Tag Archives: abusive

How To Find The Right Therapist

Finding a good therapist isn’t always as easy as it may seem.  Every person has their own unique personality, beliefs, ways of thinking & more, so finding a therapist who is compatible with you can be a challenge.  When you are seeing one to help you to deal with the effects of narcissistic abuse however, the challenge can be much more difficult.

For one thing, there are many therapists out there who are narcissists.  Narcissists are drawn to the helping type professions such as teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement & even the mental health field.  I’m not saying all teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement officers & mental health professionals are narcissists of course.  Many very good people are in those fields too.  When it comes to finding a therapist that can help you cope with issues stemming from narcissistic abuse though, it’s especially important to be certain your therapist isn’t a narcissist.  No one needs to be subjected to a narcissistic therapist!  It only makes things much worse!

There is also the fact that most in the mental health field received little to no training on the cluster B personality disorders like narcissism.  Unless a therapist has personal experience with a narcissist, chances are they won’t know ways to help you to heal.  They may not even recognize the type of person who abused you.  And, if they don’t understand the person who abused you, there is the chance that they may not believe you let alone be able to help you heal.  Honestly, much of what narcissists do is pretty unbelievable.  I think back to the things I was subjected to at the hands of narcissists, & can barely believe it.  I was there!  It shouldn’t be hard to believe it, yet it is. If your therapist doesn’t believe you, that is a sign you need to find a different one.

If you are considering therapy after narcissistic abuse, I hope I haven’t dissuaded you.  That certainly isn’t my intention at all.  I just want to let you know that finding one who can help you may not be easy.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though!

Many therapists have areas they specialize in such as drug rehabilitation, sexual problems, marriage counseling & more.  Find one who specializes in trauma & abuse. Often their specialty is listed on their website or on your insurance carrier’s list of providers who accept your insurance. 

If you know other people in your area who have been to counseling, ask them about their counselor.  What did they like or dislike about that counselor?  Even if they saw that counselor for a different issue than what you want to see one for, you never know.  That counselor may not specialize in helping others recover from narcissistic abuse, but may be highly empathic & able to think outside the box enough to help you.

Remember that the first counselor you see may not be one that you stay with.  Or the second counselor.  Or even the third.  Things may start out just fine then something happens that makes you think this counselor may not be the one for you.  Don’t worry about that!  It happens sometimes.  Not everyone is compatible with every counselor.  Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with a counselor for longer than you feel comfortable either.  The goal is to help yourself, so do what you need to in order to help yourself.  It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if it takes you seeing a few counselors before you find one that you really like. 

Don’t be biased, either, when seeking a counselor.  If you’re a woman, you may be more comfortable talking to women about personal issues as a general rule, but that may not be the case with a counselor.  You may end up finding a male counselor more effective for you.  Or, vice versa- a man may prefer a female counselor.  Remember, men & women think very differently as a general rule, & sometimes those differences can be very helpful. 

I wish you the best in your quest to find a good counselor!

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.

All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact.  The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent.  The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much.  Who can live with this indefinitely?!  No one with any normal human emotions could!

Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next.  The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They’re getting up in years.  How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths.  When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character.  They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more.  If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too.  As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents.  You must be a hypocrite!   

Trauma doesn’t end with no contact.  Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.

The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time.  The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with!  Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact.  No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long.  All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.

Once you are no contact, you’re finally free.  Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent.  Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be.  Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions.  Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be.  You’re finally free!!

From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have.  They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that.  They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want.  Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary.  The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear.  You know something though?  Going through the fear is totally worth it.  On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known! 

And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone.  God will be right by your side!  Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it.  I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable.  He will do the same for you if you allow Him to.  Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up.  Don’t go back.  Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do.  Lean on God.  Let Him support & guide you through this process.  xoxo

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Marrying Into A Narcissistic Family

In families with narcissistic parents, the person who marries into this family is in for quite the adventure.  I learned this from my own experience, but apparently a lot of stories are very similar to mine.  Parents decide immediately whether or not they like the person their son brings home.  That decision is often based on simply ridiculous, trivial things such as what kind of work does she do or where she grew up.  It can be even more ridiculous such as something about her appearance being a problem.  If she is too pretty, if she is over or under weight or maybe she is tall when their family is short.  It also could be simply a matter of differences in personality.  Rather than be polite for the sake of their son, they hate this new woman in his life.  They also demand she respect them while not returning respect to her.  And, their definition of respect is that she be seen & not heard, only doing what benefits the family.  Her needs & wants mean nothing to this family. 

In these situations, the family functions as one unit in an “it’s us against her!” manner.  As I have said before, they remind me of the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.  They all function as one, focused only on what the Collective dictates.  In this case, the Collective is usually a narcissistic mother pulling everyone’s strings to make them act according to her whim.  One whim the “Collective” usually has is to tell the son & have others in the family tell him as well what a terrible person this new woman is.  She isn’t good enough, she stole him from their family, she keeps him from them & similar lies are the most common, but some also will say more drastic things she is unfaithful, steals, uses drugs & more.

It never seems to cross their collective mind that this man could get fed up & walk away.  And really, why would it?  No doubt he has tolerated all manners of maltreatment & even abuse at the hands of his family.  They place demands on him like giving them money or otherwise bailing them out of their problems with no thought to how this could affect him, & he does as he is told.  Why wouldn’t he?  This is what he has done his entire life.  Often siblings in these situations call this one mean spirited nicknames his entire life, even as an adult, as an attempt to let him know that he is still a child in their eyes.

Families like this are entitled beyond belief.  They honestly think they are entitled to treat this poor man any way they like.  By default, they believe they are also entitled to treat his significant other just as badly.  They have groomed this man to take any abuse they dish out without complaint, & expect the same behavior from his wife.  If she complains, all hell can break loose. 

At this point, families like this don’t consider anything that led up to the complaints.  They only see the problem at hand, which is someone is setting boundaries on their abuse.  The horrors!!

Sadly, the son in this situation doesn’t often realize how disrespectful & insulting his family is to him. 

His family has no respect or love for him if they won’t at least try to be civil to the woman he loves.  If they did, they would manage basic civility, unless of course that woman was abusive to him.

Clearly his family also thinks he’s stupid.  After all, they expect him not to think for himself, but instead to blindly listen to them regarding his life.  As if he doesn’t know what is best for him or isn’t smart enough to choose a good woman to marry!  How insulting is that?!

It’s a truly sad situation!  If you are in this situation, my heart goes out to you!  I pray you & your spouse can work together to set healthy boundaries with this Borg-like family.  Being clearly a team is the best thing you can do as a couple in this situation.

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What Happens After A Relationship With A Narcissist

After ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist, they are often quick to get back into dating.  They seem to think this makes them look like they weren’t the one with the problem in the relationship.  Or, maybe it is an attempt to make the one who left them believe they were the problem in the relationship.  After all, in their opinion, if the narcissist was really the problem, how could he or she find someone else so quickly? 

What most people don’t know is behind the scenes, the narcissist is acting out of a narcissistic injury.  Narcissists seem to think their victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely without complaint.  It’s just assumed that the dysfunctional status quo will continue to be the dysfunctional status quo forever.  When a victim finally says enough is enough, & ends the relationship, they are genuinely stunned.  I have yet to know of one narcissist who wasn’t stunned when their victim ended the relationship with them, no matter the nature of the relationship. 

When a relationship is ended against their will, narcissists seem to think something along the lines of this:  “This wasn’t how this was supposed to happen!  What is wrong with this person?  I’ve been nothing but good to them!  After all, I put up with them for so long!  I just don’t understand why this person would leave me!  It makes no sense!  I financially supported them &/or put up with their trivial needs &/or listened to their whining (in other words, confrontations about the abusive behavior.  Never mind the narcissist didn’t change it).”

