Tag Archives: abused

There Are No One Size Fits All Solutions

When people discover that what they have experienced is narcissistic abuse, they look for answers.  Some make the mistake of thinking there are obvious answers, but unfortunately, there isn’t any such thing.

 

Every narcissist is different.  Every victim is different.  There are also many gray areas when it comes to dealing with narcissists- very little is black & white.   As a result, what works for someone else may not work for you & vice versa.  You aren’t going to find anything that maps out your perfect way to healing yourself of ways to cope with a narcissists.  You have to try different things to figure out what works best in your situation.

 

An online friend & I were discussing this topic recently.  For her, understanding that her narcissistic mother was abused as a child didn’t help her in the least.  In fact, it seemed to make her angrier that her mother would take her issues out on her daughter.  While I get that, for me, learning my narcissistic mother was abused helped me to be more understanding & compassionate with her while still maintaining my healthy boundaries.  I was able to stay calmer than I once had around my mother.  I realized she was wounded & acting out of those wounds because she has no healthy coping skills.  Neither my friend nor I are wrong- we’re doing what works for us.

 

As an author who writes primarily about the topics of narcissism & narcissistic abuse, I have come to realize that as much as I want to help everyone who reads my work, I can’t.  The best I can do is explain what I have learned, talk about what works & doesn’t work for me, & discuss my experiences.  It’s up to each reader to glean from the books & articles what works for them.  Unfortunately, some will be disappointed that what I suggest doesn’t work for their situation.

 

And, ignore those who say things like, “*fill in the blank*  will work for you”.  It may work for you.  Hopefully it will.  But, it also may not work for you.  People who say they have the answers may, in fact, be narcissists themselves.  I realized that after reading a  blog about healing from narcissistic abuse some time ago.  The blogger wasn’t open to opinions other than her own.  She seemed to think what worked for her would work for everyone, & if you disagreed, you were wrong.  For example, no contact.  It was the only solution this blogger supported, & there were no excuses for not going no contact.  While that makes sense to a degree, not everyone is willing or able to go no contact.  What if the narcissist is low on the spectrum?  They may be hard to deal with but also tolerable.  Plus, going no contact is very hard, especially with your own parents.  Not everyone feels capable of going no contact.  Low contact may be a better option.  Still others live with their narcissistic parent & can’t afford to move out so again, no contact isn’t an option.

 

That is just one example.  There are other authors that are the same way- they believe they have all the answers & you need to listen to them.  Be careful whose advice you take when reading about narcissism!   If something seems off, trust that feeling.  Pray & ask God to show you who you can trust & who you can’t, & help you to get the information that will help you the most.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Validate Yourself

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing.  You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.

I have heard comments such as…

  • “That doesn’t sound so bad…”(from my high school guidance counselor, referring to my mother screaming at me for hours in my teen years)
  • “You just need to understand her better.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect!”
  • “You need to fix things with your parents.  Get into counseling!”
  • “You need to work things out with your parents.  They won’t be around forever yanno!”
  • (from a different counselor after meeting my mother) “I can’t see you anymore- you’re a terrible daughter!”
  • “You need to find things you have in common with your parents!”
  • “You’re too negative!”
  • “I can’t believe they are that bad!”
  • “Are you even sure that happened?  That’s a pretty serious accusation.”
  • Various excuses as to why my narcissistic parents or mother in-law treated me so poorly such as she isn’t intelligent (she isn’t educated- big difference), her mother in-law didn’t like her, etc.
  • Laughing at my story of being abused.

After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.

Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.

Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely.  All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with.  Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.

The fact is though that you can validate yourself.  You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.

To do this, you need to lean on God.  Talk to Him about how you feel.  He can handle it all & wants to be there for you!  Let Him be!

As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad.  Admit it to yourself.  No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak.  Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being.  It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity.  It is nothing to take lightly!   If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out.  When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard.  Very hard.  For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was.  Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too.  It gave me a new perspective.  I realized I’m a very strong person.  I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that.  It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc.  They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!

Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come.  You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse.  And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.

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The Importance Of Realistic Expectations When Dealing With Narcissists

When dealing with a person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realistic expectations are extremely important for the sake of your mental health.  They will help you not to be constantly disappointed or hurt.  They also will help you to be prepared for whatever may come, because you understand that this is how the narcissist in your life acts.

For many adult children of narcissistic parents, adjusting their expectations to be realistic is very hard.  It’s hard not to hope that this will be the time things are different, the one time that Mom actually cares about me or doesn’t  insult my husband.  It’s also hard to grasp that normal things- such as treating your child with basic respect- are things that no narcissistic parent wants to do.

If you feel that way about your narcissistic mother, you’re perfectly normal.  However, Dear Reader, I urge you to consider taking care of your mental health, your peace & joy, & lowering your expectations of your narcissistic mother.

Realistic expectations of narcissists are very different than those of other people.  Most people, you are safe in assuming that they will have some level of empathy, think of people other than themselves & not viciously criticize anything they wish to about you.  Not so with narcissists.  Let’s look at some features of a narcissist:

  • They are constantly looking for narcissistic supply- anything that helps boost their self-esteem.
  • They are incredibly entitled- they feel as if they deserve anything they want, even if it means hurting others (yes, even their own family) to get it.
  • They have absolutely no empathy- never will a narcissist genuinely understand or care about your pain.  Never.
  • Narcissists are excellent manipulators- they read people very well to find out their vulnerabilities so they can exploit them for personal gain.
  • Narcissists don’t care how much they hurt you, destroy your self-esteem or even destroy your sanity as long as they get what they want from you.

These few qualities alone mean you cannot deal with any narcissist as you would a normal person if you wish to survive this relationship with your mental health in tact.  Keeping realistic expectations of the narcissist will help you tremendously.

So what are realistic expectations of a narcissist?  Basically, have no expectations.  Never expect to be able to run to your narcissistic mother with your problems without her criticizing or mocking you.  Never expect her to be able to genuinely celebrate your victories either.  She may try to take credit for what you have done, ignore it completely or trivialize it.

What you can expect from most narcissistic mothers-

  • She will criticize everything about you without mercy.  I don’t mean constructive criticism- I mean mocking, insulting, saying cruel things that can bring you to tears.
  • Gaslighting.  Lots & lots of gaslighting & mind games.
  • Conversations will be all about her.  If you try to mention something about yourself, she’ll find a way to bring the conversation back to her.
  • No empathy.  It doesn’t matter if you broke a nail or are getting a divorce- your narcissistic mother will treat any problem you have exactly the same way.  She won’t care.
  • Her trying to destroy any joy you have over something good that has happened to you.
  • Demands or hints rather than requests.  She thinks she deserves your complete obedience.

Of course, each narcissist is a bit different, so I’m sure you can add to this list.

The good thing though is that if you keep in mind that your narcissistic mother is going to do these things, it will help you tremendously.  You won’t be caught off guard by her outrageous behavior.  You also can plan ahead of time how you wish to handle her outrageous behavior.  You  won’t be so hurt because you know it’s coming.

And, if you know what to expect, when your narcissistic mother calls or comes by, you can decide whether or not you can handle her on that particular day before you pick up the phone or answer the door.

Lastly, having these realistic expectations of your narcissistic mother also will help you to remember what kind of person she is, which will help you to remember that she has problems.  You aren’t the terrible person she claims you are!

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How Functional Are Your Relationships?

Twenty-five years ago today, on August 23, 1990, I met a man that I dated briefly.  We were together for exactly 3 months when I broke up with him.  The brief time together was life altering for me & not necessarily in a good way.

I was 19, & he was 28.  He had a lovely old house on the water & a good job.  He said he was close to his family, even though they lived far apart.  He had a way about him that gave the impression he had it all together.  Since I’d just moved out of my parents house only months before, I was hungry for stability.  I figured he was a good, stable man & I’d be happy with him.  After all, my friend said she thought so.  I didn’t trust my own instincts that said I should run, & instead listened to her.

I’m not saying he was a bad man, but he had some problems.  He was extremely jealous, which was a problem since I worked with mostly men.  He treated me as if I was stupid & he was much older & wiser, which really got on my nerves.  He was extremely controlling as well.  In fact, so much so, we ended up engaged because he said I would marry him.  No romantic proposal, no ring- just a command.  After 3 months, I was tired.  I’d have enough control games from my mother, so I decided no more.  I broke up with him on November 23, 1990.  He screamed at me for hours, telling me how much I’d regret it, he was a good guy, I was ruining his life, I made a big mistake, etc.  I even thought he was going to hit me once but my cat Magic put a stop to it by scratching him while his dog got between us.  That event left me feeling incredibly guilty for many years.  Every August 23, I would beat myself up for ruining Mike’s life.

Then in January of 2014, I read on my county police facebook page that this man was dead.  He shot his gay lover then himself.  I also saw in that same article that he had a felony weapons charge from the week before his death.  His mug shot was on the article, & obviously the years since I’d left him had been very hard on him.  He looked very different- much harder & older.  So much so that I didn’t even recognize him.

It really shook me up.  It took me months before this information sank in.  I lost the guilt & got very angry at myself for not knowing what Mike was really like. I also got angry at him for treating me like I was the only one with problems when clearly he had plenty of issues himself.   I was always wrong.  I was crazy.  At least according to him.

Since, I have come to accept what happened & am no longer angry with him.  I now appreciate the few good things that came from that brief relationship, such as him getting me into classic rock, especially the Eagles & Styx.  I also was able to adopt Magic because of him, & he even named him.  He also was the first person to truly grasp how cruelly my mother treated me.  We had my parents to dinner one night & my mother was insulting me at every turn.  Mike was truly upset by her behavior, & apologized to me for doubting when I said she was abusive.

