Tag Archives: boundaries

Do You Validate Abuse?

Most of us who have experienced abuse in our childhood have trouble standing up for ourselves even as adults.  It feels wrong, like something you should never do.

 

But, did it ever cross your mind that by not defending yourself, you are validating the abuse?  It gives the abuser permission to treat you however they want to.

 

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, it’s not always easy to put a stop to their evil actions.  They seem to think they have the right to do anything they want to whomever they want.  Even so, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries with them.

 

Remember, with narcissists, you can’t set boundaries like you can with normal people.  Normal people will respect it when you say that something they did hurt you.  They will apologize & try to make it up to you when appropriate.  Narcissists are the complete opposite- they will not only refuse to apologize, but remember what you complain about to do it more often.  They also may blame you for making them do that, being oversensitive or even making things up.

 

You have to get creative in setting boundaries with narcissists.

 

First, ask God for creative ideas.  He will NOT disappoint you!  Once, my mother told me where a former teacher of mine works.  She said he asked about me & she told him I don’t work (apparently being an author isn’t a real job.. could’ve fooled me!).  That made me angry, her discounting my writing yet again.  In venting to God, He put an idea in my head.  I made up new business cards, & when I saw this teacher with my parents a couple of weeks later, proceeded to give him one in front of my mother.  The look of shock on her face was priceless!  And, she couldn’t say a thing or else she would have looked bad in front of my old teacher.  HA!

 

Secondly, always do your best to appear happy or neutral when setting a boundary.  Never show your hurt or anger, as I mentioned above.  Also, it flusters them when you can set a boundary cheerfully after their valiant attempt to hurt you.  When they get flustered, they will stop what they are doing.

 

And, don’t forget- subject changes can be your friend.  Rather than saying you don’t want to talk about whatever topic they are using to hurt you, change the subject.  It may not always work, but it will help you sometimes.  Just be sure to keep changing the topic back to what they wanted to talk about if they try to change it back.

 

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Narcissists & Consequences

So many victims of narcissistic abuse wonder why the narcissist seems to stroll happily through life without consequences for their actions while their victims are left to suffer alone or are even blamed for what was done to them.  It’s so unfair!

 

This came to mind recently.  I had a flashback.  When thinking about it later, my mind wandered to when I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back.  She has not had any consequences for her actions in the 26 years since that happened.  My father said he tried talking to her about it not long after it happened, & she just said “Are you ever going to let that go?”  He dropped the subject.  I never said anything to her- I was too afraid of it happening again, or her doing something worse. Also why I never called the police, even though now I wish I would have.  My ex husband (who I was with at the time) also never did anything aside from tell me how hard it was on him, what she had done.

 

In fact, I think my father blames me for what happened that night.  A year or two ago, for whatever odd reason, he mentioned that incident & told me I didn’t need to apologize for busting up the wall- he was able to repair it.  Excuse me?  The wall was busted up because my mother threw me into it, so no, I have no plans on apologizing for that.

 

Sadly, I think this is pretty typical.  I can’t think of one victim I’ve spoken with who doesn’t have a similar story.  And like me, they are baffled that the narcissist who abused them received no consequences for their actions.  They’re also angry, which is certainly understandable.  It’s extremely unfair!  We’re the ones who suffered because of them, & they don’t get so much as a scolding for what they’ve done!

 

I really am not sure why this happens.  Maybe it’s because people are afraid of the narcissists.  If you don’t know much about NPD or have limited experience with a narcissist, the overt narcissist can be very intimidating.  Their rages can be terrifying.  Or, if the narcissist in question is a covert narcissist, maybe people are afraid of hurting them.  Covert narcissists love to play the innocent victim.  (They can make their victim apologize to them- they are that convincing).  They make the person confronting them feel guilty, even ashamed, & certainly no one wants to feel that way!

 

Some who know a little about narcissism believe that NPD is something beyond control.  They believe the term “disorder” means that the narcissist cannot control her actions at all, when the rest of us know absolutely she can & does on a regular basis.

 

Or, maybe it’s because victims are the sane, rational ones, & other people think the sane, rational one should “be the bigger person” in the relationship, the one to forgive & forget, & the one to ignore the narcissist’s “flaws”.

 

Whatever the reason, I know it’s incredibly frustrating that people don’t allow the narcissist any consequences for the abuse she dishes out.  Just once, wouldn’t it be amazing to see her get told off for how horribly she treats other people?   Maybe not the most good Christian attitude, but in all honesty, what victim of a narcissist hasn’t felt that way at some point?  I sure have!

 

So instead of waiting on others, why not give the narcissist consequences yourself?  I’m not saying go cuss her out.  If you’re a Christian, act like it!  But, there are ways to give a narcissist the deserved consequences without being vengeful.

 

Boundaries.  Have & be willing to enforce good, healthy boundaries.  You have every right to tell her no, you won’t tolerate that or do that.  Let her figure out how to do something herself or have something done if it’s something you don’t feel you should do or if it goes against your morals.  Or, for example, if you’re with your narcissistic mother & have had enough, tell her you’re going home (or need to hang up the phone).  If your narcissistic mother is like mine, she expects you to deal with her until she’s tired of you & dismisses you.  It will irk her to no end if you end the visit or call first, but it is entirely your right to do so!  She doesn’t need to get her way all the time & you need to take care of your physical & mental health.

