Unusual Ways Anxiety Can Affect You

Many adult children of narcissistic parents have trouble with anxiety.  Those of us who live with it know the awful feelings of blind fear that anxiety can bring or the misery of a panic attack.  But, did you know anxiety can bring other seemingly unrelated symptoms as well?

 

Are you clumsy?  That can be related to anxiety.  If you are preoccupied as many people with anxiety are, you can miss seeing that hole in the sidewalk that makes you twist your ankle or not pay enough attention to the item you’re holding so you drop it.

 

Forgetful?  Also anxiety related.  Being distracted by anxiety, you are less likely to concentrate on other things, so you may forget things easily.

 

Do you have unusual dreams?  That also may be related to anxiety.  The brain constantly processes information- good, bad or indifferent- even when we’re sleeping.  Anxiety can make you overthink things, thus opening the door to unusual or even bad dreams.

 

Changes in how your voice sounds?  Stuttering?  That also can be related to anxiety.  A person’s voice may change when exposed to higher levels of anxiety.  Their voice may get shaky or higher pitched.

 

Difficulty finding the right words?  Anxiety again, especially when in difficult situations.  If you’re in a situation that reminds you of a traumatic experience in particular, finding the right words can be difficult because of the intrusive thoughts of the traumatic experiences.

 

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you aren’t crazy!  You’re anxious.  Don’t panic!  Easier said than done, I know, but try not to panic at least.  Anxiety is a nasty problem but it can be managed.

 

As anxiety kicks in, try to relax the best you can.  Slow down.  Pray.  Tell God what you feel & ask for help.  Write in your journal.  Talk to yourself- ask what are you so afraid of?  Can things happening really hurt you right now?  Breathe deeply & slowly.  Hold something that offers you comfort, such as a soft blanket.  Smell a scent that comforts you- lavender isn’t only a pleasant scent but it offers anti-anxiety properties.  Tactics like this may help you to get through the intense moments.

 

There are medications available for those with anxiety disorders.  Talk to your general practitioner for more information, or for a referral to a psychiatrist.  If you prefer the natural, herbal route, there are alternatives.  Valerian root, lemon balm & kava kava are plants that have anti-anxiety properties.  I take valerian root supplements & drink lemon balm tea at night often as it helps me to sleep.  In fact, I grow lemon balm plants in my yard- it’s easy to grow & to dry the leaves for making tea.  It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before taking herbal remedies though to make sure they won’t interact with any medications you may be taking.

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The Lucifer Complex

Source: The Lucifer Complex

 

This article is fascinating & disturbing.  I thought for quite some time that narcissism is demonic in nature.  Remember what Lucifer said before he fell?  Things like he would be greater than God.  I didn’t delve as deeply into the subject as this author has.  He explains it very well!

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Speak Out Or Stay Silent?

There are conflicting messages for victims of abuse.  Some people encourage victims to speak out.  Help raise awareness!  Confronting your abuser will be good for you!  Others encourage victims to keep quiet.  Stop dredging up the past.  Forgive & forget.

 

Rather than stating what I think victims should do, I would like to encourage you to decide what is right for yourself.  After all, being vocal about being abused can be very challenging.  Being vocal about it means you’re reliving some of the most painful experiences of your life.  It also means some will criticize you harshly.  You may lose friends & family who side with your abuser.  Is this something you can deal with?

 

There are pros & cons for speaking out as well as staying quiet.  You need to consider them seriously before making any decisions.

 

Silence isn’t always good, as it can encourage an abuser to continue abusing.  Knowing the victim won’t tell anyone what is happening gives the abuser free reign to do as she/he pleases without fear of consequences.  It also means things can stay pretty much the same for the victim in that her friends & family will continue treating her as they always have.  Silence allows the victim to continue in the familiar place that she is accustomed to.  This can be a good thing, to a degree, especially if she does not feel strong enough to confront her abuser or even discuss what has happened, & if this is only a temporary place.

 

Telling her story can empower the victim.  She takes back the power that her abuser stole by forcing her to stay silent.  She realizes it’s her story & she can do as she sees fit with it.  She can help & inspire others who have been through similar circumstances if she opts to go public with her story (such as blogging about it, for example).  By speaking openly about what happened, she also can give her family the opportunity to grow & to heal.  However, telling also means that she can be setting herself up for criticism, even from those closest to her.  Those she believed were on her side may turn against her.  They may refuse to believe her, tell others she’s lying, or invalidate her pain if she speaks to them about the situation.  And, if she opts to confront her abuser, that can open up a new world of pain.  Abusers hate confrontation, especially narcissistic abusers.  The abuser may turn the entire situation around, blaming the victim for what happened or denying they did anything wrong.  Often, the one telling the truth is demonized by abusers as well as those who may have known about the abuse but did nothing.  Many people can’t live with what they have done, so they vilify the victim.

 

What do you think is your answer, Dear Reader?

 

Before you answer that question, I urge you to pray.  Let God give you advice on which way to go, & how to go about it.  Also, allow Him to give you the strength you need, because either way is very challenging.  You will need His strength.  And remember, 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”  (GNT)  God will empower you to do anything you need to do!

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About Forgiveness

True forgiveness has been very warped by people.  So many thing it means “forgive & forget” & if you can’t do that, you’re no Christian & a terrible person.  I really don’t believe that however.

 

Yes, the Bible states that we are to forgive those who have trespassed against us (Matthew 6:12, 15; 18:21; Luke 7:47, 11:4, 17:3;  John 20:23; 2 Corinthians 2:10).  But, nowhere in the Bible does it state, “Forgive & forget.  Let abusive people continue to abuse you with zero consequences!”  Quite honestly, I believe that is just stupid to do when a person shows no remorse for their actions!  If you don’t remember what they did to you, you open the door for them to abuse you over & over.

 

A good friend recently showed me what forgiveness really means, & this “forgive & forget” thing people preach isn’t it.

 

If you forgive someone, it means they no longer owe you a debt.  For example, if you lend someone $100, but they can’t repay it, you can opt to forgive their debt to you by telling them they no longer need to repay you that $100.  You act as if they never borrowed that money from you, you don’t bring it up again.  However, you may decide never to lend them money again since they didn’t repay you the first time.

 

If someone hurts or abuses you, they should “repay” you by apologizing & making things right if at all possible.  Chances are slim that will happen if you’re dealing with a narcissist or even if that person is simply selfish &, well, a jerk.

 

This situation leaves you with 2 choices- wait for that apology or forgive them the debt of owing you that apology.  Personally, I opt to forgive, & quickly.

 

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV).  Nowhere in this Scripture does it say doing this will make you feel warm & fuzzy!  God basically says you just need to release the need for that person to make it up to you for what they did.  Once you realize this, you also realize that in time your emotions will catch up, that you won’t feel angry any longer.

 

I think there is also a common misconception that when your emotions catch up, even thinking about what happened will no longer upset you.  However, I don’t believe that is quite the case.

 

It isn’t a sign of unforgiveness if what they did to you stirs up some emotion.

 

I don’t think or talk about my late mother in-law very often.  She passed away last year & prior to that, I hadn’t spoken to her in 14 years.  She was a very skilled covert narcissist, & after tolerating her abuse for the first 8 years of my relationship with my husband, I simply couldn’t take anymore.

 

Yesterday, I was working on a book I’ve been writing.  I mentioned how once in 1999 (I think anyway.. around that time), my mother in-law wanted me to do something for her.  I had an appointment that day, so I told her I couldn’t do it.  Granted, I probably could have moved some things around & been there for her, but I didn’t want to.  She was horrible to me- why would I want to help her?  As soon as I said I wasn’t available, my mother in-law tried to find out why.   She used guilt, shame, & even demands to find out what was so important that I couldn’t help her.  I refused to tell her.  Not only was it none of her business but she would have told her daughters what was happening with me (not their business either) & she probably would’ve found some way to use the information I gave her to hurt me at some future date.

 

Remembering this incident still angers me to a degree.  I thought it must be a sign that I haven’t forgiven her.  But, once I thought that, God quickly revealed to me that is not the case.

 

Forgiving someone completely doesn’t necessarily mean you never feel emotions over the awful things they did to you.  You can forgive someone completely, yet still feel some anger about the fact that they hurt or used you.  If you didn’t feel that way, chances are you would ignore signs that show you are about to be used & hurt that same way again.

