Tag Archives: boundaries

When Narcissists Violate Boundaries

Narcissists are very concerned with appearances.  They are obsessed really, & will do anything to avoid looking like they have made mistakes, are flawed or as if they are bad in some way.  One way they maintain their perfect appearances is by violating boundaries.  They do this in several ways.

One way is to deny they violated your boundary.  In spite of you being right there, watching them do whatever it was they did, they will say that never happened.  They want to convince you that never happened so the next time it happens, you won’t believe it happened.  When they do this, they may even add on that they never do that thing you accused them of doing.  In fact, they may criticize others who show the same behavior.  For example, my mother would rage & scream at me, yet criticize me for having a bad temper or for yelling.  This projection allows them to be upset about the behavior while accepting no responsibility for their behavior or making changes.

Another way is by minimizing their abusive behavior.  Narcissists do love to minimize their abusive behavior & the effects it has on others as a way to continue behaving as they do.  If they can convince themselves & others that what they do isn’t a big deal & it isn’t really hurting anyone, they can continue to do whatever they like.

Sometimes narcissists will try to deflect by turning the tables on their victims.  Say you confront your narcissistic spouse about how much money he or she spends even knowing money is tight.  You remind this person that times are hard & there isn’t money left over for frivolous purchases.  Rather than admit they have overspent, apologize & start being more responsible, the narcissist may say, “What about you?  You spend way more money than me!  You just spent $100 last week!”  The idea of this behavior is to get the victim so caught up in defending themselves, they forget about the original complaint, & the narcissist can continue their behavior.

If all else fails, narcissists will not hesitate to blame their victims.  We’ve all heard of abusive husbands who beat their wives & blame the wives for making them beat them.  Narcissists do this often.  I’ve told this story before, so pardon the repeat if you know it.  On my seventeenth birthday, my now ex husband gave me a small vase of flowers with two small balloons in it & a teddy bear.  My mother destroyed the vase, flowers & balloons.  She forced me to give him back the bear.  She hated my ex, & was angry he gave me these gifts.  She said though that the reason that she destroyed them was because I was “acting so snotty” about getting them.  My so called snotty behavior was me being very quiet when I couldn’t avoid her seeing the gifts.  I was terrified of the rage I knew was coming, & my natural reaction to that fear was to get quiet. 

When these things happen, please remember that this is typical narcissistic behavior.  It has nothing to do with you & everything to do with their dysfunction.  They also aren’t right!  You saw them do what they do, so don’t believe the lies that they didn’t do it.  You also know how it felt so don’t let them minimize your pain.  Don’t let them change the topic of your conversation or make you feel responsible for “making” them do anything.  You are fine!  They however, are not, which is why they’re playing the stupid games!

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Boundaries Are Always Necessary, Even With Other Christians

Many people assume that being a Christian means you have no real boundaries.  You’re nice & helpful to everyone, & if you aren’t, you must not be a “real” Christian, whatever that means.  That isn’t even close to what being a Christian means however.

The Bible contains verses stating that as Christians, we should separate ourselves from others who claim to be Christians yet who act in toxic ways.  Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens and pays attention to you, you have won back your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector.”  And, 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “But actually, I have written to you not to associate with any so-called [Christian] brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater [devoted to anything that takes the place of God], or is a reviler [who insults or slanders or otherwise verbally abuses others], or is a drunkard or a swindler—you must not so much as eat with such a person.”

Clearly, boundaries are a necessary part of life.  Even in healthy relationships, they are necessary because without them, people can become enmeshed & unhealthy.  If boundaries are vital in healthy relationships, doesn’t it stand to reason that they are even more vital with unhealthy people?

Not setting boundaries isn’t being unloving, unkind, selfish or even a “bad Christian.”  Boundaries protect love, Godly love, because it means we are standing up to things that can damage or even destroy love.

We can & should set limits with those who behave badly in particular those who claim to be Christians, because they can be especially dangerous.  They are the ones who claim their toxic behavior is Godly which can lead people away from God. It is completely reasonable & even Godly to limit your time spent around someone who doesn’t behave in a healthy way.  It also is Godly to sever ties with someone who refuses to acknowledge the pain their behavior causes & change their ways.  Someone who doesn’t care that their behavior hurts other people or who even enjoys causing pain is toxic, & eliminating toxic relationships from your life is far from a bad thing to do!  Matthew 10:14 says, “Whoever does not welcome you, nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust [of it] off your feet [in contempt, breaking all ties].”