I realized though, that this man wasn’t the only person in my life who was like this,  however.  I think it must happen with many adult children of narcissists.  I think we attract dysfunctional people who try to put their dysfunction on us.

My ex husband always said I was wrong.  Every argument was my fault.  If he got mad at me & punched walls, I made him do it.  I was unreasonable for wanting for him to stop running up credit card debt or depending on his mother to bail him out financially.

The friend who thought I should go out with the man I mentioned?  She was in control of our relationship.  Period.  She would not hesitate to guilt trip me if I didn’t do what she wanted.

I had another friend while married to my ex who talked to me as if I was dumb as a box of hair.  Always wanted favors from me too, & rarely did anything in return.  She once chewed me out for not calling her back in a timely manner, even though I didn’t get the message until hours after she called.

I would like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do something I didn’t do when I was in these dysfunctional relationships.  Look at the people in your life, especially the critical & needy ones.  How do they treat you?  Do they blame you for everything?  Are you always the problem?  Are you supposed to do for them while they don’t need to be there for you?  Answer such questions honestly.  You may realize that you need to end some toxic relationships.  If you realize you need to do this, ask God for help.  Ask Him to give you the strength you need to end the relationships & the wisdom on how to best handle the situation.

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

Balance Is Healthy

In life, many people say out of balance things, such as always look for the positive or always listen to your heart. While this may sound good, it isn’t healthy. Sometimes, there is little or no positive to be found, & that is fine. Valuable lessons can be learned in negative circumstances, not just positive. And, listening to your heart is always wise, but logic must intervene at some point too. I know if I listened to my heart only, I would never accomplish anything around my home- I’d spend my time writing, being creative, playing with the furkids & such without doing laundry or cooking. While that sounds amazingly fun, it’s also amazingly impractical.

I just wanted to take a moment today to encourage you, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your life. So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse have trouble in this area. We often put others ahead of ourselves even when it isn’t best for anyone involved, we give at the expense of our own selves or we even can become obsessed with learning about narcissism since it finally gives us the answers we’ve been seeking.

Think about your life- what areas are out of balance? Do you listen to your feelings over logic every time? Do you always make sacrifices for others while expecting nothing in return? Are you a workaholic? Do you read non-stop about narcissism?

Please stop those out of balance behaviors! Balance is a good thing- it helps you to stay happy & healthy, two things you deserve. While working or doing for others are certainly admirable, you still need breaks from doing them. The same goes for learning about narcissism. You absolutely must learn about it if you wish to heal from narcissistic abuse, but even so, take breaks where you refuse to think about it sometimes. Narcissism is such a deep & negative subject- your emotions need breaks from thinking about it so you don’t plummet into depression.

How do you achieve balance? To start with, ask God to show you what areas you need to improve. Make any changes you know you need to do. Also, ask God to show you if you need to make further changes & to help you to do so.

If you are close to someone who is also out of balance, you could see if this person wishes to be an accountability partner. You could be accountable to each other, discussing your situations & what you are doing. You could pray together, too.

Listen to your heart. If you feel resentment or dread regarding certain tasks, that is for a reason. You may be focusing too much in that area.

Learn about boundaries if you haven’t already. Learning to set & enforce healthy boundaries will help you so much.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

I have been asked quite a few times how long it takes to recover fully from narcissistic abuse. I believe it to be a lifelong battle, unfortunately. However, I don’t want to discourage you with that, because there is good news. Although it can be a lifelong battle, it does get easier!

You will stumble sometimes, but even so, you are constantly getting stronger as you heal. The more wisdom you gain about NPD & the effects of its abuse, the more strength it gives you. You finally realize it wasn’t your fault, & that you’re suffering the normal effects of abnormal treatment.

The dark times of depression come less frequently & don’t last as long when they come.

There are times you feel stuck, as if you are always going to be depressed, anxious, or feel like you’re going crazy. But, the longer you have been healing, the less frequently those times happen. They, like depression, won’t last as long on the rare occasions when they happen.

Your self-esteem soars. Sure, sometimes you may backslide into feeling like the worthless piece of garbage your narcissistic mother always said you were, but at least that isn’t how you constantly feel anymore. They’re merely fleeting moments. When you realize this dysfunctional thinking is happening, you remind yourself that isn’t true. Healthy self-esteem also stops the dysfunctional people-pleasing at your own expense ways many children of narcissistic parents possess.

You try to practice good self-care rituals- prayer, relaxing activities, participating in fun hobbies. Granted, sometimes you let your schedule get too busy, but the healthier you become, the quicker you are to realize this mistake & make the appropriate changes.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to change how you think about your recovery. While it may be a lifelong battle with no definite end, try to focus instead on the good that comes during your healing. Focus on each baby step, every bit of progress you make. Your narcissistic mother tried to destroy you, but she didn’t! You are like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Little by little, you are getting healthier & happier. Maybe right now you aren’t where you want to be, & feel like you have a long way to go. How about instead focusing on how far you have come? You are no longer that wounded, dysfunctional little child, but instead are a grown woman who is getting stronger & healthier each day!

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Disliking Birthdays & Holidays

Recently I was talking with one of my readers about holidays. She mentioned Mother’s Day in particular, & said how much she hates the day. Obviously, she has a narcissistic mother. Anyway, she said she has been working on changing her attitude & focusing on enjoying the day with her children, because she doesn’t like feeling this way about the holiday. It hasn’t gone well. Even after several pleasant Mother’s Days, she still isn’t a fan of the day, & felt guilty about her “failure.”

From my experience, I have seen this as a pretty common scenario for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. Not just with Mother’s Day, but birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or other special days.

I’m no different. After countless awful birthdays, Christmases, & Thanksgivings, I couldn’t care less about those days. I have tried to enjoy my birthday at least, celebrating with friends each year for the last few years. It has been fun, until this year when I was sick & unable to celebrate. Also, my husband wasn’t able to leave work early like he was supposed to be able to do. We were going to spend the day together. Instead, I wasted my day waiting on him to come home instead of enjoying myself. My old feelings of wanting to ignore my birthday came back with a vengeance as a result, & I realized it may be permanent this time.

While aiming to have a positive attitude about days that have been bad for you is certainly a good thing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, the best you can do is learn not to hate the day. I don’t mean to sound negative, just realistic.

I’ve heard that it takes ten praises to eliminate the negative effects of one criticism. Honestly, I think it takes more. I also think that bad holidays are much like that- it takes a lot of really pleasant holidays to change your negative feelings. I also think that one negative one thrown in with the good ones can hinder changing how you feel. It can set you back.

The reason I am telling you this, Dear Reader, is so that you won’t feel guilty like the lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post if your attitude isn’t better. Unfortunately this happens sometimes due to bad experiences, & beating yourself up about how you feel won’t help you improve your attitude! If anything, it only makes it worse.

So, Dear Reader, if you are dreading holidays or your birthday, I truly wish you the best with learning to enjoy those special days! I pray you will be able to do so! However, if you are unable to, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Unfortunately it happens sometimes. Just know you are not alone in how you feel. xoxo

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Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

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“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

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Telling The Truth About Narcissistic Abuse

Growing up, I think my situation was very typical of many children who have narcissistic parents in some ways.  Mainly in one way- secrecy was of the utmost importance.  My mother never clearly said don’t tell anyone what she was doing to me, but somehow, I always knew telling would be a big mistake.

When I turned 17 & wanted to start dating, her abuse magnified.  She was losing control of me & was less than thrilled with that fact.  That is when she began to scream at me on a daily basis, making sure I spent my school & work lunch breaks with her, & she even had someone at my school report to her daily what I did during the day when she wasn’t around.  It was a bad, bad time for me.  I tried to talk a little about it to friends & even a school guidance counselor.  No one was any help, so I sought out a therapist who turned out to be even less help.  I found out I was completely on my own.

My mother often said during that time that I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry.”  I failed to realize at the time that it was *her* dirty laundry, not mine.  I did realize though that telling the truth about the abuse she put me through was a bad thing.  When she learned I’d talked to anyone about what she did, she would rage worse than usual.  More screaming at me would follow, telling me what a terrible person I was, she was only doing what she did to help me, since I was so unreasonable she had to practice tough love on me, & more garbage.

As a result, I learned to keep quiet, not discussing what she did to me.  I lived in fear that she would learn if I’d said anything about her.  Plus, I also felt I was to blame.  I believed her lies about what a terrible person  I was.  I must have been terrible to make her treat me so badly- what other reason could there be for what she did, I thought.  Telling also felt disloyal- I felt like I was betraying my mother if I told what she did.

Eventually, I had to talk about it.  I lived through hell with her, even as an adult, & couldn’t keep it bottled up inside anymore. My emotional health was a mess.  I had to talk about it & start to heal.  It was hard to do.  For years I continued to feel guilty for “airing our dirty laundry.”  It finally clicked though a couple of years ago… I felt God wanted me to write & publish my autobiography.  That task was very daunting- once you write a book & it’s published, it’s out there for the world to see.  Having a website is one thing- my parents don’t even own a computer, plus I could take it down if I was so inclined, so that wasn’t too intimidating.  But a book?!  That was terrifying!

To write the book, I finally had to get rid of those dysfunctional thoughts about sharing what happened to me, & God helped me tremendously in doing so.  He showed me the real truth about discussing narcissistic abuse.

He showed me that talking about it isn’t being disloyal or dishonorable- it’s simply telling the facts.  I have yet to embellish anything.  I tell things as they happened.  I never try to paint my parents in a bad light, although I’m sure the stories I tell do just that since they’ve done some bad things.  I try to keep the way I phrase things as respectful as possible.

He also showed me that although I wasn’t a perfect child, I was good & I did nothing to deserve what happened to me.  I never got into trouble or did drugs.  I cut a few classes in high school (which my parents never knew about), but still maintained honor roll grades.  My worst sin was sneaking behind my mother’s back to date the man who is now my ex husband.  Granted not a good thing, but not the worst thing I could’ve done either.  I only saw him at school & work so we didn’t see each other much.

