Tag Archives: care

Leaving The Past In The Past

So often, you hear people say the past needs to stay in the past.  In  other words, the past has no bearing on who you are today, so just pretend it never happened.  This bothers me- I don’t think that is true at all!

While I’m not saying we need to live in the past, the past whether it is good or bad, has a lot to do with who we are today.  Why not accept that fact?  Embrace the good parts of the past & learn from the bad.

I understand this can be hard for the adult child of a narcissistic parent.  Either you become so angry you constantly remember the bad things, or you have been through so much pain you want to forget you even have a past.  Or, you swing between the two extremes.  But please consider having balance!

Although the past was painful, there must have been some positive in there somewhere.  For me, it was my paternal grandparents.  They taught me a great deal about love & how to treat people.  They also loved animals & I learned how to not only love but also respect animals & care for them as well.  I also learned about cars from my father.  He used to be able to look at almost any car & tell you the year, make & model, & he taught me the same thing.  He also taught me some about engines & car maintenance.  And yes, some positive even came from my narcissistic mother.  She taught me how to crochet when I was five years old, & it’s a skill I still enjoy.  She also is an avid reader & instilled a love of books in me.

As for the bad in the past, good can come from bad as well.  For example, thanks to being raised by narcissistic parents, I’ve learned to be very sensitive to people.  I can tell when they are hurting even before they say it, & often know how to help them through their pain if they want help.  Being raised by narcissistic parents gives you a great ability to read people.  It also makes you caring, because you know what it feels like to be hurt, & you don’t want others to feel that same misery.  (Obviously, I can’t say I’m grateful for surviving narcissistic abuse as I’m sure you can’t.  I’m simply saying that something positive came from it)

If you can’t find the good, then ask God to show you.  While He certainly didn’t want anything bad to happen to you, He can bring good out of a bad situation.  He also wants you to learn & grow, & will be glad to help you do so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Should You Discuss Narcissistic Abuse?

A Scripture popped into my mind today…

1 Peter 4:8 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (NLT)

It made me wonder something.  Does this mean we shouldn’t talk about what the narcissists in our lives have done? Is it more loving to cover up their abusive actions?  I firmly believe no, it doesn’t.
I believe the above Scripture is for the simple little offenses we live with sometimes, such as your husband coming home from work in a bad mood & snapping at you for no obvious reason, or someone cutting you off in traffic.  I don’t believe this Scripture applies to the larger grievances in life, which includes narcissistic abuse.  Consider these Scriptures..

Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

17 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 pagan and a tax collector.” (AMP)

These verses tell me that it is acceptable to discuss when someone has wronged or even abused you.  In fact, I think it is necessary to discuss narcissism in particular, because although more people are becoming aware of the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder, very few people truly understand it.

If you discuss what you have experienced at the hands of a narcissist, whether it be a parent, spouse, relative or friend, you help to make other people aware of the signs of a narcissist, the dangers of being involved with one, or even how to set boundaries with one.  These are things everybody needs to know, especially since narcissism is so prevalent in society these days!

You can help to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse in many ways.  You can share your experiences & knowledge in a blog, post in social media, or join mental health forums.  Ask God if He would have you to do something, & how He would like you to go about it.  Your story can help to change someone’s life!

Don’t misunderstand me, though.  I’m not saying that is ALL that you need to discuss.  If your primary conversation consists of stories of the abuse you endured at the hands of a narcissistic abuser, people will be turned off.  They will tire of hearing the same complaints repeatedly, or your conversations being only about one topic.  Also, it’s unhealthy to focus on such heavy topics non stop.  Your brain needs to relax from hard work like your body does.  Give it a break sometimes, & focus on lighter matters.  Watch funny movies, read good books or participate in a hobby you enjoy.

 

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Taking Back Some Power

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

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

I feel like I took back some of my power!

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

Have you ever tried anything like this?

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

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A Grateful Attitude Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of C-PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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Who Am I After Trauma?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Long Week In A Life With C-PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Depression Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness!

Yesterday was a very hard day for me. I had an especially nasty flashback.  Not long after, my mother called.  I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but I did anyway.  Why is beyond me..this ended up with me feeling awful for the rest of the day, & waking up about every 15-30 minutes all night long.  Sometimes from nightmares, sometimes from anxiety attacks, other times from hot or cold flashes.

This morning I woke up very depressed & very exhausted.  Unfortunately, when I’m this tired, I think bad thoughts.  I ended up feeling so weak.  I was angry at myself for not being stronger, & for having C-PTSD.  Thankfully, my bad thoughts didn’t get too bad before I got online & read this article….

https://traumadissociation.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/ptsd-can-it-come-from-strength-rather-than-a-sign-of-weakness/

It gives a very interesting perspective.  A perspective I’d never heard of before, suggesting that depressive illness (& those of us with PTSD or C-PTSD know depression all too well) is a sign of strength rather than weakness.  Reading the article made perfect sense to me.  It says that people who are strong, responsible, diligent, etc. tend to deal with depression more than those who are weak, irresponsible or lazy.  The reason being, the responsible types get more stressed- they keep pushing & pushing themselves while their irresponsible counterparts give up.  The article explains it much like a blown fuse.  Responsible types push & push themselves, basically like pushing 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse.

Interesting perspective, no?

Please read the above article- I believe it will encourage you as it has me.

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Do You Accept False Blame & Guilt?

Last night was a rough one.. I had a flashback while reading an article online.  The flashback was about something that happened with the ex boyfriend of mine who I mentioned in this post.  It was strange, because I wasn’t even thinking of him, nor had I thought of him in a few days.  I also never had a flashback about him before, nor had I remembered the incident until last night- I must have forgotten about it shortly after it happened (repressed memory).  The whole thing was just so odd!  I had some thoughts about it though, that I thought I should share.  I’m hoping this will make sense- I still feel weird this morning as I’m still recovering from the flashback, & can’t think very straight.  Please bear with me…

As I’d mentioned in the post I’d linked to above, I’d felt guilty since I broke up with that man in 1990.  Guilty for hurting him, guilty for letting myself get involved with someone I wasn’t interested in in the first place, guilty for dashing his hopes for marriage & a family.  That is all I ever thought of regarding him.  It wasn’t until his death last January that when I thought about our relationship, I realized how dysfunctional & abusive it was.

I’ve done similar things with friendships I’ve ended- felt guilty for hurting the other person, only to realize years later that the other person was using me & really a terrible friend,& I had to end that relationship.

