Tag Archives: abuse recovery

Do Narcissists Change As They Age?

I’ve read so many times that narcissists never change, but I have to disagree with this.

 

Narcissists can change for the better, because with God, all things are possible.  This is quite rare, but it’s certainly something to hope & pray for.  (I believe in hoping for the best but preparing for the worst)  It happened with my husband’s father- he improved so much.  I don’t know why he changed, but it was wonderful.  He was caring & kind to my husband instead of his usual behavior- critical, bossy & generally nasty.  Unfortunately though, he later developed dementia, & returned to his old ways.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can exacerbate narcissistic tendencies.  Sadly, this is quite normal.)  After his wife (a covert narcissist) died in 2016, he returned to his much better behavior.

 

More commonly though, narcissists do change as they get older, & they get much more devious & creative.  They have to change because as they age, they have to use different tactics if they want to remain in control.  In my teens, my mother was a very intimidating & imposing figure.  When she screamed at me, as she did so very often, I was always afraid she’d physically hurt me.  If she tried this today at age 77, I wouldn’t be so intimidated.  How could I be?  She is much older & frailer now.  Screaming at me now wouldn’t have the desired effect, so she has changed her tactic from screaming to speaking in a soft tone & saying the most vicious things she can come up with.

 

Narcissists are smart- they know what will be the most effective way to accomplish something they want to accomplish.  They are experts at reading people, as they have to be to figure out the best way to use them.   They also are smart enough to realize what worked well for them when they were 35 most likely won’t work as well at 75, & they must adapt accordingly.  Besides, their children aren’t as easily pushed around at 40 as they were at 10.  They have to find new ways to manipulate them if they wish to continue using their children.

 

Many older narcissists also like to reminisce.  They like to talk with you about the past.  Often it’s the usual narcissistic rhetoric- bragging about their great accomplishments at work or the vast numbers of people they’ve helped.  But, narcissistic parents also can do something very hurtful- brag about the amazing childhood you had.  My mother has done this many times.  She talks about all the great things she did for me when I was a child.  Some things were simply a parent doing what she should for a child, & some things never happened at all.  When this happens, it used to hurt me a great deal.  She was invalidating & denying abusing me!  Instead she made me look like a screw up who needed her.  Finally though, God showed me something that has helped me tremendously.  This behavior is a coping skill.  Dysfunctional as it is, this is how my mother copes with the guilt she feels for being so abusive.  Rather than take responsibility & apologize to me, she reinvents the past to make herself look like a good mother.  She also even tries to get me to agree with her stories, in the hopes of convincing herself & I both that the stories really are true.  Once God showed me this, it made perfect sense to me.  I no longer was so hurt by her stories, because I knew they weren’t a personal attack (even though they may feel like it sometimes).  I knew instead they were a dysfunctional coping skill.  It is her right to use that skill if she wants.  It’s also my right not to validate her stories if I am so inclined, & I never do validate them.

 

Just be forewarned, Dear Reader.  As your narcissistic mother ages, she may not mellow out like many folks do.  She may seem a bit easier to handle in her golden years because she isn’t screaming, but don’t be fooled- just because she isn’t screaming or physically abusive doesn’t mean she isn’t still capable of hurting you a great deal.

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

Envy In Narcissists

When dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there is one important point you must never forget- they are extremely envious.

 

Narcissists want what you have, whether what you have is a loving marriage, a great job, talents or a nice home or car.  I think it is because narcissists feel so badly about themselves, that your good thing, whatever it may be, is perceived as a threat.  By you looking good, they think it makes them look bad, as if people are constantly comparing them to others.  They simply cannot stand someone else looking better than them in any way or doing something they are unable to do.

 

One example of this that comes to mind is my mother in-law.  She’s never driven- always had to rely on others to take her where she needed to go.  From day one, my car was always an issue with her, even knowing I love cars, especially mine.  She started by accusing me of driving too fast in her neighborhood.  I thought it was odd, but slowed down.  Not long after my husband & I got together, she suggested we go out to lunch one day.  I said fine, let’s figure out when to do this.  She said, “You WILL be taking Eric’s car, right?”  I was baffled & said “No, I have my own car.”  She dropped the subject.  A couple of weeks later, she suggested we go out again, & again she asked if I was taking my husband’s car.  Again I said no.  This happened once more & by then I was getting angry.  My car wasn’t good enough for her to ride in?!  Someone who doesn’t drive or know the first thing about cars thinks she’s too good for my car?!   Anyway, a few years later, my husband & I had both of our cars at his parents’ house.  I’d been helping him work on his, then when he didn’t need my help, I replaced a burned out turn signal bulb on my car.  When I was alone, my mother in-law took this opportunity to tell me my car was costing too much money- I needed to just get rid of it.  (a $.97 bulb that burned out after 8 years was too expensive?)  She also made fun of me for “liking to get dirty & greasy” because I had car dirt on me after working on hubby’s car.

 

At the time, I knew nothing of NPD.  I did realize though that all of this nastiness boiled down to one thing- envy.  My mother in-law envied the fact that not only was I independent enough to drive, I could even fix my car if need be.  She has created this dependence on my father in-law by not driving, under the guise of helplessness, yet at the same time, she envied me for not being so dependent on my husband as she was on hers.  Obviously she was trying to hurt me not because there was something wrong with me, but because there is something wrong with her.

 

Sadly, this is typical narcissistic behavior.  Narcissists attack things that mean a lot to you for two reasons- because it causes you a great deal of pain or because of envy.  Often, for a combination of both reasons.  In the situation with my car, my mother in-law used both reasons, I believe.

 

When the narcissist in your life viciously criticizes something about you, or even simply tries to instill doubt in you about it, you can bet she envies you.  Don’t let her cruel words or actions make you feel bad about whatever it is she’s criticizing about you!  In fact, remember that whatever it is, is a good thing.  If it wasn’t, she wouldn’t care enough about it to criticize you so viciously.  Don’t let her cruelty make you feel badly or as if you’re doing something wrong.  It is simply proof that you are doing something very well & that you are blessed!  Remembering these things will help you to not be hurt by her verbal abuse.

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When You’re Suffering…

I read a wonderful quote recently & unfortunately I have no clue who said it.  It reads,

 

“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.”

 

Not only are those lovely words, but it’s very true.

 

Devastating events are painful, & no one wants to go through them.  Unfortunately though, they are an inevitable part of life.  Trying to focus on the good that can come out of bad things will help you get through them.  I admit, that can seem impossible at the time, but it really is possible.

 

Getting sick last year, I quickly gained a new perspective.  I stopped sweating the small stuff.  I abandoned friendships that were one sided or superficial.  I realized I had to stop putting up with being mistreated, & say no or stand up for myself.  I cared less  what others thought of me & my beliefs, & became  a bit more outspoken about them.  This chased some people out of my life.  The symptoms forced me to rest often, which I truly needed to do but didn’t do before.  (Although I still struggle in this area, it has improved somewhat)  So in a strange way, I’m actually glad for what happened- it caused me to become mentally healthier & take better care of myself.