Ending a relationship with a narcissist creates a huge blow to their ego!  While any normal person receives a narcissistic injury to some degree when another ends a relationship with them, it is a great deal more devastating to a narcissist. 

Also, when this narcissistic injury happens, narcissists don’t respond to it as a normal person would in this situation.  A functional person would take time to mourn the loss of the relationship & figure out how to be a better significant other in their next relationship, if they want one.  Narcissists instead plot their revenge against the person who broke up with them.

Maybe the narcissist had another relationship on the side, so it looks to those who don’t know about this person that they found someone very quickly.  Only the ones closest to the narcissist know the truth in this situation.  No narcissist wants to be seen as a cheater, since many people look down on such behavior.  However, that won’t stop a narcissist from having a “back up” boyfriend or girlfriend.  Even if they don’t expect anyone to break up with them, having another (or several) romantic partner makes them feel more desirable & builds up their ego.  Either way, having someone else on the side is a win/win for narcissists.

In this situation, if the narcissist doesn’t have someone else on the side, they may want to get into another serious relationship quickly.  They seem to think that if someone falls in love with them, it proves they are good people.  They fail to realize that it’s all too easy to fall for the good person act narcissists put on, but in time, there will be times they slip up in their act & let their true colors show.

Other narcissists prefer not to get into a serious relationship, but date a lot of people.  Maybe in their mind it proves that they are desirable because they can attract many people.  Attracting one person may not be a big deal to them, but attracting many makes a good case in their minds for them being very desirable.

It can be easy for victims who see this to think maybe they really were the problem all along.  Maybe they’re not worthy of love.  After all, the narcissist has moved on quickly.  It must be them.

Nothing could be further from the truth!!  If you are or have been in this situation, please know that whatever the narcissist has tried to make you think is wrong.  Sure, you’re imperfect.  All humans are!  But that doesn’t mean you are unlovable or bad or whatever the narcissist said you were.  If that person is moving on quickly, that isn’t a good sign!  It’s a sign that the person most likely is a narcissist trying to make you look & feel badly.  That is no reflection on you!  It is, however, a reflection on them.

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Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering a sale on all of my print books. Use code ORDER15 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below:

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

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

Toxic Shame & Narcissistic Abuse

Toxic shame is a serious problem among those who have survived narcissistic abuse.  This type of shame goes far beyond thinking things like, “I shouldn’t have done that”.  Toxic shame thinking things like, “I’m a terrible person because I did that.”  In other words, toxic shame judges the person rather than the act.

The reason toxic shame is so common in those who have survived narcissistic abuse is because of the way narcissists abuse their victims.  Overt & covert narcissists may be quite different in many ways, but both types will not hesitate to use shame as a weapon.  They harshly judge & criticize their victims about everything.  Nothing is off limits!  The victim’s religious beliefs, morals, hobbies, likes, dislikes, taste in clothing, taste in cars, career choice, significant other, children, extended family, friends…. You name it.  Anything can be used.  They criticize the victim for caring about what they care about & not caring about the things they don’t care about incredibly harshly.  They imply or even say outright that something is very wrong with their victim for feeling as they do.  They must be stupid or even crazy.  My mother gave me a very good example of this a few years before she died.  I don’t like donuts, & apparently she was unaware of that.  One day she mentioned liking them & asked which kind I liked.  I said none.  She said, “You don’t like donuts?  What’s wrong with you?  You can’t be my daughter!”  At the time I was thinking, “I wish!” but I also realized what was happening.  I didn’t feel the same way she did, & rather than simply accepting we felt differently about something, she tried to shame me for being different.

The underlying message that narcissists give when shaming their victim is this:  “You must not make mistakes, have your own feelings, thoughts, needs or interests because that makes you unacceptable, unlovable, intolerable, stupid &/or crazy.”

Toxic shame is a very effective weapon for narcissists, especially when their victims are unaware of what exactly is happening.  Over time, the shame takes a deep root in a person.  At that point, it annihilates one’s self esteem because they believe they are seriously broken, flawed & unlovable.  It also destroys a person’s identity because the shaming made this person think they shouldn’t feel or believe as they do.  It can make them doubt that they really feel or believe that way.  Or, more commonly, they may purposely try to change because it seems better than dealing with the narcissist’s cruel shaming.

This toxic shame also can create false beliefs in a person, such as the person isn’t entitled to have any needs, wants or feelings.  When married to my ex husband, I repeatedly told myself I needed to ignore my needs, wants & feelings & focus on him.  I truly felt that I wasn’t entitled to have such things, only he was. 

An overdeveloped sense of responsibility can come from toxic shame as well.  A person can come to believe that they are responsible for others, including their emotional state.  This is especially true of the narcissist in their life.  If someone they know is sad, they should cheer that person up.  They should fix all of the problems in that person’s life.  They come to believe that their own life isn’t as important as this other person’s is.

There are ways to heal from toxic shame.  Prayer is always the best place to start, in my opinion.  Ask God to speak his truth to you & to heal you. 

Study about who you are as a child of God.  There is plenty in the Bible that proves you are worthy & wonderful.  I created a pretty long list of these Scriptures.  It’s available on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com on the Positive Affirmation link at the top of the page.

If you do these things, you won’t be set free of the bonds of toxic shame overnight but it will happen.  Don’t give up!  You deserve to be set free!

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About Low Contact

Low contact is exactly as it sounds, when a person has low contact with another.  It isn’t discussed a lot in the circles that discuss narcissistic abuse, which is really a shame. 

If you are in the position of not being able to go full no contact, such as in the situation of having joint custody of children together, low contact is an excellent alternative.  Or, if you want to go no contact but don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet, low contact can help you get to that point.  Low contact is different than no contact in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once.  It can be done little by little, & each little step you take increases your confidence in your ability to set boundaries with the narcissist.  Or, if the narcissist in your life is low on the spectrum, you may find that low contact makes the relationship much more tolerable & decide not to go full no contact.  In any case, low contact really can be a very helpful tool!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist, if you are considering low contact, I’m sure it’s for a very valid reason.  At their absolute best, narcissists are VERY difficult to deal with & at their worst, impossible to deal with, even dangerous to one’s physical & mental health.  Be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself!

If you think low contact is a good option for you, you are probably wondering where to start.  I’ll tell you how I did low contact with my parents, & you can decide if this would work for you or not.  I started by not answering the phone every time my parents narcissist called.  That boundary was clearly a shock to them, but although they were angry, they realized they couldn’t rage without appearing foolish.  Rather than rage, they made some snide comments like, “You didn’t answer the phone yesterday.. I thought you were mad at me.”  Naturally those comments hurt at first but I realized that was the intent behind them.  My parents were simply upset that I was setting a perfectly reasonable boundary.

I also started setting limits on how long we were on the phone together for the first time.  My parents always determined how long our calls lasted, so this was a little trickier.  Saying, “I have to go” didn’t work so I needed to get creative.  I also don’t like to lie, so that also made this really tricky.  I sometimes rang my doorbell so my dogs would bark & say, “Doorbell rang.  Dixie’s barking, you hear that?  I need to go.”  Other times I used another phone to trigger the call waiting on the phone I was using so they’d hear the beep & they’d let me go so I could respond to the beep. 

My parents lived not far from me, & my father in particular wanted to visit often.  He often invited himself to visit my home.  Thankfully he would call a few days prior at least rather than just showing up.  When he called saying he wanted to visit soon, I would say things like, “Tuesday isn’t good.. how about Thursday instead?”  It didn’t take long for him to want to come by less often.  Clearly, he didn’t like me taking some control back.

