So many survivors of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with take on so much blame for being abused. They say things like, “I should’ve known he was this way when we first met…” or, “I was a difficult child.. my mother had to be hard on me.”
This makes me sad. People need to have a balanced view of blame rather than taking on too much.
If you too grew up with a narcissistic parent or two, there is a great deal of blame to be laid on your parent(s). If you have C-PTSD, anxiety or depression issues, struggle with self-harm or eating disorders, chances are very good the root of those problems lies with enduring narcissistic abuse as a child. Nothing you did could create these problems for yourself. It is your responsibility to deal with those problems, but not for having the problems.
If your narcissistic mother shamed you, told you that you were a mistake, ignored you or was abusive instead of disciplining you, the fault lies with her. No matter what a child does, a child cannot make her parent treat her in such cruel ways. No bad behavior is a valid reason to abuse a child!
Having trouble relating to other people after being raised by a narcissist or two is completely normal. The blame for that can be traced back to your narcissistic parent(s). However, the responsibility for making changes to have healthier relationships is on you.
Not having a healthy balance in such areas & accepting blame for these things can lead to nothing but misery. False guilt, shame, depression, anxiety & more can result.
Do you place blame where it belongs or do you take on too much blame, Dear Reader? I urge you to take a long, hard, honest look at your situation. Ask God to help you identify areas where you’re in need of balance. He will!
I realize that saying your narcissistic mother is to blame for your problems as an adult can trigger unkind, even cruel, comments from others who don’t understand narcissistic abuse. That being said, I urge you also to consider carefully who you discuss this with. Aim for safe people- people who have been through similar situations, who are non-judgmental & have your best interest at heart. If you’re unsure if anyone in your life currently fits that description, then check online. There are many online support groups. (I have a Facebook group that is full of love & support. You’re welcome to check it out if you like.) Talking about it can help you a great deal, when you talk with the right people.
Hosea 2:20 “I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.” (KJV)
Growing up with narcissistic parents takes a toll on your self-esteem. Often, it completely obliterates it. This causes so much needless suffering! Aside from feeling miserable, it makes you make mistakes, by giving you the belief that you can’t do anything right. This in turn solidifies that belief that you can’t do anything right, & makes you feel even worse. It’s an ugly, vicious cycle.
One way to help yourself to regain the self esteem that was stolen from you is to talk to God.
As a child of God, there is PLENTY in the Bible that states what God thinks of you. And, Dear Reader, He thinks a great deal of wonderful things about you! He loves you so much, & wants you to know that. One way He shows it is by talking about you in the Bible. I created a list of these Scriptures & added them to my website. Feel free to check it out at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Also, ask God what He thinks of you, & to help you to be more aware of His love. You will be surprised! You may notice more people saying & doing nice things for you. Blessings may come your way that you weren’t expecting. Maybe both! In any case, you will be blessed.
There is a good amount of information out there about going no contact with narcissists. Many articles make it sound like going no contact will solve all of your problems. It definitely solves some. No longer having a narcissist in your life means you are no longer abused, which of course is a great thing. However, even so, it doesn’t solve all of your problems!
When a person has eliminated a relationship, people always seem to have opinions. There are even more opinions when the relationship in question is with a parent. The adult child is often referred to as selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, unreasonable & more. People often act as though you made this choice on a whim, when nothing could be further from the truth! The worst part is this judgement often comes from people close to you that you never expected would behave like this towards you. Not only does what they say hurt a great deal, but some people will side with the narcissistic parent & abandon you. Rarely does a person who severs ties with a parent have many allies.
Going no contact also doesn’t heal the wounds that your parent inflicted upon you. Those wounds are still there. You still are going to wake up each morning with C-PTSD, anxiety &/or depression. If you also were physically abused, the scars aren’t going to vanish just because your abusive parent is out of your life either.
In fact, I found in my experience and in talking to others that after implementing no contact, suddenly they felt they had more issues to deal with than they had previously. Repressed memories came up, they had more nightmares than usual, anxiety was much worse, they were very depressed & more. I firmly believe the reason for this is because when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, that narcissist basically takes up almost all of your thoughts. You’re so busy trying to figure out ways to please them or at least not trigger their wrath. You may be trying to find a way to escape the relationship unscathed. You’re definitely trying to maintain your sanity in an insane situation. Once the relationship is over, those things are gone. Your mind is free of a huge burden. Now it’s time to process all of what you have been through, & your emotional floodgates let loose. It can be pretty scary & overwhelming. I try to make the best of it, & remember these things that have come up are doing so for a reason. I talk to God about them, & write about them in my journal as ways to help me heal.
No contact is a very viable solution when dealing with narcissists. Often, it is the only solution. However, it isn’t an easy one. Dear Reader, if you’re considering going no contact, please know that it won’t solve all of your problems. It will help you a great deal, but don’t expect it to be easy.