I would bet that this is pretty common with daughters of narcissistic mothers.  I know that I grew up feeling so overly responsible for my mother that I carried that overdeveloped sense of responsibility into other relationships.  I still fight with that to this day sometimes.  As a result, people who use & abuse have sought me out, & if I ended the relationship, I ended up feeling guilty for not doing enough, or letting them down somehow.  I take on blame that isn’t necessarily mine.  The result is a lot of wasted time beating myself up & feeling guilty for things I shouldn’t feel guilty about.

Does any of this sound familiar to you??  I’m guessing it does.

If you’re in this position of berating yourself for failed relationships, I would like to encourage you today.  Think objectively about those relationships, & if you have a hard time with being objective, pretend a good friend is telling you about it rather than you having experienced it.  What would you tell her?  Would you blame her completely for the relationship failing?  Would you tell her that she was stupid for becoming involved with the person  in the first place or for allowing that person to use or abuse her?  Then what makes telling yourself these things OK?

I’m not saying you’re never at fault or never make mistakes in relationships.  We all do those things.  It’s part of being human.  However, I’m talking about not accepting 100% of the blame 100% of the time.  Accept blame when it’s yours & make amends where you can, but also keep the other person’s blame on them.  It isn’t yours to take.  if you are unsure about what blame is & is not yours, I encourage you to ask God.  Pray about it, & God will show you what you need to know in a loving, gentle way.

Don’t beat yourself up!  Feeling guilty & berating yourself for things that aren’t your fault only continue the abuse your narcissistic mother did to you.  You deserve so much better than that!!  xoxo

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How To Avoid Accepting Blame From A Narcissist

The topic of defending oneself to a narcissist & its futility came up in my facebook group this morning.  It was also mentioned how narcissists can turn anything back around onto you.  True, isn’t it?  They could beat you bloody, steal all your money, or call you horrible names for something so silly as reading a book, yet according to them, you are the problem.  And, if you aren’t careful, you can end up accepting that lie as truth. I’ve done this many times myself.

How can you avoid falling into that awful trap?  It’s easier than you may think..

First of all, I have found that a good relationship with God is vital.  When you are blamed, ask God if this is true, are you really at fault?  Ask Him to help you see things clearly so you don’t accept blame that isn’t yours.

Focus on improving your self-esteem.  The more secure you are, the harder it is for anyone to push false blame on you.

Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Knowledge truly is power, & knowledge of NPD will help you to remember that they are the ones with a problem, not you.  This is something you need to be very aware of in order to stop accepting the blame for problems a narcissist blames you for.

Another thing I’ve learned to be very helpful is to journal about the events.  Seeing them written out factually, without emotions, helps bring you clarity.  That is partly why I discuss my experiences with my narcissistic mother.  It helps me to keep a proper perspective while also helping others.  It also helps me tremendously when people say things like, “I read in your blog about what your mother did.  She was so wrong for doing that!”  It’s an additional validation.  I’m not saying you have to make what you write public as I have, of course, but if you opt to do so, it may help you as it helps me.  You can use false names if you want to remain anonymous.

Talk to those who understand.  Close friends or relatives who know the situation, & support you can be tremendously helpful.  Often those with narcissistic mothers don’t have many friends or relatives who do support them, as narcissistic mothers love turning people against her daughter, but there is still hope.  There are facebook groups & forums like mine that are full of safe people who understand your plight because they have been in your situation.

Lastly, never engage a narcissist.  Ever. If she wants to blame you for something, don’t defend yourself.  Respond to her with calmness & logic. If she continues raging, walk away.  Let her look like a fool while you protect yourself.  If she recruits others to her side, & those flying monkeys wish to talk to you on her behalf, refuse to discuss that topic with them.

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Relationships & Narcissistic Abuse Survivors- We All Make Mistakes!

Many adult children of narcissistic parents end up having a lot of trouble in relationships.  Friends & lovers alike use & abuse them. I’ve had more dysfunctional relationships than I can count, mostly with friends since I never dated much, but perhaps there was no more dysfunctional relationship in my life than my ex boyfriend/fiance.  I’ll try to keep this short, but make no promises.. lol  Honestly I’m still trying to work this situation out in my mind, so I may ramble.. please bear with me.

On January 27 of last year, I saw on the local police’s Facebook page that he killed his boyfriend then himself.  I can’t even begin to describe the shock I felt!  I had NO clue he was gay, let alone capable of murder!  It got me to thinking a lot…

I was 19 when I met him, he was 28.  I saw him at that time as stable- he’d had the same job for several years, rented a beautiful old farmhouse on the water where he’d lived for quite some time- & he seemed like a good person at first.  Both of these were attractive to me.  When he wanted me to move in with him about two weeks after we met, I took it as a complement, &  moved in.  When he said we WOULD get married (no proposal, no ring- just a demand) shortly after, again I took this as a complement.  He also told me we’d have a house full of kids, even though I said I never wanted kids.  (I tried to talk myself into wanting them off & on my whole life, but it never worked for me).  I naively figured we’d work that out somehow if I stayed with him.  He even let  me get my first cat, knowing how badly I’d wanted a cat, & he came up with the name Magic since I brought him home on  the day before Halloween, 1990.  He paid for everything, saying he wanted to take care of me.  In fact, knowing I would’ve loved to move to VA near my grandparents, he even offered to buy us a house there.  He also offered to buy me a new car, since my car was 12 years old at the time.  Never mind the fact I loved that car- he wanted me to have a new one, & that was more important to him than what I thought.  I took it as him taking care of me.  I’m happy to say I still have that car, by the way.. 🙂

We hadn’t been together long when he started to change, maybe a month.  He no longer was so thoughtful & gentle.  He became more demanding, bossy & critical.  When he got angry, he screamed at me, sometimes for hours.  Having only a few months before left my mother’s home where that was the norm, although it bothered me, it didn’t bother me as much as it should have, which seemed to upset him even more, especially when I’d start to fall asleep on his ravings… after all, I’d survived the best at raging, my mother- he was merely an amateur compared to her.

On the third month anniversary of our having met, I told him I was moving out the following day.  I wasn’t happy with him.  He screamed at me from around 8p.m until after 2a.m.  He told me I was a fool- he made good money & took good care of me, & so much more.  I honestly don’t remember anything else, because I simply didn’t care.  Although I’d liked this man, I never loved him.  Yet even so, his screaming that night left an impression on me.  From that night, November 23, 1990, until recently, I felt incredibly guilty about our relationship.  I never wanted a relationship with him, yet let him & a female friend of mine push me into it.  I felt like I led him on by doing that, then later dashed his hopes of marriage & a family.