Boundaries aren’t controlling, so please don’t think setting & enforcing them makes you a controlling or manipulative person.  Healthy boundaries are set & enforced to protect yourself, not change other people.  They are left with the choice to respect those boundaries or not respect them & deal with the consequences of their lack of respect.  Basically, that is what God does.  He doesn’t force people to do anything.  He has ways that He wants people to follow to have their best life, but rather than force people into obedience, He gives people the freedom to obey or disobey.  If they obey, they enjoy a close relationship with God.  If they disobey, they suffer consequences.  If they see the error of their ways & want to change, He certainly will forgive them & allow them into relationship with Him.  God displays the perfect model of how people should behave with each other.

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Empathy vs Codependency

A couple of very misunderstood concepts today are empathy & codependency. 

Some things I’ve read about empathy haven’t been overly accurate.  In fact, some make it sound like being empathic is some sort of weird psychic power when it is nothing of the sort.  Some people also seem to think having empathy means that you have no boundaries, & are completely self sacrificing 1000% of the time.  According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary however, empathy means: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”  Empathy is a good thing to have, since it enables you to be kind to others.

Codependency isn’t like empathy.  It isn’t concerned about what is best for others or how you can help people.  It’s about enabling bad behavior.  Also according to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, codependency means: “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin)”.  Codependency says, “Let me make this situation pleasing to you” whereas empathy says, “How can I help you to help yourself to do what is best for you?”

Although both of these words clearly have very different meanings, some people confuse them, using them interchangeably either from a point of being naïve or being manipulative.  With narcissists, it’s almost always manipulative.  Narcissists don’t care if someone empathizes with their pain, but they do care about having a victim who is willing to overlook their abusive ways & enable their toxic behavior.  Narcissists may claim their victim is lacking in empathy when what the narcissist really wants from the victim is codependency.  Many victims of narcissistic abuse are empathic people, & unless they know better, they will be hurt by the narcissist’s accusation.  Rather than have the narcissist think they are heartless, sometimes empathic people enable the narcissist’s toxicity in an attempt to get the narcissist to think they are good people & earn the narcissist’s favor.

If you realize that you have codependent tendencies or are in a codependent relationship, you’re not alone.  It happens to many victims of narcissistic abuse.  The good news is you don’t have to stay that way.  You can unlearn these unhealthy behaviors!

As always, I recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to show you what you need to change & how to make appropriate changes.

Also learn what you can about empathy & codependency.  Learning what you can will help you to see when you’re being empathic & when you’re being codependent.

Don’t forget to learn about boundaries, too.  You’ll need to gain a good sense of boundaries & know effective ways to enforce them.  To help you get started, I created a free online book study course about boundaries.  It’s available on my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

I know this probably sounds pretty overwhelming & hard to make the healthy changes you need to make, but really, it’s easier than you might think.  Once you recognize progress in yourself, it encourages you to keep on doing what you’re doing.  Also know that you’ll feel a lot of guilt when you begin to change your codependent ways.  That is totally normal.  When it happens, rather than give into ask yourself if you truly have a reason to feel this guilt or not.  Chances are excellent that you’ll recognize that you have no valid reason for the guilt.

I wish you the best with making these healthy changes!

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

A Little About Boundaries

People who don’t understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, flying monkeys in particular, seem to all think that setting boundaries & limits on a narcissist’s abusive behavior is a terrible thing to do.  If the victim is a Christian, these people often add in that those limits are “ungodly”, “unloving” & even “not honoring your parents.”  If a victim wants to divorce a narcissistic spouse, people are quick to point out the Scripture that says, “God hates divorce!” or “wives submit to your husbands” while leaving out anything else that can elaborate on these verses.

The fact however, is that these people are entirely wrong.  Boundaries are loving, Godly & honorable.

You can’t change anyone’s behavior of course, but boundaries set the stage to encourage a person to behave in a better way.  Good boundaries also show people how to treat others in a healthy way by displaying clearly what a person will & will not tolerate.

Consequences when someone disregards another’s boundaries also give a person a choice.  They can change their behavior for the better & receive a better, healthier relationship in return for their efforts.  Or, they can continue their bad behavior & suffer the negative consequences, such as someone terminating the relationship with them.

It is a loving thing to do to help people behave in a more Godly & loving way.

