Tag Archives: abusive

When Abused Children Trust People Too Easily

When a child is abused by their parents, that child naturally grows up with plenty of issues.  They lack a healthy foundation as well as good teaching, so this is understandable.

One area in which abused children tend to struggle greatly is when it comes to trusting people.

Many abused children grow up distrustful of others, in particular adults.  Considering the only adults in their lives have caused them pain & suffering, it’s totally understandable.  It’s also a very common occurrence. 

What is less common is when abused children go the exact opposite but equally dysfunctional direction, & they trust people very easily.  The constant gaslighting, being told everything you believe, think & feel is wrong will do this to a person.  The burdens narcissistic parents put on their children of feeling like your purpose in life is to do for others & be responsible for their happiness adds to this problem.  I know, because this is how I grew up.

This abuse convinced me that any instincts I had were wrong.  If I felt someone wasn’t a good person or simply disliked a person, my mother would tell me I was wrong.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if I liked someone she didn’t, I was also wrong because she clearly knew better than me.  If I had a falling out with a friend, she told me, “to have a friend, you have to be one.”  Basically that translated to, “You’re always wrong!  You need to let people treat you however they like without complaint or protest.”  This taught me that my instincts were always wrong, that other people were always right, it was my job to blindly obey them, & tolerate any treatment, even abuse, without complaint.  So as a result, for years, I blindly trusted people. 

One former friend of mine said, upon first meeting, “We’re going to be best friends!”  I accepted that, & we were close for quite some time.  I did like her, but our personalities were very different.  She also was a rather needy friend.  Too needy for my introverted self, but I hung in there for years because I felt obligated to do so.

A few months before marrying my ex husband, I broke up with him.  People told me how miserable he was without me & that I should get back together with him.  He would call me at work & tell me the same thing.  I relented, & married him in spite of not being in love with him, & wanting to marry someone else.

Do my scenarios sound at all similar to situations in your life?  If they do, then I want you to rest assured, there is hope!

Prayer truly is the best place to start. Talk to God about whatever you feel, & ask Him to guide you.  Ask Him for healthy relationships & to spot red flags quickly so you don’t waste time with toxic people.

Start listening to your gut feelings.  If something feels off about someone, pay attention to that!  Observe this person & in time, you will understand what triggered this feeling. 

And, if something feels especially good about someone, the same thing goes.  Observe.  Their actions will tell you why that feeling was there. 

The more you learn to observe others & listen to your instincts, the healthier your relationships will be & the more wise you will be when it comes to trusting people.

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10% Off My Print Books

My publisher is offering 10% off my print books until August 5, 2022 when you use code MAKER10 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below..

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

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Getting Back Your Zest For Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Like so many other victims of narcissistic abuse, I spent most of my life trying to be less me to please other people.  I think of it like I was trying to shrink myself to please other people.  I became less opinionated.  I turned away from things that I liked that they didn’t approve of in favor of things they thought I should.  I tried changing my appearance too, dressing differently, coloring my hair & losing weight. 

Eventually I realized just how ridiculous this was.  Changing to please people who demand you change never works.  The one demanding the changes is never pleased, & the one doing the changing is miserable because they aren’t being true to themselves.  I could see no good reason to continue this behavior, so I stopped it.  I figured let people be mad at me for it.  They would be anyway!  This was a good decision of course, but it also was only half the battle for me.  I knew who I wasn’t, but I didn’t know who I was.

Over the years I did get to know myself, but still something was lacking.  I wasn’t sure what that something was.  It finally hit me.  I lost my passion, my zest for life.  I certainly can’t be the only person in this position, so I thought sharing what I have learned would be a good idea.

After enduring narcissistic abuse, it can be overwhelming to realize just how much damage has been done to you.  Healing is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work & time.  Often, I think it’s a life long process.  It can be easy to get caught up in healing work & not even notice you haven’t got that zest for life you once had.  Or maybe you never had it.  Either way, this should change.  You deserve to enjoy life!

As vital as healing is, it’s also a lot of work!  You need to take time frequent breaks.  They are good for your mental health.  Thinking too much about such intense topics can wear you down, & that is never good.  Take times where you flatly refuse to think about the abuse or focus on your healing.  Instead, do things you enjoy. 

Remember times in your life when you had that zest for life.  Think about them in as much detail as you can.  What were you doing?  What was so enjoyable about the situation?  How exactly did you feel?  Meditate on those times.  Remind yourself that this was you!  You were capable of being that person before, so you can be like that again. 

Consider things that ignite your zest for life & indulge in them often.  If it’s reading a certain genre of books, read all you can find.  If it’s a certain type of music, listen to it often & dance around your home.  If it’s supporting a certain cause, give your best to supporting it in every way you can.

Get creative.  I believe creative outlets to be absolutely vital to enjoying life.  Whatever you enjoy doing, make time to do it often.  I have learned if I don’t set aside time in the evenings to knit, crochet or cross stitch, it doesn’t take long before I become anxious & irritable.  Participating in these creative hobbies I love helps me to enjoy life more while helping my mental health.

The most helpful thing I have found though is the value of maintaining a close relationship to God.  Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy, & this is so true!  Pray often & remember, God isn’t just God but your father as well.  You can talk to Him familiarly.  I know when your earthly father isn’t good it can be hard to relate to God in this way but it is possible.  Ask Him to help you & remember, He is nothing like your earthly father at all.  He is so much better!

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Nostalgia After Trauma

The definition of nostalgia is a longing for the past, in particular a time that is associated with good memories.  People who have experienced trauma may have a predilection for having an appreciation for nostalgia more than the average person.

When a person experiences trauma, such as growing up with abusive parents, often times as adults, they long for certain things that take them back to a happy time in their life, in particular in their childhood.  I admit to being one of these people.  I have a small collection of toys from my childhood that I love, & I regularly listen to music from my teen years in the 80’s.  These things bring me a lot of joy. 

Eventually though I thought this was strange behavior on my part.  My childhood wasn’t exactly the best time of my life, so why would I want reminders of it?  Finally I realized why.  The answer is simple.  Security.

Whatever trauma you have experienced, it changed you & your perception of life.  That is how trauma works.  It can make you feel very insecure & skeptical, even cynical.  A natural coping skill after trauma is to want to find some sense of security wherever you can.  Sometimes finding that security manifests as mentally revisiting a time when you felt comfortable & in control. 

Consider this.  When growing up with narcissistic parents, you have very little control, especially if your narcissistic parents were the engulfing type who had to control every aspect of your life.  Those few rare moments of having control over your life felt empowering.  For me, my most empowering times of my younger days involved music.  Either listening to the radio while alone in my room as a teen or when I drove my first car while listening to any music I wanted to.  Now that I’m an adult, music still gives me that feeling of empowerment.  I frequently still listen to similar music as I did in my younger days.  I also have added more music to my repertoire that makes me feel that same feeling of empowerment.  And you know something?  There is nothing wrong with that!

There is also a comfort in knowing that not every single thing in your past was terrible, that there were some good times too.  Thinking that there was no good in your life is a dreadful feeling!  It can feel as if your life had no purpose.  Reminding yourself of the good times, even if they were few, is very comforting. 

Not to mention, only thinking of the bad times is simply depressing!  Reminding yourself of good times is much less depressing & conducive to a better mood. 

If you find yourself longing for certain things from your past, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Even if your past was full of terrible & traumatic events, there is nothing bad about waxing nostalgic for the few good times.  Just enjoy the nostalgia when you can.  Listen to those old songs & remember your first slow dance or sharing songs with your childhood best friend.  If you see a toy at a flea market that you used to enjoy playing with as a child, why not buy it?  When you see it, it might just make you smile, & that is a lovely gift to give yourself.

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Being The Family Scapegoat

Being the scapegoat in a narcissistic family is an incredibly difficult & painful role. 

Naturally it starts with the abuse from a narcissistic parent, usually an overt one.  This parent is quick with a cruel word, invalidation, mocking or even fury.  This parent may even say they treat their child as they do out of love or they blame their child for making them treat the child as they do.

The other parent is often a covert narcissist.  Compared to the raging, screaming & berating of the overt narcissistic parent, the covert narcissistic parent seems safe & possibly even loving.  Eventually though, that mask slips.  It usually happens as the child is growing up & starting to want some independence.  Covert narcissistic parents also often confide in their children about very inappropriate topics, such as their marital problems.  Overts do this too, but coverts seem to do it more often.  That parent may tell that child that they need protection from the overt narcissistic parent rather than protecting their child, as a functional parent would do. 

Eventually, this child realizes something is wrong with their parents’ behavior.  Maybe they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or maybe not yet.  Either way, the child starts to set boundaries with their parents for the first time in their life.  This is where the real trouble often begins.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the abuse from their narcissistic parents, they suddenly are faced with even more horrors.  Many reach out to other family members for help, & rather than get the help they need, are shunned, mocked, called awful names like liars, spoiled brats, drama queens or kings, ungrateful & more.  Those who the child expects to help & support them often end up betraying that child & adding more pain.