 

Don’t allow her to order you around.  My mother is a big one for barking out orders, rather than saying something like “Would you please get that for me?”  Instead, it’s “Hand me that.”  A few months ago, I noticed this.  (Sadly, it took my entire life to notice it..)  I decided to change how I reacted to her orders.  Rather than blindly obeying, I do a couple of things.  Sometimes I tell her “In a minute” or “Ok, later” instead of interrupting what I was doing.  Other times, I do as she wanted & say “Since you asked so nicely, here is the item you wanted.  You’re welcome.”  This annoys my mother, but she has started to say “please” sometimes.  It’s a little thing, but it means a lot to me to be treated with simple respect rather than being treated like the hired help.

 

My mother also employs a very common coping skill, especially with narcissists.  She reinvents the past.  According to her, she was quite the impressive mother.  Many other victims I’ve spoken with go through this with their narcissistic mother, too.  Rather than validating her delusions, you have the right to tell her that isn’t what happened & tell her the truth.  In all honesty, I don’t do this with my mother because I see a tremendous amount of guilt in her for how she’s treated me.  I don’t think she could handle me telling her the facts & shattering her delusion.  Even so, I refuse to validate her stories.  “I don’t remember it that way” or “I don’t remember that happening at all” work for me.  She then changes the subject before I can say what the truth was.  It’s not a perfect solution but it works for us.  She can still use that coping mechanism (as dysfunctional as it is) without me validating it.  It’s her right to use it, after all.  It’s also my right to refuse to condone it.

 

Narcissists may not always get the consequences they deserve, but they do need some nonetheless.  Consequences teach us how to treat other people, & frankly, who needs to learn how to treat people if not a narcissist?  Consequences may not make them treat you like a non-narcissist would, but they most likely will improve the way they treat you in some ways.  They also will gain a little respect for you for not allowing them to push you around so much anymore.  Not that they’ll admit that, of course, but it still happens.

 

 

 

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It’s Not All Your Fault

Like many survivors of any type of abuse, one thing I have struggled with my entire life is thinking that everything is my fault.  It’s very easy to see why this has happened…

  • My mother blamed me for making her abuse me.  She claimed she was “saving me from myself”, if I wasn’t so bad she wouldn’t have to do the “tough love” thing on me, & I was too upset to drive after a fight with her when I was 19 so her solution was to throw me into a wall & hurt my back.
  • On our third anniversary, my ex-husband started a big fight.  I needed time to calm down & think, so I left.  When I came back, his mother (we lived with his parents) chewed me out for making him punch her wall after I left, & told me how I needed to fix this.  I needed to apologize to him & never leave during an argument again.  She also wanted me to apologize to her husband for making my husband so angry.
  • My current in-laws blame me for stealing my husband from them & keeping him from his family, according to my husband’s sister.  They also don’t understand why I have a problem with how my mother in-law has treated me (she’s a very devious  covert narcissist).
  • When talking about problems with my parents, I have been told that I need to make things work with them.  It’s my job to fix things, period.

You simply can’t survive things like this without learning that everything is your fault, and you deserve whatever you get.  It’s your fault for making people act that way.  You need to try harder.  If the relationship is going to work, then you have to be the one who makes it work.

This type of behavior is extremely common among adult children of narcissistic parents.

Can you relate?  If so, read on..

I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is no way that everything is your fault.

It is simply impossible for one person to do every single thing wrong in a relationship while the other does every single thing right.  Even people with the best intentions & good relationship skills will make mistakes sometimes.

It’s also not one person’s responsibility to make a relationship work.  Relationships are not a one way street- they are a two way street.  Both people need to be willing to work on the relationship, no matter what kind of relationship we are talking about.  Whether the relationship is husband & wife,  friends, relatives, co-workers or parent/child, both parties need to work on the relationship if it is to be a successful.  One person simply cannot make it work, no matter how hard they try.  Sure, one person can make the relationship work briefly, but it won’t last long.  The one with all of the responsibility will become resentful quickly at best, or feel like a complete failure when it falls apart.

You need to know today, Dear Reader, that not everything is your fault or your responsibility!  You have your own voice, your own feelings, & your own needs.  Never let anyone convince you otherwise!  You have your own worth & value, no matter what anyone else says.

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Being Too Responsible

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

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

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

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

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

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The “Good” Parent, aka The Covert Narcissist

Many adult daughters of narcissistic mothers I’ve spoken to say something like, “My mother was terrible, but my dad was a great guy” or, “He was the perfect dad- I couldn’t have asked for better.”  They also say things like he didn’t stop Mom from abusing them.  It wasn’t his fault though – he traveled for work, worked long hours, she was awful to him too or she was in charge.  The roles also can be reversed with narcissistic fathers where the adult children say their mother was a great mom, she couldn’t stop him, but it wasn’t her fault, etc.

 

They fail to realize that both of their parents were narcissists.

 

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying all people who marry narcissists are bad people or are narcissists!!  However, many times when a narcissist gets married, it’s to another narcissist.

 

Narcissists come in two forms – overt & covert.  Most familiar are the overt narcissists, since they are the bold type.  They are loud, boisterous & cocky.  They demand to be the center of attention at all costs, even if it means making them look ridiculous.  Covert narcissists are much harder to spot.  They tend to fade into the background, look innocent, naive, generous even to the point of martyrdom.  If someone is upset in their presence, they claim innocence & turn the situation around to where they are not only innocent but the real victim.  Often they expect their adult children to cater to them, even after that child has a spouse & family.

 

Many times, an overt narcissist & a covert narcissist will get married & have children.  This situation is a nightmare for the children.

