Your body remembers everything that you’ve experienced, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, & stores such memories on a cellular level. Your brain may or may not remember things, but your body does. This is why certain smells, sounds, tastes, feelings or sights bring specific feelings to mind.
Body memories are especially common with victims of sexual assault. Even if the assault happened when the victim was too young to recall details, smelling the same cologne the attacker wore, or hearing music that was playing in the background during the assault can trigger incredible anxiety in the victim, even a panic attack. The victim’s mind may not recall the assault, but the body remembers every detail.
Body memories aren’t only linked to sexual assault, however. They also happen with victims of other types of abuse, including narcissistic abuse.
Often, narcissistic abuse is a series of constant traumatic events. I think of it much like a machine gun of abuse- one trauma immediately follows another then another & yet another in rapid succession. You don’t have time to heal from one trauma when another five are thrown your way. It may be too much to cope with, so your mind forgets some of the abuse as you try to survive the constant trauma. However, your body remembers it all. That is why certain things trigger anxiety, fear, anger, etc. in you for no obvious reason. It is your body’s way of trying to protect you from things like that happening again.
A couple of years ago, I went to my old high school with a friend. They were having a craft show & we thought it’d be fun to check it out since we both love crafts & both attended that school. From the moment we set foot on the campus, I became anxious & even panicky. I had trouble holding back the tears until we left. It turned into a miserable experience for me. I had no idea exactly why I was in such a state then. Since, I have remembered a few instances of abuse at the hands of my mother on the property of that school though, which apparently my body remembered even though my mind didn’t at the time.
When things like this happens, you need to remember you aren’t crazy! Your body is remembering something pretty terrible. There is pain that you need to acknowledge. Some people suggest talking out loud to yourself. Remind your body that what happened won’t happen again, & that you survived. You’re OK now.
I think prayer is a better idea, however. Asking God to help you to cope. Or, maybe a combination of prayer & talking to your body. Whatever works for you is what matters. Body memories can be a very unpleasant thing to deal with, but at least they can help offer some insight into areas where you need healing.
As anyone with experience with a narcissist knows, they accept no blame for anything they have done. Ever. You can confront them about something terrible they have done, then later walk away wondering why you just apologized to them instead of them apologizing to you. This post will help you identify some of the common blame shifting behaviors so you won’t fall for them in the future.
Probably the most common thing that narcissists do to shift the blame is to play the victim. This is especially common with covert narcissists, but overt ones will do it as well. The narcissist will turn your legitimate concern around in such a way that you feel as if you’re being too hard on that person, overreacting or being too sensitive. After all, they never had any idea that what they said or did would hurt you, they say. Or, they may bring up some (probably imaginary) thing you did in the past, claiming that is abusive, & turning the topic of the conversation to that incident rather than your topic.
Closely related to playing the victim is the guilt trip done to shift blame. They may tell you about something painful that they experienced in their childhood or say things like, “Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Before you know it, you’re comforting them even though they hurt you!
They often accuse their victims of bad or even abusive behavior, but especially during the times when they are confronted. This is an effective way to shift the blame from the narcissist to the victim. My mother did this to me when I was growing up. She said I made her do something bad to me because of how terrible I was acting. On my seventeenth birthday, she destroyed my gifts that my now ex husband gave me, then made me clean up the mess she made. She said because I was “acting so snotty”, which is what made her destroy those gifts. The truth was when I took the gifts from school to her car at the end of my day, I was terrified what she was going to do to me because she hated my ex, & was quiet. I wasn’t “acting snotty”- I was acting terrified!
Narcissists also minimize the feelings of their victims to shift blame to the victim. Basically, this shifts the blame to the victim for how they responded to the abuse rather than the abuse itself. They may say things like “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re crazy,” or “I was just joking!”
When you’re talking with a narcissist & these things happen, then you can be certain they are attempting to shift the blame off of themselves. The best thing you can do is to redirect the conversation back to the original topic, as calmly as you can. Wait on the narcissist to finish whatever she is saying, then calmly say something, “Ok, but that isn’t what we were talking about. We will address that later. We’re discussing ____ at the moment.” You may have to do that a few times, but keep doing it. If that doesn’t work, try saying, “We’ll talk about this another time when you are ready to talk,” then leave or hang up the phone, & approach her another time in the very near future.
Unfortunately with narcissists, there is never an easy answer. Doing what I suggested may not work at all for you in the sense of being able to hash out the problem at hand. However, the good thing is it will let that narcissist know that you aren’t going to be fooled by the blame shifting nor will you be pushed around.
Being raised by a narcissistic parent or two causes a person to act differently than people raised by healthy, functional parents. Aside from the most obvious common problem, C-PTSD, being raised by narcissists creates certain unique behaviors that almost every victim exhibits. This post addresses those behaviors.
Being afraid to say no. Narcissists don’t allow their children to have boundaries. “No” can be met with abuse- name calling, scathing criticisms, guilt trips & even physical violence. Children use “yes” as a survival skill as a result. They learn early in life that it’s easier to do whatever their narcissistic parent wants than to say “no” & face the consequences. This behavior becomes such a habit that it is often carried into adulthood. While it served a good purpose as a child, it no longer does as an adult. Being a healthy adult means having healthy boundaries. You need to start asking yourself why are you saying yes? Are you saying yes because you want to or because you’re afraid of disappointing someone if you say no? Start saying no when you’re saying yes when you don’t want to. Some people won’t like it, but one thing to keep in mind- healthy, good, caring people respect boundaries. Users & abusers don’t. If someone gets upset with you for having a healthy boundary, that isn’t the kind of person you need in your life.
Apologizing too much. Narcissistic parents blame their children for every single thing, so their children learn to apologize for everything, whether or not it’s their fault. This dysfunctional survival skill also carries into adulthood, & needs to stop. When you feel the urge to apologize, pray. Ask God is this truly your fault? Should you apologize or are you only doing so out of habit?
Being unable to express emotions in a healthy way. Narcissists can’t handle the emotions of other people, including their children. They force their children to stifle their emotions, often by shaming them for having them. This tells children their emotions are bad. To cope, may continue to repress their emotions while others express them in inappropriate ways such as getting angrier than is appropriate for the situation. It can be hard, I know, but you need to learn to get in touch with your emotions & give them a healthy outlet. Ask God to help you to do this, because it will get scary, especially showing anger after a lifetime of stifling it. Journaling can be helpful, too- seeing things in writing brings clarity.
Not trusting your intuition & perception. Constant gaslighting is possibly the most cruel form of abuse there is, & also a favorite of narcissists. Gaslighting makes a person second guess everything about themselves- their instincts, perception, feelings, thoughts- because it makes a victim feel that they are wrong about everything or even crazy. The fact is though that you aren’t wrong or crazy- you are FINE! The gaslighting made you doubt these things but it doesn’t mean that they are actually wrong or flawed somehow. Your instincts, perceptions, feelings & thoughts are just fine. They are trustworthy! Ask God to help you to learn to trust yourself. Pay attention, too. You’ll see that the more you you’re right about little things, the more you learn to trust yourself.
