Tag Archives: abusive mother

Being Too Responsible

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

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

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

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

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

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Narcissists Are Predators

Like true predators, narcissists are very good at knowing when & how to attack their prey in the most efficient way possible.

One of their tactics is waiting until their victim is tired or sick.

If you’re tired or sick, you are less likely to be able to defend yourself properly.  You don’t think as clearly, so your boundaries may be more lax. Unclear thinking also means you may not know how to handle the situation, so you automatically slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  You may tolerate a lot more than you normally would since you don’t have the physical or mental energy to argue.

When I was sick in bed with the flu a couple of days after losing my cat, Vincent, my mother called.  Knowing that Vincent had been my granddad’s cat before he died, she mentioned this.  She said she heard Vincent died (my father must’ve told her), & he’s better off.  He was so much happier with Granddad than he ever was with me.  He never was happy with me.  Normally, saying such incredibly cruel things would’ve caused me to completely lose my temper & say bad things I would need to repent for later.  Instead, since I was exhausted, feeling horrible & grieving, I just cried.  I couldn’t even speak.  Not only had I lost my beautiful baby, but it was kinda like losing my Granddad again since Vincent not only was his cat, but was a lot like him.  It was devastating, & her words made it more so.  I gave my mother just what she wanted with my reaction- proof she hurt me.

Another time several years ago, my parents came by for a visit.  My anxiety levels were so bad, I kept vomiting.  My mother didn’t care, even when I told her I was sick & needed to rest.  Instead, she treated me like dirt & insulted my furbabies while refusing to leave my home.

These are just two of many, many examples I have.  I bet if you think about it, you can think of several times your narcissistic mother treated you the same way.

So how do you deal with this obnoxious problem?

The best way I’ve found is to avoid your narcissistic mother when you are sick or tired.  Also, don’t forget to prepare- if you know you’re going to see your mother tomorrow, rest up today.  Rest & pamper yourself however you like.

When that is impossible, do your best to set a time limit on your visit or call with your mother.  If you’re having trouble with that, have a friend call you at a prearranged time telling you she needs you now.  Admittedly, this isn’t the best solution, but so you aren’t lying, tell your friend you would like to hang out for a little while or grab some lunch or whatever you feel up to.  Also, have a code word.  For example, if she calls & you say, “My mother is here” she knows it’s time to tell you she needs to see you immediately.  If you say “My mom is here” she knows you’re ok & she doesn’t need to intervene.   It’s a good “in case of emergency” solution if nothing else works.

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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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Making Some Changes With My Writing

Recently, I had an interesting dream.  It showed me that I need to change direction slightly with my writing.  I’ve been sensing I need to do this for a while, but I think now is the time to do it.

While definitely narcissism & what I learn about it as I go will be a priority, I believe it’s time to include other, lighter topics as well.  What those topics are, I’m not sure yet.  God will lead me, as always.  I’m open to suggestions though- you can comment on this post or email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com.  I’ll pray about the suggestions I receive before writing about them, so your suggestion may appear a while in the future or may be tweaked a bit when I write about it.  Please don’t take that personally- I lean on God a lot with what I write, much more than people.

Anyway, I think this is a good idea to lighten up some.  The simple fact is writing & focusing about narcissism so much can be pretty overwhelming for me, & I don’t need the C-PTSD triggered any more than it already is.  I think reading about it can have the same overwhelming effect on many people.  Learning about narcissism & the damage it causes is essential to your healing from narcissistic abuse, of course.  It helps you to heal & gives you the answers you’ve been wanting.  However, it is also an extremely negative topic & can take a toll on your emotions.  Physically it can drain you, too.

I find it’s best to have balance- times where you learn about narcissism & related topics, time where you focus on your healing, but also times where you refuse to think about such things, instead focusing your energies into more positive, lighter endeavors.  Not doing so, but instead focusing constantly on it brings you down badly.  I’ve noticed it on various Facebook pages or groups for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers.  So many people obsess, & you can tell just by how they write that they aren’t happy.  They spend all their time thinking about the horrors they have been through or abusive people- how could they be happy??

Instead of doing that, I would like to encourage you today to take breaks.  You’ll know when you need one- you’ll begin to feel your emotions starting to sink.  You’ll catch yourself thinking of your own awful experiences or you’ll be angry at your narcissistic mother often.  You’ll think mostly about narcissism.  These are signs it’s time to take a break.  Take an afternoon or even a few days where you deliberately refuse to focus on anything related to NPD.  Indulge in your favorite hobbies, read a new book, hang out with close friends.. do things that you enjoy & make you feel good.  Then, you can get back to a more balanced approach.  You’ll feel much better about it after your break.

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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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Stop Expecting Perfection From Yourself

I think all adult children of narcissists do is we expect perfection from ourselves, especially where our narcissistic mothers are concerned.

Once we learn about NPD, we become more aware of our narcissistic mother’s tactics.  We seem to think once we are more aware, we should never fall for her tactics again, we shouldn’t slip up or go along with her games.  Now, we know better & that will not happen ever again!

If only!

While that sounds good in theory, there are going to be times we slip up.  We’re only human after all, & we’ll make mistakes.

I’m not immune to this either.  I wish I was.

The last time my parents visited, I tried to distract my mother from some nastiness by showing her a tote I just crocheted.  I created the pattern myself & thought it turned out pretty.  So have others who have seen it. Plus, she loves crocheting- she’d just mentioned it a moment before, which is why I thought of my bag.  All she could say when she saw it was to ask what it’s for.  I said for shopping.  Then she said “I’ve seen women using purses that size- they’re going to regret it when their backs hurt later in life!”  I mentally kicked myself at this point.  How could I be so stupid?!  I designed it & it turned out well- of course she would have something nasty to say & to distract from my project!  I don’t think she’s ever created a pattern, I’ve created several- it’s natural for her as a narcissist to trash what I’ve done.