 

When you grow up with two narcissistic parents, it is incredibly difficult to accept the fact.  Accepting that one parents is a narcissist is bad enough, but both?!  That is just too much.  Besides, growing up with an overtly narcissistic parent, a child is so starved for love, she often can’t accept that neither parent genuinely love her.  So instead, many people accept that the overtly narcissistic parent is a narcissist, & put the other parent on a pedestal.  This isn’t healthy!

 

Being in that situation, you naturally will be closer to the “good” parent than the narcissistic one.  The overt narcissist will take this as you & the other parent being against her, often taking the rage she feels out on the child, & the covert narcissist will gain narcissistic supply from your attention.

 

This situation also sets the stage for emotional incest, a psychologically abusive & damaging situation where the child is responsible for the parent’s emotional well being instead of the other way around.  It leads to a great deal of stress & anxiety, guilt, an overdeveloped sense of responsibility & more in the child, even into adulthood.

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at creating an emotionally incestuous situation with their child.  They come across as needing protection, & often their children feel it is their job to protect them, even protecting them from their other, overtly narcissistic parent.  That creates more friction between the child & the overtly narcissistic parent, especially when the child intervenes in their problems.  Sometimes the overtly narcissistic parent responds by creating their own emotionally incestuous relationship with the child, & the child is stuck in the middle.  This is how it was for me as a child, & my parents still do this to this day.  I have to set boundaries by changing the subject or suddenly saying I have to go or hang up the phone to put a stop to it.  Even as an adult, it’s still extremely stressful, & has triggered some flashbacks.

 

When you see that your “good” parent isn’t as good as you thought, it helps you to stop the covertly incestuous situation with him.  You see it for the unhealthy relationship it is & learn to set healthy boundaries.  You also take that parent off the pedestal & see him in a more realistic light.  You accept that you are not responsible for catering to any & every need that parent has especially at the expense of your emotional or physical health, finances or your immediate family.  You can relate in a healthier way with that parent, even if he doesn’t like your new boundaries.  You no longer fall for the subtle guilt trips  & manipulations, possibly even noticing them for the first time.

 

Although this realization is very good for you, it isn’t easy.  I started to get very angry with my father when I realized he wasn’t the great dad I always thought he was.  I began to see he had no trouble throwing me under the bus to my mother if it meant he was protecting himself.  He has lied to her about me a few times, & she got mad at me for what he said.  I also realized he uses me to dump on when he’s angry with my mother, which really makes me feel stuck in the middle.  He also wants my comfort, even if I’m having a problem.  For example, when my husband’s job eliminated his position a few years back, he said he was scared.  How would we keep our home?  What would we do if we lost the house?  Where was he going to find another job?  This is bad & upsetting him!  Upsetting him?!  He wanted me to reassure him that we’d be ok, when I wasn’t sure if we would be or not.  This really added a lot to my anxiety at first, then made me angry.  I realized I was the one in need of comfort yet he demanded it from me – how dare he?!

 

Those revelations made me VERY angry & hurt.  It took a long time to process my feelings, but it did happen in time.  It took me writing a lot out in my journal, complaining to God about how unfair it was & sometimes talking to understanding friends.  Realizing how my father was also showed me how many people have no idea how he can be towards me.  They buy his act of innocence & naivete, & accept nothing else.  I realized I have to be careful who I talk to about our relationship because some people will get angry with me for not “being more patient” with him.  After all, he needs me!  He’s married to my mother & needs someone to support him.  I’m his daughter so it’s up to me to take care of him, I’ve been told.

 

This type of situation could easily happen to you too.  If you too have come to realize that your “good” parent is a covert narcissist, then by all means, be careful who you discuss the topic with!  When this discovery is new, you feel very sensitive & emotionally raw.  People who don’t believe you or shame you for exaggerating, lying, etc. will hurt you more than normal when you are in that sensitive state.  Make sure to share your feelings only with non-judgmental, supportive people.  Maybe even someone who has been through a similar situation.

 

Even being careful, you may be invalidated or shamed as I have been by those you trusted.  If that is the case, I’m so sorry.  It’s very painful, I know, to be invalidated, but especially when it comes from someone you didn’t expect to behave that way.

 

Being invalidated on this topic also may make you doubt your judgement.  You may wonder if you’re being too harsh or judgmental.  After all, since you learned about narcissism, you feel like you see it everywhere.  Maybe you’re reading too much into things.  When you feel this way, talk to God.  Ask Him to tell you the truth!  He truly will!  And when He does, stand strong in that truth!  Don’t let others make you doubt!

 

Also ask God what you need to do in this situation.  Now that you know just how dysfunctional it is, you’re going to need to respond differently to that covertly narcissistic parent.  Naturally, you’re going to need to set & enforce good boundaries, but since each narcissist is an individual, what works for one may not work for another.  God can give you creative & effective ideas.  All you have to do is ask & listen.

 

As painful a time as this is for you, it truly is for your best interest to learn this information.  Continuing in the dysfunction only will make you miserable.  Use this painful situation as an opportunity to learn & grow.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Don’t get mad at yourself for slipping into old, dysfunctional patterns, but instead understand this happens sometimes.  Remember it so you don’t do that again, & go on.  Vent your feelings as you need to in a safe way, whether to God, a trusted friend or in your journal.  Don’t bottle them up as it will only hurt you to do so.  Most of all, trust God to help you get through this painful time.