Then, I read about his death last January.  Then, I saw a mugshot on that same Facebook page a day or two later.  Apparently my ex had been arrested 6 days prior for drunkenly waving a gun at a young woman in his neighborhood.  When we were together, my ex was rather handsome.  He always reminded me of Tony Goldwyn in “Ghost.”  His mug shot showed someone else.  At age 51, he looked closer to 71.  He looked bad- old, harsh & beaten down. Ok, it’d been 24 years since I’d seen him, but even so, it looked to me like he’d been through a LOT in those 24 years, not simply aged 24 years.

I got to thinking, wondering if I had set him on a downward spiral?  Was this my fault somehow?  Also, were there signs of him being gay that I missed?  To  this day, I can’t think of any other than him being rather homophobic. (not sure that’s a clue since many straight men are).  I also realized how blessed I am to have survived that man.  I was cheating on him our entire relationship- what if he’d found out?!  He could’ve killed that man & me!  He never hit me, but he came close.  In fact, Magic stopped him the night I ended our relationship by scratching him when he came near us.  Truthfully, Magic never left me alone when he was home- it makes me wonder if he knew something I didn’t know.  I also got angry- did this man know he was gay at the time & used me to look straight?  How dare he!  And, I shared my life with a murderer!  I even took a murderer into my grandparents’ home!  My favorite people in the world, & I unwittingly endangered their lives!  Granted, he was kind & respectful to them, at least, but that didn’t help me feel better once I thought of that.  So many more thoughts have run through my mind over & over about this man since last January 27.

While I realize I was very dysfunctional at age 19 & not yet a Christian, this has still been a hard pill to swallow.  I started looking around at various mental health websites, trying to figure out answers.  I know my ex wasn’t a narcissist, but he shared a few traits.  I finally realized he has, well had, Borderline Personality Disorder.  Reading about the symptoms sounded like he used the list as a checklist!  Some symptoms are:

  • Inappropriate & intense anger.  (He once thought he caught me in a lie while a friend was visiting.  He asked her to step onto the porch while he screamed at me in the living room where no doubt she could hear him)
  • Excessive measures to avoid abandonment. (He was VERY jealous & accusatory.  I worked with mostly men- I couldn’t avoid them!)
  • Paranoid thoughts. (He didn’t trust anyone black or gay)
  • Emotional instability. (Could go from happy to angry to weepy in a flash)
  • Impulsive. (He would decide on a Thursday or often Friday we were going out of town for the weekend.)
  • Intense & unstable personal relationships. (He’d been engaged before me, & said she was very clingy, they broke up & got back together.  I wonder if he proposed to her or demanded she marry him like he had me?)

I think many adult children of narcissistic parents end up with someone like I did- highly dysfunctional & possible also with BPD.  If this describes you, please know you’re not alone!  This is very common!  And, please don’t make the mistake I did of beating myself up for over 23 years about this relationship!  When still in the midst of dysfunction, we make mistakes based on our dysfunctional thinking.  It’s normal!  The best we can do is learn & grown from them, & to correct them as possible.  This may mean ending an intense relationship as I did, but if that is what you need to do, then do it!  Protect yourself!  You are worthy!!

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Getting To Know Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

I was recently reading a very good email from Dr. Karyl McBride, author of “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”  It’s an incredibly good book for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers.

 

Anyway, her email was discussing the new book she has coming out soon.  She included an exercise in the email for helping you to get to know who you really are.  She called it “An inner selfie”.  Collect pictures from magazines or from the internet that represent some aspect of yourself.

 

I’ve done something similar this & it really does help you to get to know & inspire yourself.  I have several folders of pictures on my tablet full of pictures that speak to me in some way.  I have a folder of pictures that are uniquely feminine- flowers, beautiful women that I would like to model myself after, & other images.  There are several folders of various pictures that help me to feel good- one has images of Ireland, another a cabin deep in the woods in a blizzard, another has pictures of the beautiful interiors of luxurious trains, still another contains pictures of Claude Monet’s paintings, another a couple of cute vintage & beautifully restored campers.  I also have a folder full of pictures of inspirational quotes & another full of informative & validating quotes about mental health.

 

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, as you know if you too have one, means you grow up not knowing who you are.  You’re simply whatever your mother wants you to be, not the person God made you to be.  It’s the same way if you were romantically involved with a narcissist.   Today, why don’t you make a decision to learn who you are?  Start by collecting pictures that you’re attracted to.  Each one will reveal a little bit about who you really are inside, & help you to get to know yourself.  You may even learn that you like who you are.  🙂

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“And We Know That All Things Work Together For Good To Them That Love God”

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I read a lovely quote yesterday by Budda.  It says, “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind.  The goal is to find it.”  I thought it was a very true & lovely quote, & it reminded me of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV)

I am not of the delusional mindset that if you are just positive enough, all the pain from the painful experiences will magically disappear.  I also will never, ever say I am grateful for the abuse & traumas I’ve experienced in my life, or that they were a blessing.  And honestly, I have yet to find any blessing in some situations even years later.  However, I am happy to say that some good has come from them.  My horrible first marriage taught me it’s better to be alone than with an abuser, to recognize certain warning signs in a man that show he isn’t good for me, & to recognize signs of abuse in a romantic relationship.  The narcissistic abuse from my mother taught me so much about what makes her act the way she does, how it has affected me, setting & enforcing healthy boundaries & more, plus it’s enabled me to help others in similar situations.

By saying these things, I’m not saying abuse or trauma is a good thing, or is necessary for building character or anything so ludicrous.  I’m also not trying to trivialize trauma.  I’m just saying I think it can be a good & healthy thing to find the little bit of positive in a sea of pure crap.  For years, I thought my pain had no purpose at all & nothing good could ever come from it.  Realizing it has, has helped me be more at peace with the traumatic events.  By that I mean that I’ve been able to accept that they did happen & cope to the best of my ability, which is so much better than how I used to handle my pain- by stuffing it down inside & trying to ignore it.