When narcissistic parents find out their child has revealed the kind of parent they are, they usually release some sort of smear campaign.  Some insult their child, others accuse their child of being mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  Some opt to do the same but from a position of looking concerned.  They may say things like, “I’m worried about her.  She hasn’t been the same since she started hanging around with that guy.  I think he’s making her say these things about me, or maybe she’s on drugs!”  This is even worse, because it makes the child look bad while making the parent appear loving & concerned.  Either way, this child loses loved ones & feels completely alone.

The life of a scapegoat is incredibly hard!  Yet even so, there is hope!

After surviving such horrors, a person develops the ability to handle stress well.  Compared to narcissistic abuse, most crises seem pretty tame. 

After losing friends & family who believe a narcissistic parent’s lies, a person becomes very independent & self-reliant.  In this situation when you are left alone, you can learn you have skills & abilities that you never realized you had.

Losing people in one’s life often makes people turn to God, & that is never a bad thing!  That is the one relationship that will never disappoint or hurt you.  He also can help you to heal from all the damage done by the abusive people in your life.  And, as an added bonus, He can guide the right people into your life.    

If you’re the scapegoat in your narcissistic family, if you recently have been abandoned by foolish people who chose to side with your parents rather than help or support you, then please know it will get better!  You will find new, good, loving people who would never treat you as badly as your family has & who will love you unconditionally.  You will survive this pain & heal.  One day you will look back at all that has happened in your role as your family’s scapegoat & be shocked at how much happier & healthier you are without these people in your life.

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Doing Something New

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to abandon making YouTube videos in favor of podcasts since they are much easier for me to make. And thankfully, they have been well received!

Because they have been doing well, I decided to expand where they can be accessed. My podcasts now be found on many platforms. Those links are below. I hope you will check them out!

So far, I’m still figuring this all out as I go. Not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment, so please just bear with me! Plus, writing is my top priority & has been since God told me many years ago it was my purpose. This means podcasts aren’t going to get as much of my attention. I don’t have any particular schedule with them, so I won’t release new ones faithfully every day, week or even month. I release them a few at a time periodically. I have been pretty lazy about doing this over the last year or so, & I apologize for that. It’s changing, I promise! I just had so much happening in my life in the recent past, my work has fallen too far behind.

So anyway, here is the list of where my podcasts can be found. I hope you find a platform that you like, & will listen to them. Thank you as always for reading & supporting my work! I hope it blesses you as much as you bless me!

Amazon Music:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/636257ca-b20e-4c80-b0c4-76c6da81d4b6/cynthia-bailey-rug

Anchor By Spotify:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cynthia-bailey-rug/id1632080095

Castbox:

https://castbox.fm/channel/id3103069?utm_source=podcaster&utm_medium=dlink&utm_campaign=c_3103069&utm_content=Cynthia%20Bailey-Rug-CastBox_FM

Google Podcasts:

https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yNWViYmY5OC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Overcast:

https://overcast.fm/itunes1519449931/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

RadioPublic:

https://radiopublic.com/cynthia-baileyrug-6BonBp

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5aY76eAGa3xOfVMimiQMai

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/cynthia-baileyrug

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

The Value Of Detoxing From Emotionally Incestuous (Enmeshed) Family

When someone grows up in an enmeshed, emotionally incestuous family, they naturally have many issues stemming from this.  One of those many issues is that they need time away from their toxic family to detox.

One example of this that comes to mind is a good friend of mine.  Around me, he’s usually kind, caring, fun loving & laid back.  I always can tell when he has dealt with his toxic immediate family in the recent past however, because that great guy disappears.  The person who replaces him is impatient, irritable, & quick to judge & criticize.  In other words, nothing like who he usually is.  It takes some time away from them for the hard to deal with person to go away & the good guy he usually is to come back.  I’ve started referring to this as his detox.

Sadly, this need to detox after being around an emotionally incestuous family is normal for the adult who grew up in this situation.  Also sadly, it makes sense if you think about it.

Someone who doesn’t understand the extreme toxicity that is emotional incest wants to fit in with their family, even if they hate the dynamic.  They will behave however they need to in order to fit in.  On some level however, they know this isn’t normal so they are dealing with cognitive dissonance.  In other words, they grew up thinking this is normal & anything that threatens that belief makes them extremely uncomfortable & confused.  Time away from their toxic family is their detox, & it relieves them of that uncomfortable feeling, at least until the next time they deal with their family.

Even if someone is aware of what is happening & just how dysfunctional their family is, being around such people can bring old habits back to the surface disturbingly easily.  It’s a lot like drug addicts.  They can stay clean much easier when they avoid people who are still addicts & are around people who don’t do drugs.  Getting around those who are still actively addicted makes it very hard for them to stay on their healthier path.  When they backslide, they may get clean again but they are NOT going to be happy with themselves for backsliding.  The same goes for those with emotionally incestuous families.  If a person has worked hard to get healthier, then slides back into old habits, they are going to be pretty upset with themselves when they recognize their bad behavior.  They need time away from their family so they can detox to get back on the right path.

Another problem is the emotionally incestuous family encourages the dysfunctional behavior.  They reward bad behavior, throwing some breadcrumbs of affection or praise to their family members who follow the rules of the family & don’t try to make any healthy changes.  No matter how much someone may want to break free of this to live in a healthier way, the pressure to “behave” & get those crumbs of affection can be very great, which also can account for the need to detox after leaving.  Distance from these highly dysfunctional people helps them to recognize what is happening, & to get back on the right path.

Emotionally incestuous family members also despise anyone who doesn’t enable & encourage their toxic behavior.  They will talk badly about anyone who encourages someone in the emotionally incestuous family to distance themselves from the toxicity.  If someone in such a family has a friend or spouse that speaks against this behavior, the family is not going to tolerate this quietly.  They will tell everyone just how awful that person is, how they’re trying to tear apart the family or even steal their family member away from the family.  If someone hears this enough from their family, they may believe it in time, & return to the dysfunctional fold.  Time away from them, time to detox from the dysfunction, can clear their head.

If your family is emotionally incestuous, then please, do yourself a huge favor & take the time to detox from them as frequently as you can!  It will be good for your mental health!  Or, if someone you know is in such a situation, encourage them to do the same.  Be willing to listen to them without judgment & speak the truth to them about what their family is really like (gently of course!). 

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25% Off Sale On All Of My Ebooks & 15% Off Sale On All Of My Print Books!!

My ebooks are going on sale for the entire month of July! From July 1-31, 2022, all of my ebooks will be 25% off! The discount is applied automatically at checkout, so there are no coupon codes necessary. If you have wanted any of my books, this is a great time to grab them cheap!

My ebooks can be found at the link below…

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

If you prefer print books, you can get 15% off of them by adding code HUSTLE15 at checkout. This sale ends July 1, 2022. My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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Labeling Victims Of Abuse As Survivors Can Be A Mistake

Many people, even those who have survived narcissistic abuse, look down on anyone who uses the term “victim.”  It seems to offend some people who survived narcissistic abuse to be referred to as a victim, because they prefer to be called a survivor.  Others who haven’t survived narcissistic abuse but still find the term victim offensive seem to look down on anyone who considers herself or himself to be a victim.  They obviously associate the term victim with someone who is weak &/or foolish, as if only weak & foolish people can be abused.  They also seem to think victims are those who wallow in the pain of their trauma, & never move on.  They have PTSD or C-PTSD because they won’t just stop thinking about the trauma.  If they’d just stop thinking about it, they’d be fine!

Whatever the motive, many times victims are pushed & even shamed into referring to themselves as survivors & never victims.  This can be a problem for victims!

There is absolutely no shame in falling prey to an abusive person.  Narcissists are notorious for being phenomenal actors.  They can fool anyone no matter how smart or even how much a person may know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you know, naturally the quicker you can catch onto their behavior, but even so, there is a chance you can be fooled briefly.  I have been & I’ve been studying narcissism since 2011!  Anyway there is truly no shame in being abused.  The only shame in any abusive relationship belongs to the abusive person, never their victim.

Also, putting the survivor label on people can make them feel pressured to heal quickly or even get over the abuse entirely (which is unlikely).  Rushing healing never works out well.  Healing has to be done at its own pace & that pace varies greatly from person to person.  Not to mention, most of the time, it’s a life long process.  Very few people completely “get over” abuse, especially when there is a history of it such as growing up with abusive parents then dating or marrying abusive partners.

I think a lot of times people put the survivor label on victims to make themselves more comfortable.  Maybe it makes them feel that since the person survived, the abuse wasn’t that bad.  If it was someone they knew, this can help them feel better about themselves if they did nothing to help the victim.  Or, maybe it is spoken out of simple ignorance.  They intend to be empowering & comforting yet are unsure how to do it. 

As for those who have been abused, I really believe it should be each person’s preference which label they use, so long as each person accepts the fact that they were victims of an abuser & have no shame for that.  Removing yourself from the abuse by calling yourself a survivor can be empowering to some people, & that is wonderful.  Whatever helps is a good thing! 