Over explaining yourself. Narcissistic parents demand their children behave in certain ways that are acceptable to them, no matter how their child feels about it. When the child fails to meet the impossibly high expectations, the parent demands an explanation for the failure. One more dysfunctional survival skill children of narcissists learn is to explain anything & everything, & again, this often continues into adulthood. It feels strange at first to stop over explaining yourself, but if you stick with it, it gets more comfortable as time goes on. Always remember, not everyone needs an explanation for what you do.
These behaviors, although dysfunctional, don’t have to be permanent. With prayer & work, you can make healthy changes.
So many of us raised with narcissistic parents have heard the phrase “just let it go” too many times to count upon mentioning our awful upbringing. People fail to realize that we would love to let it go & not think about it anymore. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple!
Narcissistic abuse is incredibly ubiquitous. It doesn’t simply affect one small part of you- it permeates every area of your mind & even body. All of your thinking stems from the perspective of someone who was abused by a narcissist. Your body may reflect that abuse too, even if the narcissist didn’t attempt to hurt you physically. The constant stress of living with a narcissist can lead to adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, C-PTSD or PTSD (which are both brain injuries resulting from surviving trauma).
Simply put, you can’t “just let go of” such things no matter how much you wish you could. And honestly, why would you? To make some cold hearted, unfeeling person more comfortable in your presence? Life experiences- good, bad or indifferent- made you the person you are. Learn from them all & grow!
There are some things you can let go of, however. You can let go of:
- expecting the person who told you “just let it go” to be caring & supportive of you.
- the warped belief that something is wrong with you for having problems (either physical or mental or both) after surviving narcissistic abuse.
- that sick belief the narcissist instilled in you that you made him/her abuse you.
- believing that you are the only one responsible for making relationships work.
The next time someone tells you to “just let it go,” you can tell them what you have let go, using the above statements as an example. Or, if you really want to throw them for a loop, ask them what exactly do they want you to let go of & how they recommend you go about doing so.
As anyone with experience with narcissists knows, you can’t avoid them entirely. Try as you might, they are everywhere. Because this is a sad fact of life, everyone needs to have some effective weapons in their arsenal.
Below is a list of things that can help stop narcissists in their tracks. While I always recommend prayer as the best place to start, these are some useful tactics I have found that can be helpful as well.
- Show no emotions when in the presence of a narcissist. Narcissists feed off the emotions of their victims. If you act happy, they will do their best to make you unhappy. If you’re sad, they’ll try to make you sadder. Angry? They will push your buttons to attempt to make you even angrier. In the presence of a narcissist, show NO emotions. You aren’t happy, sad, angry or anything. You simply are. This gives them nothing to work with.
- Ask the narcissist, “How does that make sense?” It is best to ask this question logically, minus any signs of emotion aside from confusion. Narcissists are highly illogical beings, so when you ask them to explain their actions, it can stop them in their tracks. It also can cause a narcissistic injury, but not one they usually react to with narcissistic rage. They know if they do, they’ll end up looking ridiculous, & that fact stops them in their tracks.
- “No.” Simply, no. No explanation, no excuses. If they continue to try to pressure you for more information, simply continue saying no. Narcissists don’t know what to do with this, especially when you refuse to explain your no. They may try to intimidate you with their anger or make you feel guilty for your no, but if you stay dedicated to your no while showing no emotions, they will give up fairly quickly.
- Make eye contact. People who have nothing to hide or are honest have no problems making eye contact. Narcissists have plenty to hide & are very dishonest. Eye contact will freak them out. They don’t know what to do with a person who meets their gaze.
- Let them know that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Narcissists expect the world to center on them. If you let them know this isn’t the case where you are concerned, it will fluster them. To do this, you can refuse to do something for or with them because you have other plans at that time. “I can’t.. I have plans that day” without any explanation is a perfectly acceptable response. “Oh” when they cry to you about how mean someone was to them also works.
- Let them know they don’t scare you. Overt narcissists in particular love to intimidate their victims. Intimidation means a victim will do whatever you want, & overt narcissists rely on that fact. But think about it- what can this person do to you? Chances are, not much. If that person belittles or criticizes you, remember that narcissists project their flaws onto their victims & do their best to tear a person down. That doesn’t mean what they say is true! If you remember that & show no fear or even act a bit bored, you aren’t showing fear.
- Let them know their guilt trips don’t work on you. If the narcissist is a covert narcissist, rather than try to intimidate you, chances are very good they will use guilt. Guilt can be difficult to fight. Instead of accepting their guilt trips, ask yourself if what they say makes sense. Should you feel guilty for what they say you should? Was that truly your responsibility?
- Show your self-confidence. I adopted a chow chow mix dog in 2002 for my husband for his birthday. What I didn’t know about Bear at that time was that chows are known for having a very dominant nature. Combine that with the fact he obviously had been abused, & it was a recipe for disaster. It took a lot of work to turn him into the wonderful, loving, kind dog he turned into. The main thing that helped was to let Bear know he was NOT in charge. Dominant dogs need a very strong leader or they will take over, & Bear was no exception. Narcissists are much the same way. If you show any sign of weakness, narcissists will take over. If you refuse to believe the awful criticisms they say or be manipulated, & make your feelings know, narcissists will back down. Bullies are at their heart cowards, & since narcissists are usually bullies, this applies to them as well.
Nothing is guaranteed to stop any narcissist from abusing you for good, but using these comments can stop them at least temporarily. They may even stop the narcissist for good on specific topics. I wish you the best with the narcissists you face, & hope these tactics help you!
Yes! These things are terrible to say to someone with any sort of problem, really, but in particular a chronic condition of any type.
Chronic pain and disease are not just pain or sickness.
It is frustration, sadness, anger, anxiety, emptiness, and loneliness. It is wondering how on earth you will make it through, and if you can cope with this forever. It is wondering how you can pay the bills, buy your medications, and visit the doctors, while still putting food on the table for your family. It is missing your life, the one you had before you got this sick and being scared of the future.
Surviving with chronic pain, or illness means that each morning when you get up (if you can get up) you face the day with uncertainty and fear. You try to put a smile on your face and cope the best you can, but often failing.
Those of us who have this battle withstand so much mockery and blame from others, there is so much misunderstanding and…
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Silence is one of any narcissist’s best weapons. They do NOT want their victims to talk to anyone about what the narcissist is doing, nor do they want their victim to feel safe enough to confront them on their abusive behavior. To prevent those things from happening, they use various ways to silence victims.
An extremely common tactic narcissists use is gaslighting. If a narcissist can convince a victim that something happened differently than they remember or it didn’t even happen in the first place, the victim won’t discuss the event. Why would they? Convincing victims that they don’t remember things right or are making up some wild stories will keep them quiet. They feel crazy enough- why should they say things that would make them look crazy too?