 

So, the next time someone tells you that you need to work on forgiving someone, remember what I said, Dear Reader.  Chances are, you have forgiven that person as God wants you to.  xoxo

 

 

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Comparing Experiences Isn’t Good For Victims

Many victims of abuse downplay what they have been through.  Maybe you’ve even done it yourself, saying things like, “What I went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what you did!”  “At least my mother didn’t beat me!”  “It wasn’t so bad…” “My uncle only raped me that one time, & he was drunk…It wasn’t really his fault..”

 

The simple fact is though, that abuse is abuse.  There is really no point in comparing your situation to someone else’s.  Yet, victims do it often.

 

Many victims of psychological & narcissistic abuse were abused mentally but not physically or sexually.  They often believe because there was “only” mental abuse, it wasn’t so bad.  Psychological abuse doesn’t leave visible scars, which means many people don’t think it’s as bad as physical or sexual abuse.  This is completely untrue!  All abuse causes pain & damages a person’s mental health.

 

Often abusers have their victims completely convinced that they are so incredibly unworthy, that they don’t even deserve sympathy, understanding or pity for the pain they have survived.   The lower a person’s self-esteem, the easier a person is to control, so obliterating self-esteem is a very preferred tool of all types of abusers.

 

Also, narcissists love to blame their victims.  It doesn’t matter if you were absolutely 1,000% not responsible for the problem, they will still find a way to blame you.  One year while working in the yard with my husband, he dropped a very heavy log on my foot, which broke my toe.  My mother blamed me for him dropping the log on my foot!

 

Narcissists love to flaunt to their victims that they care about someone else’s suffering & not yours.  If you experience the exact same thing as someone else, the narcissist will offer sympathy for that person while simultaneously letting you know they couldn’t care less about your problem.  For example, in 2010, one of my cats passed away suddenly.  Within a couple of days of losing her, my parents’ neighbors’ small dog passed away.  My mother shed tears over the dog’s death, telling me how wonderful she was.  Yet, when I told her about my cat, she responded with “Oh well.. at least you don’t have anyone sick anymore” then she changed the subject.  This type of behavior makes a victim feel like anything they experience isn’t a big deal, yet what other people experience, even if it’s exactly what the victim is going through, is worthy of sympathy.

 

Narcissists also are professionals at invalidating their victims.  After enough invalidation, you learn that you don’t deserve any validation.  Nothing that happens to you is a big deal, & everyone else is much more important than you are.

 

If any or all of this sounds all too familiar to you, you need to know something.  Dear Reader, what you went through was bad.  The worst.  No one should have to suffer any type of abuse!  There is no comparison between you & anyone else.  Every situation is different, & every person is different.  It’s completely unfair to say someone else had it worse than you because of those differences.

 

Instead of comparing, how about validating your experiences to yourself?  It’s OK & even healthy to admit that they were bad.  In fact, if you hope to heal, then you need to admit & accept how bad things were.  Once you do that, you can grieve or get angry or whatever you need to do to process what happened to you.  Acceptance is an important first step.

 

If you’re having trouble validating your experiences, try thinking about things from a little different perspective.  If someone you love came to you & told you their story that was just like yours, would you tell the person it was no big deal?  Would you tell that person someone else had it worse, so they need to just get over it?  Or, would you hug the person, say what they experienced was wrong, & try to help them cope?  Guessing you would do the right thing & be there for that person.  If you’d be good & understanding for someone else, then why can’t you do it for yourself?

 

If you’re having trouble being that good to yourself, then I would urge you to start praying.  Ask God why you aren’t being that good to yourself.  Let Him help you to see what the problem is, & help you to fix it.  Also don’t forget to ask Him to help you to learn to validate yourself while you’re at it.

 

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Purging Of Repressed Emotions

Since I have been no contact with my parents, strange but good things have been happening.  One of those things is God has helped me to get in touch with the negative emotions I had stuffed inside for years.

 

I’ve had a lot of nightmares, repressed memories & flashbacks to deal with, especially in the last few months.  While it hasn’t been fun by any stretch, it’s been a very good thing.  I’ve been able to remember things I hadn’t thought of in a long time, then deal with them.  This has enabled me to make great strides in healing.  I feel freer & even physically lighter, as odd as that may sound.  I feel cleansed of things I didn’t even realized I needed cleansing from.

 

I can’t help but thinking that this is happening as a result of going no contact.  I noticed this has happened to me after being no contact with my parents for several months & also years before after going no contact with my narcissistic mother in-law & sisters in-law.

 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist- be they your parent, sibling, spouse or anyone- so much of your thinking is taken up by that person.  Either you’re trying to find ways to appease her to avoid her rage, or survive the relationship with your sanity in tact.  Either way, you simply don’t have time to cope with the constant wounds inflicted on you by her abuse.  You’re functioning in survival mode.

 

Once the narcissist is out of your life, it takes some time for your mind to feel safe enough to stop functioning in survival mode.  When it does though, finally, it seems to demand that you work on all those issues you weren’t able to face due to constant trauma.

 

If you too are faced with nightmares, flashbacks &/or repressed memories after going no contact, please don’t panic, Dear Reader.  Your brain may be doing as mine has done- it stopped functioning in survival mode & wants to be healed.  I would suggest going with it.  Work on your healing from narcissistic abuse however helps you.  Pray.  See a therapist.  Whatever works for you.  After all, maybe one of the reasons for you being out of that toxic relationship is so you can heal.

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Are You Ashamed Of Past Mistakes?

Many adult children of narcissistic parents battle with shame.  These awful parents raise their children to be full of shame about everything about themselves.  Unfortunately this carries well into adulthood.

 

One area many adult children of narcissistic parents feel tremendous shame in is their younger days, when they may have done unwise things such as marry a narcissist.  I understand, as when I look back, I have a hard time believing I did such stupid things once.

 

The thing that we all need to remember though is the things we did that we aren’t proud of were done by someone who didn’t know any better.  Someone who was still in the fog of narcissistic abuse, & therefore unable to make good, healthy decisions.  How could anyone make good, healthy decisions when they firmly believe they are stupid, unlovable, worthless & more?  It’s impossible!

 

I look back at when I met then later married my ex husband & am amazed at myself.  He was nothing like the kind of man I find attractive at all.  He was narcissistic even at age 16 when we first met.  Yet, I stood up to my mother for him repeatedly, even as terrified of her as I was, & took repeated emotional beatings from her because of him.  Why??  He wasn’t worth it!  He wasn’t good to me.  But, at first he told me the things I was starved to hear, such as I was smart & beautiful.  It’s embarrassing how desperate I was for such things, & what I did to get them.  However, I know now my awful behavior wasn’t because I was a bad person or stupid or any of the other things my mother said I was.  It was because I had no self-esteem because of being subjected to daily narcissistic abuse.

 

When you look back over your life & feel ashamed of the things you have done, Dear Reader, please remember that you too have nothing to be ashamed of!   Narcissistic abuse does terrible things to people, especially when they are children & the narcissist in question is a parent.  It causes those children to make bad choices & do foolish things.  That is NOT the fault of the children.  Forgive yourself for the things you did.  It’s OK that you made some mistakes.  Everyone makes mistakes, especially when raised by narcissistic parents.  The important thing is  now you know better.

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Not Everything Good Is Good For You

Recently, God began dealing with me about something.  I tend to say yes too quickly.  I agree to help people or do favors when I’m tired or busy way too often.  He put in my heart that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.

 

This makes a lot of sense to me.  There have been plenty of times I decided to focus on my latest book, yet didn’t do it because someone needed something from me.  Not that what they needed was anything bad, nor is it bad to help someone, but for me, I should have focused on my writing instead.  Other times, I wasn’t feeling well & just needed to rest, yet didn’t because someone said they needed me.

 

Does this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader?  Do you do the same things?

 

I’d venture to say it’s pretty common with adult children of narcissistic parents.  We were trained from birth to put ourselves last, & that training doesn’t stop just because we’re grown up.  We’re also told it’s selfish to put ourselves first.  Taking care of others above ourselves has become such a habit, often it happens without even thinking.  We simply do it automatically.  We may do it even when everything in us says, “NOOO!!!” just because it’s what we feel we’re supposed to do.

 

Today I want to encourage you to have more healthy boundaries & balance.  It’s certainly good to put others ahead of yourself sometimes, but only in balance.  You deserve to be your priority too!  There is no shame in taking care of yourself or your duties.  In fact, it’s a must to do so.

