Tag Archives: anger

Understanding Anger After Abuse

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn many things early in life that most people don’t, such as you aren’t allowed to have feelings.  Often if you are happy, a narcissistic parent will ask you what you have to be so happy about, shaming you into hiding your joy.  If you are sad, you’re told you don’t have anything to be sad about because other people have it way worse than you.  If you’re angry, you’re told you have a bad temper & are crazy.

 

Because of such things, you learn early on to ignore your emotions.  Stuff them down deep inside & pretend they aren’t there.  Eventually though, after years of doing this, enough is enough.  You can’t physically or mentally handle this stress any longer, & you have to start learning to express yourself.  It feels so strange at first.  Sometimes, I still feel like I’m waiting for some sort of backlash for sharing my emotions, because I’m doing something I learned as a child was absolutely wrong.  It has improved over time, but is still there to a degree.

 

I think though that anger is the hardest emotion to handle when you learn to share your emotions.  Aside from the messages of shame for feeling anger that you must get rid of, anger seems to have a mind of its own.

 

When first getting in touch with your anger, it may feel as if there is an infinite pit of it inside you, which is pretty scary.  You must realize that if you’ve been stuffing it inside you for your entire life, there is going to be a lot of anger in there to deal with.  There is an end to it all, but it’s going to take a while to deal with it all.

 

Also, when you’re not allowed to express anger, it comes up later, even years later.  I get angry with my parents for things that happened 30 years ago sometimes.  It makes me feel like I’m living too much in the past. It can be so frustrating!  Unfortunately it’s also very normal.  You can’t simply expel all of the anger you feel inside at once.  You mentally couldn’t handle that.  Instead, it comes out in manageable doses.  This means you’ll probably have to deal with an incident at a time.  Since narcissistic parents dole out such a great deal of abuse to their children over the course of their lives, there are obviously going to be many, many incidents to deal with, even going back to your very early life.  It’s an unfortunate & frustrating fact of being raised by narcissistic parents.

 

Sometimes the anger comes up later because you were so busy trying to survive the abuse that you didn’t have time to cope with it at the time.  I had a terrible relationship with my husband’s mother.  Then, my husband defended her to me which caused many problems in our marriage.  I had to fight with him as well as her, & didn’t really have time to process what was happening, because I was trying to survive both of them with my sanity in tact.  It wasn’t until I cut her out of my life that I could finally deal with the things she had done to me as well as the anger at my husband for taking her side no matter what she did.

 

You need to realize that all of these feelings are normal.

 

You also need to realize that you have a right to your anger.  Being abused isn’t fair.  No one deserves it!  You have every right to feel anger about that.

 

You have every right to learn to deal with your anger in a healthy way.  It’s well overdue.

 

There is nothing wrong with anger in & of itself, so please don’t buy into the lies you heard about that.  Anger is simply an emotion & emotions aren’t bad.  It’s what we do with that anger that can be bad.  Trying to get revenge on someone out of anger is bad, but feeling anger is not.  Anger is a good thing since it lets you know something is wrong.

 

I know anger is a very scary thing when you never learned how to handle it in healthy ways.  However, you can learn healthy ways to deal with it.  Prayer is the absolute best place to start, I believe. Ask God to show you what to do, how to handle it.  He certainly will answer that prayer!

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Another Helpful Tip For Dealing With Narcissists

I realized something this morning.  When I know I’m going to have some sort of interaction with at least one of my parents, the same thing happens almost every time.  I have either a nightmare about my childhood or a repressed memory come back to the forefront of my mind.

 

For the longest time, I assumed this was simply because I was thinking & worrying about what was coming.  I believe this is wrong though.  I believe God allows these things to happen as a way of enabling me to deal with my parents.

 

As I mentioned before, I want to go no contact with my parents, but God isn’t allowing me to tell them this.  Instead, He wants them to be the ones to pull away.  He has told me that by me getting healthier & tolerating less of their abuse, this will happen naturally.  So far, it really has.  Keeping that in mind..

 

My father plans to visit me on Friday (I’m writing this post on Thursday to publish Friday), & last night I had a horrible nightmare that reminded me of exactly how miserable I was growing up.  I was utterly depressed, even suicidal, yet had to pretend to be happy to appease my mother.  She would get mad at me if I looked depressed, so I had to hide it rather than have her yell at me & shame me.  Remembering this has made me angry.  Angry that my mother would shame me for my feelings, angry that my father never even noticed anything was wrong with me, angry that there was absolutely no concern that I was suicidal.

 

This anger I feel will help to strengthen me around my father during his visit tomorrow.  As hard as I try, sometimes I still tend to fall into bad, old habits around my parents.  But, when I am angry with them, the chances of that are much slimmer.  I have a better focus on just how dysfunctional & abusive they really are, which helps me not to fall into their traps or for their manipulations.  Once the visit is done, I will deal with my anger about the situation & heal a bit more.

 

Remembering traumatic things isn’t easy, I know.  But, God isn’t into waste.  He doesn’t allow things like this to happen for no reason.  There is always a purpose.  I have learned to use such things not only to help me heal by coping with the trauma I remember, but also to help me when I must deal with my parents.  It’s turned out to be a good thing, albeit not an easy one.

 

Does this happen to you too, Dear Reader?  Does something happen to make you angry before you deal with the narcissist in your life?  If so, you’re not alone!  It actually can be a good thing, although it doesn’t feel that way at the time.  It certainly has been for me, & if it can be for me, it can be for you as well. Use that anger to help strengthen you against her manipulations.  Use it as a reminder of exactly how dysfunctional the narcissist is.

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Anger Isn’t Always Bad

I just got myself a little ice cream. Rocky road, my favorite  🙂  Hubby brought it home probably close to a month ago by now.  I’ve been the only one eating it & it’s maybe 1/4 gone. Realizing that I haven’t been over indulging triggered a flashback.

 

When I was growing up, my mother would get candy bars at the grocery store, & often when we came home, she’d give one to my father, one to me then take one for herself.  Often, she forced me to take another one, then when I finally did, she’d call me a hog & give me a very creepy, maniacal smile.  It was so scary looking!  If I confronted her, she’d say “But it’s cute when I do it” & continue the scary smile.  I also had to eat the stupid candy bar or she’d have treated me even worse, more shaming.  I still flippin’ HATE Fifth Avenue candy bars because of her.  Not sure if they even make them- I’m not a big candy bar fan.  Gee, I wonder why??

 

It was kinda funny though.. for once, I realized how angry I am about what my mother did to me.  I also realized it wasn’t a bad thing.  I certainly have a right to be angry about this!  Not only did this awful behavior of my mother’s trigger a flashback (I sincerely hate them!), it’s things like this which are directly responsible for me having eating disorders in my younger days.  I wasn’t overweight growing up, but my mother consistently commented on my weight or my body.  She also very harshly criticized whatever I ate or didn’t eat.  Everything about me, my body, my looks & what I ate was wrong.

 

God’s been working with me on getting OK with my anger for quite a while. I’m never angry all that long, I forgive easily & I don’t get vengeful or cruel.  I’m not consumed with anger.  Also for quite a while now, I’ve envied those who say they don’t let things bother or anger them & felt guilty for not being so “good”,  being a bad Christian or even worse, proving my mother right when she said I have a terrible temper.  The Bailey temper, as she’s always called it.  According to her, the Bailey temper is the worst plague in all humanity, past or present.  So not being ashamed of my anger or feeling like it was misplaced or over the top was a breakthrough!

 

If you struggle with anger too, Dear Reader, please know you are not alone!  Many of us raised by narcissistic parents go through this.  Also, please know that feeling anger is human!  God gave people emotions so we are aware of things.  Joy means what you’re doing is a good thing- have fun with it!  Sadness helps us grieve when we lose someone we love.  Anger is a sign someone is mistreating us.  Emotions are God-given & there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of them, including anger!  It’s what you do with emotions that can be a bad thing.  Simply feeling anger isn’t bad at all.  Hurting someone in the heat of anger, however, that is bad.

 

So the next time you feel angry, feel it!  Don’t ignore your anger!  Ignoring or burying your anger only leads to problems.  Feel your anger.  Tell God what you’re feeling.  Journal about it.  Talk to a safe friend or relative.  Beat up some pillows if that helps.  Write angry letters you never send.  Find a safe way to get your anger out, & rest easy that your anger is not only normal, but God ordained.  There is nothing wrong with you for feeling angry for being mistreated!

 

Also once you get the anger out, know you’re going to be tired.  Emotional work can be very draining.  Take care of yourself.  Rest & relax.  Lay around & watch movies if that helps.  Do things that comfort you & make you feel nurtured.  It’s  good self-care to take it easy after any emotional work.

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Anger Isn’t Always A Bad Thing!

Anger is an emotion that strikes fear into many people.  In Christian circles, many think anger isn’t of God.  It’s from the devil & to be avoided at all costs.  If you’re angry, you’re a sinner/wrong/a bad person.  People who were abused fear anger, assuming the angry person is going to hurt them like their abuser did.

The truth is though that anger is simply one of the many emotions God gave us, & if God gave it, it can’t be bad.  What you do with the anger can be good or bad though.

I have learned that sometimes, it is good to hold onto some anger.  If I think back on the terrible, abusive things my narcissistic mother has done to me, although I have forgiven her for doing them, the unfairness of them still makes me angry.  This is not a bad thing at all!  If I can remember to focus on that anger, it helps me to stay strong with my mother when she does something else hurtful.  The anger empowers me- it helps me to have the inner strength to call her out on her actions when I need to, rather than letting her get away with abusing me.

There is also a big difference in being angry at the injustice of a situation & angry at a person.  God commands us to forgive one another repeatedly in the Bible,  I believe because it benefits us so much to forgive others.  (A few examples are: Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 18: 21-22 & Matthew 6:14-15.)  Not forgiving others can lead very easily to bitterness or tainting your judgment of other people.  (example: if your husband cheated on you, you think all men are cheaters)  Being angry with a righteous anger at the unfairness of a situation though, does not have the same results.  Yes, an unjust situation makes you angry but it doesn’t make you bitter, & it gives you strength to stand up for what is right.

If you feel anger, I urge you to really delve into why you are angry.  If you are angry at the person who hurt or abused you, then by all means, please try to let it go.  I wrote about the topic of forgiveness on my website.  You can click this link if you’d like to read it.

If you’re angry about the unfairness of a situation though, I would urge you to hold onto that righteous anger.  It will help you if you ever are faced with a similar situation.

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Learning About Anger

As I’ve mentioned before, like most children of narcissistic parents, I learned young never to show anger.  Instead, I stuffed it down inside & never dealt with it.

 

This year, I finally begun to stop stuffing anger & dealing with it in a healthy way.  It feels foreign, & like I’m disobeying my mother, but good at the same time.

 

I’ve realized something recently, & I think it may help others who are also finally learning how to manage anger in a healthy way.

 

I’m getting angry often over things that happened a long time ago.  Things have started just popping into my mind at random..bad memories of times when I was abused, invalidated or mistreated in some way.  Not necessarily repressed memories- things I remembered, but never really thought much about.   I finally asked God about it.  This was getting on my nerves, & I wanted an answer.  He reminded me that I  have had a lot of years of not allowing myself to feel the anger I had a right to feel.  Now that I’m getting a better grip on anger, I am finally able to process certain unpleasant events in a healthy way.  That is why these things are coming up so many years later.