God showed me too that there is nothing my parents can do to punish me anymore.  My mother can’t show up at my job again & scream at me for the whole population of the place to see (that was humiliating!) or force me to listen to her tell me what a horrible person I am for having my own thoughts, feelings & needs.  If she tries to scream at me now, I’ll either leave, hang up on her or kick her out of my home.

Accepting these truths will help you tremendously in your healing as well as your ability to talk about what happened!

And, I found a quote that helped me tremendously in writing my autobiography.  Anne Lammont said, “You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  It’s very true!  What happened to you at the hand of your abusive narcissistic mother is YOUR story.  You have every right to share it with anyone you like.

I believe discussing narcissistic abuse to be a calling from God.  You have to respect His calling more than fear your parents’ retribution.  You aren’t betraying them by talking about it.  You aren’t being a “bad daughter” either, so long as you share things in a respectful manner.  If you believe God wants you to share your story, then share it!  Not everyone is going to like it, but that isn’t your problem!  Sharing your story will help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the damage it causes.  It will encourage others who have been in similar situations.  It lets people know they aren’t alone to read stories similar to theirs.  It also helps reassure people that they aren’t crazy, bad, wrong, etc.  It wasn’t their fault, & your story can help people to learn that.

Share your story, Dear Reader, however you believe God wants you to share it!  xoxo

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How Understanding Abusers Can Be Beneficial

I have read in some places recently that it isn’t necessary to understand what is behind an abusive person’s actions. All that matters is he or she abused you. This hasn’t really sat right with me.

I’m certainly not saying you have to excuse your abuser’s horrible actions away, because there is no excuse to abuse. I’m also not saying you need to really, truly understand exactly what made the person act as they did (especially in cases of being abused by a narcissist- who can really truly understand why they do what they do?!). However, if you understand a little about the abusive person in your life, it can benefit you greatly, because you can truly grasp that the abuse was not your fault.

So many victims of abuse tend to blame themselves. How many children of narcissistic parents grew up hearing that it was their fault their parents acted the way they did, & still believed that nonsense well into adulthood? I certainly did. My narcissistic mother blamed me for making her act as she did. If I wouldn’t have been so bad, she wouldn’t have had to use “tough love” (what she called her abuse) on me. I believed I was a bad person for most of my life as a result, & if I could have been better as a child, my mother wouldn’t have abused me.

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder has helped me more than I can say. I finally have an answer to why my mother treated me as she did, & the answer isn’t that I was a bad kid! The answer is that she learned early in life that acting in this incredibly dysfunctional way got her whatever she wanted- attention, control, or the freedom to do anything she wanted. That has absolutely nothing to do with me! She wouldn’t have been kinder or loving to me if I had been a better daughter! No matter how I acted, my mother would have treated me exactly the same way- abusively.

I have known about NPD for I think four years now, & in that time, I have learned a great deal. Even so, I still read any information I can find on it. Why? For one thing, NPD seems to be a bottomless pit. Just when I think there can’t be anything left to learn, something else shows up. For another thing, reading about it often is a very good reminder that what happened to me isn’t my fault. In spite of the wealth of knowledge I have on this topic, I still battle wondering what I could have done differently, or did I do something to make my mother abuse me. Granted, those times are very few & far between now, but every now & then, they still happen & have to be dealt with.

Many people I have spoken to who have been through narcissistic abuse read constantly about NPD & surviving narcissistic abuse. Like me, they have been told they are too focused on NPD or being too negative. I disagree- reading about NPD is extremely beneficial to its victims! That being said though, as I have written about many times, it is equally vital to take breaks where you refuse to think about NPD or the abuse you endured. The negativity & evilness of NPD can depress you greatly, so breaks are of the utmost importance.

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You’re So Much More Than Someone Who Survived Narcissistic Abuse!

Sometimes I feel like all I am is a narcissistic abuse survivor.  Writing about this topic is not for the faint of heart, & certainly not what I expected to be doing as an author.  But, I feel this is what God wants, so I’m obeying gladly.

Even so, there are still some times that I feel like that’s all I am.

When I got carbon monoxide poisoning last February, I came pretty close to death.  It caused me to do a great deal of soul searching. Among other things, I thought about this & realized I pretty much had become just someone who survived narcissistic abuse.  Frankly, it was depressing.  Surviving a narcissist with your sanity in tact is certainly something to be proud of, but even so.. what about other things?  I’d lost some things I once enjoyed- for some reason, knitting & crocheting became uninteresting to me instead of hobbies I once loved.  Thanks to the C-PTSD, reading has become hard for me as my brain feels overwhelmed if I look at the pages in a book too long.  I felt empty.

I often write about the value of taking breaks from your healing & learning about narcissism.  You simply can’t focus on such deep, heavy topics constantly & maintain any joy.  I think it is equally valuable to take time to get to know yourself though.  Truly get to know the person God has made you to be.

I have focused on this quite a bit since February.  It’s turning into a very good thing.  Getting to know me has helped me to be more comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve begun to take better care of myself with less guilt.  It has helped tremendously in reducing my anxiety levels as well.  I realized this recently at the doctor’s office.  A nurse suggested Weight Watchers for me.  Weight has been an issue for me my whole life.  My mother has always criticized my weight, even when I was thin.  So much so, I had eating disorders starting at age 10.  Now, I’m about 20 lbs overweight, & some people in the medical field act like I’m more like 700 lbs. overweight.  This nurse was one of them.  That situation used to trigger a lot of anxiety & shame in me but this time I felt fine.  I told her no & ended that conversation.

The best part of getting to know myself is my relationship with God has become much more comfortable & open.  There always was some shame in me asking for things I needed.  So much so, I’ve always prayed more for others than myself.  That is balancing out more all the time.

I have learned that I am not only someone who has been through narcissistic abuse, but also am a child of God, a wife, a mother to some super amazing furkids & a person who is gaining some diverse interests.  I have been forcing myself to step outside my comfort zone & explore things, which has led to learning some new interests.

Dear Reader, please do as I have done, & start to get to know yourself too.  You are a wonderful person, & you should appreciate that about yourself.  You are so much more than you were told you were.  Find out who you really are.  Get to know the new you & embrace that person!

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The Past – Wallowing Or Helpful?

So many people say you’re just wallowing in your past if you talk about being abused.  I am sure some people are wallowing- it is a very hard thing to move past, being abused, especially if your abuser was a narcissist.

However, I do not believe that this describes the majority of people who have survived abuse.   Judging from not only myself but many people I have met, we have a much different reason for discussing the abuse we have been through.

Talking about painful experiences brings them into the open, where they can be analyzed & even become learning experiences.  Talking about them brings healing.

When I was growing up, I was never allowed to discuss or question the abuse I was going through.  I was supposed to tolerate it quietly & change into whatever my mother wanted me to be at that moment.  Now though, as a woman in mid life, that does not work for me. I have been through too much.  Talking about it breaks the hold over me being abused once had.

Looking into the past helps you to set yourself free from the abuse that has been done to you.  It allows you to question things that you could not question at the time they were happening. It allows you to confront the lies you were told, & discover the truth.  It also allows you to grieve for the horrible things done to you over which you had no control.  (Grieving is necessary if you want to move on.)

Looking back at the good things helps you as well.  Remembering good times helps to brighten your day.  Lately, I often think of the fun times I spent as a child with my great-grandmother.  They always make me smile, as she was a lovely woman.  Remembering good times also can help you to understand why you are the way you are.  You get to know yourself when you pay attention to those things that make you happy or sad, or the things you like or don’t like.

Once you deal with things in your past, you have less desire to look backward towards the bad things.  The bad memories also won’t interrupt your thoughts as often.  Good memories will occur more often than the bad.  Making peace with your past helps you tremendously in the present.

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God Gives Families To The Lonely

When you start talking about the painful effects of surviving narcissistic abuse, often, people will abandon you. Friends & even family may suddenly not call so often, or they may sever all ties with you. For whatever reason, many people have a very low tolerance for abuse victims, especially victims of narcissistic abuse.

While this certainly is painful to experience, I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader. God understands your pain & loneliness. Psalm 68:6 says, “He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.” (TLB) That is certainly true! I have experienced this firsthand.

Upon separating from my narcissistic ex husband, every friend we shared abandoned me with the exception of one friend & his wife.

Years later, once I began talking about the narcissistic abuse I experienced growing up, many people, including those in my own family, didn’t believe me. Others trivialized what I went through & refused to let me talk about it.

When C-PTSD manifested itself in my life in 2012, not did very few people close to me believe that I was very sick, I was accused of using it as an attempt to make people feel sorry for me. Another person told me I needed to “get over my childhood hurts.” She said she had them too & she got over them, so I should too.  (Obviously, she was never abused by her parents.)

The way people acted hurt me terribly. I felt utterly alone many, many times. Being an introvert, I don’t usually mind being alone, but being invalidated, mocked & then abandoned by those I thought I could trust still hurt me deeply. Thankfully, God knew this, & sent some wonderful people into my life. I now have a new family of sorts- friends who genuinely care about me, support me & understand me. The members of my facebook group are among the kindest, most genuine & caring people you could ask to meet. I started out the group thinking of them simply as fans, but I realize they are also friends. They pray for each other & me. They have supported me during painful, hard times, without expecting anything in return. They are more like a family rather than just a facebook group.

If you are in the painful position of being rejected because of narcissistic abuse, you’re not alone. Really! God loves you so much, & is always with you. And, He will give you a new family. They may not be related by blood, but that is OK! Family is more about who loves you than who shares your genes.

