you who follow my work.
During my first marriage, I was so dysfunctional I wasn’t sure exactly why it wasn’t a good marriage, but I still knew something was wrong. My ex said it was fine, but I didn’t buy it. I took my vows very seriously so I spent a lot of time reading marriage books & trying to figure out what I could do to fix these problems that I couldn’t identify. It was always my job to fix things in relationships, as is often the case of those who have narcissistic parents. Plus, it seemed logical at the time that if I was the only one who had a problem, I should be the one to deal with the problem.
After my reading & contemplating things, I came up with a solution that I was certain would fix everything. If I could just ignore any of my own identity, needs, wants, opinions & feelings in favor of his, I just knew that would fix everything.
Obviously, this didn’t work. Although I was successful at doing this for a while, even that wasn’t enough. By the time we got a divorce, I felt like an utter failure & carried the guilt & shame of that for quite some time.
I mentioned this to my best friend recently who admitted she had a very similar experience when married to her ex husband.
If you are married to a narcissist, I would love to help prevent you from going through this pain. Please, listen to the voice of experience when I tell you that although it seems like simply giving in to a narcissist in every way is an “easy” way to keep the peace, it’s not.
Losing yourself in this way is a lifetime job, not something you do once & it’s done. When a narcissist sees you are willing to do this, he or she will expect you to do it over & over, every single day of your relationship. It makes you miserable & erodes you into a shell of your former self. As the saying goes, it’s like a death from a thousand cuts.
Narcissists also are like endless voids when it comes to things that provide them with their narcissistic supply. Nothing is going to fill that void. You simply can’t give a narcissist enough supply. Even when you give everything to a narcissist, it isn’t enough. I was basically a robot that my ex could control, & it still wasn’t enough to please him. He still wanted more even though I had nothing left to give, & was angry when I wouldn’t give it. This is typical!
Also, behaving in this manner enables the narcissist to be the abusive monster that he or she is. There are no consequences when someone tolerates abuse, so abusers naturally see no need to stop. In fact, they often step up the abuse because they know they can do anything they like without fear of repercussions. In the end, this will destroy you. It may not physically destroy you, although the stress of living this way certainly has the potential to create an overabundance of health problems, but at the very least it will emotionally destroy you. By the time my ex & I separated, I lost so much of my identity. I had no idea who I was, what I really liked, wanted, felt, or needed. I was well aware though that I carried a great deal of guilt & shame for being entirely at fault for our failed marriage. If I had any doubt, his friends & family were glad to remind me that everything was my fault.
Dear Reader, if you are in this unenviable situation of being married to someone who wants everything from you while giving nothing in return, please don’t give that person everything! It doesn’t help the marriage & only creates problems! Learn from my mistakes & don’t give in. Instead, take good care of yourself. Question everything your spouse says about you & demands of you. Surround yourself with healthy, functional, caring & supportive people. If your spouse has isolated you from friends & family (as abusers do), there are online support forums full of amazing people who can help you. And most of all, stay close to God. Lean on Him, & let Him help you in this painful situation. I wish you all the best!
I’ve been getting tired of writing the same type of book so I’ve been considering other options. One of them is this book. It’s a journal created to help the reader help themselves heal from the damage of narcissistic abuse.
Each month in the journal will focus on one traumatic event, & each week, one aspect of the event. It also schedules time to relax so the healing work doesn’t become overwhelming.
In the future, I may create other similar journals on different topics, but honestly I’m not positive yet. We’ll see where God leads me.
The journal is available only in print, unlike many of my other books. It can be found at this link:
During the holiday season, many families get together. They share a good meal & enjoy each other’s company. There is no pressure about these gatherings & everyone genuinely looks forward to them.
Then there are the dysfunctional family gatherings. They are something very different.
On first glance, dysfunctional family gatherings may look the same as their functional counterparts. Family members get together & share a big meal. But, that is often where the similarities end.
