Tag Archives: abuse

A Little About Boundaries

People who don’t understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, flying monkeys in particular, seem to all think that setting boundaries & limits on a narcissist’s abusive behavior is a terrible thing to do.  If the victim is a Christian, these people often add in that those limits are “ungodly”, “unloving” & even “not honoring your parents.”  If a victim wants to divorce a narcissistic spouse, people are quick to point out the Scripture that says, “God hates divorce!” or “wives submit to your husbands” while leaving out anything else that can elaborate on these verses.

The fact however, is that these people are entirely wrong.  Boundaries are loving, Godly & honorable.

You can’t change anyone’s behavior of course, but boundaries set the stage to encourage a person to behave in a better way.  Good boundaries also show people how to treat others in a healthy way by displaying clearly what a person will & will not tolerate.

Consequences when someone disregards another’s boundaries also give a person a choice.  They can change their behavior for the better & receive a better, healthier relationship in return for their efforts.  Or, they can continue their bad behavior & suffer the negative consequences, such as someone terminating the relationship with them.

It is a loving thing to do to help people behave in a more Godly & loving way.

What is not a loving thing to do is enabling bad behavior.  Tolerating abuse is far from loving.  How could it be a loving thing to do to encourage someone to participate in bad, abusive & yes even sinful behavior?  It isn’t loving at all nor is it Godly!  Yet it seems like so many people think this is the case, & will twist Scripture around in an attempt to convince other people this is true.

And, on the opposite side of that same coin, how is it loving to tolerate things that cause pain?  How does that sort of behavior benefit anyone?  It only hurts victims & tells abusers that their awful behavior is fine.

I know this post is a very brief & basic one today, Dear Reader, but I felt the need to put it out there anyway.  I feel someone needs this simple reminder, so here it is.  Keep your boundaries in place & keep enforcing them!  Anyone who doesn’t respect them is the one with the problem, not you.  You aren’t a bad Christian or unloving spouse or adult child for having boundaries.  You are simply giving someone the natural consequences of their behavior, as things should be.  People reap what they so, as the Scripture says…..

Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.  8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

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Narcissists & Cars

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Escaping The Scapegoat Role

When you’re the family scapegoat, not only do your narcissistic parents abuse you, but other relatives as well.  It seems that people think if your own parents abuse you, doing so much be acceptable behavior.  It’s a miserable life!  It doesn’t have to stay that way though!  You can break out of the scapegoat role!

To start, you’re going to need to get to know yourself so you know what you will & won’t tolerate. Pay attention to how you really feel about everything.  Question yourself.  Do you like or dislike things because that is genuinely your taste or because your parent told you to?  Writing things down may be a big help to you.

Look at yourself objectively, & recognize the truth about yourself.  The more you do this, the more you’ll learn to reject the terrible things your abusers have told you about yourself & the healthier your self esteem will become.  If it helps, write things down.  Maybe write down what they have said about you, & what you observed about yourself.

Learn to stop explaining yourself.  Your abusers don’t deserve to know why you do or don’t do things.  It isn’t their business.  If you feel you must offer an explanation, keep the explanation to a minimum, such as comments like, “I already have plans.”  The less information narcissists have, the less they can use to hurt or control you.

Learn about boundaries.  When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you have absolutely no concept of boundaries.  Narcissistic parents & their children often blur together.  Their children are merely extensions of their parents.  That is terribly unhealthy!  Make healthy changes & learn about boundaries.  Learn where you end & other’s begin, & what is & is not your responsibility.  Narcissists hate boundaries because they make a person much harder to control, so at first the narcissist in your life may fight your new boundaries.  Keep learning & growing though!  Your mental health will appreciate it!

Learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  You can’t possibly fully understand it, I don’t think anyone can.  You can get a decent grasp as to what motivates narcissists & what they do, however, which will help you to cope with them.  You will learn what to expect from them which will help you to figure out ways to deal with the behavior when it happens.  And, when you get a revelation on the fact that they have some serious problems, you won’t take their abusive behavior as personally.  You will recognize that they act as they do because they have issues.  This makes their behavior hurt less, & makes you less easily manipulated.

As a bonus, learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder also helps you when it comes to the narcissist’s flying monkeys.  I firmly believe many flying monkeys are narcissists since they display so many narcissistic behaviors.  Plus, whether or not they are, when you realize that people are blindly supporting someone as wicked as a narcissist, that also gives you a new perspective on them.  You realize their opinions on your life are worthless because anyone who would want you to maintain such a horrible, destructive & dysfunctional relationship clearly doesn’t care about you.

Breaking free of the family scapegoat role can be intimidating at first, but I promise you, it is well worth the effort you put into it!  You can’t help abusive people live their lives in a healthy way, but at least you can prevent them from putting their dysfunction & abuse on you!

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Grooming

One very common tactic of narcissistic abusers, parents in particular it seems, is called grooming.

Grooming is a two fold process….

Narcissists work very hard to groom their victims.  In other words, they convince the victim that he or she is to blame for all of the problems in the relationship.  If the victim would just do *fill in the blank* then the narcissistic abuser wouldn’t do whatever it is that upsets the victim.  So many of us have heard such ridiculous statements from our abusers as, “You made me hit you!” or, “If you wouldn’t have done what you did, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did.”  On my seventeenth birthday, my mother destroyed the gifts my now ex husband gave me.  She blamed me for making her do it because, according to her, I was “acting snotty.”  The fact is, I knew she hated him & would be angry he gave me gifts.  I didn’t want to take those gifts home, but I had no other choice.  I was quiet when I got in her car after school that day, because I was blindly terrified of my mother’s rage.  In her mind, my fear was “acting snotty” & an excuse to do what she did.

Grooming victims also means that the victim will feel guilt & even shame for making the relationship with the narcissist so incredibly unhealthy.  They will do their best to fix this relationship & please the narcissist.  Grooming makes victims very easy to manipulate & abuse.  After all, if someone truly believes that they are the problem, they will do whatever they can to make the relationship better.  They also will listen to whoever has convinced them that they are the problem, because obviously, in their mind anyway, this person knows better than they do how to fix things.

Narcissists also do their best to groom other people.  This means that they convince other people that the victim is the real problem in the relationship.  This works well for narcissists, because so long as other people believe this lie, they will never believe that the victim is anything but a problem.  The victim is the reason the narcissist acts the way she does.  The victim provokes the narcissist, or lies about the narcissist, or at least that is what is told to other people.  This insures that the victim is not believed when he or she decides to speak up about the narcissist.  These people always believe the victim to be nothing but trouble, so they won’t believe anything this person has to say about the narcissist.  The narcissistic abuser can do whatever they want & no one will believe the victim about how awful this person is.

In either case, the victim is not believed, so the abuser can continue their reign of terror without fear of anyone believing that she is the evil monster that she is.