When people tell you you’re stupid, crazy, ugly, etc., there is a reason for it, & it isn’t what you think.
A person saying such things to you doesn’t necessarily believe that you are those things. In fact, most likely they don’t believe it at all. Quite the contrary, they think you are intelligent, attractive, etc.
So why would a person say such awful things to another when they don’t believe them to be true? There are two very distinct possibilities.
Control. A person with low self-esteem is much easier to control than someone with healthy self-esteem. The more a person is beaten down, thinking they are stupid, worthless & other awful things, the easier that person is to control because they assume the controlling person knows best. Also, a person with low self-esteem will work as hard as they can to get love & approval. This works nicely for the controller because she can get anything she wants from the victim.
Projection. Narcissists love to project their flaws onto others. If the narcissist is a liar, she will accuse you of lying. Overeats? She’ll call you a glutton, pig or fat. By doing this projection thing, it allows the narcissist to be angry about the flaw while not accepting that they have it. It is just one in their arsenal of horrible coping skills.
The next time someone says terrible things about you, take notice. There is a very good reason for it, & chances are that it isn’t that they are offering you constructive criticisms in order to help improve you.
When most people think of narcissists, they think of someone loud & obnoxious, who is obviously abusive. That isn’t always the case however. Some tactics narcissists use to abuse their victims are very subtle. So much so that when they happen, a victim may not give them a moment’s thought. That doesn’t make these tactics any less abusive.
Trying to “fix” your appearance. This can be done in very subtle ways, such as suggesting what foods you can eat to help you lose weight or what clothes would look better on you than what you normally wear. It’s a way to shame your looks disguised as offering helpful suggestions. It’s also a good way to make someone look like what the narcissist wants that person to look like.
Isolation. Whether the narcissist in your life is a parent or spouse, it’s a safe bet that person wants to isolate you. They may say things like, “She isn’t really your friend. If she was, she would/wouldn’t ….” “I heard he said …. about you. It was a terrible thing to say, especially since he’s your brother!” “They don’t like me. It really hurts me you’d be friends with people who obviously hate me.” The fewer people in your life, the easier you are to control. You won’t be able to talk about your situation with anyone, so no one can tell you what he or she is doing is wrong.
Disrespecting your boundaries. It starts out small.. a little compromise you don’t object to. Then it’s another, slightly bigger compromise, then another & another. Before you know it, you aren’t allowed to have any boundaries. The old saying, “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” is the absolute truth with narcissists.
Making you doubt yourself. “Are you sure you said that?” “No, I don’t think you really want that. I think you’d prefer….” Subtle phrases like this are nothing but gaslighting. They make a person doubt their perceptions, feelings, & opinions. It’s a very subtle way of tearing a person down mentally & emotionally.
Using anger to control you. In romantic relationships, they hide their anger until they are comfortable that you’re in it for the long haul, then they start using their anger suddenly. Overt narcissists often will scream & rage, sometimes for hours. Covert narcissists give quiet displays of their rage- they give the silent treatment, give disapproving looks, tell other people how cruel you are to them & play the victim. Some narcissists will punch walls or take their anger out on inanimate objects as a way to intimidate you. My ex husband did this & told me how lucky I was he took his anger out on our microwave instead of me.
If someone is doing these things to you or someone you know, it’s abuse, plain & simple! You have every right to protect yourself from this type of behavior, no matter who is doing it. Take back your power! Set & enforce your boundaries. Leave if the person becomes angry, especially if you’re afraid for your safety. Rekindle old friendships the narcissist forced you to abandon. Start a journal if you don’t currently have one, & keep track of the things the narcissist says- seeing things in writing may give you more clarity. Most of all pray. Ask God what you should do in this situation. He will guide you & give you creative ways to handle it or the strength to go no contact.
Those of us who have been through narcissistic abuse need to talk about it. It is part of the healing process, discussing our experiences. This happens for several reasons.
Narcissists routinely convince their victims of all manners of ridiculous things, & it takes a lot of talking to be able to sort out the truth from their lies.
Narcissistic abuse is very difficult to wrap your mind around, even when you have experienced it first hand. Talking about what you have been through makes it more real, & enables you to accept that these awful things did happen. Once that happens, you can begin to heal.
Narcissists invalidate their victims constantly, about every single thing that can be invalidated. Once we realize we have been abused & come away from that, we crave validation. We especially crave it about the experiences we had, because the narcissist told us we were the problem, they did nothing wrong. It helps us so much to hear that they were the problem, not us. We all need to hear this! The less we hear it, the more likely we are to continue believing we are the real problem in the relationship. We can’t heal if we don’t know this truth.
Some people may not understand that you need to talk about your experiences, & may be nasty to you, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with talking about it. It means you’re a normal person who has been through an abnormal situation.
When you find people who don’t understand your need to discuss what you have been through, it’s time to move on, & find others with whom you can discuss your experiences without fear of judgment. Other survivors are usually the safest people you can talk to. They understand how surreal everything is, & how you need validation. They also can share how they have learned to live with the abuse done to them.