 

Dear Reader, if you too are learning how to deal with anger in a healthy way for the first time, don’t be surprised if this happens to you, too!  It just may!  I doubt I’m the only person who this has happened to.  It seems like this is a logical course of events, yanno?  Especially since God wants what is best for His children, & what is best is to deal with painful things so they are no longer so painful.

 

When these events pop into my mind, I talk to God about it as soon as possible.  For whatever reason, they usually come to mind as I’m about to get into the shower, which is good- I have some private time to talk to Him uninterrupted.

 

Once alone with God, I just let it out.  Cry, tell Him how unfair it was, tell Him how much it hurt, whatever needs to get out of me.  He listens & that helps me a lot.  I also sometimes write it out in my journal at a later time.  When you feel anger, you need to purge yourself of it so it gets out of you.  It’s poison if left inside, & can cause many physical & mental health problems.  Getting it out is so much better.

 

When I’m done getting the anger out, I just sit quietly in God’s presence for a while.  It’s amazing how doing that can soothe your soul & mend your broken heart.  He doesn’t even need to say anything to you- there is just something peaceful & restorative about sitting quietly & focusing on God, His greatness & His love.

 

Once these things are done, I often find I’m a bit tired for a while & feel sort of raw emotionally.  Emotional healing is very tiring, very hard work.  If you feel that way, it’s normal.  Just try to take it as easy as you can for a little while until you feel better.  Be gentle with yourself.  You’ve been through something painful, & need to recover.

 

I hope this helps you, Dear Reader.  I know it’s no fun remembering something traumatic or painful, but it really can be helpful in your healing journey.  When things come back to your remembrance, you might as well just deal with them & get it over with rather than continue to ignore it.  Ignoring it does not benefit you in the least.  Dealing with it, especially with God’s help, however rids you of the damage it was doing to you.

 

 

 

 

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What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

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Intrusive Thoughts

In case you don’t know, intrusive thoughts are thoughts that shove their way into your mind & are often impossible to get rid of.  They are very common with PTSD & C-PTSD.  In my experience, a brain injury combined with C-PTSD made them even worse.  Yay me..

 

A few minutes ago, I had yet another experience with intrusive thoughts.  My newest cat, Minnie Rose, is named after my great grandmom, who I absolutely adore.  She passed when I was 11, but I still have many fond memories of her, some of which replayed in my mind when Minnie Rose walked into the room with me.  Suddenly, I remembered that my parents never asked if I was ok or offered comfort when she died.  My granddad held me & let me cry at her viewing, & that was the only comfort or love I was shown regarding her passing.  I began to get angry that my parents didn’t care that I was grieving or even talk to me about her death.  I decided to get on facebook & distract myself for a little while as I really didn’t feel like dealing with this anger right now.  Even a short break so I could finish my housework in peace would have been nice.  That was a bad idea.  The “today’s memories” feature popped up & in there was a link to this old blog post.  Remembering how cruel my mother was to me last year at this time was very painful.

 

So now, I’m sitting here pretty pissed off.  Fun times… Not.

 

This type of thing has happened enough times that I’m used to it.  I also have learned how to handle it in a way that works for me, & I want to share it in the hopes they will work for you as well.

 

I have yet to find a way to stop intrusive thoughts.  They seem to have a mind of their own.  Also, I’ve noticed when I try, often something else happens that pretty much forces me to deal with what is on my mind.  This has shown me that intrusive thoughts have a purpose.  They serve as a reminder to say, “Now is the time to deal with this!  Get alone, get quiet & get with God so you can do it.”  This is actually a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.  (Apparently for me they also can serve as fodder for blog entries..lol)

 

When I can get alone, quiet & with God, I tell Him how I feel.  I let it out, all the anger & ugliness.  In return, He comforts me.  Sometimes (well, often..) I don’t feel like saying things out loud, so instead of talking to Him, I write in my journal as if I am talking to Him.  Either way, God does the same thing- helps me to get rid of the anger &/or hurt & comforts & often heals me from that painful incident.  It’s really that simple.  Healing isn’t always complicated.  Sometimes you just need to get your feelings out, be validated & receive some comfort in return.

 

Sometimes, I also ask God to tell me the truth about what happened.  Was it right?  Did I deserve it?  His answers are always amazing!  When God tells you that you didn’t deserve to be abused, you can’t help but believe it!  I’ve often sensed His anger at the injustice of the experience I went through, which also, believe it or not, is very healing.  It validates the fact that you were done wrong, very wrong.

 

Another thing I have noticed is that doing this may help you to release some anger, but acquire a new anger.  A righteous anger.  I know this can be difficult for victims of narcissistic abuse, because we were never allowed to be angry.  Often we carry that dysfunction well into adulthood.  And, as a Christian, many folks misunderstand anger.  They often believe you should forgive & forget, anger is from the devil, & shamed if you feel any anger no matter the situation.  We often feel wrong & ashamed if we feel any anger, so we try to ignore it.  I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with righteous anger!  Remember Jesus in the temple, overturning tables & freeing sellers’ livestock for sale?  That was righteous anger.  People were doing something offensive to God, & that enraged Him, as it should have!  Abuse is also offensive to God- why shouldn’t anyone be enraged by that?!

 

Righteous anger has its place.  It lets you know that something is very wrong & change needs to happen.  It also motivates you to make that change by stirring up your emotions.  I have only recently learned to embrace righteous anger.  It has helped me when I have to deal with my parents & their abusive, dysfunctional behavior.  Realizing that they expect me to behave as they want after how horribly they have treated me makes me angry with that righteous anger.  That anger gives me the strength to be firm in my boundaries & not tolerate things I would have tolerated without that anger.

 

In conclusion, I know intrusive thoughts are painful, upsetting & disturbing, but please be encouraged, Dear Reader.  They do have a purpose!  Dealing with them as quickly as possible will help you to heal & grow stronger.

 

Also, when you are done dealing with your intrusive thoughts, don’t forget to take care of yourself!  Emotional work is so exhausting.  Be gentle with yourself.  Pamper yourself.  You’ve earned it!

 

And now, I’m off to write in my journal then take a relaxing, long shower & goof off for the rest of my day…

 

 

 

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Help For Dealing With Narcissistic Parents

My parents came by for a visit on Thursday.  I didn’t expect it to be a good one.  My mother is always angry with me, & my father was upset I postponed from last week.  For days,  I prayed & worried.

Wednesday, I suddenly got very angry at the fact that my parents have done so much to me, yet believe they are entitled to come into my home anytime & treat my furbabies & I so nastily in our own home.  Mind you, I’m not particularly good with anger.  Growing up, my mother accused me of having “that Bailey temper”, shaming me, if I was angry or even simply just frustrated. I learned early to ignore anger.  It’s only been recently I’ve been trying to deal with anger in a healthy way.  Even so, it still feels awkward to be angry, so Wednesday was a somewhat difficult day.

I realized something though.  I was gaining confidence.  It really started to sink in that I have a right to be angry about the things they have done & continue to do to me.  That anger gave me the confidence to realize I do NOT have to put up with being abused.  If me having boundaries hurts their feelings, that isn’t my problem.

Shortly before they arrived, I remembered something that also helped me.  Years ago, I stopped speaking to my mother 6 years.  During that time, I had planned to visit my Granddad one Saturday.  The night before, he called & said my parents had just called to say they were coming by on that same day.  He said “If you want to do this another time, I’ll understand.”  I thought about doing that, but said no- I want to see him & if he wants to see me too, then I’ll be there in the morning.  He did so we agreed I’d come by the following morning.   That day of the visit, my mother was shocked to see me there.  (Years before, she had tried to ruin my relationship with my grandparents.  I had stopped speaking to them for several years, & at the time of the visit, only had began visiting him again a few months prior)  She did her best to frazzle me with some of her actions, but instead I let her know they wouldn’t work, much to the delight of Granddad who was quite proud of me that day.  I was proud of myself for handling things so well, too!

Remembering that successful event & being angry both helped me to stay strong when my parents came by & successfully, for the first time, limit the time of their visit!  For the first time, I told them when the visit was over, not them staying in my home until they felt like leaving!

My point (finally..lol) is these tricks can help you when it comes to dealing with your narcissistic mother as well.  I know many Christians think anger is from the devil or you’re a terrible person to feel anger, but I completely disagree!  Anger is a normal emotion & it is from God.  Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing & should be practiced regularly.  However, anger has its place too.  A righteous anger at injustice is a wonderful motivator for change.  What is the difference?  Being angry at the unfairness of being abused & being angry because you know you have done nothing to deserve abuse, those are examples of righteous anger.  Me being angry because my parents have abused me & think they still have to right to do so is also righteous anger.  God stirred that anger up in me for a reason on Wednesday- to help me be strong & able to set boundaries with my narcissistic parents the next day.

And, God also reminded me of a very successful interaction I’d had with my parents, which was extremely helpful as well.  Remembering how well that previous episode had gone helped me to see that yes, I could be strong.  Yes, I could handle things well.  Yes, I could even be composed when angry.  I could do it!

Dear Reader, what God did for me, He can do for you as well.  I prayed & asked friends to pray for me to have strength for this visit, & God certainly did not disappoint.  I would like to encourage you too, to think on similar things in your life.  Gain courage from your successes, & hold onto that righteous anger!  If you are having trouble, ask God to help you.  He truly will!

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The Truth About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an odd thing.  When I first became a Christian in 1996, I heard a great deal about forgiveness.  God wants us to forgive so we must do it. It’s easy.  Just ask Him to take it away & all will be right in your world.  Upon asking someone once to pray for me to help forgive, she said “I don’t know what your problem is.  God says to forgive & I just do it.”  That made me feel like God was disappointed in me & I was an awful person because I couldn’t “just do it.”

Nineteen years later,  I realize what rubbish all of that was.

While I most certainly agree God wants us to forgive since it says so in the Bible (Matthew 6:14, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-2, etc), no one ever explained any other motivations to forgive.  Pleasing God certainly is a good one, naturally, but is that the only reason He wants us to forgive?  Some holy whim?

It took me years of being in relationship with Him & learning from Him to realize that forgiveness not only pleases God, but is good for the person doing the forgiving.  Carrying around anger & bitterness creates a plethora of health problems such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease & more.  It also can lead to a negative attitude (example- a wife’s husband cheats so she assumes all men are untrustworthy jerks) & depression.  The sooner you’re truly able to forgive, the better it is for your physical & mental health.

I had to learn too that forgiveness has nothing to do with the offender & everything to do with the one doing the forgiving.  It is very possible to completely forgive someone who is unrepentant.  To forgive someone requires you to want to do so.  It requires no actions on the other person’s part.  Certainly a repentant heart would make it much easier, but it’s not a necessity.

I also thought forgiveness meant to forget as well.  Forgive & forget as they say.  I disagree completely.  Sure, on small things such as your husband snapping at you after a bad day at work when normally he doesn’t do that, forgiving & forgetting is fine.  However, doing so with someone who is abusive?  Not smart.  That only sets you up for further abuse because you aren’t protecting yourself & also because you gave that person a free pass to abuse you by coming back for more.

No one ever told me that forgiveness takes time.  Ephesians 4:26 was quoted to me over & over in those early days of my walk with God.. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV)  I believed that I had to forgive my abusive mother & ex husband NOW or else I was not pleasing God.  It took many more years for me to learn that some things can be forgiven quickly & easily while others, such as suffering years of abuse, takes more time.  I believe that so long as you at least decide quickly that you will forgive, that is the most important thing.  It’s the first step towards forgiveness.