Unfortunately, no victim of narcissistic abuse can avoid grooming or convince others that the narcissist is lying about the situation.  The only ways that I have learned to deal with this awful behavior are as follows..

Ignore those who believe the narcissist over you.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, you’re going to lose people you thought were on your side.  However, one good thing is that you will learn who truly loves you.

Anyone who does not blindly believe what the narcissist in your life says about you is on your side.  Normal people question things, & do not blindly believe anything, in particular stories told of people they are close to.

Anyone who gets angry upon hearing the lies the narcissist says about you is also on your side.  Loving people are protective of those they care about, & also have no patience for people lying about them.

If someone is willing to share anything you say with the narcissist or tell you why what you feel is completely wrong, these are also red flags.  These red flags are signs of a flying monkey, someone who cares only about the narcissist, & nothing about you.

And, never forget to stand strong in the truth.  You know what has happened.  You also know what the narcissist in your life has said happened.  Stick to the truth, what really happened.  Remember narcissists lie a LOT, & do not believe the lies!

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When Your “Good” Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

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Regaining Your Inner Strength

In a previous post, I mentioned that I found some notes my father wrote concerning the abuse my mother inflicted on me.  He had put them in the Bible he wanted me to place in his casket upon his death.

Since reading those notes, I hadn’t thought too much about them.  It hurt too much & made me angry.  Basically, from what I gathered from his notes, knowing him & what God spoke to me about the situation, it boiled down to my father let my mother abuse me because he felt unable to protect me.  He didn’t have the inner strength to protect me, let alone himself.  While it’s true he also got a degree of narcissistic supply from the situation, in this post, I want to focus on the lack of inner strength only.

Narcissistic abuse can sap a person of so much, including their inner strength.  You can feel as if there is no point in trying anything, because anything you do is wrong, according to the narcissist.  They also tell victims things like no one else will ever care about them like the narcissist does, you can’t trust anyone else, & you’re lucky the narcissist loves you because no one else would.  These statements can destroy any sense of hope in a victim.  Without hope, there seems to be no point in trying to escape the abuse or even protect yourself from it.  If you have children with the narcissist in your life, it also seems hopeless to protect them.

As difficult as it is, please try to regain your inner strength!!  No one deserves to be treated the way a narcissist treats their victim, & that includes you.  I’m sure the narcissist told you that you deserve whatever they do to you, or that you make them act the way they do, but that is not true!  It’s a lie to justify their abuse.

If you continue to tolerate this abuse, there is also the chance it could make you suicidal.  Many victims have experienced that, including me.  That is a terrible place to be, & one where you don’t deserve to be.  You deserve to be happy & living a life free of abuse, not one where you’re planning your own death.  I know it can look like the only escape you have, but that isn’t true!  There are ways out, & you can find them!

If you have children, think about them.  One of your jobs as the parent to protect them, & that includes protecting them from any abusive person, even if that abuser is their other parent.

If you think you should stay with your narcissistic partner “for the sake of the children”, think about what kind of example you’re setting for them by doing so.  You’re showing them that they should tolerate abuse, & that people can treat them any old way they want to.  They also see your partner abusing you, which sends them the message it’s ok to abuse you.  This can lead to children who become angry at their parent for failing to protect them & treat the parent badly, even abusively.

If the narcissist in question is your children’s grandparent, I want you to think about something.  Do you remember how your parent made you feel when you were your child’s age?  Your parent is inflicting that same pain on your child.  Do you really want your child to feel as miserable & hopeless as you did?

To help you regain your inner strength, think about things that inspire you to be strong.  Sometimes a song makes me feel strong, other times it’s Scriptures in the Bible.  Even internet memes can be surprisingly inspiring sometimes.  I also read previous entries in my journal to remind me of things I’ve overcome since that helps strengthen me.

Most of all, I have found a close relationship with God to be the best thing to increase my inner strength.  I ask Him to give me strength & to help me as I need it.  Before my parents died, I asked those things often when I had to deal with them & God never failed to give me just what I needed at the time.  He will do the same for you.  Let Him help you, & do what you need to as well.  Before you know it, you’ll have your inner strength back.

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Signs Of Surviving Child Abuse In Adults, & Ways To Cope

There are some very clear ways to identify a survivor of child abuse.  These symptoms also are detrimental to the mental health of said survivors.  If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then please don’t beat yourself up.  We’ve all been there!  Try to accept them as nothing more than a sign of having experienced some really terrible things, then find ways to heal from them however work best for you.

  • Blaming yourself for what happened.  Children seem to take the responsibility on for their parents’ bad behavior rather than face the fact that their parent has done something pretty terrible.  It’s totally normal!  However, it isn’t helpful once you’re an adult.  It’s ok to admit your parents were less than perfect, & yes, even cruel.  No child can make any parent abuse them, including you.  Abusive behavior lies squarely on the shoulder of all abusers, never their victims.  ALWAYS!
  • Accepting what your parents said as the gospel truth.  Abusive parents lie.  Period.  They also convince their children that their lies are the truth.  Not only that the abuse was the child’s fault, but that the child is unlovable, stupid, ugly, useless, no man/woman will ever want to marry that child & more.  It’s time to start challenging those false beliefs as they rise up in you.  Ask yourself, what evidence is there that what your parent told you is true?  I would guess there is no real evidence at all!
  • Unhealthy coping skills.  Watching too much TV, emotional eating, sex, shopping, drugs or alcohol.  Whatever coping skill used is unimportant.  The fact is the person using such coping skills is trying to avoid the pain inside.  Although these coping skills may have served you for some time, it’s time to retire them & face the pain.
  • Being a people pleaser.  Growing up afraid of rocking the boat where your parents are concerned can create a habit of people pleasing.  This is so unhealthy!  Of course, it’s good to care what people think.  When that rules your life & makes you do things that you disagree with or hurt you, however, there is a big problem!  Learn to say “no”.  It’s perfectly ok!
  • Lack of good self care.  Self care isn’t all bubble baths & eating ice cream.  Self care also involves taking good care of your physical & mental health, resting when tired, not overworking, & having good boundaries.

If you’re wondering where to start changing these behaviors in you, the best place I know of is what I always recommend.  Prayer.  Ask God to help you to be healthier & to heal from the trauma you have experienced.  He truly will!  One thing I do is when something comes up, I ask Him to tell me the truth about it.  “Am I right to feel *insert feeling here*?  Why or why not?” & listen for His response.

Read about the type of abuse you experienced.  Chances are, you’ll find other survivors experience similar things to you.  Learning there are others out there going through what you are can be extremely validating.  It also will help you to learn how to cope with what you’re experiencing when you see how other people got through it.