Remember, Dear Reader, there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the need to discuss what you have been through! Go with it! You will feel so much better if you do.
There is often a great amount of faulty thinking among people that says if you understand why an abuser abuses, that means you’re justifying the abuse. While that certainly is possible, it isn’t always the case, & it’s also never wise.
Anyone who’s been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows narcissists love gaslighting. Any time they can mess with your perception, feelings & sanity, they are going to jump at that chance. This even happens when it comes to their abuse. They often deny it happened, say it didn’t happen the way you remember or even blame you for making them do whatever it is they did. As a result of all the gaslighting, it can be very difficult to know & understand the truth. In fact, it becomes so difficult, many victims do take on the blame for being abused.
I was one of those victims who believed being abused was my responsibility. If I would just be a better daughter, get better grades, obey my mother even more, etc. my mother wouldn’t have needed to spend so much time screaming at me & telling me what a horrible person I was. Maybe too, my father might try to protect me from her. I later carried that behavior into my first marriage & my current marriage as well, believing all of the problems in my marriage or with the in-laws were 100% my fault. In fact, it’s only been in the last probably 10 years or so I’ve been seeing how wrong that is.
One thing that helped me to see that I wasn’t always to blame is to understand the people who blamed me. I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then later that there are overt & covert narcissists. I learned how these people behave, & how they abuse. I also learned about their motivation always being procuring narcissistic supply. The more I learned, the more I understood my abusers. Things finally started to make sense. And, the more I realized those who blamed me when they were the abusers were really messed up! After a lifetime of hearing that I was the problem, I can’t tell you how freeing it was to learn beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was NOT the real problem!
A lot of people will say understanding your abuser is a waste of time. They’re evil, why bother? Maybe that works for them, which is great of course, but for me, it was an integral part of my healing.
But, this could have ended poorly just as easily. If I hadn’t questioned the “disorder” in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I probably would have bought into the false believe that narcissists can’t help how they behave, because it’s a disorder. Even seeing all the narcissists in my life control their abusive behavior very well, I wouldn’t have trusted my own instincts about it being something they can indeed control thanks to years of gaslighting. I could have justified their abuse because they have a “disorder” which means they can’t control their behavior. It’s not their fault they act the way they do. Who can control a disorder, after all?!
I believe this sort of thinking happens with some folks who learn about NPD. They hear it’s a disorder, & are willing to absolve the narcissist of responsibility for their behavior.
Maybe other people justify narcissist’s behavior because the narcissist had an abusive or neglectful childhood. While certainly that can create issues in a person, narcissism is a choice. Narcissists choose to behave the way they do, & they do it because it gets them what they want.
Many people justify their behavior because narcissists are not abusive all of the time. They throw in some nice behavior sometimes. This confuses victims. They know the narcissist is capable of being kind & hope she’ll return to being that way. They fail to realize this is only to lure a victim back into the narcissist’s web, so they make excuses for the bad behavior. They say things like, “She’s under a lot of stress lately” or, “He was just drunk- it’s not his fault.” Nice behavior done by a narcissist is never done out of love, but as a way to manipulate & control.
Justifying narcissistic abuse in any way is NOT healthy! It damages your mental health! It makes you believe you are to blame for what the narcissist does. It makes you apologize to the narcissist when she abuses you. It makes you tell yourself incredibly damaging things like you don’t matter.
Always remember, there is a huge difference between understanding your abuser & justifying her behavior. And, only one (understanding your abuser) has the ability to help you.
Some years ago, I began to realize I didn’t know who I really was. I was the result of people telling me who I was, how to dress, what to like & not like. It’s taken a long time but I can say honestly that now, I’ve finally shed that false person & become the person God made me to be.
This is very common with children of narcissistic parents.
As a child, you learn early on that your job is to please your narcissistic parent at all times no matter the cost. If there’s something about you that doesn’t please that parent, it’s best to change that into something that does please that parent rather than face the traumatic consequences. This behavior becomes such a habit, you aren’t even aware that you do it.
Eventually you grow up. Not into the person God created you to be- an adult version of that false self your narcissistic parent forced you to become.
While creating the false self worked for surviving childhood with a horribly abusive narcissistic parent, it no longer serves you well as an adult. Chances are, you’re unhappy & don’t even know why. Maybe you work at a job you hate. Even though it’s a good job that pays well, it just doesn’t fulfill you or bring you any joy. Maybe you wear a style of clothing you hate just because it’s what you feel you’re supposed to wear, thanks to your narcissistic parent.
It’s time for this behavior to stop. Whether or not your narcissistic parent is still a part of your life, it’s time to stop worrying about pleasing your parent & start worry about pleasing yourself.
As always, prayer is the best place you can start. Ask God to help you become the person He made you to be, & be glorified through you. Ask Him to show you what you need to do to accomplish this.