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It’s All About Narcissistic Supply. Always.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about one helpful way to deal with a narcissist is to remind yourself constantly that this person is a narcissist.  While that is helpful, I realized that I forgot to mention one other thing along those lines.

Never forget that narcissists are all about narcissistic supply.  That is all they care about, & will do anything to get it.  Does your narcissistic mother say she wants to spend time with you?  She doesn’t want to spend time with you, enjoying time with her daughter- she wants to spend time getting narcissistic supply from you.  Does she ask how you’re doing?  That isn’t because she cares- it’s because she is looking for something to use against you.  Hurting you or making you angry will provide her this supply.

I live in central Maryland.  When there were riots in Baltimore, I had a feeling my covertly narcissistic father was going to call about it.  I assumed it was going to be to talk politics, since he loves to do that with me.  (Odd since I have zero interest in politics)  I was sort of right- he called a few days after the rioting started.  He said he was concerned about us, & wanted to be sure we were OK.  We live about 30 minutes south of Baltimore, my parents are about 20 minutes away.  I thought it was an odd question at first, but learned quickly why he was “concerned.”  It was all about getting his supply.

To start with, he called at 8:59 at night.  I’ve told my father I don’t answer the phone after 9 p.m.  He was pushing my boundary because I think that provides him some supply.  He can be in control.  He got as close to 9 as he could with calling me.  If I wouldn’t have answered, he would’ve had the right to be mad at me for not taking his call, as far as he is concerned (he thinks I must answer his calls whenever he calls & makes no allowances for me being unavailable).  I answered though, so I let him push that boundary (big mistake on my part), which makes him feel in control.

He immediately said he was concerned about us what with the terrible riots happening in Baltimore.  As soon as I said we’re fine, he immediately went into a rant about the politics of the situation.  He went on for about 10-15 minutes about how he felt about the riots & how he thought things should be fixed & his opinions… He wasn’t concerned about us at all- he wanted an excuse to talk about politics.

I learned from that call how anything & everything with a narcissist is about narcissistic supply.  It showed me how they can twist anything into a supply opportunity.   And, frankly, it hurt.  I briefly thought he actually was concerned about my husband & I.  Finding out no, this was just an opportunity for supply hurt.  At least the hurt was a good reminder about the fact narcissists are only focused on their supply.  You can bet I won’t forget about that need of theirs again any time soon!

And, Dear Reader, you shouldn’t either!  Remembering that with a narcissist, everything is about them gaining narcissistic supply will help you!  Remembering this fact will help you not to be as  hurt when they mistreat you, because you’ll remember this is how narcissists are.  It’s not about you.  Nothing is about you when dealing with a narcissist.  It’s always about them & furthering their agenda.

Nothing they do will surprise you or catch you off guard, because you know they are capable of intensely selfish, evil acts.

Also, you will be prepared for those selfish, evil acts ahead of time because you know they are coming.  Even if you don’t know exactly what they have planned, you know they have something planned.  You know to be ready for anything, you know that you will need to enforce your boundaries.  This enables you to be prepared to deal as effectively as possible with your narcissist.

While dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is never easy, remembering their desperation for narcissistic supply will help you tremendously.

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Are You Always The Strong One?

There is a saying that is pretty common, but especially here in the South.  “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I believe it to be very true.  The very things that have been meant to kill me, such as narcissistic abuse, have instead strengthened me in the long run.

But, the truth is, in spite of being grateful for the strength I’ve gained, I’m pretty tired!  Tired of the nonsense I’ve lived through, & mostly tired of always being the strong one who carries other people can fall apart.

Many people, especially those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse, are a great deal stronger than we realize.  This doesn’t usually escape the notice of other people, however.  They notice it right away & often, don’t hesitate to use our strength to help themselves out.  Even when they know we’re going through a crisis, they’ll come to us for comfort, advice or to meet some other need, often without even asking how we’re doing.  When faced with a difficult person, we are the one who is always supposed to be understanding or the “bigger person”, & let the offenses go.  People know we’re strong & can handle bad situations, so they assume we never need help, a shoulder to cry on or, well, anything really..

The simple truth is that even the strongest among us need help sometimes.  Being strong can be hard enough, but feeling as if you’re completely alone in your struggles with no one to help, & you have to be strong all of the time for others is incredibly hard.  It’s extremely depressing, because you know you can’t count on anyone else to let you lean on them.  It’s also mentally & physically draining.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you understand this all too well.  I would like to encourage you today to make self-care a priority.  Take breaks as needed from work or from other people (especially the ones who lean on you without reciprocating).  Set & enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.  Do nice things for yourself often.  What makes you feel good?  Make it a priority to do those things as often as possible.  Participate in your hobbies often.  Express your creativity often.

And, remember- sometimes you need to lean on others as they have leaned on you.  It’s actually a good thing for a relationship- it makes you depend on each other instead of the relationship being one sided.  It also increases intimacy in the relationship, because asking for help makes you vulnerable.  I understand that it is very hard to do, but I encourage you to step out & try it.  Ask God how to do this & who to ask- He won’t guide you wrong!

And, speaking of God, don’t forget to lean on Him as well!  He loves you so much, & wants to help you in every way you need help.  I’ll never forget what happened when I was sick at the end of February.. I was relaxing, just playing a game on my tablet, & I couldn’t get past this one level.  It was frustrating me.  I muttered & asked God to help me get past this stupid level.  Suddenly, I did it!  I started to cry.  Granted, I was super emotional because of the concussion I got only a few days prior, but even so, it was a lovely moment.  I knew God helped me to win that game because He loves me so much that He even cares about something so trivial that means something to me.  He loves you just as much- allow Him to show it.  Trust Him & lean on Him.  He won’t disappoint you.

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Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

This scenario may sound somewhat familiar to you..

Growing up, my mother often accused me of having “that Bailey temper”.  I could be slightly frustrated or very angry for a valid reason, & it didn’t matter.  She would criticize my terrible “Bailey temper” in a very shaming tone of voice.  (interestingly, she now uses this phrase with my father).  The result was I began to stuff my anger inside.  I refused to show anger on the outside, no matter how valid a reason I had for feeling that way.  It was easier, or so I thought, to stuff my angry feelings deep down inside than to hear her berating, critical, shaming words.

As a result, I almost never showed it to anyone, no matter how valid my reasons for the anger were.  It’s only in recent years I’ve stopped squelching my anger & been learning to vent it in healthy ways.  By doing this, I’ve also learned that I really don’t have a bad temper at all.  It takes a lot to make me angry & when I am angry, I never scream, rage or destroy things.

So why did my mother accuse me of having such a terrible temper as a child?

I believe she did the exact same thing that many narcissistic parents do- she projected her own shortcomings onto me.  Narcissists are angry people.  They get angry when they aren’t treated as reverently as they feel they should be treated, praised as highly as they believe they deserve, or acknowledged to be the most special, amazing, talented, attractive people in the universe.  They also are angry when they aren’t blindly obeyed, when people don’t believe their lies or people do healthy things such as set boundaries with them or even end their relationship with the narcissist.

Narcissists can’t handle any bad quality (real or perceived) in themselves, so they project that bad quality onto other people.  Accusing someone else of that bad quality allows them to get mad about the flaw while not accepting any responsibility for having it.   It’s a very common tactic of narcissists, especially with their own children or spouse.

In addition to projection, victims of narcissists can be angry people, too.  How can you not be angry at the unfairness of the relationship with a narcissist?  They are selfish to the max, they couldn’t care less about you other than what you can do for them & they criticize every single little thing about you.  These things are hard to handle in any relationship, but when it is your own mother doing it, that seems to make it even worse.  Mothers are supposed to be loving, caring, gentle, protective & all around wonderful, yet here is your mother abusing you at every turn.  If that doesn’t make a person angry, I don’t know what would!

To add insult to injury, you aren’t allowed to express your anger to the narcissist, because she can’t handle any criticism, nor will she accept responsibility for what she has done. Instead, she will turn it around, blaming you for having a vivid imagination since that even never happened, or if you wouldn’t have done *fill in the blank,* then she wouldn’t have had to “discipline” you so harshly.  So, now you have someone who not only is abused, but told they are the cause for the abuse.  Again, if that doesn’t make a person angry, what will?!

Anger is a nasty side effect of narcissistic abuse.  It can be scary, because after so many years of stifling anger, once it starts to come out, we can be afraid of losing control.  It can feel like now that it’s out, it’s going to be out permanently- you’ll be angry forever.  Thank God though that is not the case!

Anger is a natural emotion just like all of the others people experience.  I know it can be hard at first, but try not to fear it.  Anger can be dealt with in a healthy way, & you need to learn how to do that.

Keeping a journal or talking to safe people about your feelings are very good ways to help manage your anger.  Telling God all about it is an even better way to deal with it.  And, say, “I feel angry because..” as it helps to validate your feelings to yourself.  Your feelings have been invalidated long enough- they deserve validation & recognition, especially by you!

I have written letters that I never sent when I was really angry.  I let it all out in those letters too- bad language, name calling, whatever I felt.  Sometimes I saved them, but usually I just burned them.  I found something healing in watching them go up in smoke.

Always remember that your feelings are valid.  There is a reason you are feeling angry!  People don’t just get angry for no obvious reason.

Forgive when you feel able to do so.  Don’t let other people criticize your faith in God or your Christian walk by accusing you of being cruel & unforgiving.  Forgiveness is a wonderful thing- it releases the power the other person  has over you.  But, rushing it never works out well.  You have to forgive when you are ready, with help from God, to completely forgive.

If you are considering discussing your feelings with your narcissistic mother, before you do it, pray.  Lots!  Narcissists don’t hear the other person’s valid points when confronted- instead they get defensive & shift blame.  That being said, for some people, telling their narcissistic mother how they feel can be a good thing.  They feel better just getting their feelings out to her.  I’m different- it makes me feel worse to have my mother invalidate me & fail to take any responsibility for her actions yet again, so I almost never confront her.  You need to be absolutely certain of how you are, & do what feels right to you.