 

Starting to do this can be difficult after a lifetime of being so out of balance, I know.  I recommend prayer as the best place to start, as usual.  Ask God to help you know what you should say yes to & what you should say no to.  He will!  That is what I’m doing, & so far, so good.  I slipped up by not praying this immediately, as soon as I realized what God wants to teach me, & ended up saying yes to something I probably shouldn’t have.  Since, I prayed for God’s help & things are going better.

 

And remember Dear Reader, just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.  xoxo

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What Do You Think?

I have been toying with the idea of creating some youtube videos for some time now, but dragging my feet about it.  Thanks to my “lovely” upbringing, I absolutely detest having my picture taken & being on a video.

 

However, I’m seeing there is such a need for information!  I recently read an article that estimates narcissistic abuse affects over 158,000,000 people in the USA alone.  That is a tremendous amount of hurting people in dire need of information & support!  It breaks my heart!

 

While I know I can’t help all of those people, I can help some.  After some prayer on this topic, I think a youtube channel is something I can & should do.

 

What sort of topics would you like me to cover on this channel?  Do you think I should stick with teaching about narcissistic abuse or sometimes venture off into other areas I write about periodically such as Christian living or animals?  How often do you think I should create videos?  Any format in particular sound good?  I’d love to hear your input.  You’re welcome to either comment on this post, or email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

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Are You Setting Yourself Up?

I recently read an article in “Psychology Today” that I found very interesting.  It was about the effects of invalidation in families.

 

A part of the article really hit home with me, & I would bet also with many victims of narcissistic abuse.  It explains that many people who were constantly invalidated as children invite people to invalidate them.  When parents do something so compulsively, children assume it needs to be done, & will give their parents opportunity to do so.  I realize I’ve done this myself.  One example is my mother has always been hyper critical of my weight.  There have been times I lost some weight & told her, & was nearly crushed by her comments.  The worst happened many years ago, when I told her I lost some weight without really trying lately.  I wasn’t hungry so I wasn’t eating as much.  I was much younger & more naive then, & thought since she’s always battled her weight, she’d be happy for me.  How wrong I was!  Her response was, “You probably have cancer & are going to die soon, that’s why you lost weight.”  Then, she changed the subject.

 

I don’t think this refers to only invalidation, however, although that was the topic of the article.  From what I’ve seen, people can do the same with other things.  For example, adult children of very critical parents can do stupid things often to give their parents something to criticize without a clue about what they’re doing.  They’ll shoot themselves in the foot, so to speak, then tell the parents who then criticize their poor choices.  They think they’re the family screw up because of what the parents have always said, & they constantly try to live up to the parents’ expectations (well, it’s more like living down to those expectations, really..).

 

Do scenarios like this describe your behavior?  Ask God to give you show you what you’re doing, if you’re setting the stage for your narcissistic mother to abuse you.  And, if you are doing so, then ask Him to help you make the appropriate changes.

 

You’re going to need to modify your words as well as behavior.  I stopped discussing things with my mother that she is very critical of, which has left us very little to discuss.  It’s sad, but it’s easier than feeling stupid for basically giving her ammunition to use for hurting me.  And stupid is exactly how I felt every time it happened.

 

Also, as always, it’s just a good practice never to show a narcissist you’re upset.  If you slip up & she gets vicious, stay calm & collected.  Do NOT show her that you are angry or hurt- it only provides her the coveted narcissistic supply, which will make her do these things more, so you will become more upset & provide more supply.  Never do this!!!  Instead, stay calm, even cold & unemotional.  If she can’t get a rise out of you, she will give up.  She may try a few things first to be sure she can’t upset you, but she will give up in this area.  That is a victory for you!

 

When you do slip up, as you will at first, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Unfortunately, it happens sometimes.  We all do it.  I still do sometimes, even though I’ve been doing this for years & have gotten much better at showing my narcissistic mother no reaction.  It frustrates her sometimes- I can see it.  lol  But, better her being frustrated than me being devastated!

 

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Introverts Aren’t “Broken”

Since many children of narcissistic parents are introverted, I thought I would share this for you, my fellow introverts.

 

I’ve seen a great deal lately about introverts & how people try to get us out of our shell.  Teachers tell parents that although their child is a good student, she doesn’t participate enough.  Friends say you “need to get out more” or suggest ways you can incorporate more people into your daily life.  Things like this can leave the introvert feeling bad about herself, feeling flawed because she prefers to read over attending big parties.  This is so wrong!

 

People often fail to realize is being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re broken.  Introversion isn’t a disease in need of a cure or a horrible flaw in need of improvement.  Introversion is simply a personality trait, like having a good sense of humor.

 

Introverts don’t hate people.  Introverts hate spending a great deal of time around people.  There is a difference.

 

While extroverts get energy by being around people, introverts get energy by being alone.  The way an extroverts feel after attending a party is how an introvert can feel after spending an afternoon alone, lost in a good book.  Same results, just different means of getting those results.  One is no better or worse than the other, simply different.

 

If you’re an introvert, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you!  I know it can be hard, but ignore those who try to make you feel “wrong” or “broken” because you’d rather spend your afternoon with a book than surrounded by people.  If you have friends who make you feel that way, then maybe it’s time to find new friends.  People who don’t judge or criticize you, try to change you & accept you the way you are are a true blessing.  I have been blessed with people like this in my life.  My best friend & I are extremely compatible, because when we hang out, neither of us gets offended if the other says, “I need some introvert time.. mind if we call it a day?”  We understand each other’s introverted nature, & although we always have fun together, we also know sometimes alone time is our best friend.  If you’re an introvert, you need at least one friend like this!

 

Dear Reader, I hope you embrace your introverted nature rather than hate it.  There is no shame in being an introvert whatsoever.  Enjoy it!  Introverts unite!  (in small groups.. for very limited periods of time..lol)

 

 

 

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Who Are You Now?

When a person is abused by a narcissist, they learn to accept the narcissist’s view of who they are.  They accept that they are weak, stupid, ugly, etc etc.  It is especially hard to get rid of such views when the abusive narcissist is a parent, but it can be hard no matter who the narcissist is that puts such dysfunctional, inaccurate views on a person.

 

Even years after the abuse has ended, many people still believe they are weak, ugly, stupid, etc.  It takes a long time to start to see yourself in an accurate way after enduring narcissistic abuse.  I would like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to look at yourself differently.

 

For a moment, try to put aside all of the criticisms you heard from your narcissist.  Look back over your life.  Think about all of the things you have accomplished.  The things you have done in spite of hearing what a terrible person you were.  Look at how far you have come.  If you’re having trouble, write things down.  Writing things can be surprisingly validating.

 

In spite of the narcissist in your life trying to destroy you (either physically or emotionally or both), you are OK!  You are functioning.  You are surviving.  You are helping & inspiring people, whether you know it or not.  You are so much stronger than you realize!  Sure, you may have some problems stemming from the narcissistic abuse, but that is completely normal.  You are working on your healing & you are growing daily- that is impressive!

 

In spite of realizing these things I know it can be tempting to think of yourself as that dysfunctional victim you once were.  I get it- I do it sometimes myself.  But, try to remind yourself of who you are now, not of who you once were.  You are not the terrible person the narcissist once said you were & you believed you were.  You are strong & fierce.  You have not become bitter or narcissistic yourself.  You are working on becoming your own person.  You also are an adult now, not a child, so if the narcissist in your life is your parent(s), remind yourself of that.  You are no longer a child who felt she needed to obey her parents at all costs.  You are an adult with your own mind & free will.  If you’re a Christian, it is also your duty to put God first, not your parents.  If they insist you put them above God, remind yourself how dysfunctional that is!  You do not owe them anything beyond simple civility, basic respect.

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The Little Things Can Be A Big Help

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

 

This Scripture came into my mind recently.  So often, little things can steal our joy.  A good mood can be ruined easily by someone’s insensitive, cutting criticism.  A financial blessing can be spoiled when a person learns how much they’ll have to pay in taxes.

 

However, the reverse is true too.  Something bad can be reversed by something small yet positive.

 

If you’re having a bad day, yet a handsome stranger smiles at you, does that not improve your day?  It certainly does mine.  Or, when you put your hand in your pocket to find a few dollars you didn’t know were there, would that not brighten your day at least a little?

 

When you’ve been through some awful things in your life, it’s easy to cling to the negative while ignoring the positive.  Especially if you’ve grown up with at least one narcissistic parent.  They are truly the most negative people you can meet- if there is a bad way to look at a situation, they’ll find it.  And, they train their children to do the same thing.  It can be a hard habit to break, but it is well worth it.