What is not a loving thing to do is enabling bad behavior.  Tolerating abuse is far from loving.  How could it be a loving thing to do to encourage someone to participate in bad, abusive & yes even sinful behavior?  It isn’t loving at all nor is it Godly!  Yet it seems like so many people think this is the case, & will twist Scripture around in an attempt to convince other people this is true.

And, on the opposite side of that same coin, how is it loving to tolerate things that cause pain?  How does that sort of behavior benefit anyone?  It only hurts victims & tells abusers that their awful behavior is fine.

I know this post is a very brief & basic one today, Dear Reader, but I felt the need to put it out there anyway.  I feel someone needs this simple reminder, so here it is.  Keep your boundaries in place & keep enforcing them!  Anyone who doesn’t respect them is the one with the problem, not you.  You aren’t a bad Christian or unloving spouse or adult child for having boundaries.  You are simply giving someone the natural consequences of their behavior, as things should be.  People reap what they so, as the Scripture says…..

Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.  8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

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If You’re Struggling With Setting Boundaries Or Going No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent

Many people have issues with setting boundaries or even severing ties with a narcissistic parent.  They say you are being mean, unreasonable, selfish.  In religious people, they may also throw in that you aren’t honoring your parent, & they quote Exodus 20:12 that tells us to honor our parents.  Or, in Asian cultures, they mention filial piety, which is respecting & caring for one’s parents being the highest of virtues.

People who say this sort of gibberish are either completely clueless or they’re narcissistic enablers.  Yet, in spite of that, sometimes victims are convinced that these imbeciles are right.  They stop using their boundaries, continue to tolerate the abuse, & are completely miserable.

If you are reading this & in this place of either wanting to set boundaries or go no contact with your narcissistic parent, but feel you are being selfish, mean, etc., you need to know that you are wrong!  I promise you that, & will show you why.

Although I don’t know much about religions other than Christianity, I do know that many of them seem to share one common belief, which basically boils down to, “you reap what you sow.”  Just look at what the Bible has to say about that…

 

  • Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
    For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 22:8 “He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
    And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.” (AMP)
  • Obadiah 15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations.
    As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (NIV)
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].” (AMP)
  • Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.
    8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

 

These Scriptures prove that whatever a person does, good or bad, there are consequences.  It’s a natural part of life.

I realize as the child of a narcissistic parent or two, this feels so foreign.  After all, the child never should upset the parent, burden them with “trivial” things like their needs or let the parent face consequences of their terrible behavior.  However, this is so wrong!  God has made sure this reaping & sowing wisdom is mentioned repeatedly in His Word.  This has to be important to be mentioned many times, wouldn’t you agree?

If you think about this, I’m sure it’ll help you to realize that your boundaries or no contact aren’t you being an awful person, but simply the natural course of events.  That is what happened with me.  I felt bad for setting boundaries with my parents & going low contact. God reminded me of Galatians 6:7-8.  I thought about it & realized it made sense.  Every time I so much as started to feel guilty, I remembered that Scripture.  It was very encouraging!  So much so that I was finally able to go no contact with my parents.  I felt mostly sadness because this wasn’t how things should be, which I think is totally normal, but very little guilt.  Without realizing the principle of sowing & reaping, I don’t know if I could have gone no contact.  If I had, no doubt the guilt would have been about crippling!

Please consider this post if you are struggling with setting boundaries or going no contact with your narcissistic parent, Dear Reader.  You aren’t wrong, selfish, unreasonable, mean or anything else.  You have every right to do these things!

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Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Helping People

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you’re trained from birth to do for them.  Do what?  Whatever they want.  It’s your job to please them in every way, to listen to them, to serve them… naturally this isn’t reciprocated because you aren’t important- only they are!

Once you’re an adult, this “you’re here to do for others” mentality sticks with you.  And, other people pick up on it.  Users & abusers can sniff this mentality out a mile away.  Other Christians can even pick up on it & use Scripture to back up why you should do for them or other people.

The truth is that no one can help everyone who crosses their path.  It’s too much!  You could ruin your physical & mental health, & even ruin yourself financially if you helped every single person who claims to have a need.  You truly need discernment & wisdom to know who God wants you to help, who He doesn’t, & who he simply wants you to pray for.

When you come across someone in need, the smartest thing you can do is pray.  Ask God for guidance, & to show you what this person’s position in your life is going to be.  Maybe it is to help that person in some way, but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe your position is simply to pray for that person or to guide them to someone who can help them.  Maybe you need to lead that person to Jesus.  Or, maybe you need to set boundaries & refuse to help this person because he or she tends to use people & needs a lesson in the fact not everyone is here to do for them.  Until & unless you ask God, you won’t know for sure.  So ask!  He will guide & help you!