With dysfunctional families, the stress is terrible. There is usually intense pressure to show up at the get together no matter what. Sick? Who cares? You aren’t so sick you can’t attend! Car trouble? So what? Figure out how to get there! You would prefer to spend the day at home or with some friends? Clearly something is very wrong with you! No one is as worthy of your time as the dysfunctional family, & the holiday dictator will be highly offended if you even consider spending time with anyone else. You need to attend this gathering & act like you are happy when you’re there, even if you are miserable. Your misery means nothing, after all. This gathering is all about appearances, not about having a good time.
There’s also the dysfunctional clique action. Some people are going to shun other people or at the very least talk badly about them. Maybe the other people didn’t bring a large enough casserole. Maybe their gifts didn’t cost as much as the shunning people think they should have cost. Maybe the other people weren’t wearing the appropriate holiday attire. In any case, something will be found to criticize even when there isn’t anything to criticize.
The truth is that very few people genuinely enjoy this get together. They may dread it but feel no other option is available but to attend & pretend to have a wonderful time.
So why participate in this gathering at all? Wouldn’t it just make more sense to do whatever you enjoy on the holidays & forego the dysfunctional family nightmare hoopla? It would, but few will do that. There are several reasons why.
One reason is no one wants to anger the holiday dictator. Doing so can result in guilt trips, anger, &/or shaming. No one wants this. Many people think it is simply easier to sacrifice a holiday than to deal with the guilt, anger or shaming.
Another reason is that by participating in these get togethers, it gives the delusion that this family actually is a big, happy, functional family. They can pretend that everyone gets along & is a “normal” family because after all, they got together for this holiday gathering. That is a perfectly normal thing to do, so it must prove they are all normal.
When you are aren’t someone who is capable of blindly going along with people’s delusions & denial, these gatherings can be described as nothing less than excruciating. The fakeness of it all is exhausting & repulsive to those who believe in facing the truth.
When you are faced with these dysfunctional family gatherings, you can cope. You have choices.
You can choose not to attend. This decision is a tough one, because those who are in favor of this get together will judge & criticize you harshly for not attending. Even so, it may be worth it.
You can attend, but with strict boundaries in place. You can avoid the critics as much as possible. You also can set a specific time to give to this gathering then leave at the allotted time.
If you attend & the critics start their nastiness, you also can simply say, “Well, isn’t that nice” & walk away. In the southern part of the United States, that comment is known to be a polite way of saying, “I really don’t care.” I have said it many times then walked away. It feels good! It also tells the critics their opinion means nothing to you. Believe it or not, you do have options during the holiday season. Exercise them! It is your right!
Some time back, I saw a quote. I don’t recall the name of the author but anyway the quote said something like, “What didn’t kill me made me stronger. It also gave me a dark & twisted sense of humor.” Immediately I felt a bit embarrassed because I know that’s me. My sense of humor can be very dark & twisted. Quickly though I remembered something.
In my late teen years, I had a good friend a couple of years younger than me. His mother was also abusive, & his sense of humor could be very dark & twisted like mine. One day, we were laughing about something & he said, “Yanno, I’m so glad to have a sense of humor. I really believe that’s helped so much to get me through everything.”
I believe that former friend was right. His relationship with his mother never really got better after we grew up. He had very limited contact with her well before I even knew that “low contact” & “no contact” were healthy options, but kept his sense of humor through it all. One day we went to a yard sale. He found a pot for houseplants he liked. He commented how it looked like a spittoon from the old west & I agreed. He paid for it then looked at me & said, “Now when Mom comes over, she’ll have a place to spit her chewing tobacco!” She didn’t chew, but the mental picture of this made me laugh.
I’ve laughed at some things regarding my mother too. In high school she accused me of having sex with the entire football team. I’ve never been promiscuous & was a virgin at the time, so the accusation was ridiculous & hurtful. Eventually I found humor in it. My husband has too. Once in a while, he says something about it & we laugh at the stupidity of the comment.