Shaming is an effective weapon to create silence as well. If a narcissist can convince a victim that the victim is a terrible person, that victim will be quiet. That person feels as if she or he is stupid or crazy or even unworthy to “burden” other people. A person who carries shame is a quiet person. I know- I have been there. Granted, I’m quiet by nature but prior to learning about shame, it was much worse. For example, I felt there was something deeply wrong with me for being upset about the terrible things my ex did to me, so I kept most things to myself. As a result, when we separated, no one cared to hear my side- everyone took his side with only a couple of exceptions. They never heard me complain before, so they figured everything must have been OK between us.
Another facet of shaming is when a narcissist is confronted about their behavior & states that behavior wouldn’t upset her. She has no idea why you’re upset. My mother did this one to me regarding her nastiness about one of my cats. Chester is a big cat, but he’s very muscular My mother called him fat more times than I can count. I’d told her to stop being so mean repeatedly with no results. Eventually I complained about it to my father, who told her what I said. She called me & said she had no idea why I’d be upset. She actually said, “If someone called me fat, I’d just tell them they were right. I certainly wouldn’t be angry about it!” I knew immediately that statement was supposed to make me feel shame for being angry with her. It didn’t work. It just made me angry she would try such a ridiculous tactic.
Projection is also effective for silencing a victim. When a narcissist accuses a victim of some terrible behavior, it usually stuns a person. Most people will assume the narcissist is right, examine their behavior & try to make improvements, at least until they learn about projection & understand what is being done to them.
Triangulation is another effective way narcissists silence victims. If a narcissist can convince their victim that other people would think, feel or respond as the narcissist, that makes the victim feel isolated. The victim may think he or she is crazy, stupid, oversensitive & a host of other awful things. Who would want to talk when they feel that way?
Invalidation is another excellent way to silence a victim. Invalidation basically says that every single thing about you is wrong, flawed & even crazy. It makes a person feel as if they cannot trust their own thoughts, feelings or perceptions. No one who feels that messed up is going to feel able to confront a narcissist or tell others that they are being abused. In fact, invalidation makes people feel as if they are NOT being abused, & they are completely wrong & crazy for thinking such a thing in the first place.
Creating anxiety & fear in a victim also makes the person quiet. If a victim is afraid of another, that victim isn’t going to want to do anything that may provoke that person’s anger. In fact, they will do anything to avoid that anger. That often includes refusing to confront their abuser or tell anyone about the abuse. After all, what if the person they tell confronts the abuser? It’s much safer to keep the abuse a secret.
Narcissists also love to wear a person down to make them easier to force into silence. They can do this by sleep deprivation if they live with a victim or by harassment if not. They constantly call, email or text. The sheer volume of calls, emails & texts can wear a person down. It takes a great deal of strength to ignore your phone’s constant ringing or alerts to receiving new emails & texts. It probably doesn’t sound so bad, but I can tell you, being on the receiving end of it, it really is stressful & exhausting!
No one can forget a narcissistic rage. These happen when a narcissist receives a narcissistic injury of some sort, which basically is a blow to their self-esteem. Talking to others about the narcissist’s abusive ways or confronting a narcissist about them is definitely a narcissistic injury & will result in a rage. The rage of an overt narcissist is usually loud & vicious. Name calling & cursing aren’t above them. The rage of a covert narcissist is much quieter, & it involves the silent treatment & scathing criticisms to make you feel intense guilt. A person would do about anything to avoid this rage, & that includes suffering in silence, not telling anyone about the abuse they endure or confronting the narcissist about it.
Diversion is another excellent way to silence victims. Anyone who has confronted a narcissist has no doubt seen this in action. The conversation starts out with a victim stating that they have a problem with the narcissist’s behavior, & it ends up discussing something entirely different. Often, it ends up with the narcissist accusing the victim of some awful or even abusive behavior, & the victim apologizing. The original topic was abandoned, & no resolution was made. Sometimes diversion isn’t so obvious though. Sometimes, the narcissist simply changes the subject & continues to ramble on & on, leaving the victim so frustrated that they give up.
Lastly smear campaigns are very commonly used. If a narcissist can’t stop you from confronting them or telling others what they have done to you, they will not hesitate to tell everyone they meet what a terrible person you are. They’ll have plenty of evidence to prove their point, too, even if they have to lie about it. If they can discredit you, they know others won’t believe what you say. It also is revenge. You made them look bad, so they are returning the favor.
When these things happen, remember that these are simply tactics that are supposed to silence you. Don’t give in! You have every right to talk to whoever about whatever you want. It’s your life, the narcissist is only a part of it. If that person wanted you to speak kinder about or to her, she should behave better.
An excellent read!
Those of us from abusive families struggle so much, the natural love we have for kin, along with the desire to protect ourselves from their vitriol and manipulations can be so very confusing.
Add in being a Christian, and it can become even more difficult. Most advice for dealing with Narcissistic family is to go “No Contact” with them, but when you feel an obligation to care for them because you are a Christian (or really, for any reason, many who aren’t Christians also feel this obligation too) it is impossibly to heed this advice. “Limited Contact” even brings guilt!
Over the years people, mostly well meaning, some not so much, have quoted many scriptures at me. They have demanded that I accept that these words from the Bible mean that no matter what my mother has done to us, now or in the past, that as my mother she…
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An excellent read!
Christians everywhere are aware of the words of Ephesians 6:2 – “Honor your Father, and your Mother“.
For those of us with abusive parents, it is a very hard command to keep. It is one that brings much angst and guilt, tears and pain as we wrestle with our desire to please God. It is one that is fraught with confusion as we try to figure out how best to honor them, without harming ourselves.
After much tearful prayer, I came to the conclusion that just as there are different types of families, loving ones, and abusive ones, there are also different kinds of honoring.
When we honor abusive parents in a way that protects us and our own families, we are in fact still fulfilling the commandment, and need not feel guilt that we do not honor them through close contact – although that may be considered…
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1 Timothy 5:3-8 “3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NIV)
Elderly narcissistic parents are often even more entitled than their younger counterparts. For their children, this can be an incredibly painful position to be in.
Many adult children of narcissistic parents feel they have no other option than to be their parents’ caregiver, even at the cost of their health & their own family. After all, we can’t forget Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NIV). Then there is 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (KJV) Doesn’t this all mean you have to be hands on with your elderly parents, no matter what? NO!!
I do NOT believe that God wishes His children to take care of their narcissistic parents no matter the personal cost. That doesn’t sound like the God I know!
First, to honor your parent simply means to give them the respect they deserve as the people who created you. You acknowledge them as your parents. You speak to them civilly, not rudely or disrespectfully. Honoring them does NOT mean tolerating their abuse. It also doesn’t mean that you neglect your family to take care of your parents. If you opt to take care of your parents in a hands-on way, you can honor them by helping them as much as you feel able without wearing yourself out or neglecting your family.
Also, remember 1 Timothy 5:8 says that you must provide for them. You can provide for your parents in various ways, not necessarily being “hands on”. Arranging for help to come to your parents’ home is a great way to help them & provide for them. Researching local resources for whatever help they need is providing for them. Paying for things your parents need yet can’t afford but you can is providing for them.
