Tag Archives: abuse and recovery

Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

A while back, an obituary made rounds online.  It was written for an incredibly cruel, abusive mother.  I saw this article about said obituary, explaining why the obit was written:

 

http://jezebel.com/why-i-wrote-the-infamously-scathing-obituary-for-my-mot-1526324856

The story is heartbreaking, & although I’m unsure I could do the same thing, I applaud the daughter for doing what was right for her as well as her siblings, in spite of the harsh judgments & criticisms they have received as a result of doing this.

It also made me think – if my narcissistic, abusive mother dies before me, what would I say in her obituary?  Would I tell the truth about the abusive monster she has been, or would I simply stick to the basic facts such as date of birth & death, details of the viewing & funeral arrangements?

I think I would stick to the basic facts.  Not that I condemn the actions of anyone who would do otherwise, of course, it’s just that I have been working on my healing for a long time.  I don’t see how this would help me to heal any more than anything else I have done.  Plus, most people don’t believe that my mother is capable of monstrous acts, so when they read her obituary, I would simply be invalidated & judged further for “speaking so badly” of my mother (even though I would speak only the truth).  I also have experienced the death of my mother’s narcissistic mother, which I believe gave me a glance into what I can expect to feel when my mother dies.  Chances are, I’ll be sad things weren’t good between us, & relieved it’s all over, just as I was when my grandmother died.  It’s doubtful feelings such as those would leave me feeling the need to expose her abusive ways.

What would you do if you had to write your narcissistic mother’s obituary?  Maybe the thought is rather morbid, but it’s still an interesting question, don’t you think?

Being an author, obviously I’m a fan of writing for many reasons.  Writing anything.  One of those reasons is that writing can be therapeutic.  I have an online journal, plus I have written many letters to my mother that I’ve never sent her.  Something about getting out my feelings & seeing them in writing has been extremely helpful to me.  It purges a lot of the anger.  I think it is also partly why I won’t be writing such an obituary for my mother.  I don’t harbor anger at her any longer.  I get angry when she acts up, but I also let it go pretty quickly.

Have you tried writing about your feelings & experiences during healing from the narcissistic abuse you have experienced?  If not, I strongly encourage you to do so!  Let it all out when you write to experience the full benefits.  If you are concerned someone may find out what you’ve written, then once you’ve written things out, burn the letter or diary.  That act in itself can be quite cathartic, watching what you wrote going up in smoke.  For me, it’s as if the smoke dissipating into the air takes some of my anger with it.

A couple of years ago, I wrote my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis.”  It was a very difficult task, but also a very rewarding one.  Seeing many of the horrific events in my life in black & white made things even more real to me.  It showed me  how strong I really am – I have survived some rough, terrible things!

Writing your own autobiography or creating a blog about your experiences may do the same thing for you.  If you prefer privacy, nothing says you have to publish your writing – just keep it for yourself.  But, if you decide to speak publicly via a blog or publishing your autobiography, your story will help & inspire many people!  That can help you to heal as well, because others will validate your pain & your strength to survive such things.

If you do decide to write publicly, I strongly recommend that you pray long & hard before doing so.  Having survived narcissistic abuse, you are all too aware of the importance of secrecy.  Narcissists love secrecy, & demand it from their victims in order to protect their abusive ways.  When this happens to a child, the child grows into an adult who still feels that fear from  childhood at the thought of exposing the abuse.  As a result, talking publically about the abuse can be very hard to do.  It may be so hard in fact that you refuse to speak out, even when you know in your heart it will help you or it’s what God wants you to do.

I understand this fear all too well!  As much as I’ve written in the last couple of years about my own experiences, sometimes it still scares me a little.  I wonder what will happen if & when my mother finds out what I write about.  Thankfully she doesn’t have a computer, which works in my favor.  She also never asks how my writing is going or what I write about, as she thinks it’s all a “waste of time” & “trash no one wants to read.”  Yet even so, there is still a chance she could find out.  She has friends & relatives who have computers, & would be glad to look up my work to tell her what I write.  I often feel like I’m waiting for that call when she tells me I am spewing lies or whatever else she would say about my writing.

To give me the courage to write about what I know God wants me to write about, I remember a few things.  These can help you as well.

First, I know in my heart that it is God’s will I write about these topics.  He won’t give me a task that I can’t handle.  He loves me & He protects me, just as He loves & protects you!

Second, I ask myself what can my mother really do that can hurt me anymore?  She is 75 years old, & physically no longer a threat.  She still can scream & rage if she is so inclined, & call me terrible names.  However, I’m so used to that, nothing she says can phase me anymore.  She also once threatened to call my landlord & report me for having more cats than the landlord allowed.  Now I am a homeowner & have no landlord to answer to.  Plus, I have a legal amount of pets in this county.  She really can’t harm me anymore!  So what is the worst that can happen to you for telling your story?

Third, there is a very good quote that strengthened me enough to get through writing my autobiography.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember who wrote it, but the quote says something similar to this, “Tell your story.  If others wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have treated you better!”

And lastly, I always tell the truth.  I try to avoid telling only what happened to me- if I did something wrong, I admit it.  I also try to tell stories objectively, minus any name calling or accusations.  I stick to the facts only, so no one can accuse me of exaggerating or embellishing my story.  Do the same if you talk about your story.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Forgiving & Remembering

I have a knack for remembering special dates, & sometimes it can be quite annoying.