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Traits Of Unsafe People

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Setting Healthy Boundaries Is Just The Start With Narcissists

When reading about how to recover from narcissistic abuse, you are guaranteed to see something about how you need to set & enforce healthy boundaries.  I think every author mentions it.  I know I have.  Repeatedly.  There is a problem with this however, & I am just as guilty as other authors of it.  We fail to mention that setting these boundaries is only the beginning, it’s not a guaranteed solution.  One of my favorite blog followers pointed this out recently & I thought I would cover the topic.

Setting healthy boundaries with anyone is a very good thing, especially with narcissists.  They need to be made aware that you will tolerate only so much from them.  Often though, this is where the trouble begins.

It’s empowering when you start setting those boundaries too, especially after years of tolerating anything they do.  They see their once meek victim gaining strength & realizing that they don’t have to tolerate abuse, which makes narcissists panic.  They seldom show that panic at first.  They may be so stunned to see you, their favorite punching bag, saying no, that they go along with the boundary.  As time goes on however, & more boundaries are set, the more unsettled the narcissist is.  You need to be prepared for what is going to happen.

Rather than respect boundaries like your average functional person, narcissists turn up the abuse.  Overt narcissists may rage loudly, as many do.  They may yell or call you names.  They may mock you, call you arrogant, selfish, stupid or other nasty things.  Covert narcissists, true to their nature, aren’t so brazen.  They may make snide, subtle comments, implying that you are arrogant, selfish, stupid, etc.  They may go all passive/aggressive & give you the silent treatment.  They may show they are angry with you in sneaky ways, yet deny feeling any anger.  They may  attempt to make you feel guilty or even ashamed of yourself for having any boundaries with them.  Most likely, the covert narcissist will fall into their favorite role, being a victim.  They will twist the situation around to where you look completely unreasonable or even abusive, & tell everyone how mean you are to them for no good reason whatsoever.

Whether the narcissist in your life is overt or covert, your response should be the same to their antics – show absolutely no emotion.  Any hint of emotion is nothing but narcissistic supply to narcissists.  Show them nothing, no matter what you are feeling inside.  Once you’re safely out of their presence, you need to deal with those emotions however works best for you, of course, but in their presence, be completely stoic.  That can be hard to do sometimes, I know, but remind yourself that it is for your best interest.  If you can be unemotional for the time you’re in the narcissist’s presence, it will help you in the long run.

When the narcissist tries to convince you how awful you are for setting your boundaries, it helps to have some responses ready.  What will your narcissist most likely say?  Think about stoic responses you can have.  Some examples are:

  • “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
  • “If you want to do that, that’s up to you.  I meant what I said though.  If you do it, I will *insert your consequence here*”
  • “I didn’t ask for your opinion & don’t need it, but thanks anyway.”
  • “You’re entitled to your opinion, but I am too.”

Another thing I found incredibly useful was to ask God for creative & effective ways to set boundaries.  When you say to a narcissist, “It hurts me when you do that.. please don’t do it anymore” that only makes them want to do that more.  You’ll need much more creative & effective ways than that, & God will give you such ideas.  He certainly did me.  My mother began to respect some of my boundaries, even though she clearly didn’t want to.  It was amazing!

When you have to enforce your boundaries with the narcissist, don’t back down.  Just keep in mind that setting them is just the beginning & be prepared for their resistance.  I know it can be scary at first, but you can do it!  

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Setting Simple Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

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Ways To Identify Controlling People

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Simple Ways To Set Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

As I’ve said many times, my heart goes out to those in the position of being unable or unwilling to go no contact with their narcissistic parents.  You’re in a tough, tough place, & I understand since I’ve been there.  I want to help you if I can, & that is what today’s post is about.

There are some small, easy ways you can set boundaries with your narcissistic parent while not eliminating them from your life entirely.

For starters, reduce the amount of time you spend with your narcissistic parent.  Don’t visit or have your parent visit you as often.  Stop taking their calls every time they call.  Ask yourself if you feel up to dealing with your parent, & if not, don’t take that call or visit.

When you must visit or speak with your parent on the phone, set a time limit.  Don’t allow your narcissistic parent to waste half your day when that is so hard on you!  Set a limit, then say “I have to go” & go.