 

I know this isn’t easy to do, especially in the throes of a painful situation, but look for what you are learning or how you are growing.  If you feel unable to do so, ask God to help you.  While doing this may not seem useful, it really can be.  You’ll gain wisdom you didn’t have, which can help you to heal & maybe even to help others as well.  Learning about narcissism was that way for me.  I was devastated by narcissistic abuse my entire life, then suddenly I learned I wasn’t the problem- NPD was!  That knowledge helped pick me back up after being knocked down, & eventually to help other victims too.  I can’t say I’m grateful for the abuse I’ve gone through, but I am grateful that God brought good from it.  It means that suffering counted for something!

 

The same thing can happen to you, too.  Why not make a decision today to allow God to work good things out of your pain?  Ask Him to do so, & He will.

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Emotional Flashbacks & Sensory Flashbacks

Most people have heard of flashbacks, where you feel as if you are reliving a traumatic event.  It can be so difficult to tell reality from the awful memory during a flashback.  They are horrible, & I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.

But, this isn’t the only type of flashback.  Emotional flashbacks happen too.  They are when something triggers an overwhelming feeling in you.  For example- being late makes me feel tremendous anxiety & shame.  My mother would get me to high school at the last possible moment to show me she was in charge, telling me how lucky I was she would do this or anything at all for me, considering how awful I treated her.  It’s been almost 30 years since she did this yet anxiety & shame still kick into overdrive if I’m running late.

Other examples of emotional flashbacks are things like believing if you make a mistake it makes you bad or feeling shame if someone disagrees with you, or doesn’t like something you like.

There is also such a thing as a sensory flashback.  Sensory flashbacks are brought on by something that affects the senses.  For example, smelling a certain perfume or seeing a style of clothing like your narcissistic mother wore creates terrible anxiety in you.

Emotional & sensory flashbacks can be managed with the same methods used to manage regular flashbacks.  Grounding techniques can help you to get through it.  Use something to stimulate the senses, such as smelling something with a very strong scent, or touch something with a very coarse texture or even hold an ice cube.  Something that strongly stimulates at least one of your senses will force your mind to take notice, & help to loosen the flashback’s hold on you, keeping you in reality.  And, once it’s done, don’t forget to take care of yourself while you recover.  Flashbacks, even mild ones, can take a lot out of you.  You need to rest & pamper yourself to recover afterwards.

Although flashbacks can be extremely painful to experience, they also can be beneficial.  They show you what areas you need healing in.  I encourage you to try to use that awful flashback to help you in this way.  As you feel strong enough, face whatever issue came up & cope with it the best you can.  Pray- ask God to help you to heal.  Learn about ways to forgive your abuser, because you deserve to be happy, without carrying around anger or bitterness.  Learn ways to take care of yourself, to be the nurturer you never had.

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Helping Others

On June 26, 1982, my great grandmother passed away.  I absolutely adored her, & her death broke my 11 year old heart.  I still miss her often.

 

Her death was the first death of someone close to me that I experienced as a child, & it was devastating.  No less devastating was the fact my parents didn’t care.  My father was caught up in his own grief.  This was his grandmother who he loved dearly.  My mother simply didn’t care about how anyone felt about her death but herself, so she offered me no comfort.

 

On the day of her viewing, my parents & I arrived at the funeral home, to be greeted at the door by my granddad.  While he spoke with my parents, I looked around, & saw my great grandmother in the coffin.  She was dressed in a lovely long pink dress.  I remembered her wearing that same pink dress a few years earlier, as she rode with my parents & I to a wedding.  I too was wearing a long pink dress.  As we rode along, she patted my leg & said, “Us ladies in our long pink dresses.”  That little gesture made me feel so special, & remembering it as she lay there in that same dress, made me burst into tears.  My parents didn’t notice, but Granddad did.  Even though this was his mother, & he was obviously hurting, he grabbed me & hugged me close as I cried uncontrollably.

 

As this scenario played in my mind as it often does around this time of year, I thought about something.

 

There is such a great lack of empathy in the world, & not only among narcissists.  Not a lot of people will cry with someone who is crying, or get angry with someone who has been hurt.  Many people preach forgive & forget.  Others say you should get revenge on the person who hurt you.  Still others say “Get over it.  That was a year ago (or however long ago it was)”.  And yet others compare your story to theirs, & yours always pales in comparison to how terrible their story is.  They got over it- what’s wrong with you that you can’t?

 

When people open up to others, they are making themselves very vulnerable.  They don’t need to be told they’re awful people for not forgiving & forgetting, or that they need to punish their abuser.  They need someone to do what my granddad did on that sad day back in 1981- hug them & let them do what they need to do.

 

Writing about what I do, I’ve heard it all too, & thankfully, I’ve been able to develop a pretty thick skin.  Even so, sometimes it really hurts me when someone says something heartless, such as I need to get over the abuse I’ve been through.  Early in my healing, comments like that broke my heart!  They made me feel like an utter failure.  I even felt like I was disappointing God.  He couldn’t possibly love someone like me, I thought.

 

My thoughts weren’t uncommon.  Many people who have been abused feel the exact same way when insensitive comments are made to them.

 

How do you respond when people tell you their problems?  I’d like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to think about that question honestly.  If you realize you need to improve your behavior in some way, then do it!  You don’t want to hurt anyone!  Obviously- otherwise you wouldn’t be listening & trying to help that person.

 

If you want to be a good listener & help others, then listen to them.  Really listen!  Don’t interject comments or advice, & let the speaker know you are listening.  Nod & make eye contact.  Only offer advice when asked.  Touch the speaker’s hand or arm- a little physical contact often can help when words can’t.  Maybe hug the speaker if you believe he or she is open to that.  If you don’t know, ask if you can hug him/her. Let the speaker ask you questions if they want to.  Offer to take the person out for a distraction if they seem interested.  Going out for coffee or a walk in the park may be just what the person needs.  If the person doesn’t necessarily want to talk, maybe turn on some music, dance around your living room & laugh a lot.  Sometimes the smallest gesture can offer the greatest comfort.  And, never forget to ask God what to do.  He will give you ideas on what you can do to help.

 

Helping others isn’t really hard if you pay attention to people & get creative.  And, as an added bonus, not only do you help that person, but you help yourself as well.  Helping other people simply feels good!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Print Book Sale!

My publisher is offering a sale on all print books: $5 off any $20 or more purchase.  Simply use code NEWMOON at checkout. (code is case sensitive, so use all caps!)  Sale ends June 5 at midnight.

 

You can find my books at this link:

 

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Do You Protect Your Narcissistic Parents?