As your parents become elderly & need more assistance than they once did, you need to prepare ahead of time as much as you can. Even if your parents are still relatively young, start to look towards the future now. You never know what can happen. Things can change in an instant, so you need to be prepared.
Start praying & asking God for wisdom & insight on what boundaries you will need to set when the time comes as well as strength to enforce those boundaries.
Read up on the topic to see what others do with their elderly narcissistic parents, & honestly ask yourself what you can & can’t do. There are plenty of informative caregiver websites out there.
Most libraries are a wealth of information. The library near me has a ton of pamphlets & booklets near the entrance on various services in the area, including information from the local Department of Aging. I found a booklet there for seniors’ resources. It includes information on cleaning services, in home health care, assisted living facilities, contact information from the Department of Aging, & much more. Your library may have a similar booklet- it’s worth checking into.
If you’re going to be involved in caring for your narcissistic parents, it’s best to learn as much as you can about what’s happening with their health. Narcissists love to exaggerate their illnesses, & you need to be aware of what the truth is & what they are making up. Read up about their conditions online or talk to their doctors without them around.
If something needs to be done to help you to help them, stress how this will help them. Leave out how it will benefit you entirely, & make it sound like it will help them only. In my own caregiving experiences, I’ve noticed that saying that something will help me falls on deaf ears. Saying that same thing will benefit the narcissistic parent however, gets the narcissist’s attention.
In fact, don’t discuss anything about you as much as possible. If an elderly narcissist knows you’re not feeling well or are tired, they will push you to do more & more as they can get away with it. Wearing you down gives them some sick pleasure.
When you set boundaries, do so as cheerfully as possible & with no explanations. As always, any information these people get can be turned into ammunition they will use to hurt you with.
It is possible to keep your sanity in tact while caring for a narcissist. Keep in mind everything you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, set & enforce boundaries, don’t neglect yourself or your own family for your parents & most of all, keep God first in your life. Depend on Him completely to help you do such things & show you what to do, when to do it & how to do it.
If you opt to keep your distance, then try not to feel guilty. If you know in your heart that you can’t be a more hands-on caregiver, there is no shame in that. God only asks people to do their best, nothing more. Sadly, some people are so incredibly toxic, there is just no way to interact with them on a daily basis. It happens, unfortunately. If your parent is that way, you have done nothing to feel guilty about by protecting yourself.
Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents ended up with food issues or even full blown eating disorders. This usually isn’t because we were using some poor coping skills to deal with the abuse. It’s because many narcissists are obsessed with food, & they put their own issues onto their children
Some narcissists hoard food, not even wanting to share it with their own child. Some complain incessantly about what their child eats or doesn’t eat. Some expect & even demand their child like & dislike the same foods the parent likes & dislikes. When the child has a different opinion, the parent invalidates & criticizes the child. Some force their child to eat when they’re not hungry, & then complain because they did eat. Many also criticize their child’s weight extremely harshly, ridiculing the child for being too fat or too skinny, even when the child is a healthy weight. Some narcissistic parents even withhold food from their child as a punishment. Growing up in such madness definitely creates food issues for a child. How could it not?
I grew up hearing how fat I was ever since I can remember. Looking at childhood pictures though, I don’t see a fat child- I see a normal child. Well, now I do. When I was a child, I saw someone incredibly fat & disgusting. So much so, I went through anorexia at about age 10, then later bulimia in my teens. My mother also criticized what I ate & how my entire life. According to her, I either ate way too much or way too little & was wasting her money on food. She even made me eat when I didn’t want to & called me a hog if I ate the last of something, such as the last cookie in the package. And, she encouraged emotional eating. Sad? Have a snack. Happy? Celebrate by having a snack. Angry? Eat.. it’ll make you feel better. I also wasn’t even allowed in my mother’s kitchen growing up. I wasn’t even allowed to get myself something to eat or drink. Neither was my father. The kitchen was my mother’s private domain, & no one was allowed to enter unless they wanted to face her wrath.
I bet many of you can relate to some if not all of my story, can’t you?
I think the reason so many narcissists behave so crazily about food mostly boils down to narcissistic supply. Food is necessary for life. Eating is a way to take care of yourself. Narcissists never want their victims to do anything good for themselves since it might contribute to healthy self esteem- something they refuse to allow victims to have. Supply is gained if they can tear apart someone’s self esteem or prevent someone from gaining any boost to it. Plus, parents can control what their children eat, & control is a great way to provide a narcissist with supply.
Projection also can be why narcissistic parents behave this way with food. If your narcissistic mother has her own food issues, she won’t deal with them as a normal person would. Instead, she’ll try to put them on you so she can get upset about them while refusing to take any responsibility for them. This certainly happened with my mother. She was raised by her own narcissistic mother, & one of her coping skills her mother taught her as a child was to turn to food. She maintained that skill as an adult & judging by how she’s always been with me, is deeply bothered by it.
Personally, I’m still trying to sort out my own food issues since most of the time, I don’t want to eat, but at least it’s much better than it once was. It’s a long journey towards healing in this area. God has truly helped me a great deal with it though. He has helped me to understand that my mother did wrong in this area (among others) with me, & the things she said to me & accused me of were wrong. He’s also helped me to understand food better & reject the awful teaching I received about it growing up. He can do the same for you, Dear Reader. Turn to God. Ask Him to help you heal in this area & to teach you whatever it is you need to know. He loves you so much & will be more than happy to do so!
When a person cuts a narcissist out of their life, no matter if the relationship is romantic, a relative, a parent or a friend, many times, that narcissist will harass or stalk that victim for months or even years. They relentlessly call, text, email, drive past the victim’s house, stalk the victim online, & send flying monkeys to pressure the victim into resuming the relationship. While this may not sound all that bad, I can tell you from personal experience, it is REALLY bad.
When you are constantly bombarded by someone who is trying to get you to talk to them & you don’t want to, or told how horrible you are for not talking to them, it’s painful. It’s also scary because you don’t know where the person will come from next. This creates a state of hyper vigilance. Each day when you wake up, you wonder what the person has planned for you on that day. Will this person fill your inbox with angry emails? Will you have to change your phone number yet again? Will that person kill you? That may sound like a big leap, but I can tell you that when someone inundates you with abuse, you really wonder how far away that person is from killing you.
And, when the abuse stops, you don’t trust it. You wonder how long before it starts up again? When will the other shoe drop? Did that person hear about something that happened in your life & will they resume harassing you because of it? To date, I’ve been harassed since 2013 by a narcissist. I haven’t heard anything from her since October, 2017 when she used the opportunity of my father dying as an excuse to email me to tell me I was a narcissist. Yet, even though here we are, over four months later & I don’t believe that was the last I’ll hear of this person. She may read this post, realize I’m talking about her & start up again for all I know. It’s happened before.
I am far from the only person that this sort of thing has happened to. Many others have experienced long term stalking & harassment by their narcissist after they initiated no contact. One thing we all have in common is wondering why has this happened?
