Cognitive Dissonance

Recently, my birthday passed.  The first one since having a huge argument with my parents in May of 2016.  My mother didn’t send a card.  My father sent a card though, & as soon as I saw it, I felt so much guilt for the way my relationship with my parents is, or lack of relationship I should say.  The old dysfunctional way of thinking kicked back in.  I should forgive & forget, pretend all is ok no matter how much it hurts me, & I overreacted because they should be able to do & say anything.

 

At the same time, I was remembering why I need to stay no contact with my parents.  A lifetime of abuse flowed through my mind.  The cruelty, the belittling, the manipulation, the control, the parentalizing, the guilt trips, the putting everyone else ahead of me, the invalidation.  The two very conflicting thoughts & feelings were utterly miserable.  Cognitive dissonance always is miserable!

 

Those of us raised with narcissistic parents know this well.

 

Growing up, we were trained to think & believe certain ways, such as the narcissistic parent always comes first, & our thoughts & feelings mean nothing.  Eventually, we learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & realize that all we grew up believing is wrong.

 

Unfortunately that is only the beginning.  It takes a long time to unlearn old thoughts & replace them with new, healthy thoughts.  As you learn, you experience very uncomfortable feelings because of these conflicting beliefs, which is known as cognitive dissonance.

 

When my experiences happened recently, I mentioned what was happening in my Facebook group.  I am very blessed, because the members were incredibly helpful.  They reminded me why I need to be no contact with my parents, & the guilt & conflict I felt wasn’t from God.

 

I also spent plenty of time in prayer.  I asked God what to do, was I overreacting with my parents, was I wrong, should I ask them back into my life?  God did the same thing those in my group did- gently remind me why I’m no contact & that He didn’t want me feeling guilty.

 

Dear Reader, when you face similar moments of awful cognitive dissonance, I urge you to do what I did- pray.  God is your Father & friend- you can talk to Him openly about everything you feel.  Do it!  He’ll help you get through!  Also, open up to those close to you who understand your situation, preferably those who have been through similar.  They can be of great encouragement too!

 

I know experiencing cognitive dissonance is difficult & painful, but you will get through it!  I did.  The day of my birthday was rough, I won’t lie.  It was a struggle, even with the help of God & friends, but I made it through.  The day after was easier & the one after, still easier.  It just took a little time for the healthy thoughts to beat down the unhealthy ones is all.  When this happens to you, remember that you WILL get through & be just fine.  Be patient, understanding & gentle with yourself, knowing that it will pass.  xoxo

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Identifying Selfish People vs Narcissists

These days, it seems like narcissists are pretty much everywhere.  Yet, many people don’t understand there are differences between selfish people & narcissists.  Selfish people are called narcissists, when the simple fact is, they aren’t narcissistic- they’re just selfish.  And, narcissists are called selfish when in fact, they’re something much darker & more evil- narcissists.

 

Since selfishness is one of the main giveaways that someone is a narcissist, how does one discern a narcissist from someone selfish?  It can be done..

 

Here are 10 ways that can help you to discern selfish people from the narcissistic people.

 

  1. Selfish people are annoying, yes, but narcissists go beyond annoying with their selfishness.  Every single tiny thing can be turned back to them.  Selfish people will discuss topics other than themselves from time to time.
  2. Selfish people are capable of empathy.  Narcissists are not.
  3. Selfish people may not consider your feelings all the time, but they are capable of it & will do it sometimes.  Narcissists?  Not happening.
  4. Selfish people are capable of showing respect.  Narcissists are not.
  5. Selfish people aren’t necessarily envious of everyone they view as more attractive, more talented or more successful.  Narcissists are extremely envious.
  6. Selfish people don’t feel the need to brag about their great accomplishments, skills, looks, etc. like overt narcissists do, nor do they make a show of being a martyr or victim like covert narcissists.
  7. Selfish people can respect a person’s boundaries.  Narcissists refuse to respect boundaries.
  8. Selfish people change if you tell them that their behavior has hurt you.  Narcissists not only don’t change, but try to hurt you even more for daring to confront them.
  9. Selfish people are capable of giving genuine apologies.  Not so with narcissists.  They give fake apologies (“I’m sorry you think I did something bad to you”) or turn the situation around & claim they are your victim.
  10. If you confront a selfish person about something, they won’t rage at you or accuse you of being the selfish one (projecting their flaws onto you).  If you confront a narcissist, you can count on rage, projection or the silent treatment.

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Why Do People Not Want You To Speak Up To Abusive Relatives?

Have you ever noticed that almost no one says you are right to have problems with abusive family members?  That it is OK to defend yourself to them?  Instead, you are encouraged to “just let it go.”  Or, excuses are made like, “Well, she’s getting old now…”  or “You know how he is.”

 

Why do so many people think it is wrong to speak your mind & defend yourself when someone says cruel things to you?

 

I think it is because people do NOT want to leave their comfort zone.  They would prefer you stuff your emotions (because that is oh so healthy..not) than make them uncomfortable by standing up for yourself.

 

Those of us who have been abused have been through more than enough suffering.  It isn’t fair to expect us to go through more just to make someone else comfortable by not upsetting them.

 

When people tell you to “just let it go” or “don’t rock the boat”, ignore them!  If you feel you need to speak up when your parent is cruel to you, then by all means, you have that right!  There is nothing good, loving or honorable in “not rocking the boat.”  People need to be accountable for their actions, like it or not.  They need to know when they have said or done something that is inappropriate.  Whether or not they change their behavior is not your responsibility, but at least by speaking up you have made them aware of the inappropriateness of their actions.

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When You Lose Someone You Love

On the day I’m writing this post, it’s been 3 years since losing my precious kitty baby, Georgie.  Naturally, he’s been on my mind a lot today.  He was quite the character- feisty, liked to tease other kitties mercilessly, highly intelligent, loving, caring & protective of his brother, Pretty Boy, especially after Pretty Boy’s diagnosis of diabetes in 2011.

 

Georgie died suddenly on April 16, 2014.  I still have no clue why.. he obviously passed in his sleep, thankfully, so it was peaceful at least.  Yet, no warning anything was wrong made losing him especially hard.

 

Shortly after his passing, I was still in shock & grieving terribly.  As usual when grieving, I talked to God about how badly it hurt.  He told me to listen to a certain song & said, “Georgie wants you to know he thinks of you when he hears this song.  It’s your & Georgie’s song now.”  The song was Steelheart’s “Angel Eyes” from 1990.  A song I’ve always loved, but thanks to Georgie love even more since his passing.

 

I know, this sounds odd.. yet, this type of thing has happened after losing several of my kitties over the years.  When Bubba died in 2001, I was sure I was going to die too, when  Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Freebird” became our song.  Magic’s & my song is  Wynonna’s “You Were Loved.”  “When Jasmine passed, it was Aerosmith’s “Angel.”  Vincent’s & my song is “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

 

You get the idea.

 

Since so many of you who read my work are also avid animal lovers, I’m hoping this post offers you comfort.  I never knew this type of thing would help me survive losing my precious furkids, but God did.  Asking Him for comfort turned into receiving the only thing that could help me, aside from having my furbaby back.

If God did it for me, He can do it for you as well.

 

Dear Reader, if you’re missing a precious loved one, be they furry or human, I would like to urge you to cry out to God.  Ask Him for comfort.  He will not disappoint!  He may give you songs like He has me, or maybe not.  It depends on what comforts you most,  I believe.  In any case, trust that He wants to help you & then wait for the blessing to come your way.  It will greatly surpass your expectations, that I promise you!

 

This is Georgie (left) & his brother, Pretty Boy in around 2005.  My two handsome, wonderful brothers.  🙂  Georgie’s & my song lyrics are below the picture if you’d like to read them.

Brothers

Angel Eyes, by Steelheart

“Angel eyes, you have angel eyes, such a smile that lights up my life
You’re a dream come true, now I’m holding you
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

First time I laid my eyes upon you, all my dreams were answered
First time I kissed your tender lips, my love to you I surrendered

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

Angel eyes, my heart relies on the love you give to me
You never let me down, you’re always by my side
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

When my heart starts to crumble and the tears start to fall
You hold me close with tender lovin’, and give me strength to carry on

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

And I’ll never, never let you go.”