I believe many of us raised by narcissistic parents are very protective of those parents.  We try never to hurt their feelings, or we don’t discuss how they abused us, keeping their dirty little secret.  While very common, this can be very damaging to do!  It angers you, which can lead to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure or even diabetes.  Mentally, it takes a toll on you as well.  It can leave you feeling depressed, angry or damage your self esteem because putting abusive people as a priority over yourself makes you feel worthless.
While I’m not saying yell a laundry list of their sins from the rooftops or cuss them out every time they abuse you, I am saying it isn’t your job to protect your narcissistic parents.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  (KJV)  People need to receive consequences of their actions, both good & bad, so they can learn & grow.  Consequences teach a person & help them to learn & grow.  Admittedly, narcissists aren’t exactly fans of self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean that the opportunities for such shouldn’t be there.  Interrupting the natural laws of sowing & reaping doesn’t help anyone in the long run.  It only enables their poor behavior which teaches them they can continue to mistreat you, & can cause you physical or mental health problems.
So why do it?  Why would anyone protect their abusive narcissistic parents?  I think there are a few reasons.
Narcissistic parents train their children from the moment of their birth to take care of them.  Children are supposed to be their narcissistic parents’ emotional caregiver (emotional incest).  Protect that parent from any kind of discomfort or pain at all costs.  It’s OK if the child is hurt, that is not important, but never the parent.
Part of protecting narcissistic parents is to pretend the abuse isn’t happening.  The child always knows that she is never to confront her mother about being abusive nor is she to tell anyone about it.  Secrecy becomes deeply ingrained in the child.  So much so, secrecy is second nature for her.
Narcissistic parents destroy their children’s self-esteem.  Their children grow up believing they are nothing, they don’t matter & they have absolutely no value to anyone.  This means they also believe that they have zero rights.  These children believe that the abusive parent is much more valuable than they are, so they can’t speak up.  They don’t have the right to do so.
I believe these three things work together to create a perfect storm, if you will, where the adult child of narcissistic parents grows up willing to do anything to protect her narcissistic parents in any way possible.
How do you replace this dysfunctional pattern with a healthier one?
First & foremost, as always, ask God for help.  Pray for guidance, wisdom & anything you may need to change this pattern.
Work on improving your self-esteem.  Don’t forget that you have just as much value as anyone else.  The better your self-esteem is, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority & to take care of yourself.
Remember the law of sowing & reaping.  That law is God’s law- it is NOT your place to interrupt it for anyone, not even your parents.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with telling your narcissistic mother you will not tolerate her abusive behavior.  There is also nothing wrong with answering someone’s questions truthfully if they ask about your relationship with your mother.
If you feel the desire to discuss the abuse you endured, that is OK.  You aren’t doing something bad or wrong.  I aim to discuss my experiences in a matter of fact way so as not to be disrespectful to my parents.  If they ever read anything I write, as angry & hurt as they may be, at least I can have a clear conscience that I was not cruel or trying to hurt them.  Talking about your experiences shouldn’t be done out of revenge or desire to cause pain, but instead to help yourself & maybe others as well.
It isn’t easy to stop protecting your parents after a lifetime of doing so.  Chances are you are going to slip up sometimes.  Don’t beat yourself up for that!  It happens.  We all make mistakes!  Just keep on trying, & the more you try, the easier it will get for you to behave in a more functional, healthy fashion.

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Book Sale!

My publisher is having a sale again.  15% off all print books & free mail shipping through May 16, 2016.  Use code MAYSHIP15 at checkout to take advantage of the sale.

 

Go to the link below to see my books:

 

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

 

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The Fear Of Hurting Other People

Many adult children of narcissistic parents have an issue with being overly concerned with hurting the feelings of other people.  I wonder if it’s because early on, we learned that we were not to make any waves.  Just silently serve our narcissistic mothers when needed, & otherwise we were to blend silently into the background.  Speaking up & hurting someone’s feelings would make us more human & less “tool like”, which would make using us wrong.  And we all know, narcissists can’t be wrong!

As a grown woman, I still have a problem in this area.  I would rather do something I am unwilling to do than say no & potentially hurt someone’s feelings.  I would rather ignore my own hurt at someone’s thoughtlessness & tell them that it’s ok rather than speak up about how wrong what they did is, even knowing that they need to realize their actions were unacceptable.

This sort of behavior is unhealthy.  Keeping things inside rather than speaking up isn’t good for your physical or mental health at all.  High blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease & diabetes can result as well as depression, anxiety, bitterness & self-destructive behaviors.

I’m not saying you have to spew forth every bad thought that comes to mind or even be harsh with your words.  However, there are times you need to say something, & there is nothing wrong with that.  You need to have a healthy discernment of when to speak up & when to stay quiet, as well as the courage to speak up when necessary & wisdom on what words to use.

I know it sounds difficult (or even impossible), but it can be done.  I’m working on improving in this area myself.

Prayer is of the utmost importance.  Asking God to help you in this area, giving you what you need to accomplish what must be done.  He will do it!  Just follow the promptings He places in your heart.

Also, the more you heal, the more dysfunctional you realize this behavior is, & the more willing you are to change it to get away from the dysfunction.  That willingness helps to give you courage to make the appropriate changes.

Work on your self esteem.  The better you feel about yourself, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority, & to take care of yourself.  You will realize you do have the right to have reasonable boundaries, & if someone hurts you either deliberately or accidentally, it’s perfectly fine to speak up to them about their actions.

You also need to know that there is a difference between hurting & harming.  Hurting someone is temporary.  They’ll get over that pain quickly.  Harming however, the damage goes much deeper. Hurting comes from facing painful truths (such as admitting that something you did hurt someone else).  Even so, it can make a person learn & grow.  Harming, however, causes damage.  So, if you tell someone what they did hurt you or set a boundary, there is nothing harming in either of those things.

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When People Come To You With Problems, How Do You Treat Them?

I think most of us who have experienced abuse have met at least one person who, upon sharing our story, invalidated us & caused a great deal of pain.  The person who says you’re suffering because you haven’t prayed enough, you don’t have enough faith, let it go- that’s in the past,  I don’t know why you insist on hanging onto this when all you need to do is forgive & forget…

 

Unfortunately it isn’t just people who haven’t been abused who say such things.  Sometimes it is people who have been through trauma, yet refuse to deal with it.  They honestly think they are healed from the damage when in fact, all they have done is sweep the entire incident & aftermath under the rug.

 

Healing isn’t pretty, & sometimes we all need some help getting through.  When someone comes to you for help, how do you respond?  Do you tell her to pray more or do you cry with her?

 

While certainly prayer is wonderful & a vital ingredient to healing, sometimes people need more than you saying you’ll pray for or with them.  They need someone to hug them, to hold them while they cry or even get angry for them.  They need someone who won’t judge them even if they cussing like a drunken sailor or wishing their abuser was dead.  They need understanding, compassion & validation!

 

How do you treat people who come to you with problems?  Do you simply say you’ll pray with them or are you willing to get into the trenches with them?

 

Getting more involved can be a tricky thing for someone who’s been abused, as hearing another person’s story may trigger your own issues.  It also can be extremely emotionally & physically draining.  If you do opt to help another, then build yourself up as much as possible.  Pray & ask God for whatever you need.  Journal if it helps you.  Be good to yourself- eat healthy, get plenty of rest, relax..whatever helps you to feel good.