I didn’t know that to fully forgive, I needed to get angry, to feel that anger & get it out of me.  No one ever mentioned that tidbit!  I had to learn it from God.  Thankfully God helps me to do this.  He’s taught me different ways to get the anger out.  Journaling, writing it all out, works very well for me as does telling Him exactly how I feel & why.

Lastly, I learned that forgiveness doesn’t always mean you forgive everything someone has done to you- sometimes it means you may have to forgive them for some things individually.  For example, I thought I’d forgiven my ex husband for everything & was done with him.  Not necessarily so.. when someone wrecked her motorcycle in front of my house last June, it triggered a memory, something about my ex I’d totally forgotten.  I had my motorcycle learner’s permit when we were married.  After I had a small accident in 1994, which wasn’t my fault, he didn’t want me to go through with getting my license.  I was angry how manipulative he was about it, but had forgotten that until this lady wrecked her bike.  So although I was sure I’d forgiven him for everything, here I was, having to forgive him for yet one more thing…twenty one years later!

If you’re struggling with forgiveness & anger, Dear Reader, I pray this post helps you.  There isn’t a lot of really good, balanced teaching on the topic available, but if you ask God, He will teach you whatever you need to help you.  That is how I learned what I wrote here- God showed me all of these things.  🙂

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Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Anger is a very normal part of life, yet also a difficult thing for many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Growing up, we were not allowed to express emotions, good or bad, but it often seems as if anger is the one that receives the most ridicule if we express it.  As I’ve said before, my mother always accused me of having that “Bailey temper” as she calls it.  She said that her family doesn’t get mad like my father’s family does.  Which seems to be true- from what I’ve seen, they just stuff that anger inside & pretend it’s not there.  Yea, that’s healthy…. lol

If you too were raised by a narcissistic mother, I’m sure you heard some similar shaming comments if you showed any anger as well.

The fact is though that anger is going to happen.  As you heal from narcissistic abuse, it is definitely going to come up.  As your self-esteem improves, you finally realize you didn’t deserve the terrible things that were done to you, & it makes you angry.  You realize too that it wasn’t your fault you were abused, which also makes you angry.

Holding anger inside at this point becomes very difficult & even impossible.  That is actually a good thing because it is detrimental to your physical & emotional health.  It can cause anxiety & depression.  It can cause high blood pressure, kidney, heart & digestive problems.  Even knowing such things, it can be hard for the adult child of a narcissistic parent to find healthy ways to release anger.  At first, it can be downright terrifying.  She may feel that if she lets a little anger out, she’ll end up losing control of it all & hurting herself & others.  She also may feel that if she lets it out, she’ll never stop being angry.

Dear Reader, these are simply not the case at all!  Anger is a powerful emotion that needs to be heard.  It demands to be heard in fact.  Even so, there are healthy ways to deal with it.

Some people recommend the chair method.  This involves standing in front of a chair, pretending the person who hurt or abused you is in that chair, & telling them everything you feel inside about them & their actions.

Some people beat up pillows.  It’s a good physical release, & you can’t hurt a pillow no matter how hard you beat it.

Others swear by writing letters they never send.  I have done this with a great deal of success.  I let it all out in the letters, then usually I burn them.  I found something very therapeutic about watching the letters burn.  It’s like my anger went up in the smoke.  I also kept a couple of them, which helps to keep me remember why things are the way they are.  Reading over my letter helps me if I feel weak & wanting to fix things with my mother.  It helps remind me that I can’t do all the work- fixing a relationship takes 2 people.

Journaling is akin to writing the letters.  No one is going to read what you write, so what better way to let it all out?  Although I love the feel & look of a pretty paper journal, for privacy sake, I use an online, password protected one.  I am certain no one would be able to read it, so when I need to get anger out, I let it all go in the journal.

Perhaps the most effective way I’ve found to deal with anger though is by talking to God about it.  He is such a wonderful Father.  He listens without judgment or criticism & offers you comfort.  He also helps you to purge all of that anger from you, so you no longer stuff it deep inside.

The next time you feel anger, I encourage you to try one or more of the suggestions above.  They really will help you tremendously.  You’ll feel so much better once the anger is out from inside you.

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The Past – Wallowing Or Helpful?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

This scenario may sound somewhat familiar to you..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Anger

When you were raised by a narcissistic mother, & you finally learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the first reaction usually is relief.  Relief that you really aren’t the terrible person your mother said you were, that instead it was her projecting  her own issues onto you.  Relief that you really aren’t the terrible person she always told you that you were.  Then, other emotions kick in, such as grieving.  You grieve for your lost childhood, the fact that you were so terribly abused, & the fact that your own mother deliberately hurt you to forward her own agenda.

Eventually, you also get angry over those same things.

Recently, I’ve learned that anger changes as you heal.  For me, I’ve become angry at people who have hurt & abused me over the years.  Many so-called friends, my narcissistic in-laws, my narcissistic ex husband, an extremely controlling ex boyfriend & even my husband for some dysfunctional behaviors he used to exhibit in our relationship. I’ve also been angry with my parents, because if they hadn’t raised me the way they had, I wouldn’t have grown into a narcissist magnet & doormat.  And, if I wouldn’t have been that way, people wouldn’t have thought it was perfectly acceptable to abuse me.

After praying about it, I believe this to be a normal part of healing.  As you heal, naturally your self-esteem improves.  And, people with healthy self-esteem have no tolerance for being abused because they know their value.  They know they don’t deserve to be treated in such a way.  Plus as you heal, you begin to realize that some behaviors you once thought were normal were in fact abusive.  Realizing that will make you angry.

Also, being a  narcissist magnet & doormat, you’re often stuck in more than one abusive relationship at a time- I certainly was!  This means you are so busy trying to survive that you don’t have time to deal with your anger properly.  You’re just trying to get through each encounter with these people with your sanity in tact!

So how do you deal with this old anger?

Some people are fortunate.  They are able to ask God to help them let things go & forgive, & then it’s over for them.  Honestly I envy those people.  I’m not so fortunate- I have to feel things to fully process them, then I can let things go.  If you’re like me, read on- I’ll share some tips of what works for me below.

What helps me mostly is prayer.  I talk to God about it.  I also write it out in my journal if I don’t feel like talking about it.   Either way, I let it all out, & He knows what I feel.  He listens without judgement, no matter how ugly what I say is.

You can also talk to someone non-judgmental, such as a good friend, a close relative or a counselor.  As long as you get the feelings inside, out of you, that is the main thing.  Anger is a very strong emotion that demands to be heard.  If you ignore it, it will come out sooner or later- it never just vanishes.  Either you end up taking it out on  those closest to you who have nothing to do with why you’re angry, or you get depressed (depression is often repressed anger), or you can become physically ill.  Isn’t it much better to get your feelings out?

I also ask God to help me get rid of the anger.  I certainly don’t want to carry it around, & He wants us to forgive our enemies since it’s beneficial for us, so I know He helps me to release that anger.

Don’t forget, too, to ask God to comfort you.  This process isn’t a pleasant one- a little comfort can go a long way in helping you to get through it all.

And, don’t judge yourself for this.  Anger happens, & sometimes it’s delayed for whatever reason.  That is all that is happening- something normal.  Don’t criticize yourself for doing something perfectly normal & understandable under the circumstances!

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Discrediting The Victim- A Common Phenomenon

No matter what type of abuse or trauma you have suffered, often discrediting you, the victim, happens.  Often by outsiders who say ridiculous statements such as…

“Well if you wouldn’t have worn that short skirt, you wouldn’t have been raped!”

“If you had just been a little nicer to him, your husband wouldn’t have hit you!”

“Your mother did the best she could-  you need to understand that she had been abused.  She just didn’t know how to raise you, so you have to forgive & forget.”

Even more frequently, the person who perpetrated the abuse works hard to discredit you.  Narcissistic parents are especially good at doing this.  They tell others they are concerned about you, because you have been acting strangely, you have a vivid imagination, you’ve been making up stories, they did the best they could do by you, but you were always a difficult child & more.

Publicly stating that the victim is not a victim, but instead the problem helps to convince others of that fallacy.  The narcissistic abuser has great conviction when lying- people who aren’t extremely close to her rarely doubt her stories, especially if said under the guise of concern for her child.

This works well for the narcissistic mother, as she is able to convince people quite easily that her child  is the problem, thus turning people against her child & supporting her.  People then will look down on or fail to believe the child if she openly discusses the abuse or tries to stand up to or set boundaries with her narcissistic mother.  I experienced this myself in my teen years. My mother’s friends had once liked me, but as the abuse escalated & I tried to protect myself, suddenly those friends no longer liked me.  They barely even spoke to me or made eye contact with me.

Discrediting the victim also serves to make the victim question herself rather than the abuse she has come to believe is normal.  There were times in my teen years I felt as if I was going crazy.  My mother told me I was crazy anyway, even threatening to have me committed many times. That along with acting like & saying I was the problem caused me to doubt my sanity more times than I can count.

Also, another benefit for the abuser of discrediting the victim is that all eyes are on the victim, not the abuser.  The abuser can do anything she likes, because no one will notice.  They are too focused on how bad, wrong, crazy, etc. the victim is.

If you fall victim to this, please know you are NOT alone!  This is a typical tactic of narcissistic abusers.  It does NOT mean that you are to blame.  Instead, it is just one more sign that this person is the problem, & that this person  is evil.  After all, only an evil person would blame an innocent victim instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions.

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Take A Break, And Do It Often!

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time writing.  Even these brief blog entries are an issue most days.  It kinda stinks, because I love writing so much.  Having C-PTSD contributes to my difficulties with focus sometimes, but it isn’t always why I have trouble focusing.

I’ve been feeling very burned out lately, & I realized why.  Focusing on one’s healing & mental & emotional health is a very good thing.  It enables you to work through issues, to forgive, to heal.  However, it really is possible to focus too much on such things.  The mind needs breaks from hard work, just as the body does, & focusing on healing is certainly hard work!  The mind also needs a break from negative things as well.  (Please know that I’m not saying be positive about the truly negative things in life, as that isn’t healthy either.)  If you too have C-PTSD I believe these breaks become even more important to your mental health.

When you grew up with a narcissistic mother, it can be hard to be a balanced adult.  Early on, once you first realize that your mother is abusive, you’re angry.  Very angry.  All this time you thought what she did to you was your fault, & you finally learned she lied- it wasn’t you, it was her.  That is a tough pill to swallow!  Then you learn more & more about narcissism, & so many things finally make sense, things about you & about your mother.  It’s very easy to become consumed & focus constantly on your mother’s abuse, on NPD, on the problems you have as an adult that stem from that abuse & more.  However, this is not healthy to do at all!  Like I said, the mind needs breaks sometimes, & it needs balance.

How do you achieve balance?  You make a conscience effort to do these things.  I know it can be hard, especially with the obsessive thoughts that often happen with C-PTSD, but it can be done!  Force yourself to focus on something fun.  Watch a movie.  Play with your kids, furry or human.  Go for a walk in the woods.  Visit a local park. Go for a drive. Buy a coloring book & crayons.  There are many things you can do to bring a little joy into your life & those things needn’t be expensive or require a lot of planning. Be creative, & I’m sure you’ll come up with some fun things to do.