Do you keep a journal?  If not, now is the time to start!  Seeing things in writing can be so validating & clarifying.  It also can help you to keep track of the truth.  Abusers, narcissists in particular, love to reinvent the past, & lie about the present.  Having written documentation helps you to keep track of the truth so you don’t get lost in their lies.

I truly wish you the best, Dear Reader.  Facing pain & changing dysfunctional behavior isn’t easy.  However, it is worth it when you’re healthier, happier & behaving in a much more functional way.

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Three Likely Scenarios That May Happen After Going No Contact

Ending any type of relationship with a narcissist is always a challenge.  Whether that person is a friend, romantic partner or relative, it seems like the same basic actions happen often.

A person severs ties with the narcissist in their life.  The narcissist is upset, which of course is natural.  No one is happy that someone no longer wants them in their life.  The problem though is how narcissists handle the situation.  Most folks walk away, respect the other person’s boundary & move on however works for them.  Narcissists aren’t most folks.  Rather than simply walking away, they create chaos.

Many narcissists harass their victims after no contact has been implemented.  They don’t leave quietly with their dignity in tact.  Instead, they demand to know why the victim ended the relationship.  Victims usually tell narcissists why, but they don’t listen.  Instead they claim they have no clue why the victim is upset.  They may cry or beg the victim to come back.  They may rage in an attempt to scare the victim into coming back.  If the victim will not speak to them, narcissists have no problem calling, texting, emailing, etc. non stop in an attempt to wear down their victim so he or she will come back to them.  Having been on the receiving end of this, I can tell you it can be incredibly unnerving.  Anyone who spends so much time focused on making another person’s life miserable in an attempt to force that person to come back to the relationship clearly is not mentally stable.

There is also the notorious smear campaign.  Everyone has someone in their life that they don’t have the nicest things to say about.  Chances are though, that ruining that person’s reputation isn’t exactly a top priority with you even if that person did you very wrong.  Narcissists however, will not hesitate to tell anyone & everyone how terrible their victim is.  If they don’t have anything that is negative & true to say, they have no problem creating things to say.  They in particular seem to love claiming their victim is mentally unstable.  If someone tells you that they have crazy exes, for example, that can be a warning sign you’re dealing with a narcissist.  Pay attention to their behavior & you will figure out soon enough whether or not this person is a narcissist.

Narcissists also love to send out the flying monkeys.  Their devoted, wicked enablers are more than happy to carry out whatever wishes the narcissist has.  This often includes trying to “talk sense” into victims to make them return to the relationship or telling them how horrible they are for doing what they have done to the narcissist.

There is something interesting about all of these scenarios.  Not a bit of it makes any sense!  Why would anyone want to resume a relationship out of fear or guilt?  Yet, narcissists do these things anyway, fully expecting their victims to return to the horrible relationship.

If you end a relationship with a narcissist, you need to be aware that these situations are very likely to happen.  Their behavior is often shocking, even when you know it may happen.  Narcissists take things to such extremes, it’s hard not to be shocked.

If the narcissist in your life subjects you to these behaviors, remember to block all contact they & their flying monkeys have with you, document everything in case you need it to file charges, & don’t respond to the smear campaign no matter how hard it is.  Any acknowledgement that the narcissist is affecting you makes them feel powerful, so they will do the thing that made you react as you did more often.  Show them no reaction, block all access & enjoy your life without the narcissist in it!

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Using Christianity As A Means To Justify Abuse

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Doing Weird Things After Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve done something for so long, I didn’t even realize I did it until recently.  When I drive past a building with big glass windows or some sort of reflective surface, I look at myself driving.

Recently I caught myself doing this & thought, ok, I’m weird.  I’ve known this for years & accepted my weirdness.  This looking at myself driving thing though.. wow.  I don’t even like looking at myself in a mirror when I put on makeup or looking at pictures of myself.  Making my YouTubes is a big struggle for me, so why am I doing this?!

Suddenly it hit me… because when I was a teenager, I had to fight my mother terribly to get a driver’s license.  My friends were driving at 16, & their parents often bought them their first car.  Their parents put everything in their name to keep insurance costs down.  Meanwhile I had to fight my mother badly to get a license.  She wouldn’t even let me see my birth certificate.  She showed it to the employee at the Motor Vehicles Administration after shielding me from seeing it.  When I failed the first test, she told me she knew I would because I wasn’t ready to drive.  When I got my permit & wanted to get myself a car, she told me she’d take me shopping one day so I could see how stupid I was for thinking I could afford a car.  She picked a car out for me that I absolutely HATED.  It was ugly & over priced.

A month or so later, I picked out my first car & got my license.. here is a picture that my mother took of me with that special & I still think absolutely adorable little car..

Cyndi & Baby, November, 1989.jpg

This is me in 1989 with Baby, my 1978 Buick Skyhawk that I hope to restore one day.

I realized something recently…

The reason I still ogle myself driving when I can isn’t just because I like my pretty cars.  It’s because I never take driving for granted.  I had to fight hard to get my license.  I paid for my first car, insurance, maintenance & everything by myself.  I worked hard & accomplished what I wanted to.  No one can take that away from me.  My first car in particular is a symbol of that which is why she’s special to me &  I hope to restore her.  Driving any car reminds me of what I managed to accomplish on my own though, no thanks to my parents.  I’m proud of that, & seeing myself behind the wheel of a car, in particular my own, is a reminder of that.

I mentioned this to my husband recently & was rather nervous about admitting it.  He shocked me by understanding completely & said “You should be proud of that!  Celebrate it!  Enjoy driving!  Take pictures of yourself behind the wheel!”  That helped me to see that maybe I’m not as weird as I thought I was..

Is there anything “strange” you do that is like what I do?  If so, I want to encourage you to embrace that.  Don’t think of it as weird like I have done with looking at myself when driving.  Instead, celebrate it!  Be proud of whatever it is you have accomplished in spite of your narcissistic parent.  You did something on your own without the help of a narcissistic parent.  That isn’t an easy feat when you consider you have had a narcissistic parent or two trying to keep you down your whole life.  Be proud that you overcame that & still did whatever it is that you did.  It’s ok to be proud of yourself!  You deserve to feel that way!  xoxo

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When People Call Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Abusive

Please pardon my goof at the beginning of this video!! Didn’t realize until I went to publish it that I said “This victim is about..” rather than “This video is about..” Quite frankly, I had no clue how to fix it other than redoing the whole thing & I didn’t want to! lol

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Helpful Tips For Coping With Narcissists

Most Christians, even new ones, have heard of the armor of God that is written about in Ephesians 6:13-17.  To summarize, the armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of Salvation & sword of the Spirit.

Have you ever considered how the armor is when viewed from the perspective of dealing with narcissists?  I would guess not.  I’ve been a Christian since 1996 & studying Narcissistic Personality Disorder since 2011 & it never  crossed my mind until recently.  It’s well worth considering if you have to deal with a narcissist in any capacity.