This happens all too often, & also too often, I beat myself up for failing.  I write about narcissism- I should know better!  People want to read what my experiences are & how I handle things, & it’s embarrassing to admit how often I screw up.  People expect better out of me because of what I write about.  How can they look to me for answers when I make so many mistakes??

I realized a few things though, & I pray sharing them with you will help you to stop beating yourself up like it is helping me.

Learning about narcissism is a fantastic thing.  It really can help you to become aware of what is truly abusive behavior & even ways to avoid it.  The fact is though, that learning about it isn’t a cure all.  If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there still will be times she hurts you or manipulates or controls you.  Thankfully those times will be less, but they still will happen occasionally.  When they do, you need to NOT beat yourself up over it!

Dealing with a narcissist is never an easy thing.  They are masters of gaslighting.  They are also masters of reading people & abuse.  If they realize one abusive tactic isn’t working, they’ll simply pull another out of their bottomless bag of evil tricks.  There is no end to the evil things they can do.  How can you expect to handle them perfectly when many times, they surprise you with their outrageous & hurtful actions?  Besides, your narcissistic mother has had your entire life to train you to behave as she wants.  You’ve only known about NPD a comparatively short while.  How can your brief time of knowledge compete with a lifetime of training?

You are NOT perfect!  If you were, you wouldn’t need Jesus.  Accept the fact you are going to make mistakes sometimes, even where your mother is concerned.  It’s ok! If you’re having trouble with this, ask God to help you.  He will help you to stop being so hard on yourself.

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If You Don’t Think Narcissistic Abuse Is So Bad, Then Read This

There are so many people who think growing up abused by a narcissistic parent isn’t a big deal, we need to get over it, stop wallowing in the past & feeling sorry for ourselves.  Today’s post is for them.

And, Dear Reader, if this post doesn’t describe you, feel free to show this to those in your life it describes if you think it will help them to understand just how destructive & evil it is.

Below are some of the problems that narcissistic abuse can cause.  If you have not been the victim of narcissistic abuse, I hope you thank God at the end of this list that you don’t have to live with these problems.  I live with every single one, & it is extremely hard.

Constant self doubt.  Narcissists are experts at gaslighting (distorting reality) which leads victims to doubt themselves constantly.  Narcissists state what they say as if it was the gospel truth, & when a person hears something, especially something said so confidently, over & over, they tend to believe it.  Even if it is something they can see clearly & plenty of evidence points to what they see is right, they learn to doubt their perception of reality & believe the narcissist.  Even once away from the narcissist, they tend to believe other people over themselves due to not trusting their own perceptions & feelings.

— Low self-esteem.  Since insecurity is at the root of narcissism, narcissists love to make others feel as badly about themselves as they do.  No matter how beautiful, talented, compassionate or intelligent you are, by the time a narcissist is done with you, you’ll be convinced you are the ugliest, most selfish, useless & stupid person ever to live.  Any shred of self-esteem is destroyed, & done so in such as way as not to be obvious.  Narcissists rarely tell you outright you’re stupid, for example.  Instead they prefer to imply it. ( “A smart person would’ve known that!”)  That way, if you confront them, they can reply with something like, “I never said you were stupid!”
“I don’t know where you get these ideas of yours.” ” You’re reading into things!” or something similar.  Gaslighting at its finest…

Anger.  It’s only natural that after living through narcissistic abuse, you’ll be angry.  It’s unfair, destructive & hurtful.  Then those who you tell often invalidate your pain or don’t believe you, because they are fooled by the narcissist’s “good guy” act.  Anger is very normal under the circumstances.

— Self destructive or self harming behaviors.   Many people who survive abuse do things that are self-destructive.  They can make poor choices such as choosing abusive romantic partners, or they can engage in binge eating or cutting.

— Dissociation.  Dissociation is a survival skill that many people use to get through traumatic events.  Women who were raped often describe it as feeling as if they left their body while the attack was happening.  When you are abused, you often dissociate.  I thought I was just day dreaming all my life, but I later learned I’ve been dissociating all this time.  Sometimes I just get lost in my own mind & emotionally pull away from those around me.  It often happens during traumatic situations, but sometimes it does not.  It just happens out of the blue.

— Depression.  Depression is very common as well.  It’s hard to be happy when you feel like an utter failure, when you are certain everything you do/feel/think is wrong & when all you hear about is your faults.  Sometimes, the depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts.  Yes, it really can be that bad.  I spent much of my life suicidal as a result of narcissistic abuse.

— Guilt.  Even knowing a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there are still times that I feel guilty for disappointing my narcissistic mother.  She is obviously disappointed I’m an author, she hates my house, car & that I haven’t “given her grandchildren”, & is even embarrassed by the fact I don’t speak to my in-laws (narcissistic mother in-law- I can’t deal with her verbal abuse).  In spite of the fact I know these things are all right for me, occasionally, I feel guilty for disappointing my mother.  This is typical.  Children raised by narcissists feel responsible for everything, & that includes the happiness of their narcissistic mother.  If they disappoint her, not only do they face her rage, but also the guilt for “failing”.  Unfortunately this means they carry the guilt into their adult lives, so even when they know better, sometimes they still can feel guilty when they shouldn’t.

— Attracting abusive people.  Once you have been abused, it seems like other abusers seek you out.  Being beaten down so badly by a narcissist is no exception.  Other narcissists will see you as a potential victim.  Thankfully, the more you heal, the less this happens, but it still happens periodically even when you have been focused on your healing for a long time.  You end up being on your guard when meeting new people or else you fall back into old, dysfunctional habits.

— Aches, pains & illnesses.  Have you ever noticed that most narcissists are quite healthy, yet their victims are often sick?  I believe this is because of stress.  Narcissists rarely feel stressed, as they put everything unpleasant on others.  Their victims, however, are under constant stress because they must appease the narcissist & anticipate her needs 24/7 at any personal cost or else face her volatile  rage.  Ongoing extreme stress causes a multitude of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease or even diabetes.  And, depression can cause aches & pains with no physical cause.