Spend time in God’s presence. Spending time in nature, admiring the beautiful creations He has made is not only good for drawing you closer to the Father, but it’s also very restorative to the soul.  Many people are affected by the weather such as in cases of those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  If that describes you, I would suggest holding off on the nature time until the weather has a more positive effect on your mood. Fall is my favorite time to do this, so if you catch me wandering around during the summertime instead when the heat & bright sunlight depress me, something is very wrong with me!  lol

Another thing I have found  that helps me is to collect some things that you enjoyed as a child.  I’m a child of the 70’s-80’s, & I think we had some pretty cool toys!  I have Spirograph, Magic 8 Ball & Lite Brite apps on my tablet. I have an atari with quite a few games.  I have a few stuffed animals, my old Merlin handheld game, Rubix cube, Snake & Bowlatronic.  I just saw a hot pink Tonka jeep that I had (& loved!) as a child on ebay, & am considering ordering it.  I also ordered a set of the Crystalite animals- I collected them in first grade. I’ve also purchased a few board games over the years that my husband & I both remember from our childhoods & we enjoy playing. Although my childhood was less than stellar, some of my fun old toys do make me smile to this day.  Having them helps me to remember some positive memories for a change, & it feels good.

Also a nostalgic thing I enjoy is collecting old pictures.  There are a couple of facebook groups I belong to- one is for the area where I grew up & the other is for the area where my family is from in Virginia.  Both are history groups, & share many old pictures of both areas.  I save the more interesting pictures of places I enjoyed growing up. It’s so much fun looking back over the pictures of how those towns were when I was a kid.  It does make me a bit sad how much they’ve changed, but even so, it’s fun remembering how things used to be.

Music is another wonderful way to break away & feel good.  I still love the music I grew up with, & listen to it often.  Some songs take me back to a happy place.  Journey always reminds me of going to dinner with my wonderful paternal grandparents at a tiny local Italian place when I was a kid.  My grandmom gave me change for the jukebox- something my mother always refused to do.  “Who’s Cryin’ Now” was one of the Journey songs  played, so yes, their music takes me back to a fun evening.  Listening to good music that transports you back to a happy time can be very good for your mood & very relaxing.

Pamper yourself.  Also hard to do when you grew up with a narcissistic mother who undoubtedly told you how selfish you were for showing yourself any kindness, but remember- narcissists project their flaws onto other people so they can then get angry about those flaws.  Your mother was wrong- you aren’t selfish!  Doing nice, pampering gestures for yourself aren’t selfish either- they are healthy, & they show you that you care about yourself.  Nothing wrong with that!

I think distractions like these are also very helpful because they empower you.  If you think about what you’ve gone through constantly, it’s as if your mother still has power over you.  She’s still controlling you, by being in your thoughts so much.  If you purposely kick her out of your mind sometimes, you are taking back control of your life, & your thoughts.

Also, distracting yourself sometimes is good for your anxiety & depression levels. The more you focus on the abuse you endured, the more anxious & depressed it can make you.  Focus on healing- get angry, cry, do what you have to do- but take at least the same amount of time to relax & have some fun!  It’s good for you!

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Taking Back Some Power

Recently, I wrote this post about being angry at all of the things I feel have been stolen from me due to having C-PTSD.  The anger that was simmering kicked back into overdrive briefly on Tuesday night.

I had to speak with my mother that evening.  I ended up pretty angry with her by the time I hung up.  Shortly after I got the wonderful call from my vet that I mentioned in this post.   In spite of the incredibly good news, I was angry.  Although my mother didn’t do it on purpose, I felt like, as usual, she’s interfering in my life & stealing my joy- making me angry at a time when I should’ve been completely happy.  I felt in my heart I needed to make a decision at that time..Either continue to be angry or to thank God for & enjoy the wonderful news I had just gotten.  I decided to focus on the good news for the night, & deal with my anger at my mother later on.  Oddly, this turned out to be a good thing for me in a way..

I feel like I took back some of my power!

I think by being able basically to put my mother aside for a while was helpful for me.  It showed me  that my mother & her narcissistic ways haven’t stolen everything for me, as it so often feels like.  She isn’t in control anymore, & I am more powerful than I feel.  Instead of being angry with her & failing to enjoy the miraculous news I’d just received, I was able to refocus my mind onto the good.  I had an entire evening of basking in joy, then dealt with the anger the following day.

Have you ever tried anything like this?

In all honesty, I can’t say I’m sure this type of thing is a good thing to do on a regular basis, but doing it once was a good experience for me.  It may be for you too.  I would encourage you to ask God about it, if you’re in a similar situation.  It may help you as well.  But, if God advises you against it, please listen to Him & don’t try it!

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A Grateful Attitude Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Yesterday was an eventful day.  One of my cats, Pretty Boy, needed his annual checkup, which was late.  A little background: Pretty Boy was diagnosed with diabetes since 2011, a condition called Somongyi where his body responds oddly to glucose in 2012, & then with a liver carcinoma in 2013.  That is when the vet said he may not be around much longer, & chances are his glucose wouldn’t be regulated ever again.  In spite of it all, he’s been doing GREAT!  Mostly his glucose has been regulated, & he’s obviously feeling good.  However, I was still nervous (as always) about his checkup.  Turned out the vet said he is doing extremely well, I’m happy to say.  Two vets saw him, one who specializes in diabetes, & she told me she thinks he’s starting to go into diabetic remission!!  It’s very unusual- cats often go into diabetic remission, but usually within about the first 3 months after their diagnosis.  The longer they have diabetes, the lower the chances of remission are.  Leave it to my little guy to be unique.. lol  It’s truly an answer to prayer!  I’m so excited!

This all got me to thinking last night how much I have to thank God for.

Lately, the C-PTSD has been especially bad, leaving me extremely depressed, tired, anxious, having a hard time concentrating & really unable & unwilling to be around people.  It’s been hard to think of anything to be thankful for, but this vet visit was the kick in the butt I needed to change my attitude.  OK, I’m still having some trouble feeling grateful, but I am doing better at it today.  I’m grateful my special little kitty is much healthier than anyone could’ve expected.  I’m grateful too that he’s such a sweet baby- he knows every emotion I have, & if I’m upset, he is right there, offering lots of love to try to make it all better.  I’m grateful for another one of my cats, Punkin, who also has PTSD & how we can help each other when symptoms flare up.  I’m grateful God has blessed me with the many wonderful cats I have & had in my life.   I’m grateful that even during the worst of times with C-PTSD, God still cares & helps me to get through it all.  I’m grateful I survived all of the traumas that caused the C-PTSD, & still have a pretty decent attitude about life most days.  I’m grateful I have people in my life who care about me.  I’m even grateful for the classic car I drive, because it was once my grandfather’s car (my favorite car he ever had) & God found a miraculous way to send it back into my life after not even seeing it in 26 years. (I wrote that story in ebook form- it’s a fascinating story even if you aren’t a classic car fan like me.  Here’s the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/my-life-the-story-of-a-1969-plymouth/ebook/product-18462742.html )

As a result of thinking about these things & more that I am grateful to God for, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I feel the C-PTSD starting to improve some.  I’m not expecting grateful thoughts to make all of the symptoms magically disappear of course- that would be very naive- but, I have noticed a grateful attitude does help to reduce the severity of C-PTSD symptoms.  I think because it makes me feel closer to God as well as more appreciative of the good things He has blessed me with.  Thinking about such things also increases my faith in God.  Really focusing on the blessings He gives you can’t help but to increase your faith!

I know sometimes when symptoms are raging, it feels like there is absolutely nothing to be thankful for.  I’ve felt that way many times myself.  However, if you can try to think of the good in your life, or ask God to show you the ways He’s blessed you, it may help to reduce your symptoms.  Even if it only helps a little bit, isn’t it worth it?

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Anger Happens Sometimes With C-PTSD & It’s OK!

Something is happening that I assume is a natural part of C-PTSD, but I haven’t read or heard anything about it: anger, & lots of it.  I’ve read that often people with PTSD or C-PTSD can have a short fuse, getting angry at silly little things, but that is all I read.  So, I had to start praying..

For the first time, I’m getting very angry when people are deliberately hurtful, mean or even abusive towards me.  I realize for the first time that I don’t deserve such poor treatment.  In a way, this is pretty darned cool!!  God showed me it means my self-esteem is at a good place instead of in the toilet where it’s been most of my life.  In another way, it’s rather scary since it’s new territory… I’m not used to feeling anger, because I learned early in life I wasn’t allowed to feel it.  If I expressed any anger, my mother said I had that “awful Bailey temper.”  I carried that dysfunctional habit of not expressing anger into adulthood.

In addition to that, I’m getting very angry at the things that I feel C-PTSD has stolen from me.  This morning, this anger was triggered because of my hair.  Yes, sounds crazy, I know.. I was brushing my hair this morning & realizing so much is broken off & my hair is extremely dry. It looks awful, which upsets me as I’ve always had healthy, nice hair.  Researching this online, long story short, I learned that anxiety & depression are most likely the cause for me.  *sigh*  Great.  Then a little while later,  I decided I was going to work on the new carburetor that is going on my car.  As I skimmed over the directions, they didn’t seem too difficult- I thought I could do what I needed to do.  Nope.  Trying to follow the directions, I was easily confused.  Although I did eventually remember that I’ve done this before (admittedly, 20+ years ago..), trying to actually do what the directions said to do absolutely baffled me.  I also couldn’t remember details of how I’d done this.  it was just the icing on the cake for me.  Made me so angry that I have to rely on my husband do to this simple task for me!  I miss my independence so much!  I then thought about so many other things that C-PTSD has stolen from me, like my coping skills.  i was once very strong, but now any little  thing can frazzle me.  Writing has become very hard for me, because my focus absolutely stinks.  Reading, which was always my favorite pass time, is now a burden because my brain gets easily overwhelmed when I look at the pages in a book.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a restful night’s sleep that wasn’t interrupted by nightmares or waking up with anxiety attacks, & yes, this happens even with sleeping pills.  I’m sick of the constant anxiety, depression, forgetfulness & mood swings too.  We won’t even discuss how many perfectly fine days have been ruined by flashbacks out of the blue..

I realize I sound like I’m wallowing in self-pity, which is what so many ignorant people think C-PTSD is, but yanno something?  I think it’s OK to have these moments of self-compassion sometimes, & even be angry about it.  It’s NOT fair to be abused, let alone so badly & so frequently as to develop C-PTSD.  It’s WRONG!  And, it’s so maddening when you’re suffering through every single day while your abuser goes on with his or her life without a care about what they did to you.  I know, God says vengeance is His, & I respect that by not trying to get revenge on anyone.  That being said.. sometimes it’d be nice to see that person suffer a little, yanno?!?  Not nice, not a good Christian attitude either, but I think it’s just normal to feel that way once in a while (& then ask God to forgive me later..).  It’s also maddening when you are trying your absolute best just to survive, & someone comes along telling you to stop looking so depressed, shake it off, let it go, just think happy thoughts.. seriously, don’t you want to slap those people hard sometimes??  lol  I actually chewed out my husband recently for telling me to do my best.  He’d said it many times, & I felt like doing my best was never good enough for him.  One day, i got angry & told him “the fact I’m out of bed today & I haven’t put a gun to my head should tell you I *am* doing my best!”  He was shocked, but it finally clicked for him that even if it doesn’t look like it, I really am trying!