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My New Book Is Available!

I have just published my newest book entitled, “The Truth About Elderly Narcissists”.  It’s all about identifying their changing abusive behaviors, finding ways to cope with them while taking care of yourself, coping as a caregiver, as well as things to consider if you opt to go no contact.

 

This book is available in ebook & print formats on my website at:

 

http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Narcissism In The Bible

2 Timothy 3: 1-5   “But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP)

 

Many people today seem to have skewed views of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  They don’t believe such a thing exists, because no one can be that bad or evil.  Possibly they prefer to deny it so they aren’t forced to deal with such an ugly, evil aspect of humanity.  Some believe it’s just a “pop psychology” term people use to blame others for their problems.  Others think NPD is a serious mental disorder & those with it can’t control their abusive actions so they shouldn’t be held accountable.  Or, they think narcissism is a rare thing.  (Studies say NPD affects anywhere from 1-9% of people, but since narcissists rarely seek therapy & NPD isn’t well taught to counselors, I firmly believe the numbers to be much higher.)

 

When people share such uninformed views, it perpetuates the lack of knowledge & understanding about NPD.  Narcissism & narcissistic abuse are serious problems in the world, & people need to understand that fact!

 

If someone shares a view downplaying narcissism, I would encourage you to show them what the Bible has to say about it.  Show them 2 Timothy 3:1-5 above.  You also can share the Scriptures below with them.  Narcissism is clearly mentioned in the Bible.  If that doesn’t stress that it is something important, nothing will!

 

 

  • Psalms 36:1-3 “(To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David the servant of the LORD.) The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, [that there is] no fear of God before his eyes.  2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.  3 The words of his mouth [are] iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, [and] to do good.”  (KJV)
  • Proverbs 16:18 “Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (KJV)
  • 1 Peter 5:5 ” Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  (KJV)
  • Titus 1:16  “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”  (KJV)

 

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Why Do Narcissists Need Flying Monkeys?

Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse also has been subjected to flying monkeys.

 

Flying monkeys are those people who either have fallen for the narcissist’s act, blindly believing anything the narcissist says or are abusers themselves, likely covert narcissists, who get a thrill out of vicariously abusing the narcissist’s victim.  They often say things like…

 

  • “Your mother is worried about you.  You haven’t called in a while & she doesn’t know why..”
  • “I know your father hurt you when you were growing up, but he didn’t mean to.  He did the best he could.”
  • “You need to just forgive & forget.  After all, your mother was abused when she was growing up!  She doesn’t know any better!”

 

These people are indispensable to narcissists, which is why all narcissists have them.

 

Flying monkeys can reach a victim once that victim has gone no contact with the narcissist.  When a victim doesn’t speak with a narcissist, they often will talk to a flying monkey, at least for a while until they discover that this person is a flying monkey.  During that time, the flying monkey can tell the victim whatever the narcissist wants her to, becoming the mouthpiece for the narcissist.  They can say things a narcissist can’t say without looking bad.  The flying monkey also benefits from doing this.  If she is deceived about the narcissist, she honestly believes she is doing good & trying to help the victim.  If she is also an abuser, this gives her a thrill by abusing without being blamed for being abusive.  Covert narcissists make good flying monkeys, because by doing so, they get to feel powerful- something all narcissists love.

 

Speaking of feeling powerful, narcissists enjoy having flying monkeys because it means they’re controlling another person.  Controlling others makes them feel powerful.

 

Flying monkeys do all the dirty work for the narcissist.  The victim often will get mad at the flying monkey rather than the narcissist who is pulling the strings.  The flying monkey is the one who will look bad rather than the narcissist.  This is a bonus for the narcissist since no narcissist wants to look bad.

 

If the flying monkey is especially good at what they do, & the victim isn’t strong at resisting the narcissist, the victim will come crawling back to the narcissist.  That is the ultimate goal of the narcissist, of course.  Using one person to control another is quite the power trip!  Any narcissist would love to have this ability.

 

Flying monkeys are a very useful tool for any narcissist, so beware.  If you know a narcissist, you are going to have to deal with them at some point.  Be alert.  Be aware of their behavior so you can spot them easily.  Never feed them by engaging them in a discussion about the narcissist.  Refuse to discuss the topic with them, changing the subject as often as necessary & telling them this topic is not up for discussion.  And most of all, pray.  Ask God to help you to discover the best way to deal with this person or if you need to end this relationship.

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When They Accuse You Of Being Abusive

One tool narcissists love to use is calling their victim abusive.  Whether overt or covert, this tactic is a favorite of the more extreme narcissists.

 

My overtly narcissistic mother & I were having an argument once when I was 17.  As usual for that time, she had been screaming at me, literally in my face.  Finally she backed off.  She then balled up her fist & pulled back like she was going to hit me.  I immediately closed my eyes & threw the first punch.  Even as dysfunctional as I was then, I was NOT going to let anyone hit me.  When I felt that I’d hit her, I opened my eyes.  She was shocked I hit her, obviously since I’d never really stood up to her before.  Immediately she said, “You hit me in the breast!  Now I’m going to get breast cancer & die & it’ll be all your fault!!”  When my father entered the room a moment later, he asked what was happening.  My mother started to cry (she can turn her tears on & off like a faucet) & said I hit her, failing to mention what she did leading up to that.

 

My late mother in-law was a covert narcissist & extremely good at the covert part, having everyone close to her convinced she was a great person.  She used to go through my purse every time I left it out of my sight when it was at her house.  One time when my husband & I were at her home doing some laundry, she snooped through my dirty laundry, coat pockets & purse.  She left $40 in my purse.  I got my husband alone & absolutely flipped.  I told him I was sick of her crap- there is NO reason for her to snoop through my things & I don’t want her $%^& hush money.  YOU talk to her- she doesn’t listen to me & right now she doesn’t want me talking to her anyway.  He did.  The little bit I heard of the conversation, she was whining about having “allllll this cash just lying around the house” & she didn’t know what to do with it, so she wanted to do something nice for me.  She claimed she had no idea why I was upset.

 

See what I mean?  Narcissists can turn themselves into victims in pretty much any situation, no matter what craziness they have done to you.  The worst part is while you are yelling or crying, they maintain complete calm.  This makes you look & feel absolutely insane.  Or, they pull out the tears, which makes you feel incredibly guilty.

 

When this kind of thing happens, remember, narcissists gain narcissistic supply from this sort of thing.  They feel powerful when they can make a normally calm person act crazy.  Strong emotions, whether positive or negative, make them feel powerful too because they know they have an effect on someone.

 

This is also good for them because if they can prove to you that you’re crazy, over reacting, etc., you will be willing to change your behavior.  You’ll be ashamed of how you acted, so you’ll be more likely to listen to the narcissist’s advice on how you should act.  This tactic makes a victim more pliable.

 

When you confront a narcissist, be as calm as humanly possible, asking God for help.  The more emotion they see in you, the more they will push your buttons & the more likely their victim side will come out.

 

And, before confronting a narcissist, think & pray.  You really need to pick your battles wisely.  It’s not a good situation- narcissists need confrontation to know they can’t get away with the things they’re doing, yet confronting them often is incredibly frustrating.  Sometimes, they behave worse after the confrontation because they know how to provoke a reaction from you.

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Is One Generation More Prone To Narcissism Than Others?

Some time ago, I added a poll to my blog asking when my readers’ narcissists were born.  Since it’s been over 3 years, & this blog has grown quite a bit since then, I thought I’d do the poll again.

 

I’d love to hear your responses.  Please respond to my poll below.  Your answers will remain anonymous.  Thank you!

 

 

 

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Do You Have Something That Is Just Yours?

A little while ago, I was listening to some music from the 80’s.  Being a teen in the 80’s, it’s often my go to genre.  I was really enjoying the songs & a thought crossed my mind.  Most people who listen to their childhood music are transported back to happy days of their youth.  I’m not. My childhood wasn’t happy.  Even so, I still love the music of the era.  As I wondered why, & didn’t even have a chance to ask God why, He gave me the answer.  My taste in music was the first thing that was just mine, that my narcissistic mother couldn’t ruin for me.