When dealing with narcissists, you truly need that belt of truth.  Narcissists twist the truth around to their advantage, deny the truth or even recreate their own version of any situation & call it the truth.  When dealing with them, you must be well aware of the truth rather than accept their twisted version of it.  Knowing the truth helps you to avoid being manipulated by narcissists.

You also will need to wear the breastplate of righteousness at all times.  Being aware of what is right & moral will help you to stay on the right track with narcissists.  They try to force victims into doing whatever they want, & often those things aren’t good for anyone but the narcissist, let alone moral.  Being secure in what you know is right helps you not to get sucked into compromising yourself & your beliefs.

The shoes of peace are also incredibly important.  Narcissists feed off the emotions of other people.  Any sign of any emotion triggers a reaction in a narcissist.  If you’re clearly happy, they’ll do what they can to make you sad.  Angry?  They’ll make you angrier.  Sad?  They’ll push you to the point of seriously considering suicide.  The best thing you can do in any dealings with a narcissist is to remain completely neutral & peaceful.  Show them no emotions whatsoever.  Naturally, once you’re away from the narcissist, you need to deal with what you’re feeling however works best for you, because holding emotions in isn’t a healthy thing to do long term.  I am only recommending holding emotions in while in their presence because it will help you in dealing with them.

You also will need your shield of faith.  Faith in God can get you through anything & everything, even the impossible situations like dealing with narcissists.  My faith enabled me to find successful ways to cope with my narcissistic parents, to go no contact at the right time & even helped to get my father to turn to Jesus at the end of his life.  With God, all things are possible, even when it comes to dealing with narcissists.

The helmet of Salvation is truly invaluable as well.  When you are secure in the knowledge that you are a child of God, it helps you in so many ways.  It gives you peace, faith & the knowledge that your Heavenly Father will protect you from anything & enable you to survive anything.

The sword of the Spirit, God’s word, is incredibly valuable too.  When you know what God has to say about things, it gives you wisdom & peace knowing not only how to handle what you must, but knowing that you can handle anything, even anything a narcissist can dish out.

If you’re wondering how to put on this armor of God, ask God to help you, listen to anything He suggests to you & have knowledge of the Bible.  There are some really wonderful email lists you can subscribe to that will deliver Scriptures to your inbox daily.  I subscribe to one that lets me read through the Bible in a year.  There are also many devotionals available, either in email or book form.  Whatever you do isn’t important.  Your relationship with God & knowledge of His word are.

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Differences In The Silent Treatment & No Contact

In spite of what many people seem to think, there are very significant differences between no contact & the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is a frequently used punishment for either a real or more commonly perceived wrong.  No contact has a long list of grievances that have happened over a long period of time.  It isn’t done because someone did one little thing wrong, unlike the silent treatment.  It also is never used as a punishment.

The silent treatment will end when the person who initiated it feels their victim has been sufficiently punished for their sins.  Once it is done, the one who implemented the silent treatment often contacts the victim & acts as if nothing happened.  No contact is meant to be permanent, & nothing will make the person who initiated it talk to the abuser.

There is absolutely no honor in the silent treatment.  It is simply a passive/aggressive way to punish someone.  No contact is honorable.  There is also no honor in enabling bad & even abusive behavior.

The silent treatment is immature.  Young children use it to get their way but most of them grow out of it eventually.  Not everyone does, unfortunately, so they use this childish behavior to get what they want.  No contact is mature, well considered & a very viable option in toxic relationships.

Virtually no thought goes into the silent treatment.  Narcissists will use the silent treatment for any reason at any time, without forethought.  No contact is much different in this area as well.  By the time a person has gone no contact with an abuser, a great deal of time, consideration & prayer have gone into the action.

The silent treatment creates conflict.  Other people are involved, & picking sides.  They tell the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment to fix the relationship, or apologize to the person who initiated the silent treatment.  No contact is an attempt to minimize conflict.  People who initiate it don’t try to get other people involved or force the abusive person to apologize.

The silent treatment is a power trip.  If a victim is unaware of what the person giving the silent treatment is up to, they will do their best to make the abuser talk to them again & to please this person.  They will apologize & sometimes even beg the abuser to forgive them.  No contact is not a power trip.  People who implement it aren’t interested in anything their abuser does or says.  They are simply done with the relationship at that point.

The silent treatment is disrespectful.  A person won’t treat someone they respect in such a way.  Instead they will try to work out their problems.  Someone who uses no contact has tried many times to work out the problems, & gotten nowhere.  This person eventually realizes there is no other solution, & they end the relationship.  They respect themselves enough to walk away from a toxic relationship.

The silent treatment isn’t Godly.  It’s so many bad things like I mentioned previously.  No contact, however, is very Godly.  You are removing this person’s opportunity to sin by abusing you.  You are giving this person consequences for bad behavior, which opens the door for them to change.  Whether or not they do is up to them of course, but you give them that opportunity.

Sadly, some relationships are simply beyond repair.  It takes two to make a relationship work, & when one isn’t willing to do any work, that relationship is doomed.  Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to walk away in order to protect their own peace & mental health.  It’s an extremely difficult & painful decision to make, but there are times it must be done.

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Some Ways To Cope With Triggers

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Myths About Abusive People

Many people believe utter nonsense when it comes to abusive people.  This post is about dispelling those myths.

“He/she is a good person.  There’s no way he/she could be abusive towards anyone!”  Definite myth.  Abusive people can be active in their church, work with the homeless, donate a lot of money to charity & even foster children in dire straights.  Narcissists are extremely concerned about looking good, & such actions make a person look good.  They will do whatever they can to look good.  It doesn’t mean they are good people.

“I’ve never seen this person abuse anyone.  They can’t be abusive!”  Abusers hide their actions from all but their victim.  Abusers can appear kind, caring, charming… it doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying to destroy their victim behind closed doors.  Again, they are concerned about looking good, so naturally they will hide their abusive ways from everyone but their victim.

“That person has always been nice to me!”  Of course he or she has always been nice to you!  Abusers don’t abuse every single person they come into contact with.  They are selective when choosing their victims.  Those they choose not to abuse, they are nice to so they don’t think the abuser could be abusive, & the victim’s claims of abuse won’t be believed.

“But he/she is a pastor, doctor, teacher, police officer, etc!”  Helping professions such as those are very appealing to narcissists because they attract admiration from the general public.  Being a pastor, doctor, teacher, etc. doesn’t make someone immune to being abusive.  Many people in those professions are good, caring people, but not all are.

“All parents love their children.  Parents don’t abuse their children.”  Just because someone is biologically able to become a parent doesn’t mean they automatically are good, loving parents.  Some people are incapable of loving anyone in a healthy way, & that includes their own children.