— C-PTSD.  Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very common among victims of narcissistic abuse.  The ongoing, constant trauma of gaslighting, verbal abuse & the rest of the evil that is narcissistic abuse can cause physical changes in the brain which results in C-PTSD.  Basically, this means your body is in a constant state of fear.  Pete Walker, author of “Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving” states that we have a fear reflex of fight, flight, freeze or faun.  Living in a constant state of fear means you will have one of those responses, like it or not, when fear is triggered.  For example, when my mother tries to control me as she did when I was a child, my natural reaction is faun- I do as she says & ignore my own anger at this unfair treatment.  It takes conscious effort on my part not to behave this way.  Plus, C-PTSD includes extreme anxiety, depression, flashbacks, damaged short term memory, sleep problems, nightmares & hyper-vigilance (an extreme awareness of your surroundings & potential danger).  I have had C-PTSD since 2012, & frankly, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Living with the symptoms every day is sheer torture.

I would hope after reading this that your eyes are now opened to the truth about narcissistic abuse.  It *is* a big deal.  It *does* change your life.  It has nothing to do with not getting over things or self-pity.   The symptoms are a normal result to very abnormal circumstances.

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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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Healing Changes Relationships With Narcissists

Healing from narcissistic abuse is good for you.  You learn & you grow.  You become more peaceful & happier. You become well equipped to deal with abusive & narcissistic people when they cross your path.

I’ve noticed that something else happens- the narcissistic parent doesn’t really know what to do with you.  Narcissists simply have no clue what to do with someone they can’t control.

I was thinking lately about the relationships with various narcissists I’ve had in my life.  The healthier I got, the more they changed.  One dumped me, claiming I lied to her when I hadn’t (in fact, she lied to me many times).  Another suddenly became a victim when I refused to put up with her games, even sending her daughter to verbally attack me.  Even the relationship with my parents has changed drastically.

It used to be that my parents would call me often.  My mother daily, my father a few times a week.  We got together often, usually going to lunch or dinner.  Then I started learning about narcissism & healing from its abuse.  The communication became less & less frequent.  Now, I honestly don’t remember the last time I went out with my parents.  The last time we spent a lot of time together was when my father was in the hospital last December.  They came to my home to visit me in April just before my birthday, but since my mother was behaving so poorly & I felt sick, I made them leave after only a short visit.  As for the phone calls?  My mother called me once asking me to look something up on my computer for her (my parents don’t own one) & couldn’t get off the phone fast enough, then called a second time earlier this week for about half an hour.  My father calls about once every week or two now, & the calls never last more than about 10-15 minutes where they used to last at least 30.

I had decided on going limited contact with my parents quite some time ago, but apparently healing has made this happen anyway.  I think that’s pretty cool!

Healing has been tremendously helpful not only for me, but also in the relationship with my parents.  Not only do I have to deal with them less often now, but they have moments of being civil with me now since I won’t tolerate the nastiness anymore.  As narcissists, I know they’ll never be respectful like most people are, so I think of these moments when they’re civil as progress.  It’s more than I  ever expected.

Granted, there are times when a narcissistic mother will become enraged by her daughter’s healing.  She will lie about her daughter so she can cut her out of her life without anyone questioning it.  However, it doesn’t always happen this way.  Sometimes, what has happened with my parents happens with other narcissistic parents as well.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, continue to focus on your healing.   It will benefit you immensely & it will change how she relates to you.  It may improve your relationship with her as it has mine.  At the very least, you can be sure she won’t attempt to control you so much, because she knows she can’t.  The interesting part about that is although it will make her angry, she won’t be able to take it out on you.  You’re doing nothing wrong, so she has no reason to rage unless she wants to look foolish, & we all know narcissists will do anything to avoid looking foolish.  She may give you the silent treatment, but that isn’t such a bad scenario- it gives you a break from her drama for a while!

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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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Retroactive Justification & Other Dysfunctional Coping Skills Of Narcissists.

My mother recently ended her silent treatment.  She barely spoke to me for several months, & as usual, I don’t know why.

It was an interesting conversation to say the least.  Among things she said, she asked me if my ex husband ever hit me & I said he did, once.  She never asked how badly I was hurt, just said if she would’ve known she would’ve called a lawyer.  (*sigh*  She did know- she saw me all bruised immediately after it happened & made sure I knew she didn’t care in the least.)  Then she said, “His family was really religious though, weren’t they?”  I said no, his mother was.  “So it was his father that was abusive!”  Not really- more neglectful than anything & wasn’t there much since he was an over the road  trucker.  She went on to say no one should be abused, it’s not fair to abuse people, abusers are bad people & other drivel.

Later that night, I’d been thinking of this part of the conversation & wondering why she was trying to justify my ex’s actions.  I couldn’t come up with an answer for that one.  But, I do believe that she was saying he was a bad person to justify why she abused me so badly when I wanted to date him when we were teens.  In her mind, if he was a bad person, she was right in doing the horrible things she did to me in an attempt to keep me away from him.  She used to tell me back then that she was saving me from myself, & probably this could reassure her that it was true.  I thought of this as a sort of retroactive justification for her crazy, abusive behavior

As my narcissistic parents have gotten older, I believe they are trying to cope with their abusive actions.  Normal people would see the error of their ways, & apologize. They may even do something to try to make it up to their victim.  Narcissists however, do nothing of the sort.  They find alternate coping skills, because they refuse to accept the fact that they made mistakes or did cruel, hurtful things.  While you hear plenty about their most common coping skills like projection, there are others you rarely, if ever, hear anything about.