Also, start paying attention to yourself. This is hard to do, I know. Narcissistic parents raise their children to ignore themselves & focus on the parent, & that is a tough habit to break. It needs to be done though! Pay attention to how you feel about things. Do you really like that car you drive or is it just because your narcissistic parent said you should drive it? If your job isn’t fulfilling, ask yourself why? What about it doesn’t work well for you? Do you really like vanilla ice cream even though you were always told you didn’t? Even little things like the ice cream thing are important- your likes & dislikes make you, you. So pay attention! The more you pay attention to how you really feel about things, the easier it gets. And, the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn. You’re going to find out that you’re actually a very interesting, special, unique person!
Sometimes when abuse gets especially bad, it can put a person into shock. This can be expected when someone is beaten or raped, especially by someone known to the victim, but it comes other times as well.
In cases of narcissistic abuse, a narcissist can be much like a machine gun of abuse- shooting out abuse after abuse in a short period of time. A victim doesn’t have the time to cope with one episode before another comes along. Or, the abuse can be so outrageous that it is simply unbelievable. When this happens, victims can go into a state of shock
I believe this happens because the brain is trying to protect the victim. Shock gives a person time to come to terms with the fact something awful has happened. Unfortunately though, it still can be difficult to go through. Focus & concentration can be hard to come by. You may feel very “spacey”. You also may miss things you normally notice such as if someone is making a joke. And, you may not be able to identify your emotions.
During the last few weeks of my father’s life, due to the constant abuse I received for not saying good bye to him as well as my own grief, I experienced shock like I’ve never experienced before. (That’s saying something too since I experienced it on a regular basis growing up due to constant abuse, especially in my late teens.) At the time of me writing this, my father has been dead for about six weeks now, & the shock is still there. It’s finally starting to diminish a little bit. One plus at least is I’m learning how to cope with shock, so I thought I’d share what I’m learning with you, Dear Reader.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to get over shock right away. It happened for a reason- to protect your mental health. Don’t try to force yourself to get better right away, because obviously you aren’t ready to cope with what happened just yet. It reminds me of repressed memories- forcing them to come back to the forefront of your mind can cause you more suffering than is necessary. Just let the shock work itself out.
Try to take care of yourself. I say try because as an adult child of narcissistic parents, I know self care isn’t easy. Try it anyway. Get plenty of rest, eat good food, & don’t neglect your physical health. Shock can take a toll on your body as well as your mind, so treat it well.
Do things that make you feel nurtured. Drink herbal tea, coffee or cocoa. Spend a day curled up in your favorite blanket & watch funny movies all day. Buy yourself little treats like a new book or CD you’ve been wanting. Simple little gestures can help you to feel better.
In time, the shock will lift, & you will need to face what you’re feeling after your trauma. Don’t forget to continue taking good care of your physical & mental health when that happens! Emotional work takes up a lot of energy, so you need to take care of both your physical & mental health as you heal.
I noticed something about my situation that I wonder if others have faced as well. During the worst of the shock, I stopped remembering my dreams. This was very odd for me as I’ve always had very vivid dreams that I clearly remember. I believe that is because my brain was trying to come to terms with the daily traumas I endured for that time. I finally started remembering some of my dreams about five weeks after the last traumatic episode surrounding my father’s death happened.
I find dreams to be extremely helpful in understanding my emotional health. I strongly advice paying attention to your dreams once you begin having them again. Write them down. Look up dream symbols to help you to understand what your dreams are about. Personally, I like http://www.dreammoods.com . Also ask God to help you to understand them. You may find some valuable insight in your dreams.
Rejection is a huge part of narcissistic abuse. It may not seem like it at first, but when you think about it, it really is.
Rejection isn’t only kicking someone out of your life. Rejection can take many other forms.
Telling someone that they aren’t good enough is a form of rejection.
A parent failing to protect their child is rejecting the child.
Not allowing a child to have any rights is rejection.
Not hearing a child is rejection.
Invalidating a child is certainly rejection.
Treating a child as if the child has no value is rejection.
Rejection in childhood is extremely damaging. It can destroy a child’s self-esteem, inhibits their ability to trust people, & makes them relate to others in unhealthy ways. They can develop anxiety or anger problems.
To undo this damage, prayer is vital, in my opinion. Ask God where to start.
I also believe that learning what the Bible has to say about you is very important. I created a list of positive affirmations, & put them on my website. Feel free to print them out if you like. They can be found here: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Another thing that I find is important is realizing that any parent who rejects her own child has problems. Narcissists are incredibly dysfunctional in their thinking, which is why they hurt even their own children. They have problems! Normal people don’t deliberately hurt anyone, especially their own children.
Dear Reader, just because you have been rejected by your parent doesn’t mean you are bad or flawed or whatever they said about you. You are a child of God, & God doesn’t make mistakes!