Also if you visit your narcissistic parent, have a way out.  Plan something to do so you only have a limited time to spend with your parent.  If you can’t think of something, say you just remembered something you have to take care of & go.  It’s not a lie- you remembered you have to take care of yourself!

Remember to keep the conversation away from you.  Your love life, in-laws, job, troubles & even your mental & physical health should be off the table for topics to discuss with your narcissistic parent.  Giving any narcissist personal information is just asking for trouble such as criticism & unasked for, useless advice.  Change the subject if your parent wants or demands to know something personal about you.  If all else fails, ask your parent about something that matters to her.  Chances are excellent she’ll drop the matter at the opportunity to talk about herself.

If you’re dependent even slightly on your narcissistic parent financially, find ways to put an end to it.  Narcissists love controlling their adult children with money, so remove that tool if at all possible.  If not, then at least find ways to reduce the amount.

If you have pets or kids, have strict boundaries in place.  It is your job to protect them & that includes from abusive & narcissistic parents.

When it’s time to set boundaries with your parent, remain calm.  Show no emotion, simply state the facts.  Any signs you are upset will fuel your narcissistic parent’s behavior.  Stay calm, state your boundary & the consequence of your parent not respecting the boundary, then enforce it if necessary.

If you’re friends on social media, unfollow your narcissistic parent.  You will remain friends, but you won’t see her posts which can reduce stress.

If you must go somewhere with your narcissistic parent, drive separately.  That way, you are free to leave at any time if need be.  Also, cars are a great weapon for some narcissists.  There is no escape- you have to put up with whatever they do when you’re in a car together.   My mother loved having me trapped in her car, & used it to scream at me when I was a kid or belittle me as an adult.

Always remember the Gray Rock Method.  Think about what gives your narcissistic parent narcissistic supply, & refuse to provide it.  Basically, you need to be boring to her.  Don’t admire her.  Don’t praise her.  Don’t get angry at her so she can portray herself as the victim.  Don’t coddle her.  Don’t share anything personal about yourself that she could use against you or as fuel to spread lies about you.  Don’t empathize with her if someone has hurt her.  Show no real interest in her problems.  If she needs your assistance with something, do the bare minimum, don’t go above & beyond.  Gray Rock can be hard at first because every tiny thing can provide narcissistic supply, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Lastly, pray & pray often.  Ask God to help you cope with your narcissistic parent, to give you the right words to say, & to give you effective, creative ways to cope with her behavior.  He will NOT disappoint you!

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Consequences- A Necessary Part Of Life, Even For Narcissists

2 Thessalonians 3:10  “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”  (KJV)

 

So many of us raised by narcissistic parents grew up believing it was our job to protect our parents from consequences.  No matter what our parents did to us, we weren’t supposed to be upset about it or confront them about being abusive.  We were supposed to tolerate everything they did with a smile rather than take the chance in upsetting them.

 

Sadly, this awful belief often is such an ingrained belief, it follows us into adulthood.  Our narcissistic parents can continue abusing not only us but our spouse & children as well without fear of consequences.

 

The fact is that this belief & behavior goes against God’s will.  God is a firm believer in consequences.  The Scripture at the beginning of this post is evidence of that.

 

Dear Reader, if you’re suffering at the hands of your narcissistic parents, you are well within your rights to set boundaries & give your parents consequences!  Doing so won’t make you a bad person or bad daughter or son.  In fact, it means you are following God’s will.

 

The same is true if you have gone no contact with your narcissistic parents.  Although many people will attempt shame you for doing so, going no contact after years of abuse & attempts to improve the relationship is NOT a bad thing.  Yes, it’s sad when a relationship comes to such drastic measures, especially when it’s a close relationship such as parent & child, however, it is also often the only resort left for a victim who wishes to be free of abuse.  The person in this situation has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about.

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Boundaries Are Important, & Not Only With Narcissists

Boundaries are a very important part of life, but perhaps even more so in victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists don’t allow their victims to have any boundaries.  This creates victims who think they aren’t allowed to have boundaries not only with the narcissist, but with everyone.  Lacking healthy boundaries sets a person up to be used & abused.  Even the kindest, most well meaning people can inadvertently take advantage of someone without good boundaries, because the person doesn’t say no.  How can anyone know what they’re asking someone to do is a problem if that someone doesn’t say no?