 

I’m not one to advocate being overly positive & optimistic, because people who are out of balance that way tend to be disappointed constantly.  However, I do encourage people to be realistic & yet still positive.  Sometimes, things just stink & nothing can make it better.  However, there are also many more times when your situation stinks but there are tiny blessings around you that can help you to get through it.

 

God has been showing me lately that good can be found in a great deal of negative situations.  Flashbacks & nightmares even have their purpose.  Yes, they’re incredibly  awful at the time they happen, but once they’re done, if I look at them, I realize they often show me areas where I need more healing.  I believe they happen when they do because God basically says, “Now is the time to face this.”  Every time I do, I make another step towards healing.

 

I’ve also noticed that when I’m very depressed or upset about something, my cats will do silly things or snuggle me more than usual.  To me, that is a wonderful blessing because even in my worst moods, they can make me smile.

 

The point is, Dear Reader, that there are often silver linings in even the darkest clouds, & those silver linings can help get you through.  Not to make us overly optimistic to the point of being foolish, but to help strengthen us when we need it the most.  If you’re having trouble finding those silver linings, then by all means, ask God to help you to be aware of them.  He will!  Be sure to notice everything, even the tiniest things, because God has sent them to help you!  Even something small like noticing the blooms on a majestic magnolia tree in the middle of summer.. as common as that is, it’s still a beautiful thing to see if you love magnolias.  Maybe God put you in the path of that lovely tree to bring you a little joy at the specific time you needed it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  It’s a gift from God just for you.

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About Covert Narcissists

One thing about narcissists is that they are extremely good at hiding how vicious they truly are from everyone except their victims.  Covert narcissists are even better at this than their overt counterparts.  Coverts can be so skilled at hiding their abusive actions that even the victims don’t consider it abuse.  Often, if they tell others about what the covert narcissist is doing, they aren’t believed.

People often make excuses for the covert narcissist…

 

  • “She just doesn’t know any better.  She didn’t even graduate high school, after all…”
  • “He’s getting old- he probably just didn’t even remember/think about….”
  • “Well, he was diagnosed with Dementia.. he can’t help himself.”
  • “Everyone loves her.  She helps so many people.  I must’ve overreacted.  She wouldn’t have knowingly hurt me like that.”
  • “Just look at what she puts up with from that awful husband!  She was probably just stressed & didn’t mean to hurt me..”

 

If any of these excuses sound familiar because you have heard them or said them, then chances are you are dealing with a covert narcissist.

 

Are you still wondering?  Here are some other clues…

 

  • Does this person act innocent, even slow or naive, but you know for a fact they aren’t that way?
  • Does this person act incompetent, unable to take care of herself or himself?  Maybe relying completely on their spouse to make household decisions, pay bills, etc.
  • Does this person come across as in need of protection?  As if they are too weak to protect themselves?
  • Do you feel as if you shouldn’t confront this person because they are too fragile to handle your confrontation, no matter how gently you approach them?
  • Does this person offer looks of disapproval more than saying critical things?
  • Does this person not give the disapproving looks when you both are around other people?  Perhaps even complementing you in the presence of others?
  • Does this person expect to be taken care of?  For example, elderly parents with plenty of money who refuse to call a lawn care service, instead, expecting their adult son with his own home to maintain their lawn.
  • Is this person married to an overt narcissist, & never stands up to him or her?
  • If married to an overt narcissist, does he or she leave parenting to the overt narcissist, never protecting the children from that parent & appearing as the real victim of the overt narcissist?

 

Covert narcissists are much harder to spot than overts since they are so much sneakier & more deceptive.  This is what I believe makes them even more dangerous than overt narcissists.

 

Dealing with covert narcissists is even more of a challenge than dealing with their overt counterparts.  You still have to have & enforce strong boundaries, refuse to provide them with supply, limit your time in their presence, etc. like you do with overts.  The problem is with coverts, they will slip into the victim role extremely easily & quickly.  It can be VERY hard not to apologize or give in.  The more you stick to your guns, though, the easier it gets.

 

Another thing I’ve found to be helpful is being cold & logical with them.  Show them no emotion.  If you do, they will try to squelch your joy or provoke you when they know something makes you angry.  Instead, show them no emotion.  Walk away if you feel emotions reaching a boiling point if you must, even if it appears rude.

 

Change the subject as needed.  Since covert narcissists are pretty passive in some ways, this tactic works quite well with them.

 

Limiting or even ending contact with them is your best bet.  The more time you spend with a covert narcissist, the worse they seem to get.  At least that’s been my experience.

 

And lastly, never forget- just because a covert narcissist isn’t screaming in your face doesn’t mean they aren’t just as vicious as overt narcissists.  In fact, many strike me as being even more vicious.  They are simply better at hiding their viciousness under the guise of whatever works best for them- naivete, being helpful or innocence.

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What Can Happen To You After Going No Contact

Going no contact with a narcissistic parent (or two) is an incredibly difficult thing to do.  It takes a tremendous amount of prayer, thought, discussion & energy to make that decision.  Chances are you feel peace about your decision even though it hurts things came to this.  You read about the smear campaign & flying monkeys, so you feel prepared, but the truth is, you aren’t.  Other things can happen that no one warns you about.

 

One of the other things is the incredible influx of memories, nightmares & even flashbacks that happen.

 

I functioned my entire life with my parents in survival mode.  It wasn’t until they were out of my life for almost one year (this past May 5) that survival mode finally stopped.  I finally felt safe enough to let my guard down, not worry that at anytime they may show up at my home, may call or I may see them in a public place.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!  At least until the nightmares, repressed memories & flashbacks started.

 

While I’ve experienced them all for many years, the sheer amount was shocking.  It seemed like I couldn’t go a day without something happening, often a few times a day, & frankly, it was overwhelming & scary at first.  Upon praying about it, God spoke to my heart saying I no longer have my parents in my life demanding so much of my attention & focus, so now is the time to heal.  When memories came up, or nightmares or flashbacks happened, pray, & He would enable me to heal.  He truly has!!

 

Each time something happens, I pray about it.  I feel the anger or hurt, & tell God about it.  I often journal about it too, because something about seeing things in writing is so validating.  It’s a good reminder that I didn’t deserve the things that happened to me & that none of it was my fault, as I was told.

 

Doing such things has brought me a tremendous amount of healing in a short time!  Yes, it’s been difficult, but I’ve been through much more difficult things.  And, as a bonus, at least these difficulties have a purpose- to help me to heal.  Thankfully, things have slowed down quite a bit.  I can go a couple of days without a nightmare, repressed memory or flashback.

 

If this happens to you too after going no contact with your parents, Dear Reader, don’t be surprised.  In fact, I would encourage you to go with it.  This may be a time of great healing for you.  If it happens, I would recommend you start by praying.  I don’t even know why I didn’t pray as soon as things began to happen, but it was a mistake on my part.  As soon as I did pray though, my healing started to make real progress.  I’m sure yours will too!  All you have to do is trust God & work with Him however He suggests.

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Narcissistic Families & Cults Have A Lot In Common

Have you ever considered the similarities of cults & narcissistic families?  There are quite a few similarities…

 

  • Leaders demand unquestioning, blind devotion, no matter what.
  • Leaders demand how those under them should act, think & feel.
  • The leader is always right, period.
  • Questioning leaders is discouraged, & often severely punished.
  • Isolation is extremely important.  Relationships with those not in the group is discouraged, often the leader demands others to sever ties in those relationships.
  • Life outside of the group is discouraged.
  • Leaving is looked at as a betrayal, & the person leaving is often spoken badly about.
  • Mind games/gaslighting are the norm.
  • Independent thinking is not allowed.  The leader has done all the thinking necessary so those under him need only to submit to his will.

 

Don’t these characteristics of cults sound also like the characteristics of narcissistic families?

 

The above reasons are precisely why it is so hard to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Living in this cult type environment is detrimental to your mental health!  People who have escaped both cults & narcissistic families work on their healing for many years, often their entire lives.

 

When people say you should “just cut ties” or “just leave”, the above reasons are exactly why it is so hard.  Not only are they talking about abandoning your family, but thanks to the cult mentality, leaving them is even harder than one might think.  You feel as if you’re betraying your family, as if you’re committing some unpardonable sin by thinking of your own mental & physical health.  You also may be afraid of the backlash because they will send out a smear campaign to destroy your reputation.  Not to mention, the unknown can be scary!  All you know is their warped mentality & way of life.  Even though it’s awful, it’s familiar, & there is a degree of comfort in what is familiar.  Things have to be really, really bad to take that leap of faith by leaving the familiar & treading into the unknown.