Psalm 27:10 “Although my father and my mother have abandoned me,
Yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].” (AMP)
Denial is a common survival tool of victims of all types of abuse. Pretending things didn’t happen, weren’t that bad or there was a good reason your abuser acted as she did are all forms of denial.
Denial may help you to cope for a while, but it shouldn’t be a permanent solution. It can be very unhealthy.
It enables you to avoid facing the damage done & the pain you feel. Although that may feel good for a short time, in the long run, it can hurt your physical & mental health. Stifling emotions can create anxiety, depression, headaches, body aches with no physical cause, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes & more.
Denial may get you through a bad situation as it’s happening, but otherwise, it has no benefits. I know facing the ugly truth can be hard, but I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to face it. As hard as it may be, it’s actually much easier in the long run than denial is.
Facing the truth allows you to heal. When you no longer deny the facts, you can see the situation for what it is, then deal with it & heal from the damage.
Staying in denial often also means staying in an abusive situation. Many people think they don’t have a right to be upset about their situation because their narcissistic parent wasn’t as bad as someone else’s, or at least their abusive husband didn’t beat them like their friend’s did, so they continue to have a close relationship with their abuser. There is no logic at all in this! Abuse is abuse, period! It’s all bad! Degrees of abuse don’t matter. What does matter is no one should tolerate being abused!
When you know you need to start facing certain things, it’s time to get into prayer. Ask God to help you. Ask Him for strength & courage. Ask Him to enable you to face whatever you need to, & only to allow you to face what you are able to at any given time. You will be glad you did this as you begin to face ugly truths. And, you’ll be glad you started facing those truths once you realize how much healthier you’ve become!
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for]your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (AMP)
When it comes to loving narcissists, it feels like an impossible task. They aren’t easy people to love, because of all the cruel & horrible things they do to their victims. How can you feel all warm & fuzzy towards someone who deliberately hurts you?!
You can’t. But, the good news is God’s kind of love isn’t always about the warm & fuzzy feelings. Reread the above Scripture again if you don’t believe me. It says that “love is unselfishly seeking the best or higher good for someone.” You can do that without feeling warm, fuzzy feelings.
Probably about two years ago by now, God put it on my heart to pray for some people who have hurt me a great deal in my life. Then, He kept wanting me to add to the list. Daily I pray for many abusive people who have been in my life, including my narcissistic parents. Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle for me to pray for such mean people at first, but it’s gotten much easier as I’ve gotten in the habit of praying for them each morning. I even set a reminder on my cell phone to remind me to pray each morning.
It has helped me too, to realize it’s possible to love someone without liking them. We are called to love people, not like them, & there is a big difference. Loving someone means you want the best for them while liking someone can be more about the “fuzzy” feelings.
You may not believe it, but it’s possible to love narcissists God’s way. Simply wanting the best for them is Godly love. You may not be able to stand the sight of someone, yet love them God’s way.
In fact, there are loving behaviors that most likely narcissists won’t think are loving, but they truly are. Setting boundaries, for example. Boundaries not only protect you, but they encourage the other person to behave in a healthy way. Sometimes even ending a relationship can be a loving thing to do if you think about it. Just being in the presence of a narcissist can stir up strife. Removing yourself from their life means you are also removing one person for them to abuse. It can be a very loving thing to go no contact for yourself as well as a narcissist.
Remembering these things has been helpful to me. Aside from enabling me to pray for them, & God wants us to pray for our enemies, it’s given me peace. I’ve been accused of hating narcissists that I have ended relationships with, which left me feeling shame. Thankfully God showed me the truth though, & that truth is that I do love them, I just don’t like them. That is important to know because it eliminates guilt & shame that have no place in your heart.
If you are at the point in your relationship with the narcissist in your life where you are ready to go no contact, I truly wish you the best. It’s not an easy decision to make, so it shows you have courage & strength just to make the decision. You’ll need it to follow through with it.
So many people that write about narcissistic abuse make it sound like it’s all so simple. “Just” cut the abuser out of your life & all will be fine from now on. Unfortunately, that is very far from true!
The narcissist may not respect your decision. Narcissists don’t respect boundaries, so why would they respect this one? They think they alone should decide what happens in relationships, & if the other person in the relationship makes any decisions like setting boundaries, that person is wrong. They often do things like constantly trying to contact you via phone, email, text or social media. They sometimes say they want to know what’s wrong, but truth be told, they only want to tell you why you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. They also may say they’re sorry. Listen to the apology if one is offered. Most likely it’ll be a fake apology designed to pacify you & lure you back into the relationship. Something like “I’m sorry if I hurt you” “I’m sorry you feel that way” or lame excuses for their behavior. A genuine apology offers no excuses, genuinely admits to wrongdoings & behavior changes. Use your discernment & what you have learned about narcissism so you don’t fall for the act & apology!