Boundaries are like the fence that surrounds your yard.  They show you where you end and other people begin, & what is & is not your personal responsibility.  Your emotions, beliefs, desires & behaviors are your responsibility.  Likewise, the emotions, beliefs, desires and behaviors of other people are their responsibility, not yours.  You do not even need to have an opinion on these things.  If they are hurting you or are being self-destructive, however, Ephesians 4:15 says that you may speak the truth to them in love about the issue.

No one can control someone with healthy boundaries.   You will show others that you have confidence & self-respect, & that you love yourself enough to take good care of you.

By learning about boundaries, you will quickly learn what is & is not important to you, therefore you know what you need to confront another person about, & what you can let slide.  You will be more sensitive to the early signs of resentment or anger that let you know that your boundaries are being violated.  It is best to nip things in the bud, rather than to let the problem continue until it is much bigger.

Boundaries also enforce consequences.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Often, many people try to interfere with this natural law to avoid painful consequences, however, doing that often causes bigger problems.  Boundaries allow this reaping to take place because you know that it is not your place to interfere.  People need consequences for their actions, good or bad!  How is someone who does good things for others benefited by never receiving recognition or a reward for their good works?  That person becomes discouraged, potentially even bitter.  Or, what good does it do anyone to say or do anything they want, & never suffering when they cause others to suffer?  This person learns nothing, nor does she have any opportunity to grow and mature or grow closer to God.

When you first begin to set boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish or uppity, or they may ask what happened to the “good girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept & respect your new boundaries with no problems.  Unsafe people will not.  If others cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.  Setting boundaries is a very good way to learn who is safe & who is not.

For your first step in getting started on boundaries, I strongly suggest you spend some time asking yourself these questions, & really think about your answers:

• What things am I no longer willing to tolerate from other people?
• What things do I need from other people?
• What boundaries do I need to set in my own life?
• How can I enforce them in a healthy way?

When setting your new boundaries, be very decisive about them. Wavering in your boundaries can lead to problems, such as others not not respecting your new boundaries.

You also need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries. Some simple phrases that may help you are:

• “I’m not going to do that.”
• “I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
• “You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
• “If you don’t stop talking about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room, etc).”
• “No.”

Enforce your boundaries with consequences when necessary.  Hang up the phone, leave the room, or whatever your consequence is.  If you do not enforce your boundaries, people not only will lose respect for the boundary you are setting, but they will lose respect for you as well.

Remember to respect the boundaries of others too.  You may need to write down what you are & are not responsible for regarding others in your life.  Everyone is entitled to the same things that you are- lack of judgment on their own emotions, beliefs, desires, & actions.  And remember- you are also not responsible for the feelings & well-being of others.  People are also allowed to freely express their emotions.  While you may offer sympathy, it is not your responsibility to make things all better for them.  If you have done wrong by them, however, then it is certainly your place to apologize & try to make it up to them for the pain you caused.

You will need to tailor this information 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 in their lives are, do it anyway!  The benefits of boundaries outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel less burdened & 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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What It Really Means To Do Something For Someone’s Own Good

Romans 15:2  “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”  (NIV)

One of the most common yet stupid things said to Christians in the situation of having a narcissistic parent is how you’re not a good Christian let alone son or daughter if you don’t do everything your parents want, right down to tolerating their abusing you.

Truly, some people have no concept of what it truly means to honor your parent.  They also must have missed Romans 15:2.  Take a moment to read that Scripture again…

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

See that?  “..for their good…”  That doesn’t mean to do blindly for someone, it means to do things that benefit them.  Doing whatever your narcissistic parent wants doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is best for them.  Narcissists care more about what feels good at the moment than what is genuinely good for them.

So what is “for their good”?

  • Taking your elderly narcissistic parent to the doctor when sick.
  • Helping your parent by cutting their grass when their lawn mower is broken or washing their clothes when their washer is broken.
  • Buying them something you think your parent would like just to be a blessing.
  • Setting & enforcing boundaries.
  • Saying no.
  • Going no contact.

 

The last three items were pretty hard to consider good, weren’t they?  They really are good though, & I’ll tell you why.

 

All three of those behaviors are about boundaries, & boundaries are a VERY good thing.  Boundaries show others how you wish to be treated & gives people the option to treat you accordingly or not without forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.  Boundaries encourage good behavior while helping you not to be responsible for someone else’s behavior, feelings, etc.  In short, boundaries are a very loving behavior.  Granted, narcissist don’t see them that way, but it’s still true. (If you’re interested, I have a free “Boundaries” book study course & article about boundaries on my website.)