Sometimes, even in the midst of dark times, humor can be a blessing. My husband’s favorite ring tone is Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, which happens to be the well known theme song from the old scary movie, “Tales From The Crypt.” It’s very morbid sounding yet beautiful. Anyway, while in the ER with his father one night, one of his sisters called, triggering that ring tone. In spite of the serious situation, he & a few nurses laughed at the ring tone which helped lighten everyone’s mood. Also, the night we received the death notification about my mother, the funeral home called my husband’s cell as we were talking with a police officer. Again, Bach’s song played when his phone rang. The poor policeman looked horrified, but it made me laugh. Inappropriate? Sure, but I was so shaken up, that laugh helped to calm me a bit so I could focus on the task at hand.
I know when times are painful, it can feel impossible to laugh. It may even feel disrespectful to find humor in such a somber situation. But if at all possible, I want to encourage you to try to find some humor in the situation. It often can be done. It also can be an incredibly helpful coping mechanism, so why not use it?
Rather than be offended & hurt by the lies the narcissist accuses you of, try to find the humor in it. Often their lies are so incredibly outrageous, they’re funny! Really! Look at my mother’s lies about me with the entire high school football team. I was in her presence constantly & had no time for that even if I had the inclination. It was an outrageous & stupid thing to say. No doubt the narcissist in your life has also said outrageous & stupid things about you.
I also hope you find a reason to laugh every day. Find a comedian you like & listen to his or her routines often. Watch funny movies or tv shows. Spend time with your friends who make you laugh. Doing these things will improve your mental health. You’ll be happier & enjoy life more.
Many of my ebooks are on sale until January 1, 2021! Use code WINTER30 at checkout. See my books at the following link:
As a black sheep, I have plenty of experience in the role. I hope my thoughts here help my fellow black sheep!
To be a black sheep in your family, you have to be very different from that family. We’re labeled that way because we talk truth rather than denial & we aren’t willing to live in the same dysfunctional patterns as our relatives. Rather than that being a good thing, we’re ruthlessly judged & criticized for not following in our family’s dysfunctional footsteps. Rather than applaud our courage for breaking the cycle, we’re called things like crazy & ungrateful, & treated as if we’re the scourge of the earth for going against “family”.
You also can marry into a family where you’re the black sheep. I’ve done this as have many other women I know. My mother in-law hated me from when we first met, which meant her two daughters did as well. I am very different from all of them. My interests, beliefs & more are different than theirs. These differences were obviously a big problem, among other things. Not submitting to their control was a problem, too. If I just would’ve let them mold me into whatever they wanted me to be, they might have been able to tolerate me.
It’s not easy being a black sheep because of such treatment. Your own flesh & blood being so cruel hurts. Not only their words, but their betrayal too. Or, in the case of in-laws like mine, it’s frustrating because you never had a chance. Nothing you could’ve done or done differently would’ve made any difference.
In these situations, I believe that feeling your emotions is important. It’s ok to be sad or angry that things are as they are with your family &/or in-laws, or that people you thought loved you would turn their back on you. It’s ok to be sad or angry that the family of the person you love has so little love & respect for that person, they can’t manage even basic civility to you, that person’s mate. Any person with even a bit of love in their heart would be emotional about these things!
Accept people. This doesn’t mean you should tolerate abuse, of course. It just means that you accept that these people are in a place of dysfunction & that means you two aren’t going to get along because you want to be healthy. It’s comparable to a former drug addict. That person isn’t going to spend time with his former dealer if he wants to maintain his sobriety! If you want to maintain your functional ways, you’re going to have to avoid dysfunctional people.
Recognize that their mistreatment of you isn’t personal. It’s merely their dysfunction coming out. When my father was dying & my family attacked me for not going to say goodbye, God showed me that it had nothing to do with me or my father. It was about them maintaining their delusions. My not going was proof our family wasn’t perfect, which is a truth they were unable to accept. This seems to be common among family members who shun the black sheep.
If you think about it, do you really want to fit in with people like this? I thought about my family in this context. Almost every person is fake, judgmental, critical, hypocritical, greedy, wicked & more. Not long after my mother died I learned a couple of relatives conned a great deal of money out of her after my father died. How despicable! I have NO desire for anyone like that in my life, family or not. If you think about it, you may feel the same way.
If you’re struggling with your black sheep role, always remember you can talk to your Heavenly Father about it. God will help you to cope & give you comfort. Let Him! He’s more than happy to do that for you.