For myself, I stick with using the term victim.  I don’t want to sound like I’m looking for pity or attention, because truly that’s not the case.  Instead, by using that term, I’m reminding myself that what happened to me wasn’t my fault.  I was innocent & did nothing to deserve the abuse.  This helps me because my abusers blamed me for their bad behavior.  Even years after, I have moments of slipping back into wondering what I did wrong to make them treat me the way they did.  Thankfully, those moments don’t last long, but they do happen.  Referring to myself as a victim is a little reminder every time I say or write it that what they did to me was their fault, not mine.

However you choose to refer to yourself is up to you.  But please, whether you prefer the term victim or survivor, let it be your choice.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into referring to yourself in a way that you don’t feel comfortable with.

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One Way To Handle Narcissists

Talking to narcissists is incredibly frustrating at best.  They think they know best on every topic, & aren’t open to hearing other people’s views.  Even more frustrating is when they are abusive, because when confronted on that behavior, narcissists turn things around to where the victim is to blame, over sensitive or overreacting.  They may even deny the incident happened altogether.  So often it’s easier to avoid confrontation & provide no reaction whatsoever, thus depriving the narcissist of their coveted narcissistic supply. 

There is one other way to handle abusive behavior by narcissists I have discovered in my personal experience that can work pretty well.  And, I’ve learned it’s also Biblical! 

When a narcissist says or does something abusive, rather than react, responding is always best.  Reactions are immediate & without thought, which means they can be overly emotional.  Seeing victims overly emotional feeds narcissists, so it’s best to deprive them of that.  Instead, take a moment to inhale deeply & exhale.  This short task helps to calm both the mind & the body, which will help you to formulate a good response.  The best response in these situations I have found is one that is completely logical & void of emotions while asking questions.

As an example, let’s say a narcissist tells their victim they’re stupid.  Rather than the victim reacting & making a bad situation worse, a victim would do best by staying calm & asking logical questions.  “You say I’m stupid?  I don’t understand why you think that let alone say it.  I have a degree in engineering.  You know that.  I just don’t understand why you think that, let alone think it’s an acceptable to say.  Why do you think these things?”  Another example could be something my ex husband used to say often, as many narcissists do.  A narcissist tells their victim they are the only person in the world who would be upset by the narcissist’s behavior.  A great way to respond would be, “Really?  So you’ve really talked to every other person?  I had no idea!  Thanks for telling me!  I guess I should change my beliefs then so I’m not the only person in the entire world who believes this way, shouldn’t I?” 

Responses like this show the narcissist that you recognize what he or she said is foolish, but without calling the narcissist a fool.  It also shows them that you are on to what they are doing, whether that is trying to manipulate you or tear you down.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, & as I said, it’s even Biblical.  Proverbs 26:5 in the Good News Translation says “Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he’s not as smart as he thinks.”

As long as you stay calm & logical in the situation, without showing any sign of anger or hurt, the narcissist may get angry about what you say, but they also know they can only get so angry without looking completely foolish.  Since they are so focused on appearances, they want to avoid looking foolish at all costs, even if no one is around but you. 

As an added bonus, responses like this do make them back off in this one particular area.  I’ve seen it happen first hand.  I used this tactic with my mother several times.  A close friend of mine mentioned using it with narcissists she knew as well, also with excellent results.

The next time you’re in a challenging situation with a narcissist, try this!  I think you’ll be quite pleased with the results too.

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One Thing Many Narcissists Do After No Contact

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is never easy for many reasons.  One of those reasons is how they often behave after the relationship is over.

Most people are aware of some of what to expect after going no contact with a narcissist.  They know about smear campaigns, harassment & stalking.  What not everyone realizes though is there is more to what narcissists often do in these situations.  Sometimes, narcissists simply vanish only to reappear at a later time in their victims’ lives.  And often, they do this repeatedly.

This may not sound so bad at first but it is bad.  Imagine the following scenario:

You think this awful person is out of your life once & for all.  You finally are free of the constant abuse, the gaslighting, the isolation from your friends & family!  For the first time in a long time, or maybe even the first time ever, you can live the life you want to live without the constant degradation & control.  You are FREE! 

A few months into your new life, you’re settling in & starting to relax & enjoy this newfound freedom.  You’re healing from the damage & forming healthy relationships. Then suddenly, you receive a text from the narcissist.  Then another & another.  Before you know it, your social media message inbox fills up, as does your voicemail & email.  These messages may not even be only from the narcissist, but the devoted flying monkeys who foolishly think they have the right to tell you that you need to contact the narcissist or resume the relationship.  Your new feelings of peace & relaxation are being replaced quickly by intense anxiety, even if you don’t read or listen to the messages.  You quickly block all means of contact, & the messages & calls naturally stop.  Again, you think this is the end.  And maybe it is, but just for a while.  Then several months or even years later, the narcissist & flying monkeys start harassing you again & the intense anxiety returns.

This scenario is more common than you might think, & it happens all the time with narcissists.

If this happens to you, don’t think it’s because the narcissist loves & misses you.  That isn’t the case because no matter how wonderful you may be, narcissists don’t feel normal emotions.  The narcissist isn’t missing you at all.  At best, he or she is missing the narcissistic supply you used to provide.  As sad as that is, that is usually the best case scenario in these situations.  Usually their motives are much worse.

Popping in their victim’s life after a long absence is one way narcissists continue to abuse their victims.  They know their victim wants nothing to do with them, which is why they severed ties.  By making random appearances, this keeps the victim mentally off balance.  It creates terrible fear, because it makes victims wonder what is next & will this person ever stop?  It also makes them wonder what exactly is this person capable of doing, & what is he or she up to?

Adding insult to injury is the fact that most narcissists tell their flying monkeys that they miss the victim so terribly, they’re miserable without that person & other lies.  This often motivates flying monkeys to do whatever it takes to victims to attempt to force them to reenter the relationship with the narcissist.

If you’re in this situation, my heart goes out to you.  I’ve been there & know just how horrible it is.  The best things I can tell you are to ask God for wisdom in handling this situation, block every means of access they have to you, & document EVERYTHING.  Laws regarding stalking & harassment are constantly changing, so your documentation may prove valuable.  At the very least, it can provide evidence of bad behavior leading up to when they finally do break the law, & that can help you with law enforcement.

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The Evil Narcissistic Gaze

One weapon all narcissists seem to use is the evil narcissistic gaze.  Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  The look of the majority of people when they gaze at another couldn’t be described as a weapon.  Awkward, maybe, but a weapon?  No way.  Then again, narcissists aren’t most people.

Covert narcissists use their evil gaze to convey disgust & disappointment.  Their eyes sometimes turn ice cold, as if they can see into your soul, & to make matters even worse, are disgusted by what they find there.  These people don’t have to resort to threats of physical harm to get their victims to do their will.  Often, this simple but terrible gaze will do the trick, & without the victim even realizing what is happening.  Victims will feel incredibly uncomfortable, even to the point of feeling shame, & they will do anything to escape this feeling.  Naturally, this was the goal of the covert narcissist for using this weapon.

The evil gaze of the overt narcissist is somewhat different.  It can strike a terrible fear of danger rather than disgust or disappointment.  Often, the danger is unknown.  Will this person physically harm me?  Will they humiliate me?  The imagination will run wild at this point imagining all of the terrible things the narcissist can do, which makes the gaze even more terrifying.

A fairly common part of this gaze is the eyes changing color.  My mother’s eyes turned black at this time.  I always thought it was just her, but I have spoken to other victims of narcissistic abuse who said their narcissist’s eyes also would turn black.  Some also said theirs turned a steely gray color that was very cold & unnatural. 

Even if the narcissist’s eyes don’t change color, there is no mistaking this evil gaze.  My ex husband’s eyes never changed color, but the look was still terrifying.  He was a covert narcissist, but his look was like a combination of the overt & covert’s gaze.  I often felt as if I was looking into the eyes of evil personified.

Either variation of this terrible gaze happens mostly when a narcissist is trying to manipulate & control their victim.  It is meant to instill fear of not complying with whatever the narcissist wants from the victim at that moment.  Seeing this look up close & personal, it can be very difficult not to give into that fear!  If a victim is unaware of what is happening, I would guess they give in almost every single time, because that look is simply that terrifying.

This awful narcissistic gaze also can happen when the victim is in a weakened state, such as physically ill or emotionally upset.  In those situations, it seems this evil gaze simply happens naturally.  It probably is not about manipulation at that point, but instead the narcissist is unable to hide their complete lack of empathy, feeling of superiority because they aren’t experiencing the same thing, or their anger at their victim for inconveniencing them with their problem.

If you see such a look coming from another person, know that this look comes from a narcissist whose mask has slipped completely off.  They can’t conceal the hatred they feel for you at that moment or their intense desire to get you to do what they want you to do no matter what the cost to you.  Protect yourself however you can from this person!  Even if all you can do at this moment is leaving the room, do it!  If at all possible though, end the relationship.  A person who uses this evil gaze is going to use & abuse you without any concern whatsoever to the damage they do to you.  You don’t deserve that, so protect yourself!

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A Common Sign Of Narcissistic Abuse: Isolation

One very common sign of narcissism in adults is isolating their victims. 