Granted, most narcissists smear their victims behind their back for years in order to discredit the victim (in case the victim tells others of the abuse, she won’t be believed), but it gets worse once you initiate no contact. The narcissist will tell anyone who will listen about how mean you are, how you hurt her, how she doesn’t understand why you’d behave this way & more. This is basically damage control- if the narcissist can convince others you are mentally unbalanced or even just a bad person somehow, others will believe the narcissist’s version of events over yours. The narcissist’s reputation then will remain in tact while yours is in shreds. As counter productive as it may sound, refuse to defend yourself. Any self defense will be construed as you being just as awful as the narcissist said you are. Sadly, you still will lose friends & family, but if they blindly believe a narcissist, you truly are better off without them. People who truly love you won’t believe the narcissist’s lies.
Do not feed the flying monkeys! If the narcissist can’t reach you because you have blocked their access to you, they will send flying monkeys. It’s a given. They are going to come out of the woodwork & tell you how sorry the narcissist is, they didn’t mean to hurt you, they were just trying to help, she had a bad childhood so she didn’t know any better & a plethora of other lame excuses why it’s OK that the narcissist abused you. They are convinced the narcissist is right & you’re wrong & they don’t want to be bothered with the truth, so don’t waste your breath telling them the truth. Their loyalty to narcissists knows no bounds. Ignore the flying monkeys! If you can, avoid them or sever ties with them. If you can’t, refuse to discuss the narcissist or anything about the narcissist with them. Tell them the topic isn’t something you’re willing to discuss with them. Change the subject. Repeatedly. Be rude if you must. Hang up the phone or walk away. Repeat as often as necessary.
Stand strong in the truth. You know what happened. You know what the narcissist is capable of. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Write down everything you can think of, so that way if you feel any doubts, you can read over your experiences to remind you of what made you come to this difficult decision.
Work on healing. When there is a narcissist in your life, it’s nearly impossible to heal because they take up so much time, energy & thought. Once they are no longer in your life, that is gone. It’s a huge relief! It also means your mind has more time, energy & thoughts it can devote to your healing from the abuse. In fact, it may not give you a choice. I found that some time after being no contact with my narcissistic parents, I started having more intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares than usual. Thankfully, it didn’t last forever & they calmed down after a while. During prayer, God told me it was because I no longer had to function in survival mode. My brain needed to heal from so much & hadn’t been able to do it for a long time. It was like it was forcing me to face things so it could feel better. I figured if these things were happening, I might as well use them to my advantage. The more you heal from things, the less intrusive thoughts, nightmares & flashbacks you have about them & they eventually can disappear
Most of all, pray. People can be a great support of course, but not everyone understands your suffering. God, however, does. He will help you to cope & to heal as well as comfort you when you’re hurting if you let Him. All you have to do is ask.
For many people, the holiday season is a glorious time of year. The time to enjoy friends, family & celebrations. For others like me who have survived demanding, controlling, entitled or even narcissistic parents &/or in-laws however, the mere thought of the holidays brings about a feeling of dread.
My first & current mothers in-law both always demanded my husband’s & my presence every Thanksgiving & Christmas, no matter what. Divorcing my ex & cutting my current in-laws out of my life in 2002 naturally ended their demands for me at least but the damage was done. The enjoyment I once felt for the holidays was gone. Years of spending holidays with people who obviously hated me or alone while my husband spent the day with his family destroyed all pleasure I’d once had in holidays.
I know that my story isn’t all that unusual. So many others have been through very similar situations that I thought sharing some thoughts I’ve had on this topic might help you, Dear Reader.
When you develop this holiday bitterness, people aren’t always understanding. Most people seem to want everyone to look forward to holidays with enthusiasm & joy, & if you don’t, they can be shaming. Many others I know & I have been scolded for not trying to enjoy holidays, told they need to just focus on the joy of the day, everyone loves holidays, etc etc. What these people fail to realize is this holiday bitterness didn’t happen over night. We have tried to enjoy the holidays repeatedly, but demanding people ruined it by commanding us to do what they want us to do & treating us badly when we didn’t do it (well, often worse than usual since bad treatment is the norm with narcissists). It came about when in-laws demand we ignore our own family in favor of them, & treated us badly & acted like something is wrong with us for not wanting to spend a holiday with them. They also shame us for wanting to spend a holiday with our immediate family- our spouse & kids- rather than with them. These people think shaming us & ordering us around is OK. Really, how does that make any sense?
I’m not saying holiday bitterness is a good thing. Frankly, it stinks! I miss looking forward to the holidays & hate how I dread what was once a time of year I looked forward to. What I am saying though is that there is no shame if you feel differently about holidays than the average person does.
Sometimes, too many bad seeds have been sown to overcome. Something unpleasant is the only possible harvest when that happens. Of course it’s a good idea to try to counteract the bad feelings, but if nothing works, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you’re a bad person. If you can’t conquer holiday bitterness, it just means that some really bad things have been done that caused you to feel this way.