Does this describe you too?  Do you have times like I’m having today where you are just hot mad at having C-PTSD?  If so, doesn’t logic dictate this as normal behavior sometimes?  C-PTSD is such a frustrating, depressing disorder!  God reminded me of that, & understands my anger & frustration, just as He does yours.  Please, don’t berate yourself for how you feel!  Feelings can’t be helped- they just happen.  It’s what you do with those feelings that matter.

How can you cope when these days happen?  To start with, get those feelings out!  Once I’m done writing this entry, I’m going to write in my journal or pray.  Getting all the anger out I can in a safe manner.  Writing is an awesome way to get out your anger & hurt if you don’t feel like praying.  Or, you could beat up a pillow- that helps too.  Talk to something as if it’s the person you’re angry with, maybe an empty chair in front of you.

Music can help too.  Right now, I’m listening to 1980’s hair bands & heavy metal- some of my favorite music ever.  What is your favorite genre of music?  Well, crank it up!!  Doesn’t matter if it’s heavy metal or classical- whatever makes you feel good!  In fact, go for a drive with your music blaring if you can- it’s fun & therapeutic!

Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  If you’re feeling angry, there is a reason for it!  Don’t tell yourself to just get over it, stop feeling that way or even that you need to forgive the person who hurt you. Accept the fact it’s really OK to be angry sometimes!  The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26-27  “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry- but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.  And don’t stay angry.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” (MSG)  See?  Even God says it’s OK to get angry sometimes!  Just don’t do anything bad with that anger, such as get revenge.

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Who Am I After Trauma?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been having some really rough C-PTSD times lately.  The last few days, it’s been a lot better, thankfully.  Going through the rough times lately have gotten me to thinking.  I realized I’ve changed a lot since May, 2012 when the C-PTSD became full blown, but I hadn’t really thought about it until a few days ago when I realized I’ve been berating myself rather than accepting myself or trying to discover who I am post-trauma.

There are plenty of books & online counselors on  the topic of discovering your post trauma identity.  Obviously there is a need for such knowledge- trauma certainly changes you, like it or not.  I haven’t ready any of those books yet or spoken to a counselor, so I’m just starting to learn about & pray about this topic.  I hope & pray these things I’ve learned so far will help you as they are starting to help me..

I’m seeing that I need to learn to accept the fact I have C-PTSD, & its ugly symptoms without judgment.  I keep beating myself up about being so “weak” as to have C-PTSD.  You see, I’ve always been very strong.  In fact, when I had my first nervous breakdown at age 19, I went to work the next day.  I was catatonic for 5 hours that night, had no sleep at all, yet went into work the next morning as if nothing happened. I survived awful abuse, then went on to school, & no one had any idea what had just happened to me.  It seemed like nothing could affect me for long, until C-PTSD came along.  Now?  Let my kitchen sink clog up or me have any small change in my routine, & I’m in a state of panic.  It’s beyond frustrating!  I’m trying to remember some things.  First, C-PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness- it’s a sign of having survived some pretty terrible traumas.  Second, C-PTSD is a terrible, life-changing, even potentially life threatening disorder.  It’s not something one can control, so its symptoms are going to rear their ugly heads, including the lack of ability to cope well with about anything, crying at the drop of a hat, anxiety attacks, etc.  Third, I wouldn’t judge anyone else with C-PTSD.  In fact, I have friends with it, & have not once thought they were weak, stupid, useless, etc., so I need to extend that same kindness to myself. Fourth, I need to take better care of myself when the symptoms flare up. It’s ok to take a day off to relax after a particularly nasty flashback, for example.  And, I also need to be more aware of what makes my symptoms worse, what triggers I have, & be more understanding of myself regarding them.  They’re a normal part of this disorder, & nothing to be ashamed of.

I need to accept the fact that trauma changes a person’s brain, especially repeated, ongoing trauma like I have experienced.  Like it or not, it’s a fact.  Basically, PTSD & C-PTSD are brain injuries.  Brain injuries can make drastic changes in a person!  I’ve become very forgetful, very emotional, moody & a lot of times I have trouble finding the right words I need.  All are symptoms of C-PTSD & nothing to be ashamed of.

I need to accept changes that have happened to me since C-PTSD.  I don’t laugh as easily as I once did. I still have a sense of humor, but I’m a lot more serious than I used to be.  I’ve always been an avid bookworm, but now, reading a book overwhelms my brain very easily, which made me lose interest in reading.  Reading on my tablet is easier, but I still can feel overwhelmed sometimes.  I’ve lost most interest in my favorite hobbies- knitting & crocheting.  Writing has become very difficult on most days for me.  I don’t know it these things will ever come back.  Hopefully they will, or maybe even be replaced by other interesting things that I can enjoy just as much.

I also need to accept the fact I need to ask God for help with the simple things much more often than I used to.  Thankfully, God doesn’t mind helping, & in fact, wants to help.  However, I still feel weird about asking Him to help me remember to do something or help in accomplishing something simple because I’ve forgotten how to do it.  Thank God He is patient & understanding!  He has not once made me feel as if I need to do something on my own or not bother Him with my silly requests.

I’m certain there is much more to add to this list, but so far this is what God’s been showing me about handling my post-trauma identity.  I hope it helps you as well!  xoxo

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“You Just Need To Get Over It!” & Other Pearls Of So-Called Wisdom About Narcissistic Abuse

I read a very interesting quote, & it really hit home with me:

“There is a theme that runs through responses I receive from children of a narcissistic parent(s).  The child is subjected to unbearable levels of ongoing abuse- scalding criticisms, withering humiliations in front of other family members & alone, routine secret physical beatings & other horrendous acts of brutality including psychological & literal abandonment.  When the child lets family members know what is happening to  him, this person is not believed. When the victim of a narcissist tells the truth about his dreadful pathological parent, he is not treated with kindness or understanding.  The family is shocked; the victim is treated with disdain & often told he/she is the sick one or that this is all lies to get attention.”  Linda Martinez-Lewi, PHD

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been treated this way, not only by those close to me (well, not close to me anymore obviously!), but even by therapists.  When I told my high school guidance counselor about my mother spending so much time daily screaming at me, she said, “That doesn’t sound so bad..”  I’ve also been told to let it go, get over it, work things out with my mother- it’s my responsibility, I need therapy, I use C-PTSD to get attention & more.

If you too are the adult child of a narcissist, I’m sure you can relate.

Hearing such cruel, invalidating statements is extremely painful.  You feel abused all over again.  It can be devastating to you & to the relationship you share with that person.  One person I had loved dearly & was once close to said a few comments along the lines of I needed to just get over things.  Her last comment actually destroyed the love I felt for her.  I suddenly no longer cared for her.  Not that I wished her bad- I simply felt nothing at all for her.

So how do you deal with these painful situations?  Avoiding them would be best, but unfortunately, that isn’t always possible.  Sometimes you can, because if you know a person well, you know  that this person isn’t safe to discuss certain topics with.  As a result, you avoid discussing those topics with that person.  Then there are other times when you mention your narcissistic mother to someone who you expect to be supportive, yet they surprise you by invalidating your pain.  Those times are the most painful, because you didn’t expect that response- you expected support & empathy.

When you are told to “get over it”, “you’re only making these things up to get attention,” etc., the first thing to do is to end this conversation before it goes further (hurting you more) however you deem appropriate.  You can simply change the subject, walk away or hang up the phone.  However you set  this boundary, you’ll run the risk of angering the other person, so you need to be prepared for that unfair anger. (The person I mentioned whose comments destroyed my love for her?  When we’d discussed the topic via email the last time, I told her I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but I wasn’t asking for her opinion on my life.  After that, she didn’t speak to me for several months.)  Hopefully the other person you’re having the problem with will simply respect your boundary instead, as many people do.

Once the conversation is done, as soon as you can, get alone with God.  Tell  Him how it made you feel, & let Him comfort you.  Get your feelings out so they don’t end up pushed down inside of you, festering.  That only hurts you!  If you don’t feel comfortable telling God how you feel, journal about them.  Or, write the person a letter that you never send, telling her off if that helps you feel better.

If you’re suddenly doubting yourself (am I really making too much out of things?  That type of thought) because of what was said to you, ask God to tell you if you are.  He will reassure you that you aren’t, which helps tremendously to give you a healthy perspective on what was said.

You also need to evaluate your relationship with this person.  is she someone you’re close to?  Do you have a good relationship other than her lack of understanding about your abusive mother?  Then it is probably worth saving- just accept that your narcissistic mother isn’t a topic you two can discuss.  Or, does this person criticize or invalidate you in other ways?  (I don’t mean the healthy, constructive criticism we all need sometimes)  Then this relationship may need to end. You’ve been treated badly enough in your life thanks to your narcissistic mother- why continue to tolerate being treated badly?

As I mentioned in this post, I recently realized that when the C-PTSD flares up, it seems like every single nasty, invalidating comment I’ve ever heard comes to mind.  Those times are so painful!  I tried to wait on it to pass when it happens, but that doesn’t always work so well.  Sometimes it seems like the comments play over & over, like an old cassette tape stuck on repeat.  So, what I do during those times is think of a specific comment said to me, for example, “that doesn’t sound so bad.”  Then I think about the event that led the person to make the comment, & remember, it really WAS bad!  It was horrible!  Having someone tell you that you’re a horrible person hurts, but add in the fact that was my mother, & she was screaming it in my face?  Yea, it was pretty bad.. if someone thinks it wasn’t, that person obviously has the problem!

I believe that some people simple aren’t able to grasp the hell that is living with narcissistic abuse.  Maybe they come from loving families, & never had to face any type of abuse.  As a result, they just can’t  wrap their minds around the fact not all families are as good as theirs.  Or, maybe they too came from a narcissistic parent, yet haven’t had the strength to face that, & continue living in the dysfunction instead.  Or, in all honesty, narcissistic abuse sounds so far fetched!  Sometimes the things narcissists do sound completely made up, they just are that “out there.”  If I wouldn’t have seen the things my mother did to me, I’m not sure I would believe anyone was capable of such acts either!  Maybe some people can’t believe another human being is capable of doing such things, especially to her own child.  Whatever the reason, that does not give them the right to invalidate your pain!  Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing to endure.  Its damage can be lifelong & extremely painful.  Don’t let anyone convince you that it was “no big deal” or that there’s something wrong with you for how you feel after surviving such torture!

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A Long Week In A Life With C-PTSD

It’s been almost three years since almost all of the symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested in my life, but I’m still learning about them & how to manage them.  It’s a daily battle.

This past week has been a rough one.  I’m not sure why, but the C-PTSD has been flaring up really badly.  Nothing happened to trigger it, although I did have a flashback a few days into this flare.  I haven’t discussed what’s happening much with anyone, not even my husband.  For one thing, when it flares up, I need to get a grasp on what is happening.  My thinking changes so much, & sometimes it takes a lot for me to recognize it’s the disorder, not me thinking that. For example, I’ve been ashamed of this flare up.  I’ve been feeling weak & angry at myself for being so weak.  Normally, I accept C-PTSD as the reaction to some very bad things that I’ve been through, but flare ups change that in me.

This morning, I was in an especially foul mood, & my husband & I talked about it.  I finally opened up to some of what has been going on with me this week  He suggested that since I’ve promised to keep my blog real, that I write about it, & hopefully someone who reads this will benefit from it.

Reading about the symptoms of C-PTSD on clinical sounding websites & living them are two very different things.  Reading about them, they sound bad enough, but living them?  Yikes.  And, you rarely see detailed descriptions of the more odd symptoms.  I thought I’d share some of the symptoms you don’t read much (if anything) about that I’ve experienced this week, so if you too experience them, you’ll know you aren’t crazy!