Narcissistic parents can come across as over protective.  The truth though is that many forbid their children to spend time with or even speak to other people, even people within their own family.  If the children disobey, they are severely punished.  My mother raged terribly when I spent time with my now ex husband when we were in high school.  She also kept me close to her side when we visited family, not allowing me much time alone with my cousins or grandparents.

When children of narcissistic parents grow up, their parents often do their best to start trouble in their child’s friendships & even their marriage.  They often treat friends as if they are unworthy to speak to.  Some narcissistic parents tell their adult children outright that their spouse isn’t good enough while others demonstrate this is how they feel without saying the words by behaviors such as refusing to acknowledge the spouse’s birthday.  Other narcissistic parents will outright lie to their adult child about the spouse, such as claiming that spouse has been unfaithful or abuses their children.  From my observations, the majority of narcissistic parents do as my in-laws have done, & treat the spouse poorly behind the adult child’s back yet are nice to the spouse only when the adult child is around.  By doing this, when the spouse complains, the adult child doesn’t believe them because they only saw their parent being nice to them.  This causes a great deal of friction in a marriage & many marriages fail because of this behavior.  That of course is the goal.

While some use obviously controlling behaviors such as threats, most narcissistic spouses are more subtle in how they isolate their victims.  They plant seeds of doubt in their spouse’s minds about people they want out of their spouse’s life.  My ex husband told me my best friend wasn’t a good friend to me & didn’t really care about me.  He said the same about my wonderful grandparents.  He obviously disapproved of me having people in my life who could see through his toxic behavior.  My best friend & I went our separate ways for years & I stepped out of my grandparents’ life for years too because of him.  On a side note, I’m happy to say he is out of my life, & my best friend is back in it.  My grandmother died not long after I left my grandparents’ life, unfortunately.  I did reconnect with my grandfather though & had 3 good years with him before he passed away.

The reason narcissists isolate their victims is because an isolated victim is easy to control.  Isolated people don’t have good people in their lives who will tell them that the way they are being treated is wrong, they deserve better or that they don’t have to tolerate such behavior which means they’ll tolerate the abuse.  They don’t have good people who will help them to escape the abuse or to help them heal which often leaves them in the position of feeling that they have no way to escape.  Without such good people in a person’s life, it can be very easy to accept abuse.  A person often even loses the desire to leave the abusive relationship, because they are so beaten down by their abuser either physically or emotionally or both. 

If this describes your situation, know that you are NOT alone!  I would dare say almost every victim of narcissistic abuse has been in this situation.  Don’t let that be a reason to stay in the situation though.  Reach out however you can.  Online forums are a great way to meet others who understand.  I have a Facebook group full of caring, understanding & supportive people.  There are many others as well, & not just on Facebook. 

If the narcissist monitors your online activities, then talk to someone else, such as your doctor or pastor.  Call a crisis hotline, preferably a domestic violence one.  They should be able to help or at the very least point you in the direction of help available to you in your area either to help you escape the narcissist or at least find safe people to talk to.  Isolation is a form of abuse, & you deserve better than to be abused!

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How Cunning Narcissists Can Be

I have my blog comments set up so I have to approve comments from anyone who hasn’t commented before.  It’s been a useful feature for protecting it from the narcissists in my life as well as weeding out spam.  Thankfully most comments don’t meet that criteria, so rarely is there a comment I don’t approve.  Recently though I had one.  I didn’t approve the comment primarily because I didn’t want anyone new to learning about narcissism to read it & fall for the manipulation in it.  I was simply going to ignore it but I realized it could be an excellent teaching tool.

I won’t share the comment word for word, only parts of it that can be useful for educational purposes.

It started out saying that my article was “insightful.”  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  But, in true narcissist form, it was an attempt to gain my trust.  Narcissists aren’t ones to complement others to be nice.  Consider love bombing.  It involves lots of complements which lures victims in.  Even if the relationship isn’t romantic, narcissists are very complimentary at first since it helps gain their victims’ trust & create a bond between them.

From there, the commenter said that a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder suffers more than their victims because they have C-PTSD from childhood which lead to them developing NPD.  Then this person explained the disorder.  This is clearly an attempt to appear superior to me by being much more knowledgeable than me on this topic.  The topic I’ve been writing about since about 2011, by the way.  I’m not saying I know everything about narcissism of course, because I definitely don’t.  But, look at this situation for a moment.  Why would anyone talk condescendingly to someone who clearly has plenty of experience & knowledge on a topic?  It’s not as if this person said they have studied it for years, are in the mental health field or even mentioned a past relationship with a narcissist.  No evidence of anything like that was given.  I was just supposed to take them at their word, believing they know much more than me.  That is typical narcissist behavior – they expect to be believed & even revered simply because they are them. 

The person then went on to defend narcissists, saying they are simply unaware of the suffering their behavior causes due to physical issues with their brain, & if I understand at all what goes on in their minds, I will agree.  Rather snarky, right?  The mask was coming off at this point.

They then went on to say that anger is normal, but sometimes anger “can turn you & your actions evil.”  This comment is interesting because it’s trying to lure me back in while insulting me all in one sentence!  Talk about crazy making!  The person validated my anger at narcissists then called me evil.  They didn’t say anger can turn “a person” or “a person’s actions” evil.  They said “you,” which seemed aimed directly at me, not talking about people in general, yet there is plausible deniability in that sentence.  Maybe this person aimed it at me, or maybe they were simply saying any person’s anger can do this to them.  Narcissists love plausible deniability, because it allows them to be hateful while appearing innocent, & if their target says anything, they look petty or even crazy.  Looking at the context of this particular situation though, I tend to believe it was aimed at me. 

They also went on to say I need to understand the intricacies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how the narcissist (not sure which one in my life they are referring to) was a victim of child abuse & how doing so will set me free from the resentment I obviously feel.  Why would any person have such sympathy for one person for being a victim of abuse who went on to abuse others yet have so little sympathy for another who also was abused yet did NOT go on to abuse others?  That is very typical narcissist logic.  Normal people see just how intensely wrong that is, but narcissists don’t.  They are always right, victims are always wrong.

The commenter ended by saying I’m in a losing situation followed by a laughing emoji.  In fact, on a hunch I googled this emoji.  It’s called “face with tears of joy” & is used to show someone laughing so hard they have tears in their eyes.  Pretty disturbing when you think about it.  Someone who says they think I am in such a bad way would find it so funny they would not only laugh but to the point of tears.  I think that sums up narcissists beautifully.  They are more than happy, they are simply elated when their victims suffer. 

Just for the record, not only did I not approve the comment, I blocked the commenter from accessing my blog.

I hope this helps give you some insight into just how subtle & wicked narcissists can be.  The more you know, the better prepared you can be when you have to deal with these people. 

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries.  They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves.  Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors.  Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons.  When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish.  This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children.  It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what.  They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!

Children need to feel safe knowing that there won’t be any repercussions if they say things like, “No”, “Stop doing that,” “Don’t touch me”, “That hurts”, “I don’t agree with you” & “I won’t do that.” 

When a child doesn’t experience this ability to set reasonable boundaries, they can turn very submissive.  Their boundaries become very blurred.  They change their likes, dislikes, views, etc. depending on the company they keep.  They lose their individuality.  They do above & beyond what is reasonable for other people, even to the point of enabling terrible behavior.  They tolerate way too much, including abusive behavior, because they don’t believe they have the right to do otherwise.

When a person grows up not allowed to say no, the fear of what could happen can become paralyzing, & they literally can’t say the word no.  This fear happens because of many possible reasons.  Some of those reasons might be the fear of hurting other people’s feelings, fear of someone’s anger, fear of being punished, fear of abandonment or the fear of being seen as selfish, bad or even ungodly.  This fear also can happen because a person is too hard on themselves, & if they say no, they judge themselves very harshly.  They condemn themselves as horrible people, so they don’t say no in order to avoid feeling that way.

If you recognize this as your behavior, you’re not alone.  This is so common among children of narcissistic parents.  The good news though is that you can make healthy changes.

I always recommend starting with prayer in any situation, & this one is no different.  Asking God for help is never a mistake.  Also ask Him to show you the truth about where you end & others begin, what you should & shouldn’t tolerate, how to start setting healthy boundaries & anything else you need help with.

Also start paying attention to how you feel.  Does it bother you when someone expects something from you?  Why does it bother you?  If it feels unfair since they don’t ask others to do as much as you or they want you to do something they could do themselves, that is very reasonable!

Start small!  Start by not answering your phone if you don’t want to talk to the person calling or something like that.  The more you gain confidence in smaller boundaries, the more it will help you to go on to bigger ones.

Know people are going to be upset with you for your new boundaries.  Rather than being hurt by this, think of it this way.  Safe, good people will be happy for you & encourage you.  Only toxic people are offended by reasonable boundaries.  Seeing toxic people for who they are may be painful, but it’s also a good thing.  It shows you who you need to remove from your life.  And, removing them allows more time & energy for those who truly deserve that from you.