Dear Reader, I’m sorry you feel this nasty holiday bitterness. I hope you can conquer it by starting your own traditions, avoiding negative people around the holidays, suggesting holiday gatherings with extended family on a different day near the actual holiday while you spend the holiday with your immediate family, etc. If you can’t however, then at the very least, please don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s simply a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances, & it happens more often than you might think.
Hello, Dear Readers!
If you want to check them out, you can click on the links in the last paragraph, or go to my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn early in life to be invisible. Stay out of everyone’s way. Don’t bother anyone with your “petty” needs or problems. After all, your parents are the important ones, not you. You are there to attend to their needs, not them to yours. They have drilled these so-called facts into your head from birth, so you know them well.
Being invisible is not only a way of life, but a handy survival tool in that type of environment. The less your narcissistic parents notice you, the less likely they’ll use or abuse you. Staying quiet & out of their way can make your childhood somewhat easier.
While being invisible can serve you well while in such a toxic environment, it is no longer necessary once you are out of it. In fact, it won’t help you at all & may hurt you instead.
If you continue to remain invisible, people may not necessarily abuse you, but they also will not be there for you or love you as you need, because they will not notice you. Or, if they do notice you, your needs won’t be very important to them because they don’t appear important to you. Not discussing your needs makes people not even realize you have them.
Dear Reader, if this is you, it’s your time to become visible! Let people know you exist. It is perfectly OK to have needs & wants, & to let those be known among those close to you. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. In normal, healthy relationships, both parties have needs & let each other know what they are with the expectation that when possible, the other person will fulfill them. God has created people to need one another, after all. He obviously knows best, so why not try living life His way?
I have friends who follow the Pagan religion. Naturally, they follow Pagan pages on Facebook. Often they share things that inspire them or that they like. It’s not often “join our religion, it’s awesome!!” type posts. In fact, that is rare. 99% of the time what they share are stunning nature themed pictures. A white owl, baby foxes playing, a pretty path in the woods, a wildflower meadow, a starry night… beautiful scenes.
It just crossed my mind that the Christian pages I follow don’t share such images. They share lovely & inspiring things, of course, but I haven’t seen anything like what the Pagan pages share- simple beauty in nature.
I understand that Paganism has entirely different fundamental beliefs than Christianity. That’s why I’m Christian & not Pagan- Christian beliefs make sense to me, Pagan ones don’t. That being said though, there is one thing that I think Christians need to learn from Pagans. They appreciate & respect nature. They enjoy its beauty & what it has to offer. They understand that herbs & plants have healing properties & use them. (True, they can be used for spells & such, too, but simply to enjoy the healing benefits, there isn’t any magic involved.)
Why don’t more Christians do that same thing? I mean, we obviously believe God created everything- why don’t more Christians take the time to appreciate what God has created? Why aren’t more Christians concerned with animal abuse? And, why do so many object to herbal remedies when they are often much safer & more effective than pharmaceuticals?
It’s sad to me how few Christians think that way. I actually unfollowed one Christian page on Facebook some time ago because so many said terrible things about animals- how stupid they are, we don’t need them, “the only way I like animals is barbecued” & other awful things. And, those who professed to love animals were mocked & shamed.
Personally I don’t see anything at all wrong with appreciating & respecting nature. I love staring at the sky on a clear, starry night. A full moon is also one of my favorite sights, as is the colors of changing leaves in the fall. I also love the sounds of a thunder storm or quiet beauty of a blizzard. Obviously, I love animals- I brag about mine plenty! lol I also use valerian root capsules & lemon balm for anxiety & St. John’s Wort capsules for depression rather than prescription medications, & have mentioned that in several of my books.
Doing such things hasn’t compromised my faith in God one bit. In fact, it makes me feel closer to God when I stare in awe at the moon & stars. Taking in the beauty of nature helps keep me grounded, calms my anxiety & makes me very grateful for the wonders around me. Being close to my furkids makes me grateful that He has seen fit to bless me with these adorable critters. They bring me an incredible amount of joy. I’m also grateful for the natural remedies to help my mental health, especially knowing I don’t run the risk of awful side effects so many prescription anti-anxiety & anti-depression meds have.
Dear Reader, I hope if you haven’t considered these things before, you will now. God made the Earth & everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What could possibly be wrong with using & appreciating the beautiful, useful things He has made, even thanking Him for them?
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)
We all know that light conquers darkness. If you were in a pitch dark room & lit a match, that tiny match would dispel a surprising amount of darkness.
Jesus referred to Himself in the above Scripture as the light of the world for a reason. Light also gives life- look at plants, as an example. Without light, they won’t survive. Like light, Jesus gives life- eternal life. If you follow Him, He will make clear what path to take in your life. He also can show you things you might not have noticed before. (If it wasn’t for Him, I don’t know if I’d know anything about narcissism.)