Lately, I’ve had more nightmares than usual.  Not even nightmares about traumatic events I’ve been through- nightmares about stupid things, such as an empty school bus parked beside my car catching fire.  I knew I couldn’t move my car for some reason, & was afraid it was going to burn with the bus.  Make any sense to you?  Yea, me neither.. lol  One night, I woke up every 15-30 minutes all night long, mostly from nightmares, most of which I didn’t even remember, but I woke up panicky.  The few I did remember though had absolutely nothing to do with the traumas I’ve experienced.  When I first read about C-PTSD, I assumed when it said nightmares happen, it was nightmares about the traumas.  Not necessarily.. I have them too sometimes, but usually not.  The nightmares are usually odd but disturbing.

My thinking has been extremely negative.  I try to be positive yet realistic, but this week, that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been beating myself up about anything & everything possible.  I’m weak, stupid, cowardly, useless, ugly, nothing but a burden to my husband.. you get the idea.  Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I used to do that all the time, but over the last probably 10-15 years or so, had gotten much better about not doing that.  When the C-PTSD flares up, though, that old habit comes back with a vengeance.

I feel like I’ve remembered every single time someone has told me something invalidating about having C-PTSD & it hurts.  I’ve thought of so many times when people have told me to “get over it,” “stop using C-PTSD to get pity/attention,” “stop living in the past”, “stop being so negative- you need to be more positive.”  or even simply showed they don’t care when the symptoms are bothering me.   Why these stupid comments pop into my mind, I have no idea..

My thinking has been very sluggish.  I haven’t caught on to hubby’s jokes, which is very abnormal for me since we share the same warped sense of humor.  Following a simple TV show or movie has been rather difficult too.  And, I encountered a narcissist, yet failed to recognize the signs I normally wouldn’t have missed.  Once they were pointed out to me is when I caught on.  UGH!

I’ve been getting very angry very easily.  It seems like anything & everything pushes my buttons.  While trying to put fresh sheets on my bed this morning, I got mad at one of my cats for getting in my way.  WHY?!  She does this every single time I change sheets.  It’s nothing new.  But for some reason this morning, this made me so angry.  I didn’t scold her, since this is a normal part of her routine, but I really wanted to for a minute there.

I’ve been extremely depressed.  I’ve always battled depression, & for years, I was fortunate enough to find ways to keep it under control.  I even wrote a book about that, called, “Baptism Of Joy.”  My first book!  Then when the C-PTSD kicked in in May, 2012, that changed.  While I’m not depressed all of the time, I once again spend quite a bit of time depressed, & this time, the usual things that once helped me to feel better don’t work nearly so often.

I’ve also been extremely anxious & unable to pinpoint why exactly.  Above & beyond the normal anxiety & hyper-vigilance that come with C-PTSD, I mean.  I’ve woken up having panic attacks several times lately.  Not a nice way to wake up!

I’ve wondered if I’m going crazy.  Definitely not a nice way to feel, especially since I spent so much time feeling this way when I was growing up  with my mother who often told me “you need help” (implying I was in need of psychological help, yet she wouldn’t take me to a therapist) & with an ex-husband who was very good at gaslighting.

I’m dissociating a lot more than normal.  I feel so spacey most of the time.  This also means I have very little focus.  Writing in this blog has been a very big challenge this week!  Honestly, when I’ve written my entries, I’ve been very unsure about how they sounded, then published them, just praying they made sense.

To try to manage these symptoms,I’ve been spending time listening to music I love, which means many songs I grew up with in the 70’s-80’s, some country & some classic & hard rock.  I’ve also been spending time with God, not even necessarily praying- just sitting in His presence.  It’s very restorative & grounding.

C-PTSD is an absolutely evil, devastating disorder.  If you live with it too, I understand what you’re going through!  You may or may not have the odd symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week (I pray you don’t!), but if you do, please know you’re not alone, nor are you crazy!  In spite of how it feels, you are a normal person who had a normal reaction to an abnormal amount of trauma!  That is what C-PTSD is- a normal response to an abnormal amount of trauma.  It isn’t a sign of weakness, low intelligence, flaws in one’s character, or poor thinking such as living in the past or being negative.

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When Bad Times Happen With A Narcissistic Parent

Since I’ve said I’ll keep this blog real & not sugarcoat things, I thought I should share this.

As I’ve said, lately I’ve been feeling like I need to write for those who either can’t or won’t go no contact with their narcissistic mothers. I’ve been trying to be encouraging to those of you in that situation, & I firmly believe in what I’ve been saying.  But, this doesn’t mean bad times don’t happen sometimes.

Although things have been going quite well with my parents, Monday I was hurt by both of them.  It was my father’s birthday, so I wanted to call to wish him a happy birthday.  My mother answered the phone, & we talked for a while.  She seems to be trying to be nicer to me, I think because she realizes I’m pulling away as I always do when she gets nasty.  Even so, she still hurt me by talking with compassion & concern about a problem someone she knows has. Sadly, I’ve had the same problem for years now, & she doesn’t even care.  In fact, she obviously didn’t remember I have this problem.

Then, I spoke with my father.  He can be very pessimistic.  In fact, if you saw the movie, “Kindergarten Cop”, you may remember the little boy who, when his teacher said he had a headache, replied with, “It could be a tumor.”  That is who my father reminds me of sometimes- he can find a possible negative in most any situation.  He reminded me of my first car that is sitting in my backyard, waiting on restoration, & getting rustier by the day.  *sigh*  He told me I should sell her, which isn’t happening.  She’ll be restored somehow, & frankly, what business is this of his, anyway??

Unfortunately when you’re in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, times like this happen.  While the things I’ve written about definitely will help you, they won’t make everything perfect.  Bad times still will happen.  Please don’t be discouraged by these times.  They are going to happen.  They can’t be avoided 100%, unfortunately.

And, if you think about it, you’ll realize you are handling those bad times better.  I did.  I was hurt, of course, but I wasn’t devastated by Monday’s call.  The suggestions I’ve been making & putting into practice for myself- boundaries, looking for the positive, improving self-esteem & leaning on God most of all- have helped me a LOT.  I have no doubt they’ll help you as well.

I know being in a relationship with a narcissist isn’t easy, especially when everyone tells you to just walk away.  But, if this is where you feel you need to be at least for now, or you are unable to walk away, please be encouraged.  God will enable you to do what you need to do to protect your mental health!

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Emotional “Purging”

I have a folder of various songs on my mp3 player that are very special to me. When I lost several of my cats over the years, shortly after their death, I’d hear a song or a song would go through my head out of the blue, & God would speak to my heart, telling me that the kitty who just passed on wanted me to know that this song reminded him/her of me.  I turned these songs on the mp3 player while finishing some housework..

The song “You Were Loved” by Wynonna came on- that was my Magic’s song, my first kitty & a very special dark sable/black guy who was in my life for over 16 years.  Grief overwhelmed me.  Physically I could barely stand & the sobbing hit hard.  In this pain, I cried out to God, telling Him I miss my Magic so much.  I clearly heard Him ask me what else do I miss?  A laundry list of things that are currently a problem in my life came out.  I miss having a mother- I’d love to have a normal, non-narcissistic mother who won’t hurt me purposely for her own amusement or to preserve her own image.  I miss not having financial problems- not saying I want a brand new car or whatever, just want the bills current or paid ahead & be able to do some things.  I want to no longer be constantly hurt or affected by or blamed for things other people do.

A lot of anger came to the surface too.  I’m angry at the people who have abused me yet never took responsibility for it or showed any remorse.  November 28th, it’ll be 24 years since my mother threw me into a wall & messed up my back.  In those 24 years, not once has she accepted responsibility for it, but instead told anyone who would listen I faked the injury to get out of working because I was lazy.  My mother is hardly the only abuser who hasn’t taken any responsibility, either, & that frankly just pisses me off!

Some of the anger that came up is because there are so many things in my life I can’t make sense of.  I thought about my ex boyfriend for example.  Last January, I learned not only was he gay (might have been nice to know that before we became a couple!), but he murdered his boyfriend, then himself.  I shared a life with this man- how did I not realize  he had such serious problems?!  I know I was young, but still, what the heck?!

Then the anger turned to sadness, & I started crying pretty hard… it didn’t want to stop for a long time as years of anger & pain came out & God comforted me.  Thankfully!  I hadn’t cried like that in a long time, & apparently I really needed to do so.

This experience reminded me of something I had long since forgotten about.  When I was a little girl, I think God gave me a survival skill that I never appreciated.  One night a week after I went to bed, I would make myself cry for a while.  I would think of anything sad that would make me cry, then just cry for however long felt right, & go to sleep after  that.  This was my own time & no one interfered with it, as my parents assumed I was asleep.  Growing up with an engulfing narcissistic mother was very, very hard.  I was very anxious & depressed, even as a little girl (not that anyone noticed, because I was good even then at hiding my feelings).  Those nights when I cried were good for me- I was able to get out the sadness, anger & anxiety I felt & go on with more peace the next morning.

As a grown up living with C-PTSD which includes nasty periods of depression plus all the stress I’m facing lately, I think it is time to implement a grown up version of this ritual I had.  Today showed me the need for periodic emotional purging.

i am going to spend more time with God, even if it’s while running the vacuum cleaner, & ask Him to help me, to help me purge of whatever anger, hurt, etc. is inside that needs to come out.  Then ask Him to heal me & help me to cry or do whatever I need to to get things out.  (Like most adult children of a narcissistic mother, I have trouble often with expressing emotions).

The reason I’m sharing this with you, Dear Reader, is because I think this may help you as well.  So many people, especially adult children of narcissists, aren’t good at getting out their emotions.  Look at all of the health problems today- high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, immune system problems.. so many of these are from holding in emotions & stress.  Feel your feelings.  Process them rather than stuffing them down deep inside!  It’s good for you!  Talk to God  about them, too- He not only will comfort you, but help you to deal with them & heal your broken heart as well!

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I Understand The Pain A Narcissistic Mother Can Cause!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA the last few days.  I haven’t felt well at all. Last Saturday’s interaction with my mother left me feeling physically ill & very depressed.  Today’s the first day I’ve felt better at least, not great, but improving.

I’ve been beating myself up a lot over this, which I know is unhealthy, but I’ve been very frustrated.  In talking with a friend of mine, I mentioned this frustration, asking her rhetorically why my mother’s betrayal has hurt me so badly?  I know this is how she is, so why is this even bothering me?  Her response didn’t click at the moment, but a bit later, I realized how true & wise her words were- “because you’re not a narcissist.  You wouldn’t do this to anyone.”  That is very true.  That means that although I understand why she acts as she does, I can’t comprehend wanting to hurt someone, especially one’s own child, just to make sure people think well of me.  That is beyond my level of comprehension.  It’s beyond anyone’s level of comprehension except for narcissists.