 

And remember, it is incredibly rewarding helping other people, even when it is hard!  Recently, I wasn’t feeling particularly well when a friend called me.  Someone she knew was having emotional problems & the more she told me, the more I realized it was due to being raised by a narcissist.  By the time we hung up, I felt so much better.  Being able to provide information that helped her, helped me.

 

Truly helping other people, above praying with & for them, can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.  You are blessing not only the other person, but yourself as well.

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Sale On My Books- 20% Off & Free Shipping

My publisher is having another sale!  Use code APRSHIP20 at checkout to receive 20% all print books & free mail shipping until May 1.

 

You can find my books at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Book Sale Again!!

My publisher is having another sale.  Been plenty of them lately!

 

This sale is for 20% off of all print books until April 3, 2016.  Use code SHOWER20 at checkout (all caps- codes are case sensitive).

 

You can see my author’s spotlight at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

 

 

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Book Sale!

Save $5 on every $25 or more print book order from my publisher.  Use code SAVE5 at checkout.  Sale ends March 25.

Visit my online store at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

 

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My Books Are On Sale- Today Only!

My print book & sometimes ebook publisher is offering a really good sale but it’s today only.  All print books are 25% off, ebooks 5% off!  Use code AMAZING16 at checkout!

 

You can see my books for sale & free ebooks at this link: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

 

 

 

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Anger Isn’t Always A Bad Thing!

Anger is an emotion that strikes fear into many people.  In Christian circles, many think anger isn’t of God.  It’s from the devil & to be avoided at all costs.  If you’re angry, you’re a sinner/wrong/a bad person.  People who were abused fear anger, assuming the angry person is going to hurt them like their abuser did.

The truth is though that anger is simply one of the many emotions God gave us, & if God gave it, it can’t be bad.  What you do with the anger can be good or bad though.

I have learned that sometimes, it is good to hold onto some anger.  If I think back on the terrible, abusive things my narcissistic mother has done to me, although I have forgiven her for doing them, the unfairness of them still makes me angry.  This is not a bad thing at all!  If I can remember to focus on that anger, it helps me to stay strong with my mother when she does something else hurtful.  The anger empowers me- it helps me to have the inner strength to call her out on her actions when I need to, rather than letting her get away with abusing me.

There is also a big difference in being angry at the injustice of a situation & angry at a person.  God commands us to forgive one another repeatedly in the Bible,  I believe because it benefits us so much to forgive others.  (A few examples are: Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 18: 21-22 & Matthew 6:14-15.)  Not forgiving others can lead very easily to bitterness or tainting your judgment of other people.  (example: if your husband cheated on you, you think all men are cheaters)  Being angry with a righteous anger at the unfairness of a situation though, does not have the same results.  Yes, an unjust situation makes you angry but it doesn’t make you bitter, & it gives you strength to stand up for what is right.

If you feel anger, I urge you to really delve into why you are angry.  If you are angry at the person who hurt or abused you, then by all means, please try to let it go.  I wrote about the topic of forgiveness on my website.  You can click this link if you’d like to read it.

If you’re angry about the unfairness of a situation though, I would urge you to hold onto that righteous anger.  It will help you if you ever are faced with a similar situation.

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It’s Not All Your Fault

Like many survivors of any type of abuse, one thing I have struggled with my entire life is thinking that everything is my fault.  It’s very easy to see why this has happened…

  • My mother blamed me for making her abuse me.  She claimed she was “saving me from myself”, if I wasn’t so bad she wouldn’t have to do the “tough love” thing on me, & I was too upset to drive after a fight with her when I was 19 so her solution was to throw me into a wall & hurt my back.
  • On our third anniversary, my ex-husband started a big fight.  I needed time to calm down & think, so I left.  When I came back, his mother (we lived with his parents) chewed me out for making him punch her wall after I left, & told me how I needed to fix this.  I needed to apologize to him & never leave during an argument again.  She also wanted me to apologize to her husband for making my husband so angry.
  • My current in-laws blame me for stealing my husband from them & keeping him from his family, according to my husband’s sister.  They also don’t understand why I have a problem with how my mother in-law has treated me (she’s a very devious  covert narcissist).
  • When talking about problems with my parents, I have been told that I need to make things work with them.  It’s my job to fix things, period.

You simply can’t survive things like this without learning that everything is your fault, and you deserve whatever you get.  It’s your fault for making people act that way.  You need to try harder.  If the relationship is going to work, then you have to be the one who makes it work.

This type of behavior is extremely common among adult children of narcissistic parents.

Can you relate?  If so, read on..

I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is no way that everything is your fault.

It is simply impossible for one person to do every single thing wrong in a relationship while the other does every single thing right.  Even people with the best intentions & good relationship skills will make mistakes sometimes.

It’s also not one person’s responsibility to make a relationship work.  Relationships are not a one way street- they are a two way street.  Both people need to be willing to work on the relationship, no matter what kind of relationship we are talking about.  Whether the relationship is husband & wife,  friends, relatives, co-workers or parent/child, both parties need to work on the relationship if it is to be a successful.  One person simply cannot make it work, no matter how hard they try.  Sure, one person can make the relationship work briefly, but it won’t last long.  The one with all of the responsibility will become resentful quickly at best, or feel like a complete failure when it falls apart.

You need to know today, Dear Reader, that not everything is your fault or your responsibility!  You have your own voice, your own feelings, & your own needs.  Never let anyone convince you otherwise!  You have your own worth & value, no matter what anyone else says.

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Making Yourself A Priority

Many of us who grew up with a narcissistic mother learned early in life to put ourselves last in every way.  This carries over into adulthood, making for some very sad & resentful adults.

Even so, we usually are unwilling to change this. We want to be different than our extremely selfish narcissistic mothers, so we go in the completely opposite direction.  And, with Christians, being concerned for & helping others is a big part of who God wants His children to be.  How could we be so selfish as to put ourselves first?  We certainly don’t want to disappoint God!  And, if your narcissistic mother claimed to be religious, no doubt she used religion to reinforce that belief in you that taking care of yourself is selfish.  Even if she wasn’t religious, she probably told you, as mine did, that it was selfish & bad to take care of yourself.

The fact is though that taking care of yourself is NOT selfish!  Taking care of yourself is necessary.  I know, that feels so wrong after a lifetime of training from your narcissistic mother, but it’s very true!  How else can you expect to function or to be there for other people if you are sick or exhausted?

Also, if you consistently put yourself & your needs last, it tells other people that they can do the same.  It sends the message that you are so unimportant that even you mistreat yourself.  If you can mistreat yourself, then it is perfectly acceptable for someone else to do so.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today to realize that you have every right, a duty to yourself even, to make yourself a priority.  Making yourself a priority doesn’t make you selfish, so long as you do so in balance.  (Narcissists take a healthy thing & make it completely out of balance)  It doesn’t make you a bad person, in spite of what your narcissistic mother will say.  Jesus even did so- there were times when He needed time to Himself & he took it, refusing to be interrupted.  If Jesus did it, & as Christians we are to be like Him, don’t you think you can do this too without being selfish or bad?