In your journey of healing from narcissistic abuse, have you asked the Lord to help you? He truly wants to! And, although even He can’t make it easy, He can help to make it less painful & difficult. I can tell you from my own experience, I wouldn’t be where I am now without His help. He’s shown me what I needed to do & how to do things. He’s answered my questions, let me rant when I was angry or hurting & comforted me when no one else could.
If you haven’t asked Jesus for help in your healing journey, maybe now is the time for you to do that. He wants to help, so let Him! Ask Him to show you what you need to do & how you need to do it. Ask Him for comfort, wisdom, strength, courage & anything else you need. He will be more than glad to help, so why not let Him?
I have a thing about beauty.. I love it in all forms & surround myself with it as much as possible. There is something so peaceful, comforting & calming about it to me, especially when it comes to beauty in nature.
A few days after my father died, I looked out my kitchen window. I saw a couple of beautiful butterflies on the marigold plants in our backyard! They not only brought me comfort due to their special meaning in my life, but they also were so beautiful they brought some peace & joy.
I thought I’d make today’s post a bit different than usual, & share the beauty with you, Dear Reader. As I’ve said many times, we can’t focus on narcissism all the time- it’s too depressing. Consider this a break from that depressing topic & take in the beauty that God has created. 🙂
Narcissists are the most superficial bunch of people you can imagine. Everything about them is a charade, right down to their apologies.
On the rare occasion they do apologize, there isn’t one sincere thing about it. Maybe they say the right words, but I can assure you, there is nothing sincere about apologies coming from a narcissist.
If you’re wondering how you can be sure whether or not the narcissist in your life truly means their apology, I am going to list some differences below between a sincere apology & a narcissistic apology.
- Sincere apologies always include accepting responsibility for the wrong that was done & don’t shift blame. Narcissists may say they are sorry for what they did, but then they make an excuse for it. “I’m sorry I said that, but I wouldn’t have said it if you wouldn’t have done….” Or, they may even deny doing what they did entirely, making you feel like you’re crazy.
- If the behavior doesn’t change, the apology isn’t sincere. People who truly are sorry for hurting another person do their best never to repeat that behavior. Insincere apologies may sound sincere sometimes, but the fact the offending person’s behavior didn’t change is a big clue that they didn’t mean their apology.
- Insincere apologies are passive/aggressive. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong.” While the words “I’m sorry” are being said, it’s clear the person saying such things doesn’t believe they have done something wrong. The person is angry about being called out on their behavior, & will apologize just to shut you up.
- Insincere apologies are vague, rather than specific. Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I cheated on you,” a narcissist may say, “I know I’ve made some mistakes in our marriage.”
- Sometimes apologies can be used to hurt you. My mother once told me she realized she made a lot of mistakes while raising me. I thought maybe she realized what she did to me & wanted to apologize for it. She sounded so sincere. Instead, she continued by saying “Obviously I made mistakes. Just look at how you turned out.” She guaranteed I would pay attention by sounding sincere & by what she said. Once she had my full attention, she dropped that cruel bomb on me.
- Sincere apologies acknowledge the pain that was caused, while insincere ones ignore it. Using the cheating spouse example again, a sincere apology would be something like, “I’m sorry I cheated on you. I know doing that has devastated you. I’m so sorry..it was wrong & it’ll never happen again, I promise.” Narcissists lack empathy, so your pain that they caused is one of two things- not even a blip on their radar because they didn’t think of you in the slightest, or your pain is something they enjoyed causing you.
- A narcissist expects you to accept their apology once they say it, then drop the topic forever. Narcissists don’t want to discuss what happened. In their minds, saying they’re sorry (no matter how insincerely it’s said) once is good enough. They said that, so you should be over it & never bring it up again.
- Narcissists love to make the victim feel that they should forgive & forget. If you’re a Christian, have been wronged or abused by a narcissist & they apologize to you, chances are very good the narcissist will make you feel like you’re a terrible example of your faith if you don’t forgive & forget what was done to you. This apology can make you feel as bad or worse than the original offense.
- Some narcissists apologize for something they think you’re upset about in order to placate you. My father has done this. After my mother in-law passed away in 2016, my parents & I had a huge argument. My father later apologized to me for asking if my husband & I were still together during that argument. (He kept trying to deflect me off the topic). Granted, it wasn’t a good thing to ask, but it also wasn’t the reason I was so angry with him. I told him that & explained exactly why I was angry. He looked at me like a deer in the headlights. Clearly, he couldn’t understand why I’d be upset that he & my mother wanted to “pay their respects” to someone who had been so cruel & abusive to me. Also, it was obvious he thought that all should be fine- he apologized. Never mind the fact what he apologized for wasn’t the thing he should have apologized for.
Dear Reader, please keep these actions in mind when you must deal with a narcissist. Remembering them will help you not to buy their insincere apology. You don’t need that aggravation! If you fall for their apology, they’ll see you as someone they can manipulate & do so more & more. Who needs that?! You don’t! And, you deserve to be treated better than that.