I firmly believe the reason that narcissists react this way boils down to narcissistic injury. It’s painful for anyone when another person ends a relationship with them, but that pain is greatly intensified when the person is a narcissist. Narcissists rely on others to make them feel good about themselves so they can gain narcissistic supply. Any little thing can make them feel smart, strong or attractive. If someone says, “That’s a good idea” to a narcissist, they take that as they are exceptionally smart whereas the average person would thank the person for saying it & simply go on with their day.
On the opposite side of the same coin though, any little thing can make them feel badly about themselves, or cause a narcissistic injury. If a narcissist’s friend was recently dumped by a new love interest, & while upset, is short with the narcissist, the narcissist takes it personally. The narcissist may even end that friendship. Most people wouldn’t respond that way. They would realize the friend isn’t attacking or being abusive- the friend is upset & spoke out of that upset. If a small thing like that can cause a narcissistic injury, then doesn’t it just make sense that ending a relationship would cause a much greater injury & naturally much greater reaction to it?
Also, narcissists want to be the ones in control, including being the ones who end relationships. If you end the relationship, this takes away their control. Now you have someone who has lost control AND a relationship that they weren’t ready to end.
In addition, most victims have been in the relationship for at least a little while. Narcissists expect their victims to continue tolerating abuse indefinitely. It seems to shock them when that doesn’t happen, & a victim stands up for him or her self.
All of these things combine for a perfect storm of rage inside the narcissist. Once that rage kicks in, nothing can stop it & whoever they feel is to blame for that rage must pay.
If you find yourself in the unenviable position of being on the receiving end of a narcissist’s stalking & harassment, you must protect yourself! Never, ever underestimate one of these raging narcissists. Don’t make the mistake of brushing off their awful behavior & thinking it’s no big deal. Maybe it isn’t a big deal & maybe they’ll leave you alone soon, but maybe it’ll become a bigger deal & they won’t leave you alone.
Look into the stalking & harassment laws in your state. Get familiar with them, so you know when you can get the police involved if need be.
Document EVERYTHING. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you saved it. Even if the narcissist’s behavior wasn’t always illegal, just mean spirited, that still can work in your favor with law enforcement, because it shows a history of bad behavior. Save screen shots, texts, emails, etc on cloud storage or email them to yourself, saving them on your email provider. Phones & computers die, so saving things elsewhere means they are there forever.
Do NOT interact with the narcissist. This is tough, because you want to just rip that person apart & tell them exactly what you think of them for all they have done to you. That would be a horrible mistake though! Do you realize how much narcissistic supply that would give this person? The narcissist would then be the victim, in her mind, & you the abuser. She could tell people how mean you were & for no good reason. Or, if you said anything to the narcissist in front of others, it would just prove her case that you are the real problem, the abuser, or even crazy. Plus, since the narcissist could get this reaction out of you, she would do whatever she could to get it again & again, to gain more supply. As difficult as it is, deprive them of the supply. Give them absolutely NO reaction or response unless it is through the police. If you decide to get the police involved, pray & seriously consider it before you do.
I know it’s hard, Dear Reader but you will get through this! xoxo
Three years ago today, I suffered the most terrifying trauma of my life. I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. My husband & I didn’t know it that day, but apparently somehow a bunch of debris suddenly gathered behind my chimney’s flue, pushing it slightly closed. Not enough to smoke up the house when the fireplace was lit, but it was just enough to fill it with carbon monoxide after hubby left for work.
As seems to be my new February tradition, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this recently. Coming close to death definitely makes you reevaluate your life. Plus the damage to my brain changed my personality a great deal, which is actually a good thing in some ways. I’ve gotten better at self care & not tolerating abuse among other things, so I’m still getting to know this new me & what I want & need.
One thing that I realized that I need to remind myself of frequently is life can change drastically or even end in an instant. (I certainly didn’t wake up on February 27, 2015 expecting to nearly die that evening or that it was going to be the first day of a new life full of weird health problems & a lot of brain damage.) I think it’s an excellent idea to life life without regrets, because you don’t know when or how your life will change or even end.
I realize living every day like it’s your last isn’t quite possible. You still have a job, housework, budgeting, family obligations & what not to consider of course. But, I think it’s an excellent idea to get in any joy in life where you can, to do things you want to do or try new things as often as possible. Even little things can make a big difference. Go for a drive without a destination in mind & blare your favorite music on the radio. Grab a milkshake once in a while. Buy a new color of nail polish (one of my favorites) or dye your hair a fun, funky color. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, why you love them & do it often. Make time for a hobby you love or pick up an old hobby you once abandoned. If time is an issue, look over your schedule & streamline it. I have a routine for my housework that helps me to maintain a clean home with spending the minimum amount of time on it. Doing a little almost daily is easier for me than doing a lot a couple of days each week since I run out of energy quickly. It also allows me more time available for writing, hobbies, spending time with friends or whatever I want.
It seems to me that society values being busy, but that just isn’t healthy or conducive to enjoying every moment in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being productive 24/7! Even God took a day of rest after creating everything, & then told His people to do the same! (see Genesis 2:1-3) He did NOT create people to be non stop busy. He created people to work & also to take time to enjoy their lives. When you get to the end of your life, don’t you want to think about what a well lived life you had & not what a busy one you had?
Another thing society values that I realized isn’t healthy is being overly positive. Yes, positivity is good. It can help you avoid depression. However, being too positive can set you up for disappointment. Did you know many people who commit suicide are known for being optimistic? They became depressed when they were repeatedly disappointed.
Being too positive can set you up for feeling shame, too. If you’re very positive yet end up feeling negatively or unable to find good in a situation, it can make you feel terrible shame. That’s not good! If you know very positive people, you also know you can’t tell them you’re sad or disappointed, because they’ll make you feel ashamed of yourself. They’re not people you can be real & honest with, & that’s not good either!
I’ve found I have much more peace & less stressful being realistic. Sure, I look for the good, but I’m also not ashamed for getting depressed, angry or disappointed sometimes. I’m also not ashamed to say sometimes, things just stink & I can’t find anything positive in the situation.
Another thing to consider… your relationships. While soul searching after my awful experience, I also took the time to evaluate the relationships in my life. When I realized that through the complete delirium of the poisoning, I still had the sense to tell my husband as soon as I saw him never tell my parents about this, it was a huge wake up call for me. I knew anyone who wouldn’t care that I nearly died couldn’t be a part of my life, & they wouldn’t have cared. I also realized some friends weren’t good for me or at least they weren’t what I wanted in a relationship. The relationships were too one sided & some didn’t even care about what I experienced. Saying, “You’ll be fine”, “But you didn’t die!” or “Glad you’re ok.. so anyway *subject change*” after such an experience showed me how cold & uncaring these people were.
What about your relationships? If, God forbid, something terrible happened to you, could you count on the people in your life being there for you? Would they be care about your pain & suffering or would they brush you off? If they wouldn’t be there for you, then it might be time to consider whether or not you really want them in your life. You deserve good, loving people with whom you can have an equal & loving relationship. There is nothing wrong with refusing to settle for less than that!