It just amazes me how God can pull some good out of so many terrible situations.  Regarding Romans 8:28, when I thought about that Scripture this morning, I thought about my gorgeous snowshoe Siamese cat, Jasmine. Jasmine was a lovely cat, but her first 7 years of life, she had irresponsible owners who passed her from home to home.  Her last owner before me was good to her, but she passed away in 2003, which is when I inherited Jasmine.  I learned early Jas had a wall up- she was obviously tired of getting close to someone only to have them abandon her.

On Christmas day, 2009, my husband found her barely responsive.  We couldn’t see the vet until the following day, but we immediately got her in that day.  The vet had taken such good care of Danya, my husky/wolf, when he had diabetes, that I was positive he’d be equally as great with Jasmine.  Not only did he misdiagnose her as having cancer or pancreatic issues, he coldly told me I should “just put her down.”  I don’t believe in doing that, plus Jasmine’s pleading eyes told me it would’ve been a mistake.  I took her home, expecting my beautiful girl to die in 1-2 days.  Instead, she started to improve.  She moved a little, then ate & drank a little.  Five days later, she sat upright!  In looking online for answers for her symptoms, I met a good friend who is a vet tech, who diagnosed Jasmine as having had a stroke!  Once she said that, i was able to take care of Jasmine & she recovered with only a little sway to her rear end as a sign she had a stroke.

During following 2 years, Jasmine had 3 more strokes, only her final one giving her any problems.  She fully recovered from the other 2.  We became even closer as I cared for her.  That wall she had built crumbled, & she became not only dependent on me for her care, but also for comfort & love.  She also fought so hard after each stroke to recover fully until she no longer could do so after her last stroke.  And even then, she fought so hard to stay alive.  Her blue eyes stared into mine for her last few hours with such love.. it was beautiful, the love she showed me.

While I can’t say her strokes were a good thing by any means, I still am grateful that she let them change her.  We became so close, much closer during her last 2 years than during the previous 6 years when she was in better health.  She also became very close to the other cats & dogs, rather than ignoring them.  She even became more clear in her communications with me, which struck me funny since one of our dogs at the time was very good at communicating with me, & she always had looked down on him for that.

Out of such a tragic event as a stroke, something beautiful happened.  Jasmine was able finally to accept the fact she had a loving family, & to accept happily the gestures of love we all gave her.  It even seemed to give her strength & a strong desire to fight with every fiber of her being to heal after the strokes.  It really amazed me, & still does, that something so positive came out of such a horrible situation.  Her courageous love (as a good friend of mine describes it so perfectly) was an inspiration to me, & I thank God for blessing me with that amazing, lovely creature.

If you think about the bad situations in your life, what good has come from them?

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Rambling & More Thoughts On Narcissistic Mothers

Good morning, Dear Readers!

Again, thank you so much to every one of you who has prayed for me & shown me concern these past 10 days.  My father is now home to recover after a caifoplasty (I think it was called?) yesterday to repair a compression fracture on his spine. I took him home last night & he was moving much better already.  🙂

These past 10 days have been brutal.  My father went into the hospital with this terrible back pain at 3 a.m. on Tuesday the 9th, then quickly had a bad reaction to the morphine & was delirious for several days.  They weren’t sure at first if it was pain, meds or what making him delirious, but thankfully figured out it was the morphine.  No more morphine for him!  EVER!  I warned him never again- I’m not happy with him calling me Mom!  lol

Those of you with a narcissistic mother can imagine the  “fun” this has been.  As if the drama with my father’s health wasn’t enough, she managed to turn everything around on her.  Even yesterday, the day he had an operation on his spine, my mother still turned everything around on her.  Amazing!!  Absolutely amazing!!  & not in a good way!  By the time I got home, much later than expected mind you, I was in tears of anger & frustration.  Not to mention anxiety because I spent the entire day at the hospital- not good for the agoraphobia.  My husband, bless his heart, listened to me tell all of the day’s awful events.  He also said, “I have seen the light!  I really get it now about your mother!  I am so sorry!!”  Thank God!!  I can’t put into words how grateful I am for that.  My husband is accustomed to his own narcissistic parents, & due to his upbringing, always tried to make excuses for or defend my mother.  I think that is a thing of the past now.  God is truly good- I never expected that to happen!

After I took my father home, I had to leave fast.  One of my cats has diabetes & a couple of other health issues, & I’ve found testing his glucose & giving him an insulin injection when needed at about 5 p.m. works well for us, usually keeping his glucose levels pretty stable.  By the time I got my father home, it was already 7:30!  I told my parents I need to go- Pretty Boy is late for his insulin.  My mother kept dragging her feet, pretending she didn’t hear me or coming up with reasons I needed to stay.  I ended up pretty much walking out on her.  *sigh*  She didn’t care that my boy needed help, my husband wasn’t home yet from work & couldn’t take care of him- I had to go.  It was maddening!!

The icing on the cake was when I was walking out the door.  My mother gave me a hug & said “I love you.  You’re doing such a good job!”  Maybe with a normal, non-narcissistic parent, this would be a nice thing to say.  However… with a narcissistic parent, this made me very angry.  The only time my mother tells me she loves me, is proud of me or other such positive things is when I’m doing what she wants me to do, as she wants me to do it.  I could count on one hand how many times my mother has said those type of things to me in the last 25 years.  Maybe even 30 years.

It was just so maddening!!  The only time I’m worthy of any praise, even just a small amount, is when I’m doing her will?!  Really?!  Never mind I’ve run a non-profit organization designed to help people with depressive disorders.  Never mind my writing helps other people often (I know- I get the emails to prove it!).  Never mind I’ve rescued over 25 cats since 1990 & 3 dogs who were in horrible situations. (I’m not trying to brag on myself with this information, by the way!!)  None of that matters to my mother.  All that matters to her is what I do for her.  ARGH!!!!  It’s not that I’m after her approval- I’ve accepted that I’ll never have it.  Even so, the reminders of this fact still hurt.  Reminders like this show me, yet again, that I’m not even human to her.  That I am simply a tool to be used when needed, according to my mother.  I don’t matter to her, nor do my needs, wants, feelings or even my furkids as she showed me so clearly last night.  It hurts!!

I guess my point of sharing all of this (aside from venting) is to let you know, Dear Readers, I really do understand.  I understand your frustration with your narcissistic mother.  I understand your pain & hurt.  I understand how aggravating it is when others don’t get it.  Having a narcissistic mother is truly a lonely road!