And lastly, stop stifling your anger!  I know, old habits die hard, so this isn’t an easy thing to do.  However, it’s not healthy!  Not physically or mentally healthy.  Besides, emotions demand to be dealt with- stifling them only postpones that, it doesn’t stop it.  It is much better to face things as they come up rather than once they’ve been sitting deep inside, growing & morphing into something bigger & harder to deal with.

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You Aren’t The Problem

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, you believe that you are the problem in the toxic relationship.  She blames you for everything & takes no responsibility for anything she has done to you.  On the off chance she admits to doing something bad to you, she blames you for making her do it.

As an adult, you are told, by her or others, that you are the one who needs to make amends with her, find a way to get along with her, or even that you have “a victim mentality,” which only further embeds the belief in you that the problems with your mother are all your fault.  (Isn’t it interesting how no one tells your narcissistic mother she needs to behave herself, work things out with you or that she is abusive?)

I would like to challenge you today to look at this situation differently.  As a child, your mother was the adult.  This means she was supposedly the more mature & wiser of the two of you.  She should have known better than to treat you so poorly.  Also, she knew then & still knows that her actions are wrong, otherwise she would behave the same way in public as she does in private.

Keeping those things in mind, please answer this for me- how is it your responsibility to improve the relationship with your mother?  In fact, how is it even possible to improve a relationship with a narcissist?  And, how is it your fault that your mother has abused you?

I know it is painful when people so thoughtlessly tell you to fix things with your mother instead of offering support & understanding.  I’ve been in that position more times than I can count.  So when they say something like this, I want you to remember that you aren’t the problem in the relationship, your mother is.  Any person who can abuse her own child for that child’s entire life is the problem. Any person who constantly puts her own needs & wants, no matter how trivial, above the welfare of others but especially her own child is the problem.  Any person who chooses to treat others as if they aren’t allowed to have their own feelings, needs, opinions, wants is the problem.  Any person who refuses to accept responsibility for her hurtful actions & blames others for them is the problem.

Dear Reader, just try to remember these things when someone insensitively tells you that you are the problem or that you need to work things out with your mother.  You are not the problem- she is!

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Black & White Thinking Is Dangerous

Many people who grew up abused tend to have black & white thinking.  For example, you may think you’re a bad employee because you made a mistake at work, or a bad spouse because you forgot your wedding anniversary rather than just thinking you made mistakes.  Most people aren’t so hard on themselves, & are much more forgiving than that.

This type of thinking can damage relationships as well as your self-esteem.  If, as an example, you grew up told by your narcissistic mother that all people who listen to heavy metal music are bad & accepted that belief, then you are either missing out on potentially good relationships, or if you later find out someone you’re close to likes metal, you’ll end that relationship.

Black & white thinking has its roots in childhood, like so many other things.  When you grow up with a parent berating, shaming & criticizing you, you take it to heart!  You tend to continue to do those same behaviors to yourself as an adult.  It’s time to stop doing that to yourself!  You don’t deserve to continue the abuse that was so unfairly done to you!  You deserve better!

Today, I want you to decide to stop with the black & white thinking!

To do this, you’ll need to do several things.  First of all, ask God to help you.  Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”.  God wants to help you think better!  Allow Him to do so.

You also need to challenge how you think.  Slow down & pay attention to your thoughts.  When you make a mistake & begin to beat yourself up for it, stop!  Stop right there & remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes.  EVERYONE!  Not only you.  If people didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  Mistakes are a part of life- you need to accept that fact.

If you find yourself thinking something or someone is bad, then again, stop.  Ask yourself why you think this.  If you realize it’s because your narcissistic mother dislikes a quality that person has, then it’s time to challenge her opinion.  Not to her but to yourself.  Did she say why she hates something or someone?  Do her reasons make sense?  If not, discard them & form your own opinion!  You don’t have to share her beliefs or feelings.  You have the right to have your own!

Black & white thinking also can be a hindrance in healing from abuse.  If you’re like me, you tend to frequently tell yourself that you should be better by now, you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for too long, you need to let this go & more unhealthy things. Please, please, please stop it right now!!!  Easier said than done, I know, but please try anyway.  I’ve gotten better at this, although I still slip up sometimes.  When I tell myself these awful things, I remind myself narcissistic abuse is a terrible thing.  Healing from it is a lifelong task.  Narcissistic abuse is insidious & permeates every part of your being.  You can’t heal from that kind of pain & suffering in a month or even a year.  It’s perfectly normal to heal little by little over the course of your life.  It’s also perfectly normal for healing to be an up & down process.  Emotional healing is never strictly an uphill battle. It’s more like an uphill battle with periodic falls into valleys & side trips.

Dear Reader, please be encouraged today to be better to yourself.  Think about what you’re thinking about.  Challenge those things that aren’t beneficial to you, & change how you think into more healthy thoughts.  You deserve it!

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Ins & Outs Of Narcissistic Supply

When dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic mother, you need to know about narcissistic supply in order to avoid narcissistic rage.  Chances are, you already know quite a bit about it, even if you never put the name to it before.

Narcissistic supply is anything that makes the narcissist feel good about themselves. Everyone needs a little narcissistic supply, but narcissists are desperate for it & will do about anything to get it, including hurting people.  Complements are great, as is actively listening whenever the narcissist wants to talk & going along with whatever she wants.  All of these things make the narcissist feel important & good about herself, which helps her to believe that she isn’t the terrible person she believes she is deep down.

If you openly deny the narcissist that supply, she may go into a narcissistic rage.  Screaming, cursing, cruel words intended to hurt you aren’t above a narcissist during a narcissistic rage.  My mother used to tell me terrible things about myself when I was a teen & refusing to tolerate her control anymore.  She would lecture me (as I called it, but actually it was screaming at me) about what a horrible person I was on a daily basis, often a few times a day.  Now that we’re both older, her rage has changed into very quietly & pleasantly said scathing criticisms, always in a public place so if I say anything or walk out, people will witness me treating my sweet, innocent, elderly mother badly.

While it may seem at first like it’s just best to give a narcissist her supply so you can avoid her rage, it’s really not.  Providing consistent narcissistic supply is like a green light for the narcissist to continue treating you terribly.  You need to minimize the amount of supply you provide as much as possible if you are to continue a relationship with a narcissist.

And, while many think ending the relationship is your only solution to this problem, often it isn’t possible for various reasons.  I know- I’ve received countless emails from women who wish to end the relationship with their narcissistic mothers, but aren’t strong enough to do so yet, or they live with their mothers & can’t afford to move out, or they simply don’t want to end that relationship with their mother.  It is for people like them that I am writing this article.

Thanks to the narcissists in my life, I learned the value of becoming boring to narcissists.  What I mean is I learned to deny narcissists their supply in a subtle manner & refuse to give them the satisfaction of seeing me upset.  There are several ways to go about doing this..

  • When the narcissist wants to spend time with you, don’t be available every time.  Don’t always answer the phone.  Ignore it & only answer when you feel able to deal with her.
  • Narcissists love to hint.  Ignore the hints.  It will discourage the hinting.  If she hints for anything, play dumb.  Pretend you didn’t notice. It will force her to outright ask for what she wants if she wants a favor (like an adult would do..) or stop hinting.  Giving into hints gives her control, which gives her supply.  Don’t give that to her!
  • Act bored when she talks.  You probably are anyway- let it show.  Look at the clock.  Yawn.  Look around the room.
  • Change the subject to talk about something other than the narcissist.  The weather is a good topic.  Bonus- this can be fun if you enjoy rainy days & she prefers sunny or something like that.  It’ll annoy her that you feel differently & it can be funny watching her try to convince you how wrong you are because you prefer rain to sun or whatever the case is.  I have done this with my mother & found it funny how irritated she gets with me I prefer cool, rainy days.  She tries hard to convince me something is wrong with me for not preferring sunny, warm days.
  • Provide as little information about yourself as possible.  It gives her less ammunition to use against you later.  This one used to infuriate my mother in-law to no end, but she couldn’t say anything & maintain her false image of a good person.  Admittedly, I probably enjoyed it too much, but I found it hilarious the lengths she would go to trying to pry information out of me..
  • Remember, if your narcissistic mother tries to ask you questions, she isn’t asking you because she cares about you.  She is only asking in order to get information on you that she can use to hurt you with later.  Hurting you provides her that narcissistic supply.
  • Always maintain a peaceful, calm, maybe even a bit cold demeanor when in the presence of a narcissist, no matter what.  Narcissists can’t handle that!  They want you upset- it feeds them, somehow making them feel better about themselves.  Failing  to show that you’re angry or hurt will be denying her narcissistic supply, & she will have to look for it elsewhere.  Once you leave her presence however, vent!  Get the hurt, anger, etc. out of you for your own physical & mental health.
  • As you do these things more & more, your narcissistic mother will become frustrated & angry.  Chances are good you’ll get the silent treatment as a result.  Enjoy the reprieve!  Do NOT call her to find out why she’s angry with you!  Never!  She will use that opportunity to blast you about whatever horrible thing it is she thinks that you have done.  Instead, let her contact you when she is done pouting.
  • If your situation gets bad enough for her to want to end the relationship with you, continue to maintain the calm demeanor where she is concerned.  If she sends her flying monkeys to “talk sense into you” about how badly you treat her, refuse to engage in the conversation.  Ignore her emails, texts or calls.  Narcissists hate apathy- love them or hate them, fine, but act as if you don’t care, & they can’t handle it.  Eventually, she’ll get bored & leave you alone.