John 10:10 is beautifully said in the Amplified translation: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus died not only so we could spend eternity with Him & have a relationship with God the Father, but also so we can enjoy life while we’re alive here on this planet. There is no good excuse not to enjoy your life! You deserve it! Jesus obviously thought so too! So why not start thinking about ways you can add more joy to your daily life?
I admit it.. I have another big pet peeve: people who label those of us without children as selfish. After seeing a post on Facebook a little while ago that labeled someone else without children as selfish, I thought I would write a blog post about it.
Many people quickly judge people without children. I’ve been called selfish, immature, told “the reason you don’t want kids is because of your mother” & also told I’d regret not having children one day. None of that is even close to the truth, as is so often the case with those without children.
Some things to consider before judging are…
- Maybe a person doesn’t have children because either she or her mate are infertile. Infertility is an extremely painful thing for couples to experience. It’s especially cruel to judge & criticize these people for not having children! You’re plunging a knife into their hearts when you do that!
- Some people don’t have children because they grew up in a dysfunctional environment & realize they don’t know how to be good parents. If you grew up in an abusive or at least dysfunctional home, it’s hard to know how to be a good parent! How is it selfish for someone who doesn’t know what it takes to be a good parent not to have children?
- Some people always have felt more comfortable in the company of adults. That is also me. I preferred the company of adults, even as a child. There are a surprising number of people like me.
- Not everyone can relate to children. Some people who may not have spent a lot of time around children when they were growing up or were the youngest in their families may not be able to relate well to children due to not a great deal of experience around them.
- Not wanting children doesn’t mean a person hates them. A common belief for those of us without children is that we hate kids. Sadly, some folks do feel that way. That isn’t always the case though. Personally, I don’t hate kids. I just can’t understand them well. Big difference between that & hating kids.
- And, people who don’t want kids aren’t selfish! We have given this serious consideration before coming to the decision not to have kids. Another common misconception of childless folks is we’re just selfish jerks. Nope. We have given the topic of children a LOT of thought! I even tried talking myself into wanting kids several times in my life, but it never felt right even as I said I wanted kids or dated men who wanted them.
If you speak with someone who doesn’t have children, please consider the things I’ve said & don’t judge or criticize them. Everyone has different callings on their life. Not every person feels called to be a parent.
Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (NIV)
One of the most common yet stupid things said to Christians in the situation of having a narcissistic parent is how you’re not a good Christian let alone son or daughter if you don’t do everything your parents want, right down to tolerating their abusing you.
Truly, some people have no concept of what it truly means to honor your parent. They also must have missed Romans 15:2. Take a moment to read that Scripture again…
“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
See that? “..for their good…” That doesn’t mean to do blindly for someone, it means to do things that benefit them. Doing whatever your narcissistic parent wants doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is best for them. Narcissists care more about what feels good at the moment than what is genuinely good for them.
So what is “for their good”?
- Taking your elderly narcissistic parent to the doctor when sick.
- Helping your parent by cutting their grass when their lawn mower is broken or washing their clothes when their washer is broken.
- Buying them something you think your parent would like just to be a blessing.
- Setting & enforcing boundaries.
- Saying no.
- Going no contact.
The last three items were pretty hard to consider good, weren’t they? They really are good though, & I’ll tell you why.
All three of those behaviors are about boundaries, & boundaries are a VERY good thing. Boundaries show others how you wish to be treated & gives people the option to treat you accordingly or not without forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. Boundaries encourage good behavior while helping you not to be responsible for someone else’s behavior, feelings, etc. In short, boundaries are a very loving behavior. Granted, narcissist don’t see them that way, but it’s still true. (If you’re interested, I have a free “Boundaries” book study course & article about boundaries on my website.)
Saying no is also a good boundary behavior because nobody needs to go through life without being told no at some point. Getting one’s way creates spoiled, entitled people with no regard for others (sound familiar??). Narcissists don’t like to be told no, & will do whatever they can to avoid it, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear no. The more they hear it, the less they will demand of you. This works well for you & at the same time, teaches the narcissist that you won’t tolerate being pushed around. A very good thing for the narcissist to learn.
No contact also can be for someone’s good sometimes. No contact should be the final step after trying to work out the relationship, & often, sadly, it’s very necessary with narcissists. It can be good for narcissists though, because it shows them they simply can’t go around abusing people & expecting them to tolerate it indefinitely. Also, you never know- maybe with you not in that person’s life, God will be able to reach her & help her to see the error of her ways. Sometimes it takes having people out of a person’s life for them to turn to God. (Granted, that is extremely rare, but with God, all things are possible.) No contact also removes the opportunity for that person to sin by removing you to abuse from her life. These things are all for the narcissist’s own good.
Doing something for someone’s own good never means giving someone whatever they want or tolerating abuse. These never benefit anyone! If someone suggests otherwise, they clearly have no idea what it means to love someone God’s way.
Psychology fascinates me. I like to understand what makes people tick & why they do the things they do, which explains my interest in true crime. I’m this way even with narcissists. While I never can agree with their abuse of course, I am still curious what makes them do the things they do. Besides, I’ve learned understanding them to a degree helps me to keep a healthy perspective about who is really the abuser, & who is the victim. A lifetime of gaslighting still can make it hard sometimes to remember who the real victim & abuser are. (For the record, I don’t think anyone can fully understand a narcissist except for another narcissist, so I know I’ll never entirely “get” them.)
I would guess I’m not the only person who is interested in understanding how people think, so I’m sharing this in case anyone else may find this as interesting as I did.
God showed me something quite interesting just before my father died last October.
As I mentioned before, he was in the hospital for 20 days on life support. In that time, I had people (some I didn’t even know) contacting me to tell me that I needed to see him before he died, “so he could die in peace.” “After all, you only get one set of parents!” “You need to put your feelings aside.” & the classic, “I understand why you won’t see him, but you need to go see him.” (How does that even make sense?!) Yep, I heard a LOT of crap. My phone also rang, sometimes for 20+ rings at a time or there were frequent repeated calls back from people I didn’t even know, but who knew my parents. Thank God for caller ID! I didn’t know the number but at least I knew the names, so I knew not to take those calls. It was a very painful time.. not only because of losing my father but also because of the constant bullying & harassment from so many people, even total strangers.
A few days before my father died, I was thinking about the entire situation. It made me cry, as it did a lot at that time. In my sadness I asked God, “Why do things have to be this way?! This whole thing is so stupid & so wrong!” Very clearly, I heard His voice… “Some people have made very bad decisions.”
It struck me.. that makes so much sense. I knew exactly what He meant by that simple sentence!
Narcissists decide to act as they do. They decided early in their lives that they were more important than other people & entitled to whatever they want. They decided to shut down the natural empathy that people are born with & focus only on their wants, needs, etc. instead of caring about others. They also decided they are allowed to use & abuse people to get what they want.
Flying monkeys also made a decision to be blindly loyal to their narcissist no matter what. They decided they didn’t want to know anything beyond what the narcissist says about a situation. They also decide to harass, stalk, shame & basically torture a victim if that’s what a narcissist wants of them (& often it is). All flying monkeys have decided that a narcissist’s victim does NOT matter, only the narcissist & flying monkey matter.