Something else came to my mind, too.  Narcissistic abuse hurts, no matter who the narcissist is.  However, when that narcissist is your mother, that magnifies the hurt.  The abuse these narcissistic mothers dole out goes so much against nature.  Look at the animal kingdom- mama cats adore their tiny kittens, mama deer love their precious little fawns, wolf mothers happily fuss over,protect & play with their pups. They automatically know how to be loving, caring, good mothers.  Human mothers are supposed to be no different, yet here are these narcissistic mothers, hurting their children while wearing a smile, destroying their self esteem & their identity, sometimes even their sanity.  It is nearly impossible to comprehend, even when you understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

I think this is why no matter how well versed you are in NPD, no matter how old you are, sometimes your narcissistic mother will do something that hits you very hard, maybe even devastates you.  Those times are frustrating, but I think a natural part of dealing with such an unnatural situation.  Rather than beating yourself up like I have done, accept that fact.  Take care of yourself during such times.  Get out your comfort bag.  Relax.  Acknowledge if you’re going through the grief process (as I mentioned I was in this post), & process your feelings as you need to.  Write in a journal.  Talk to compassionate friends.  Mostly, pray.  God knows what you’re feeling & thinking anyway- you won’t surprise Him if you are so angry, you hate your mother or wish she were dead.  He understands your hurt & anger, & can heal you.

By the way, my mother called me yesterday.  I debated answering the phone, but ended up doing so since I avoided her last call, & I was sure I could handle it.  It was almost funny…she asked how my dog Dixie was feeling.  (Hubby had told my father she was sick, & may need to go to the vet).  I said Dixie’s fine.  She said, “I knew it.  Your dad lied.  He gets things so mixed up.” (he has a traumatic brain injury so his memory isn’t up to par).  She also said my father said Dixie is so old (she’s 10) & doesn’t have much longer to live.  That was it- I blew off.  I told her “Dixie is FINE.  She has many more happy, healthy years ahead of her!  She’s a strong, healthy girl!”  She actually said, “That’s just what I told your dad!”  Really??  Because about a month ago she told me Dixie is getting old & probably won’t be around much longer.. *pulling hair out*

She also was on a fact finding mission to see if I was talking to my mother in-law or spending Thanksgiving with the in-laws.  Ridiculous…why would I speak to my mother in-law suddenly after 12 years of no contact? ( I think because she realizes how close I am to ending my relationship with her, & she wants to see how I operate with not speaking to the mother in-law). My mother then invited my husband & I to go to dinner with them on Thanksgiving but I refused.  I want a quiet day to myself, over indulging in reruns of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” for their marathon online.  Relaxing with a silly, fun tv show all day sounds like a good way to spend the day- much better than pretending we’re a happy, functional family…

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I Realized I Am Grieving

If you missed it, yesterday I posted about my narcissistic mother’s betrayal.  She currently is feigning great concern for my husband’s mother being ill, in spite of knowing the massive amount of abuse the woman has put me through.  And, she is flaunting it in my face- when we saw my parents Saturday, my mother kept bringing up his mother’s health,displaying deep concern for her. The only reason she is doing this is to cause me pain, & it is working.  Those of you who also have a narcissistic mother know that if I had said anything to her Saturday, she would have portrayed herself the innocent victim of her evil daughter.  The worst part is nothing would improve, but most likely it would only get worse.

Since Saturday, I have not been happy at all. I am deeply hurt,& crying easier than usual (normally I cry easily anyway, but this is over the top even for me). The C-PTSD has been flaring up- my head is swimming, anxiety levels are terrible & I had nightmares all night long last night.  I can’t remember many details other than being abandoned in them, which tells me my brain is still trying to process what my mother is doing to me.

I also realized this morning that I am grieving. There are five stages of grief..

  1. Denial- denying this is happening.  it’s a normal defense mechanism.
  2. Anger- when you feel as if this can’t be happening because you aren’t ready for it.  You may be angry at anyone or everyone at this point.
  3. Bargaining- “if only he had seen a doctor sooner!” thoughts invade your mind.  Or, “God if you let him live, i’ll do anything you want!”
  4. Depression- sadness becomes almost overwhelming.
  5. Acceptance- accepting what has happened, & beginning to move on.

These stages of grief not only happen when someone you love dies, but they can happen in other areas of life as well.  I believe they also can happen during especially painful times, such as what I’m experiencing. When someone goes above & beyond to hurt you, that is horribly painful, but when it is your own mother- the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what- the pain is magnified by 1,000.

So this is why I am grieving right now.  When my mother first began her “concern” for my mother in-law, I wasn’t surprised.  She has been sending her Christmas cards ever since the first Christmas after I told my parents how bad my mother in-law treated me.  However, the constant mentioning her, the “I’m praying she gets better soon”, & then the cookies & card for her were over the top, even by my mother’s standards.  It was almost impossible for me to believe she had gone this far at first (stage 1).  Once it started sinking in shortly after leaving my parents’ home Saturday, I got angry (stage 2) & stayed angry all during yesterday.  By last night, I actually began to wonder if I had done something wrong, something to deserve this from my mother or something that made her behave this way (stage 3).  That didn’t last long as anger & then depression (stage 4) kicked in.

Once I thought about this, I realized that I go through this often when my mother pulls some of her antics.  Honestly, most of them I am so used to that I only get angry or disgusted that we are going through it again.  Even so, sometimes, she surprises me & pulls something so especially painful, it catches me off guard.  This is one of those times.

I believe grieving like this to be common, & not only for me, but for all children of a narcissistic parent.  if you share similar feelings to mine after dealing with your narcissistic mother, then please be aware of two things:

First, you are not crazy!  You are not wrong, nor are you at fault for feeling this way.  You are perfectly normal! You are grieving something very painful, & need to be compassionate & gentle with yourself until you have come to terms with the incident. Take care of yourself- pamper yourself, & do things that make you feel good.  If you made a comfort box or bag, get it out & enjoy the special items you put inside.

And second, know you are not alone!  It isn’t “just you”.  Just because your narcissistic mother says nobody else is as bad/crazy/stupid/etc. as you means it is true.  She is lying to justify her abuse.  Ignore her!  She is the one with the problem.  There are others like you who understand your pain & will validate you!  I am only one of them.

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Ranting & Raving.. (revised)

Good morning, Dear Readers!

Well, it isn’t really a good morning for me.  I really do want to keep my posts as encouraging & as positive as I can, but I also promised you readers that I would also be real.  That means some posts won’t be all happy & positive.  This post is going to be one of those.  In fact, I was going to write it only in my journal, but I felt I should write it in here.  Maybe someone needs to read this today.  It’ll probably be pretty long, longer than normal at least, so get yourself comfortable if you want to read this.. lol

The last few days have been really rough, & the C-PTSD is flaring up badly as of yesterday.  My head is simply swimming.  To start with, our little American Eskimo dog, Dixie, has been sick.  Thankfully, she is well on her way to recovery now, but not recognizing her symptoms at first terrified me.  My pets are like my children, so  when they are sick, I get extremely concerned.  Then my husband’s mother went into the hospital a couple of days ago.  I’m not sure she didn’t put herself there for attention, to be completely honest about it.  It wouldn’t be the first time she’s done that.  I think it was last year just before Christmas my husband told me she said that she quit taking her meds for a few days prior to going into the hospital.  Yep, I love narcissists.. NOT.  *sigh*

And, as the icing on this crappy cake, my husband & I saw my parents yesterday.

Recently, my parents bought a new chair.  Once it was delivered, my mother decided she didn’t like it, & wanted to exchange it for another one.  She called to ask if my husband would mind picking it up with his truck, as she didn’t want to pay another $80 delivery charge.  He said he’d be fine with doing it Saturday (yesterday).  So Friday, I said I should call her to be sure of what time to meet my parents at the furniture store.  He volunteered to make the call instead, which was fine with me at the time.  Now, I’m not happy he did this at all & that will not be happening again as I have learned a painful lesson.  Although I have told him many times, do NOT say anything about our furkids or his parents to my parents other than everyone is “fine”, he told my mother Dixie was sick & probably needed to see the vet in the morning, & also that his mother was in the hospital so we couldn’t make it a long visit.  If my mother hears anything other than FINE about any of them, I will end up very angry with either her nasty comments about my furkids, or fake concern over my in-laws.  The fake concern hurts me very badly, because she knows perfectly well I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002 because of how cruelly my narcissistic mother in-law has treated me.  And a side note here- I asked God once why my mother does this.  He showed me that my mother thinks my in-laws have a perfect life- been married 60+ years, financially comfortable, nice home in a nice area, their children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren visit them often.  She fails to see the mountains of dysfunction in their family, only what looks good on the outside.  My mother, being a narcissist & naturally overly concerned with appearances, wants to impress them. By me refusing to tolerate my mother in-law’s abusive ways, I’ve embarrassed my mother.  In return, she wants to hurt me as much as possible by showing concern for them, as well as showing them even though I’m a “terrible person,” at least she isn’t bad like me.  She is good enough to care about them even if I don’t.  This is also why she has sent them Christmas cards since I first told her how cruel the mother in-law is.  Amazing what goes on  in the mind of a narcissist..

Back to the original topic..

The visit started at the furniture store.  My mother sat in the car, & my father approached us in hubby’s truck.  He handed hubby a booklet about county services for seniors I’d given my parents a couple of months ago.  He said it was because hubby’s parents probably needed it.  Really?  Hubby told my father no, they’re fine- my parents need it.  My father said my mother thought they needed it more, so they should have it. Hubby grabbed the booklet & spoke to my mother, telling her SHE needs this, his parents are taken care of.  I heard snippets of their conversation- she kept changing the subject, showing concern for his mother being in the hospital.  ARGH!  So while this happened, my father & I walked into the customer service area & gave them the receipt.  We waited a few minutes for him to bring the chair outside for us, & chatted.  Finally we were loaded up & ready to go.  I moved the truck over to beside my mother’s car to get it out of the way.  My mother said hi to me, I ignored her & waited for hubby.

At my parents’ house, my mother asked me how Dixie was.  i said fine.  She said “Oh?  Your dad said she was really sick.”  I said nothing further.  (I feel somewhat bad about that, because knowing her, she’ll jump on my father for lying to her even though he wasn’t lying.  But, not trying to be vengeful here, he has no problems throwing me under the bus with my mother.  Why should I feel bad that I inadvertently did the same to him once, yanno?)  So she then talked to hubby about his mother.  I continued ignoring her, but was stewing inside.  How dare she?!  Plus i was also angry hubby told her about Dixie when I have said many times mention NOTHING about her or the cats to my mother.

My husband, father & I assembled the chair.  While working on it, my mother brought out a plate of cookies & demanded we all eat one.  I refused.  All my life, my mother has insulted what I eat, how much I do or don’t eat, demanded I eat what she wants when she wants me to & ridiculed me for being fat no matter how little I may weigh.  When she tells me to eat something now, I refuse in order to set a boundary.  Plus, the emotional flashbacks I get make me feel like I did at around 10 years old when her abuse regarding food was so bad that I became anorexic then later bulimic: terrified of her anger if I didn’t do as was told or take her criticisms with a smile, angry, like I am too hideous & disgusting to live.  This feels HORRIBLE & it makes me angry that at 43 years old, I quickly can revert to feeling like I did as a child.

Finally, the chair was done, & we were ready to leave.  As I said goodbye to my father, my mother spoke to my husband about his parents again, feigning such great concern for their well-being.  I could feel the anger inside me bubbling by this point.  Then, as I moved to say goodbye to her before my head exploded, she said “Wait a minute.”  My mother went into another room & came back with a plate of cookies & a get well card for my mother in-law!!  She handed them to hubby.  I was in shock at this point.  She then hugged us both & told me she loved me as we left.  I practically ran to the truck.  I also realized when she has been especially cruel to me recently, she always says she loves me.  No other times.  In fact, I could probably count on one hand how many times she has said that in the last 30 years until this behavior began recently.