 

If you were raised in a narcissistic family, please understand that the damage done is incredibly severe.  Never get mad at yourself for taking too long to heal, or having so many issues.  Narcissistic abuse is incredibly insidious & pervasive.  It’s only normal to have a lot of problems after being raised in such an environment, even well into adulthood.

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Doing Things Exellently

I recently watched a TV show about Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer from the rock band, Queen.  One of his friends quoted something he once said that I thought was wonderful.

 

If you, too, are a Queen fan, you know they created some pretty amazing songs, but not a great many of them.  According to this gentleman being interviewed, Freddie Mercury spoke about that to this man.  He said that he would only do, “quality & style, Darling.”  The man who single handedly wrote the incredible song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” obviously knew both well.

 

The fact is though that every single person has an individual path to follow in life.  Whether your path involves affecting the lives of two people or two billion, your path is important!  If it wasn’t, God wouldn’t have given you the purpose in your life that you have.

 

Since your purpose is important, why not take a page out of Freddie Mercury’s book, & focus on doing everything you do with “quality & style”?  No matter how many lives you will affect, you will affect lives, & don’t you want your effect to be a good one?  Then do whatever you do with excellence!  Do it with “quality & style, Darling!”

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A Little About Nightmares

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you know about nightmares.  You have them so often, they aren’t a surprise.  They’re just a way of life.  Yet, little is mentioned about the nightmares.

 

I’d always had frequent nightmares, but it got much worse in 2012 which is when I realized I had C-PTSD.  I began having several almost every night, which of course led to a lot of fatigue.  The nightmares also became even more vivid than usual, which is saying something since I’ve always had very vivid dreams.  They became so vivid in fact, that often I would wake up feeling as if I’d just done whatever I did in the dream.  If I dreamed I ran a marathon, for example, I woke up physically tired & achy.

 

After learning about C-PTSD, I assumed the nightmares would be about reliving traumatic events, which does happen, but only rarely.  Most of my nightmares are about strange things- being an adult yet having to repeat high school & relying on my mother to take me rather than driving my own car; while repeating high school as an adult, being unable to find or remember the combination to my locker; my car being stolen &/or totaled; my husband mocking me when I was obviously upset or rejecting me somehow; or someone letting my cats outside & they ran away.  Strange stuff!  I finally asked God about it after waking up for yet one more bizarre nightmare.  What He shared made a lot of sense & I think it will if you too suffer with odd nightmares like I do.

 

The brain constantly processes information, whether the information is good, bad or indifferent.  Our dreams are often a result of that processing, because the brain doesn’t take breaks.  Sometimes we don’t remember dreams because they weren’t important- the brain simply processed something unimportant.  Other times, it tries to make sense of horrible things that have happened, which is where nightmares come into it.  Sometimes the brain relives those awful, traumatic events in an attempt to understand it, but not always.  Sometimes nightmares look as if they have nothing to do with traumatic events on the surface, yet they actually have a lot to do with them.

 

While the circumstances of the dreams may be different, the emotions they stir up feel exactly like some trauma you have experienced.  My nightmare of my car being stolen & totaled?  It caused a huge amount of anxiety & fear, & I felt completely helpless.  Eventually I realized it triggered the exact same emotions of my seventeenth birthday.  That day, my mother took my gifts from my then boyfriend/now ex husband & destroyed them on the way home from school.  She blamed me for making her do that & making her car messy.  The event caused me so much anxiety (knowing I’d have to tell my ex what happened to his gifts), fear (wondering what she was going to do next) & I felt helpless (she destroyed the gifts as I was picking up her Avon order & gone for maybe 3 minutes- I couldn’t have known what she was going to do or stop her from doing it)

 

When these nightmares happen, the good news is that they have a purpose.  They show you that there is an area in which you need more healing.  It can be hard to figure out, so I highly recommend asking God about it.  He loves you & wants to help you, so let Him!  Ask Him what did that dream mean?  If you like, you also can look up symbols on a dream dictionary website- I’ve done this.  I write down everything I can from my dream- items, colors, feelings- then look up what each means & write it down beside each item.  Sometimes things make more sense to me when I see them in writing so that can be a helpful tool.

 

Once you realize what the dream was trying to make sense of, you can heal.  Work on coping with the traumatic event however works for you- pray, talk to a therapist, talk to a close friend, write in your diary.  What you do doesn’t matter, so long as it works for you.

 

I know nightmares are a very difficult part of C-PTSD & PTSD, but they are also unavoidable.  Why not make them work in your favor by learning what they’re trying to help you cope with?  Once you do, the nightmares often go away or at the very least don’t happen nearly as often.  I haven’t had a dream about my car being stolen or totaled in a couple of years.  🙂

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An Idea For Coping With Narcissistic Abuse

On Mother’s Day, I came across a very good article called “A Mother’s Day Card For The Disposable Child.”   One sentence in particular hit home with me.. “She walked away from me and shamed me for asking for a healthier way of relating. If I wanted to go back to the old way, I suspect she’d accept me as her daughter again.”  Reading this sentence, I thought about my parents & that is exactly our situation.

 

As usual when reminded of something so dysfunctional about my parents, it really made me sad.  I knew I needed to deal with this rather than bury it, but I just wanted to finish the article first.  As I scrolled down I read the letter the author wrote to her mother, but never sent.  Upon reading this, what I needed to do clicked in my mind.  I needed to write a letter to each of my parents, but never send them.

 

Have you ever done this, Dear Reader?  Have you ever written out what you would love to say to your parents if it was completely safe to do so?  If not, I urge you to do this.

 

Writing things out can be a very therapeutic experience.  There is something validating about seeing things in writing rather than simply remembering them.  It makes experiences seem more real.

 

Also, by writing things out, you are in charge of who sees what you write.  You can hide it so no one but you & God know about it (I like an online, password protected diary), or you can add to it & turn it into a book.  You are totally in control.  When speaking things out, there can be interruptions, or others can hear what you don’t want them to hear.

 

By writing things out, you’re safe.  If you confront your narcissistic parents, you are far from safe.  Narcissists don’t do confrontation.  They refuse to accept responsibility for things they’ve done since that might make them look or feel bad.  They will do or say anything to avoid accepting responsibility.  Denial, projection, gaslighting are all distinct possible scenarios.  Why subject yourself to them if it’s not necessary?  Yet, you still may need to purge the awful emotions you’re experiencing.  That is where writing letters you don’t send come into play.

 

Writing letters like this helps you to get out your feelings in a completely safe manner.  You can say anything you like, in any way you like, without fear of judgment or narcissistic mind games.  When I write these letters, I don’t worry about bad language or using “I” statements or anything- I let it all out, no matter how ugly it is.

 

Once the letter is done, I’ve noticed I feel very tired & a bit raw emotionally.  It doesn’t last long, thankfully.  This seems to be a typical phenomenon after doing heavy emotional work on healing.  When it happens to you, just remember to be especially gentle with yourself.  Do whatever self-care things make you feel loved & nurtured.

 

 

 

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About Not Hurting Other People’s Feelings, Even Your Abuser’s

When raised by narcissistic parents, we often feel obligated to prioritize not hurting the feelings of other people, primarily our parents.  It is so important, in fact, that we will hurt ourselves rather than hurt them or anyone else.

 

While it’s certainly a good thing to be concerned with the feelings of others, being so concerned over others that you’re willing to hurt yourself too out of balance.

 

Dear Reader, if you want to move forward with healing after being abused, you have to think about your feelings more than other people’s, in particular, more than your abusers.

 

I’m not saying turn into a selfish jerk who cares nothing for anyone but themselves, of course.  I am saying though, that you need to consider your own feelings.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, you don’t have to go to that big holiday dinner if you don’t feel up to it.  Just because your parents want you there doesn’t mean you must do what they want!  Or, if you talk publicly about what your narcissistic ex did, there is nothing wrong with that.  Sure, it may upset that person, but the story is yours as well- you have nothing to be ashamed of for sharing it, & it may help someone else.  As the Anne Lamott quote goes, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 

There is another reason to avoid putting the feelings of others above your own.  Doing so with abusive people means you are part of the problem.  It allows them to continue abusing with no fear of consequences.  Doing whatever it takes to avoid upsetting them does nothing to stop them from being abusers.  While no one can stop another person from abusing, one can create circumstances by having good boundaries that (hopefully!) will make them uncomfortable enough to want to change.  Just because narcissists rarely change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set those boundaries.
Dear Reader, remember, your feelings are just as important, just as valid, as anyone’s.  There is no good reason to think otherwise.  The only reason you do think otherwise is because an incredibly dysfunctional, abusive person made you think that way.  Today, make a decision to get rid of that awful, flawed belief.  Remind yourself that you have value!  Ask God to tell you  what He thinks of you, then listen for the response.  He knows you have great value!  After all Jesus died for you- He wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t worth it.