 

My mother likes 50’s music & country music by the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys & similar sounding artists.  My father is mostly into outlaw type country- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt.  Neither likes 80’s music.  When I first got into it, my mother harshly criticized it, yet she didn’t spoil my love of it in spite of her valiant efforts.

 

She tried to squelch my love of other things over the years too- my taste in cars, other types of music I like (such as Southern rock & metal/hard rock), my love of feminine clothing & perfumes, knitting, scary movies & books. I’m positive her motivation was to make me dislike these things & replace them with things she likes or approves of.  (Narcissists love to change people into what they think they should be, rather than allowing people to be individuals.)  It hasn’t worked, however, & these things all bring me a great deal of joy, even when she insults them or me for liking them.

 

When you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, holding onto something that the narcissist couldn’t ruin for you or take away from you is precious!  It makes you feel strong.  In spite of every hateful thing she tried, she couldn’t take this from me!  There was one thing she couldn’t destroy about me!  YAY ME!!

 

Do you have something that is just yours, that your narcissistic mother couldn’t take from you?  What is it?  Whatever it is, I urge you to celebrate it!  Enjoy it to the max!   Relish in the fact she couldn’t take it from you no matter what.  Be proud of yourself for having the fortitude to hang onto that thing!

 

If you can’t think of anything, that is ok too!  Find something!  Try something new- a new hobby, a new type of tea, listen to a different genre of music.  You’ll find something that is so special to you, that even the meanest narcissistic mother can’t take away, & you will thoroughly enjoy it.

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On Survival Mode

In the past several months since my parents have stopped speaking to me, I’ve gained quite an education.

 

One thing I’ve learned is about survival mode.  Survival mode is a way of behaving in an abusive situation.  Basically, your emotions are shut off & you do whatever you need to in order to get through the awful situation.  Barely speaking so as not to say something that upsets your abuser, for example.

 

I’ve learned that survival mode doesn’t necessarily end when the relationship ends.  In my case, my parents didn’t say outright that they never wanted to speak to me again- they just stopped calling me.  I think that is why I stayed in survival mode for months after our last conversations, I didn’t know for sure if they’d call or not.  When I realized months had passed since I’ve heard from them (11 for my mother, 4 for my father to date- not her longest silent treatment, but it is his) only then did survival mode end.  This happened with my in-laws too.  I stopped speaking to them in 2002, but survival mode didn’t end for months after.

 

I think this means that the brain wants to be completely, 110% sure that the abusers are gone before it can relax.  Survival mode is all about protecting you, so it makes sense the brain would want to be absolutely certain all danger is gone before it exits survival mode.

 

I’ve also learned that once survival mode is gone, emotions come out.  Naturally when you’re in survival mode, your emotions get put on the back burner because you’re focused only on surviving.  Once the danger is gone, emotions come to the surface, including ones that have been suppressed for a long time.  It can feel overwhelming especially when you haven’t dealt with them for a very long time.  However, I firmly believe it’s necessary to deal with them.

 

Without the burden of focusing on survival, I feel like I’m noticing every little thing.  Unfortunately, part of that includes triggers.  They seem to happen constantly.  The other day, I saw a TV show where this lady’s son in-law cheated on her daughter.  Although the daughter forgave him & he promised to mend his ways, the mother still was very upset.  When she told her son in-law that there is no pain worse than watching your child suffer & you not being able to fix it, I flashed back to the fight I had with my parents last May.  My father changed the subject to really odd topics to deflect my yelling at him.  My mother sighed an obviously bored sigh as I cried & yelled at her until I gave up & told her if she had anything to say before I hang up, do it now.  Her chance to apologize turned into her whining about having vertigo (for the record, I have it too- yes, it sucks, but you’d think when your normally calm, rational daughter is that upset, that might just take priority..).  I realized that caring parent isn’t something I’ll ever have, & it hurt me enough to make me burst into tears, something I rarely do.

 

In order to handle these experiences, I rely on God a LOT.  I tell Him how I feel & He reassures me, comforts me & explains what’s happening.  He also shows me things that help.  For example, I can be scrolling through Facebook when a meme or article that pertains to my situation pops up, & the information in it is very helpful to me.

 

I also write in my journal- seeing things written out is a good way to gain clarity.  Not sure why that is, but it’s true.  Seeing events written out as well as my feelings has helped me to see the situation clearer, instead of through the eyes of someone whose views are skewed hurt by narcissistic abuse.

 

Talking about things with a safe person is helpful too.  I’ve told my husband some of what’s been going on.  Sometimes, he gets angry or looks completely shocked by things I’ve shared about my parents.  That lets me know it’s not normal!  When you grow up with narcissists, abuse & bizarre is your normal.  Even as an adult, it can be hard to let go of that & embrace the healthy & good things.  Having someone you love & trust say that certain things were wrong or bizarre is helpful in letting go of those bad beliefs.

 

Dear Reader, if you too have been in survival mode for a long time, these things may happen with you too.  Or maybe they’re happening already.  If so, please rest assured that you are fine!  It may not feel that way but you are.  Ending survival mode is truly a good thing.  Your mind & body finally can relax, & you can deal with those long buried emotions.

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Talking About God’s Blessings

Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.”  (TLB)

Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell.  This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people.  Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there.  Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.

 

Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian.  Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it.  I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”

 

Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.

 

Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them.  One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.

 

If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them.  They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity!  Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work.  Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better.  If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!

 

Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them.  Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.

 

By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well.  Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.

 

Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you.  Why don’t you try it?  Share stories with your friends & family.  Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.

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Why Narcissistic Abuse Can Get Worse As Children Grow Up

I’ve heard over & over that narcissists never change.  Yet, I’ve seen my narcissistic parents change a great deal in my lifetime.

 

When I was a small child, my mother controlled everything about me, & my father idealized me.  In adolescence, my mother continued to control me & added scathing criticisms & later screaming at me to her repertoire.  My father still idealized me but when I complained about my mother to him, he told me how hard it was for him, & he was helpless to do anything for me.  Once I moved out, my parents both complained to me about the other one even more often than they had when I was growing up (which was a lot when I was a kid).  My mother no longer screamed at me or could control me as much as she did, but she was also still critical.  My father said how hard it was for him when I was growing up, knowing she was hurting me & wanted my comfort.  Once my parents hit their 70’s, they changed again.  My covertly narcissistic father gets more overt by the day, & my mother’s scathing criticisms have become quietly spoken & more hurtful than ever.

 

Many narcissistic parents follow a similar path in the manners in which they abuse their children.  They adapt their behaviors to the child’s & their stages in life.  But why?  I mean, we can all understand why a physically abusive parent stops hitting their child once the child is physically able to protect herself of course.  The abuser doesn’t want to get beaten as she beats her child.  But why do narcissists change their behaviors so much?

 

Personally, I believe the reason is they are attempting to beat their adult children down so they stay childish.  Eroding their child’s self-esteem will leave that child feeling incapable, rather than like the capable adult she truly is, & will make her feel she must depend on her parents.  After all, the parents want her to believe, she isn’t smart enough to choose the right friends, work the right career, like the right things, etc.  Her parents know best, so she should depend on them.

 

If a narcissistic parent can keep their adult child in a perpetual state of childhood, this can provides an incredible amount of narcissistic supply.  The adult child will depend on the parents, which means they can give the appearance of being good parents.  This adult child also will cater to their every whim, which we all know provides tons of narcissistic supply.

 

If the adult child doesn’t submit, however, she can count on problems with her parents.  Narcissistic parents can’t deal with a child who doesn’t submit to her parents, even as an adult.  They expect blind obedience from their child, no matter her age, & if they don’t get it, they will do their level best to hurt that child. They will treat her worse than ever once they realize she is resisting submitting to them.  Or, they simply discard her like a piece of trash, refusing to have any relationship with her, & often creating a vicious smear campaign against her.

 

As the adult child, you have no obligation to submit to abusive parents.  There is no love or honor in abuse.  You have every right to protect yourself from your narcissistic parents!  It will not be an easy road, but it is worth it.  And, it is much easier than living in that perpetual childhood in an attempt to please them.

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Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an amazing thing.  It gives you answers you’ve always wanted & shows you that you were lied to- not everything was your fault.  It’s a wonderful thing in that way!