Make yourself your top priority, starting today.  You deserve nothing less.

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Trauma Changes You

Trauma actually can cause physical changes in the brain. That is why PTSD & C-PTSD happen- the brain is actually broken due to traumatic experiences. The physical damage to the brain causes the awful symptoms of both disorders.

However, I don’t believe you have to have an actual disorder to be changed by trauma.

I have C-PTSD, but the symptoms didn’t fully manifest until the spring of 2012. Prior to that, I have experienced many traumas, & I realized I changed after several of them, long before the C-PTSD.

In 2010, my house was hit by lightening while my husband & I were at a friend’s wedding reception. When we came home we learned a window unit air conditioner had been hit, & caught fire, but somehow the fire went out. The neighbor’s tree beside our driveway, where my car sits, was hit, as was their brick chimney. There were large limbs & bricks surrounding my car, but nothing touched my car. Coming so close to losing my car, furkids & home was extremely traumatic. It made me appreciate them all even more. I constantly snuggle & tell the furkids how much I love them now (sometimes to their disappointment..lol). Cleaning my home & car also aren’t as big of a nuisance as they once were.

Shortly after the lightening incident, upon leaving a store, my shoe got caught on the curb & flung me into oncoming traffic.  Thankfully I was only sore & embarrassed, but that oncoming truck that came within inches of hitting me scared me!  It made me realize that life can change or even end in an instant.  Since then, I take better care of my mental health now instead of ignoring when the C-PTSD flares up. I am less rigid in my routines, opting to do fun things whenever the opportunities arise. I also constantly reevaluate things in my life & am much more open to making changes than I was.

Things like what I have experienced are normal. Trauma is so dramatic, how can it not change you in some way?

The changes may not be as drastic as mine have been. Sometimes, it’s small changes. For example, since I developed C-PTSD, I am not as interested in knitting & crocheting as I had been. I loved doing both ever since I was five years old, so suddenly losing interest has been very strange to say the least.

Have you changed as a result of trauma? If so, you are completely normal! It’s ok! These changes may simply be a part of the new you. Why not embrace the changes? You may discover new interests or a renewed passion for an old one. You may have a new appreciation for the people, pets or even things in your life. You may wish to end old relationships that aren’t beneficial to you or the other person, & that too is fine. It may be a good thing. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start. You also may change often, your likes or dislikes changing frequently.

I encourage you to pray if you are unsure of or uncomfortable with the changes happening to you. God will reassure you of what is fine & let you know if something is wrong.

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Learning About Anger

As I’ve mentioned before, like most children of narcissistic parents, I learned young never to show anger.  Instead, I stuffed it down inside & never dealt with it.

 

This year, I finally begun to stop stuffing anger & dealing with it in a healthy way.  It feels foreign, & like I’m disobeying my mother, but good at the same time.

 

I’ve realized something recently, & I think it may help others who are also finally learning how to manage anger in a healthy way.

 

I’m getting angry often over things that happened a long time ago.  Things have started just popping into my mind at random..bad memories of times when I was abused, invalidated or mistreated in some way.  Not necessarily repressed memories- things I remembered, but never really thought much about.   I finally asked God about it.  This was getting on my nerves, & I wanted an answer.  He reminded me that I  have had a lot of years of not allowing myself to feel the anger I had a right to feel.  Now that I’m getting a better grip on anger, I am finally able to process certain unpleasant events in a healthy way.  That is why these things are coming up so many years later.

 

Dear Reader, if you too are learning how to deal with anger in a healthy way for the first time, don’t be surprised if this happens to you, too!  It just may!  I doubt I’m the only person who this has happened to.  It seems like this is a logical course of events, yanno?  Especially since God wants what is best for His children, & what is best is to deal with painful things so they are no longer so painful.

 

When these events pop into my mind, I talk to God about it as soon as possible.  For whatever reason, they usually come to mind as I’m about to get into the shower, which is good- I have some private time to talk to Him uninterrupted.

 

Once alone with God, I just let it out.  Cry, tell Him how unfair it was, tell Him how much it hurt, whatever needs to get out of me.  He listens & that helps me a lot.  I also sometimes write it out in my journal at a later time.  When you feel anger, you need to purge yourself of it so it gets out of you.  It’s poison if left inside, & can cause many physical & mental health problems.  Getting it out is so much better.

 

When I’m done getting the anger out, I just sit quietly in God’s presence for a while.  It’s amazing how doing that can soothe your soul & mend your broken heart.  He doesn’t even need to say anything to you- there is just something peaceful & restorative about sitting quietly & focusing on God, His greatness & His love.

 

Once these things are done, I often find I’m a bit tired for a while & feel sort of raw emotionally.  Emotional healing is very tiring, very hard work.  If you feel that way, it’s normal.  Just try to take it as easy as you can for a little while until you feel better.  Be gentle with yourself.  You’ve been through something painful, & need to recover.

 

I hope this helps you, Dear Reader.  I know it’s no fun remembering something traumatic or painful, but it really can be helpful in your healing journey.  When things come back to your remembrance, you might as well just deal with them & get it over with rather than continue to ignore it.  Ignoring it does not benefit you in the least.  Dealing with it, especially with God’s help, however rids you of the damage it was doing to you.

 

 

 

 

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For Anyone Considering Writing About Narcissism

Since I began writing about narcissism, surviving narcissistic abuse & the awful effects on its victims, some people have told me I need to focus on writing about lighter, more pleasant topics.  It’s too negative.  People need to think about positive things, not just the negative.  I only write about what I do because I’m wallowing in the past.  I need to forget it & move on.

The truth is, I do agree with the fact that people need to focus on positive things, not just the negative.  That is all I agree with in the above statements however.

In all honesty, writing about narcissism isn’t easy.  I’m often learning something new, & it can be depressing just how pervasive narcissism & narcissistic abuse are.  I get tired of it all.  It’s a very emotionally draining topic & can be triggering for my C-PTSD.  I have to take time to deliberately refuse to focus on it to help me not to get mired down in the depressing negativity that is narcissism.

That being said, I don’t plan to quit anytime soon.

For one thing, I believe God wants me to write about this topic.  He has given me the ability to write & also to understand quite a lot about narcissism.  Not that I know everything on the topic of course- I don’t think anyone does- but I do know a lot.  My personal experiences have taught me a great deal as well as things I have read.

For another thing, when someone thanks me for teaching them something they’ve been searching for an answer for, it is incredibly rewarding.

It’s also rewarding to let people know they aren’t alone.  Since narcissistic abuse makes its victims feel so alone, learning they aren’t is a really big deal!

There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you helped to improve someone’s life.  That alone makes it all worth while!

And, in all honesty, writing helps me as well.  I’m finally validated!  Seeing things in writing somehow helps me to realize that what happened to me was real, & it was terrible.  It makes it more real than just remembering things, probably since I dissociated so much as a child.  It also helps validate me when people believe me & offer support & understanding.  That almost never happened until I started writing.  So please forgive my selfish motive but I need this validation!