“Your mother/father always brags about you.  He/she must love you!”  Another fallacy.   Narcissists want people to envy them as much as they envy others.  Bragging about their super talented, attractive, etc. children can garnish envy from others.  It doesn’t mean the parent actually believes their children are as wonderful as they make them sound.

“But he/she said he/she was a Christian!  That means this person can’t be abusive.”  People can say anything they like.  I could tell you right now that I’m of Korean heritage.  I may even participate in Korean customs, but one look at me shows my lineage is primarily German & Irish.  I can claim what I like, but the truth is easy to see.  The same goes for so called “Christian abusers.”  They may claim to be good Christians.  They may be active in their church & know the Christian lingo.  Their abusive actions however prove they are nothing like what they claim to be.  And, many abusers hide in the guise of being religious.  People assume someone who claims to be religious or is active in their church is a good person, so that person is usually not watched carefully for signs of being abusive.

“He/she says you’re lying.”  No abuser is going to admit their horrible behavior unless they absolutely have to, & then, they’ll offer up excuses.

“It wasn’t abuse.  You two just weren’t a good match.”  There is a big difference between a poorly matched couple & an abusive relationship.  Poorly matched couples realize that fact & go on their way.  One person doesn’t abuse another because of being poorly matched.

If someone tells you that they are being abused, do NOT fall for these myths!  Look at the situation objectively rather than assuming the person they claim is abusive is too good to be an abuser.  Or, if someone has told you these things regarding your abuser, feel free to show them this post if you think it will help.  xoxo

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Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive.  Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters.  Hurting others isn’t important.  And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly.  So what if someone gets hurt?  The narcissist is the important one, after all.

These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal.  In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal.  More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.

Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse.  This comes from being abused repeatedly.  If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused.  Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot.  It can be subtle, but equally abusive.  This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.

Taking or relocating your property.  When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point.  My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example.  But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal!  It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it.  That is gaslighting!

Controlling behavior.  Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control.  No one has the right to control another person.

Sexual violations.  Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point.  Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok.  It’s not ok if you’re married either.  Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.

The silent treatment.  While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is.  If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you.  It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem.  Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.

Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement.  Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated.  An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.

Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse.  Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act  this way.  Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it.  Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible.  You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment.  You have every right to be upset about what was done to you.  You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!

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Eight Things You Never Should Do With A Narcissist

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Socially Acceptable & Unacceptable Trauma Responses

Have you ever noticed there are socially acceptable & socially unacceptable responses to trauma?  There are.  The especially interesting part is the socially acceptable ones are the most unhealthy trauma responses & encouraged.

Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:

  • being a workaholic.
  • focusing on career over family.
  • never taking breaks.
  • being over scheduled or too busy.
  • sleeping too little.
  • excessive exercising.
  • under eating.

Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:

  • taking time off to relax.
  • crying or being angry about the trauma.
  • admitting that it still upsets you, even years after the trauma.
  • taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
  • seeing a counselor.
  • severing ties with an abuser.
  • discussing the abuse.

When you live with PTSD or C-PTSD, trying to heal is tough enough.  It’s not easy, even under the best of circumstances.  It’s much worse though when you have people telling you that your healthy coping skills aren’t healthy, & insisting you instead use unhealthy coping skills.

Having been through narcissistic abuse, I can vouch for the insecurity that comes from it.  It takes a conscious focus on my part not to assume someone’s criticism of me is right & to consider what is said before assuming I’m wrong, & frankly I’m not always good at this.  When someone tells me I should use one of the unhealthy trauma responses instead of my healthy ones, naturally I figure they’re right & feel shame.  No doubt many of you reading this experience the same type of response.

You can learn to deal with the dysfunctional response in these types of situations.

Remember, the world thinks quite skewed in the area of mental health.  No one bats an eye at someone who goes to a doctor with a broken leg, yet many of those same people claim someone is weak for seeing a counselor for their mental health problems.  That is just one example of this skewed thinking.  Anyway just because so many people think this way doesn’t mean they are right.  What others think about how you heal isn’t important.  What is important is that it works for you.

Use logical thinking.  When someone criticizes you for how you approach your emotional healing, ask yourself if what they say makes sense & why.  For example, if someone says you’re being lazy, you need to keep busy instead of taking time off, think about this statement for a moment.  How would keeping busy benefit you?  Sure, you might be busy enough not to think about your problems for a bit, but that won’t last forever.  Besides, ignoring emotions means they will come out in unhealthy ways later.  So many addicts became addicts because they tried to avoid facing their own traumas.  Considering all of this, do you really think this person gave you good advice?

Another thing to consider is people view things through the lens of their own experiences.  Many people who are the quickest to judge others’ healing journeys are ones who also have been abused, but refuse to deal with that.  Rather than be inspired by someone else facing their pain, they get upset by it.  They often think because they aren’t facing their past trauma, they are over it.  They’re functioning just fine while someone else is suffering with C-PTSD.  In their mind, clearly that person is weak & could learn a thing or two from the person without C-PTSD.  They honestly think they’re helping by telling the other person what they do, which involves their socially acceptable trauma responses.

Remember, just because some people think your approach to healing is wrong doesn’t mean that is true.  You have to do whatever works best for you.  What others think shouldn’t matter.  All that should matter to you is that what you’re doing helps you to heal.

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Preventing Narcissists From Wanting You Back

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“You Can’t Love Someone Until You Love Yourself”

One cliche I’ve heard my entire life was “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.”  My mother said it periodically when I was growing up, & somehow it never felt right to me even when I was just a little kid.

As an adult, I have come to realize how wrong this is, & how shaming as well.

Wrong because just because a person has low or no self esteem, doesn’t mean they are incapable of love.  It only means they don’t love themselves.  People who feel this way are very capable of loving others, & it shows when they love their spouse, children, family, friends, pets.   I was this same way for many years.  I absolutely hated myself, yet absolutely adored certain people in my life as well as my pets.  They all meant the world to me & I would have done anything for any of them.

This phrase is shaming because it makes people feel that they lack this one basic skill any human being has, to love.  Victims of narcissistic abuse already have enough shame to deal with thanks to the narcissists in their lives.  They don’t need any more false, toxic shame heaped onto them.

What can be true, although certainly is not true in all cases, is if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others in a Godly & healthy way.  In cases where someone has been abused in childhood, that person may not yet know how to love someone in a healthy way.  They may think if they love someone enough, they can fix their abusive ways.  In fact, this may seem good or even Godly to the dysfunctional person.  Sadly, many people support such dysfunctional thinking, encouraging the unhealthy behaviors.  Some folks even will quote Scriptures that are taken totally out of context to validate their beliefs.

A dysfunctional person also may think boundaries are selfish & unloving, so they think telling someone no is a bad thing.  Out of good intentions, they allow other people to come first in their lives, even if it costs them their health, finances, or peace.  They mistakenly hurt themselves under the delusion they’re being loving.