Having good boundaries won’t happen over night, but it will happen.  Just stay with it!  You can do this!

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off my print books when you use code INFLUENCE10 at checkout until May 27, 2022.

Print versions of my books can be found at the link below..

Cynthia Bailey-Rug’s spotlight on Lulu

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Forgiveness After Abuse

Many people who have survived an abusive relationship, whether the abuser is a family member or spouse, have been told they must forgive their abuser if they truly want to heal.  It is often said like forgiveness is a magic wand – once you decide to forgive, you do, all damage caused by the abuse is gone, the abuser has an epiphany about their horrible behavior & abuser & victim live happily ever after.  Sadly, this is absolutely NOT the case!

Forgiveness can be an absolutely wonderful thing.  Unfortunately though the topic is misunderstood by so many, & the people who believe wrongly seem to be the loudest about the value of forgiveness.

To start with, forgiveness doesn’t mean forgive & forget.  There are many Scriptures that mention forgiveness in the Bible, but nowhere is “forgive & forget” mentioned.  In fact, I consider it to be a very un-biblical concept.  Jesus says we are to be as wise as serpents yet innocent as doves in Matthew 10:16.  Forgiving & forgetting to me seems completely unwise.  If someone is abusive, then their victim forgives & forgets abusive incidents, the abuser readily will repeat their abusive behavior because they know there will be no consequences.  However, if you give them consequences for their behavior, there is a much better chance of them changing.  Clearly that isn’t always the case but it creates a much more likely scenario than forgiving & forgetting, & allowing them to abuse you repeatedly.

Many people think that forgiveness & reconciliation are the same thing, but clearly they are not! Luke 17:3-4 in the Amplified Bible say, “Pay attention and always be on guard [looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him.  14 Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him [that is, give up resentment and consider the offense recalled and annulled].”  Notice how it states that the offending person repents, you are to forgive him.  It doesn’t say you must forgive no matter what.

Many people who misunderstand Godly forgiveness are also quick to quote the part of Ephesians 4:26 that says not to let the sun go down on your anger.  They quote only a small portion of the verse.  In reality, it says, “Ephesians 4:26  “Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.”  According to this verse, anger is acceptable as long as you don’t allow it to motivate you to doing something shameful or sinful such as doing something vengeful to hurt the person who hurt you.

Another interesting point to consider about Ephesians 4:26.  It shows what actions are acceptable reasons for feeling anger.  Sin, immorality, injustice & ungodly behavior.  There should never be a point in a person’s life that such things don’t make them angry!  Feeling neutral about them or accepting them would normalize some pretty terrible behavior that should not be normal under any circumstances.  You can forgive a person while still being furious about the wicked & cruel things they have done to you.  I can tell you that I have forgiven my parents, but I still despise the cruel things they did to me in my lifetime.

If someone tells you that you need to hurry up & forgive your abuser or even “forgive & forget,” then please disregard what they say.  Forgive God’s way when you are ready to take that step.  Don’t let anyone make you feel as if you aren’t forgiving fast enough, as doing that can slow down the healing process.  Take the step when you feel ready to do so & only then.  And, never forget that you are always going to feel some anger at what was done to you because it was wrong.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way!  It’s a healthy way to feel & yes, even a Christian way to feel!

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Shame Over Past Behavior In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Victims of narcissist abuse are no strangers to shame.  Narcissists use it as a weapon very simply because it is such an effective weapon.  A person who feels tremendous shame is very easy to manipulate because they believe they are flawed, stupid, awful, selfish & more beyond repair, so they must listen to someone who isn’t a terrible person like they are.  It’s just common sense that someone out to manipulate & control another person would be thrilled with a victim who thinks this way.

Even when an abuse victim realizes this, that doesn’t make the shame go away.  That shame can hang around for a long time.  Thankfully, much of the shame instilled in victims by the narcissists in their lives diminishes & even disappears fairly fast when they realize that what they feel & believe was deliberately put their by a narcissist.  Other shame however tends to hang around way too long!  That is the shame we will address today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel intense shame about their behavior when they were in a relationship with a narcissist.  I truly understand this since I have experienced the same myself.  In fact, my behavior made me wonder if I was a narcissist since I did some of the same things.  The truth however is no, I am not nor was I a narcissist.  And, if you have similar feelings, I’m sure you aren’t either.

Victims of narcissistic abuse must lie when in relationship with a narcissist.  One key to surviving a narcissistic relationship is to please the narcissist at all times.  Obviously common sense says no one can please any person at all times, in particular someone who is notoriously impossible to please.  However, in the midst of the relationship, that isn’t common sense.  Victims are conditioned to think they must please the narcissist & not doing so is a huge flaw on their part, deserving whatever abuse the narcissist wishes to dish out.  Rather than face that abuse, victims often lie.  It’s a survival skill.  Unfortunately this survival skill can come with a lot of shame attached after the relationship is over.  Instead, try extending mercy & understanding to yourself because it was a necessary evil at the time.

Manipulation is bad, there is no disputing that.  Yet like lying, it too is a necessary evil when in the throes of a relationship with a narcissist.  Anything to please the narcissist is what is important & if that requires manipulation, so be it.  Once the relationship is over, however, looking back on being manipulative in any capacity is shame inducing.  It even can make a person wonder if they are a narcissist as well.  If you are wondering the same, no you are not!!  The fact you wonder & are willing to research it to find out says you aren’t a narcissist.  They don’t do self reflection, & if they somehow stumble upon something stating anything negative about them, they reject it immediately.  So no, you aren’t a narcissist.  You are someone who did something that narcissists do but you only did so in order to survive a toxic environment.

Maybe you were married to a narcissist & did things sexually you aren’t proud of having done.  Again, you did this as a way to survive.  That doesn’t make you a bad person!

If you have experienced such things then please keep in mind although you feel ashamed of what you have done in the past, you aren’t a narcissist nor are you a bad person.  You did what you needed to do at the time to survive.  That is all.  If you had been in a normal relationship, you wouldn’t have done such things.  It’s ok to release that shame about your former behavior!  When you struggle with this, ask God to help you.  He will so let Him do it!  You don’t deserve to live under such a dark cloud of shame!

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Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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How People Handle You Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

When people have known you a long time, it can be difficult for some of them to handle your healing. Functional people will respect your healing though, & even encourage you.  They will be so happy to see you growing stronger & healthier, & learning how to live a good life, especially if they knew you during the abuse you endured. 

Dysfunctional people however, won’t be so happy or encouraging.

While not all dysfunctional people are abusive, of course, they still may not be happy about your healing.  Sometimes that is because it makes them feel badly about themselves.  They see you learning, growing & becoming happy, & they resent not doing the same.  The seriously dysfunctional won’t be motivated by feeling this way to work on their healing.

Others are on the side of your abuser, & can’t handle your healing because it is proof that the abusive person wasn’t the wonderful person this flying monkey thought they were.  Rather than face that truth, some especially cowardly people prefer to stay in denial & try to force the victim to maintain the status quo so they can continue to think of the abuser as a wonderful person rather than face the truth.

Whatever the motivation, these dysfunctional people have a goal of putting the victim in their place, so to speak, so they can continue living in their dysfunction.

A common way people accomplish this by refusing to acknowledge the new, healthier you.  They will mentally keep you in their box of what they expect you to be, & treat you accordingly. 

When I was growing up, I was completely submissive to my parents & did only as I was told.  I was a very good doormat.  As an adult who had focused on my healing for quite some time, my family still treated me as the doormat I once was.  Most spoke to me however they wanted, which was usually disrespectful & cruel.  This was especially evident during the time my father was dying. Their level of cruelty & vile words was astounding.  My family daily harassed & tried to bully me into ending no contact to say good bye to him.  Not one person cared about my thoughts or feelings on the matter, only theirs, & clearly they were furious they couldn’t force me to bend to their will.  The way they treated me is very common among narcissistic families. 

As you make small steps in your healing, even if those steps aren’t celebrated, they shouldn’t be diminished or totally disregarded.  Every single person changes over the course of their life, & that is to be expected.  Anyone who refuses to acknowledge changes you make or acts like something is wrong with you for growing clearly has problems. 

When you come across these people, please do NOT give in to whatever it is they want from you.  Be the best you that you can be.  Focus on your healing & never give up on it.  People like that don’t have your best interest at heart.  They only have their best interests at heart, & maybe even those of your abuser.  They aren’t worth trying to please.  Instead, be more concerned with pleasing God, pleasing yourself & pleasing those people you are the closest to, such as your spouse.  The rest really aren’t all that important, especially those who refuse to see you as anything but who you were at your worst. 

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People Who Say Those Who End Relationships Hate Or Are Unforgiving

Something I have come to learn about people is many times, when you end a relationship with someone, other people assume it’s because you hate that person.  I was reminded of this not long ago when someone made a comment on one of my old YouTube videos.  The video was made when I first learned my father was dying, & I mentioned how I wasn’t going to see him at the hospital.  The commenter said that I shouldn’t hate him, I should forgive him.  This frustrated me because I have heard similar comments before so many times, mostly from my intensely dysfunctional family.  In talking with people who read my work, I’ve learned this happens all the time.

Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that those of us who have ended relationships do so out of hatred & unforgiveness needs to know some things.

There are people who end relationships out of hatred & unforgiveness of course, but the vast majority of people have other valid reasons for ending relationships, even with their own family members. 

People change, & sometimes those changes mean people grow apart.  It’s natural.  Not every single relationship was meant to be a lifelong commitment. 

Sometimes people think someone is a certain way when the relationship begins, but as time passes, they realize that person is not like they thought.  Most people are on their best behavior at the beginning of any relationship, & as time passes, they stop trying so hard.  That can mean there are some ways people are incompatible that weren’t evident at the beginning, or it can mean that someone is dysfunctional or even abusive.  There is nothing wrong with ending such relationships.

While family should be a lifelong relationship, it isn’t always possible.  Sometimes family members seem to be good people until something happens that changes them.  Maybe the patriarch or matriarch of the family dies, & suddenly people change.  That happened in my family.  Once my grandparents died, people changed a great deal, & not necessarily for the better.  The patriarch & matriarch of a family often can keep the bad behavior to a minimum.  Once they pass away, the bad behavior is no longer restrained, & people feel free to behave however they like, including very badly.  When the bad behavior is toxic or even abusive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending those relationships.

People who are so quick to judge & criticize others who end relationships should consider such things before passing judgment.  There are other things they also should consider.

People who have been abused almost never exaggerate their experience.  If anything, they leave out plenty of details & even minimize it.  If someone claims another person abused them, chances are excellent it was much worse than what they said.

Abusers are excellent actors who portray themselves as good people to anyone who is not their victim.  Just because someone is nice to you doesn’t mean they are incapable of being abusive. 

Along those same lines, just because someone is active in their church, volunteers, is a teacher, doctor or in another helping type profession doesn’t mean they can’t be abusive.  Abusers can be found in all walks of life.  They exist in all religions, races, genders & careers.

Enduring toxic & abusive relationships doesn’t make you a good, Godly person.  It isn’t the “good Christian” thing to do.  There are plenty of Scriptures throughout the Bible where people are told to have nothing more to do with other people.  In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave his family.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about people God wants His children to have nothing to do with.  Titus 3:10 warns to have nothing to do with divisive people.  Ephesians 5:6-7 says we are to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.  Clearly this is a topic on which God has plenty to say, & people would be wise to take that seriously rather than judge those who end certain relationships.

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Encouragement For Those Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

I don’t know how many nasty comments I have heard people say when it comes to severing ties with narcissistic parents.  I’ve heard no contact with a narcissistic parent is taking the easy way out.  Relationships take work, & walking away is cowardly & lazy.  Blood is thicker than water, so just put up with whatever they do.  Every time I hear this sort of nonsense, I just want to scream.

If someone has told you something similar, I want to encourage you today to ignore their idiocy!  Rather than feel badly for severing ties with your abusive parents, consider some points…

Most of us who have gone no contact agonized over the decision for a long time.  It wasn’t done thoughtlessly.  Quite the opposite!  It took me at least a couple of years before going no contact.

A lot of pain & suffering led up to the decision to go no contact.  Years upon years of abuse led to it.  This decision wasn’t reached because of one small disagreement!  It was reached only after suffering years of constant emotional & mental abuse.  Often other forms of abuse were present as well such as spiritual, physical, sexual & financial.  There is absolutely NO reason to tolerate that from anyone!  It’s only right to protect yourself!

No contact isn’t easy.  Not only the decision to sever ties with a parent.  The aftermath can be incredibly difficult. 

Many narcissists engage in horrific smear campaigns that turn a person’s entire family & many friends against them.  So many people who go no contact with their narcissistic parents lose any family they have as well, because the family blindly sides with the narcissist.  The ones who go no contact are labeled as selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, evil, un-Godly & more.  This happened to me, & I can tell you that it is incredibly painful when people you think care about you turn on you & side with the people who have caused you such intense pain. 

Other narcissists refuse to take no contact as an answer.  They harass & stalk their victims mercilessly.  They show up places where the victim frequents often.  They inundate their victim with constant phone calls, voicemail messages, text messages, emails & social media messages.  The sheer volume can be utterly staggering!  And, they will have others harass you too.  I have been in this situation & I really can’t describe how terrifying it is.  To think that someone has the ability to manipulate others into harassing you & can devote so much time to harassing you makes you wonder what else exactly are they capable of doing?  It’s also terrifying when you block one means of accessing you they have then suddenly they show up via another means.  One of my abusers was so vicious that I blocked her access to my website, because she began contacting me through it after I’d blocked her ip address by usingother computers.  One of her messages simply said “boo!”  To me, that clearly was her way of saying, “You can’t stop me!”  So disturbing!

Even if you are fortunate enough not to experience those scenarios, that doesn’t mean no contact is easy.  Once you’re away from the constant abuse, you’d think you could relax & begin to enjoy life, but that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes, once your brain realizes it can stop functioning in survival mode, it seems to want to force you to face all of the problems that were on the back burner because you had to focus on survival.  That can be very overwhelming at first, & it takes time to make your mind behave in a more manageable way.

There is also a grief process that happens after no contact with narcissistic parents.  You grieve the parents you never had but wanted.  You grieve your stolen childhood.  You grieve the family & friends you lost only because you were trying to protect yourself.  You realize your parents & family never loved you, & grieve that loss. 

No contact isn’t easy by any means.  To follow through with it takes an incredible amount of courage & strength.  Never, ever let anyone make you feel as if something is wrong with you for severing ties with your narcissistic parents.  Instead be proud of yourself  because you had the fortitude to do one of the most difficult things a person can do!

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Losing A Narcissistic Parent

When someone’s parent dies, if they had a good relationship with that parent, or at least the relationship looked good to outsiders, chances are good they will get plenty of support.  People will tell them how sorry they were for their loss, bake casseroles & say things like, “If there’s anything I can do, call me.” 

When a narcissistic parent dies, however, the scenario is much different.  The usual signs of support & love aren’t common.  Quite the opposite in many cases.  Often, flying monkeys come out of the woodwork to shame the adult child at this time for being such a terrible son or daughter.  To add insult to injury, people often don’t know what to say to someone who has lost a narcissistic parent.  They seem to think since the adult child wasn’t close to the parent or maybe hadn’t even seen them in quite some time prior to their death, their death doesn’t affect the adult child at all.  They may say a brief, “sorry to hear about your parent” & then act as if nothing has happened. 

When my parents died, this was my experience. My father died in October, 2017, & I hadn’t spoken to my father in several months, then almost eighteen months later when my mother died, we hadn’t spoken in almost exactly three years.  My father was the first of my parents to die.  His death was surrounded by flying monkey attacks.  They happened frequently for a few months prior to his death, then daily for his final three weeks.  When my mother died, it also was an incredibly hard time for me.  Thankfully there weren’t many flying monkey attacks, but it was still very difficult.  The circumstances surrounding her death & her final few months were tragic, leaving me feeling incredibly guilty for being no contact when she clearly needed help.

The scenarios I described earlier is exactly how things worked for my husband & I.  When his parents were getting sicker & frailer, he spent a lot of time with them.  He was the only one to take them to the hospital & help them out when no one else would.  People showered him with concern & love when they passed away.  My husband got through the situation quite well, keeping to himself as is his nature, but no doubt several folks would have been more than happy to listen if he wanted to talk or if he’d needed help. When my parents died, things were very different. Those closest to me were very supportive but those not as close to me weren’t.  It was clear they didn’t know what to say or do, so in most cases, they said & did nothing, even acting as if nothing unusual had happened in my life.

Since so many of you who follow my work are in positions more like mine, & you are on my heart to talk to today.

When your narcissistic parent dies, it’s going to be hard.  The lack of support & understanding from those in your life may make it harder.  And, it really hurts!

I learned something.  It’s perfectly normal to feel as I did.  If you feel the same way, you’re ok!

For one thing, it’s a shock.  Narcissistic parents seem to take up all the space in the relationship.  They can feel bigger than life.  That means it’s impossible to imagine life without them.  It even can feel like them dying is impossible – they’ll always be there.  The fact they aren’t anymore is a strange & difficult thing to face.

There’s also the fact that losing a parent is different than losing anyone else.  You never lived one single day without your parent.  You may not have seen them daily or called often, but even so, the only world you know involved your parents being in it.  They were always a part of your reality.  That alone makes it seem impossible to make sense of a world without them. 

Lastly, whatever the relationship, if you’re drastically affected by your parent’s death it’s because you loved your parent.  That is totally normal.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  That is just as normal as feeling virtually nothing when your narcissistic parent dies because you grieved them enough when they were alive. 

Losing a narcissistic parent is a very strange thing to face.  Don’t judge yourself for how you feel about it.  Just focus on taking care of yourself, & grieving however you need to.

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Coping When Gaslighting Happens

Gaslighting is an incredibly insidious, subtle form of abuse.  In time, it can erode a person’s ability to make decisions by destroying their trust in their own instincts, feelings & perceptions.  It’s evil & horrible, yet it also is seldom seen as such.