I really hope my experiences can help you somehow to cope with your own narcissistic mother.  If nothing else, I hope you realize that you truly are not alone, in spite of how it feels.  I love you & am praying for you!  xoxo

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Brief Update & Another Lesson About Narcissism Learned

This past week since my father has been in the hospital has been interesting to say the least.

On a positive note, he seems to be doing quite a bit better.  He’s still in pain with the compression fracture in his spine, but at least he’s not screaming in pain anymore.  They’ve also cut way back on his pain meds, & I think have eliminated the morphine.  Thank God- he reacted terribly to it!  He’s been hallucinating & acting very bizarre.  Yesterday he was much more coherent though, so I hope this means it’s almost out of his system.

Things with my mother have been very interesting.  Several times, she’s thanked me for all I’m doing to help out, said she doesn’t know what she’d do without me, & said she loves me.

Being the adult child of a narcissistic mother, i had the normal reaction to this.  Hoping this meant changes were coming to our relationship.  I quickly realized this isn’t wise- this is setting myself up for disappointment.  Maybe some narcissists change, but I have never seen it.  My mother is a malignant narcissist, so the chances of her changing for the better & permanently are slim to none.

I had to learn how to handle moments like this very quickly when a similar situation happened last year.  I thought I would share what I have learned with you so hopefully you will be helped when this type of situation arises with your narcissistic mother.

I have learned everything I can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder,  I learned that narcissists approve of you when you are doing what they want or need you to do.  If you say no, you are a horrible person, selfish, ungrateful, etc etc. according to them.  I keep that in mind when my mother says these nice things to me when I’m helping her.

I also had to talk to myself.  I had to tell myself it’s ok to enjoy this pleasant time with her, but it’s not ok to expect it to last.  Chances are very good that as soon as my father is out of the hospital, she’ll be back to her old ways.  I’ve had to remind myself of this a few times lately.  This will help me not to be devastated when she gets mean with me again.

This situation hurts!  It feels like everyone’s mother loves them- why doesn’t my mother love me?  Is there something wrong with me?  Am I unlovable?  While it feels like these are valid questions, the truth is they aren’t.  It’s her- something is wrong with her!  It’s not you!  Narcissism is a horrible thing.  Something made these people turn so self-centered that they refuse to think of anyone else.  To them, other people, including their own children, are simply tools to be used to meet their needs.  No one else has real problems- only they do.  No one else has feelings- only they do.  This has nothing to do with you or some flaws in you.  It truly is all their problem!

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Self – Care Help

I don’t know about you, but frankly, I really stink at self – care.   This isn’t a good thing, especially since I’ve been having a rough time of late, & really could use some good self – care rituals.

 

Today I was thinking about this, wondering what I need to do to get better at taking care of myself.  An idea popped into my mind that I’m sure was from God, as I’m  not this creative.  A self – care box!  I have a cute little wooden box I had gotten at a craft store a few years back.  It’s maybe 3″ deep, 4″ wide & 2″ tall.  I got out some pretty pink & off white paint for it.  Pink & off white make me happy, which is why I chose those colors.  While I’m waiting on the paint to dry, I went online & found a bunch of simple but good ideas for self – care.  Simple ones, like “take a few minutes just to breathe deeply.”  “Take a nap.”  “Give yourself a manicure/pedicure.”  “Pray.”  “Read.”  I wrote these little suggestions on pieces of pretty blue construction paper (if only I’d had pink!  lol).  I will cut them out & once the paint on the box is dry, put them in the box.  When I need a little extra self – care, I’ll pull one piece of paper & do whatever suggestion is on that piece of paper.

 

Many adult children of narcissistic mothers also aren’t very good at taking care of themselves.  It’s hardly just me.  If this describes you, then why don’t you try creating  a self – care box?  Do an internet search on “self – care ideas” & you will be amazed with the amount of suggestions available!  Pick & choose the ones that appeal the most to you.  Then, the next time you’re feeling down, anxious, overworked or whatever, pull out one of those little slips of paper from the box & do what it says.

 

You deserve to be healthy, emotionally as well as physically!  It will give you more peace & joy, taking good care of yourself.  Besides, to be the best you that you can be for others, you have to take care of yourself.  Do it for the ones you love, as well as for yourself.  ❤

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How To Deal With Those Who Invalidate Narcissistic Abuse

My always “fun” narcissistic mother called me the night before last.  She told me that one of the few movies with both like, “Duel” from 1971, was on TV.  I was pleasantly surprised not only because I enjoy the movie, but that my mother thought to let me know it was coming on.  I thought that was oddly not narcissistic & very sweet of her.

Then last evening, she called me again.  She asked if I watched the movie & we ended up having a rather pleasant chat for a while about movies & actors.  I relaxed for once while we spoke (that is a VERY rare occurrence).   Suddenly my mother asked me a favor- she asked me to give her a home perm.

*sigh*

I’ve done it many times, & really never minded it all that much, in spite of her often treating me like the hired help.  Then the arthritis in my hands got worse, & putting those little perm rods in her hair became quite painful for me. I told her this probably 2 years ago by now, maybe longer ago but I’m not sure, & haven’t done a perm for her since.  So last night’s request came as a surprise to me.  For one thing, we were talking just fine, then suddenly, she expects a favor that I’ve told her I can’t do.  UGH!  I had to remind my mother yet again that I have arthritis in my hands, & can’t do this for her.  Her response?  “So you’re saying you can’t give me a perm, huh?”  Really???  All she took from what I said was what directly affected her.  Fantastic.. typical narcissist. *banging head into walls*

I was thinking about this conversation this morning.  It’s things like this that happen over & over, & many people just do not grasp the severity of such incidents.  People who know my mother may think she’s rather eccentric, but not a bad person.  In fact, if I tell them stories like this, they say I’m oversensitive, reading into things, need to shake it off, etc.  These people act like I am the one in  the wrong, not my mother, who treats me as if I’m just here to be used.  They ignore the fact that things like this reinforce the fact my mother thinks I’m just here to serve her, that I’m not allowed to have needs, feelings or anything else.  My sole purpose in life is to be used by my mother, according to her.  So what I have arthritis?  I should suck it up, Buttercup, & do what she wants because she wants it!  Ugh.. & to tell the truth, I think my mother thinks I’m lying about having arthritis just to get out of doing for her.  Never mind it’s a medical fact, on record & I’ve had it for 12 years now…

This kind of behavior is it invalidating, & it’s plain hurtful!  It also has made me wonder why people are so quick to defend a narcissist & blame the victim.