Similarly, a dysfunctional person may think that giving a person whatever they want is the most loving thing they can do for someone.  They fail to realize that sometimes, people need to struggle for what they want in order to learn to appreciate things.

Many dysfunctional people also think that if they are just nice enough or good enough, they can make an abusive person love them.  They don’t realize that is impossible, because abusers are incapable of true, Godly love.  They also fail to realize that the harder they try, the more abusive an abuser will become, because they see this person as weak & willing to please them at any personal cost.  I experienced this first hand.  My late mother in-law hated me.  Being young & naive, I wanted her to like me, so I tried hard to make that happen.  Nothing I did was good enough, & our relationship only got worse.

The fact is, to love others, we must learn what true love really is.  It is wanting what is best for another person rather than what we want from that person.  It is wanting them to succeed in life, & enjoy their life.  It is wanting them to live whatever their best life is, even if it goes against something we would like for them.  Mostly, it is wanting others to have a close personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Any person can want these things for other people, even when they don’t love themselves.

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Breaking Free From Being The Family Scapegoat

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Not All Causes Can Be Your Causes

Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin.  The topic isn’t important, but the message is.  The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”

In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming.  One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist.  Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment.  I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person.  In her world, apparently none of this was valid.  I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.

There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter.  It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion.  As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”

In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty.  Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues.  My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse.  I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn.  What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.

No one person can support every single issue!  It’s too much!  No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either,  simply because there are so many causes.

Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause.  Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones.  Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance.  Doing this isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring.  It makes a person human!

If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today.  Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support.  That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is.  God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement.  What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.

This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate.  For some folks, it means writing as I do.  For some other folks, this means donating money.  For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices.  For still others it means working to change laws.  Not one of these is any better or worse than the other.  Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad.  It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.

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Parentalization, aka Parentification, aka Emotional Or Covert Incest

Many adult children of narcissistic parents treat their children more like partners than their children.  These parents expect their children to take care of all of their emotional needs, but some also add in their physical needs (such as cooking or doing housework well beyond what they should be doing at their age) & even sexual needs.  This phenomenon is known as emotional incest, parentalizing or parentification.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it emotional incest in this article.

Narcissists often turn to their children for support rather than their partner for various reasons.  Narcissistic supply can be one reason.  People see the narcissist’s relationship with her child as very close, not realizing it’s actually very sick, & praise this “wonderful relationship” which provides narcissistic supply.  Or, maybe the narcissist is simply unhappy with her spouse or single status, & since the child is convenient, she turns to her child with matters that should be discussed with her spouse or a close friend.

No matter the reason, emotional incest has a devastating effect on a child.  The child subjected to this abusive behavior feels a tremendous amount of responsibility for the parent’s emotional state, as well as possibly also the parent’s physical or sexual needs too.  This child grows up with a tremendously overdeveloped sense of responsibility not only for the abusive parent, but everyone in her life.  This can lead to codependency, depression, anger, anxiety & more.

The child who is abused also feels guilty for growing up, leaving home & wanting to have her own life.  When I was 19, I moved out of my parents’ home & my mother was livid.  She made her disapproval painfully obvious, & even told me I’d never survive on my own.

Emotional incest also can lead to a child having very unhealthy romantic relationships as an adult.  The child is taught from an early age that the parent’s needs come first, no matter what.  A person married to an adult child of an emotionally incestuous environment is going to be a lower priority to that adult child than that child’s parents.  Whatever the parent wants will be more important than the spouse.  If the parent wants holidays spent together, that is what will happen even if the spouse doesn’t want to be a part of them.  If the parent has a need (either real or imagined) on their adult child’s wedding anniversary, the adult child will deal with it rather than the anniversary.

If you are in this dysfunctional situation, then you need to break free of it!  It won’t be easy but it will be possible.

As always, the first step should be prayer. Ask God to show you what to do to help break the cycle.  And, ask Him to help you to have the strength & courage to do it.

Also, start changing the subject with your narcissistic parent.  Both of my parents indulged in emotionally incestuous behavior for my entire life, until I ended the relationship with them, & the best way I found to end it was simple subject changes.  Asking them about something else related to themselves worked best.  Since narcissists enjoy talking about themselves more than any other topic, it makes sense that is their favorite subject change.

Sometimes subject changes don’t work & the narcissistic parent keeps changing the subject back to the topic.  If at all possible, end the conversation.  If you’re in their home or they are in yours, it can be challenging.  Try to have a friend on call, so to speak.  Have the phone number of someone you can trust ready so you can dial the number quickly & discreetly or take your phone with you to the bathroom if need be.  Tell that person ahead of time that if you call their number & it only rings a couple of times & you hang up, that means they need to call you & say they need you to come to them immediately.  Or, if you’re on the phone with your parent & want to end the conversation, ring your doorbell or knock on your door.  You can then say, “The doorbell rang.. I have to go.”  If you have a dog who barks when they hear the doorbell, this is an added bonus- your parent will hear the dog & know that your doorbell rang.  You also can use your cell to call your house phone or vice versa & then you can tell your parent that the call waiting beeped & you need to go.  Sneaky?  Yes, but not dishonest.  Your doorbell rang, your call waiting beeped & you do need to go!

I also learned that saying, “It hurts me when you talk to me about Mom/Dad like that” was a recipe for disaster.  Not only did it not stop their behavior, since they knew it hurt me, they did it even more.  This is typical of narcissists, so learn from my mistake- DO NOT ADMIT IT HURTS YOU!!!

Always remember, the problems your parent is telling you about are NOT your responsibility.  You have no obligation to fix them.  Tune your parent’s words out if it helps you.

Lastly, limit your contact as much as possible with your narcissistic parent.  If you aren’t so available, they may feel forced to find someone else to listen to their woes & you need the reprieve.

Emotional incest is a very painful thing to deal with, but you can handle it!

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A Message For My Younger Followers

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Reasons Why Being The Black Sheep Is A Good Thing

When someone mentions the black sheep of their family, the common mental image people get is someone who is very different from the rest of the family.  Maybe the black sheep is the one person in the family who is in trouble with the law or is a surly type.

More often than you would think, this isn’t the case though.  Instead, the black sheep is nothing like their bad reputation.  The only thing they are guilty of is not being like the rest of their family, aka the White Sheep.  In these cases, this is usually a very good thing!

As I’ve mentioned before, I think of dysfunctional families much like the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”  The Borg were all alike & only focused on what was best for the Collective.  Individuality was not tolerated.  This is exactly like a dysfunctional family.  Individuality is discouraged & all that matters is the Collective, aka the family. 