 

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Mother’s Day, 2017

The most dreaded day for adult children of narcissistic mothers, Mother’s Day, is upon us.

 

What are you doing today, Dear Reader?

 

I hope you are taking some time to celebrate yourself.  Whether you are a mom or not, you should be congratulating yourself.

 

If you’ve gone no contact with your mother, I know, today is especially hard.  You should be proud of yourself though- you made possibly the most difficult decision a person can make.  It’s incredibly hard to sever ties with your own mother, even when she is incredibly toxic, but you did it.  That takes a lot of guts!

 

If you haven’t gone no contact, but instead maintain a relationship with your narcissistic mother, you too should be proud of yourself.  It’s not an easy task finding a way to maintain your sanity with a narcissist, but you found a way that works.  That is something to be proud of!

 

If you’re hurting too much to celebrate yourself, I understand that.  Take time to grieve.  Cry, pray, write in your journal.  Having a toxic relationship with your mother is incredibly painful, & grieving it is totally normal. Maybe you need to take a day to grieve.  The more you face your pain, the more you heal & the less painful it becomes.

 

I know this day is a very difficult, painful one, it is for me too, but you can make it through!  xoxo

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The Body, Abuse & Trauma

The human body is an amazing creation.  It is capable of a myriad of incredible things.  It can heal from even serious injuries.  The brain can even create ways to cope to get us through even unimaginable trauma.

 

When the brain does this, it needs to deal with that trauma at a later date, once the event is over.  If it doesn’t the body may rebel.

 

Years ago, I spoke with a lady who worked on a prayer hotline.  She mentioned that she believed many health problems were indeed caused by emotional ones.  People who repress anger often have kidney problems, & women with menstrual or fertility problems often had mothers who criticized their femininity.  It’s also a common thing for those with PTSD to have lower back pain without a physical cause.

 

I firmly believe this is the case, although I hadn’t thought of it in years.   I only thought of it because something happened to me.

 

(Sorry in advance for too much information.)  I’ve been on birth control for a long time, & it prevents me from getting a monthly period.  Suddenly out of the blue, I got a period.  Interestingly, it started on May 5, which was the 1 year “anniversary” of the big fight I had with my parents.  I felt really bad, so I didn’t even notice this until 2 days later.  Once I did, I asked God for help, please show me what’s going on!  He reminded me of how things were when I was growing up.  My periods were very painful, yet my mother said it was no big deal & refused to take me to a doctor.   For that matter, she wouldn’t even let me have so much as an asprin to help with the pain.  I also thought about how I rarely saw a doctor & saw the dentist I believe twice in my entire upbringing.  In fact, when I had the chicken pox, I had a very bad case that lasted 2 weeks.  My mother complained about having cabin fever the whole time.  About halfway into it, she insisted my parents & I go out to dinner, even though I felt horrible.  And, my father said & did nothing about any of this.

 

As I thought about this, it made me angry for the first time.  Growing up, this was simply my normal, so it didn’t make me angry.  My illnesses & injuries were treated as an inconvenience to my parents, not as a source of concern.  I prayed a lot & wrote in my journal to cope with this new anger.  Both were tremendously helpful not only to my emotional health but physical too.  As soon as God showed me what was happening & I worked with Him to heal, the period immediately stopped & I felt a thousand times better!

 

It’s not easy for me to write about such personal things, but I felt it was important to share this with you, Dear Reader.  If you are suffering with a physical problem, there may be an emotional reason for it.  I encourage you to pray.  Ask God to show you what is the root of this problem?  Is it due to past trauma or abuse?  What is the truth in this situation?  And, don’t forget to ask Him to help you to deal with it.  Facing ugly things isn’t easy, & you need God’s help doing so if you’re going to heal.

 

The mind/body connection is very real, Dear Reader.  Don’t underestimate it!

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Why Didn’t I Learn About NPD Years Ago?!

Many victims of narcissistic abuse that I have spoken with have said the exact same thing that I felt for  years: “I wish I’d learned about narcissism years ago!  I wish I knew why God waited so long to show me.”  Most victims I’ve spoken with were over 40 when they first learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The absolute youngest I would say was in her late twenties.

This is often a source of frustration for many victims.  We tend to feel angry for all the years wasted, not understanding what was happening & blaming ourselves for our abusive parents or spouse.  We also don’t understand why God didn’t show us the real problem years earlier.

I wonder, Dear Reader, if it was because we simply weren’t mature enough to handle this knowledge until we have a few years under our belts.

If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic parent, it takes a great deal of wisdom & maturity to be able to handle it with your sanity in tact.  These things can be gained only through age & experience.

Also, a solid foundation with God is absolutely essential to help you cope with the relationship.  As a young, new Christian, you may not have had the mature relationship & deep faith you have today.

Whether you still have a relationship with your narcissistic parent(s) or not, if you are healing, you also need that strong relationship with God.  I have found He guides my healing as I am able to handle things.  He helps me face things only when I am strong enough.  He also shows me new information as I am able to understand it. Looking back, I don’t think I would have accepted the information or help in my younger days when I felt like I needed to be able to do everything myself.  It took years for me to learn to rely on God at all, because, like all children of narcissistic parents, I grew up knowing I shouldn’t “bother” anyone with my “petty” problems.  I know now that I need God to help me cope & understand the things I have been through, but in my younger years, I would have denied that & refused His help.

I hope this answers that frustrating question of why didn’t God teach you about narcissism earlier.  It can be a point of frustration for sure, but God does know what is best for us.  If He delayed you learning about NPD, one thing you can know without a doubt- there was s good reason for it.

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Narcissists Love Discrediting Victims

One of the main things all narcissists, be they overt or covert, have in common is that they discredit their victims to anyone who will listen.

 

Discrediting may be done under the guise of concern.  A narcissist may claim to be worried about their daughter because she has serious mental problems- she’s depressed, anxious, or bipolar.  Or, it may be more direct, a smear campaign, where a narcissist claims the victim is a drug addict, juvenile delinquent, promiscuous or other awful things.

 

Discrediting often starts early with narcissistic parents, sowing seeds of disdain & discord among family members & friends, who come to believe this innocent child to be anything but.  Instead, they believe the child to be whatever the parent said, & the parent to be completely innocent when nothing could be further from the truth.  My mother did this to me in my childhood.  When her abuse peaked in my late teens, her friends, who once liked me, suddenly wouldn’t even speak to me.

 

Discrediting also may be done as a preemptive strike.  Narcissists know sometimes when they go too far with a victim, & reach out to others before the victim can.  This is an attempt to look like the good guy, so others won’t believe the victim when she shares what happened.  My father has done this.  Once when I wouldn’t take his call because he called too late (he repeatedly called late, in spite of repeatedly telling him I won’t answer the phone after 9pm), he called my in-laws & one of my cousins.  He told them he was extremely worried about me because I didn’t answer the phone when he called at 10 that night.  He even asked them to tell me to call him immediately.  Both were concerned, & somewhat angry with me for being so “mean” to my father.

 

It also may be done as revenge.  If a narcissist thinks that she has a chance of someone the victim knows well believing her, she may reach out in an attempt to hurt the victim.  Again, my mother has done this.  Many years ago, my husband’s work downsized, so he lost his job.  My father took money from his & my mother’s savings account, & gave it to me, even though I didn’t ask him to.  My mother was extremely angry with me about this.  She called my in-laws.  A few days later, my husband visited his parents, & his father told him about the call.  He said my mother said I was doing something terrible, so he told her never to call back.  Whatever it was, it was so terrible, he refused to repeat it to my husband.

 

If these types of things are happening to you, it’s typical narcissist behavior.  Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything you can do about it.  If you defend yourself, chances are, people will see you as the crazy, irrational, awful person the narcissist said you are, no matter how calm & collected you are when you speak.  People in these situations often look for any tiny piece of evidence that the narcissist is right, so no matter how justified your anger or upset, it will be taken as the narcissist being right.