All of my print books are 10% off until December 11, 2020 with code FESTIVE10 at checkout.
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I’ve always loved cats deeply. Unlike my human family, my cats are kind, gentle, love unconditionally, offer support when I need it & so much more.
I realize not every person feels this way about cats. The good part of that is most of those people offer no judgment. They simply agree to disagree with me. They also like animals, & many don’t have any pets because they realize they don’t have the time, money or energy to devote to being a good pet parent. I completely respect these people.
Those I don’t respect are the people who blatantly hate animals & have no problem showing it.
It’s a known fact in the psychological community that many who hate animals may one day turn their hatred on people. Jeffrey Dahmer tortured cats & other small animals & collected their corpses as a child. Most everyone knows what atrocities he did in his adult life.
I have found through my own experiences & those of others I’ve spoken with that many narcissists, although not serial killers, dislike animals, & often in particular cats. I have no scientific evidence to confirm this, but in my observations, I came up with a few ideas why this happens.
Cats’ brains are similar to human brains. They often are able to sense manipulation & abusers quickly, & they ardently avoid abusers. It must be incredibly frustrating for a narcissist that they can rule some people completely, yet they can’t conquer a 10 pound animal. How insulting that must be to a narcissist!
Some people don’t believe this, but cats understand civility. Many times, my parents would be getting along fine with one of my cats, then they would say something insulting either to me or the cat. That cat would either leave the room or scratch my parent. Every time, they were stunned. They never understood that cats want civility & basic respect for themselves & their parents. Not receiving those things or seeing their parent mistreated makes them rightfully angry, & they can act out.
Cats come across as aloof & as if they don’t need people. Cat parents know this is only how they may appear… they love & depend on their parents a great deal yet aren’t often friendly to many others. Narcissists often take this behavior as a personal insult rather than a cat simply being a cat. How dare this cat not shower them with affection! Something clearly must be wrong with that cat!
If you’re a cat parent & wondering if someone in your life is an unsafe person or even a narcissist, let your cat help you figure it out!
Anyone who comes into your home & insults your cat knowing how much you love him or her is unsafe. A normal person would keep their negative thoughts to themselves because they wouldn’t want to hurt or offend you.
Anyone who comes into your home & complains because you allow your cat on your sofa or bed is showing signs of control issues. It’s your home- why would anyone care what your cat does within it? What happens in your home doesn’t affect them so it’s really no one’s business what happens there. Control freaks think what they want to happen is all that matters, even in someone else’s home.
Some people ask cat parents to lock their cats in another room while they visit. To me, this is the epitome of selfish & entitled behavior. The equivalent to this is asking a parent to lock up their human child in a room while visiting. Most people would agree that would be completely unacceptable & offensive. Why would it be ok to do this regarding an animal yet not a human? It isn’t. It’s a sign of selfishness & someone who wants to be in control.
I firmly believe that how someone treats animals can be a very good indicator of that person’s true character.
During a conversation in my Facebook group, I mentioned how for years, my father would call me later in the evenings, up to 10 sometimes, usually just to complain about my mother. Emotional incest isn’t the best way to end your day! Plus, being an introvert & talking to people a lot during the day, nights are when I want to avoid people. I want to relax with hubby, maybe some music, tv, or a craft project. I also get up early & don’t want to be awake at all hours. I explained this to my father & although he said he understood, he clearly didn’t. Not only because he lacked empathy but also because he was very extroverted. He continued his calls until I was at my wit’s end with it.
As a result, one evening, he called at 9:58. I decided to ignore the call. He called back several times during the next twenty minutes. About half an hour later, one of my cousins who lives 450 miles away called. I almost ignored it because I had a feeling my father put him up to this. Since he never calls so late, I thought what if this was the one time something is actually wrong? I answered the call & found out it was my father’s doing. He called my cousin asking him to call me & have me call my father. We got into an argument because I refused to call him that night. The next morning, my father called before 7. He shamed me for not taking his call & blamed me for making him worry so much that he had to call my cousin & my in-laws. I was livid yet in spite of that & knowing he was being manipulative & controlling, I felt guilty. This was on top of already feeling anxious because he clearly thought he had the right to “barge into” my home anytime he wanted via the phone.