 

Yet at the same time, learning about NPD also means you grieve.  You realize that your narcissistic parents never will be the kind, loving, caring parents you always wanted & hoped they would be.  It destroys that hope that one day, they’d see the error of their ways & start treating you well.  Thank God, grieving does get easier, but I’m not sure it ever goes away entirely.

 

In my experience, I’ve realized something else about the grief process.  For me, it was easier to grieve when I learned my overtly narcissistic mother was a narcissist than when I learned my covertly narcissistic father was one.  Her actions were so obviously wrong, that there was no denial she was that way.  There was no questioning that she was out to hurt & control me.  I knew that even before learning about NPD.

 

My father, however, was a different story.

 

My father always acted naive, even though he’s very intelligent.  He can play the victim or pitiful card well, too.  When I went to him with problems about my mother, he would act sad & tell me he couldn’t do anything to help me.  It was hard on him knowing she was hurting me, he said.  I ended up comforting him when he should’ve been comforting & protecting me.  He’s also very subtle at his manipulations, so it’s easy to miss what his true motives are unless you’re very familiar with narcissism.  For example, there were times when I didn’t answer his phone call or didn’t call him when he thought I should.  He would tell other people he’s so worried about me- he doesn’t know why I haven’t called him in a while.  If they talk to me would they mind have me call him?  Sounds like a concerned father, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s about making me do what he wants, not concern or love for me.

 

Because my father is so good at being subtle (the opposite of my mother), it’s been really hard to accept that he’s a covert narcissist.  I always thought of him as the good, loving parent.  He never called me names, verbally tore me down, or screamed at me like my mother did, so he had to be the good parent.  Or, so I told myself.

 

Besides, having two parents who don’t love you is a very painful thing to accept.  No one wants to believe neither of their parents care about them.  It’s easier to deny that the covertly narcissistic parent is that way.  Their actions are so subtle anyway, it’s easy to miss their abuse, unlike overt narcissists.  Compared to an overt narcissist parent, the covert seems like a tiptoe through the tulips.  At least until you learn about covert narcissists & how diabolical they truly are, hiding behind the mask of the good parent.

 

 

If you’re having a tough time accepting that you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please don’t feel bad.  It’s tough to accept!  It really hurts & is very disappointing when you realize the one parent you thought loved you really didn’t.

 

You need to grieve & get your hurt out to come to a healthy place of acceptance.  As you do, you may find yourself going through an angry phase.  I have.  Angry about being fooled, angry at being manipulated into thinking he was the good parent, angry about being manipulated & guilt tripped.. lots of anger.  I think this is very normal.  Covert narcissists work even harder than overts do to fool people.  Most overts worry about fooling those they want to impress, while not caring about their victims.  Coverts, however, want everyone to think they’re good people, including their victims.  Since we do buy their “good guy/good girl” act, it’s incredibly maddening to find out how badly we were duped.  So, when the anger surfaces, just know- it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s OK.  Get it out however works for you- pray, journal, talk to someone safe.

 

The anger also may come back even when you think it’s all gone.  Nothing wrong with that so long as you’re dealing with it when that happens.  Anger isn’t always easy to process.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Sometimes, you’re only able to deal with it in small doses, so God hides some things from you until you’re able to cope.  All you can do is deal with it in whatever ways help you the most.

 

Never forget, God will help you get through it all.  Ask  for help & wisdom on how to do what you need to do.  Listen to what He tells you.  Trust Him, & you will be just fine.  xoxo

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God Will Give You Great Wisdom

James 1:5  “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.”  (TLB)

 

As many of you know, I have C-PTSD.  It’s badly damaged how I think & my short term memory.  Then in 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning which caused me to pass out & hit my head, further damaging my brain.  Thanks to these problems, I’m really not as smart as I once was, & it can be simply maddening.

 

The above Scripture has helped me a great deal with my physical limitations.  I lean on God so much more than I used to for giving me wisdom, & He has not disappointed me.  I’m not bragging about my intelligence.  I am bragging how generous God has been!

 

So many times in my life, I have been stuck in a painful situation I didn’t want to be in, & God has shown me creative ways to get out of the situation or to cope with it so it isn’t so painful to me.  One that comes to mind immediately happened a few years ago.  My narcissistic mother told me I was going to take her to & from the doctor who is almost 30 miles away.  I had things going on that day & didn’t want to do it, but she refused to reschedule her appointment.  This had happened many times & I was tired of it.  It also bothered me we’d be taking her car & not mine- I hate being trapped without my own vehicle.  I asked God to help me get through the day &  I needed a creative way to either get out of this in the future, or for Him to put it on my mother’s heart to be more open to my schedule, not only hers.  As we were leaving the doctor’s office, God gave me an idea- drive home like we were on a NASCAR track.  There wasn’t much traffic, so I did.  I had a lot of fun speeding down the highway, & my mother was especially angry because it was her car I drove that way.  That was the last day my mother saw this particular doctor.  LOL  He wasn’t doing her any good anyway- she just got narcissistic supply from him & his staff because they listened to her.  They didn’t help her pain at all.

 

So many other times in the past few years since developing my physical problems, I have needed wisdom & asked God for it. He has answered those prayers every time.  From simple things, like creating a routine for maintaining my home that keeps my place very clean but isn’t hard for me, to more challenging things like how to deal with financial problems, God has helped me every time.  He has even helped me to understand my narcissistic parents, which has helped me so much!  Understanding them has shown me that I’m not the problem, & they have some serious issues that aren’t my fault.  Talk about a blessing!  After hearing how I was always the problem, this knowledge has truly comforted me more than I can say.

 

What areas do you need wisdom in, Dear Reader?  Whatever your needs, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom.  He will grant you wisdom & creativity far above & beyond anything you can imagine.  Whether your situation is like mine where you need more wisdom to handle daily life or it is a one time frustrating situation, be prepared to be amazed when you ask God to give you wisdom.

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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact With You

At the time of writing this, my mother hasn’t spoken to me in just under 10 months, my father in 2 months.  They both used to call me constantly, so the silence is something I’m still getting used to.

 

Prior to them stopping speaking to me, I had decided I wanted to go no contact with them.  The odd thing was I felt God didn’t want me to say it to them.  He wanted me to continue to get healthier, enforce my boundaries & stay low contact.  When we had an argument last May 5, I lost my temper, & God told me He wanted that to happen.  He said it’d make my parents want to stay away from me when they realized I’m not so easy to push around anymore.  Has it ever!

 

Although I’m grateful, it still hurts that my parents clearly have decided that I’m not worth speaking to because I defended myself to them.  Since it happened, I’ve done a lot of praying & researching on the topic.  I’ve learned there is virtually no information out there for those whose parents have cut them off.  Almost all the no contact information I could find was for adult children who have gone no contact with their parents.

 

The last few days, I’ve been especially depressed & anxious in spite of some good stuff happening in my life.  It really hurts that my parents cut me off, even though I know it’s for the best.  So, I started praying more about it & God showed me some things.  I thought I’d share them here since there are plenty of us whose parents have cut us off, & there is so little information available for people in this position.

 

When normal people implement no contact, it isn’t to punish anyone- it is to protect themselves from further abuse.  When narcissists do it, there is much more to it.  After all, whatever you did to “deserve” them going no contact (at least in their warped minds), caused a grievous narcissistic injury.  Anything causing a narcissistic injury is going to be met with some type of narcissistic rage.

 

Narcissists use no contact to cause their victim pain.  Basically, it’s a version of the silent treatment.  It’s to let the victim know that they are irrelevant.  The victim’s side of the argument is also so irrelevant that the narcissist doesn’t want to waste time listening to it.  The victim isn’t even worth the narcissist acknowledging.  It’s a cruel rejection, especially coming from a parent.  Narcissistic parents reject their children their entire lives.  This is just one more rejection added onto the pile.  It really hurts, & that is normal!

 

It’s shaming.  Narcissists love to shame their children, no matter the child’s age.  By going no contact with you, they aim to make you feel that you are so bad, even your own mother &/or father can’t tolerate you.