 

 

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No Is A Valid Answer

Closely related to yesterday’s post about boundaries, today I want to tell you about another aspect of boundaries that not everyone is aware of.

No is a valid answer.  Really.

I know it can be hard for some of us when we first learn to set boundaries.  Saying no means we often feel like we need to explain every single reason why we’re saying no & make sure those reasons meet the other person’s approval.  That is often a by product of surviving narcissistic abuse.

Unless you’re being interrogated by the police, you do not have to explain yourself to another person if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.  People don’t need to know every single thing about you if you don’t want to share every detail.  Really!

If the person you feel you must explain yourself to is a narcissist, then for your sanity’s sake, just say no instead.  Offering explanations only gives a narcissist more ammunition for embarrassing or hurting you at some point, providing them their coveted narcissistic supply.  For example, let’s say you can’t take your narcissistic mother to her doctor’s appointment on Thursday because you have a doctor’s appointment for yourself.  If you tell her this, she probably will demand to know why you’re going, & do you really feel comfortable telling her it’s for renewing your prescription for birth control pills?!  How awkward would that be?  Or if it’s something more serious, you know she’ll spin it around to how it would affect her if you were very sick or, God forbid, were dying.  Do you feel like dealing with that while you’re afraid yourself?  No?  Then remember to tell her no, without any explanation.  If you really feel the need to elaborate, simply say “I can’t, because I have an appointment (or plans) at that time that can’t be changed.”

And, don’t let her push you into telling you either!  Ignore when she hints around, wanting to know why you can’t help her.  Pretend you don’t grasp that she is hinting for you to tell her anything.  If she demands to know, change the subject.  If she offers guilt trips (“I guess you have better things to do than take care of your mother…”), IGNORE!!  You have every right to your privacy, & don’t let her convince you otherwise.

Always remember that no is a valid answer, & you have every right to use it as you see fit.

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Boundaries

Saying no isn’t always easy for those of us who have been abused.  The abuser trained us that we weren’t allowed to say no or have any rights or boundaries.  We also learned to explain ourselves fully (part of that no boundaries thing) to appease our abusers.

Unfortunately, that kind of sick training runs VERY deep & is hard to break.  Hard, but not impossible.

The word “boundaries” brings different thoughts to different people. Many people think “limiting” or “selfish” when they hear the word, but boundaries are actually the very opposite.  They encourage respect, love & freedom.

Boundaries are like a fence surrounding your yard. Things that are your responsibility are your feelings, actions & beliefs. & they are within your fence.  Those same things are within the fences of other people.  Their feelings, beliefs and actions are their responsibility, not yours. Even if they are wrong or bad, that is the other person’s business, not yours. You are not responsible for other people!   It is  not your business what they think, feel or do! The Bible says we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), so we may speak to someone about their hurtful, dangerous, or self-destructive behavior, but, trying to change someone to suit your ideals is wrong.

Boundaries are learned as children, and some behaviors from our parents may warp normal boundary development.  Emotionally incestuous parents create children who grow into adults who feel responsible for the happiness of other people.  Manipulative or childish parents  create children that can grow up feeling like they must fix all of the problems of others. There are also many parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who does not respect the boundaries of her child. This child grows up to believe she has no right to have boundaries, even to the point of stopping others from abusing her.

A person with healthy boundaries cannot be controlled. Boundaries will change your life!  You will learn to take responsibility only for yourself, while encouraging others to do the same with your healthy behavior.

In developing and enforcing new boundaries, it is beneficial to have a good support system- people  who have your best interests at heart, who do not judge or criticize unfairly,  who will support you, & who respect boundaries. They will help you to learn about setting & enforcing good boundaries & gain confidence.

When you first begin to develop boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish, give you the silent treatment, or even ask what happened to the “nice girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept your new boundaries with no complaints.  Unsafe people will not. Setting boundaries is a very good way to determine the safe from the unsafe people.

To start learning about boundaries, I strongly suggest you read the book, “Boundaries” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I love this book- it truly changed my life!

Once you read the book, spend some time soul searching.  Ask yourself questions, such as where do you need to set boundaries in your own life?  What  are you no longer willing to tolerate from people?  Then, you need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries…

If you deal with someone who insists on talking about a subject you are uncomfortable with, she needs to know that you are not willing to discuss these particular topics with her.  Change the subject.  If she continues, tell her that if she does not drop this matter, you will hang up the phone (or leave the room).  If that does not work, follow through on your threat!  Empty threats do no good to show others you are serious about your new boundaries!  In fact, they show others you have weak boundaries & they can be run over easily.

Learn  simple phrases such as:
“I won’t do that.”
“I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
“You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
“No.”

Some people are going to try to make you feel bad for your new boundaries.  If they cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.

The information above is some very basic information that you will need to adapt to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time are, do it anyway!  What is the worst that can happen?  Someone who is controlling kicks you out of his or her life?  Would that truly be such a great hardship?

I also recommend you look into my free online course based on the book “Boundaries.” It can be found at this link: Boundaries Book Study

The benefits of setting these boundaries certainly outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel lighter & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

After years of talking to my readers, I’ve learned that many of us who have either been raised by or married to narcissists, hate the holidays.  Me too!  My narcissistic mother griped constantly about how much work she had to do (yet never hosted a family dinner or party, barely decorated..) & criticized the fact I enjoyed the holidays as if I was abnormal.  As an adult, my narcissistic ex husband spent holidays with his family, whether or not I went with him.  My current husband also spends holidays with his family.  Some people have tried to guilt trip me into attending holiday parties even though I was unable to because my husband was working or I was unavailable.  Others have shamed me for my lack of enthusiasm & tried to force me to “get into the holiday spirit.”   So yes, like many other people, I am no longer a fan of holidays.