This happened in late 2014. The conversation in my group about this incident made me think of something… I wonder if me having such trouble falling asleep is connected to my father’s upsetting late evening calls. It could be that my brain still expects my phone to ring at any & all hours to deal with a very stressful conversation. Logically I know it’s impossible. My father passed away in October, 2017. I have no other narcissists in my life, so there isn’t anyone left who would do this to me. Yet, it happened for a long time & I naturally became “programmed” to expecting late & upsetting calls.
The dear lady I was discussing this with came up with the term anticipation stress to describe my situation. Thinking about it, I believe this anticipation stress is pretty common with victims of narcissistic abuse.
Narcissists can be quite unpredictable & they use that to keep their victims on a state of constant high alert. The more a person is in that state, the more willing they can be to do anything to end this misery. This means they are more susceptible to being controlled & doing the narcissist’s will.
Even if the narcissist is no longer in the victim’s life, when something miserable happens repeatedly like in my situation, the brain may get stuck in a place of expecting some sort of stress. It seems to me it’s somewhat like hyper-vigilance. With hyper-vigilance, you’re constantly looking for signs of any potential danger. Anticipation stress is somewhat like that, except instead of danger, it’s a stressful & unpleasant situation.
Unfortunately at this time, I don’t know how to release this anticipation stress, but I absolutely will share anything I figure out! In the meantime, I hope it helps you to understand what is happening if you are going through something similar.
Sister Renee of Luke 17:3 Ministries is the lady who coined the term “anticipation stress”, so I’d like to provide a link to her website. Please check it out. She is an amazing lady who shares a lot of true, Godly wisdom on the topic of narcissists & surviving their abuse.
My husband & I were recently talking about the Myers Briggs personalities. For those of you familiar with the types, he’s an INTJ & I’m INFJ.
I mentioned how INFJs are often thought of as too logical for the feeling types & too feeling for the logical types, so we don’t always fit in with either. We use both emotions & logic to make decisions & problem solve, & I find this incredibly useful. Many people don’t do this. Since he’s the logical T type, I had to explain how my mind works when there is a situation I need to deal with at hand. I thought it might help others as well, so I decided to share.
Basically, I think of the situation like I’m looking at a show on tv or a movie. This allows me to detach emotionally enough to come up with a logical resolution. He mentioned one of our favorite true crime shows, “Homicide Hunter” with Detective Joe Kenda, because it sounded to him like when they recreate the detective’s work when he first arrived at crime scenes. It was actually a good description! If you have seen this show, you know what happens. They set the detective at the scene & remove the other police officers, witnesses, & victims. The detective is left with an empty crime scene & he can start piecing together what happened as he looks around. Certain things get his attention like a pool of blood, a knife in a sink, or items that obviously were spilled. Each of these clues fits together in his mind & begins to form a picture of what happened.
That is exactly how I problem solve! When something happens, I pull away from it for at least a few minutes. I look at situations & mentally remove unnecessary pieces so I can focus more on the clues. Emotions enter back in once I have a clearer idea of the situation. Keeping them out at first allows me not to make an overly emotional assessment of the situation. Emotions are necessary though so naturally they come back in when they can serve me better.
An example of this is years ago, someone I didn’t know well accused a man I knew of molesting her sisters as children. I was taken aback! She just spouted this out of nowhere plus knowing this person, I couldn’t believe it. After the conversation was finished, I thought a great deal about it. It was difficult, especially considering what I write about! A part of me wanted to tell her she was lying, that’s impossible, but the victim advocate part of me wanted to offer help or at least empathy. I considered the situation as I described, examining the clues first. This person & her family didn’t even live in the same state as the accused man for most of their life. I also saw this man a great deal in my life & not one time, did I see anything even slightly inappropriate in his behavior. How could he hide his deviant ways for that long? It’d be impossible! He also loved children & was a good, Godly man. I realized either she was misinformed or was lying because she hated the man in question. I’m grateful that I took the time to consider this situation though because it helped me to find out the truth & treat the person accordingly. For the record, I never spoke to her again.