Dysfunctional families are the same way, so when a member is different, they aren’t pleased.  They are even less pleased if there is abuse in the family & someone discusses the abuse openly.  It is a guarantee that person will be labeled the Black Sheep, referred to as mentally unstable, oversensitive & more.  Their traumatic experiences will be invalidated or even denied. 

This has been my experience as a black sheep in my family & my in-law family.  The good part though is although it hurt at first, it taught me a lot.

People who treat someone who has been abused this way are cowardly.  They have no integrity either, because they would rather do nothing than stand up for what is right.  I’m glad not to be like them!  I’d rather be a person of integrity who is willing to help others than be a coward!  If being labeled the black sheep means I’m someone with integrity, I’m absolutely fine with the label!

When you consider your situation, chances are good you’ll realize that the opinions of the White Sheep really aren’t important as I did.  Why should you care what they think of you?  Just because they’re family?  That isn’t a good reason!  The only people whose opinions should matter to you are those who genuinely love you & want what is best for you, whether or not those people are related to you.  People who want you to fit inside their little box of what they think you should be, like the Borg, don’t love you God’s way, nor do they want what is best for you.  Why should their opinion of you matter?   Being weighed down by the opinions of other people is exhausting, especially when their opinions of you are so restrictive!  It’s truly a blessing & freeing not to have to worry about such things. 

White Sheep family members often think the Black Sheep of their family has nothing in common with them.  They often are right about that!  That being said though, it doesn’t mean they’re right & you’re wrong.  You’re simply different from them.  Different does NOT equal bad!  That is a very important thing to realize!  Different can be a wonderful thing.  People who think differently invented all kinds of great things, heal others mentally & physically & more.  Besides, the world would be incredibly dull if we all thought the same!

The things that make you unique also could be something that makes the White Sheep envy you.  Did you ever think of that?  They could be labeling you out of simple envy.  Many people do this rather than try to improve themselves. 

Or, they could be too afraid to face their own issues & are trying to shut you down because you facing yours makes them feel badly.  This is something God told me that my own family has done to me.  It’s better in their mind to shut me down than to face their demons.

Whatever the case, I want to encourage you to embrace your Black Sheep label.  Being a Black Sheep requires courage & strength.  Be proud of yourself for possessing such wonderful qualities, & don’t try to please the White Sheep.  You get this one life to live.. you should live it in a way that pleases you, not others.

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My Ebooks Are On Sale!

Just a friendly reminder that all of my ebooks are still 25% off until July 31, 2020. They can be found at this link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Reinventing The Past As An Unhealthy Coping Skill

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Tactics Of The Covert Narcissist

This post is similar to the last one, except it helps to identify some of the tactics of covert narcissists.

Covert narcissists are like their name implies, very covert in their actions.  Because of that, they can be much harder to identify than their overt counterpart.  Their actions can leave a victim wondering if they are being oversensitive or reading too much into things.  I’ve said many times that if I have to deal with a narcissist, I’d prefer an overt one simply because I know exactly what I’m dealing with.

Covert narcissists are quiet in how they get attention.  They don’t get attention by bragging or being loud & obnoxious like overt narcissists.  They get it by appearing gentle & humble.  They “let it slip” about how they helped someone in need or that they are very active in their church.

Covert narcissists appear fragile & vulnerable, like they need someone to take care of them.  They give off an air of naivete & needing someone to protect them that makes people want to take care of them, in particular, their children.  The life purpose of the child of a covert narcissist is to take care of their parent’s every need.

They are always the victim.  No matter what a covert narcissist does to someone, you can guarantee they will blame the victim for being so mean to them for reacting as they did.  After all, they often say, they were just trying to help or they had no idea that the person would be upset by their actions.  The covert narcissist comes away from this situation looking innocent while the victim is shamed & even shunned for being so mean.

Covert narcissists have no empathy.  Unlike overt narcissists, however, coverts are quieter about this.  They will simply act bored, discreetly change the subject or walk away if someone is talking to them about their problems.

Covert narcissists manipulate in subtle ways.  A covert narcissist looking to manipulate someone won’t use fear or intimidation like an overt narcissist.  Instead they may use tactics like guilt, pretending to be helpless or even acting concerned.  Covertly narcissistic elderly parents also are known to use their health problems as a way to manipulate others, in particular their adult children.  They may even go so far as to skip taking medication or taking too much to make themselves sick.

Covert narcissists will ask how their victims are doing & other questions about them or their friends & family, but it isn’t out of genuine concern or love.   It’s about gathering information that can be used against the victim.  They will use what they learn to smear the victim’s reputation to other people or to criticize the victim & those the victim cares about.

Speaking of criticism, covert narcissists have no problem using scathing, cruel criticisms, but only will do so when no one is around other than the victim.  Covert narcissists always want to be seen as good people, so when they are verbally abusive, you can guarantee there will be no witnesses.  That way, no one sees their awful behavior, which also makes it harder for the victim to be believed.

Covert narcissists can change according to who they are around.  If a covert narcissist is around someone they wish to impress, they will claim to share the same likes, dislikes, beliefs & more as the person they wish to impress.  This is called mirroring, because the narcissist is behaving as a mirror to the other person.  Mirroring makes a person feel closer to the person mirroring their behavior, because it appears that they have a great deal in common.

While this list isn’t a fully comprehensive list of the many tactics covert narcissists use, it should help you to recognize several red flags, at least, & help you to protect yourself from these people.

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Tactics Of Overt Narcissists

Since it’s impossible to avoid all narcissists, I thought I would write a post to help people easily recognize their abusive actions.  This post will be about the actions of overt narcissists, the next, about covert.

Overt narcissists are the most commonly discussed type of narcissist.  They are known to be very loud, brash & bold in their abuse.  They are the easiest narcissists to identify simply because of how obvious they usually are.

Overt narcissists rage.  Loudly.  When their victim causes them a narcissistic injury by failing to provide them with their narcissistic supply, overt narcissists will be furious & let their victim know it.  If the victim fails to complement the narcissist, disobeys the narcissist or commits some other supposed horrific sin, that victim can count on the narcissist punishing them harshly for it.

Overt narcissists like to brag.  When dealing with an overt narcissist, it won’t take long before this person regales you with stories of their great accomplishments, their unique talents or the masses of people who admire them.

If an overt narcissist isn’t the center of attention, he or she will find a way to return to the center of attention.   An overt narcissist will do whatever it takes to gain attention, good or bad.  They will start to discuss highly inappropriate topics such as the details of a recent murder or even body functions.  They will make noises such as clapping their hands or even a loud burp.  I remember my mother once breaking into song when my father & I were talking & she wasn’t interested in our conversation.

Overt narcissists also have no problem interrupting other people.  If a person is talking about something that doesn’t interest the overt narcissist, they have no problem interrupting or talking over that person to change the conversation back to them.