In spite of feeling much like I do, many people often feel forced to participate in Thanksgiving & Christmas get togethers.  It is for you I am writing this post.

First, please know that as an adult, you are not obligated to do as you are told regarding gatherings.  You do not have to attend these events if you don’t want to!  You are allowed to do as you see fit.  Attending or not are within your rights!  No one has the right to attempt to manipulate you into going if you don’t want to!  And if they try, you are perfectlly within your rights to ignore their manipulation.

If you opt to go, you have the right to set boundaries.  You need to, in fact, especially if you’re going to have to deal with narcissists.

Decide ahead of time how long you are going to stay, & leave at the time you have settled upon.  You don’t owe anyone explanations of why you have to leave when you do.

Many relatives want to discuss topics you aren’t comfortable with, such as “why don’t you have a boyfriend”. “When are you two getting married”  or “When are you going to have a baby.”   You don’t have to discuss such topics if you don’t want to.  Change the subject, repeatedly if necessary.  You can say you don’t want to discuss this topic.  You can remind the other person that this topic is none of their business.

If you need to leave, you can do that too.  Spending time with narcissists is hard enough, but it potentially can be worse during a holiday get together.  Maybe after a couple of glasses of wine or just because there is an audience, but it can happen.  It may get bad enough for you to want to leave.  You have that right!  If you don’t feel able to just walk out, make an arrangement with a friend ahead of time.  If you call her & let the phone ring a couple of times, she can call you back or text you saying she needs you to come over immediately.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy your holiday season the best you can!

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You Don’t Have To Explain Yourself To Anyone

One thing many people, in particular survivors of narcissistic abuse, seem to have a problem with is over explaining.

If someone asks you to do something that you are unable or unwilling to do, most people will explain in great detail exactly why they can’t or won’t do what is asked of them, even if they have to lie.  The truth however, is that is unnecessary.  And, sometimes it can cause disagreements between both parties involved, especially if the one doing the explaining feels compelled to lie which is often the case.

Did you know that no can be a complete sentence?

Matthew 5:37 states, “Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” (AMP)

While you may be thinking that you wouldn’t lie, think about how many times you were free yet told someone you had previous plans to avoid doing what they wanted you to do?  I think all of us are guilty of doing this at some point.

Instead of that, why not just say no?  You owe no explanations- a simple no should suffice with most people.

Granted, with narcissists, they feel entitled to a detailed explanation of your “terrible” refusal to serve them, so no doesn’t always work.  Instead, there are some slightly more elaborate answers you can give without offering a long explanation.

“No, I can’t.”

“No, I don’t have time.”

“No, I won’t.”

“No.  It goes against my personal beliefs.”

Whatever you opt to say, remember not to give many details or much personal information.  Narcissists love to use what you say against you or to hurt you, so it’s best to keep details to yourself whenever possible.

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Why Don’t People Care About The Feelings, Needs & Wants Of Children Of Narcissistic Parents?

I’ve realized just recently that all my life, many people have acted like my happiness means absolutely nothing.  It’s like they think I am here to serve, & do so without any feelings or needs of my own.

When I broke up with my ex husband before marrying him a few months later, many people told me I should go back with him because he was miserable without me.  Not one person cared how miserable I was with him, however.

When my father was in the hospital a few years ago, & my mother wouldn’t tell his family or friends, I did via facebook.  (I also provided my parents’ phone number & asked people to tell other relatives what was happening.)  There are a lot of us Baileys, & I don’t have many people’s phone numbers or emails, so facebook was simply the easiest way for me to reach the most people.  One person called my father in the hospital & told him I was a “spoiled little brat” for not calling her personally about this matter.  Other people got upset & chewed me out for using facebook instead of calling them personally.  No one got mad at my mother for failing to tell them anything, even though it was her responsibility to do so.  No one took into consideration the anxiety I was under daily or how exhausted (mentally & physically) I was.

There have been countless times over the years I was going to spend time with a friend & that friend either stood me up or ran very late, without letting me know what was happening, causing me to wait & worry about them.  When I finally did contact them (mind you they didn’t contact me!), no apology was given or any sign that they felt guilty at all for wasting my time or disappointing me.

Do any of these situations sound somewhat familiar to you?

I am reasonably sure that these kinds of situations happen quite a bit to those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents.  The only reason I can come up with is because we are groomed from day one to be subservient.   Our narcissistic parents firmly believe (& instill the belief in us) that we are put on this earth to take care of & please our narcissistic parent with absolutely no regard to our own feelings, wants or needs.  As we grow up, naturally that relationship stays this way, but we extend this dysfunctional role to include others.  Because we believe this is what we are supposed to do, we show others that we believe we deserve to be used & ignore ourselves.  Often even good people will treat us the way we believe we deserve to be treated simply because it’s natural to treat people how you see they expect to be treated, good or bad.

By saying this, please don’t think I’m saying we get what we deserve when people mistreat or use us!  Not by any stretch.  It’s still on an individual to control his/her behavior.  Ultimately, it is the other person’s fault if they are abusive, period.

To deal with this super annoying problem, I have found that getting healthier & increasing my self esteem has done wonders.  I think because I no longer give off that “It’s ok to abuse me” energy.  As I’ve gotten healthier & my self esteem improved, I no longer have any patience for being abused, & I think people pick up on that.