If you are in a situation that you need to figure out, I would like to encourage you to try doing it as I suggested. It really is very helpful for creating good solutions while also giving you a good perspective on the situation that isn’t unbalanced with too little or too much emotion.
My publisher is having a really good sale on print books. 30% off!! To take advantage, use code BFCM30 at checkout.
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If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know. Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.
When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other. Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner. If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you. You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe. This is incredibly good for your relationship!
Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior. Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences. This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse. And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending. No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!
If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.
If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem! It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family. If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset. That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones. Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior. If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!
Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you. If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person. If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario. They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility. However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you. When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person. I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.
Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said. Protect your loved one! It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship! In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.
I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting. The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life. She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents. She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all.
Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up. It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson. The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.
This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents. The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.
To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional. Mine certainly was. I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words. I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger. It reminded me of things my own family has said. If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did. Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly. This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react. Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems. You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.
It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive. Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist. They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize. In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents. Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case. I have another idea of what her problem is though…
The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies. Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like. That is what this person did with me. She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother. She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image. I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply. I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am. It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply. Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion. I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation. I did in mine just as she did in hers. I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page. Simple, to the point & calm.
Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions. Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it! If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical. State only the facts, not how you felt. And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense. Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”
Lastly, always remember that God is there for you. If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help. Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise. I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes.
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The holiday season is a very popular time of year for narcissists. Overt narcissists love ruining everyone’s joy by causing discord around holidays. Covert narcissists love throwing parties, cooking, baking, buying tons of gifts & making sure everyone knows how hard they worked & sacrificed. This sort of thing can lead to a lot of dread of holidays in many of us who have been subjected to holidays with narcissists.
As if that isn’t bad enough, there are also those who judge those of us who are less than thrilled with holidays or even choose not to celebrate them. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been criticized for not liking holidays or celebrating them anymore. I wish these judgmental jerks would experience just a part of what I have, then see if they can maintain their “holiday cheer.”
Since that’s impossible, I figured I would discuss this topic for those of you who share my lack of enthusiasm & give some points you can bring up to the judgmental folks if you need to.
Not everyone is going to think the same about holidays, & there is nothing wrong with that! Everyone is unique, right down to their fingerprints & DNA. Just because someone celebrates in a way that is different than you doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong. It just means they want to do something different. What gives anyone the right to say their way of celebrating is the only way to celebrate?
Some people are what I refer to as holiday Nazis. They want what they want, when they want it for holidays, & there is zero tolerance for disobedience. My mother in-law was like this as was my first mother in-law. What makes the wishes of these people so important anyway? What if someone wants to spend the day at home with their immediate family instead of attending some big party? Why is that wrong? I don’t see how it is. Again, it’s different, not wrong. Besides, these people & their demands can ruin holidays for even the most die hard holiday fanatic. How is that so difficult to understand? It’s only normal that after repeated ruined holidays a person comes to dislike them.
Some people are also dysfunctional & not willing to work on it. For them, holidays are a time to prove that their family isn’t dysfunctional, but a big, happy family. These people can’t stand those of us who don’t go along with the charade, because we threaten their delusions. Rather than face the truth, they attack those of us who live in it for not going along with their big happy family act. How does this make any sense? It only makes sense in the minds of the dysfunctional fools who behave this way.
And, what if someone has found a way to enjoy holidays that works for them? Why is that worthy of criticism? Holidays are supposed to be about joy, peace & love. Where is any of that in judging how someone spends holidays?
Those of us who have had more bad than good holidays don’t need judgment & criticism about what we want to do. We don’t need to hear that we are wrong for how we choose to celebrate or if we choose to ignore the day. We don’t need to be criticized because we prefer Italian food or some other food over traditional holiday fare. We don’t need to have our faith brought into question because we don’t celebrate Christmas the way other people do. Not celebrating Christmas the traditional way has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s faith in God any more than not celebrating Thanksgiving makes a person ungrateful. No one should be made to feel flawed or “less than” simply because they choose to live their life in a way that brings them peace & joy. If someone tries to make you feel badly for how you celebrate or don’t celebrate this holiday season, remember that clearly they have the problem, not you. Functional people don’t try to ruin other people’s joy.