The more boundaries I set, the more confident I became in my ability to set boundaries & eventually go no contact.  This is normal!  Each small step you take creates not only more space between you & the narcissist, but also builds your confidence.  You see you can do one thing, then gain the confidence to do something a little bolder, then a little bolder yet & so forth.  Before you know it, you’re ready to implement no contact, if that is your goal. 

And something else happened – the more boundaries I set & the more comfortable I was setting them, the less my parents wanted to do with me!  They began avoiding me.  Their phone calls & visits became much less frequent.  Also, their calls & visits became much shorter in duration, too.  This also is normal!  Narcissists naturally have an aversion to boundaries & to healthy people.  Low contact truly is a wonderful thing!  It helps victims reclaim some of their power & confidence while repelling narcissists.  I want to encourage you to give it a try!  I believe you will be very pleased by the results!

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Why Some People Hate & Abuse Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Recently I was scrolling through my journal.  I came across an entry I made in February, 2020 regarding something I learned about one of my cousins immediately after I joined Instagram.  I immediately deleted Instagram, I think even before writing this journal entry. To get why I found this disturbing enough to delete that account so quickly, you need to know some background…

Growing up, my cousin & I were never close.  My mother never let me get very close to anyone on my father’s side of the family.  Even as adults though, this cousin & I just didn’t really click. 

We tried somewhat to have a relationship as adults.  In 2014, she had a Christmas party a few days before Christmas & invited me.  I couldn’t attend.  She attacked me for not coming even though she knew I don’t celebrate Christmas.  Immediately after, she stopped speaking to me & unfriended me on Facebook.

Nineteen months later, this cousin sent me an email.  Only the subject line of the email had any text.  It said “Supposed to make amends with everybody”.  Judging by the language, I assume that meant she was in a 12 step program since that is word for word one of the steps.  I ignored the email, because I believe if someone is sincere about making amends, they might say something in the email on the topic.

This cousin never tried to contact me again until my father was dying in 2017 when she tried to force me to visit him one final time.  When I ignored her calls & messages, she tried to force another cousin into bullying me into seeing my father.  When that failed, she sent me a very shaming email about what a bad Christian I am.  It arrived the evening before his funeral.  

I heard nothing else from her until she followed me on Instagram in early 2020.  I was shocked she would follow me since, like the rest of my family, she clearly thought so poorly of me.  I asked God why would she do that.  His response was very interesting & I think very informative for many victims of narcissists who deal with either the narcissist or their evil minions stalking them.  He said,

“Your cousin is insanely, obsessively, morbidly envious.  She thinks you’ve had this easy, charmed life.  When she sees you “whining” about your childhood, it justifies her hatred of you.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her, & she saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She lied to herself about her parents’ loving her & her being so close to her mother, your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about your parents & you’re being a spoiled brat.  She thinks you’re petty & weren’t really abused.  She also can’t accept that her uncle would be abusive or marry someone who was.”

“She thinks abuse is only physical or sexual.  Verbal abuse doesn’t count to her.  She thinks Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a made up thing that you use to justify talking about your parents that way.”

“The devil feeds her delusions.  He makes her think the things she does, & those things feed her rage & disgust of you.”

I would guess that many of you now feel an “ah ha!” moment.  Somehow it makes sense that someone you know feels this way about you, & that is why they are so devoted to the narcissist in your life & feel free to treat you so badly.

I truly hope this helps you because not knowing the motivation behind someone’s ridiculous & abusive behavior can be so hard!  When you know that what they say & do has more to do with them than you, it can be surprisingly freeing!  It helps tremendously to know that the problem truly has nothing to do with you, & instead is all about that person’s dysfunction. 

If this does fit a situation with someone you know, if you can, please pray for that person.  Pray for them to come to know Jesus as their Savior, & for Satan to leave them alone.  Those are two things they need more than anything else in the world.  So as difficult as it can be, please try to pray for them.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the more likely they are to turn their lives around.  It also will help you to be blessed & to have peace because you will be following Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:44 to pray for your enemies.

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How To Know If No Contact With Your Abusive Parent Is Necessary

Many people have very definite opinions on no contact but especially when it comes to parents.  There are so many who claim no contact is the only option & there is no excuse not to sever ties with toxic parents.  There are probably just as many who claim it’s not God’s will, no contact is dishonorable & there is absolutely no excuse to sever ties with your parents no matter what they have done to you. 

If you are in the position of wondering if no contact is your best solution, no doubt you have read information on both sides of this argument.  It can be truly overwhelming & confusing!

My purpose in this post is to help you decide whether or not no contact is necessary in your particular situation.  Following are some questions you need to consider.  When you answer them, the more honestly you answer, the more clarity you should have about whether or not you need to go no contact with your parent.

Is your parent willing to discuss your relationship?  Narcissistic parents have no desire to discuss the relationship or work towards solutions.  They don’t want to hear their victim’s complaints, & can shut down as soon as the conversation turns to their behavior.  Functional people are open to discussion & are willing to listen, not only talk.

Does your parent deny any responsibility for problems in the relationship?  Functional people admit when they are wrong.  They apologize & try to make appropriate changes.  Dysfunctional people, narcissists in particular, refuse to admit they have made mistakes.  Instead, they refuse to admit any wrong doing, shift all blame to the victim or make lame excuses for their behavior.

When discussing the relationship, does your parent turn the situation around to where you are the abuser, them the victim?  Covert narcissists in particular love to do this.  No matter how valid your complaint about their behavior, they can spin the situation around to make you look abusive, while simultaneously making them look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways.  Functional people do nothing like this.

Is your parent completely inflexible?  For any relationship to work, both parties have to be rather flexible.  One person can’t do all of the compromising & expect the relationship to be a healthy one.  Yet, narcissists aren’t concerned with what is healthy.  They’re only concerned with what they want, & what they want is a one sided relationship where their victim caters to their every whim.  Functional people are willing to bend & compromise if it means the relationship will be better.

Is your parent very entitled?  Functional parents accept that their children are grown with their own life, family & responsibilities.  They don’t expect to be their adult child’s top priority.  Entitled parents are much different.  They think their adult children need to have them as top priority even over their spouse &/or children & are impossible.  No matter how much their adult child does for them, it never will be enough nor will it please this parent.  Even if their adult child does so much for them that their spouse divorces them, it still won’t be enough.  It may please the parent, however, to have that spouse out of the picture so the adult child can focus on them even more. 

Have you tried your best to fix this relationship yet it either didn’t change or got worse?  One person can’t fix a relationship, but by altering their behavior, some change should come naturally to the relationship.  If the relationship stayed the same or got worse, that is not a good sign.  Narcissists don’t like their victims to change unless that change means the victim is more subservient.  If your parent is like the dysfunctional ones I discussed, chances are excellent that no contact is your best solution.  I don’t like to say anyone definitely should go no contact, because each person & each situation is unique.  However, the dysfunctional behaviors I’ve discussed are big signs that there is no working things out with anyone who behaves that way.  From here, I highly recommend lots of prayer & consideration of your unique situation.  And, if you realize no contact is necessary for you, then you can have peace of mind knowing you did all you could & gave it a lot of serious consideration before implementing no contact.

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An Update About My Books

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating some mini books for a while now. Each book being much shorter than the average, & focusing only on one topic at a time. I thought it could be a good idea since narcissism is a pretty overwhelming topic. These books help readers by not inundating them with too much information per book which makes them easier to read & absorb the subject matter. Plus, being shorter books, people can get exactly the information they want at a cheaper price than buying a larger book.

Mini books also are much easier for me to write. It’s almost six years to the day after I survived carbon monoxide poisoning & my brain is still not in a really happy place. I can write obviously, but it’s a much greater struggle now than it once was. I think it’s time to make my life easier in general, including with writing.

I just published the first three, & they’re available at this link on my website: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/books-for-sale/mini-books/

Currently, all are available in only ebook format, but I am considering making them available in print as well. It’s so hard to know what to do like this anymore! People have very definite feelings of print vs ebook format, & those who prefer one over the other change like the wind!