 

Their version of no contact is also an attempt at control.  The narcissist’s goal is to make you run to the narcissist, apologize for whatever you said or did, or didn’t say or do, & give the narcissist whatever she wants to make up for your “cruelty”.

 

Narcissists can’t deal with conflict.  If the no contact came about after an argument like mine did, it’s not surprising.  The cold, hard, & painful truth is a narcissist would prefer to cut off their own child rather than work through conflict, admit that they were wrong or even simply to try to see the situation from their child’s perspective.  That’s what’s happening with my parents, & many other narcissists are the same way.

 

By going no contact, the narcissistic parents can look like the victim.  They can tell people that you were so cruel, so abusive, that they had no other choice.  Often narcissists would prefer to avoid going no contact since it also potentially could make them look bad, but when they are in the position, they’ll work it to the best of their ability.  They’ll gain pity from their flying monkeys or anyone who will listen with their tales of how mean & unreasonable you were.  Devoted flying monkeys may come out of the woodwork & go after you, doing the narcissist’s dirty work for them by telling you what a horrible person you are for doing whatever you did.  That way, the narcissist can still hurt you without having to be in contact with you.  Narcissists love this- they get to hurt you & manipulate another person into doing it for them while they look innocent.  It’s really a perfect trifecta for narcissists.

 

I realized something else… even knowing such things, it really hurts when your parents don’t speak to you no matter how cruel they are!  I know beyond a doubt this is for the best for me, & that God wants my parents out of my life.  I know they would hate the successes I’m having with my writing lately- not only the material I write about but the fact I’m having success.  (My parents clearly hate when things go well for me.)  I don’t even miss my parents & am enjoying the lack of their drama.  I’m enjoying the peace & lack of criticisms, nastiness, & manipulation.  So what is my problem?!

 

I’m grieving.  Not the loss of my parents but the fact that they prefer to be “right” & have me out of their lives rather than talk about our problems.   Also the fact that my mother’s & my birthdays are coming up next month.  There will be no celebrating together.  My parents might send a card like they did at Christmas, but I know it won’t mean they want to work things out- it’s only to make them look good.  Mother’s day is coming in May, Father’s day in June & I have no need to get cards.  Yes it was hard to find rather generic, “have a nice day” kind of cards, but at least it meant I still had parents.  Now?  I feel like an orphan.

 

Dear Reader, if your narcissistic parents have stopped speaking to you, please know you’re not alone.  I’ve spoken with a few people recently who have experienced the same thing, even those who are in similar situations to mine, feeling they wanted to go no contact, but felt God wanted them to refrain from telling their parents that.  Why God asks that of some of us, I don’t know, but I do know He has a very good reason for it.  That you can be absolutely certain of.

 

Also, remember how much God loves you.  He is there during this difficult time.  He will comfort you when it hurts.  He will give you wisdom on what you should do.  Trust in Him to help you get through.  Unlike your earthly parents, God truly is a loving, kind, caring, generous parent.

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Narcissistic “Breadcrumbs”

Many years ago when married to my ex husband,  I was really sick with the flu.  I was miserable.  Between being sick & living with our failing marriage (for which he blamed me completely), it wasn’t a nice time.  A couple of days into the flu, he came home with a get well card for me.  I was so happy!  I never got get well cards, or cards of any type from him.  I opened the envelope & took out the card.  He hadn’t even bothered to sign it or seal the envelope!  He simply bought it, put it in the envelope & handed it to me.  At the time, this made my day & brightened my awful mood some.  Looking back though?  I realize I was content with narcissistic breadcrumbs.

 

One thing narcissists have in common is training their victims to be content with the breadcrumbs, the bare minimum, the very least they can get away with doing.  The example in the above paragraph is a very good example of narcissistic breadcrumbs.  And, like a good victim, I was content with that because usually, my ex did nothing for me when I was sick or injured.  That unsigned card was the biggest gift he had given me during our marriage.  It didn’t occur to me the only reason he even did this much might be because we were living with his parents & he probably figured bringing me a card would make him look good to his mother.

 

Why would narcissists do the bare minimum?  They are done so you will see they are doing something nice for you & ignore the abuse.  They are merely a distraction by the narcissist so they can continue to abuse you however they like.  You are supposed to be so overwhelmed with this “good” thing that they are doing for you, that you’ll forgive & forget the many bad things they have done.  Remember my example?  Do you really think my joy at receiving that pitiful, unsigned card lasted?  No.  It also didn’t negate the facts he didn’t listen to me or care about me above what I could do for him.  But, it was supposed to.  As if a few years of this would be simply forgotten by giving me a card that he couldn’t even bother to sign.  Narcissists don’t think like normal folks do though- they assume such tiny gestures will overwhelm us with gratitude & distract us indefinitely from the problems at hand.

 

If a narcissist wants something from you, he may do something nice for you before asking you for that favor.  Money is a favorite tool in these situations.  For example, money is tight for you so the financially stable narcissist gives you some money to tide you over until payday.  A couple of weeks later, he asks you to do something for him.  He will remind you of how much he helped you out recently by giving you that money.  “After all I do for you, & you can’t even manage to do this one little favor for me!”

 

 

Narcissists also don’t like to do for other people.  Doing for others means thinking of someone beyond yourself, which is NOT something they care to do.  Why think of someone else when they are so much more important?!  This is partly why they do the bare minimum- the minimum also means they don’t have to think of someone other than them for long.

 

If you “force” them to do something (mind you, by forcing this can mean asking “Would you mind doing ___ for me please?”), you will pay for it.  Asking a narcissist to do something for you, no matter how small, can incite a rage or passive/aggressive behavior.  So if they feel forced to do something nice for you to try to distract you from their behavior, they will resent you for “making” them do it.  The fact you didn’t ask them to do it isn’t important.  In their minds, you made them do this thing & they aren’t happy about it, so they will punish you passive/aggressively by doing the bare minimum.  And, if you don’t appreciate their effort, then they have a valid reason (at least in their minds) to blow up at you.  “Nothing I do pleases you!”  “You don’t appreciate anything!”  “You’re impossible to please!”

 

Narcissistic breadcrumbs are a way of life in a narcissistic relationship.  If the narcissist in your life suddenly is doing something nice for you, then be aware, there is a reason for it.

 

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Invalidation Is Abuse!

 

Invalidation judges, mocks, & rejects a person’s feelings.  It also implies or  says directly that the person is deeply flawed or crazy.

 

Invalidation is an attempt to control another person & their feelings, as well as to distract that person from abusive behavior.  It hinders or even destroys a person’s ability to trust his or her own feelings, perceptions, & intuition.  It is similar to gaslighting in that respect.  It forces a person to believe that his or her beliefs, thoughts, feelings or even physical presence are flawed, difficult or of no value.  It at best damages self-esteem, or at worst destroys it.

Invalidation frequently occurs when an abuser is confronted about her abusive behavior, or the abusive behavior of someone else (for example, a husband may invalidate his wife when she complains about his mother’s bad behavior).   The purpose is to take attention away from one’s flaws or abusive behavior, & to turn the attention onto you and your (real or imagined) flaws instead.

Interestingly, a person can invalidate themselves as well.  Trivializing your own wants, needs, accomplishments, or feelings, is a form of invalidation.  Essentially, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, there is something very wrong with you, or your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs are wrong.  This type of behavior is often learned in childhood, but it also can come from being married to a psychologically abusive spouse.  Paying attention to your thoughts & words about yourself can determine if you do this.  If you are, then you can make the appropriate changes.

As you read this, remember: you are worthy! Your feelings, thoughts & needs matter!  You are ok!  You are not crazy!  Treat yourself accordingly, as a man or woman of value, who God loves dearly!

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Are You Judgmental?

Yesterday, I went to the doctor.  The nurse I saw was new to this office.  She seemed very friendly, thorough & pleasant, which was a nice surprise.  Many nurses there who came & went over the years were far from any of those things.  (Not all were bad of course, but there have been a few rather mean ones.).

 

While the experience wasn’t terribly unpleasant, one thing really ticked me off.  She was judgmental.