Once a person realizes what gaslighting is though, it feels as if enlightenment suddenly has taken place.  Things finally make sense!  This also is the time an abusive person who uses gaslighting steps up their game.

When this happens, the victim of gaslighting goes one of two ways.  Either they think they were wrong, their abuser is not gaslighting them & gaslighting isn’t a real thing or they become determined to fight back.  I truly hope those of you who follow my work are interested in fighting back!  If not, I hope you will be soon!

When a narcissist actively employs gaslighting, confronting them on their behavior is often a waste of time.  Rather than admit their abuse is wrong, they spin the situation around to make their victim look abusive, over sensitive & mentally unstable while simultaneously making them look innocent.  There are times when confronting them is necessary, but often it is best to avoid doing so.  During those times, talking to yourself can be very valuable because it will help you to avoid falling for their abuse.  Following are some helpful affirmations to tell yourself that can help you deal with gaslighting behavior.

“That is NOT how that happened!”  Narcissists love to reinvent the past, glossing over their bad behavior or flat out denying it.  Sometimes simply reminding yourself that what they say isn’t true is enough to keep you focused on the truth rather than believing their lies.  Reinventing the past is a coping skill many narcissists use, & it is their right to do so.  It also is your right not to join in on their dysfunction.

“My response to cruel, contemptible behavior is normal.  What is NOT normal is the fact you think that what you are saying & doing is acceptable & normal.” Narcissists try to make their victims feel like the problem, & that their reactions are completely wrong.  This is NOT true!  Remind yourself that their behavior is the problem, not your reaction to it.  Being angry, insulted, hurt, & outraged is normal in abnormal circumstances!

“Me wanting you to be accountable for your behavior doesn’t make me a bad person.  It makes me normal.”  Narcissists can’t stand being accountable for their behavior, & will do anything to avoid it.  Accountability isn’t a bad thing & people should be accountable for their behavior.  Only people behaving badly want to avoid it.

“My thoughts, opinions, needs, feelings & even my humanity matter.  Period!”  Narcissists try to make their victims feel as if there is nothing about them that matters.  They are WRONG!  Every single person matters, no matter what narcissists may think.

“No one can dictate how I feel & what hurts me.”  Narcissists are notorious for telling their victims how they think they should feel as a way to manipulate them.  This is so wrong!  No one has the right to tell any other person how they “should” feel. 

“God doesn’t love you because of how you treat me!”  Some narcissists use religion to justify their wicked behavior & many even try to twist His word around to justify their behavior.  This is extremely WRONG!  God loves the people He has created & it pains Him when they harm each other.  When a person sets boundaries with an abuser, that isn’t harmful to the abuser.  It is normal, reasonable behavior.

I hope these affirmations help you to avoid falling for gaslighting & cling to the truth instead.

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15% Off My Print Books!

My print book publisher is offering 15% off all print books until April 8, 2022. To take advantage of this sale, enter code COOKBOOK15 at checkout.

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Ways Narcissistic Abuse Can Make You Feel Crazy

Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing in so many ways.  It can ruin a person’s faith in God because many narcissists twist God’s word around to justify their abusive ways.  It can ruin a person’s financial stability because narcissists feel entitled to their victim’s money & credit cards.  It can destroy a person’s self-esteem since narcissists are notorious for doing that as a way to gain control over their victims.  Narcissistic abuse also can make a person feel like their crazy, because narcissists love either implying or saying outright that their victims are crazy.

Feeling crazy isn’t only due to the direct abuse inflicted by narcissists however.  It can come as something of an after effect of the abuse, & that is what we’ll be discussing today.

When you have been abused by a narcissist, your emotions are drastically affected.  They can be rather raw due to being so overused by the constant traumatic abuse.  Being oversensitive like this isn’t always a bad thing because it can make you very sensitive to & in tune with other people.  However, it also can leave you feeling ways that are less than pleasant & even make you doubt your sanity.

One such feeling is envy when those close to you are happy.  You don’t think of yourself as being petty, but you get angry at the special people in your life that are experiencing good things happening to them.  You aren’t a mean person or naturally envious, so why does this happen?  It’s normal to feel this way sometimes when going through a hard time, such as after the death of someone you love.  You’re miserable & their joy is a reminder of that.  That being said, doesn’t it seem only logical that when experiencing something as horrid as narcissistic abuse you might feel that same way sometimes?  It does NOT mean you’re crazy!  It means you’ve been through some terrible things & are longing for better times.  Just be sure to stay aware of it & don’t mistreat anyone because of how you feel. 

Closely related is feeling envious of those with loving, healthy relationships.  Growing up with narcissistic parents makes a person feel so many things such as sadness for not having loving parents, grief for their childhood being stolen by their parents & anger for not being safe with those people who were supposed to love them unconditionally to treat them well.  Seeing people with loving, attentive, functional parents is a reminder of what you lacked.  It can trigger envy.  It may make you feel crazy or bad for being so envious, but truly, it’s normal!  The same goes for those romantically involved with a narcissist.  Seeing a happy couple can trigger envy for what you lacked.  That also is very normal! 

Another common issue is being angry & overreacting to the smallest things.  Narcissists are infamous for angering even the calmest, most laid back of people.  They also are infamous for using that justifiable anger to make their victim feel crazy & badly for being angry.  Naturally, victims learn to stuff their anger to hide it.  This works for narcissists because they know their victims will tolerate about anything they do without complaint.  Victims suffer though not only because of the abuse but also because they often lose the ability to show anger in healthy ways.  Instead, they get very angry over inconsequential things.  Something as simple as losing a pen can trigger rage.  Or, someone making an insensitive comment that isn’t even really mean can result in the victim yelling at them.  After the victim calms down, they often feel crazy for getting so angry over something so small.  The victim isn’t crazy though!  They are behaving normally in abnormal circumstances!

If you have experienced feelings like these, please know that there is nothing wrong with you!  You aren’t crazy!  You are a normal person who has experienced abnormal & horrific abuse.  The more you heal, the less you will feel these feelings.  Keep learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & how to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Write in a journal & look back over what you learned often, as it will help you to remember what you learned.  Most importantly, stay close to God.  Let Him help you to heal!

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Often Hate Themselves

Relatively speaking, very few victims of narcissistic abuse escape the abuse without feeling intense self-hatred.  There are plenty of reasons for this.

The main reason for this of course is narcissists.  They do their best to annihilate their victims’ self-esteem in order to control them.  A person who doubts their intelligence will listen to what others tell them to do.  A person who thinks no one else would put up with them will stay in a relationship, no matter how toxic.  A person who feels worthless will tolerate any treatment because they don’t believe they deserve better.  But, there are other reasons too.

Someone who was involved in either a romantic relationship or a friendship with a narcissist will feel terrible for not seeing the red flags of narcissism or taking too long to leave or for putting up with the abuse for however long they did.  Even understanding that narcissists are phenomenal actors that can fool anyone doesn’t really help a person in this situation feel much better. 

Also, other people who weren’t directly involved with the abuse even can make victims hate themselves.

People who imply or even outright say that the victim is to blame for the abuse can make victims hate themselves.  When you are in the fragile place of recently having escaped an abusive relationship, someone blaming you for picking the wrong partner or friend or for making the abuser abuse you can be devastating.  It makes a person wonder what they possibly could have done any better or differently.  In these relationships, victims give their all & it’s not good enough, yet they still feel like failures for not doing enough. 

It’s also common to feel guilty for constantly upsetting the narcissist to the point of abusing because that is how narcissists make their victims feel.  They never take responsibility for anything but instead, dump all responsibility on their victims.  Having survived this then being reminded of your supposed failures with the relationship by outsiders can be utterly devastating to one’s emotions as well as self esteem.

When other people suggest something is wrong with the victim for not being “over it” by now or taking too long to heal, that too can cause self-hatred.  It makes a person feel like a burden for not being ok rather than safe knowing they are with someone who won’t judge or criticize them.  And feeling like a burden is horrible for the self-esteem!

The minimization & even denial of the abuse also can cause serious blows to one’s self-esteem.  Until a person truly understands just how bad their experience was with an abusive narcissist, they are very susceptible to shaming.  When someone says the abuse wasn’t that bad or flatly denies it happened, that will create unnecessary shame in a victim which naturally devastates their self-esteem.

If you are experiencing self-hatred due to situations like I’ve mentioned, please, PLEASE know this isn’t right!  You don’t deserve to feel that way!  You weren’t abused because there is something wrong with you.  There was something wrong with the narcissist!  If other people are too foolish to see it or unwilling to see it, that is also not a reflection of you.  That is their dysfunction showing.  Don’t ever forget that!  Xoxo

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For Those Who Refuse To Acknowledge The Seriousness Of Narcissistic Abuse

I first learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder in 2011.  The following year, realized I had C-PTSD, or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My life since these two major events occurred has been interesting to say the least.  It hasn’t been easy but it’s been absolutely worth it.  The support, compassion & concern of those close to me & even from those who read my work have been amazing. 