Some of those lesser known dysfunctional coping skills are:

  • Retroactive justification- like my mother just did regarding my ex husband’s abuse.  Finding a reason why they were right to be abusive after the damage is done.
  • Reinventing the past into something nice- things didn’t happen the way you remember, according to the narcissist.  They happened in a much happier, more pleasant way.  My mother loves to talk about what a great mother she has been to me.
  • Denial-  “That never happened!”
  • Selective memories- Only remembering the pleasant things, never the bad.  “I don’t remember that at all…”
  • Creating excuses- “you made me do that!”  “If you wouldn’t have done ____, then I wouldn’t have had to _____”  “You were a very difficult child.”
  • Making themselves the victim-  “I tried to stop your mother from hurting you, but she wouldn’t stop.”  “He’s so much stronger than me.. there was nothing I could do to stop him.”  “It was so hard on me, what she did to you”
  • Feigning incompetence-  “I just didn’t know what to do.”
  • Feigning ignorance when they knew what was happening- “I had no idea she was doing those things to you!”
  • Constant chatter- Both of my parents are  very talkative, but especially with me.  They actually listen to others, but with me, it is pretty much non stop chatter & ignoring anything I say, especially my mother.  I believe having an audience not only provides them with the coveted narcissistic supply, but also means I won’t have a chance to ask questions about why they did the things they did.
  • Looking for comfort from you, the victim- my father is especially good at this one.  When he finds out I’m experiencing a crisis, he wants me to reassure him that I’m ok & all will be fine.  If anything comes up in conversation about abusive things my mother has done to me, it’s the same thing- he wants reassurance that I got through it ok.  Twice I tried to tell him about me having C-PTSD, & twice he changed the subject.
  • Money- my parents never were overly generous with money with me, but in the last few years, they have been very generous.  I’ve never asked my parents for help, but they have volunteered it several times during tight times for me.  I believe it’s to appease their guilt.

So how do you handle these incredibly frustrating coping skills? (And yes, you are going to have to figure this out, because narcissistic parents WILL force you to deal with them at some point.)

In my experience, I decided to let them have their coping skills rather than try to get them to face the truth.  Nothing you can say or do will give them a “light bulb” moment.  They’ll never say “You’re right!  I never should’ve done that to you!  It was wrong & I’m sorry.”  So why try?  It’ll only frustrate & hurt you.  Instead, I’ve found it’s best for me to allow them to have their dysfunction.  Besides, I know in my parents’ case, they aren’t very strong emotionally- I don’t know if they could handle facing the ugly truth about the awful things they’ve done.

While allowing them to use these coping skills, at the same time, I refuse to validate them.  My parents have often wanted me to confirm their false beliefs, & I refuse to do so.  I also refuse to acknowledge that they were incompetent, innocent, ignorant, had to do what they did, or the real victims.  I may allow them to have those false beliefs, but I refuse to validate them & participate in the dysfunction.

When my parents want comfort from me about my problems, I flatly refuse to give it.  I ignore them, or change the subject.  If it gets too bad, I’ll say, “I’m the one with the problem.  I can’t comfort you when I’m the one who’s got the problem & am trying to figure out what to do about it.”  (notice I neglect to admit I’m hurting or any feelings- this is because if I said I felt badly, it’d feed their narcissism.  They’d end up hurting me even more.  Never ever admit your feelings to a narcissist!)

As far as the incessant chatter, I’m not very talkative anyway, so it works for me not to have to create conversation.  Besides, sometimes they do have very interesting things to say.  Like most narcissists, my parents are very intelligent.  Their conversations at time can be quite interesting.  My father knows a great deal about WWII & the War Between The States.  He also was a drag racer in the 50’s-60’s.  My mother knows quite a bit about varied topics, & enjoys crafts.  I enjoy crafts too, so we can have some good chats about crafts we like.  It can be a good thing when you can just sit back & let them do the talking, because you don’t have to try to come up with topics that won’t start an argument.

Even knowing how to handle these dysfunctional behaviors, I still come away hurt or angry sometimes.  My mother discussing the time my ex hit me made me physically ill for that entire day & the next, plus triggered a flashback.  But, the good thing is this sort of thing is a rarity.  Understanding their coping skills & finding ways to cope with them means this sort of thing isn’t the norm anymore.  I no longer leave every conversation with my parents feeling devastated.  In fact, understanding these things mean I usually only feel a bit frustrated or sad that things aren’t better.  That is a thousand times better than feeling devastated or physically ill each time!

This really is about the best you can hope for when dealing with narcissistic parents.  Probably this is partly why so many people think no contact is the only answer.  While it is in many cases, sometimes no contact is impossible or not the desired result.  My prayer is information like this will help those of you still in relationship with your narcissistic parents.

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Projection & Narcissists

Have you ever heard the term projection regarding to how it relates to narcissists? Projection means that whatever they are doing, they project onto another person, accusing them of doing. For example, narcissists are know liars. Often they accuse others of lying to them while defending how honest & trustworthy they are.

Narcissistic mothers are no exception. They love to project, especially onto their children. The child of a narcissist isn’t viewed as the child of a normal, healthy person is. Most people view their children as separate human beings, with their own wants, emotions, personality & more. Narcissists, however, view their children as tools to be used in any way they see fit, not allowed to have their own wants, emotions or personality. Their children are not allowed to have boundaries. A narcissistic mother has no problem reading her child’s diary or snooping through her personal belongings. Nothing is off limits to the narcissistic mother, so why would projecting her flaws be?

I think another part of projection is also when a narcissist criticizes something about you that she wishes she had or could do. My mother is quick to criticize long hair on women, no matter how beautiful it is, yet has always complained that she can wear her thin, fine hair in only one, short style. She also has ruthlessly criticized my furkids, I think because they don’t like her & are very devoted to me.

Projection doesn’t stop just because a child of a narcissistic mother reaches adulthood. I haven’t heard of one narcissistic mother yet who has given up projection just because she is older or her child has grown up. My mother still gets on me about my weight, as she has my entire life, even though she is a lot heavier than I’ve ever been.

So how do you deal with this frustrating thing called projection?