Prayer is extremely helpful as well.  Asking God how to deal appropriately with people who want to abuse me & how to set & enforce healthy boundaries has helped to give me wisdom & strength in bad situations.

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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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Balance Is Healthy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Confronting Narcissists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s All About Narcissistic Supply. Always.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are You Always The Strong One?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ins & Outs Of Narcissistic Supply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Silent Abuser, aka The Covert Narcissist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Feeling Invisible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

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

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

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

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

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Mother’s Day For Adult Children Of Narcissistic Mothers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

Last night I had a very bizarre dream.  I dreamed that there were a bunch of small children in my yard, making a lot of noise.  It was irritating me (I like peace & quiet) & I went to chase them off.  As I was getting my coat, I heard them in the backyard as well & was becoming more irritated.  Who were they & why were they on my property?  I went outside & they were gone, so I came back inside.  I looked at a shelf & found they’d left me things I need, like soap, cleaning supplies, food & even my favorite perfume from my teen years.  I knew they weren’t actually children, but angels when I saw this.

Upon waking up from this bizarre dream, I had no idea what it meant, but it reminded me of a Scripture…Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (KJV)  

I wonder how many people really believe this Scripture?  The actions of most people don’t really show that they believe it.

I’m not saying that we have to cater to everyone we meet, ignoring our own needs.  Not by any stretch.  I’m saying just be civil & kind to one another.  Be an example of God’s love- patient, kind, caring, all while exercising healthy boundaries.  Believe it or not, sometimes saying “no” is actually the most loving thing you can do for another person.  If it wasn’t loving behavior, God wouldn’t tell us no sometimes, would He?

I just wanted to take a moment today to make you think about how you treat people, even the strangers you pass on the street or the cashiers at the grocery store.  Simply smiling at a stranger can make their day.  So many people are rude & unpleasant to strangers, so why not be different?  Be nice instead.  Be polite.  Ask how someone is & wait for an answer that you genuinely care to hear.  Don’t give the impression you’re only asking to be polite- let the other person know you really care how they are.  Little gestures like this truly make a person’s day.  They say, “I care about you” & there is a great shortage of caring people in the world.  Be one of those who do care!

Since many of you reading this are also adult children of narcissists, I can’t help but think you may be hoping I don’t mean include your narcissistic parents in this niceness thing.  Well, sort of I do.  What I said about exercising good boundaries?  That is extremely important when you deal with narcissists, & truly, boundaries are very loving.  They mean you won’t enable certain behaviors from others.  Narcissists don’t think boundaries are good or loving, but they really are in God’s eyes, & that is what really counts!  😉

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Strength Does Come If You Don’t Give Up

Last week, my father called, asking if he could come by soon.  We arranged it for this past Tuesday, around 12-1 p.m.  When he was a bit late, I just chalked it up to the traffic jam outside my home, but soon found out why- my mother was with him, & she is always late (a control tactic).  She invited herself to my home!  I was caught off-guard since I hadn’t expected this but I prayed quickly before letting them in, & God didn’t disappoint!  He helped me tremendously to get through the very difficult visit, as He always does.

My mother was obviously angry with me from the start. Why I’m not sure.  Maybe because I didn’t invite her over (truthfully, I didn’t invite my father either but at least he asked before coming over).  Maybe because she was whining about her back pain & I showed her no concern (for anyone who doesn’t know, at 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I had pain for 10 years & had to quit working.  Not only did she never assume responsibility for hurting me, she told everyone I was faking the injury to get out of working because I was so lazy.  This is why I feel no sympathy for her pain.  You reap what you sow!).  Maybe she was mad because as soon as she got here, she asked if I’d gotten an email from her cousin about printing something out for her & I told her I did get it & I told her cousin to print it out herself since I’m not anyone’s secretary.

In any case, my mother was angry with me, & when she’s angry she does the normal narcissist behavior- treat me like crap & try to hurt me at every opportunity.  Thanks to God helping me, I was able not only to catch onto what she did every time, but also refuse to play along.  I was able to stay totally calm, which is important- showing your hurt or anger only fuels the narcissist, making her want to hurt you more & more.  I also was able to set & enforce firm boundaries with her that she respected, albeit grudgingly.

The visit was a great success, considering the circumstances!  Although I still ended up angry & hurt when my parents left, it wasn’t nearly as painful as it has been before.  It’s taken a long time, but I finally am able to set & enforce healthy boundaries & stand up to my mother rather than tolerate her abuse silently.

My point of telling you this story, Dear Reader, is to encourage you.  A good friend of mine suggested I share it to encourage you.  If you are in a relationship with your narcissistic parents & unable or unwilling to go no contact, you still can deal with them if you don’t give up!  Keep praying- ask God to give you whatever you need such as strength, courage, wisdom & even words to say or boundaries to set.  He truly will answer that prayer!

If you have any doubts about anything she says or what you feel, ask God to tell you the truth immediately.

Also, learn as much as you can about narcissism so you are prepared for the gaslighting & other horrible behaviors.  This will help you to remember that she is the problem, not you as well as to cope with those behaviors.

Talk to supportive friends.  Let them encourage you!

Be calm around your narcissistic parent at all times to avoid fueling their nasty fire.

Always be consistent.  If you set a boundary, stick to it.  Any flexibility will be taken as a sign of weakness & she will bust through that boundary & any others as soon as she sees fit.