If you are considering writing about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, just know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Remember that if you opt to write about it, narcissism is a terribly negative topic.  You will need to counter the negativity with positive.  Indulge in things you enjoy often, such as a favorite hobby.

Do nice things for yourself to reward yourself after writing.  Even a short blog post like this one can be surprisingly draining sometimes- reward yourself for putting forth the effort.

Make time where you flatly refuse to think about NPD or anything related to it.  Deliberately focus on something else.  Anything else.

If you opt to write a blog, write posts in advance & schedule them to publish without your assistance.  That way, if you feel inspired, you can write several posts at once, or if you feel uninspired, you can take a break.  Your blog will post anyway.  I have a lot of posts ready to go- over 3 months into the future.

Don’t feel bad for taking frequent breaks.  It’s good for your mental health!

If you choose to write a book, be forewarned- that is much more challenging than writing in a blog.  Blog posts are usually short which makes them easier to handle.  Writing a full book, however is different.  Chances are, you’ll go on a bender & end up writing a lot in one sitting, probably often, which will exhaust you.  You may plan to write for only half an hour but end up spending your afternoon in front of the computer.  Trust me on this one- been there, done that!  Writing a book about narcissism, especially if it is about your personal experiences, is an emotional roller coaster.

So if you are considering writing about narcissism, I strongly urge you to pray about it.  Ask God if this is the route He wants you to take, how He wants you to write (blog, books, etc) & if it is, to enable you to do it.  Ask for strength, courage & wisdom, because you will need all three & more.

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Just Because A Narcissist Says You Don’t Matter Doesn’t Mean You Don’t

 

Last week, my husband came down with the flu.  A few days ago, I caught it too.  Yippie..

 

Last night, my mother called.  She said she wanted to know how hubby was feeling, but I could tell the real reason she called was that she was angry with me.  I told her he’s doing better, just not quite over it yet.  A few minutes later, before hanging up, she said, “Glad he’s feeling better.  You didn’t catch it, did you?”  (She had to know I was sick- I sound horrible!)  I admitted I did.  Her response?  “Oh.  I remember the last time I had the flu.  Do you remember that?  You took me to the doctor..”  Not a surprising response, but still hurtful that she cares so little.

 

When writing about the incident in my journal a little while ago, I realized something.  My mother makes comments along these lines often.  If I mention a problem, she changes the subject, tells me about someone who has it way worse than me (at least in her mind) or tells me how she thinks I need to fix it.  She also employs another tactic- she blatantly ignores me, a while later mentions someone with the exact same problem, & how sorry she feels for that person.

 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

 

I believe comments & actions like this are made to make me feel like I don’t matter.  She is the only important one, in her eyes.

 

Narcissists love to make their victims feel as if they don’t matter.  One reason is the lower the self esteem, the easier the victim is to manipulate.  The victim can see herself as too stupid to know better than the narcissist, or not strong enough to stand up to the narcissist.  Another reason is narcissists feel powerful when they can tear their victims down.  Having such control over someone gives them the illusion that they have power.

 

As much as the narcissist benefits from making the victim believe she doesn’t matter, the victim is hurt.  Feeling this way can contribute to a root of toxic shame, which affects every area of a person’s life.

 

The next time this happens to you, I would like to encourage you to do as I just did a while ago when writing about this incident in my journal.  Not only did I get my feelings out, but I also told myself my narcissistic mother is wrong.  I told myself that I *do* matter.  Just because she thinks I don’t doesn’t mean it’s true.  My mother thinking I don’t matter is only her opinion, not a fact.

 

The same is true for you, too, Dear Reader!  Just because someone treats you as if you don’t matter, even if that someone is your mother, doesn’t mean it’s true!  You matter!  You matter to God, you matter to your significant other, you matter to your kids (furry or human or both) & you matter to everyone in your life who loves you.  Don’t let the sick manipulations of a narcissist convince you otherwise!  You deserve better than that!  Trust that you do matter & if you’re having trouble doing that, ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you if you matter to Him.  He will do so & gladly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Being Too Responsible

One thing that is very common among those who have experienced narcissistic abuse at the hands of a parent is an extremely overdeveloped sense of responsibility.

Narcissistic parents are extremely demanding of their children.  They expect their child to please them, no matter what. The child must take care of the narcissistic mother emotionally (emotional  incest).  The child must anticipate her narcissistic mother’s every whim, preferably even before she knows she has the whim, & meet it perfectly.  If she doesn’t, the mother believes she has every right to rage at her child.  This scenario makes the child extremely responsible.  Not only for her narcissistic mother, but for anyone in her life.

Thank God for helping me, because I was absolutely terrible in this area.  If someone was upset & I knew it, I thought it was my responsibility to make that person happy.  If the person  had a need or want, it was my responsibility to meet it, even if they could take care of it themselves.  This was an awful way to live.  So much pressure!  I thank God for getting me away from that.

Learning about boundaries is what helped me the most.  Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend’s book “Boundaries” literally changed my life.  Boundaries show you where you end & others begin, which helps you to know what you are & are not responsible for.  Once you know that information, you realize it is truly NOT your responsibility to do certain things.  It takes a great deal of the burden off of you.

Leaning on God is a tremendous help too.  Ask Him to show you what to do, then wait for the knowledge that you should or should not help that person & how to go about it.  He truly will guide you & enable you not to feel guilty if He doesn’t want you to help someone for whatever reason.  God does not want you to suffer with feeling you have to fix everyone.

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What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

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Repressed Memories & The Brain’s Ability To Cope

The brain is truly amazing.  It will do some very impressive things to protect you!

A visit with my parents in August showed me this.  During the visit, my mother threw an immense amount of verbal abuse my way.  After they left, I told some people what happened & I knew there was much more too it, but couldn’t remember.  It was very frustrating at first.  God showed me something though…

In my younger days when things like that happened, I remembered everything.  I may later repress it & it would come out years later, but usually I remembered things right after they happened for a while at least.  As I got older & more terrible things happened, I started developing more symptoms of C-PTSD.  Sometimes when these events happened, I’d forget a few little details, then remember them a few days later.  Once the C-PTSD fully developed, I’d forget more & more, then over the next few days, I’d remember those things.  Since my concussion last February & have had so many problems resulting from it, I forget a LOT, then remember it up to a week after the fact.

This has turned into a good thing.  I am able to cope less with things now than I once could, & God showed me that my brain is allowing only what I can deal with to come up.  Amazing, isn’t it?

This happens with memories that have been repressed for years as well.  Sometimes, something is too traumatic to deal with, so the mind hides it until you are able to deal with it.

If this describes you, please know that it is happening for a very good reason!  Your brain doesn’t want you to become overwhelmed or depressed.  It is allowing you to cope with only what you can cope with.  Don’t try to force yourself to remember something.  Allow it to happen in its own time.  Ask God to reveal things to you only as you are able to handle them.  It is best for your mental health!  Forcing things can set your healing back rather than helping you to move forward.  It can negatively impact your self-esteem.  It can depress you or make you extremely anxious.  It’s just not worth it!  Let events progress naturally for the sake of your mental health!