The best way I’ve found is to remember what projection really is- a dysfunctional coping tool for a narcissist to use to deal with her own shortcomings. Remembering this helps to take some of the sting out of her cruel words, because you know it isn’t a personal attack- it is simply her own dysfunction. It still will hurt or anger you though, as it should, because it is unfair of her to use you in such a way.

Once I learned about projection & realized it was about her dysfunction rather than me, I’ve felt pity several times for my mother when I have caught her doing her projecting. She does it so often, she must truly feel awful about herself. It’s sad when you think of it. However, feeling pity doesn’t mean that I should try to make her feel better about herself. With a narcissist, attempting that puts you in the position of being responsible for her self-esteem, iffy as it may be, & she will use you up in order to gain the coveted narcissistic supply that improves her self-esteem. Please remember that if you too feel any pity.

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Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

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Confronting Narcissists

Have you ever tried to confront  your narcissistic parent on their abuse?  If so, you know the frustration.  Nothing changes & you walk away feeling completely confused.  You even may have ended up apologizing too, when the fact is you didn’t do anything that warranted an apology!

Confronting narcissists is never an easy thing.  They employ so many tactics to avoid the attention being on their bad behaviors.  It often gets so frustrating, you prefer just to let the offense go rather than deal with the games & gaslighting.

Some narcissists will accuse their chilld/adult child of various things to deflect the attention off of them.  They may say their child is ungrateful, a smart mouth, mean, cold, spoiled, a brat, or other awful things.  They also may claim to be doing things for the child’s benefit.  My mother used to claim since I was such an awful child, she had to use tough love on me.

My mother in-law likes to pretend to be the victim when she is confronted.  My father too.  This is a very common tool of the covert narcissist, since they so love the “poor me” or martyr role.  When my father was due to come by my home a few weeks ago, alone, my mother came with him.  He made it to the door first.  Without even saying “hi,” he immediately went into explaining how he had no control over her coming along- it wasn’t his fault.  Really?  She was driving- he voluntarily got into her car!

Overt narcissists may not play the victim so quietly, but they will play the victim.  They will accuse you of being SOOO mean to them!  “After all I do for you, this is the thanks I get?”  “You don’t appreciate all I do for you!”

Some more overt narcissists will meet your confrontation with rage.  When I was a kid, my mother would meet my confrontations with screams &/or accusations &/or trying to hurt me.  When I was probably about 12, she & I were coming home from  her mother’s home.  She was mad at her mother & yelling as she was talking about other things in the car so loud, there was a slight echo.  It made my ears ring.  I asked her if she could talk a little quieter, & she screamed even louder & mocked me for complaining about my ringing ears until I was in tears.

Many narcissists refuse to apologize at all, but the ones who do often employ the passive/aggressive type of apology.  “I’m sorry you got upset.”  “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.”  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are said, the fact they believe you’re at fault is clearly implied.  If you mention that, you will be on the receiving end of either tears or rage, because they did say they were sorry after all!  Nothing they do is good enough for you!

Still other narcissists will talk non stop, making excuses for their outlandish behavior or talking in circles until you are completely confused.  They also may use gaslighting at this point- “That isn’t how that happened!”  “That never happened!”  “I never said that!”

Until you are very accustomed to these tactics, chances are you’ll be confused, angry & unsure exactly why or even apologetic to  the narcissist for their bad behavior.  Being aware of such tactics will help you when you have to confront your narcissist.  You will be aware of what they are doing, & can deal with it accordingly.

The best way I know to deal with these things is to avoid them as much as possible.  Not always a good solution because narcissists are already allowed to get away with too much.  Most people instinctively placate them rather than deal with these kinds of situations.

Unfortunately though, there will be times when avoiding a confrontation isn’t wise.  Before confronting her, pray.  Pray a lot, asking God for wisdom & the right words to say.  During those times, remember these tactics.  When the narcissist begins to talk in circles, bring the focus back to the original topic.  Same for if she plays the victim or gets angry.  You can say things like “I understand, but the fact is, I won’t put up with that behavior.  If you do it again….”  Keep firm boundaries in place, primarily staying on topic.  Stay calm- any sign of you being upset will only serve to fuel the narcissist.  She’ll see she can upset you & push to do it more.

Most importantly though, besides prayer of course, is to work on your own emotional healing.  The healthier you are, the stronger you are & the more self-confident you are.  When you are self-confident, narcissists know they don’t have much of a chance at winning with you & either give up easily or fight so hard, they look ridiculous, realize it & then give up.

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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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How To Tell If You’re Over-Sensitive With A Narcissist

Dealing with a narcissist is never easy. It’s impossible to have a simple conversation with one, because there is always some ulterior motive. Usually, that motive is to hurt or embarrass you, especially while they appear innocent. They love to say indirect things so if you confront them on their nastiness, they can honestly say, “I never said that!” And it’s true- they didn’t say that. Instead they implied it. The difference is you end up hurt & wondering if they’re right, you are too sensitive, you read into things, you’re crazy, etc. At least if someone out right criticizes you, there is no doubt they are out to hurt you.

If you’re wondering if you’re being oversensitive or if the narcissist in your life really is trying to hurt you, there are some giveaways.

If someone complements you in front of your narcissist, you will have to pay. You can’t get any positive attention, because she deserves it all! At least she thinks so. Either she will say something to negate the complement, or treat you even worse than usual until her anger is done. Many years ago, I recently started dating a man who thought we should meet each other’s parents in spite of my protests & wanted to invite my parents to dinner one night. Just after dinner when my parents went to leave the room, my boyfriend said, “Mrs. Bailey, I just want to say, you raised a really wonderful daughter.” My mother looked Mike in the eye, snorted & said, “Well, at least I tried to” & left the room. Does this type of comment sound familiar to you? If so, no, you aren’t being oversensitive- this type of snarky comment hurts!

If you seem too happy for the narcissist’s liking, you can count on the narcissist saying something designed to destroy that. They are happy squishers, doing anything they can to squish your happiness! Once, I had lost a few pounds. I didn’t need to lose much, but was glad that I lost probably ten pounds or so. I told my mother, who said, “You probably lost weight because you have cancer & are going to die.” No way was that said to benefit me or said out of concern. Comments like that are said to squish any joy you may be feeling, period.