I think many people are afraid of becoming uncomfortable.  Their comfort zone is so important to them that they cannot tolerate anything that doesn’t fit into said comfort zone.  They would rather be invalidating & hurtful to you than forced to believe the narcissist they know is anything less than a good person.  Maybe the narcissist is good to them (for the moment anyway, until the mask slips off..), & they simply do not want to face the fact that she is capable of heinous acts.  Learning someone you care about isn’t a good person is a painful thing, & many people do not want to deal with that pain.

What does this mean to you, the victim of a narcissist?

This means that you are going to need to be aware of people like this, as they are everywhere.  They even can be a close relative or friend.  Chances are, they don’t intend to hurt you- they are simply oblivious to the fact they are abusing you by invalidating you.  However, even intentions that aren’t bad don’t make this behavior hurt any less, or make it acceptable.

Once you’re aware of these people, you need to stop discussing your relationship with your narcissistic mother  (or father,or sibling, or friend, etc.) with this person if you wish to continue this relationship. If you continue to attempt to force this person to see your perspective, they will become resistant, & angry with you for trying to force them to see what they don’t want to see.  They will flatly refuse to see the truth, & it can put a big wedge in your relationship or even cause them to sever ties with you. Did you read my post “Two Good Lessons From One Dream“? If not, please read it now.  In that dream, God showed me clearly that you have to use wisdom on who you discuss narcissistic abuse with.  Don’t frustrate yourself & ruin relationships by discussing it with people who are hell bent on not hearing a word you have to say!  It’s not worth it!

How do you not discuss the cruel things your narcissistic mother is doing to you when people ask you?  By telling them that this topic is not up for discussion…

  • “I’m not going to discuss this topic with you.”
  • “Let’s talk about something else.”
  • “I don’t want to discuss this.”
  • Change the subject as often as necessary & ask the other person something about his/her life.
  • Walk away or hang up the phone if they insist on discussing this topic even though you set appropriate boundaries.

You owe no one any explanation, & an explanation only will start an argument anyway.  If they say anything to you on  the topic, the best way I have found to avoid discussing it is to change the subject.  Eventually, most people will get frustrated & give up trying to discuss the topic they originally wanted to, especially if you ask him/her about his/her life.  Most people, even non-narcissists, will talk readily about themselves.

Protect yourself from people like this, Dear Reader,& use wisdom  when you must deal with them.  You deserve it.  You have been abused enough by your narcissistic mother- you don’t need further invalidating abuse from “friends” or “family” even if they are well-meaning.

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Emotional “Purging”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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If You Think You’re Alone, You’re Wrong!

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I wanted to thank every single one of you who has contacted me over the last few days with encouragement, compassion & concern.  Your kindness truly has meant the world to me, & I can’t thank you enough.  I never expected such a response from my posts- it was a wonderful surprise.  When I felt God wanted me to post what I did, I assumed it was for someone else’s benefit, not my own.

This truly goes to show that when you are rejected by your own family, God gives you a new one.  Psalm 68:6 says, “He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.”  (TLB)  This Scripture is so true, & you lovely people have proven it.  Thank you!

Being raised by a narcissistic mother makes you feel completely alone like nothing else can, I think.  That lonely feeling is there even when you are surrounded by others.  It even goes with you into adulthood.  The good thing is if you allow God to, He will send others into your life who understand & offer you unconditional love & support.

If you are on facebook, I have a group on there full of lovely, wise, caring people, many of whom have narcissistic mothers.  I would love to see you join us!  Here is the link:

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

If you aren’t on facebook, I also have a forum that I am trying to get started.  Feel free to join in the conversation!

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net

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I Realized I Am Grieving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ranting & Raving.. (revised)

Good morning, Dear Readers!

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

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

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

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

Back to the original topic..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

I’m revising  this post only slightly…..

 

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

 

This is the outside of the card...

This is the outside of the card…

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

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

 

 

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

Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse- My Next Book’s Topic

Good morning, Dear Readers!

 

I have decided on my next book’s topic.  What it’s like to recover from narcissistic abuse.  The weird things you may not accociate with it such as odd nightmares as well as details about living with C-PTSD, low self-esteem, constant self doubt & anything else I can think of to add to the book.

 

If there is any topic you’d like added to this book, please feel free to suggest it.  I’m open to suggestions!  You can either email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com, or you can contact me via this form:

 

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You Are Not Alone!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

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

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

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

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

Triggers And Coping With Narcissistic Games

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I had a strange call from my parents last night.  I realized some things from it that I’d like to share with you today..

Last night, my husband was on the phone for a while.  When he hung up, he told me my parents had called but he hadn’t clicked over because of not wanting to interrupt his other call.  Shortly after telling me this, our phone rang & my parents’ number popped up on the caller ID.  I answered it.  It was my mother.  She said that my father had been trying to call but couldn’t get through, so SHE had to call (always she does things right when others can’t yanno- typical narcissistic behavior).  She said for me to hang on & she’d get him.  Ok.. this was odd, I thought, plus the tone in her voice sent shivers down my spine.  Probably anyone else who heard it wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but it made me feel like I was a teenager again, waiting on my mother to scream in my face & accuse me of awful things I hadn’t done.  The tone basically said, “I’m being civil because there is a witness, but just wait until we’re alone.  All the immense disgust & hatred I feel for you will come out!”  *sigh*

So then my father got on the phone.  It turns out he has a new health concern & is going to get it checked out on this coming Monday.  He asked if I could take him to the doctor nearby in Annapolis.  I said fine.  (It isn’t- it interrupts my routine which makes me extremely anxious- but to take care of his health, I’ll deal with it).  I asked for details & he said that he & my mother would be by to pick me up around 9:45.  HUH?!  I asked why do I need to be there if she is driving him?  I assumed I’d be driving him since he isn’t allowed to drive after last month’s mild stroke.  He said she claims she can’t remember where the office is.  Ok, but how about getting directions?  It’s super easy to find!  It’s 8 turns (including turning out of their driveway & into the doctor’s parking lot) to find this place from their home.  Something felt very fishy & with a little prayer, God showed me what was going on.