 

I admit, I do need to lose some weight, about 20-25lbs.  Not a lot, but my word.. the way this nurse & others I’ve came into contact with at that office act, you’d think I need to be hoisted out of my bed with a crane!  She told me how I need to start making healthy choices for a change.  Really??  How does she know I don’t?  Because of the extra pounds?  Just because I carry some extra weight doesn’t mean I live on pizza & burritos.  In fact, I had a small amount of cottage cheese this morning & nothing else until I came home from the office after 2.  This is pretty typical eating behavior for me.

 

Also, my blood pressure was unusually high today, & I got a lecture about that & how I need to see a doctor asap.  A doctor can give me meds to fix me right up, she said.  I told her before she took it that I had a panic attack on the way to the office, so of course it was going to be elevated & my pulse racing.  She told me again to see a doctor & take care of this, he’ll give me pills that can fix the C-PTSD, blah blah.  And, losing some weight would help my blood pressure too.  All I need to do is go window shopping (she said she LOVES window shopping- I hate it), walk around the mall, walk to the stores sometimes instead of driving (I live on a major highway- that’s just dangerous), & put down the chips & dip (she said she loves that- it’s not an issue for me like it sounds like it is for her).

 

What got me was how she just assumed such things.. assumed I snarf down chips & dip constantly, assumed I can get out with no trouble & assumed that a doctor can give me a pill to fix my C-PTSD.  Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin to judgmental people.  I could feel shame starting to kick in, but quickly realized it was wrong.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Shame is what judging makes a person feel.  A deep shame that something is extremely wrong with them or that they are stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, etc etc.  If you’re judging someone, this is exactly what you are doing to them.  You’re making them feel all of those horrible things.  It’s not right!  Would you want to feel that way?!  No?  Then why do it to someone else?  It’s cruel & there is no good reason for it!  God doesn’t want us to judge each other, yet people do it on a daily basis, even Christians.  In fact, as an adult child of a narcissistic parent, it can be very easy to be judgmental.  We grow up watching our narcissistic parents judge, criticize & ridicule others & imitate that behavior once we grow up.

 

If you realize you judge people, just stop.  It’s not right, it causes people unnecessary pain & there is absolutely no reason to do it!  In fact, I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to ask God to show you if you’re judgmental & if so, to  help you to stop.

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Saving Face Matters To Narcissists

 

What others think of the narcissist is the most important thing in the world to them, so they will do anything to protect it.  That can include acting like they are the real victim when you confront them on their abusive ways.

 

If you tell a narcissist something they do hurts you, you open the door for a world of gaslighting/crazy making behaviors.  They may rage, scream, cry, use guilt or calmly state why you are the abusive one.

 

 

When my parents & I had our last fight in May, 2016, as I’ve mentioned before, it was because my parents were supposedly upset I hadn’t told them that my mother in-law passed away.  They saw her obituary in the local paper after the funeral was done.  My parents claimed they wanted to attend, but didn’t learn of the funeral in time, which is the only reason they didn’t go.  This hurt me because I’d told them how cruel she had been to me over the years, yet they wanted to “pay their respects” to her?!  I told them I felt betrayed, yet neither understood my feelings.  In fact, when I told them “she treated me like dirt for years!”, both of my parents had the same reaction: “But that’s Eric’s mother!”  My response was, “But I’m your daughter!”  Silence for a few seconds then, “But that’s Eric’s mother!” was the response.  It became crystal clear to me that the fact that was his mother & my parents want to impress my husband mattered much more than the fact they were hurting their own daughter.  Looking like the caring in-laws to the man they want to impress, my husband, was more important than anything else.

 

This is very typical of narcissists.  If taking responsibility for something they have done puts them at risk of looking “less than,”they can’t deal with that.  Shaming you or making you look like the bad guy is worth it, so long as their mask doesn’t slip off.  There is nothing they won’t do to save face.

 

If you confront the narcissist in your life, please be well aware that this can happen to you too.  If it does, remember this isn’t about you!  This is about them protecting their fragile self esteem.  The truth isn’t important, neither is not hurting you.  Maintaining their reputation is all that matters.

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A Quote To Help You Heal & Cope With Narcissists

I am a fan of true crime stories.  Kinda dark & morbid maybe, but from a purely psychological standpoint, also fascinating.  I love learning how people think, what motivates them & what makes them tick, even the darker, more evil people.

 

Recently I was watching a story about a serial killer who killed his first & second wives plus a girlfriend.  The police weren’t able to catch him for many years.  One person who was a great help was a Texas private investigator named Gina Frenzel.  She claimed to be an investigator for an insurance company, & needed to take some pictures of the property this man lived on, as there was a fire on it some time in the past.  He allowed her to do so.  On another visit, he seemed to think they were friends, so they talked for hours.  One of the things he said struck me very interesting.  In fact, it may be one of the most insightful things about narcissism I’ve ever heard…

 

“As long as your ego is the main power in your brain, it is not going to let the spirit have equal power, equal time, anything.”

 

Doesn’t this make a lot of sense?!

 

Narcissists are all about their ego- protecting it & feeding it.  It’s so consuming to them, they have no thoughts for empathy, love or anything to do with other people.

 

When you consider your relationship with the narcissist in your life in relation to this quote, things will make so much sense.  This is why your overtly narcissistic mother said such cruel things to you- anything good about you might encroach on her precious & fragile ego.  If someone thinks you’re prettier or smarter than her, it would take away narcissistic supply.  This is also why your covertly narcissistic father wouldn’t protect you from her abuse- he had no room to consider your pain.  If it was discovered his wife was abusing his child, he might look bad for allowing it.  And, he’d lose the narcissistic supply of looking like the good, long-suffering husband.

 

Getting a deep realization of such things is going to help you in your healing so much, Dear Reader.  Narcissists, parents in particular, instill so deeply in their victims that everything is the victim’s fault.  My mother blamed my behavior for her abusing me.  She called it “tough love” & said she was “saving me from myself.”  My ex husband twisted everything around from him hurting me to me being selfish, wrong, no other woman was like this, etc.  I’m sure you can relate to such scenarios, can’t you?

 

These kinds of situations instill the belief in a person that all abuse is their fault.  It takes a long time to undo that sick, wrong belief.  One way to do it is to fully understand that the narcissist has issues that they want to put off on others.  Realizing the truth in this quote can help you to do that.

 

And, if you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent (or any narcissist for that matter), this quote can help you to survive it.  Understanding that their ego is what is driving them will help you to take their cruelty less personally, thus making it hurt less.  Sometimes, the narcissist’s only focus is feeding their ego.  So much so that they may not even think about the fact they are hurting you.  Or, more commonly, they realize they’re hurting you & get a thrill from the power they have that they can hurt you.  Either way, their need for narcissistic supply is fueling their behavior.  It’s not because you have done something wrong or bad.  It’s not because what they say about you is true.  It’s only because they are so hell-bent on feeding their egos.  When you truly understand this, when you have a revelation on the truth of that fact, it helps their behavior hurt less.

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To Confront Or Not To Confront Narcissistic Parents?

I was recently watching a TV show where one of the main characters developed PTSD after being carjacked & tortured.   Someone suggested he visit his attacker in jail & confront him.  He did.  The attacker didn’t even remember who he was at first, then told him he let him live- the victim should be grateful.  He also blamed the victim for scaring him at one point during the attack.  The victim finally left.  He later was talking to his father about it & said nothing changed.  Confronting that man did nothing to help him.

 

I thought about this in the context of those of us with narcissistic parents.  Sometimes people tell adult children of narcissists that we should confront our parents.  It’ll do us good to get it all out.  It doesn’t matter how they respond or if they deny what they did because we know the truth.

 

Sometimes, that isn’t true however.

 

If you’re in the position of considering confronting your narcissistic parent, I strongly urge you to pray & think before doing so.  Think about what you hope to accomplish.  Do you want to just get things out or are you hoping for validation?  If you’re hoping for your parent to validate your pain & admit to the things they’ve done, then you may be in for a very rude awakening.  Narcissists seldom admit to making mistakes, & when they do, often it is turned around so the victim is to blame.  “If you wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have said that.”

 

Do you think confronting them will change their behavior?  Again, you may be in for a rude awakening.  Narcissists rarely change their behavior, & when they do, it’s usually for the worse.  If a narcissist knows that something they do hurts you, they will do it again & again & again.  Hurting you makes them feel powerful, so yes, they will continue to do it repeatedly to get that “high.”