Anyway I hope you like the new ebooks. More will be coming in the future. As I mentioned recently, I’ll be getting rid of my free ebooks by the end of this month. I plan to add more information to them & charge a little for them. Not much, since they’ll still be rather short little ebooks.

Thank you to everyone for being supportive & wonderful! May God bless you! 💖💖

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Encouragement For People Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

January 12, 2018, I had an odd experience. It was my father’s birthday, the first birthday after his death. I was thinking about that when I felt strongly that he wanted God to send me a message.. “Encourage the weak, like me.”  I immediately knew in my heart what that meant.

At that point, it was just over 2 months since my father died, & in that short time, God showed me a great deal about him, including why he didn’t protect me from my mother. One of those things was that he felt trapped in their marriage, unable to escape. I believe that was what he meant by “the weak”, other people who also feel trapped in their situation.

Every January around his birthday, I try to encourage those who are still in relationships with narcissists as a result of that message.

If you’re still in a relationship with the narcissist in your life, I don’t think you’re weak at all.  I think my father used that word because he felt weak for not protecting me & wanted me to know others in similar situations also felt weak.  I get that, but I still don’t think you’re weak.  If you were, I doubt highly that you would have any interest in reading this post or anything else about narcissism.

Maybe you’re forced to stay because of financial reasons.  Narcissists abuse in every way, including financially.  Many narcissistic parents & partners steal money from their victim, ruin their credit, get them fired from their jobs or even forbid them to work. 

Many victims feel a sense of obligation to the narcissist.  My ex husband made me feel as if I owed it to him to be with him, even when I was miserable with him.  He hardly the only one who has done that to a victim.

Many stay because they mistakenly feel as Christians, it’s dishonoring their parents to go no contact or it’s a sin to divorce an abusive partner.  Sadly, many victims are encouraged to think this way either by narcissists & their flying monkeys or by those who don’t understand the Bible very well. 

Another possibility is that you can leave, but feel so beaten down, you don’t think you can leave.  You don’t trust in yourself to make it on your own without the narcissist telling you what to do, how to think, how to feel, what to wear, & on & on.  You don’t think you have any marketable skills to earn a living that could support you & maybe also children. 

Staying in a relationship with a narcissist takes a great deal of inner strength.  Fighting to keep your sanity in a completely insane situation day after day isn’t easy!  It takes a TON of courage & strength.

In spite of what many people say, no contact isn’t an easy solution that fixes all of your problems.  If that is your goal, know being prepared for it won’t happen overnight.  It takes time to build up the courage to do it, & courage to face the aftermath.  The narcissist most likely will create a smear campaign against you & send the flying monkeys.  Mentally preparing for all of that takes time, learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & boundaries, a great deal of prayer & leaning on God to show you what do to, when to do it & how to do it. 

No, Dear Reader.. you aren’t weak.  You are strong.  The fact that you are looking for solutions to your situation shows you have strength.  Know that you will survive this with your sanity & dignity in tact.  Until you know what you need to do, always practice the Gray Rock method, keep & enforce healthy boundaries & focus on your healing.  You can get through this!!

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When You Feel The Only Way To Save Your Marriage Is To Sacrifice Yourself

Not long ago, something crossed my mind.  I thought it may help some of you who follow my work.

During my first marriage, I was so dysfunctional I wasn’t sure exactly why it wasn’t a good marriage, but I still knew something was wrong.  My ex said it was fine, but I didn’t buy it.  I took my vows very seriously so I spent a lot of time reading marriage books & trying to figure out what I could do to fix these problems that I couldn’t identify.  It was always my job to fix things in relationships, as is often the case of those who have narcissistic parents.  Plus, it seemed logical at the time that if I was the only one who had a problem, I should be the one to deal with the problem.

After my reading & contemplating things, I came up with a solution that I was certain would fix everything.  If I could just ignore any of my own identity, needs, wants, opinions & feelings in favor of his, I just knew that would fix everything. 

Obviously, this didn’t work.  Although I was successful at doing this for a while, even that wasn’t enough.  By the time we got a divorce, I felt like an utter failure & carried the guilt & shame of that for quite some time.

I mentioned this to my best friend recently who admitted she had a very similar experience when married to her ex husband.

If you are married to a narcissist, I would love to help prevent you from going through this pain.  Please, listen to the voice of experience when I tell you that although it seems like simply giving in to a narcissist in every way is an “easy” way to keep the peace, it’s not. 

Losing yourself in this way is a lifetime job, not something you do once & it’s done.  When a narcissist sees you are willing to do this, he or she will expect you to do it over & over, every single day of your relationship.  It makes you miserable & erodes you into a shell of your former self.  As the saying goes, it’s like a death from a thousand cuts. 

Narcissists also are like endless voids when it comes to things that provide them with their narcissistic supply.  Nothing is going to fill that void.  You simply can’t give a narcissist enough supply.  Even when you give everything to a narcissist, it isn’t enough.  I was basically a robot that my ex could control, & it still wasn’t enough to please him.  He still wanted more even though I had nothing left to give, & was angry when I wouldn’t give it.  This is typical! 

Also, behaving in this manner enables the narcissist to be the abusive monster that he or she is.  There are no consequences when someone tolerates abuse, so abusers naturally see no need to stop.  In fact, they often step up the abuse because they know they can do anything they like without fear of repercussions.  In the end, this will destroy you.  It may not physically destroy you, although the stress of living this way certainly has the potential to create an overabundance of health problems, but at the very least it will emotionally destroy you.  By the time my ex & I separated, I lost so much of my identity.  I had no idea who I was, what I really liked, wanted, felt, or needed.  I was well aware though that I carried a great deal of guilt & shame for being entirely at fault for our failed marriage.  If I had any doubt, his friends & family were glad to remind me that everything was my fault.

Dear Reader, if you are in this unenviable situation of being married to someone who wants everything from you while giving nothing in return, please don’t give that person everything!  It doesn’t help the marriage & only creates problems!  Learn from my mistakes & don’t give in.  Instead, take good care of yourself.  Question everything your spouse says about you & demands of you.  Surround yourself with healthy, functional, caring & supportive people.  If your spouse has isolated you from friends & family (as abusers do), there are online support forums full of amazing people who can help you.  And most of all, stay close to God.  Lean on Him, & let Him help you in this painful situation.  I wish you all the best!    

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When People Call Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Abusive

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

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Myths About Abusive People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eight Things You Never Should Do With A Narcissist

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A Message For My Younger Followers

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When People Call You, The Victim, Abusive

Many victims of narcissistic abuse experience the same thing.  After months, years or even a lifetime of abuse, they realize they can’t take the abuse anymore.  They then escape the narcissist & are met with further abuse from other people instead of love, concern & support.

That abuse frequently consists of victims being told they are oversensitive, they need to forgive, aren’t being so called “good Christians,” they shouldn’t go no contact because the narcissist is family & other similar nonsense.  Possibly the worst of the comments many victims hear though is when people tell the victim that they are the abusive one.  I think one of the most painful things any abuse victim can hear is that they are acting like someone who caused them unimaginable pain & suffering.  It’s cruel & it also can cause victims to have doubts about their behavior.  Following is some food for thought for narcissistic abuse victims as well as for anyone who may have said these things.

When a victim escapes their narcissist & refuses to have any further contact, that doesn’t make a victim immature, unforgiving or pouting like a spoiled little child.  It also doesn’t mean the victim is being passive aggressive by giving their abuser the silent treatment.  It means the victim is protecting him or her self from further abuse, not being abusive towards anyone.