As you gain more experience with dealing with your narcissistic parents in a healthy way, it will become so much easier.  I never thought that I would be able to tell my mother to knock off insulting my pets & have her actually listen to me!  I’ve told her that before & she ignored me totally.  Even when I told her either be nice to them or I’ll kick her out of my home, it still wasn’t as effective- she simply avoided my home.  But Tuesday, she backed off immediately.  She is finally learning that I not only am serious that I will protect my furkids no matter what, but also that I mean business with my boundaries.

You too can be strong!  Don’t give up!  Keep practicing the above mentioned tips, & you will be pleasantly surprised how much stronger you are.  And, chances are your narcissistic mother will improve her behaviors some like mine has.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are You A Doormat?

Growing up with a narcissistic parent often means being a doormat when you grow up.  People seem to have no problem mistreating or abusing you, & are surprised if you don’t tolerate it.  It’s very strange, as it seems like they sense that you have been used & abused, & believe it is perfectly acceptable to treat you that way.

Some signs you are a doormat are:

  • Accepting blame for things that aren’t your fault.
  • Apologizing for things that aren’t your fault.
  • Accepting the unacceptable from others or even justifying their bad behavior.
  • Accepting responsibility for others’ moods.
  • Feeling invisible.
  • Avoiding confrontation.
  • Constant fear of hurting others’ feelings even when your have been wronged.
  • Ignoring your own feelings to accommodate others.

If this describes you, you are not alone!  In fact, I believe most adult children of narcissistic parents are this way.

How do you stop being a doormat?  First, learn all you can about boundaries.  You need to know what is & is not your responsibility, so you stop accepting too much responsibility. It is not only beneficial for you, but for others as well.  It truly doesn’t help others to be constantly rescued or coddled.  Certainly, occasionally, we all need those things, but they should not be a way of life.

Also, focus on your own emotional healing & mental health. The healthier you are, the less likely others are to use you.  They will know you aren’t easy to manipulate.  Plus you will recognize their attempts to mistreat you, & not permit it to happen by enforcing your healthy boundaries.

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Narcissistic Friendships

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, many of us raised by narcissistic parents are narcissist magnets, meaning we attract narcissists.  Lucky us, I know.. lol  I’ve had quite a few of them in my life, & have learned some things about narcissistic friendships.

You have to accept the fact that narcissists don’t want to change.  Things work for them, so why should they?  So what if others get hurt along the way- that doesn’t affect the narcissist so it isn’t important to the narcissist.  Personally, I think the chances of a narcissistic friend changing for the better are even slimmer than that of a narcissistic family member.  A family member you have a chance with (albeit a very slim chance), because the relationship is closer.  A friendship?  They can always find another friend..

The narcissist is your friend for a reason, & that reason is self-serving.  You have something that person wants from you.  Most likely it’s some form of narcissistic supply.  They want you to keep them propped up by telling them how awesome, talented, beautiful, exceptional, etc they are, or they want you to listen to them ramble on incessantly, or maybe they want you to be available anytime to do favors for them.  In any case, the friendship is not mutual- you can’t count on this person to be there for you no matter how devastating the problem you have.  Don’t expect anything from the narcissistic friend.  Ever.

If you want to end this friendship, be boring.   I learned a few years back with my narcissistic mother in-law that if I only gave her short answers, she got mad with me, but also couldn’t do anything about it. For example, she always wanted details about my family- details which she used to hurt me with at a later time.  So, I stopped providing details. If she asked, “How is your grandfather?”  I said, “Fine.”  Nothing interesting about that answer!  It eliminated much of her verbal abuse because she had no ammunition.  I do the same with my narcissistic mother. And, with a “friend” I once had?  She didn’t use information I gave her against me- she simply wanted me to listen to her ramble on without bothering her with petty details about my life.  It was ALLLLL about her.  She called me at least once a day to talk, not caring what I was going through or what I had to do. I started answering her calls at random, only if I felt I could deal with her.  Then, I would change the subject to something other than what she wanted to talk about, preferably something about me.  She began calling less & less as she realized I wasn’t providing her supply as she wanted me to do. I still listened to her, but not nearly as much, & contributed some information of my own to the conversation. It didn’t provide the supply she wanted & she obviously became bored with my conversation quickly when it wasn’t about her.  As a result, she called less & less.  Narcissists thrive on drama, stimulation & narcissistic supply- deprive them of those things & they will lose interest in you.  Quickly!  Many will end a friendship when you become “boring” enough.

If you want to end the friendship, & opt to tell them so, be prepared for fallout.  Normal people, you can tell  that things aren’t working out & they will accept that & move on, albeit grudgingly.  Not so with a narcissist.  You have to be aware that telling them to stay away from you could end up badly for you.  The friend I mentioned in the previous paragraph?  Although she got bored with me, she didn’t end the friendship completely.  I ended up telling her I wanted it to end, & she harassed me for well over a year, off & on.  In fact, I’m still not positive it’s over although all has been quiet for a few months.  Her pattern has been once things are quiet for a while, suddenly she starts up again out of the blue.

Narcissists can handle love or hate, but not apathy.  If you show a narcissist you don’t care about her, that what she does doesn’t phase you, it is possible things may get ugly.  If you go on with your life just fine without the narcissist, they don’t like that.  They may stalk you on social media, email you, call or text you, in the hopes of gaining a reaction from you.

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Are You A Narcissist Magnet?

Does it seem like not only are narcissists everywhere, but they all find you & want to be your friend or romantic interest?