 

However, if you want to confront your narcissistic parent to clear your mind or get things off your chest, & you genuinely don’t care about what they say or do, then you are in a position where confronting your parent may benefit you.  It may help you to feel some peace or feel lighter by getting things out of you.  Even so, before you do, pray.. ask God to strengthen you against whatever nastiness they sling your way so you won’t be hurt when they deny their actions or act bored when you begin to cry.  Narcissists are excessively cruel when confronted, & even the strongest people need extra strength to deal with them.

 

If you are wondering, I’ve decided not to confront my narcissistic parents.  At the time of writing this, it’s been almost 1 year since my mother & I have spoken, over a month for my father & I (very rare for him- he used to call constantly.  He must be very mad at me).  I thought about it recently.. I wonder if either of them will want to talk things out.  If they do, I won’t go along with it.  I have nothing to say & don’t want to hear anything they have to say.  I’m at peace with that decision.  I know nothing I can say will change their behavior or make them see the errors of their ways.  I also don’t need to get things off my chest to them.  Doing so would only hurt me more when they ignore me.  I’ll pray or write in my journal instead.

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The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

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Fear Is Not From God

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

 

As many of you know, I have agoraphobia.  Leaving home, sometimes even to go into my yard, is very difficult or impossible.  Anxiety takes over & logic that nothing is going to go wrong or hurt me goes out the window.  Quite frankly, it sucks.

 

Recently I’ve been wanting to go for a drive.  That’s all- just enjoy a short drive in my awesome car.  However, the agoraphobia left me at home & my car sitting…

 

A few days ago, I opened up my email first thing in the morning.  I get a Scripture delivered daily.  That particular day the Scripture I shared above was in the email.  When I read it, something clicked in my mind.  No, God didn’t give me a spirit of fear.  My agoraphobia is NOT from Him.

 

The agoraphobia started in 1996, just after my paternal grandmom passed away.  My husband told his mother, who didn’t even acknowledge my loss- she changed the subject.  A short time later, this exact same experience happened with his sister.  Somehow, these experiences cemented in my mind that I don’t matter.  I shouldn’t bother anyone with my problems or even my presence, which is a belief that stems from my upbringing with my narcissistic parents.  Their behavior made this belief evolve into feeling like I don’t even have the right to leave home, possibly bothering people in public places.

 

Thinking about this angered me a great deal.  As is common with many adult children of narcissistic parents, I’m suffering because of other people’s cruelty.  This agoraphobia isn’t from God at all, & that Scripture was a reminder of that.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 enabled me not only to go for a ride, but a longer one than I originally wanted to do.  And, I got on smaller interstates too!  (After getting sick in 2015 & being unable to drive for a long time, I lost a lot of confidence in driving.  I’ve avoided bigger roads & interstates since.)

 

I’m not saying I’m cured.  Even thinking of leaving home now makes me tense up.  However, I do know that keeping these things in mind is going to be helpful for me leaving home in the future.

 

I’m sharing this with you today, Dear Reader, because I know so many of you also live with anxiety &/or agoraphobia.  Please consider what I wrote about here.  Know that such awful things are NOT from God.  It helped me to remember that & get mad at those who put the anxiety & agoraphobia on me.  Maybe it can help you as well to think about it.  What is the root of your anxiety?  If you don’t know, then ask God- He will show you.  He showed me why I have agoraphobia.  I never would’ve guessed that on my own!  He can do the same for you.  Once you get to the root of the problem, you can work on healing it properly.

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Narcissistic Parents Don’t Want Their Children To Grow Up

When the child of a narcissistic parent is very young, the narcissistic parent is often at her happiest in her role as a parent.  Young children are easier to control & manipulate.  They also don’t want independence.

 

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, children don’t stay little forever.

 

As children grow up, many narcissists feel threatened or even betrayed.  The reason being, I believe, is that the harder the child is to control, the worse this is for the narcissistic parent. They want that young child to make them look good by behaving properly, being interested in what the parent wants them interested in, etc.  The younger a child, the easier the child is to control.  This is why the teen years can be extremely hard for narcissistic parents & their children.  Teens are growing up & naturally want more independence.  This is unacceptable to the narcissist, so they use whatever means they can to keep their teenager a young child.  Some weapons they use are:

 

  • Disapproval.  This can be either in the forms of disapproving looks or questioning your choices.
  • Criticism.  Insulting your choices or tastes, usually done under the guise of helping.  The narcissistic parent is trying to make you believe she knows what’s best for you, you don’t.
  • Interfering.  Telling you what you should do, who you should date or not allowing you to date, even sabotaging relationships with people the narcissistic parent doesn’t approve of.

 

Unfortunately, these behaviors don’t end when the child turns into an adult.  Often, they continue well into adulthood.  They certainly did with my parents.  My parents had very strong opinions on what I should do & who I should do it with.

 

There are no ways to get a narcissist to stop trying to infantilize their child, no matter the child’s age.  But, there are some ways you can handle this maddening behavior.

 

You’ll need to limit the amount of information you reveal to your narcissistic parent.  Any information they have can be turned into ammunition used to hurt you.

 

Use good boundary setting phrases, such as, “Thanks, but the situation is under control.”  “I’ve made my decision, & there is nothing more to discuss.”  “I didn’t ask for your opinion on this matter.”

 

Changing the subject may work too.  Often with narcissists, you can’t simply change the subject & expect them to respect that the first time.  It may take doing this a few times or doing it over & over in a short span of time, but it usually works- they get tired of fighting to talk about the topic.  The often short attention span of many narcissists can work in your favor.

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Physical Problems Can Change You

Those of you who have been reading my work for some time know that on February 27, 2015, I nearly died.  My fireplace’s flue had a problem & it caused carbon monoxide to enter my home.  It caused me to pass out, hitting my head on the logs beside the fireplace which gave me a concussion.  I easily could’ve died that day, but I didn’t.  I live with symptoms daily from the experience but my thinking has been especially odd to me.

 

My emotions & ways of thinking are different now than they were prior to my accident.  I have become much more self-centered in my thinking.  I firmly believe this is a side effect of the concussion, as many people I’ve seen who have experienced brain injuries become extremely selfish, some even narcissistic.  Thankfully I’m aware of it & do my best not to let it get out of hand.  I am also triggered VERY easily now.  Seeing a happy parent & child together saddens me, for example, because my relationship with my parents is so unhappy & downright toxic.  It’s very odd since I never thought that way before.  I also don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it is very ugly.  Even after 2 years, I’m still getting used to all of this.

 

I finally recently asked God about what is going on with me.  I’m hoping what He said will help some of you as well if you’ve experienced changes after a health scare.

 

Some health issues can change a person.  The chemical or physical changes caused by some illnesses or injuries can cause a person to respond differently than they once did.  Traumatic brain injuries & carbon monoxide are known for changing a person, but other illnesses & injuries can as well.  Many people experience depression after surgery, for example.  The changes you experience due to your physical problems may influence how your brain processes information.  In my case, my brain was already injured due to C-PTSD, & the concussion was just one more injury & one more trauma.  No wonder I’m triggered more easily now.

 

Becoming more selfish isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.  As long as it’s kept in check, it’s actually a good thing.  So many of us raised by narcissists learned early to put other people ahead of ourselves no matter what.  We need to become a bit more selfish & start taking care of us & without feeling guilty for it!

 

Everyone has a point where enough is enough.  When a person faces a serious health scare or near death experience, that may push the “enough is enough” point way up.  Something about coming close to death makes a person realize just how fleeting life is & how quickly it can end.  Often, that realization means patience for abusers vanishes & sometimes that filter that keeps you speaking nice things doesn’t always work.  You may not get mean, but you may become more blunt.  The realization also can make a person more determined to enjoy every possible moment of their life.

 

 

If you come from a narcissistic family, facing health problems means you have an additional complication to your health concerns.  Do you tell them?  If so, you know they won’t be there to help you if need be.. will they even care?  Can you deal with whatever cruelty they dish out to you on top of being sick?  Being faced with having to hide your problems or hear from your narcissistic parents about how much worse of *insert name here* has it than you are NOT nice prospects!  In fact, they hurt a great deal & they make you angry.