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No Is A Valid Answer

Closely related to yesterday’s post about boundaries, today I want to tell you about another aspect of boundaries that not everyone is aware of.

No is a valid answer.  Really.

I know it can be hard for some of us when we first learn to set boundaries.  Saying no means we often feel like we need to explain every single reason why we’re saying no & make sure those reasons meet the other person’s approval.  That is often a by product of surviving narcissistic abuse.

Unless you’re being interrogated by the police, you do not have to explain yourself to another person if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.  People don’t need to know every single thing about you if you don’t want to share every detail.  Really!

If the person you feel you must explain yourself to is a narcissist, then for your sanity’s sake, just say no instead.  Offering explanations only gives a narcissist more ammunition for embarrassing or hurting you at some point, providing them their coveted narcissistic supply.  For example, let’s say you can’t take your narcissistic mother to her doctor’s appointment on Thursday because you have a doctor’s appointment for yourself.  If you tell her this, she probably will demand to know why you’re going, & do you really feel comfortable telling her it’s for renewing your prescription for birth control pills?!  How awkward would that be?  Or if it’s something more serious, you know she’ll spin it around to how it would affect her if you were very sick or, God forbid, were dying.  Do you feel like dealing with that while you’re afraid yourself?  No?  Then remember to tell her no, without any explanation.  If you really feel the need to elaborate, simply say “I can’t, because I have an appointment (or plans) at that time that can’t be changed.”

And, don’t let her push you into telling you either!  Ignore when she hints around, wanting to know why you can’t help her.  Pretend you don’t grasp that she is hinting for you to tell her anything.  If she demands to know, change the subject.  If she offers guilt trips (“I guess you have better things to do than take care of your mother…”), IGNORE!!  You have every right to your privacy, & don’t let her convince you otherwise.

Always remember that no is a valid answer, & you have every right to use it as you see fit.

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Boundaries

Saying no isn’t always easy for those of us who have been abused.  The abuser trained us that we weren’t allowed to say no or have any rights or boundaries.  We also learned to explain ourselves fully (part of that no boundaries thing) to appease our abusers.

Unfortunately, that kind of sick training runs VERY deep & is hard to break.  Hard, but not impossible.

The word “boundaries” brings different thoughts to different people. Many people think “limiting” or “selfish” when they hear the word, but boundaries are actually the very opposite.  They encourage respect, love & freedom.

Boundaries are like a fence surrounding your yard. Things that are your responsibility are your feelings, actions & beliefs. & they are within your fence.  Those same things are within the fences of other people.  Their feelings, beliefs and actions are their responsibility, not yours. Even if they are wrong or bad, that is the other person’s business, not yours. You are not responsible for other people!   It is  not your business what they think, feel or do! The Bible says we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), so we may speak to someone about their hurtful, dangerous, or self-destructive behavior, but, trying to change someone to suit your ideals is wrong.

Boundaries are learned as children, and some behaviors from our parents may warp normal boundary development.  Emotionally incestuous parents create children who grow into adults who feel responsible for the happiness of other people.  Manipulative or childish parents  create children that can grow up feeling like they must fix all of the problems of others. There are also many parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who does not respect the boundaries of her child. This child grows up to believe she has no right to have boundaries, even to the point of stopping others from abusing her.

A person with healthy boundaries cannot be controlled. Boundaries will change your life!  You will learn to take responsibility only for yourself, while encouraging others to do the same with your healthy behavior.

In developing and enforcing new boundaries, it is beneficial to have a good support system- people  who have your best interests at heart, who do not judge or criticize unfairly,  who will support you, & who respect boundaries. They will help you to learn about setting & enforcing good boundaries & gain confidence.

When you first begin to develop boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish, give you the silent treatment, or even ask what happened to the “nice girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept your new boundaries with no complaints.  Unsafe people will not. Setting boundaries is a very good way to determine the safe from the unsafe people.

To start learning about boundaries, I strongly suggest you read the book, “Boundaries” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I love this book- it truly changed my life!

Once you read the book, spend some time soul searching.  Ask yourself questions, such as where do you need to set boundaries in your own life?  What  are you no longer willing to tolerate from people?  Then, you need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries…

If you deal with someone who insists on talking about a subject you are uncomfortable with, she needs to know that you are not willing to discuss these particular topics with her.  Change the subject.  If she continues, tell her that if she does not drop this matter, you will hang up the phone (or leave the room).  If that does not work, follow through on your threat!  Empty threats do no good to show others you are serious about your new boundaries!  In fact, they show others you have weak boundaries & they can be run over easily.

Learn  simple phrases such as:
“I won’t do that.”
“I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
“You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
“No.”

Some people are going to try to make you feel bad for your new boundaries.  If they cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.

The information above is some very basic information that you will need to adapt to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time are, do it anyway!  What is the worst that can happen?  Someone who is controlling kicks you out of his or her life?  Would that truly be such a great hardship?

I also recommend you look into my free online course based on the book “Boundaries.” It can be found at this link: Boundaries Book Study

The benefits of setting these boundaries certainly outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel lighter & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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God Gives Families To The Lonely

So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse end up abandoned by those closest to us once we start to open up about what we experienced.  Family & friends don’t believe us.  They accuse us of being overly dramatic, attention seeking, vindictive & other awful & untrue things.  They abandon us.  I’ve experienced it, too.  As a teen when my mother’s abuse piqued, her friends who once liked me no longer would give me the time of day.  My own friends offered me no support.  I also lost all friends except one once I opened up about what I experienced with my ex husband.  Most people thought he was a great guy, & I was the ungrateful, evil wife who mistreated him so.

There is good news though!

Psalm 68:6  “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.  But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”  (NLT)

It’s true!  When you feel abandoned & lonely, God will send the right people into your life.  He certainly has done it to me!  In 2000, I finally began to face my issues with my upbringing.  At the time, I had no real friends & no family I could talk to about such things, & it hurt.  I prayed a lot during that time, more than usual.  I eventually felt I should contact my granddad who I hadn’t spoken to in years due to my mother & ex telling me my grandparents hated me.  We ended up very close for the first time & he quickly became my best friend, not only my grandfather.  He even gave me a computer because I’d said I wanted to get one, & thanks to that, I met some wonderful friends online.  For the first time, I had a family- not all blood related, but I was very close to them nonetheless.  In fact, I’m still close to many of them.  God sent me even more wonderful friends into my life since, including old friends I had lost touch with many years ago.  Truly, He has given me a family!

God can do the same for you.  He loves you & wants to bless you.  All you need to do is trust that His word is true, & ask Him to give you that family.