Have you ever heard the comment, “I would NEVER” come from your narcissist? That one is designed to make you feel not good enough because you would stoop so low as to doing whatever she would never do. My mother once told me she would NEVER even ride in a car, let alone own one, with over 100,000 miles on it. It was obviously said because my husband & I both love & own old cars while hers is much newer than anything we own. (At least I had the pleasure of telling her that when we took my parents to Annapolis the previous weekend in hubby’s car, his car had almost 250,000 miles on it at that point. She was speechless. It was a fun moment for me! lol)

Whatever thing you have accomplished or purchased or done that thrills you is fodder for a narcissist making sure you know it isn’t impressing her. So you just got a promotion at work & will be making twice your old salary? She isn’t impressed- you still don’t own the company, do you? Anyone could do that job- it’s nothing special. You just bought your first brand new car? So what? It’s not a “good” car like hers. My mother no longer blatantly criticizes things of mine she finds not good enough. Instead, she gives a blank look like she is bored to tears. The look hurts just as badly as the criticisms because the message is the same- she thinks I’m not good enough. (Thankfully, the more I’ve healed, I’ve learned not to care about what she thinks of me).

So Dear Reader, when you experience these things, please remember- the narcissist is gaslighting you! You aren’t oversensitive or reading into things or crazy! Instead, you are on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse. You are fine! It’s the narcissist who has issues.

I’ve found to deal with these abusive behaviors, you need to learn as much as possible about narcissism & gaslighting. You also need to learn what tactics your narcissist uses so when they happen, you can remind yourself this is simply her weapon of choice- there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do. Also, focus on your own emotional healing. The healthier you get, the harder you are for narcissists to manipulate or control. Their criticisms no longer traumatize you, but simply annoy you that they are so anxious to hurt you. Their games no longer work, which frustrates them to no end. It actually can get funny sometimes when you reach a point in your healing where you understand what is happening & refuse to be abused, but the narcissist is convinced all the old tactics still work on you. Their outrageous behavior can be downright funny sometimes when you understand it, as can the lengths they go to in an attempt to get their way.

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Valuable Lessons About Dealing With A Narcissistic Mother

Recently I had a very strange dream.  When God showed me what it meant,  I knew I had to share  it’s meaning with you.

God showed me the dream meant a few things.

For one  thing, my mother uses the things I love & am passionate about to hurt me.  She wants to destroy my identity.  If she destroys who I am, she can make me into what she wants me to be.  Chances are, your narcissistic mother does exactly the same thing. Does she viciously criticize or trivialize those people or things you love the most?  If she can make you turn against those things, she has destroyed a part of you.  Don’t let her do that!  God gave everyone passions for a reason. They are your purpose in life.  Your narcissistic mother has no right to steal them from you!

Another aspect of the dream showed me the answer to a question I’ve had for many years.  During her worst narcissistic rages, my mother’s eyes would turn black.  It used to terrify me, because I never know what was coming next, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  (The night my mother threw me into a wall, her eyes turned black just before she did it.)  Several other adult children of narcissistic parents have told me they experienced the same thing.  Anyway, the dream showed me that the reason this happens is because she has reached the point where she can no longer conceal her hatred for me. That is why the following narcissistic rages are so vicious. Thankfully I haven’t seen her eyes turn black in years, but I now know if they change color, it’s time to leave, & leave quickly!

Lastly, the dream gave me a valuable reminder.  When dealing with your narcissistic mother, always remain calm, & share no  signs of your emotions with her.  Sharing any signs of emotions will trigger a reaction from her.  Anger or hurt feeds a narcissist- she will continue to do whatever it is that is angering or hurting you until she destroys you completely if she can. Joy isn’t good either, because she will destroy that happiness you feel. (She may say things like, “What do you have to be so happy about anyway?”)  She wants you to be as miserable, hurting, angry & empty inside as she feels, & will stop at nothing to make that happen.

I hope what this dream taught me helps you as much as it helped me.

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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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Never Forget She Is A Narcissist- It Will Help You!

Recently, I have learned an effective way to help avoid some hurt when dealing with narcissistic parents: Always keep in the forefront of your mind that they are narcissists.

While this may sound simple & logical, it can be hard to do when you are in the midst of dealing with your narcissistic mother, & she is hurting you for the umpteenth time.  I encourage you to do your best to remember it anyway.

If you can remember that simple fact, it really will help you not to be as hurt when your mother is acting up.  It will be a reminder that her abuse isn’t as much a personal attack as it is a way for her to gain that supply she so desperately craves.  It means there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is plenty wrong with her.  In fact, there must be plenty right with you for her to try so actively to hurt you.  She is obviously very jealous of you & wants to make you feel as badly about yourself as she does about herself.  Narcissists typically focus on strong, caring, loving, generous & empathetic people.

Actively remembering your mother’s narcissism also will help you to avoid falling for her manipulation.  You will know that if she tries to make you feel guilty for not spending more time with her, it isn’t because she enjoys your lovely companionship- it is because she wants to drain you of precious narcissistic supply.  While yes, that knowledge stings, at least you won’t feel guilty for not spending time with her, or you won’t cave in, spending more time with her & being hurt.

Keeping your mother’s narcissistic ways in mind also will help you to keep a healthy perspective.   When she attempts to make you feel like a bad daughter, you will know that it isn’t because you really are a bad daughter- it is because she is a narcissist & they gain self-esteem by hurting people.  If she insists on regaling you with stories of how beautiful or talented she is, you’ll be able to maintain your level head because you know that is just how narcissists are- they love to brag about themselves.