 

If you’re experiencing changes in your personality after illness or injury, talk to your doctors.  If nothing is physically wrong, then maybe you’re experiences are simply similar to mine.  Why not try to embrace the changes the best you can?  Maybe once you get to know the new you, you’ll think you’re pretty cool!  And maybe  too, the changes are for the best.  Losing patience for abusers is a good thing- you won’t be a doormat anymore!  Being more determined to enjoy life is a wonderful thing too.  You’ll  waste less time on fruitless things & spend more time on the things you enjoy & that are important to you.  I know it can be hard to find the good in health problems, but some things like I’ve mentioned in this article can be good.  They may be hard to get used to at first, but they really can be a good thing!

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Children Of Narcissists Matter!

Narcissistic parents, be they overt or covert narcissists, make sure that their children know in no uncertain terms that the parents are the important ones, & the children don’t matter.

 

Growing up, my mother came first, always, in every area.  If I was sick, it was an inconvenience for her.  Growing up seemed to be viewed as a betrayal  rather than a normal course of events.  My father, rather than protect me from her constant abuse told me how hard it was for him that it happened.  Then last May, I had a big argument with my parents (I wrote about it here).  I told my mother flat out I felt betrayed by her behavior, & she didn’t care.  In fact, she sat in silence as I poured my heart out, only giving me an occasional bored sigh in response.  That was also the last time she spoke to me.  The conversation with my father was much the same.  He defended himself until I mentioned I felt he betrayed me, then he went silent, obviously not understanding my perspective, just like my mother, then changed the subject.  Since, he’s barely spoken to me & has yet to offer more than a flimsy attempt at an apology.  He brought up the argument a couple of months ago, & still had no concept of why I was angry.

 

Many narcissistic parents are just as hateful as mine are, so I’m sure many of you reading this can relate.  Unfortunately, I also feel safe in guessing that many of you also battle feelings of worthlessness because of it.  How can you not feel worthless when you are reminded in so many hurtful, cruel ways by your own parent that they believe you to be worthless?

 

Dear Reader, I want to remind you today that you are NOT worthless!  You have great value!  Your narcissistic parent lied to you in order to make herself feel better about herself, to feel powerful since she had the ability to tear you down, or to control & manipulate you since those with low self-esteem are easier to control.  Whatever the reason, she did NOT tell you this because you truly are worthless.  You have worth & value.  God says you’re His masterpiece.. did you know that?   Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  (NLT)  That is only one of the many, many things the Bible says about who God says His children are.  I created a list of these Scriptures & put them on my website if you’d like to check it out.  Feel free to print them out if you like, & remind yourself that those Scriptures are the truth, not what your narcissistic parent has to say about you!  Here is the link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

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People Who Think They Have The Right To Tell You What You Should Do Regarding Your Narcissistic Parents

Some people will intervene when you have issues with your narcissistic parents.  They will try their best to make you feel guilty if you’re not speaking to them by saying your parent misses you, they are so upset that you won’t speak to them, they don’t know why you’re angry with them or say your parent is sick or elderly so you should end this no contact immediately & rush to their side.  If you’re still in a relationship with them but it is very strained, some people will tell you to fix it, to behave yourself, you need to respect your parent or try harder.

 

These people blindly accept what the narcissistic parent tells them as truth, while giving no thought whatsoever to whether what they say is actually true or not.  They simply accept the lies with no care to what the real truth is.

 

They are one of three types of people:

  1. Incredibly ignorant, genuinely fooled by the narcissist.
  2. Someone refusing to admit the narcissist isn’t the good person she portrays herself as.
  3. Abusers who get a thrill of abusing you along with the narcissist while maintaining the image of someone who isn’t abusive but caring.

 

These people, often referred to as flying monkeys, can be a real nuisance, quite frankly.  To those new to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they are also dangerous.  They can make these victims feel as if they are wrong for protecting themselves, which can make the victim revert to old, dysfunctional habits.  To those of us who have known about NPD for quite a while, they are simply annoying, like flies on a picnic.  We know the truth & we won’t be manipulated by their antics, but they’re still annoying.

 

Flying monkeys can be dealt with.  The more devoted the flying monkey is to the narcissist, the greater your chances of losing a relationship with this person though, so just be forewarned of that possibility.

 

Always keep calm when talking with them.  Many flying monkeys are covert narcissists.  If you show them any emotional reaction, it will provide them with narcissistic supply which will make them continue pushing your buttons, making you more upset, making them want to continue button pushing & the cycle will continue.  Avoid this by staying calm in their presence.

 

Discuss nothing with them.  The situation between you & your narcissistic parent is not anyone else’s business.  You owe no one explanations for your behavior.  Don’t discuss the topic of your parents with them.  Change the subject.  Tell the flying monkey you won’t discuss that topic with them.  If they persist, tell them you aren’t discussing this topic, & if they continue, you will hang up the phone (or leave the room), then follow through on the threat if need be.

 

Never allow this person to convince you of anything other than the truth.  You were there.  You lived the situation.  You know the truth.  Don’t believe the person who says your narcissistic parent didn’t mean to hurt you, never said/did those things, etc.  Cling to the truth, & ignore their version of it.

 

Accept that the flying monkey believes wholeheartedly that they are right & you are wrong.  You can’t convince this person to see the truth.  Don’t waste your time & energy trying.  You know the truth & that is going to have to be enough for you.

 

If you cannot handle this person, you have the right to sever ties with them.  You have every right to protect your physical & mental health.  Some flying monkeys are incredibly toxic, & there is nothing wrong with you refusing to have them in your life.

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Can You Ever Be Completely Healed After Abuse?

I recently was talking recently with a lady about this very topic- can someone be completely healed of the effects of narcissistic abuse?  We both shared the same opinion.  With God, of course, all things are possible.  However, to be completely healed isn’t necessarily the norm.

 

For one thing, narcissistic abuse infects every area of your being.  The stress of it can affect you physically, such as developing high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease.  The negativity & crazy making affect you mentally.  So many victims feel like they’re crazy.  Many lose their self esteem or live with depression & anxiety.  A lot of victims live with PTSD or C-PTSD after leaving the relationship with a narcissist.  Many people in a relationship with narcissists are affected financially.  Narcissists see people as nothing more than tools to be used in whatever way benefits the narcissist, so many victims lose a great deal of money to their narcissist.   Many victims are also affected spiritually because of the narcissist’s weird religious beliefs or being overly “religious”, using God to make the victim feel like a bad person, God is punishing them or the like.

 

For another thing, if you had a narcissistic parent (or two), the abuse is even worse simply due to the nature of the relationship.  It goes so deeply against nature for a parent to abuse a child instead of loving & caring for her, that it’s virtually impossible to accept.  That can deeply affect a child no matter that child’s age.  Many are in denial, saying their narcissistic mother was just quirky or over protective rather than narcissistic.  Some believe their covertly narcissistic parent was naive, & didn’t know any better.  Or, they believe the covertly narcissistic parent was incapable of stopping the overtly narcissistic parent from abusing them for various reasons.

 

Also, childhood forms who you are as an adult.  Whether you had a good or bad upbringing, you are a product of your childhood.  I think childhood is much like the foundation of a home.  If a home’s foundation is damaged, the home won’t be safe.  If you had a bad childhood, your adulthood won’t be healthy until you fix the damage done to you in childhood.

 

You may never fully heal from the abuse.  It’s quite normal.   If you get to the place the abuse doesn’t consume you, you’re doing great.  If you can think or talk about certain events without feeling devastated, but instead feeling more like you’re remembering an unpleasant dream, you’re doing great.  It’s quite possible you may not be healed more than that.  In my personal experience plus observations of the many other victims of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with, complete healing isn’t common.  In fact, I haven’t seen it myself.

 

If you are like most of us & still struggling even many years after the abuse happened, please know you’re not alone!  Not by a long shot!  You also aren’t weak or a failure.  God hasn’t abandoned you either.  In fact, He is with you during the worst times, whether you feel His presence or not. I’ll close this post with a beautiful reminder of that fact..

 

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 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.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

(KJV)

 

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