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Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

One thing I learned in the relationship with the narcissists in my life, in particular my mother, is that I am nothing but a screw up.  My writing was never taken seriously.  In fact, my mother told me once it’s “nothing but a waste of time.”  She told my father that “no one wants to read that trash I write.”  I’ve also heard comments like all I do is play on the computer all day, & even been laughed at when I mention working (as if being an author isn’t a job).  I always heard, too, how I never did enough for anyone, & am too selfish.  My mother used to tell me that to have a friend, I had to be one, & by that she meant do anything for others & let them use me.  I had so-called friends who would get very angry with me if I wasn’t available when they wanted me to be or do whatever they wanted me to do.  These narcissists also always made sure I knew that I was wrong because my personality was very different than theirs, I liked things they didn’t like or I disliked things they liked.  They liked to either say outright or imply that I was crazy for such things.  My mother’s favorite phrase was, “You need help” (implying I was in need of psychiatric help) accompanied by a pitying look.  She even threatened to have me committed many times.  (Interestingly, she never once sought counseling for me, so started counseling on  my own at 17).

All of these things were devastating to my self-esteem.  I’ve wasted so much time thinking I was a complete & utter failure in every possible way- a terrible friend. awful girlfriend then wife, lousy pet mom, & even a lousy author.  Depressing doesn’t describe how this felt.  But, I’m sure I needn’t tell you this if you too have been subjected to narcissistic abuse.  You know all too well how this feels.

There is good news though!  You can be healed from this pain & dysfunctional way of thinking!  Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  And, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV)

God’s word is very true!  I gave my life to Jesus in February, 1996, & from that moment, I began to change & heal.  God has been healing me from all the abuse in my life since then, & definitely has made me a new person.  The wounded old me who was convinced she was crazy, worthless, stupid, & more is long gone.  Thanks to God, I am healing daily, & have no doubt I’ll never return to that miserable, dysfunctional mess I once was.  I may not be totally free of low self-esteem, but it is now much better than it once was & continues to improve.

God can do the same for you.  All you have to do is trust Him to take care of you, & He will.  He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  He wants you happy & peaceful.  He wants to heal you from the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse.  He certainly has done so for me.  Sure, I still have a long way to go, but I also was extremely damaged.   God, being the gentle, loving Father He is, heals me little by little, as I am able to handle it.  He’ll do that for you as well- only give you what you can handle, as you can handle it.

Are you willing today to claim God’s promises for your healing?

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Going Backwards Sometimes As You Heal

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, you learn early on that certain things are facts.  You have no right to have any opinion, feelings or needs, you are here to be used, you are fat/skinny/ugly/stupid as a few examples.  Hearing these things so often, especially when said with such conviction, you come to accept them as the absolute truth.

Eventually you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Finally, you have an answer to what has been wrong all these years, & lo & behold, it isn’t you!  You begin the long healing journey to repair so much damage.

Sometimes though, as you’re healing, you have backwards moments.  During those times you’ll slip into old, familiar yet very dysfunctional behaviors.  You may feel an incredible sense of doubt.  Is what you’ve learned wrong?  Is it really the truth or is it a lie?  It feels like a lie, because you’re going against things that your narcissistic mother ingrained so deeply in you.

I often go through feeling like what I’m learning is a lie.  It’s really annoying & very hard!  It involves a lot of false guilt, because I feel like a part of me is betraying my mother for rejecting what she worked so hard to instill in me.  I can feel like I’m betraying my mother, too, by even discussing my experiences since she was so adamant about me staying quiet.   It also produces a lot of anxiety because of stepping so far out of my comfort zone.  Often, it even produces nightmares too.

When these times happen, I’ve found the most important thing to do is accept the fact that these times happen.  There is no point in beating yourself up over them, because they are natural.  Like I’ve said many times, healing isn’t like a straight, concrete path.  It’s more like a very twisty, rocky path through the woods with many peaks & valleys.

You’ll need to confront the false beliefs that are rearing their ugly little heads, too.  Ask God to tell you the truth.  “Please Father, tell me the truth.  What I learned- is it a lie like my mother would say it is?”  “Should I feel guilty for believing these new things?” “Is it ok for me to talk about what happened to me?”  He will tell you the truth.  Even if you have to ask over & over again, He won’t lose patience with you & will tell you the truth repeatedly if that is what you need.

Always keep God in control of your healing.  He will lead you to the right information as you need it & are able to handle it.  He will not guide you wrong!  Trust that, & when your trust wavers some, ask God to give you more faith, to help your unbelief.

Music is surprisingly helpful too.  Listen to whatever empowers you, & do it often.  I love classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal & Southern rock for empowering music.

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About No Contact

I think many of us who stay in a relationship with our narcissistic mothers have been asked repeatedly, “Why don’t you go no contact with her?”  Often,  good points follow such as, “You don’t deserve to be treated that way” along with stories of someone else they knew who had a narcissistic mother & has never been happier since she went no contact.  I have been called foolish & accused of trying to be a martyr as well.

This conversation really can make you doubt your decision.

The truth of the matter though, is that ending a relationship, any relationship, is no one else’s business.  Ending a relationship is a very painful decision, but perhaps ending one with your mother is the most painful of all.  Ending a relationship is also a very individual decision.  You are a unique individual with unique feelings & responses to things.  You may be more willing or able to tolerate certain things than another person.  That doesn’t mean you’re wrong & the other person is right or vice versa- it simply means you’re different.

If you’re considering going no contact with your narcissistic mother, then please do NOT let anyone else influence your decision!  This is one that you need to make by yourself, & have absolute peace & certainty with your decision.  You need to be sure that whatever your choice, you will have no regrets.  To do this, I strongly suggest a great deal of prayer.  Ask God to help you make this choice & how to handle it whichever way it goes.  He will not lead you wrong.

If you opt to go no contact, then you need to remember to stick to your decision.  Don’t call your mother up to wish her a happy birthday or ask her advice after telling her you want her out of your life.  This only goes to show you have weak boundaries, & a narcissist naturally will use that against you.  If you & your mother share relationships, then tell those people that you don’t want them to discuss you with your mother or her with you.  It’s just best to keep others out of the situation that should stay between you & your mother so that person doesn’t feel torn between you two.  Also, beware of flying monkeys- the people your mother sends after you to “talk sense” into you.  They will work hard to make sure you know how badly you’ve hurt your mother & what a terrible daughter you are.  Tell these people that the topic of your & your mother’s relationship is not up for discussion.  Don’t try to explain your side or defend yourself or your decision- it will not only fall on deaf ears, it will hurt you to be so invalidated.  Simply do not engage these people.

If you opt to stay in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there are ways to manage it.  I opted to go limited contact, which means I don’t talk daily to my parents as I once did.  I talk to them & visit them as I feel able, not always on their time schedule like it used to be.  Continue to work on your healing, not only for yourself, but also because it will change the relationship with your narcissistic mother.  The healthier you are, the less interest narcissist will have in you because you are harder to use & abuse.  Focus on setting & enforcing healthy boundaries too.  Most of all though, remember that it won’t be easy.  There will be times you slip up & fall into old, dysfunctional patterns.  Don’t beat yourself up for that.  These times happen.  Just learn from it, try not to let it happen again.

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