 

Saying no is also a good boundary behavior because nobody needs to go through life without being told no at some point.  Getting one’s way creates spoiled, entitled people with no regard for others (sound familiar??).  Narcissists don’t like to be told no, & will do whatever they can to avoid it, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear no.  The more they hear it, the less they will demand of you.  This works well for you & at the same time, teaches the narcissist that you won’t tolerate being pushed around.  A very good thing for the narcissist to learn.

 

No contact also can be for someone’s good sometimes.  No contact should be the final step after trying to work out the relationship, & often, sadly, it’s very necessary with narcissists.  It can be good for narcissists though, because it shows them they simply can’t go around abusing people & expecting them to tolerate it indefinitely.  Also, you never know- maybe with you not in that person’s life, God will be able to reach her & help her to see the error of her ways.  Sometimes it takes having people out of a person’s life for them to turn to God.  (Granted, that is extremely rare, but with God, all things are possible.)   No contact also removes the opportunity for that person to sin by removing you to abuse from her life.  These things are all for the narcissist’s own good.

 

Doing something for someone’s own good never means giving someone whatever they want or tolerating abuse.  These never benefit anyone!  If someone suggests otherwise, they clearly have no idea what it means to love someone God’s way.

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Subtle Tactics Narcissists Use To Abuse

When most people think of narcissists, they think of someone loud & obnoxious, who is obviously abusive.  That isn’t always the case however.  Some tactics narcissists use to abuse their victims are very subtle.  So much so that when they happen, a victim may not give them a moment’s thought.  That doesn’t make these tactics any less abusive.

 

Trying to “fix” your appearance.  This can be done in very subtle ways, such as suggesting what foods you can eat to help you lose weight or what clothes would look better on you than what you normally wear.  It’s a way to shame your looks disguised as offering helpful suggestions.  It’s also a good way to make someone look like what the narcissist wants that person to look like.

 

Isolation.  Whether the narcissist in your life is a parent or spouse, it’s a safe bet that person wants to isolate you.  They may say things like, “She isn’t really your friend.  If she was, she would/wouldn’t ….”  “I heard he said …. about you.  It was a terrible thing to say, especially since he’s your brother!”  “They don’t like me.  It really hurts me you’d be friends with people who obviously hate me.”  The fewer people in your life, the easier you are to control.  You won’t be able to talk about your situation with anyone, so no one can tell you what he or she is doing is wrong.

 

Disrespecting your boundaries.  It starts out small.. a little compromise you don’t object to.  Then it’s another, slightly bigger compromise, then another & another.  Before you know it, you aren’t allowed to have any boundaries.  The old saying, “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” is the absolute truth with narcissists.

 

Making you doubt yourself.  “Are you sure you said that?”  “No, I don’t think you really want that.  I think you’d prefer….”  Subtle phrases like this are nothing but gaslighting.  They make a person doubt their perceptions, feelings, & opinions.  It’s a very subtle way of tearing a person down mentally & emotionally.

 

Using anger to control you.  In romantic relationships, they hide their anger until they are comfortable that you’re in it for the long haul, then they start using their anger suddenly.  Overt narcissists often will scream & rage, sometimes for hours.  Covert narcissists give quiet displays of their rage- they give the silent treatment, give disapproving looks, tell other people how cruel you are to them & play the victim.  Some narcissists will punch walls or take their anger out on inanimate objects as a way to intimidate you.  My ex husband did this & told me how lucky I was he took his anger out on our microwave instead of me.

 

If someone is doing these things to you or someone you know, it’s abuse, plain & simple!  You have every right to protect yourself from this type of behavior, no matter who is doing it.  Take back your power!  Set & enforce your boundaries.  Leave if the person becomes angry, especially if you’re afraid for your safety.  Rekindle old friendships the narcissist forced you to abandon. Start a journal if you don’t currently have one, & keep track of the things the narcissist says- seeing things in writing may give you more clarity.  Most of all pray.  Ask God what you should do in this situation.  He will guide you & give you creative ways to handle it or the strength to go no contact.

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An Update

This has been a really crappy, awful week to put it mildly.