My mother had a best friend for almost her entire life. They met in school & apparently became inseparable, even when this friend’s family moved about halfway across the country. They kept in touch via letters & phone calls ever since. When my mother died, I knew I needed to let this lady know. I sent her a letter as soon as I found her mailing address.
Since that time, she & I became friends. We exchange letters pretty often. She is such a lovely woman with a kind, gentle heart. She’s also an animal lover, so I often share pictures with her of my cats & in particular, my parents’ cat, Molly.
Recently, I received a letter from this lovely lady. She commented on the pictures of my cats I’d shared with her not long ago. She referred to them as “my grandcats.” Her comment took me aback. Although it was very sweet, it also made me angry. Not at her, but at my parents.
Before my parents passed away, I had cats & dogs for years. I got my first cat shortly after moving out on my own when I was 19. During the years since, I gave my parents pictures, told them things about all of my furkids, kept them posted when they had health concerns & called crying when they passed away. I even signed cards “from the grandkids”. In return, they insulted or even tormented them. I spoke up as soon as I saw what was happening, but they quickly resumed abusing my furkids in similar ways to how they abused me.
Not once did my parents refer to my pets as the grandcats or granddogs. Having an almost total stranger be so kind & care so much about my furkids was heartwarming, but at the same time, it made me VERY angry with my parents.
This may sound silly to you. I have known about Narcissistic Personality Disorder since 2011, so clearly I am well aware narcissists are incapable of love. I also know they devalue anything important to their victims as a way to hurt them. So why get angry about this? It’s not a surprise. I also have dealt with this so it seems like that should mean that I have forgiven my parents. The damage has been done & it’s been dealt with right? Well, not necessarily…
Many of us who have been abused have been told repeatedly how we need to forgive the abusers. This often makes us feel as if once we have forgiven our abusers, nothing about them can make us angry anymore. This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, the abuse can still make you angry & it should!
The reason it should is because abuse is wrong. It’s hurtful & incredibly damaging in so many ways. It causes so many problems. It’s also totally unfair. It is normal to be angry about those things. In fact, I think it’s a good thing to be angry about them! Not being angry means you have accepted abuse as something that is ok. It isn’t a big enough deal to warrant anger. How messed up is that?! Abuse NEVER should be something that doesn’t stir up anger! Quite the opposite. No matter who is the victim of abuse or how the victim was abused, people always should be angry about abuse.
If you think forgiving your abuser means you should never feel angry about things that were done to you, then you truly aren’t showing yourself enough compassion & understanding. You can forgive your abuser for what they have done while still feeling angry at the things they did to you, & you should! You didn’t deserve what they did to you! It should anger you that anyone thought you were a good target for their abusive behavior. Look again at my situation that I described earlier. Don’t you think I have the right to be angry when I was reminded of how nasty my parents were to my furkids? They knew my pets were like my children & still tried to hurt them to hurt me. How is that not despicable?
Anytime you have reminders of past trauma trigger anger in you, please remember that those reminders aren’t necessarily a sign you haven’t forgiven your abuser. Only you know if you have or haven’t forgiven, & that is between you & God. If you have forgiven though & still feel anger when reminded of abuse you endured, don’t be ashamed of it! It’s ok to be angry & even can be a good thing!
My publisher is offering another sale on my print books. This one is good for 10% off all print products until November 13, 2020. Use code READ10 at checkout.
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In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon. Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.
Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor. I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process. One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done. The counselor’s response? “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”
Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is. It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.
If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point. Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.
Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have. Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues. No one can make someone abuse them! Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you! All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!
Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner. Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser. They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape. Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.
Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser. I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!” I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it. I stand by that today. No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it. People who don’t realize that are foolish.
Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions. If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…” “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you. No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.
Some people push victims to heal. Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.” Healing is a very individual path. Everyone’s path is very different. Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different. It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.
People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them. If you come across people like this, stay away from them. Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.