Bad decisions like these are why people are abusive. They have chosen to put themselves first & to disregard & even abuse other people. This means the responsibility of their actions is completely on them. No one forced anyone to make the decisions they made. No one forces them to continue making bad decisions or to continue the dysfunctional course they’re on.
These bad decisions also open the door for Satan to enter their lives, & close it for God to enter. Every bad decision opens the door wider for the devil while closes it tighter to God. I firmly believe that narcissism isn’t necessarily something biologically wrong with a person, but is demonic in nature. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 says, “He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (AMP) The day my father died, a dear friend of mine received a vision from God about his salvation. God reminded her of this verse at that time. He said that is why my father behaved as he did- he had been taken captive by the devil to do his will. Not long after he died, I thought about that Scripture & how it related to the bad decisions God told me about. It makes a great deal of sense!
One thing many people fail to realize though is everything a person decides to do sows a seed, good or bad. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (KJV) A person who abuses other people will NOT reap a harvest of love & kindness. It’s only natural! You can’t plant corn & expect to get an apple tree!
And, everyone has a point where they’ve had enough. When they walk away, that is because the abuser is reaping their harvest. I know, abusers & flying monkeys see this very differently, but it’s true. No one who walks away is trying to punish or hurt the narcissist (we all realize that’s impossible anyway- narcissists don’t feel the way normal people feel). We decide to walk away to protect ourselves & to stop the constant abuse. It is a perfectly normal thing to do. It is the natural harvest a person reaps after deciding to sow seeds of abuse in another person’s life.
Narcissistic parents are not like normal parents in so many ways. One of those ways is they never want their children to grow up. Why? Because a child is much easier to control than a self sufficient adult.
So how is something like this possible? Narcissistic parents make their children feel like they are forever the child, & the parent is forever the adult. This is done primarily through emotional warfare, such as making the child feel shame, fear, manipulating the child & reminding that child who the “adult” is in this situation. To show you what I mean, I’ll share some examples from my life.
I was a teenager in the 80’s. My friends were wearing make up by the eighth grade, & dating by the same time. I however, was unable to wear even lipstick before ninth grade. It took a great deal of begging on my part to be able to wear more makeup in ninth grade. Also, although my mother had told me for years that I could date at 16, when I met my now ex husband just prior to turning 17, my mother went completely ballistic at the prospect of me dating. In fact, she accused me of outrageous behaviors at that time, such as having sex with the entire high school football team & doing drugs. Her abuse hit its peak at that time, all because I admitted to wanting to date & called her out on saying I could date at 16. She refused to let me date until 1 week before my eighteenth birthday.
Another way my mother & many other narcissistic mothers keep their children childish is to control their appearance. My mother has dressed much the same way my entire life, & she always has attempted to make me dress a lot like her. I remember in late elementary school, sitting in a fitting room, fuming because my mother wanted me to like the hideous dark blue polyester pantsuit she insisted on buying for me. It was absolutely her taste, not mine, & no matter how much I stated my hatred of it, she was determined to make me wear it. As a teen in the 80’s, you would think I would have had mall bangs, pegged jeans & some of the other embarrassing fashion trends of the time, but nope.. instead, I dressed like a frumpy, middle aged housewife. Even as an adult, my mother would buy me clothes in her taste, not mine. One Christmas she got us matching shirts.
Age appropriate activities were also discouraged. School dances were not approved of, although I was able to attend a couple as long as I didn’t have a date. If my mother asked if I danced & I said yes, I was shamed for that. I was also not allowed to get a driver’s license until I was 18, & my mother could no longer legally stop me. She did, however, hide my birth certificate & showed it to the employee at the DMV while not allowing me to see it.
I moved out of my parents’ home just after I turned 19. My mother was livid. She told me I’d never make it on my own, I’d be back in six months & other nasty things. I felt then like she took me moving out as a betrayal, not as a natural course of events.
Once out on my own, my mother immediately broke her key in the front door, claiming it wasn’t her fault. My father ended up replacing all the door locks on the house. I don’t think it was an accident- I firmly believe it was my mother’s way of making sure I didn’t come back into her house since I had forgotten to give her my key back after moving out.
Being on my own didn’t stop her infantilizing behavior either. My mother constantly did little things to show me she disapproved of where I was living or how I maintained my home. She would inspect a glass before drinking out of it, obviously making sure it was clean enough to drink from, tell me I didn’t vacuum frequently enough or insult the town where I live claiming only “snobs” live here.
Behaviors like this are not only painful for the child (no matter her age) to live with, they also create a deep seeded insecurity & anxiety in the child. Prior to learning about infantilization, a child may grow up overly dependent on the parent doing the infantilization. The child thinks that parent knows so much more & she can do nothing without that parent’s wisdom. The child doesn’t trust herself. When a parent treats a child as if “Mother/Father knows best” no matter the child’s age, it ruins the child’s ability to trust in her own intelligence or instincts.
Once an infantilized person realizes what has happened, reversing the damage takes a LONG time & a lot of work. I was 16 when I began to see that the things my mother thought I should do/wear/like/drive/etc. & her opinions weren’t good for me- they were good for her. I am now 47 & I still have doubts about myself more often than I care to admit. Even so, the amount of time & energy I’ve put into shutting out her behavior has been worth it to learn to trust myself.
I wasn’t a Christian when I first began this journey, so honestly prayer wasn’t involved at first. However, now when I have doubts, I run to God immediately. I ask Him “Is this OK?” “Should I do/not do that?” or any question I have.
I also have found it valuable to question everything. When my mother would give me an article of clothing & say I should like it, I questioned myself- do I really like this? Why? If she told me I should or shouldn’t do something, I also questioned myself- What will happen if I do/don’t do this? Will it benefit me? Even now that my mother has been out of my life for two years, I still do this behavior if I have any doubts.
Getting to know yourself, your real self & not the self your parent(s) tried to make you into is also invaluable. The better you know your true likes & dislikes, the less doubt you will have & the more you will trust your own decisions. One way to get to know yourself is to learn your Myers Briggs personality. I found it to be an indispensable tool in getting to know myself! If you are interested in taking the test, you can find it at this link: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp There is also a list that describes all of the types at this link.
You also have to learn to trust your instincts. I believe they are the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us, which is why they are so wise. Infantilization ruins one’s ability to trust one’s own instincts, unfortunately. Try listening to those gut feelings on small stuff, then work up to bigger issues. It really gets easier the more you do it.
As hard as it can be, you really can conquer the damage done by infantilization!
Sometimes avoiding narcissists is impossible no matter how hard you try & how much knowledge you have about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When that happens, there are some ways that you can fluster them enough to where they will want to leave you alone.
If you have & enforce good boundaries, narcissists won’t like you. A good victim has weak or non existent boundaries. If you have & enforce your boundaries, a narcissist won’t know what to do with you. They may try to make you feel stupid or wrong for having them, but when you are secure in the knowledge what you are doing is right, their gaslighting won’t work.