 

Monday, we had a new storm door installed on the back of our house.  It leads to an enclosed porch, which has a door that leads into the kitchen.  In that brief window of time there was no storm door, my father not only stopped by my home but came onto the porch, into my home!  Remember, we’re no contact so this was quite a shock for me.   I had no idea he’d even come by let alone barge into my home.   I thank God if it had to happen, it happened when it did because my husband dealt with him.  It was ugly.  My husband said he said he wanted to see me.  My mother is in the hospital having a lump removed from her carotid artery, so he wanted to tell me (side note- any prayers for her would be appreciated).  Hubby said he’d tell me.  My father kept demanding to talk to “his daughter” & even accused hubby of keeping me from him.  He said he was going to stay on my porch & wait until I came out to speak to him.  My husband finally told my father if he didn’t leave, he was calling the police.  (I love this man!)  Interestingly, about an hour later, he said, “Yanno.. don’t be surprised if the police show up to do a welfare check.  I just have a feeling.”  I thought no way.. that wouldn’t happen.  How wrong I was…

 

The following evening, there was a knock on my door.  It was a county cop.  He said my father called the police to do a welfare check on me.  My father told the police my husband “kicked him off” our property & wouldn’t let me see him.  This was an experience I never expected to happen since both my parents always liked my husband way more than me.  For my father to turn on him & to waste the time of the local police has been such a shock.

 

Prior to this, he’d sent 4 different people after me to tell me to call him, including his barber.  (Yes, I really am serious!  His barber!!)

 

My first reaction on Monday was to want to cuss out my father for messing with my husband.  Not proud of that, but it’s true.  Thankfully after calming down some, I remembered that narcissists love to bait their victims.  That is what has been happening with my father.  He tried forcing me to see him, then to hurt & anger me to the point I’d contact him.  Even if it was to cuss him out, it’d be narcissistic supply.  Narcissists need someone’s love or hate, since  both strong emotions provide them supply.  Ignoring them deprives them of supply & they can’t handle that.

 

So now, I’m not sure what to expect.  Involving the police was a new low, as far as I’m concerned, so it makes me wonder what else he is capable of doing.

 

And, because once you’ve survived carbon monoxide poisoning, your tolerance for stress goes completely down the toilet, I’ve been pretty much a wreck since Monday physically as well as emotionally.  (FYI- the body produces small amounts of carbon monoxide when stressed.  This is helpful to the body unless it’s already compromised as it is after poisoning.  In that case, your body responds to that small amount as if it was poisoned again).

 

Any prayers would be appreciated!  Thank you!

 

I’m hoping sharing this with you, Dear Reader, is somehow beneficial.  Maybe it can help you to realize the importance of never underestimating a covert narcissist as I did with my father.  Maybe you realize the narcissist in your life may do this type of thing & you can prepare ahead of time for it.  I don’t know.  But, I do hope sharing my story helps you in some way!  xoxo

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Not Everything Good Is Good For You

Recently, God began dealing with me about something.  I tend to say yes too quickly.  I agree to help people or do favors when I’m tired or busy way too often.  He put in my heart that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.

 

This makes a lot of sense to me.  There have been plenty of times I decided to focus on my latest book, yet didn’t do it because someone needed something from me.  Not that what they needed was anything bad, nor is it bad to help someone, but for me, I should have focused on my writing instead.  Other times, I wasn’t feeling well & just needed to rest, yet didn’t because someone said they needed me.

 

Does this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader?  Do you do the same things?

 

I’d venture to say it’s pretty common with adult children of narcissistic parents.  We were trained from birth to put ourselves last, & that training doesn’t stop just because we’re grown up.  We’re also told it’s selfish to put ourselves first.  Taking care of others above ourselves has become such a habit, often it happens without even thinking.  We simply do it automatically.  We may do it even when everything in us says, “NOOO!!!” just because it’s what we feel we’re supposed to do.

 

Today I want to encourage you to have more healthy boundaries & balance.  It’s certainly good to put others ahead of yourself sometimes, but only in balance.  You deserve to be your priority too!  There is no shame in taking care of yourself or your duties.  In fact, it’s a must to do so.

 

Starting to do this can be difficult after a lifetime of being so out of balance, I know.  I recommend prayer as the best place to start, as usual.  Ask God to help you know what you should say yes to & what you should say no to.  He will!  That is what I’m doing, & so far, so good.  I slipped up by not praying this immediately, as soon as I realized what God wants to teach me, & ended up saying yes to something I probably shouldn’t have.  Since, I prayed for God’s help & things are going better.

 

And remember Dear Reader, just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.  xoxo

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