My mother is angry with me because, being the “horrible” person I am, I set a boundary with her a few weeks ago as I’d mentioned in another blog post.  She decided to feign being clueless about where to to in order to get me alone so she can dish out her narcissistic rage.  She also knew I would go, because if I don’t, she will claim she can’t take my father to this important appointment, forcing him to miss it.  She will enjoy having me trapped in her car with no means of escape, & trapped with her at the doctor’s office for that purpose.  She loves to let me know what a horrible person I am, how crazy I am, how wrong I am for liking & disliking the things I do, what a piece of junk my car is, etc. in public places now, because if I speak back to her, I will look like the unreasonable daughter abusing her dear, elderly mother.  Her car is another good place for her, because I can’t escape.  The days of her screaming these things in my face are gone now that she is no longer bigger & stronger than me.   Those days are now replaced with quiet, scathing disapproval & verbal abuse in an attempt to bait me into looking like a raging lunatic.  Thank God, I am well aware of this game & know what to expect.

So what did I learn from this conversation??

First, I learned to appreciate triggers.  As painful as they can be, triggers also serve a purpose.  When something makes you feel afraid or angry as you felt as a child, it makes you feel that way for a reason!  It’s a warning that something isn’t right.  My mother’s tone of voice mentally took me back to the days I was a teenager & suffering the worst of her abuse.  God showed me that the familiar tone of voice was to warn me a narcissistic rage is in my near future with her.  (Something I will remember regarding future triggers!)

I also learned that I really have learn to prepare better- it’s only good self-care!  Normally in these situations, even when I have known something was brewing, I failed to prepare.  My husband suggested I take an mp3 player with earbuds so I can escape into music if it gets too bad.  A very wise idea that hadn’t occurred to me!  An idea that I had was to contact friends & see who may be available during that time so I can leave if need be.  Someone can come pick me up if I need to walk out.  I’m in the process of finding someone now.

Triggers can serve as a very good warning that something is about to happen that we need to prepare for, such as last night’s call from my parents.  If you, too, have a narcissistic mother, triggers can benefit you as well.  Pay close attention to them.  If you are unsure why her tone of voice or body language triggers fear in you, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to know.  He will!  And, once you realize what the trigger was about, prepare to the best of your ability.  Unfortunately, all narcissists can catch their victims off-guard sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid much of their cruelty.  Again, ask God for help if you need to, & He will show you very creative & effective ways to cope.

Although often severing ties with a narcissistic personality disordered individual is best, sometimes it simply is not possible, or you know in your heart it isn’t right for you at this time.  With prayer & help from God, you can learn ways to cope with a narcissist.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.

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What Happened To Empathy And Compassion??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Distractions

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I was just thinking about something.

I was thinking of some of the reasons I have to be grateful.  It’s a practice I think everyone needs to do often.  Yes, it can be hard, especially when, like me, you have C-PTSD & your brain is already so “full” (anxiety, hyper-vigilence, flashbacks..) it can feel as if one more thing won’t fit in there.  However, that is exactly why it is good to distract yourself from the bad things sometimes, & think of positive things.

Also, if you focus on negative things such as the events that caused the C-PTSD, your symptoms or even learning about why your abuser did what she did to you, it can consume you.  I learned this when I was writing my last book, “It’s All About ME!  The Facts About Maternal Narcissism.”  While writing a book, I pretty much become obsessed for a while.  I think about what I’m writing non-stop, so I can put my best into it when working on a book.  This book was no exception, however the topic of the book was a very challenging one.  I learned so much about Narcissistic Personality Disorder while writing the book!  I felt as if God opened my eyes & I was seeing so much more about it than I ever could’ve imagined.  While that was great & I think it gave me a very good book, it became overwhelming often.  I took frequent breaks, but I don’t think frequent enough or pampering enough.  I saw things in a new light with my own mother & father too.  I had more nightmares than usual.  My sleep was terrible.  I lived & breathed NPD.  By the time the book was finished, I was deeply relieved.  That was in September, & I haven’t even thought about what book to focus on next as I still feel like I’m recovering from that time.

Learn from my mistake!!

If you are going through a hard time or have C-PTSD like me, distract yourself often.  If you care for someone who is ill or elderly, again, distract yourself often.  Fun distractions will help you tremendously!  They will help you to keep a more positive attitude & not become overwhelmed with negative things.  They also will help you to rest better at night, & be more relaxed during the day. Basically, they will help you to be the best “you” that you can be, which benefits you as well as the other people in your life.  You won’t be of any good to anyone if you are tired, depressed, anxious & negative.

And, if you have C-PTSD, then you are well aware how common suicidal thoughts are.  This is especially important for you!  It can be hard to fend off such terrible thoughts even when you know it’s just the disorder talking rather than what you really want.  I have found that distracting yourself during those times to be especially important.  If thinking of the good things in your life isn’t powerful enough, do something else.  Go shopping & get yourself a little something special.  Go to a museum or the zoo.  Take yourself out for a nice meal, or go with someone you love.  If agoraphobia is an issue, go for a drive in the country or near the water, alone & enjoy the beautiful scenery.

What ways do you have that you can distract yourself during hard times?  What things are you grateful for in your life that you can focus on today?

To help get you started, here are some things that I thought of earlier that I am grateful for..

  • I’m grateful for my family.  My mother wouldn’t let me be close to anyone in my dad’s family when I was a kid, so I have been getting to know some of my relatives for the last almost 15 years.  I am very grateful for the new relationships/friendships I have.
  • Along those lines, I’m grateful for the nice long talk I had with one of my cousins last night.  He’s a great guy, & I’m glad to finally be able to get to know him.
  • I’m grateful for my furkids.  My babies are incredibly sweet & loving.  They are awesome as well as cute as can be.
  • I’m grateful God sent my cat, Punkin to me.  The poor little fellow has PTSD (I saw him have a flashback  once – WOW!), so we are able to help each other when the symptoms get bad.  We understand each other so well since I learned what was happening with him.
  • I’m grateful for this time of year.  Fall is my favorite season.  I am LOVING the beautiful colors of the leaves & the nice temperatures.
  • I’m grateful for having some amazing friends.  They’re supportive & caring.
  • I’m grateful for the old friends I’d lost touch with, but then caught up with on facebook in recent years.  They are wonderful, & most haven’t been scared off by me having C-PTSD.  Instead, they have been non-judgmental & supportive.