At first, applying these techniques may be kind of hard to do, but you will find the more you do them, the easier they get.  They also will make your life easier since your narcissistic mother will want less contact with you.  My mother used to call me almost daily & stay on the phone for a long time each time, often around 45 minutes or more.  Now?  We speak every few weeks & rarely for more than 15 minutes.

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The Silent Abuser, aka The Covert Narcissist

Usually I focus on overtly narcissistic parents with my writing, but today I want to talk about something a bit different- the other parent who isn’t so blatantly abusive.

Many adult children of an overtly narcissistic parent swear that their other parent is wonderful, caring, & gentle.  Someone, who for whatever reason, was simply overpowered by their overtly narcissistic partner.  They just weren’t strong enough to stop that partner from abusing their child.  But that is fine- it wasn’t his/her fault!  Sadly, this is very rarely the truth.

Most overtly narcissistic people end up married to covertly narcissistic ones.  The difference is covert narcissists aren’t so “in your face” with their behavior.  They come across simple & quiet, often martyr like in their ability to tolerate their narcissistic spouse.  They don’t wish to be the center of attention, but gain their positive attention by their good behavior.  They are extremely good at acting sweet & innocent, & often have their children convinced that they are the real victim of the narcissistic parent instead of the children.  They may say things like, “It was so hard for me to watch your mother treat you that way” or “There was nothing I could do to stop him from hitting you kids.”

My mother in-law is a prime example of a covert narcissist.  My father in-law always has been the overtly narcissist type, abusing his children when they were growing up.  She did nothing to protect herself or her children from his abuse.  To this day, my husband feels bad for her that she went through so much suffering at the hands of his father, yet pretty much ignores the fact he & his siblings were abused too.  He sees his mother as the real victim.  She is well aware of this too.  She portrays herself as a sweet, innocent, naive, martyr when the truth is she is nothing of the sort.  She was blatantly cruel to me until I stopped speaking to her, making sure I knew I wasn’t good enough for her family.  Anyone who was truly as beaten down as she portrays herself wouldn’t have it in them to be so cruel.  She would have been more focused on simply surviving instead of hurting others.  She also would know how bad it feels to have someone be cruel & wouldn’t want to make others feel that badly.

Think about your parents.  You obviously have one overtly narcissistic one, probably your mother, since you are reading my work.  What about your other parent, assuming your father?  The way I described my mother in-law in the previous paragraph- does that sound somewhat like your father?  If so, I wish to encourage you today to stop feeling sorry for him!  How about taking some of that empathy you feel for him & feel it for yourself instead!  You were the real victim- you were only a child.  It was your parents’ job to treat you well & protect you, yet they did neither.

I’m sorry to try to provoke this anger in you, but it needs to be done if you’ve never felt anger before at your father.  You need to feel that anger & process it so you can heal.  It helps you not only to get the anger out of you, but also to see your father in a more realistic light.  If you realize he is a covert narcissist, you can treat him accordingly, such as with healthy boundaries.  Healthy boundaries are vital with all narcissists, be they overt or covert, as they will use you however they see fit if given half a chance.  And, covert narcissists are big fans of emotional incest to get their needs met.  Whether their child is a child or an adult, they will not hesitate to use this sinister form of abuse to benefit them.

Any parent who enables someone to abuse their own child disgusts me.  Abusing your child is bad enough, but standing back & letting someone else do it to me is even more evil as far as I’m concerned.  Especially because the covert narcissists allows it only to avoid the overt narcissist’s wrath.  Covert narcissists will do anything to avoid the loud, violent rage of the overt narcissist, & that includes throwing their child under the bus.  They will redirect their partner’s rage onto the child & off of them. Or, they will refuse to intervene when the other parent is abusing the child to avoid being yelled at.  Either way, it is sickening!

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Feeling Invisible

Narcissists treat their children as if they are mere tools- they take them off the shelf when they need their narcissistic supply or need the child to do something for them, then they put them back when done, & expect the child to stay out of sight & out of mind the rest of the time.  (Isn’t this also how your average screwdriver or hammer is treated?)

Many narcissists also tell their children that children are to be seen & not heard, speak when spoken to only or other such hurtful things.  They also clearly don’t wish to be bothered with their child’s needs or wants.

These things mean the child grows up learning to behave as if she is invisible.  She stays quiet, & stays out of people’s way.  People treat her as if she is invisible as well, because they see how she acts.  (Your behavior shows others how you expect to be treated.)  Their treatment reinforces to her that she needs to be invisible, & the painful cycle continues.  It is so frustrating when even total strangers treat you this way.  A few years ago, I stopped by a convenience store.  When I was done & backing out of my parking space,  I looked.  No one was behind me so I backed out.  Suddenly my car jolted to a stop.  Someone in an SUV backed into me.  We got out of our vehicles & she immediately began screaming at me for upsetting her by hitting her truck.  I couldn’t even get in a word to tell her she had backed into me, not the other way around!   Thankfully no damage was done to my car & she said none to her SUV, so we walked away from the incident.  Her behavior hurt though.  I felt like she thought I was so unimportant I shouldn’t be allowed to say one word.

This invisible thing results in a deep sense of shame about your very existence.  You feel as if the fact you exist is a bad thing, & this can destroy your self-esteem.  I know  this from personal experience- I’ve never had healthy self-esteem.  In fact, at 44 years old, I still battle low self-esteem often.

I have been working  on becoming visible instead of staying invisible off & on for a few years now.  I’ve learned that to do that, you need to start setting some boundaries.  Don’t let others call all of the shots, all of the time.  For example, I’ve always let others end the phone call first, & now  I’m starting to do end it when I feel strong enough. (sad.. such a mundane task shouldn’t be so stressful!)  If someone wants to go out with me but I have plans, instead of rearranging my plans, I suggest another time.  Basically, I’m finding little, reasonable ways of making myself noticed.  The good news is it does get easier & easier, the more I do it.  I hope you will try to do the same thing so you no longer feel invisible.  You deserve so much better than that!

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It’s Not Your Job To Tolerate Abuse Or Do All The Work In Your Relationships!

A pretty common phenomenon I’ve noticed about adult children of narcissistic parents is this belief of others that we are always supposed to allow other people to mistreat or even abuse us without complaint.  Also, if something is wrong in a relationship, it’s supposed to be our job to fix everything while the other person does nothing.

My mother in-law treated me like dirt for the first eight years of my husband’s & my relationship, until I finally severed ties with her.  My husband told me constantly that I “needed to understand her better,” I should “be the bigger person & let things go.”  He didn’t believe me when I told him what she had done, or (worst of all) blamed me for her abuse.

My ex husband & I lived with his parents for about a year.  During that time, he & I had a big fight on our third wedding anniversary.  I left the house to cool off for a while.  When I came back, his mother jumped me, blaming me for the fight (which he started, not that she knew this), for making him angry & for him punching a wall in his anger.  She told me I needed to talk to him & smooth things over.

During a very bad time in my marriage, I talked to a good friend of mine about something extremely painful my husband had done.  He tried to make excuses for my husband’s behavior & suggested things I can do to help fix our marriage rather than comfort me or help me.

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

If they do, I want to tell you today that it’s not your job, nor your purpose in life, to be used or to do all of the work in your relationships!  Relationships are NOT one sided, at least healthy ones are not.  A healthy relationship has two people working together.  Relationships where only one person does all of the work are extremely dysfunctional & miserable.

It also is not your place to tolerate abuse or make excuses for the abuser!  No one deserves abuse- NO ONE!  There is no excuse to abuse, there is nothing you can do to make someone abuse you & abusive people are sick.  None of this has anything to do with you.

I believe this warped behavior happens because of being raised by narcissistic parents.  You’re raised to be nothing more than a tool to be used as needed, much like say, a screwdriver.  You’re kept in a drawer until needed, pulled out, used, then put away until the next time you can serve some purpose. While you’re “in that drawer,” you need to be completely invisible- you have to stay out of the narcissist’s way! Don’t “bother” her with your trivial needs.  Hers are so very much more important than yours, after all.  As a result, you grow up continuing to act as if other people’s needs are more important, yours mean nothing, & being a people pleaser. People naturally read other people, & abusers in particular are extremely good at it.  Abusers look for people like this to abuse, since they’re easy targets who won’t complain about how they’re treated.  Then there are other people don’t deliberately seek out people they can abuse.  Instead, they see you believe you are: invisible, you deserve to be treated poorly, etc. & they treat you that way.

To help fix this problem in your life, work on your healing.  You will learn to spot the abusers quickly, & avoid them.  You’ll develop & enforce stronger boundaries.  Your self-esteem will improve, making you less willing to tolerate nonsense, including being the only one to work on your relationships.  You also need to really grasp the fact that you are NOT what your narcissistic mother says you are.  You are someone with great worth & value.  God loves you, no matter if your parents don’t.  If you have trouble believing that, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  Read the Bible- there are countless times in it where God states His love for you!

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Mother’s Day For Adult Children Of Narcissistic Mothers

Mother’s Day is fast approaching.  It is possibly the least favorite day of the year for children of narcissistic parents.  It’s so hard to find just the right card- something nice, but not too nice as you can’t stand giving her a card thanking her for always being there for you, for her unfailing love, etc. Then there is the gift- should you get her something?  If so, what?  Chances are she won’t like what you give her anyway, so is a gift even worth it?  And, we can’t forget the messages everywhere- on facebook, in stores, online- that say “Don’t forget your mother this Mother’s Day!” (as if we could forget her?!), “She’s always been there for you- give her *fill in the blank* for Mother’s Day!” & other such messages about how great Mom really is.  There are also friends & family who tell you that you should do something nice for your mother on Mother’s Day.  After all, if it weren’t for her, you wouldn’t be here!  She did the best she could!  She’s your MOTHER!!!  Can’t you just give her this one day?!