When a victim finally tells others about what the narcissist did, this also isn’t abusive.  This is someone speaking the truth about unthinkable suffering they have endured.  This person is looking for support, to work through their pain, to warn others who know the abuser & even to help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse.  There is absolutely no way this is abusive!

When people tell the victim how they should return to the relationship, anyone should refuse to engage with people like this because clearly they are toxic.  Doing so is not abusive.  What is abusive, however, is when people tell other people they should return to an abusive relationship, & shame them for not wanting to tolerate abuse any longer.  I admit, this is a particularly sensitive topic with me.  When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back together with him because he was miserable without me.  After going no contact with my parents, people said I needed to “fix things with them”, as if I was the only one who could repair that relationship.  In both situations, not one person asked why I severed ties with these people & they encouraged me to return to relationships that were detrimental to me.  See how abusive that is?

People who tell others to “take the high road” or “be the bigger person” are the abusive ones, not those who refuse to take that supposed high road.  Tolerating abuse doesn’t make you a good person.  It isn’t good or holy.  It’s foolish.

People who share criticisms with victims of how victims handled the abusive relationship when the victim didn’t ask for their thoughts are being abusive.  The victim is not being abusive for not handling the abuser the way this person thinks they should.  The victim is also not being abusive because he or she tells this person that they didn’t ask for that person’s opinion.

People who move on & enjoy their life after surviving narcissistic abuse aren’t deserving of shame, nor are they narcissists.  To shame them or call them narcissistic for finally having the ability to enjoy their lives is abusive.

If you are faced with people who call you abusive or they abuse you for ending an abusive relationship, they clearly have problems.  Always remember, you aren’t being abusive in any way for protecting yourself from them or your abuser!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

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When The Narcissist Learns You’re Telling Others About The Abuse

When you first start to open up about the abusive behavior the narcissist in your life has inflicted on you, it can be very hard.  You were told to keep everything a secret.  My mother used to tell me, “Don’t air our dirty laundry!” as a way to keep me quiet.  It didn’t work though.  At that time I was only 17, living through sheer hell due to her abuse & didn’t know what to do.  I told others in the hopes of finding someone who could give me advice on how to cope or make my mother treat me better.  Obviously that didn’t work.  I did learn about what happens when a victim starts to open up about narcissistic abuse though.

When you begin to divulge what the narcissist has done to you, the narcissist will be horrified.  After all, you’re not supposed to tell anyone anything!  The abuse is supposed to remain a secret between the two of you, no one else.  Naturally, the narcissist is going to be angry with you, because that is what they think.  They don’t think about the fact that you are a human being with feelings & needs & even the right to discuss your own life with whoever you wish.

The narcissist also is going to be very angry at you for making him or her look bad when you talk about the abuse.  Narcissists clearly don’t think like normal people, so they won’t consider their actions are what make them look bad.  Instead, they’ll lump all the blame on you for making them look bad.

Narcissists feel betrayed when victims tell others about their abhorrent behavior.  They all seem to think victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely, never protesting it, & are shocked & horrified when that isn’t the case.  This so called betrayal can trigger their rage.

It also can trigger a myriad of unhealthy coping skills.  One of which is reinventing the past.  Many narcissists convince themselves that they are awesome people, & never would abuse anyone.  After my mother’s death, I learned she knew what I write about in spite of my efforts to prevent that from happening.  I also learned she must have convinced herself that I was lying & she didn’t do anything I said she did.

When the narcissist becomes enraged & acts in this way, it can be scary.  Some scream.  Some harass or stalk.  All engage in a smear campaign & are often successful at turning those you love against you or at least damaging some of your relationships.  This is a terribly painful place to be, I know.  It may even make you think you’re wrong for opening up.  Life seemed easier when no one knew what the narcissist did to you.  I can tell you something though.. although it may seem easier, it isn’t.

In some ways, not discussing the abuse is easier because the narcissist is appeased.  When they’re appeased, they aren’t ruining your relationships or at least your reputation.  No one is telling you what a terrible person you are.  But, you are unhappy.  You’re trying to do everything perfectly so as not to upset the narcissist, which means you’re under intense stress & utterly miserable.  Everyone is happy except you, & the people who are happy clearly have no concern for your mental health.

Tell your story.  John 8:32 says the truth will set you free.  Let it!  The more you discuss the abuse, the more you’ll heal.  If the narcissist doesn’t approve, that isn’t your problem.  Besides, think about this: if what he or she did was truly ok, if it was all your fault & their abusive actions were totally justified, why are they so determined to keep it a secret?

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About Ignorance vs Malice

“You can’t get mad. He just doesn’t know any better.” I think all of us who have been victimized by a narcissist have heard this statement at some point. It’s said by those who either have absolutely no understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those flying monkeys who enthusiastically enable narcissists to abuse.

This statement can be very unsettling. You can feel so angry by the abuse but then you stop in your tracks. Maybe the person who said this is right, & the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better.  You feel badly for being angry with someone for doing something they don’t know is wrong.

Long before I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was in this situation.  I had problems with my now deceased mother in-law from about the moment we met.  Obviously I didn’t know what to do since I knew nothing of narcissism.  I decided to talk to my husband in the hopes he would have ideas on how to help me get along with his mother.  When I first told my husband about the problems I had with his mother, he said that she didn’t know any better.  He truly believed it, & I thought maybe he was right.  His mother gave the impression of being very naïve, after all.  I also knew her mother in-law never liked her.  Maybe the problem was that she had no other experience beyond the negativity between her & her mother in-law, & being naïve, she didn’t know how to act better towards me.  Logically, it made sense, & I felt terrible for being so upset with my mother in-law for quite some time & silently tolerated her abuse.  Yet, “she doesn’t know any better” didn’t sit right with me.

Eventually I realized why the ignorance plea felt wrong.  I realized she wasn’t ignorant, she was malicious.  I thought I’d share those realizations with you today so if someone tells you that the narcissist in your life doesn’t know any better, you won’t suffer needlessly as I did.

If someone is truly ignorant of their actions, they won’t hide their behavior.  Why would they?  If they aren’t aware that what they’re doing is wrong, there’s no need to hide it.  Someone who is knowingly doing something wrong is going to hide their actions.  My husband never once saw his mother say or do anything inappropriate to me.  Not once in the eight years she was in my life before I walked away.  We saw her often, too, but she never slipped up.  If she truly didn’t know that she was treating me badly, why would she have hidden her behavior towards me?  She would have treated me the same no matter who was around.

A malicious person doesn’t listen.  A person who is told that their actions are hurting someone yet repeats the actions over & over is malicious.  By continuing to hurt someone, they are proving by their actions that they either don’t care that their actions cause someone else pain or that they enjoy deliberately causing pain.  However, if you confront someone who is truly unaware of the pain their actions cause, they will change their behavior, apologize & even try to make it up to the person they hurt if at all possible.  They also won’t repeat the hurtful behavior again.

An ignorant person doesn’t change their actions just because another person enters the room, but a malicious person does.  A malicious person will change their behavior if someone whose opinion they value comes along so that person continues to think well of them.  Ignorant people won’t think that way because they don’t think their behavior is something that can be construed as bad or wrong.

When in a situation where you are told the person mistreating you simply doesn’t know any better, please consider these three scenarios.  They should help you to realize quickly if the person in question truly is ignorant of the pain their actions cause or if they are deliberately mistreating you.

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Victims Do Not Need To Pity Their Abusers!

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

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Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

Being in a relationship in any capacity with a narcissist is a learning experience.  In order to survive with your sanity in tact, naturally you need to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps you to understand what was really happening & that contrary to what the narcissist in your life told you, the problems in the relationship weren’t your fault.  It also helps you to spot the early signs of a narcissist, so you won’t end up in a similar relationship again.

That being said though, there are other valuable lessons you can learn from a narcissistic relationship.