I also have some plans for nice distractions for this weekend…

  • It’s the Halloween season, which means scary movies I love are on TV!!  I basically plan to be a couch potato until November 1 & enjoy the movies!
  • My husband’s birthday is on Sunday.  Since he’s working that day, we are celebrating later today.  We’re going to a local car show we both enjoy, probably getting dinner out, & after that, maybe playing some video games or watching more scary movies (he enjoys them too) & having some birthday cake that I made him.  We may even go for a drive to enjoy the fall scenery (which he also loves).

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Coping With Flashbacks, Body Memories & Panic Attacks

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

A couple of days ago, I had a really rough afternoon.  I had 2 flashbacks.  Well, kinda 3 actually since the first 2 were one right after the other.  Not fun at all.  It made me glad wordpress lets you schedule blog posts so I could take a couple of days to just relax & heal!

I thought about it last night & thought it might be a good idea to post some ways to cope with flashbacks, body memories & panic attacks since coping with them all involves pretty much the same things.

First, I’ll explain each one for clarity’s sake.

Flashbacks are when a traumatic memory comes to the forefront of your mind, & you feel as if you are reliving it.  The memory threatens to overtake you- the fear, anger, the sorrow overwhelm you & it can be nearly impossible to tell reality from the memory.

Body memories are quite similar to flashbacks, except instead of you feeling the emotions of the traumatic memory, you feel the physical sensations.  You may not even remember the traumatic event, only how it made your body feel.  If you were in a cold place when it happened, for example, you may suddenly feel cold even though the temperature is 75*.

Panic attacks are anxiety related, & happen when anxiety becomes too much for your body to handle.  Suddenly your heart races, your blood pressure rises, you become increasingly agitated, & you may feel like you’re having a heart attack.  (I was sure I was having a heart attack when I had my first panic attack in 1996.)  The attack may last a few minutes, then gradually dissipates, & you feel drained for the next day or so.

While flashbacks, body memories, & panic attacks are all different, I’ve found ways to cope with them successfully are quite similar.

All three require something to keep your focus on the here & now, where you are safe.  To do this, you need things that involve your senses.  Strong scents & extreme textures seem to work best for most people.  I like the scent of lavender (it’s also used in aromatherapy to calm anxiety) & Sweet Honesty perfume.  When I was quite young, my paternal grandmom gave me a bottle of that perfume, & I’ve loved it since.  It brings back a memory of her, plus it’s a fairly strong scent, so it helps keep me grounded.  I have 2 small vials (the type perfume samples come in) with each scent in them & keep them handy at all times.  Regarding textures, I like something either extremely soft or very rough.  Focusing on how those textures feel helps to keep me focused on the “here & now” rather than the traumatic memory or anxiety.  Snuggle a stuffed animal, touch some rough carpet, hold an ice cube in your hand or snuggle up in a very soft sweater or blanket.

You also can focus on what is around you.  Focus on whatever details are around you.  If you’re at the park, for example, focus on the feel of the breeze blowing on your face, or the shapes & colors of the leaves on trees.  If you’re sitting on a chair, really feel the texture of it & focus on it.   Whatever you can do to keep your mind not focused 100% on the flashback, body memory or panic attack  helps to take some of its power away.

Remind yourself that you are safe.  The trauma isn’t happening to you again- it’s only a nasty memory that can’t hurt you.  If you’re near a mirror, look at yourself in the mirror & reassure yourself that you are safe.

Don’t close your eyes.  This can make it harder to distinguish reality from memory during a flashback.

Breathe slowly & deeply.  In & out through your nose.  Feel your chest & stomach take in the air, then slowly release it.  Be aware of when your heartbeat slows as you calm down.

Create a small container of items that can help you during these situations.  Those small vials I mentioned that are used for perfume samples?  Get a couple of them & fill them with whatever scents help you to feel safe or bring back a happy memory.  Include something that feels good when you touch it as well, such as a small river rock or polished gemstone.  Keep this small bag of items with you at all times so when flashbacks, body memories or panic attacks happen, you can be prepared.

As frustrating & painful as flashbacks, body memories & panic attacks can be, there are some ways to cope with them.  They can be managed!  Above are some ideas that can help you, & I hope will inspire you to come up with some more ideas of your own.

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Helping Someone With C-PTSD

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

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

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

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

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Empathy vs Apathy

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people who have shared with me that no one cares about the trials they’re going through.  Some have health problems, very serious ones at that, yet even their own families don’t care.  Or worse yet, their own family members accuse them of faking their illness for attention or for drugs.  Others have suffered great loss, even including death of a loved one, & are reminded frequently that they need to get over it (as if that’s possible when losing someone you love?!).  And still others have endured abuse, either at the hands of their parents or a spouse or both, yet people in their lives act as if it’s no big deal.  They say heartless things like, “Shake it off & move on!”  “What’s wrong with you?  That happened a long time ago- you need to get over it.”

This kind of thing sickens me.  It makes me lose what little faith I had left in humanity.

It also clearly shows the difference between empathy & apathy.

According to merriam-webster.com, empathy means, “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings.”  Also according to merriam-webster.com, apathy means, “the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state  1:  lack of feeling or emotion.” 

Empathy should be running rampant in society, especially considering how much suffering is happening constantly in the world, yet instead, apathy seems to be an epidemic instead.  It’s truly sad.

There is such a thirst for compassion from people who are suffering, yet instead they are met with apathy & indifference.  Or, possibly even worse yet, comparing their pain to another’s.  Comments such as, “That’s not so bad.  I had it much worse than you.  You should be glad you didn’t go through what I did!” can be devastating due to their invalidation of one’s pain.

I want to encourage you to work on being more understanding & empathetic.  There is such a great need for empathetic people, & empathy also seems to promote more empathy from others.  (You will get empathy in return for giving it from most people.)  You can’t help everyone in the world of course, but you never know how much you are truly helping another person.  You may be like the first ripple in a lake- one tiny ripple creates more & more ripples that go out into larger & larger circles.

Displaying empathy will help other people, often more than they can put into words.  Why not try it today?  Empathy is also in the BIble- God commands His children to show empathy to one another.  See the following Scriptures…

Matthew 7:12“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (ESV)

Ephesians 4:32ESV “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (ESV)

Romans 12:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (ESV)

How do you develop empathy?

  1. The most important thing you can do is listen (without interrupting!) to those who are speaking to you.
  2. Watch the other person’s body language for cues on how they truly feel.
  3. Ask questions during the conversation to gather more information.
  4. Consider the other person’s life experiences that help to form their perspectives.
  5. Imagine how you would feel if you were in that exact same situation.

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