At the same time, there have been plenty of people who have tried to shame me, stop me from writing about what I write about & even claim I’m bitter, spoiled, exaggerating or outright lying about my experiences as a way to humiliate my abusers.  Mostly these are family members of course, but also some have been people I don’t know.  Usually I simply block & ignore such people since acknowledging them only seems to validate their delusions.  Today though, I felt like it was time to address people who think this way.

What people fail to understand about victims like me is this…

I don’t hate abusers.  I’m not trying to put them in the public eye to humiliate them, nor am I trying to ruin their reputation.  Their behavior does that, not me. Libel & slander are far from any motivation I have.  I tell the truth while protecting the anonymity of my abusers so as NOT to draw attention directly to them.  I’m not vengeful or stupid.  I use my abusers as bad examples because they have given me experiences that caused me to learn things that can help other people.

I’m not trying to force people to choose sides.  People are allowed to think whatever they like.  It’s not my job or my desire to try to force them to think a certain way.  If they choose to side with victims, that’s great.  If they choose to side with abusers, that is certainly their right as well.  If they choose to side with abusers however, I  also have the right to maintain a distance from such people & have no trouble exercising that right.  This shouldn’t be any surprise.

I’m not trying to divide any family, my own or otherwise, by discussing narcissistic abuse.  My goal is to help people like me, suffering due to toxic relationships but unsure what the problem is.  My goal is to teach them about narcissists so they can figure out how best to handle their situation.

Most people seem to think Narcissistic Personality Disorder is some pop psychology term made up by whiny people who only want to trash the reputation of other people due to some petty motives.  They think I label any person who doesn’t treat me as I want to be treated a narcissist, & how dare I put that label on anyone since I’m not a mental health professional.  They fail to realize that mental health professionals have precious little teaching on narcissism & other Cluster B personality disorders.  Many don’t know enough to recognize these toxic people even when meeting them face to face.  Those of us who have experienced abuse at their hands often know more than the professionals, because we have researched & read a lot as we tried to understand what was wrong with these toxic relationships.

People often see people like me as cold, uncaring & unfeeling because we don’t try harder to make relationships with narcissists work.  They fail to see that we have tried very hard, often for many years.  The simple truth is one person can’t fix any relationship.  It takes both parties to make a relationship be healthy.  When it comes to narcissists, the only way to make a relationship work is to be willing to surrender everything about yourself – your identity, your wants, needs, feelings, preferences, etc. – & only do, look like, act like, think & feel what the narcissist wants you to.  Even if you do this, you still are going to fall short of what they want, because they constantly change their desires.  Perfect is STILL not good enough for narcissists. 

If anyone reading this still doesn’t understand what the so called problem is with people like me, people who have been victimized by some of the cruelest, most heartless people ever to exist, then I feel sorry for you.  Clearly, you lack empathy & couldn’t care less about your fellow human beings.

In the meantime, I for one plan to continue writing & speaking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recovering from narcissistic abuse.  Anyone who is offended by that, I am more than happy for you to distance yourself from me & my work.

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About Brain Fog After Traumatic Experiences

When a person dies, their surviving loved ones often go through something called “grief brain.”  Grief brain is that brain fog that happens after losing someone you love.  It happens because the grief is fresh & new so you haven’t had time to adapt to it.  It also happens because you’re trying to figure out how to adapt to this “new normal” of life without your deceased loved one.

The brain likes certainty so it can predict what is going to happen.  Going through your daily routine is comfortable.  You know what is going to happen.  Little surprises can create a bit of anxiety but seldom anything terrible.  Bigger surprises such as the sudden or unexpected death of a loved one, creates a great deal more anxiety.  Suddenly the brain has to work much harder to figure out what is happening.  It focuses on what is wrong & how to fix this situation.  With resources focused on the situation, the brain has much less resources available to focus on other things.

This brain fog, or grief brain, after someone dies is a perfectly normal part of the grief process.  Not that it feels normal at the time, but it is.  It also doesn’t last forever, thankfully!

Losing someone you love isn’t the only situation that can cause such a brain fog.  Trauma can cause it.  Repeated trauma definitely causes it.

Trauma damages the brain, it’s a well known fact.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorders are in fact less mental illness & more brain injuries due to traumatic experiences.  Brain damage from trauma as well as the brain trying to adapt to life after trauma definitely create a brain fog.  That fog can be one of the most frustrating parts of having C-PTSD or PTSD. 

I’ve had symptoms of C-PTSD ever since I can remember, but they developed fully in 2012.  One of the last symptoms to develop is this brain fog.  And, it got worse after suffering brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.  I’ve spend a lot of time frustrated with it, but I have learned some ways to cope.

Naturally prayer is a constant.  I ask God to help me however I need, & He listens when I get frustrated about forgetting something or can’t focus.  He is so helpful!  Even simply offering comfort is a huge help sometimes.

I also try to accept it for what it is.  I wouldn’t get mad at my body if I had cancer & became disabled because of it.  How can I get mad at my brain for not working right after all it’s been through?

I firmly believe in hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.  I hope & pray things improve, but if they don’t, I have ways to cope.  Brain injury of any sort is very unpredictable & also very unique to each person.  You just don’t know what the brain will do.  Cope with your symptoms as best you can while hoping & praying they improve. 

Use technology.  I love Google Keep for notes & to do lists.  I also love Google Calendar for helping me keep track of appointments & dates bills are due. 

Writing is very useful tool, too.  I don’t mean necessarily writing books.  I mean writing in general.  Keeping a journal is helpful for documenting your life as well as coping with your emotions.  Writing to do lists can be helpful because the act of writing things down can help the brain to remember them easier.

Spending time being creative is helpful, too.  Draw, paint, work with clay, cross stitch, take up woodworking.. whatever you decide to do isn’t important.  Making something with your own two hands is all that matters.  It helps exercise the brain by making you think of how to make whatever you’re trying to make & is incredibly rewarding when you see the fruits of your labor.

You can cope with brain fog!  xoxo

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Narcissistic Abuse Always Starts Slowly

When you first start reading about narcissistic abuse, the signs of the abuse are really clear.  Gaslighting, criticizing, selfishness, lack of empathy & more.  What is seldom discussed is the subtle ways such behaviors begin & why.

Why is easy.  If a narcissist immediately showed you their true colors, even if you knew nothing of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you would know this isn’t the kind of person you want in your life.  Nothing they could do would draw you into the relationship with them.

How the subtle behaviors begin is a bit more complicated. 

Narcissists often begin their relationships behaving in rather normal ways, often even above average ways.  They’re incredibly flattering, thoughtful & romantic.  They proclaim their new partner to be their soul mate, & say things like they never have known anyone so wonderful before.  They share similar interests & view points as their victims.  They’re often very prolific lovers, too.  Victims are often lured into such behaviors quickly.  Suddenly, they realize they’re madly in love.  They believe they have found “the one.”

As time passes, suddenly the narcissist’s behavior changes a little.  Instead of calling & texting constantly, they don’t call or text as often.  Instead of lavishing praise & complements on their “true love”, they begin to criticize things.  Rather than not being able to keep their hands off their lover, suddenly they would prefer to watch television or spend time with other people.

When someone is in this situation, the sudden change can be incredibly confusing, especially because it often happens so quickly.  To the person who is unaware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, this upsetting behavior pushes them into overdrive.  They try to win back the affections of their partner.  They try harder in every possible way to get the relationship to return to the blissful state it once was.  What that person fails to realize is that narcissists love this behavior.  However, rather than be moved to return the loving gestures, they become slowly more abusive.  They criticize the loving gestures.  They suddenly have demands that they didn’t have before, & say things like anyone else would be more than happy to do “this one little thing” for them.  Maybe it’d be best if they went their separate ways.  Their partner is terrified of losing this great love, so that person tries harder & harder & the cycle continues.

The longer the relationship lasts, the more abusive the narcissist becomes.  Many are covert in their abuse, making constant petty demands of their partners.  Male narcissist may want them to get their hair done, get manicures & wear a certain style of clothing.  If the partner doesn’t do this, the narcissist becomes exceptionally critical.  Often the narcissist compares the way other women look to their partner, making the partner feel ugly & as if she can’t compete.  If the narcissist is female, she may admire other men’s success in their careers or their muscular physique rather than making obvious demands of her man, which makes him feel inadequate.  Sometimes he may try to keep up, but that is impossible.  He can’t please his narcissistic partner.

Overt narcissists may show such behavior to their partners, but they also include more obviously abusive behavior such as cheating or physical or sexual abuse.

Narcissists, whether overt or covert, also financially abuse their partners in much the same way.  It begins as asking to borrow a small amount of money until payday.  Then it’s a little more & a little more.  At first the narcissist might repay the money but as time passes, the money never gets repaid.  The amount “borrowed” also gets larger.  It can get to the point of ruining the partner’s credit or even bankrupting them.

If this has happened to you, know there is nothing wrong with you for being manipulated.  This type of behavior is just how narcissists work!  They start subtle & work up to more obvious abuses to lure victims in & slowly erode their self esteem to make them more tolerant of their abuse. 

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