Another way this can help you is when your narcissistic mother goes to her happy place, as I call it.  Many narcissists have absolutely NO coping skills.  Instead of admitting their own mistakes or admitting something bad happened, they reinvent the past or pretend bad things never happened.  This is their happy place.  My mother loves to share stories of what a great mother she’s been.  When this first happened, it hurt me badly.  Sometimes, I’d cry when she’d discuss this (only when she couldn’t see me, of course).  In time though, I realized that this is how she copes with a guilty conscience.  This reinventing things is her coping skill.  As dysfunctional as it is, it’s what she wants to do, so have at it, is my philosophy, just don’t expect me to validate the delusions.  (Which she does, & I flat out refuse to give her that validation).

Now that you see actively remembering your mother’s narcissism can help you, how do you do it?

For me, I’ve found reading about NPD to be very helpful.  I about the experiences of other daughters of narcissistic mothers, I read anything I can about narcissism & its symptoms & I talk with my fans & friends about our experiences with narcissism.  I also focus on my healing.  Granted, having C-PTSD, the chances of healing are slim, but I’ve gotten better at managing symptoms.  All of these activities help me to validate that my experiences were real & abusive, which is extremely helpful.

I do much more than that however- I refuse to let this insidious disorder take over my life.  I take breaks where I flatly refuse to think about narcissism.  I am determined to enjoy myself somehow & participate in enjoyable activities.  Focusing too much on narcissism would be detrimental to mental health, I believe.  It is such a terribly negative topic & it can be overwhelming with the evilness & insidiousness of it.  Breaks are essential.  As soon as I start to feel a bit overwhelmed, I mentally shift gears- I’ll watch a movie or talk to a friend about something not related to narcissism.  Anything pleasant to distract myself for a while.

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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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Mother’s Day

Since many of my readers also have narcissistic mothers & I’m sure dread this day, I thought I’d take a moment to wish all of you a peaceful day. May God bless you & comfort you today. I understand exactly how hard this day is, especially if you find you must deal with your narcissistic mother, so I hope you will find ways to be good to yourself today. Do something special just for you to brighten your day.

I’m praying for you today. Admittedly I pray for my readers often but figured today some extra prayer was called for. Sending everyone hugs!! xoxo

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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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Narcissists Change Their Tactics Over The Years

In my lifetime, I’ve known many narcissists.  One thing they all share in common is that they change their tactics as they get older.

When I was growing up, my mother was the bold, it’s my way or the highway kind of overt narcissist.  She would do anything she wanted to accomplish whatever her goal was, not caring how abusive it was, so long as there were no witnesses.  Now that she is in her mid 70’s, she has become much craftier.  Gone are the days when she would wait until we were alone, then scream in my face, calling me horrible names & accusing me of terrible behaviors.  Now, her abuse is much more subtle.  In fact, unless you’re familiar with narcissism, you wouldn’t even know she was being abusive. And, she likes witnesses.  If my mother & I are in public, often with my father, I can count on her attacking me viciously & quietly.  Barely audibly, she will insult my car, pets, writing or anyone or anything that means something to me.  I have no doubt she is trying to provoke me into yelling at her, so others will see what a terrible daughter I am to my sweet, elderly mother.

My father, the covert narcissist, has always been subtle.  When I was growing up, he feigned ignorance & inability to help me regarding my mother’s abuse, making him sound more like her victim than I was.  I often reassured him instead of him reassuring or protecting me.  Occasionally he still tries this tactic but it’s rather rare. Instead, he complains to me about his bad marriage (something he’s always done) & tries to stir up problems between my mother & I.  He also now enjoys challenging my boundaries & using guilt trips/criticisms disguised as jokes then telling me not to be upset when I confront him.  “Now now, don’t you go getting upset..I was just teasing” has become possibly my least favorite phrase in the English language.

The worst case of a narcissist changing their tactics I’ve heard of though is from a friend of mine.  Her mother was an overt narcissist & her father covert.  Her mother was incredibly violent & vicious to her children.  Her father wasn’t home much due to his job, so he didn’t see a lot. He claimed that he didn’t know just how bad she treated the children (I guess he missed the bruises & broken bones?) & that he couldn’t stop her.

Shortly after her mother died, her father married another woman, who was much like my friend’s mother.  This woman didn’t want him to see his now adult children, & he told them there was nothing he could do about it.

Once she died, he expected his children to take care of him.  They do everything for him from making his bed to cleaning his house to paying most of his bills.  My friend’s father demands this & will go to great lengths to be sure his children do these things & more for him.  Once a covert narcissist, he became a very overt one.

Dear Reader, you need to be aware of these things, because your narcissistic parents will change too.  You need to be able to adapt your behaviors to fit in with theirs if you plan to continue having a relationship with them.

Some things are a given when dealing with any narcissist- you need to have & enforce good boundaries & show them no emotions, for example.  Other things however, you may need to change, such as if your narcissistic mother tries to stir you up in a public place like mine does, avoid public places with her as much as possible.  If your father suddenly likes to portray himself as a helpless old man when you know he isn’t, you will need to let him do what he can on his own.

If you are unable or unwilling to go no  contact with your narcissistic parents, you are going to have to learn to be very firm in some areas, while very flexible in others.  Always be firm with your boundaries, staying emotionless in their presence, providing them minimal information on your life & limiting your time with them.  But, be flexible enough to know when things are changing & your old ways to deal with them aren’t working anymore or you need to find new ways to deal.  Get creative- ask God to help you in that area if you aren’t sure what to do.  Remember Matthew 10:16 “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” (MSG)

As difficult as it may sound, you truly can handle this.  God never gives you more than you can handle, although it may feel that way sometimes.  Follow His guidance, common sense, your intuition & remember what you know about narcissists, & you will be just fine.  Remember my post about my last visit with my parents?  If not, please read it now.  It is proof that God cares & helps us even with our narcissistic parents.  If He helped me become the much stronger, capable person I’ve become, He certainly will help you as well.