All narcissists lack empathy, & overt ones are very obvious about it.  If you have a problem, an overt narcissist will be sure to let you know that your problem isn’t important to them.  They will change the subject or say invalidating things to make you feel so badly for being upset, that you don’t discuss this topic again.

Overt narcissists must be in charge of every area of the relationship, period.  Overt narcissists are like dictators in a relationship.  They will use shame & fear primarily to keep their victim under their control.  Many also have a thing for using cars to help them dominate.  They must drive, because that way they have their victim trapped where they can’t escape & they are in control of where they go.

Overt narcissists are incredibly opinionated.  Whatever the topic is, overt narcissists will have an opinion on it & believe that everyone must hear said opinion.  If the opinion is something about the victim, you can guarantee it will be a negative opinion.

All narcissists are envious, but overts are very obvious about it.  Anyone an overt narcissist believes to be more talented, successful or attractive than they are is going to be judged & criticized VERY harshly, & usually behind their back in an attempt to turn other people against the person they envy.

Overt narcissists have double standards.  Whatever an overt narcissist does is great, but if anyone else does that same thing, it’s bad.  For example, if an overt narcissist lied to you, that would be ok because, according to them, something about you made them lie.  Yet, if you lie to the overt narcissist, that is completely unacceptable & there is no reason whatsoever for you to lie to them, ever!

Obviously this isn’t a complete list of the behaviors of the overt narcissist, but it should be enough to help you see such behaviors as a red flag.  Recognizing those red flags will help you to protect yourself from such toxic people.

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Wish People Wouldn’t Say

Growing up with narcissistic parents is a horrific experience.  Neglect & abuse abound, resulting in a child who grows up with little or even no self-esteem, doubts about their sanity, no real identity beyond what their parents told them they were & other horrible traumas that often result in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD.

In addition to this trauma, many of these children are met with disbelief & even blame for the way their parents treated them.  Sadly, this treatment comes mostly from family members.  Even as adults, this invalidation often continues & can be even more heartless & painful.

You may find some of these phrases I mention in this post sound familiar to you.  If you do, & if you think they will help the person who said them to you see the error of their ways, feel free to show this to them.  However, know many people who invalidate victims of narcissistic abuse are also narcissists, which means they only will use the information to hurt you further.  You need to use your best judgment on this.

“Why not just talk to your parents.  Tell them how you feel.”  Normally, this isn’t bad advice.  Two functional people often can create solutions to problems by discussing them.  This is impossible with narcissists, however.  They lack empathy & feel entitled to do or say anything they want.  The way people feel about their words & actions, in particular their children, mean nothing to them.  Unless they feel they can gain something by impressing someone by caring about their feelings, no one’s emotions mean anything to them.  Narcissistic parents often view their children’s feelings as selfish, unreasonable, stupid, or trivial.. that is if they even notice their feelings at all.  Many narcissistic parents don’t even notice their children’s feelings no matter how upset they are.  They also are highly likely to use their children’s emotions against them to humiliate, shame or manipulate them. 

“You need to find a way to fix this relationship!”  My aunt once told me how I needed to get into therapy to find a way to fix things with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I thank God I was far along in my healing journey at the time she said this, because such words could’ve been devastating if I wasn’t!  I tried to do as she said when I was 17, & even saw a few therapists.  No matter how much therapy I got, no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix the relationship with my parents.  While one person can destroy a relationship, one person can never fix a relationship.  It takes two to make a relationship work.  Putting the burden of fixing it on a victim is simply cruel & stupid. 

“How do you think your behavior makes your parent feel?”  After setting boundaries or going no contact, the flying monkeys love to slither out of the wood work & tell victims how wrong, evil, selfish, & stupid they are along with them being terrible sons or daughters for acting the way they are.  They make these adult children sound like spoiled rotten little brats who are throwing a hissy fit because they don’t want to eat their vegetables at dinner.  People who say this fail to realize that child of a narcissistic parent or two spend their entire lives are spent considering their parents’ feelings!  Every single little thing is about the parent & nothing has to do with them.  No wonder the parent is upset about that child setting a boundary or even going no contact.  The parent probably never expected this to happen.  That doesn’t mean boundaries or no contact are wrong, however!

“Have you ever thought about how you make your parents feel by talking about this?”  They may add 1 Peter 4:8 that in part says “love covers a multitude of sins” to make it sound as if God Himself is ashamed of the victim for discussing the abuse.  This is incredibly shaming & cruel!  Narcissistic parents instill in their children a very large dose of fear about discussing the abuse.  Being open about it is incredibly difficult & brave.  If those parents wanted their child to discuss them in a positive light, they shouldn’t have been abusive. 

“Parents always love their children.. it’s a shame children don’t always love their parents.”  This is an utter LIE.  There are plenty of parents who lack the ability to love their children.  Narcissists may love the narcissistic supply their children provide but truly loving their children in a healthy, Godly way is beyond their abilities.  Not to mention, there are plenty of children of narcissistic parents who love them.  In fact, almost every adult child of narcissistic parents I have spoken with loved their parent a great deal.  It’s the parent’s behavior they hated.  I’m the same way.  I love my parents, I just couldn’t tolerate the abuse, which is why I went no contact.  It wasn’t done out of hatred for them.

“You kids always blame your mother & don’t take any responsibility for yourself.”  The fact is children naturally deny bad parts about their parents or find a way why their parent’s bad behavior is their fault.  It’s probably a survival skill.  If the child can deny the parent doesn’t love them or is abusive, they stand greater chances of receiving care from their parents.  These children work harder & harder to please their abusive parents, so the parent will give them some care at least.

“You need to get over it.  That’s in the past.”  When you have C-PTSD as a result of being raised by a narcissistic parent or two, the past is always a part of your present.  Flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts are triggered very easily & they don’t go away simply because we want them to.  If only it was that easy!  Even medication can’t stop such things.  It takes time & dealing with each event as it comes up to get any semblance of control over it interfering with the present, & even then, it may not go away entirely.  I still have flashbacks & nightmares once in a while about events I have dealt with to the best of my ability.  It’s rare, but it still happens.

“Your parents have always been so nice to me!”  Narcissists work hard to create an image of perfection to those who aren’t their victims.  It’s not uncommon for narcissists to have a friendly & pleasant conversation with someone, then once the person is out of their presence or they hang up the phone, they attack their victim.  People who haven’t seen behind the narcissist’s mask often have a hard time believing that the person you claim was an abusive parent is anything but the good person they see. 

To help those who suffered at the hand of a narcissistic parent or two, if you don’t know about narcissistic abuse, you will need to learn about it.  You also will need to remember not everyone has a functional family, & accept that some families are extremely complex & dysfunctional.

If you’re a victim of narcissistic parents & someone says comments like this to you, please remember what they say is wrong.  It comes from their own dysfunctional beliefs, not reality.  Try your best not to take their words to heart.

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