Responding instead of reacting is a very valuable skill!  Not only in relating with narcissists, but even with healthy people, responding is a good relationship skill.  Reacting is done in the heat of the moment & without thought. while responding is done after some consideration.  Narcissists love reacting because people will do or things when they react that they wouldn’t normally do if they had taken the time to consider their predicament.  This can prove to the narcissist that their victim is crazy, abusive or anything else they want to claim.  Healthy people don’t act this way of course, but even so, reacting can cause problems in even the healthiest of relationships.  It’s a good idea to stop for a second to take a deep breath, then release it slowly when you’re tempted to react.  This action calms anxiety & anger, & gives you a second to consider your response.

Boundaries are a very good thing.  Narcissists respect no one’s boundaries.  They feel they have every right to say & do anything they please.  Once a victim is away from this sort of behavior, they learn that boundaries really are a wonderful thing.  They also learn to appreciate people who have no problems with boundaries.

“No” can be an excellent way to figure out if a person is functional or not.  Narcissists can take the simple word no as a victim being rebellious, difficult, disrespectful & even abusive.  A functional person takes no as a boundary & they respect it.  If you want to see if the new relationship in your life is a healthy one, say no & see how the other person reacts.

People believe what they want to believe.  Human beings like things to be as we think they should be, & we can get upset when that perception is threatened.  A healthy, functional person will consider the evidence & even if it’s uncomfortable, go along with the change.  Dysfunctional people aren’t this wise.  They may refuse to face change.  This is never more evident than when there is evidence showing them that a narcissist isn’t the great person they think he or she is.  This is when they become especially vicious to the narcissist’s victim.  Many of these people don’t want to believe that person isn’t the great person they thought they were, possibly out of fear of looking foolish.  It’s more comfortable for them to believe the narcissist’s smear campaign of the victim rather than the victim sharing the truth about the narcissist.  Or, they could be gaining something from the narcissist- money, favor, etc.  Sometimes, they are victims of abuse by someone else, & when the victim speaks out against the narcissist, it triggers their own pain.  These people will do anything to shut down the victim so they can continue denying their own pain.  For victims in this situation, it’s best to avoid such people at all costs.

Let people think what they want.  Closely related to the last paragraph, one valuable lesson I’ve learned from relationships with narcissists is to let people think what they want.  Narcissists create their own version of victims that they believe is accurate.  Their flying monkeys & those close to them will believe whatever the narcissists tell them to believe about their victims.  No amount of work on the part of a victim can make any of these people believe anything they don’t want to believe.  In fact, trying to convince them of the truth most likely will make them think the victim is crazy & treat the victim even worse.  Why go through that?  Let them think whatever they want, & live your life however works for you.

Of course, there are more things I’ve learned.  What about you?  What have you learned from your relationship with a narcissist?

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For My Younger Readers Living With Abusive Parents

Those of you young men & women who are still living at home with your abusive parent (or parents), this post is for you today.

You are in a rough place, as you well know.  I’ve been there too, & I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.  Until you can move out, no doubt you could use some advice to help you cope.

I hope those of you reading this share my faith.  Knowing God has been the most important part of my life, including helping me to survive the abuse.  When I was living with my parents, however, I didn’t believe in God because of the abuse.  No doubt many of you feel the same way & your parents also have misused religion as an excuse to abuse you.  Please know that God is nothing like what abusive parents say He is!  He is loving & kind, & will gladly help you through this!  If you’d like to learn more, click this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/salvation-through-jesus-christ/

Learn everything you possibly can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you understand it, the more it will help you to figure out ways to cope with your parent’s behavior.  It also will help you to remember that you are NOT the problem, your narcissistic parent is.  While that may seem obvious when you first learn about NPD, narcissists can be very manipulative.  Even to the point of making others believe they are the real problem in the relationship.  That happened to me with both my parents & my ex husband.  I honestly believed I was the problem in spite of them clearly being the abusers.  Not only did I feel awful but they used that as another way to control me.  Since I thought I was so awful, I trusted them to tell me how to be better.  Learn from my mistake!  Abusers are always the problem!

When dealing with your parent, try to show as little emotion as possible.  The reason being narcissists use people’s emotions against them.  Are you happy?  The narcissist will try to make you sad.  Are you sad or angry?  The narcissist will try to make you sadder or angrier, then tell you that you’re crazy because of how you feel.  Always remain unemotional around your parent.

Save up money as best you can.  Be frugal with your money & save as much as you can, because you are going to need quite a bit to get a car & to move out.  Also, stash your money somewhere where your parent can’t get to it.  Many narcissistic parents steal from their children, so you need to be careful about where you hide your money.

Move out to somewhere safe as soon as possible.  A roommate helps financially, so that may be an option.  You’ll need someone who has a steady job & is responsible, as well as someone you get along well with.  Some folks rent out rooms in their home, too.  Or, maybe a friend or relative would let you move in with them.  Consider your options & make plans as best you can.  Don’t share your plans with anyone that might tell your parent about them, however.

If at all possible, buy what you can to prepare for moving out.  If you plan to live with a relative or rent a room, you probably won’t need much.  A bedroom set, toiletries, towels.. things like this.  If you have a friend or relative that knows your situation, they might be willing to hold these items for you until you need them so your parent doesn’t find out about your plans.

I know all of this must seem overwhelming, but really you got this!  You have survived so much up to this point which shows you are strong!  You can do it!!

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Judging Victims For Tolerating Abuse

I’ve noticed so many people are quick to judge victims of abuse for tolerating abuse. The nature of the relationship doesn’t seem to matter, the same things are said to victims.  These judgmental people say things like, “Well *I* certainly wouldn’t have put up with being treated like that!”, “Just go no contact!” or, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

This post is for those people who are quick to judge, & need a  lesson on the reality of what it’s like to be abused.

Unless a person has been subjected to the effects of daily, intense gaslighting, they truly don’t know what they would do in that situation, & have no right to judge a situation they can’t understand.

Abusers use gaslighting to convince their victims that they can’t make it in life without their abuser.  Abusers convince their victims that they are so stupid & incapable that they need the abuser to help them navigate through life.  Not even the most highly intelligent people are immune to this.

They also convince their victims that no one cares about them other than the abuser.  People only talk to them because they are trying to be nice, not because they really care, abusers say.  They also create doubts in victims’ minds about their loved ones by saying things like, “She isn’t really a good friend to you.”  “He doesn’t care about you yanno.”  When an abuser says such things with conviction, & a victim hears such things often enough, they believe them no matter how much evidence to the contrary they may see.

Abusers also are very good at convincing their victims that if they would try just a little harder, the abuser would threat the victim better.  Watch a young child with an abusive parent, & you will see this clearly.  The meaner the parent is, the harder the child works to please that parent.  Adults aren’t immune to this behavior though.  During my first marriage, I did this with my ex husband.  The problem with this behavior is whatever the victim does is never good enough.  Abusers are notorious for changing what they say they want, raising that bar a bit higher once the victim does what they originally said they wanted, or denying ever wanting that thing their victim just did.  A person unaware of this manipulative & abusive behavior will keep trying to please their abuser, which leads to utter frustration in the victim & satisfaction in the abuser for having such control over the victim.

There’s also the fact that most people don’t want to end relationships with those closest to them, & abusers are usually those closest to the victim.  Deciding to end a romantic relationship is a big deal, especially when abuse is involved because the victim is going to feel like a failure or stupid for falling for someone abusive.  If the abusive relationship is a parent/child relationship, that is incredibly hard to end too.  Who can feel completely comfortable telling their parents they never want to see them again?!

Lastly, many abusers prevent their victims from leaving.  They often take the victim’s money & ruin that person’s credit, making it impossible for the victim to leave.  They make the victim completely financially dependent on them.  They threaten to take the couple’s kids away so the victim never will see them again.  Some have been known to lock their victims in their home, making them a prisoner.  And, still others threaten to kill either the victim, their pets, their children, their friends or family if the victim leaves.