Mother’s day pretty much sucks for us who have narcissistic mothers.

If you too are dreading tomorrow, just know that you’re not alone!  Many others share your feelings of this disturbing day.

I would like to encourage you to take care of yourself as best you can.  Do what you feel you need to regarding your mother.  Give her a simple card &/or gift, or do nothing for her- whatever you feel in your heart is the right thing to do.  If you aren’t sure, pray.  God will guide you as to what is the best way to handle this.  Once you have done what you need to do for your mother, then let go of thinking about the day & take care of yourself.  If you have children, celebrate with them.  If not, enjoy your day however you see fit- go to a spa, buy the new book you’ve been wanting, spend the day at a museum.  Do something that you enjoy & that doesn’t involve anything to do with your narcissistic mother.

This may sound disrespectful to you, especially if you are new to learning about narcissism, but rest assured, it’s not.  Remember, people reap what they sow. Reaping & sowing a law of the universe- if you plant cantaloupe seeds, you get a harvest of cantaloupe, right?  It’s the same thing with behavior.  If you kick a dog every time every time he comes near you, he learns to run the other way when he sees you coming.  Adult children of narcissistic parents eventually behave much like that kicked dog- we eventually don’t want to spend time with our parents & will go to great lengths to avoid it.  It’s often not even a deliberate decision- it just seems to happen because we’re tired of the cruelty.  That is your narcissistic mother reaping what she has sown.

So I encourage you- enjoy Mother’s Day your way, guilt-free!  What can you do to make it a good day for you?

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The Truth Really Will Set You Free

I recently read a wonderful quote from Jefferson Davis- “Truth crushed to the Earth is truth still, & like a seed will rise again.”  As soon as I read this, I thought about how it relates to those of us who have been raised by narcissistic parents.

Many of us grew up in this toxic environment, learning very early that we are never to discuss the abuse going on at home, nor are we allowed to protest it.  We also aren’t allowed to have or express feelings, wants or even needs. This results in growing up “stuffing” everything deep down inside & ignoring things, even pretending the abuse we endured wasn’t so bad.  After all, others had it much worse, right?  *sigh*

The truth is we do have needs, wants, & feelings.  We also have been through unimaginable abuse.  And, as Mr. Davis said, those truths will rise again.

There comes a point in your life where suddenly you no longer can “stuff” everything.  You have to admit that you were abused, & that it did a great deal of damage to you.  You also can’t ignore the fact you have wants, needs & feelings any longer.  You want to be heard for the first time, instead of being treated as if you’re completely invisible.  You also may get angry, very angry, that you have been treated in such a way.

At first, this is scary.  You aren’t used to feeling anger or wanting to be heard.  It feels very abnormal to say the least.   And, the thought of discussing what happened to you at the hands of your narcissistic parent(s)?  Terrifying!  However, if you are at this point, I would like to say to you today to push on!

You have just reached a turning point in your life.  It’s actually a very good thing, even though it may not feel that way at first.  This is the point you start to realize you have worth & value, & you are not the terrible things your narcissistic mother said you were.

As abnormal as it feels, keep on healing, learning & growing.  Work through your feelings of fear, & ask God to help you however you need that help.  They won’t hurt you.  In fact, the experience will make you stronger.  You will become comfortable knowing you have the right to have your own needs, even if one of those needs is discussing what your narcissistic mother did to you.

Regarding discussing what happened with your narcissistic mother, by the way, I’m not saying that you have to discuss it with everyone, or write a book or even a blog like this.  I am saying though that you don’t need to feel as if you’re hiding some dirty little secret, like her abusing you was something for you to be ashamed of.  You have nothing to be ashamed of, but your mother has plenty.  The shame of what she did to you is hers, not yours, so don’t carry it any longer!  Put the shame back where it belongs- on your mother.  Refuse to carry it one more day!

Dear Reader, lean on God. Let Him help you to heal & grow.  He truly will, because He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  You can get through this painful time, & will come out on the other side so much stronger, healthier & happier for it!  xoxo

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Birthdays For Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Today is my birthday, which gave me the idea for something to write about.  Well, ok, technically I’m writing this before my birthday to publish on the day so I can take that day off..  lol  But anyway..

So many of us adult children of narcissistic parents hate our birthdays.  I’ve been battling this myself for many years, since my seventeenth birthday when my mother ruined my day & spent a good part of it screaming at me.  My eighteenth, when she gave me a gift she said she didn’t even know why she was giving me anything since she didn’t even like me.  There have been plenty of other lousy birthdays over the years, too, that weren’t related to my mother. These bad times set the stage for me to start dreading my birthday once the month of April begins.

A few years ago, a friend of mine messaged me on facebook shortly before my birthday & asked what I was going to do for my birthday.  I said nothing.  At the time, my father had started chemo & wasn’t feeling well- I felt I should be available in case my parents needed me.  My friend proceeded to chew me out. Gently but still.. lol  Birthdays are very important to him, he said, & pretty much ordered me to do something nice for myself that day, even if it was only picking up lunch from my favorite restaurant.  Something in me clicked.  I realized he was right.  Since then, each year my husband & I have gone to our favorite restaurant on the water not far from home with a few friends. We share a meal & some laughs in a cute little place with a scenic view.  It’s always a lot of fun.

In my experiences of meeting many other adult children of narcissistic parents, I’ve realized that I am hardly alone.  Many others dread their birthday because of bad memories their mothers attached to the date.  If that describes you, Dear Reader, please reconsider your feelings. Your birthday is a special day- it’s the day you made your grand entrance into this world. It is the day God assigned for you to bless the world with your presence!  That makes it a very special day.  And, you are a very special person!  In spite of what your narcissistic mother most likely told you, you are a wonderful person, & your birthday is a day that should be acknowledged & celebrated!  Why don’t you decide today to start doing just that?

When I first started to try to celebrate & enjoy my birthday, it felt so strange.  I even felt guilty, like I was doing something bad & wrong. But, as time has worn on, I’ve gotten better at it.  In fact, I’ve even looked forward to my birthday a few times.  Admittedly, I’m still struggling in this area, but at least I’ve made progress.  Progress is so much better than cringing every single time the month of April begins!  It may take you a little time & practice as it has me to start consistently looking forward to your birthday, but it is worth it!

To start, you don’t have to start big, like with a huge party, if you aren’t comfortable with that. Just do a little something nice for yourself.  Like my friend said, get your favorite lunch from your favorite restaurant.  Bake yourself a cake or buy a slice from a nice restaurant.  Buy yourself a nice gift- it doesn’t need to be extravagant if you don’t want it to be or can’t afford it.  A new book would suffice.  Go out for coffee with your best friend(s).  Buy yourself some fresh flowers or plant a pretty garden in your yard.  The point is to do something special just for you, to celebrate the wonderful day that you were born.  xoxo

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How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

I was talking with a good friend recently.  She told me about something traumatic that happened to her a while back.  She also said that many of her friends & relatives told her that she needed to get over it & trivialized her awful experience, rather than offer her compassion & support.  Naturally, it upset her badly that people she expected to be compassionate were instead cold & unfeeling.

Unfortunately I understand her feelings all too well.  Since I got sick at the end of February, I’ve experienced this same thing first hand more times than I can count, starting at the hospital.  Apparently even a potentially deadly illness isn’t enough to warrant compassion from most people.

There is a terrible lack of love, empathy & compassion in the world today.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].  2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].”  (AMP)

I firmly believe this is what is happening today, why people are so indifferent to the suffering of others.  Look at how people behave.  Money & things mean more than people & relationships.  Animal & child abuse are commonplace, as is hypocrisy.  And most importantly, God is rarely invited into, well, anything.  Not many people have God as their top priority in life.  Without God, it’s impossible to truly love people God’s way- full of compassion, caring, & great empathy.

Dear Reader, I’m certain you have been on the receiving end of this hurtful type of behavior. Your pain has no doubt been trivialized or even invalidated.  (This is especially common for adult children of narcissistic parents, since our parents didn’t always leave bruises or broken bones like physically abusive ones did, & they act like good people around everyone but their own children.)

While there is certainly no way to control how people act & completely avoid their coldness, you can remember that a person who acts this way has a problem.  That will help you not to internalize their words, thinking something is wrong with you for being upset over whatever trauma you experienced.  You need to remember that, because you are not wrong, crazy, oversensitive, etc. for being upset when something bad happens to you.

And, also remember that people with problems naturally turn self-centered to varying degrees.  Some people become so self-centered that they don’t have it in them to care about others who are also suffering.  Remembering this too will help you not to internalize being treated so poorly.

I would like to also encourage you to consider how you react when someone tells you about a painful or traumatic experience.  Do you offer compassion?  Empathize with their pain?  Or, are you so wrapped up in your own problems you refuse to see anything or anyone except what relates directly to you?

If you are the type to have a hard time empathizing when you too are suffering, it may be time to change that.  Aside from the fact that behavior can be hurting others, being good to others also is good for you.  It takes your mind off your problems, even if only temporarily.  You also may learn that this person & you share a common problem, & now you have someone to talk about your problems with.  You may be able to help each other!

Don’t know how to change this about yourself?  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to increase your empathy, to make you more aware of the feelings of others  & to give you wisdom on how to help those He puts in your path & wisdom with your words.  God will honor your prayer, & bless you for wanting to help others.

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

Do You Validate Or Invalidate Yourself?