 

This date isn’t a nice one for me.  On November 28, 1990, when I was 19 years old, my mother threw me into her living room wall during an argument we were having.  I wish I didn’t remember that evening so clearly, or the date that it happened, but I do.

 

Although I’ve forgiven my mother & God healed my back injury she caused that night, it’s still an unpleasant event to remember.

 

While I was thinking about this a little while ago, I thought of something else.  Just because I have forgiven my mother for doing this to me doesn’t mean I have forgotten the event.  It also doesn’t mean it doesn’t pop into my mind once in a while when something reminds me of it (such as today’s date) or that I’m completely OK with this memory.

 

So many people think once you’ve forgiven someone, you should never remember the event again.  Forgive & forget.  I disagree.

 

While dwelling on a traumatic event  indefinitely isn’t healthy, there is a time to focus on what happened so you can completely process your emotions about it & forgive the person who hurt you.  And, once you have done that, it still may pop into your mind periodically.  Less often as time passes.  When it does, chances are you will feel a little uncomfortable with the memory.  To me, it reminds me of remembering a bad dream- you know it can’t hurt you, but the memory is so unpleasant, it makes you cringe a bit just thinking of it.  Also, you may forgive your abuser, but how can you be completely OK that it happened to you?  Being abused was not fair!  I don’t see any way that one can be completely OK with being abused even if forgiveness has happened.

 

This is normal!  And that is what I wanted to tell you today, Dear Reader.  If you still remember traumatic events, even ones from many years ago, & you believe they weren’t fair or right, you are normal!  You aren’t a “bad Christian” or holding onto bitterness or unforgiveness.  Instead you are perfectly normal.

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Are You A Victim, Survivor Or A Conquerer?

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

 

I was reading something yesterday that said something like (I forget the exact wording), “You’re not a victim- you’re a survivor!”  Although that sounds great at first read, I think it also can be a shaming message.

 

First of all, if you’ve been abused, you are a victim.  Period.  Nothing can change that.  There is no shame in being a victim.  The shame belongs to the abuser, not the victim who had no say in being abused.

 

Second, you always will be a victim of the abuse.  That doesn’t mean you spend every waking moment thinking or talking about the abuse- it simply means that something terrible happened to you.  You were a victim of someone else’s cruelty & bad choices through no fault of your own.

 

Third, the message that I have felt from such quotations is that you are to be strong, & don’t let what happened affect you anymore.  Well, that isn’t very realistic!  If you have survived abuse in any form, especially ongoing abuse such as at the hand of a parent or spouse, it always will affect you to some degree.  You may be living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & barely functioning each day, or you may function well, but be very cynical in how you judge people, or somewhere in between, but you will be affected in some way, shape or form by what happened.  No one escapes abuse unscathed.

 

What I am trying to say is be balanced in how you view yourself.  While yes, you are a victim, you have survived, & hopefully thrived.  Even so, there may be some bad days where you feel more like a victim than a survivor, & that is OK!  It happens to everyone, & is a natural effect of living through abuse.  You can’t feel like a tough survivor every single day.

 

Personally, I prefer to use the term “conquerer.”  A conquerer is strong, which is what survivors of abuse are as well.  We find the strength to escape the abuse, then to heal, often with little or no support from others.  Sometimes, it takes every ounce of strength we can muster to get out of bed in the morning, but somehow we find that strength & do it anyway.  We resist the inclination to become bitter, uncaring or even abusive, & are loving to others as well- that takes a great deal of strength & courage.  (So many abusers were abused themselves, yet didn’t have the strength to break that cycle.)  Conquerers are also imperfect.  While great conquerors have won many battles, they also lost many, many soldiers in these battles.  They also made very serious mistakes, some even leading to their downfalls.  Yet, they remained passionate fighters.  If these phrases don’t describe someone who has survived abuse & is fighting to heal, I don’t know what would.

 

I would like to encourage you today to think about how you view yourself.

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

What Would God Have You Do?- January 7, 2014

I just purchased a book the other day called, “The Post Traumatic Disorder Relationship.”  It explains the disorder, & how the spouse of someone with PTSD can help as well as cope (it isn’t easy living with someone with mental health problems!).  My husband said he would read it, & although I am excited, I am also nervous…

The traumas that caused me to have Complex PTSD also taught me from a very early age to handle all problems on my own, never “burden” anyone by asking for help, & that no one wants to help me anyway.  The thought of having my husband’s help with anything more significant than opening a jar with a tight lid is terrifying to me.  It also makes me feel guilty because I know my husband has plenty of his own things to deal with right now.  I already feel like a burden.  *sigh*

If I had my way, I’d just continue on as I have been, coping & working on getting healthier on my own.  But, I’ve been sensing God wants me to reach out to my husband a bit more lately, which is where the book came into play.  I am less than thrilled with this!  I also know that God has a reason for wanting me to do this.  I am guessing to help me break those old thought patterns I mentioned in the previous paragraph, as well as to teach him to be more compassionate.  Good lessons to learn, yet scary for me, too.  There is a degree of comfort in what is familiar, even when the familiar isn’t healthy.

God is so good though- He will take you out of what is dysfunctional & move you into what is best for you. 

If you too are in a transitioning place, I encourage you to do what I am doing- trust God.  He only has your best interests at heart, & He loves you so very much.  Ask Him to show you what to do in the unfamiliar, to strengthen you & to help you however you need it.  It will be worth it!  I don’t know yet what is going to happen in this situation with me, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the fear & uncertainty I’m currently feeling will be well worth it as I follow His leading!    

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health