 

Rather than actively defend yourself when these situations arise, it’s best to let your character shine.  The truth has a way of coming out no matter what, so if you are consistently a good, caring, loving, rational person, sooner or later, people will realize that.  I know it can be frustrating doing nothing to defend yourself, but truly, it’s your best course of action.  Pray- ask God to help you through this hard time & for the truth to be made clear.  You will need God’s help during this hard time, so never hesitate to ask for it.  He’ll be more than glad to help you!

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There Is Nothing Wrong With Resting & Self-Care!

I noticed something interest in the last few hours, & I thought I’d share it with you today, Dear Readers.

As many of you know, in 2015, I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  In spite of all the time that’s passed, like many others who have survived it, I still live with many symptoms.  They get better or worse, but they’re still there.  All the time.  If this post sounds “off”, I apologize- thinking clearly isn’t my strong point at the moment because that’s part of it when symptoms flare up.  I just wanted to write this out before I forgot everything I wanted to say.

So,  bringing us to what I noticed…

I noticed when I’m way too stressed or going through an exceptionally hard time, something happens to make the symptoms get to the point of me needing to rest, to take time off, because I can’t do anything else.

Lately, I’ve been having a rough time with repressed memories & flashbacks as I mentioned previously.  As if that wasn’t tough enough, at the time of me writing this, it was 1 year ago today that I lost one of my kitties & that anniversary is making me sad.  I have a knack for remembering dates & dates like this always are very hard for me, even days before.

Yesterday evening, my husband was working on my car.  I took a shower while he was doing this.  While in there, I began to feel weird (headache, dizzy, couldn’t think clearly, body aches, shaking, etc.), but thought nothing of it.  When I got out, I came into the living room & heard my car running.  I suddenly knew why I felt so yukky & didn’t think anything of it- carbon monoxide removes my ability to realize if I feel bad, something is wrong.  I quickly found my husband & ask him to move my car away from the house while she’s running because the exhaust was sickening me.  He did, but the damage was already done.  Last night & today, I’ve felt horrible.  Today, I’m resting because there’s nothing else I can do.  Physically & mentally, I’m a whipped pup.

Since I’m finally thinking a little clearer today, I realized this sort of thing happens during especially difficult times.

My point of all this?  I realized that although God didn’t give me my health problems, He has been using them to help me.

My mother has called me lazy ever since I can remember.  As a result, I’ve always worked hard.  Too hard- I rarely took time to relax.  Self-care has been a huge struggle for me, as I feel on some dysfunctional level that it’s selfish & wrong to take care of myself.  Since I’ve even ignored God’s promptings that I need to take care of myself & relax sometimes, I firmly believe God allowed getting sick to happen because now, there are times when I have no choice but to relax & rest.

Please, Dear Reader, learn from my mistakes!!  I know so many adult children of narcissistic parents who ignore their mental & physical health because they don’t want to feel selfish or lazy by taking care of themselves as I have.  This is so wrong!!  Even God rests!

Genesis 2:2  “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”  (NIV)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting!  Self-care is vital to being healthy, physically & mentally, & frequent rest is a part of that.  I know shutting off the internal, critical voice calling you lazy or selfish is hard, but please try to do it for your own sake before you end up sick like I have.  I should’ve listened to God’s promptings years ago, but I kept ignoring them.  As a result, I believe God had no other choice but to allow this to happen to force me to rest before I killed myself by neglecting my needs.  I wouldn’t wish this on you, so please, make appropriate changes in your life.  You have every right to take care of yourself.

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Making Healthy Changes In Your Relationship With Your Narcissistic Parent

One year ago tomorrow, it’ll be one year since having that huge argument with my parents.  That means it’s also been a year since speaking to my mother, & almost five months since speaking to my father.  My mother stopped speaking to me after that argument but my father didn’t.  He called less & less frequently as time passed, & the calls were much shorter, but he kept the door open with me.

I’ve prayed a LOT about the situation this past year.  I felt God wanted me to pull away from my parents yet not tell them I want them out of my life.  So, I didn’t contact my mother, send her cards or anything.  I also haven’t sent my father any cards or called him, but I did take some of his calls & allowed him to visit me last December.  Also during this year, God has shown me via dreams & opening my eyes just how selfish & dangerous my father really is.  That visit in December really was eye opening for me.  My father told me when he was coming to my home, & what we were doing while he was here.  That on top of all of the other things that have happened made me pull away even further from him to the point I stopped taking his calls all together, & blocked my parents’ phone number.

Apparently this was an issue for my father.  He sent several people after me to tell me I needed to call him asap.  Thank God, in spite of the nasty old, dysfunctional feelings of needing to do as my parents say, God enabled me to resist contacting him.

My point in sharing this story with you, Dear Readers, is to give you hope.

When you have narcissistic parents, then learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you realize you need to make changes & it can be scary.  You’re going against your parents, which is intimidating!  They’ve trained you your entire life to be a certain way or face dire consequences.  Even as an adult, the consequences still can be scary.

You may even feel you need to go no contact with them, which is even more intimidating.  Doing it may feel impossible to you, but I can tell you it is possible.

Whichever you are planning on doing- changing your behavior yet staying in a relationship or going no contact- you can do it!

You need to begin in prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, how to do it & enable you to do whatever you need to do.

Start small.. start setting small boundaries, such as not answering the phone every time your narcissistic parent calls.  When the phone rings, pray first.  Ask God if He thinks you are able to handle the call or not, & listen to what He says.

Say “no” to your parent sometimes.  Your parent will hate it, of course, but do it anyway.  Say no to small things at first, then bigger things.  An example is if your parent wants you to come by Friday, say no- Sunday would work better for you.  It’s small, sure, but it’s taking back a little power.

If your parent insists on driving when you get together, you say you’ll meet them there & drive your own car.  If need be, arrange to have something else to do after seeing them so you have a legitimate reason (in your parent’s eyes) to drive yourself.   This is another small way to take back some power.

Small gestures like this are a great place to start- they worked wonders for me.  Seeing I could take back some power & set some boundaries gave me strength.  It made me realize I really didn’t have to settle for being abused constantly.  And, as time wore on, I set more & more boundaries.

This behavior naturally pushes away narcissists, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  I knew I wanted to go no contact quite some time before it happened, but it never felt right to tell my parents that.  Being healthier naturally pushed them away which put us in a low contact state that I could tolerate.  It also showed me just how abusive & dysfunctional they are because they can’t respect my boundaries.  Normal people, if they dislike a boundary, they still respect it.  Narcissists aren’t normal though.  They try to get you to change your boundary, pout or get passive/aggressive when they are faced with a boundary they don’t like.  Seeing my father’s behavior when I set boundaries with him was quite eye opening.  For example, after our argument, he tried calling me non stop for days.  When I didn’t take his calls, he called so early one morning I was still asleep!  I thought I was dreaming about answering a phone until I heard his voice & woke up quickly.  He said “he” just wanted to talk to me & “he” wanted to hear my voice & “he” thought this & “he” felt that.  When you see something like this, it’s impossible to deny someone is abusive & manipulative.  It can be very good seeing such things, because it gives you strength to either set more boundaries or to go low or no contact

I’m telling you, Dear Reader, these things work.  They are a fantastic place to start making healthy changes in your life & relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Try them, & see for yourself!

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Why People Defend Abusive Parents

So many people are quick to defend abusive parents.  They may say they did the best they could, or you should forgive & forget what they did to you since they were abused as children so they didn’t know any better.  Others simply refuse to believe the abuse happened, accusing you of lying or exaggerating.

 

Why does this happen so often anyway?!  I have some thoughts..

 

If you notice, people who came from truly loving, functional upbringings aren’t the ones doing this.  They know what real, Godly love is, so this means they also know what it is not.  When you tell them horror stories of the abuse you endured, they normally are shocked & horrified that a parent could treat their own child that way.  Their parents never would have done such a thing to them, & they know that.  They won’t make excuses for the abuse or try to normalize it.  It’s wrong & they call it wrong.  They offer you love & support because they know that is the right thing to do.  They may not understand how you feel since they never endured such things, but even so, they empathize with you, & it hurts them you have been so mistreated.  I have two friends that I’ve known since Kindergarten & first grade.   One male, one female.  Both were raised by loving mothers, she had a very kind wonderful father & the his father physically abused his mother.  They have no personal experience with being abused narcissistic parents, yet they are very supportive & kind to me.

 

People who come from dysfunctional upbringings however act much differently.  They are the ones who are quick to say, “But those are your parents!  They won’t be around forever!”  “I’m sure they did the best they could!”  “They just don’t know any better!”