Having healthy self esteem is a huge turn off to narcissists. The lower a person’s self esteem, the easier that person is to control. Similarly, the healthier a person’s self esteem, the harder that person is to control. While narcissists often enjoy the challenge of controlling a person with healthy self esteem, they will give up when they see that person isn’t going to tolerate their abuse.
Knowing about NPD is also a huge turn off to narcissists. Even if you don’t explain the ugly details of narcissism to them or call them out, so long as you know what these people are like & what they are capable of, it will be a problem for them. Narcissists don’t want anyone to figure out what they are doing, because a person who understands their games cannot be controlled or manipulated, & won’t create any narcissistic supply.
Self validation is a powerful weapon against narcissists. They want their victims to look only to them for validation. A person who doesn’t need the narcissist for validation won’t provide any narcissistic supply or be controlled by a narcissist.
Understanding that no contact is a very viable option gives you strength when dealing with a narcissist, & they can’t handle that. Narcissists want to be the ones in charge at all times. If you know that you have options, & don’t have to let the narcissist make all decisions in the relationship, you will become a problem to a narcissist.
If a narcissist knows you don’t need him or her, you become a threat. Narcissistic parents & spouses in particular like to make a victim completely dependent on them, preferably financially or emotionally. If they see you are well aware you don’t need the narcissist, can leave the relationship anytime & still survive just fine, you won’t be a good victim to the narcissist.
Avoiding all narcissists seems to be impossible, unfortunately. However, if you can implement some of these tools, you will be able to handle yourself very well when you must deal with them.
Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October. (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now. It’s quite a story!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot. One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.
Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible. She’s a narcissist. We all know how they are- they know best about everything. This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception. In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”
This can be very discouraging. On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement. While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well. Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV, emphasis added)
As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.
I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do. Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….
Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol They certainly weren’t mine for a long time. Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me. Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them. As time passed though, it got easier. Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more. At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning. And you know something? It’s not hard to do anymore. In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off. Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.
Praying for these people is something I look forward to now. Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever. Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.
It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people. I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work! Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore. (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation. It means I released the anger I felt at them, period. Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)
I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them. Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life? I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010. She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are. Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends. There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me! That to me is heartbreaking! And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well. So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them. You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life! I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.
I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it. Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life. If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!
There is a lot of information out there about going no contact, but not a lot of it is good, in depth information. It isn’t always helpful for those who are seriously considering going no contact with their narcissistic parent. The purpose of this post is to provide a deeper look at things to consider when going no contact.
No contact is a very serious decision, & never should be entered into lightly. Never, ever initiate it unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s the right thing for you to do. Never initiate it during the heat of the moment such as during an argument. Only initiate it after a great deal of serious prayer & consideration.
No contact also is a permanent decision. If you resume contact with a narcissist, chances are excellent that this person’s behavior will be a LOT worse than it was before you started no contact. If you let that person suck you back into a relationship or if you are the one who initiates contact again is not important. The important thing is you’re back. The narcissist will start out behaving with you to test the waters, but that won’t last long. They see you as being weak with weak boundaries (easy prey in other words), since you allowed this relationship to be reconciled. Also, since you set that boundary of no contact, you must be punished for that as well. This is why no contact must be a permanent decision! Once ties are severed, accept no communication from the narcissist at all. Block all emails, phone numbers, social media accounts.. any access that person can use to contact you. If they find ways around it, block that access too. You may need to change your email address, phone number or name on your social media accounts.
No contact isn’t easy. You lose people you never expected to lose from your life, even family members. That is incredibly painful, but it’s very common. It seems to me that the majority of people would rather side blindly with the narcissist than stand up for what’s right. Maybe they’re afraid of facing the narcissist’s wrath if they side with you. Maybe they think it’s easier to get you to change than the narcissist & they’re just looking for an easy way out of this situation. Or, maybe they’d rather think of you as bad, wrong, crazy, etc. than admit to themselves that you were abused & they didn’t protect or help you. Whatever their “logic”, it’s still going to hurt you a LOT when they abandon you in favor of your abuser. On the good side though, you do find out who your real friends are. Those who stand by your side even if they don’t understand the situation are your real friends. Those who don’t judge you or tell you that you need to “forgive & forget” are your real friends. Those who refuse to give your abuser the time of day are also your real friends.
Your emotions are going to go haywire for a while. I believe this is because your mind is finally free from constantly having to think about the narcissist. They seem to take up all the room in any relationship, leaving no room for you or even for you to think about things other than them. You are to find ways to appease & please them, avoid their wrath, anticipate all of their needs & wants, prop up their ego at all times & more. Then, once you realize how messed up all of this is, you need to find ways to stop providing them with narcissistic supply, battle their gaslighting so you can keep your sanity & avoid them as much as possible. Any relationship with a narcissist is a LOT of work! Once that is done, it’s like your brain finally realizes it’s free of that, & decides now is the time to start dealing with that stuff it couldn’t deal with when in the relationship with the narcissist. All kinds of memories come to the surface & with them, a ton of emotions. Even when memories aren’t popping up, your emotions can go haywire because finally you can feel instead of only focusing on the narcissist.
If anyone tells you that no contact is taking the easy way out, don’t listen to them. No contact is usually the necessary step to take, but that doesn’t make anything about it easy!
One thing all daughters of narcissistic mothers have wondered at some point or another is why can’t their mothers love them. It’s a completely normal thing for any child to wonder when raised by a narcissistic mother. Unfortunately, it’s also damaging to a child, even into adulthood.
Most children, even adult children, will try to please their narcissistic mother in order to earn her love. They try to be sweet, get better grades, participate in whatever activities Mom wants them to participate in & more trying to earn her love. It doesn’t help that others encourage this behavior. If they know your relationship has problems, often people will encourage you to try to fix it. They often say the stupidest things such as, “You only get one mother so you need to find ways to get along with her.” “Of course she loves you! She’s your mother!” “She did the best she could!” “She just doesn’t know how to show love very well, but she does love you!” Statements like this only leave a person feeling worse because now they feel even more guilt & shame for not being able to make their mother love them.
I understand how this feels. I felt awful for years because I knew my mother didn’t love me. I figured something must be terribly wrong with me if my own mother couldn’t love me. Thank God that He has set me free from this thinking!
I thank God for teaching me about who I am in Him. This has been vital! The Bible has so many wonderful things to say about who we are as children of God. I wrote out a list of these things on my website. Check it out at : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Anther thing God did to help me be free from wondering why my mother doesn’t love me was to teach me about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Learning about it has helped me tremendously! I finally learned that my mother is incapable of loving anyone- it’s not just me she can’t love. She can’t truly love anyone because of NPD. It has been incredibly freeing learning that! I no longer feel I am a terrible person because my mother can’t love me because I know it’s about her inability to love, not my lovableness.
This is true for you as well, Dear Reader! Just because your mother didn’t love you, that doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of love- it means something is wrong with her, not you! Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Reread the information a few times if it helps- I do! I read about it often, & some things I reread often. It really does help to remind yourself often that she has problems, because when you really know that, you will stop blaming yourself & thinking you’re a bad, unlovable person because your mother doesn’t love you.