I cannot put into words how hurt I am by this whole episode.  I know my mother is extremely angry with me because I set boundaries with her early last month.  (See this blog entry)  I’ve been expecting a narcissistic rage because of that as I mentioned in that post, which meant I was expecting her to say excessively cruel, hurtful things to me in a public place.  But this betrayal & flaunting it?  And to top it off, my husband basically handed her the weapon on a  silver platter & doesn’t understand why I’m upset?

I am just depressed, hurt & angry today.  I feel so alone in this situation, & am so tired of feeling that way. I can’t talk to my husband about it since he doesn’t really understand.  I can’t talk to my father- he’s got his own concerns with how cruel she is to him, & those concerns are very valid.  He also won’t speak on my behalf to my mother.  I also feel like I don’t matter.  Again. I am so tired of this feeling!  My mother made me feel this way growing up.  Being a typical malignant narcissist, I was only there to be an extension of her, meet her needs & please her.  I wasn’t to “bother” her with having needs or feelings. Growing up, things haven’t really improved with her in that area.  My husband’s invalidating “I wouldn’t give it any credence” comment about my mother’s actions yesterday have made me feel the same “I don’t matter” feeling.  I’m so tired of it!!!

I’m also incredibly frustrated.  Something must be done with my mother, but I am too frazzled at this moment to figure out what.  If I speak up about her “Caring” about my mother in-law, it’ll feed her- she will be sure to show more concern for her just because she knows exactly how much it hurts me.  If I remain quiet, she will show more concern to be sure she is getting to me.  Damned if I do, damned if I don’t… So, I need to pray about how to handle this after I feel better.

Right now, I’m wallowing in the self-pity place.  I know  this all too well, & I don’t like it at all.  But, I have learned some things since I’ve been here so many times in my life: this place is necessary, & it doesn’t last forever.

So many people will tell you things like “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” but sometimes you need to wallow for a bit, to feel sorry for yourself because you have been through something very painful.  I think of it as feeling compassion for yourself.  If someone told me what I just told you, my heart would break for them.  I would want to tell them everything will be fine & somehow make it better if I could.  So why not have that same compassion for myself?

I also think that the self-pity times allow us to process painful things, & we need to process painful things!  Sweeping things under the rug or ignoring the pain they cause do no good at all!  In fact, ignoring things can cause a great deal of harm.  I never really dealt with the abuse I endured until I was around 30 years old.  By the time I was 41, I developed full blown C-PTSD after living with many of the symptoms my whole life.  I wonder if I had been able to deal with things earlier, if I would have C-PTSD now.  Not dealing with things also can cause physical problems such as arthritis, heart problems, ulcers, high blood pressure, & much more.

If you made it this far, God bless you!  Thank you for listening to me rant & rave.  I hope somehow you were able to glean something helpful from this post.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I’m revising  this post only slightly…..

 

I saw yesterday that the card my mother gave my husband for his mother wasn’t in a sealed envelope- the flap was just pushed in.  Seemed odd to me, but I figured that meant my mother wanted me to read it.  Knowing her, that just made sense in her dysfunctional little world.  So, I finally gave in a few minutes ago.  This is the card- nothing has been altered at all. This shows just how hell bent my mother is to hurt me- she is sending a nicer card to someone she can’t stand than she has ever sent to me.  I honestly don’t even know if she’s ever given me a get well card…

 

This is the outside of the card...

This is the outside of the card…

& here is the inside... lovely wording, isn't it?

& here is the inside… lovely wording, isn’t it?

 

 

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

You Are Not Alone!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Every morning, I receive an email with a Scripture in it from a Christian website.  It’s a nice way to start my day.  Today’s Scripture was 1 Peter 5:8-9:

Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Do so in the knowledge that your fellow believers are enduring the same suffering throughout the world.” (CEB)

The last sentence is exactly why i write about some of the topics I write about- to let people know thy aren’t alone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, although I knew nothing of narcissism until a few years ago, I knew something was different.  My experiences were vastly different than my friends’.  I didn’t know anyone else who acted like her or treated their children like my mother treated me.  Once I started talking to a school counselor then a couple of therapists when my mother’s abuse peaked when I was 17, I was invalidated.  The school counselor said “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” when I told her my mother would scream at me, lecturing me about what a terrible person I was.  One therapist, after meeting my mother said she could no longer see me because I was such a “terrible daughter.”  My friends couldn’t understand my suffering, obviously, as narcissistic abuse is nearly impossible to understand even when you have experienced it firsthand.

Then in 2012, I developed all of the symptoms of C-PTSD.  Suddenly, I became a different person.  I was no longer able to hide depression & anxiety as I had previously.  I started with flashbacks & more frequent nightmares.  My sleep became worse than ever- trouble falling asleep & staying asleep.  In discussing some of my symptoms, i learned a lot of people simply don’t care about them.  People close to me, not strangers.  One person even said I used C-PTSD as a “poor me” card.  I told my father that I have this awful disorder twice, & twice he changed the subject.

All of these things have meant I have felt completely alone my entire life.  it’s a terrible feeling.

Once I started writing about my experiences though, I learned that I’m not alone.  There are many, many other victims of a narcissistic mother out there!  The funny part is we all grew up thinking it was just us, that no one understood or experienced the same things.

Many of these people also have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, & many of them feel alone as well due to people close to them not caring.

it is truly tragic how many people feel as if they are completely alone!  While I know I can’t change the world, I want to use my writing as a way to reach people, to let them know they aren’t alone. I pray this blog, my website & books do just that, because the truth is, you are not alone!  So many other people understand your pain & have been through similar experiences!

I also have 2 forums available.  Both are safe places where you can talk about anything you like, gain support, be prayed for or pray for others, learn valuable information & make new friends.

Below is a link to the first forum.  It requires registration to read or post.  If you’re worried about privacy, create a fake user name rather than using your real name. I only recently started this one, so it is a bit slow as it is just starting.  Feel free to start talking though- I will respond, & I believe if a few people start talking, others will join & there will be a snowball effect.

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

This link is a link to my fan group on facebook.  I gave up my fan page for two reasons: one person used it as a means to harass me & privacy for my fans.  This group is a closed group, which means that only other members can see what you posted in the group.  No one else.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

I want to stress, both groups are private & safe. I hope to see you there soon!

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

What Happened To Empathy And Compassion??

I read something very disturbing on facebook this morning.  It was triggering for me, so read on with caution…

One of my friends on there is the daughter of a very precious friend of mine who passed away a few years ago.  This morning, she posted that her brother just committed suicide.  He hung himself with his belt.  She later wrote that their father would beat them as children with his belt, & he was always depressed.  This poor young man must have had a very difficult life.

As if this fact wasn’t tragic enough, some of the responses she got infuriated me.  People told stories of someone they knew who took their own life, or said how sad this made them.  One responder even called her brother selfish for doing this.

Selfish?  Really?  Obviously this person has absolutely no idea what it’s like to be suicidal.

To be suicidal is to be in the most lonely, depressing place imaginable with no signs of escape or that anyone cares you are there.  You believe suicide will end your suffering, & end the burden you place on your loved ones.  Logically, it seems like suicide is the only means of making things better.  After all, you rationalize, it’s not like anyone would care if you were gone anyway, & they might just be relieved not to have to deal with you anymore.  You honestly believe you are doing the world, especially those you love, a favor by killing yourself.  There is nothing selfish or cowardly about suicide.

Living with C-PTSD, I think about it often.  In fact, I have for most of my life.  Thankfully, I’m aware that suicidal ideation is a normal part of this awful disorder, so I won’t follow through with my thoughts.

Being suicidal is the worst feeling in the world, I believe. Then to have this young man’s suicide brushed off as if it was a stupid, selfish action like gambling away rent money, or something to be compared to others’ situations infuriated me. I realize in difficult situations, most people don’t know what to say.  Rather than admit that simple fact, they often end up saying something ignorant, stupid or extremely hurtful. The truth is, however, most people would rather hear something like, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I don’t know what to say about it, but if you need me, I’m here for you.” than to hear some anecdote, how much worse someone else has it, or even “You should be glad his suffering is over now & he’s in a better place.”  Comments like this are extremely painful!  How would you like to hear that you should be glad your loved one who died yesterday is gone?  Wouldn’t that hurt you?  Then it will hurt someone else too!

Please just think about what you say to someone in time of suffering before you speak!  Don’t just blurt out cliches,because they come across as hurtful & insensitive.  The last thing someone in a dark place needs to hear is something  that will hurt them.  Offer to listen, to pray with & for that person, to handle some chores they need done, to run errands for them or even cook for them.  Encourage them to grieve- there is no other way to come to grips with a loss other than to go through the grief process, no matter how long  it takes.  Use common sense when dealing with people who are suffering- if it would hurt you if someone said or did something to you, then it will hurt them too, so just don’t do it!

And, when it comes to someone who has killed himself, please don’t judge!  You have no idea what went on in that person’s mind to push him over the edge.  You don’t know what happened in his life, or how things affected him. You have absolutely no right to judge or criticize that person!

I really hope this post doesn’t sound like my friend’s tragedy was simple fodder for my blog. That certainly isn’t the intent. I just want people to think before they comment on situation involving someone they care about.  Suicide is a topic near to my heart as well, & having been called selfish as well, hearing another person called selfish who not only considered suicide but followed through breaks my heart.

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

Helping Someone With C-PTSD

Helping someone with C-PTSD isn’t easy for either you or her.  The symptoms are so frustrating, & can be embarrassing.  Mood swings, extremely high anxiety levels & muddied thinking are not fun to live with or manage, nor are they fun for someone to witness.

If you live with a partner who has C-PTSD, your life isn’t easy either.  You are living with someone who just wants to be “normal” but can’t be due to this disorder.  You are affected, too, by the awful symptoms.  Watching someone you love suffer yet not knowing how to help is a terrible & helpless feeling.

Below are some ways that you can help your loved one who has C-PTSD.

  1. Research this disorder.  Learn all you can about the symptoms & treatments.
  2. Ask your loved one questions.  Just be sensitive in how you ask questions.  Avoid sounding judgmental or critical.
  3. Show her that you are interested.  If she complains of nightmares, ask what they were about.  If she says she doesn’t feel well, ask why.  She needs to know that she can talk to you about her battle with C-PTSD without fear of you judging her.
  4. Don’t expect her to control symptoms 100% of the time.  As much as she may want to, she can’t hide all of her symptoms all of the time.
  5. Don’t pressure them in the recovery process.  There’s no time schedule. And remember, most people with C-PTSD or PTSD never recover, they only learn to manage their symptoms.
  6. Help her to feel loved, without expecting loving gestures in return.  She probably will offer them often, but there are times she won’t feel able to do so.  It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you- it means she has C-PTSD.
  7. Try to be helpful & supportive.  Do what she asks promptly, & try to anticipate needs.  Be observant.
  8. Offer distractions.  Suggest going out to dinner, or going to a movie, or some other activity she enjoys.  Focusing on this disorder constantly is simply depressing!  Distractions help both of you from becoming too depressed.
  9. Try not to smother her.  Be there, but if she wants to be alone, leave her alone.
  10. Find support for yourself, too.  Talk to a counselor or friend you can confide in.
  11. Take breaks.  You need to take care of yourself so you will stay healthy (physically & emotionally) & so you can be strong for her.

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