After considering all of this.. can you honestly still wonder why victims tolerated the abuse as long as they did?

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When People Choose To Spend Holidays With Your Abuser Instead Of You

Probably no one wants to create the appearance of a big happy family more than the most dysfunctional families.  Holidays give them the opportunity to pretend that is what they have by inviting everyone to some big hoopla & pretending everyone gets along.  These families ignore the fact that someone in this family has abused someone else, & they invite both people to their get together.

This big happy family charade forces many people to make an awful choice – be face to face with their abuser or spend holidays alone.  Neither is a good solution for the victim.  I know, because this was my life for many years.

My in-laws always had huge get togethers on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s day, Father’s day… you name it.  I ideally wanted to spend holidays with my husband rather than his family who clearly hated me, maybe at best spending some time with them on another day near the holiday.  This wasn’t acceptable, however.  Holidays were to be celebrated on the exact day, no exceptions & no excuses for not being there.  Until my husband’s parents died, you probably could count on one hand how many holidays we spent together because I quit going.  Sadly, spending holidays alone was a better option to me than spending it with the people who treated me like dirt, even though it ultimately resulted in me detesting holidays.

I believe many other people are in this same boat or at least a similar one.  You want to spend the holidays with someone but they want invite your abuser to the same gathering, or they refuse to stop attending the gathering that your abuser attends.

You need to know today that your feelings are valid.  In essence, this person is choosing your abuser over you, & you have every right to be angry & hurt about that.  Accept that your anger & hurt are valid emotions!  Cope with them however works for you.

Maybe this person feels it’d be rude not to invite the abusive person or for them not to attend the same gathering.  In dysfunctional families, in particular narcissistic ones, it’s all about appearances.  No one wants to shun someone even if they are abusive.

Most people also don’t want to face the fact that someone they care about is an abusive monster.  For them, it’s easier not to acknowledge your claims of abuse.  Out of sight, out of mind, basically.

There also is the possibility that you’re the safe one to make angry & the other person isn’t.  Abusive people often get their way because others know that making them angry means they are going to suffer badly.  Some people don’t have the inner strength to stand up to people like this.  It’s easier for them to give the abuser their way.  Sure, you’ll be angry, but your anger isn’t as painful for them as the abuser’s anger.  Your anger may be unpleasant but at least it’s not the sheer torture of the abuser’s anger.

By saying these things, I’m not making excuses for those who choose abusers over victims in this manner.  I’m just offering some explanations as to why people behave this way.  Maybe it will help you not to be as hurt & angry when you see that it’s nothing to do with you.  A person who does this is the one with some issues!

As for you, if you opt to avoid these gatherings, try to enjoy your day somehow.  Take it as a day off for doing whatever you like.  Indulge in a favorite hobby, watch movies, or even clean out the closet.  Or, spend it with close friends.  Do whatever will help you to enjoy your day in a healthy way, & leave the dysfunction to those who are comfortable with it.  xoxo

 

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When Parents Abuse Their Adult Children

Growing up with abusive parents, most kids think that once they turn 18 &/or move out, all their problems will be over.  Many victims marry very young trying to rush this process along, & who can blame them?

The problem is though, this mindset is wrong.  The abuse merely changes, it doesn’t stop.

In my experience, I left home at 19 after my first nervous breakdown.  Although I didn’t know exactly what had happened to me at that time, I knew in my heart that I had to leave or lose my sanity.  I moved back in 6 months later for only four days.  On the last day, my mother & I got into an argument which escalated quickly into a physical fight, & she slammed me into a wall.  I believe she wanted to kill me that night.  I also believed that since I determined never to live in that house again, the abuse was a thing of the past. My mother never laid another hand on me again after that night, November 28, 1990.  That didn’t mean she never abused me again, however.

After that horrible night, my mother continued to verbally abuse me.  Everything about me was subject to her harsh judgement &  criticisms, just as it had been when I was living with her.  When I had to quit work a few months later due to my back pain from her assault, my mother made it clear she was convinced I was faking the pain because I was too lazy to work.  She never said those words exactly, but she would slap me in the back where my pain was, hand me heavy items or tell me I needed to help her move something heavy.

As my parents got older & frailer, my mother expected me to help them.  When I did help, my parents were cruel, especially my mother.  She gave me a diet soda one day when I was there.  The cruelty was the artificial sweetener in it was known to cause a laxative effect in some people.  She waited until I emptied the bottle to tell me this & how it negatively affected my father.  For the remainder of the visit, she & my father continually asked me how my stomach felt or did I need to use the bathroom.

My mother had irritable bowel syndrome.  After having an issue, she called to tell me I had to wash her clothes the next day because “I owed it to her since she took care of me as a baby.”  The next day I took rubber gloves along in case I had to touch any laundry since I’m not good with body functions.  My mother watched me take off those gloves, then told me to hold out my hands.  With a smile, she put her nasty clothes in my bare hands & said “I forgot, these need to go in the washer too.”

The point of these stories is this: narcissistic parents don’t stop abusing their children when they become adults.  They merely change the ways in which they abuse them.

As narcissists age, they can’t be the physically intimidating presence to their child anymore.  And, their child has grown up, so even if they were able to magically stay the same, their child probably wouldn’t be intimidated like they once were.  Also, threats of punishment from a parent don’t work on an adult as they would on a child.  Due to losing so many of their once successful ways of abusing their child, narcissists have to come up with new ways to abuse.

Some of those new ways may involve financial abuse, guilt trips to make their child think they owe the parent, misusing their medications to make themselves ill, or even threatening suicide.

If such things are happening to you, you’re not alone!  You also have nothing to feel ashamed of!  The shame lies with your parent, not you!  Do what you need to in order to protect yourself.  You do NOT deserve to be abused!!

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To My “Family”..

Since my mother’s death in April, I have received some written communication from my “family” (using that term VERY loosely).  Others have called my mother’s home.  I can only assume that is some lame attempt to contact me.  I have long since blocked their phone numbers so they can’t reach me, & why else would anyone call that number knowing its owner is dead?

Rather than speaking to these people, I figured since many are nosy enough to read my work, I’ll send a message via my blog.  I may even add this as a page to my website since I know they also frequent it, not sure yet.

Anyway… onto what I have to say.

If any of you who are attempting to contact me are looking for some sort of handout, that is NOT going to happen.  I will NOT enable your bad behavior (like your greed & poor money management skills), nor will I be anyone’s doormat.  Find someone else to use.

If you want something that belonged to either of my parents: you need to realize the nastier, more demanding or manipulative you are to me, the less likely the chances I will give you anything.  It doesn’t matter if my mother once told you that you could have some specific item when she died.   What matters now is what is written in her will, & specific items aren’t listed.  Since she assigned me as her personal representative, this means everything is now mine to do with however I see fit.  I am boxing up some items to send to people she was close to.  I will send them when I get the time.  There is no need to contact me or to rush me.  Showing up at my home or my parents’ home will result in me calling the police to have you removed from the property.

If you’re trying to contact me so you can share your opinions on how I am handling this situation, because I didn’t have a funeral for my mother or even because I had no relationship with my parents since 2016, I really don’t care what you think.  Your opinions mean nothing whatsoever to me, & I won’t listen to them.  Trying to contact me to share them is a waste of your time & energy.

If you harass me, some of you should know, I have saved evidence of your previous harassment.  For one relative, I have  plenty of documentation of your harassment dating back as far as 2013.  I have plenty of evidence from the past, & will save any & all new evidence.  I will involve the police if you force my hand.