 

I can’t help but think this is because these people are triggered by your openness.  You discussing your painful childhood makes them think of theirs, & they aren’t willing to face theirs at all.  If they can shut you up, they can resume their denial of their own pain.  For years, my husband thought I should try harder with my parents.  Ignore their cruelty.  He made excuses for what they did.  At the same time, he was doing just that with his own abusive parents.  It took him many years before he would say anything even remotely negative about his parents, let alone admit his parents were abusive.

 

Some people also may recognize their own behaviors when you describe the abuse you endured, & they don’t want to face that either.  They may be abusing their child the same way you were abused, & don’t want to admit they are abusive or wrong. They like the control they have, & don’t want to lose it.

 

There are also others who can’t handle anything negative.  These are the same people who expect every book & movie to have happy endings, & they want the same from real life.  My mother is that way.  She hates anything negative.  These people don’t want to hear about your problems.  They want to hear only about light, fluffy, happy topics, ignoring anything bad or negative.   These people don’t seem to have good coping skills, so they avoid anything that is even mildly upsetting.  You discussing your pain is upsetting, so they don’t want to hear about it.  Unless you can share something light & happy with them, they don’t want you to talk about it with them.

 

Whatever the reason someone defends abusive parents, take it as a warning for you that this person is NOT safe to discuss your painful experiences with!

 

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A Little About Flashbacks & Repressed Memories

Recently, I’ve been having a lot of repressed memories return to the surface along with a flashback.  I had a total of 6 repressed memories & 1 flashback in a period of 2 days.  Not a fun 2 days for sure!  However, I realized something.  They all had reasons for happening.

 

Flashbacks & repressed memories show you what areas you need healing in.  If you’ve dealt with events properly, you won’t have flashbacks about them.  You’ll also remember them, so they won’t be repressed memories returning to the surface.  Although they’re rough, at least flashbacks & repressed memories can help you see what you need to work on.

 

They also can enable you to feel emotions that you couldn’t feel, let alone process, at the time of the trauma.  When I experienced mine recently, for the first time, I felt all the pain, anger & fear I was unable to feel at the time because I was simply trying to survive.  Feeling those emotions enabled me to release the pain.  Finally!

 

Flashbacks & repressed memories also are a good validation for why you’re low or no contact with your narcissistic parent.  I only recently blocked my parents’ phone number after months of no contact from them.  My father apparently called, & couldn’t reach me so he sent his flying monkeys after me to tell me to call him.  Considering his age & failing health, I honestly had a tough time not calling him at first.  Thank God I have a loving God & good friends who reminded me why I blocked his number in the first place to get me through the worst of it.  A bit later is when the flashback & repressed memories happened.  They really helped drive home the fact that I need to stay away from my parents.  They showed me exactly how abusive & dysfunctional they are.

 

I know flashbacks & repressed memories are extremely painful to deal with, but if you allow yourself to learn & heal from them, at least that pain won’t be in vain.  If you’re unsure what you’re supposed to learn or do after a flashback or a repressed memory returns, then pray.  God will show you what the purpose of it coming to your mind at this time is.  I also suggest keeping a journal.  Writing things down gives you something to look back on.  It reminds you of things you may have forgotten, & offers you strength when you see how far you’ve come.  A written record can be a wonderful thing!  I use an online, password protected diary so my journal is completely private.  No one reads it but God & I.  There are plenty to choose from, so you might want to do the same.

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Rejection & Narcissistic Abuse

Part of the reason narcissistic abuse is so damaging is the rejection.  Rejection is at the core of many behaviors done by narcissists.  Not hearing someone is rejecting them.  Not allowing someone to have any rights is rejection.  Mocking & criticizing someone is rejection.  Failing to protect a child is rejecting them.  Not being validated is rejection.

 

Rejection hurts, whether you’re a child or adult, & no matter who does the rejecting.  However, it seems to me a child rejected by a parent hurts more than anything, & the pain often continues well into adulthood.  There are ways to cope however.

 

You have to realize that a parent who abuses (rejects) their child is the one with the problem, not the child.  I know, that is a tough thing to really get a good grasp on, but it is vital that you do!  A child cannot do anything that forces her parent to reject her- that is on the parent.

 

When your parent rejects or hurts you, ask God to tell you the truth about the situation.  As soon as possible, get into prayer.  Ask God, “Is my parent right in what she said about me?”  “Did I deserve to be treated that way?”  or any other questions you may have, then wait on Him to speak to you.  God cannot lie.  He will tell you the truth, & it will heal your wounds!  I have done this many times.  God has carried me through some incredibly painful experiences by simply speaking His truth, the real truth, to my heart.

 

Look at the situation from your parent’s perspective.  If your parent is a narcissist & you aren’t, this can be kind of tricky, but I encourage you to try it.  It will show you the depths of their dysfunction, which will help you to understand that you aren’t the problem.  For example, my mother has always had problems with my looks.  I look absolutely nothing like her, but instead look like my father’s family, in particular my grandmother.  Looking at it through my mother’s eyes, I can see how this is a problem.  My mother told me she assumed I would look like her when I was born, but I didn’t.  She hates her in-laws, all of them, & here I am, looking like them instead of her.  Her mother in-law to boot!  Does that mean it was OK for her to be so hyper critical & cruel to me about my looks?  Of course not.  But, understanding that showed me that I’m not the repulsive, ugly creature she always treated me like, & my mother has problems to treat me that way!  In fact, my grandmom was a beauty in her youth, so I consider it an honor to look like her.

 

Accept the fact that your parent isn’t capable of loving you in a normal, healthy way that a parent should love a child.  This one is hard & very painful, but you need to do it.  If you don’t, you might cling to the hope that she’ll change.  Instead, you’ll constantly be disappointed that your parent didn’t treat you better this time when you saw each other.  Your parent not changing has nothing to do with you- no one can make another person change.  Instead, it has everything to do with your parent not wishing to change, to be emotionally healthier.

 

Talk about your pain.  Pray.  Talk to a trusted friend or relative.  Write in your journal.  Get the hurt & pain out of you so it doesn’t poison you.

Be prepared- you may feel anger that you’ve never felt before.   The more you heal from narcissistic abuse, the more you see things through a healthier perspective.  That means that what was once normal for you suddenly you see as incredibly dysfunctional or abusive.  This is going to make you angry.  I started getting angry at my mother a few years ago for ordering me around like I was her personal slave rather than asking me to do thing for her.  All my life, that was just how she was.  No biggie.  Once I got much healthier, I realized I deserve better than to be bossed around so disrespectfully, & it made me very angry.  As the anger rises up in you, don’t be afraid of it.  Don’t ignore it, because it won’t just go away.  Find healthy ways of dealing with it.  Talk to God about it.  Vent to someone close.  Write scathing, angry letters that you don’t show to anyone.  Just get the anger out of you!

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An Idea For Enjoying Birthdays

As I mentioned recently, my birthday just passed.  It’s not a happy day for me.  I’ve had many miserable birthdays.  More bad than good.  Thinking about many of them still makes me cringe.  As a result, I dread the day every year.  For years off & on, I tried to make good birthday memories but nothing helped me shake the yukky feelings attached to my birthday.

 

One of my lovely readers knows how I feel, & told me about something I could do.  I read about it & found it fascinating.

 

Queen Elizabeth & I share the same birthday (well, different years..).  Cool, but not the fascinating part.  The fascinating part is there is a royal custom regarding birthdays.  The queen’s birthday isn’t celebrated publicly on April 21st, but on the second Saturday in June.

 

My reader’s suggestion was to follow the Queen’s example with a little change.  Celebrate my birthday on a different day with a chosen few people only, thus making my birthday something to look forward to for a change.

 

The reason I’m sharing this, Dear Reader, is because so many adult children of narcissistic parents or those who were married to narcissists, share my experiences- many lousy birthdays, thanks to the narcissists in their life, have made them bitter about their own birthdays.  Hopefully those of you on this same boat will give the Queen’s idea a try.

 

Besides, it’s simply not fair!  Narcissists have stolen so very much from us, & that’s just wrong.  They have taken way too much.  It’s only right we take back something from them, anything.

 

Thinking about it now, I’m considering creating my new birthday in the fall.  It’s my favorite time of year- the weather is beautiful, the leaves are so colorful & the days are short as I like.  I’ve never been overly fond of the spring, so changing my birthday celebration to autumn sounds like a lovely idea.

 

What about you Dear Reader?  When would you like your new birthday celebration to be?

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