Validation is very hard to come by.  People are very quick to minimize the successes of others & to tell others their pain isn’t so bad.  When others either fail to validate you or directly, deliberately invalidate you, it hurts.  It also leads many people to invalidate themselves, especially when the invalidation starts early in life by their own parents.  Parental invalidation of a child easily can instill a belief in the child that she or he isn’t worth validating.  Accomplishments, dreams, needs, feelings all become trivial, unworthy of any recognition.  I believe invalidating a child helps to instill a root of deep shame in him or her.  The child becomes ashamed of his or her own needs, wants, feelings & even accomplishments.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, this is a very common phenomenon.  In my own life, I have only recently begun to see how badly I have invalidated myself.  I tend to look at what I haven’t done rather than what I have, & berate myself for what I haven’t done rather than be proud of what I have. Or, if I accomplish something good, I just look at it as something anyone can do, or it’s something I should do so why should that be celebrated?  My wants, needs & feelings come after those of others, even if I have a crisis.  While I am getting a bit better at these behaviors, it’s difficult since they are so deeply ingrained in me.  Plus, by behaving this way, I have essentially told others it’s perfectly OK for them to invalidate me, which means others do so on a regular basis.

If this describes you as well, I want to encourage you today to do as I am trying to do myself- begin to validate yourself!  It’s time to recognize that your wants, needs, actions & feelings are just as important as those of other people.  To do this, ask yourself why you believe the way you do.  What makes you think your wants, needs, etc. are less important than those of other people?  If you are unsure, ask God to show you.  Once you realize why you feel the way you do, ask Him to speak truth to you about why you feel this way.  Are your feelings accurate?  Or, are they the result of someone else invalidating you?  How can you change this false belief into the truth?

Also, pay attention to those things you feel, good & bad, & acknowledge them.  Don’t brush things off so easily- feel your feelings.  If someone hurt you, then feel that hurt & be good to yourself by doing nice things that make you feel good.  If you feel good because you accomplished a task that was on the back burner for too long, stop & bask in how good that feels for a few minutes.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Maybe even celebrate by giving yourself a gift.

Another thing to think about.  People who invalidate on a regular basis are often toxic.  They can be narcissists (or even just plain self-centered people) who believe they are the only ones worthy of validation, passive/aggressive types who use it as a means of punishing others, or they can simply be the superficial type of people who don’t like to delve into any deeper subject matter.  Superficial people don’t care for anything that requires much thought or effort on their part, & validation requires some of both.  Validation requires one to see things through another’s eyes if you wish to truly understand their feelings, plus you have to consider the right thing to say to properly validate another person.

In any case, the point is an invalidating person is the one with the problem, not you.  People want & need validation.  It’s how God made us, & is completely normal to want it!  I believe it is also abnormal not to wish to bless people by giving it freely.  There is nothing wrong with you for being hurt or disappointed when you are invalidated.  But, since it is becoming a rare thing in today’s society, you can validate yourself.

And, while you’re becoming more aware of the importance of validating yourself, don’t forget to validate others as well!  People are starving for validation- be a blessing, & validate others!  If you are unsure when it’s appropriate, ask God to show you who to validate & when.

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New Ways To Cope With Anxiety Taught Me A Way To Deal With Narcissists

I was talking with a good friend of mine recently.  She, too, has problems with anxiety, although hers isn’t associated with C-PTSD.  It still sounds pretty bad, unfortunately.  While we were discussing our experiences, I told her that since I got since in February, my anxiety levels have been a lot better.  She asked what I have done to change things.  Honestly I couldn’t think of what to say at that time.  I had to get alone, pray & really look at things later on.

I got a new revelation on how quickly life can change or even end when I got sick.  When I got sick that February day with carbon monoxide poisoning, I didn’t realize just how serious it was, nor did anyone at the hospital tell me.  I read about it on the Mayo Clinic’s site & Wikipedia after I got home & was shocked at just how close I came to death or the possibility of permanent brain damage.  I made myself face how I felt about this situation instead of ignoring my feelings (as I learned early in life to do), & although it’s been painful to go through, it’s been good.  Coming  that close to death really gave me a new revelation on just how fast life can change, or even end.  That revelation has helped me tremendously to have a better perspective.  I don’t sweat the small stuff so easily now.  I don’t want to waste whatever time I have upset if I can help it.  We only have a relatively short time on this earth, & I have wasted enough years upset, angry, hurt & anxious- I want to enjoy the rest of the time I have as much as possible!

Wanting to enjoy my life as much as I can also made me enforce my boundaries better.  I’m learning to respect how I feel & say no sometimes.  I began asking myself some tough questions:  What is good or right about making myself miserable just to make someone else happy?  If someone wants that, they certainly are selfish & don’t have my best interests at heart.  And, what makes that person so much more important than me anyway?  Why is their happiness so much more important than mine?

Before I got sick, I was too stressed & anxious.  So much so, my hair is damaged & broken.  This was another sign that things had to change.  If my hair was showing such awful signs of stress, what could be happening on the inside to my heart or other organs?  I made the decision that I deserved better than this- it’s time to fight the anxiety & stress.  Making that decision was important.  The decision enabled me to slow down or even stop when anxiety kicks in & talk to myself.  I ask myself is this going to hurt me, is there something I can do to make this situation better, what am I so worried about?  Questions like that make me think about the situation logically, which cuts back on  or even eliminates anxiety.

I have begun to focus more on relaxing.  When I take my daily shower, I enjoy the feel of the warm water instead of just rushing through it.  I exfoliate my skin often & use a good quality lotion I like after my shower so my skin feels great.  I shampoo & condition gently with good products to take care of my fragile, recovering hair.  Often too, I turn on some good music, & light a scented candle while in the shower.  This turns a boring daily ritual into something I enjoy & that relaxes me.  I also turn on music when I do household chores, as the music makes me feel good.  When I get into bed, I take a moment to relish how comfortable & cozy it is.  I have a collection of pictures on my tablet that make me feel good- pictures of serene scenery, Victorian era images or even inspiring quotes that validate me.  Little things like this add to squelching anxiety.

Often, people talk to me about their problems.  (I think many adult children of narcissists are often the friend everyone talks to about their problems).  I’ve recently begun to remind myself that I’m not God- it’s not my place to fix other people’s lives.  Just because my parents raised me to fix their problems doesn’t mean that fixing people is my responsibility!  My job is to offer compassion, advice if asked, help them in some way if I feel God is leading me to & direct them to God.  This has enabled me to feel less anxiety because I can detach emotionally some now in these situations.

Most importantly, I also remind myself constantly that God is in control & is my provider. No matter what we do, God still is in charge.  He wants what is best for me & wants to bless me.  He has brought me this far for a reason, & has not once forsaken me.  Reminding myself of such things has brought me closer to God & our relationship has drastically improved.  Not that I have complaints about how it was before, but even so,  I feel so much closer to Him now & my faith has grown.

Granted, this doesn’t conquer all anxiety every time it happens.  I still battle agoraphobia every time I leave my home or wake up with panic attacks sometimes.  However, things have improved greatly.  And a bonus has happened- by slowing myself down to deal with anxiety, it’s become such a habit, I’ve also started doing it automatically when dealing with my narcissistic parents.  Instead of immediately getting angry or hurt over what they do, I am now able to remind myself that whatever they’re doing isn’t about me- it’s about their dysfunctional behavior.  For example, if they try to make me feel guilty for not calling more often, I remember that they don’t want me to call more because they care about me, but because they want that narcissistic supply.  The result is I don’t feel guilty- I realize they are trying to get supply from me & I have the right to protect myself from  it.  Talk about a bonus!  I can cope better with anxiety & my parents too?!  It feels good not to feel guilty, hurt  or angry every time I hang up the phone from talking to my parents!

I believe what I have learned can help you as well.  I urge you to pray about what I’ve written & put it into practice if God leads you to do so!

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Suicidal Tendencies After Narcissistic Abuse

Many people are quick to judge anyone who either is suicidal, has attempted it or has followed through on committing suicide.  It’s such a shame people can be so heartless!

Many people who have survived narcissistic abuse live with depression, & as a result are suicidal.  In fact, many also have developed C-PTSD or PTSD as a result of the abuse, & depression & suicidal ideation are symptoms of both dreadful disorders. The judgmental attitudes of others make this awful situation even more painful.  People readily accuse suicidal people of being selfish, weak, wanting to take the easy way out or seeking attention.  Others say it’s a sin that God won’t forgive, so if they do it, they’ll go to Hell.

This is horrible & it shouldn’t be, but sadly not a lot of people have much compassion or are able to see things from another’s perspective.  Feeling suicidal isn’t exactly the walk in the park many people think it is.  It’s a dismal, depressing place where you believe the only means of escape is death.  It doesn’t sound like a bad choice- your pain will be over, you’ll have no more misery of this life & it’s not like anyone would care if you’re gone anyway.  (At least that is how you feel.  That doesn’t mean it’s the truth however!)

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, the last thing that person needs is to be lectured or judged.  The person instead needs a great deal of compassion, empathy & love.  They need to know that their presence makes a difference, & they would be greatly missed if they died.  They also need to know that you are willing to help them through this dark patch.  Make sure this person knows that you love her, are willing to pray with & for her, listen to her without judgment & are willing to do whatever you can do to help.

If you are the one who is suicidal, please know that you are here on this Earth at this time for a reason.  If you don’t know what that purpose is, ask God to show you.  Also follow your passion- that is where your calling(s) lie.  Although it probably doesn’t feel like it at this time, there are people who love you & would be devastated if you were no longer around.  You make a difference to many people.  Please remember that losing you would hurt them terribly, & you don’t want to do that.

There is a way out.  God.  Pour your heart out to Him- He loves you & wants to help you.  Let Him pour His love out on you & comfort you.  Spend time alone in His presence sharing your most intimate feelings- He will help you come out of that dark place!  Remember Psalm 23:4 “Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” (AMP)  God is with you, even in this dark place, taking care of you!  I know this may sound trite to you, but please believe me- it is very true.  I’ve been suicidal many, many times in my life, so I have plenty of experience on this subject.  God has been the only thing that has helped me during the darkest of times.  If He helped me, He will help you too.  All you need to do is ask..

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