To that one “special” cousin who showed up uninvited & unwelcome to my mother’s private burial just to give me grief, cause your big scene & refuse to leave, you astound me.  You truly have NO class.  You clearly also have zero respect.  Obviously no respect for me which you’ve already made abundantly clear, but also none for yourself or my mother.  You claimed to be at the burial for my mother, yet you yelled at & treated me like dirt AT HER GRAVE.  No respect!  Count your blessings I have the common decency not to act like trash at a burial, because that is the only reason I behaved as well as I did towards you that day.

I also want to say to my family: leave me alone.  I have nothing to say to anyone, nor do I want to hear anything from anyone.  All I want is for my so-called family to leave me alone.

No doubt by now some smug, “holier than thou” people are  reading this & judging me for being angry.  No doubt you also think that makes me bitter, unforgiving, a fake or a “bad Christian” as my family has called me before.  It doesn’t.  Even Jesus got angry.  Several times his anger is documented in the Bible.  Maybe if you actually read a Bible instead of twisting the few Scriptures you know to fit your agenda, you’d know this.  You really should try reading the Bible sometime.  You might learn something.

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Abusers Don’t Abuse Just Anyone

So many people seem to think that because an abusive person was pleasant with them, it means that person wasn’t abusive.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Abusers are very selective in the specific types of people they wish to abuse.  This means not everyone fits into the abusive person’s agenda.

Abusers aim for people who have experienced abuse in their past.  Most people, including victims, will assume the victim is the problem if they have had multiple abusive relationships, because he or she is the common denominator in these awful relationships.  It makes sense to some degree to think that way.  However, it doesn’t mean that is always the truth.

Abusers also aim for empathetic people with a kind heart because they are much more willing to excuse abuse.  These people will understand that their abuser has suffered trauma in some way, so they tell themselves that their abuser is only acting out of dysfunction.  This leads them to tolerate a great deal of abuse that they normally wouldn’t be willing to tolerate.  I did this with my parents & my late mother in-law.  I can tell you that it was a huge mistake which led to me being hurt a great deal.

Or, people with a kind heart may want to try to “fix” this “broken” person as a way to help them.  Although the fact that they want to help people is quite admirable, this line of thinking can set a person up for abusive people to take advantage of & hurt them.

Insecure people are also a good target for abusive people, because abusers realize that insecure people are very pliable.  It won’t take a great deal of work for a narcissist to change someone who is insecure into whatever it is a narcissist wants.

If you aren’t insecure though, chances are good that your self confidence was seen as a challenge to your abuser.  While narcissists do like insecure victims, confident ones also are a good thing in their mind.  Confident victims are a bit of a challenge.  If they can destroy a confident person, then they see themselves as very powerful, which provides a great deal of narcissistic supply.

In order to avoid these awful situations, I have some suggestions.

First, as always I recommend prayer.  Turn to God & He will help you.  Talk to Him about whatever it is you feel & ask Him to help you.  Ask Him to identify easily the red flags & to give you creative ideas to cope with this situation.

If there is something about a person that makes you uncomfortable, even if all outward signs look good, trust that the uncomfortable feeling is there for a reason.  Watch the person’s actions closely for either good or bad signs & it won’t take you long before you recognize whether this person is abusive or not.

Also, always remember your boundaries & do NOT compromise them!  What are you comfortable with or uncomfortable with?  What are you willing to do or not willing to do?  You have every right to feel as you do & to enforce those boundaries however you feel is appropriate.

Keep learning, growing & getting healthier.  The more you do that, the less abusive people will be attracted to you.  Abusers of all types size people up quickly, & if they see right away that you’re emotionally & mentally healthy, they will be more inclined to leave you alone.  As an added bonus, the healthier you are, the more other healthy, functional people will be attracted to you.

Lastly, never, ever forget that even if someone does abuse you, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault.  Ultimately, the choice to abuse someone belongs squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, not the victim.  There is nothing any victim can do to force someone to abuse them.

There is no way to avoid abusive people entirely simply because they are everywhere.  However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being abused.

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About Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is a common phenomenon in society today.  The woman who was abused by her husband is to blame for not leaving him sooner.  The victim of rape is blamed for being drunk or high.  The victim of theft is blamed for not locking his door.

This awful phenomenon invalidates the pain of the victim.  It can make a victim feel as if she wouldn’t have done what she did, then the traumatic event wouldn’t have happened.  How could she possibly have the right to be upset?  It’s an absolutely awful thing to do to someone, making them feel this way!  No one deserves traumatic, terrible things to happen to them.  What victims do deserve is kindness, understanding & support.

Whether the person blaming the victim is the cause for the victim’s pain or not, blaming her also enables that person to distance himself from the victim & her pain.  If the victim is the cause of her own suffering, then he need not feel sorry for her or try to help her.  If the victim caused her own suffering, then the abuser need not feel bad for doing whatever it was he did to her.

Narcissists love victim blaming.  It serves them very well.  I lost track of how many times my mother told me I was the reason she “had” to abuse me.  She even called it “tough love” instead of what it really was, abuse.  She claimed if I didn’t do whatever it was I had done (or she thought I had done in most cases), she wouldn’t have been forced to scream at me, destroy my things, etc. etc.

If you have been on the receiving end of victim blaming, please do not allow that trash to get inside you!  You did NOT deserve what was done to you!  You are not to blame, the abuser is!  You have every right to be angry, hurt, & yes, even traumatized!  Don’t believe those fools who tell you that you deserved it.  Anyone who blames an innocent victim has serious emotional problems.

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There Is More Than Fight Or Flight

Most everyone is aware of the fight or flight response.  This describes how a person reacts to extremely stressful situations, such as being attacked.

Fight means you aggressively fight back, because you believe you can defeat the danger.  When it happens, you feel intense anger, may cry or punch people or things, you may grind your teeth & chances are excellent your stomach will be in knots.

Flight means you run from the danger, because you believe you can’t defeat it.  When it happens, you feel fidgety & anxious.  You can’t stay still.  You want to run for the hills immediately.

There are two other responses beyond fight or flight that are seldom mentioned.  Freezing & fawning are the other two responses.

Freezing means when you’re unable to act in these awful situations.  You can’t think clearly.  Think of a deer in headlights.  That deer sees the danger heading straight for him, but is frozen in place.  This happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat the attacker.  Freezing literally makes you cold when it happens.  Your body feels heavy & hard to move, sometimes it can feel numb as well.

Lastly, there is fawning.  This happens when in an acutely stressful situation, you do your best to comply with their attacker as an attempt to save yourself.  Like freezing, it happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat your attacker.  Fawning is a typical response of those who have been in abusive relationships.  People who fawn realized that fighting, flight & freezing didn’t work, which is why they resorted to fawning.  They found that concerning themselves with the well being of their abuser was their best chance at diffusing the situation.

While fight, flight, freeze & fawn are very different responses, they all share the same goal: to diffuse or preferably end the situation & protect yourself.  A problem is often people get stuck in only one or maybe two responses when each one can be helpful in different circumstances.  This is especially common in those with PTSD or C-PTSD.  The responses become habitual.  The best way I know to overcome this is to recognize what you do in such situations.  Considering how you acted, without any judgment of course, can help you to discern which acute stress responses you have used.  When faced with danger after doing this, you’re more likely to respond after a bit of thought rather than react as in acting without thought.

Another issue can be for those who have experienced multiple traumas.  We can perceive threats when there isn’t one.  It helps to learn to slow down your thinking a bit so you can decide whether or not the threat is real.  Taking a long, deep breath in then releasing it slowly only takes a couple of seconds, but it can slow your body & mind down enough to help you figure out the situation as well as the best way to respond.

Past trauma can affect your life in so many ways.  Learning to manage your responses can be one way to help yourself handle stressful & even new traumatic situations in healthier ways.

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