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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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Narcissists & Pawning Off Pain

I read something recently about how narcissists dump their inner pain & torment on others in order to attempt to relieve some of the pain they feel inside.  This makes a great deal of sense when you think about it.  For example, my narcissistic mother has very low self-esteem, & she has done her best to make sure I also have low self-esteem.  She obviously feels a great deal of shame, so she has put that on me as well.  My narcissistic mother in-law never felt good enough for her mother in-law, & from day one, she made sure I knew I was never good enough to be a part of her family.

There are so many (often very subtle) ways a person can try to put their pain on another.  Did your narcissistic mother accuse you of being fat although your weight was normal & hers above average?  Did your narcissistic spouse accuse you of cheating, shaming you greatly, when in fact you were faithful & he was the one sleeping around?

This trying to transfer their pain to another seems to be a pretty normal thing for narcissists to do, but that doesn’t make it right.  Rather than excusing their actions, I wanted to discuss this with you today so that you know when this type of thing happens, it’s not your fault!  Like many narcissistic behaviors, it isn’t even personal even though it feels like a personal attack- it’s simply the narcissist hurting & wanting to make herself feel better.  You getting hurt in the process isn’t important to her, of course, so long as she feels better.

If you can keep the perspective that some abusive behaviors aren’t personal, but about the narcissist, it makes coping a bit easier.  It still hurts of course, & is painful to accept it happened, but it does help some at least.  Any help is better than none, right?  Really grasping that what was done to you was the narcissist’s fault & not yours will help you to avoid the always painful thinking that what happened was your fault, that you made her do that terrible thing, or if you would have only done or not don  *fill in the blank* then she wouldn’t have hurt you.

I urge you today to keep this post in mind when your narcissistic mother says something hurtful to you.  Remember, she is trying to make you feel bad so she doesn’t have to feel bad.  That is why she’s accusing you of whatever awful thing it is she’s accusing you of!  You’re fine, she isn’t.

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Abandonment Relating To Children Of Narcissistic Parents.

Abandonment comes in many forms.  It can come about for the newborn baby left in a dumpster, a child whose parents suddenly die in a car wreck, divorce, or death of a loved one.  There is a form of abandonment that many people seldom discuss- when close friends & relatives leave you.

This type of abandonment is common after divorce, especially if you are the one who initiated it.  I lost all but one friend after mine.  No one saw him as the manipulative narcissist he was, so they rallied to his side, abandoning me.  Abandonment also happens after surviving the death of someone you love.  After her daughter died, a good friend of mine said it seemed like once the funeral was done, people thought she should be over losing her daughter, as if the funeral being over meant her grief should be over. Abandonment also can happen after experiencing a traumatic event, as some people think you should “be over it by now.”

It’s also very common for children of narcissistic parents to be abandoned repeatedly in their lives.

First, we’re abandoned in the sense of not having a real mother (&/or father).  Just because a narcissist has conceived & birthed a child doesn’t make that person a parent by any means.  We also may be abandoned by the other parent, usually a covert narcissist, who throws us under the bus to the overtly narcissistic parent to cover their own butts during an argument, & who fails to protect us.  We’re also abandoned by anyone who sees the abuse yet fails to do anything to help us: teachers, counselors, relatives, friends or their parents.  As we grow up, we tend to attract narcissists & other abusive people into our lives, who will drop us in an instant once we’ve outlived our usefulness to them.  They also are often skilled at turning others against us too, so we not only lose that person, but friends as well at the same time.  Then eventually we learn about narcissism & the damage it causes, & we begin to talk about it.  That is when our closest friends & relatives often claim we just want attention, need to get over it, So & So had it much worse, your narcissist wasn’t so bad or seemed like a good person to them, & more before abandoning us for being too negative, living in the past, etc.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I’m guessing it sounds all too familiar.

Constant abandonment like this cuts a person to the core.  It also can lead to many problems- low self-esteem, depression, anger, self-destructive habits such as addictions, & even losing your self-identity.

So how do you deal with this pain?  You grieve your losses much like you grieve when someone you love dies.

Some people say there are five stages in grief, others say seven.  I tend to believe more in seven..

  1. Denial.  What happened is too shocking to accept.  You can’t believe it happened.
  2. Guilt.  You feel guilty.  “Maybe if I had done *fill in the blank*, this wouldn’t have happened.
  3. Anger &/or bargaining with God.  This is the time when you ask “Why did this happen to me?  I don’t deserve this!” or, “God, if you bring him back, I’ll never do *fill in the blank* again.”
  4. Depression.  The magnitude of what happened becomes real to you at this stage, & it hurts.  Badly.  This is often the longest lasting stage.
  5. Starting to move on.  The depression starts to lift some & you begin to adjust in small ways to life after what happened.
  6. Moving on.  You really begin healing at this stage.  You read & learn about how to adjust & heal.
  7. Acceptance.  You have accepted what happened.  You start to look forward to things once again.  You may never again be the person you once were, but you are moving forward.

***sometimes when grieving, you may bounce back & forth between steps a few times.  This is normal***

While going through the stages of grief is never a fun process, it is a necessary one when it comes to big losses, & being abandoned, especially repeatedly, is a big loss.

While experiencing each stage, it is important to talk things out.  I encourage you to pray a lot.  Tell God everything you feel, & listen for any wisdom He wants to share with you.  Also, if you’re like me & it helps you to see things in writing, then journal.  Sometimes seeing things in black & white brings a clarity that simply talking about them doesn’t.

Always be patient, non-judgmental & gentle with yourself while experiencing the grief process.  You need such things in your life during this time, & especially from yourself.

Exercise wisdom in who you share your experiences with.  Many people don’t understand grief in any form, & others don’t wish to hear such “negativity”. Don’t discuss your journey with people like that- instead only share with people who are non-judgmental, compassionate & who love you unconditionally.

I know this is not an easy time for you, but you can get through this, & you will be a stronger person too.  Also, you’re not alone!  Many people have experienced this same pain you have, including me.  If you would like to meet others, feel free to check out my facebook group & my forum, links to both are on my website at:  www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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