I’ve felt that way myself.  I’ve had so many failed friendships with people I later realized were narcissists.  I probably would’ve had more failed romantic relationships with narcissists as well if I wasn’t so particular about who I dated before I got married.  So many times in my life, I’ve felt like a narcissist magnet- if there’s one within ten miles of me, they will find me quicker than a bloodhound on the trail of a rabbit..

And, it’s not just me.   Many other people I’ve talked to share this experience.  This made me wonder why do some of us keep ending up with such dysfunctional, abusive people in our lives?  I came up with a theory…

Like me, the other folks I’ve talked to who have had many narcissistic relationships also were raised by at least one narcissistic parent.  This means they learned very early in life to behave in a certain way- to work hard to please others, not to ask much (anything, really) from others in a relationship, to tolerate abuse, to offer much praise & no criticism.  These behaviors are extremely pleasing to narcissists, so upon meeting people who behave that way, narcissists are instantly attracted.  They then begin their own version of “love bombing.”   Love bombing is when a narcissist inundates their prospective “love interest” (more like victim..) with loving gestures- romance, gifts, words of love & praise, wanting to take care of the love interest financially or rescue from a bad situation.  Narcissistic friends do this minus the romantic aspect.  They  listen to you, pretend to share things in common with you, & more to draw you into a relationship with them.  Once you’re in though, the mask comes off & the true person is revealed.

So how do you avoid attracting narcissistic friends & romantic interests?  Get mentally healthy!

The more mentally healthy you are, the less able narcissists are to use & abuse you, which is an incredible turn off for them.  While many narcissists enjoy the challenge of destroying someone who is strong, empathetic, & intelligent, they do like someone who can be molded into whatever they want.  An mentally healthy person won’t let that happen.  She knows her boundaries, & enforces them strictly.  She also recognizes dysfunctional & abusive behavior quickly, & won’t tolerate it.  Being mentally healthy is more valuable than having a high IQ when it comes to deterring abusive people from wanting to be in a relationship with you.

I’ve seen this come to pass in my own life.  The more mentally healthy I’ve become, the less interested in me narcissists are.  I seldom find any interested in talking to me for more than a short time, let alone pursuing a friendship.  Plus, I usually can spot them a mile away now, so when I realize the person I just met is a narcissist, I’ll have fun with them.  I’ll change the subject off of them, their interests, etc. onto  something else.  Preferably me, since narcissists have no interest in talking about anyone other than themselves.. heehee!

Something else has come from being healthier too- not only do I attract less narcissists, but I attract more mentally healthy people!  I honestly can say right now that I do not have ONE abusive &/or narcissistic friend in my life.  My friends are caring, compassionate, intelligent & generous.  If we have a disagreement, we can work things out, even if we never come to agree.  We know it’s OK to agree to disagree.  We don’t always share many similar interests, but we do respect each other’s right to be interested in what the other is interested in without judgment.  We often think very much alike & share similar religious beliefs.

I’m not saying attracting narcissists in your life is your fault, or that you have to be completely mentally healthy & over the narcissistic abuse to have good friendships.  Not by any means!   Please don’t think that is what I mean at all!  It’s still completely on the narcissist that they seek out victims.  And, once you start recognizing & failing to tolerate abuse, things will change naturally.  Abusers will start seeing you as an unavailable target & seek another victim.

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Encouragement For Anyone Who Is Considering Going No Or Low Contact With Their Narcissistic Mother

So much writing you find on the topic of narcissistic mothers says that no contact is the only answer.  Just sever ties with her & your life will be so much better, they say.  While this certainly is true in many cases, there are also many cases where going no contact isn’t a desired solution, or even a possible solution.  Still others know that is their best option, yet don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet.  Others prefer the limited contact option, as I have chosen, where they only speak to their mothers rarely, as they are able to do so.

Normally, it is those who are either unwilling or unable to go no contact I feel strongest about attempting to help with my writing. Today though, I feel I need to write to everyone who either has gone no/low contact, is considering going no/low contact or who is unable or unwilling at this time to go no/low contact.

There are so many people who have very definite feelings on the contact issue, & love to make those feelings known to you at any opportunity.  They will state their feelings as if they are not simply the person’s feelings, but the gospel truth.  You also may find these opinions on websites or in books.  These views will make you feel a plethora of things, such as doubting your decision, feeling stupid for making the decision you’ve made, feeling guilty & more.

I want to encourage you today to ignore the critics!  Going no or low contact with your narcissistic mother is a very big decision, one that you & you alone should make for yourself after a great deal of thought & prayer.  No one understands exactly how you feel, nor have they experienced the things that you have.  They also have no idea how you cope with the abuse your narcissistic mother dishes out, or exactly how much abuse she puts you through.  Very few people also truly understand how desperate a person is to consider severing ties with or greatly limiting contact with their own mother, or how much pain they have experienced to even consider such a thing.  No contact is far from a black & white issue!

I know it can be very painful when people force their unasked for views on you on this issue, but please please PLEASE- ignore their unsupportive views!  Once you have made your decision on how to handle the contact you have with your narcissistic mother, the absolute last thing you need is people telling you how wrong you are or how poorly you’re handling things. Ignore those people!  Their opinions are NOT facts, so you do not need to be bothered with them.

Instead, follow what you know in your heart is right for you.  I believe those “gut feelings” or intuition are God’s voice telling us what we need to know, so you can’t go wrong if you listen to them, especially listening to them over people who have no idea what they are talking about.

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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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